Home » Archives by category » Digests

Digest: 25 November 2014

Digest: 25 November 2014

it is time we started to learn how to sustain rather than destroy the planet. — Walmart profits at the expense of working class consumers, its own employees, and US taxpayers, through the US tax and benefits systems. — While the common perception is that the US is on the wrong track, actually it is doing very well, relatively speaking. — A million veterans are uninsured because they do not qualify for Medicaid and are unable to afford private insurance, or because they are unaware that they are eligible. — Sau Paulo, a city of 20 million people responsible for a fifth of Brazil’s GDP, is running out of water. — Washington maintains an inclination to fantasize about the reality of not just Iraq, but the Middle East as a whole. — The resignation of Chuck Hagel in the context of US national security policy. — Kissinger discusses some of his ideas from his recent book “World Order”.

Digest: 19 November 2014

Digest: 19 November 2014

Recent remarks by Bill Clinton reinforce the sense that he fails to appreciate the reality of economic life for most Americans. — The major population challenge we face is found in two contrasting trends taking place in developed and developing countries. — The climate accord between the US and China is not that groundbreaking, but is an optimistic basis for negotiations of a new climate treaty in Paris next year. — The difficulty of setting fair emissions reduction goals for individual countries, and a method to overcome that difficulty. — Disconnect between actual efforts to regulate the use of drones and the specific nature of problem that must be regulated. — The problem with Obama’s immigration order is that it is impermanent and can easily be undone. — MIT Technology Review posits that it is difficult to know which authors to read and thinks an algorithm might help. — The massive growth of investment in arts museums and facilities at elite US universities.

Digest: 11 November 2014

Digest: 11 November 2014

A cover-up surrounding the settlement between JPMorgan Chase and the Justice Department exposed. — Food goliath Unilever sues the San Francisco start-up behind vegan product Just Mayo arguing it is made without eggs and shouldn’t be allowed to be called mayo. — US Defense Department must build stronger relationships with commercial tech companies like Google. — Palestinian youth draw attention to what they call the “apartheid wall”. — The public has failed to question the US’s entrance into another war without end in the Middle East. — The military must develop enhanced psychological understanding if it is to successfully confront the challenges of modern warfare. — Watching films that provide an image of greater human capability than exists in reality causes us to overestimate our ability to be efficient. — Scientists have managed to control a person’s hand movement using a brain signal sent over the internet from someone else.

Digest: 4 November 2014

Digest: 4 November 2014

The discrepancy between the development of tax avoidance mechanisms and the legislation to govern those mechanisms. — Students with private loans often do not have the benefit of flexible payment plans, causing them to default on those loans. — Growing pressure on ECB President Draghi to engage in a large scale bond buying program to stimulate the European economy. — The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s latest report describes the consequences of not reducing emissions. — The US political system continues to fail in long-term planning and execution. — Smaller county elections can be overlooked in the media, but some of these are important bell-weathers for state-wide results. — Judicial elections are starting to resemble congressional elections, increasingly reliant on campaign funding from donors. — To create a habitable, stable, free, and prosperous world it will be necessary to think more strategically.

Digest: 28 October 2014

Digest: 28 October 2014

A series of essays on Brookings’ website that discuss issues surrounding character, particularly its relationship to opportunity. — Several problems and the risk of failure of industrial world economies. — President Obama should offer clemency to Edward Snowden. — We need to stop thinking dictatorships are the worst thing going, they aren’t, civil war and chaos are worse. — Twelve Nobel laureates write to Obama arguing that the US’s use of torture is particularly troubling for the precedent it sets and urge him to release the Senate’s CIA Torture Report. — Americans are disenchanted with government and public institutions. — While US airstrikes may have killed as many as 500 ISIL fighters, it is thought that as many as 6,000 new recruits joined ISIL in July alone. — Laura Poitras’ film “Citizenfour” is perhaps most remarkable for its presentation of the modern state as something of a terrifying abstraction.

Digest: 21 October 2014

Digest: 21 October 2014

Fiduciaries should divest from fossil fuels to counter the rising costs of climate change. — Chinese President Xi Jinping’s efforts to establish land and maritime trade routes in the mould of the old Silk Road. — Privacy protections are needed to protect people from data miners, brokers and resellers. — Flexibility in the debtor/creditor relationship is needed to prevent conflict. — The pesticides that have been killing off bees and harming other creatures don’t make a blind bit of difference to crop yields. — Elizabeth Warren may be what will be needed to get Democrats out in sufficient numbers for the midterm elections. — Unchecked corporate power undermines democracy and what can be done about it. — Liberal ideas that evil is something that can be eradicated may be misguided and damaging.

Digest: 14 October 2014

Digest: 14 October 2014

Voting is commonly held to undergird the functioning of a democracy, but in practice is all something of a sham. — The Ebola virus may mutate in time to become airborne but has not yet been seen to have done so. — Southern California Edison has amassed 600,000 lithium-ion battery cells to store power generated from wind turbines. — The problems dominating current headlines are relatively limited in their scope, unless we screw them up. — Things started going downhill for Europeans when Obama received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2009. — Germany must counter the danger posed by its citizens becoming radicalized without itself becoming extremist. — A new study shows the major determinant of conflict-free stability since 1950 is increased trade. — The University of London is undermining the financial viability of the Warburg Institute’s world-renowned library.

Digest: 7 October 2014

Digest: 7 October 2014

Analysis of ammunition captured from ISIS shows that almost a fifth of it was manufactured by two US companies. — Five points from the IMF’s downgraded forecast for global growth. — As a complex branched molecule, iso-propyl cyanide is the closest we’ve come to seeing molecules of the type necessary to support life elsewhere in the galaxy. — It is probable that human emissions of greenhouse gases have contributed to if not caused the California drought. — Action on climate change is a huge opportunity for growth in the short and long terms. — The implications of the Republicans taking a majority in the Senate in the upcoming midterm elections. — Industry trade groups are suing to have Seattle’s minimum wage increase found to be in violation of the 14th Amendment. — Current efforts to undermine civil society in favor of a more authoritarian model.

Digest: 30 September 2014

Digest: 30 September 2014

John Oliver questions whether we need to rethink a policy that causes children to fear a blue sky. — The imbalance of interests taking part in negotiations of the largest two trade agreements ever. — Recent G-20 efforts to get multinational corporations to pay more taxes. — The World Wildlife Fund presents its findings regarding major wildlife population losses over the last 40 years. — US military involvement in Syria can be expected to last potentially for decades. — White House to require federal agencies to provide details about drones. — Eric Holder would do John Ashcroft and Alberto Gonzales proud. — The government, like the corporations it inadequately regulates, is treating education as a profit center.

Digest: 23 September 2014

Digest: 23 September 2014

The US political system has been subsumed by corporate totalitarianism and citizens’ only recourse is widespread civil disobedience. — Fighting global warming may be cheaper than many had thought. — The mixed but ultimately successful track record of Germany’s energy sector shift towards renewable energy. — The US’s war on terror continues to create the very conflicts it purports to attempt to stop. — Apparently, over the past 37 years Congress has been taking three day weekends 85% of the time. — One in four Americans want their state to secede from the US. — The incompetence employed in US executions is increasingly considered inexcusable and barbaric. — Google is working to control the monetization of every aspect of human interface and interaction.

Digest: 15 September 2014

Digest: 15 September 2014

The discrepancy between the evidence showing ISIS to be a threat to the US, and the level of fear-mongering taking place in US politics and press. — The repercussions of large-scale US surveillance on the foundations of its democracy. — President Obama retains preference for careful deliberation despite the pressure of the rush to war again developing in Washington. — The history of intervention by the US and other foreign powers in the Middle East strongly suggests that the Middle East should be allowed to govern itself. — Apple is looking to become a leading repository of medical information on individuals. — Republicans and Democratics differ not only on how they feel about specific issues, but also on which issues are most important.

