Identity Politics With Chinese Characteristics

China, Demographic

Identity Politics With Chinese Characteristics

What is China? The answer is less obvious than it seems. Is the vast territory primarily a country, a civilization, or a political construct? Is it an empire or a nation-state? Is it a region with different languages and cultures or a (mostly) homogeneous people in which the great majority are closely connected by common traditions and ancestors?

For most of the past two millennia, the area known today as China was the center of empires. Some of those empires were large, extending into Central Asia, Southeast Asia, the Himalayas, and the northern Pacific. Others were smaller, containing only parts of present-day China. At times, the area was made up of a number of small states competing for influence, in patterns not unlike what existed in Europe after the fall of Rome. But, in general, empire has been the rule rather than the exception.

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Why Do We Eat Bad Food?

Agriculture, Policies

Why Do We Eat Bad Food?

Mark Bittman writes the way he cooks: The ingredients are wholesome, the preparation elegantly simple, the results nourishing in the best sense of the word. He never strains; there’s no effort to impress, but you come away full, satisfied, invigorated.

From his magnum opus, How to Cook Everything, and its many cookbook companions, to his recipes for The New York Times, to his essays on food policy, Bittman has developed a breeziness that masks the weight of the politics and economics that surround the making and consuming of food. In Animal, Vegetable, Junk, his latest book, he offers us his most thoroughgoing attack on the corporate forces that govern our food, tracking the evolution of cultivation and consumption from primordial to modern times and developing what is arguably his most radical and forthright argument yet about how to address our contemporary food cultures’ many ills. But it still goes down easy; the broccoli tastes good enough that you’ll happily go for seconds.

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Globalisation of HE: the good, the bad and the ugly

Economy, Policies

Globalisation of HE: the good, the bad and the ugly

Globalisation – the tendency to global convergence and integration – has wonderful potential in the abstract. It offers the possibility that we can work our way out of the national container blocking collaborative action, for example, on climate change.

Global convergence suggests a full and formative encounter with the diversity of human ideas, knowledge, imagination, government, institutions, social habits, on the basis of unity in diversity, heer butong, in tianxia, all under heaven, the Chinese terms.No one country or culture has all the answers and we have much to learn from each other. That is the ideal.

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Leadership: Russia Faces Four Front War

Demographic, Russia

Leadership: Russia Faces Four Front War

For over a decade Russia has been preparing for the dreaded four front war. How did it come to this? It wasn’t easy or preordained. It took a century of bad decisions, botched diplomacy and internal misrule to make it happen. It’s one of those Russian traditions that has evolved into a curse.

A century ago, Russia only feared war on one front, the one facing West. The Western Front was where Russia fought Germany and Austria-Hungary for three years during World War I, before conceding defeat. Russia was forced to ask for a peace deal because it turned out Russia had severe internal problems and another revolution. This was caused by the economic disruption and heavy casualties of the war. This was the second such crises of the 20th century and the primary demand was an end to the war, and the monarchy. Then things got worse as the second revolution escalated into a civil war that went on longer that Russian participation in World War I. The democratic government that won the first revolution and signed the peace treaty that got Russia out of the world war, then lost to a smaller radical socialist (communist) faction that brought back stricter and bloodier autocratic rule than the monarchy ever imposed.

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Epidemiology and evolution of Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus, 2012–2020

Disease, Threats

Epidemiology and evolution of Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus, 2012–2020

The ongoing transmission of the Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) in the Middle East and its expansion to other regions are raising concerns of a potential pandemic. An in-depth analysis about both population and molecular epidemiology of this pathogen is needed.

Methods

MERS cases reported globally as of June 2020 were collected mainly from World Health Organization official reports, supplemented by other reliable sources. Determinants for case fatality and spatial diffusion of MERS were assessed with Logistic regressions and Cox proportional hazard models, respectively. Phylogenetic and phylogeographic analyses were performed to examine the evolution and migration history of MERS-CoV.

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Solving America’s Food Waste Problem

Agriculture, Policies

Solving America’s Food Waste Problem

What will we do? Probably toss the mess in the trash and let somebody else worry about it. What we should do is quite different, though, in light of the massive scale of food waste in the United States.

That’s long been the view of assorted activist groups, along with the nice folks who wear properly aged LL Bean flannel and drive vintage Subaru Outbacks. But there is change in the air (and, one hopes, the landfills): these groups are being joined by growing numbers of state and local officials.

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‘If This Task Was Urgent Before, It’s Crucial Now.’ U.N. Says World Has 10 Months to Get Serious on Climate Goals

Ecology, Threats

‘If This Task Was Urgent Before, It’s Crucial Now.’ U.N. Says World Has 10 Months to Get Serious on Climate Goals

The language of diplomacy rarely allows for a true sense of emotion or urgency. But reading between the lines of the latest report commissioned by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)—the body representing the 197 member nations of the Paris Agreement to minimize a global average temperature rise this century—the message is clear.

The world has precisely ten months to get our act together if there is to be any hope of staving off a climate catastrophe by the end of the century.

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