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.
One of the men convicted in the 2012 gang rape of an Indian student is now blaming the woman for the injuries she suffered during the event, which led to her death.
In an interview for an upcoming BBC documentary about the event, Mukesh Singh, who drove the bus in which the rape occurred, said the woman "should just be silent and allow the rape." Singh also said the 23-year-old woman was at fault for being outside at 8:30 p.m.
"A decent girl won't roam around at 9 o'clock at night. A girl is far more responsible for rape than a boy," Singh said in the BBC interview. "Housework and housekeeping is for girls, not roaming in discos and bars at night doing wrong things, wearing wrong clothes. About 20 percent of girls are good."
Singh is on death row for his involvement in the event, as are three of the other attackers, but he is appealing his death sentence. BBC News reports that throughout 16 hours of interviews, Singh "showed no remorse" for the attack.
New Mexico eighth grader Adelina Silva was giving her classmates forms from her school's website when she was stopped by a teacher and marched to the principal's office to be suspended. The forms in question were the problem: They were permission slips students could have their parents sign to allow them to opt out of an upcoming standardized test.
As for Adelina Silva, her mom is fighting the suspension. "She did absolutely nothing wrong and yet they are making her feel like she did," Silva's mother said. The 12-year-old is upset that she missed class time and says she would hand the forms out again if given the chance.
David Petraeus will reportedly plead guilty as part of a plea deal with the Justice Department, The New York Times reports. The deal will allow Petraeus, a retired four-star general, to avoid an "embarrassing" trial over whether he gave classified information to his mistress and biographer, Paula Broadwell, while he was director of the CIA. Petraeus, who has denied criminal wrongdoing, will plead guilty to a misdemeanor charge for mishandling classified information.
The affair was discovered by FBI agents who were investigating cyberstalking allegations. During an investigation into Broadwell, the agents found evidence that Petraeus had trusted her with classified information. But at a press conference in 2012, President Obama said there was no evidence Petraeus divulged classified information "that in any way would have had a negative impact on our national security," according to the Times.
Just in case you thought you saw a crack in the glass ceiling, Justin Wolfers at The Upshot is here to clear up that pesky gender inequality question with a few helpful graphs.
For every female CEO of S&P 1500 firms, there are four men named John, Robert, William, or James. In fact, only one in 25 of these large firms is run by a woman.
Wolfers also focused his so-called Glass Ceiling Index on Congress, where there is slightly less depressing news. On the Republican side of the Senate, female legislators are outnumbered by men named John, Robert, James, and Williams by a ratio of 2.17 to 1. But — hooray! — the ratio is slightly better in the House (1.36 to 1).
On the Democratic side, we might as well break out the champagne, since women actually outnumber the Jims, Bobs, Jacks, and Bills in both the House and Senate at a ratio of 0.3 to 1.
Wolfers does point out that The Glass Ceiling index isn’t perfect and will certainly change with the millennial generation of names. But, he adds, "it does point out an important truth — that in many important decision-making areas of American life, women remain vastly outnumbered."
Fresh off the success of last week's brutally violent re-imagining of the Power Rangers franchise, producer Adi Shankar has unveiled his latest grim take on a pop-culture icon.
James Bond: In Service of Nothing gives viewers a glimpse of an elderly 007 as he attempts to find a new place in a world that has left his stylish brand of espionage behind:
In a Q&A about the new project, Shankar explains that In Service of Nothing began with a simple question: "What would happen to the guy from Dr. No or Goldfinger in the world today?"
If this dark vision of James Bond at the end of his life had any basis in reality, the government might think twice about granting a license to kill to "a trigger-happy alcoholic with mommy issues."
Accused terrorist Abid Naseer argued in court Monday that he never plotted to blow up random people in the U.S. and Europe, but was rather trying to meet girls online.
Naseer is accused of training with Al Qaeda in Pakistan and conspiring to bomb targets in England, Denmark, and New York City. And according to prosecutors, in emails Naseer and his co-conspirators tried to hide their true intentions by concocting fictional women as coded language for weapons. For instance, prosecutors questioned why Naseer characterized a woman as "crystal clear," saying it was "more likely the defendant was talking about a substance's chemical properties."
But in closing arguments Monday, Naseer, who acted as his own attorney, denied that interpretation, claiming he was merely "chasing women on the Internet."
A jury in Brooklyn is to begin deliberations in the case Tuesday.
After vowing for months to dig in against President Obama's immigration order, House Republicans on Tuesday said they would instead vote this week on a "clean" bill to fund the Department of Homeland Security.
Republicans initially sought to include provisions in the DHS funding bill to block Obama's move to shield millions of undocumented immigrants from deportation, but Senate Democrats repeatedly rejected those attempts. With a partial DHS shutdown looming last week, Congress passed a one-week funding extension. And with Democrats still insisting they would not budge, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) opted to throw in the towel despite objections from conservatives in his caucus.
"With more active threats coming into the homeland, I don't believe that's an option," Boehner reportedly said of a partial shutdown of DHS.
The House could vote as early as Tuesday on the clean funding bill.
Talk about a load of sh*t.
Nepalese officials are concerned that the human waste climbers leave on Mt. Everest is becoming a "major problem," The Associated Press reports. Ang Tshering, the chief of Nepal's mountaineering association, said Tuesday that Nepal's government should make the climbers dispose of their waste properly. More than 700 people scale the mountain each climbing season.
Tshering said the waste has been "piling up" for years around climbers' camps, which include tents and supplies, but no toilets.
"It is a health hazard, and the issue needs to be addressed," Dawa Steven Sherpa, who has been leading cleanup trips on Mt. Everest since 2008, told AP.
Last year, Nepal's government created rules that each climber must bring 18 pounds of trash down to the mountain's base camp, but there are no rules about human waste.
Retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson on Tuesday announced the formation of a presidential exploratory committee to weigh a 2016 campaign.
"Career politicians simply don't understand the disappointment, anger, and pain in real America," Carson said in a video announcing the move.
The 63-year-old Carson, who has no prior political experience, shot to national stardom on the right after criticizing President Obama's policies at a 2013 National Prayer Breakfast while the president sat a few feet away. Carson ranks near the top of preliminary GOP primary polls, though such early surveys have little predictive value on the race.
Domenico Giani, commander of the Vatican's security forces, told Italy's Polizia Moderna that ISIS presents a significant threat to Pope Francis and the Vatican. Giana added, though, that there isn't indication ISIS is planning an attack directed at the pope.
"The threat exists. This is what has emerged from my conversations with Italian and foreign colleagues," Giani told Polizio Moderna, the official publication of Italy's state police. "At the moment, I can say that we know of no plan for an attack against the Vatican or the Holy Father."
Last week, Italy's government was on high alert when ISIS mentioned Italy and Christians as potential targets, calling the country "the nation signed with the blood of the cross." The threat came in a video with images of 21 Coptic Christians who were beheaded, warning that ISIS forces were "south of Rome" in Libya.
Giani said Pope Francis has no plans to change his relaxed papal style, though. "Even as pope, he's still a priest who doesn't want to lose the contact with his flock," Giani told Polizio Moderna. "It's us, those in charge of his safety, are the ones that have to help him, not the other way around."