Analysis

Why the Singapore model won’t work for the UK post-Brexit

The city state has a strange appeal to some Tories yet even its prime minister doubts its approach would work in Britain Patrick Wintour The Guardian The foreign secretary, Jeremy Hunt, on a visit to Singapore to learn how such a relatively isolated city state has become so successful is only the latest, but most explicit, of a long line of Tory ministers to extol it as the model for the UK post-Brexit. Quite how Singapore, an authoritarian state capitalist economy akin ... Read More »

America’s New Democracy Movement

While media coverage since the 2018 US midterm elections has focused squarely on Donald Trump, a growing movement of citizens and activists from across the political spectrum is thinking more broadly about the future of… Laura Tyson and Lenny Mendonca The Project Syndicate And progressive political reforms have been winning support in some unexpected places. BERKELEY – In last November’s US midterm elections, voters sent a clear message about the concerns weighing on their minds and the values they hold most ... Read More »

China’s Atlantean ambition for the South China Sea

Beijing’s futuristic plan for an artificial intelligence-driven deep-sea submarine base promises to churn the contested sea’s already volatile waters Richard Javad Heydarian Asia Times Αs Southeast Asian nations look ahead to 2019, competition for control of the South China Sea looms large on the horizon. That strategic contest could enter a new destabilizing phase if China introduces as reported a new Atlantis-like deep-sea submarine base in the already volatile maritime area. The proposed new base, which could in theory be ... Read More »

How to negotiate infrastructure deals with China: four things African governments need to get right

“You don’t negotiate with China !” I was quickly told when I started interviewing African public servants about their infrastructure deals with Beijing. Folashade Soule The Conversation There is a widespread view in Africa that you accept whatever terms are offered, for fear that the money might go somewhere else instead. China is the leading infrastructure finance provider on the continent – as demonstrated by a recent pledge of US$60 billion (£47 billion), most of which is for infrastructure projects. Big projects on the slate include hydropower plants ... Read More »

A Call to Arms at the Supreme Court

Conservative judges worry that the Second Amendment has become “a second-class right.” Linda Greenhouse The New York Times A specter is haunting the Supreme Court — disrespect for the Second Amendment. Perhaps you haven’t realized that the Supreme Court’s disinclination to expand on its landmark 2008 decision creating an individual right to gun ownership means that the justices are treating the… A “watered-down right.” A “disfavored right.” If you are unaware of these outlandish claims, then you haven’t tuned into the rising chorus of ... Read More »

Solar storm could cause trillions of damage to Earth – Bill Jamieson

Ultima Thule shows how much we need the Sun’s warmth, but we might be a bit too close for comfort with an estimated 12 per cent chance of a major solar storm between 2012 and 2022, writes Bill Jamieson. The Scotsman Chaos, risk, uncertainty: how these words have come to define our world. But such definitions shrink before the chaos and uncertainty of the planetary sort. The New Year opened with radio signals travelling some four billion miles from the ... Read More »

The President Who Wants to Break Up His Own Country

Once praised by Madeleine Albright as “a breath of fresh air,” Bosnia’s new president, Milorad Dodik, now threatens a fragile U.S.-brokered peace accord. Maxim Edwards The Atlantic SARAJEVO—Few national leaders would call their own country an “impossible state.” Fewer still would actively advocate for it to be broken up. Almost none would risk a decades-old peace accord to do so. And then there is Bosnia’s Milorad Dodik. “I am a Serb … Bosnia is only my place of employment,” Dodik ... Read More »

Can Anyone Succeed As Trump’s Chief of Staff?

