Curious about Everything

Day: October 16, 2021 (Page 1 of 3)

American bumblebees have disappeared from 8 US states and is under threat of extinction

Asha C. Gilbert, USA Today »

Dwindling populations of the American bumblebee and their complete disappearance from eight states has led to a call for the bee to be placed under the Endangered Species Act before they face extinction.

Maine, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Vermont, Idaho, North Dakota, Wyoming, and Oregon each have zero or close to zero American bumblebees left, according to a petition by the Center for Biological Diversity and Bombus Pollinators Association of Law Students.

Over the last two decades, the American bumblebee population has decreased by 89% across the U.S. New York had a decline of 99% and they disappeared from the northern part of Illinois that has seen a 74% decrease in population since 2004, the petition said.

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UK to put nuclear power at heart of net zero emissions strategy

Jim Pickard and Nathalie Thomas, FT 🔒 »

UK ministers will put nuclear power at the heart of Britain’s strategy to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2050 in government documents expected as early as next week, alongside fresh details of its funding model.

Kwasi Kwarteng, business secretary, is to unveil an overarching “Net Zero Strategy” paper as soon as Monday, along with a “Heat and Building Strategy” and a Treasury assessment of the cost of reaching the 2050 goal.

The creation of a “regulated asset base” (RAB) model will be key to delivering a future fleet of large atomic power stations. The RAB funding model is already used for other infrastructure projects, such as London’s Thames Tideway super sewer.

Under the scheme, households will be charged for the cost of the plant via an energy levy long before it begins generating electricity, which could take a decade or more from when the final investment decision is taken.

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France finally starts cleaning up its shameless elite

Simon Kuper, FT 🔒 »

But times are changing. Last week the Goncourt banned jury members from consecrating lovers and family. Most unusually too, the newly unveiled shortlist featured no books from the country’s best-connected publisher, Gallimard. All this follows last year’s reform of France’s biggest cinematic prizes, the Césars: the board resigned after 400 artists criticised an “elitist and closed” academy that had nominated a film by the convicted paedophile director Roman Polanski for 12 awards.

France hasn’t suddenly become a Nordic-style model of transparent egalitarianism. But it is reforming, and it’s not alone. When elite institutions are attacked from below, they find reason to clean up.

Italy has slashed its number of parliamentarians and is reforming its courts so that wealthy defendants can’t string out cases until they lapse. In Britain, Oxbridge is admitting more state-school pupils. Voters have stopped tolerating self-dealing leaders, as witnessed by this week’s resignation of Austrian chancellor Sebastian Kurz and the defeat of Czech prime minister Andrej Babis. Part of fighting corruption is that we should be willing to acknowledge when it declines.

Vienna museums open adult-only OnlyFans account to display nudes

Elle Hunt, The Guardian »

More than a century after the artists of the Vienna Secession declared “to every age its art; to art its freedom”, the Austrian capital has found a new site for artistic expression free from censorship: the adults-only platform OnlyFans.

Vienna’s tourism board has started an account on OnlyFans – the only social network that permits depictions of nudity – in protest against platforms’ ongoing censorship of its art museums and galleries.
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