A Mysterious Infection- Spanning the Globe in a Climate of Secrecy – The New York Times

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DL:  Unfortunately, here is bad news that I’ve been following ever since I read Mountains Beyond Mountains by Tracy Kidder about the work of Dr. Paul Farmer.

“Simply put, fungi, just like bacteria, are evolving defenses to survive modern medicines.

Yet even as world health leaders have pleaded for more restraint in prescribing antimicrobial drugs to combat bacteria and fungi — convening the United Nations General Assembly in 2016 to manage an emerging crisis — gluttonous overuse of them in hospitals, clinics and farming has continued.

Resistant germs are often called “superbugs,” but this is simplistic because they don’t typically kill everyone. Instead, they are most lethal to people with immature or compromised immune systems, including newborns and the elderly, smokers, diabetics and people with autoimmune disorders who take steroids that suppress the body’s defenses.

Scientists say that unless more effective new medicines are developed and unnecessary use of antimicrobial drugs is sharply curbed, risk will spread to healthier populations. A study the British government funded projects that if policies are not put in place to slow the rise of drug resistance, 10 million people could die worldwide of all such infections in 2050, eclipsing the eight million expected to die that year from cancer.”

via A Mysterious Infection, Spanning the Globe in a Climate of Secrecy – The New York Times

 

Opinion | The United Kingdom Has Gone Mad – By Thomas L. Friedman – The New York Times

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By Thomas L. Friedman
Opinion Columnist

April 2, 2019

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A protester shouting from a lamppost on Friday outside the Houses of Parliament in London.CreditCreditHannah Mckay/Reuters
LONDON — Politico reported the other day that the French European affairs minister, Nathalie Loiseau, had named her cat “Brexit.” Loiseau told the Journal du Dimanche that she chose the name because “he wakes me up every morning meowing to death because he wants to go out, and then when I open the door he stays in the middle, undecided, and then gives me evil looks when I put him out.”

If you can’t take a joke you shouldn’t have come to London right now, because there is political farce everywhere. In truth, though, it’s not very funny. It’s actually tragic. What we’re seeing is a country that’s determined to commit economic suicide but can’t even agree on how to kill itself. It is an epic failure of political leadership.

I say bring back the monarchy. Where have you gone, Queen Elizabeth II, a nation turns its lonely eyes to you.

Seriously, the United Kingdom, the world’s fifth-largest economy — a country whose elites created modern parliamentary democracy, modern banking and finance, the Industrial Revolution and the whole concept of globalization — seems dead-set on quitting the European Union, the world’s largest market for the free movement of goods, capital, services and labor, without a well-conceived plan, or maybe without any plan at all.

via Opinion | The United Kingdom Has Gone Mad – The New York Times

David Lindsay Jr.
Hamden, CT | NYT comment.
Thank you Tom Friedman for a great essay. I like many of the popular comments, but have something to add. Angela Merkel let some 1.5 million mostly Syrian refugees into Germany in one year, and caused a backlash protest against too many foreigners too quickly. Refugees from climate change and civil war are increasing dramatically, as populations around the world have exploded. We were 2 billion people around 1930, and we have grown to 7.6 billion in just 89 years. It is probably not going to work, to just let a billion or two billion refugees into the healthier more stable parts of the planet. The EU could help diffuse the brexit movement, with some reforms to limit immigration. The world powers need to help the poorer countries with a host of services, including family planning.
David Lindsay Jr. is the author of “The Tay Son Rebellion, Historical Fiction of Eighteenth Century Vietnam” and blogs at TheTaySonRebellion.com and InconvenientNewsWorldwide.wordpress.com. He performs folk music and stories about Climate Change and the Sixth Extinction.

For Many British Businesses- Brexit Has Already Happened – By Peter S. Goodman – The New York Times

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By Peter S. Goodman
April 1, 2019

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LONDON — In the political realm, no one knows how Brexit’s long-running theater of the absurd will end. But for much of the business world, Britain’s departure from the European Union has effectively happened.

Nearly three years of uncertainty since the June 2016 referendum has forced companies to plan for the worst — the prospect that Britain could crash out of the bloc without a deal governing future relations. The twisting road to Brexit has already slowed economic growth, discouraged investment and damaged the reputation of the nation as a haven for commerce.

Global banks and other financial services companies are steadily shifting thousands of jobs and more than $1 trillion in assets to European cities to ensure that they are able to serve customers across the English Channel regardless of the rules that national regulators impose after Brexit.

Japanese automakers have scrapped plans to expand in Britain, in part because Brexit undermines the country’s virtues as a hub for European trade.

via For Many British Businesses, Brexit Has Already Happened – The New York Times

Scotland is betting on tidal energy | PBS NewsHour Weekend – December 2018

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As Scotland transitions from fossil fuels to renewable energy, it is investing in an unexpected source: tidal currents. Similar to wind turbines, which sit above ground, tidal turbines are one hundred feet below water and use tides instead of wind to generate power. In the first of a two-part series, Hari Sreenivasan reports on what may become the world’s biggest tidal power resource.

via Scotland is betting on tidal energy | PBS NewsHour Weekend

https://www.pbs.org/newshour/show/scotland-is-betting-on-tidal-energy

Opinion | Can Exxon Mobil Protect Mozambique From Climate Change? – By Leigh Elston – The New York Times

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By Leigh Elston
Ms. Elston writes about the energy industry in sub-Saharan Africa.

March 26, 2019

A A A family stranded after Cyclone Ida in the Buzi District of Mozambique last Thursday.CreditCreditSiphiwe Sibeko/Reuters
“MAPUTO, Mozambique — On Tuesday evening, five days after Cyclone Idai hit central Mozambique and the rains started, thousands of survivors were still stranded, waiting to be rescued from trees or the roofs of houses.

