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Europe's place in the world

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Transvestites in Norse Mythology? Meet Thor

Thor's Fight with the Giants, by M.E. Winge 1872

Thor’s Fight with the Giants, by M.E. Winge 1872

Thor as a Woman?

There are many fascinating stories in the ancient Norse mythology. The one we would like to look at today is the one that has been embraced by the LGBT movement. It is the story about the powerful God of Thunder. Or, as you might know him, Thor. You are free to picture the Thor from the movies, as the mythical Thor is also a strong guy with a hammer. The only thing you would need to add is a beard.

Why does the LGBT movement take such an interest in Thor? Because Thor, at some point, dressed as a woman. Now, we could explain that as the Vikings also rejecting gender-stereotypes. We could believe that the Vikings were in reality very progressive when it comes to transvestites, or even transgenders. However, would that make sense? Let’s have a look at the actual myth and find out what happened there.

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Equality in Victimhood

Murder in the House, by Jakub Schikaneder. Victim on the floor.

Murder in the House, by Jakub Schikaneder

The Suffering of the Victims

Every day people are killed. Shot, stabbed, or beaten to death. Sometimes one, or several people, kill a large group of seemingly random people. These are horrible events. All of them result in people whose lives are untimely brought to an end. The victims died for being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

People consider events like this to be extra horrific for three reasons. The severity of the body-count; the apparent randomness; and the fact that it is purely due to the evil deeds of another person. This makes it different from a regular murder, or a plane crash. The only thing required to prevent such needless slaughter is for the perpetrator to come to his senses before committing the deed.

Mass killings such as this, can be more or less divided into two categories. There are the mentally deranged and there are the terrorists.

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From Glory to Despair – The State of Italy

Sistine Chapel Ceiling Painting, by Michelangelo

Sistine Chapel Ceiling Painting, by Michelangelo

From Glory to Despair

Italy. One of the oldest civilized territories on the European continent. In a distant past, Rome dominated Europe. Its cities flourished and were full of life.

Nowadays, Italy’s villages are drained. The young move into the cities or seek a brighter future abroad. The few that stay simply don’t have enough children to maintain the population. The Mayor of one of these small towns, Domenico Lucano, found an interesting solution to this depopulation problem. His village, Riace, invited migrants to rejuvenate the town. Currently about a quarter of the two thousand inhabitants are migrants, primarily from Africa and Asia. The native Italians that still live there are mostly the elderly. The Guardian states the town has ”secured its own future”.

Although most easily visible in the small villages, it is a trend taking place on the national level.

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The Media Focus: Global Warming vs Deforestation

Forest Landscape, by David Vickboons (1633)

Forest Landscape, by David Vickboons (1633)

The Global Warming Media Focus

Recent decades have seen a revival in the debate on climate change. The debate is highly salient and is frequently discussed on the news or on conferences attended by world leaders. It is a debate that centres around our emission of greenhouse gasses and its impact on global temperature. In line with the usual conclusion that these emissions do indeed influence the earth’s temperature, measures are taken to reduce our CO2 production, or at least these plans are drafted.

There’s talk about how bad cars are, or how bad it is that we eat beef, since cows produce methane. The story culminates in the idea that if we do not prevent climate change, we are heading for extinction.

But, will all that focus on global warming and CO2, other topics, which have received way more attention in the past but were never actually solved, are no longer getting the screen time and exposure they should.

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Europe’s Growing Muslim Population

Reply of the Zaporozhian Cossacks, by Ilya Repin

Reply of the Zaporozhian Cossacks, by Ilya Repin. The Cossacks reject the Ottomans demand to submit.

The Future Presence of Islam in Europe

As of 2016, there were over 25 million Muslims estimated to be living in Europe. Spread over the entire continent this results in an average of 4.9% of Muslims. The total population lies around 500 million. However, the 4.9% is not spread evenly. France is currently on 8.8%, while Poland has less than 0.1% of Muslims compared to their populations. Moreover, the Muslims in Poland are likely to belong to the native Tatar population that has lived there for many centuries. On the other hand, the Muslims in France originate primarily from territories that used to be French colonies and arrived in large numbers since the end of World War 2. Since the end of the war we have seen a growing Muslim population in Europe.

We will discuss the predictions from Pew Research regarding the growing Muslim population, from zero migration to high migration. What are the consequences?

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Europe: The Slackers of NATO

David with the head of Goliath, by Caravaggio

David with the head of Goliath, by Caravaggio

Europe Relies On The United States

Most nations in Europe are a part of NATO, the North-Atlantic Treaty Organization. This defensive alliance was founded as a response to the Soviet Union expanding its sphere of influence over Eastern Europe after the defeat of Nazism at the end of World War 2. It was back then, and has always been, spearheaded by the United States.

However, how much longer should we expect that status quo to last?

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The North European Plain – The Unsolved Problem

Napoleon Crossing the Alps, by Jacques-Louis David

Napoleon Crossing the Alps, by Jacques-Louis David

The North European Plain – Europe’s Main Cause For War

To understand war in Europe, we must understand geography in Europe. One of the primary aspects of European geography is the great north European plain. The plain stretches from southern France, just north of the Pyrenees, to the Ural mountains in Russia. The plain has no good natural borders, leading to constant warfare and changing borders.

Apart from seas, oceans and mountains; there is one more reasonable natural border. Rivers. However, it only works if it is a major river that is difficult to cross due to its width, and covers a border long enough with its length. Within Europe, you will see the Rhine and Danube act as natural borders between the nation-states.

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How Big Are Europe And The European Union

Echo and Narcissus, by John William Waterhouse

Echo and Narcissus, by John William Waterhouse

Europe’s Grandeur

At one point in time, European nations ruled almost the entire world. Europe was and is mighty, powerful and influential. Although Europe’s history over the past centuries knows a lot of ‘grandeur’, how grand is the territory that it consists of?

The most common type of map is the Mercator depiction. Due to the earth being a globe and maps being a two-dimensional representation, it is not easy to get the dimensions right. The Mercator projection results in an over representation of areas near the poles. At the same time, areas around the equator look relatively small.

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