from the world's big
Navigating the Copenhagen Sustainability Vacuum
Erik Rasmussen: It’s hard to tell about the positive elements. If one could talk about the positive part, it really is clear that the politicians by themselves will not be able to sort that complex problem. We have to create much stronger alliances and that us and politicians have to take a much stronger role. For example, businesses, they have to be much more upfront, clearly demonstrating the benefits of climate action, and through that, place much stronger pressure on politicians to act fast and firm. So it was the message from Copenhagen that we have to approach climate change problems much wider, much more stakeholders, much more committed in the process and not just being a side event. The negative part is, of course, that right now, we are without a global treaty on how to regulate the climate change issues. This is really a bad situation because we then face a climate fatigue. A lot of people say it can’t be done and now we have a discussion of climate change issue, so it has raised a lot of negative questions, which really is a barrier for acting as fast as possible and necessary, so I think that the negative part comes from more than the positive. Right now, we have this vacuum, we have a stand-still situation and we can’t afford that, so therefore, we have to move ahead. One of the drivers in this process has to be business, because they have a self-interest, they have the power, they have the resources to take up that challenge.
Question: Is there any hope of making the upcoming talks in Mexico more worthwhile?
Erik Rasmussen: I’m not very optimistic about Mexico. It’s too close to Copenhagen, and the fatigue, the political fatigue, and the climate fatigue following Mexico. So I don’t think we should have too high of expectations. One of the problems with Copenhagen was that the expectations were too high, and therefore, it failed, too. So I think we have to lower the expectations to Mexico and try to find out how we can orchestrate a new process for what will be a much more integrated partnership between the different stakeholders.
Question: What are ways that we can begin preparing for that?
Erik Rasmussen: I think that when we have really learned the lessons from Copenhagen and why it failed, then I think we should prepare a new road and Mexico will just be one step, but we have to engage four worlds. The four worlds that have to be united are science, business, politics and the general public. So far, we have been speaking four different languages. Nobody understood each language, and therefore, we were in four different worlds. Unless we are able to develop a shared language being understood and spoken, or these four worlds will never succeed. And now it is the time to unite these worlds and I feel that business should take a lead. The leading business leader frontrunners should take a lead to orchestrate that process and play the ultimate pressure on politicians to take part in that.
Question: What is one feasible goal we should have for that meeting?
Erik Rasmussen: The feasible goal could be that we had a realistic discussion on where we are and where do we go, and try to re-innovate the way we deal with climate issues in the future. This is COP 16, meaning that we have 15 COP before and we haven’t reached agreement, far from it. So first and foremost, how should we, in the future, plan Cop processes and being realistic about what that could develop, who else should be much more integrated in this process, not just being side events at big summits, but being more integrated. So we sat down, followed up on what could be followed up, the so-called Copenhagen Accord, what came out of Copenhagen, see how that could be processed. But besides that, develop a new common understanding on how we could integrate the different stakeholders. It’s a much more committed process in the future if you do that, and then create a new understanding, a new positive energy optimism around the whole climate change process. Then I think it will be worthwhile and then even Copenhagen could have had positive impact. Therefore, we have to see Copenhagen and Mexico as a joint effort, one where we had an awful lesson learned, but we learned from it and what we learned and how we used our new knowledge should be demonstrated in Mexico.
The man who founded the climate change talks reflects on the fatigue that could cripple upcoming discussions among world leaders in Cancun.
Sallie Krawcheck and Bob Kulhan will be talking money, jobs, and how the pandemic will disproportionally affect women's finances.
Vaccines find more success in development than any other kind of drug, but have been relatively neglected in recent decades.
Vaccines are more likely to get through clinical trials than any other type of drug — but have been given relatively little pharmaceutical industry support during the last two decades, according to a new study by MIT scholars.
Want help raising your kids? Spend more time at church, says new study.
- Religious people tend to have more children than secular people, but why remains unknown.
- A new study suggests that the social circles provided by regular church going make raising kids easier.
- Conversely, having a large secular social group made women less likely to have children.
Be fruitful and multiply<p>Scientists in the United Kingdom collected data on more than 13,000 mothers and their children. Most of them were religious, but 12 percent were not. The data included information on their church habits, social networks, number of children, and the scores those children achieved on a standardized test.</p><p>In line with previous findings that religious women have more children than secular women in industrialized countries, a connection between at least monthly church attendance and fertility was confirmed. However, religious parents showed they could avoid the pitfalls that having more children can bring. </p><p>Typically, more children in a family leads to reduced cognitive ability and height in each <a href="https://academic.oup.com/ije/article/37/6/1408/729795" target="_blank">child</a>. Some studies find that children do less well in school for each <a href="https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s13524-016-0471-0" target="_blank">additional sibling they have</a>. This makes a kind of intuitive sense, as parents with more children would have to divide their time, energy, and resources among more people as families expand. One would expect that the larger families would also lead to things like lower test scores. </p><p>Despite the expectation, the children of religious parents didn't have lower scores on standardized tests. There were small positive relationships between the size of the mother's social network, the number of co-religionists helping out, and the children's test scores. However, this association was small, didn't show up in all of the testings, and was unrelated to other variables. </p> These effects might be explained by the size and helpfulness of the social networks around the more religious. Women who went to church at least once a month had more extensive social networks than those who never go or who attend yearly. These social networks of co-religious people mean that there are more people to turn to for help with child-rearing, a point also demonstrated in the data. The amount of aid women got from their fellow churchgoers was also associated with a higher fertility rate. <br> <br> Conversely, an extensive social network was associated with fewer children for secular women. This finding is in line with <a href="https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1207/s15327957pspr0904_5" target="_blank">previous studies</a> and suggests that the social networks comprised of co-religious individuals differ from those found elsewhere.
