The U.S. — the world's largest economy since the 1880s — is on the verge of losing its status as the world's largest economy, and is likely to slip behind China this year, says the International Comparison Program, part of the World Bank.
In 2005, the World Bank estimated China's economy was less than half the size of America's, equaling just 43 percent of America's total output. But in 2011 the research placed China's GDP at 87 percent of the U.S., reflecting China's staggeringly enormous economic growth, as well as an updated methodology on purchasing power parity (the amount of goods and services money buys) that recognizes that money goes much further in developing economies than it does in wealthier economies.
With China's economy now expected to have grown 24 percent between 2011 and 2014 while the U.S. is expected to expand only 7.6 percent in that period, China is on course to overtake the U.S. this year. China has already overtaken the U.S. as the world's largest trading nation.
The new measurements dramatically change the shape of the global economic landscape, emphasizing the importance of developing economies. For example, India becomes the world's third-largest economy having previously been in tenth place. The size of its economy also dramatically expanded from the equivalent of 19 percent of the U.S. economy in 2005 to 37 percent in 2011. Russia, Brazil, Indonesia, and Mexico have also grown significantly.
Of course, the U.S. remains vastly ahead of China in terms of economic activity per person. The U.S. has just 4.44 percent of the world's population, while China has 19.1 percent, so it is unsurprising to see China catch the U.S. in terms of total activity. But in terms of economic activity per person, the U.S. is further down the list, in sixth place behind Qatar, Luxembourg, Norway, Singapore, and Brunei. John Aziz
Tasmanian devils often display aggression toward each other, which typically ends with one biting the other on the face. This act of hostility is helping spread devil facial tumor disease (DFTD), one of only three known forms of transmissible cancer.
First detected 20 years ago, DFTD is fatal nearly 100 percent of the time and has wiped out an estimated 80 percent of devils in Tasmania. In a study published Tuesday in the scientific journal Nature Communications, a team of scientists report that while looking at Tasmanian devil DNA, they discovered that two regions in their genomes are changing in response to the spread of the cancer. "Our study suggests hope for the survival of the Tasmanian devil in the face of this devastating disease," Andrew Storfer, a professor of biology at Washington State University and an author of the study, said in a statement.
Scientists are hoping to soon start breeding DTFD-resistant devils to enhance genetic diversity of the captive population. Storfer says the genomic data could also one day be used to "help direct future research addressing important questions about the evolution of cancer transmissibility and what causes remission and reoccurrence in cancer and other diseases." Catherine Garcia
In June, a federal judge ordered Lyle Jeffs, a reputed leader of a polygamist Mormon community in Colorado and Utah, released from jail under supervised house arrest, over objections from federal prosecutors. Two weeks later, Jeffs was gone, leaving behind a greased-up ankle monitoring bracelet. His court-appointed lawyer, Kathryn Nester, told the court last week that she doesn't know where Jeffs is, but she did have some creative suggestions, as found in court documents by The Washington Post:
As this Court is well aware, Mr. Jeffs is currently not available to inform his counsel whether or not he agrees to the Continuance. Whether his absence is based on absconding, as oft alleged by the Government in their filings, or whether he was taken and secreted against his will, or whether he experienced the miracle of rapture is unknown to counsel. [via The Washington Post]
"Rapture, for the uninitiated," explains Cleve Woodson Jr. at The Washington Post, "is the Christian belief that during the second coming of Christ, the holy will be whisked away to heaven." The FBI doesn't find either alternative explanation for Jeffs' disappearance plausible, and on Monday it issued a $50,000 reward for information leading to his arrest. Jeffs — a brother of Warren Jeffs, the jailed leader of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (FLDS) — and 10 other FLDS members were arrested in February on charges that they fraudulently diverted $12 million in food stamps an other federal benefits. The FLDS, a rogue offshoot of the Mormon church, practices polygamy, and Warren Jeffs is serving a life sentence after being convicted of child rape. Peter Weber
The logic-defying presidential election is taking everyone's attention away from a very important topic — climate change — and while it's not as exciting as the medical records of a 70-year-old or the sexts of a disgraced former congressman, Seth Meyers wants us to start giving the matter the attention it deserves.
