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Will China's PLAN survive contact with the enemy?
The best laid PLANs of mice and men often go awry. Welcome back to another effortpost by me generally on the developing arms race in East Asia, this time covering the People's Liberation Army Navy, hereafter referred to as the "PLAN", and its massive growth... and... mostly, well, its massive growth. What that means is mostly covered in other posts about how other countries are responding to it. The why is a bit difficult because, well, China is not well known for open debate, or open anything, really, which will turn up repeatedly.
First And Last Stand Of The Tin Can Navies [ASEAN + Australia and the smaller adversaries China may contend with]
Boned: Problems in the US Air [and space!] Force
--Unnamed-- effortpost on Japanese military matters, mostly about how weird the JSDF status is
--Unnamed--effortpost on Indian military matters, and why they can't focus on China or buy anything that works
--Unnamed--effortpost on the rest of the PLA, mostly the air force though
--Unnamed--effortpost on the rest of the US Armed Forces, mostly talking about how the marines are changing and the Army's new love affair with INF-busting weapons
Glossary: PLA = People's Liberation Army = the armed forces of the People's Republic of China, or China PLAN = People's Liberation Army Navy = the naval forces of the PLA PLANAF = People's Liberation Army Navy Air Force = the air force of the navy of the PLA Ashm = Anti-ship missile, cruise missile unless specifically described as otherwise--there's only one anti-ship ballistic missile in existence and its efficacy and whether or not it functions is questionable CIWS = close-in weapons system, like the Phalanx gun or Goalkeeper VLS = vertical launch system for missiles AEGIS = Aegis Combat System if described specifically in that context, a US naval warfare system, but we'll usually be talking about "Chinese AEGIS", which is a nomiker used by the Chinese media in particular comparing the Type 346 radar to the AN-SPY family, with which it shares numerous technical characteristics--but how comparable the "Chinese AEGIS" system is to what the US uses is a complete unknown. SAM = Surface-to-air missile, in this case usually a S-300 derivative First Island Chain = The islands, stretching from Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, the Philippines, Taiwan, and Japan, which keep China inside its littoral seas much as the GIUK [Greenland-Iceland-UK] gap has kept various continental powers out of the Atlantic. Some PLAN equipment you might see described--the nomenclature is confusing and a relic of the cultural revolution, and as a result China now has more Types than the British. Type 003 = China's new conventionally powered supercarriers, currently under construction Type 002 = China's first truly "operational" carrier Type 001 = China's first carrier, built on a Soviet hull purchased from Ukraine ostensibly to make a floating casino Type 055 = Guided-missile cruiser, though generally called a destroyer it's probably more descriptively labeled a cruiser Type 052D = Guided-missile destroyer using "Chinese AEGIS" Type 052/051B/052B/052C = the gradual progression of evolving Chinese naval tech, largely built as practice/demo ships like the Type 001. Some of the earlier ones are steam-powered but by the Type 052C you have something almost as advanced as the Type 052D, albeit with turbine problems Type 054A = the standard modern frigate of the PLAN Type 053[anything] = old PLAN frigates Type 096 = China's newest SSBN class, under construction Type 094 = China's first functional SSBN class, very noisy Type 092 = China's first "SSBN", believed to have never left port with an actual nuke on board Type 095 = China's newest SSN class, under construction Type 093 = China's current SSN class, noisy Type 091 = China's first SSN class, dumb dumb dumb and is at a 1950s tech level Type 039[A] = China's new SSK class Kilo = China's older SSK class, imported from Russia Sovremenny = China's first capable anti-air destroyers, imported from Russia
1. The Last Time A Rising Navy Challenged A Dominant Foe
The last time we've seen something like this was in the late 19th century. After the First World War shipbuilding was restricted by the landmark Washington Naval Treaty, one of the first great arms control treaties, and during the Cold War the Soviet Union never really had any hopes of surpassing American naval power. China, however, seems intent on replacing the US as the world's dominant naval power, or at least building a force that can stop the US Navy, even combined with the forces of Japan and other regional allies. The nations in question, of course, in the last naval arms race, were the United Kingdom and a newly-unified Germany. Germany never reached the level of the UK, but seriously threatened it. Previously the UK had maintained a policy of having more ships than the next two largest fleets combined, but this was no longer possible, and the UK legitimately was fearful for its naval supremacy. It didn't last too long in the end--under a decade--and a resumption was foiled by first a world war and then the Washington Naval Treaty. The impact of the arms race, though, was massive. It set Germany and the UK at odds with each other, it resulted in a general buildup of warships pretty much everywhere [South America was, believe it or not, one of the biggest offenders there], established Germany for a time as the world's second naval power, having eclipsed both France and Russia and turning a small coastal defense navy into something that was able to defeat the Royal Navy itself, though never comprehensively enough to change the course of the first world war. China dwells in a much different situation than Germany did at the turn of the last century, so we can only extend the analogy so far--substituting in Japan for the UK, India for Russia, and so on is possible but not, in my view, educational. However, we can see many of the same elements playing in here. China seems intent on replacing the US as a dominant power, or at least as regional hegemon--the ancient tributary system seems to lie fairly heavily on Chinese minds--and in order to do that, it must be able to have some degree of power projection and the capability to deny the US Navy access to areas within the first island chain. It remains to be seen, however, how successful that quest will be. Much as with the dreadnought battleships, I wouldn't be surprised if we never actually do find out if most of the shiny naval toys people have built actually work. But their mere existence shows the mutual hostility developing in the region and demonstrates the size of the Chinese threat. Another lesson learned here is that China, like Germany, may not develop a naval force capable of defeating the US comprehensively, but only partially, and that one of the powers--in this case, China--might be pressured to strike first before the US Navy can close the gap. That ~2030 gap I talked about in my last post is, I think, an especially vulnerable point, because China may look at a degraded, but rejuvenating US Navy, then at their own capable forces, and decide to strike then in Taiwan and the South China Sea, only to back down when the US Navy again eclipses them. Whether or not that will happen, we will see--but I find it a very dangerous and perhaps likely possibility.
2. What the PLAN looked like 20 years ago
The PLAN has undergone an absolutely stunning evolution in the past two decades. In the Third Taiwan Strait Crisis the US could intimidate China with a pair of aircraft carrier strike groups and China could do pretty much nothing about it. Now the US is afraid of sending anything more than a destroyer through the strait. Twenty years ago, the PLAN was a bit of a joke. Even Taiwan figured it could hold the seas against the PLAN. It consisted of a few tens of outdated coastal-defense frigates, some Soviet-era diesel-electric subs, and a large number of unsophisticated missile craft. The pride of the Chinese fleet were a handful of destroyers assembled using cobbled-together Western technology--copied French missiles, American gas turbines, the lot. According to American accounts at the time, the instructions for the equipment hadn't even been translated. The most advanced ship in the fleet used steampower. There were nuclear submarines, but of 1950s quality. Of particular note was the fact that the Chinese fleet had no area air defense capabilities--their premier surface-to-air-missile was an unlicensed knockoff of the French Crotale, and couldn't shoot anything outside of visual range, at high altitudes, or really doing anything more sophisticated than trying to kill their ships with low-altitude dumb bombing runs. In the past twenty years, however, the PLAN has, much like the German Navy towards the end of the 19th century, gone from an afterthought to the world's second most powerful force. It began, as modern China's military capabilities almost all began, with the looting of the former Soviet Union for naval technology. While Soviet naval tech was generally lacking, it was much better than anything else China could get its hands on after the arms embargo placed on it in the 1990s by the US and Europe in response to Tienanmen and the end of the Cold War. China bought Soviet diesel submarines, Soviet air-defense destroyers, and Soviet aircraft carriers, which it promptly left lying around [and turned one of them into a theme park]. This was combined with copies of various pieces of Western, mostly European, technology for everything from sonars to surface-to-air missiles. China then began developing its first modern indigenous surface combatants, the Type 052C, but there were still problems. The engines were Ukrainian and had reliability trouble, the gun jammed, there was no VLS. It is really in the last ten years that things have begun to move extremely quickly, and even only in the latter portion of the decade. In 2012 the Type 001 Liaoning entered service, and although it remains more of a training ship than an operational vessel, and is held back by a poor carrier aircraft, the mere fact that China "built" a carrier was a surprise to many. In 2014 the first Type 052D destroyer came online. It had learned the lessons from the Type 052C, and in just the last six years at least ten have entered service, with a class size of about 23 expected. This rapid expansion is what has frightened competing navies the most--in a little over a decade, the PLAN is constructing more destroyers than the British, French, and Australian navies have in service combined. It is also building the Type 055, which has generally been called a "destroyer" despite being more aptly described as a cruiser in line with the Ticonderoga-class. China has also built 30 modern frigates in the past decade, which has also swelled its numbers, along with numerous smaller corvettes, submarines, and so on. This is why the PLAN has become such an object of concern. While it cannot challenge the US Navy yet, at least outside its littoral zones, the decline of the USN and rapid expansion of the PLAN means that it is a serious threat. And the speed at which it has developed has made many fearful. As recently as 2010, the idea of China operating an aircraft carrier or modern destroyers seemed distant, possibly preposterous. Now China speaks openly of having a six-carrier fleet in the 2030s, although, as with many of China's plans to operate full US-replicated tech and doctrine, these may have somewhat caved to realism. China is mighty, but it has already done the easy part--the last part is much harder, in economics and in military matters. Building the software, the institutional knowledge, the hardware to compete with the US Navy will prove difficult.
