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Edric O

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Edric O last won the day on May 1 2020

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  1. So, according to my profile, I registered here on the Fed2k forums on 17 April 2000. This means that today marks my 20th forum birthday. And what better way to celebrate 20 years than to post a new thread on my favourite board? PRP needs some new life breathed into it. Back in November-December 2009, @Wolf posted a thread called The Next Decade and @Dunenewt posted one called The Last Decade, which were about looking back on the political events of the 2000s and speculating about what the 2010s might be like. In that spirit, let's look back on the 2010s now, and speculate about the twenties (finally, we will have clear, uncontroversial decade names again!). I actually wanted to come back to Fed2k to post a thread like this back in December 2019. In retrospect, maybe it's a good thing I didn't, because almost everything I was going to say about the 20s just became obsolete in a matter of months, due to the coronavirus pandemic. In fact, even some of what I was going to say about the 10s is a little obsolete, because what happens in the present changes how we look at the past. What I was going to say, in December 2019, was something like this: The 2010s have been a decade of economic stagnation and increasing political tensions. The decade started in the shadow of the Great Recession, which seemed to be the harbinger of great change, with movements such as Occupy Wall Street in the West, the Arab Spring in the Arab world, and the election of Syriza in Greece. But nothing came of them. The Occupy movement fizzled out (largely due to its lack of any clear goals), Syriza capitulated to the neoliberal order of the EU, and the Arab Spring turned into a harsh winter of civil wars and Islamist insurgencies, with Libya descending into Somalia-like chaos and Syria having a decade-long civil war. None of the underlying problems of global economics or politics were resolved. The second half of the decade saw the rise of the far-right, especially in Europe and North America, but even this rise has been slow. I predicted the return of fascism to the political mainstream back in 2012, and this has been happening, but very slowly. Fascist and right-wing authoritarian ideas have been growing in popularity and acceptance continuously since 2012 (and especially since 2016), but so slowly that today they are still very much on the fringes of politics. They're important enough that mainstream right-wing politicians try to appeal to them from time to time, but no more than that. So here we are, at the end of 2019, with the world not being too different from how it was in 2009. Back in 2009, I said that "for the most part, it was a decade of business as usual" and that "there was no shift in the global balance of power". That still holds more or less true for the 2010s, although less so. A few major changes in the global balance of power did happen. Crimea was annexed by Russia. The UK left the EU. China's rise, although as gradual as ever, began to have a noticeable impact. Donald Trump's presidency has brought right-wing populism to the US (as well as staggering incompetence that endangers the American empire). But overall, things in 2019 are not fundamentally different from 2009. The United States is still the global hegemon with no close challenger (although China can be seen on the horizon). Neoliberal capitalism still reigns. Revolutionary movements (of any and all kinds) have made no progress. Climate change proceeds as before. But tensions are rising. Economic growth rates in the developed world the 2010s have been the lowest since World War II. Economic inequality is the highest it has been since 1929 (and still growing). The legitimacy of liberal democracy has been greatly eroded, and populist movements (mostly of the right-wing variety) are slowly chipping away at the fortress walls of the global liberal order, which don't look nearly as invulnerable as they did a decade ago. Politics is extremely polarized in every Western country, and seems to be only growing more polarized over time. There is growing anger and discontent all around. I think future historians will look back at the 2010s as a decade of growing tensions, leading up to... something. Something big is coming. I don't know what it will be, but I know a "factors leading up to" chapter in a history book when I'm living through it. This was a decade of storm clouds gathering. I don't know what storm is coming, but it's there, just beyond the horizon. * * * * * So that's what I was going to say back in December 2019. Since then, the storm has actually begun. I expected it more like around 2025, but it's already here, now. I expected a political or economic storm - maybe another 2008-style great recession, or a far-right government taking power somewhere and throwing the balance of power into chaos (perhaps Marine Le Pen becoming French president). But instead, the catalyst for the storm came from... nature. It was a pure exogenous shock, the likes of which we almost never see in the modern world. A deadly pandemic swept across the world and shut down the global