Dual Heritage

28 July 2021 At first I was going to write about the ‘Arab Problem’, because there is not a single functioning democracy in the Arab world. This week’s presidential coup in Tunisia has probably ended democracy in the one country that actually achieved it during the ‘Arab Spring’ of 2010-11. Egypt became democratic for a …

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Nauru: Seabed Setback

26 July 21 A month ago, it seemed to be just another tale of ruthless miners and desperate poor people conspiring to wreck the environment while slow-moving, distant regulators failed to get a grip. But it turns out to be more complicated than that, and rather more hopeful. The mining company was called DeepGreen, but …

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Inflection Point

21 July 2021 ‘Zeitgeist’ is a slippery word. At best it’s just a fancy German way of saying ‘the spirit of the times’; at worst it is only pretentious noise. So maybe we should say ‘inflection point’ instead. I think we are passing through an inflection point. People who have taken climate change seriously for …

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Haitian Puzzle

12 July 2021 The presidential dogs were still alive, which meant that something was very wrong with the official explanation of the assassination of Haitian President Jovenel Moïse on 7 July. In very poor countries even moderately prosperous people whose houses contain things worth stealing usually have large dogs, and those dogs are trained to …

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Wave-7

4 July 2021 First the ‘heat dome’, with temperatures in the mid-to-high forties Celsius in many parts of western North America for up to a week (49.6° C in Lytton, B.C.). Then, when the forests were tinder-dry, came the wildfires (which wiped Lytton out). From northern California to northern BC, the records were being broken …

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