3. What the PLAN looks like now--submarines
Submarines are one of the PLAN's weak spots, particularly nuclear submarines. China is, however, making some fairly rapid advances in this area. Their nuclear submarine program has been considered a bit of a joke for some time. In the late 1950s when all the cool kids great powers were getting nuclear submarines, China decided [or at least Mao did] that China needed nuclear submarines too. About 16 years later, the product of this effort finally emerged as the Type 091 submarine. Based on 1950s technology, with poor radiation shielding and basically nothing done in the name of noise reduction, and not even a teardrop hull, the Type 091 was probably more of a threat to the sailors who were on it than anyone else, except maybe the two Tench-class submarines that Taiwan operates, which use 1940s technology and are the world's longest-serving submarines, though they're mostly used for training nowadays. Even then, my money would be on the Tench despite the upgrades the PLAN has made to the Type 091. There's only so much you can do to put lipstick on a pig. China also produced an SSBN, the Type 092, which was probably the only submarine more useless than the Type 091. About the only useful thing it did for the PLAN was that it served as a test platform for SLBM launches. Reports suggest that the Type 092 is the noisiest SSBN ever made, and is thought to have only ever undertaken a single patrol. It stayed at port for so long that it was thought to have sunk in an accident. And the experience turned the PLAN off from building SSBNs for over twenty years, until the Type 094 came online in 2007. More recent submarines are growing in capability, though. The Type 094 is not the noisiest SSBN ever made, and may not even be the noisiest in current service--that honor going to the Delta III operated by the Russian Navy, which uses 1970s technology, and, which, according to the US Office of Naval Intelligence, is about as noisy as the Type 094. The Type 093 is also moderately capable--it actually functions and can fire anti-ship missiles. However, the Type 093 is still considered only comparable to the Soviet Victor III class, again using 1970s technology. Future submarines have not yet been seen, but expectations are that China will make another step forward to late 1980s or early 1990s tech levels, producing something on par with the Los Angeles or Akula for the first time. China also operates a fairly capable fleet of coastal diesel-electric submarines. While some are quite old--the Type 035--most are pretty average for the global submarine force, a mix of Kilos and domestic AIP designs. The large number of boats in operation and their anti-ship missile capability means that these should be considered a real threat, at least in the littoral waters near to China, but they aren't decisive by any means, especially since China is facing off against such threats as Japan's Soryu class, probably the most advanced diesel-electric sub in existence. In conclusion, the PLAN is still pretty weak on the submarine front--weaker here than on anything but its carrier force, but its capabilities are advancing rapidly and should not be underestimated.
4. What the PLAN looks like now--surface combatants
The surface fleet is definitely the most impressive and capable portion of the PLAN, no questions about it. China once had a fleet consisting mostly of coastal frigates and missile boats. As recently as 2000, its fleet had no real area-air-defense destroyers, and no SAMs that could operate outside visual range. Now, though, the PLAN operates tens of advanced guided-missile destroyers, advanced frigates, and still retains a large number of small, stealthy missile boats. The major focus of Chinese warships appears to be on anti-air, with anti-surface being a somewhat secondary concern for all but the smallest vessels. This makes sense when you realize that the primary focus is, at least for the moment, on using land-based aircraft to strike against hostile fleet formations using long-range anti-ship missiles, in a very Soviet sort of way--"Backfire raids" using long-range land-based aircraft with anti-ship missiles were one of the US Navy's major concerns during the Cold War, and the very reason for the F-14's existence along with the AIM-54 Phoenix it carried. However, China has been developing anti-surface capabilities as well using ashms and land-attack cruise missiles [generally the same thing, actually]. Since China has finally developed a VLS system that allows it to use the same launcher for multiple missiles, its most recent ships have become more versatile in that role. How effective these ships are at that task is, however, a relatively open question. Their radars at least seem to quite sophisticated, using flat-panel AESA, and have been dubbed "Chinese AEGIS" by the highly reliable Chinese domestic media. The basic platform their surface-to-air missiles are based on also seems to be fairly capable--the HQ-9 is an S-300 derivative, a respectable SAM system though, again, how capable it is against opponents in an active electronic warfare environment is questionable, and it has basically no capabilities against stealth aircraft like the F-35 as far as anyone knows. The efficacy of their CIWS, again, is open to question. Really this is true of everything about the modern PLAN, and PLA in general. The PLA is secretive, has not exported most of its hardware, and has developed largely independently of foreign militaries, though it is definitely influenced by them. Now that the PLAN has moved away from simply copying foreign hardware and patching it together, its capabilities are much harder to discern. However, they should be taken as a very real threat, and not written off. My guess would be that their warships are about as capable as most of their non-American counterparts, save those equipped with AEGIS, but that's all my guess is---a guess.
5. What the PLAN looks like now--carriers
The PLAN currently has two carriers in service, and two more known to be under construction, and most suspect that it will build several more. However, at the moment, the PLAN's carrier force is largely a paper tiger, designed around training. The first carrier, the Type 001, basically was a "how do you build a carrier" kit bought from Russia, possibly by accident--the "fully functional" Minsk ended up as a theme park, believe it or not. The hull was purchased from Ukraine and then completed in China years later. It is also believed that the PLAN may have learned some things about aircraft carriers from the HMAS Melbourne, which was sold to a Chinese firm for scrapping--rumor has it the PLAN had no clue this had happened and then had a field day looking at all the stuff that hadn't been taken out. This was back in the old days when nobody could imagine that China would have an aircraft carrier. The Type 002, however, is built from scratch, but isn't particularly capable especially as it's a ski-jump carrier, leaving the Type 003 the first carrier which will prove actually useful. The main thing holding China's carrier fleet back, though, is a lack of a suitable aircraft. Originally China was considering purchasing Su-33s from Russia, hardly a good carrier-based aircraft but functional, but after Russia discovered that China had been mucking about building a Su-27 derivative without asking the deal fell through [China tells a different story, saying that Russia demanded exorbitant amounts to reopen production which it was unwilling to pay for a nearly obsolete aircraft]. As a result China operates the J-15 as its naval fighter, with... less than stellar results. It's extremely heavy, and, if it takes off from the carrier, has minimal range if carrying anything at all--it can't take more than two short range air to air missiles into the sky to fight enemy aircraft. However, the J-15 isn't really intended for combat service--it's intended to teach China how to run carriers, and it seems to work well enough for that task, aside from the multiple fatal crashes. There is, however, thought to be a new carrier fighter in the pipeline--most say the J-31/FC-31, which has reduced RCS and a number of carrier-unique features, is being pitched as a carrier-based aircraft and will serve as China's carrier fighter in the future. China also lacks any fixed wing carrier-based airborne early warning, which could prove troublesome--a lack of AEW means that its view is limited by the horizon--and has no resupply aircraft like the C-2 Greyhound. As a result, for the moment at least, China lacks an effective carrier force, but it is likely to continue developing rapidly in the next decade and become a fairly substantial threat. Remember that as recently as 2010, a Chinese aircraft carrier seemed preposterous to many people, and now they have two.
6. Some attention to land-based aircraft
Land-based aircraft as a naval weapon are not generally used by the US, which has never had a reason to develop them as a doctrinal focus. Sure, you could potentially envision them as being used, and there even were situations where they were utilized, but it just wasn't generally a priority or how things were done. For China, though, taking influence from the Soviets, and lying on littoral seas with hostile powers in the First Island Chain, land-based aircraft and missiles are a key part of doctrine. Although this is often viewed as a new thing, called A2/AD [anti access/area denial], it's really the result of a long historical evolution of naval power, probably most refined by the Soviet Union. As a result, land-based naval aviation plays an important role, firing anti-ship missiles at standoff distances at enemy vessels, and shore-based launchers of anti-ship missiles are also an important weapon. The combination of these systems means that venturing within China's littoral seas is a dangerous proposition during war, and some waters, like those of the Taiwan Strait, are effectively considered closed at this point in the event of hostilities breaking out. For this reason air superiority is also important in this sort of naval warfare, as if either side gains air superiority it can pummel its opponents with air-launched anti-ship missiles. China's capabilities in this area are sophisticated and should not be underestimated, but they are unlikely to go through a rapid period of growth like the PLAN's fleet. And a brief note dedicated entirely to the DF-21D "Carrier killer" that the PLA likes to show off. It's a pretty impressive capability, on paper, using a ballistic missile to hit a carrier. The CEP [circular error probable] means that it could even happen, presuming that an aircraft carrier was good enough to sit in one place, not moving, long enough to be detected by China. Aircraft carriers look big, but the seas are huge, and they're surprisingly hard to find. They also move quite fast, in excess of of 35mph/55kph, and thus by the time the ballistic missile has launched it might well be out of range given the fact that ballistic missiles are not particularly known for their maneuverability in terminal stages, at least not in the realm of miles. The DF-21D is not a particular threat to the modern aircraft carrier. It could potentially be one if it evolves into a hypersonic boost-glide vehicle, but that's a whole additional can of worms, that I might address a different day.
7. The PLAN's plans for the future--what will it look like in 2030?
Unfortunately the PLAN is not exactly the most open of navies, as I've repeatedly mentioned. There are no public debates over acquisitions programs, no big fleet shape plans, relatively little detail. However, a few things are fairly sure bets or publicly announced. China has repeatedly announced plans to build a six-carrier force, including the Type 001 and Type 002, but also a pair of Type 003 [already under construction] conventionally powered supercarriers and a pair of Type 004 nuclear powered supercarriers. However, it seems that the Type 004 is currently on hold. Why, exactly, is unclear, but it seems to be technical difficulties, which are not particularly surprising given that China's experience with nuclear maritime propulsion seem to be rather limited and have had poor results in their submarine fleet. The costs were also expected to be too high--China does not have an unlimited quantity of money, despite what it may flaunt, and nuclear carriers are expensive to develop especially given that China has not built a nuclear-powered surface ship before. A new carrier-based fighter is almost certainly in the cards because the J-15 is pretty much useless. The FC-31 seems by far the most likely candidate but it could be another aircraft we haven't seen yet. The addition of this aircraft will greatly improve the PLAN's capabilities. China also has two Type 075 amphibious assault ships/LHDs under construction, and I would expect this class to be much more prolific. These ships are much more affordable than the full carriers, and focus on areas in which China is particularly concerned--amphibious assaults, say, on islands in the South China Sea or on Taiwan, and anti-submarine warfare, which is of particular importance given that submarines cannot be easily halted with land-based anti-ship missiles and air-launched cruise missiles provided for in their area denial doctrine--submarines are one of the few things that can slip through that net. The surface combatant fleet is likely to continue growing, but I am not sure if it will swell much beyond the ~23 Type 052D ships planned and the 8 Type 055s. We're likely to see the retirement of the classes preceding the Type 052C destroyer and the Type 054 frigate, and they may be offloaded to Bangladesh, Myanmar, or Pakistan--there is substantial precedent here, and it seems that China is interested in expanding the naval capabilities of its partners around India. The submarine fleet is likely to see rapid expansion if the PLAN is satisfied with the Type 095 and Type 096 classes, and we're likely to see more diesel-electric subs built as well. Submarines are generally quite good at fighting submarines and conducting area-denial missions, and the large and capable subsurface forces of Japan, Korea, and the United States means that this has to be an area the PLAN invests more in--and the fact that several Southeast Asian nations are also looking at acquiring submarines makes the issue more pressing.
