An excellent video that will make you an expert on what has happened with Syria.
"The legendary statistical showman Professor Hans Rosling returns with a feast of facts and figures as he examines the extraordinary target the world commits to this week - to eradicate extreme poverty worldwide. In the week the United Nations presents its new goals for global development, Don't Panic - How to End Poverty in 15 Years looks at the number one goal for the world: eradicating, for the first time in human history, what is called extreme poverty - the condition of almost a billion people, currently measured as those living on less than $1.25 a day.
Rosling uses holographic projection technology to wield his iconic bubble graphs and income mountains to present an upbeat assessment of our ability to achieve that goal by 2030. Eye-opening, funny and data-packed performances make Rosling one of the world's most sought-after and influential speakers. He brings to life the global challenge, interweaving powerful statistics with dramatic human stories from Africa and Asia. In Malawi, the rains have failed as Dunstar and Jenet harvest their maize. How many hunger months will they face when it runs out? In Cambodia, Srey Mao is about to give birth to twins but one is upside-down. She's had to borrow money to pay the medical bills. Might this happy event throw her family back into extreme poverty?
The data show that recent global progress is "the greatest story of our time - possibly the greatest story in all of human history". Hans concludes by showing why eradicating extreme poverty quickly will be easier than slowly.
Don't Panic - How To End Poverty In 15 Years follows Rosling's previous award-winning BBC productions Don't Panic - The Truth About Population and The Joy Of Stats."
Atlantic Cities: White People Aren't Driving Growth in the Suburbs
"The decline of white suburbia has already begun. ...
... For the Brookings Institution, Frey explains that white populations accounted for just 9 percent of the population growth of the suburbs (in the 100 largest metro areas) between 2000 and 2010. The Metropolitan Policy Program at Brookings just launched a fascinating map that shows where white cities and suburbs gained and lost populations. It shows that some metro areas are already breaking from the population pattern that has fueled the last half-century of growth: white losses in cities, white gains in suburbs."
New York Times: A Call to Look Past Sustainable Development - Eduardo Porter
If billions of impoverished humans are not offered a shot at genuine development, the environment will not be saved. And that requires not just help in financing low-carbon energy sources, but also a lot of new energy, period. Offering a solar panel for every thatched roof is not going to cut it.
“We shouldn’t be talking about 10 villages that got power for a light bulb,” said Joyashree Roy, a professor of economics at Jadavpur University in India who was among the leaders of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that won the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize.
“What we should be talking about,” she said, “is how the village got a power connection for a cold storage facility or an industrial park.”
Changing the conversation will not be easy. Our world of seven billion people — expected to reach 11 billion by the end of the century — will require an entirely different environmental paradigm....
... The “eco-modernists” propose economic development as an indispensable precondition to preserving the environment. Achieving it requires dropping the goal of “sustainable development,” supposedly in harmonious interaction with nature, and replacing it with a strategy to shrink humanity’s footprint by using nature more intensively.
“Natural systems will not, as a general rule, be protected or enhanced by the expansion of humankind’s dependence upon them for sustenance and well-being,” they wrote.
To mitigate climate change, spare nature and address global poverty requires nothing less, they argue, than “intensifying many human activities — particularly farming, energy extraction, forestry and settlement — so that they use less land and interfere less with the natural world.”
As Mr. Shellenberger put it, the world would have a better shot at saving nature “by decoupling from nature rather than coupling with it.”
This new framework favors a very different set of policies than those now in vogue. Eating the bounty of small-scale, local farming, for example, may be fine for denizens of Berkeley and Brooklyn. But using it to feed a world of nine billion people would consume every acre of the world’s surface. Big Agriculture, using synthetic fertilizers and modern production techniques, could feed many more people using much less land and water.
As the manifesto notes, as much as three-quarters of all deforestation globally occurred before the Industrial Revolution, when humanity was supposedly in harmony with Mother Nature. Over the last half century, the amount of land required for growing crops and animal feed per average person declined by half. …
… Development would allow people in the world’s poorest countries to move into cities — as they did decades ago in rich nations — and get better educations and jobs. Urban living would accelerate demographic transitions, lowering infant mortality rates and allowing fertility rates to decline, taking further pressure off the planet.
“By understanding and promoting these emergent processes, humans have the opportunity to re-wild and re-green the Earth — even as developing countries achieve modern living standards, and material poverty ends,” the manifesto argues. …
Read the whole thing. Decoupling is essential. We have already seen this with land use. We are using no more land for agriculture in the United States than we were 100 years ago. Before that time it took a fixed amount of land to feed each person. That same decoupling is developing worldwide but it could be accelerated. The amount of energy consumed per unit of GDP has now begun to decline. We see this decoupling with other resources. Add a move to solar and nuclear power in combination with decoupling and we have a real chance to drive down carbon emissions drastically.
I haven't yet read the whole EcoModernist Manifesto linked in the article, but the parameters and reasoning laid here is the best articulation of my views on economic development and sustainability that I have read.
Wall Street Journal: Global Life Expectancy Increases by About Six Years
Study in Lancet Says Rise Is Result of Dramatic Health-Care Advances
... The rise in global life expectancy is mainly the result of dramatic advances in health care. In richer countries longer lifespans are spurred by a big drop in deaths related to heart disease, while poorer countries have seen big declines in the death of children from ailments such as pneumonia, diarrhea and malaria. ...
Business Insider: OK, Haters, It's Time To Admit It: The World Is Becoming A Better Place
The article includes this graph:
Then this one about poverty:
There are many other graphs that could be shown about a host of important social indicators but the article closes with the most important one: life expectancy. Improvements in life expectancy require that a wide range of variables move in a positive direction and for that reason an improvement in life expectancy is often a proxy for overall well-being.
The author closes with:
So complain all you want about how horrible everything is. There's certainly a lot left to fix. But as you complain, remember:
The world is getting better all the time.
Business Insider: Dying Young Is Quickly Becoming A Thing Of The Past
It shows the risk of dying at any given age, with the lighter-colored line representing the risk in 1970 and the darker line representing the risk in 2010. In 1970, people had a 28% chance of dying before they turned 50. By 2010, that risk had been cut in half. For children under five, the news is even better: mortality dropped from 14% in 1970 all the way down to 5% in 2010.