On Tuesday's Late Night, Meyers said the Earth is "acting insane," but we're all "too busy focusing on Donald Trump to notice. Meanwhile, the Earth is currently the Donald Trump of planets, and it even uses Trump's skin tone to illustrate extreme heat." Over the summer, for the first time on record, every square inch of the United States experienced above average temperatures. If that weren't bad enough, there have been eight "once in 500 years" extreme weather events since the beginning of the year. "Not to mention on top of that, the f—ing Chicago Cubs are in first place, so who knows what's going on," Meyers said.
Meyers argues that the main reason climate change is being ignored is because the GOP "essentially constructed an alternate reality in which none of these extreme weather events has anything to do with climate change." Recalling a Trump lawyer's use of the term, "Says who?" Meyers said, "'Says who?' is basically the Republican Party's official position on climate change, and this anti-intellectualism is at the core of the modern GOP and goes all the way to the presidential ticket." Cue a long clip of Trump preaching about his favorite kind of hairspray to coal miners, and an interview that Meyers says proves Trump has "no idea what he's talking about." Watch the video below. Catherine Garcia
There are a lot of things to criticize about the presidential race between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, but Tonight Show viewer Renée Wellington found one you don't see too often. "Hey Jimmy, with this election talk, the news has been so boring lately," she wrote to Jimmy Fallon, who read her request on Tuesday's show. "Is there any way you can lighten it up a bit and make it more fun?" Fallon's team did find a way: Editing footage of real news anchors to make it appear they are beatboxing. If you have half a minute, watch CNN's Wolf Blitzer and Fox News' Megyn Kelly make beats with their mouths, then Bill O'Reilly and Donald Trump do a beatbox duet, topped by a "whaaaat?!" from Hillary Clinton. If you have another minute or so, keep watching for an awkward podcast between Tonight Show writer Jonathan Adler and Tariq Trotter of the Roots. Peter Weber
If Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) doesn't win a sixth term in November, it won't be because of state Sen. Kelli Ward. On Tuesday, McCain handily beat back a challenge from Ward, who had suggested that the 80-year-old senator is too old to serve Arizona, and two other candidates in Arizona's Republican primary. McCain will face Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick (D) in the general election, after Kirkpatrick won an essentially uncontested Democratic primary. McCain has led Kirkpatrick in every poll so far, but the race is considered competitive. Peter Weber
A California bill that requires a prison sentence for anyone convicted of sexually assaulting an unconscious person is headed to Gov. Jerry Brown's (D) desk, after the California Assembly approved it on Monday by a vote of 66-0.
Under the state's current law, a prison sentence is imposed when physical force is used during the rape, which is often not the case when a victim is intoxicated or unconscious. "Sexually assaulting an unconscious person or intoxicated victim is a terrible crime and our laws need to reflect that," said Assemblyman Bill Dodd (D), an author of the bill. "Letting felons convicted of such crimes get off with probation discourages other survivors from coming forward and sends the message that raping incapacitated victims is no big deal."
The vote comes after a former Stanford student, Brock Turner, was sentenced in June to six months in jail and three years probation after being convicted of three felony counts of sexually assaulting an intoxicated and unconscious woman outside a party. Prosecutors were asking for a sentence of six years in prison. There was widespread condemnation of the judge in the case, Aaron Persky, and a campaign to recall him has more than one million signatures, NPR reports. Turner is set to be released on Friday, several months early, due to good behavior. Catherine Garcia
Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D) defeated law professor Tim Canova in their Florida Democratic primary, The Associated Press projects.
With 82 percent of precincts reporting, Wasserman Schultz has 57.2 percent of the votes to Canova's 42.8 percent. Canova, backed by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), was a strong primary challenger for Wasserman Schultz, who stepped down in July as Democratic National Committee chairwoman after emails critical of Sanders were leaked. Their Florida district extends from west of Fort Lauderdale to Miami Beach. Catherine Garcia