China has in the past decade gone from a third-rate navy to perhaps the greatest threat the US Navy has faced since the Second World War. This has significant geopolitical implications, and has resulted in neighbors scrambling to overhaul their naval forces. The growth of the PLAN means that the US can no longer easily defend Taiwan or the South China Sea, or any of China's littoral waters. This, more than anything else, is what has everyone scrambling in the US talking about "great-power competition" because denying access to the US Navy and working on power projection, an inherently naval thing, is essentially a clear sign that China is looking to directly compete with the United States. Underestimate the PLAN at your own peril. I hope to have more detail and citations in future posts, but unfortunately the PLAN is very secretive [yes, I've said that fifty times already] and this is a pretty big topic to discuss without going into details about all sorts of naval tidbits. Thanks for reading the fourth post in what I hope will be a fairly substantial series, probably around ~12 posts.
Open letter from a group of Russian-speaking LitRPG-authors
How Iceland, France, Switzerland and the Netherlands became a haven for cyber-criminals. We are a group of Russian-speaking independent writers living in Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan and the United States, writing in the genres of LitRPG, RealRPG, fantasy and science fiction. We are united by a rejection of piracy and infringement of intellectual property rights. Each of us is an ordinary person who devotes all his free time to his favorite pastime. We are not millionaires or published writers swimming in money. Each of us started from scratch and made our own way by publishing on the Internet. We are currently publishing our books on Russian literary portals https://author.today, https://litnet.com and https://www.litres.ru. Thanks to these sites, we got the opportunity to sell books without going through publishing houses. This is the main difference between us and Western authors, who have the opportunity to go Indie and successfully sell Kindle/Amazon to a multi-million audience. Thanks to the readers who support us by purchasing our books. Thanks to them, some of our books have become known not only among Russian-speaking readers, but also in Western countries. Our books have been translated and are being translated into English and German, due to which fans of the LitRPG and RealRPG genres are familiar with our work all over the world. Nevertheless, for many of us, selling books to Russian-speaking readers remains the only source of income. Book translations can cost up to $10,000-$12,000, and the costs do not always pay off. None of us make huge amounts of money. On average, our monthly income does not exceed $700. One of the key problems for Russian-speaking authors is the theft of their books and their illegal publication on pirated resources. Books are stolen at the stage of writing, often depriving us of the opportunity to work fully. Criminals deprive us of the opportunity to receive normal wages for our work. At the same time, the “pirates” themselves earn on advertising posted on their sites. Often this is illegal advertising - on such sites you can find advertising banners of illegal online casinos, services of prostitutes, pornographic services and a lot of other advertising prohibited by law. Some of the criminal resources use Google Adsense at all. The largest of these sites is https://flibusta.is, with its main mirror https://flibusta.site. On the first, there is no advertisement, but the second is completely filled with advertising banners. This is a well-known criminal resource, which publishes not only books by Russian-speaking writers, but also books by famous Western authors in different languages. For example:
In addition, there you can find books by almost any famous writer in his native language. No countermeasures from hosting companies should be followed. Imagine that Andrzej Sapkowski’s books were stolen at the dawn of his writing career and that they were publicly available. They would refuse to delete them, due to the fact that the writer lives in Poland. Sapkowski himself, in order to feed his family, got a job as a sales manager. The world would lose the famous writer and the world of The Witcher. Because of the greed of the owners of pirate sites and the devil-may-care attitude of hosting companies that refuse to comply with the same laws for everyone. The “pirate” site https://flibusta.is uses the services of the hosting company Orange Website (https://www.orangewebsite.com) from Iceland, and its “advertising mirror” https://flibusta.site uses the services of the French hosting company Scaleway (https://www.scaleway.com). The site https://flibusta.is is the base of stolen books and a kind of center around which a huge number of sites of smaller criminal gangs revolve, which automatically download books to themselves. We have sent complaints to both hosting companies. Scaleway reacted absolutely formally. We had to send several complaints to get our books blocked on https://flibusta.site. And so for each individual book. On average, four requests were required, since after the first, all illegally published books remained in their places. Orange Website responded that the company does not obey the laws of the European Union or the US DMCA and will ignore any complaints until the Icelandic court is ordered. They know very well that we are not in a position to provide financial support for lawyers and the legal process in Iceland. Therefore, such an answer sounded like a mockery. Both hosting companies are calmly working with cyber-criminals who caused colossal damage to Russian-language LitRPG-authors. We believe that if it was a violation of the rights of writers from France or Iceland, they would certainly react as required by law. But they don't give a damn about the rights of Russian-speaking authors. These companies seem to care more about money from digital criminal gangs. Among other hosting companies that support piracy and completely ignore complaints under the DMCA or EU Directives, three can be distinguished:
Zomro (https://zomro.com). A hosting company with an office in Lithuania. Several dozen pirate sites have chosen this hoster's servers as a haven for illegal content. In response to complaints, the company redirects to [[email protected]](mailto:[email protected]), but there is no response from there.
NovoServe (https://www.novoserve.com). The company from the Netherlands hosts a total of at least forty criminal sites. As an example, we can give a small list of similar websites:
Some of these sites simply publish our books, while others sell them illegally, taking advantage of their complete impunity. The well-known criminal site https://librusec.pro, which openly sells stolen books, uses Wholesale Internet hosting, hosted in the USA (https://www.wholesaleinternet.net), which also does not respond to our complaints, despite the criminal nature of their clients' work. obvious. We should also mention the messenger https://telegram.org, the support of which does not even consider it necessary to respond to our complaints. There are hundreds of channels out there where people discuss the best ways to steal books and coordinate their activities there. An excellent messenger has turned into a den of criminals who feel great as the support team takes no action. At the same time, the messenger is registered in the USA and must comply with the DMCA law, but does not respond to complaints. Unfortunately, criminals are more important to them than Russian-speaking writers. We have exhausted all available methods of influence. Now there is a situation where cyber criminals are destroying modern Russian-language literature and at the same time feel completely protected from any consequences. Hosting companies from the European Union work with them in flagrant violation of DMCA law and EU copyright directives. The only thing that remains for us is to make this situation public, in the hope of a public reaction and possible interest from the police of the countries in which these hosting companies operate. These types of criminals require more public scrutiny than legal claims. We are asking you to post this open letter, or material based on it, wherever possible. Our main task is to attract public attention and, if possible, the attention of law enforcement agencies to the activities of hosting companies that condone piracy. To clarify any information, you can contact us through the writers' profiles on Facebook or by Email. If you have read to the end and are wondering why all this. We are confident that the LitRPG community is full of smart people with competencies in a variety of areas, including copyright laws. If you can advise which intellectual property protection agency or lawyer we can turn to, that will help us a lot. In addition, perhaps this case will be of interest to someone from the media who will help us. The authors who signed this open letter:
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A religion-less society actually exists right now!
Hello Jodan, I'm sending this letter to you, Sam Harris and Douglas Murray, and hoping that it will reach at least one of you directly as I believe it could move all of your individual viewpoints as well as your future conversations forward. I'm sending it in the interest of possibly alerting you to at least one country, the one I grew up in, which seem to have completely evaded your research efforts and leaving you all, it would seem, agree on one, to me a very curious and strange point, that a successful and happy society without a (major) role of religion in it does not exist or have ever been tried. Sam is sure it would work, you say it did not work in Stalin's Russia case (you also add Hitler, who clearly was not an atheist and his most brutal forces had "God is with us" written right on their belt buckles which pretty much destroys the non-religious assertion), but none of you seem to be aware that it worked and is still currently working already very well. I respect all of you greatly. I identify most with Sam's points of view at matters - perhaps unsurprisingly given the country I grew up in and the personality I am - and least with you Jordan, but that's only because of the religious part of views he seems to insist on deeply. I admire Jordan for your abilities to reason and, most of the time, reason so for clearly logical things. I admire the other two for the same reason without the need for that exception. I've watched a great many videos featuring you 3 plus of course other very intelligent people like Christopher Hitchens, Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett, and others in the past few years. The one thing that always keeps surprising me is the point where the discussion gets to the point of arguing about "how viable would a theoretical society" built basically purely on reason and no religion look like and what state it would end up in. Not even Christopher Hitchens seemed to ever have any other answers than a very good, but yet still purely theoretical arguments regarding such a society. From all of those occasions in those conversations, I am basically forced to believe that you all guys, however much-traveled and intelligent, have completely missed at least this one real-life, well-working example, which is my country - The Czech Republic. I think that if you haven't and if you then talked to a few people who grew up there at least at the time when I did - born 1973 - you would find not theoretical, but very real examples of a great many people who not only grew up completely without any religion or any stories coming from it and yet, still grew up very nice, intelligent and maybe surprisingly to you all VERY HAPPY people. I'm not sure how many people exactly like me you would find because I really set up my life to be very happy, not even knowing how exactly stress would feel - I just maybe get hints of what it may feel like when I'm cold, which is why I have relocated to Queensland, Australia a long time ago - but you would definitely find heaps and heaps of people who are undergoing the same stresses in life as in any other western-type society with handling family, work and the other aspects of life, yet without any regard whatsoever to notions of any religion or any need to any type of any kind of comforting mythical stories. That, of course, is not to say that many of us do not enjoy fiction books or entertaining stories in the form of books, tales, or other arts. We can enjoy it all the same with the full knowledge that those are fiction. All the above is the result of the socialist/communist system we grew up in which not necessarily stifled but certainly did not promote any religion. It is the one thing I am grateful for to that system I grew up in, apart from a very happy childhood since nobody's parents had existential struggles. I do believe that there were efforts to eradicate the religion, many of which may probably be identified as forceful, but we've always kept our history including its buildings like castles and churches as opposed to destroying them, which would be an extreme way to get rid of something. Even clergy was tolerated and some very tiny minority of mostly the old-times people were attending services even at those times. The actual real fact of life was, however, that we never were taught about religion apart from being a part of history, including ours. And we would still go on school trips some of which may include admiring a great cathedral purely for its architecture and art. Strangely, even the name of the "person" who brings the presents at Chrismas (which in the Czech language is called "vanoce", which has nothing to do with Christianity - at least not obviously - I did not study its etymological roots) is "Jezisek", which, funnily and very interestingly enough I personally only realized when I was about 14 years old, means "a little Jezis = Jesus - "little" here meaning a kid, a baby). So the presents were being brought by a baby Jesus and yet, for almost all of us it was just a name, same as the west had Santa Claus or any other name you could use for a fictional character. It had NO religious meaning whatsoever to us, nor any story was attached to it at all. It was (and is for us) simply a holiday with the ritual of decorating a tree and having a very nice, extraordinary family dinner before (mostly the kids) would enjoy the present unwrapping under the tree. (Yes, our Christmas all happen on 24th Dec). We had no idea that it was originally a celebration of the winter solstice or that it was then stolen as a Christian holiday. We enjoyed it and frankly still enjoy it for the same family reasons, all the same. Actually now knowing that it has been for the past many hundreds of years appropriated by a religious cult if anything taints the experience. It probably would not if that cult was a thing simply belonging and part of the history of "less educated" times of us humans. The fact that this magical thinking still sways great