Immigration: Do Bad Fences Make Bad Neighbors?
Jorge Castañeda is Global Distinguished Professor of Politics and Latin American and Caribbean Studies at New York University. A renowned public intellectual, political scientist, and prolific writer, with an interest in Latin American politics, comparative politics and U.S.-Latin American relations, he is the former Foreign Minister of Mexico (2000-2003), and in that position he focused on diverse issues in U.S.-Mexican relations, including migration, trade, security, and narcotics control; joint diplomatic initiatives on the part of Latin American nations; and the promotion of Mexican economic and trade relations globally.
Born in Mexico City in 1953, Dr. Castañeda received undergraduate degrees from both Princeton University and Universite de Paris-I (Pantheon-Sorbonne), an M.A. from Ecole Pratique de Hautes Etudes, Paris I, and his Ph.D. in the History of Economics from the University of Paris. He was a Senior Associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace (1985-87) and a John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Research and Writing Grant Recipient (1989-1991). Among his many books are "Utopia Unarmed: The Latin American Left after the Cold War" (1993), "The Mexican Shock" (1995), "Compañero: The Life and Death of Che Guevara" (1997), and "Perpetuating Power: How Mexican Presidents Were Chosen" (2000). Dr. Castañeda is a regular columnist for the Mexican daily Reforma, The Los Angeles Times, and Newsweek International.
Question: How would you characterize current U.S.-Mexico relations?\r\n
Jorge Castañeda: Well, the divergences are great than ever in terms of the disparity in economic growth and income and standards of living. If, maybe, 30 years ago the ratio was six or seven to one, now it’s maybe eight or nine to one. So, despite huge progress that has been achieved in Mexico over the last 15 years, the fact is that there is a great gap between the United States and Mexico or between Canada, the United States and Mexico, than there has been before. And, unfortunately, that has not changed; it’s getting worse.\r\n
On immigration, nothing really has happened since 2007 and the issue, up to a point, has been laid to rest by the US recession because some Americans have the impression that fewer Mexicans are coming to the US, which is probably true, some have the impression that more are returning to Mexico. That’s probably not true. But, the fact is that once the US economy picks up again, and it will at some point, demand for low wage, low skill Mexican labor will return to where it was a few years ago and we will be back to 300-, 350,000, 400,000 Mexicans entering the United States without papers every year. And so, the whole immigration issue will come back to haunt both countries because they really haven’t don’t anything to address it.\r\n
Question: What does the U.S.-Mexico border fence say about relations between the two countries?\r\n
Jorge Castañeda: Well, I think there’s two aspects to it. There's the emblematic or symbolic one, which is, it’s a terrible message to send to both societies that the United States wants to build a wall or is building a wall to try and keep people out or, for that matter, to keep things in, like guns or money or chemicals. It’s a lousy idea, it sends the wrong message. This is not the type of symbol that you want erected on the border between two countries that seek to be closer and closer friends and allies and partners over the years.\r\n
On the other hand, it’s also true that the fence is not exactly being constructed in a huge rush. It’s taking forever. Very few miles have actually been built. Most of the miles where it’s been built are uninhabited. I don’t think that it is that much of a big deal. I think that too much was made of it. It’s, as I said, for symbolic reasons, but in terms of actually deterring Mexicans from entering the United States, I don’t think it will have any effect whatsoever.
Recorded on February 1, 2010
Interviewed by Austin Allen
The U.S.-Mexico border fence carries a "terrible" symbolic message, but virtually no practical impact.
The Spilhaus Projection may be more than 75 years old, but it has never been more relevant than today.
- Athelstan Spilhaus designed an oceanic thermometer to fight the Nazis, and the weather balloon that got mistaken for a UFO in Roswell.
- In 1942, he produced a world map with a unique perspective, presenting the world's oceans as one body of water.
- The Spilhaus Projection could be just what the oceans need to get the attention their problems deserve.
It's just the current cycle that involves opiates, but methamphetamine, cocaine, and others have caused the trajectory of overdoses to head the same direction
- It appears that overdoses are increasing exponentially, no matter the drug itself
- If the study bears out, it means that even reducing opiates will not slow the trajectory.
- The causes of these trends remain obscure, but near the end of the write-up about the study, a hint might be apparent
Through computationally intensive computer simulations, researchers have discovered that "nuclear pasta," found in the crusts of neutron stars, is the strongest material in the universe.
- The strongest material in the universe may be the whimsically named "nuclear pasta."
- You can find this substance in the crust of neutron stars.
- This amazing material is super-dense, and is 10 billion times harder to break than steel.
Superman is known as the "Man of Steel" for his strength and indestructibility. But the discovery of a new material that's 10 billion times harder to break than steel begs the question—is it time for a new superhero known as "Nuclear Pasta"? That's the name of the substance that a team of researchers thinks is the strongest known material in the universe.
Unlike humans, when stars reach a certain age, they do not just wither and die, but they explode, collapsing into a mass of neurons. The resulting space entity, known as a neutron star, is incredibly dense. So much so that previous research showed that the surface of a such a star would feature amazingly strong material. The new research, which involved the largest-ever computer simulations of a neutron star's crust, proposes that "nuclear pasta," the material just under the surface, is actually stronger.
The competition between forces from protons and neutrons inside a neutron star create super-dense shapes that look like long cylinders or flat planes, referred to as "spaghetti" and "lasagna," respectively. That's also where we get the overall name of nuclear pasta.
Caplan & Horowitz/arXiv
Diagrams illustrating the different types of so-called nuclear pasta.
The researchers' computer simulations needed 2 million hours of processor time before completion, which would be, according to a press release from McGill University, "the equivalent of 250 years on a laptop with a single good GPU." Fortunately, the researchers had access to a supercomputer, although it still took a couple of years. The scientists' simulations consisted of stretching and deforming the nuclear pasta to see how it behaved and what it would take to break it.
While they were able to discover just how strong nuclear pasta seems to be, no one is holding their breath that we'll be sending out missions to mine this substance any time soon. Instead, the discovery has other significant applications.
One of the study's co-authors, Matthew Caplan, a postdoctoral research fellow at McGill University, said the neutron stars would be "a hundred trillion times denser than anything on earth." Understanding what's inside them would be valuable for astronomers because now only the outer layer of such starts can be observed.
"A lot of interesting physics is going on here under extreme conditions and so understanding the physical properties of a neutron star is a way for scientists to test their theories and models," Caplan added. "With this result, many problems need to be revisited. How large a mountain can you build on a neutron star before the crust breaks and it collapses? What will it look like? And most importantly, how can astronomers observe it?"
Another possibility worth studying is that, due to its instability, nuclear pasta might generate gravitational waves. It may be possible to observe them at some point here on Earth by utilizing very sensitive equipment.
The team of scientists also included A. S. Schneider from California Institute of Technology and C. J. Horowitz from Indiana University.
Check out the study "The elasticity of nuclear pasta," published in Physical Review Letters.
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