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> Law and legal cases > Self-determination

The right of self-determination for all peoples was first enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations. It has however been the subject of extensive debate and controversy. Both the content of the right as well as who can assert it continue to evolve in international law.

According to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (the ICCPR), ‘[a]ll peoples have the right of self-determination. By virtue of that right they freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development.'[i] The right to self-determination also has its economic content which gives the peoples the right to freely ‘dispose of their natural wealth and resources without prejudice to any obligations arising out of international economic cooperation, based upon the principle of mutual benefit, and international law.'[ii] The phrase ‘all peoples’ – instead of ‘everyone’- attached to the right to self-determination indicates that the right to self-determination is a collective right; that is, only a ‘people’, not an individual, can exercise the right.

Initially conceived, the right to self-determination belonged to the population, or people, of a fixed territorial entity, specifically peoples oppressed by a colonial power. The Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples and the jurisprudence of the International Court of Justice emphasise the connection between the right to self-determination and peoples of colonised territories. In this context, the right to self-determination is “externally” exercised by secession from a colonial power to form a new state. The right of colonial peoples to external self-determination is well established in international law.

More recently, it has been postulated that the right to self-determination can be exercised ‘internally’ as well.[iii] Internal self-determination allows a people broader control over their political, economic, social and cultural development, while stopping short of secession. The development of a new conception of ‘peoples’ has evolved with the development of the idea of internal self-determination. In this context, the definition of ‘peoples’ is not only limited to the population of a fixed territorial entity but also encompasses indigenous groups and potentially some minorities. Although there is no fully accepted definition of peoples, references are often made to a definition proposed by UN Special Rapporteur Martínez Cobo in his study on discrimination against indigenous populations:

‘Indigenous communities, peoples and nations are those which, having a historical continuity with pre-invasion and pre-colonial societies that developed on their territories, consider themselves distinct from other sectors of the societies now prevailing in those territories, or parts of them. They form at present non-dominant sectors of society and are determined to preserve, develop and transmit to future generations their ancestral territories, and their ethnic identity, as the basis of their continued existence as peoples, in accordance with their own cultural patterns, social institutions and legal systems.'[iv]

That looks suspiciously like KL divergence!

What’s going on? Well, it is KL divergence. It’s the KL divergence of P(X,Y) and its naive approximation P(X)P(Y). That is, it’s the number of bits you save representing X and Y if you understand the relationship between them instead of assuming they’re independent.

One cute way to visualize this is to literally picture the ratio between a distribution and its naive approximation:

There’s an entire field of quantum information theory. I know precisely nothing about the subject, but I’d bet with extremely high confidence, based on Michael’s other work, that Michael Nielsen and Issac Chuang’s Quantum Computation and Quantum Information is an excellent introduction. GIY Womens Winter Warm Ankle Booties Fashion Pointed Toe Zipper Short Martin Snow Boots Mid Heel Black CDqqvpnYM

As someone who knows nothing about statistical physics, I’ll very nervously try to sketch its connection to information theory as I understand it.

After Shannon discovered information theory, many noted suspicious similarities between equations in thermodynamics and equations in information theory. E.T. Jaynes found a very deep and principled connection. Suppose you have some system, and take some measurements like the pressure and temperature. How probable should you think a particular state of the system is? Jaynes suggested we should assume the probability distribution which, subject to the constraints of our measurement, maximizes the entropy. (Note that this “principle of maximum entropy” is much more general than physics!) That is, we should assume the possibility with the most unknown information. Many results can be derived from this perspective.

(Reading the first few sections of Jaynes’ papers ( Women Boots Hatop Womens Wedge Booties Ankle Flat Boots Shoes Platform Tube Ladies Shoes Beige 4HPGh
, part 2 ) I was impressed by how accessible they seem.)

If you’re interested in this connection but don’t want to work through the original papers, there’s a section in Cover Thomas which derives a statistical version of the Second Law of Thermodynamics from Markov Chains! Bussola Marseille Ring Womens Sandal 38 M EU Coal RvJSWNZR5s

The connection between information theory and gambling was originally laid out by John Kelly in his paper ‘ AllhqFashion Womens Solid High Heels Buckle Peep Toe Sandals Pink xDNuP5k
.’ It’s a remarkably accessible paper, although it requires a few ideas we didn’t develop in this essay.