sections of global citizens' everyday lives is what taints Christmas for some us Czechs. It surely does for me. I feel more at ease with it knowing that actually it is the winter solstice celebration. I would surely be more fine with it if it was just a date that someone decided to arbitrarily put on a calendar rather than thinking of it in terms of a cult that brutally killed and tortured so many innocent people in history and still thinks that magical thinking is just a fine idea. Similar to Christmas, we in the Czech Republic also celebrate Easter (another holiday appropriated for itself by Christianity as I learned much later in my life). We also enjoy it purely for the tradition or maybe just for the fact that it is a day off work :). In Czech, a part of the tradition regarding Easter is that man create a nice looking weaved supple "sticks" from the branches of a willow tree, and in the morning we go around as many girls/women we know as possible to "hit" their behinds with it so that they stay young and supple too. I'm sure that in today's "politically correct" society many would find something very wrong with it, but the simple fact was that it ended up being a very nice and very social day for everyone. (By the way, I never knew that anybody would consider women as any lesser than men. I grew up in a society where had no reason to even suspect such a thing.) In the afternoon the girls and women had the right on the other hand to pour buckets of water over the men's' heads, even though that part was never really practiced. (At least in our parts of the Czech Republic. There are more traditional areas.) I suppose that is because it is not as convenient to run around with buckets of water around than it would be with sticks. Also, we - boys and men - would get a colorful ribbon bound to the ends of the sticks by each female we've visited and "paid off" - we don't really call it hitting or beating. It would leave the omitted girls and women feel neglected rather than happy not to get hit. I'm sure that the absolute majority of us were always as gentle as myself and my friends in performing that "stick-and-behind" ritual. I actually never wanted or was planning to do this whole thing, but I had a friend who always came on the morning of Easter Monday to my home with a couple of those "sticks" - one for himself, one for me, and basically had to talk me into joining him every single year. And it always ended up being one of the best days of the year, finishing in a mixed group having a great time (including a bit of drinking in our later teenage years). It was very nice and social and NOTHING to do with any religion or anything other than "this tradition actually turns out to be fun" and we did not need some deep explanation for it that I'm sure Jordan would try to dig out at this point. It was the same fun we can end up with when we come up with brand new social events, out of which, when they turn out fun, we often try to make a tradition of too. All that being completely atheist and secular. I really don't understand what seems to be so hard to comprehend even to Sam - not that he could not seem to be able to imagine it - clearly, he very much is - but that it actually has already been tried and is still going on successfully. Admittedly though, traditions like the Easter ones in Czech are fading as the capitalist style of life requiring most of us to work more and more puts a strain on that too, together with an overload of other modern culture distractions obviously. In any case, my point is that what Sam is saying, what Christopher used to say and others too, is NOT a theoretically working "utopia", it IS a reality for millions in just my own country of origin and we suffer no ill effects from it! On the contrary, despite being a tiny nation of 10 million people we have (even though thanks to globalization, corruption, and not in small part thanks to the totalitarianism of the European Union) we are loosing great industry and very clever people. We used to be (before EU) totally self-sufficient in basically everything, were exporting fighter jets, cars, atomic reactors, locomotives, food, and much more to the rest of the world, gave the world some amazing people and inventions like contact lenses, nanofibres, the lighting rod, or even small things like sugar cubes, pencils or Koh-i-Noor snaps for our jeans :) and we needed no religion or the related stories to do that. And that is the one thing I'm happy the "communist" regime gave us - true freedom from religion, freedom from bullshit stories if you pardon me. It lets us concentrate on interesting and important stuff in life instead of trying to solve mute problems like why are we here. We are, so enjoy it. I must say that without the religious ideas surrounding us that most of us don't even think about it as something to worry about. We worry about "we are here now, what can we do to live well" and some of us also "what can we do to leave my imprint on humanity". The more curious of us sure ask "how" did we get here and maybe do think about how in the great scheme of things we are totally insignificant, but I don't think it makes us unhappy. I know it does not make me unhappy for sure. I enjoy learning new things, discovering, making logical conclusions, and, apart from other things, being truthful to myself and others, which is probably why I'm also so happy in my life and have always been, which all of you I'm sure will very easily understand. All of you guys seem to imply or straight away say that "sure, there is not a person who would not have major problems in life, who would not have "demons"" etc. Well, sure, I've encountered problems in my life. I'm solving software problems every day (I'm a software engineer) I've traveled around the world on a motorbike so I've encountered life-threatening situations, I've lost family members (fortunately for me just the ones who naturally died of old age, no tragedies so far, so yes, I've been lucky in that respect). But problems are here, to my eye, to be solved. They are a challenge, not a tragedy. They make life interesting. And demons? No, I do not have any. Things I regret? Maybe, a tiny little ones like not asking that beautiful girl on a bus for a coffee. But I've never done anything I would be ashamed of. That does not mean that I never failed of course. But I freely admit and not try to hide my failings so I have no demons. Am I really the only person in the world you think? I may be rare, but I'm sure I'm not alone. Regardless, many, or basically I'd say almost all of my friends, much as they may have more normal everyday problems and stresses than I have (and it is not at all related to money - I'm not wealthy at all - we even still rent the place where we live), would tell you the same thing regarding the role of religion or religious stories in their lives and their decisions - NONE whatsoever. The Czech Republic is very rich in culture too. Our country has one of the biggest concentrations of castles for example. I do not think that religion was necessary for those structures to be built for powerful people in our history. Yes, many, many churches too. Beautiful buildings. Some of them truly amazing, as some of the castles, too. And our secular society still builds and creates amazing things with no religion required for it. Just yesterday I was sent a link to a video about the biggest chandelier and at the same time, the biggest jewel ever built anywhere. (Link here if you are interested: https://www.youtube.com/embed/AQ2udSvqx28 .) It could very well hang in a cathedral of some type. But it was built by a Czech company for a Saipan casino. Only human talent, work, and lots of money was needed to build this wonder. No religion whatsoever. So I'm pretty sure, Jordan, that you can stop worrying about losing culture if there was no religion. Sure, cassino may not be considered culture by many, but it is simply a fact of today's world that casinos are one of the areas where the money is. If you want to start to argue that we need religion as a way of extracting money from the population to build such marvels, as was historically exactly one of its functions and is one of the reasons those grand structures like great cathedrals exist, then fine. I would, like Sam, argue that it is possible to do without the pretense of magic, but at least that would be a simple point to defend. Not the only way though!! An example - and I'm sure there are also many modern ones too.. The National Theatre in Prague... It is a grandiose building with high ceilings covered with similar gold ornamentry and paintings to any cathedral you may find. It also has a huge painted curtain - a great painting of its own right. This all was built from money collected from donations of the citizens expressly towards building a national theatre, which was opened in 1881. The first idea came in 1844 at a congregation of Czech patriots. As far as I can tell no religion was involved. Certainly, none needed. And that great building is also a part of our and the world's registered cultural heritage sites. So to summarize, the reason for this letter was to let all of you three guys know that you can stop only theorizing about a society without religion. Look at the Czech Republic especially before the Velvet Revolution (after which slowly more and more religion starts very slowly creeping in again), but where still today three-quarters of the population are completely irreligious. We are one of the safest, most educated, and happiest countries in the world. And if you look over the state ideology at any one time, where communism was making some people unhappy with restrictions on travel for example, and capitalism in its demands on sacrificing more of one's private / family time for work time, we are generally really happy people, nice to each other (without having to be threatened by hell or whatever other stupid magic idea), helping each other. And it is probably partly thanks to the LACK of any religion that we are that way. There is one less thing to partition us into opposing groups which argue about something they actually cannot even know. Actually, that makes me think about my friends and people I know. I know and have experienced that my friends or even friends of my parents, for example, would (and in the past have) helped me when I really needed help, despite it being a great inconvenience for them. Yet, I was in similar situations when I only had a religious person to help me and they would not. It would seem to me that religious people like to listen to the stories that Jordan insists are shaping majorly their principles and behavior, rather than actually behave according to them. And then some feel great to tell you how good they are thanks to Jesus. Ok, I think that concrete examples would be good here: I know, that every time I go back to the Czech Republic for the summer I have offers from my friends to take me to the airport - both in Czech and in Australia (still from Czech friends interestingly enough). In both cases, it is over 100km and I do not want to inconvenience them if it is not necessary so I thank them and decline. But I know that even if I called them at three in the morning that I needed an urgent lift to the airport they would just tell me how long it would take them to pick me up. Contrast that with this: I've known a great person for 7 years and actually shared a house with her for 5 of those years. I consider her a very nice person and considered her a very good friend. I still visit her once a year or so when I have a chance, but thinking back on the story I'm about to tell you certainly makes me feel less worm towards her than I always thought she otherwise deserved. So the story: I found a new life partner while again staying for the whole European summer in the Czech Republic. For reasons irrelevant to this story she could not join me permanently in Australia for the first few years of being together, so we were overcoming that problem by her periodically visiting me in Australia for 3 months, then we would not see each other for another 3, then I would go to Czech for 3 and a bit, again 3 months apart and then the cycle would repeat. At the end of one of her stays in Australia with me, while I was still sharing the house with my friend, Jean, my partner was flying home the next day and I, shortly before that, decided I would actually fly back with her. I could not get a seat on the same flight so my flight was at 8 AM and hers the same day at 1 PM. My partner is a bit lost when traveling and she did not speak English at that time yet either, so we decided to travel the 150km to Brisbane in the evening before and arranged to stay with a friend there overnight. We were supposed to catch the second one of the only two trains that goes from that place to Brisbane daily. It was leaving around 9 PM. The nearest train station is about 8km from the place I lived in with Jean, who agreed or maybe even offered to take us to that train station, I can't remember that bit for sure. What is for sure is that once we got there it become clear that the train was not coming as the train tracks were not there and the workers currently working there under the floodlights confirmed that the trains were not operating on that track for the past 14 days and will not be going for another 14 more. I was amazed and surprised, especially after we got back home and I confirmed on the computer that the online time schedule directly on the Queensland Rail website still insists that there are no exceptions or delays and that that train is scheduled as per normal. There was no other public transport for us to use from that place. So after another couple of hours of trying to figure out any other possibility of getting us there on time, I finally asked Jean if she would be so kind and took us to the airport (we did not want to bother the friend in Brisbane to sleep over anymore because we would arrive too late for that we felt) so that we could make our flights. Jean told us that "she would but that she promised her sister to accompany her to a church service the next morning and that if she took us she would be too sleepy for that the next day".................. I probably don't have to say that I was a bit disappointed that someone I considered a friend and a good person would refuse to help us in a situation in which I would have no other safe viable option. I never analyzed it further beyond the disappointment. However, a couple of years later I was telling this story to a friend and he, I think very spot on, pointed out that "So she would rather go to church to listen to the preacher to tell her that she should be helping people rather than take the opportunity to actually help someone in a real need.". How is that for "Christian" values? I know my non-religious friends would not hesitate to help me in that situation as I'll give you an example of in a couple of lines. Just to finish the story, Jean was "nice enough" to suggest that we can try hitchhiking on the highway (at 1 AM no less!!) and "kindly" offered to take us there. We had no other choice so we accepted. To start