Round Table

Uncontacted Peoples

How far do the limits of modern society reach? What is “modern society,” and who belongs to it? What happens when states, organizations, and other members of the “connected world” come into contact with groups that may have little intersection with it? Should these groups be actively protected, thoroughly researched, or simply left alone? Follow along with us as we wrestle with these questions and more during this week’s episode, “Uncontacted Peoples.”

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Emergency Warning Systems

Emergency warning systems are used by countries across the world to alert citizens about a variety of incidents, from natural disasters to military threats. Modern emergency warning systems are taking advantage of new technologies such as text messaging to ensure warnings reach the broadest possible audience. These systems, however, vary in their effectiveness and are vulnerable to human error and even malicious interference.

In this episode, we look into the history of emergency warning systems, provide examples of how these systems have been leveraged across various countries, and discuss their level of effectiveness in ensuring citizen safety.

Dig Deeper

Take a look at some of our favorite articles that we came across while researching this topic:

Sinking States

The U.S. Department of Defense calls climate change a threat multiplier, but for some countries it is an imminent and existential threat. Small Island Developing States (SIDS) are particularly at risk, facing the possibility of their nations literally go under in the next few decades. Join us as we discuss who’s to blame, the future for these nations and their citizens, and what can be done.

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Sand Mafias

Organized criminal groups that deal in sand are perpetrating violence and undermining governments around the world.
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Unrecognized Countries

What makes a country a country? In this episode, we look at Transnistria, Taiwan, and Somaliland while exploring competing definitions of statehood. Read More

Zoos in Conflict Zones

One of the many stories that go untold in conflict zones is the fate of zoos and their animals. There are concerns for the animals’ safety as well as for humans if predatory animals escape. In this episode, we explore just a few examples of efforts to safeguard zoos during war. Read More

The Nicaragua Canal

The Panama Canal’s opening in 1914 transformed global trade and fostered economic development in Panama. Today, Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega and Chinese financier Wang Jing are trying to emulate its success by constructing a canal through Nicaragua. Read More

Lost Nuclear Materials

As the world turns its focus toward nuclear proliferation issues in North Korea and Iran, the international community faces another critical threat: the loss or theft of nuclear materials. This episode explores security risks of lost or stolen nuclear materials, provides case studies to illustrate the threat, and details how countries are addressing this problem. Read More

Tourism in North Korea

North Korea is notoriously isolated, but Daniel Wertz explains that the Hermit Kingdom in fact welcomes tourism – or at least tourist dollars. In this episode, our guest helps us understand what tourism looks like in North Korea and discusses the moral questions regarding tourism to the country.

Human Rights and the Chocolate Industry

Nearly 70% of the world’s cocoa comes from western Africa, in countries such as Ghana and the Ivory Coast. In order to fill the global demand for chocolate, thousands of small cocoa farms often rely on slavery and child labor. Children ranging in ages from 5-16 are sent by their families with promises of education or additional income for a few months work, but often remain on cocoa farms through adulthood while being subjected to dangerous work environments. Cocoa farms, and sometimes even countries, are incentivized to use the cheapest possible means of labor in order to keep the price of cocoa globally competitive. Listen to this week’s episode for a discussion on the incentives driving these human rights abuses and why a boycott might be counterproductive.