Thursday, November 29, 2018

Facebook admits 'serious mistake' after Edwin Tong questions failure to remove hate post in Sri Lanka

28 NOVEMBER, 2018


LONDON — A Facebook executive has admitted that the company “made a mistake” in not removing a post that incited racial hatred in Sri Lanka, an international hearing on fake news and disinformation in London heard on Tuesday (Nov 27).

Mr Richard Allan, Facebook's vice-president of policy solutions, was questioned by Singapore Member of Parliament Edwin Tong over a post, written in Sinhalese in March, which called for the killing of all Muslims. Mr Tong asked if the post breached the social media company’s terms of service.

Mr Allan agreed it did.

Was the Great Recession worse than the Great Depression?

By Robert J. Samuelson
Washington Post

November 26 2018

Here’s today’s economic quiz: Was the 2007-09 Great Recession more damaging than the Great Depression of the 1930s? Surely the answer is “no.” During the 1930s, unemployment reached 25 percent. By contrast, the recent peak in the jobless rate was 10 percent. Case closed.

Not so fast, objects economist J. Bradford DeLong of the University of California at Berkeley. “Fifty years from now, historians will . . . write that President Franklin Roosevelt, Congress and the Federal Reserve provided a collective policy response that was, if not optimal, at least respectable. . . . By contrast, they will [argue] that the responses of President Barack Obama, Congress and the Federal Reserve did not come up to the standard [set by] the mid-1930s policy-makers.”

Could DeLong be correct? The answer matters, because if he’s right, the economy — despite its present strength — faces a future of long-term sluggishness.

Friday, November 23, 2018

The dangerous naivete of Trump and Xi



22 NOVEMBER, 2018

Presidents Donald Trump and Xi Jinping are a bit alike, and that presents a danger to the global order.

The American and Chinese leaders are both impetuous, authoritarian and overconfident nationalists, and each appears to underestimate the other side’s capacity to inflict pain. This dangerous symmetry leaves the two sides hurtling toward each other.

The 10 per cent tariffs already imposed in the trade war are scheduled to rise to 25 per cent in January, but there’s also a broader confrontation emerging.

Mr Trump and Mr Xi may well be able to reach a ceasefire in their trade war when they meet for the Group of 20 end of the month. Even if a deal is reached, though, it may be only a temporary respite that doesn’t alter the dynamic of two great nations increasingly on a collision course.

Thursday, November 22, 2018

US-China clash at Apec was over more than words

20 November, 2018

BEIJING — The tensions were already high.

At a major international gathering in Papua New Guinea over the weekend, the United States wanted to end with a group statement emphasising free trade. China objected.

But instead of working out the disagreement through dialogue, Chinese officials barged uninvited into the office of the host country’s foreign minister demanding changes in the official communiqué.

China’s action marked a striking break with diplomatic decorum at a meeting that is normally used to promote cooperation among countries that ring the Pacific Ocean.

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.