Belgium Breaking Up?

The Economist's Charlemagne columnist declares Belgium to be a dying country and, for the first time, there've been no accusations of exaggeration. What's going on?

The Economist's Charlemagne declares Belgium to be a dying country and, for the first time, there've been no accusations he's gone too far. "I have been criticised by Flemish readers for being sentimental about the end of Belgium. I have been attacked by French-speaking readers for failing to understand the strength of their case and the injustice of the Flemish case... For the first time, nobody has told me I am exaggerating." Charlemagne claims the Flemish view of reality is that Belgium is made up of two societies, in which a thrifty, centre-right, Dutch-speaking north should no longer have to subsidise a poorer, welfare addicted French-speaking, socialist south."

3,000-pound Triceratops skull unearthed in South Dakota

"You dream about these kinds of moments when you're a kid," said lead paleontologist David Schmidt.

Excavation of a triceratops skull in South Dakota.

Credit: David Schmidt / Westminster College
Surprising Science
  • The triceratops skull was first discovered in 2019, but was excavated over the summer of 2020.
  • It was discovered in the South Dakota Badlands, an area where the Triceratops roamed some 66 million years ago.
  • Studying dinosaurs helps scientists better understand the evolution of all life on Earth.
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A new franchising model offers business opportunities to those who need it most

A socially minded franchise model makes money while improving society.

Freethink
Technology & Innovation
  • A social enterprise in California makes their franchises affordable with low interest loans and guaranteed salaries.
  • The loans are backed by charitable foundations.
  • If scaled up, the model could support tens of thousands of entrepreneurs who are currently financially incapable of entering franchise agreements.
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Gamification: can video games change our money habits?

Fintech companies are using elements of video games to make personal finance more fun. But does it work, and what are the risks?

Pixel art scene

Mind & Brain
  • Gamification is the process of incorporating elements of video games into a business, organization, or system, with the goal of boosting engagement or performance.
  • Gamified personal finance apps aim to help people make better financial decisions, often by redirecting destructive financial behaviors (like playing the lottery) toward positive outcomes.
  • Still, gamification has its risks, and scientists are still working to understand how gamification affects our financial behavior.
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