Quartz

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To solve the world’s affordable housing crisis, should second homes be banned?

Around the world, house prices are spiraling out of control while wages stagnate, leading to talk of a global housing crisis.<p>In the US, the affordable housing crisis is turning high-earners into renters, which is particularly acute in San Francisco, where residents can rent a refurbished FedEx van …

Housing

There is one country where most Europeans would rather live—and one they’d all rather avoid

Europe had a tumultuous 2015: two terror attacks hit France, Greece’s economy dropped into a deep depression, and a record number of refugees arrived on the continent’s shores. And with the prospect of a British exit from the EU next month, no one’s quite sure what 2016 has in store.<p>On the back of …

Sweden

Santiago’s subway system will soon be powered mostly by solar and wind energy

Though the subway system in Chile’s capital, Santiago, has five lines and over 100 stations, it still ranks second to Mexico City’s bigger system in Latin America. In the near future, though, Metro de Santiago will have bragging rights of another sort.<p>Soon, 60% of its power needs will be met by …

Wind Power

Africans are living longer than at any point in the last 25 years

In a year which has seen Africa’s biggest economies falter as the rhetoric of a boom has been questioned, data from the WHO’s World Health Statistics 2016 report shows a much-needed positive: life expectancy on the continent is better than it was in 2000. While the report shows a global spike in …

Statistics

Eritreans are still waiting on freedom, 25 years after independence

Exactly 25 years ago this month the Eritrean People’s Liberation Front marched into Asmara, sending the Ethiopian forces they had been fighting for 30 years scrambling out of the city. There was widespread elation. The underdogs had triumphed against an army that had been bankrolled for decades by …

East Africa

North Korea rejects Donald Trump’s pledge to hold talks with Kim Jong-un as “nonsense”

Donald Trump’s pledge to engage with North Korea is not being met with open arms in Pyongyang.<p>So Se Pyong, the country’s ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva, told Reuters he believes Trump’s calls to speak with Kim Jong-un are a form of political posturing.<p>“It is up to the decision of my …

Donald Trump

China’s internet propaganda is more subtle and sophisticated than it ever has been

Chinese government propaganda is often pretty heavy-handed. State media insist that economic growth will be L-shaped, for example, but do not bother to say what that means. A string of bizarre English-language music videos demand praise for China’s 13th Five-year Plan, and detail how great …

Propaganda

Facebook says an investigation of its trending topics finds “no evidence of systematic political bias”

Facebook just wrapped up its investigation into trending topics on the social network, and concludes there was “no evidence of systematic political bias,” according to a letter its lawyer sent to the US Senate.<p>On May 9, Gizmodo published allegations that contractors employed by Facebook to select …

Facebook

Obama visits Vietnam, eats with the only available expert on Vietnamese food, Anthony Bourdain

Between diplomatic agreements, Barack Obama is being well fed.<p>The US president is in Vietnam this week to announce new joint economic agreements and formally usher in a new period of friendship between the two nations.He is also dutifully following a longstanding tradition that dictates tall …

Anthony Bourdain

Obama has signed a bill erasing the words “Oriental” and “Negro” from federal legislation

Starting last Friday (May 20), “Oriental” will no longer be used as shorthand for Asian Americans in US federal law. The word “Negroes,” too, is out.<p>President Barack Obama signed the bill during Asian Pacific American Heritage Month and ahead of a trip to Vietnam and Japan. “At long last this …

Vocabulary

Researchers in a multi-decade study say LEGOs have showed an “exponential” increase in violence

LEGOs: Now with more weapons!<p>The number of toy weapons such as miniature guns, knives, and harpoons featured in sets of tiny plastic LEGO building blocks has increased by 30% from 1978 to 2014, according to a study published last week in PLOS ONE by researchers at New Zealand’s University of …

Lego

“Work at things that are central to your life”: The argument for never retiring

In the US, a traditional career is designed as a marathon, with the finish line at age 65. After a 40-year grind, we’re expected to stop working and revel in a life of idle, stress-free days funded by hard-earned pension plans.<p>But not everyone wants to stop: For the few who’ve found a way to blur …

Milton Glaser

Xerox’s Ursula Burns is the only black woman running an S&P 500 company—and she’s stepping down

When Ursula Burns was named CEO of Xerox in 2009, she was heralded as the first black woman to lead an S&P 500 company. No one thought she would be the last.<p>But with her plans to step down later this year, there will be no black women leading the 500 biggest US companies, and only 19 female CEOs at …

Financial Markets

Vietnam is globalization’s last big fan

It should come as no surprise that US president Barack Obama’s first visit to Vietnam was accompanied this week by a flurry of deal-making.<p>Vietnamese airline VietJet ordered 100 planes from Boeing, a deal worth more than $11 billion. And Obama announced the US would rescind its 50-year arms embargo …

Vietnam

After all it’s done to keep “Game of Thrones” a secret, HBO leaked this season’s best episode

When it comes to <i>Game of Thrones</i>, resistance to spoilers is futile. If an actor or a reporter (or a revenge-minded ex) doesn’t spoil the show, HBO <i>itself</i> will.<p>The premium cable network has gone to great lengths to ensure that no one reveals upcoming plot points in the cult fantasy drama. But in a …

