Home In All Lands: One man’s trash: Sweden solution
Sweden is not producing enough trash, and that’s a problem.
To the environmentally-minded members of the Bowdoin community, that statement may well have struck you as odd. Surely, in a world that we know to have finite resources, reduced waste production should be a good thing—not so in Sweden.
Whereas in many countries, household trash is unceremoniously dumped into landfills, the Swedes have become the world’s foremost experts on efficient—and environmentally friendly—incineration.
Home In All Lands: Common cents: follow Canada and abolish worthless penny
As you may have read in my previous columns, I dislike the poor state of the railways in this country and I dislike the endless mischaracterizations of Europe by politicians on this side of the Atlantic. I think the laws on alcohol over here are out-dated and that the USPS shouldn’t be left to die.
The emotion I may reserve for those topics—while great—is nothing compared to my unbridled hatred for something that many of you might not even consider deserving of attention: the penny.
Now, I should make it clear that there isn’t anything intrinsic to pennies as objects that make them worthy of anyone’s ire—after all, they are little more than discs made out of an alloy that is a trifling 2.5 percent copper (the rest is zinc). But the relatively low price of zinc cannot compensate for the fact that it costs 2.4 cents to make a single penny.
Home In All Lands: Ignore Mali at the peril of its total collapse
In a week marked by an ongoing Bowdoin divestment debate, a papal resignation, the State of the Union address and a surprise nuclear test, it’s no small wonder that the situation in war-torn Mali isn’t getting much coverage. After the sudden spike in interest last month following the launch of France’s intervention in the North African nation—“Opération Serval”—foreign news coverage of Malian affairs has largely returned to the way it has been over the last decade: essentially non-existent. Only reports of kidnappings and the occasional piece about the increasing influence of Islamist groups are enough to pique the interest of the media on both sides of the Atlantic. Mali is seen, wrongly, as being no different from any other failed African state, when in fact the repercussions of its collapse would have a significant impact far beyond its borders. In Mali, like in many former colonies, the borders were drawn without any regards to geographical, ethnic or political considerations. This partly explains why the some of the Tuareg—a people known for their nomadic lifestyle and stunning blue robes—have rebelled against the governing power in Mali five times in the last century. Until last year, each effort of the Tuareg people to create an independent nation, Azawad, resulted in a stalemate or was successfully suppressed by Mali’s army. Yet something changed in January 2012, when the most recent rebellion was launched.
Home In All Lands: USPS must have autonomy to survive
Recently, it seems that not a week goes by without some news outlet trumpeting the imminent demise of the United States Postal Service (USPS). The USPS—along with the likes of Kodak and Hewlett-Packard—has been accused of failing to deal with the realities of the 21st century: the world is becoming increasingly dependent on modes of communication that exist beyond the physical realm. Some commentators argue that the USPS has had its day and should be allowed to die. These assessments base themselves upon the cold, hard mathematics of the marketplace while wholly failing to consider the disastrous consequences should the USPS collapse. I wouldn’t dispute that the postal service is hemorrhaging money: every day the USPS loses up to $36 million and annually it loses billions (last year alone, it reported a net loss of nearly $16 billion).
Home In All Lands: AIDS awareness is as important as ever
Tomorrow is World AIDS Day, an opportunity to unite against the pandemic. It’s a chance to show our support for the 35 million people currently living with HIV, and to remember the nearly 30 million people killed by AIDS since the day it was first recognized in 1981.
Home In All Lands: Vote ‘Yes’ on Question 1 for equal rights
This week, in spite of the pouring rain and the howling wind, Bowdoin students headed into town to participate, often for the first time, in the most important element of any democracy: they went to vote.
Home In All Lands: In the midst of bloody civil war, Syria requires more effective diplomacy
Friday marks the 83rd week since the Syrian Civil War began, and neither side is anywhere close to victory. In spite of overwhelming odds, the Free Syrian Army (FSA) now operates in all but one of Syria’s provinces. It has gained power through a series of bloody attacks; FSA forces are assumed to be behind the murders of captives and unarmed loyalists. And the Syrian armed forces continue to relentlessly attack rebel positions. Every day, new reports and videos are released of airforce strikes against villages and towns that support the rebels, although both sides are responsible for many civilian deaths. Since it began, the conflict has made refugees of over 300,000 people, and has claimed the lives of nearly 26,000.
Home In All Lands: Release of Apple’s iOS 6 shows some stagnation in innovation
Following the official launch of the hotly-anticipated iPhone 5 last week, Apple Inc. released iOS 6, the latest iteration of its operating system for mobile devices. The update includes many useful new features, and improved older ones. The most talked-about changes are those that transpired after Apple’s recent divorce from Google.