by Tom Bosschaert

March 4, 2014

Tom Bosschaert

We need to change our failing systems, sell your personal data and Chihuahuas are terrorizing a US neighbourhood. Read all about it in this Wormfood.

Global News: We need bold new systems

  • Humanity's crisis is systemic and overwhelming—and the only way out is to create bold new systems.

  • The main system that helps determine the weather over Northern Europe and North America may be changing, research suggests. The study shows that the jet stream has increasingly taken a longer, meandering path. This results in weather patterns tending to becoming stuck over areas for weeks on end. It also drives cold weather further south and warm weather further north. Examples of the latter are Alaska and parts of Scandinavia, which have had exceptionally warm conditions this winter.

  • These wonderful maps give insight into our diverse world:

Energy & Environment: Fish Forever!

  • An ambitious project started to rescue the fishing sector. Instead of competing for the same populations and hauling in as many fish as fast as they can, participants in the Fish Forever project assign individuals, villages and cooperatives “rights” to areas known as TURFs — territorial user rights in fisheries. “Fishermen have a vested interest in managing what is their own fish stock,” said Brett Jenks, president and chief executive of Rare, a nonprofit organization that is part of the program. “The fish have a value in the water,” instead of only when they are caught, he said. “And that is the game-changer.”

  • Biologists are discovering new details about how wild species find their way around. Pigeons for instance construct a mental geomagnetic map based on where they’ve been. The aerospace industry is already looking into navigational systems that would do something similar.

  • A recent study shows that seventeen volcanoes accounted for up to 15% of the difference between predicted and observed warming since 2000.

Business & Economy: Sell your personal data

  • Datacoup helps you aggregate, package and sell your personal data. Finally, you can earn money from your data instead of multinationals profiting.

  • New financing models allow low income families to purchase technologies to improve their lives. Instead of paying the full price upfront, customers make a small initial down payment for a high-quality solar photovoltaic system and pre-pay for the energy service, activating their systems in small increments using a mobile phone.

Science, Tech & Design: Critical step in fusion research

  • Scientists with the National Ignition Facility (NIF) at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory have achieved a critical step in fusion research: For the first time, their hydrogen fuel has given off more energy than it took in.

  • Wind turbines seem to be especially susceptible of lightning strikes. Scientists recorded high-speed footage of lightning striking wind turbines and discovered that the turning turbines cause “upside-down” lightning. Lightning start at the wind turbine blades and travels to the clouds, instead of normal lighting (going from the clouds to the ground). This can damage the wind turbine.

Urban Environment: Trouble in paradise

  • How is the Pacific island chain of Kiribati dealing with its urban problems? Rising sea levels, an insecure food supply and overpopulation threaten the islands.

  • Urban planner Nick Falbo has been studying Dutch intersections and has adapted the solutions used there to keep cyclists safe to the US urban environment.

Unexpected and Intriguing: Evil Chihuahuas

  • Packs of Chihuahuas are terrorizing an Arizona neighborhood. Chihuahuas are known for their aggressive behavior.

  • A northern Nevada county is moving ahead with its plan to charge county jail inmates for food and medical care. The Elko County Commission proposes to charge inmates $6 a day for meals, $10 for each doctor visit and $5 for initial booking into the jail.

  • Brain scans show that the minds of mathematicians respond to beautiful equations in the same way other people respond to great paintings or masterful music.

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 4, 2014