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Next Deadline for George F. Kennan Fellowship Competition Approaching
Tuesday, Sep 1

The Kennan Institute seeks fellowship applicants from diverse, policy-oriented sectors such as media, business, local government, law, civil society, and academia to examine important political, social, economic, cultural, and historical issues in Russia, Ukraine, and the region. Among the aims of the new fellowships are to build bridges between traditional academia and the policy world, as well as to maintain and increase collaboration among researchers from Russia, Ukraine, and...

The Ultimate Nightmare: Why Bombing Iran Would Be a Disaster
Center for the National Interest • Tuesday, Aug 4

A majority of Americans, an even larger majority of Jewish Americans, the entirety of the United Nations Security Council, and a  long list of former U.S. national security leaders and diplomats endorse the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action as the best possible option for preventing a nuclear-armed Iran. But regardless of the merits of the negotiated agreement, some critics, like former Ambassador John Bolton, who explained why in a recent article, are unshaken in their belief...

Data Lab Link Roundup: Dat goes Beta, visualizing machine learning, a clinical trial simulator, the Hadleyverse, and a standard deviation puzzle
World Bank • Tuesday, Aug 4

Here are some things that caught our attention last week: If you’re anything like me, you’re a sucker for algorithm visualization. These sorting algorithm animations and Mike Bostock’s visualizations of sampling, shuffling, sorting and maze generation are among my favorites. So I was delighted to find R2D3’s Visual Introduction to Machine Learning. Dat is like Git for data - a “version-controlled, decentralized data tool for collaboration between data people and data...

Brazil’s ruling party rocked by another corruption arrest
American Enterprise Institute • Monday, Aug 3

More bad news for Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff and the ruling Workers’ Party, as authorities arrested a powerful political chieftain early Monday morning. José Dirceu, former chief of staff to ex-president Luiz Inácio “Lula” da Silva, was arrested in connection with the Petrobras corruption scandal rocking the South American country.In a press conference today, Federal police investigator Carlos Fernando dos Santos Lima said Dirceu played a key role “in the Petrobras scheme...

Does culture help explain why Europe lags America in producing high-impact, ‘unicorn’ startups?
American Enterprise Institute • Monday, Aug 3

Conservative Reform NetworkWritten a few posts recently (including here and here) comparing US vs. Europe in terms of generating high-impact startups, or “unicorns.” No large advanced economy does high-impact entrepreneurship like America (see above chart). Along those lines, Business Insider’s Mike Bird looks at US-Europe cultural attitudes about entrepreneurship and innovation, by way of a European Commission study on the subject (h/t to Andrew McAfee):American...

Links and Quotes for August 3, 2015: Broken networks, robbed robots, the biases of machines, and more
American Enterprise Institute • Monday, Aug 3

Some lunchtime reading:New Laws Explain Why Fast Growing Networks Break- Wired  Last month, United Airlines grounded nearly 5,000 flights when its computer system crashed. The culprit: a faulty network router. Later on the same morning, another computer glitch halted trading on the New York Stock Exchange for over three hours…Researchers usually think of network connectivity as happening in a slow, continuous manner, similar to the way water moves through freshly ground...

5 questions every presidential candidate should answer: American internationalism edition
American Enterprise Institute • Monday, Aug 3

Be on the lookout for the culminating report of AEI’s American Internationalism Project this fall, co-edited by former Senators Jon Kyl and Joseph Lieberman, which will make the case for American leadership in terms that are relevant to all Americans.A strong, bipartisan commitment to global leadership has informed America’s foreign policy since it emerged from World War II. Today, however, the global architecture conceived, built and maintained by the United States is in...

On innovation, redistribution, and the ‘veil of ignorance’
American Enterprise Institute • Monday, Aug 3

What kind of society would you desire if you had to enter it cold, sight unseen? The classic example: What would have been the opinion of antebellum slaveholders if there were an equal chance they would enter society as a slave owner or a slave? The “veil of ignorance” is a common philosophical thought experiment for helping determine the ethics of social arrangements or of an optimal social contract. More to the point today, what sort of modern welfare state would you...

Pay for Success doesn’t mean Wall Street is recruiting in pre-K
American Enterprise Institute • Monday, Aug 3

Last week, the National Journal (NJ) published an article on “social-impact financing”—often referred to as pay for success or social impact bonds—entitled: “Is Wall Street Starting to Recruit in Pre-K?” Most of the article’s focus is on describing this innovative new approach to public financing that uses private dollars from investment banks and other sources to scale promising social programs. (For more information on the approach, see my recent blog here.) But the title of the...

What would the Democratic race look like if Joe Biden runs?
American Enterprise Institute • Monday, Aug 3

So Joe Biden is (maybe) going to run for president. In a moving and uncharacteristically newsbreaking column, Maureen Dowd (with apparently inside sourcing, as Bill Kristol notes) writes that Biden was urged to run by his dying 46-year-old son Beau Biden. As my Washington Examiner colleague Jim Antle notes, “this could certainly shake up the race for the Democratic presidential nomination.”By all the old standard rules, Biden shouldn’t be a candidate. He was born...

