by Tom Bosschaert

Feb. 1, 2013

Tom Bosschaert

This edition of Wormfood is full of truly amazing news stories after a very active couple of weeks. Many noteworthy poitical and global events are covered, as well as several key science, health, and technology updates, all found below!

Global News

  • A new asteroid-mining company launches Tuesday with the goal of helping humanity expand across the solar system by tapping the vast riches of space rocks.
  •  North Korea said on Thursday it would carry out further rocket launches and a nuclear test that would target the United States, dramatically stepping up its threats against a country it called its "sworn enemy".
  • Obama finally emerges as a climate proponent. His pathways require consideration of sustainability complexity
  • Quebec will, before summer, become the first province in Canada to “legalize” physician-assisted death. It’s a welcome development, because Canada is "a dismal place to die, criminally lacking in decent palliative care and mired in a legislative bog", says Andre Picard of the Gobe and Mail. 

Business & Economy

  • Workplace mental health guide sets national standard. The Canadian Labour Code already addresses bullying and sexual harassment, but the new standard gives more support to employers and employees to make their workplaces better
  • British Prime Minister David Cameron called Thursday for a global effort to clamp down on tax avoidance by businesses and more urgent efforts to stimulate global trade.
  • V3Solar's Spin Cell Cones Could Produce Electricity for the Insanely Low Cost of Eight Cents per kWh 

Energy & Environment

  • Belgium is planning to build a doughnut-shaped island in the North Sea that will store wind energy by pumping water out of a hollow in the middle, as it looks for ways to lessen its reliance on nuclear power.
  • It's goodbye nuclear, hello renewables as Japan prepares to build the world's largest offshore wind farm (approximately 1 GW) this July.
  • Interesting fact: willow trees cultivated for green energy can yield up to five times more biofuel if they grow diagonally, compared with those that are allowed to grow naturally up towards the sky.

  • Dams create a largely impenetrable barrier for fish even when the dams were installed with specially-built passages, according to a new study

Science, Technology, & Design

  • A team of researchers from Université Laval, de Québec, and pharmaceutical firm GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) has discovered a way to stimulate the brain's natural defense mechanisms in people with Alzheimer's disease. This major breakthrough opens the door to the development of a treatment for Alzheimer's disease and a vaccine to prevent the illness.
  • An Australian scientist has said he discovered how to turn HIV against itself to stop it progressing to Aids. A couple of months ago, another intriguing study showed that condoms treated with silver nanoparticles could ‘completely inactivate’ HIV, other STDs
  • The benefits and side effects of dissolving particles in our ocean's surfaces to increase the marine uptake of carbon dioxide (CO2), and therefore reduce the excess amount of it in the atmosphere, have been analysed in a new study published last week.
  • European consortium is granted €1BN and 10 years on “wonder material” graphene. See a video explaining the consortium here.

Urban Environment

  • The World’s First 3D-Printed Building Will Arrive In 2014
  • As of July, all shops and offices in Francewill have to shut off their lights at night, under a government decree issued on Wednesday. 

Unexpected and Intriguing

  • Why you should not have a cat. Its a perhaps unexpected impact.
  • Reuters photographer Goran Tomasevic returned to Syria earlier this month, where he has been traveling the war-torn streets of Damascus with the Free Syrian Army.

This bi-weekly digest is made by assembling items from all of Except’s people. Have questions, comments, or news items to suggest? E-mail Read past Wormfood global news reports here.

Feb. 1, 2013