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Thursday, July 14, 2011


I've criticized the United Nations of acting with glacial speed.  Well, South Sudan "amicably" split from the largest country in Africa, Sudan, voted for independence in January, and only a few months later, the Security Council recommended membership of this newest country as member #193 on Wednesday, and today, the General Assembly approved.  That's pretty swift in international decision-making

Vatican City is the only "country" which has declined to join, and Taiwan has been trying to become a member since being effectively replaced by the People's Republic of China 50 years ago.  This is the 66th year of of operation for the UN.

The matter of what is a country could become important some day when ocean cities (click to watch, with some cool music by Nine Inch Nails--this posting is so mundane, that I had to add some entertainment) attempt to become countries (this blog facetiously predicted 1000 UN members someday).  According to convention, a country has:

1.  Space or territory that has internationally recognized boundaries (which can nevertheless be disputed).

2.  People who live there on an ongoing basis (Vatican City has 900 residents).

3.  An organized economy, regulating foreign/domestic trade and issuing money.

4.  The power of social education, such as eduction.

5.  A transportation system for moving goods and people.

6.  A government that provides public services and police power.

7.  Sovereignty.

8. External recognition (this could become a difficult hurdle).

The above is debatable, of course, for this list also defines states, which are not nations.  Thus, there are, loosely, 196 countries (193 members of the UN + Vatican City + Kosovo + Taiwan or Republic of China, which is protested by the real China).  Kosovo (flag right) declared independence from Serbia in 2008, but the politics are muddy.

Which, then, leads me to the 184 "entities" visiting this blog site. There are 242 country domain names.   The total number in GOOGLE's country list is 226 (plus to be added will be South Sudan).  As might be expected, since there is an ongoing squabble, China is not on this list.  Thus, I have 43 countries to go, and the percentage visiting this blog site is around 80%.

The Dow Jones Industrials dropped 53 to 12,439, while world markets were also mostly down.  Speaking of GOOGLE, watch this stock jump at opening tomorrow by double digits (maybe even another +$50/share???).  Gold, again, hit another all-time high at $1587/toz.  The NYMEX crude is at $96/barrel, while the Brent Spot is $117/barrel.

Typhoon Ma-On, already at 110 MPH, is soon to become a Category 4 Super Typhoon, and appears to be headed straight for Japan.
However, computer models still suggest that the eye will not make landfall, with the projected path skirting the east coastline of Japan and turning east before getting too close to Fukushima.  But storms of this type can be fickle. Just click on my 11July2011 posting and see the track actually showing movement south of Okinawa that day.  So if these experts three days ago were that wrong, don't necessarily plan your day based on their prognostication four days from today.


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