Suffer Early for Success
October 29, 2019
“A disciplined mind leads to happiness, and an undisciplined mind leads to suffering.” – Dalai Lama
“The paradox of vengefulness is that it makes men dependent upon those who have harmed them, believing that their release from pain will come only when their tormentors suffer.” – Laura Hillenbrand
A Major Miner Problem In Africa
Ghana’s Atewa Forest is one of the world’s Key Biodiversity Areas, a globally important ecosystem that is home to more than 100 of the world’s threatened species. The forest houses the headwaters of three rivers, and is a critical water source for 5 million people, including those in the capital city of Accra. In 2018, as compared to 2017, Ghana had the highest proportional loss of primary rainforest in the world.
In May 2019 a landmark report was issued by the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES). It highlighted the threat posed to humanity by the rapid loss of biodiversity and called for urgent global action to reverse the trend. But scarcely a month later, amid vehement opposition from local communities and international conservation organizations, the Ghanaian government prepared to proceed with its plans for a hugely destructive bauxite mine, and a refinery to process the raw bauxite, in the Atewa’s 90-square-mile tract of mountainous forestland.
Bauxite is a sedimentary rock used to create aluminum products such as aircraft parts, kitchen utensils and beer cans, and the Atewa forest sits on an estimated 165 million tons of it. Ghana’s leaders know that China, as the top buyer of minerals and rocks from Africa, has invested tens of billions of dollars into mining across the continent. They see partnering with China’s Sinohydro Corp. in a bartering deal — trading proceeds from the sale of refined bauxite for Sinohydro’s $2 billion in infrastructure projects — as key to their nation’s economic growth, all damage to the environment aside.
Changing The Future And Changing Their Diaper
- The Japanese government is encouraging women to get back into the workforce, but the shortage of child care workers for the country’s nearly 20,000 children has caused some nurseries to turn to technology for help with routine tasks.
- The robot Vevo, for example, helps out with daycare duties like greeting the kids in the morning, monitoring their nap times and how much they eat for lunch. (BBC)
It’s No Pnut, But It’ll Do
- After researchers declared acorns a “superfood” that could help fight obesity and diabetes, the popularity of things made from acorns has exploded. In South Korea, acorn noodles, jelly and powder are big favorites.
- In the US, restaurants and health conscious blogs are exploring recipes for acorn crackers, acorn bread and acorn coffee.
- Unfortunately, or fortunately depending on your view, in some places all the human foraging for acorns is causing dwindling populations of squirrels and other animals that rely on oak trees for sustenance. (WSJ)
The Rise Of The Senile Mobile
- The Japanese love their cars — nearly 80 million of them are on the road — but with one in five citizens aged 70 or older, how to keep traffic accidents down as the population continues to age has become a significant problem.
- The number of traffic fatalities in Japan caused by drivers over the age of 75 rose from 8.7 percent in 2008 to 14.8 percent in 2018. And according to a government report in June, drivers over age 75 caused more than double the number of fatal accidents in 2018 than younger drivers did.
- Already on the books is a requirement for those over 75 to take a cognitive test every three years before their licenses can be renewed. But now Japan is exploring a wider mix of ideas, including new technologies, to address a safer driving future for the elderly. (BBC)
- Additional Read: Car-free zones could be the future of cities (Vox)
Technology is Becoming the Problem, Not the Solution
- Google: Google CEO, in leaked video, says company is ‘genuinely struggling’ with employee trust (WaPo, $) and A Google Staffer Helped Sell Trump’s Family Separation Policy, Despite The Company Denials (BuzzFeed News)
- Facebook: Dissent Erupts at Facebook Over Hands-Off Stance on Political Ads: In an open letter, the social network’s employees said letting politicians post false claims in ads was “a threat” to the company. (NYT, $) and There’s a battle over Breitbart on Facebook’s new journalism section, and Instagram’s boss got involved (CNBC) and What happened when Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez came face to face with Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg: The New York politician has exposed the firm’s shameless disregard for the truth (Guardian)
- China: Why you should worry if you have a Chinese smartphone (Guardian)
- On TV: ‘Silicon Valley,’ Darker Than Ever, Captures the Bleak Mood of Tech (NYT, $)
Additional World News
- ‘Hitler or Höcke?’ Germany’s Far-Right Party Radicalizes (NYT, $)
- The Medium is the Message: In Afghanistan’s War and Peace, WhatsApp Delivers the Message (NYT, $) and Even Eagles Have Data Roaming Limits, Researchers Find (NYT, $)
- Chile’s President Promises To Reshuffle Cabinet After Massive Protests In Santiago (NPR)
- Barcelona tourist industry counts cost of ‘lost week’ of rioting (Guardian)
You Have To Spend Some Time On The Streets To See The Gold
- The Trump administration wants legal immigration shifted toward wealthier immigrants and away from poorer ones, arguing the US can’t afford to welcome families who might burden public programs like Medicaid. However, new research linking millions of fathers and sons dating to the 1880s shows that children of poor immigrants in America have had greater success climbing the economic ladder than children of similarly poor fathers who are born in the US.
- The pattern has been remarkably stable for over a century despite changes in immigration laws and the countries changing from which people are immigrating. Bottom line: poor immigrants have more reliably achieved the American Dream for the next generation than native-born Americans have. (NYT)
- Additional read: A Teen Refugee’s Brain May Be Disrupted More By Poverty Than Past Trauma (NPR)
The Early To Suffer Bird Gets The Bigger Worm
- A recent paper published in the journal Nature claims that early-career setbacks can result in a stronger career in the long term, stronger even than that of people who never had a setback.
- Researchers compared the careers of two groups of young, “statistically identical” scientists. One group barely secured a grant from the National Institutes of Health (call them the narrow-wins). The other group barely missed securing the same grant (call them the near-misses). Researchers found that after 10 years, the losing group of near-misses had gone on to have more successful and impactful careers than the winning group of narrow-wins.
- Takeaway: failures in the first phases of your career may mean you can come back stronger than those who never stumbled. (NYT)
- Inside the Phone Company Secretly Run By Drug Traffickers (VICE)
- No one believed him when he said he hadn’t been drinking. Then researchers found his body was producing alcohol (CNN)
- Economic Incentives Don’t Always Do What We Want Them To (NYT, $)
- Ancestral home of modern humans is in Botswana, study finds (Guardian)