by Tom Bosschaert

June 24, 2014

Tom Bosschaert

Fuel subsidies encourage overfishing, play around with a simulation of system Earth, and should we treat computer programs as legal entities? Read all about it in this Wormfood.

Global News: Plunder of the high seas

  • Eighteen countries are underwriting the “plunder of the high seas” on an industrial scale through government hand-outs to fishing fleets, the Global Ocean Commission has found. Spain, France, UK, US and Japan among countries giving generous fuel subsidies enabling industrial fishing far offshore.

  • Drawing on the latest research and data, here is everything you need to know about agriculture’s climate footprint.

Energy & Environment: Tackling the decline of honey bees

  • The White House has set up a taskforce to tackle the decline of honey bees. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the agriculture department will lead the effort, which includes $8m (£4.7m) for new honey bee habitats.

  • The United Arab Emirates, one of the world's richest oil-based economies, aims to become a clean energy leader.

Business & Economy: How wars effect economic growth

  • The greater peacefulness of the world may make the attainment of higher rates of economic growth less urgent, and thus less likely. The very possibility of war focuses the attention of governments on getting some basic decisions right — whether investing in science or simply liberalizing the economy. Such focus ends up improving a nation’s longer-run prospects.

  • The global economic system is near collapse, according to Pope Francis. An economy built on money-worship and war and scarred by yawning inequality and youth unemployment cannot survive, said the 77-year-old Roman Catholic leader.

Science, Technology & Design: Play with system Earth

  • Want to play around with a huge computer simulation of all life on Earth? This is your chance.

  • To protect our privacy rights, we should consider computer programs to be legal agents, capable of information and knowledge acquisition like humans. By treating them as a legal subjects as opposed to an inanimate object, we categorize these entities more appropriately and better protect our privacy rights.

  • Neurotoxic pesticides blamed for the world's bee collapse are also harming butterflies, worms, fish and birds, said a scientific review that called for tighter regulation to curb their use.

  • Dutch examples show that regulations can drastically cut the amount of antibiotics used in livestock raising, and therefore can prevent antibiotic resistance.

  • Archaeologists have discovered a new section of Inca Road— and this one leads right to Machu Picchu. “This is one of the best examples of Inca engineering,” said Fernando Astete, director of the Machu Picchu archaeological site.

Urban Environment: Remove anti-homeless spikes

  • Boris Johnson calls for removal of anti-homeless spikes. Katharine Sacks-Jones, head of policy and campaigns at Crisis, said people "deserve better than to be moved on to the next doorway along the street. We will never tackle rough sleeping with studs in the pavement. Instead we must deal with the causes".

  • Slovakia's parliament has amended its constitution to define marriage as a union between man and woman, effectively closing the door to same-sex marriage.

Unexpected and Intriguing: Pope ditches Popemobile

  • 'At my age I do not have much to lose': Pope Francis is ditching the bullet-proof Popemobile, creating a security headache for Vatican officials

  • The hacker who Leaked George Bush's self-portraits is sentenced to 4 years in prison

  • Prostitutes more than double their earnings by moonlighting as currency traders in Puerto Cabello. They are the foreign exchange counter for sailors in a country where buying and selling dollars in the streets is a crime -- and prostitution isn’t.

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 24, 2014