Digest: 9 September 2014

Digest: 9 September 2014

Foreign powers buy influence in Washington through contributions to US think tanks. — Intellectual property laws contribute to inequality. — Carbon dioxide in the atmosphere increased last year at the fastest rate in 30 years. — The most comprehensive review of US birds ever undertaken shows many US birds are at risk of extinction. — Many GOP potential presidential candidates will have trouble putting themselves forward as better able to manage foreign policy than President Obama. — If inequality is to be tackled, then attention must be paid to the political structure that creates and perpetuates it. — The philosophy behind the ISIS is strongly influenced by 17th and 18th century European ideas. — Military contractor using Xbox controller to control their new giant laser cannon.

Digest: 2 September 2014

Digest: 2 September 2014

The Centre for the Study of Existential Risk will study low-probability-high-consequence future events, specifically those we create for ourselves. — Research suggests volatile emotions drive the world economy and markets need to be regulated. — Public alarm in the US over global warming has decreased despite a surge in professional consensus about its seriousness. — In the absence of German/Russian diplomatic headway, NATOs hardliners are closing in. — Care will be needed in managing confrontation with ISIS if prior mistakes are not to be repeated. — Western policymakers failed to foresee Putin’s reaction because they subscribe to a faulty understanding of international politics. — New framework focuses on developing students’ ability to interact with history in a more critical, analytical way. — ISIS has been looting antiquities in Iraq and Syria and exporting them.

Digest: 26 August 2014

Digest: 26 August 2014

We knew that chemicals can have a devastating effect on bird health, but they may also be altering human hormones. — Avoiding the need to lessen consumption through products that are compostable or recyclable as unpolluted raw material. — It is possible to save energy while enjoying an increase in living standards. — UN accounting methods fail to take future power plant emissions into account. — Angela Merkel is the de facto leader of Europe, and Europe’s lucky to have her. — The significant increase in the size of the US government over the last century masks a decay in its quality. — Five major factors increase the risk of savage acts. — The UN needs to consider how it can do the most good for the world’s poor with the limited resources it has.

Digest: 19 August 2014

Digest: 19 August 2014

Liking everything on Facebook makes it a very unpleasant place to be. — Failure to correctly understand what big data sets say can have major repercussions. — The expansion of capitalism into the health and education sectors is causing carnage. — 1-3% of the modern non-African genome contains variations that derive from Neanderthals. — For wealthy modern nations war simply doesn’t pay, but it does seem to confer political advantages for those directing it. — US and European countries’ resistance to change within the Bretton Woods framework is bringing about the irrelevance of that framework. — Putin’s brand of government may be proving somewhat infectious. — Humor and depression may both simply be responses to an absence of delusion.

Digest: 12 August 2014

Digest: 12 August 2014

Utica NY has become a haven for refugees who have revitalized the city. — Some in Arizona are looking to cut back on pensions to relieve municipalities of their contribution responsibilities. — There is a place for the free market in devising more efficient ways of consuming water. — Five consequences of President Obama’s recent decision to launch air strikes in Iraq. — Hilary Clinton’s hawkish foreign policy stance echoes the Neocons and the Far Right. — People are usually sick of presidents after six years, so maybe there should be single six year term limits. — Why would the School Nutrition Association reverse its position and oppose nutrition improvements to federally subsidized school meals? — Israel needs to realize that there will be no military solution to the Gaza problem, living conditions there need to be improved not worsened.

Digest: 5 August 2014

Digest: 5 August 2014

Research into creativity and mental illness shows a correlation between the two, but it is difficult to isolate what causes creativity. — Regulators fear the next financial crisis may stem from the activities of asset managers. — Technological progress looks to favor those who can most effectively innovate over both capital and labor interests. — The US is looking to gain a foothold in Africa’s private sector growth to compete with China’s more established position. — The discovery of the Higgs Bosun spells the opening of a new era of understanding about the fundamentals of the universe. — The Israel/Gaza conflict is a land grab by Israel supported by the United States taxpayer. — The consensus of science is that marijuana is far less harmful than alcohol or tobacco and therefore should be legalized and regulated. — Israel started out as modern democratic nation, but has so focused on fear that security is now the paramount concept underlying social and political policy.

Digest: 29 July 2014

Digest: 29 July 2014

The situation on the ground in Gaza continues to deteriorate as the repercussions of the conflict continue to grow. — General Mills has publicly recognized climate change, and is taking steps in response to it. — Recent polls show a large divide between young and old Americans on who is to more to blame in the conflict in Gaza. — The International Security Assistance Force has been underreporting casualties from drone strikes in Afghanistan. — While Putin has provoked and fueled war in Ukraine, the West is also to blame for giving him little reason to stop. — The New York Times Editorial Board argues for federal legalization of marijuana. — If the internet industry doesn’t govern itself to better protect its users, it may find itself subject to heightened regulatory oversight.

Digest: 22 July 2014

Digest: 22 July 2014

New research manipulates sleep patterns to increase information processing in the brain. — The US can use liquified natural gas to develop energy independence, help stabilize world energy markets, and as a bridge to increased use of renewable energy. — Germany pledges $1bn to UN Climate Change Fund to help poor countries adapt to climate change. — The US can learn from Germany and Brazil in the climate and renewable energy arenas. — Climate models accurately predicted global warming when reflecting natural ocean cycles. — US foreign policy has failed to carefully maintain national friendships. — The distrust in Germany towards the US is causing a tilt in Germany towards stronger relations with China. — The NSA’s surveillance activities and the US’s use of drones in conflict are heavily opposed around the world. — Facebook buys into virtual reality to get more data on people.

TND Digest: 15 July 2014

TND Digest: 15 July 2014

Crowd wisdom can go astray when the overall group is affected by bias but this fault can be overcome by focusing on the opinion of the more independent thinkers in the group. — The collapse of honeybee colonies is a learning opportunity considering the same could happen to us. — Examples of government failures, how they happened, and what can be done about them. — Senator Warren benefiting from the trepidation felt by many for President Obama and Hilary Clinton. — Washington’s breaches of trust run the risk of shifting Germany’s geopolitical affiliations. — It is not clear whether the result of current global transitions will draw more from western liberal democracy or from newer forms of authoritarian rule. — We are honing our ability to figure out what works and what doesn’t in the face of systemic government failure. — US students continue to score poorly in the OECD’s PISA tests on financial literacy, but legislation is being enacted to improve education in the area.

Digest: 8 July 2014

Digest: 8 July 2014

“Smart homes” are invasive and disturbing. — A global economic bubble spreading across multiple asset classes is at risk of bursting. — Financial industry executives see less systemic risk than their regulators. — The OECD sees Los Angeles and Detroit looking like Manila by 2060 with skyscrapers surrounded by slums. — The Obama administration has been tacitly promoting of the extraction of coal to be used overseas. — The NSA’s data collection has little to do with terrorism and more to do with population control and economic espionage. — The Obama administration has not adequately considered the long term strategic costs of its drone-based assassination program. — NSA documents demonstrate nine of ten account holders captured in intercepted conversations were not intended foreign targets. — Google has an unprecedented ability to influence the population through discrimination in its provision of information.

Digest: 1 July 2014

Digest: 1 July 2014

Octopi have developed very different brain structures to humans since branching from our common ancestor around 800 million years ago. — Stiglitz discusses the rise of inequality, its effects, and the failure of the government to address the core issues. — Clinton discusses great community projects being run through the New Markets Credit and the Clinton Global Initiative. — Mainstream economics’ assumptions are reinforced through the tendency of institutional structure to reward orthodoxy while penalizing heresy. — A new NASA satellite will help to determine whether the world’s carbon sinks are about to overflow. — Regardless of whether Hilary Clinton is in touch with ordinary people, the question is where her money came from. — Drone warfare may be a slippery slope into perpetual war and sets a dangerous precedent for other nations to follow. — Billionaire believes employers should increase their customer base by economically empowering their workers.

