Today you can hardly tell when something is remade, because so often it is remade by code. When you press your foot down on your car’s accelerator, for instance, you’re no longer controlling anything directly; there’s no mechanical link from the pedal to the throttle. Instead, you’re issuing a command to a piece of software that decides how much air to give the engine. The car is a computer you can sit inside of. The steering wheel and pedals might as well be keyboard keys.

even if nothing about our energy infrastructure or transportation system changed—and even if people kept eating chicken and pork and eggs and cheese—this one dietary change...substituting beans for beef...could achieve somewhere between 46 and 74 percent of the reductions needed to meet the target ... if everyone were willing and able to do that—hypothetically—the U.S. could still come close to meeting its 2020 greenhouse-gas emission goals, pledged by President Barack Obama in 2009.

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.

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.

Without really good public transportation, it's very difficult to deal with inequality ... Transportation is about more than just moving people from point A to point B. It’s also a system that can either limit or expand the opportunities available to people based on where they live. In many cities, the areas with the shoddiest access to public transit are the most impoverished—and the lack of investment leaves many Americans without easy access to jobs, goods, and services.

For the people of Hawaii, alarm bells are ringing....King tides like this aren't just a historic anomaly; they're a sign of what's to come...In April levels peaked at more than nine inches above predicted tides and broke the record high for any water level around Hawaii since 1905. Scientists say the record is likely to be broken again in 2017.

The globalization of food supply chains makes widespread outbreaks more likely, and in some ways more difficult to track. Already there are nearly 50 million foodborne infections in the United States each year—and they cause about 250,000 hospitalizations and 3,000 deaths ... Mitigating the increased risks associated with a longer, globalized supply-chain will require “robust capacity for public-health surveillance.”

Power may be decentralized in the American system, but it devolves to the state, not the city. Recent events in red states where cities are pockets of liberalism are instructive, and cautionary. Over the past few years, city governments and state legislatures have fought each other in a series of battles involving preemption, the principle that state law trumps local regulation, just as federal law supersedes state law. It hasn’t gone well for the city dwellers.

Since the mid-1990s, opponents of abortion have deployed ultrasound in their attempts to restrict abortion access. Five states have enacted “informed consent” laws, which require doctors to show their patients ultrasound images, and in some cases to describe the images, before performing an abortion. Two of those laws have been struck down by state courts. Twenty other states require a doctor to at least offer to show a woman seeking an abortion ultrasound.

every new administration since 1984 has repealed or reinstated...a rule that prohibits foreign organizations that receive U.S. family-planning funds “from providing counseling or referrals for abortion or advocating for access to abortion services in their country.” This rule, known as the Mexico City policy, blocks U.S. family-planning assistance to these groups, even if their abortion-related activities—including information, referrals, or services—are conducted with non-U.S. funds.