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Swept up in a storm
Previous spats have blown over, but the split over Xinjiang is both more intractable and more expansive
Apr 3rd 2021 edition


The boycotts were apparently triggered by the co-ordinated announcements on March 22nd by America, Britain, Canada and the European Union of sanctions against Chinese officials for abuses in Xinjiang. China responded with sanctions of its own. The Communist Youth League, a party affiliate, then dug up a months-old statement by h&m expressing concern about reports of Uyghur forced labour. Hua Chunying, a foreign-ministry spokeswoman, made the message clear. “The Chinese people will not allow some foreign companies to eat Chinese food and smash Chinese bowls,” she said.
ボイコットの引き金となったのは恐らく、3月22日の共同発表で米国、英国、カナダ、EUが中国高官に新疆の弾圧で制裁を科したことだろう。中国の反応は独自の制裁だった。共産党青年団、党の下部組織は、何ヶ月も前のH&Mの声明を掘り起こした。その声明ではウイグルの強制労働について懸念を表明していた。外務省の華春瑩(か しゅんえい)報道官ははっきりとメッセージを伝えた。「中国国民は外国企業が中華料理を食べて、中国製のお椀を壊すことは許さない」


Europe has so far refrained from banning products from Xinjiang. China’s decision to focus its ire on h&m rather than on an American firm may be a warning to EU officials to keep it that way. But the aggression poses a risk. In December the EU and China signed an investment deal which would give European industrial and financial firms greater access to the Chinese market. The European Parliament may now have second thoughts when asked to ratify it. “After seven years of negotiations, we hoped for seven years of wellness. Now it looks like it might be seven years of drought,” says Joerg Wuttke, president of the EU Chamber of Commerce in China.
ヨーロッパはこれまで新疆地区からの製品を禁止していない。中国が怒りのはけ口をH&Mに向け、アメリカ企業に向かなかったのは、現状を維持するようにとのEU高官への警告かもしれない。しかし、このような対抗措置にはリスクがある。12月にEUと中国は投資条約を結び、ヨーロッパの産業界と金融界が中国市場にアクセスできるようにした。EU議会は批准するか問われたら考え直すかもしれない。「7年間の交渉の末、7年間はうまくいくことを期待した。今となっては7年間の干上がりになるかもしれない」と中国のEU商工会議所の所長Joerg Wuttkeが述べた。


News Article
31 March, 2021

We are working together with our colleagues in China to do everything we can to manage the current challenges and find a way forward.

China is a very important market to us and our long-term commitment to the country remains strong. Having been present there for more than thirty years, we have witnessed remarkable progress within the Chinese textile industry. Being at the forefront of innovation and technology, China will clearly continue to play an important role in further developing the entire industry. We are proud our suppliers are being part of that development and we want to continue contributing to driving progress together with our partners and stakeholders in the country. We want to be a responsible buyer, in China and elsewhere, and are now building forward-looking strategies and actively working on next steps with regards to material sourcing. Together with all relevant stakeholders, we want to collaborate to be part of the solution and jointly build a more sustainable fashion industry.


2021/04/01 MIMOSA SPENCER 訳・ 井口恭子







杉田敏の現代ビジネス英語になってよかったことは、一度に聞けるエピソードが増えたことですね。Next-Generation Foodsも聞いていたので、ビルゲイツの主張にもピンときました。動画のニュースもドンピシャです。


Governments should set targets to reduce methane emissions
It would rapidly make a difference to climate change
Leaders Apr 3rd 2021 edition

Human activity emits far less methane than carbon dioxide, but methane packs a heavier punch. Over the course of 20 years, a tonne of the gas will warm the atmosphere about 86 times more than a tonne of CO2. As a result methane, sometimes called carbon dioxide on steroids, is responsible for 23% of the rise in temperatures since pre-industrial times. Carbon dioxide gets most of the attention, but unless methane emissions are limited there is little hope of stabilising the climate.

Unfortunately methane emissions have been anything but stable. After briefly stalling in the early 2000s, atmospheric concentrations of the gas started rising again in 2007. A global inventory, concluded last year, found that humans were largely to blame. Chief among the reasons for the rise are the gassy output of livestock farming (cows belch it), rice cultivation (soggy environments harbour micro-organisms that make it) and the fossil-fuel industry (pipelines and rigs leak it). Agriculture and energy each account for roughly one-third of annual methane emissions. China, America, Russia and other big energy producers and consumers are heavy polluters. Countries with lots of livestock produce a disproportionate share of farming-related emissions, too.


That is entirely plausible. A big step would be to stop millions of tonnes of methane from leaking out of fossil-fuel infrastructure each year, through pipes with holes, leaky valves and carelessness. Natural-gas operators will be able to sell more gas in exchange for a moderate investment in monitoring and repairing leaks. The International Energy Agency, a global forecaster, estimates that 40% of methane emissions from fossil fuels, equivalent to 9% of all human methane emissions, can be eliminated at no net cost for firms. The harder task is to reduce emissions from agriculture, but even here farmers can draw on new ideas, including developing new forms of feed for livestock, and altering how rice is irrigated.


