Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Why Democrats should make Stacey Abrams speaker of the House

The Washington Post

By Meredith Meisenheimer and
Sue Altman

November 9

On Tuesday, voters demanded change.

Tired of politics as usual, they want to see Democrats address issues plaguing the country and hold President Trump accountable. That charge requires Democrats to act boldly and creatively. In this spirit, rather than simply re-elevating Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi to speaker of the House, Democrats ought to select Stacey Abrams, the likely losing Democratic candidate in the Georgia gubernatorial race.

Abrams is precisely the sort of inspirational leader that the moment demands, and the move would send a clear message to voters that their concerns have been heard — and that Democrats can find innovative ways to elevate the next generation of party leaders.

A new way to fish

Can we save the prized bluefin tuna, and its habitat, by growing it in a lab?
Washington Post

By Tim Carman

Nov. 13, 2018

For several years, biotech companies have been promising “clean” meat, “cell-based” meat, “cultured” meat — whatever you want to call it — as a way to enjoy the taste of chicken, pork and beef without the brutality of animal slaughter or the environmental damage of big agriculture. But what about fish? What about something as prized as buttery bluefin tuna, a delicacy that has become the forbidden fruit of the sea because of the many threats that have landed the fish on threatened and endangered species lists?

Where are the Silicon Valley start-ups promising to free us from the guilt of gobbling down a finger of otoro sushi, the rich bluefin belly meat, without contributing to the decline of the fish or the decline of our own health via mercury that accumulates in the flesh of this apex predator?

Well, there is at least one scientific pilgrim: Brian Wyrwas is the co-founder and chief science officer for Finless Foods, a Bay Area biotech dedicated to growing bluefin tuna in a lab. He can tell you all about the difficulties of his task, starting with the bone-weary process of securing bluefin tuna samples, the pristine source material for much of the science that follows in this field known as cellular agriculture.

Friday, October 19, 2018

South-east Asia power plants seen clashing with UN climate goals

[Maybe I am over-sensitive, but does the title of this news article strikes you as being overtly racist? Subtly racist? Rationalised racism? "South-east Asia" "Clashing with" "UN" --- "Those damned slant-eyes just don't understand the sacrifices THEY need to make to keep this world comfy for ALL of us!" 

Too hostile? Too passive-aggressive? Not passive enough?]

18 OCTOBER, 2018

TODAY

SINGAPORE — Almost 84 per cent of South-east Asia’s planned and existing fossil fuel power plants are incompatible with future scenarios that avoid catastrophic damage from climate change, according a new study from the University of Oxford.

The report, which comes on the heels of a major United Nations-backed study of the impacts of global temperatures rising 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 Fahrenheit), is based on analysis of the amount of carbon expected to be emitted over the lifespan of the plants.

Singapore ranked first among places for expats to live and work in: HSBC survey

[So we are in the bottom 10 in the Commitment to Reduce Inequality (CRI) Index administered by Oxfam, but we are #1 in the World Bank's Human Capital Index, though we are #2 in the World Economic Forum's Most Competitive country (US is #1). And here we are #1 in HSBC's ranking of best places for expats to live and work.

The point, in case you are assuming the usual, is not that SG is the GREATEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD. 

I mean, if that is your takeaway from all these accolades, let me ask you: what did you personally do to develop our human capital, make SG a competitive country, and make SG the best country for expats to live and work? Let me ask you, do you even LIKE expats in SG? Or are you subtly racist like most Singaporeans, and would rather NOT have expats in SG?

The point is not that we should be proud, or disgusted, or dismayed, or disheartened, or arrogant, or any other emotional reaction you can think of.

That we live in a Singapore that is #1 and #2 or #150 is what OTHER people think of us. If what they think of us makes you happy, or sad, or angry, or glad, you are not very stable, are you?

Put it another way, with the latest news (whichever news), how has your life changed for the better or for the worse?

Did your wife/girlfriend leave you to look for a new Expat boyfriend because of this report? I hope not. But if she did, do you really want such a superficial person as your life partner?]


Thursday, October 18, 2018

Investors brace for Malaysia tax on capital gains, consumers

TODAY

17 October, 2018


KUALA LUMPUR — Malaysia is keeping investors guessing as to what new taxes will be unveiled in next year’s budget. For now, the market is bracing for the worst: capital gains and consumption taxes.

Levies on returns from capital investments may worsen stock declines. The benchmark equity index hasn’t recovered from last week’s steepest plunge in four months, after Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad announced the tax plans.

A consumption levy may further constrain economic growth that had eased to the slowest pace in more than a year.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Human Capital Index - Singapore's Achievement?

[Hot on the heels of the Oxfam report that slammed SG (well, ranked SG in the bottom 10 countries for our efforts to reduce inequality), comes the World Bank Human Capital Index Report (news article follows) which ranked SG #1 in how well we develop our "human capital".

What are we to make of it?

Well, let's first see what they are reporting.]

Thursday, October 11, 2018

“We don’t mail Elvis a Social Security check, no matter how many people think he is alive.”

[A Commentary on populism, conspiracy irrationalism, and anti-intellectualism. Sure it is mostly in the US, but it is not alien elsewhere in the world.


At about 2:46 into the video: "...we aspired to intelligence, we didn't belittle it, it didn't make us feel inferior... we didn't scare so easy..."

Fear makes us stupid. Fear makes us willing to believe comfortable lies, lies that tell you it is not your fault, it is the fault of the world, and the evil in the world trying to take from you what is rightfully yours.

Our parents or grandparents did not believe that. And some of them lived through times when there was evil trying to take their lives, their families, their happiness. 

Only in the comfort of your armchair can you imagine the conspiracy arrayed against your happiness, your petty interests.]