by Tom Bosschaert

July 22, 2013

Tom Bosschaert

Following the money trail to help end human trafficking, evolution can't keep up with global warming, and Florida accidently banned all computers. Read all about it in this Wormfood.

Global News: Combating modern-day slavery

  • There has been a fundamental failure to address the reality of modern-day slavery – an estimated 21 million people are enslaved in some form. According to Mary Goudie, a global advocate for the rights of women and children, no real progress can be made towards ending human trafficking until the profits of this business are monitored and confiscated.
  • This impressive video illustrates the problem.  

  • Antibiotics resistance is nearing dangerous levels according to Australian researchers. Some bacteria are now so resistant that they are virtually untreatable with any of the currently available medicines.
  • Eleven ways in which Snowden’s leaks impacted world politics. 


Energy & Environment: Evolution too slow for global warming

  • The speed of evolutionary change is surpassed by the rate of global warming, meaning many creatures will face extinction. This according to research that matched projected changes for the year 2100 with the rate of adaption of species. Some animals would require rates of niche evolution that are more then 10.000 times faster than rates typically observed among species. 
  • A visit of the pope seems to be a good reason to cut down trees. Authorities in Brazil have denounced church leaders as criminals for chopping down more than 300 centuries-old trees in a national park - so pilgrims can celebrate mass during the Pope’s visit to Rio de Janeiro.
  • If we don't change course, this decade will go down in history as the beginning of the global food apocalypse, warns Dr Nafeez Ahmed, executive director of the Institute for Policy Research & Development . Global food supply is impacted among others by climate-driven droughts, soil erosion, land degradation, oil prices, bee colony collapse, and population growth.  

Business & Economy: The end of Australia’s carbon tax

  • The Australian government plans to replace their carbon tax with an emissions trading scheme. Opposition framed emissions trading as a: "so-called market in the non-delivery of an invisible substance to no-one". Australia is the worst polluter per head of population in the developed world.
  • Africa's economy is growing faster than any other continent, according to the African Development Bank (AfDB).
    • The continent's middle class is growing rapidly - around 350 million Africans now earn between $2 and $20 a day.
    • The share of the population living below the poverty line in Africa has fallen from 51% in 2005 to 39% in 2012.
    • Africa's collective gross domestic product (GDP) per capita reached $953 last year, while the number of middle income countries on the continent rose to 26, out of a total of 54.

Science, Technology, & Design: Floating pool cleans water

  • A prototype of a floating pool that cleans river water will be built in New York this summer. The layered filtration system in the walls of the pool removes bacteria and contaminants.
  • Geoengineering initiatives are going to be reviewed by The National Research Council. These controversial techniques deliberately change the climate at a large scale, for instance by dispersing aerosols or sucking greenhouse gases straight out of the air. 

Urban Environment: China's big move

  • China plans to move 250 million rural residents into newly constructed towns and cities over the next dozen years. The primary motivation for the urbanization push is a change in China’s economic structure. Focussing less on export and more on the growth of the domestic market. Some problems regarding this development could include chronic urban unemployment, a permanent underclass in big Chinese cities and the destruction of a rural culture and religion.
  • This video shows satellite data on changes in the world's vegetation. Scientists use the data to forecast droughts, wildfires and even outbreaks of diseases. 

Unexpected and Intriguing: Florida banned all computers

  • Florida accidently banned all computers, when they tried to ban illegal slot machines. Florida lawmakers wrote a ban that defined illegal slot machines as any "system or network of devices" that may be used in a game of chance. That´s essentially every digital device. 
  • A 5-year-old Palestinian child was arrested for throwing a rock
  • The CIA allows Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the admitted mastermind of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, to design a vacuum cleaner while staying in detention. "We didn't want them to go nuts," a former senior CIA official said.

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.

July 22, 2013