333 – EU and Greece: would game theory have helped?

July 1, 2015
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Greece’s finance minister Yanis Varoufakis has written books on game theory and “conflicts in economics.”[1] Does this qualify him as a skillful negotiator? Leaving aside the fact that he also qualifies himself as “libertarian-Marxist” – an oxymoron – I remain skeptical about the connection. In game theory, the possible outcomes are defined, certain, final and […]

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332 – Diplomatic realism up close

June 27, 2015
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Kissinger demanded that Nixon stand firm [in supporting Pakistan] “If the outcome of this war is that Pakistan is swallowed up by India, China is destroyed, defeated, humiliated by the Soviet Union, it will be a change in the world balance of power of such magnitude” that the United States’ security would be damaged for […]

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331 – The re-invention of yoga tradition

June 24, 2015
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The UN General Assembly on 11 December 2014 adopted without a vote a resolution commemorating 21 June as the International Day of Yoga. Addressing the UN General Assembly on 27 September 2014, the Prime Minister of India Mr. Narendra Modi had said: “Yoga is an invaluable gift of India’s ancient tradition. It embodies unity of mind and […]

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330 – Clash of civilizations up close: the case of Pakistan

June 13, 2015
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Arguably, the partition of India and Pakistan in 1947,[1] with its concomitant massacres and massive population movements, can be used to highlight a “civilizational fault line” between the Islamic and the Hindu cultures. Unsurprisingly, the Wiki article quoted below, speaks of “Two nations theory.” Samuel P. HUNTINGTON argues i. a. that “civilizations are mortal[2] but […]

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329 – The speed of cultural change

May 24, 2015
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“Irish voters have decisively voted in favor of marriage equality, making Ireland the first country to do so through the ballot box. Only one of the 43 constituencies voted against the proposal.”[1] In other words, both rural and urban voters chose to endorse the social innovation. What is interesting to me is not so much […]

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328 – Sunk costs have zero value

May 3, 2015
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(An elegy on the Greek “problem”) But when he came to himself he said, “How many hired servants of my father’s have bread enough to spare, and I’m dying with hunger! I will get up and go to my father, and will tell him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in your sight. I […]

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327 – Worlds that vanish – unnoticed

May 2, 2015
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Thanks to the internet, nothing is forgotten nowadays: or is it? As we returned at sunset to the port of Hydra, I took this photo: One notes the reflections in the hand-made window panes. As the glass sheet is pulled, rather than rolled, such minimal imperfections inevitably arise. They give “depth” to an otherwise dull […]

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