Sunday, 27 April 2014

The tyranny of experts and other news and views for Sunday 27 April

  • 2014-04-27_tyrannyofexpertsAre tyrants good for your health? - “Easterly argues that when it comes to reducing poverty and advancing development, human rights, freedom, and accountable systems of justice matter far more than plans, programmes, and policies… He also reveals how a century-old unholy alliance of development experts and autocratic leaders has hidden this reality under a heap of optimistic development plans that became costly mistakes in practice. In some cases, development aid has even supported tyrannical regimes that undermined the very development goals the aid was supposed to be for. Easterly’s book is unlikely to be popular with World Bank President Jim Yong Kim, Bill Clinton, or Tony Blair, all of whom have championed both the cause of poverty reduction and the policy acumen of such autocrats as China’s Deng Xiaoping and Ethiopia’s Meles Zenawi.”
  • Wise Controls on E-Cigarettes
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  • The battle for Lord’s cricket ground -”Lord’s got its name simply because the ground was built, 200 years ago exactly, by one Thomas Lord. Before the war the president was indeed usually a viscount at least, and it likes to retain its lordly veneer. But for the past 15 years those with a sharp ear may have been able to detect a faint rumble, like the sound of a train in a tunnel deep underground. And that is exactly what the rumble is about: the ownership of three railway tunnels.”
  • Dancing at the Abyss: What Beirut’s Debutante Ball Says about Lebanon
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  • Two degrees – How the world failed on climate change
  • Japan launches first whale hunt since ICJ ban
  • Friends Can Be Dangerous – “… the reason teenagers take more chances when their peers are around is partly because of the impact of peers on the adolescent brain’s sensitivity to rewards. … Perhaps the most intriguing of our studies of peer influences on adolescent behavior is one that we published earlier this year in Developmental Science. In this paper we replicated our earlier studies, but this time using mice rather than humans. We created “peer groups” of mice by raising them in triads composed of animals from three different litters. We then tested whether, if given unfettered access to alcohol, they would drink more when they were with their peers than when they were alone. Mice tested when they were fully grown drank equally in both contexts. But adolescent mice — tested shortly after puberty — drank significantly more in the presence of their peers than when they were by themselves. The propensity for teenagers to do more risky things when they are with their peers — which understandably worries their parents, and which should concern those who supervise teenagers in groups — is not only real; it may be hard-wired.”
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