It’s a sticky subject. For much of human history, the Arctic Ocean has been largely unnavigable: The polar ice cap posed enormous risks for any would-be sailors. Over the course of 1903 to 1906 Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen managed to navigate the Northwest Passage, but the seasonal growth of ice rendered the route impassable much of […]
Most people are well aware of humanity’s constant struggle against famine and food insecurity. According to the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), around 925 million people across the globe went hungry in 2010. The number is staggering, but it’s still down from over 1 billion in 2009. To make this horrific number a little […]
You’ve probably already heard about the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, a gigantic charitable organization that “focuses on improving people’s health and giving them the chance to lift themselves out of extreme hunger and poverty.” Take a look at their fact sheet for more information about the foundation’s work. The foundation places an enormous importance […]
Often called “The Meridian Island,” El Hierro is the smallest of the Canary Islands. It’s a haven for diving enthusiasts, and it may soon become the first island powered entirely by renewable energy. At a first glance, this might not seem like a big deal. After all, El Hierro is only about 107 square miles […]
Isang Litrong Liwanag (in English, the phrase means “A Liter of Light”) is a Philippines-based organization aiming to build indoor lighting in one million homes throughout the country by 2012. Ambitious plans are par for the course when it comes to humanitarian efforts, but this group is a little bit different. They’re not installing electrical outlets or building […]
Here’s the thing about recycling: It’s a lot like voting, in that its effectiveness depends on its scale. Millions of people recycling can make a huge difference, as can millions of people voting. Unfortunately, the majority of the world’s waste is not recycled. Let’s look at the United States: According to the EPA, Americans generated […]
Education is one of society’s most important long-term investments. Like so many other important issues, schooling can be an incredibly controversial topic. Pretty much everyone agrees that some sort of education is vital, but after that the consensus breaks down: What should we be teaching children, exactly? And how should we teach them? In the presentation […]
Each year, the developed world pours billions of dollars in aid to developing countries — in 2006, private aid in the United States alone added up to about 34.8 billion dollars. And, while this money has certainly made some sort of difference, it hasn’t solved the chronic problems of developed countries: High rates of crime […]
If so, DARPA and NASA would like to hear from you. These organizations have numerous experts working with them on any number of endeavors, but they’re asking for outside help tackling the next big question: How can we create a spaceship (and a society) capable of surviving a 100-year-long journey into space? If you have […]
Recent Postings by Category
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Stuff Mom Never Told You
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Stuff to Blow Your Mind
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Stuff You Should Know
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The Stuff of Genius
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Stuff They Don't Want You To Know
Stuff to Change the World
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Stuff You Missed in History Class
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