Posted by: Patrick Allen Foster | October 29, 2014

Assorted Links

1. So, Ebola is spreading through multiple West African countries, and there’s a critical shortage of trained medical personnel in the areas where the epidemic is worst; but, please, by all means, Slate, let’s worry about whether there are too many missionary doctors manning the front lines.

2. Tyler Cowen: “How far does the radius of trust extend?”

3. Pankaj Mishra on Modi’s Idea of India. (H/T: 3 Quarks Daily.)

4. Keith Humphreys on organ donation and opt-in vs. opt-out models: “when European health professionals show up to harvest organs from a newly dead individual, that person’s family often says “no way”, nudges be damned. The state could legally take the person’s organs by force of course, but unsurprisingly it does not. In contrast, in the US opt-in model, both families and the state respect the deceased donor’s wishes because they know they were the result of a proactive decision rather than a bureaucratically-designed nudge. More simply, an active choice has legitimacy that a nudged choice does not.” See also this Wonkblog post and this post by Megan McArdle.

5. You had one job, rhino. One job: at the start of the month, there were only seven northern white rhinos left in the world, including two breeding males. Now, one of the remaining males has died.

From the Guardian:

Suni, a 34-year-old northern white, and the first of his species to be born in captivity, was found dead on Friday by rangers at the Ol Pejeta Conservancy near Nairobi. While there are thousands of southern white rhinos in the plains of sub-Saharan Africa, decades of rampant poaching has meant the northern white rhino is close to extinction.

Suni was one of the last two breeding males in the world as no northern white rhinos are believed to have survived in the wild. Though the conservancy said Suni was not poached, the cause of his death is currently unclear.

Suni was born at the Dvur Kralove Zoo in Czech Republic in 1980. He was one of the four northern white rhinos brought from that zoo to the Ol Pejeta Conservancy in 2009 to take part in a breeding programme.

Annoyingly, Suni died without having impregnated any of the remaining breeding-age females. Dammit.

On a positive note: there are some 20,000 southern white rhinos still living. The remaining northern white rhinos may be cross-bred with their southern cousins.


  1. Thank you esp. for #3, the Pankaj Mishra piece, which I definitely intend to read (after doing a few essential things that can’t wait).

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