The best of rbutr…. 26th of May 2014

We’ve been very greedy here at rbutr…

Ever since the beginning of this project, Craig and I have received an email for every single rbutr connection submitted to the system. This was set up so we could keep an eye on the quality and number of submissions coming through, but it has had an unintended side effect. I have been able to keep my finger on the pulse of just about everything happening on the web which is at all contentious. If people are disagreeing about something on the web, then I probably know about it. And because of the unique way rbutr catalogues these debated issues, I have been able to get the full story every time – not just a biased perspective from one source with an agenda. It has been quite interesting having access to this information…and it is time that we started sharing this invaluable information….

Of course no one wants to get several hundred emails a day, so instead of that we’re looking at curating the rbutls which come through our system into a regular digest of ‘the best of the web’. Below is our first attempt at pulling it all together. Depending on what feedback we receive, the plan is to make it a bit nicer looking, and start emailing it to all of our subscribers on a regular basis (either weekly, or as often as we reach a certain number of appropriate rbutls to send out).

So, here is our first ever “The best of rbutr…”

Source Articles Response Articles
Environment
Solar paneled roadways are coming! But will they really work?
Solar PowerEnvironmentPolitcs
Solar Freakin’ Roadways – Youtube Neurologica Blog – Solar Freakin’ Roadways
Solar panel roadways are coming and they are going to be awesome. The creators of these panels are looking for crowd funding through Indiegogo at the moment. OK, so the idea is awesome, but will it really work? What about all of these potential problems which your video didn’t cover…?
Can Nitrogen be a pollutant and a life-giver at the same time? Real Sceptic has a look at Anthony Watts’ claims.
ScienceClimate ChangePollution
Nitrogen as Pollutant and Lifegiver Watts Up With Nitrogen Science Denial
A new study out from Kansas State University describes Nitrogen as a major pollutant and key component of the ecosystem – how can something be a pollutant and crucial for the ecosystem at the same time? Nitrogen Gas in the atmosphere (N2) isn’t the same as what they use in fertilizer to provide nitrogen to plants (NH3 and NO3). And excessive amounts of fertilizer really does cause problems to the environment.
Is the UK on the brink of running out of natural resources?
ResourcesEnvironmentMining
UK ‘needs more home-grown energy’ You know all those resources we’re about to run out of? No, we aren’t
A report by the Global Sustainability Institute says Britain has just 5.2 years of oil and 4.5 years of coal left. The UK and all of Europe need to start expanding renewable energy sources now. The Global Sustainability Institute’s report misunderstands that mineral reserves are just the working stock of currently worked mines, not the total amount available in the long term.
Politics
Do students have the right to protest high profile commencement speakers? Should they be?
PoliticsProtestCommencement Speeches
The Commencement Bigots Object to a War Criminal at Your Graduation? You Must Be a ‘Bigot’
The students protesting against commencement speakers for political reasons are doing themselves a disservice by shutting down opposing perspectives and free speech. The students have every right to protest against someone who is personally responsible for war and torture.
Can journalists decide which government secrets should be made public? Glenn Greenwald responds to a critical review of his book.
PoliticsNSA
Eyes everywhere A response to Michael Kinsley
Who gave Glenn Greenwald the right to pick and choose which government secrets should be revealed? Exactly who should and shouldn’t be punished here isn’t as simple as Glenn Greenwald would have us believe in his book. Michael Kinsley has a long history of defending politicians against the revelations of honest journalists, and this is the person the NY Times chose to review my book…
Health
Hate applying sticky sunscreen? A ‘drinkable’ sunscreen has been doing the rounds lately, but what evidence is there that it works?
SunscreenHealth
Could this be the first drinkable sunscreen? Drinkable Sunscreen – Neurologica
A company claims to provide factor 30 sunscreen protection for up to 4 hours just by ingesting 2ml of their harmonised water product. The Daily Mail has failed its readers by promoting a snake oil product with no evidence of effectiveness at all.
Economics
The best-selling book Capital in the Twenty-First Century has some errors in it. But do they matter?
EconomicsPolitics
Piketty findings undercut by errors A Piketty problem?
The numbers underpinning the conclusions of the bestselling book by Thomas Piketty appear to be wrong. There may be some discrepancies and errors, but it is hard to say for sure. And if the discrepancies shown by Giles are the only discrepancies, then it doesn’t call into question the overall conclusions of the book anyway.
How fair is the Australian government’s 2014 budget?
PoliticsAustraliaEconomics
Why the nation must hold its nerve The verdict is unequivocal: the budget is inequitable
Labour put us into this debt and now Joe Hockey is doing what he can to get us out of it, and we have to let him. We don’t agree with everything in the budget, but we all have to make sacrifices. “The truth is, the government had a range of choices to meet its quite reasonable fiscal objectives, and it chose things that hit the poor and the vulnerable the most.”
ancient rock art

So that’s it. I hope you found something interesting in amongst it all. Do you think you would like to receive an email like this every week, or perhaps twice a week? Let us know in the comments.

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