5 Things to Talk About Today

  • A Canadian photographer has documented the "unnatural interventions" of humanity on the environment. Edward Burtynsky has won many awards for his photographic work, including exhibitions at the Tate and the Guggenheim. Burtynsky's website states, “[We] come from nature. … There is an importance to [having] a certain reverence for what nature is because we are connected to it. … If we destroy nature, we destroy ourselves." His new show, Art/Act, will open at Berkeley’s David Brower Center on September 18 and depicts the “scale of human impact on our environment and the resources re-shaped and exhausted by our consumption.” — The Atlantic
  • A new species of a human relative has been found in an African cave. The largest fossil discovery of its kind was found by two amateur cavers who crawled on their stomachs through a 10-inch opening and a 400-foot descent, sideways, before finding the fossil fragments. The discovery was first made in 2013, but it took a month of excavation and two years of analysis by more than 50 international experts. The new species has been called Homo naledi. — The Washington Post
  • Drivers in 17 states should expect to pay about $2 for gas by the end of the year. A dramatic cut in the forecast by Energy Information Administration this week predicts the national gas price will fall to $2.03 a gallon by December. It hasn't been this low since the recession in 2008 to 2009. Unfortunately, some areas are still seeing high gas prices, including California, Nevada, Alaska, and Hawaii. — Money
  • Two of America's largest debt collectors are being ordered to refund millions to consumers. The refunds come after allegations were made that they used "deceptive practices to collect bad debts." These companies allegedly "buy outstanding debts from creditors at highly reduced rates" and then collect on them. According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, both Encore Capital Group and Portfolio Recovery Associates "threatened and deceived consumers to collect on debts they should have known were inaccurate or had other problems." — Consumer Finance
  • In 18 countries, women still need permission from their husbands to get a job. Even after the United Nations committed to improving gender equality two decades ago, still just a handful of those countries treat women the same under the law as men. The World Bank’s latest biennial report on Women, Business and the Law surveyed 173 economies, and about 90% of the economies surveyed have at least one law that is discriminatory against women. — The Wall Street Journal