Demographics are changing - and ultimately the fate of political parties. The Republicans have been concentrating their efforts on their core at the cost of the exclusion of others. That will bite them - probably not in this election, but down the road. The Altantic on a major shift of the right wing core.
The company behind Whisper, the social media app that promises users anonymity and claims to be “the safest place on the internet”, is tracking the location of its users, including some who have specifically asked not to be followed.
The practice of monitoring the whereabouts of Whisper users – including those who have expressly opted out of geolocation services – will alarm users, who are encouraged to disclose intimate details about their private and professional lives.
Whisper is also sharing information with the US Department of Defense gleaned from smartphones it knows are used from military bases, and developing a version of its app to conform with Chinese censorship laws.
The US version of the app, which enables users to publish short messages superimposed over photographs or other images, has attracted millions of users, and is proving especially popular among military personnel who are using the service to make confessions they would be unlikely to publish on Facebook or Twitter.
That sounds daunting. Could you explain the implications? Many Chinese scientists and officials say that China’s carbon emissions are likely to keep growing until at least around 2025, and possibly many years after that. But you’re saying that keeping to a two-degree goal will demand much faster, deeper cuts from China, not to speak of the rest of the world. Is that right?
There is a broad misconception of what it means to keep below two degrees. Most analyses use models that have very optimistic assumptions about the implementation of carbon pricing globally and the availability of key technologies like carbon capture and storage. Analyses also focus on what happens at the global level, hiding country-specific details. This gives the impression that mitigation is easy once there is sufficient political and societal support.
The engineering reality on the ground is likely to be quite different. While China is moving forward with stronger and stronger climate policies, it is unclear if China’s current level of ambition is consistent with keeping global warming below two degrees. The arithmetic of the small remaining emission quota means that the more China emits, the less others can emit. This brings issues of equity and fairness directly into the debate. Despite positive progress in Chinese climate policy, the reality is that, to be consistent with two degrees, a peak and decline in Chinese emissions will have to occur sooner and faster.
You’ve said that, given the failure of advanced countries to do much more in cutting emissions, China has a chance to lead the way in the climate negotiations. But how could it make the kind of emissions reductions you have in mind without hurting its economy? As you know, there’s a great deal of reluctance in China to making changes that could put economic growth at risk.
Each country has its own historical context, which often psychologically constrains options moving forward. Norway is among the richest nations in the world but does not see a path away from its dependence on oil and gas extraction. In contrast, its immediate neighbors Denmark, Sweden and Finland have been almost as successful, but without oil and gas.
There are many ways that a country can find its riches. The secret for China is to make itself a part of the solution. It is clear that to keep below two degrees requires massive new investments in renewable technologies, batteries, electric cars, and carbon capture and storage. A bold move forward will ensure these technologies are “Made in China,” with the riches to closely follow.
As near as anyone can tell, the outbreak started when a few tiny rod-shaped particles—each merely an attack plan coded in ribonucleic acid and wrapped in a protein shell—found their way from a fruit bat into the body of a child not yet two years old. Perhaps, while the mother was preparing the day’s hunt, some of the bat’s blood was flung in the child’s direction. Perhaps, while the mother’s attention was elsewhere, the child touched the animal, then brought his hand to his mouth, the way babies do. Either way, a few strands of the Ebola virus attached themselves to cells in the child’s immune system and used the cells’ machinery to replicate. The boy developed a fever, then diarrhea and vomiting. His organs began to fail. He began to bleed internally and went into septic shock. In four days, he was dead.
It might have ended there—one child’s death in the jungle, way back in December—with no one ever to know that Ebola had spilled over into the human population. Certainly this happens often—spillovers that produce outbreaks so sudden, and generally so remote, that they don’t spread. People close by attribute the deaths to some other, more common affliction, while people far away never hear about them at all.
In this case, however, a family dispute intervened. After the child was infected but before he died, the mother, who happened to be pregnant, packed up the boy and a daughter and marched across the village to her own mother’s house. Space there was tight, because the grandmother had a houseguest. Beds were shared, and the baby’s symptoms exploded. His mother was infected, his sister, his grandmother, the houseguest too. When the mother miscarried, the midwife was infected. The Ebola virus had started to move.
When Ebola strikes, it kills quickly, but it can take up to three weeks to incubate, and usually around 10 days. The period is long enough that contact with a possible source may have been forgotten, and long enough for infected people to travel without symptoms. And even if you tested for Ebola—which nobody in Guinea had the capacity to do—you wouldn’t find it during the incubation period: Ebola can’t be detected in the blood until symptoms show. An epidemic can start slowly and go unnoticed for weeks. This has never been much of an issue before, because Ebola tends not to find its way into large population centers, or places where people are very mobile. This time would be different.