14th December 2018

Other Stories - 14th December 2018

Can we make green taxes easier to swallow? Yes, in a word. Macron’s recent fuel tax hikes caused widespread protests across France for one reason – it’s a flat rise, meaning the poor are affected the most. There is another approach. Academics have found ways to charge people for the pollution they cause while protecting people struggling financially. Australia also made a positive step in this respect when it created the Robin Hood policy, which redirected carbon taxes to help those worse-off. BBC News

Instagram is failing people with eating disorders. A BBC investigation has found that people with anorexia are able to search for hashtags that direct them to posts encouraging unhealthy eating habits. The social media site has made some terms unsearchable, but it appears that people with eating disorders are able to search for words with deliberate spelling mistakes to find the content. BBC News

Is it worth lowering the drink drive limit? Scotland famously reduced its drink drive limit from 80 mg/dL to 50 mg/dL in 2014, but it hasn’t actually reduced car accidents. Weekly accident rates stayed between five and nine per 1,000 traffic count in the country between 2013 and 2016, which is proportionally similar to that in England and Wales. Though it is worth noting that roadside breath tests have reportedly fallen to their lowest level. The Telegraph

Snake farms might become a thing of the past. Every day, snake milkers closely handle extremely dangerous snakes to get hold of their venom. It’s how we can produce antivenoms. But they might not have to keep snakes captive in this way for much longer because scientists in the Netherlands have produced mimics of venom-producing glands. If they can use the glands to extract venom, we could wave goodbye to snake farms. Science News

Forget planet of the apes – we’re living on planet of the chickens. According to scientists, chickens are so widespread they’ll become the fossils that define our life on Earth – much like woolly mammoths were for the Ice Age. They’ve also changed so much in a relatively short period of time due to farming, which means they’re likely to demonstrate how humans shaped the environment. The Telegraph and BBC News

‘World Cup’ was the most Googled term of 2018. It’s not surprising, given England reached the quarter finals for the first time since 1990. ‘Meghan Markle’ came in close second and ‘Royal Wedding’ came next. Fourth and fifth place were more genuinely surprising – ‘Black Panther’ and ‘Roxanne Pallet’ (the Celebrity Big Brother contestant who accused a fellow housemate of punching her). It seems we’re more concerned about football, the royals, and entertainment than we are about Brexit. Sky News

Is it possible to cycle through the Himalayas with no eyesight? This man is proving you can. Divyanshu Ganatra from Pune in western India lost his eyesight at the age of 19 because of a disease called glaucoma. But that hasn’t stopped him from pursuing his outdoor adventures. In 2014 he set up a charity, Adventures Beyond Barriers, and each year he organises a 500km cycle expedition through the Himalayas for people with disabilities. This year, five blind people and two single-handed amputees rode alongside able-bodies cyclists to reach their unified goal. BBC News

The Queen hasn’t passed her driving test. Yes, she does drive, but she’s the only person in the UK who doesn’t need a driving license – despite having her name on all of our licenses. Don’t worry, she is a very experienced driver and even trained as a mechanic and driver as part of her Women's Auxiliary Service during World War II. Pop Sugar


Stat of the week

Young people believe they’ll be limited by their social standing. According to the Social Mobility Commission, only 13% of 18 to 24-year-olds in the UK believe their generation will enjoy the best standard of living. Only a third thought that people from all backgrounds had a fair chance and 75% agreed that there’s a large gap between social classes in the UK. The Guardian

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