with, there were literally 2 cars in 40 minutes we stood there. Fortunately, the second car actually stopped for us, and also fortunately we survived that. I say the second "fortunately" since it was a German traveler who told us that he stopped because he needed someone to keep him awake since he has been driving at that point non-stop for 16 hours from Cairns. Needless to say that traveling in a car 20km over the highway speed limit with someone who is grossly falling to sleep is quite scary... The story still developed into having quite a few very interesting twists, but those are not relevant to this anymore. So now a concrete matching example: When I was 15 I was to travel by bus 150 km to my brand new high school. I was obviously gonna have to be staying at a boarding school there so I wanted to take an earlier Sunday bus to have a chance to choose my new bed. But after waiting over an hour over the scheduled time for the bus I concluded that it was not coming and I was going to have to take the late afternoon one. After returning to the bus station and waiting for that one for almost an hour again I finally figured out that it was actually a brand new holiday celebrating the two (religious - interestingly enough :)) men who managed to enforce the recognition of our language as a language recognized by the religion, based and thanks to which our writing was established. (Religion would not allow our writing if it did not recognize the language as being worthy.) It was never celebrated before as it was shortly after the Velvet Revolution so I had no idea. Anyway, the result was that there was no other bus that day and that not only I would arrive dead last to the boarding school, but I would also miss probably the important first half of the first day at the actual new school as a freshman since my dad was away somewhere at that time with our only car. That evening, at about 10 PM, a neighbor and my parent's friend came to pick something up from my mum. He was surprised to see me still at home and so he asked how come? When we told him he said that we should have told him earlier because he would have taken me there. He also told us that he was supposed to be at work the next day at 5 or 6 AM so it was too late to drive me there now. I remember thinking that it is easy to say now if he can't prove he would have done it anyway. Three minutes later I hear him saying: "You know what, let's go, I'll take you there." It was a 3-hour drive one way!!! The Czech Republic is quite dense with towns and villages and there were at that time many quite large detours on the way, too. So this man would get home about an hour or two before having to go to work! How big of a difference this is to a church on Sunday where you go by your own volition, you are not required to go and being able to take the highway instead of in that case basically the whole way, so that trip would have cost Jean 3 hours max! So the person who is NOT compulsed to help me for fear of any hell or any other even slightly unpleasant result helps me for purely the good feeling that one gets from helping others by his own choice despite majorly inconveniencing himself is the one that actually helps me and the one that thinks of themselves as the chosen and the most kind people chooses to go listening about how kind they are rather than actually be. Does not that give you a pause? :) Another example. I was renting a room in a home of another of my friends and I happened to accidentally either drop the clear plastic fridge bucket for fruits and veggies or drop something on it (I cannot remember), resulting in its cracking. The, for me absolutely obvious thing to do, despite that it was "just a crack" and the bucket was still capable of fulfilling its function (and in fact until this day I still use it in my garage to store stuff in), I went ahead and spent almost a whole day trying to find where I could buy the correct replacement and spent something like 60 bucks on it at a time I did not have much money at all. Just because it was a normal logical thing for me to do for the pure "golden rule" reason. And Jordan would maybe say "ha, see, Christian values". And I, same as Sam or Christopher or probably Douglas too, would say that that rule is very logical, self-evident, and much older than the Christianity that appropriates that too for itself. It is just logical. I did not ever need any kind of story behind it and definitely not one where I would be punished other than that others may start doing the same to me seeing me do that to others. And since I want others to be nice to me, I, quite logically and without complicated explanations that some try to fit to some ancient stories they happen to believe in, will behave nicely to them. And now again, contrast this to a very similar situation the other way around, this time, however, the other person is a church-going Christian. I now live in a nice big house, which we rent as I mentioned. For the past 10 years, it has been our home and we can only afford it because we are sub-letting one of its rooms directly connected to the main bathroom. And we do this because we fell in love with the house and felt immediately at home as soon as we inspected it. And we originally inspected it purely just as a point of comparison with other houses we went to see afterward because it was available for inspection first that day. Later, comparing it to the other houses, I realized we could make it affordable (same price as the others) by renting out just those two of the 4 rooms that were on the top of what we actually needed. So we did and it has been 10 years since. We look for people who want to stay longer-terms. Last year, a guy from the Christian part of Nigeria was finishing his stay of over 2 years with us. He would go to church every Sunday without fail and was obviously a devout Christian. He was studying nursing and was working as well, earning quite good money too. In the home, we usually all fit in our big fridge together with our boarder. This one, however, said he needed more space so we bought an additional fridge for him. It was one of the smaller ones which still needs to be periodically defrosted. When we noticed that he is leaving the freezer to become overgrown with ice we told him that he will need to do that so that the fridge does not break. We asked him to do that several times over several months until the plastic hinge of the plastic freezer door broke by the ice pushing it out. It was obviously not even an accident. He would ignore that. So eventually I told him that now he, unfortunately, had to find a replacement freezer door for it because otherwise, the fridge will be consuming much more energy (and we are paying all the energy bills, the boarders have it included in a single unchanging rent amount, which is by the way cheapest in this area) and that it will freeze over faster and that the person after him will surely need the door, too. Nothing at all happened until he left. I meant to force him to do that before I'd return his bond when he would eventually be leaving, but it happened just at a time when we were holidaying aborad and I forgot about the freezer door. So I remotely returned his full bond. Sometime after that, when he came to pick up some of his post that he still did not change the address for, I gave him the broken door and asked him if he could please finally get a replacement. It's been almost a year now and he tells me he did not find it. So I asked him obviously if he actually tried. He said he did. A couple of simple questions later it is clear that he actually did not even try but is happy to lie about it. So what exactly has the church taught him?? I know it has neither taught him for sure to be responsible for his own actions nor to be honest. Clearly. Qualities that I and all of my close friends who I grew up with, who have never been touched by religion of any kind, have. I am not necessarily saying that these almost exactly one-to-one comparable examples are totally indicative of the difference of morals between Christians and completely irreligious people, but since it does fit pretty well with many others we see in history and also currently around us, I think it is time to stop theorizing about the necessity or even utility of religious values for modern people. I'm not disputing that religion does have utility for people who follow it, but it certainly is not the necessary or even important tool for people in general. It seems to me that religion has a utility of a rock that you use to beat in a nail. Take the rock from me and you leave me with a hammer that actually makes much more sense, similarly to taking away the stories and threat of hell and replacing it with something that has been there all along - the genuinely nice feeling of helping someone even if I am otherwise not compelled by anything else than the great feeling and the very logical realization that I have a much better chance to be treated nicely if I treat everybody else nicely. And that I am much more likely to be helped by others if I unconditionally help them. And I may help someone who never helps me, but helps somebody else. And somebody I never helped may actually help me because he was also at some point helped or at least sees it as all so logical how this works. Jordan, your well-researched arguments on many societal topics are great and helpful and make sense. But I must say that even though I heard a couple of ways you very interestingly matched biblical stories on some current situations or general human behavior, I also think that you are totally overcomplicating stuff in these cases and you are getting many, myself included, lost as to what you are in fact trying to do other than somehow trying to reconcile your Christian belief with current reality and as you just discussed during the talks with Douglas and Sam, smuggling the Jesus into it where really, it is not necessary at all, objectively. I understand that it is important to many, you including, but it really is not necessary. We can very nicely do completely without it. As an exercise in reasoning it is, or can be, for sure interesting, especially for scholars like you. For us, normal people (or normal engineers like myself :)) it seems pretty pointless otherwise. And the case of the Czech Republic, I think, even takes a base from your case completely, even though I'm sure you could find connections. As an engineer I can tell you I can map anything to anything if I put enough abstractions in between. But the simple truth is, that almost everybody in a real country that has been historically doing well, grew up a perfectly decent person, arguably in a bigger percentage more decent than the majority in much more religious countries. And we do not suffer. Again, I'd say we suffer less because we are not burdened by any traumas like worrying about ending up in hell. Sure, in our folklore we have another tradition where St. Nicholas (we never used the "St" part, for us it was just "Mikulas") comes on 5. December together with one or more devils to our home and gives our children presents or coal if "they were not good". And yes, for most children the devils are scary and some parents use that to elicit the promise of being good "from now on", but I think that at least most parents (certainly mine) were not trying to persuade us these were real beings. It was a (scary) theatre happening in almost everybody's homes. And as soon as you figure out those under the masks are just normal people you feel clever as a kid. And you feel like you've grown and maybe also that you outsmarted the adults who would not tell you straight away those are just people. When you are like 6, 7, or 8, you are looking forward to running outside with the Mikulases and devils despite sometimes still being scared by them if they play the role well. It is thrilling. But it never needed to be shoved down our throats as a reality and not even a story was needed. We have folklore fairytales that feature devils punishing bad people, yes. But we do not need them to tell us what is right and what is wrong. We can figure that out for ourselves and the stories are just a nice entertainment, if done well. And yes, we can see the useful allegory in it. We would still, however, know quite naturally the difference between clear right and wrong, between hurting others and not hurting others. But we recognize the difference between entertainment and reality. We still enjoy stories all the same. You do not need organizations that actually believe those, are exempt from paying taxes and are praying on those who cannot reason themselves out well enough or prevent themselves being reasoned in by these fantastical stories and the ability of the storyteller to manipulate. I'd say that the about 25% of people in the Czech Republic who identify themselves as somehow religious are exactly those types of people. Ones who severely lack logical thinking. I have an uncle and a stepdaughter both like that. Neither of them has very good reasoning ability and so they are hanging there to be hooked on by the use of fantastical and magical stories, despite the fact that they were not indoctrinated into it as children, which then makes it more understandable when even pretty intelligent people still have this illogical partition in their brain reserved for god. OK, that's it. Quite a bit longer than I intended it to be, but I hope it will eventually reach at least one of you in person and maybe give you some more arsenal for good arguments. It is obvious that you are very busy people so I do not expect any reply at all, but it would be great to get something like: "Hey Marek, it reached me, thanks." so that I know that I haven't completely wasted almost the whole day today instead of fixing my server and getting back to my coding in which I'm so much behind. Wish you all all the best. Sincerely, Marek Vsechovsky Aside: As I'm reading what I wrote after myself I realize that although not absolutely necessary to explain this, you may wonder if I'm not "telling you stories" since at one point I mention that I am a software engineer and in another talk about affordability of rent. Well, I really don't revolve my life around money. And since I very much enjoy my job and have large amounts of ideas, I'm trying to implement them running it as my own business. However, I am kind of a Wozniak without a Jobs, meaning that rather than marketing a finished product I immediately start working on the next one since I just can't wait to work on it, so I end up with no income to my business and so from time to time I have to accept a paid outside contract. Since my expertise is large and well valued, and since I am a very frugal person (if I compare myself to most other people who say they are too :) ) I only need to work for about 3 months to be able to live from that for the next two years developing my own ideas. That's why I'm still renting rather than owning. I do what I love, I spend as much time on it as I want and I live at a very nice place where I can take a 30-minute holiday jumping in the surf basically all-year-round, so I'm really happy.
