Summary of “‘Remarkable’ decline in fertility rates”

Their report found fertility rate falls meant nearly half of countries were now facing a “Baby bust” – meaning there are insufficient children to maintain their population size.
Whenever a country’s average fertility rate drops below approximately 2.1 then populations will eventually start to shrink.
“Prof Christopher Murray, the director of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington, told the BBC:”We’ve reached this watershed where half of countries have fertility rates below the replacement level, so if nothing happens the populations will decline in those countries.
More economically developed countries including most of Europe, the US, South Korea and Australia have lower fertility rates.
Half the world’s nations are still producing enough children to grow, but as more countries advance economically, more will have lower fertility rates.
The fall in fertility rate is not down to sperm counts or any of the things that normally come to mind when thinking of fertility.
In many ways, falling fertility rates are a success story.
The reason developed countries need a fertility rate of 2.1 is because not all children survive to adulthood and babies are ever so slightly more likely to be male than female.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Here’s How A Handful Of American Tech Companies Radicalized The World”

Why is an American company like Facebook placing ads in newspapers in countries like India, Italy, Mexico, and Brazil, explaining to local internet users how to look out for abuse and misinformation? Because our lives, societies, and governments have been tied into invisible feedback loops, online and off.
The election is seen as the country’s first Facebook election.
Two months prior, the company declares the gun-toting former mayor the “Undisputed king of Facebook conversations.” A cast of far-right internet celebrities begin creating an ad hoc propaganda network around him.
It’s June 2018 and British far-right influencer named Tommy Robinson is in jail after going live on Facebook outside Leeds Crown Court, violating British contempt of court laws.
Inside, López Obrador says, “The transformation we will carry out will basically consist on kicking out corruption from our country.” Online, thousands of bots are pusing pro-AMLO trending topics on Twitter and flooding Facebook newsfeeds with fake news about the new president.
In a Facebook video several days later, that if he becomes president, he aims to change a rule created by WhatsApp that limits the number of simultaneous messages a user can send at once.
Your trolls will probably have been radicalized online via some kind of community for young men like #GamerGate, jeuxvideo.com in France, ForoCoches in Spain, Ilbe Storehouse in South Korea, 2chan in Japan, or banter Facebook pages in the UK. Then far-right influencers start appearing, aided by algorithms recommending content that increases user watch-time.
Alex Stamos, Facebook’s former chief security officer, published a piece in August saying that it was already too late for Facebook to protect the 2018 US midterm elections from misinformation campaigns from Russia and Iran.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Why figuring out what’s behind a big gender paradox won’t be easy”

In a paper published in Science today, Armin Falk and Johannes Hermle report that gender differences in preferences like risk-taking, patience, and trust were more exaggerated in wealthier and more gender-equal countries.
The researchers compared these results to GDP for the 76 countries and also to a measure of gender equality that took into account things like international rankings and how long women have had the vote in each country.
Research exploring the paradox could tell us some fascinating things about how gender interacts with culture, but the list of open questions is dizzying.
Mac Giolla and Kajonius argue that the paradox creates a problem for social role theory: if culture is responsible for creating gender differences, they suggest, and the culture becomes more egalitarian, we should expect the gaps to close.
In some cases, they do: there are “Some psychological sex differences that do become smaller in more gender-equal nations, but these are not mentioned by the authors,” says Alice Eagly, a proponent of social role theory, pointing to findings that gender gaps in math performance close in more gender-equal countries.
The Global Gender Gap Index, the metric used by Mac Giolla and Kajonius, involves a phenomenal attempt to pack all the complications of gender equality into a single ranking-but it understandably can’t capture absolutely everything about how gender works in myriad cultures across the world.
There’s evidence of greater gender stereotyping in precisely those countries that come out on top of this ranking, which could be a result of older and more entrenched cultural ideas, a cultural backlash, or something else entirely.
Of course, there’s a strong relationship between factors like GDP and the Gender Gap Index, and they look at economic development as well as various measures of gender equality, finding the correlations all the way through.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Optimistic facts and charts that show the world is getting much, much better”

