21st-Century China: The Center of the World?

"For centuries in the past we’ve been in the center of the world. In fact, you know, 'China' in Chinese means 'the middle kingdom,' that we are in the middle of the world...This current or recent rise of China...for many Chinese it is just the way that we get back to where we ought to be," says Edward Tse, Booz & Co.'s management consultant and author of "The China Strategy." But will the story of the 21st century be the story of a Chinese economic juggernaut rising to predominance? Or a more moderate story of power shared across interdependent nations? Tse reflects on these and other far-reaching questions in his Big Think interview.


According to Tse, the 2008 financial meltdown made China wary (or warier) of plunging headlong into Western-style free-market capitalism. As a result, it may not directly mimic the "East Asian model" of neighbor nations like Japan and South Korea, instead choosing a more complex path into the global market. At the same time, China is becoming more open and entrepreneurial with each passing year, meaning that Western multinational corporations must either take it seriously as "a base where...companies need to do research and development, do product development, and then integrate the China operations into the global operations," or risk irrelevance.

Tse also addresses the recent Google pullout from China, hinting that with robust Web search competition in the region the search giant may not be missed. At the end of the interview, he lays out a vision for the 21st century as a "multiple-power" (as opposed to superpower-driven) economic system whose success will hinge more on cooperation than competition.
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If you want to know what makes a Canadian lynx a Canadian lynx a team of DNA sequencers has figured that out.

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  • A team at UMass Amherst recently sequenced the genome of the Canadian lynx.
  • It's part of a project intending to sequence the genome of every vertebrate in the world.
  • Conservationists interested in the Canadian lynx have a new tool to work with.

If you want to know what makes a Canadian lynx a Canadian lynx, I can now—as of this month—point you directly to the DNA of a Canadian lynx, and say, "That's what makes a lynx a lynx." The genome was sequenced by a team at UMass Amherst, and it's one of 15 animals whose genomes have been sequenced by the Vertebrate Genomes Project, whose stated goal is to sequence the genome of all 66,000 vertebrate species in the world.

Sequencing the genome of a particular species of an animal is important in terms of preserving genetic diversity. Future generations don't necessarily have to worry about our memory of the Canadian Lynx warping the way hearsay warped perception a long time ago.

elephant by Guillaume le Clerc

Artwork: Guillaume le Clerc / Wikimedia Commons

13th-century fantastical depiction of an elephant.

It is easy to see how one can look at 66,000 genomic sequences stored away as being the analogous equivalent of the Svalbard Global Seed Vault. It is a potential tool for future conservationists.

But what are the practicalities of sequencing the genome of a lynx beyond engaging with broad bioethical questions? As the animal's habitat shrinks and Earth warms, the Canadian lynx is demonstrating less genetic diversity. Cross-breeding with bobcats in some portions of the lynx's habitat also represents a challenge to the lynx's genetic makeup. The two themselves are also linked: warming climates could drive Canadian lynxes to cross-breed with bobcats.

John Organ, chief of the U.S. Geological Survey's Cooperative Fish and Wildlife units, said to MassLive that the results of the sequencing "can help us look at land conservation strategies to help maintain lynx on the landscape."

What does DNA have to do with land conservation strategies? Consider the fact that the food found in a landscape, the toxins found in a landscape, or the exposure to drugs can have an impact on genetic activity. That potential change can be transmitted down the generative line. If you know exactly how a lynx's DNA is impacted by something, then the environment they occupy can be fine-tuned to meet the needs of the lynx and any other creature that happens to inhabit that particular portion of the earth.

Given that the Trump administration is considering withdrawing protection for the Canadian lynx, a move that caught scientists by surprise, it is worth having as much information on hand as possible for those who have an interest in preserving the health of this creature—all the way down to the building blocks of a lynx's life.

Why cauliflower is perfect for the keto diet

The exploding popularity of the keto diet puts a less used veggie into the spotlight.

Purple cauliflower. (Photo: Shutterstock)
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