When it comes to understanding inequality, the debate is frequently encumbered with a multitude of misunderstandings about data. When talking about wealth inequality, we see statements like “85 people own more wealth than the bottom half of humanity.” Wealth is routinely misunderstood to mean the money and things someone owns. It isn’t. Wealth is someone’s total assets minus their liabilities. It is common to have negative wealth. The peasant farmer in rural China who has managed to save $200 and is debt free, is “wealthier” than the high-income young M. D. who has a negative net worth due to substantial student loans (i.e., she owes more than she presently owns.) I recently wrote about this in The World’s Bottom 10%: 7.5% Live in North America and None Live in China … And Other True But Worthless Facts.
Then there is the constant citation of growing inequality in pre-tax and pre-transfer income in the U. S. (usually just stated as “income”), and the need to rectify it through redistribution. But if you only look at pre-tax and pre-transfer income, no amount of redistribution will have one penny of impact. We could transfer $100,000 to every household in the bottom half the income distribution and it wouldn’t matter because it would be income after taxes and after transfers. When we look at after-tax and after-transfer income, we see that there has been little change in inequality between those at the 95th percentile and those at the 20th percentile for the last twenty years. See my post, Is Income Inequality Really the Problem? It Depends on What You Call Income.
Today, Arnold Kling reviews Chasing the American Dream by sociologists Mark Robert Rank, Thomas A. Hirschl, and Kirk A. Foster. (See Kling's post: The Longitude of Well-Being) He cites a stat that shows that homeownership rates have remained fairly constant at about 67%. Kling then asks you what percentage of Americans aged 55 have owned a home? A) 50%, B) 70%, and C) 90%. Kling says he would have guessed 70% when in fact it is 90%. The 67% number is a cross-sectional piece of data, taking a “snapshot” of homeownership at a given point in time. The 90% number is a longitudinal piece of data, taking a “video” of homeownership for over a period of time.
… the question that I asked concerns what demographers refer to as longitudinal information. If you follow given individuals over a long period, what sort of cumulative outcomes will you observe? In particular, over a lifetime, how many people will at some point own a home? To answer a longitudinal question, you need to use longitudinal data. To instead use time-series cross-section data risks making serious errors.
Most of the conventional wisdom about relative economic well-being, including the famous studies by Thomas Piketty and Emmanuel Saez, commits the time-series cross-section fallacy. Rank, Hirschl, and Foster did not set out to debunk this fallacy or to attack the many economists guilty of it. Instead, they took what seemed to them a natural approach for studying the evolution of wealth and poverty: longitudinal data. The result, in my reading, is that, like the boy in the fable, they have in an innocent, unintended fashion exposed statistical nakedness among many economists who are regarded as experts on the topic of inequality.
Once you think about it, the truth about homeownership rates makes sense. At some point in our lives, nearly all of us have been renters. In addition, most of us are likely to "downsize" as we grow older, and in the process many of us may choose to rent.
Kling moves on to the authors’ discussion of how many years a household spends in poverty or in affluence between ages 25 and 60. Kling offers an interesting alternative.
I would be interested in what the data show if, rather than looking at the extremes, one does the opposite. That is, throw out each household's lowest and highest three years of income. For the remaining years of income, take the average relative to the poverty line. If this average is below 150 percent of the poverty line, call it low. If it is above 500 percent of the poverty line (which works out to about 200 percent of the median), call it high. Then calculate the proportion of households that have high, medium, and low incomes by this longitudinal measure.
This would produce a very different breakdown. For instance, suppose that, rather than quitting my job to start an Internet business, I had kept working and that my salary had continued to increase gradually until I reached age 50. In that case, under the authors' measure, our household would be in the bottom of the income distribution, because of the "poverty" of my graduate school years and my failure to achieve the income level that they require for "affluence." However, using my approach, my household would have been somewhere in the vicinity of the boundary between high-income and middle-income. That seems much more reasonable to me.
Overall, as with homeownership data, the longitudinal view of income paints a picture in which life-cycle variation and idiosyncratic factors play a role. This role is overlooked in discussions of inequality that commit the time-series cross-section fallacy.
As I read Kling’s piece, I began to wonder how many people have had pimples. My guess is that the answer approaches 100%. Yet we don’t see headlines about acne being experienced by more than 90% of people at least one year in their lives. We understand that for most people this is a temporary life-stage issue. The universe of people for whom acne is an ongoing problem is much smaller. The same is true with poverty. I’m intrigued by Kling’s idea of discarding outliers and looking at 90% of the data between the outliers.
The reality is that no one set of data, or particular lens, can tell us the whole picture about issues like poverty and inequality. We must look at the issues from multiple angles to get to the truth. But it is incumbent on us to be cognizant of what lens we are using at any given time and what that lens is actually showing; in this case, knowing the difference between a snapshot and a video.
Business Insider: These Staggering Maps Shows How Much The World's Population Is Aging
Dirty air killed an alarming 7 million people – or, one of every eight human lives lost – in 2012, according to new estimates released today by the World Health Organization (WHO).
n 2010, air pollution ranked as the fourth leading preventable health risk, behind poor diet, high blood pressure and tobacco smoke, according to a major study funded by the Gates Foundation.
Indoor air pollution, primarily caused by burning solid fuels for heating and cooking, accounted for slightly more than half – 4.3 million – of those deaths in 2012.
Outdoor air pollution accounted for the remaining 3.7 million deaths. ...
2014 Gates Annual Letter: 3 Myths the Block Progress for the Poor
"By almost any measure, the world is better than it has ever been. People are living longer, healthier lives. Many nations that were aid recipients are now self-sufficient. You might think that such striking progress would be widely celebrated, but in fact, Melinda and I are struck by how many people think the world is getting worse. The belief that the world can’t solve extreme poverty and disease isn’t just mistaken. It is harmful. That’s why in this year’s letter we take apart some of the myths that slow down the work. The next time you hear these myths, we hope you will do the same." - Bill Gates
I sometimes have issues with Gates' optimism about aid but I think he does a fairly balanced job in this piece. There were also two graphs that I really liked. They demonstrate once again how misugided so many doomsayers are. There is reason for hope. How can we get more of this good stuff to happen better and faster, in sustainable ways is the big question.
Almost five years ago I did a series of posts on Bill Bishop's book The Big Sort. (Series here) Bishop explains that for at least thirty years we have been sorting ourselves into enclaves of polarized groups, even physically locating ourselves with others who think and live like us. But the big question is why?
Avi Tuschman has a piece in The Atlantic that has some interesting ideas, Why Americans Are So Polarized: Education and Evolution. The lead reads: "Improvements in learning—which correlates with stronger partisanship—and the tendency to choose likeminded mates may be helping to create divided politics."
