The world’s second-biggest economy, which has vowed to cap its carbon emissions by 2030 and curb worsening air pollution, is the latest to join countries such as the U.K. and France seeking to phase out vehicles using gasoline and diesel. The looming ban on combustion-engine automobiles will goad both local and global automakers to focus on introducing more zero-emission electric cars to help clean up smog-choked major cities.

Now, researchers at the University of Cambridge have created a new material that mimics spider silk’s strength, stretchiness and energy-absorbing capacity. This material offers the possibility of improving on products from bike helmets to parachutes to bulletproof jackets to airplane wings. Perhaps its most impressive property? It’s 98 percent water.

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”.

Cambridge Analytica buys personal data...like land registries, automotive data, shopping data, bonus cards, club memberships, what magazines you read, what churches you attend...in the US, almost all personal data is for sale...Cambridge Analytica aggregates this data with the electoral rolls of the Republican party and online data and calculates a Big Five personality profile. Digital footprints suddenly become real people with fears, needs, interests, and residential addresses.

people often respond warmly to qualitative evidence, such as the stories of individual migrants and photographs of diverse communities. But statistics – especially regarding alleged benefits of migration to Britain’s economy – elicit quite the opposite reaction. People assume that the numbers are manipulated and dislike the elitism of resorting to quantitative evidence.

much of the backlash against immigration (and globalism) is not economic but cultural: Many people still care about their own versions of national identity and mistrust global institutions such as the EU ... rising unemployment didn’t make British regions more likely to vote to leave the EU, but a growing migrant population did. These voters were bothered less by competition from immigrants than by their perceived effect on the country’s linguistic, religious and cultural norms.

states with higher ratios of primary-care physicians have lower rates of general mortality, infant mortality, and mortality from specific conditions such as heart disease and stroke ... reforms in California that provided all Medicaid recipients with primary-care physicians resulted in lower hospitalization rates. By contrast, private Medicare plans that increased co-payments for primary-care visits—and thereby reduced such visits—saw increased hospitalization rates.

The words used by neoliberalism often conceal more than they elucidate ... “Investment”...means two quite different things. One is the funding of productive and socially useful activities, the other is the purchase of existing assets to milk them for rent, interest, dividends and capital gains. Using the same word for different activities “camouflages the sources of wealth”, leading us to confuse wealth extraction with wealth creation.

DeepMind...learning software had found a way to reduce the quantity of electricity that is needed to cool Google data centres, by two-fifths. The software learned about the task by crunching data-centre operation logs, and then optimised the process by running it over and over again in a simulation

Young people are also reported to have a much more fluid sense of sexual identity and gender. A National Citizen Service (NCS) poll of 1,000 teenagers published in October this year found that only 63% of teens aged 16 and 17 define themselves as 100% straight (compared with 78% of adults). Gender identity is also less binary, with 78% of young men identifying as 100% male, and 80% of young women identifying as 100% female, according to the same NCS poll.