Digest: 24 June 2014

Digest: 24 June 2014

World Cup sponsors externalize the large health costs that result from the products they push. — Three key elements are required for quality public transport. — What was left out of Thomas Piketty’s book is the gap between what we expect of economic growth and what the planet is able to sustain. — The Obama administration is taking steps to counter the major declines in bee populations in the US. — If action is not taken on climate change now, then years of poverty alleviation work will be lost. — If troops had been sent to Syria then the rise of ISIS might have been prevented from spreading over to destabilize Iraq. — Hachette is looking for better terms and is getting strong-armed by Amazon for a bigger cut. — 50 million people around the world are currently living as refugees from war or persecution.

Digest: 17 June 2014

Digest: 17 June 2014

Private interest groups and Republicans on Capitol Hill are opposing Obama’s plan to protect a large pristine area of the Pacific Ocean. — The Pentagon is increasing energy efficiency and researching diversified fuel sources as a matter of battlefield strategy. — Google’s virtual monopoly of internet searches places it in a key position to materially manipulate and undermine the democratic process. — Former UN Peace Envoy Lakhdar Brahimi says Syria is on the verge of becoming another Somalia. — The UK government is exploiting a legal loophole to scoop up private data that it would otherwise need a warrant for. — Military surveillance technology is being passed down to local law enforcement in the US and its use is being kept secret. — Optogenetics allows neuroscientists to directly manipulate aggressive behavior in mice and cats. — Educating women in effective self-defense skills empowers them in both conflict avoidance and conflict resolution.

Digest: 10 June 2014

Digest: 10 June 2014

Surveillance is now woven into the fabric of our lives but some states, organisations, and individuals are pushing back. — Noncompete clauses used to be common only in sectors with tightly held secrets, nowadays they are all over the place. — Obama has extended the Pay as You Earn initiative to anyone with a federal student loan. — Senator Warren is working to get a bill passed in the Senate to allow refinancing of student loan interest rates. — Carbon majors should be held accountable for the externalized costs of their business past and present. — The US EPA’s new rule proposes to cut emissions of carbon dioxide from power plants by 30% from their 2005 levels by 2030. — Two terror suspects are being tried in the UK criminal justice system in the first totally secret UK trial in hundreds of years. — Military combat equipment including tens of thousands of machine guns have been sold to police departments during the Obama administration.

Digest: 4 June 2014

Digest: 4 June 2014

Handwriting increases the capacity for the retention of information as well as the generation of ideas but is being removed from schools. — Obama’s Clean Power Plan is the end of the beginning of the path to handling climate change. — Democrats in coal states are choosing to distance themselves from EPA regulations expected to undermine coal jobs. — The justice department’s pursuit of James Risen is true to a trend under Obama to harass journalists over national security reporting. — Democracy relies on an informed populous, information with major public implications is necessary to informed decision making. — The largest surveillance apparatus ever to have existed is being created by a former constitutional scholar. — Boston Dynamics, working with DARPA to develop combat support robots, has been acquired by Google. — We have failed to appreciate and research the serious effects of social ostracism.

Digest: 26 May 2014

Digest: 26 May 2014

Philosopher Spinoza’s excommunication from the Portuguese Jewish community in 1656 has withstood even recent efforts to have it rescinded. — Despite the bad press Europe’s economy receives in the US, it is actually doing better at job creation than the US. — Artificial neural networks are unable to think for themselves, currently. — The US government process that considers whether a publication of sensitive material should be allowed favors works that praise the government over those that are critical. — Russia stands to gain from selling gas to China, but China is not necessarily the boon that Russia would like it to be. — In light of US/Russia tensions, China has the advantage. — There is a rising need to know about everything without actually reading or seeing or otherwise actually knowing anything about what it is we are talking about. — Race equality in the US is digressing.

Digest: 21 May 2014

Digest: 21 May 2014

Kindergarten aged children are spending less time playing and more time preparing for and taking tests, but some schools in the US and EU are responding by holding classes outside in the woods, allowing more time for play and exploration. — Farmers Insurance Company sues 200 Chicago-area municipalities for failing to prepare for floods despite knowledge of climate change and its likely affects. — Europe’s Cryosat Mission data shows massive loss of ice in Antarctica glaciers. — There is a rising trend of mental health problems in UK children and adolescents which can be attributed largely to the piercing of the protection of the home by the commercial internet. — An intellectual’s biography is mainly in the ideas left behind, but casting those against the backdrop of a person’s life can further inform us of their meaning. — Drugs like Ritalin and Adderall are being prescribed to toddlers and 2 or 3 year olds in the US despite no barely any data on the safety of such drugs for such young children.

Digest: 13 May 2014

Digest: 13 May 2014

Simple mindful aimless walking is important. — The growth of antibiotic resistant germs around the world is a massive threat that must be addressed. — Chemicals we use in our households may have contributed to the significant drops seen in male fertility. — The United Stages National Climate Assessment makes five key points about climate changes taking place in the US now. — Glenn Greenwald discusses topics related to his disclosures of the Snowden/NSA documents. — The US should reestablish its moral authority by leading a ban on the further development of killer robots before we all end up in a Terminator film. — We will need both self-governance and the dispersed power of individuals to protect ourselves against the world we are building. — Extractive systems do not account for all technology implantation failures, the more fundamental hurdle is local lack of knowhow.

Digest: 29 April 2014

Digest: 29 April 2014

Statistical data has determined that as many as 200 current US death row or life without parole inmates are innocent but will never be recognized as such. — Canada has recently taken over from the US as the country with the most affluent middle class. — Apple and Google to pay $324 Million to settle conspiracy lawsuit. — New technology is being designed to better track the passage of these illegitimate funds into legitimate interests. — Piketty describes the history of inequality and the relationship between economic growth and the rate of return on property. — The Department of Agriculture wants to speed up production in industrial chicken factories despite concerns over health, safety, and the wellbeing of rural US. — In the US the use of the pesticide DPA is prevalent despite its being banned in the EU over safety concerns. — The interest shown in Piketty’s book is a good sign, it shows that people are at least thinking about the issue.

Digest: 22 April 2014

Digest: 22 April 2014

The sun pours enough light onto the surface of the planet in 90 minutes to fuel the entire planet’s energy needs for a year. — The US is not a democracy in practice, the data shows it is in fact an oligarchy. — There are more useful ways of framing the inequality problem than simply pointing to the oligarchic nature of the US system. — The problem with water privatization is that it puts public health at risk. — It remains to be seen how the US will manage the geopolitical leverage that its new energy power will provide. — President Obama has the power to commute the sentences of offenders serving time for non-violent drug related offenses, but while he has criticized excessive sentences he has done little to undo them. — Through a series of insensitive foreign policy blunders the US managed to repeatedly undermine and aggravate its relationship with Russia.

Digest: 17 April 2014

Digest: 17 April 2014

Employee agreements common to the tech industry that result in increasing ownership of patents by corporations rather than by individuals. — In the developing world there is an increasing gap between leading and lagging sectors. — Central banks, having used up their ability to affect markets by lowering interest rates, are still facing stagnant growth. — To the present day slave labor continues in the form of debt servitude and prison inmate labor. — The UK spent £473m on stockpiling Tamiflu which is no more effective against flu than paracetamol. — Poor infrastructure, climate denial, unregulated tracking, and nuclear waste sites are the real risks the US faces. — Military reluctance and preference for market mechanisms have the perverse potential to lead to war with Russia. — The NYT asks six debaters whether insurers should be barred from seeking DNA information.

Digest: 8 April 2014

Digest: 8 April 2014

The US fares poorly in the Social Progress Index and is likely to fare worse in the future. — The law allows companies to put undisclosed chemicals in food. — Wind power is becoming economically competitive with coal and natural gas. — Five global systemic risks directly connected to energy could trigger a global crash by 2020. — Increasing US natural gas energy production will increase US geopolitical influence. — The Roberts Court is undermining US democracy by increasing the leverage of the wealthy few. — Democratic countries provide the decentralized decision-making that is necessary to support healthy thriving markets. — A US government social media project created for use in Cuba may have been an effort to undermine the Cuban government. — To go to the root of the ADHD problem may require focusing attention on parents and environments.