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My 2nd run in with a catfisher... I just don't get it.
A little background about myself I've recently started online dating again after a breakup 8 months prior... I wasn't matching well with people but this girl with a few images and decent looks started messaging me with her bio reading "blah blah blah" okay I get it that's lazy could be a flag, could not be but lets see where the conversation goes. It's quick and fast with we should hangout and I do meet her and it happened so fast I became kinda skeptical from the pace of it. She wants something casual and I was looking for something more serious but being the lonely guy that I am, I obliged. first night was booze drunken singing and panicking in an escape room. Overall I had a good time and I thought we clicked near the end of the night shes talking about hooking up and instead of bringing her back to my place we do a hotel and we have sex. Cool, this friends with benefits goes well... I like this. After we're done she says her uncle is watching the dog and she needs to get back so I say okay I'll drive you(hotel is only 1-2 miles from her place) she says no I got an uber coming... Okay I say and I see her off. I wake up the next morning replaying the night through my head and it just doesn't click, I felt manipulated and during the night before we head to the hotel she asks me for cash for gas(I've been driving) I give it to her because it's only like 20 bucks and I've enjoyed myself why kill the night over 20. the next day I bring my car into the shop and I spend the morning just walking the mall I get a text from her and I ask how she is doing. she is hungover(we drank a lot.) She gives me a sob story about her phone being shut off and she needs money to pay it... Like an idiot I ask how much(I recently won a couple K at a casino the weekend prior so at the time I'm thinking good karma and it seems nice to do) I ask her if she has paypal.... She wants a western union. OKAY RED FUCK FLAG, but again I got laid and if it's scam I'll just justify it like well I just paid for a hooker with a few extra steps(I've never done it but I guess this one counts...) I wire her the money after she calls me and I'm like yo I don't even know your last name and she says wire it to my uncle because I lost my wallet last night... bruh I can't be this dumb I thought but than again... pussy power =/. This girl is actually the most attractive chick I've been with and she already explained how she is between jobs and did a bunch of interviews the week before and has more coming up in the next week. After all these red flags I get home and she is texting me about taking a trip to NYC(I'm in MASS) and hitting up all these shows and restaurants ect... I'm a college student and I only get so much from the GI BILL and I'm trying to pay off debt before hitting the work force and I say something along the lines of can we do something low key like a dinner or movie I don't have the funds and she hits me back with "K", okay now I'm going to do some digging. I used a background checker to figure out who she actual was from her phone number... not the same first name I'm like okay not a real big deal breaker, but w.e it fits the profile of someone who would be a catfisher. I use the power and find her facebook tracing through her moms name, I was like okay I think I should bring this up cause she could just be doing this for protection and that's why I text her and the conversation speaks like I'm the bad guy but day 2 you see it.... ENJOY! https://imgur.com/gallery/3tVAqwz
I would like to discuss the slow but obvious rise of lumpenproletariat in Europe. I live in a western EU country, not going to tell which, but I have observed the same phenomena on from various sources elsewhere too, so I can say that it's an EU/Europe wide phenomena which is worth discussing here. I have noticed a pretty obvious rise in the amount of lumpenproletariat in the past 10 years but especially in the past 3-4 years, however it has probably been a systemic effect since the fall of the USSR and the implementation of brutal neo-liberalism so it has deep roots but the symptoms are just getting very strong lately.
First we know what happened after the fall of the USSR, East Europe was devastated and Social Democracy started to crumble in the West as the bourgeoise no longer needed it to keep people in check since there was no USSR to keep reaction check. So the 90 not just destroyed EE but it practically implemented a brutal neoliberal regime across all Europe. After the Maastrich treaty where many countries also joined afterwards, a lot of the industry started moving eastwards, this increased the reserve army of labor in the west, and started eroding union power,etc... Then came the 2008 crisis, and we are on permanent austerity since then, not that anything past 2000 was anything resembling the 1970's anymore. The so called "Nordic Model" was literally dismantled at most by 2000 so the deluded Bernie bros are literally chasing ghosts. Then the Lisbon treaty sealed the deal, since then we only have permanent privatizations, budget cuts, pension cuts, austerity, defunding of healthcare,etc..
Now in the past 5 years especially I have noticed a very significant rise of lumpenproletariat. I live in a mid sized city and it used to be a relatively clean city, at least around the centers, with regular european level development (public transport, clean cities, somewhat green projects, etc..). The first thing I noticed is tons of grafitti shit even near the town center, mostly sexual stuff, like condoms sprayed on the walls, broken sidewalk chains, cigarette pieces everywhere, broken beer bottles on the street, fragments of glass that you have to be careful not to walk into, and stuff like this which suggests a rise in hooliganism and criminality. Stuff like this didn't existed since the 60's that I asked my parents about, so it shows that something is wrong. There are also tons of homeless people on the street, it's illegal to be homeless here and you can be arrested for it, but for some reason the police doesn't care anymore (I am not saying they should, they should be given free housing, but there is just no budget for it) or there is just too many for them to handle, I have literally seen dozens of homeless people even in parks, bus stations, train stations, etc... Oh and no it's not "immigrants" , they are locals, contrary to what far right propaganda would tell you. Local people mostly males above 50 who are just purely homeless. In the train station the police patrols heavily and they kick them out from there many times but they just go back 1 hour later, the waiting hall is usuall filled with even a hundred homeless who sleep on the benches there. This is horrible but understandable, in this cold where else would they sleep. I am not blaming them I am just saying that the number of homeless people have visibly increased for some reason or other.
Then if I walk across the city what do I see? There is no diversity among stores anymore. I remember in the early 90's the town just had a vibrant economy full of all sorts of stores from clothing, boots, makeup, barber, hairstyle, beauty, food, etc.. everything you could imagine, there was even a place for arcade games where I went many times as a kid to play there. It was a literal petty bourgeois utopia. Today there are only 5 types of businesses: bank, casino, bar, pharmacy and food. That's it baby, only 5 types of stores and that's it, and they all come one after the other like an endless toilet paper. There are like 10 casinos near me and an infinitude of bars and people lining up in the pharmacy where there is always a big line. What does this tell you about the current state of society? Every fucking casino is always full of people gambling away their money. It opens at fucking 5AM in the morning and closes at midnight and it's always full of desperate people. The bars are always full of drunk people and they always create street brawls so the police patrols around there frequently, I have seen at least 3 street brawls in just the past 1 year. There are also now fucking biker gangs near there who look pretty dangerous. I have never seen anything like this 10 years ago, it's like I live in the 3rd world now, this rapid deterioration of society is very shocking and scary to me. The pharmacies are full, and it's not even just old people, suggesting that people are sicker than ever, both due to fast food and due to other factors. The banks are obvious, although are getting centralized rapidly, 20 years ago there used to be like 20 major banks here now it's only like 5 and they have closed many offices now they are mostly centered near the town center and online banking.
What I am witnessing is the rapid deterioration and collapse of the neo-liberal system, and the funny thing is that left leaning parties were in power not that long ago. They have completely eliminated the petty bourgeois, aside from a few beauty salons , car repair shops or professionals (lawyers, private doctors,etc..) there isn't any petty bourgeois and we instead see a rise in the lumpenproletariat who either comes from them or from them going out of business and pushing all their employees to the edges of society, in any case we see a rapid increase in the lumpenproles.
