Peter Diamandis is throwing money at the world's biggest problems.

Peter Diamandis is throwing money at the world's biggest problems.

If we locked the geniuses of the world in a room filled with computers and Red Bull, all of mankind's problems might eventually be solved. Global warming, AIDS, the inexplicable need for a Hummer h2-these are what Peter Diamandis calls the "grand challenges of our time." Solutions, he says, are out there.Barring that dream scenario, Diamandis, 45, founder of the L.A.-based X Prize Foundation, advocates another way: offer the geniuses a lot of money. He has created a new punk-capitalist ethos by using cash-prize competitions to foment scientific innovation, free from the constraints of lawyers, lobbyists, and CEOs. "We're living in such a risk-averse society that it's killing us," says Diamandis, a graduate of both MIT and Harvard Medical School.
We're living in such a risk-averse society that it's killing us.
"Breakthroughs that could benefit mankind are being slowed by the establishment. Instead, these prizes are open to the most brilliant minds on the planet."Diamandis, a lifelong space-travel buff, was the brains behind the $10 million Ansari X Prize, which led to the world's first privately-funded manned spacecraft leaving the earth's atmosphere in October, 2004. That same spacecraft (a version of which will soon be available for public spaceflight through Virgin Galactic) did it again two weeks later-making NASA look like an ossified dinosaur.These days Diamandis has more terrestrial goals in mind. This spring, he announced two new prizes in the works for next year. The Automotive X Prize will be awarded to a team that can build a hyper-fuel efficient car, while the Genome X Prize will reward the discovery of a cheap method to sequence the human genome (an advance which could potentially lead to cures for everything from cancer to diabetes). Think he won't be around to enjoy the fruits of these innovations? "My personal goal is to live until age 700," says Diamandis, ever faithful in scientific advances yet to come. "So I still feel pretty young."LEARN MORE
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Sin City is doing something good for its less fortunate citizens as well as those who've broken the law this month. The city of Las Vegas, Nevada will drop any parking ticket fines for those who make a donation to a local food bank.

A parking ticket can cost up to $100 in Las Vegas but the whole thing can be forgiven by bringing in non-perishable food items of equal or greater value to the Parking Services Offices at 500 S. Main Street through December 16.

The program is designed to help the less fortunate during the holidays.

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However, all of that has changed since the election of Donald Trump in 2016. Voters in Maine, particularly those who lean left, have run out of patience with Collins and her seeming refusal to stand up to Trump. That frustration peaked with the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.

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The U.K. is trying to reach its goal of net-zero emissions by 2050, but aviation may become the biggest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the U.K. by that same year. A new study commissioned by the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) and conducted at the Imperial College London says that in order for the U.K. to reach its target, aviation can only see a 25% increase, and they've got a very specific recommendation on how to fix it: Curb frequent flyer programs.

Currently, air travel accounts for 2% of global greenhouse gas emissions, however that number is projected to increase for several reasons. There's a growing demand for air travel, yet it's harder to decarbonize aviation. Electric cars are becoming more common. Electric planes, not so much. If things keep on going the way they are, flights in the U.K. should increase by 50%.

Nearly every airline in the world has a frequent flyer program. The programs offer perks, including free flights, if customers get a certain amount of points. According to the study, 70% of all flights from the U.K. are taken by 15% of the population, with many people taking additional (and arguably unnecessary) flights to "maintain their privileged traveler status."

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