This is Issue 75.2 of Digestable, your thrice-weekly mouthful of things happening in the world.
Today’s news, fermented:
A few tidbits and tools from me today:
The UN has rolled out a new flood mapping tool that allows you to experience sea level rise from street level. Terrifying.
Another map: 60 years of urban change, visualized
Last map, this time a story map of Providence’s waterways
In other news, the IMF (international financial institution that rarely does anything good) has concluded that the fossil fuel industry receives subsidies at the rate of $11 million per minute. That makes Jeff Bezos, the richest alien on earth, look like practically a pauper with his earnings of a mere $142,667 per minute.
Then again, if you recall that Bezos is only 57, and the fossil fuel industry is not only a whole industry that runs the global economy and many major governments but also is quite a bit older than that, you recall that there’s plenty of reason to dethrone them both.
Anyway, I’m sure everyone’s shocked that this is what I’m thinking about this morning.
Ladies and gentlethems, I leave you with a cassowary, the world’s deadliest bird.
Brought to you by the superb Latifah Azlan.
With all the attention paid to the British Royal Family, it's easy to forget sometimes that there are many other monarchies around the world with their own fair share of scandals and shenanigans that deserve their own slot in the Royal News columns.
This week, there has been a lot of fanfare around the Imperial House of Japan and a long-postponed, but upcoming wedding that will see one of its princesses give up her royal title. Princess Mako is the niece of Japan's current Emperor Naruhito, who ascended to the throne after the abdication of then-Emperor Akihito in 2019. Princess Mako is actually Akihito's oldest granddaughter and she has been engaged to her long-term boyfriend, Kei Komuro, since 2018. They were supposed to be married three years ago but ended up calling off the engagement due to a "financial scandal" that involved Kei's mother and her ex-fiancè. Did I forget to mention that Kei is also a commoner? Because he is. The pair met in university, started dating when they were very young, and evidently fell in true love with each other because Mako has not only stood by Kei's side while his family scandal was ongoing (despite calling off the engagement), but she's also pretty much set on relinquishing her title and claim to the throne once she marries Kei.
The Japanese Imperial family basically does not allow its princesses to marry commoners and still remain part of the family. I guess when Mako called off the engagement in late-2018, people assumed it was because she was having doubts about walking away from all of it. Well, as it turns out, she wasn't and they're going to get married at the end of October! Sadly the tables have sort of turned on public sentiment towards the couple. When Mako and Kei first announced their engagement in 2018, they were cast as the perfect match. Since Kei's family's scandal, however, the media has changed their tune and have now dubbed the couple Japan's very own "Harry and Meghan" (of course) given Mako and Kei's plans to settle in the US once they wed. Yes, I'm sure that's the only reason for the comparison.
Anyway, the couple will be moving to New York sometime this year, where Kei will start working at a prestigious law firm (he recently graduated from law school at Fordham University). Mako's parents apparently don't approve of the marriage at all but it's not like tempting her with royal riches and titles have worked to keep her in line so far. Reportedly, Mako is also foregoing the millions in payment she would have received for letting go of her status and title. The couple will also be having a low-key ceremony instead of the traditional pomp and circumstance of a Japanese royal wedding -- they will be merely registering their marriage at a government office before flying off to the States. Again, the Japanese monarchy has very strict rules on who can inherit the throne. Basically, it's only the male heirs. And as I've mentioned before, the women of the Imperial Family also can't keep her title if they decide to marry a commoner, which, is quite an unfair decision to find one's self making considering the small pool of eligible men of royal descent they can choose to love from. So good for Mako and Kei for forging ahead with their lives! They've literally been in love for a whole decade so I'm pretty sure it's the real deal.
Oh, here's the latest scandal Kei's embroiled in: landing in Japan sporting a tiny ponytail. Yet another sign that he is unfit to marry the princess!