by Tom Bosschaert

Feb. 11, 2015

Tom Bosschaert

The doomsday clock is set to three minutes before midnight, water crises is the biggest risk in terms of impact according to the new Global Risks Report, and Anonymous hacks ISIS. I wish I could bring you happier news, but unfortunately 2015 began with all doom and gloom.

Global News: It's three minutes before midnight

  • The Doomsday Clock is set to three minutes before midnight. The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, which controls the clock, said the time was changed on January 22 because of the threat posed by both climate change and nuclear weapons.

  • Water crises, interstate conflict and failure of climate change adaption are the worlds biggest global risks according to the new Global Risk Report. Explore their interactive maps to learn more.

  • Human Rights Watch has just released its annual report - and it describes this era as "the worst tumult in a generation", with wars raging in Syria, Iraq and Ukraine. This short BBC video explores the question whether the world is becoming more violent.

Energy & Environment: Food waste carbon emissions

  • If food waste were a country, it would be the world's third largest emitter of greenhouse gases, behind the U.S. and China. The energy that goes into the production, harvesting, transporting, and packaging of wasted food generates more than 3.3 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide.

  • Watch Chinese air pollution work its way around the World in this NASA animation. NASA researcher Yuan Wang explains that “pollution from China affects cloud development in the North Pacific and strengthens extratropical cyclones.” Those extratropical cyclones, in turn, are responsible for heavy snowfall and bitter cold in the United States.

Business & Economy: Inequality grows

  • By next year, the richest 1% will own more than everyone else according the a new Oxfam report.

  • The four biggest reasons why inequality is bad for society, according to Harvard philosopher T. M. Scanlon:

    • Economic inequality can give wealthier people an unacceptable degree of control over the lives of others.

    • Economic inequality can undermine the fairness of political institutions.

    • Economic inequality undermines the fairness of the economic system itself.

    • Workers, as participants in a scheme of cooperation that produces national income, have a claim to a fair share of what they have helped to produce.

  • Taken at face value, India on Monday became the fastest growing major economy in the world after its statisticians changed the way they measure Asia's third-largest economy and showed it clocked faster growth than China in the December quarter.

  • Systempreneurs avoid playing the “blame game” and instead point at root causes, highlighting the interconnection between problems.

Science, Technology & Design: Tallest 3D-printed building

  • A Chinese engineering and design firm has unveiled the world’s tallest 3D-printed building - a five-storey residential apartment block made from recycled construction materials.

  • Mycore mediation - using fungi to clean pollutants - is being used to clean waterways, soil and in some areas, even radioactive waste.

  • These social issue ads will make you stop and think.

Urban Environment: The rise of the megacity

  • By 2030, cities are expected to triple in size compared to the year 2000, often expanding over biodiversity rich areas. This video explores how urbanization will change the surface of our planet and the biodiversity that is an essential part of it.

  • Just a friendly reminder, these 19 items you should NEVER throw in the trash.

Unexpected and Intriguing: Anonymous hacks ISIS

  • Anonymous “hacktivists” strike a blow against ISIS recruiting efforts. They recently took control of dozens of Twitter and Facebook accounts that had been openly used by ISIS to expand their influence and recruit new members.

  • German government backs ‘Battlestar Galactica’ role-play game to teach aspiring diplomats ethics.

  • Twenty-four years after going on vacation and never returning, Shri A.K. Verma has been let go from his government job.

If you come across news items suited for the Wormfood, or a theme you would like to see a newsletter being dedicated to, please let me know and we'll do our best to make some magic happen.

Feb. 11, 2015