And it doesn't just end here, it happens even with regular workers. There are more and more lumpenproletarian minded workers working in regular offices (lumpenproletarian doesnt just mean homeless or vagabonds). Most people work in the service industry which deeply encourages reactionary thinking. I have been told by dozens of people who work in fast food and restaurant places that most of their colleagues are unreliable assholes, they are constantly slacking and harming the work of others, this is not even protesting against the employer, because it's the other employees that have to make up for their mistakes but they get the same pay for it. So in a kitchen there will be like 4 people working and 10 people browsing their Facebook and then that 4 people will have to do the choirs of the others too but they get the same salary, and the (mid) boss will just often ignore this because they are friends with the other 10 people. So this is literally selfish undisciplined slacking lumpenproletarians exploiting their fellow workers and unloading their workload on them as well. There was literally a person who started smoking indoors in a kitchen, which is illegal, but the boss just came and did nothing, because he was a smoker too so they stick together (IDPOL shit). This is the level of lumpenproletarian behavior in most service sector jobs, and then we also see that neoliberalism tries to promote more individualistic jobs (probably to break union power), shit like Uber, Airb&b, Lyft and whatnot, so everyone will become a freelancer with a complete lumpenprole consciousness. There are barely any proletarians left in here and even if they are they definitely have a lumpenprole consciousness. The word "union" is a taboo now.
So this is what I have been observing and it gets worse and worse every day. And this is not the 3rd world, this is "civilized europe". This is what the fucking neoliberal EU did to us. And I fear that this lumpenprole base will definitely serve any kind of fascist movement in the future.
i have been reading this sub for over a year, i have a serious problem with gambling in any form and an addictive personality. this all started for me in 2004 in college when online poker hit espn. i was in college and all of my friends and i started playing online poker and cash games around our house. this was back when full tilt was in its prime so it seemed like a fun video game. the two worst things that ever happened to me, one was signing up on party poker and somehow turning 100 into 3000, i was playing every hand and sucking out on everyone. i thought i was a good player, thinking back on this now i suspect that they had some cheat going on that allowed new players to win a lot to hook them. i obviously lost this all back over the course of the next month. the second worst thing was when i turned 100 to 4000 playing online blackjack on party poker, i thought i was a professional gambler. i of course lost it all back within a week, i remember playing 1000 on 4 hands of blackjack and the dealer pulling a 21. this was when i felt the first depression and desperation that gambling could do, i would then go on to lose a lot of money at the local card room and online over my college years, fast forward to 2007 when i graduated college luckily without a dime to my name and met a girl working at the local grocery store. she was not a gambler, i moved with her across the country and somehow forgot about gambling, of course this didn't last long as in 2011 i followed an ad from 5dimes for a free bet. i parlayed 20 money line college games and won 1000 with the free bet. i then thought, okay i suck at poker and blackjack but i can be a good handicapper. things didnt work out with the girl so i moved back home and i somehow paid for the trip with my sportsbetting winnings. convinced that i was good and using it as a replacement for the long term relationship i continued to sports bet from 2012 - 2016. i continually won and lost on sports beting and online blackjack while throwing all of my hard earned money into western union deposits and bitcoin deposits. i remember one time when i won i had 6 bitcoin (worth about 200 a piece at the time) if only i had stopped and saved those would be worth a lot today... fast forward to 2016 i won 10 bets in a row on the warriors and was up 19K, of course i was still in the red lifetime, but i felt invincible and began to chase and make bigger bets. i eventually lost it all back and ended up back at square one with nothing to my name. i then started going to a local casino where i discovered a game called baccarat, this is the devil. one night i turned 2000 into 6000 and i was convinced that it was the best odds in the casino and i assuredly could win big playing this. i managed to lose the 6000 plus another 10000 and i called it quits in july of 2017 (the first day i came to this sub) i have been lurking on this sub to try and use it as a way to help me stop gambling, and it worked for a while as i put together 6 months clean. however one day at work a co-worker was talking about going to vegas, and that somehow led me to the casino (not blaming my friend, im stating of how innocent of a conversation awakened the beast inside me because i had my guard down) this was in march of this year. starting in april i went to the casino once a week and was staying balanced in life (so i thought) i was up around 1000 when i entered a poker tournament and then won first place (2900 prize) with this new confidence and thinking i had everything under control i decided i would try my luck again at poker and began practicing to enter the WSOP. over the 2 months of "practicing" i lost about 10000 and figured it was money put to good use as i was "relearning" and then i went to vegas and didn't do well in the tournament but i left the trip even (paying for the buyins with degenerate baccarat and blackjack temporary winnings) so i continued to play after i got back glued to the computer playing online poker tournaments and i have dumped another 20000 away. this all sounds terrible typing out but i just go done with the last of my online poker and i just am tired of losing, i have dug myself a huge hole, i know i could have bought a house with the money i have lost in my lifetime and i am just so angry at myself for continuing to go back, i should have known from that day back in 2004 that gambling isn't right and i have a problem. the good news is i am still relatively young and if i stop today, i could potentially rebuild. anyways long story, i just needed to tell somebody. thanks for reading.
Alright, this is a fairly comprehensive list of all the active launch sites on Earth as of the year 1999, in Overheaven’s alternate history timeline. Realistically, most of these only launch satellites, and the ones that do shoot people into space are probably doing so with capsules, though the more developed countries have fleets of reusable space planes (both manned and unmanned). The overwhelming majority of launches are going to be routine unmanned, reusable rockets sending up supplies or satellites or space station construction materials, and then touching back down on the launch pad like SpaceX's BFR (we get that level of reusable launch vehicle by the mid/late 70's, rather than the late 2010’s - amazing what you can accomplish when two superpowers feel the need to put thousands of nukes in orbit, because the 1967 Outer Space Treaty never happened). Many are run by the military or public-sector space agencies like the ESA, NASA, the Commonwealth Space Program, or Soyuzcosmos (the USSR's NASA counterpart), but I'm willing to bet that at least half (perhaps even two-thirds) of these are private-sector operations, and most non-military public-sector launch sites do private-sector flights as well. Rockets like the Sea Dragon theoretically don't really need launchpads, and while there might be launch facilities which specialize with Sea Dragon-type rockets, I think that the smaller spaceflight companies would just buy one of these rockets, strap the payload on top, and tow it out to sea near the equator for launch. And there's also air-launched sub-orbital vehicles (stuff like Virgin Galactic's White Knight), which I wager could take off from regular old airports on the backs of Boeing 747's or Antonov 124's. Some of these are existing rocket launch sites (mostly for sounding rockets), which I've turned into full-on Cape Canaveral/Baikonur-type facilities, while others are proposed locations for launch sites, and some are just good ideas I figured would work but never appeared in our timeline. Anyway, I'm pretty sure this is enough space infrastructure to serve as the basis for a smoothly-running interplanetary civilization by 1999, with the Internet still in its infancy. In Overheaven’s alternate timeline, the lack of an OST leads to a more aggressive and ambitious space race. Men on on Mars by 1976, men on Venus by 1978, and the construction of huge nuclear missile platforms in orbit by both superpowers. By the late 70’s, space industry was just getting started, and by the 80’s, the “Space Boom” was in full swing, baby. Experimental atomic research, rotating space hotels, medical and chemical research labs in orbit, space manufacturing, solar power satellites, mining near-earth asteroids, space tourism, orbital fuel depots, telecom sats, space casinos, offworld banking, and so much more. By the late 1990’s, the idea of people working and even living in space is still exciting, but it’s also pretty damn normal now. With all these launches, plus material being extracted from Luna and near-Earth asteroids, I think it's perfectly feasible for there to be a few Stanford Toruses, and at least one O'Neill Cylinder, under construction in Earth orbit by '99. And as launch costs continue to plummet, expect the scale of humanity's ambitions to only escalate. And these are just the launch sites on Earth. I don't even know how many orbital launch facilities there'd be by this point - huge space stations building truly-massive vessels in zero-g with all those resources we're shooting up on what I imagine is a daily or even hourly basis; ships like those, built and fueled in orbit, would undoubtedly be able to reach Mars, Venus, Mercury, the Main Belt and Jupiter with relative ease. And everything I've stated here will only continue to grow at a geometric rate as more of the Solar System's resources are harnessed, spaceflight costs continue to drop, and technology continues to improve. And we’re not talking about Overheaven’s current year, which isn’t actually 1999. It’s 2185. Oh, right. Here's the list: United States of America: Cape Kennedy Space Center (Merritt