2021年2月20日 06時00分





Global warming
It’s the other greenhouse gas
Science & technology Apr 3rd 2021 edition

現実的で冷笑的なEconomistはビルゲイツのような野暮なお願いはしません。fashionable at the moment in rich countriesと冷めた評価ですね(苦笑)

Asking people to eat less meat and drink less milk, while fashionable at the moment in rich countries, probably goes against the Bismarckian principle of realism in the wider, middle-income world where discretionary spending is rising and diets are improving. But another option is to attack the methanogens themselves. This is now being investigated experimentally, to see if changing what the animals eat can damp down methanogenic activity.


2019.01.09 WED 18:30




NBCが聖火リレーを批判したとニュースになりましたが、論説を書いたJules Boykoffはこれまでもずっとオリンピックに批判的でした。動画は昨年の日本での記者会見です。

Amid Covid fears, Tokyo Olympic Games' torch relay kicks off. It should be extinguished.The spectacle risks sacrificing public health on the altar of an Olympic tradition — one established by the Nazis, no less.
March 25, 2021, 5:30 PM JST
By Jules Boykoff, author of "Power Games: A Political History of the Olympics"




まあYutaがこの記事を読むきっかけとなったのはMessage in a bottleneckというmessage in a bottleという表現からのオヤジギャグ的なタイトルなんですが(苦笑)

Global supply chains are still a source of strength, not weakness
Resilience comes not from autarky but from diverse sources of supply
Mar 31st 2021


It makes sense for supply chains to be more robust. When national security is at stake, governments have a role in making supplies more secure. Yet the world must avoid a stampede back from globalisation that would not only cause great harm, but also create unforeseen new vulnerabilities.

Against such a backdrop, governments have a role in securing supplies—but it is a limited one. They can support research and development, including for new energy sources. Beyond this, subsidies and domestic preference are justified only when a vital input relies on a monopoly supplier that is subject to potential interference by a hostile government. Some rare minerals fall into this category, hand-sanitiser does not.

Self-reliance sounds safe, but politicians and voters must remember that their meals, phones, clothes and jabs are all the product of global supply chains.

Resilience comes not from autarky but from diverse sources of supply and constant private-sector adaptation to shocks. Over time, global firms will adjust to even long-term threats, including tension between America and China and the effects of climate change, by gradually altering where they make fresh investments.



D W Griffith監督の映画The Birth of a Nationの影響を扱った論文をEconomistは紹介していました。キャンセルカルチャーを行き過ぎと見る方もこのような影響の大きさを考えると対策を取らざるを得ないのではないかと思わされます。下記の記事冒頭で引き合いに出されているLeni Riefenstahlは今もドイツでは禁止みたいですから。

How a racist film helped the Ku Klux Klan grow for generations
Lynchings rose fivefold after “The Birth of a Nation” came to town
MAR 27TH 2021

“Triumph of the will”, a Nazi propaganda film, proved how cinematographic innovation could spread evil. Yet long before Leni Riefenstahl filmed Hitler’s troops, an American motion picture tested the toxic power of the new medium.

In 1915 “The Clansman” opened in California. Soon re-titled “The Birth of a Nation”, it was the first film to use extras or a musical score, and among the first of feature length. One in ten Americans saw it.

映画The Birth of a Nationの問題性は過去のブログ記事でも取り上げています。暴力が起こったことはオックスフォードの解説でも触れてくれています。

The Birth of a Nation 
a US silent film (1915) by D W Griffith. It tells the story of the American Civil War and the period of Reconstruction after it. Although it was a great success and influenced later films, it made the Ku Klux Klan seem good, and there was violence in several US cities when it was shown.


This paper documents the impact of popular media on racial hate by examining the first American blockbuster: 1915’s The Birth of a Nation,  a fictional portrayal of the KKK’s founding rife with racist stereotypes. Exploiting the film’s five-year "roadshow", I find a sharp spike in lynchings and race riots coinciding with its arrival in a county. Instrumenting for roadshow destinations using the location of theaters prior to the movie's release, I show that the film significantly increased local Klan support in the 1920s. Roadshow counties continue to experience higher rates of hate crimes and hate groups a century later.


A new working paper by Desmond Ang of Harvard University unearths firm evidence of the film’s noxious impact. First, he studied how rates of racist violence changed when its jazzy “road show” came to town. On average, lynchings in a county rose fivefold in the month after it arrived.

Second, although the road show visited 606 counties, it skipped thousands more. This let Mr Ang test whether kkk chapters (“klaverns”) were particularly likely to sprout in places where the film was shown.


The film’s effect on white-supremacist activity was just as durable as its impact on cinematography. Among otherwise similar counties, the chances of having an active klavern in 2000 were 18 percentage points greater in places on the road show’s itinerary than in those it passed over.

