by Tom Bosschaert

March 26, 2014

Tom Bosschaert

We might be heading to a collapse of our civilization, two years of zero poaching in Nepal and get rid of park benches to get parents moving. Read all about it in this Wormfood.

Global News: Collapse of Civilization

  • A study sponsored by Nasa's Goddard Space Flight Center has highlighted the prospect that global industrial civilization could collapse in coming decades due to unsustainable resource exploitation and increasingly unequal wealth distribution.

  • The economic foundations supporting fossil fuels investments are collapsing quickly, as the business case for renewables such as solar and wind finds a new center of balance.
  • Global energy thirst threatens water supplies, according to a United Nations report. Water “is critical for energy. About 80 percent of the water used in industry goes to thermal power plants. That means the rest of industry consumes practically nothing,” said N.K. Ranganath, managing director of the India business of Grundfos AS, a Danish maker of water-pumping equipment. “As long as you’re producing thermal power, you require water. There’s no technology that replaces water in thermal power.”

Energy & Environment: Zero poaching in Nepal

  • On World Wildlife Day, March 3, Nepal celebrated 365 days with zero poaching. No rhinos, tigers, or elephants were killed. In 2011 the country also had none, and in 2012 it lost just one rhino to poaching. This achievement is particularly notable in the face of increased poaching elsewhere.

  • This overview of the renewable energy share in the EU28 shows how far countries are reaching the 2020 target. Bulgaria, Estonia and Sweden already achieved their 2020 targets while countries like Malta, Luxembourg, the UK and the Netherlands are lacking behind.

Business & Economy: Low-tax offshore accounts

  • The largest U.S.-based companies are keeping nearly $1.95 trillion in profits in low-tax offshore accounts, with tech companies such as Microsoft, Apple and IBM among the worst offenders. This infographic explains you how they do this.

  • The Bank of England proposes a rule that will force misbehaving bankers to hand back bonuses they received up to six years ago. The rule is designed to stop bankers taking huge bets in the knowledge that they could move jobs before any problems come to light.

Science, Tech & Design: Print your own beehive

  • Print your own beehive.

  • The U.S. government is an enemy of the Internet, according to an annual list released by Reporters Without Borders. The press freedom group chided the Obama administration for its surveillance activities through the National Security Agency (NSA), which it claimed have "undermined confidence in the Internet and its own standards of security."

  • Power lines are seen as glowing and flashing bands across the sky by many animals, research has revealed. The work suggests that the pylons and wires that stretch across many landscapes are having a worldwide impact on wildlife. The avoidance of power lines can interfere with migration routes, breeding grounds and grazing for both animals and birds.

  • London designers created an edible water container. The container holds water in a double membrane using "spherification," the technique of shaping liquids into spheres.

Urban Environment: Key factors behind the Venezuelan food shortages

  • The Venezuelan food protests continue. There seem to be four key factors driving shortages: the lack of US dollars and other currency quagmires, price controls, food being moved abroad where it can be sold for higher prices, and problems in the supply chain.

  • A new study finds that the best way to get parents active and engaged with their kids at a playground is to get rid of park benches.

  • It wasn't just people, animals and trees that were affected by radiation exposure at Chernobyl, but also the decomposers: insects, microbes, and fungi. A new study shows how entire ecosystems are affected. Because forest material like leafs didn't get digested in 27 years, the risks for forest fires are high.

Unexpected and Intriguing: Repubblica Veneta

  • Citizens of Venice have voted to create a 'Repubblica Veneta' by breaking away from the rest of Italy. Eighty nine per cent of Venetians backed the move to create their own sovereign state in a referendum on independence. Venice, in Italy's more prosperous north, is said to resent funds heading to what they see as waste and corruption in the country's south

  • A Bronze Age sewn boat, a type of wooden boat which is literally sewn together using ropes, roots, or willow branches, is discovered in Croatia. The boat dates back to 1200 BC.

  • "Now Hiring: Candidate wanted to take a $1 million trip around the world—for free. The applicant will spend a year eating at the finest restaurants, sleeping at five-star hotels and enjoying the world's most elite nightclubs and resorts. Applicants should love good food, fine culture and 'exceeding extravagance.' Ability to write is a plus. Couples can also apply." Two luxury travel companies are searching for someone to take a one-year, $1 million vacation around the world for free.

Special Announcement: Join Except's TEDxBinnenhof after party

  • Meet Berlage hosts a Viewing Party where people come together to watch the groundbreaking TEDxBinnenhof talks on Smart Cities. Except hosts the after party and will focus on Urban Renaissance, a redevelopment system that can turn neighborhoods, cities, and regions into beautiful self-sufficient places where people want to live and work.

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.

March 26, 2014