Stranger Not So Danger
June 14, 2019
“In the midst of winter, I found there was, within me, an invincible summer.
And that makes me happy. For it says that no matter how hard the world pushes against me, within me, there’s something stronger – something better, pushing right back.”
– Albert Camus
A Major Humanitarian Issue: Feeding All the Hungry Brains and Bodies
Malnutrition-related growth impairment affects almost a quarter of the world’s child-population and is listed as one of the key drivers of intergenerational poverty. In addition to physical signs such as lack of proper body development, the major problem lies in impaired brain development linked to stunting.
In a case study of Guatemala, it was found that nearly half the child-population was malnourished, with some Mayan villages seeing nearly seventy percent of their children suffering from it. Studies find that malnourished children do less well in school, and the mental impairment is visible in brain scans.
Billions of I.Q. points are lost due to malnutrition, meaning that the greatest untapped resource of the 21st century isn’t oil or gold, it’s the minds of malnourished, unhealthy children. Malnutrition has been recorded as the underlying cause of forty-five percent of deaths in children under the age of five, and yet less than one percent of global foreign assistance is directed at fighting and addressing undernutrition – a phenomenon coined as the “45 percent-1 percent disconnect.” Nutrition programs are extremely inexpensive and often one of the most cost-effective ways to fight global poverty. (NYT $)
Oman, What an Accusation
- Two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman were attacked early Thursday morning, with some forty-four crew members abandoning ship with no fatalities. The U.S. Navy rushed to assist the ships, one of which was set ablaze, and prompting a lash-out by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who quickly turned against Iran as the culprit of the attacks.
- Though no evidence was provided by him, Pompeo pointed to intelligence, stating that Iran was using “terror, bloodshed and extortion” in an attempt to pressure the United States into easing its recent slew of legislation against them. Pompeo provided no specifics about any planned response and took no questions from reporters following his outcry.
- The Trump administration is on record saying that they are ready to retaliate against any attack or provocation from Iran following its declaration of a hard-line campaign against them. The campaign is being led by national security adviser John Bolton, who a month ago ordered bombers to the Middle East to counter what administrators called Iranian threats.
- Frictions between the United States and Iran have become so intense that other nations have pleaded with all sides to stay calm rather than provoke an all-out war. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan, who was visiting Iran earlier this week, warned of the risk of stumbling into military conflict. (NPR)
Ebola Strikes Back
- Ebola has made a resurgence once again, with the World Health Organization debating whether or not to declare the current outbreak in Africa a global health crisis. A young boy from the Congo died on Tuesday, and his grandmother followed shortly on Thursday from the most recent outbreak of the deadly disease which is contracted through bodily fluid contact and has roughly a 50 percent mortality rate. Common symptoms include fever, chills, internal bleeding, and vomiting.
- The disease has run rampant in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, killing almost 1,400 people there since last August. Luckily, the neighboring country of Uganda has been preparing for the spread of the disease over the last 10 months. In addition to the first two cases, a dozen of the boy’s family members who have shown Ebola symptoms have also been quarantined in the Congo. However, six of the twelve left the facility while waiting to be transferred to another area for treatment.
- Rwanda, which neighbors both the Democratic Republic of Congo and Uganda has also announced preemptive measures in the form of tighter border control. Rwanda also said it would begin issuing front-line health workers an experimental Ebola vaccine in an effort to keep the disease from crossing into its territory. (NPR)
Additional World News
- Vatican Rejects Notion That Gender Identity Can Be Fluid (NYT, $)
- Brazil: Bolsonaro fires key moderate who warned of dangers of ‘extremism’ (Guardian)
- Julian Assange to appear in court after Javid signs US extradition request: Home secretary opens way for court to consider whether Assange should be sent to US (Guardian)
- Mortar Fire Breaks Syria Cease-Fire Negotiated by Russia and Turkey (NYT, $)
- Italy’s Toying With a ‘Mini-BOT’ Worries E.U. and Investors (NYT, $)
Providers, Patients, and Pointing Fingers
- The US spends a higher proportion of its GDP while reaching lower health outcomes when compared to all high-income countries. Many Americans blame the US healthcare system for these statistics, but what if the problem is not just the healthcare system, but the American patients who use the system?
