By Fareed Zakaria
A young farmer in one of India’s poorest states beat World Bank-funded scientists and seed and GM companies to break the record for the most rice harvested on one hectare of land, according to The Guardian.
“What happened in Darveshpura has divided scientists and is exciting governments and development experts,” the paper reports. “Tests on the soil show it is particularly rich in silicon but the reason for the "super yields" is entirely down to a method of growing crops called System of Rice (or root) Intensification (SRI). It has dramatically increased yields with wheat, potatoes, sugar cane, yams, tomatoes, garlic, aubergine and many other crops and is being hailed as one of the most significant developments of the past 50 years for the world's 500 million small-scale farmers and the two billion people who depend on them.”
Worries over rapid nuclear proliferation in the Middle East are misplaced because rapid proliferation simply doesn’t happen, suggests Peter Jones, an associate professor at the University of Ottawa, in the Globe and Mail.
“Since the dawn of the nuclear era, various leaders and analysts have predicted that nuclear proliferation would take place rapidly and inexorably,” Jones writes. “Those countries that could build the bomb would do so, and others would build it in response. It has been predicted that almost 50 countries would eventually join the nuclear club…That prediction has proved wrong. Only four additional countries – India, Pakistan, Israel and North Korea – have acquired nuclear weapons. One country unambiguously tried and was stopped (Iraq, before it was foolish enough to invade Kuwait). In each case, the reasons why these countries decided to build nuclear weapons had to do with the specifics of their security situations rather than a reflex action.”
And, for the first time since the New Deal, “a majority of Americans are headed toward a retirement in which they will be financially worse off than their parents,” according to research cited by the Washington Post.
“The economic downturn exacerbated long-term factors that were already eroding the financial standing of aging Americans: an inexorable rise in health-care costs, growing debt among older Americans and a shift in responsibility from employers to workers to plan for retirement. The consequence is that the nation is facing a huge retirement savings deficit – as much as $6.6 trillion, or about $57,000 per household, according to a U.S. Senate report.”