Most frightening stories:
- The Onion shared this uncharacteristically unfunny observation: “MYTH: There is nothing mankind can do to prevent climate change. FACT: There is nothing mankind will do to prevent climate change”. It’s not funny because it’s probably true.
- Water-related hazards including flood, drought, and disease have significant effects on economic growth.
- There were 910 deaths from drug overdose in Philadelphia last year. Interestingly, I started writing a post thinking I might compare that to car accidents, and ended up concluding that the lack of a functioning health care system might be our #1 problem in the U.S.
Most hopeful stories:
- On the education front: Finland achieves some of the world’s best educational outcomes with a lot of playtime and not a lot of homework. Musical training early in life is good for your brain later in life, even if you don’t continue it. There are lots of free philosophy and ethics courses online.
- On the climate front: There are some new ideas for decoupling human wellbeing from energy use by focusing on the distinction between needs and wants, which mainstream economics does not do. Electric cars and self-driving cars may explode onto the scene at the same time. Al Gore released An Inconvenient Sequel. Will it start to turn the tide against willful ignorance of science and logic? Fingers crossed, although I doubt the people who are most impervious to science and logic will watch it. Maybe there are still some people on the fence who will.
- Ride sharing may be starting to reduce parking demand.
Most interesting stories, that were not particularly frightening or hopeful, or perhaps were a mixture of both:
- Tile is a sort of wireless keychain that can help you find your keys, wallet, and those other pesky things you are always misplacing (or your significant other is moving, but won’t admit it).
- “Fleur de lawn” is a mix of perennial rye, hard fescue, micro clover, yarrow, Achillea millefolium, sweet alyssum, Lobularia maritima, baby blue eyes, Nemophila menziesi, English daisy, Bellis perennis, and O’Connor’s strawberry clover, Trifolium fragiferum.
- Traditional car companies are actually leading the pack in self-driving car development, by some measures.