We've all seen the headlines about rampant Chinese economic growth. Many have presented evidence — from ghost cities, to excessive financial debt — that China's growth is an unsustainable bubble. And maybe the boom there will soon give way to a bust.
But what I think is under-appreciated is just how huge China's growth has been.
Here's a figure that sticks out: Bill Gates points out that between 2011 and 2013, China used more cement than the U.S. did in the entire 20th century:
Now, China is a huge country with over four times the number of people that the U.S. has. But still. The 20th century was America's century, where it built out its huge continent-spanning highway system, its airports, its sanitation systems, and cities where skyscrapers dominate the skyline like Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, and Miami. Cement — the key ingredient in concrete — is very literally the foundation for modern life and urban living. We drive on it, we walk on it, we live in it. And China is using it at a rate that has never been seen before on this planet.
Katy Perry come roaring into the University of Phoenix stadium on a giant lion for the Super Bowl Halftime Show, and it only got crazier from there with dancing sharks, robotic chess pieces, and lots of pyrotechnics.
The show had numerous costume changes — Perry was everything from a sparkly, star-spangled diva for "Firework" to the chicest Hot Dog on a Stick employee for "California Gurls" — as well as cameos from Missy Elliot, Lenny Kravitz, and the "More You Know" star. Take a look at photos from the dazzling performance below.—Catherine Garcia
Go Go Power Ranger, straight to jail: Ricardo Medina Jr., best known for playing the red Power Ranger in Power Rangers Wild Force in the early 2000s, was arrested Saturday in connection to the stabbing death of his roommate.
— JustJared.com (@JustJared) February 1, 2015
Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies told ABC Los Angeles that Medina called 911 Saturday afternoon to report a stabbing at his home in Green Valley, California. Deputies say that the 36-year-old got into an argument with his roommate, Joshua Sutter, 36, and it turned physical. Sutter allegedly followed Medina and his girlfriend into Medina's bedroom and forced the door open; Medina then stabbed him with a sword he kept in the room. Sutter died at the hospital, and Medina was booked for murder and held in lieu of $1 million bail.
With six seconds left before the half, the Seattle Seahawks scored big to tie the game 14-14. —Catherine Garcia
— Seattle Seahawks (@Seahawks) February 2, 2015
U.S. officials say that NATO's military commander Gen. Philip M. Breedlove is now in favor of providing lethal weapons to Ukrainian forces, and administration and military officials are starting to lean in that direction as well.
The White House has only provided aid in the form of items like night-vision goggles, first aid kits, and body armor, but Secretary of State John Kerry is open to discussing providing lethal aid during his visit to Kiev on Thursday, The New York Times reports. "Although our focus remains on pursuing a solution through diplomatic means, we are always evaluating other options that will help create space for a negotiated solution to the crisis," Bernadette Meehan, a spokeswoman for the National Security Council, said.
The first touchdown of the Super Bowl belongs to the New England Patriots: Watch the video below to see quarterback Tom Brady connect with wide receiver Brandon LaFell to score. —Catherine Garcia
Idina Menzel started Super Bowl XLIX on the right note, with a stirring rendition of "The Star-Spangled Banner." Watch her impressive performance in the video below. —Catherine Garcia
President Obama's forthcoming budget proposal will include a request for $478 billion for vast infrastructure improvements, to be funded with a 14 percent tax on $2 trillion in corporate earnings held abroad. The six-year plan is a more robust version of a policy Obama has proposed in the past. Obama is to unveil his budget on Monday.
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) on Sunday stood by his harsh criticism of protesters who last week interrupted a Senate hearing with former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger.
"I was outraged and I'm still outraged," McCain said on CNN, arguing that the protesters were physically threatening Kissinger. "I think they're terrible people that would do that to a 91-year-old man with a broken shoulder," he added.
Last week, McCain called protesters from the anti-war group Code Pink "low-life scum" after they brandished banners and handcuffs during the hearing. —Jon Terbush
Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee on Sunday said homosexuality is a "lifestyle" choice, adding that while he disagreed with it personally, he was accepting of people with different beliefs.
"I don't drink alcohol, but gosh, a lot of my friends, maybe most of them, do," he said on CNN. "I don't use profanity, but believe me I've got a lot of friends who do. Some people really like classical music and ballet and opera. It's not my cup of tea."
Deflategate may have been a bunch of hot air.
The NFL's investigation into the New England Patriots' alleged ball tampering has determined that the footballs used in last month's AFC Championship were not as underinflated as previously believed, according to NFL.com's Ian Rapoport. Though previous reports said 11 of 12 footballs were each underinflated by two pounds per square inch, the league actually found many to be only "a few ticks" under the minimum allowable PSI; only one was two pounds under the limit.
The Patriots denied tampering with the balls in any way, and team owner Robert Kraft demanded an apology from the NFL should it find no evidence of wrongdoing.