economy. We were heading for some kind of big recession anyway, but Covid-19 just upgraded it from "big recession" to "Second Great Depression" status. The 2010s will not be seen as the gathering storm now, because the storm hit abruptly from a completely different direction. Now the 2010s will be seen as the Intercrisis Period. The decade between the Great Recession and the Second Great Depression. The 20s will be interesting times indeed. The world as we knew it is over, and anything is possible. Global supply chains are fracturing, and developed countries will be forced to bring back domestic industrial production. Globalization is - at least for now - over. Neoliberalism is also dead, permanently so. The only way out of the coming Depression will be with massive government intervention in the economy. The right as well as the left will have no choice but to return to state-driven economic policies. And there will be mass unemployment, poverty, and shortages of basic goods - the kind of conditions that give rise to revolutions. I thought we were gradually headed towards a breaking point some time in the mid-to-late 20s. But the breaking point is already here. The 20s will be a decade of great change. It's still too early to tell if the change will be good or bad, but it will be great. * * * * * And of course, this leads us to the most important question: Are we still going to have Fed2k around in 2029? Well, past evidence suggests that the answer is yes: It turns out that we did. Here's to another decade!
  2. Well, it's the elephant in the room, isn't it? Everyone is talking about it anyway and literally all current events revolve around it. So I thought it's time to have a dedicated thread about Covid... or the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes the disease known as COVID-19, to be pedantic. We all know the story: Humanity is facing the worst pandemic since the Spanish Flu of 1918-19. As of the time of this post, there have been over 2.1 million confirmed cases, and almost 150,000 confirmed deaths from Covid. These numbers are growing exponentially, so they may well be far higher when you're reading this. In addition, due to inadequate testing, the number of cases is likely to be greatly underestimated. Oh, and the world is heading into the Second Great Depression as a result of this. Interesting times. Here are some useful resources to track the global situation: Maps and data from the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center Covidly.com, a great little website put together by a researcher from Singapore, keeping track of trends. Uses public data to generate a lot of useful graphs. So, how is the pandemic affecting you, and what do you think about what the future holds?
  3. @Dunenewt, old friend! I remember our meeting in 2008 very fondly. In fact, you and Khan (and @nemafakei, on a separate occasion) were the only online friends that I ever met in real life. After all these years and after making many other friends on many other websites, I still never met any of them IRL. So getting together with you guys was something special. Does it feel like a lifetime ago? I'm not sure... In some ways it does, in other ways it feels like yesterday. When we met, I had a girlfriend - she is now my wife. The year after we met, I started grad school... and I'm only just finishing it now, this summer. So a lot of things in my life have stayed the same, or almost the same, since around the time we met. Perhaps for this reason it doesn't feel like it was so long ago. When this pandemic is over, we need to arrange another Fed2k meet-up. This reminds me, I should try to contact Nema. I last met up with him in 2012, also in London. Do you remember the "Dune Revolution" in which we tried to bring back activity to the forum by posting a lot, in the hope this would encourage others to post more as well? If I remember correctly, it was successful - for a few months. Maybe we should try again.
  4. @rebelliousplatypus, that's some serious Doctors Without Borders courage right there, deliberately wanting to go help in the place worst affected by the virus. I salute you! If you do go, please stay safe. You're going to have to come back sooner or later, as the pandemic is just getting started and I'm sure every place will be hit hard at some point (especially if the US federal government and several states insist on taking the current levels of moderate success as a reason to lift restrictions, which will inevitably cause a second wave of outbreaks). I also hope that the new Dune movie will cause renewed interest in all things Dune, and maybe even bring back activity here. Perhaps there could even be - dare we hope? - a new Dune game. @Caid Ivik! It's been so long! Remember our old political debates back in 2003-2004? They were an important part of my formative years, in terms of my political thinking and ideology. I am still very much a communist, though I think my views are more complex and nuanced now than they were back then. I haven't really done anything politically in real life for the past 10 years, but we're heading into a new global depression now, and it will be the biggest one since the Great Depression of the 1930s. A lot of things will change. I'm starting to think of ways to get involved...