Digest: 1 April 2014

Digest: 1 April 2014

Compliance with Facebook’s nudity requirements sheds light on our society’s tolerance of violence against women. — The financial crisis, not good sense, has accelerated the process of treating low-level users as people with a treatable illness instead of as criminals. — Marx’s critical view of capitalism, long considered faulty particularly with the fall of communism, might need to be reassessed for accuracy. — Climate change is already taking place and will effect everyone on the planet. — Proposals for reforming the NSA’s data collection may do more to entrench data collection than to stop it. — A chart by which to compare three proposals for NSA reform. — Russia’s interest in Crimea exceeds its need to please Europe and the US. — The CIA misrepresented and concealed information regarding its secret interrogation program. — The UN Human Rights Committee has found that the US, by criminalizing homelessness, is in violation of its international human rights treaty obligations.

Digest: 25 March 2014

Digest: 25 March 2014

The growth of the “Internet of Things” will allow companies to aggregate information not just about people’s communications but also about their habits at home. — Air pollution is the single largest environmental health risk killing 7 million annually. — Putin’s policy and actions towards Ukraine are examined to determine their root and their reason. — Senator Chuck Schumer’s bill protects journalists from giving up their sources but only journalists who work for traditional established news outlets. — The Senate and House Intelligence Committees and the FISA Court were created to contain the intelligence agencies, but they have not done so and cannot be expected to do so. — Despite falling crime figures that are not causally related to spending on policing, the militarization of US police forces is increasing. — Researchers studying the share-cascade patterns of photographs on Facebook are increasingly able to predict the a photograph’s viral success.

Digest: 18 March 2014

Digest: 18 March 2014

US scientists believe they have identified waves of gravitational energy in the universe’s cosmic microwave background. — Ceres reports on corporate reporting as a result of SEC requirements related to climate change. — Factory farming also undermines the socio-economics of rural America. — The internet is at risk of becoming increasingly fragmented and less efficient as a result of spying. — The US can hardly take a leadership role on Crimea when its own recent land-grab record is taken into account. — Putin is not all-powerful in Russia and his weakness may be behind his recent perhaps reckless volatility. — The 1970s Senate Church Committee uncovered sweeping illegal domestic surveillance programs and another such investigation is required today. — A few families hold the reins of financial and political power in the US and the ‘public good’ is not their chief concern. — The profitability of an innovation may not be a good measure of its net contribution to our standard of living,

Digest: 11 March 2014

Digest: 11 March 2014

On the absence of a sufficient progressive political economy in the aftermath of the financial crisis. — Oxfam discusses the importance to companies of their reputation and how this can be leveraged for good. — Ceres discusses the gap between what we are investing in clean energy and what we need to be investing. — IRENA presents its study into renewable energy options. — The Yale Project for Climate Change Communication presents its report on Americans’ political and economic decisions related to global warming. — Bamboo grows fast and can be valuable in undoing the damage done when land is cleared for crops, cattle, cities and roads. — The background of sovereignty vs self-rule discussions between the US and Russia. — A minor tweak in the law pertaining to protesting was in fact a blow to free speech and the ability to protest. — Swearing should be savored, instead of devalued and made simply offensive as it is when over-emitted by the controversial, the lazy, and the uninspired.

Digest: 4 March 2014

Digest: 4 March 2014

The new Lego movie is a psychologically multi-layered brilliantly seductive infomercial. — Continued growth in the US manufacturing sector will be dependent on factors including environmental initiatives. — The Massachussetts health care reform law has directly resulted in a notable increase in financial security. — California is well on its way to doing away with single use plastic bags. — UN report identifies 30 drone strikes that require public explanation due to civilian deaths. — Polls show that Democrats have shifted to become more liberal. — Eleven characteristics of the international order and their significance for the future. — The Russian invasion of Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula reminds us that just six years ago Putin sent troops to occupy Georgia. — Slight improvement seen in the results of maths and reading assessments for US fourth and eighth graders. — Business practices being applied in academic institutions are undermining the beneficial role those institutions can play in society.

Digest: 25 February 2014

Digest: 25 February 2014

75% of government subsidies for business goes to fewer than 1000 large corporations. — Despite Apple’s enormous cash stockpile it has been acquiring companies on a much smaller scale than other tech giants. — US bank regulators are making requirements of foreign banks that undermine global finance. — The US Department of Agriculture is acting to reduce honeybee deaths. — Despite terrible drought, vast quantities of California water are being used to grow hay to be exported to China. — 54% of Food Sold at Walmart is Banned by Whole Foods Market. — Republicans fail to mention that the CBO was almost entirely positive about a minimum wage increase. — Privatizing public goods and seeking to commodify everything possible is not an ideal approach to building healthy economies. — Mathematician’s brains respond the same way to elegant equations as to beautiful artwork or music. — People on the right and left are responding negatively to the Common Core approach to education.

Digest: 18 February 2014

Digest: 18 February 2014

World War I created the foundation of the ongoing violence and unrest in the Middle East. — We have incrementally agreed to give access to our personal information. — Investor is raising $100 million to support politicians to fight for action on climate change. — John Kerry comments on the effects of climate change on Indonesia. — The Australians spied on a US law firm while it represented Indonesia in trade talks with the US. — Calling protests of cruelty to farm animals ‘terrorism’ suggests a fault in policy. — The electoral process makes it all but impossible if you are not a Democrat or Republican. — For all the doom and gloom there are a few measures by which life can be said to have markedly improved. — Five for-profit conglomerates shape the fundamentals of how we interact as a society. — The notion of ‘jaywalking’ was developed by the auto industry in the 1920s to shift blame for rising pedestrian deaths away from motorists and onto walkers.

Digest: 11 February 2014

Digest: 11 February 2014

A modern day Orwell would go to prison for fighting in a civil war against a modern day Franco. — Nanotechnology is a technological development with implications of a magnitude potentially surpassing that of the digital revolution. — Businesses that cater to the poor and the rich are thriving, those that cater to the middle class are in trouble. — Large cities produce more CO2 per capita than small ones. — Markets are not self-correcting and are not good at achieving structural transformations on their own. — The indictment of the Virginia governor epitomizes political capture by financial interests. — As science has no way to grasp the immaterial, the rational response to a lack of proof of God would be agnosticism. — The addictive mindset of capitalism will not change without a revolution. — 30 richest Americans own as much as half of the US population. — Scientists have teleported quantum information over ordinary optical fibers.

Digest: 4 February 2014

Digest: 4 February 2014

Our entitlement and tax systems benefit the rich and have been know to do so at least since 1992. — A study of oil sands extraction has shown emissions of tumor-causing hydrocarbons may be 1000 times greater than expected. — Climate change potentially makes all other news irrelevant. — Saying it is good that the President even mentioned climate change in the SOTU is a low bar to set. — By spying on climate talks the NSA undermined trust where trust is necessary for success. — Responses to problems are increasingly ad hoc just when some issues will require coordination. — Obama’s push for the Trans-Pacific Partnership is incompatible with fighting economic inequality. — Our universe is part of a multiverse in which each universe holds different values of dark energy and ours holds the values required to allow life as we know it. — Plutocrats should recognize inequality and work to fix it before they get run over by it. — Aid is a useful and necessary catalyzer of development.

Digest: 28 January 2014

Digest: 28 January 2014

Chris Hedges discusses the evolution of modern humans through the lens of Herman Melville’s story Moby Dick. — Data scientists are being increasingly employed to act as the interface between data and resulting decisions, as a consequence they are taking on a powerful role in our society. — Without more inclusive policies we will not achieve a path of strong and sustained growth. — The continued pursuit of coal energy undermines efforts to effectively establish next generation sustainable energy sources. — The practical and intellectual challenges of state-building operations and an alternative model that might better be employed. — Cartoon characters tell kids that the NSA is “Kewl”and that they should think of working there. — Federal watchdog report asserts NSA collection of phone records has provided minimal benefits and is illegal. — While redistricting might appear merely political there is often a racist element to it. — Google’s is developing its artificial intelligence capacity.

