Some more from Dawkins

Richard Dawkins' new programme, Enemies of Reason, illustrating the common misological elements of various pseudoscientific endeavours, is out, in typical Dawkins' style.

Part 2, The Irrational Health Service, will be broadcast tomorrow, and hopefully also become available on Google Video shortly afterwards.


The Economist on "eSStonia"

The Economist has a great overview of the ridiculous nature of the recent anti-Estonian propaganda. It even mentions the good ol' Godwin's Law.

Much of the anti-Estonian Nazi smear employed by Russian media, and sometimes even Russian politicians, centers around what Stalinist historians considered Estonia's allegiance to Nazi Germany. A very important point from the article:
What really annoys the Kremlin crowd is that Estonians (like many others in eastern Europe) regarded the arrival of the Red Army in 1944-45 not as a liberation, but as the exchange of one ghastly occupation for another. That flatly contradicts the Kremlin’s revived Stalinist version of history, which puts Soviet wartime heroism and sacrifice at centre-stage, while assiduously obscuring all the historical context. Given how the Soviet Union treated Estonia in 1939-41, it is hardly surprising that those who fought the occupiers when they returned are regarded as heroes. But they were not Nazis, nor are those who admire them now.

A relevant statistic comparing the occupations, out of the Estonian Occupations' Research Commission's report is that of human losses directly attributable to the occupations. In 1940–1941, the Year of Red Plague, 43,900 such irrecoverable losses happened. The following three Years of Brown Plague — the Nazi occupation —, 1941–1944, inflicted only 32,740 such losses. Both numbers include conscripted soldiers that died in battles of the drafting sides, but it is rather interesting that the largest numbers of Estonians drafted into Red Army back then died not in battles but in Gulag's "work camps".

Then again, these are only facts. And when a propagandist lets a fact come in way of a good story, sacrificing the truthiness, he's being a bad propagandist.

Update: the text is also available at Edward Lucas' blog: eSStonia.


110 hectares of hemp

Postimees/Virumaa Teataja report of a farmer growing 110 hectares worth of industrial hemp; 100 hectares of oil hemp and 10 hectares of fibre hemp.

Under Estonian laws, industrial hemp can be farmed, but a license is required. The farmer says he's already in talks with potential customers in Germany, and wants to set up a hemp processing factory in Estonia, but that it won't be profitable before around 1500 hectares of hemp are being annually cultivated. According to the article, the current rate is only 150 hectares in Estonia and around 18000 in all of Europe.


Your daily dose of Russian propaganda

Russian media has been smearing the Erna Raid pretty much daily now. The latest in the series is an article by Российская газета, prominently listing among speculative reasons for the 2007-08-13 train accident a "prank by participants of Erna".

Erna was participated by teams of highly trained professional soldiers, from a number of countries -- several of them NATO. It is utterly ridiculous to suggest that some of them might think that bombing a Russian train line constitutes a worthwile prank. Yet, RG finds it appropriate to print such suggestions.

I guess it indicates that the time has come to update that old line about USSR's enemies:
Russia has only five grave enemies: spring, summer, autumn, winter and aggression from Estonia.