February 20th, 2013
02:15 PM ET

What we're reading

By Fareed Zakaria

Attention might typically focus on China as a manufacturing powerhouse, but next year may mark a turning point, The Economist  notes.

“[2013] may be the year that China's services sector officially eclipses industry,” it says. “According to the national statistics, services (which include transport, wholesaling, retailing, hotels, catering, finance, real estate and scientific research, among other things) accounted for 44.6% of China's GDP in 2012. That is less than one point behind industry's 45.3%. And services are growing faster.”

Computers will never be able to replicate the brain, at least according to leading neuroscientist Miguel Nicolelis, whose work is cited in the MIT Technology Review.

“Nicolelis is in a camp that thinks that human consciousness (and if you believe in it, the soul) simply can’t be replicated in silicon. That’s because its most important features are the result of unpredictable, non-linear interactions amongst billions of cells, Nicolelis says. ‘You can’t predict whether the stock market will go up or down because you can’t compute it,’ he says. ‘You could have all the computer chips ever in the world and you won’t create a consciousness.’”

The incredible drops in poverty rates experienced across much of the world may also bring some unexpected problems: conflict over water resources, Clark Judge notes in U.S. News and World Report.

“[D]espite the worldwide economic downturn, vastly more people are middle income or approaching middle-income status than was conceivable in, say, 1980,” Judge writes. “But more prosperous populations are also better fed. For example, it takes about 40 liters of water to produce a slice of bread, a staple of low-income diets. It takes 2,400 liters to produce a hamburger, common in many middle-income diets. Put rising population and rising incomes together and, experts tell us, by 2050 global food needs will double, with water requirements going up accordingly.”

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soundoff (3 Responses)
  1. how long till the great lakes face a real danger?


    February 21, 2013 at 10:37 pm | Reply
  2. Kanne

    It takes 2,400 liters to produce a hamburger. Does the number 2400 have a valid origin?I am pretty interested in this.

    February 26, 2013 at 3:10 am | Reply
  3. Elmer Bouton

    Hamburgers are usually a feature of fast food restaurants. The hamburgers served in major fast food establishments are usually mass-produced in factories and frozen for delivery to the site. These hamburgers are thin and of uniform thickness, differing from the traditional American hamburger prepared in homes and conventional restaurants, which is thicker and prepared by hand from ground beef. ^

    Brand new short article on our personal website

    April 26, 2013 at 6:18 pm | Reply

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