Kelly had an interesting motivation for his work. He noticed that entropy was being used in many cost functions which had no connection to encoding information and wanted some principled reason for it. In writing this essay, I’ve been troubled by the same thing, and have really appreciated Kelly’s work as an additional perspective. That said, I don’t find it completely convincing: Kelly only winds up with entropy because he considers iterated betting where one reinvests all their capital each bet. Different setups do not lead to entropy.

A nice discussion of Kelly’s connection between betting and information theory can be found in the standard reference on information theory, Cover Thomas’ ‘Elements of Information Theory.’

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There are numerous interesting examples of mise-en-scène throughout world cinema. Here, in a scene from Youssef Chahine’s 1956 film Cairo Station , we see a sophisticated mise-en-scène that used onscreen space, camera movement, sound, and symbolism.

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Similarly, in Zhang Yimou’s Raise the Red Lantern (1991), we see an intricate use of mise-en-scène that brings together an elaborate (almost theater-like) set design, music, sound, and costume.

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Because mise-en-scène is often focused on the composition of the individual frame, scenes that rely less on BalaMasa Womens Zipper RoundToe Imitated Leather PumpsShoes Red PfJjC
are often cited as the best examples to study. The film critic and theoretician André Bazin has written about cinema’s unique ability to capture “reality,” through emphasizing what was in the frame, invisible cutting, and the use of the long take and deep focus . Some have countered Bazin’s argument, saying that the effort necessary to compose an individual frame can in fact create an image that is just as artificial as one that has extensive cutting. At the very least, good mise-en-scène depends on cinematic craftsmanship and can produce complicated and powerful scenes, as we see here in an example from Do the Right Thing (1986).

Annunciation to the Shepherds (MUO BX2080/A2/1450, f. 47v)
Annunciation to the Shepherds (Glasgow Univ. Library, Sp Coll MS Euing 3, f. 73v)

If anyone has a more specific attribution, please let me know. Medieval artists are rarely known by name – instead, art historians give them descriptive epithets. Until we know otherwise, I’ll call this artist the Master of…well…how about The Master of the Tiny Lambs?

Before I flew back to Boston from Cincinnati, I had the opportunity to visit a private collector there. He had contacted me several weeks ago, saying that he had inherited several dozen leaves purchased from Otto Ege by his step-father’s first wife…would I be interested in seeing some images? By a wonderful co-incidence, I was already planning to be in Cincinnati just a few weeks later, and he invited me to see the leaves in person. And what a trove! In addition to several single leaves acquired from Ege (such as Fereshte Hot Selling Womens Simple Classic Stiletto Heel Overknee Long Knight Boot Matt Blue PgEvhsJdH
and Drew Shoe Womens Motion LaceUpBlack85 XW US AjFr2GDpeo
), he had an entire Ege portfolio, the set titled “Original Leaves from Famous Bibles/ Nine Centuries 1121 – 1935 AD” (if you want to get technical about it, this particular example is a combination of Series A (200 sets of 37 leaves, issued in 1936) and Series B (100 sets of 60 leaves, issued in 1938) (see Gwara, p. 36)). Series B typically begins with four manuscript leaves, as described in the accompanying Broadside:

Original Leaves from Famous Bibles: Nine Centuries 1121-1935 AD, typical Broadside

The Broadside in this private collection, however, has been altered. Not only that, but it was edited by the hand of Louise Ege herself. This particular portfolio was probably purchased before Otto’s death in 1951, since he had once claimed that Series A had sold out by around 1940 (Gwara, p. 42). This set was likely acquired shortly before 1940, then, because by the time this set was purchased, certain leaves were already no longer available and Otto and Louise were offering substitutions. On the Broadside for this set, Louise notes, for example, that of leaf no. 4 (usually HL 54) there are only “a few left.” No. 2 (HL 59) was completely out of stock.

These substitutions are evident in the collection itself. No. 1 ( AmoonyFashion Womens Frosted KittenHeels SquareToe Solid Buckle PumpsShoes Black ZWnfd
, a leaf from an Armenian Bible) is present, but the second (and out-of-stock) leaf (HL 59) has been replaced by HL 76, an equally lovely but totally different specimen of a twelfth-century Bible, this one with marginal glossing. Even though the two manuscripts are completely different (a typical example of HL 59 shown below left, the replacement HL 76 below right), Otto and Louise didn’t change the label when they made the substitution, since the description was vague enough to suffice for either manuscript:

A typical example of HL 59
Ege HL 76 (substituted for HL 59), identified using the label for HL 59

The delicate thirteenth-century Italian Bible HL 58 serves as the third leaf, as expected.

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