by Tom Bosschaert

June 20, 2013

Tom Bosschaert

The world is protesting, a cute cat is running for mayor, and cool maps to explore. Read all about it in this Wormfood.

Global News: Protest!


  • Protests spark around the world:
    • In Brazil a hike in bus fares sparked protests in several cities, including São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. These shocking photos show the severity of the protests.
    • In India the anti-rape protests that began last December have continued ever since. The protests are focused against the state government for not doing enough to crack down on violence against women.
    • Approximately 300 protestors in Hong Kong urged that Edward J. Snowden, the former National Security Agency contractor accused of leaking documents on American surveillance programs, be allowed to stay in Hong Kong.
    • Protests in cities around Turkey were triggered by a fierce police crackdown on what began as a peaceful campaign against government plans to build on Gezi Park. The goal of the protests seems not to be a regime change, but simply more freedom.
  • These confrontational visualisations from the Global Peace Index 2013 show the number of deaths caused by conflicts fought in 2012.

Energy & Environment: Mongolia´s first wind farm


  • A research paper just published in Nature suggests that warm ocean currents are melting ice shelves, to an extent that accounts for 55% of the annual meltwater. The findings will help scientists to tackle larger questions about how the changing ice sheets might contribute to the global rise in sea-level. We might have a nearly ice free Artic sea as early as in the Summer of 2020.

  • Asia´s largest solar-thermal power plant is launched in India. The 50-megawatt plant in the northwest Rajasthan state boasts 5,760 mirrors that concentrate the sun’s rays, turning water into steam which then drives turbines
  • Mongolia launched its first wind farmMongolia is so windy and has such harsh winters that the turbines at Salkhit were built specifically to be "Mongolia-proof". This to ensure they could survive the strong winds and winter freeze.

Business & Economy: 2.4 million customers leave UK's banks

  • The International Consortium of Investigative journalists released a web app that allows Internet users to sort through leaked financial informationThis can give citizens a tool to fight financial crime.
  • This great collection of maps visualises global flows connected to products.
  • An estimated 2.4 million customers left the UK's five biggest banks in 2012 as people "voted with their feet" in response to a string of scandals. The Move Your Money UK campaign and website, which issued the figures, said they showed a "mass movement" away from the big banking groups: Lloyds, Royal Bank of Scotland/NatWest, Barclays, HSBC and Santander.

Science, Technology, & Design: Internet through balloons


  • Google launched balloons into near space to test using balloons to provide internet to people living in remote areas. Scientists released up to 30 helium-filled test balloons, carrying antennae linked to ground base stations.
  • Fishing is expected to be banned near the Atlantic islet of Rockall after a rare methane gas vent in the seabed and the discovery of two new shellfish species by British scientists. The International Convention on the Exploration of the Seas, an intergovernmental agency which polices fish stocks in the North Atlantic, has now recommended a fishing ban for the site, which is in international waters, to protect it from highly damaging bottom trawling.

Urban Environment: Mapping pollution in China

danger maps

  • France reveals plans to cut down food waste. Supermarkets will be permitted to leave food and drink items on shelves for longer, along with the introduction of a new food label, which will assert that products should be 'preferably' consumed before a designated date (instead of the current label 'best before'). For big companies it will become easier to donate food to charitable organisations.
  • A new Chinese website called Danger Maps is "crowd-mapping" polluted locations, such as waste treatment facilities, garbage dumps and oil refineries. “When more people see the pollution, public opinion will add pressure to local authorities and prompt them to make changes," said Mao Xiaoli, a co-organizer of the group.

Unexpected and Intriguing: A cat running for mayor

  • Morris, a black-and-white kitten with orange eyes, is running for mayor of Xalapa in eastern Mexico with the campaign slogan "Tired of Voting for Rats? Vote for a Cat".
  • The French court banned an Internet user from going online for 15 days – for illegally downloading copyrighted material. And while the offender is cut off from the “public” web, his Internet Service Provider is obliged to make sure essential online services, including private messaging such as email, remain accessible.



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.

June 20, 2013