So, how quickly should I join a local religious group?<div class="rm-shortcode" data-media_id="6RrmYM8M" data-player_id="FvQKszTI" data-rm-shortcode-id="9eb4740a7d1e10108a75fd2ed627a90f"> <div id="botr_6RrmYM8M_FvQKszTI_div" class="jwplayer-media" data-jwplayer-video-src="https://content.jwplatform.com/players/6RrmYM8M-FvQKszTI.js"> <img src="https://cdn.jwplayer.com/thumbs/6RrmYM8M-1920.jpg" class="jwplayer-media-preview" /> </div> <script src="https://content.jwplatform.com/players/6RrmYM8M-FvQKszTI.js"></script> </div> <p>The study is not without its faults, and more investigations into the relationship between fertility, childcare, ritual, and social networks are needed.</p><p>These findings all show correlation, not causation. Though it might be said the results point towards causation, various alternative interpretations of the data are apparent. The authors note that most religions are explicitly pro-natal. It is possible that religious women have internalized these values and simply choose to have more children than secular women do.</p><p>This idea is similar to a potential interpretation of why large social networks have the opposite effect for secular women. The authors suggest that, in some cases, these more extensive social networks are associated with work and exert an anti-natal influence. Again, the people who build such networks may be people unlikely to have large families under any circumstances.</p><p>However, the researchers' hypothesis endured. The help religious women get from their church-based social networks allows them to have larger families than those who lack these support systems. In some instances, these support systems also prevent the adverse effects of larger families. </p>
The community religion offers<p>As we've mentioned <a href="https://bigthink.com/culture-religion/what-is-secular-humanism" target="_blank">before</a>, religion offers a community, and a community provides social capital. As religion continues to decline in the West, the social bonds of faith communities that used to tie social communities together begin to decay. However, as has been noted by a variety of observers for the last few decades, fewer and fewer new organizations appear ready to replace religion as a source of community in our lives.</p><p>While many different organizations might offer social support that religion once provided the whole of western society, this study shows that different social circles can differently affect the people in them. This finding must be considered by those trying to find new communities to join or the authors of future research. </p><p>The community offered by religious groups provides real benefits to those who join them. As this study shows, having the support network religious community offers allows some parents to avoid pitfalls that bedevil those lacking similar support. It suggests that previous studies demonstrating that group ritual offers benefits like increased amounts of <a href="https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/0956797612472910" target="_blank">group trust</a> and <a href="https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/1069397103037002003" target="_blank">cooperation</a> are onto something and that those benefits have a variety of applications. </p><p>While this study is not without its blind spots, it offers a strong starting point for further investigations into the nature of ritual in our modern lives and how local support networks remain vital in our increasingly globalized world. </p>
What would it be like to experience the 4th dimension?
Physicists have understood at least theoretically, that there may be higher dimensions, besides our normal three. The first clue came in 1905 when Einstein developed his theory of special relativity. Of course, by dimensions we’re talking about length, width, and height. Generally speaking, when we talk about a fourth dimension, it’s considered space-time. But here, physicists mean a spatial dimension beyond the normal three, not a parallel universe, as such dimensions are mistaken for in popular sci-fi shows.
Health officials in China reported that a man was infected with bubonic plague, the infectious disease that caused the Black Death.
- The case was reported in the city of Bayannur, which has issued a level-three plague prevention warning.
- Modern antibiotics can effectively treat bubonic plague, which spreads mainly by fleas.
- Chinese health officials are also monitoring a newly discovered type of swine flu that has the potential to develop into a pandemic virus.
Bacteria under microscope
needpix.com<p>Today, bubonic plague can be treated effectively with antibiotics.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"Unlike in the 14th century, we now have an understanding of how this disease is transmitted," Dr. Shanthi Kappagoda, an infectious disease physician at Stanford Health Care, told <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health-news/seriously-dont-worry-about-the-plague#Heres-how-the-plague-spreads" target="_blank">Healthline</a>. "We know how to prevent it — avoid handling sick or dead animals in areas where there is transmission. We are also able to treat patients who are infected with effective antibiotics, and can give antibiotics to people who may have been exposed to the bacteria [and] prevent them [from] getting sick."</p>
This plague patient is displaying a swollen, ruptured inguinal lymph node, or buboe.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention<p>Still, hundreds of people develop bubonic plague every year. In the U.S., a handful of cases occur annually, particularly in New Mexico, Arizona and Colorado, <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/plague/faq/index.html" target="_blank">where habitats allow the bacteria to spread more easily among wild rodent populations</a>. But these cases are very rare, mainly because you need to be in close contact with rodents in order to get infected. And though plague can spread from human to human, this <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health-news/seriously-dont-worry-about-the-plague#Heres-how-the-plague-spreads" target="_blank">only occurs with pneumonic plague</a>, and transmission is also rare.</p>