"... The dynamics that fuel the Big Sort accelerated in the second half of the 20th century, coinciding with a massive increase in education. Between 1960 and 2008, for instance, the proportion of women with bachelor’s degrees nearly quintupled. The dramatic rise in educational attainment has a couple of unexpected side effects. For one, research shows that higher education has a polarizing effect on people: Highly educated liberals become more liberal, while highly educated conservatives grow more conservative. Second, people with college degrees enjoy greater freedoms, including social and geographic mobility. During the 1980s and 1990s, 45 percent of college-educated Americans moved to a new state within five years of graduation, compared with only 19 percent of their counterparts who had only a high-school diploma.
Meanwhile, evolutionary forces are pulling these more mobile, like-minded individuals together, because our political orientations play a key role in our choice of a mate. In society as a whole, spouses tend to resemble one another—at least a bit more than they would if coupling occurred at random—on most biometric and social traits. These traits include everything from skin color to earlobe size to income to major personality dimensions like Extraversion. Most of these statistical relationships are quite weak. But one of the strongest of all correlations between spouses by far is between their political orientations (0.65, to be precise). Spouses tend to have similar attitudes on moral issues like school prayer and abortion not because they converge over time, but rather because “birds of a feather flock together.” Biologists call this assortative mating. ...
I think he is on to something. I think he is also correct when he writes:
... The silver lining to these gloomy findings is that our ideological positions are not set in stone. Only about half of the variance in political orientations comes from genetic differences between individuals; the rest comes from the environment. So it’s certainly possible to transcend the attitudes that threaten to divide us. The first steps in doing so are to understand our political nature, develop realistic expectations about ideological diversity, and make a renewed commitment to pragmatism over ideology."
I think Tuschman is on to something. From my perspective, I find myself asking what role the church plays in all of this. Seems to me the church just mirrors what is happening in society and Christians on the left and right are quite content with that.
This is just fantastic! Hans Rosling pulls together many of his various presentations over recent years and melds them into a one hour long presentation about the astonishing way our world is improving while pointing to challenges that lie ahead. I know this long but if you watch this closely and learn, you will be well positioned to accurately reflect on the alarmist claims of environmentalists, neo-cons, and a host of other ideologies. If I were teaching a class on demography or economic development, this video would be the first hour of the first class of the semester.
I still hear many people today talk about the "Third World." It refers to those nations that were poor and not aligned with either the Western capitalism (First World) or the communist world (Second World.) The Third World has vanished and it is time to bury the term. The world’s nations and populations exist on a continuum and there are now multiple poles, not two, shaping the world. Furthermore, the story is not one of descent into global dystopia but one of rising prosperity. It is hard to meaningfully address contemporary problems with antiquated frameworks.
It’s time to develop a new framework for assessing the post-Cold War, post-9/11 world. ...
... The three worlds used to be capitalist, communist, and the rest. Now they are the West, the failed states, and the emerging challengers. But that's still too simple a view. A small and declining number of developing countries are charity cases. And none are competitors with us in a zero-sum game. Rather than dividing most of the planet into two threatening classes, we need to see states of the developing world as vital partners—both in strengthening the global economy and in preserving the global environment. ...
... Given that much of the world only makes headlines when it is in the midst of a humanitarian crisis and U.S. assistance is on the way, it isn’t surprising that the average American thinks things are going to hell in a handbasket: a recent survey of Americans found that two thirds believe extreme poverty worldwide has doubled over the past 20 years. The truth is that it has more than halved. This might also explain why Americans think that 28 percent of the federal budget goes to foreign aid—more than 28 times the actual share.
According to the World Bank, the developing world as a whole has seen average incomes rise from $1,000 in 1980 to $2,300 in 2011. Life expectancy at birth has increased from 60 to 69 years over that same time, and college enrollment has climbed from 6 to 23 percent of the college-age population. Progress is happening everywhere, including Africa: Six of the world’s 10 fastest-growing economies over the past decade are in Africa. There were no inter-state conflicts in the world in 2013 and, despite tragic violence in countries including Syria and Afghanistan, the number of ongoing civil wars has dropped considerably over the last three decades. Emerging markets themselves are also playing an ever-expanding role in ensuring global security. The developing world is the major source for blue-helmeted UN peacekeepers, who are ending wars and preserving stability in 16 different operations worldwide. The 20 biggest contributors of police and military personnel to the UN’s 96,887 peacekeepers are developing countries. ...
Very interesting piece. For more data, see yesterday's post, The (Mostly) Improving State of the World.
Washington Post: 40 charts that explain the world
Our friend and colleague Max Fisher over at Worldviews has posted another 40 maps that explain the world, building on his original classic of the genre. But this is Wonkblog. We're about charts. And one of the great things about charts is that they show not just how things are -- but how they're changing.
So we searched for charts that would tell not just the story of how the world is -- but where it's going. Some of these charts are optimistic, like the ones showing huge gains in life expectancy in poorer nations. Some are more worryisome -- wait till you see the one on endangered species. But together they tell a story of a world that's changing faster than at arguably any other time in human history. ...
As the author notes, we have challenges but we hardly descending into some global dystopia. I think these charts give a pretty holistic view. Here are a three examples.
It was commonly believed that primitive societies were more peaceful and that modern civilization gave rise to unprecedented violence. This chart compares death rates by war in primitive societies as calculated by anthropologists to the death rates for Europe/USA in the 20th century.
And then there is this:
The graphs point to environmental protection and adaptation as the biggest problems in the days ahead. Those challenges are not insurmountable. Energy sources like natural gas and nuclear power can be used in the interim on the way to practical renewable technologies. Genetically modified crops can help to reduce water consumption, increase yield, and improve hardiness. Innovations in fields like biotechnology, nanotechnology, and 3-D printing hold the promise of revolutionizing the world economy into a less wasteful and more affordable human existence for everyone. There is work to do but there is also much reason for hope of a better world.
Jan 16, 2014 in Demography, Economic Development, Economics, Environment, Generations & Trends, Globalization, Health, Poverty, Religion, Science, Sociology, Technology (Biotech & Health), Technology (Digital, Telecom, & Web), Technology (Energy), Technology (Food & Water), Technology (Manufacturing & Construction)), Technology (Transportation & Distribution), Weatlh and Income Distribution | Permalink | Comments (0)
Atlantic Cities: Charting the Life Expectancies of the World's Countries
What's the best nation in the world to live in if you enjoy, ya know, staying alive?
That would be Monaco, where a person born in 2013 can expect to live on average up to age 90. Conversely, the worst place to be born last year in terms of suffering an early death is Chad, where the typical life stops a year before one's 50th birthday.
