Davos Newbies Home


Once again, I’m fortunate enough to be going to the Australian Davos Connection’s leadership retreat on Hayman Island on the Great Barrier Reef. But it means I’ll be in airplanes all day tomorrow and then at the mercy of a dial-up connection. Expect sparse postings.


I subscribe to a number of Corante weblogs in my aggregator and I find the general level of postings quite high. But alarm bells ring when writers stray far off their ordinary turf.

Dana Blankenhorn, who writes the Moore’s Lore weblog, decides to have a go at China, and the rhetoric is reminiscent of the pre-Nixon “who lost China” tirades on the right. This is truly bizarre stuff.

“In a few years we’re going to wake up and we won’t have the strongest military, and we won’t have the deepest tech sector, and a Chinese astronaut will be planting a Chinese flag on Mars. China may yet rule the world without firing a shot. Where is our leadership here? Why do they continue to sleep? Why do they ignore the threat, to our livelihoods and our national security? Why?”

There’s certainly a lot wrong with China, but there’s more wrong with extrapolating from a paranoid view of the current Chinese leadership many decades into the future. China is changing dramatically economically and I haven’t yet encountered a knowledgeable observer of China who doesn’t reckon it will also change profoundly (although on a very different timescale to the economic change) politically. Blankenhorn should also note that the US is hardly standing still in military might, technological prowess or economic strength.

More bad science 

Chris Bertram picks up my link to Will Hutton yesterday and makes the clear connection to more dodgy science comment by Andy Rowell in today’s Guardian.

“Among the real gems of Rowell’s piece is the following thought: ‘The scientific establishment’s obsession with the “peer review” means important science that raises risks of GM technology is side-lined.’ The rest of the article consists of dubious and unsupported claims that critics of GM have been harrassed and persecuted, including the hapless Arpad Pusztai, who has been thoroughly discredited.”

My suspicions were raised when Rowell put peer review in quote marks. What’s the point of that?

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