The United States and China represent the most significant—and potentially most perilous—bilateral relationship in human history. Given that reality, neither side is managing their rising tensions with adequate skill or durable strategy.
That’s the way Stephen Heintz of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund put it in a conversation with me a couple of days ago. It is also the subtext of conversations I’ve had with world leaders visiting Washington, DC, this past week for the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank meetings.
Source: We’re at the perilous beginning of an uncertain era in US-China relations – Atlantic Council
China has denied reports that it tested a nuclear-capable hypersonic missile earlier this year, insisting instead that it was a routine spacecraft check.
The initial report in the Financial Times newspaper prompted concern in Washington, where US intelligence was reportedly caught by surprise.
Hypersonic missiles are much faster and more agile than normal ones, meaning they are more difficult to intercept.
It comes as concern grows around China’s nuclear capabilities.
Source: China denies testing nuclear-capable hypersonic missile – BBC News
Russia was not invited to attend a 30-country virtual meeting led by the United States that is aimed at combating the growing threat of ransomware and other cyber crime, a senior administration official said.
Many ransomware gangs operate from Ukraine and Russia, private sector cybersecurity experts say. Some US officials and analysts have said Russian ransomware gangs operate with the Kremlin’s tacit approval, but are not directly controlled by the government.
Source: Russia excluded from 30-country meeting to fight ransomware and cyber crime – EURACTIV.com
Amid disunity over the way forward on European defence, EU leaders discussed on Tuesday night (5 October) whether the bloc should enhance its capacity to act independently and/or strenghten its partnership with NATO, but with no clear result.
In the aftermath of the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan, a US submarine pact with Australia that enraged France, and French demands for more European strategic clout, EU leaders remain stuck. For more than a decade, they have been discussing if and how a European way forwards on the matter would be possible.
As the meeting took the form of an informal dinner on the eve of the EU-Western Balkans summit in Slovenia on Wednesday, there were no decisions to be made and no official documents adopted.
Source: EU leaders caught in either-or argument over European defence strategy – EURACTIV.com
German citizens elected a new federal parliament on September 26th. While waiting for the winning parties to form a coalition government, it is worthwhile exploring what the election result means for equality and diversity. Such a glimpse into the composition of the new German legislature tells us that the Bundestag has become a bit more female and a bit more diverse—but not by much.
The share of women in the 20th Bundestag has only slightly increased, from 31.4 per cent after the previous election in 2017 to 34.7 per cent now. This slow rise in the number of seats held by women is primarily caused by the increase of votes for the social-democratic SPD and the Greens, two parties with much higher numbers of women among their candidates compared with the conservative CDU/CSU union and the right-wing AfD, which both lost seats.
Source: What did the German federal election mean for equality and diversity in the Bundestag? – Anne Jenichen
With the whistle blown on Facebook, Congress must allocate ownership of personal data to the person—not the platform—to allow competitive providers to emerge.
According to its former employee Frances Haugen, Facebook algorithms consciously amplify dangerous misinformation and privilege the most divisive content posted on the network. Such content is more frequently shared by users and foregrounding it maximizes traffic on the platform—and so turnover.
This modus operandi, which became still more aggressive from 2018, is generating perverse incentives pushing even relatively moderate users to sharpen and polarize their content to obtain visibility. It is a Darwinian struggle for prominence which, given the rules of the game, leads to the survival of those users most fit for division and risks skewing public opinion and altering political outcomes. A recent working paper I co-authored shows that exposure to political information through ‘social media’ has been closely associated with the diffusion of divisive ideas in Europe in the last decade.
Source: ‘Social media’, market power and the health of democracy – Piergiuseppe Fortunato
Patrick Thomas, cloud technologist at Dell Technologies (NYSE: DELL), said government agencies should come up with a more strategic approach to fielding and funding multicloud environments.
“Beyond the total cost of ownership, they need to reevaluate how they pay for cloud products and services” by choosing between spending as a capital expenditure and spending as an operational expense, Thomas wrote.
“An OpEx approach makes sense for many agencies because the initial cost of cloud adoption can be high. They get the most benefit from OpEx when they have a subscription and pay only for the services they use,” he noted.
Thomas said he believes agencies should adopt a funding model that is a combination of OpEx and CapEx approaches when it comes to multicloud environments.
Source: Dell Technologies’ Patrick Thomas: Agencies Should Reassess Funding Model for Multicloud – GovCon Wire
There seems to be a growing recognition that humanity might be approaching the ‘end times’. Dire predictions of catastrophe clutter the news. Social media videos of hellish wildfires, devastating floods and hospitals overflowing with COVID-19 patients dominate our timelines. Extinction Rebellion activists are shutting down cities in a desperate attempt to save the world. One survey even found that more than half of the people asked about humanity’s future ‘rated the risk of our way of life ending within the next 100 years at 50 per cent or greater.’
Source: Why longtermism is the world’s most dangerous secular credo | Aeon Essays
Large-scale stationary energy storage is the key to the use of renewable energy for the electric power grid.
Renewable energy provides the best hope to move electrical power grids away from fossil fuels and the emission of climate-altering greenhouse gases (GHGs). Wind and solar are two of the leading sustainable energy sources, however each is intermittent by nature and must be augmented by electrical energy storage if they are to play central roles in the foundation of a reliable electrical power grid.
Source: 9 Energy Storage Technologies are Changing Electric Power Grids
Grab your pumpkin-spice latte and Banana Republic scarf because it is almost the season that gives us the reason to live: fall.
Jokes aside, what we love about Germany in spring and summer, its lush green vegetation, is why we fall in love all over again come September. The temperature starts to drop, the air becomes crisper and the leaves evolve into new hues. There really isn’t a bad view in Germany during autumn, but there are a few key places to snap that Instagram-worthy photo of all those bright #fallcolors.
Source: Experience Germany’s fall colors around the KMC | Stripes Europe