The automation revolution and the rise of the creative economy
By Aidan Cunniffe
We now stand on the precipice of a new revolution; we will see the complete automation of professions once thought to be inextricably human-operated when intelligent machines “take our jobs.” Truth be told, they’ve already begun.
This solar-powered plane just flew across the Pacific
By Peter Kafka
Fly around the world, powered only by the sun. That’s the idea behind Solar Impulse, the group that’s trying to pull off a trip around the globe in a 5,000-pound plane that uses 17,000 solar cells. They’ve been at it, in fits and starts, for a more than a year. Yesterday, pilot Bertrand Piccard finished a three-day, 2,336-mile flight from Hawaii to California. The route crossed over San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge and finished in Google’s Moffett Field, in Silicon Valley.
SUSTAINABILITY & ENVIRONMENT
Four chefs serious about sourcing locally
By Peter Ogburn
These four chefs are way past farm-to-table. One of them even refers to their restaurant as “seed to table.” It’s an intense way of running a restaurant but as they explain it’s about sustaining their businesses, the land, as well as relationships with local farmers. Yes, all of those things can be done resulting is delicious food.
To beat climate change, try paying your taxes
By Tove Maria Ryding
The Paris climate agreement is meaningless without follow through, and that means it has to be funded. The treaty has signatures, which symbolize an agreement, but there’s no clear agreement on how to increase financing on poverty reduction and climate action. As the Panama Papers have revealed, there isn’t a lack of money. The wealth is concentrated in the hands of very few, and they aren’t even paying taxes! International tax cooperation is needed to address the humanitarian and environmental issues facing all of us.
LABOR, TRADE, & ECONOMY
Uber drivers to remain independent contractors in $100 million settlement
By Travis M. Andrews
The Washington Post
Uber has settled two major class action suits in drivers challenged their classification as independent contractors as an unfair denial of benefits. Under the agreement, which covers about 385,000 non-employees, the drivers will remain independent contractors. In return, Uber will pay them $84 million, with an additional $16 million if the company goes public. The company also made concessions that will allow drivers to get tips, to form an association (albeit not a union) to discuss grievances with the company and to appeal deactivations by Uber to a special panel.
Iowa co-ops leading the way on solar
By Chuck Soderberg
The Des Moines Register
Iowa leads all states in cost-effective clean energy, with 31 percent of its electric generation coming from wind, and it’s second nationally in wind energy production, due largely to utility-scale wind development. Not-for-profit electric cooperatives of Iowa, which collectively power the lives of more than 650,000 people every day, are additionally leading with local solutions to incorporate solar generation into the energy mix. This year, nine Iowa co-ops are leading or participating in solar projects, and this number will surely increase.
GLOBAL CONFLICT & DEVELOPMENT
A New Map of Poverty, a New Approach to International Aid
By Bill Gates
The Wall Street Journal
In the past 25 years alone, child mortality has declined by more than half. The proportion of people suffering from hunger has been cut almost as much. And countries like China and South Korea have emerged as global-economic powers. But some trends now threaten to slow this progress. In Europe, the refugee crisis and domestic security concerns are creating economic pressures that may lead wealthy governments to reduce their support for the poorest countries. In Africa and Latin America, nations that have relied on exports of natural resources are reeling from the drop in commodity prices, which in turn is reducing their ability to deliver essential services.
Yemen parties discuss stabilizing ceasefire
The UN special envoy for Yemen, Ould Cheikh Ahmed said Friday that the opening day of peace talks in Kuwait were constructive, despite the warring factions’ failure to agree on an agenda. But participants said the UN-backed peace negotiations would continue. The talks in Kuwait, which opened late on Thursday, bring together the Iran-allied Houthi movement and its General People’s Congress (GPC) party allies with the Saudi-backed government of Yemeni President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi. The talks seek a solution to a conflict which has killed more than 6,200 people, triggered a humanitarian crisis and enabled militants linked to Al Qaeda and ISIS to consolidate their presence in the country. Sources present at the talks, delayed since Monday due to the late arrival of the Houthi delegation and its allies, said the two sides were divided on the priorities and the first session was dedicated to discuss the ways to stabilize the ceasefire.
Meet the uninsured immigrants propping up our $800 billion food industry
By Daniel F. Jimenez and Jacob Simas
There are an estimated 2.5 million farmworkers in the United States, a workforce that is the backbone of an agriculture industry generating $835 billion per year. Many are undocumented and do not have medical insurance, despite the serious health risks associated with their job. Between 2003 and 2011, at least 5,816 agricultural workers in the U.S. died from work-related injuries like heat exhaustion and farm vehicle accidents. Every day, on average, 243 agricultural workers suffer a “serious” injury that leads to lost work time, and 5% of those injuries leave workers permanently impaired, and not all injuries are of the one-time-accident variety. It is clear that, despite their substantial contribution to the US economy, these honest, hard-working people are continuing to fall through the cracks of broken immigration and healthcare systems.
As more Latino kids speak only English, parents worry about chatting with grandma
By Brittny Mejia and Cindy Carcamo
The Los Angeles Times
Many first-generation Mexican immigrants grow up in homes where the family communicates exclusively in Spanish, so bilingualism in both English and Spanish is very important for maintaining familial cohesion. Despite this importance, a new Pew Research study released this week found that in 2014, an estimated 37% of Latinos ages 5 to 17 grew up in households where only English was spoken. That's up from 30% in 2000. Overall English proficiency is on the rise and a declining share of Latinos of all ages are speaking Spanish at home, the study found. Latinos, it seems, are repeating a well-traveled path of assimilation embraced by other immigrant groups such as Italians and Germans.
Georgetown and the Sin of Slavery
By The New York Times Editorial Board
The New York Times
At Georgetown, slavery and scholarship were inextricably linked, as the college relied on its plantations to help pay for its operations. When the school fell into trouble, the sale of the African-American men, women and children staved off its ruin. Following student protests last fall, the university removed from two campus buildings the names of the two priests who arranged the sale. In addition, a university working group made up of students, alumni, professors and others are studying ways for the university to acknowledge, memorialize and make amends for this history.