over the last two decades, ISDS has morphed...into a powerful tool that corporations brandish ever more frequently, often against broad public policies that they claim crimp profits. Because the system is so secretive, it is not possible to know the total number of ISDS cases, but lawyers in the field say it is skyrocketing. Indeed, of the almost 700 publicly known cases across the last half century, more than a tenth were filed just last year.

Six decades after the construction of the first wave of nuclear power plants, no country has opened a permanent storage site. Spent nuclear fuel and other contaminated material — deadly byproducts of electricity generation — remain stockpiled in temporary locations around Europe and the world, sometimes alongside the reactors where they were used ...The problem is only getting more urgent as power plants across the world near the end of their lives

Scientists...in Belgium recently calculated people who eat seafood ingest up to 11,000 tiny pieces of plastic every year. Last August, the results of a study...reported plastic was found in a third of UK-caught fish, including cod, haddock, mackerel and shellfish. Last year, the European Food Safety Authority called for urgent research, citing increasing concern for human health and food safety “given the potential for microplastic pollution in edible tissues of commercial fish”.

Should Poland’s new legislative measures be implemented, they would “greatly amplify the threat to the rule of law” and “seriously erode the independence of the judiciary" ... Under EU law, the Commission may determine “that there is a clear risk of a serious breach by a Member State” of the EU’s fundamental values. The Commission’s decision would then set in motion a process that could lead to the country losing its right to vote in the Council.

Uruguay’s government has developed a legalization model whose apparent goal is to make marijuana use as boring as possible. A vast regulatory bureaucracy will determine everything from the genetic makeup of the plants to the percentage of psychoactive compounds in their flowers ... anything that smacks of commercial marijuana branding or advertising is banned.

Now, for the first time, researchers have published a sweeping, public, and in-depth accounting of all plastic that has ever been made in the entire world. The number is so big as to defy human comprehension: 8,300 million metric tons since 1950. Of this, 6,400 million metric tons has outlived its usefulness and become waste; 79 percent of that waste is sitting in landfills or the natural environment, 12 percent has been incinerated, and just 9 percent has been recycled.

Robots are...being used to attack the democratic features of the administrative state... the Federal Communications Commission put its proposed revocation of net neutrality up for public comment. In previous years such proceedings attracted millions of (human) commentators. This time, someone with an agenda but no actual public support unleashed robots who impersonated (via stolen identities) hundreds of thousands of people, flooding the system with fake comments against...net neutrality rules.

Campaign-finance reports filed by energy companies show that in 2012 they spent $455,000 on corporate political contributions in Colorado, mostly in a diffuse manner. From 2013 through 2016, they have poured an average of more than $20 million annually into financing Colorado political campaigns for politicians and ballot issues as well as a new, unprecedented public relations effort aimed at molding public opinion — a total in excess of $80 million.

The impotence of laws and institutions is exemplified by Italy: after sharing national laws and institutions for over 150 years, there remains an astounding difference in corruption between North and South. Northern Italy is among the most honest regions in Europe, not far behind Scandinavia; Southern Italy is comparable to the most corrupt regions of South-east Europe... building national institutions is unlikely to be enough to make a difference.

The treatment requires removing millions of a patient’s T-cells...and genetically engineering them to kill cancer cells. The technique employs a disabled form of H.I.V....to carry new genetic material into the T-cells to reprogram them. The process turbocharges the T-cells to attack B-cells, a normal part of the immune system that turn malignant in leukemia. The altered T-cells...are then dripped back into the patient’s veins, where they multiply and start fighting the cancer.