GDPR Might Make the Internet Better by Eliminating Shady Businesses

computer screen

Now that the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is in effect companies are reacting. You may have noticed new messages on websites outlining that they are collecting information on you, or maybe you’ve received emails updating you on new privacy policies. Those notices are a result of the GDPR’s rules around how companies spy on you and use your data for profit. What GDPR is doing in practice is eliminating the business models of some corporations and we might all benefit from these sketchy companies going kaput.

For companies whose entire business model was users not really understanding the entire business model, the cost of direct sunlight may just be too high. Unroll.me, a company that offers to automatically declutter your in-box (while, uh, selling the insight it gleans from your data to companies like Uber), announced that it will no longer serve E.U. customers.

If enough companies follow this lead, one practical effect might be a split internet, with one set of GDPR-compliant websites and services for the E.U. and another set with a somewhat more, let’s say, relaxed attitude toward data for the rest of the world. But even a loosely enforced GDPR creates conditions for improving privacy protections beyond Europe. Facebook, for example, has already said it will extend GDPR-level protections to all of its users — if they opt in to them.

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Science by People for People

To the average person it might look like scientists operate in an ivory tower away from reality, which, can make engaging in scientific issues intimidating. To bridge this gap engaged citizens and scientists have launched themselves into the “citizen science” way of doing things. Basically what that means is that they’re taking science to the streets.

Through Uprose and HabitatMap, another New York-based environmental justice organization, Gomez and a handful of other youth banded together to figure out exactly how much pollution the expressway was coughing into the neighborhood. “There are no entrances to the expressway in Sunset Par–just the exits,” says fellow youth organizer Brian Gonzales. “So we’re left with thousands of cars and trucks passing through every day.” The exhaust from those cars–particularly particulate matter 2.5, which is so small that 60 particles lined up equal the width of a human hair–is especially pernicious. While larger particles may lodge in nose hairs or the back of the throat and never make it into the body, PM 2.5 passes deep into the lungs and eventually the blood. They cause short-term problems like asthma and bronchitis, and cancer and heart disease later.

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Stick it to Straws

People are more aware than ever before about the damage to our planet caused by plastics. The whole life-cycle of plastics causes harm from collecting non-renewable oils to the long lifetime of most plastic products. Plastic has even been found at the bottom of the Mariana Trench (video below)! Of course, campaigns exist to try to reuse plastic use on a industrial scales while increasing recycling capacity. There is something that you can do today to help reduce plastic waste: skip the straw when you order a drink.

So we wanted to help out reducing the plastic straw. Today. Not waiting for politicians or governments to take action but just by the power of people. So we made a little sticker that can help to change our habits. A friendly one that bar owners can appreciate (because they can buy less straws)

Made by the Lieke. aka Liekeland. Everything she draws looks just..beautiful. I’d highly recommend to check out her website, best enjoyed with a cup of tea.

OK back to it. You can find 3 different stickers in this download kit.
1: Menu Stickers. Small to stick on the drink section on a menu
2: Counter Stickers. Slightly bigger and contain some extra information, perfect to stick on the bar or counter
3: Street sticker. Spread the word on the streets. Simple but effective! (we occasionally sell a few in our bazar)

Read more and get the sticker kit.

Straw

Bus to the Future

bus

Every couple of years some new-fangled technological solution pops up claiming to fix all of our transit woes. We’ve long been promised flying cars and still we need to people on the ground. Today cities are hoping that ride-sharing apps will fill in the void left from poorly funded public transit while industrialists like Elon Musk want to tunnel under our cities. Regardless of these “advanced” solutions we still need to support mass transit. Over at City Lab they’ve decided to launch a series on celebrating one of the most efficient urban people movers” the bus.

Because it turns out that when rubber-tired fleets are treated as a mighty social good, people willingly hop on. See the Minneapolis “A Line,” where buses are essentially held to the standards of rail service: They get first-go at traffic lights, accept boardings at every door, and stop every half mile, rather than every block. Look at all of the citiesfollowing the example of Houston, which overhauled its bus route network in 2015 and saw a 15 percent Saturday ridership spike in the first year; Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, and New York City are all taking their cues. And look, perhaps most of all, at San Francisco, Phoenix, and Seattle, the only major cities where bus ridership meaningfully ticked up last year. All have city-wide plans to fund and improve service. What’s been missing in most cities is this type of attention.

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Costa Rica to Ban use of Fossil Fuels

forest and river

Back in 2015 Costa Rica ran on only renewable energy for the first quarter of the year, and since then they have improved. The country now regularly runs their power grid using only renewable sources and their new president wants to take that to the next level. The government announced that the long-term goal of Costa Rica is to decarbonize their entire energy consumption. Yes that means cars, boats, and anything else that currently consume fossil fuels.

“Decarbonization is the great task of our generation and Costa Rica must be one of the first countries in the world to accomplish it, if not the first,” said Alvarado, a former journalist and political scientist.

At 38, making him Costa Rica’s youngest ever president, Alvarado is keen to lead the way in environmental initiatives as “the world’s decarbonization laboratory,” meeting the demands of the Paris Climate Agreement.

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