Accelerating Problems

Consumer activist Ralph Nader says that lax federal regulation of an ever-more complex auto industry is partly to blame for Toyota's present crisis.

Consumer activist Ralph Nader says that lax federal regulation of an ever-more complex auto industry is partly to blame for Toyota's present crisis. "The spotlight on sudden-acceleration defects of Toyota vehicles has opened a window on lax enforcement by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the serious problems caused by deregulation over the last several decades. As the fatality and injury toll climbs -- and Toyota sales plummet -- it's time to ask why the sleepy Washington safety sentinels at the Department of Transportation aren't doing the job the people expect of them. Part of the problem is the deregulatory mania that has gripped Washington since the Ronald Reagan years. Since the Reagan administration, NHTSA has been severely cut back. Its budget has been nearly halved (when adjusted for inflation), which has left it with a far smaller technical staff. Former NHTSA Administrator Joan Claybrook has testified to the need for an immediate budget increase of $100 million just to assure that NHTSA has the technical personnel and capability to meet its obligations in the areas of safety standards, defect recall, enforcement and research."

An ancient structure visible from space isn’t man-made

Long hidden under trees, it's utterly massive

(Roy Funch)
Surprising Science
  • This 4,000-year-old structure can be seen from space and wasn't built by humans
  • It's made up of 200 million mounds of earth
  • It's still under construction today
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Antimicrobial resistance is a growing threat to good health and well-being

Antimicrobial resistance is growing worldwide, rendering many "work horse" medicines ineffective. Without intervention, drug-resistant pathogens could lead to millions of deaths by 2050. Thankfully, companies like Pfizer are taking action.

Image courtesy of Pfizer.
Sponsored
  • Antimicrobial-resistant pathogens are one of the largest threats to global health today.
  • As we get older, our immune systems age, increasing our risk of life threatening infections. Without reliable antibiotics, life expectancy could decline for the first time in modern history.
  • If antibiotics become ineffective, common infections could result in hospitalization or even death. Life-saving interventions like cancer treatments and organ transplantation would become more difficult, more often resulting in death. Routine procedures would become hard to perform.
  • Without intervention, resistant pathogens could result in 10 million annual deaths by 2050.
  • By taking a multi-faceted approach—inclusive of adherence to good stewardship, surveillance and responsible manufacturing practices, as well as an emphasis on prevention and treatment—companies like Pfizer are fighting to help curb the spread.
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How Christians co-opted the winter solstice

Christmas has many pagan and secular traditions that early Christians incorporated into this new holiday.

Saturnalia by Antoine Callet
Culture & Religion
  • Christmas was heavily influenced by the Roman festival of Saturnalia.
  • The historical Jesus was not born on December 25th as many contemporary Christians believe.
  • Many staple Christmas traditions predated the festival and were tied into ancient pagan worship of the sun and related directly to the winter solstice.
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