JustinLong.org: The Weekly Roundup, 4/7

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Weekly Roundup, 4/7
Perspective, Insight, Context, Analysis

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New events

North Africa

Russia makes inroads in North Africa
Egypt: Will bulked-up wheat reserves keep the peace in Egypt?
… ‘the unexpected purchase cannot be separated from the angry protests March 6-7…’
Libya: ‘The worsening political conflict has pushed the country to the brink of civil war

West Africa

Benin: ‘The Surgery Ship’ National Geographic special about Mercy Ships highlights Benin
Gambia: to hold first [parliamentary] election after Yahya Jammeh.
laboring to revive the tourism industry
Mali: ‘armed groups have carried out a wave of killings since January 2017
… displacement of 10,000; elevated ethnic tensions…
Nigeria: The desperate journey of a trafficked girl
… every year thousands of teenagers from one city in Nigeria risk death,
… endure forced labor, sex work on the long rote to Europe.

East Africa/Horn

Somalia: al-Shabaab still active: takes town, kidnaps aid workers. Pirates active again too.
government ‘declares war’ on group, offers 60-day amnesty to any ighters who surrender
S Sudan: ‘We witnessed South Sudan’s anguish’ (NYT, longread).
as thousands flee South Sudan, Ugandan refugee camp becomes world’s largest.
… Foreign Affairs: Fear and Famine in South Sudan.

West Asia/Gulf

Saudi Arabia: Saudi funded broadcaster revokes women campaign following complaints
Syria: Worst chemical attack in years in Syria; US blames Assad
… other analysts have been less certain it was an overt attack; perhaps an accident.
well covered in news: last night’s US attack on Syrian air forces in response.
… The attacks and ripples from them may work difficult for Americans in-country
… and, the number of Syrian refugees in neighboring countries has topped 5 million
Turkey: NYT 5-part article series, “State of Emergency.”
Turkey’s referendum debate runs deeper than simply ‘yes’ or ‘no’
Yemen: More than 2,000 landmines have been laid across 16 Yemeni governorates.
… another analysis suggests the Houthis are running out of young men; many killed

South Asia

Scientists warn South Asia likely to face deadly heat waves this year as well
… ‘central/north India temps between 96 and 111, though peak summer over a month away’
Op/Ed: South Asia’s water bomb: ‘subsumed most other important issues in the region’
Afghanistan: Recent boom in opium production due to new seeds imported from China.
… ‘New indications the rate of maternal mortality has worsened in the country…’
Bangladesh: New law makes ‘dual citizens’ into ‘second class citizens’ with fewer rights
India: Ganges clean-up in a shambles: $3 billion plan badly behind schedule
… ‘large stretches are contaminated by toxic waste and sewage.’
Pakistan: Censuses are dangerous to take in some places: team hit by suicide bombing
… it’s the first census in 20 years, and it’s very sensitive.

East Asia

China: Tencent (WeChat) overtakes Wells Fargo, now 10th largest company in the world.
Sets target for 80% of citizens to speak Mandarin by 2020 (presently 70%)
… China is the top oil buyer from the USAset to binge on West African oil after OPEC cuts.
How the Bible came back to China: fascinating long-read on the Amity effort.
An inside look at China’s remarkable religious resurgence: interview with the author
When East met West: Matteo Ricci and his failed attempt to convert China.
Missionary: a historical study of the entry of the Gospel into China. Book review.
China’s Great Awakening: how the People’s Republic got religion (Foreign Affairs)
… Xinjiang: why China is banning beards and veils
… Henan: The Rural Churches and the challenges it faces
N Korea: What happens if N Korea tests a missile that could reach the American mainland?
Why doesn’t China reign in North Korea?
… War unlikely: ‘Spring planting has arrived. Everyone, including the army, is involved.’
… War unlikely: ‘Generals know: no profit in war or peace; only in constant threat of war.’

