Saturday, November 3, 2012

Biofuel, Neanderthals, and Pussy Riot (Link Round-Up 11/3/12)


In China, they call hipsters "cultured youth"
Of course, the adaptability of corporate America continues to prove itself, and in the last decade we have seen hipsterism well and truly enter the American mainstream. Where recycling ideas from the past or from the working class was once a kind of anti-fashion, it is now fashion. And yet hipsterism has retained a flavor–however empty–of rebellion.

By contrast, China’s wonderfully sincere “cultured youth” lack the irony and apathy integral to hipsterism, characteristics which nonetheless can be found in China’s “2B youth.” These are young men and women who have nothing much going on in their lives (or, in some cases, their heads). As the photo collage suggests, “2B”ers like to engage in pointless and deliberately self-defeating behavior, all, it sometimes seems, for nothing more than the “lulz.”

Behind these Chinese counter-cultures lies a hard reality. A recently released Pew Global Attitudes Survey showed that 81% of those polled in China agreed with the following statement: “The rich just get richer while the poor get poorer.” And as Foreign Policy reported last month, the country’s gender imbalance—120 boys for every 100 girls—has put serious pressure on the nation’s bachelors. Those hunting for a bride have come to understand that they should come calling only when armed with an apartment. This, even though “the average property in a top-tier Chinese city now costs between 15 and 20 times the average annual salary.”
Pressure-cooking algae creates biofuel more efficiently
Once producing biofuel from algae is economical, researchers estimate that an area the size of New Mexico could provide enough oil to match current U.S. petroleum consumption. And, unlike corn produced for ethanol—which already accounts for half that area—the algae won't need to occupy good farmland, thriving in brackish ponds instead.
Romney's business strength was his campaign weakness
What he overlooked is that while the financial crisis has certainly weighed on the president, it has also altered public sentiment in a way that made Romney uniquely vulnerable. “In the 1980s white, blue-collar voters totally focused on race,” says Democratic pollster Stanley Greenberg. “They felt that what was happening with blacks was centrally related to why they were losing income and in trouble. Today race has disappeared, and they’re focused on Wall Street, CEOs, and economic elites as the forces holding the middle class down.” Another Democratic pollster, Peter Hart, distilled this ethos into a word: “predators.”

If Romney didn’t see how damaging this could be, it may be because he had fallen prey to the same habits as his old clients, like Chrysler, putting his faith in what had worked so well for him in the past instead of devising a new strategy for the future. That would be ironic, but not nearly as surprising as it seems. When Romney was running Bain, there was a saying around the office: The best analysts in the world almost always have a blind spot—themselves.
German quits Taliban over its "Macho" behavior
"The sight of their badly mangled bodies moved me," he said. "I was scared and I wanted to get out. Waziristan was not what I was looking for." Underlying his dislike of his new life was the Taliban propensity to use drugs, and their "macho" attitude to women. In one case a Taliban fighter went to the German widow of a dead comrade and told her that she would marry him. The proposal was made without any consultation with her, "as if she was just an object" said Thomas U. in his statement.

In September 2010 the couple fled Pakistan and made their way to Turkey, where they were arrested.
Only sub-Sarahan African humans lack Neanderthal DNA
The researchers focused on 780,000 genetic variants in 125 people representing seven different North African locations. They found North Africans had dramatically more genetic variants linked with Neanderthals than sub-Saharan Africans did. The level of genetic variants that North Africans share with Neanderthals is on par with that seen in modern Eurasians.

The scientists also found this Neanderthal genetic signal was higher in North African populations whose ancestors had relatively little recent interbreeding with modern Near Eastern or European peoples. That suggests the signal came directly from ancient mixing with Neanderthals, and not recent interbreeding with other modern humans whose ancestors might have interbred with Neanderthals.
The oldest town in Europe — dating to 4,700 BC— is discovered in Bulgaria
Located near the Black Sea resort of Varna, the previously buried town was established sometime between 4,700 and 4,200 BC. This would mean the settlement predated the Greek civilization by 1,500 years.

Archaeologists have uncovered the ruins of two-story houses, perimeter walls, and parts of a gate, all of which were located near rock-salt deposits. It has been estimated that this establishment was home to about 350 people.

It is believed that the high stone walls encircling the area were built as fortifications to protect the town’s hoards of salt, which was as valuable then as oil and gold are today.
Medvedev: Pussy Riot should not be in jail
Dmitry Medvedev, Russia’s Prime Minister, directly contradicted President Vladimir Putin today by stating his view that the jailed members of the punk group Pussy Riot should be freed.

Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alekhina were jailed for two years by a Moscow court earlier this year for “hooliganism motivated by religious hatred” after they performed a “punk prayer” criticising President Vladimir Putin in Moscow’s main cathedral.
Israel fears Syrian violence spreading to the Golan Heights
Israel is worried about what happens after Assad. The most likely possibilities are either that Syria will become a Sunni state, as the majority of the population is Sunni, or will fragment into several small mini-states. Assad is a member of the Alawite minority, a branch of Shia Islam.

The Druze community in the Golan Heights is watching the situation especially closely. Although they live under Israeli sovereignty, many of the Druze in the Golan Heights consider themselves to be Syrians. Only about ten percent of the 22,000 there have accepted Israeli citizenship.

At the beginning of the fighting in Syria, most of the Druze in the Golan supported Assad.
My Gapers Block piece on Chicago voting referendums

No comments:

Like What You Read? Share It.

Share |