Digest: 21 January 2014

Digest: 21 January 2014

2014 marks 100 years since the beginning of the Great War, we are wise to consider its continuing relevance. – The richest 85 people in the world hold assets equalling in value the combined wealth of the poorest half of the world’s people. – Large solar projects are being developed in the open spaces of the American West. – Al Gore Says Use of Geo-Engineering to Head Off Climate Disaster is Insane. – The German Federal Prosecutor may launch an investigation into breaches of German law by the NSA. – When Haiti passed a law raising its minimum wage to 61 cents an hour, the US stepped in to keep it at 31 cents. – Obama’s proposed NSA reforms change little and Americans on balance don’t care. – We should be careful to not dilute our consideration of the wealth gap by focusing on the top 5 or 20 percent. – Rising internal costs and external competition have pressured the US to find a more cost effective way of maintaining global control.

Digest: 14 January 2014

Digest: 14 January 2014

Conversation between two of the greatest 20th century thinkers on the relationship between the universe and human existence. — New understanding of the curvature of space suggest that space may be infinite and eternal. — The Obama administration has not lived up to its promises of transparency in government. — Current decentralized governance structures are messy and inelegant but they may be the best we can hope for. — One of the best things that could happen for US workers would be the abolition of the corporate income tax. — Too often the allies we make in the course of pursuing our foreign policy have come back to haunt us. — JPMorgan’s settlement with the Dept of Justice was too painless to be meaningful. — James Madison was nervous that democracy would undermine the power of those with property. — Working with others in communities is what will allow survival, not hunkering down in bunkers with guns.

Digest: 7 January 2014

Digest: 7 January 2014

In the 20th century, the bulk of belief-based problems arose from belief in reason. — The long term diminishment of the middle class undermines the US social fabric and will undermine US global power. — Exuberance surrounding tech companies has been fueled by valuation methodologies and the failure of the financial press. — With technological advancement income production is increasingly concentrated in capital ownership. — The NSA is working to develop a quantum computer that can crack all current encryption. — Compared to developed countries the US has the most unequal distribution of disposable income. — Some Republicans are recognizing the need to not to be the party without a moral core, or they may risk losing even more Catholic voters. — Bill Moyer’s work on social movements shows activists should not be discouraged when efforts are not immediately successful. — There has been a 53% increase in US school book bans in the last year.

Digest: 1 January 2014

Digest: 1 January 2014

Jeffrey Sachs is offering a free global online lecture course on sustainable development. — Some silicon valley companies that actively promote government surveillance reforms surveil as many people as they can. — The Pacific Northwest National Laboratory has done in one hour what nature takes millions of years to do, convert algae to crude oil. — One measurement shows how the financial crisis has had a greater negative effect than the Great Depression. — Der Spiegel discusses the NSA’s premier hacking unit, the Office of Tailored Access Operations. — Russia Today is a Kremlin-funded media outlet whose task is to dethrone Anglo-Saxon mass media on the international stage. — Wikipedians, in an effort to correct certain faults in Wikipedia, have managed to alienate many who might otherwise contribute. — MIT Technology Review editors present their particularly important articles from 2013. — President Obama’s speech on inequality was more about social immobility than inequality.

Digest: 24 December 2013

Digest: 24 December 2013

András Schiff lectures on Beethoven’s piano sonatas at Wigmore Hall available online. — Current wealth disparity comes as a result of the exclusion of all but some from being able to develop wealth through capital. — Amnesty International has called on the US government to explain why it is holding up a UN agreement to establish a human right for water. — Bankers expected more from Obama after all of the funding they put in to get him elected, and they have been disappointed. — The continuation of a laissez-faire approach to regulation will undermine efforts to deal with inequality. — Tightening budgets and the pressure to attend to average and below average students has undermined the development of above-average students. — The disparity of views on climate change in the US are clear in mitigation efforts in New York and the lack of them in New Bern. — Two polar views on digital surveillance guide the metaphors we use to discuss that surveillance. — Walking must be provided for in community and city planning, built into our everyday lives for our health.

Digest: 17 December 2013

Digest: 17 December 2013

A federal court found the NSA’s bulk collection of phone metadata almost certainly unconstitutional. — Breaking up the largest banks will not necessarily lead to a safer marketplace. — Central bank lending is creating a bubble in real estate and equities markets that will burst. — Asset manager BlackRock may produce a systemic risk in world financial markets. — The growth of inequality in the US causes a hardening of economic views that make redistribution less likely. — Consideration of macroprudential policy history provides perspective on the macroprudential tools currently being considered. — The Federal Insurance Office suggests a hybrid model in which federal and state regulators play complementary roles. — For the pharmaceutical companies ADHD has been a cash cow relentlessly pursued. — Human rights are being violated in the US, they must be demanded if they are to be upheld.

Digest: 10 December 2013

Digest: 10 December 2013

Easter Islanders succumbed to a diminishing quality of life supported by the consumption of rats. — Capital requirement regimes produce different business incentives in the internal pricing models of large sophisticated banks. — Investment in urban development is complex in light of catastrophic risks. — To salvage his presidency, Obama will have to engage in the hard work of building relationships. — The increasing length of laws can be attributed to lobbyist parties slipping clauses into bills no one will read. — Austerity can be useful in forcing necessary changes to defense strategy. — Technology can magnify human risk because the design of technology contains human faults. — Working conditions at Amazon facilities prize efficiency over the health of employees. — A global coordinated mechanism must be developed to effectively police the development of synthetic biology.

Digest: 3 December 2013

Digest: 3 December 2013

National interest based distrust is hindering the development of true multilateral coordination of financial markets and regulation. — Reestablishing the same pattern of consumption that gave rise to the financial crisis will only produce another crisis. — Pension funds and infrastructure projects are a good match but there are obstacles to such investment. — New perovskite materials that have the potential to double the efficiency of solar cells. — Financial sector reform is not possible without the informed unreasonableness necessary to refuse to accept the flaws of banking systems. — The Justice Department can be commended for acting against JPMorgan but the rigorousness of its investigation can be called into question. — The Obama administration continues to treat drugs as a criminal matter rather than as a health issue. — Recent animal studies show that experience can be passed on between generations as inherited memory.

Digest: 26 November 2013

Digest: 26 November 2013

Pierre Omidyar has been developing an alternative approach to philanthropy. — Giving the money to the poor and letting them use it as they wish has surprisingly good results. — Failure to correct high levels of unemployment will cause a large segment of the workforce to become dislocated from markets with costing the US economy $1 trillion annually. — Offering Snowden asylum in Germany would uphold values rooted in civil rights, liberties, and the rule of law. — The role of the US is being questioned around the world, giving rise to uncertainty and potential disorder. — Hardly any public discussion considers exactly where our markets are taking us. — Charles Dickens fought against the same social and economic injustices we see today, the results of extreme discrepancies of wealth. — Bars, restaurants, and some public spaces are pushing back and establishing anti-technology zones where mobile phone use is disallowed.

Digest: 19 November 2013

Digest: 19 November 2013

Economics is not alone in having had the term “science” attached as a signifier of deserved respect. — Tipping point risks are difficult to model but their potential effects to the environment are highly likely to be both enormous and global. — As climate change batters us with catastrophic events people are beginning to demand shifts in public policy. — Catastrophe bonds decrease insurance premiums but may be creating a shadow insurance sector with systemic implications. — A decrease in propagandism in school textbooks means that JFK is no longer seen in such a heroic light. — Technological development must be carefully considered and regulated or the reality of privacy will be gone. — Local groups can make an important difference on obesity levels but they will not be able to solve the problem on their own. — As capitalism discredits itself in light of social and environmental consequences we may find ourselves looking again at Marx.

