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Monday, May 12, 2008

More Stories of Interest

Chinese oil imports dropped in April -- down 3.9% year over year.

On the other hand, Chinese oil and other energy demand is expected to surge when it hosts the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games in August.

Farmers across the world produced a record 2.3 billion metric tonnes of grain in 2007, up 4% on the previous year. And yet, stockpiles are at their lowest level in 30 years. Since 1961, the world’s cereal output has tripled, while the population has doubled. What happens if we have a failure of the global grain harvest?

Excerpt from The Post-American World by Fareed Zakaria:

The world's tallest building is in Taipei, and will soon be in Dubai. Its largest publicly traded company is in Beijing. Its biggest refinery is being constructed in India. Its largest passenger airplane is built in Europe. The largest investment fund on the planet is in Abu Dhabi; the biggest movie industry is Bollywood, not Hollywood. Once quintessentially American icons have been usurped by the natives. The largest Ferris wheel is in Singapore. The largest casino is in Macao, which overtook Las Vegas in gambling revenues last year. America no longer dominates even its favorite sport, shopping. The Mall of America in Minnesota once boasted that it was the largest shopping mall in the world. Today it wouldn't make the top ten. In the most recent rankings, only two of the world's ten richest people are American. These lists are arbitrary and a bit silly, but consider that only ten years ago, the United States would have serenely topped almost every one of these categories.

Global Warming: Still Doomed! Bill McKibben talks about "Civilization's Last Chance" ...

Melt all that Arctic ice, for instance, and suddenly the nice white shield that reflected 80% of incoming solar radiation back into space has turned to blue water that absorbs 80% of the sun's heat. Such feedbacks are beyond history

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