Daily Archives: September 7, 2021

Zero tolerance for hate teaching is not negotiable

By David Lega, Lukas Mandl and Miriam Lexmann – The June 2021 publication of an overdue review of Palestinian textbooks by Germany’s Georg Eckert Institute (GEI) was meant to bring peace of mind to those who have long suspected that the Palestinian Authority (PA) curriculum does not meet UNESCO standards.

With concerns expressed that the curriculum perpetuates conflict by promoting hatred and violence, alongside employing antisemitic and militaristic tropes, €225,000 was invested by the EU to fund an ostensibly comprehensive review.

The findings and their presentation should be as concerning as the textbooks themselves. Among these were a myriad of examples that teach hatred, encourage violence and reject peace. Within the report’s pages one finds an array of alarming and harmful content, from the glorification of gruesome terrorist activities, such as the 1978 Coastal Road massacre, to the negation of Israel as a legitimate entity, expressed through maps and nomenclature. Examples are not limited to the teaching of history or civics, with a cursory glance of maths and science textbooks finding examples of violence and death used to teach the subject, alongside the evocation of classic antisemitic tropes and conspiracies, such as treachery and greed. more>

Updates from McKinsey

Japan offshore wind: The ideal moment to build a vibrant industry
As construction starts on Japan’s first large commercial offshore wind farm in the coastal waters of Akita, the country is heralding a future of energy independence.
By Sven Heiligtag, Katsuhiro Sato, Benjamin Sauer, and Koji Toyama – With the passage in late 2019 of a law that allows offshore turbines to operate for 30 years, Japan has begun in earnest its journey away from fossil fuels and nuclear energy.

The two wind farms of the ¥100 billion Akita project will generate with a capacity of 140 MW, enough electricity to power at least 150,000 of Japan’s 52 million homes. By 2030 Japan plans to have installed a total of 10 GW, and the country’s possibilities are even greater. The International Energy Agency estimates Japan has enough technical potential to satisfy its entire power needs nine times over.

Japan can take advantage of the technology advances and cost improvements the offshore wind industry has made since its early days in Denmark in the 1990s. Today, it can learn from the experiences of other countries, not only in creating the turbines and wind farms but also in building markets, setting offtake prices, and designing regulation and financial incentives.

In only a handful of decades, offshore wind has become one of the core power-generation technologies of Europe, with installed capacity of 22 GW2 and about 100 GW planned by 2030.3 Taiwan and the United States have already commissioned the first small projects and plan for more than 10 and 25 GW by 2030, respectively.4 During the industry’s 30-year evolution, costs have fallen so sharply that offshore wind now compares favorably with competing energy sources.

But that does not mean Japan’s journey will be simple. It will require multiple players, including regulators, utilities, and investors, to do their part in a country where the public remains skeptical about offshore wind’s cost competitiveness with other power sources. more>

Updates from Ciena

Enabling Africa’s digital economy
Africa leads the globe in international bandwidth growth. With the fastest growth rate over the last four years and eight new cables in the works over the next few years, this is an emerging market with key network infrastructure projects to watch.
By Brian Lavallée – After Asia, the world’s 2nd largest continent is Africa, which covers 20% of our planet’s landmass. How big is Africa? Well, it’s bigger than China, India, the contiguous U.S., and most of Europe – combined. Africa is the home to almost 1.4 billion people, speaking over 2000 languages, making it the 2nd most populous continent. This population is also the youngest, with a median age of just 19.7 years in 2020.The next youngest continent is Latin America and the Caribbean (31.0) followed by Asia (32.0), Oceania (33.4), North America (38.6), and Europe (42.5).

A large, young, and populous continent means networks play an extremely important socioeconomic role to help increase critical connectivity options to close the Digital Divide and connecting Africa to the rest of the digitized world. The direct link between higher broadband and a higher Gross Domestic Product (GDP) further increases the importance of a fast, reliable, and inexpensive digital ecosystem of submarine and terrestrial networks, both wired and wireless.

From 2016 to 2020, Africa experienced the highest used international bandwidth growth by region, with a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of over 50%, shown in Figure 1. However, Africa is still the world’s least connected continent, but it’s changing because of steady investments by African network operators. more>

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Europe willingly forfeited a leadership role in Afghanistan

By Timothy Ogden – If Winston Churchill were alive today, I imagine he might have said something like “Never in the history of human conflict have so few done such great damage to so many.” The Duke of Wellington, meanwhile, might well have repeated his remarks about Afghanistan in the 1840s, when after Britain’s disastrous retreat from Kabul to India he demanded to know why an army had been to occupy “deserts, rocks, ice and snow.”

Certainly one can question the steps that led the West to fall off the edge of the precipice that Joe Biden has led it over. Perhaps it was wrong to invade Afghanistan after 9/11 – and perhaps not; the Taliban needed to face the consequences of harboring Osama bin Laden and his Al-Qaeda minions. Maybe it was the ensuing occupation that was the mistake. Maybe a lightning punitive campaign might have been a better course of action. And maybe not.

Of course, one can have a good back and forth pub argument over both of those ideas. But where the world should be in agreement is that Joe Biden has, at a conservative estimate, caused the greatest American foreign policy catastrophe since the Vietnam War. more>