Why home 3D printing never lived up to the hype
By Timothy B. Lee
Home 3D printing was supposed to be the next big thing. A 3D printer lets you transform a 3D model of a digital object—say, a model of the Colosseum, a whistle, or an elaborate marble machine—into a physical object. A few years ago, enthusiasts imagined a future where ubiquitous 3D printing rendered a lot of conventional manufacturing obsolete, as people printed everything from dishes to automobile parts at home instead of buying them in a store or online. But four years later, the home 3D printing revolution hasn't panned out yet.
Here's One Way Facebook Might Be Changing the Electorate
By Robinson Meyer
We often hear about Facebook’s incredible power over election results—it’s something I’ve reported on frequently this year. This week, we got a sense of just how outsize that power may be. Tuesday, June 7, is the last day for U.K. citizens to register to vote in the referendum on whether the United Kingdom should remain in the European Union. Last Friday, Facebook began encouraging its users to register to vote in that election by displaying a reminder at the top of their News Feeds. According to the U.K. government, applications to register spiked that day—but only from users applying online, and not from users applying by paper. About 186,000 people filed voter registration forms online on Friday, more than double the number submitted in the days before
Robots Are Invading Malls (and Sidewalks) Near You
By Olivia Solon
Robo-room service may deliver your next continental breakfast. Robot mall cops may soon patrol local shopping outlets. Robot inventory clerks may soon roam the aisles of your grocery store. As these technologies develop robots of all shapes, sizes, and functions will become a regular fixture in the daily lives
SUSTAINABILITY & ENVIRONMENT
Honey Bee Extinction Will Change Life As We Know It
By Sarah Emerson
For an animal most humans take care to avoid, the humble honey bee plays a colossal role in all our lives. But both domestic and wild honey bees are now disappearing at an alarming rate, and the ripple effect of their disappearance will touch every corner of the world. Earlier this year, the United Nations warned global industries that a loss of pollinators will undoubtedly threaten the world’s food supply. In the first ever comprehensive study of pollinator extinction, the United Nations Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services reported that $235 to $577 billion in global crops could be negatively impacted if pollinators like the honey bee continue to disappear.
There’s a mini-Earth in Arizona that’s teaching us to save the real one
By Nina Burleigh
Speakers from academia, business, global diplomacy, and politics came together at Biosphere 2 outside of Tucson to discuss climate change tipping points, the fragility of our planet, and the need for sustainable alternatives for food, energy, and other human needs. Among the speakers were an astronaut and two Biosphereans, who described their different experiences living in “closed life support systems.”
Adidas Spins Plastic from the Ocean into Awesome Kicks
By Margaret Rhodes
From a distance, Adidas’ newest shoe looks seafoam green. But it’s an illusion; up close that pellucid hue gives way to white, with teal thread stitched around the upper in contoured rows, like lines on a topographic map. That thread comes from a company called Parley for the Oceans, and it’s special, spun from plastic waste and old fishing nets retrieved from the coast of Africa.
LABOR, TRADE, & ECONOMY
Walmart sells more than Apple, Amazon and Microsoft, combined
By Olivier Staley
In our future-obsessed, tech-frenzied world, it’s easy to forget the dominance of Walmart, the undisputed king of the Fortune 500. Walmart isn’t a unicorn, and it’s no longer sexy. But it is massive. With $482 billion in revenue, it sells more than Apple, Amazon and Microsoft put together, according to Fortune’s annual ranking of companies by revenue, released yesterday (June 6). It’s bigger than the No. 2 company, Exxon Mobil, and No. 3, Apple, combined. Its sales are greater than the GDP of Poland.
The jarring pay gap between black and white doctors
By Julie Belluz
Harvard Medical School associate professor Anupam Jena wanted to find out whether the black-white pay gap would persist among this homogenous group of medical professionals. In a new study, published today in the Boston Medical Journal, he and other researchers from Harvard and the University of Southern California used race and employment data from two nationally representative surveys to find out. The picture they paint is alarmingly consistent with overall labor trends: Despite the uniform education levels and credentials among doctors, black physicians still earn significantly less than white physicians. The disparity between female black and white doctors is smaller, but female physicians of both races earned significantly less compared to men, the study found.
GLOBAL CONFLICT & DEVELOPMENT
The Fight Against BDS Just Took A Frightening Turn In New York
By Adrienne Mahsa Varkiani
Through an executive order, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) is going after a peaceful boycott movement fighting Israeli occupation—and many critics are worried his effort will seriously threaten free speech. Cuomo declared that the order sends a strong message against the “hateful, intolerant campaign” of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) Movement—a nonviolent grassroots movement that first began in 2005 and places economic and political pressure on Israel to acknowledge Palestinian rights and end its illegal occupation of Palestinian territories. But many are concerned that the executive order goes a step too far.
India will spend $3 billion to clean up one of the world’s most polluted cities
By Manu Balachandran
India is gearing up to shell out Rs19,762 crore ($2.95 billion) to bring down traffic congestion in its capital city. New Delhi, home to some 16 million people, is currently the world’s11th-most polluted city. Two years ago, it was the world’s most polluted. The toxic air here kills about 30,000 people annually. The particulate PM2.5—tiny particles or droplets in the air—in Delhi’s air is over 13 times more than the World Health Organization’s annual recommendation. Some of this pollution is attributed to the over 8.8 million vehicles in the city.
Living in a poor neighborhood changes everything about your life
By Alvin Chang
There is a rather insidious housing practice called redlining that draws bright red lines between the areas where black families can and cannot get loans and has contributed greatly to the poisoning of the mortgage market for black people. Because of redlining, black families have been systematically forced to live in separate neighborhoods. We're seeing two divergent Americas, one with money, and one without — and the one without is largely black.
Charter and Traditional Public Schools Fight Over Money
By Rachel Cohen
The American Prospect
In cities all over the country, charters and local school districts are clashing fiercely over who gets what funding. Districts say charters steal their money, leaving them unable to properly educate the students who remain at their schools. Charter advocates counter that districts’ financial woes began long before charters came on the scene, and students who seek alternatives shouldn’t have to suffer just because districts and unions face budget and organizational crises. Tensions surrounding funding for the charter and traditional public school systems are not going away, and indeed are likely to grow more serious over time.
Two new studies find racial anxiety is the biggest driver of support for Trump
By Christopher Ingraham
The Washington Post
Observers trying to understand Donald Trump's rise have traditionally pointed to two separate but equal drivers of the GOP presidential candidate's popularity: economic and racial anxieties. As David Roberts wrote in Vox at the end of last year: "Are Trump supporters driven by economic anxiety or racial resentment? Yes." More recent data is bringing the drivers of Trumpism into sharper focus, and what we're seeing is striking: Racial attitudes may play a larger role in opinions toward Trump than once thought. Economic concerns, on the other hand, don't seem to have as much of an impact on support for Trump.