How North Korea made the Iran deal inevitable
American Enterprise Institute • Monday, Aug 3

Image credit: Shutterstock.comThe deal between Iran, the United States, and the European Union on Tehran’s nuclear program, if it becomes operationalized as scheduled, will ensure that Iran will have nuclear weapons by 2025, if not well before. As Michael Mandelbaum has explained , the Obama Administration’s unwillingness to credibly threaten the use of force against Tehran resulted in the abandonment of decades of U.S. nuclear principles designed to prevent the spread of uranium...

A State of Emergency: Tunisia's New Anti-terror Law and Wall
American Security Project • Monday, Aug 3

On July 31st, Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi extended the nation’s state of emergency for another two months. With two large-scale terror attacks against foreign nationals since March, President Essebsi and the legislative body have taken a firmer role against terrorist threats. Along with placing the nation under a state of emergency, the government has recently passed an anti-terror law and proposed establishing an “anti-terror” wall to tackle the ISIS threat. Under the...

Can Iran Gain Nuclear Weapons Capability While Complying with the Deal?
Bipartisan Policy Center • Monday, Aug 3

In defending the April 2 framework agreement that laid the foundation for the final nuclear deal with Iran, President Obama admitted that one of its chief weaknesses, and one of his main concerns, was that, “in year 13, 14, 15, they have advanced centrifuges that enrich uranium fairly rapidly, and at that point the breakout times would have shrunk almost down to zero.” In the text of the final deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), it is possible to identify...

Reflecting on the first anniversary of the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit
Brookings Institution • Monday, Aug 3

Tomorrow, August 4 is the first anniversary of the inaugural U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit, in which President Obama hosted over 50 African heads of state to discuss trade and investment, security, and good governance, among other pressing issues. New initiatives and large commitments from both the U.S. and African public and private sectors were announced during the summit, including over $6 billion in new private sector commitments to the Power Africa program. However, more than...

How far apart are Democrats and Republicans on school reform?
Brookings Institution • Monday, Aug 3

Americans are more polarized than at any point in recent history.  On issue after issue—abortion, the Affordable Care Act, or just about anything else— Democrats stand on one side and Republicans stand on the other. It can be difficult for leaders to build consensus around policy when the two sides each have their own base of support.  But is the public so divided over school issues?      Last year, Education Next conducted a poll...

Israel's questionable Quixote: What Michael Oren gets wrong in 'Ally'
Brookings Institution • Monday, Aug 3

Editor's Note: It's not easy to be the Israeli ambassador to the United States, Israel's most important ally. The U.S. relationship with Israel is so deep and broad that an ambassador's job is difficult, complicated, relentless, and at times overwhelming. Martin Indyk provides his take of the state of the U.S.-Israeli relationship in his Foreign Affairs review of Michael Oren's, former ambassador of Israel to the United States, new book, "Ally: My Journey Across the...

Voting rights, minority turnout, and the next election
Brookings Institution • Monday, Aug 3

Last Sunday’s New York Times Magazine cover story, “A Dream Undone,” chronicles the history of recent successful efforts to undermine the Voting Rights Act. The passage of state measures which effectively restrict voting for some groups comes as the nation’s racial minority populations—blacks, Hispanics, Asians, and others—are showing increasing electoral clout.  Yet, restrictive voting provisions such as stringent Voter ID laws and limits...

How are our 2015 forecasts doing so far? (Part 2)
Brookings Institution • Monday, Aug 3

In our last post, we answered three questions while considering how our forecasts for this year were going, a little more than six months into the year. Here, we answer three more. Future Development will be taking a break for the remainder of August, before resuming in September. As always, we’ll look forward to your comments and tweets at #FutureDev then. “Where has all this new technology gone?” asks Brookings Senior Fellow and Deputy Director of the Global Economy and...

Five facts about Asia-Pacific metro economies
Brookings Institution • Monday, Aug 3

The world’s economic center of gravity is shifting eastward and southward to a new set of high-growth cities. Our recent report mapped the economic performance of the 100 largest metro economies in the Asia-Pacific region—the stretch of countries from East Asia to Oceania to the western parts of North and South America. Here are five facts about cities in the region powering world growth. 1. If the Asia-Pacific’s 100 largest metro areas were a single country, they...

Un-sanctioning Iran: What the nuclear deal means for the future of sanctions
Brookings Institution • Monday, Aug 3

When Hassan Rouhani was elected to the Iranian presidency on a platform of ending Tehran’s debilitating impasse with the world over its nuclear program, foreign policy analysts applauded the shift as a victory for the use of economic sanctions. That assessment was substantially correct: the fierce multilateral sanctions regime erected between 2007 and 2013 played a pivotal role in persuading Iran to abandon its recalcitrance toward the nuclear negotiations with six world...


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