It’s a near-impossible job. But here are a few basic rules Mick Mulvaney can follow to avoid disaster. Chris Whipple Politico It’s no wonder Mick Mulvaney, Donald Trump’s new White House chief of staff, wanted “acting” in his job title. James A. Baker III, Ronald Reagan’s quintessential gatekeeper, tells every incoming chief the same thing when asked for his advice: “Congratulations, you’ve got the worst f—ing job in government.” The position is so relentless and punishing that Dick Cheney blames ... Read More »

To feel happier, we have to resolve to the life we evolved to live

When we have to give a talk to a group of people, we feel anxious and experience the bodily fear responses that do not make sense now: The system is not meant to function in this safe context. Arash Javanbakht The Conversation As a psychiatrist specialized in anxiety and trauma, I often tell my patients and students that to understand how fear works in us, we have to see it in the context where it evolved. Ten thousand years ago, ... Read More »

Ending austerity: give everyone a pay rise

In 2018 real earnings were 4% below what they were in 2008 in the UK. The decade since the global financial crisis was a lost decade for British workers; their living standards have stagnated. Engelbert Stockhammer The Conversation Wages have not even kept up with inflation. This is in sharp contrast to numerous decades before 2008. For example, from 1998 to 2008 wages, adjusted for inflation, grew by 25%. For most households, wages are the most important source of income, ... Read More »

The Simplest Explanation Of Global Warming Ever

Let’s play pretend for a moment. Pretend, if you can, that you’ve never heard about the idea of global warming before. Pretend you’ve never heard anyone else’s opinions on the matter, including from politicians, scientists, friends or… Ethan Siegel Starts With A Bang Forbes Pretend that there are no related concerns, like the economy, our energy needs, or the environment. If you were going to make a genuine inquiry, there would instead be only two questions to ask and answer: is ... Read More »

Quantifying the Holocaust: Measuring murder rates during the Nazi genocide

Even though the Holocaust is one of the best documented genocides in a historical sense, there is surprisingly little quantitative data available, even on major critical events. Lewi Stone The Conversation What’s more, this history is often told in figures too large to comprehend on the human scale. Large numbers – like the infamous 6 million people murdered – obscure the significance of key operations that shaped this genocide, leaving instead just a… In a digital age, mathematics, data science ... Read More »

Finland’s grand AI experiment

Inside Finland’s plan to train its population in artificial intelligence. HELSINKI —  Jaana Partanen is not your typical AI programming geek. Janosch Delcker Politico Until a year ago, the 59-year-old dentist from the Finnish town of Mikkeli had no idea what to make of terms like “machine learning” or “neural networks.” Now, Partanen spends her evenings learning the basics of coding and she is thinking about how to apply artificial intelligence to her job, either to help write up medical ... Read More »

Is Venezuela Willing to Start a Caribean War?

The timing of Russia sending two long-range bombers to Venezuela earlier in December was Washington wondering what Caracas is thinking. Scott B. MacDonald The National Interest On December 22, 2018, the Bolivarian Navy of Venezuela ‘íntercepted” the ExxonMobil research ship, the Ramform Tethys, in the exclusive economic zone and continental shelf of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana. The ship is flagged by the government of Bahamas and was contracted to to contact seismic work by ExxonMobil and has a crew ... Read More »

The U.S. Marine Corps Might Have a New Way to Sink Chinese Warships (And the F-35 Could Help)

“Imagine a Chinese flotilla sailing toward some remote island group near Japan or The Philippines during some near-future war. A Marine rocket battery could quickly deploy to one island aboard Marine or… David Axe The National Interest The U.S. Marine Corps is practicing a new method of speeding firepower across a war zone. And that could have big implications for America’s military strategy in the western Pacific. On Dec. 7, 2018, Marines with Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron 352 hauled two M142 ... Read More »

NASA spacecraft completes farthest flyby in history. What’s next?

Scientists at last have their first good look at a primordial piece of the solar system orbiting more than four billion miles away. Michael Greshko National Geographic Laurel, MarylandOn the final evening of 2018, the biggest New Year’s Eve party in the solar system unfolded across four billion miles of space. At 12:33 a.m. ET on January 1, NASA’s New Horizons probe flew by a small lump of rock and ice called 2014 MU69. Also nicknamed Ultima Thule (UL-tee-ma TOO-le), ... Read More »