The new reality is captured by a single, stark fact: Across the world, more people are now obese than underweight. At the same time, scientists say, the growing availability of high-calorie, nutrient-poor foods is generating a new type of malnutrition, one in which a growing number of people are both overweight and undernourished ... The prevalence of obesity has doubled in 73 countries since 1980, contributing to four million premature deaths

Of the country’s nearly 18 million undergraduates, more than 40 percent go to community college, and of those, only 62 percent can afford to go to college full-time ... A quarter of undergraduates are older than 25, and about the same number are single parents ... Last year, more than $41 billion was given in charity to higher education, but about a quarter of that went to just 20 institutions. Community colleges...received just a small fraction of this philanthropy.

The single largest tax expenditure in the United States is for employer-based health insurance. It’s even more than the mortgage interest deduction. In 2017, this exclusion cost the federal government about $260 billion in lost income and payroll taxes. This is significantly more than the cost of the Affordable Care Act each year.

Apple, Alphabet (parent of Google) and Facebook generated $333 billion of revenue combined last year with 205,000 employees worldwide. In 1993, three of the most successful, technologically oriented companies based in the Northeast — Kodak, IBM and AT&T — needed more than three times as many employees, 675,000, to generate 27 percent less in inflation-adjusted revenue.

after decades of affirmative action, black and Hispanic students are more underrepresented at the nation’s top colleges and universities than they were 35 years ago ... The share of black freshmen at elite schools is virtually unchanged since 1980. Black students are just 6 percent of freshmen but 15 percent of college-age Americans,

By 2000, only 5,970 cases were reported in the United States, the lowest since 1941... But in the last few years, it has crept back.... Syphilis is devilishly difficult to contain, but may be even more so now. Because most doctors haven’t seen a case since the late 1990s, they often misdiagnose it. The cumbersome two-step lab test is antiquated. Although syphilis can be cured with an injection, there has been a shortage of the antibiotic, made only by Pfizer, for over a year.

The recent rise of all-encompassing internet platforms promised something unprecedented and invigorating: venues that unite all manner of actors — politicians, media, lobbyists, citizens, experts, corporations — under one roof. These companies promised...real, billion-strong mass participation; a means for affinity groups to find one another and mobilize, gain visibility and influence. This felt and functioned like freedom, but it was always a commercial simulation.

Mastery-based learning, also known as proficiency-based or competency-based learning, is taking hold across the country. Vermont and Maine have passed laws requiring school districts to phase in the system. New Hampshire is adopting it, too, and piloting a statewide method of assessment that would replace most standardized tests… More than 40 schools in New York City — home to the largest school district in the country, with 1.1 million students — have adopted the program.

Population swells, climate change, soil degradation, erosion, poaching, global food prices and even the benefits of affluence are exerting incredible pressure on African land. They are fueling conflicts across the continent, from Nigeria in the west to Kenya in the east ... The quality of farmland in many areas is getting worse, and the number of people squeezed onto that land is rising fast

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 neutrality rules.