Many of us aren’t aware of ways the world is getting better because the press – and humans in general – have a strong negativity bias.
Survey evidence consistently indicates that few people in rich countries have any clue that the world has taken a happier turn in recent decades – one poll in 2016 found that only 8 percent of US residents knew that global poverty had fallen since 1996.
Nothing’s permanent, and big challenges like climate change and the potential collapse of liberal democracy remain, but the world is getting much, much better on a variety of important, underappreciated dimensions.
The extraordinary rate of economic growth in India and China – as well as slower but still significant growth in other developing countries – has led to a huge decline in the share of the world population living on less than $1.90 a day, from nearly 35 percent in 1987 to under 11 percent in 2013.
3) Child labor is on the decline Any amount of child labor is too much child labor, and the world didn’t meet the International Labor Organization’s goal of eliminating the “Worst forms” of child labor by 2016.
4) People in developed countries have more leisure time Work hours in the US haven’t fallen much in recent decades, certainly in relation to Europe, but compared to the late 19th century, developed countries have much more reasonable work schedules today.
Lifespans have doubled or more the world over since.
9) People have been getting taller for centuries This chart, taken from economist Gregory Clark’s A Farewell to Alms, tracks the height of male skeletons found in Europe across nearly 2000 years, and compares those data points to recent, more complete height data in the US and Sweden.

The orginal article.

Summary of “China’s Great Leap Backward – Foreign Policy”

In the short term, Xi’s efforts may make China seem less corrupt and more stable.
Such experimentation turned China into a country with hundreds of policy laboratories, enabling it to test different solutions to various problems in safe, quiet, and low-stakes ways before deciding whether to scale them up.
One last example: Just as China’s tech industry is notorious for stealing and applying foreign innovations, Chinese officials long did something similar on the policy level, carefully studying what worked in other countries and then applying the lessons at home.
What does Xi’s crackdown mean for his country’s future and for the rest of us? While one should always be careful about betting against China-as the history detailed above shows, the country is remarkably good at finding its way around problems that theory dictates should hold it back-it’s hard to avoid the grim conclusion that Xi’s China is rapidly becoming a lot less exceptional and a lot more like a typical police state.
If China continues down its current course, expect many more cases where even well-intentioned policies are implemented in a rash and clumsy way, leading to still more harmful consequences.
With each new budget-busting move, and in the absence of reform, the odds that China will experience a seriously destabilizing economic crisis-which China bears such as Ruchir Sharma, the head of emerging markets at Morgan Stanley, have been predicting for years-keep rising.
As Schell explains, “Xi has really put China at enormous risk. And because his only tool is repression, if things go wrong we’re likely to see even more crackdowns.”
Since taking power, Xi has charted a far more aggressive foreign policy than his predecessors, alienating virtually every neighbor and the United States by pushing China’s claims in the South China Sea, threatening Taiwan, and using the military to assert Beijing’s claims to disputed islands.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Bill Gates talks with Ezra Klein about global progress in 2018”

With an endowment of more than $50 billion, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is, by far, the largest foundation in the world.
Bill Gates There is a type of poverty trap where if your economy doesn’t develop, then it’s very hard to bootstrap those things.
Ezra Klein When I heard discussions of changing governance structures to drive economic growth 10, 15 years ago, they were more optimistic in this way: There was a belief that you needed something that was much more like the American model.
With the Goalkeepers construct, the idea is: Is all this innovation continuing to help the poorest countries, people in extreme poverty? At least once a year, there’s a question about did we let HIV spread and create a disaster there? Did we continue to innovate malaria so we could stay ahead of drug resistance? Why do we still have places left where over 15 percent of the kids die before the age of 5? What’s it gonna take for those remaining areas to get below that? There’s progress and then there’s progress with equity.
Bill Gates Well, the people in the future will have more knowledge and more resources than we have today.
Ezra Klein A lot of people have become very focused on the question of AI risk.
Bill Gates But most of those people aren’t working on AI risk.
Ezra Klein Do you think we should worry about, from a philanthropic view or moral view, the suffering along the way? You were talking about developing vaccines and genetic strains that make animals more productive and able to live in some of these conditions.

The orginal article.

Summary of “I Suffer From Depression and Have PTSD Symptoms”

Most recently, I thought that if I could come home and work for the city I love so much as its mayor, I could finally solve my problems.
So after 11 years of trying to outrun depression and PTSD symptoms, I have finally concluded that it’s faster than me.
I finally went to the VA in Kansas City yesterday and have started the process to get help there regularly.
To allow me to concentrate on my mental health, I’ve decided that I will not be running for mayor of Kansas City.
I can’t work on myself and run a campaign the way I want to at the same time, so I’m choosing to work on my depression.
We are doing vital work across the country to stop voter suppression and will keep doing so through November and beyond.
Second, I hope it helps veterans and everyone else across the country working through mental health issues realize that you don’t have to try to solve it on your own.
Once I work through my mental health challenges, I fully intend to be working shoulder to shoulder with all of you again.