Digest: 12 November 2013

Digest: 12 November 2013

The oceans are returning to a barren state not seen in hundreds of millions of years. — When people are primed to think about money their propensity to cheat increases. — Canada is charging ahead despite serious concerns over shale gas extraction. — The US seems to have failed to adequately assess the political risks of spying on foreign heads of state. — Until flood insurance rates reflect the actual risk of damage the eventual costs of current inaction will continue to increase. — The Obama presidency hasn’t been a complete failure. — The US could unapologetically pursue its interests or it could act to better live up to its rhetoric. — Tech companies purport shock at NSA spying but rely on collecting extensive information about their customers. — Legalization of marijuana for medical purposes is associated with decreased usage of alcohol in young people. — Plutocrats are being overrun by the influence of populists.

Digest: 5 November 2013

Digest: 5 November 2013

A combination of genetics and learned behavior provide the basis for the flight paths the birds travel. — The growing international market in meat consumption comes with costs to the environment and human health. — Austerity is not the answer to the crisis but saving during booms provides something to fall back on during busts. — Climate change may decrease food supplies by about 2% per decade while demand may increase by 14% per decade. — A major political and business shake-up in how we approach issues such as climate change, economic inequality, corporate practices, and disease is necessary. — Failure to charge risk appropriate rates have caused massive underfunding at the National Flood Insurance Program. — Studies demonstrate the unreliability of much published scientific research. — Universities are spying on students and professors as a means of protecting their public image. — The major problems we face will require a different approach from the short term policies that mainstream economics produces.

Digest: 29 October 2013

Digest: 29 October 2013

That everyone spies on everyone is not a sufficient response to the widespread spying by the NSA. — Debt is an ancient and useful means of distributing capital but its alter-ego is a dangerous instigator of ruin. — Carefully regulated economic growth and technological progress may help to mitigate continuing damage to biodiversity. — Interest is growing in establishing tens of thousands of square miles of wilderness on former farmland in Europe. — The WEF discusses the threat of persistent economic weakness undermining our ability to tackle environmental challenges. — The US party system is contributing to Washington’s dysfunction. — There are transparency issues related to $1 trillion of US government spending for contracts, grants, and loans. — The EPA does not have a reliable system in place to monitor conditional registrations of pesticides. — Rising inequality in the US is both politically dangerous and economically damaging. — Denmark is the happiest country in the world.

Digest: 22 October 2013

Digest: 22 October 2013

Technology and excessive-regulation removes us from direct experience of the world around us. — The financial crisis can be blamed on financiers, central bankers, regulators, macroeconomics, the Asian savings glut, and European banks. — The financial crisis was a failure of contemporary economic models. — Cities are developing integrated systems for collecting, processing, and acting on data. — The gambler’s fallacy is a cognitive bias that assumes the characteristics of long-term averages apply to every observation. — We should debate what we don’t yet know about the climate, but we should act on what we do know. — Around the world people are looking on with disbelief at the political mess in Washington. — Despite junk-food fueled obesity, starvation, and billions of tons of food waste each year, counteracting steps are being made. — California is proving to be an important representation of the potential for Obamacare. — Despite success with groundbreaking disclosures, the Guardian newspaper is facing financial trouble.

Digest: 15 October 2013

Digest: 15 October 2013

Novelist John Lancaster is given access to the Snowden Papers and provides an illuminating account of what he saw. — We should not be satisfied with having avoided another depression, many issues have not been dealt with. — The European Energy Commissioner is pushing to expand renewable energy in Europe. — Policymakers and economists should get to work figuring out what to do about climate change. — Business interests are at odds with the policies pursued by Tea Party congressmen. — Global institutions can offer a service that will not come from elsewhere. — Microsoft researcher proposes a system of due process to be applied to the use of data sets as a means of discrimination. — US adults scored badly in the recent OECD study of adults in literacy, basic math, and technology. — High percentages of top-university graduates go into finance, a fundamentally unproductive field. — If states tightened up hidden business subsidies they would not need to renege on their obligations to pensioners.

Digest: 8 October 2013

Digest: 8 October 2013

Policymakers in the West have assumed that growth would continue, but the forecasts have proved to be overly optimistic. — The tax systems in almost all states place a disproportionate burden on middle and lower income brackets. — Ikea is selling solar panels in the UK where the government subsidies are promoting annual growth in the region of 25%. — The 2013 IPCC Report is thought by some to not adequately represent some of the greatest climate threats we face. — Our inability to see beyond the short-term is undermining our ability to adequately respond to climate issues. — Bradley Manning’s punishment represents political despotism on the part of the Obama Administration. — Those with power pay little attention to those without power and this has repercussions for public policy. — The Millennial Development Goals main significance may be in their power to instigate further action after 2015. — A recent study has found that reading literary fiction improves empathic ability in readers.

Digest: 1 October 2013

Digest: 1 October 2013

The NSA uses the information it collects to create large scale networking maps of US citizens. — Lending is shifting from the regulated commercial banking system into the unregulated shadow banking system creating massive systemic risk. — Natural fluctuations are offsetting the greenhouse gas factors that give rise to an overall warming trend. — President Obama overstates the successes of his economic policy. — The USAF has now flight-tested an unmanned F-16 jet fighter and will next employ it in live fire exercises. — California is accomplishing everything conservatives hate and its sheer size and success will force conservative US to follow. — Our increased use of technology is diminishing eye contact with repercussions for our ability to emotionally interrelate. — Evidence shows gaps in ability take root at the pre-Kindergarten stage of childhood and are massively affected by family income. — Societies have tended to stratify into aristocracies supported by peasantries and we are now returning to that norm after a period of aberration.

Digest: 23 September 2013

Digest: 23 September 2013

We should reform our school systems to better take into account the need to develop self-motivation in students. — Banks should be made to rely more on equity markets when raising funds. — World business is beginning to wake up to water risk as a serious matter. — Obama should sign the UN Convention on Cluster Munitions. — Mathematical skills diminish in people when the data has political ramifications. — Kerry should not seek advice on Syria from Kissinger. — The Senate’s aversion to treaties is harming US influence in the world. — The Hemisphere Project is a partnership between drug officials and AT&T involving the collection of phone records on a massive scale. — Three articles on the inadequacy of 401(k)s in retirement planning in the US. — Americans are increasingly leaving religious affiliation aside. — Developers face moral dilemmas and it is important to consider the framework for how they resolve those dilemmas.

Digest: 15 September 2013

Digest: 15 September 2013

Metaphors reflect embedded intention and have the potential to systemically influence behavior, so while we use them as tools for communicating policy it is important that we carefully consider their use. — Governments have an important role to play in creating innovative businesses, but they are certainly not infallible. — There is much that is exceptional in the productive and innovative research departments of global American companies. — A space mission employs a radar spacecraft to measure the depth of ice in the Arctic and finds winter Arctic ice volume to have halved in the last 30 years. — Four imperfections in our financial behavior that spell trouble for markets. — We must change our business as usual socio-economic approach in light of the serious global challenges we face.

Digest: 8 September 2013

Digest: 8 September 2013

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei is a man of wide intellect almost irredeemably disillusioned by Iran’s experience of the United States. — Coca-Cola has been suggesting aspartame is safe and will help consumers stay thin and healthy. — Multinational corporations can play a vital role in developing the technology required to combat climate change. — Scientists are looking to release genetically modified insects to mate with female olive flies. — The US has 5% of the world’s population it has 25% of its prisoners. — President Obama’s Attorney General has approved more media-leak prosecutions than all previous Attorneys General combined. — The NSA makes sure there is not an encryption code in the world that it cannot overcome. — The US would do well to keep in mind its own history with chemical weapons. — Neuro-skeptics are making a comeback understanding how the mind works. — Five reasons 99% have been unable to prevent massively rising economic inequality.

