If Rapid Deforestation Continues, More Pandemics Are Likely, Scientists Say

Scientists say 'promiscuous treatment of nature' will lead to more pandemics such as COVID-19. Habitat destruction forces wildlife into human environments, where new diseases flourish, The (UK) Guardian reports. "Deforestation and other forms of land conversion are driving exotic species out of their evolutionary niches and into manmade environments, where they interact and breed new … Continue reading If Rapid Deforestation Continues, More Pandemics Are Likely, Scientists Say

Gutenberg’s Invention of Printing Press in the 1400s Led to Information Revolution and Surveillance Capitalism of the 21st Century

Many observers have compared the Information Revolution now underway to that sparked by Johann Gutenberg's invention of the printing press in the 1400s. "The problem with living through a revolution is that it’s impossible to take the long view of what’s happening. Hindsight is the only exact science in this business, and in that long … Continue reading Gutenberg’s Invention of Printing Press in the 1400s Led to Information Revolution and Surveillance Capitalism of the 21st Century

The Coming Plague: Newly Emerging Diseases in a World Out of Balance

In 2007, in the midst of the avian flu epidemic, Laurie Garrett, a Pulitzer-Prize winning journalist and author of "The Coming Plague: Newly Emerging Diseases in a World Out of Balance," gave a powerful talk to a small TED university audience. Her insights from past pandemics remain relevant. In 2018, she spoke to the National … Continue reading The Coming Plague: Newly Emerging Diseases in a World Out of Balance

For Most of Human History, Outbreaks of Disease, Disability and Death Were Commonplace

In the study of history since the 1970s, pandemics and fearful disease outbreaks have largely been ignored, left out or forgotten because we thought medical science extinguished them. Communicable diseases like the bubonic plague, small pox, polio, typhus, tuberculosis, cholera, rheumatic fever, scarlet fever and yellow fever have been all but eliminated. Antibiotics were first … Continue reading For Most of Human History, Outbreaks of Disease, Disability and Death Were Commonplace

Predictions For the 2020s, Or for 2030

What will the world look like in 2030? The NYT asked 13 public figures to speculate. Obvious answers that even I could predict would be: cyber-terrorists, holding cities hostage. an end to fact-based, shared reality. more global warming, an increase in weather-related disasters, casualties and costs. more renewable energy, awareness of carbon footprints, taxes and … Continue reading Predictions For the 2020s, Or for 2030

Measure The Years Instead of the Hours

I have noted the "tyranny of now," quoting Andrew Sullivan in The Atlantic quoting Alain de Botton and Michael Oakeshott. De Botton  observed that "the obsession with current events is relentless. We are made to feel that at any point, somewhere on the globe, something may occur to sweep away old certainties -- somethings that, … Continue reading Measure The Years Instead of the Hours

China’s Emergence As World’s Largest Economy and Possibly Dominant Cultural Influence in the 21st Century

When I graduated from college, China was just emerging from the disastrous "cultural revolution." It was still communist, an economic ideology that, in the words of Ronald Reagan, seemed destined for the "ash heap of history." It was unimaginable then that China, which never disavowed communism like Russia did, would be destined to become the … Continue reading China’s Emergence As World’s Largest Economy and Possibly Dominant Cultural Influence in the 21st Century

Lessons for America from the Fall of the British Empire

"Can American empire learn from the decline and fall of the British empire? Why Britain lost the American colonies. The perils of empire. America’s rise and the British Empire’s decline are of a piece. What does that say for America’s future? By Rick Atkinson, a former reporter and editor at The Washington Post. He has won … Continue reading Lessons for America from the Fall of the British Empire

US Civil War Explains American Identity

"'Confederates in the Attic: Dispatches from the Unfinished Civil War" was a 1998 bestseller by the late journalist Tony Horwitz. He followed it up with his 2019 book, "Spying on the South: An Odyssey Across the American Divide." Horwitz himself had no ancestors in the civil war -- his grandfather immigrated from Russia in the 1880s. … Continue reading US Civil War Explains American Identity