These insights are crammed with dozens of others into "Life Expectancy at Birth," a fascinating new visualization from data artist Marcelo Duhalde. ...
These maps are four years old but for some reason Upworthy decided to resurrect them. Interesting stuff. And it is from my graduate alma mater Kansas State University.
On of the things I noticed was a strong streak of morality running from the upper Great Plains southeastward toward the Mid-Atlantic states. Looks to me like there is a wealth of social science research in the making based on these maps. Here is the one for greed.
... It remains to be found out how many people, if you asked them, would say that they had moved or wanted to move because of politics. Liberals threaten to every four years if the Republican presidential candidate wins, but few actually make good on it.
But other political scientists have noticed that Americans are tending to move into jurisdictions that share their worldviews and can become uncomfortable when they don't fit in.
"The structure of a place cannot only shape political attitudes. It can also attract very different kinds of people," Torben Luetjen, a German political scientist who has been studying liberal and conservative enclaves in Wisconsin. "America has split into closed and radically separated enclaves that follow their own constructions of reality."
This short video gives a wonderful presentation of declining fertility rates over the past fifty years and explains what falling fertility rates mean for the world. Go to the website here: The Baby Bust
Tufts Magazine: Up in Arms
... What’s less well appreciated is how much the incidence of violence, like so many salient issues in American life, varies by region. Beyond a vague awareness that supporters of violent retaliation and easy access to guns are concentrated in the states of the former Confederacy and, to a lesser extent, the western interior, most people cannot tell you much about regional differences on such matters. Our conventional way of defining regions—dividing the country along state boundaries into a Northeast, Midwest, Southeast, Southwest, and Northwest—masks the cultural lines along which attitudes toward violence fall. These lines don’t respect state boundaries. To understand violence or practically any other divisive issue, you need to understand historical settlement patterns and the lasting cultural fissures they established.
The original North American colonies were settled by people from distinct regions of the British Isles—and from France, the Netherlands, and Spain—each with its own religious, political, and ethnographic traits. For generations, these Euro-American cultures developed in isolation from one another, consolidating their cherished religious and political principles and fundamental values, and expanding across the eastern half of the continent in nearly exclusive settlement bands. Throughout the colonial period and the Early Republic, they saw themselves as competitors—for land, capital, and other settlers—and even as enemies, taking opposing sides in the American Revolution, the War of 1812, and the Civil War.
There’s never been an America, but rather several Americas—each a distinct nation. There are eleven nations today. Each looks at violence, as well as everything else, in its own way.
The precise delineation of the eleven nations—which I have explored at length in my latest book, American Nations—is original to me, but I’m certainly not the first person to observe that such national divisions exist. ...
I just ordered the book. Looks fascinating!
Conversation: Fewer people won’t save the planet, behaving better will
"... Does the earth have too many people for its own good? Can another three or four billion be added (the current United Nations projection for 2100) without fatally harming the planet?
The issue is not one of how many people the planet can support, but how wastefully and aggressively those people act.
Ten thousand years ago, with less than five million people on the Earth, large animals were already being hunted to extinction by aggressive humans. It was the domestication of plants and animals that filled the world with both humans and large herbivores. Today, with seven billion people, these herds of pigs and cattle satisfy our ever-growing demand for meat.
Untouched wilderness seems scarcer (although national parks in the US remain much as they were a century ago, once you leave the concession stands and roadside attractions). But true wilderness, untouched by humans, on Amazon rainforest and American plains ceased to exist thousands of years ago when human populations were a tiny fraction of what they are today. Native Americans burned, dug, and reshaped the forests and plains to suit their needslong before Columbus brought guns and horses to the New World.
Won’t too many people drain food supplies, produce poverty and damage the climate? Again, it is not the number of people but how they act that matters. Food supplies are fine – it is food distribution that is the problem. ...
... Fears of climate change now reverberate widely. But again, the problem is not too many people. ...
... People who fear overpopulation commit the fallacy of simply multiplying faults – they take the most harmful and wasteful actions of any set of people today and multiply it by the growing number of people in the world. ...
... Doing away with billions of people is no substitute for doing away with the vices in people’s behaviour. Instead we need to pursue cleaner, healthier, and more ecologically sound lifestyles and ways of satisfying our needs. For that we need more, not less, creative and passionate people to guide us to a better future. The planet can handle it, if we improve how we handle ourselves. ...
What an excellent essay!
Click on the graph to start the animation.
USA Today: U.N.: World population to reach 8.1B in 2025
UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The United Nations forecast Thursday that the world's population will increase from 7.2 billion today to 8.1 billion in 2025, with most growth in developing countries and more than half in Africa. By 2050, it will reach 9.6 billion.
India's population is expected to surpass China's around 2028 when both countries will have populations of around 1.45 billion, according to the report on "World Population Prospects." While India's population is forecast to grow to around 1.6 billion and then slowly decline to 1.5 billion in 2100, China's is expected to start decreasing after 2030, possibly falling to 1.1 billion in 2100, it said.
The report found global fertility rates are falling rapidly, though not nearly fast enough to avoid a significant population jump over the next decades. In fact, the U.N. revised its population projection upward since its last report two years ago, mostly due to higher fertility projections in the countries with the most children per women. The previous projection had the global population reaching 9.3 billion people in 2050. ...
Atlantic Cities: The Geography of Hunger in America
"The U.S. Department of Agriculture defines food-insecure homes as those households that don't regularly have access to enough to eat for an active, healthy life, and the problem is more pervasive in rural America than in cities. ..."
Food Insecurity Rates
This chart explains why many demographers worry about a population bust, not a population bomb. Replacement rate fertility is 2.1. In country after country, economic development has led to declining fertility rates but the rates drop right past 2.1 into population decline. Some countries in Europe have rates in the 1.0-1.5 range. Assuming there are not reversals in low fertility countries, and assuming the global trend follows the lead of developed nations, about thirty years from now there are going to be significant economic problems. Some are already becoming evident in countries that have had prolonged low fertility.
Source: Carpe Diem
New Geography: The Triumph of Suburbia
A lengthy piece. This analysis was particularly interesting:
... Ultimately the question of growth revolves around the preferences of consumers. Despite predictions that the rise of singles, an aging population and the changing preferences of millennials will create a glut of 22 million unwanted large-lot homes by 2025, it seems more likely that three critical groups will fuel demand for more suburban housing.
