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Wormfood – January 10, 2014 – Countries facing "extremely high" levels of water stress

News > Global News Digest

Mapping water stress worldwide, donate bitcoins for the assassination of world leaders and more violent crime against Afghanistan women. Read all about it in this Wormfood.

Also, this Wormfood features a special section on "Threats to Online Freedom". This section is inspired by the Chaos Communication Congress that Tom, Tijn and Chantal visited in December.

Global News: Mapping worldwide water stress

  • 37 countries in the world already face "extremely high" levels of water stress according to the World Resources Institute (WRI). The WRI: “it's important for a country to understand its risk of water scarcity and that extremely high levels of water stress doesn't mean that country will fall victim to water scarcity - proper water management and conservation plans can help to secure a nation's water supplies.”

  • London Mining is trying to attract Chinese and other international investors to build a £1.5bn iron ore mine just outside the Arctic Circle in Greenland. Greenland and the wider Arctic is seen as one of the new frontiers for exploiting mineral wealth, but uncertain national boundaries have also opened up potential political, if not military, conflicts.




Energy & Environment: Elephants massacred for tusk

  • Ivory elephants may already outnumber living elephants, which are being killed at a rate of 35,000 per year. Fully eight out of 10 elephants now die as a result of poaching rather than from natural causes. 

  • After an absence of many years, wolf populations are starting to thrive again in Europe. Populations quadrupled between 1970 and 2005 and there may now be 25,000 animals, says the International Union for Conservation of Nature. In the 19th century the European wolf was almost driven to extinction as hunters made a hunters made a living from the bounties paid by villagers.




Business & Economy:  Crowdfunding assassinations

  • A new crowd-funding website aims to let users anonymously donate bitcoins to see the heads of political leaders roll. The founder of the Assassination Market believes that the site will change the world for the better by destroying "all governments, everywhere."

  • Of the estimated 7.7 million migrants living in Beijing, nearly a fifth live either at their workplace or underground, according to state news agency Xinhua. Despite efforts to discourage property speculation and develop affordable housing, a steady stream of job-seekers from the countryside and a lack of attractive investment alternatives keeps prices soaring.




Science, Technology, & Design: Nanorobot helps treat cancer

  • South Korean scientists say they have developed the world's first nanorobot that can selectively target and help treat cancer. The robot is guided through the body by genetically engineered bacteria to a tumor where it releases its cargo of cancer fighting drugs.

  • RAF Tornado fighter jets have flown with parts made using 3D printing technology for the first time, according to defence company BAE Systems.

  • Animals like bees, Spiders, silkworms can be used as living 3D printers. They can be guided to produce large-scale structures, from objects to whole buildings.




Urban Environment: The need for sustainable design

  • We need to adapt design to integrate sustainability considerations. This article gives an overview on sustainability developments in the design field.

  • Sending relatives to care homes abroad might be a choice that many Europeans find themselves considering, as the gulf between cost and quality continues to widen.

  • Violent crime against women in Afghanistan hit record levels and became increasingly brutal in 2013, the head of the country's human rights commission said this weekend — a sign that hard won rights are being rolled back as foreign troops prepare to withdraw.




Unexpected and Intriguing: James Bond is an impotent drunk

  • Docters analyzed James Bond’s alcohol behavior and came to the conclusion that he’s an 'impotent drunk'. The doctors' report in the festive edition of the British Medical Journal concluded: "Although we appreciate the societal pressures to consume alcohol when working with international terrorists and high stakes gamblers, we would advise Bond to be referred for further assessment of his alcohol intake."

  • 130 ‘radioactive’ Japanese cars are banned from entering Russia. Consumer watchdog agency Rospotrebnadzor remains concerned about the contaminated water leaks at Japan’s crippled Fukushima nuclear power plant.




Special Section: Threats to online freedom

  • A US federal court is set to strike down the nation’s net neutrality law. Net neutrality is the principle that Internet service providers and governments should treat all data on the Internet equally. Without net neutrality web and mobile companies will live or die not on the merits of their technology and design, but on the deals they can strike with service providers.

  • A series of related corruption stories spilled out of the financial sector, suggesting the world's largest banks may be fixing the prices of, well, just about everything. This is discovered through increased information transparency.

  • This video presents shocking facts on governmental spying programs. For example, did you know the NSA can turn your iPhone’s microphone and camera on and off without you knowing?

  • The FBI is rallying political support in Washington, DC for legislation that will give it the ability to fine Internet companies unwilling to build surveillance backdoors into their products. Even without such legislation, the US government has started to wage war against companies that offer secure communications services to their users.
  • Want to know more about worldwide secret governmental activities? Artist Trevor Paglen reveals them in this video

  • Curious about the nitty gritty of how all this is done? This presentation given at the Chaos Communication Congress (CCC), backed up by a report in the german news magazine Der Spiegel, shows NSA's pricing menu of technical exploits, bugging devices, and even radiation weaponry used to extract any data, from anywhere, from anyone.




This bi-weekly digest is assembled from items sent to us by Except members. Have questions, comments, or news items to suggest? E-mail merel.segers@except.nl. Read past Wormfood global news reports here.


Except Integrated Sustainability

Merel Segers
Industrial Ecologist & Sustainable Storyteller

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