Thursday Linkage

8 May 2014, 1334 EDT

Editor’s note: this post first appeared on my personal blog.

1. Tensions in the South China Sea are rising. Exhibit A (h/t Sean B. Rogers), exhibit B (h/t Jay Ulfelder). Right now, all eyes are on Ukraine. And rightfully so. But this is one to watch too.

2. Speaking of Ukraine, the National Interest wonders if that crisis could spark a world war (h/t Charli Carpenter). The article is a bit sensationalistic, and I doubt anyone would have written it if all this had happened in 2013 (“99 years ago” just doesn’t have the same ring to it), but there are some good points here. I wouldn’t put the odds of any sort of war too-too high, and the probability of any war that does occur expanding into a world war is certainly much lower than that, but I think a lot of people have lost sight of the fact that when you call something “inconceivable”, you aren’t marshaling evidence; you’re admitting to a cognitive limitation.

3. Is Germany drifting eastward (h/t Ben Denison)? Two key quotes: “To be fair, in a recent poll 60 percent of Germans said that their country should stand with the West in the Ukraine crisis.” and “What unites the apologists on the left and right is a striking disregard for the fate of the people who inhabit the lands between Germany and Russia, and a truncated notion of German history.”

4. William Spaniel has a new working paper, “Sanctions, Uncertainty, and Leader Tenure,” which he summarizes here. I haven’t read it yet, but I very much look forward to doing so once all the end of the semester craziness settles down.

5. Most people cannot answer these three simple questions about finance (h/t Jane Lawrence Sumner). That financial illiteracy is widespread will surprise no one. But this is a really low bar. Perhaps more interesting, though, is the cross-national variation.

6. If you’re looking to introduce more international sources into your news diet, you might want to check out Pangea Today. A nice resource. This story about Arab teens fixing a synagogue is not the sort of thing you’ll read about in the NYTimes.

7. How many countries can you name in 12 minutes? 150 here. A fun tool for learning basic geography.

8. I recently switched from WinEdt to TeXstudio, and I’m glad I did. There’s a number of little things I like about it, but probably the biggest is that the fraction of my life I expect to spend waiting for pdf’s to compile just decreased dramatically.

9. The US Air Force is ready for Godzilla (h/t Victor Asal).