Daily Digest 12/2 - 60-Day Bread Could Cut Food Waste, Saying No To College
The Next Global Hotspot To Worry About (jdargis)
For months, Chinese patrol boats and other craft have scuffled with foreign vessels, mainly from the Philippines and most often over contested fishing grounds. But an assertion from officials in Hainan that they can stop and board any vessel passing through these waters is something quite different. The US Navy has had a lot of different missions over the centuries, but one of its elemental purposes has been defending freedom-of-navigation on the high seas. The Seventh Fleet is the regnant military power in this area. I am usually in the "oh calm down" camp about frictions, especially military, between China and America. But it is easy to imagine things becoming dangerous, quickly, if the new Chinese administration actually tries to carry out this order.
While city officials have not set a date by which they hope to have all evacuees out of hotels, they are busy working on a more permanent housing solution with private landlords and the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development. A plan is expected to be announced soon.
Storm Charity: 15% Of What? (jdargis)
“For New Yorkers hosting holiday parties, this is the best way to give back to those in need after Sandy,” VenueBook’s chairman, Kelsey Recht, said in a news release, providing no apparent basis for the claim. As it happens, VenueBook is giving a percentage of the commission it receives from the event sites to City Harvest, but there is no real indication that using the company as a charitable pipeline would be more beneficial than discreetly asking every guest at your buffet table to please put $5 in a ceramic Santa that could then be sent to a relief agency.
A few lenders have tweaked their procedures to navigate the problem, and housing advocates are petitioning the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to devise guidelines for lenders in situations that involve surviving relatives. Banks say that while the volume of delinquent mortgages means that they need a blanket policy to cover all homeowners who are behind on their payments, they are willing to work closely with widows.
Saying No To College (jdargis)
The idea that a college diploma is an all-but-mandatory ticket to a successful career is showing fissures. Feeling squeezed by a sagging job market and mounting student debt, a groundswell of university-age heretics are pledging allegiance to new groups like UnCollege, dedicated to “hacking” higher education. Inspired by billionaire role models, and empowered by online college courses, they consider themselves a D.I.Y. vanguard, committed to changing the perception of dropping out from a personal failure to a sensible option, at least for a certain breed of risk-embracing maverick.
While many homeowners are beginning to rebuild without any thought to future costs, the changes could propel a demographic shift along the Northeast Coast, even in places spared by the storm, according to federal officials, insurance industry executives and regional development experts. Ronald Schiffman, a former member of the New York City Planning Commission, said that barring intervention by Congress or the states, there would be “a massive displacement of low-income families from their historic communities.”
Food waste is a massive problem in most developed countries. In the US, figures released this year suggest that the average American family throws away 40% of the food they purchase - which adds up to $165bn (£102bn) annually.
The New Rubber Boomlet (jdargis)
The aim, says Tião Viana, the state’s governor, is to make standing forest more valuable than logging and ranching so that Acre can protect trees without sacrificing development. Since 1999 the state has been mapped and zoned, with much of its forest protected as parks or reserved for Amerindians or extrativistas. Some, mostly small-scale, farmers still clear forest illegally. But the rules have broadly stuck. Some previously deforested areas must be replanted; some can be used for low-impact farming, and others are used for forest-product industries. “We don’t need to clear any more land,” says Mr Viana. “But we’re not afraid to use what has already been cleared for development.”
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