Digest: 1 Sept 2013

Digest: 1 Sept 2013

Machines are on the way to keeping humans as pets, just as a human might keep a monkey. — The National Flood Insurance Program has had limited success, as evidenced by its current $25 billion debt but with increasing storms. — Economic bubbles can have benefits, even if the particular market itself fails. — Professionals are seeking a respite from the world of modern conventional work. — We should embrace a slower more considered approach to our business activities. — A new engine that runs on a mixture of power derived from natural gas, electricity and diesel, is highly efficient. — The NSA training manuals demonstrate the program’s ability to wiretap anyone with just a personal email. — The total US intelligence budget is higher than the entire military budgets of the United Kingdom, Japan, and France. — Business people become too influential in government. — Facebook uses facial recognition to assist in tagging people in photographs that people have posted. — Surveillance in the workplace has a remarkable effect on employee productivity.

Digest: 25 August 2013

Digest: 25 August 2013

Predictions made in the past about sea-level rise seem now to have underestimated what we can expect. — Elon Musk’s idea for high speed rail is reminiscent of science fiction. — Developments in regulation risk wrongly applying rules developed for systemically important banks to insurance companies. — The massive increase in wildfires is now thought to be the result of global warming. — Hurricane Sandy’s $65 billion in damages hints at what we can expect in the future on an ongoing basis. — The biggest extinction in history was probably caused by fracking. — A secret ruling chastised the NSA for a pattern of misrepresentation by NSA officials in submissions to the FISA Court. — The development of a terrorist face recognition system has been transferred to Homeland Security for use by domestic police departments. — Cities will be the engines of global economic growth in the 21st century. — A paradigm shift is in effect regarding the leadership required to face the issues of today. — Current reform movements are ruining education by focusing on conformity and passivity.

Digest: 18 August 2013

Digest: 18 August 2013

The history of the consumption of sugar from Africa, to New Guinea, across the Indian subcontinent to the Islamic world, and then through the Caribbean slave trade, to obesity and diabetes in the US today. — Walmart is a thermometer of American consumption and its failure to meet sales targets suggests a weakness in the US economy. — Walmart’s success is fading, the stores are a mess, the business model isn’t translating internationally or into urban areas. — Amazon’s food delivery service as representative of Amazon as a distribution company, not merely an online retailer of specific product categories. — President Obama’s handling of Hilary Clinton has had the suggestive effect of placing her as the next US president. — The drone program has caused significant civilian casualties, considerable harm outside of death or injury, has failed to make the US safer, and has set dangerous precedents regarding the rule of international law. — Standards being implemented in US schools focus on critical thinking and analysis rather than on memorization and formulas, and early results have been deplorable.

Digest: 11 August 2013

Digest: 11 August 2013

GDP only takes into account that which can be priced and this has led to environmental and social costs being ignored; true wealth is a function of fundamental needs being satisfied and these needs go beyond what GDP growth alone can provide. — Speculative bubbles don’t necessarily go away, they result from stories that spread through markets based on narrative strength causing contagion in traders. — Trillions of dollars in “green finance” investments are needed annually to prevent catastrophic results related to climate change, this is the perfect time for major investment in green technology, credit is cheap and the global economy is in need of stimulation, but policymakers are dropping the ball on developing more effective ways of incentivizing such investment. — Toxic insecticides called neonicotinoids are causing the decimation of the bee population and food production reliant upon bee pollination is worth more than $20 billion to the US and is vital for the production of nuts, fruit, and vegetables.

Digest: 4 August 2013

Digest: 4 August 2013

Sir David Frost interviews Daniel Barenboim. — Solar energy products for use in buildings and building materials are progressing. — Sophisticated production co-ops compete in international markets, and service co-ops offer innovative solutions to social and government problems. — Developments in 3D printing are exciting, but we should adjust out expectations. — A new book discusses the role of central bankers, their decision-making, and the lack of international policy coordination. — Climate finance suffers from a lack of established metrics or agreed definitions. — Not dreaming prevents us from envisioning what we should be working towards. — To rein NSA measures in, hope now rests with the Supreme Court. — The EU/China relationship suffers from the EU’s ongoing identity crisis. — Six biases keep progressives from effectively increasing their influence, and six countervailing truths could have profound implications. — Increasing violence has been linked to rising temperatures.

Digest: 28 July 2013

Digest: 28 July 2013

Recent income-wealth ratios suggest a return to the 600-700% of the 18th and 19th centuries. — The potential for wealth taxation strengthens the ability to carry high national debts. — Some aspects of capitalism are particularly egregious. — The subsidization of green technology by government is preferable to protectionist tariffs. — Seas will continue to rise 12 meters over the coming hundreds of years. — Three approaches to achieving equity in the allowed Greenhouse Gas emissions between countries. — The release of methane from melting arctic regions will cause costs of US$60 trillion. — US surveillance efforts started with the domestic surveillance system it developed for US colonization of the Philippines in 1898. — Our democratic society shies from allowing that traditional “high culture” is objectively superior to “popular culture”. — The Supreme Court has disallowed the patenting of human genes. — It is difficult in the US to have a serious conversation in apocalyptic terms.

Digest: 21 July 2013

Digest: 21 July 2013

The pay gap between CEOs and company employees remains hidden despite the enactment of Dodd Frank. — Entrepreneurialism can refer to a wide range of business start-ups leading to less than ideal policy decisions. — Large banks have been taking advantage of relaxed federal regulations to buy up huge swaths of commodities infrastructure. — Distant powerful earthquakes have been triggering earthquakes in regions subject to fracking. — The pricing of natural resources allows them to be profitably factored into company business plans. — The Obama Administration is vigorously cracking down on national security leaks. — Large multinational companies have been hiding enormous profits through the sophisticated use of “tax havens”. — Deep rooted behaviour patterns are now understood to be reversible.

Digest: 14 July 2013

Digest: 14 July 2013

As a result of global warming arctic ice is melting and freeing up vast areas of sea and land rich in natural resources for exploitation. — Employment results will not improve until something severe happens to force change. — Germany has instigated significant growth in solar power usage. — Few fiscal issues are as grave as underfunded state and municipal pension schemes. — On climate change, President Obama is employing executive orders to skirt Congress. — Drones are breeding worrying levels of resentment. — The increased possibility for later misuse of eavesdropping programs is a current harm. — Publication of state secrets related to NSA eavesdropping has benefitted public debate around the world.

Digest: 7 July 2013

Digest: 7 July 2013

Policymakers working on US education reform should not focus so strongly on accountability. — It is unclear whether the large-scale collection of all US metadata would have prevented the 9/11 attacks. — The Roberts Court is teeing up major constitutional issues for reversal. — Predatory lenders, and their shareholders and directors, are profiting handsomely. — Erosion of income amongst broad swathes of the population is likely to undermine social mobility in the US. — An Australian study shows that GMO foods cause multiple serious pathologies in pigs and cattle

Digest: 30 June 2013

Digest: 30 June 2013

Big data marks a transformation that might change our way of thinking about the world. — Silicon Valley’s tech leaders should actually engage if they want to make a difference in terms of policy. — Our physical environments will soon be integrated into programmable systems of interaction. — The US should cut its losses in the Middle East and concentrate on rebuilding its economic strength. — Google is looking to build a network of communications balloons in the stratosphere. — The maintenance of the US security state should be considered on environmental grounds as well as moral grounds. — Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations are kept secret because of likelihood of major public backlash were they made public. — The Trans-Pacific Partnership is said to be a gross abrogation of American sovereignty.

Digest: 23 June 2013

Digest: 23 June 2013

Disruptive technological advances can be expected to impinge upon knowledge workers — A new World Bank report finds that carbon pricing schemes are on the rise — Certain viruses act as a back-up immune system by preventing runaway build-up of bacteria — The Millennium Development Goals must be understood before next steps can be established — The major part of the cost of Detroit’s failure is being born by its workers — Drones as a matter of national defense are highly effective and their negative repercussions are inflated — It is both good and bad that US surveillance program will now be endlessly debated — David Koch’s role as a sponsor of public broadcasting has brought into question risks of self-censorship by public stations — The intelligence community and Wall Street combine inordinate power and lack of accountability — IBM have produced software to profile a personality from as few as 50 tweets.

