climate change, UN report, crises, societal change
The author writes, ‘Humans are making Earth a broken and increasingly unlivable planet through climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution. So the world must make dramatic changes to society, economics and daily life, a new United Nations report says. ... ‘Without nature’s help, we will not thrive or even survive,’ said Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.” Photo credit: greyajs / Pxhere

How Some Frustrated COVID-19 Vaccine Hunters Are Trying To Fix a Broken System ; This Is the World Rush Limbaugh Created ; and More Picks 2/19

How Some Frustrated COVID-19 Vaccine Hunters Are Trying To Fix a Broken System (Reader Steve)

From the Seattle Times: “As everyone discovers, there isn’t one or a couple of places to hunt vaccine, but rather … hundreds, many with their own interfaces. … The obvious thought is: Shouldn’t there be an app for this? OpenTable manages to book one billion reservations a year at hundreds of thousands of restaurants. How hard would it be to adapt that to a system with 330 sites statewide? Not that hard, it turns out.”

This Is the World Rush Limbaugh Created (Russ)

The author writes, “To say that talk radio host Rush Limbaugh was a powerful presence in American politics is a gross understatement. More than Donald Trump and deceased Fox News head Roger Ailes — both of whom benefitted from their associations with him — Limbaugh was the generative force in the radical transformation of both American politics and American broadcasting. He was also the most destructive. In many ways, the deeply polarized electorate we have now and the wholesale transformation of the Republican Party is the direct result of what Rush began three decades ago.”

The Rise and Fall and Rise (and Fall) of the US Financial Empire (Dana)

From Foreign Policy: “If 2020 confirmed one thing, it was the centrality of the dollar to the global economy. U.S. hegemony may already have passed us in a political and strategic sense, but U.S. financial influence is proving more enduring. This is reassuring in the sense that the U.S. Federal Reserve has once again acted as a responsive and generous steward of the dollar-based financial system. But it is also a cause of puzzlement and frustration.”

Bendable Concrete and Other CO2-Infused Cement Mixes Could Dramatically Cut Global Emissions (Dan)

The author writes, “One of the big contributors to climate change is right beneath your feet, and transforming it could be a powerful solution for keeping greenhouse gases out of the atmosphere. The production of cement, the binding element in concrete, accounted for 7% of total global carbon dioxide emissions in 2018. Concrete is one of the most-used resources on Earth, with an estimated 26 billion tons produced annually worldwide. That production isn’t expected to slow down for at least two more decades. Given the scale of the industry and its greenhouse gas emissions, technologies that can reinvent concrete could have profound impacts on climate change.”

Scientists Teach Pigs How To Play a Video Game, and Pigs Are Good at It (Dana)

The author writes, “Yorkshire pigs Hamlet and Omelette and Panepinto micro pigs Ebony and Ivory are ambassadors for their species. The quartet was the focus of a study that tested whether they could learn to play a video game. Spoiler alert: They were pretty good at it. … The experiment involved first teaching the pigs how to manipulate a joystick using their snouts. They were then taught to use the joystick to play a video game on a monitor in front of them. The pigs aren’t rescuing Princess Peach just yet, but they did show a remarkable ability to learn and operate the game.”

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