DINNER PARTY INTEL: It’s comeback season
The topics you have to be able to discuss this week
1. Mature take on loans
Zimbabwe hopes cows, goats and sheep will back bank loans, and it isn’t the only country to make it possible to put up alternative methods of collateral. An Italian bank accepts parmesan cheese when farmers need loans. Cash-for-cheese loans date back to the Medici era. Today, a wheel of cheese could be worth thousands of dollars. The loan ensures that in the time it takes for the cheese to mature (18 to 36 months), farmers can feed their cattle and pay their workers.
2. A market for nostalgia
It’s comeback season: the Nokia 3310 recently joined gaming consoles from the 1990s to make its way back into our lives. Now the Tamagotchi is back to celebrate its 20th anniversary. If the numerous digital pet apps available for download are anything to go by, there appears to be a market for it. But will Tamagotchis meet the expectations of tech-savvy kids or will those of us who used them on playgrounds in the 1990s be more inclined to buy them? The Telegraph quotes one fan: "My kids’ schools banned them. I had to take the damn things to work each day to keep them alive."
3. Denial is not a policy
A delightfully nerdy celebration of discontent: that’s how news site Vox described Saturday’s "march for science". The threat of funding cuts that could come with the policies of US President Donald Trump drove usually apolitical scientists into the streets. But their beef also has to do with the political assault on facts-based evidence by populist politicians. Clean environment policies are set to be the biggest casualties of Trump’s support for bad science.