September 8th, 2007



Warming May Radically Change Ecosystems

becomes savanna. The Sahara? We'll see... Global warming won’t just melt ice caps; it could create whole new biomes—major ecosystem types like forest, desert, grassland, and tundra—say climatologists led by John Williams at the University of Wisconsin at Madison. Williams and his team used computer models to predict what will happen to the world’s ecosystems as temperatures rise.

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Ten Myths of Population

How do we save the world from the burden of too many people? We can start by clearing up a few misconceptions.


Fears about Earth’s burgeoning human population have long been at the back of many people’s minds. Now, it seems, as the threat of nuclear annihilation recedes from the headlines, those fears can move up to claim center stage. Moving along with the anxiety, of course, is a great deal of confusion, not the least of which is about how to recognize a population problem when you see one. Population problems are entangled with economics, the environment, and culture in such complex ways that few people can resist the temptations of unwarranted simplification.

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Operation Iraqi Freedom

The Problem within Islam

Why the nations of the Middle East are uneasy 
at the prospect of a democratic

AMERICAN EFFORTS towards a democratic Iraq seem to have created some strange bedfellows in the Middle East. The Sunnis of the region--from Baathist loyalists in Iraq and hardcore Wahhabi zealots in Saudi Arabia to secular-minded elites in Amman, Cairo, and elsewhere--are now united around a common anxiety: Since the Shiite Muslims constitute more than 60 percent of Iraq's population, a democratic Iraq will likely be a Shiite-dominated Iraq.


This is anathema for most Sunnis in the region, many of whom regard Shiite Islam as a perversion. (The feeling being mutual, the Shiites don't think very highly of the Sunnis either.) Thus, the possibility that another Shiite state may emerge next to Shiite fundamentalist Iran has exposed some raw nerves in the region, awakening ancient religious prejudices and creating modern political fears. Those anxieties, together with festering anti-Americanism, explain the reluctance of the region's Sunni regimes to extend America a sincere hand in transforming Iraq.


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