Rome and the Catholic Church fighting over change tossed into the Trevi Fountain

Every year, visitors to Rome's famed Trevi Fountain toss in more than $1.7 million in coins. Historically, the Catholic charity Caritas has taken that money to help poor people. Now though, Rome mayor Virginia Raggi wants the cash for repairs to the city's infrastructure. From the BBC News:

We did not foresee this outcome," Caritas director Father Benoni Ambarus told Avvenire, the newspaper of the Italian bishops' conference. "I still hope it will not be final."

The newspaper ran a scathing article on the move in its Saturday edition, headlined "Money taken from the poorest".

City councillors have approved the change and it is due to take place in April.

Above, the classic Trevi Fountain scene from Federico Fellini’s La Dolce Vita (1960), featuring Anita Ekberg. Read the rest

Protest without strategy is performance

In times of trouble, people want to do something, but as activist Kat Calvin points out, make sure your time and resources are spent wisely. Otherwise you end up enriching grifters: Read the rest

Are you donating to one of America's worst charities?

The Tampa Bay Times has done some excellent investigative reporting on the 50 worst charities in America — organizations that took in more than $1 billion over the past 10 years, and gave almost all of that money to their own staffs and professional solicitors. The series explains how charities like this operate and skirt the regulatory system. But if you're feeling TLDR, there's also a PDF that can help you quickly figure out if you're donating to one of these scams. A large portion of the 50 worst is made up of charities devoted to cancer and veterans' issues. Read the rest

Maggie in a silent auction to support Phillips Neighborhood Medical Clinic

This Thursday, I'll be donating my time to support The Phillips Clinic, a free healthcare provider that serves more than 1000 patients in Minneapolis. Come to the Clinic's annual silent auction where you'll be able to bid on awesome items like gift cards, a hot air balloon ride, and a presentation by me! If you win me, I'll come talk to your lab/students/friends/cats about how to better communicate science to the general public. Bidding starts at 6:00 pm, this Thursday, at the University of Minnesota's McNamara Alumni Center. Read the rest