Digest: 16 June 2013

Digest: 16 June 2013

A businessman seeks to create the first brand name marijuana retail chain in the US — Geo-engineering as a means of combatting global warming is misguided and dangerous — Sawdust and straw can be converted into biofuel through the use of fungus — Food wasted in the US and around the world contributes to global warming — Hybrid GM/wild fish dangerously outcompete both GM and wild fish in laboratories; Obama has expanded some of the most aggressive aspects of Bush’s war against terror — The US government surveillance program probably collects extensive information about a large number of Americans — The US has been as complicit in international crime as any other nation since its inception — The US military is a maximally powerful force with a minimum of citizen engagement and comprehension — The steady economic rise of China is a major threat to the US and other likeminded countries.

Digest: 9 June 2013

Digest: 9 June 2013

Corporate corruption is prevalent and growing around the world, but is relatively rare in Scandinavia — The Obama Administration’s “steady healing” of the US economy is insufficient, there needs to be created a more sustainable economy — The vulnerability of US infrastructure to climate change has not been systematically addressed because of other concerns — Humans are super-organisms of hundreds of species of bacteria that are necessary to the proper functioning of our immune systems — The Obama Administration shows a heavy tilt toward secrecy and an insufficient concern for free press — The provision of fruit orchards by private arts entrepreneurs shows a lack of effective action by governments to solve food deserts in the US — Exploitation of the elderly by scams, financial services professionals, and in-home caregivers, is an epidemic problem in the US as well as elsewhere — The nation-state system means that millions of people suffer human rights abuses without effective relief.

Digest: 2 June 2013

Digest: 2 June 2013

The enormous industry-wide growth of investment banking between 1963 and 2008 will not continue — Very large global banks stand to gain the most coming out of the financial crisis — Attempts to genetically engineer plants to glow in the dark are skirting regulations and causing fear that such unharnessed projects may create and introduce organisms that are ecologically dangerous — Opponents of immigration reforms are arguing against conservatism, societal assimilation, marriages, social mobility, skill, and inevitability — New regulatory laws for systemically important financial institutions must be very carefully considered in their application to non-bank financial enterprises — Huge government savings can result from greater efficiency in government agencies; overlaps, fragmentation, and duplication run up huge costs for the federal government — US spending on health is unsustainable, and yet to cut back on such costs would interfere with the growth of employment in the health industry.

Digest: 19 May 2013

Digest: 19 May 2013

High executive pay is caused by market forces, not board corruption — More research needs to be done on Solar Radiation Management so as to avoid the need for avoid terribly uncertain SRM approaches — Unmitigated climate change will be nothing less than disastrous for the global community — Incremental sequester corrections do not remove the burden from many social programs to which the fixes have not applied — Strategic governance in the context of multi-polarised and multi-lateralised world economic growth — Statistics and survey-based script-analysis offers risk-mitigation to film producers, and perhaps a threat to the creativity of scriptwriters — Web-businesses exploit a peasant class, users of social media are entrapped, and a thriving middle class is necessary to a sustainable Internet — The left-wing coalition Danish government is cutting back on early retirement plans, student stipends, the welfare rolls, and on those receiving lifetime disability checks.

Digest: 12 May 2013

Digest: 12 May 2013

Economic potential in the US is being strangled and impeded — Carbon emissions are acidifying the Arctic Ocean; Mayor Bloomberg is expanding recycling in New York at a faster rate than New York has seen 20 years — Republicans are “hollowing out” government when they can’t get laws repealed — The current Supreme Court is the most business-friendly court since World War II — Cyber-warfare has so far been mainly manifested in the context of espionage, but more disruptive cyber incursions may occur — Modern US society is increasingly rewarding self-directed innovators, this is good for those who fall into that type but less good for millions of others who don’t — Pension-advance companies are preying off retired firefighters, military veterans, police officers and teachers, who need ready cash in difficult times — Efforts to regulate the collection and sharing of personal information by online companies are needed, but enormous amounts have already been collected.

Digest: 5 May 2013

Digest: 5 May 2013

Policies instigating innovation and development are being employed by governments across the country — The US has dropped in rankings of R&D as a percentage of GDP but it still spends more than any other country — Cheap energy from shale gas and oil is causing a surge in energy-intensive plastics and chemicals industries — Education is being overhauled across the country but little improvement has been shown — Carbon emissions from cars are decreasing all over the world — The global climate seems less sensitive than previously thought, but it is not clear what is causing the discrepancy between rising emissions and stabilising global mean temperatures — Increasing concern regarding tech industry’s market power and use of personal data, regulatory changes are in process — US media provided less investigative journalism and online advertising money comes from only five companies.

Digest: 28 April 2013

Digest: 28 April 2013

Whether Ben Bernanke’s policy of keeping interest rates low has helped or hindered the US economy — A company to help in the verifying the sustainability of products — Warren Buffett’s coal transportation business runs up against environmental interests, cattle ranchers, and Native Americans — New methods of more sustainable farming must be developed to avoid crop failures and increased pollution — Mini Coopers fitted with two-way chargers are designed to both receive energy from and supply energy to power grids — Thatcher was a breaker of consensus than a builder of it and her policies were never in accord with the interests of a majority of UK citizens — Those who support social insurance as a necessary element of civilised modern society need to discredit terminology dictated by contrary interests — Switzerland’s success when seen against the economic and political crises of the rest of Europe — Technology is advancing far faster than is understanding of its potential for the massive disruption of human life.

Digest: 21 April 2013

Digest: 21 April 2013

Several factors give grounds for optimism regarding the future position of the US economy — How the Federal tax code affects small businesses; Increased bank funding through equity is necessary, but must not overshoot — China’s promotion of its currency, internationalisation or domestic financial liberalisation — Recurring natural disasters remind us that we must be diligent on mitigation — How to balance immigration interests where STEM graduates are concerned — Federal crackdowns on marijuana legalisation are counterproductive even to the interests of drug hawks — Credit should be given for the care the US employs in its use of drones — Common finals should be used in postsecondary education to help improve instructional quality — Book discusses how to increase the scale of small development projects — Book discusses data on use of arts and culture in economic development.

Digest: 14 April 2013

Digest: 14 April 2013

Direct “sharing” transactions between individuals cut established companies out of the picture — Shareholders are taking more active voting roles in the running of companies; Switzerland votes to reign in corporate managers — Architectural environments can be designed to foster creativity and innovative thinking — New economies are developing around the provision of disaster relief products — Biomimetic structures are being used to treat cancer and bone and organ reparation — Scientists are progressing towards the ability to bring extinct species back to life — Hawaii is leading the implementation of solar technology — Justice Ginsberg must decide whether to step down — Assassination has replaced capture, torture, and complicated litigation as the US method of choice for dealing with terrorists — Margaret Thatcher would not have been successful in today’s US Republican Party — New laws to criminalise whistleblowers in the animal processing industry are antithetical to free choice and morality.

Digest: 7 April 2013

Digest: 7 April 2013

Money predicts policy in US democracy, the preferences of the lower and middle classes do not predict policy unless they align with upper class preferences — The US economic recovery is far more fragile than it seems, unsustainable policy decisions are leading the US down a dangerous road — Innovation is not reliant on freedom, but on wealth, and China’s innovative potential may soon surpass the that of the US; Obama appoints new senior environment officials — The history of the New Deal and related literature discussed — The US should take a pragmatic view on the legalisation marijuana — The repercussions of US policy on the use of Drones for assassination will be dire — Division in US politics will take the US down the same path as the EU — New teacher evaluation systems show suspiciously rosy results; efforts to institute more sensible health policy stymied by sugar drinks lobby — New computer models are increasing our understanding of collective behaviour.