THE BLOG
02/15/2014 11:22 am ET Updated Apr 17, 2014

Weekend Roundup

This week, The WorldPost focused on the frontiers of medicine and biotechnology. Following up on an earlier post for the series by Patrick Soon-Shiong, our health and technology editor, on "Medicine's Manhattan Project" that would reduce health care costs by linking medical information with doctors in real time, we published an interview with human genome cartographer Craig Venter. Venter argues that we are entering "a new phase of evolution" with the ability to manufacture genes by fusing digital technology with biology.

Amory Lovins, chief scientist at the Rocky Mountain Institute, takes a critical view, arguing that in bypassing evolutionary patience, Venter and other biotech pioneers invite disaster. British philosopher John Gray similarly warns of the hubris of "techno-immortalists" of Silicon Valley, who, like Soviet scientists before them, seek to extend human life beyond natural limits.

In a provocative analysis echoed by a recent study led by Chinese and American scientists, environmental economist Frank Ackerman documents how the U.S. "outsources" its carbon emissions to China through the products Americans consume that are manufactured there.

In global affairs, we published a short essay by Abolhassan Bani-Sadr, the first president of the Islamic Republic of Iran, calling for that country's middle class to take on the rule of the ayatollahs and return to the democratic roots of the 1979 revolution against the Shah.

Nicolas Berggruen lauds the rise of 39-year-old Matteo Renzi in Italy as the leadership jolt of a new generation Europe needs to reform its moribund institutions. Gruppo Espresso President Carlo de Benedetti from Italy argues that Europe must move more quickly toward a united federal state.

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang laid out how China plans to "upgrade its development model." Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt questioned whether that development model is taking into account the rapid spread of automation on China's labor force. Labor activist Han Dongfong posited that "democracy in China must begin on the factory floor." Former World Bank economist Lin Yifu sought to debunk Western naysayers, arguing that China's rapid growth would continue. As U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry arrived in Asia to reinforce the American "pivot" to the region, former Deng Xiaoping interpreter Zheng Weiwei called on the West "to respect China's red lines" in the East China Sea and elsewhere.

The WorldPost correspondent Matt Sheehan wrote from San Francisco on the battle for "hearts and minds" as China seeks to project its "soft power" through new global media ventures. Sophia Jones reported on the new "entente" between Russia and Egypt.