The good news about 2017
Citizens across the globe didn’t feel all that chipper in 2017. By mid-year, 60% of people residing in 26 of the most populous countries said that they felt their country was on the wrong track. However, on several fronts, the world actually had a pretty good year. Here are a few promising trends that continued in 2017:
- Deadly diseases are on the defensive – Vaccination rates are way up, polio cases plummeted to just 19 worldwide, and in 2018 clinical trials begin for a highly promising HIV treatment.
- Famine is on the decline – Millions were at risk of dying from starvation in South Sudan, but relief efforts helped prevent the worst-case scenario. Globally, the risk of dying from famine is .006 what it was in the 1960s.
- Fewer natural disaster deaths -There were 3,162 natural disaster-related deaths in the first half of the year, and the second half of 2017 was similarly tame. Compare that to a half-year average of 61,367 between 2007 and 2016.
We’re heading west, and south
Americans on the move are largely leaving the Northeast for parts west and south, according to the latest figures from moving company United Van Lines. New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut were among the states with the most departures, while Oregon, Washington, and Idaho welcomed many new arrivals. Some warn that the recently passed tax reform — which puts a $10,000 cap on state and local tax deductions — may exacerbate these trends, sparking an exodus from high-tax states in the Northeast and adding to the fiscal strains in the areas left behind. (United Van Lines)
Dog Gone It
The UK is putting dog poop to good use with the nation’s first dog do-powered street lamp. Located in Malvern Hills, the lamp is connected to an anaerobic digester that converts dog waste into methane and fertilizer. Around 10 bags of poop can yield an estimated two hours of light. The UK has long been committed to giving poop purpose; in 2014, Bristol-based GENeco introduced a “Bio-Bus” that runs on fuel derived from sewage and food waste. And the UK isn’t alone in its quest. In Waterloo, Canada, three parks have arranged for the collection of dog waste, which is then converted into electricity and fertilizer. (The Guardian)
Ex-Google engineer and controversial memo author is suing the company
The engineer, James Damore, filed a class-action lawsuit, with fellow former Googler David Gudeman, alleging the tech giant discriminates against white male conservatives and that it conducts illegal hiring practices to boost its number of women and minorities. Google fired Damore for promoting “harmful gender stereotypes” after his memo was leaked to the media last summer. Google has also recently faced claims, from the Labor Department and another lawsuit, that it systematically pays women less than men. (Tech Crunch)
Starting January 22, a driver’s license may not be used for US domestic flyers
The Real ID Act, passed by Congress in 2005, requires an “enhanced ID” to show at domestic airline security. 26 states — including California, Maine, Massachusetts, and South Carolina — have been granted extensions for the law, which means flyers with those state IDs can use their current licenses until October 11. By October 1, 2020, every flyer will need to show a license compliant with Real ID, or another approved form of ID like a passport. (CNBC)
Natural disasters cost the US a record $306 billion last year
Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria, which slammed the US mainland and surrounding islands in quick succession, contributed $265 billion and California’s wildfires added $18 billion. It’s the most expensive year for natural disasters since records began in 1980. These incidents take a toll on the economy, although it may not show up immediately. (Washington Post)
Man Shoots Himself While Showing Friends How To Clean Gun
An Omaha, Nebraska, man was showing a couple of friends how to clean his gun when he decided to show them how fast he could take the gun apart. The man racked the gun’s slide and ejected a bullet. He then tried to show them that the gun was empty by holding the muzzle of the gun to his hand and pulling the trigger. A bullet went through the man’s hand. His friends drove him to the hospital. (Omaha World Herald)
Hump-Day Wednesday Brings Us:
- League of Nations Day
- National Cut Your Energy Costs Day
- National Bittersweet Chocolate Day
- National Oysters Rockerfeller Day
- National Save The Eagles Day