Between 2000 and 2011, there has been a net increase of 9.3 million in the foreign born population, largely from Asia and Latin America, with these newcomers accounting for about two out of every five new residents of the nation’s 51 largest metropolitan areas. And these immigrants show a growing preference for more “suburbanized” cities such as Nashville, Charlotte, Houston and Dallas-Fort Worth. An analysis of census data shows only New York—with nearly four times the population—drew (barely) more foreign-born arrivals over the past decade than sprawling Houston. Overwhelmingly suburban Riverside–San Bernardino expanded its immigrant population by nearly three times as many people as the much larger and denser Los Angeles–Orange County metropolitan area.
Clearly, immigrants aren’t looking for the density and crowding of Mexico City, Seoul, Shanghai, or Mumbai. Since 2000, about two-thirds of Hispanic household growth was in detached housing. The share of Asian arrivals in detached housing is up 20 percent over the same span. Nearly half of all Hispanics and Asians now live in single-family homes, even in traditionally urban places like New York City, according to the census’s American Community Survey.
Nowhere are these changes more marked than among Asians, who now make up the nation’s largest wave of new immigrants. Over the last decade, the Asian population in suburbs grew by about 2.8 million, or 53 percent, while that of core cities grew by 770,000, or 28 percent.
Aging boomers, too, continue to show a preference for space, despite the persistent urban legend that they will migrate back to the core city. Again, the numbers tell a very different story.
A National Association of Realtors survey last year of buyers over 65 found that the vast majority looked for suburban homes. Of the remaining seniors, only one in 10 looked for a place in the city—less than the share that wanted a rural home. When demographer Wendell Cox examined the cohort that was 54 to 65 in 2000 to see where they were a decade later, the share that lived in the suburbs was stable, while many had left the city—the real growth was people moving to the countryside. Within metropolitan areas, more than 99 percent of the increase in population among people aged 65 and over between 2000 and 2010 was in low-density counties with less than 2,500 people per square mile.
With the over-65 population expected to double by 2050, making it by far America’s fastest-growing age group, they appear poised to be a significant source of demand for suburban housing.
But arguably the most critical element to future housing demand is the rising millennial generation. It has been widely asserted by retro-urbanists that young people prefer urban living. Urban theorists such as Peter Katz have maintained that millennials (the generation born after 1983) have little interest in “returning to the cul-de-sacs of their teenage years.”
To bolster their assertions, retro-urbanist point to stated-preference research showing that more than three quarters of millennials say they “want to live in urban cores.” But looking at where millenials actually live now—and where they see themselves living in the future—shows a very different story. In the nation's major metropolitan areas, only 8 percent of residents aged 20 to 24 (the only millennial adult age group for which census data is available) live in the highest-density counties—and that share has declined from a decade earlier. What’s more, 43 percent of millenials describe the suburbs as their “ideal place to live”—a greater share than their older peers—and 82 percent of adult millenials say it’s “important” to them to have an opportunity to own their home.
And, of course, as people get older and take on commitments and start families, they tend to look for more settled, and less dense, environments. A 2009 Pew study found that 45 percent of Americans 18 to 34 would like to live in New York City, compared with just 14 percent of those over 35. As about 7 million more millenials—a group the Pew surveys show desire children and place a premium on being good parents—hit their 30s by 2020, expect their remaining attachment to the city to wane.
This family connection has always eluded the retro-urbanists. “Suburbs,” Jane Jacobs once wrote, “must be difficult places to raise children.” Yet suburbs have served for three generation now as the nation’s nurseries. Jacobs’s treatment of the old core city—particularly her Greenwich Village in the early 1960s—lovingly portrayed these places as they once were, characterized by class, age, and some ethnic diversity along with strong parental networks, often based on ethnic solidarity.
To say the least, this is not what characterizes Greenwich Village or in Manhattan today. In fact, many of the most vibrant, and high-priced urban cores—including Manhattan, San Francisco, Chicago, and Seattle—have remarkably few children living there. Certainly, the the 300-square-foot “micro-units” now all the rage among the retro-urbanist set seem unlikely to attract more families, or even married couples. ...
New York Times: Suicide Rates Rise Sharply in U.S.
Suicide rates among middle-aged Americans have risen sharply in the past decade, prompting concern that a generation of baby boomers who have faced years of economic worry and easy access to prescription painkillers may be particularly vulnerable to self-inflicted harm.
More people now die of suicide than in car accidents, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which published the findings in Friday’s issue of its Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. In 2010 there were 33,687 deaths from motor vehicle crashes and 38,364 suicides.
Suicide has typically been viewed as a problem of teenagers and the elderly, and the surge in suicide rates among middle-aged Americans is surprising.
From 1999 to 2010, the suicide rate among Americans ages 35 to 64 rose by nearly 30 percent, to 17.6 deaths per 100,000 people, up from 13.7. Although suicide rates are growing among both middle-aged men and women, far more men take their own lives. The suicide rate for middle-aged men was 27.3 deaths per 100,000, while for women it was 8.1 deaths per 100,000.
The most pronounced increases were seen among men in their 50s, a group in which suicide rates jumped by nearly 50 percent, to about 30 per 100,000. For women, the largest increase was seen in those ages 60 to 64, among whom rates increased by nearly 60 percent, to 7.0 per 100,000. ...
This map comes from: How Survey Data Helped the Federal Reserve Make a Regional Map of the United States
Look at the center of this map, at the little red dot that marks Kansas City. Technically, Kansas City is at the edge of Missouri, but here on this map it's in the upper middle section of a bigger space with strong blue borders. We don't have a name for this bigger space yet, but soon we will.
I would call it, for the moment, "The Part Of America Kansas City Hangs
With" because that's what this map is saying. It's a new, intriguing way
to see our country. This one was built by tracking dollar bill
circulation. There've been similar maps built from phone call data. The
idea here is to show America not as 50 states, but as regions where people do stuff together. In other words, a "Whom Do You Hang With?" map. ...
This took reminded of the book Nine Nations of North America, though they are clearly using different metrics.
1. Scientific American has some interesting thoughts on How Your Language Affects Your Wealth and Health
... Different languages have different ways of talking about the future. Some languages, such as English, Korean, and Russian, require their speakers to refer to the future explicitly. Every time English-speakers talk about the future, they have to use future markers such as “will” or “going to.” In other languages, such as Mandarin, Japanese, and German, future markers are not obligatory. The future is often talked about similar to the way present is talked about and the meaning is understood from the context. A Mandarin speaker who is going to go to a seminar might say “Wo qu ting jiangzuo,” which translates to “I go listen seminar.” Languages such as English constantly remind their speakers that future events are distant. For speakers of languages such as Mandarin future feels closer. As a consequence, resisting immediate impulses and investing for the future is easier for Mandarin speakers. ...
