Newsworthy – Aug 9th, 2019

Climate change is putting pressure on food and water supplies worldwide, graduates aren’t seeing returns on their education investments, large parts of the country are still without access to reliable broadband services, and more.

These are the newsworthy stories from this past week.

Science and Environment

  • A UN report finds that climate change is putting dire pressure on the ability of humanity to feed itself, with the possibility that food crises could develop on several continents at once — a “multi-breadbasket failure”.

    A half-billion people already live in places turning into desert, and soil is being lost between 10 and 100 times faster than it is forming.

    From The New York Times
  • A quarter of humanity faces looming water crises worldwide. 17 countries are currently at risk of running out of water. Climate change is making the problem worse.

    From The New York Times
  • Fishing practices increased methylmercury levels in the tissue of Atlantic cod caught in the Gulf of Maine by as much as 23 percent over a roughly 30-year period, researchers estimate. That’s despite decreases in atmospheric mercury levels over the same time period, from the 1970s to the 2000s.

    Mercury emissions are decreasing around the globe. But new research suggests that warmer ocean waters and fishing’s effects on ecosystems can alter how much mercury builds up in seafood.

    From Science News Magazine
  • A group of microscopic, near-indestructible creatures called tardigrades, also known as water bears, could now be living on the moon after the Israeli probe Beresheet crash-landed earlier this year, according to the group that loaded them onto the spacecraft.

    From ZME Science
  • Remains of a huge parrot have been found in New Zealand. The one meter-tall bird has been estimated to have weighed in at around 15.4 pounds when it roamed the Earth 19 million years ago. Aside from being half the size of an adult, given its stature, it was probably flightless and carnivorous.

    From ZME Science
  • Exposure to chronic, low dose radiation — the conditions present in deep space — causes neural and behavioral impairments in mice, researchers report in eNeuro. These results highlight the pressing need to develop safety measures to protect the brain from radiation during deep space missions as astronauts prepare to travel to Mars.

    From Neuroscience News

Business and Economics

  • FedEx said it would end its contract to deliver Amazon packages through its ground network, essentially severing ties with one of the world’s biggest shippers.

    From The Wall Street Journal
  • FedEx and UPS have found a formula to be able to deliver seven days a week: using lower-paid workers on Sundays. The two companies, with some assistance from the U.S. Postal Service, will rely mostly on this lower-paid army of delivery drivers as the companies work to turn a profit. The bulk of deliveries will be residential, which are more costly than deliveries to businesses.

    From The Wall Street Journal
  • Tyson Foods and other major chicken companies said they received subpoenas from the Justice Department, signaling an expansion of a criminal investigation into alleged price collusion.

    From The Wall Street Journal
  • Employers are accelerating the trend toward replacing pensions with alternatives that make you shoulder more of the risk and responsibility.

    Millennials and Generation Z will face less prosperous golden years than their parents — unless they’re diligent about allocating money, investing it wisely, and not blowing it when they gain full access.

    From Axios
  • Most college graduates have higher salaries and greater wealth, but in recent years a growing subset of graduates aren’t seeing a return on their investments.

    There are three related shifts causing economists to re-examine the returns of college. First, the wages of graduates have remained mostly flat this century, after inflation. Second, the cost of attending college has soared. Third, even with higher salaries, significant numbers of graduates in recent years are failing to build the kind of wealth that previous generations did.

    From The Wall Street Journal
  • The U.S. Treasury labeled China a currency manipulator for the first time since 1994 after the Chinese central bank let the yuan depreciate, capping a day of escalations in the trade war.

    From The Wall Street Journal

Government and Politics

  • Britain joined the U.S. in forming an international mission to protect shipping through the Strait of Hormuz from Iranian threats.

    From The Wall Street Journal
  • A city-wide strike and three-days of violent clashes with police that spread through the city escalated a political crisis, as Hong Kong’s leader called the situation dangerous and unstable but offered no compromises to abate the unrest.

    From The Wall Street Journal
  • An effort by the FBI to more aggressively monitor social media for threats sets up a clash with Facebook’s privacy policies.

    The potential for unauthorized surveillance is especially sensitive for Facebook because of its recent settlement with the Federal Trade Commission over a series of privacy violations and breaches.

    From The Wall Street Journal


  • Broadband technologies are getting better and faster — but access to them is still concentrated in metro areas and suburbs, leaving vast swaths of the country with marginal service or nothing at all.

    Benefits of the broadband advances are mostly going to consumers who already have plenty of options for robust internet connections. Despite efforts to narrow the digital divide, rural areas, small towns and low-income neighborhoods in big cities still struggle to have access to reliable and affordable broadband service.

    From Axios
  • U.S. immigration officials raided seven Mississippi chicken processing plants, arresting 680 mostly Latino workers in the largest workplace sting in at least a decade.

    From AP
  • In the past 18 months, white-extremist active shooters in the U.S. have been responsible for 63 deaths in seven episodes, including attacks on a Texas Walmart, a Florida high school, a Texas high school and a Pennsylvania synagogue.

    From The New York Times

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