$300,000,000,000+: 2017's American "natural disaster" bill was by far the highest in history

Until 2017, the biggest bill Americans ever paid for a year's worth of "natural disasters" was $214.8B, back in 2005: in 2017, it was at least $300B, not counting much of the damage to Puerto Rico from Hurricane Maria. Read the rest

2017's shittiest technology trends, news blurts, and stupidities

MIT Tech Review's Antonio Regalado rounds up the year's stupidest, worst moments in tech, from the guy who created his own CRISPR-based gene therapy to beef up his muscles and injected it to Donald Trump's Twitter feed to the FCC's Net Neutrality catastrophe. Of course, Juicero rates a mention. Read the rest

An orifice-by-orifice census of the objects US emergency room doctors removed from their patients in 2017

The US Consumer Product Safety Commission maintains a database of ER visits, which Barry Petchesky has mined to produce a list of the most interesting things we stuck in our bodies, sorted by orifice. Read the rest

Close out a thoroughly unfunny 2017 with a hilarious compendium of the year's best standup on Bullseye

Every year, Jesse Thorn dedicates the final episode of his Bullseye podcast to a compendium of the year's best standup comedy albums (here's last year's); this year's installment is just out (MP3), and it's a must-listen tonic for difficult times. Read the rest

The arc of history is long, but how do we bend it?

Ada Palmer -- novelist, singer, historian -- just dropped a 10,000 word essay on the nature of progress and historical change that has provided some of the most significant perspective on our own strange moment that I've yet to read -- and in so doing, has provided a set of mental tools for figuring out how to survive 2017 and beyond. Read the rest

Bruce Sterling and Jon Lebkowsky's annual State of the World wrangle on The WELL

It's January, which means that Bruce Sterling and Jon Lebkowsky have returned to the WELL for their annual State of the World wrangle, in which, as Sterling puts it, we see who's "gonna collapse first: us pundits, or the World?" Read the rest

2017: the medium-disastrous projection (as told by Charlie Stross)

Charlie Stross has concluded his three-part, wrist-slittingly hilarious projection of the likely (?) outcomes of 2017, which starts with the death of Queen Elizabeth and a massive economic collapse in the UK, and ends when President Pence gets stomach flu and is replaced, once again, by the disgraced President Trump, whose fingers are itching to press the nuclear button. Read the rest