2.Fair Trade 2.0? Coffee’s Economics, Rewritten by Farmers
3. R. J. Moeller qutoes from John Mackey's (Whole Foods CEO) new book:
“Capitalism has a purpose beyond just making money. I think the critics of capitalism have got it in this very small box. That it’s all about money. It’s based in being greedy, selfish and exploitative. And yet, I haven’t found it to be that way. Most of the hundreds of entrepreneurs I know and have met did not start their business primarily out of a desire to make money. Not that there’s anything wrong with making money. My body cannot function unless it produces red-blood cells. No red-blood cells and I’m a dead man. But that’s not the purpose of my life.
Similarly, a business cannot exist unless it produces a profit . . . but that’s not the only reason it exists.”
4. David Henderson with thoughts on economic impact of marriage: "Get Married and Stay Married"
When I was writing a review of Dwight Lee's and Richard McKenzie's excellent book, Getting Rich in America: 8 Simple Rules for Building a Fortune and a Satisfying Life, I called Dwight to ask a question and we got talking about Rule #5: Get Married and Stay Married. Dwight pointed out that if you follow the other 7 rules but don't get married or stay married, you have a substantial probability of building a fortune and a satisfying life. But, he said, if you don't get married and stay married, you tend not to follow at least some of the other 7 rules.
5. With more thoughts on the economic impact of marriage, Glen Reynolds reflects on The other marriage inequality
While the upscale college-educated crowd continues to marry at very high rates, marriage rates are plummeting among those further down on the socioeconomic ladder.
6. Steven Pearlstein with a thoughtful essay: Is capitalism moral?
... A useful debate about the morality of capitalism must get beyond libertarian nostrums that greed is good, what’s mine is mine and whatever the market produces is fair. It should also acknowledge that there is no moral imperative to redistribute income and opportunity until everyone has secured a berth in a middle class free from economic worries. If our moral obligation is to provide everyone with a reasonable shot at economic success within a market system that, by its nature, thrives on unequal outcomes, then we ought to ask not just whether government is doing too much or too little, but whether it is doing the right things.
7. Matt Ridley with an interesting piece on how Obsidian chronicles ancient trade. This conclusion was interesting.
Instead, Dr. Butzer argues that Sargon's conquest itself caused the collapse of trade by destroying cities and disrupting what had till then been "an inter-networked world-economy, once extending from the Aegean to the Indus Valley." In other words, as with the end of the Roman empire, the collapse of trade caused the collapse of civilization more than the other way around.
8. Speaking of economic History, Rewriting Biblical history? Agriculture might be 5,000 years older than believed.
A new find suggests farmers in Bible lands built channels for irrigation long before historians thought they did, allowing for cultivated vineyards, olives, wheat and barley.
10. The New York Times on New Reasons to Change Light Bulbs. (To LEDs)
11. Science 2.0 on A Biological Basis For Gender Differences In Math?
... “Educational systems could be improved by acknowledging that, in general, boys and girls are different,” said University of Missouri biologist David Geary in their statement. “For example, in trying to close the sex gap in math scores, the reading gap was left behind. Now, our study has found that the difference between girls’ and boys’ reading scores was three times larger than the sex difference in math scores. Girls’ higher scores in reading could lead to advantages in admissions to certain university programs, such as marketing, journalism or literature, and subsequently careers in those fields. Boys lower reading scores could correlate to problems in any career, since reading is essential in most jobs.”
Generally, when conditions are good, the math gap increases and the reading gap decreases and when conditions are bad the math gap decreases and the reading gap increases. This pattern remained consistent within nations as well as among them, according to the work by Geary and Gijsbert Stoet of the University of Leeds that included testing performance data from 1.5 million 15-year-olds in 75 nations. ...
14. Mashable has great advice with 5 Alternatives to Unfriending Someone on Facebook
15. David Brooks with insight on How Movements Recover
... Two rival reform movements arose to restore the integrity of Catholicism. Those in the first movement, the Donatists, believed the church needed to purify itself and return to its core identity. ...
... In the fourth century, another revival movement arose, embraced by Augustine, who was Bishop of Hippo. The problem with the Donatists, Augustine argued, is that they are too static. They try to seal off an ark to ride out the storm, but they end up sealing themselves in. They cut themselves off from new circumstances and growth.
Augustine, as his magisterial biographer Peter Brown puts it, “was deeply preoccupied by the idea of the basic unity of the human race.” He reacted against any effort to divide people between those within the church and those permanently outside. ....
16. A great piece by someone who considers them unaffiliated with any religion. Every Christian and congregation needs to reflect on the insignificance of the church in this writers life. His tribe is growing: The significant insignificance of religion
Atlantic Cities: The Geography of March Madness
While you're filling out your expertly analyzed bracket, you might want to take a look at how March Madness fandom is spread across the country with this map from Facebook (via Gizmodo). Michael Bailey of Facebook's Data Science team analyzed the way "likes" are spread through teams and conferences, across the country—in similar fashion to this Super Bowl map.
Here, for instance, Facebook looks at the conference divide. Bailey points out in his analysis how the ACC fan base is spread across the country, despite pockets of dominance for other conferences....
The article has other interesting maps as well.
1. The Economist has an interesting graph showing the captialism has led to greater happiness in member countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States (former Soviet Union countries excluding the three baltic countries.)
2. AEI has an informative piece on economic mobility in the United States: How’s the American Dream doing? Well, which one?
There are two ways to define economic mobility: 1) absolute mobility, whether each generation is financially better off than the one before; and 2) relative mobility, whether you can change your income rank vs. your parents. Most Americans probably think both measures important. We want to be more prosperous than mom and dad, but also be able to change our circumstances and make our dreams come true. ...
... A San Francisco Fed study – using data tracking families since 1968 — looks at both versions of the American Dream, finding one healthier than the other. Looking at absolute mobility, researchers Leila Bengali and Mary Daly find the United States “highly mobile.” Over the sample period, 67% of US adults had higher family incomes than their parents, including 83% of those in the lowest birth quintile, or bottom 20% (versus 54% for children born into the top quintile, or top 20%.) ...
