fights

Die Feldgleichungen der Gravitation

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We investigate the role of networks of alliances in preventing (multilateral) interstate wars. We first show that, in the absence of international trade, no network of alliances is peaceful and stable. We then show that international trade induces peaceful and stable networks: Trade increases the density of alliances so that countries are less vulnerable to attack and also reduces countries’ incentives to attack an ally.

We present historical data on wars and trade showing that the dramatic drop in interstate wars since 1950 is paralleled by a densification and stabilization of trading relationships and alliances.

Based on the model we also examine some specific relationships, finding that countries with high levels of trade with their allies are less likely to be involved in wars with any other countries (including allies and nonallies), and that an increase in trade between two countries correlates with a lower chance that they will go to war with each other.

{ Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences | Continue reading }

photo { Mark Cohen, Girl Holding Blackberries, 1975 }

Josie Powell that was, prettiest deb in Dublin

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Typically, the loser of a bar fight who later initiates a lawsuit has been beaten up pretty badly, or at least has the medical bills to suggest significant personal injuries. The loser sues the bar on one of several theories — the most common ones being inadequate security, not having banned a patron known to have a history of fighting, bar employees initiating the violence, or bar employees responding to a situation with unreasonable force. But that’s the boring legal stuff. […]

Roughly equal numbers of men and women filed these lawsuits. […] Everyone I can remember had tattoos. […]

You might think that a bar fight is most commonly started between two guys fighting over a woman. That’s not so, at least not in my experience. Ejection seems to be a more precipitating event. More than half the bar fights I had to sort out started when a too-drunk patron was asked to leave and refused to do so. […]

Women were faster to employ weapons, whether prepared (the knife) or improvised. Improvised weapons are almost always thrown, and have included highball glasses, pool balls, bar stools, knives, and in one notable case, the assailant’s own feces.

{ ordinary-Times | Continue reading }

‘This is a bad idea = one of the greatest aphrodisiacs of all time’ –Emily Cooke

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Teenagers’ brains are wired to confront a threat instead of retreating, research suggests. The results may help explain why criminal activity peaks during adolescence.

{ Science News | Continue reading }

Like the Andy Griffith theme song

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Civil wars don’t end quickly. The average length of civil wars since 1945 have been about 10 years. This suggests that the civil war in Syria is in its early stages. […]

Most civil wars end in decisive military victories, not negotiated settlements.

{ Political violence at a glance | Continue reading }

We’re now in the approach phase, everything looking good. Altitude 5,200 feet.

{ Eight things to consider before intervening in Syria }

I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him

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Analyzing data from 60 earlier studies, Solomon Hsiang from the University of California, Berkeley, found that warmer temperatures and extremes in rainfall can substantially increase the risk of many types of conflict. For every standard deviation of change, levels of interpersonal violence, such as domestic violence or rape, rise by some 4 percent, while the frequency of intergroup conflict, from riots to civil wars, rise by 14 percent. Global temperatures are expected to rise by at least two standard deviations by 2050, with even bigger increases in the tropics.

{ The Scientist | Continue reading }

My story being done, she gave me for my pains a world of sighs

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Two notions of reconciliation exist.

The weak or thin conception is akin to “resignation.” It is sought by groups that have waged war against one another but have come to the realization neither can win. Reconciliation in this sense results from an enforced lowering of expectations.

In the stronger sense, reconciliation means a virtual cancellation of enmity or estrangement via a morally grounded forgiveness, achievable only when conflicting groups acknowledge collective responsibility for past injustice, and shed their deep prejudices by a profound and painful transformation in their identities. It is because this process is not possible without a somewhat brutal confrontation with oneself and a painful recognition of one’s own moral degradation that reconciliation is difficult to achieve.

{ ResetDoc | Continue reading }

‘Art is gay.’ –Schiller

Cops are looking for a man who smashed a woman over the head with a ketchup bottle while shouting anti-gay slurs at a Greenwich Village diner, cops said.

The attack took place in the Waverly Restaurant on Sixth Avenue at about 4:40 a.m. Monday, sources said.

The victim suffered head lacerations.

{ NY Post }

Against boredom even gods struggle in vain

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Implicit in the rationalist literature on bargaining over the last half-century is the political utility of violence. Given our anarchical international system populated with egoistic actors, violence is thought to promote concessions by lending credibility to their threats. In dyadic competitions between a defender and challenger, violence enhances the credibility of his threat via two broad mechanisms familiar to theorists of international relations. First, violence imposes costs on the challenger, credibly signaling resolve to fight for his given preferences. Second, violence imposes costs on the defender, credibly signaling pain to him for noncompliance (Schelling 1960, 1966). All else equal, this forceful demonstration of commitment and punishment capacity is believed to increase the odds of coercing the defender’s preferences to overlap with those of the challenger in the interest of peace, thereby opening up a proverbial bargaining space. Such logic is applied in a wide range of contexts to explain the strategic calculus of states, and increasingly, non-state actors.

From the vantage of bargaining theory, then, empirical research on terrorism poses a puzzle. For non-state challengers, terrorism does in fact signal a credible threat in comparison to less extreme tactical alternatives. In recent years, however, a spate of empirical studies across disciplines and methodologies has nonetheless found that neither escalating to terrorism nor with terrorism encourages government concessions. In fact, perpetrating terrorist acts reportedly lowers the likelihood of government compliance, particularly as the civilian casualties rise. The apparent tendency for this extreme form of violence to impede concessions challenges the external validity of bargaining theory, as traditionally understood. In Kuhnian terms, the negative coercive value from escalating represents a newly emergent anomaly to the reigning paradigm, inviting reassessment of it (Kuhn 1962).

