US Infrastructure Faces An IQ Test

One measure of the stimulus bill's effect on righting the listing ship of the US economy will be how well it allocates monies for domestic infrastructure.

The list of ailments afflicting US highways, water supplies, electricity grids and public transit networks is extensive but most of them could be confronted with more smart technology. California is considering revamping its highways with Vehicle Infrastructure Integration, or VII, a series of electronic tracking systems to monitor traffic volume, accidents and speed to better predict congestion. Onboard instruments in the next generation of smart cars would receive information from VII and communicate updates back, in the event of an accident for instance. Such a system is already in place in Singapore which significantly alleviated congestion in their city center.

Ageing water supply systems are equally if not more in need of rethinking. In the New York area, for example, subterranean aqueducts are prone to serious leaks that some engineers say could compromise the entire city's drinking water if left unfixed. New technologies offer sensors to track leaks in water mains before they start flooding suburban basements.

The number of stakeholders that need to come to consensus on smart infrastructure technology is as daunting as the problems themselves. Federal government, the private sector, state municipalities and citizens must huddle intensely to decide how best to apply the financial opportunity the stimulus presents.

'Upstreamism': Your zip code affects your health as much as genetics

Upstreamism advocate Rishi Manchanda calls us to understand health not as a "personal responsibility" but a "common good."

Sponsored by Northwell Health
  • Upstreamism tasks health care professionals to combat unhealthy social and cultural influences that exist outside — or upstream — of medical facilities.
  • Patients from low-income neighborhoods are most at risk of negative health impacts.
  • Thankfully, health care professionals are not alone. Upstreamism is increasingly part of our cultural consciousness.
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Afghanistan is the most depressed country on earth

No, depression is not just a type of 'affluenza' – poor people in conflict zones are more likely candidates

Image: Our World in Data / CC BY
Strange Maps
  • Often seen as typical of rich societies, depression is actually more prevalent in poor, conflict-ridden countries
  • More than one in five Afghans is clinically depressed – a sad world record
  • But are North Koreans really the world's 'fourth least depressed' people?
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Banned books: 10 of the most-challenged books in America

America isn't immune to attempts to remove books from libraries and schools, here are ten frequent targets and why you ought to go check them out.

Nazis burn books on a huge bonfire of 'anti-German' literature in the Opernplatz, Berlin. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)
Culture & Religion
  • Even in America, books are frequently challenged and removed from schools and public libraries.
  • Every year, the American Library Association puts on Banned Books Week to draw attention to this fact.
  • Some of the books they include on their list of most frequently challenged are some of the greatest, most beloved, and entertaining books there are.
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  • Oumuamua, a quarter-mile long asteroid tumbling through space, is Hawaiian for "scout", or "the first of many".
  • It was given this name because it came from another solar system.
  • Some claimed 'Oumuamua was an alien technology, but there's no actual evidence for that.