3. Concerning gender income inequality, Mark Perry says ‘Studies’ that compare average wages by gender, without controlling for demographic factors, can’t be taken seriously
4. Clive Crook thinks an ownership society may be the answer to reducing wealth inequality: Liberals Should Embrace the Ownership Society
... It’s true that conservatives’ standard proposals for privatizing Social Security and voucherizing Medicare would shift risk onto beneficiaries -- but this plainly isn’t a necessary consequence of the basic principle. I agree with Konczal that adequate insurance against economic risk, underwritten by the government, is essential. I also agree that most conservatives aren’t interested in providing that guarantee. That’s exactly why liberals ought to take up the ownership society themselves.
Ownership entails risk, it’s true, but insurance can minimize it. Ownership also provides control, independence and self-respect -- things it wouldn’t hurt liberals to be more interested in. And when it comes to inequality and stagnating middle incomes, ownership can give wage slaves a stake in the nation’s economic capital.
Done right, an equity component in government-backed saving for retirement could be the best idea liberals have had since the earned-income tax credit (oh, sorry, that started out as a conservative idea as well). ...
5. Scientific American: Massive Open Online Courses, aka MOOCs, Transform Higher Education and Science
6.Scientific American also has interesting piece on how Brain Researchers Can Detect Who We Are Thinking About
FMRI scans of volunteers' media prefrontal cortexes revealed unique brain activity patterns associated with individual characters or personalities as subjects thought about them.
7. Gizmodo reports that Sex in Space Could Be Deadly.
Researchers already knew humans, animals and plants have evolved in response to Earth's gravity and they are able to sense it. What we are still discovering is how the processes occurring within the cells of the human and plant bodies are affected by the more intense gravity, or hypergravity, that would be found on a large planet, or the microgravity that resembles the conditions on a space craft.
According to estimations, engineers expect the the store to generate around 265,000 kilowatt hours (kWh) per year. Store operation will only require 200,000 kWh, so perhaps that extra wattage could be pumped back into the grid or used to power nearby utilities.
9. CNN reports on How online ruined dating ... forever
When people can browse potential dates online like items in a catalog, geo-locate hook-ups on an exercise bike just seven feet away, arrange a spontaneous group date with the app Grouper or arrange a bevy of blind dates in succession with Crazy Blind Date, it makes me wonder if all this newfound technological convenience has, in fact, made romance that much more elusive. Now, we may be more concerned with what someone isn't rather than what they are. And as that twenty-something entrepreneur reminded me over coffee, services like OkCupid, and even Facebook, sap a lot of the mystique out of those first few dates. So, sure, it may be easier than ever to score a date, but what kind of date will it really be?
10. Interesting piece on Why Do People Use Nope Even Though No Is Shorter?
11. Is the New Pope More Liberal Than the Last Two? Why It's Hard to Tell. Emily Chertoff offers some insightful analysis.
12. Michael Bird offer this quote from Michael Goheen and Craig Bartholomew's "The Drama of Scripture" in his post The Importance of the Narrative of Scripture.
Many of us have read the Bible as if it were merely a mosaic of little bits – theological bits, moral bits, historical-critical bits, sermon bits, devotional bits. But when we read the Bible in such a fragmented way, we ignore it’s divine author’s intention to shape our lives through its story. All humanity communities live out some story that provides a context for understanding the meaning of history and gives shape and direction to their lives. If we allow the Bible to become fragmented, it is in danger of being absorbed into whatever other story is shaping our culture, and it will thus cease to shape our lives as it should. Idolatry has twisted the dominant cultural story of the secular Western world. If as believers we allow this story (rather than the Bible) to become the foundation of our thought and action, then our lives will manifest not the truths of Scripture, but the lies of an idolatrous culture. Hence the unity of Scripture is no minor matter: a fragmented Bible may actually produce theologically orthodox, morally upright, warmly pious idol worshippers! (p. 12).
13. Scot McKnight has a great piece on what constitutes legalism: Legalism: Old and New Perspectives
14. Thom S. Rainer on Ten Things Pastors Wish They Knew Before They Became Pastors
Read the whole thing.
15. Joseph Sunde rates the 5 TV Shows That Demonstrate the Importance of Ordinary Work
USA Today: Humanity is not a plague on earth
... According to the World Bank, the world's fertility rate is 2.45, slightly above the replacement rate of 2.1. Some demographers believe that by 2020, global fertility will drop below the replacement rate for the first time in history. Why? Because the world is getting richer.
As people become wealthier, they have fewer kids. When times are good, instead of reproducing exponentially (like rabbits), people prefer to spend resources nurturing fewer children, for instance by investing in education and saving money for the future. This trend toward smaller families has been observed throughout the developed world, from the United States to Europe to Asia.
The poorest parts of the world, most notably sub-Saharan Africa, still have sky-high fertility rates, but they are declining. The solution is just what it has been elsewhere: more education, easier access to contraception and economic growth. Catastrophe avoided.
Consequently, no serious demographer believes that human population growth resembles cancer or the plague. On the contrary, the United Nations projects a global population of 9.3 billion by 2050 and 10.1 billion by 2100. In other words, it will take about 40 years to add 2 billion people, but 50 years to add 1 billion after that. After world population peaks, it is quite possible that it will stop growing altogether and might even decline.
Despite all indications to the contrary, global population cataclysm isn't at hand and never will be unless the well-established and widely researched trends reverse themselves. That's not likely.
New York Times: What Data Can't Do - David Brooks
... Data struggles with the social. Your brain is pretty bad at math (quick, what’s the square root of 437), but it’s excellent at social cognition. People are really good at mirroring each other’s emotional states, at detecting uncooperative behavior and at assigning value to things through emotion. ...
... Data struggles with context. Human decisions are not discrete events. They are embedded in sequences and contexts. The human brain has evolved to account for this reality. People are really good at telling stories that weave together multiple causes and multiple contexts. Data analysis is pretty bad at narrative and emergent thinking, and it cannot match the explanatory suppleness of even a mediocre novel.
Data creates bigger haystacks. This is a point Nassim Taleb, the author of “Antifragile,” has made. As we acquire more data, we have the ability to find many, many more statistically significant correlations. Most of these correlations are spurious and deceive us when we’re trying to understand a situation. Falsity grows exponentially the more data we collect. The haystack gets bigger, but the needle we are looking for is still buried deep inside. ...
... Big data has trouble with big problems. If you are trying to figure out which e-mail produces the most campaign contributions, you can do a randomized control experiment. But let’s say you are trying to stimulate an economy in a recession. You don’t have an alternate society to use as a control group. For example, we’ve had huge debates over the best economic stimulus, with mountains of data, and as far as I know not a single major player in this debate has been persuaded by data to switch sides.
