As the technology improves and prices fall for renewable energy, more countries in emerging markets are hoping to go green. China and the United States, in particular, are vying for influence in these markets. But both miscalculate what is needed. This gap in understanding reveals just how challenging the transition to renewable energy will be. The path to widespread adoption of green energy in developing countries lies as much in upgrades to — and the not-very-sexy matter of — transmission infrastructure, which has long been overlooked, as it does in sustainable power generation.

China is leading the push into renewable…


A township in Cape Town with Table Mountain looming in the background.

Power outages are a way of life in Africa’s most industrialized country. Over the last decade, South Africa’s electricity grid has come apart at the seams and failed to deliver dependable power. As renewable energy gets cheaper, South African cities such as Cape Town have demanded the right to find their own sources.

The primary culprit in South Africa’s power woes is the aging national electricity provider, Eskom. After years of mismanagement of state funds earmarked for critical infrastructure repairs, Eskom’s plants are regularly unable to operate at full capacity. The result is rolling blackouts that last from two to…


The delta variant of Covid-19 is wreaking havoc around the world and wealthy countries are deploying booster shots as a defense. With remarkable speed, the United States has pushed forward a plan to offer a third vaccination jab as an attempt to curb the spread within its borders. This response is hardly surprising, but given how many countries are still struggling to get a single dose of vaccine to a significant segment of their populations, the move ignores the long-term threat from vast global disparities in immunity. Plus, the emergence of yet another variant, C.1.2, …


These aren’t psilocybin mushrooms, but they’re pretty.

I have been looking for psilocybin guides, and boy is it hard work. There has been an undeniable boom in psychedelics research to treat various conditions ranging from PTSD to depression. The use of psychedelics like psilocybin, the psychoactive ingredient in magic mushrooms, has been particularly effective in limiting anxiety in studies with terminally ill patients at Johns Hopkins University and New York University. Given the state of the world and the liberalization of drug laws in the United States, people are returning to plant medicine to ease the ills of modern life.

Since the birth of my son, I…


Beijing has been cracking down on China’s homegrown technology companies, and this has accelerated the past few months. It has, unsurprisingly, prompted speculation of China’s motives. But the explanations proffered so far by experts betray a palpable lack of sophistication. The crackdown is monumental and potentially paradigm-shifting, and will fundamentally redefine what progress in the technology sphere means. Its ramifications will ripple across the global tech community. Middle East economies hoping both to elevate their tech sector and partner with Chinese firms, should take note.

In recent months, the Chinese government has forced several leading companies to make decisions that…


High rates of vaccination and the hot summer weather in the Northern Hemisphere gave many in the West new hope for an end to Covid-19. It is tempting people to chart new life paths as they get a glimpse of what they believe to be a post-pandemic future. But it was an illusion, as we have seen with rising infections and return to precautions like mask mandates.

The failure of wealthy nations to help vaccinate developing countries in a manner that matches vaccination programs in the West is one reason why countries like the United States are still fighting the…


The hurdles to a free, open and efficient marketplace in many emerging nations, particularly in Africa, are substantial and systemic. Some of these blockages stem from an excess of bureaucratic exuberance. But in extreme cases, governments are an active impediment to the smooth functioning of business, because of corruption and endemic mismanagement (South Africa and Zimbabwe come to mind). The best way to address this is to reduce human intervention. That means a greater dependence on the intermediacy that technology can offer. Now, the bull run in cryptocurrencies reveals how blockchain technology can be just that solution that reduces human…


You might cringe at the mention of TikTok, the wildly successful Chinese social media platform. But you’d be a fool for underestimating it. Downloaded on three billion cell phones worldwide — more than the population of China and India together — TikTok’s revenues last year amounted to $34 billion — more than the individual GDP of half the world’s countries. TikTok has risen to global popularity and made its investor ricks through the use of an advanced algorithm, an AI-powered calculation that powers virtually every social media platform in the world. TikTok’s algorithm is very efficient — maybe more so…


Many parts of the developing world continue to struggle to contain Covid-19, even as the West begins to open back up. I live in South Africa, and my family came down with Covid last week. Of course, it wasn’t such a great surprise, since almost everyone we know here has had one or more family member infected. But it became clear to me, as we continue to self-isolate at home, that in the face of the delta variant of the coronavirus, the West must realize that it is only if it abandons its vaccine selfishness can it truly provide security…


Your next trip to Starbucks might be an unusual one. The global coffeehouse chain is running out of cups. Due to supply chain bottlenecks affecting virtually every part of the worldwide economy, Starbucks is struggling to secure enough paper cups and oat milk. This is worrying, because recovery in the post-pandemic economy won’t amount to much if there aren’t enough products for purchase and we can’t even get a cup of coffee from Starbucks. From semiconductors to timber, the global economy is running out of everything. A fundamentally new approach focused on the effects of technological innovation to supply-chain economics…

Joseph Dana

/// Writer ///

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