GERONTOCRACY, THE RULE OF THE OLD

While Ukraine chooses a president with virtually no political experience, Americans are about to face an entirely different dilemma. Ballot cards in the presidential elections coming in 2020 will most likely include two of these three names: Donald Trump, Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders. When Ronald Raegan (known better from the silver screen before becoming the president) won the vote back in 1980 the country was shocked that somebody who is almost 70 would hold such a demanding position, both physically and mentally. In 2020 Trump, Biden and Sanders will be 73, 77 and 78 years old respectively. Result of the latest opinion poll showed that 46% of people are happy with Trump, yet experts point out that this does not guarantee his re-election. The most serious challenge comes from Joe Biden who can be called anything but an unexperienced candidate. He can boast the longest career in the heart of Washington politics, a stunning 48 years. So far he has tried to become president three times (1987, 2008, 2016). In 2008 he lost the nomination to Barrack Obama but later became his vice-president, in 2016 his son had died of cancer shortly before and it was Hillary Clinton who received the Democratic nomination. Many think that if he hadn’t quit the race, Trump would not be the president now. Round two of the fight next year.

ENGLISH STUDENTS LEARN LESS COMPUTING

According to a study conducted by the University of Roehampton, England, the ever growing demand for IT specialists and programmers is met with a strange response: fewer 16-year-olds learn computing. The study says number of students who took the GCSE (a type of final exam) in computer science or ICT (information and communications technology) in 2018 fell by 10,000 from 140,000 in 2017. This is partly to blame on ICT exam’s bad reputation. Apparently, the course taught only basic skills like making a PowerPoint presentation and universities got students who did not know even the basics of coding. Another fact is that over the years 2012-2017 the number of computing hours in English secondary schools went down by 31%. There is a concern that students older than 14 will not get almost any education in the subject. Many are alarmed by the present state and hope for a reaction of the Department for Education. Their first one was replacing ICT with more advanced computer science. They also plan to spend 84 million pounds over the next 4 years for training 8,000 computer science teachers.

IT’S IMPOSSIBLE, BUT BECAUSE IT’S YOU – WE HAVE A CHANCE

After Barcelona defeated Liverpool 3:0 in the first-leg of Champion League’s semi-final nobody believed Liverpool was capable of recovering and qualifying for the final. The Reds were in an even worse situation after their two crucial players, Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firminho, got injured. Liverpool’s manager, Juergen Klopp, did believe in his team, though. Just before the match started he told his players: ”It’s impossible, but because it’s you – we have a chance.” The first effects came soon with Origi scoring a goal in 7th minute. The real shock, however, took place just after the second half started when a substitute, Georginio Wijnaldum, scored 2 more goals in just 122 seconds. Barca, infuriated but helpless, received the final blow in 79th minute from Origi. This is the first time since 1986 that a team lost in 3:0 in the first-leg semi-final of such tournament and managed to qualify to the final (back than it was Barcelona who were successful, kicking out Gothenburg). 

CARBON FOOT(PRINT) FOR THOUGHT

In last week’s Polityka weekly an exceptionally well-researched and presented article examined the nuances of the frequently discussed carbon footprint – the amount of CO2 released to atmosphere through our daily activities. Among several intriguing points made by its author Edwin Bendyk was a calculation stating that if humans wanted to live at a current (2016) Polish average of approximately 10 tons of CO2 [released to atmosphere] per person per year, we would need 9 Earths to maintain our standard of living and survive. Just for you to get an idea: sending an SMS equals 0,014 grams, having a banana – 80g, a beef steak – 2kg and a trip to Szczecin and back in an eco-friendly car – 330kg. You can check your personal footprint using (for example) a calculator at ziemianarozdrozu.pl. Another thing pointed out by the author concerned countries such as UK who have been bragging about having reduced their CO2 emissions by 27% between 1990 and 2014. They aren’t, however, accounting for the fact that they moved most of their CO2-producing industries to China during that period. Bendyk has quite a sensible answer to this recurring question: does it make any difference if I change my ways to produce less CO2 and the politicians don’t make the required system/policy changes? Well, if you combine changing your ways with being a conscious citizen and voting for politicians/parties who put environment first, then the answer, according to Bendyk, is: „Yes, it does.” There is at least one tangible takeaway from this: one of Nutshell’s contributors after reading the article asked his colleagues to please chop off his hands if they ever catch him reaching for that delicious processed meat at No Bell’s cafeteria. 

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