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.

China does still have considerable economic power — as evidenced recently during a dispute with South Korea over the deployment of a U.S.-led missile defense system in the country. However, North Korea may be a harder sell: China shares a long border with the Hermit Kingdom and is believed to be fearful that its neighbor could potentially collapse, leaving open the possibility of war on its doorstep and huge numbers of refugees entering China.

Why doesn’t California, a champion of renewable energy, use all the solar power it can generate? The answer, in part, is that the state has achieved dramatic success in increasing renewable energy production in recent years. But it also reflects sharp conflicts among major energy players in the state over the best way to weave these new electricity sources into a system still dominated by fossil-fuel-generated power.

Geneticists are running ever-bigger and more expensive searches to identify the variants behind all kinds of traits and diseases, in the specific hope that their results will tell them something biologically interesting. They could show us more about how our bodies develop, for example, or point to new approaches for treating disease. But if Pritchard is right, then most variants will not provide such leads because they exert their influence in incidental ways.

Medicaid pays for most of the 1.4 million people in nursing homes... It covers 20 percent of all Americans and 40 percent of poor adults ... A combination of longer life spans and spiraling health care costs has left an estimated 64 percent of the Americans in nursing homes dependent on Medicaid. In Alaska, Mississippi and West Virginia, Medicaid was the primary payer for three-quarters or more of nursing home residents in 2015, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.

Among the two dozen most populated states that determine the vast majority of Congress, there were nearly three times as many with Republican-tilted U.S. House districts. Traditional battlegrounds such as Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Florida and Virginia were among those with significant Republican advantages in their U.S. or state House races. All had districts drawn by Republicans after the last Census in 2010.