That is the purpose of this study.

{ International Studies Quarterly | PDF }

related { Making China’s nuclear war plan | PDF }

It’s all bullshit except the pain

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Kathryn Graham and her colleagues trained 148 observers and sent them out to 118 bars in early-hours Toronto where they recorded 1,057 instances of aggression from 1,334 visits. Where the majority of psychology research on aggression is based on laboratory simulations, Graham’s team collected real-life observational data to find out who gets aggressive and why.

The researchers followed the Theory of Coercive Actions, according to which aggressive acts have one or more motives: compliance (getting someone to do something, or stop doing something); grievance; social identity (to prove one’s status and power); and thrill-seeking.

Unsurprisingly, the vast majority (77.5 per cent) of aggressive acts were instigated by men. Men more than women were driven to aggression by identity and thrill-seeking motives; by contrast female aggression was more often motivated by compliance and grievance. This often had a defensive intent, as a reaction against unwanted sexual advances. […]

The researchers found that greater intoxication led to more serious aggression in women, but not men - perhaps because the latter were emboldened enough already.

{ BPS | Continue reading }

Burn so bright I’m gonna make you blind

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{ Weapon system patented by Aleksandr Georgievich Semenov. Soldiers inside an armoured tank, under battle conditions, can dispose of their biological waste products in an unwasteful way: encasing those materials, together with explosives, in artillery shells that they then fire at the enemy. | full story }

‘Eventually I’m going to crawl inside your mouth and replace your internal organs.’ –Ben Gold

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There are well over 100 small, irregular, asymmetric, and revolutionary wars ongoing around the world today. In these conflicts, there is much to be learned by anyone who has the responsibility of dealing with, analyzing, or reporting on national security threats generated by state and nonstate political actors who do not rely on highly structured organizations, large numbers of military forces, or costly weaponry—for example, transnational criminal organization (TCO)/gang/insurgent phenomena or politicized gangs. In any event, and in any phase of a criminal or revolutionary process, violent nonstate actors have played substantial roles in helping their own organizations and/or political patrons coerce radical political change and achieve putative power.

In these terms, TCO/gang/insurgent phenomena can be as important as traditional hegemonic nation-states in determining political patterns and outcomes in national and global affairs. Additionally, these cases demonstrate how the weakening of national stability, security, and sovereignty can indirectly contribute to personal and collective insecurity and to achieving radical political change. […]

Jamaican posses (gangs) are the byproducts of high levels of poverty and unemployment and lack of upward social mobility. Among other things, the posses represent the consequences of U.S. deportation of Jamaican criminals back to the island and, importantly, of regressive politics in Jamaican democracy. […]

It is estimated that there are at least 85 different posses operating on the island with anywhere between 2,500 to 20,000 members. Each posse operates within a clearly defined territory or neighborhood. The basic structure of a Jamaican posse is fluid but cohesive. Like most other gangs in the Americas, it has an all-powerful don or area leader at the apex of the organization, an upper echelon, a middle echelon, and the “workers” at the bottom of the social pyramid. The upper echelon coordinates the posse’s overall drug, arms, and human trafficking efforts. The middle group manages daily operational activities. The lowest echelon performs street-level sales, purchases, protection, and acts of violence as assigned. When posses need additional workers, they prefer to use other Jamaicans. However, as posses have expanded their markets, they have been known to recruit outsiders, such as African Americans, Trinidadians, Guyanese, and even Chinese immigrants, as mules and street-level dealers. They are kept ignorant of gang structure and members’ identities. If low-level workers are arrested, the posse is not compromised and the revenue continues to come in. […]

Jamaican posses are credited with being self-reliant and self-contained. They have their own aircraft, watercraft, and crews for pickup and delivery, and their own personnel to run legitimate businesses and conduct money-laundering tasks. In that connection, posses have expanded their operations into the entire Caribbean Basin, the United States, Canada, and Europe. The general reputation of Jamaican posses is one of high efficiency and absolute ruthlessness in pursuit of their territorial and commercial interests. Examples of swift and brutal violence include, but are not limited to, fire-bombing, throat-slashing, and dismemberment of victims and their families. Accordingly, Jamaican posses are credited with the highest level of violence in the English-speaking Caribbean and 60 percent of the crime in the region. […]

Today, it is estimated that any given gang-cartel combination earns more money annually from its illicit activities than any Caribbean country generates in legitimate revenues. Thus, individual mini-state governments in the region are simply overmatched by the gang phenomenon. The gangs and their various allies have more money, better arms, and more effective organizations than the states. […]

The great city of São Paulo, Brazil—the proverbial locomotive that pulls the train of the world’s eighth largest economy—was paralyzed by a great surprise in mid-May 2006. […] More than 293 attacks on individuals and groups of individuals were reported, hundreds of people were killed and wounded, and millions of dollars in damage was done to private and public property. Buses were torched, banks were robbed, personal residences were looted and vandalized, municipal buildings and police stations were attacked, and rebellions broke out in 82 prisons within São Paulo’s penal system. Transportation, businesses, factories, offices, banks, schools, and shopping centers were shut down. In all, the city was a frightening place during those days in May.

During that time, the PCC [one of the largest and most powerful gangs in the world] demonstrated its ability to coordinate simultaneous prison riots; destabilize a major city; manipulate judicial, political, and security systems; and shut down the formal Brazilian economy. The PCC also demonstrated its complete lack of principles through its willingness to indiscriminately kill innocent people, destroy public and private property, and suspend the quality-of-life benefits of a major economy for millions of people.

{ PRISM | Continue reading }