Pell Center

The Pell Center for International Relations and Public Policy at Salve Regina is a multidisciplinary research center focused at the intersection of politics, policies and ideas.

World War I, Climate Change and World Cup Hacktivism | Monday Reads

100 Years After the Start of World War I

The War to End All Wars? Hardly. But It Did Change Them Forever | The New York Times

40 Maps that explain World War I | Vox

Scars of World War I Linger in Europe on Eve of Centennial | The Wall Street Journal

The defining event of the 20th century is not the Second World War, but the first.  The spark that became an inferno was lit 100 years ago this week.  The war itself was industrial slaughter on a global scale.  It ended empires, ushered in the American century, and redrew maps across Eastern Europe and the Middle East.  The consequences of those lines are still being played out in places like Iraq and Syria today.  The war also led to broad social revolutions in the Atlantic world, political revolution in Russia, and, in its failed peacemaking, sowed the seeds of World War II.  The last veteran of the “Great War,” as it was called, is no longer with us, but the consequences of that conflict continue to shape the world today. – James Ludes, Executive Director of the Pell Center


Climate Change and Property Loss

Risky Business: The Economic Risks of Climate Change in the United States | Scribd

Climate change and the economy: The cost of doing nothing | The Economist

On N.C.’s Outer Banks, scary climate-change predictions prompt a change of forecast | The Washington Post

Some of the most respected U.S. leaders of recent decades – including George Schultz, Olympia Snowe, Robert Rubin and others – have collectively endorsed a new report on likely economic impacts of global warming (“Risky Business”). According to the report, the most significant risks include “damage to coastal property and infrastructure from rising sea levels and increased storm surge, climate-driven changes in agricultural production and energy demand, and the impact of higher temperatures on labor productivity and public health.” A story on the report in the Economist points out that “business concerns about the climate are growing sharper [in the U.S.], even if public opinion is not.”

In other words, while many of us are complacent about the problem or even scratching our heads wondering whether it is real (mostly thanks to deliberate efforts to sow confusion), others are making careful assessments of the practical stakes involved. These assessments can be very concerning, which is why, according to a Washington Post report, realtors and property owners along the North Carolina coast have tried to persuade their state to abandon official sea rise forecasts that could send coastal property values plummeting. As the Post point out, rejecting the forecasts is one rational (if short-term) way to preserve the salability of properties. But surely there are others to consider. –Joseph Grady, Senior Fellow for Public Policy


Hacktivism and The World Cup

Hackers Take Down World Cup Site in Brazil | The New York Times

Hacktivist Group Anonymous Targets World Cup | Forbes

Will the World Cup Actually Help Brazil to Solve Its Problems? – If it does, don’t thank FIFA, thank the protestors | Foreign Policy

World Cup controversies in Brazil are supposed to be about team selection and tactics, but this year they’ve focused on much bigger issues: jobs, poverty, public services, and corruption. The World Cup has served to catalyze civil society groups and strengthen the voice of average Brazilians around these issues, but offline activists have not been nearly as successful in getting their voices heard as the online hacktivists who are carrying out a series of distributed denial-of-service attacks and website defacements.

In a story that reads a little bit like Robin-Hood-meets-the-Internet, hacker group Anonymous Brazil says they started a hacking campaign, called #OpHackingCup, to protest the lavish spending on the soccer games in a country struggling to provide even basic services. They appear to have successfully taken down the 2014 World Cup site for a few hours this week and claim to have started at least 100 other attacks against sponsors and the Brazilian government since the World Cup began. Cybersecurity concerns—especially cybercrime and ID theft—are unsurprisingly common at sporting events of this magnitude. In fact, as we become increasingly reliant on digital technologies and social media to create, share, and store information, buy and exchange tickets and merchandise, we are also becoming a particularly attractive target for hackers and cyber criminals.

While Anonymous hopes to gain political leverage through their attacks and other hackers join in trying to collect information and money through World Cup-related hacktivism, we should all use our common sense when googling our favorite soccer players or opening emails offering cheap game tickets if we want to avoid becoming victims of scams ourselves. So, as the United States advances to the next round, enjoy watching the World Cup, but be on alert to ensure that losses only occur on the soccer field. –Francesca Spidalieri, Fellow for Cybersecurity

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