The Power of China's People

China's rise as the world's second-largest economy highlights a new postindustrial reality: Population counts as much as productivity in determining economic power.

China's rapid growth over the past 30 years has pulled hundreds of millions of Chinese out of poverty and turned China into the world's factory floor. But China's per capita gross domestic product is still just $4,300, according to the International Monetary Fund. It is largely because of the country's population of 1.3 billion that China is moving to the top ranks of economic powers. On Monday, it formally surpassed Japan when Japan reported its 2010 GDP. Look at the arithmetic. China has 11 times Japan's population. That is enough to propel it ahead of Japan in the GDP rankings, despite a per capita income of little more than one-tenth the level of Japan.

A new study says alcohol changes how the brain creates memories

A study on flies may hold the key to future addiction treatments.

Scott Barbour/Getty Images
Mind & Brain
  • A new study suggests that drinking alcohol can affect how memories are stored away as good or bad.
  • This may have drastic implications for how addiction is caused and how people recall intoxication.
  • The findings may one day lead to a new form of treatment for those suffering from addiction.
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How to split the USA into two countries: Red and Blue

Progressive America would be half as big, but twice as populated as its conservative twin.

Image: Dicken Schrader
Strange Maps
  • America's two political tribes have consolidated into 'red' and 'blue' nations, with seemingly irreconcilable differences.
  • Perhaps the best way to stop the infighting is to go for a divorce and give the two nations a country each
  • Based on the UN's partition plan for Israel/Palestine, this proposal provides territorial contiguity and sea access to both 'red' and 'blue' America
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Heatwaves significantly impact male fertility, says huge study

As the world gets hotter, men may have fewer and fewer viable sperm

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Surprising Science
  • New research on beetles shows that successive exposure to heatwaves reduces male fertility, sometimes to the point of sterility.
  • The research has implications both for how the insect population will sustain itself as well as how human fertility may work on an increasingly hotter Earth.
  • With this and other evidence, it is becoming clear that more common and more extreme heatwaves may be the most dangerous aspect of climate change.
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