A graph showing global sea ice levels are seriously low went viral this week as people speculated what this says about how sustainable our economies are. The Arctic is freezing too slowly and the Antarctic is melting too fast, which means there’s far less sea ice than usual. Scientists say this just couldn’t have happened in pre-industrial times – i.e. before global warming kicked in. They’re also linking this to record cold weather in Russia and Central Asia. Extreme colds can be pretty expensive; the ‘polar vortex’ that hit North America two years ago cost around $5 billion from things like lost working days, canceled flights, and burst water pipes. New Scientist for more details.
UK prepares for Brexit slump
This week the UK’s Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond, told us that the government expects much slower
over the next few years, mostly because of Brexit. He’s going to have to borrow £122bn to fill in the gap and invest into things like roads, houses, and fast internet. Reactions have been mixed: some say it was a ‘solid package that will reassure businesses’ about the state of Britain’s economy, while others say the continued cuts to benefits and public services will bring the country backwards. Here’s our quickfire summary, and a series of reactions from the BBC.
No, Vladimir Putin would not like to join you on LinkedIn
The Russian government blocked access to the professional networking website LinkedIn this week on the grounds that companies with personal information about Russian citizens have to store the data on Russian soil. LinkedIn didn’t do that, so they got shut down. But Facebook, Twitter, and a host of other big websites aren’t following the rules either, so the LinkedIn shutdown has caused a lot of uncertainty for the bigger fish in the digital market. The Moscow Times has the story.
Ensuring your elections aren’t hacked by the Russians? Priceless.
The US Green Party is raising funds to demand a recount of the results of the 2016 election. They’re saying it’s not 100% impossible that someone (the Russians) hacked the vote-counting process. But counting votes ain't cheap; they think they’ll need at least $7 million by next week to get recounts in three states. Luckily for the Greens, the internet has made it pretty easy to raise a few million dollars in a weekend. The Washington Post has more.
In other news…
Amazon Friday. It’s Black Friday! In the next 24 hours we’ll likely be treated to a slew of riot-like photos of deal-crazed shoppers, but that’s only half the story. This year online sales are expected to pass in-person sales for the first time.
Mr. Roboto? In the long list of human jobs taken by robots, we can now add ‘cemetery guard’. A cemetery in China has created a creepy-looking robot to ‘provide company’ to the human guards that work the night shift.