Game of Thrones

German scholars started work on the ultimate Latin dictionary in 1894, and they’ll be done in four decades

The Thesaurus Linguae Latinae is a reference book 122 years in the making. And at long last, the scholars of the comprehensive Latin dictionary are (sort of) nearing their finish line—in 2050.<p>The project, commissioned by a collection of German academies in 1894, has the stated goal of documenting …

A luxury hotel in Nepal is still hosting a camp for earthquake survivors, over one year later

KATHMANDU, Nepal— On a calm, clear afternoon last April, Bishnu Karki settled in for a nap in his home. He was dozing in an upstairs bedroom when a 7.8 earthquake slammed his village of Tatopani in hilly, central Nepal, collapsing its stone, shingled homes and striking deep, jagged lines through …

Luxury Lifestyle

One company has a big edge in the fight to dominate the Internet of Things

Most of the innovation on the so-called Internet of Things is locked up in patents held by the companies that make the innards of sensors, routers, and other devices, according to a study by LexInnova, a consultancy.<p>The study finds that the companies with the greatest number of IoT patents globally …

Internet

The trick to conquering email is to treat it like a sport

For the contemporary office worker, the dream of achieving “inbox zero” is about as awe-inspiring—and far-fetched—as pitching a no-hitter in the major leagues. Instead, we find ourselves buried under relentless waves of messages from co-workers, clients, and collaborators.<p>But what if we were able …

Email

Investment banks are paying billions in fines, and that’s a problem for job seekers

Getting a job in investment banking has never been easy. It may get harder as the industry’s big firms face assaults on numerous fronts, from private equity and data and service companies, to new technologies, to their own mismanagement.<p>According to Boston Consulting Group, while total revenue for …

Finance

I’m ditching traditional banks in favor of Bitcoin—and you can, too

I’ve been interested in bitcoin (BTC) as a concept since its inception. Until recently, however, I considered bitcoin more of a cryptographic experiment than something that could affect my daily life.<p>One of the biggest obstacles for me was practicality. A few years ago, buying bitcoin or selling …

Bitcoin

China’s latest weapon in the battle for the South China Sea is newspaper advertising

Readers of Canada’s Globe and Mail newspaper might have spotted an unusual advertisement over the weekend. Courtesy of the Chinese consulate in Vancouver, it complemented restaurant reviews and other light reading with a half-page, all-text ad entitled “The South China Sea Arbitration Case …

South China Sea

The “Made in India” space shuttle has just passed its first big test

On paper, it was just a short test flight. But for India’s dreams of building an indigenous space shuttle, the narrow plume of smoke in the skies above Sriharikota was a big deal.<p>At 7 AM on May 23, a prototype of India’s Re-usable Launch Vehicle (RLV)—a reusable space shuttle designed to put …

NASA

Watch: “Peace with honor,” Richard Nixon’s 1973 speech on the end of US involvement in Vietnam

US president Barack Obama’s trip to Vietnam this week could result in an historical agreement to lift the American arms sale embargo on the Southeast Asian nation, more than 40 years after the end of the bloody conflict that divided both nations.<p>Over 58,000 American soldiers and more than one …

Vietnam

Google is launching a new research project to see if computers can be truly creative

Google wants to put the art back in artificial intelligence.<p>During the last session at Moogfest, a four-day music and technology festival, in Durham, North Carolina, Douglas Eck, a researcher on Google Brain, the company’s artificial-intelligence research project, outlined a new group that’s going …

Research

It’s a ‘psychedelic renaissance,’ as scientists identify medicinal qualities of hardcore drugs

When illegal drugs make the news, it’s usually for tragic tales of overdose, crime, and addiction. But substances typically found at nightclubs and music festivals have been cropping up in scientific journals recently, with several separate studies uncovering the medicinal benefits of these drugs. …

Psychedelia

A prominent developer’s critique of Apple is catalyzing anxieties about its future

Marco Arment, the former lead developer for Tumblr and creator of Instapaper, this weekend (May 21) argued in a blog post that Apple risks succumbing to the same fate as BlackBerry, which saw its business evaporate when Apple’s iPhone changed the game.<p>Arment contends that Apple is unprepared for …

Marc Andreessen

A four-armed robot can now improvise music as well as human bandmates

He bobbed his head with the groove, and leaned way in when he wanted to play more complicated melodies, rocking and rolling with the beat of the jam. This wasn’t a your average jazz band member, though—this was Shimon, a four-armed robot marimba player built by the Georgia Institute of Technology …

Robots

A man-made meteor shower launched by satellite could open the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo

Japanese research company ALE is bidding to create an artificial meteor shower for the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games in Tokyo in 2020. The project, Sky Canvas, goes beyond your average fireworks display: It involves launching a satellite into space “loaded with about 500 to 1,000 ‘source …

Tokyo

A controversial theory may explain the real reason humans have allergies

For me, it was hornets.<p>One summer afternoon when I was 12, I ran into an overgrown field near a friend’s house and kicked a hornet nest the size of a football. An angry squadron of insects clamped onto my leg; their stings felt like scorching needles. I swatted the hornets away and ran for help, …

Health