Catacombs of Paris: The city of darkness finds its new raison d'être

Ancient corridors below the French capital have served as its ossuary, playground, brewery, and perhaps soon, air conditioning.

Credit: Inspection Générale des Carrières, 1857 / Public domain
  • People have been digging up limestone and gypsum from below Paris since Roman times.
  • They left behind a vast network of corridors and galleries, since reused for many purposes — most famously, the Catacombs.
  • Soon, the ancient labyrinth may find a new lease of life, providing a sustainable form of air conditioning.
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Why cities are critical to achieving a carbon-neutral world

In May 2018, the city of Paris set an ambition to be carbon-neutral by 2050.

Photo by Rodrigo Kugnharski on Unsplash
  • Countries, governments and companies are aligning on a need for net-zero - and this is an opportunity to rethink decarbonizing our cities.
  • There is no "one-size-fits-all" solution – each city's needs must be at the heart of developing integrated energy solutions.
  • A city can only decarbonize through collaboration between government, the private sector, and local communities.
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Education vs. learning: How semantics can trigger a mind shift

The word "learning" opens up space for more people, places, and ideas.

  • The terms 'education' and 'learning' are often used interchangeably, but there is a cultural connotation to the former that can be limiting. Education naturally links to schooling, which is only one form of learning.
  • Gregg Behr, founder and co-chair of Remake Learning, believes that this small word shift opens up the possibilities in terms of how and where learning can happen. It also becomes a more inclusive practice, welcoming in a larger, more diverse group of thinkers.
  • Post-COVID, the way we think about what learning looks like will inevitably change, so it's crucial to adjust and begin building the necessary support systems today.
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A buried ancient Roman city uncovered using radar technology

Ground-penetrating radar allows the non-invasive virtual excavation of Falerii Novi.

Image source: L. Verdonck/University of Cambridge
  • Using ground-penetrating radar, layers of an ordinary field in Italy are pulled back to reveal a lost Roman town.
  • Without disturbing a single artifact, an incredible level of detail is uncovered.
  • The buried town, Falerii Novi, has been quietly awaiting discovery since it was abandoned at the start of medieval age.
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Guess what? We go to libraries more often than movies.

Gallup found that in 2019, movie attendance didn't even come close to library visits.

Image source: Amelie & Niklas Ohlrogge/unsplash
  • Of all public cultural destinations, libraries are the most often visited.
  • Libraries' expanded offerings make them more attractive than ever, especially to lower-income groups.
  • Women are far more likely than men to visit a library.
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