  5. Wow, so many old friends! It's great to see you again, @Dunenewt, @Vanguard3000, @Caid Ivik and @rebelliousplatypus (I hope you don't mind if I still call you exatreides). Now I'm curious: What brought you all here at the same time? Did all of us just literally have the same idea to come back here at the same time after several years, or were you already checking the Fed2k forum regularly but without posting? Also, according to my profile, today marks precisely 20 years since I registered my account here. And to think, I once thought that being around for seven years made me an "old timer"...
  6. I actually already have a baby! Just one, though.
  7. Well... you should have checked the date. This was a good old fashioned FED2k April Fools joke! In the vein of the old "I'm getting married" and "I'm having a baby" April 1st threads. In fact, I directly copied half of my April Fools post from 2013 (which I think was the last time I posted one). Of course, the reaction isn't what it used to be, even though I waited almost a week... Such is the effect of general inactivity on the forum, I suppose.
  8. So this must be the first new thread I have posted in many years, but like I said in the Old Timers' Notice Board, I never stopped regarding FED2k as my true home on the internet, so I want to breathe some new life into the community spirit here... ...with an announcement of wonderful personal news that I received from my wife back in January: we're going to have twins! That's right, by the end of the year there will be two new little Edrics in the universe. Which means they should probably be reading Dune three or four years from now. By this point, I assume many of the old timers here are already parents. What is it like? Edit: Just to clarify, this was an April Fools joke. I even copied the title and large parts of the text of a previous April Fools post that I made back in 2013. This time, however, there is a lot less activity on the forum. Maybe the time for these jokes has permanently passed.
  9. This is a good website with up-to-date data for every country (and provincial-level data for some countries, including the US and Canada): https://covidly.com The basic summary is: Covid-19 is spreading exponentially worldwide, with confirmed cases increasing by a factor of 10 every two weeks or so. Countries that have enacted very strict lockdown measures have managed to get it under control (e.g. China and now Italy), and also countries with very extensive testing and isolation of carriers have managed to get it under control (e.g. South Korea). But in countries that are neither locked down nor testing everyone, it's spreading like wildfire.
  10. Good to see you too, @gryphon! (I figured out how to ping people) We're all in lockdown now, I imagine, or soon to be. Talk about living in interesting times. I think that new Dune movie might get postponed for a while, too.
  11. So... who is still here? Does this fancy new UI come with a way to ping people? Hmmm... I guess I need to poke around.
  12. *dusts off and removes cobwebs from self* How... how long was I out? Four years?? Wow. I can't believe it has really been that long. But the forum time stamps do not lie. My last post before this one was in January 2016. And to think, my first post that month said this: ...well, so much for not letting it happen again. 🙁 Half a year seemed like a long time to be away back then, and now here I am, four years and two months later, after by far the longest hiatus since I joined FED2k in April 2000. But at least I have returned in time for my 20 year anniversary! Expect one or two Alexandre Dumas references when the day comes. "Vingt ans après", indeed. One thing that has not changed, however, is the emotional connection I feel towards my dear FED2k. Yes, I've been away four years, but I kept thinking of this site and this forum, regularly wanting to come back... and regularly putting it off. As I said in 2016: So I am back home again. This time because... because it's the end of the world as we knew it, so what better time to seek out old friends.
  13. On another note, as a long-time fan of the Homeworld series, I am extremely excited about the upcoming prequel game Homeworld: Deserts of Kharak... and I must point out that it's practically begging for a Dune mod.
  14. Thank you for the warm wishes, everyone! I happen to be located in the U.S. at the moment, although that may change, and... Wait. Gob has a twitter account!?
  15. Oh, and as it happens, it's not just my birthday today. FED2k, the "First Ever Dune 2000 Website", went online for the first time on 15 January 1998. So: Happy 18th Birthday FED2k! You're now officially an adult! ...but not an "adult website". Please don't be that.
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