Siblings share both genes and environment. Why, then, are they often so different? For most of history, psychologists thought of the study of siblings as backwater: Parenting was important — siblings were not.
Then in the 1980s, a researcher named Robert Plomin published a surprising paper in which he reviewed the three main ways psychologists had studied siblings: physical characteristics, intelligence and personality. According to Plomin, in two of these areas, siblings were really quite similar.
Physically, siblings tended to differ somewhat, but they were a lot more similar on average when compared to children picked at random from the population. That’s also true of cognitive abilities.
“The surprise,” says Plomin, “is when you turn to personality.” Turns out that on tests that measure personality — stuff like how extroverted you are, how conscientious — siblings are practically like strangers.
Worldwide, there is a 50 percent chance that the population will be falling by 2070, according to a recent study published in Nature. By 2150, according to one U.N. projection, the global population could be half what it is today.
Those who predict a coming Asian Century have not come to terms with the region’s approaching era of hyper-aging. Asia will also be plagued by a chronic shortage of women in the coming decades, which could leave the most populous region on Earth with the same skewed sex ratios as the early American West. Due to selective abortion, China has about 16 percent more boys than girls, which many predict will lead to instability as tens of millions of “unmarriageable” men find other outlets for their excess libido. India has nearly the same sex-ratio imbalance and also a substantial difference in birth rates between its southern (mostly Hindu) states and its northern (more heavily Muslim) states, which could contribute to ethnic tension.
Birth rates are falling dramatically across Latin America, especially in Mexico, suggesting a tidal shift in migration patterns. Consider what happened with Puerto Rico, where birth rates have also plunged: Immigration to the mainland United States has all but stopped despite an open border and the lure of a considerably higher standard of living on the continent. In the not-so-distant future, the United States may well find itself competing for immigrants rather than building walls to keep them out.
Windows version 1.0, which did not set the world on fire, is now 25 years old this month, and I’d like to share a few remembrances of the OS.First of all, it was useless. Like, seriously useless. But it was strangely interesting at the same time. You had to have a special graphics card to run the thing, and when compared to DOS, it did look better although it was not as attractive as the Mac OS or anything done today including Linux GUI’s. I wonder if there is a machine in existence that still runs it.Steve Ballmer made a hilarious video promoting Windows 1.0 like a used car salesman.
At first, Microsoft called it “Interface Manager.” Later, a marketing guy in the company came up with the name “Windows.” The thing wasn’t originally designed as an OS but as a shell program with a zippy GUI that could manage all of the device drivers through a common API. People forget that by the mid 1980’s device drivers for peripherals were a nightmare. Interface Manager, now Windows, would take care of this problem.
For more than a decade, banks and insurance companies convinced governments and nonprofits that financial engineering would lower interest rates on bonds sold for public projects such as roads, bridges and schools. That failed promise has cost more than $4 billion, according to data compiled by Bloomberg, as hundreds of borrowers from the Bay Area Toll Authority in Oakland, California, to Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, quietly paid Wall Street to end agreements since 2008.
The termination payments to Wall Street firms come at the worst possible time. The longest recession since the Great Depression left states facing budget gaps of $72 billion next fiscal year, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. U.S. cities saw their general fund revenue fall the most since at least 1986 in the budget year that ended June 30, according to the National League of Cities.
Wall Street banks and insurers peddled financial derivatives known as interest-rate swaps to governments and nonprofits that bet they could lower the cost of borrowing. There were as much as $500 billion of the deals done in the $2.8 trillion municipal bond market before the credit crisis, according to a report by Randall Dodd, a senior researcher on the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission, published by the International Monetary Fund in June.
The Boomers have been a terrible generation of political leaders. As in the case of most revolutionary generations in history, once the initial stab at change in their youth fell to the wayside, the real talent went into business and technology and changed the world–dramatically–for the better. The dregs went into politics and, in the process, have managed to thoroughly discredit it as a career and force for good in our society.
Last time it was this bad in America was those latter decades of the 19th century. The “revolution” then was the U.S. Civil War, and the crew that came out of that crucible was dramatically altered in character and vision and–most importantly–in personal connections. The bonds forged by war led to a lot of follow-on business development during a great and lengthy boom time. But it was an era much like today: frontier integration thanks to a rapidly expanding continental economy, the knitting together of a sectional economy into world-class “rising China” of its age, huge flows of people and FDI into the country–a miniature version of today’s globalization.
And during that age of booms and busts and the early populism that accompanied it, politics became a very dirty profession, so much so that when progressive icon TR decided to step into the fray, his wealthy NYC family begged him not to do so–it was considered such a huge step down from respectable obscurity. Few of us came name any politicians from that era (distant relation Grant being my favorite), but we all remember the industrial-financial titans, whose very names equal wealth: Rockefeller, Carnegie, Morgan, etc.
“In any immunology textbook you will read that once a virus makes it into a cell, that is game over because the cell is now infected. At that point there is nothing the immune response can do other than kill that cell,” said Leo James, who led the research team.
But studies at the Medical Research Council’s laboratory have found that the antibodies produced by the immune system, which recognise and attack invading viruses, actually ride piggyback into the inside of a cell with the invading virus.
Once inside the cell, the presence of the antibody is recognised by a naturally occurring protein in the cell called TRIM21 which in turn activates a powerful virus-crushing machinery that can eliminate the virus within two hours – long before it has the chance to hijack the cell to start making its own viral proteins. “This is the last opportunity a cell gets because after that it gets infected and there is nothing else the body can do but kill the cell,” Dr James said.
China is prospecting for mineral treasures around the world as it develops faster than any major economy in history. Its copper use is growing so quickly that by 2035 global demand for the metal may outstrip supply by 11 million tons, according to CRU, a London-based mining and metals consulting firm.
More than half of China’s 1.3 billion people live in rural areas. Over the next 15 years, the country will need 50,000 skyscrapers, 170 mass transit systems and urban housing for 350 million people as it develops the interior, according to a 2009 study by the McKinsey Global Institute, a research arm of New York-based McKinsey & Co. That represents a potential doubling of the domestic market for autos, appliances, televisions and other consumer goods.
Copper—first smelted over wood fires 10,000 years ago—is at the center of it all, conveying the country’s electrical pulse and providing the nervous system for the computers, dishwashers and microwaves China makes for the world.