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Wednesday, January 18th, 2023

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Derek Chauvin trying to get state charges dropped (npr.org)

An attorney for Chauvin will ask an appeals court Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2023, to throw out his convictions in the murder of George Floyd, arguing that numerous legal and procedural errors deprived him of his right to a fair trial. Court TV/AP hide caption

I am not a lawyer, but this seems pro forma going through the motions and trying to get things cleared because the appeal process exists and see if another judge will be more lenient.

1/18/2023 10:22 am | |
Tags: black lives matter

Looking at the change to China's demographics and the impacts of its one-child policy compounding with the world downturn in reproductive rates (vox.com)

To be honest, I don't think I had heard about the Great Chinese Famine before. Definitely going to read more about it as it is one of those world events which happened just sixty years ago, which seems recent enough to be shocking to hear about outside of the third-world regions.

From the article:

This doesn't mean that China as a country or as a world power is locked into irreversible decline. What's happening in China is happening at varying speeds in most countries, as the world — with the exception of still-young regions like sub-Saharan Africa — completes the transition from high fertility to low, with two-thirds of the planet living in nations that do not have enough children to replace their population through reproduction alone.

A good note that Africa is still seeing increases, largely because they are so low that the marginal improvements still have major impacts. But also I found the insight about the majority of the planet are below replacement rates.

Personally, I think being below replacement rates is a good thing. Population growth continuing creates a lot of problems across a swath of areas of the world. And if we can find quasi equilibrium long term that that will be a good thing.

In 2015, the Chinese government did something it almost never does: It admitted it made a mistake, at least implicitly.

The ruling Communist Party announced that it was ending its historic and coercive one-child policy, allowing all married couples to have up to two children.

The one-child policy had helped lead to the mother of all demographic dividends, the term for the economist boost created when a country’s birth and death rates both decline. Between 1980 and 2015, China’s working-age population grew from 594 million to a little over 1 billion. China’s dependency ratio — the total young and elderly population relative to the working-age population — fell from over 68 percent in 1980 to less than 38 percent in 2015, which meant more workers for every non-working person.

The one-child policy was shortsighted to slow the population growth so that the underlying communist infrastructure could scale with population growth. And the huge growth in the number of young workers for every non-workers is fantastic in the short term, but looms huge long term as that younger generation soon becomes the non-workers.

And the issue this leads to is well explained here:

For all its power and aggregate wealth — it is by most accounts the world’s second-largest economy — on a per capita basis, it’s still a middle-income country at best. To reach anything like a per capita parity with a country like the UK, let alone the US, would require years more of high-powered economic growth that will be increasingly difficult to pull off in an aging nation. In the end, China could get old before it gets rich.

And if China can’t grow faster, the elderly will bear the brunt of the cost. A 2013 study estimated that nearly a quarter of China’s seniors live below the poverty line, and the country — like many others in East Asia, including richer nations like Japan and South Korea — has little in the way of old-age support. That was less of a problem when older adults could count on being taken care of by their children, but decades of the one-child policy has left an inverted pyramid known as “4-2-1,” with four grandparents and two parents depending on one child.

The 4-2-1 pyramid is an example of something that makes perfect sense but isn't an obvious thing when you first look at the "one-child policy" as a layperson. The insights about the economy and the living conditions for the elderly were also interesting; I had thought China was perhaps somewhat better off. I knew they weren't universally high-income, but this makes it sound like they are further off of it than I had imagined.

It’s worth repeating that this state of affairs was, for the most part, inevitable. The fertility transition — the drastic drop in fertility as countries become richer — is as close to an iron law as demography has. There is no foreseeable situation where China could have developed as it has if its mid-1960s fertility rates of six to seven children per woman had continued, and much of that drop was due to improvements in infant mortality that gave parents confidence their children would live to adulthood.

Another good insight that what is happening isn't because of one-child, but rather one-child exacerbates it or perhaps accelerates it.

1/18/2023 10:56 am | |
Tags: china, demographics, chinese history

Charles Schulz did a 15-strip series about banning books in the Peanuts comic (gocomics.com)

1/18/2023 11:54 am | |
Tags: cartoon strip, censorship, book banning

Apologies for the extra newsletter

Glitch in the system!

1/18/2023 12:20 pm | |
Tags: glowbug

Most Microwaves in the US are manufactured by Midea (nytimes.com 🗝️)

Found courtesy of Jason over at kottke.org:

We found evidence that most countertop microwaves sold in the US are manufactured by just one company, Midea. We confirmed with Midea that it makes and sells Toshiba, Comfee, and Black+Decker ovens. We're also confident that GE, Whirlpool, Sharp, Breville, Insignia, Magic Chef, Hamilton Beach, and others also sell microwaves that were originally built and probably designed in large part by Midea, though all parties that we contacted declined to comment. But here's why we think Midea is the original manufacturer.

The first clue is that at a given capacity, there are usually at least four different models with the same wattage and dimensions. They have identical contours inside the oven and identical patterns in their ventilation grates, too. They sometimes have the same FCC ID (to be sold in the US, any piece of hardware that can create radio interference, like a magnetron, needs one). And some of them say plainly on the rear label that they're manufactured by Midea.

1/18/2023 3:58 pm | |
Tags: technology, microwaves, kitchen appliance

Dune Imperium is a great game

1/18/2023 9:44 pm | |
Tags: boardgames, photo

Automated Archives for January, 18th 2023

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Chess For the Day

Record: 4-0-2
Net Elo Change: +14

Games Played

1/18/2023 10:45 pm | |
Tags: automated, mastodon, social media, chess

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