Salient to Investors:

Fareed Zakaria said:

  • Iraq no longer exists. Many of the Arab states around Iraq are more anti-Shiite than they are anti-ISIS. ISIS gets support from the discontent of Sunnis who feel persecuted by the Shiite and Alawite governments of Iraq and Syria.
  • Britain that has lost its special relationship with the US for complicated reasons, including the increasing importance of Asia, and a Europe not in as much crisis as it was in the Cold War.

Iraqi pollster Munqith al-Dagher says over 90% of Iraqis in Sunni predominant areas regard ISIS as a terrorist organization but ISIS has capitalized on the discontent Sunnis felt with the central Iraqi government.

Mark Hertling at CNN said ISIS’s use of infiltration, assassination, and intimidation in big cities and smaller towns allows them to get a support structure where they will continue to flow their logistics which supports their operations.

Michael O’Hanlon at Brookings said the most fanatical guys win – and that is ISIS and not the Iraqi army.

The Pew Research Center reports:

  • Self-described Christians in the US declined from 78.4% of the population to 70.6% in just 7 years, while atheists and agnostics et al increased to 22.8% from 16.1%. The decline was across the board in age, race, education and geography. By 2050, the proportion of Christians in the US will have declined but remain the majority, while the number of non-religious Americans will rise to over 25%.
  • By 2050, Christians in developed countries, including the UK and Australia, will significantly decline to below majority status: in France and New Zealand, the religiously unaffiliated will become the largest sector.
  • Worldwide, the numbers of Christians and Muslims will keep up with population growth or better, while the non-religious share will decline due to religion thriving in developing countries, like sub-Saharan Africa, where birthrates are high.
  • In 2010, Christianity was the most popular religion followed by Islam. In 2050, Islam will almost equal Christianity.
  • In 2050, only 10% of Europe’s population will be Muslim.
  • Outside of the US and Europe, economic development has not contributed to a drop in religious faith.

The Week reports that only 18% of Catholics in Ireland attended mass every week in 2011, versus almost 90% in 1984.

Jan Eliasson at the UN said:

  • Global water use has risen at double the rate of population growth.
  • Competition for water will increase and lead to conflict, full-on wars over water. ISIS uses water as a weapon.
  • The problems over border rivers affecting two countries are growing, e.g. electricity generation versus irrigation – Egypt vs. Ethiopia, Tajikistan vs. Uzbekistan.
  • The challenge for clean water is bigger for developing countries than in the rural areas.
  • We have to seriously look at the price of water, which we have taken for granted.
  • 1,000 children under age 5 die every day because of lack of water and lack of sanitation.

Nathan Myhrvold at Intellectual Ventures said:

  • In 1908, an asteroid luckily hit in Siberia and devastated hundreds of square miles, and was bigger than the largest ever atomic explosion on earth. If it had hit in Europe, the US, or even in the middle of the ocean, the whole 20th century would have been shaped by the event.
  • In 2013, an asteroid hit in Chelyabinsk, Russia but luckily came in at only 18 degrees above the horizon and so exploded in the upper atmosphere, breaking a million windows and causing 1,500 injuries. At a steeper angle, it would have killed a million people.
  • We put very little resources into finding asteroids. If an asteroid is only a week away, then we can only party – if  small, we might be able to evacuate the area. If the asteroid is further out, we have, or could develop, the technology to meet and nudge it.

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