先ほどの論文は50ページ以上ある長いものなので、結論だけを読みました(苦笑)結論の前半はEconomistの記事が紹介していたものですが、ここからはメディアの影響を述べているところです。まずはa good argument can be made for D.W. Griffith’s The Birth of a Nation as the first American superhero movie, and the point of origin for all those capes and masks”とこの映画はスーパーヒーローものの原型を作り上げたものであるとしています。こういうステレオタイプは染み付いてしまっていて意識的に修正できないものなので厄介です。

These findings hold important insights for present discourse and highlight critical areas for future research. While much of the recent concern around “filter bubbles” and “echo chambers” is centered around selective exposure into polarized environments, my results point to the wide-ranging impact of popular entertainment media (Sunstein, 2001a,b, 2018; Pariser, 2011). Viewed from a modern perspective, the racist imagery permeating The Birth of a Nation may be so obvious as to border on harmless caricature. Yet, it is important to caution that many of the film’s underlying themes likely persist - if in subtler form - throughout movies and television today. As Alan Moore, creator of the Watchmen, recently observed, “a good argument can be made for D.W. Griffith’s The Birth of a Nation as the first American superhero movie, and the point of origin for all those capes and masks” which “save for a smattering of non-white characters...are still very much white supremacist dreams of a master race” (Sassaki, 2019). In this light, my findings highlight the continued need to assess the unintended consequences of even seemingly-innocuous forms of entertainment media (DellaVigna and La Ferrara, 2015).


More pressingly, this paper’s findings demonstrate the power of media to propagate extreme movements and ideologies. The Reconstruction-era KKK was a fringe organization, one that operated largely in secrecy in a handful of Southern states. Yet through The Birth of a Nation, a fictionalized version of the Klan was introduced to millions of Americans across the country, leading to the rebirth of the Ku Klux Klan on a scale far larger than had ever existed before. While the media landscape has changed considerably over the past hundred years, this same arc is reflected in the spread of modern extremist groups like QAnon from obscure online forums to mainstream media outlets and ultimately to the halls of Congress (Rosenberg, 2020). Better understanding the role of media in fueling this rise may be critical to on-going policy discussions around content moderation in government and the private sector.


Just One World Plastics


The environment
So far, it seems less bad than other kinds of pollution (about which less fuss is made)
Print edition | International
Mar 3rd 2018

MR MCGUIRE had just one word for young Benjamin, in “The Graduate”: plastics. It was 1967, and chemical engineers had spent the previous decade devising cheap ways to splice different hydrocarbon molecules from petroleum into strands that could be moulded into anything from drinks bottles to Barbie dolls. Since then global plastic production has risen from around 2m tonnes a year to 380m tonnes, nearly three times faster than world GDP.

Unfortunately, of the 6.3bn tonnes of plastic waste produced since the 1950s only 9% has been recycled and another 12% incinerated. The rest has been dumped in landfills or the natural environment. Often, as with disposable coffee cups, drinks bottles, sweet wrappers and other packets that account for much of the plastic produced in Europe and America, this happens after a brief, one-off indulgence. If the stuff ends up in the sea, it can wash up on a distant beach or choke a seal. Exposed to salt water and ultraviolet light, it can fragment into “microplastics” small enoughto find their way into fish bellies. From there, it seems only a short journey to dinner plates.

映画『卒業』の有名なシーンjust one world, plasticsから書き始めるケースは以前このブログでも取り上げました。現在のAIみたいな地位をかつてはプラスチックも占めていたのでしょうか。

I just want to say one word to you. Just one word.
Yes, sir. 
Are you listening?
Yes, I am.
Exactly how do you mean?
There’s a great future in plastics. Think about it. Will you think about it?
Yes, I will.
I've said. That's a deal.


Lloyd Singleton, Extension Agent II

In the 1967 classic film, “The Graduate”, a conversation between young Ben and Mr. McGuire goes like this: “I want to say one word to you. Just one word.” “Yes, sir.” “Are you listening?” “Yes, I am.” “Plastics.” “Exactly how do you mean?” “There’s a great future in plastics. Think about it. Will you think about it?”

So, 50 years later, and plastics are ubiquitous in our everyday life. But not without an environmental impact, “microplastics”. Almost too small to notice, the term generally refers to pieces of plastic that are smaller than 5 mm in size, or about 2/10 of an inch. Microplastics can be found throughout the world’s ocean and coastal habitats—from surface waters to deep sea sediments, as well as in the stomachs of a variety of marine life—from plankton to whales.



The perception of plastics as ugly, unnatural, inauthentic and disposable is not new. Even in “The Graduate” they symbolised America’s consumerism and moral emptiness. Visible plastic pollution is an old complaint, too (years ago, plastic bags caught in trees were nicknamed “witches’ knickers”). What is new is the suspicion that microplastics are causing widespread harm to humans and the environment in an invisible, insidious manner. “Blue Planet 2”, a nature series presented by Sir David Attenborough that aired in Britain last October and in America in January, made the case beautifully. But the truth is that little is known about the environmental consequences of plastic—and what is known doesn’t look hugely alarming.


Plastic pollution “is not the Earth’s most pressing problem”, in the words of one European official. But, he immediately adds, just because plastics may not be the biggest problem facing humanity does not make them trouble-free. As scientists never tire of repeating, more research is needed. It is the absence of evidence about how plastics influence health rather than evidence of absence that explains their bit part in the Lancet Commission report, says Philip Landrigan of the Icahn School of Medicine in New York, who chaired it.