- Many healthcare problems in the US stem from patient lifestyle choices, such as smoking or lack of exercise. Some studies have shown that providers’ services only account for a 10-25 percent increase in life expectancy, while patient decisions affect life expectancy much more.
- Another explanation for the inefficiency of the US healthcare system is patients’ relationship with their doctors. Compared to patients in other countries, Americans are more likely to challenge their doctors’ opinions, demanding other treatments, be it drugs or surgeries, which again raise healthcare costs. Despite offering their own opinions on treatment options, Americans also have a problem following prescriptions, costing the system up to three times as much as its European Union counterparts. (Atlantic)
Make America Great Again… Again
- On Tuesday June 18, President Trump will begin his 2020 campaign trail in Orlando, Florida and many are already asking what his 2020 campaign strategy will be.
- It is to be expected that Trump will lean heavily on the increasingly strong US economy and employment rate while avoiding topics such as his ever present Russian collusion allegations.
- Will we be seeing the same old “drain the swamp” Trump from the 2016 campaign trail or has the presidency impacted his personality at all? Former chair of the Republican National Committee, Michael Steele, had this to say on the matter, “Hell no!” (Guardian)
- Additional Reads: Trump: if foreign power offered dirt on 2020 opponent, ‘I’d want to hear it’ President claims he would have no obligation to call the FBI, contradicting bureau director he appointed (Guardian) and 23 Democrats Are Running for President. Do Any of Them Know What They’re Doing? How do you unite a fractious base and defeat President Trump? No one seems to know, but that isn’t stopping them from giving it a try. (NYT $)
Additional USA News
- As Legal Battle Persists, Census Citizenship Question Is Put To The Test (NPR)
- As Migrants Stream In At The Border, Inland Checkpoints Feel The Strain (NPR)
- Sarah Sanders: White House press secretary resigns (BBC)
Stranger Not So Danger
- Research conducted by the University of Chicago Booth School of Business and the BBC concluded that while it seems a bit daunting to communicate with a stranger on your morning commute, most people are open to having a chat with someone they do not know.
- Their team sent volunteers to commute on Chicago buses and trains and found that when they spent the bulk of their commute talking to a fellow commuter, they had a much better quality commute.
- The research concludes: everyone has a story to tell, you just have to ask. (BBC)
- Hit the mute button: why everyone is trying to silence the outside world: Uber is trialling a feature that allows customers to stop their drivers from talking. But there’s growing evidence that cutting ourselves off like this isn’t healthy (Guardian)
- How to Be Great? Just Be Good, Repeatably (Steph Smith)
- Why are we still pretending ‘trickle-down’ economics work?: Art Laffer, ‘godfather’ of supply-side economic theory, is going to be awarded a presidential medal. He doesn’t deserve it (Guardian)
- Hollywood Reconsiders the Bad Female Boss, With a Generational Twist: In projects like “Late Night,” “Little” and “Veep,” the archetype is being used to tell more explicitly feminist tales — and to question power itself. (NYT, $)
- Love isn’t what it was: In a strangely unremarked-upon twist, Disney films have taken to subverting romance and rethinking the happy-ever-afters (Aeon)
- Change A View: One Scottish man’s idea to fix the broken world of online debate: An idea by a Highlands teenager has garnered worldwide attention and is now, six years later, the basis for a fledgling start-up. (BBC)
- How Asif Kapadia Became the Great Chronicler of Tragic Fame: With his new film about Diego Maradona, the documentary-maker has completed a trilogy about celebrity – and, dead or alive, their stories are just as devastating, writes Mike Higgins. (BBC)
- Prohibition worked better than you think: America’s anti-alcohol experiment cut down on drinking and drinking-related deaths – and it may have reduced crime and violence overall. (Vox)
- Heavy rains are on the rise around the world. Here’s why. New study shows torrential downpours are increasingly common – and experts say the trend might intensify. (NBC)
- How Much Nature Is Enough? 120 Minutes a Week, Doctors Say: Researchers have now quantified the ideal amount of time needed to reap the health benefits of the great outdoors. (NYT $)
“You will never be happy if you continue to search for what happiness consists of. You will never live if you are looking for the meaning of life.”
“Real generosity towards the future lies in giving all to the present.”
– Albert Camus
RECOMMENDED FOR YOU