America’s largest public library ditches late fees

With the realization that overdue charges disproportionately affect access for low-income readers, libraries are reconsidering the value of fees.

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  • The Chicago Public Library found that a third of their economically disadvantaged members had been denied borrowing privileges due to overdue books.
  • Overdue fines account for a tiny fraction of library funding, so the ramifications of ending them are more social than financial.
  • Though 92% of U.S. libraries still charge late fees, the number is shrinking.
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A world map of private islands (some are a steal!)

There's something special about islands - in some cases, it's the price tag

Image: TD Architects
  • In fiction or reality, islands exert a special attraction on the imagination
  • For the ultra-rich, owning an island is the ultimate luxury
  • However, some islands are affordable even with a modest budget
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Why Germany is a blank spot on Google's Street View

There are good historical reasons why Germans are suspicious of surveillance — but is Google as bad as Gestapo or Stasi?

Image: Google Maps
  • Since its launch in 2007, Google Street View has mapped millions of miles of roads across the world — and even gone to space and into the ocean.
  • Germany and Austria are a conspicuous gap in the mess of blue lines that covers the rest of Europe.
  • It's to do with Germans' curious sense of privacy: they'd rather flaunt their private parts than their personal data.
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Terraform Mars? How about Earth?

Fauna and flora refuse to go quietly into the Anthropocene.

Image source: Lightspring/Shutterstock
  • Pioneers of the Greater Holocene plan to strike back against concrete.
  • Seed packets and plant nutrients are the weapons of choice for standing up to humanity's destructive impact.
  • Hopeless? Maybe. Poignant? Absolutely.
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In a world of autonomous vehicles, this is why we'll need more public transport than ever

Combined with high-capacity public transport, AVs could remove 9 out of every 10 cars in a mid-sized European city.

The media is fascinated by autonomous vehicles (AVs), in particular their safety and when or if they will arrive en masse.

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