Abused by Hope
October 19, 2010
Famine and Foreigners: Ethiopia Since Live Aid By Peter Gill (Oxford University Press, 280 pp., $27.95) In the fall of 1994, James P. Grant, the executive director of UNICEF, sent a message in the name of his agency to the upcoming Cairo conference on population and development, in which he declared that the world had within its grasp the means to solve “the problems of poverty, population, and environmental degradation that feed off of one another in a downward spiral [bringing] instability and strife in its wake.” Grant was a great man, a giant of the development world.
August 13, 2010
Things worth checking out around the web: The time required to start a business would seem to be a basic metric of global competitiveness. Check Charts Bin’s map based on World Bank data and note that business start ups in Suriname must be approved by the president, hence the nearly two year wait. The Center for Neighborhood Technology has a nice data visualization tool for their Housing + Transportation Affordability index. Wonder what the second largest road project funded by the stimulus bill (ARRA) is? (The largest is the DFW Connector in the Dallas-Ft.
Will a hotter climate mean more immigration? In some places, yes, that's quite possible. Earlier this week, a team of researchers led by Princeton's Michael Oppenheimer published a study suggesting that as global warming causes agricultural yields in Mexico to decline, an additional 1.4 million to 6.7 million Mexicans could migrate to the United States by 2080. (The team analyzed data on emigration, crop yields, and climate from 1995 to 2005 in order to make their forecasts.) As always, caveats abound. The social consequences of global warming are always the hardest things to predict.
May 14, 2010
If you've been following developments in Darfur, then you know the situation is dire. Last month, the U.N. reported that fighting between the Sudanese army and an obscure rebel faction rendered the Jebel Marra region in southern Darfur inaccessible to humanitarian aid, cutting off some 100,000 Darfuris who had relied on aid agencies for food, water, and medical care.
Too Much Trash? Try Giant Deodorant Guns
March 29, 2010
Can't imagine anything going wrong with this plan: Beijing is to install 100 deodorant guns at a stinking landfill site on the edge of the city in a bid to dampen complaints about the capital's rubbish crisis. ... Beijing's waste problem—and China's—is expanding as fast as its economy, at about 8% each year. With millions more people now able to afford Starbucks, McDonald's, Kentucky Fried Chicken and other elements of a western, throwaway lifestyle, the landfill sites and illegal tips that ring the capital are close to overflowing. Granted, deodorant guns aren't the only option out there.
Export Promotion, American Style
March 16, 2010
This past summer, National Economic Council Director Larry Summers laid out a new vision for the next American economy: one that is export-oriented, low-carbon, innovation-fueled, and opportunity-rich. Dr.
When Space Weather Attacks (Apocalypse Edition)
March 24, 2009
It's true, this blog hawks a lot of different apocalyptic scenarios. They help us get out of bed in the morning. Some of our doomsday worries are well-founded (rising global temperatures, say), while some are less worth obsessing about hourly (giant asteroids, supervolcanoes). But how should we rank this cataclysm-in-waiting? It is midnight on 22 September 2012 and the skies above Manhattan are filled with a flickering curtain of colourful light. Few New Yorkers have seen the aurora this far south but their fascination is short-lived.
War at Home
March 19, 2007
Of all the depressing ways that the war in Vietnam has been replayed in Iraq—the failed architect of the war being promoted to World Bank chief, the failed ground commander being promoted to Army chief of staff, congressional Democrats reverting to Vietnam-type, the whole rotten litany—nothing can top the belated dispatch to Iraq of David Petraeus, a general who actually knows what he's doing.
March 15, 2007
Bradford Plumer: Inside the evangelical war over climate change.
January 22, 2007
Each morning, as the sun rises over the streets of Baghdad, the bodies appear—burned, slashed, drilled, sometimes handcuffed, and, as often as not, decapitated. Many are the victims of sectarian violence, but this depressingly familiar fate does not account for all of them. There are also the bodies of Iraqi liberals, U.S. Army translators, and others who were killed for their association with the Americans.