Reagan Charles Cook

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I'm a tech marketer and creative consultant currently based in Los Angeles, California. I was born and raised in Ontario, Canada and studied Political Science and Economics at the University of Waterloo. More recently, I completed my Masters in International Relations and Communication from the University of Southern California. Outside of academia, my experience includes serving as an infantry officer in the Canadian Army, as well as several international work experiences. These include positions in corporate law in China, public affairs in Washington D.C. and environmental conservation in Australia.

I am currently working for a Silicon Beach software company in addition to working as an independent contractor.

My general areas of interest include international relations, social psychology and human behaviour.

I am also interested in technology, politics, economics, security studies, literature, film, fine art, physics, biology, history, design, agriculture, linguistics and education.

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Which Country is Unluckiest?

Poland.
 
1655: Sweden invades Poland with the help of the Tartars and Cossacks. Poland is devistated. A population of 10 million is reduced to 6 million. 
 
1700s: Russia, Prussia and Austria fight over Poland. They settle the dispute by dividing Poland into thirds.
 
1791: Catherine the Great invades Poland to break up its new democracy.
 
1793: Russia and Prussia take over half of what is left of Poland.
 
1795: Poland is non-existent for the next 123 years.
 
1870s: Russia attempts to eradicate Polish culture, making Russian the official language in the Russian partition. Prussia does the same in their portion of Poland.  
 
1890s: Poland experiences mass emigration due to poverty. Four million out of 22 million Poles emigrate to the United States.  This good luck for America.  
 
1915: World War I: Poland becomes a front. Poles were forced into the Russian, German, and Austrian armies and forced to fight against one another.

1919: The Polish-Soviet War.
 
1926: Pilsudski makes himself dictator of Poland.
 
1930s: Poland signs a nonaggression pacts with Germany and the Soviet Union.
 
1939: Germany and the Soviet Union sign a nonaggression pact.
 
1939: Hitler and the Soviet Union invade Poland. Mass arrests, executions, and exiles begin.

1940: The Katyn Massacre was a mass execution of Polish nationals carried out by the Soviet secret police. The massacre was approved by Stalin. The number of victims is estimated at about 22,000, 
 
1941: Poland remains under the Nazi regime for the next three years. Many Poles are deported to labor camps. The Polish intelligentsia are executed. The Germans exterminate Poland’s three million Jews.  

1941: The Nazis also killed roughly five million gentiles as part of Generalplan Ōst.

1944: The planned destruction of Warsaw occurred while Russian “rescuers” prevented the Allies from helping. The capital was destroyed, every monument, every historical building, every church, every library and the entire national archives.  The city was rebuilt by the Soviets into a soulless grey nightmare during the Cold War.
 
1945: The Soviet Union, the United States and Great Britain meet at Yalta and agree to leave Poland under Soviet control.
 
1990: Prices in Poland rise by 250%, with incomes dropping by 40%.

2010: A Polish plane crashed in Russia killing all 96 people on board, including the president and former president, the chief of the Polish General Staff, the president of the Bank of Poland, Poland’s deputy foreign minister, 15 members of parliament and senior members of the Polish clergy.  Russian involvement is suspected by many.  

To sum it all up and to show Poland’s resilience, their national anthem is “Poland is not yet Lost”, which kind of makes me want to cry.

By Glenn Watson on Quora.com

Nazi ­Obersturmbannführer (Retired)

Ever since his capture in the early 1960s, Otto Adolf Eichmann, who was in charge of Jewish affairs during the Third Reich, has been the subject of unsettled and passionate controversy — centered, above all, on Hannah Arendt’s portrait of him at his 1961 trial. Her “Eichmann in Jerusalem” in many ways mirrored Eichmann’s own self-presentation. She insisted that, contrary to expectations, the man in the dock was not some kind of demonic Nazi sadist but a thoughtless, relatively anonymous, nonideological bureaucrat dutifully executing orders for the emigration, deportation and murder of European Jewry. Arendt’s insights — that genocide and bureaucratic banality are not necessarily opposed, that fanatical anti-Semitism (or for that matter, any ideological predisposition) is not a sufficient precondition for mass murder — remain pertinent.

Yet as Bettina Stangneth demonstrates in “Eichmann Before Jerusalem,” her critical — albeit respectful — dialogue with Arendt, these insights most certainly do not apply to Eichmann himself. Throughout his post-1945 exile he remained a passionate, ideologically convinced National Socialist. He proudly signed photos with the title ­“Adolf Eichmann — SS-­Obersturmbannführer (retired)” and, quite unlike a plodding functionary, boasted of his “creative” work. At one point he described the mass deportation of more than 400,000 Hungarian Jews as his innovative masterpiece: “It was actually an achievement that was never matched before or since.”

The enduring image of Eichmann as faceless and order-obeying, Stangneth argues, is the result of his uncanny ability to tailor his narrative to the desires and fantasies of his listeners. Arendt was not the only one to be taken in, and Stangneth, an independent philosopher living in Hamburg, is able to present a more rounded picture on the basis of previously unmined archival sources, particularly Eichmann’s own compulsive notes and jottings made in exile, in conjunction with the elusive series of taped conversations known as the Sassen interviews. These were exchanges organized in Argentina by the Dutch Nazi journalist Wilhelm Sassen and attended by a small group of old Nazis and their sympathizers

From a New York Times article by Steven Aschheim

Liberals get in the biggest political trouble when they presume that a reform is an inevitable comcomitant of progress. It is then they are most likely to establish their reforms by top-down bureaucratic means. A blindsiding backlash often ensues.

Rick Perlstein from Nixonland: America’s Second Civil War and the Divisive Legacy of Richard Nixon 1965-1972

So true.

WTF: Though they look like boring rocks, stromatolites are 3,000 year old biological structures formed in shallow water by microorganisms called cyanobacteria.

AND GET THIS:

Their formation is based on the coordinated efforts of billions of single-celled organisms working in unison to bind fine grain sediments together with the bacteria’s flagella. By working together the cynobacteria are able to secure a shelter to protect the community from harmful UV radiation.

PRETTY COOL, RIGHT? NOW CHECK THIS OUT:

When the stromatolites were discovered by scientists in 1956, they were the first ever recorded living examples of structures previously found only as fossils in ancient rocks. Although today’s stromatolites are only around 2,000 – 3,000 years old, the cyanobacteria that build them are similar to life forms found on Earth up to 3.5 billion years ago! This means the stromatolites are modern-day examples of life in Precambrian times. 

Back then, the Earth’s atmosphere contained only 1% oxygen. The cyanobacteria dominated the primordial seas, forming extensive stromatolite reefs and releasing increasing amounts of oxygen into the atmosphere.

Thus, modern stromatolites help explain the role of microbes in the evolution of the Earth’s biosphere. They have also helped scientists develop an ecological viewpoint that the survival of life depends on interaction rather than competition.

YES, STROMATOLITES ARE TOTALLY AWESOME!

The disparity of attention and casualties among major global conflicts.

Most people are aware that there isn’t a strong correlation between media attention and level of casualties in a conflict. Still, the extent of the disparity is depressing.

If you’re wondering where African states like C.A.R. and South Sudan would rank: total conflict related deaths are upwards of 5,000 and Google searches for the African countries are basically non-existent.

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