3 most frightening stories
- The U.S. and Russia may have blundered into a proxy war in Syria. And on a loosely related war-and-peace note, Curtis LeMay was a crazy bastard.
- The ecological footprint situation is not looking too promising: “from 1993 to 2009…while the human population has increased by 23% and the world economy has grown 153%, the human footprint has increased by just 9%. Still, 75% the planet’s land surface is experiencing measurable human pressures. Moreover, pressures are perversely intense, widespread and rapidly intensifying in places with high biodiversity.” Meanwhile, as of 2002 “we appropriate over 40% of the net primary productivity (the green material) produced on Earth each year (Vitousek et al. 1986, Rojstaczer et al. 2001). We consume 35% of the productivity of the oceanic shelf (Pauly and Christensen 1995), and we use 60% of freshwater run-off (Postel et al. 1996). The unprecedented escalation in both human population and consumption in the 20th century has resulted in environmental crises never before encountered in the history of humankind and the world (McNeill 2000). E. O. Wilson (2002) claims it would now take four Earths to meet the consumption demands of the current human population, if every human consumed at the level of the average US inhabitant.” And finally, 30% of African elephants have been lost in the last 7 years.
- Car accidents are the leading cause of death for children ages 5 to 24. The obsession with car seats may not be saving all that many lives, while keeping children out of cars as much as possible would be 100% guaranteed to save lives. And one thing that would be guaranteed to help us create more walkable neighborhoods and therefore save children’s lives: getting rid of minimum parking requirements in cities once and for all. And yet you don’t hear this debate being framed in moral terms.
3 most hopeful stories
- The FDA is finally banning antibacterial soap.
- An MIT professor thinks he has found an effective anti-aging pill.
- There is still hope for fusion power.
3 most interesting stories
- Monsanto is trying to help honeybees (which seems good) by monkeying with RNA (which seems a little frightening). Yes, biotech is coming.
- Some people think teaching algebra to children may actually be bad. Writing still seems to be good.
- There have been a number of attempts to identify and classify the basic types of literary plots.