The orginal article.

Summary of “The map we need if we want to think about how global living conditions are changing”

If we want to show where the world’s people are we need a population cartogram, a geographical presentation of the world where the size of the countries are not drawn according to the distribution of land, but according to the distribution of people.
As the size of the population rather than the size of the territory is shown in this map you can see some big differences when you compare it to the standard geographical map we’re most familiar with.
If you want to follow what is happening to the world you have to keep track of these two countries: More than a third of the world population – 36.2% – live in India and China.
Population growth in Asia has been rapid in the last decades: The population of Asia has tripled in size since 1950.
While some countries in Asia have already reached the last stage of the demographic transition some others still have rapid population growth ahead. The fertility rate in India has fallen from 6 children per woman in the 1960s to 2.35 children today, but population momentum means that population growth will continue for another 4 decades.
According to the UN’s population projection the population of India is expected to reach 1.68 billion in 2060 and the country is then expected to be the most populous country in the world.
Another way to show where the world population lives is to show the population density of each country on a geographical world map, as you see below.
While a geographical map is helpful if you want to find your way around the world, a population cartogram is the representation that we need if we want to know where our fellow humans are at home.

The orginal article.

Summary of “In Cyberwar, There are No Rules – Foreign Policy”

According to U.S. census data, there are currently 87 people in the United States named Sarah Connor.
The U.S. government has fumbled on cybersecurity, outsourcing much of that area of conflict to the private sector in accordance with the Trump administration’s most recent National Security Strategy-leaving the country exposed to foreign attack.
That’s a problem because cyberwar won’t be waged with the informed participation of much of the U.S. technology sector, as the recent revolts at Google over AI contracts with the U.S. Defense Department and at Microsoft over office software contracts with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement demonstrate.
If a country or terrorist group decided to take out a sitting U.S. senator undergoing robotically assisted surgery and then covered its tracks, the perpetrator’s identity would be hard to pinpoint, and there would be no clear U.S. legal precedent for classifying the hacking of hospital equipment as an assassination or an act of war.
Part of the problem with defining and evaluating acts of cyberwarfare against the United States is that U.S. law is unclear and unsettled when it comes to defining what constitutes an illegal cyberact as opposed to normal computer activity by information security researchers.
Any strong defense against cyberattacks should follow the same principles used for basic U.S. infrastructure design: strategists plan, technicians execute, and experts examine.
In the U.S. case, former President Barack Obama responded by declaring a month before he left office that the United States would respond at a time and place of its choosing.
Despite the consensus among experts and intelligence services that Russia tampered with the 2016 U.S. presidential election, it is proving extremely difficult to gain nonpartisan consensus that Russian-targeted advertising purchases on social media constitute hostile acts by a foreign power.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Why Is College in America So Expensive?”

The business of providing an education is so expensive because college is different from other things that people buy, argue Feldman and his colleague Robert Archibald in their 2011 book, Why Does College Cost So Much? College is a service, for one thing, not a product, which means it doesn’t get cheaper along with changes in manufacturing technology.
College is a service delivered mostly by workers with college degrees-whose salaries have risen more dramatically than those of low-skilled service workers over the past several decades.
College is not the only service to have gotten wildly more expensive in recent decades, Feldman and Archibald point out.
The new data show that U.S. colleges currently have a slightly lower ratio of students to teachers than the average for the developed world-another metric favored in college rankings.
“Ironically, these students are often paying more to go to a nonselective four-year college or even a community college than they would pay to go to the most selective, most resource-rich institutions in the United States,” as Hoxby told NPR.Meanwhile, when it comes to health care, low-income Americans tend to be less familiar with the concepts of deductibles, coinsurance rates, and provider networks, according to a variety of studies, which makes it extremely difficult to choose a health-care plan.
Ultimately, college is expensive in the U.S. for the same reason MRIs are expensive: There is no central mechanism to control price increases.
Over a lifetime, people with bachelor’s degrees earn more than half a million dollars more than people with no college degree in the U.S. In fact, no other country rewards a college degree as richly as the United States, and few other countries punish people so relentlessly for not having one.
This convoluted, complicated, inconsistent system continues to exist, and continues to be so expensive because college in America is still worth the price.

The orginal article.