by Tom Bosschaert

Jan. 19, 2015

Tom Bosschaert

A new mammal is discovered in the forests of Colombia and Equador, girls hide spoons in their underwear to avoid marrage and take a look inside the world’s tallest slum. Read all about it in this Wormfood.

Energy & Environment: New mammal discovered

  • Scientists have discovered a new mammal living in the forests of Colombia and Ecuador. It is the first new carnivore species to be identified in the Western hemisphere in 35 years. The species is named Olinguito.
  • Anti-fracking protesters gathered in West Sussex, England. They cite concerns about water contamination, environmental damage and minor earthquakes caused by fracking.
  • Ecuador abandoned a conservation plan that would have paid the country not to drill for oil. The aim of the conservation plan was to raise €2.7bn ($3.6bn or £2.3bn), 50% of the value of the reserves in the park's Ishpingo-Tambococha-Tiputini oil field, over 13 years. President Rafael Correa said rich nations had failed to back the initiative, leaving Ecuador with no choice but go ahead with drilling. The park is one of the most biodiverse areas in the world.

Global News: Hiding spoons to avoid marriage

  • An English charity advises girls to hide a spoon in their underwear to avoid forced marriage. The spoons set off airport metal detectors; this can give girls one last chance to tell someone they are at risk of being forced into marriage.
  • Israel has plans to recruit students to post messages on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube on the Israeli government’s behalf – without identifying themselves as government agents.

Business & Economy: The end of Eurozone recession

  • The Eurozone recovered from recession after a record 18 months of economic contraction. However, the overall figure masks the mixed economic fortunes among the countries that make up the 17-country Eurozone area.
    • Germany and France both posted stronger-than-expected growth, expanding 0.7% and 0.5% respectively.
    • Portugal showed the fastest growth, at 1.1%.
    • Spain saw its economic output fall by 0.1% on the quarter.
    • Italy and the Netherlands both saw output drop by 0.2%.
  • Meet Tian Yu, before she attempted suicide her job was to assemble Apple iPhones and iPads. Tian Yu worked more than 12 hours a day, six days a week. She had to skip meals to do overtime. Finally she threw herself from a fourth-floor window. 18 workers – none older than 25 – attempted suicide at Foxconn facilities. Fourteen died.
  • Twenty people were injured, with seven sent to hospital, when a promotional stunt in Seoul for LG's G2 smartphone went wrong. LG released 100 helium balloons, each with a free smartphone voucher. People brought air guns and knives on sticks to the race.

Science, Technology, & Design: Human algae symbioses suit

  • This suit creates a symbiotic relationship between humans and algae. The algae feed on the carbon dioxide in the breath of the suit wearer. By walking outside the algae get sunlight. Finally, the wearer of the suit eats the algae. The designer: “Why design new food on what we have now, when we could re-design how we fuel the body altogether?”
  • Chinese filmmakers are tackling difficult subjects in short films. These films are watched on mobile phones, and offer a welcome relief from the propaganda of the Communist Party’s state media. Censorship, however, is catching up with micro movies. But this seems an uphill battle due to the sheer number of works posted online. As one micro-blog user commented: “Sarft [the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television] still wants to approve [micro movies] one at a time. Apparently, they’re not afraid of dying of exhaustion.”
  • Apple patented the means to transmit an encoded signal to all wireless devices, which would disable recording functions. This patent technology can be used to block recordings during concerts, but also to block transmissions during for instance police raids.

Urban Environment: The world´s tallest vertical slum

  • Take a look inside the world's tallest vertical slum. Squatters took over an unfinished 45-story skyscraper in Caracas during the early 1990s, and people have been living there ever since.

  • What are the consequences of China's one-child policy? Thirty years after it was introduced, the policy endures despite warnings of its punitive effects on China's development. Some effects are a worsening gender gap, increased trauma and economic stress for parents who lose their only child, forced late-term abortions, and punitive fines for families who break the policy.
  • These 40 maps offer insight into the complexities of our world.

Unexpected and Intriguing: US company sues Abu Ghraib prisoners

  • Abu Ghraib contractor, accused of human rights abuses, sues former prisoners. After a US federal judge ruled that CACI International, a US corporation, was not culpable for torture allegations at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, lawyers for the defense contractor have filed a suit against the former detainees seeking legal expenses.
  • Malik Afridi's moustache has led to Taliban death threats.
  • An Iranian politician is being stripped of her votes in an election because she is too pretty. “We don’t want a catwalk model on the council,” an official said.
  • In 1970 NASA investigated how humanity might build colossal space colonies. See the ideas put to form in these NASA artist illustrations.

This bi-weekly digest is assembled from items sent to us by Except members. Have questions, comments, or news items to suggest? E-mail Read past Wormfood global news reports here.

Jan. 19, 2015