Just because it isn’t happening here …

This is how fast everything can go to hell. And this is what children throughout the world go through every day.

That was an ad, with actors. This was real:

As the correspondent said, this is how arbitrary war can be. But even in an arbitrary war, the weapons have to come from somewhere.

Syria’s weapons come from Russia. But Russia isn’t the world’s largest arms exporter (via The Economist):

20140322_gdc001

FIVE countries—America, Russia, Germany, China and France—accounted for three-quarters of international arms exports over the past five years. China tripled its share in that time, overtaking France. It is on track to surpass Germany to become the third-largest arms dealer. Business is brisk. Overall, sales between 2009 and 2013 were 14% higher than the previous five-year period, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, which tracks the arms trade. China sells to 35 mainly low- and middle-income countries, but is also a big importer (two-thirds of its weapons come from Russia). America exports to over 90 nations, with aircraft making up most of its sales. Russia exports more ships than any other country. Its weapons exports have significantly increased, thanks in part to being India’s biggest supplier, accounting for three-quarters of its arms purchases. As for Ukraine, it exports more weapons than Italy or Israel. But with regional tensions flaring, it may choose to keep some of those arms for itself.

That’s right. Business is brisk. People are making a lot of money off of death. But as far as they’re concerned, it doesn’t pay to see who’s dying.

Welcome To Doha Timelapse

It’s best to view this fill screen. (From Vimeo):

“Welcome To Doha,” takes us on a spectacular journey through the remarkable city of Doha, Qatar. Located on the coast of the Arabian Gulf, Doha entices our curiosity and excites the imagination. We behold some of the most magnificent architectonics in the world, while by contrast peer into an infinite desert terrain and a thriving Middle Eastern nation.
With the ever-growing cityscape, Doha continues to be one of the most unique settings to experience. “Welcome To Doha,” illustrates the persistent blooming of this marvelous metropolis, the evolution of it’s history from the old and new world, and the quintessence of the countries culture; all of this captured through the art form of Timelapse photography.

Where is Ukraine?

That’s what 2,066 Americans were asked in a survey.

This is where they put it:

Ukraine_Full-1024x535

In case you can’t figure it out, the red dots are closer to Ukraine than the blue dots are. What’s really unbelievable is that some people put Ukraine in the middle of the U.S. I really hope they were joking.

But how could this get any worse? Political scientists from Dartmouth and Princeton tell us (from the Washington Post):

On March 28-31, 2014, we asked a national sample of 2,066 Americans (fielded via Survey Sampling International Inc. (SSI), what action they wanted the U.S. to take in Ukraine, but with a twist: In addition to measuring standard demographic characteristics and general foreign policy attitudes, we also asked our survey respondents to locate Ukraine on a map as part of a larger, ongoing project to study foreign policy knowledge. We wanted to see where Americans think Ukraine is and to learn if this knowledge (or lack thereof) is related to their foreign policy views. We found that only one out of six Americans can find Ukraine on a map, and that this lack of knowledge is related to preferences: The farther their guesses were from Ukraine’s actual location, the more they wanted the U.S. to intervene with military force.

So people who were the most unlikely to know where Ukraine is were more likely to say we should intervene militarily in Russia’s takeover of Crimea. Yeah, let’s send American troops to battle the Russians on the Russian border. I wonder how that would end?

‘My Love from the Star’: A Korean hit in China

According to a major news outlets, the following Korean soap opera is the most popular show in China, much to the chagrin of Chinese officials:

The show’s called “My Love from the Star.” If I have this straight, a guy from outer space who’s 400 years old is hanging out with a pop star. And that’s putting half the world in a frenzy.

Chinese officials are upset because, it seems, China can’t put together entertainment that’s popular enough to keep its citizens enthralled. For example, the Washington Post says:

It’s not the first time popular foreign entertainment has led to hand-wringing in China. In 2008, when Dreamworks’ “Kung Fu Panda” became a runaway hit in China, it led to similar soul-searching. Why did it take American producers to find the drama and humor in a fat panda learning kung fu in China, many asked.

I didn’t know “Kung Fu Panda” had created an international incident.

Oh, for the full first episode of “My Love from the Star,” click here.

What does your nation’s leader drive?

What’s interesting in the following chart is:

1) The queen of England got ripped off.

2) South American leaders drive cheaply (look at Chile and Uruguay).

3) The premise that you can determine a country’s level of corruption by the cost of a head of state’s car is really stretching it.

kVI3Ncl

Another reason to not visit North Korea

This is the most dangerously insane place in the world (via Talking Points Memo):

Kim Jong Un’s uncle was reportedly given one of the most brutal death sentences imaginable last month.

According to NBC News, which cited a report in a Chinese newspaper, Jang Song Thaek and five of his closest aides were stripped of their clothes, tossed in a cage and eaten alive by a pack of 120 hungry dogs. The dogs had reportedly been starved for five days.

Jang was considered to be the young North Korean leader’s second-in-command.

The details of the execution were published in a newspaper that serves as an organ of China’s Communist Party, but NBC could not independently confirm the report.

North Korea is run by crazy people. And it has nuclear weapons. The nukes probably aren’t a threat to North America, but if I were in China, Japan or South Korea, I would be wvarily looking in that direction.