Data favors memes over masterpieces. Data analysis can detect when large numbers of people take an instant liking to some cultural product. But many important (and profitable) products are hated initially because they are unfamiliar.
Data obscures values. I recently saw an academic book with the excellent title, “ ‘Raw Data’ Is an Oxymoron.” One of the points was that data is never raw; it’s always structured according to somebody’s predispositions and values. The end result looks disinterested, but, in reality, there are value choices all the way through, from construction to interpretation.
This is not to argue that big data isn’t a great tool. It’s just that, like any tool, it’s good at some things and not at others. As the Yale professor Edward Tufte has said, “The world is much more interesting than any one discipline.”
Fakeisthenewreal.org: Electoral college reform (fifty states with equal population)
Their methodology is pretty interesting. I now live in Nodaway. What do you think?
The latest update of the Pew Research Center’s regular News IQ quiz uses a set of 13 pictures, maps, graphs and symbols to test knowledge of current affairs. (To take the quiz yourself before reading this report, click here.) At the high end, nearly nine-in-ten Americans (87%) are able to select the Star of David as the symbol of Judaism from a group of pictures of religious symbols. And when shown a picture of Twitter’s corporate logo, 79% correctly associate the logo with that company.
At the low end, just 43% are able to identify a picture of Elizabeth Warren’s from a group of four photographs of female politicians, among them Nancy Pelosi, Tammy Baldwin and Deb Fischer. And when presented with a map of the Middle East in which Syria is highlighted, only half are able to identify the nation correctly.
Overall, majorities correctly answer 11 of 13 questions in the new quiz, which was conducted online January 18-24, 2013, among a random sample of 1,041 adults by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press.
The quiz includes several items about leading political figures. When shown a picture of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, 73% identified Christie from a list that included Newt Gingrich, Scott Walker and Rush Limbaugh. An identical percentage identified John Boehner in a question with a similar format. To see how each question was presented, see the attached survey topline.
Seven of the 13 items were answered correctly by two-thirds or more of the survey’s respondents. These included identifying the Star of David as the symbol for Judaism (87%), the corporate logo for Twitter (79%), the map of states won in 2012 by President Obama (75%), the photos of Christie and Boehner (73% each), a graph of the unemployment rate (70%) and the symbol for the Euro (69%).
About six-in-ten (62%) could identify the new secretary of state, John Kerry, from a photo lineup of four people. When shown a list of four state maps, and asked which of the states had approved the legalization of same-sex marriage last year, 60% correctly chose the state of Washington. But just 50% were able to identify Syria as country highlighted on a map of the Middle East.
On average, quiz takers correctly answered 8.5 of the 13 questions, a score of 65% correct when graded like a classroom test. ...
Several interesting tables presented in this article. Take a look.
1. Lots of news outlets picking up on this story about technology displacing humans. In The Future, Machines May Have All The Jobs. We all know where this leads.
Seriously, technological innovation always creates dislocations. Fear of machines replacing humans goes back to the beginning of the industrial revolution. The economy has always adapted and expect it will again.
"The idea that innovation and new technology have stopped driving growth is getting increasing attention. But it is not well founded."
3. Business Insider reports that The Worldwide Demographic Cliff Is Going To Be Brutal
Alas, that won't help, as this graph compiled by statistician Simon Hedlin shows. The total dependency ratio (children and retirees, compared with those of working age) fell in all G20/OECD nations bar Germany and Sweden between 1960 and 2010. In the next fifty years, it will rise in all those nations, bar India and South Africa. In most nations, the ratio will rise by 40% or more; there are huge increases in dependency in parts of Asia (China and South Korea) and in eastern Europe. Britain and America are towards the bottom of the table, but their problems are big enough.
There are many implications. With more dependents to care for, it is very hard to imagine how we will pay down our debts. And it is also very hard to imagine how one can possibly expect government spending to shrink significantly.
"... BiblioTech, a $1.5 million Bexar County paperless library will have scores of computer terminals, laptops, tablets, and e-readers – but not a dog-eared classic or dusty reference book in sight.
“Think of an Apple store,” Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff, who led his county’s bookless library project, told NPR when describing the planned library.
The 4,989-squre-foot, digital-only library, one of the first of its kind, will feature 100 e-readers available for circulation, 50 e-readers for children, 50 computer stations, 25 laptops, and 25 tablets for on-site use. Patrons can check out e-readers for two weeks or load books onto their own devices.
“A technological evolution is taking place,” Wolff says. “And I think we’re stepping in at the right time.” ..."
5. Some good thoughts on The 10 Things Entrepreneurs Waste The Most Time On
"UCLA's survey of incoming college freshmen shows fewer identify as liberals and an increasing number saying the economy significantly affected their college choice."
7.Walter Russell Mead on The End of the Religious Right?
"In some ways, this shift isn’t as dramatic as it might first appear. Even though younger evangelicals are increasingly walking away from the religious right, they are still self-identifying as Republicans (54 percent) more than Democrats (26 percent). Younger Christians still agree with the religious right on the issues but reject the movement’s tactics, tone, and narrow focus on social issues."
8. Scientific American: The Liberals' War on Science. How politics distorts science on both ends of the spectrum.
"Surveys show that moderate liberals and conservatives embrace science roughly equally (varying across domains), which is why scientists like E. O. Wilson and organizations like the National Center for Science Education are reaching out to moderates in both parties to rein in the extremists on evolution and climate change. Pace Barry Goldwater, extremism in the defense of liberty may not be a vice, but it is in defense of science, where facts matter more than faith—whether it comes in a religious or secular form—and where moderation in the pursuit of truth is a virtue."
9. How did Fido become domesticated by humans? Dog evolved 'on the waste dump'
10. Any volunteers? Harvard Professor Seeks Woman Willing To Have A Neanderthal Baby
11. A fascinating history of high heels. Why did men stop wearing high heels?
That's all for this week. Like the Kruse Kronicle at Facebook.
Millions of newly affluent people in emerging economies are reshaping and resizing the global middle class. The world’s middle class will swell from 2 billion to almost 5 billion by 2030, with most of that growth coming from developing countries, according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. The world population in 2030 is expected to be about 8 billion.
The OECD defines “middle class” as making $10 to $100 a day, adjusted for the purchasing power of each currency. Today, people in developing countries make up almost 30% of the world’s consumer spending, up from 18% a decade ago as they become middle class. This change, what the US National Intelligence Council called a ”tectonic shift,” is one the most important trends for the next several decades. ...