FEMA's most whimsical metric? The Waffle House index.

What does a fast-casual diner have to do with natural disasters? Quite a lot, actually.

Flickr user Chris Harrison
  • FEMA employs many metrics to assess the severity of natural disasters, but one of the strangest is the Waffle House index.
  • Because Waffle Houses have incredibly robust disaster management policies, their response to a natural disaster can be used to assess how quickly a community can get back on its feet.
  • If your area is about to be hit by a hurricane or an earthquake, look to the local Waffle House: it's not time to panic unless they're closed.
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Politics & Current Affairs

Public opinion study in Europe shows drop in anti-immigration sentiment, among other changes

Despite the negative rhetoric, Europeans are getting more liberal about immigration.

Contrary to appearances at times, Europeans have become more receptive to immigration in recent decades.

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Politics & Current Affairs

Great risk for great gain: Immigrants and innovators are psychologically the same

Don't denigrate immigrants, says Jared Diamond. You are one.

  • Every American, without exception, is an immigrant. Native Americans immigrated 13,000 years ago, and everybody else has immigrated within the last 400 years.
  • The decision to emigrate is made by people who are healthy, strong, willing to undertake risks, and face the unknown. Those are also essential qualities for innovating.
  • It's no coincidence that the great majority of American Nobel Prize winners are either first-generation immigrants or the children of first-generation immigrants.
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Videos

Earth at 2°C hotter will be horrific. Now here’s what 4°C will look like.

This is what the world will be like if we do not act on climate change.

  • The best-case scenario of climate change is that world gets just 2°C hotter, which scientists call the "threshold of catastrophe".
  • Why is that the good news? Because if humans don't change course now, the planet is on a trajectory to reach 4°C at the end of this century, which would bring $600 trillion in global climate damages, double the warfare, and a refugee crisis 100x worse than the Syrian exodus.
  • David Wallace-Wells explains what would happen at an 8°C and even 13°C increase. These predictions are horrifying, but should not scare us into complacency. "It should make us focus on them more intently," he says.
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Videos

Why not all uncivilized people are barbarians

Oppression causes many people to run for the hills. Literally.

ROBERTO SCHMIDT/AFP/Getty Images
  • We often imagine that civilization was formed when people agreed to from societies together and then attracted others out of the wildreness to join them.
  • Some historians and anthropologists argue that a huge part of Asia is filled with people who did the opposite.
  • If true, the idea could flip our understanding of how states and civilizations form on its head.
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Politics & Current Affairs