Island, Florida) Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport (Delmarva Peninsula, Virginia) John Glenn Memorial Spaceport (Matagorda Island, Texas) Southwestern Regional Spaceport (Roswell, New Mexico) White Sands Launch Center (White Sands, New Mexico) Datil Launch Center (Datil, New Mexico) Yuma Spaceport (Yuma, Arizona) Keweenaw Spaceport (Keweenaw Peninsula, Michigan) John Bardeen Memorial Launch Center (Sheboygan, Wisconsin) Mojave Spaceport (Mojave, California) Vanderberg Space Center (Lompoc, California) Oklahoma Spaceport (Burn Flats, Oklahoma) Kodiak Launch Complex (Kodiak Island, Alaska) Stockton Space Center (Stockton, Arizona) Lone Star Space Center (Van Horn, Texas) Coleman Launch Center (Sea Dragon launch facility located between Tutuila island and Manu’a island, American Samoa) Johnston Space Center (Johnston Atoll, Pacific Ocean) Sarigan Launch Center (Sairgan, Northern Marianas Islands) Reagan Launch Center (Kwajalein Atoll, Republic of the Marshall Islands) Poseidon (privately-operated mobile sea-launch platform in the Gulf of Mexico) Ocean Odyssey Launch Complex (privately-operated mobile sea-launch platform in the Pacific Ocean) Union of Soviet Sovereign Republics: Baikonur Cosmodrome (Baikonur, Star City) Tereshkova Cosmodrome (Zapovednoye, Primorsky Krai, Far Eastern SSR) Vostochny Cosmodrome (Tsiolkovsky, Amur Oblast, Far Eastern SSR) Okhotsk Cosmodrome (Okhotsk, Khabarovsk Krai, Far Eastern SSR) Sarishagan Cosmodrome (Priozersk, Karaganda Oblast, Kazakh SSR) Nyonoksa Cosmodrome (Severodvinsk, Archangelsk Oblast, Russian SSR) Plesetsk Cosmodrome (Mirny, Archangelsk Oblast, Russian SSR) Kapustin Yar Cosmodrome (Znamensk, Astrakhan Oblast, Russian SSR) Isakov Cosmodrome (mobile sea-launch platform in the Indian Ocean, currently 960 miles off the coast of Sri Lanka) European Space Agency/European Union: Guiana Space Center (Kourou, French Guiana) Archimedes Launch Center (Syracuse, Sicily, Italy) Nuka Hiva Space Center (Marquises, French Polynesia) Touamotu Space Center (Rairoa, French Polynesia) Fort-Dauphin Space Center (Tôlanaro, Republic of Madagascar) Borglio Space Center (offshore platform off the coast of Kenya, administered by Italy) Koroni Launch Center (Messenia, Greece) Salto di Quirra Spaceport (Sardinia, Italy) Cuxhaven Launch Center (Cuxhaven, Germany) Ile du Levant Launch Center (Iles d’Hyeres, France) El Arenosillo Spaceport (Mazagon, Spain) Svalbard Space Center (Ny-Alesund, Svalbard, Norway) (northern-most spaceport in the world) Andøya Space Center (Andøya, Norway) Esrange Launch Center (Kiruna, Sweden) Oberth-Barre Launch Center (Bangoli, Orientale Province, Zaire) OTRAG Launch Center (North Sheba, Katanga Province, Zaire) (privately-operated spaceport, under German/EU jurisdiction) People’s Republic of China: Dongfeng Aerospace City (Ejin Banner, Inner Mongolia) Hotan Aerospace City (Hotan, Xinjiang) Xichang Launch Center (Liangshan, Sichuan) Wenchang Launch Center (Wenchang, Hainan) Taiyaun Launch Center (Xinzhou, Shanxi) Taiwan (Republic of China): Sanxiantai Launch Center (Sanxiantai, Taitung) Haiqian Launch Center (Manzhou, Pingtung) Republic of Bulgaria: Smrikite Cosmodrome (Varna Province) Republic of Hong Kong and Macau: Stanley Ho Space Center (Tai Chau Island, New Territories) (part of the Commonwealth Space Program) Islamic Republic of Pakistan: Sonmiani Launch Center (Las Bela, Balochistan) Tilla Launch Center (Jhelum, Punjab) Federative Republic of Brazil: Barreira do Inferno Launch Center (Parnamirim, Rio Grande do Norte) Praia do Cassino Launch Center (Rio Grande do Sul) Alcântara Spaceport (Alcântara, Maranhão) Belém Spaceport (Vigia, Para) United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland: Sutherland Spaceport (Caithness and Sutherland, Highland, Scotland) (part of the Commonwealth Space Program) South Uist Space Center (South Uist, Outer Hebrides, Scotland) (part of the Commonwealth Space Program) Newquay Space Center (Newquay, Cornwall, England) (part of the Commonwealth Space Program) Ascension Launch Center (Unicorn Point, Ascension Island, South Atlantic) (part of the Commonwealth Space Program) Diego Garcia Launch Center (Diego Garcia, British Indian Ocean Territory) (part of the Commonwealth Space Program) Federal Republic of Romania: Costinești Space Center (Constanta County) Republic of Colombia: Soledad Launch Center (Caquetá Department) (jointly-operated with the United States) Commonwealth of Nations/Commonwealth Space Program: Mount Kenya Space Center (Nyeri County, Republic of Kenya) Kilimanjaro Space Center (Kilimanjaro Region, United Republic of Tanzania) Gan Launch Center (Gan, Addu Atoll, Maldives) (jointly-operated by the Commonwealth and India) Commonwealth of Australia: Woomera Space Center (Woomera, South Australia) (part of the Commonwealth Space Program) Darwin Space Center (Darwin, Northern Territory) (part of the Commonwealth Space Program) Carnarvon Space Center (Carnarvon, Western Australia) (part of the Commonwealth Space Program) Manus Space Center (Manus Island, Admiralty Islands, Papua New Guinea) (part of the Commonwealth Space Program) Weipa Launch Center (Mission River, Cape York, Queensland) (part of the Commonwealth Space Program) Christmas Island Space Center (South Point, Christmas Island) (jointly-operated by Australia and Japan) Spaceport Valhalla (offshore privately-run launch platform off the coast of East Timor) State of Japan: Tanegashima Space Center (Tanegashima Island, Kagoshima) Uchinoura Space Center (Kimotsuki, Kagoshima) Akita Satellite Launch Center (Akita, Tohoku) Obachi Satellite Launch Center (Rokkasho, Aomori) Okinotorishima Space Center (Okinotori Reef) (a very large launch platform built atop a coral reef, mostly so Tokyo can thumb their nose at an EEZ dispute with China and Taiwan, increasingly growing into a small city in the middle of the Pacific Ocean) Ryori Space Center (Iwate, Tohoku) Watatsumi Launch Platform (very large mobile sea-launch platform in the south Pacific Ocean, currently 100 miles off the coast of Baker Island, USA) Asada Goryu Space Center (Wuvulu Island, Bismarck Archipelago, New Guinea) New Zealand: Birdling’s Flat Launch Center (Canterbury, South Island) (part of the Commonwealth Space Program) Mahia Launch Center (Hawke’s Bay, North Island) (part of the Commonwealth Space Program) Federal Republic of Yugoslavia: Morava Spaceport (Lađevci, Republic of Šumadija) Imperial State of Iran: Qom Space Center (Qom Province) Emamshahr Space Center (Semnan Province) Semnan Spaceport (Semnan Province) Republic of Algeria: Hammaguir Space Center (Hammaguir, Abadla District) (originally built by the French, abandoned in the 60’s, brought back online by the Algerian government in the 80’s) West Indies Federation: Barbados Space Center (Kitridge Point, Barbados) (part of the Commonwealth Space Program) St. Margaret Space Center (St. Margaret, Trinidad & Tobago) (part of the Commonwealth Space Program) Mabaruma Space Center (Mabaruma, Barima-Waini, Guyana) (part of the Commonwealth Space Program) State of Israel: Albert Einstein Space Center (Hasna, Sinai Peninsula, Israel) (recently launched a Palestinian-designed satellite into orbit as a sign of goodwill) Socialist Republic of Vietnam: Phạm Tuân Launch Center (Hon Khaoi Island) (jointly operated with USSR) Malaysia: Riau Space Center (Padang, Riau Island) Ahmad Shah Space Center (Larapan Island, Sabah) Republic of India: Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala) Satish Dhawan Space Centre (Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh) Abdul Kalam Space Centre (Bhubaneswar, Odisha) Canada: Churchill Space Center (Churchill, Manitoba) (part of the Commonwealth Space Program) Primrose Lake Launch Center (Cold Lake, Alberta) (part of the Commonwealth Space Program) Maritime Launch Center (Canso, Nova Scotia) (part of the Commonwealth Space Program) Cape Breton Spaceport (Cape Breton, Nova Scotia) (part of the Commonwealth Space Program) Grand Turk Space Center (Grand Turk Island, Turks and Caicos, Canada) (part of the Commonwealth Space Program) Dominican Republic: Las Terrenas Space Center (Las Terrenas, Samaná Province) (jointly-operated with the United States) People’s Democratic Republic of South Yemen: Qahtan Muhammad al-Shaabi Launch Center (offshore platform off the coast of Socotra) (jointly-operated with the USSR) Republic of Ecuador: Puerto Quito Launch Center (Pichincha Province) (jointly-operated with the United States) Republic of Poland: Łeba-Rąbka Spaceport (Pomeranian Voivodeship) Blizna Spaceport (Podkarpackie Voivodeship) Republic of the Philippines: Clark Freeport and Special Economic Zone (Clark Field, Metro Manilla) Lambajon Launch Center (Lambajon, Mindanao) (built with Japanese investment in the 1970’s, recently came under joint Japanese-Filipino administration) Republic of Cuba: Juventud Spaceport (Cayo San Juan, Isla de la Juventud, Cuba) (operated jointly with the USSR) Republic of Chile: Isla San Felix Launch Center (Isla San Felix) Socialist People’s Libyan Arab Jamahiriya: Libyan People’s Space City (Sabha, Fezzan) Korean Federation: Tonghae Spaceport (Musudan, North Hamyong) (originally built by the DPRK in the 80’s) Anhueng Spaceport (Hoengseong County, Gangwon Province) Naro Space Center (Goheung County, South Jeolla Province) Iraqi Republic: Babylon Space City (Al-Anbar region) (jointly operated by the Iraqi and Syrian governments; operates Tammouz rockets for manned launches and Project Babylon super-guns for satellites) United Mexican States: Sierra de Jaurez Launch Center (Sierra de Juarez, Baja California) Alcubierre Spaceport (Laguna Tamiahua, Veracruz) Puerto Bravo Launch Center (Puerto Bravo, Quintana Roo) Republic of Singapore: Changi Spaceport (Changi, Singapore) Republic of Zaire: Mbandaka Spaceport (Bamanya, Equateur Province) Republic of Indonesia: Motorai Launch Center (Motorai Island, North Maluku) Biak Launch Center (Biak Island, West Papua) Enggano Launch Center (Enggano Island, Bengkulu) Republic of Argentina: CELPA (El Chamical, La Roja Province) Felix Aguilar Launch Center (Pampa de Achala, Cordoba Province) San Martin Launch Center (Mar Chiquita, Buenos Aires Province) Marambio Launch Center (Marambio Base, Antarctica) (southern-most spaceport in the world) Kingdom of Saudi Arabia: King Khalid Spaceport (Tabuk, Tabuk Province) Al Haddar Spaceport (Al Haddar, Riyadh Province) Apartheid South Africa: Denel Overberg Launch Centre (Agulhas, Cape Province) Walvis Bay Launch Centre (Swakopmund, Southwest Africa) Aquarius Mobile Launch Platform (mobile sea-launch platform in the Atlantic Ocean, 894 miles off the coast of Liberia) Jan Smuts Launch Centre (St. Lucia, Natal)
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