The Future is Old
Written by Brigitte Miksa
MUNICH – The aging of our societies is one of the greatest success stories of the twentieth century. More than three decades have been added to the lives of hundreds of millions of people over the last hundred years.
The UN at 70
Written by Jeffrey D. Sachs
NEW YORK –The United Nations will mark its 70th anniversary when world leaders assemble next month at its headquarters in New York. Though there will be plenty of fanfare, it will inadequately reflect the UN’s value, not only as the most important political innovation of the twentieth century, but also as the best bargain on the planet.
How Safe Substances Become Dangerous
Written by Henry I. Miller
PALO ALTO – Since the development of the science of toxicology in the sixteenth century, its guiding principle has been that “the dose makes the poison.” It is a rule that applies to the medicines used by patients worldwide many billions of times a day. The right dose of aspirin can be a therapeutic godsend, but consuming too much can be lethal. The principle even applies to foods: Large amounts of nutmeg or licorice are notoriously toxic.
Oil’s New Normal
Written by Mohamed A. El-Erian
LAGUNA BEACH – Oil prices have been heading south again, with a barrel of US crude recently falling below $42 – the lowest level since March 2009, the nadir of the global financial crisis. And, while last year’s sharp price drop was heavily influenced by two large supply shocks, the current decline also has an important demand dimension.
How Humans Cause Mass Extinctions
Written by Paul R. Ehrlich and Anne H. Ehrlich
STANFORD – There is no doubt that Earth is undergoing the sixth mass extinction in its history – the first since the cataclysm that wiped out the dinosaurs some 65 million years ago. According to one recent study, species are going extinct between ten and several thousand times faster than they did during stable periods in the planet’s history, and populations within species are vanishing hundreds or thousands of times faster than that. By one estimate, Earth has lost half of its wildlife during the past 40 years. There is also no doubt about the cause: We are it.