When it comes to the never-ending debate on America’s health care system, international comparisons abound. The usual point of reference is, naturally, our neighbor to the north, although France, Switzerland, and the U.K. are sometimes invoked as well (the French in particular have been consistently recognized by the WHO as having the best health care in the world).
However, there is no shortage of countries with universal health care systems of some form or another, so why not broaden the scope of these comparative analyses to see what else we can learn? New York Times columnist Ross Douthat did just that with a piece that examines the incredible success and efficiency of the Singaporean model. Continue reading
Singapore’s latest development will finally blossom later this month, with an imposing canopy of artificial trees up to 50 meters high towering over a vast urban oasis.
The colossal solar-powered supertrees are found in the Bay South garden, which opens to the public on June 29. It is part of a 250-acre landscaping project — Gardens by the Bay — that is an initiative from Singapore’s National Parks Board that will see the cultivation of flora and fauna from foreign lands.
The man-made mechanical forest consists of 18 supertrees that act as vertical gardens, generating solar power, acting as air venting ducts for nearby conservatories, and collecting rainwater. To generate electricity, 11 of the supertrees are fitted with solar photovoltaic systems that convert sunlight into energy, which provides lighting and aids water technology within the conservatories below.
Varying in height between 25 and 50 meters, each supertree features tropical flowers and various ferns climbing across its steel framework. The large canopies also operate as temperature moderators, absorbing and dispersing heat, as well as providing shelter from the hot temperatures of Singapore’s climate to visitors walking beneath.
This is a remarkable achievement, and not surprising coming from Singapore: this quintessential nanny state is known for an authoritarian but highly efficient approach to infrastructure development, environmentalism, and social policy. Of course, that doesn’t mean other countries such as the US couldn’t pull it off, if we as a society were willing to make the investment.