On that same evening, far from the floods, I was in an air-conditioned office here in the capital with a group of bankers and oil industry executives, hearing about how rich and happy Mozambicans would soon be. Standard Bank was presenting a new report on the billions of dollars it predicted the Mozambique government will earn from the giant natural gas projects the American oil companies Exxon Mobil and Anadarko plan to start building in the northernmost province of Cabo Delgado this year.

We observed a minute of silence for the victims of the flood. What was not observed was the possibility that climate change, driven by the oil and gas industry, had any responsibility for the natural disaster.

If the Standard Bank report is right, Mozambique will earn $80 billion to $100 billion over the next 30 years from Exxon’s project alone. Anadarko’s project is estimated to deliver $67 billion. Those are huge sums in a country whose gross domestic product is estimated to be around $14 billion.

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With that kind of money, the government could hire around 850 doctors and 17,600 teachers, build 3,200 low-cost homes and provide 4,000 hospital beds, the bank estimates.

It could rebuild Beira, Mozambique’s fourth-largest city, 90 percent of which is estimated to have been damaged or destroyed by Cyclone Idai, and the town of Buzi, home to 200,000 inhabitants, which is totally submerged.

It could also fund a proper climate risk management and resilience program, which would be able to provide better warning of disasters, giving people time to evacuate, and improve rescue and relief efforts. It could finance the building of houses, schools, hospitals and roads better able to withstand storms and flooding.

This should be a priority. Mozambique ranks third in Africa as the most exposed to weather-related hazards, including cyclones, droughts and floods — the number and intensity of which are likely to increase.”

via Opinion | Can Exxon Mobil Protect Mozambique From Climate Change? – The New York Times

Thank you Leigh Elston for this tragic and disturbing story. It breaks my heart, because, I sense deeply, that it is beyond my powers to help the poor and middle class of Mozambique, or to stop the government from stealing the wealth of the country, while contributing to the ruin of the planet’s environments.

Copenhagen Wants to Show How Cities Can Fight Climate Change – The New York Times

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By Somini Sengupta      Photographs by Charlotte de la Fuente
March 25, 2019,   189

COPENHAGEN — Can a city cancel out its greenhouse gas emissions?

Copenhagen intends to, and fast. By 2025, this once-grimy industrial city aims to be net carbon neutral, meaning it plans to generate more renewable energy than the dirty energy it consumes.

Here’s why it matters to the rest of the world: Half of humanity now lives in cities, and the vast share of planet-warming gases come from cities. The big fixes for climate change need to come from cities too. They are both a problem and a potential source of solutions.

The experience of Copenhagen, home to 624,000 people, can show what’s possible, and what’s tough, for other urban governments on a warming planet.

The mayor, Frank Jensen, said cities “can change the way we behave, the way we are living, and go more green.” His city has some advantages. It is small, it is rich and its people care a lot about climate change.

via Copenhagen Wants to Show How Cities Can Fight Climate Change – The New York Times

Opinion | Well- Socialism Couldn’t Give Us Trump – By Gail Collins – The New York Times

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By Gail Collins
Opinion Columnist

March 20, 2019

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When Donald Trump defaulted on a loan for Trump International Hotel in Chicago, he sued Deutsche Bank, which had lent him the money.CreditCreditDavid Kasnic for The New York Times
Department of Irony: Republicans can’t stop howling about socialism. But nobody makes capitalism look worse than Donald Trump.

The president’s party is trying to set up the 2020 election as a war against the S-word. “America will never be a socialist country,” Trump announced in his last State of the Union speech. At a big gathering of conservatives, Mike Pence warned that “Medicare for all” and the Green New Deal were “the same tired economic theories that have impoverished nations … over the past century. That system is socialism.”

There have certainly been socialist disaster cases around the world, although the Republican definition seems to include everyplace that has universal health coverage. But the magic of the marketplace can get you into plenty of trouble, too. For a good example of when the system doesn’t work, just look at Trump’s relationship with Deutsche Bank, which has given him about $2 billion in loans over the years. Two billion dollars to a guy whose major financial talent seems to be defaulting.

The Times’s David Enrich took us through the story this week. It starts in the late 1990s when Deutsche Bank was a kind of minor league player who wanted to be cool and get into U.S. commercial real estate lending in a big way. Where better to start than Trump? He owned stuff.

via Opinion | Well, Socialism Couldn’t Give Us Trump – The New York Times

My Halloween email led to a campus firestorm — and a troubling lesson about self-censorship – By Erika Christakis – Washington Post

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     October 28, 2016
Erika Christakis is an early-childhood educator and the

By Erika Christakisauthor of “The Importance of Being Little.”

The right to speak freely may be enshrined in some of our nation’s great universities, but the culture of listening needs repair. That is the lesson I learned a year ago, when I sent an email urging Yale University students to think critically about an official set of guidelines on costumes to avoid at Halloween.

I had hoped to generate a reflective conversation among students: What happens when one person’s offense is another person’s pride? Should a costume-wearer’s intent or context matter? Can we always tell the difference between a mocking costume and one that satirizes ignorance? In what circumstances should we allow — or punish — youthful transgression?

“I don’t wish to trivialize genuine concerns about cultural and personal representation,” I wrote, in part. “I know that many decent people have proposed guidelines on Halloween costumes from a spirit of avoiding hurt and offense. I laud those goals, in theory, as most of us do. But in practice, I wonder if we should reflect more transparently, as a community, on the consequences of an institutional (which is to say: bureaucratic and administrative) exercise of implied control over college students.”

via My Halloween email led to a campus firestorm — and a troubling lesson about self-censorship – The Washington Post