100 Objects

The School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins University came up with a list of 100 things that have affected our health, in both positive and negative ways. Here’s a peek:


The list includes things we use every day and probably take for granted (shoes, facial tissue, cooking stoves), things most of us probably never use but are necessary for some people (hard hats, electron microscopes), and things we should never use (guns, cigarettes, asbestos). Some may argue that I should not put those three inventions in the same category.

There are lots of things you can do with this list:

  • make a list of things you always/sometimes/never/should but don’t use
  • categorize it in different ways (for instance, where the things were invented, how old the inventions are, things that are not as available in developing countries, things you can/can’t live without … Can you think of other categories?)
  • rank the 100 in one or more ways (best to worst, most to least expensive…) , or make a Top 10
  • find something on the list you’ve never heard of or never used and find out more about it

Governing Mars

According to this article from Quartz, missions to Mars will begin as early as 2018. When we get there, how shall we govern this new territory?

Getting there first will be Elon Musk and others from Silicon Valley, with regular “flights” possibly by 2020. NASA may not get there until 2030. But there are many things to think about before people start colonizing the planet.

  • Should there be a central government on Mars?
  • Should there be a Mars tax?
  • Who should control basic human rights of air and water?

The U.S. Congress has already passed one “space bill” into law and there are people who call themselves “space lawyers.”  The UN has an Office for Outer Space Affairs, and the Moon Agreement was reached way back  in 1979. Read about all this and think about what kind of government you’d like to see on Mars.

5 years on

The Japan News (from Yomiuri Shimbun) has an interactive look at the Tohoku area that was devastated by the earthquake and tsunami on March 11, 2011. You can look at each area and compare aerial views to see the reconstruction over the years. Each area’s page also has a 360° movie (in Japanese), an article (in English) with stories about the people of that area, and a fact box with key statistics.

5 years on

This is the Kesennuma area: