The Elementary Particles of Love

Love by Elizabeth Chapman

by Diana Chachua

If you visit Amazon and write “love/science of love” in a search area, it will find you 8523 books on this topic. In a modern world full of love cynics, people are desperately trying to understand the essence of love in order to invent a defense medicine from this feeling.

1980s was the period scientists actively got interested with love issue. However love’s road towards laboratories wasn’t that smooth. No one was taking seriously an idea of researching matter like love. It was easy for scientists to imagine researching anger or fear, but not love.

Gathered in laboratories they first found out that in order to learn about anger and fear one had to observe pulse, breath frequency, squeeze of muscles and other reactions of this sort. But “catching” love seemed impossible as it was easy, they claimed, that symptoms for love could be mixed up with symptoms of bad digestion or even maniacal attack.

Elaine Hatfield, author of “Love, sex, and intimacy:  Their psychology, biology, and history”, in her interview for Human Behavior and Evolution Society recalls that while studying at Stanford academics were trying to persuade her to change a topic of research as they thought it would end her academic career.

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Their Eastern Approaches

I systematically follow Edward Lucas’s blog “Eastern Approaches” at The Economist. Yestarday I read an interesting post about EU-Russia visa liberalization. Lucas published this particular article at The Economist’s sister publication in Brussels, European Voice, that carries a weekly column called “Wil(d)er Europe”. Excerpt from article:

Leaving rhetoric aside, the issue is really about two things. One is fairness. Should Russia get a deal that is better (perhaps dramatically better) than what is on offer to the countries of the ‘Eastern Partnership’, such as Ukraine, Georgia or Moldova? The EU has repeatedly criticised the Russian policy of “passportisation” in Abkhazia and South Ossetia, two breakaway regions of Georgia where ties with Moscow have been bolstered by the generous provision of Russian passports. If visa liberalisation now made it easier for such Russian passport-holders to get to the EU, it would be outrageously unfair. It would also undermine the attractiveness (and thus sovereignty) of the countries that we are trying to help.

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Georgian Brain Drain

I was thinking about Brain Drain phenomen. One major case of the brain drain happens when students from developing countries studying in the developed countries decide not to return home after their studies.

The brain drain is the large-scale emigration of individuals with technical skills or knowledge. It is normally due to conflict, lack of opportunity, political instability, or health risks. Although the term originally referred to technology workers leaving a nation, according to Webster dictionary the meaning has broadened into: “the departure of educated or professional people from one country, economic sector, or field for another, usually for better pay or living conditions”.

When I moved to Italy in 2007 for my masters studies I kept saying I would come back to Georgia after graduation. I would say I have a desire to work for my country, otherwise often all the educated people stay abroad after studies, “who should be in charge for my country if not us?” I repeated naively. So I did return to Georgia and every day since I recall one evening at my place in Italy with my Georgian mate. She is older then me, waaaay more experienced and educated (abroad). She tried to persuade me that soon these illusions of going back to Georgia happily ever after would turn out in an opposite way. I am a stubborn person, I should tell you, but she didn’t try much either. She was sure in what she was telling me. So every time I would come back home for a vacation I kept repeating about my comeback plans. But that was before I bought a one way ticket to Tbilisi. Continue reading

Strategic Insignificance as Advantage? view on Caucasus

“This leads me to the paradoxical thought that a healthy dose of strategic insignificance would be very positive for the South Caucasus. Viewing the region in this light would allow outsiders and locals alike to concentrate on solving essential everyday problems.”

This is the excerpt from Thomas de Waal’s article published at Foreign Policy. He talks about the share responsibility towards Caucasus region. “We are at fault, I believe, because our faulty perceptions and interpretations have helped make bad local politics worse.” Thomas de Waal identifies three dangerous mirages — misguided approaches to this region that reverberate in decidedly unhelpful ways:

“the first mirage may be the oldest: the notion that the region is a “Great Chessboard”, The second mirage is that of the Russian bear looming over this region ready to maul the relatively defenseless Caucasian peoples, even today, and the third mirage is the perception of the South Caucasus as an area of great Western strategic interest — an approach, that paradoxically, actually does more harm than good.”

The proposal of strategic insignificance makes sense and I have had such thoughts before.  In a way its a simple truth as any faulty perception and interpretation misleads the true course of the matter. Different false perceptions within the state or a region has been one of the reasons for conflicts in many cases.

In the end Thomas gives few recommendations:

“As for Western policy-makers, I believe they should ask themselves two questions every time they contemplate an intervention in the South Caucasus: “Is my action helping to open borders and free up a blocked region?” and “Does it empower ordinary people and not just governments?”

Quite interesting view from outside. Check out the full article HERE.

The death of the American Century

I just read this extremly amusing and interesting article published at The Washington Post that I would like to share with you.

“The death of the American Century”

By Henry Allen (Who won the Pulitzer Prize for criticism in 2000, was a Post editor and reporter for 39 years.)
The dream is dying.

It was this: a belief that the world has a special love for Americans, for our earnest innocence and gawky immediacy, for our willingness to share the obvious truth and light of democracy with people still struggling in the darkness of history, for our random energy, syncopated music and lopsided, baseball-playing grins. Throw in a little purple mountains’ majesty and amber waves of grain, and you get the idea.
It’s hard to say just when the dream was born. With Teddy Roosevelt’s Great White Fleet circling the globe? With Woodrow Wilson’s war to make the world safe for democracy? In 1940 Henry Luce, who told Americans who they were each week in Time and Life, proclaimed “The American Century.” World War II made it come true.
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Can the West trust Viktor Yanukovych?

Joining NATO is clearly not at the top of Yanukovych’s agenda, as it was for his predecessor, however good NATO-Ukraine relations do need to be on the agenda, argues Damon Wilson of Foreign Policy. He goes further and states that though the window has closed on rapid movement toward NATO, both sides should ensure there is substance to underpin NATO-Ukraine cooperation. So far, unfortunately, the signals from Kiev are not promising, as Yanukovych has disbanded the committee intended to coordinate work across all ministries to advance Euro-Atlantic integration and tasked the Foreign Ministry to formulate a new national security law that codifies Ukraine’s "non-bloc" status. There is no need to close doors today to tomorrow’s options, says the author.
"Ukraine should not have to choose between Europe and Russia. As neighbors with intertwined culture and common history, it is only natural to expect Russia and Ukraine to have close, good relations. Over time, a stable Ukraine, tethered firmly to the transatlantic community, can help ensure equal relations between Moscow and Kiev and ensure that history does not repeat itself," – an article reads.
So what can Washington expect from Yanukovych? Foreign Policy asks. As engagement between the United States and Ukraine restarts (relations have been on hold since Obama’s election and pending Ukraine’s election), there are a number of key issues on which the future of the relationship will hinge, argues Wilson. Read the full article that gives a very good analyses of what ectually west can expect from the newly elected Ukrainian President.
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Russia shuts out the international community

The Russian leadership’s actions have made it clear that it wants no international presence in Georgia’s occupied regions. That begs the question why this is the case, says Svante Cornell. Read his article from Daily Tepegraph.