by Tom Bosschaert

Nov. 16, 2012

Tom Bosschaert

This edition of the Wormfood News Digest is full of significant and world-changing developments from the past couple of weeks. We cover the latest developments in the Middle East, significant political and financial developments, many emerging technologies and science stories, and quite some unexpected and intriguing things along the way too! (We would also like to offer an apology for those who received the last edition of Wormfood multiple times. We had some trouble with our server, but its all good now..)

Global News

  • Barack Obama secures a second term as the President of the United States,  beating Mitt Romney. As a consequence of losing the election, the Republican party is expected to re-evaluate its fundamental ideologies, and relationships with its voting base. Meanwhile, Obama tries to strike a cooperative strategy for tax cuts before the "fiscal cliff" at the end of 2012.
  • Australian Government: It's time for a Royal Commission into child abuse by the clergy including the Catholic Church. Currently, Priests do not have to tell authorities if another priest confesses to child sex abuse in the confessional. 
  • Uganda's anti-gay bill will be passed before the end of 2012 as a "christmas gift" despite international criticism of the draft legislation. The speaker of the country's parliament said Monday, insisting it is what most Ugandans want.
  • Tension is rising across the Middle East as Israel and Hamas, the Palestinian group which controls the Gaza Strip, continue to exchange fire amid the worst outbreak of violence since the Israeli assault on the territory nearly four years ago.

Business & Economy

  • A shale oil boom means the U.S. will overtake Saudi Arabia as the world's largest oil producer by 2020, a radical shift that could profoundly transform not just the world's energy supplies, but also its geopolitics, the International Energy Agency said Monday.
  • Workers across the European Union have launched an unprecedented string of strikes in a co-ordinated battle against austerity cuts on Wednesday. Organisers are urging national leaders to abandon fiscal austerity measures and address growing social anxiety.

  • BP has received the biggest criminal fine in US history as part of a $4.5billion (£2.8bn) settlement related to the fatal 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster.

Energy & Environment

  • Peter Thiel, Bill Gates, Khosla Get Behind Energy Storage Start-Up LightSail in $37M Deal
  • Newly elected President Barack Obama said he plans to work with Congress in his second term to curb human-aggravated climate change, but not at the expense of the U.S. economy.
  • Scientists in Brazil are taking steps toward cloning the jaguar and seven other endangered species, a program they hope will ease pressure on wild populations of the animals. 

Science, Technology, & Design

  • Mobile phones are being used as microscopes in Africa to automatically count parasitic worms in the patient's blood
  • Researchers have discovered a new gene which they say helps explain how humans evolved from chimpanzees.
  • Climate predictions: worst case may be most accurate, study finds. By the end of the century, scientists predict global warming could cause the temperature to go up to 8 degrees higher.
  • Installing solar power in Denmark is going faster than planned, and the country has already reached its goal of 200 megawatts of solar capacity. This amount was the goal that the Danish government had set to reach by 2020.

Urban Environment

  • Cool interactive map of megacities developing between 1950 and 2025. Data can be downloaded from the datablog.
  • Navigating museums, airports and railway stations or finding shops, ATMs and even your car in shopping centres will soon be as simple as firing up an app as GPS moves indoors.
  • It may look like something out of Star Wars, but this is actually Korea’s latest tourism project, set to rival the extravagance on show in Dubai. At $264 billion, the ambitious plan would see the creation of a gigantic city on the islands of Yongyu-Muui in the port of Incheon, close to Incheon International Airport.

Unexpected and Intriguing

  • The recent election in the US has left many questions about the nature of the religious right-wing of politics. This week, President of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary asserted: "It's not that our message...didn't get out. It did get out. It's that the entire moral landscape has changed. An increasingly secularized America understands our positions, and has rejected them."
  • Chimps and humans share another evolutionary link: gut bacteria
  • Give illiterate kids in Ethiopia a PC, and in 5 months they'll be hacking the operating system. 


This bi-weekly digest is made by assembling items from all of Except’s people. Have questions, comments, or news items to suggest? E-mail Read past Wormfood global news reports here.

Nov. 16, 2012