by Tom Bosschaert

May 26, 2015

Tom Bosschaert

The latest Global Happiness Index is published, renewable energy beats fossil fuels, and the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill dissolved an island. Read all about it in this Wormfood.

Global News: Global Happiness Index

  • Switzerland, Iceland, Denmark, Norway and Canada are the world’s happiest nations according to this year’s happiness index. The bottom five – Togo, Burundi, Syria, Benin and Rwanda – have well-documented problems of unrest and extreme poverty, although the Palestinian Territories are ranked perhaps slightly higher than you might expect, at 108.

  • Exponential growth of dead zones in the ocean.

    "Most of these coastal dead zones are caused by fertilizer run-offs and man-made pollution that trigger massive algal blooms"

  • Figures released by the US science agency Noaa on Wednesday show that for the first time since records began, the parts per million (ppm) of CO2 in the atmosphere were over 400 globally for a month.

Energy & Environment: Renewable Energy beats Fossil Fuels

  • The world is now adding more capacity for renewable power each year than coal, natural gas, and oil combined.

  • Large herbivores worldwide are facing steep population declines and range contractions, such that roughly 60% are now threatened with extinction. This is the conclusion of a meta-analysis of data on 74 of the world’s largest herbivore species looking at endangerment status, key threats, and the ecological consequences of severe population decline.

  • Colombia proposes an ambitious plan that would establish the world’s largest ‘ecological corridor’, protecting vast swathes of Amazon rainforest stretching from the Andes to the Atlantic coast, with the help of Brazil and Venezuela.

  • These pictures show humanity’s impact on our planet.

Business & Economy: Mexican Fishermen sue BP Oil Company

  • 25,000 Mexican fishermen filed a class action lawsuit in a U.S. court against BP oil company over alleged negligence that led to the massive leak of about 5 million barrels of oil spilled into the Gulf of Mexico between April and September 2010. They haven’t received any compensation yet.

  • Lithuania has accused Russia of attempting to disrupt construction of an undersea power cable to Sweden that would reduce the country's dependence on Russian energy.

  • The Air Force is stepping up its "counterspace" operations as concerns grow about Chinese antisatellite weapon capabilities and the side effects of continuing friction with Russia over Ukraine. Congress added more than $32 million to the Air Force's space budget in fiscal 2015 to study future antisatellite capabilities, including offensive and "active defense" capabilities.

Science, Technology & Design: Bladeless Wind Turbines

  • These bladeless wind turbines use vorticity, an aerodynamic effect that produces a pattern of spinning vortices, to generate electricity.

  • UCSC biomolecular engineering professor Phil Berman has developed an HIV vaccine he believes will guard against HIV and AIDS. The model is expected to go to clinical trial within three years.

  • An analysis of emails contained in WikiLeaks archive of the Sony Hack reveals how Hollywood executives are working to repair Israel’s public image in the wake of the savage death toll from last summer’s Operation Protective Edge offensive against Gaza. This includes a proposed documentary which would attempt to tie support for Palestine to anti-semitic violence in Europe and the United States.

Urban Environment: Obese and Undernourished

  • A high percentage of Venezuelans are both obese and undernourished. This dangerous combination is worse in the poorest social classes.

  • Chinese authorities have detained 10 people for spreading rumours online that have damaged the military's image, the country's defence ministry says.

    "Using the internet to create and spread rumours about the military is illegal and we will continue to investigate and crackdown on this" the ministry said.

  • Taking a stand in Berlin’s Alexanderplatz are whistleblowers Chelsea Manning, Julian Assange and Edward Snowden. All three figures are considered heroes on the political left for leaking US intelligence documents.

  • In Vancouver's former Olympic athletes’ village houses are warmed through sewer heat. The residents are meeting more than 70% of their daily heating needs on an average day with common sewage.

Unexpected and Intriguing: Oil Spill dissolves an Island

  • The 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill dissolved an island.

  • Chinese tourists are encouraged to show good manners at attractions nationwide during the May Day holiday, as tourists' behavior both at home and abroad has been much criticized of late.

  • An Islamic mufti has warned Malaysian comedians against telling jokes that cause excessive laughter. According to the mufti, Islam urges emotional moderation and to refrain from excessive laughter, crying, or other emotional expressions.

  • Creepy ads use litterbugs’ DNA to shame them publicly.

If you come across news items suited for the Wormfood, or a theme you would like to see a newsletter being dedicated to, please let me know and we'll do our best to make some magic happen.

May 26, 2015