China Goes Shopping, World Throws Open Its Doors

The NYT reports on a recent surge in China's foreign direct investment.  China is taking advantage of a savings stockpile and cheap energy prices to seure itself reliable flows of energy into the foreseeable future.

While similar moves by china in 2005 to buy American firm Unocal were undone by fear and suspicions, no such xenophobia is likely to stand in its way now, given the economic downturn.  The only open question is whether there's any recourse for the Obama Administration.

There is one clear option -- removing oil subsidies and raising the gas tax.  Such a move would dampen demand while raising capital that could be invested in a range of alternatives that might free us from this sort of zero-sum competition with China.  Tom Friedman and others have been talking about this course for years, but it's taken a back seat amidst our current troubles.  We need to act NOW before we face rising energy prices AND shrinking GDP. 

The stimulus is certainly a start in the right direction, but the effort won't be fully believable until the Administration addresses the web of cross-cutting and self-defeating incentives we've currently got in place.

A dark matter hurricane is crashing into Earth

Giving our solar system a "slap in the face"

Surprising Science
  • A stream of galactic debris is hurtling at us, pulling dark matter along with it
  • It's traveling so quickly it's been described as a hurricane of dark matter
  • Scientists are excited to set their particle detectors at the onslffaught
Keep reading Show less

Are we all multiple personalities of universal consciousness?

Bernardo Kastrup proposes a new ontology he calls “idealism” built on panpsychism, the idea that everything in the universe contains consciousness. He solves problems with this philosophy by adding a new suggestion: The universal mind has dissociative identity disorder.

We’re all one mind in "idealism." (Credit: Alex Grey)
Mind & Brain

There’s a reason they call it the “hard problem.” Consciousness: Where is it? What is it? No one single perspective seems to be able to answer all the questions we have about consciousness. Now Bernardo Kastrup thinks he’s found one. He calls his ontology idealism, and according to idealism, all of us and all we perceive are manifestations of something very much like a cosmic-scale dissociative identity disorder (DID). He suggests there’s an all-encompassing universe-wide consciousness, it has multiple personalities, and we’re them.

Keep reading Show less

New study reveals what time we burn the most calories

Once again, our circadian rhythm points the way.

Photo: Victor Freitas / Unsplash
Surprising Science
  • Seven individuals were locked inside a windowless, internetless room for 37 days.
  • While at rest, they burned 130 more calories at 5 p.m. than at 5 a.m.
  • Morning time again shown not to be the best time to eat.
Keep reading Show less