Southeast Asia

Cambodia: Electricity access growing, but [rural/urban] divide persists
Thailand: King signs army-drafted constitution cementing military group on government
… sets the country on path to elections

New Data

Map: Fragile cities around the world: based on an index of 10 variables
Smoking causes 1 in 10 deaths worldwide, study shows
… half of them in for conutries: China, India, USA, Russia.
… ‘…tobacco companies aggressively targeted new markets…’
Pew: Muslim births will begin to outnumber Christian births by 2035?
… “slightly more” births: 225 million Muslim births vs 224 million Christian births
… note Christianity still has a significant population advantage over Islam worldwide
… increase in Muslim births does not make Islam the world’s largest religion
… Related, see my “The Fine Print on Pew Research numbers.”
Interesting long-form report on road safety in Africa: tips, stats, how-tos
… 16% of global traffic fatalities. Crime, accidents, vigilantism, mob violence, more…

Longer reads

National Geographic series: Parched, on the role of water stress/water wars in Asia
… there is a huge opportunity for the church to be a blessing in the area of water.
Exodus: Frontline documentary on refugees & migrants (Dec 2016) earns Peabody award
Protestantism after 500 years: by 2040, half of all Protestants will live in Africa.
Trump Administration considers even more ‘extreme vetting’:
… visitors from any country could be forced to hand over phones, answer ideology Qs
Short Review: Faithonomics: religion and the free market.
… and Russia: what everyone needs to know.
Interview: how conflict drives hunger in Africa, Yemen.

Lifehacking, Tactics, Skills, Rules

Altucher. 15 essential skills they don’t teach you in college.
Berkun. The cult of busy: ‘people who are always busy are time poor… shortage… debt’.

Pioneer Mission Startups, Strategy

Growth Mindset: 10 principles of growth

What I’m reading:
Little Bets: How breakthrough ideas emerge from small discoveries. Power of experiments.
… Ch1: decide-to-try not on basis of how much you might gain, but how much you are willing to lose. Often hard to know how much you might gain. Limiting by possible gains limits experiments. Lots of sustainable experiments lead to some survivable losses but may also open unexpected gains
The Advantage: why organizational health trumps everything else in business
… this book was recommended to me; just got it, looks interesting.
Hit Makers: the science of popularity in an age of distraction
… all about what is really involved in viral movements. Lots of ‘behind the scenes’ factors.
The death of expertise: the campaign against established knowledge
… like Nicholas Taleb, the author suffers from an unfortunate tendency to sarcasm & bitterness, but there are many good points to bear in mind in the book: I read in small dribbles

UPG Profiles, Travelogues, Stories

Senegal: 18 things you probably didn’t know about Senegal
India: Reviving Kashmir’s forgotten classical Sufi music
China: why bans on paper money will anger China’s ghosts.


BBC: Five numbers that will define the next 100 years.
#AI: CBInsights 92-page State of Artificial Intelligence Report..
#Ads: Internet advertising globally surpasses TV ads for the first time.
#Censorship: The New York Times vs. The Great Firewall of China.
#Chat: Facebook testing free workplace chat, Slack competitor.
#Crime: John McAfee interview on Cyberespionage, states-sponsored hacking. Short.
#Medicine: A.I. versus M.D.: what happens when diagnosis is automated?
#Mobile: Self-healing smartphone-screen material can repair scratches.
#Robots: The ‘maybe’ bright side of automation and job-killing robots
… robots and AI will affect economies of the West, which in turn will affect donations.
#Social: WhatsApp most popular messaging app in India, and launching digital payments
#Space: Bezos selling $1 billion of Amazon stock so people can travel to space sooner.
Why is Ethiopia building a space program? Skills development.
#Surveillance: Porn websites increase protections after Congress repeals privacy rules
… 75 million visits per day to the most popular site, 38th most popular, right after eBay.
50% of the web is now encrypted with https. Ironically https is faster.
… and, Amazing low-light sensor makes darkest night look like brightest day
#TV: Youtube TV goes live in Google’s biggest swipe at Comcast yet.
… it has some shows, but not all, and not live local channels. We are trying out Sling TV.
#Water: Scientists have created a graphene sieve capable of removing salt from seawater
#Weather: B. Faso: mobile system brings updated, accurate forecasts to farmers


“Christian, be careful that you are not guilty of refusing grace to others that you readily extend to yourself.” ~Micah Fries

“Time is what we want most, but what we use worst.” ~William Penn

“Unless there is an element of risk in our exploits for God, there is no need for faith.” ~Hudson Taylor

“The implication of a true eschatological perspective will be missionary obedience.” ~Lesslie Newbigin

“No man can follow Christ and go astray.” ~William H.P. Faunce

“The litmus test for whether you have a biblical eschatology or not is whether it causes you to participate in God’s mission or not.” ~Andy Herbek

“General practice here: Talk to Muslims more than you talk about Muslims.” ~Darren Carlson

“Passion doesn’t mean much unless you can convert it into the energy to do the work.” ~Scott Berkun

“Many great ideas are really just interesting ones that were highly refined over time by a motivated mind.” ~Scott Berkun

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