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Millions of Americans head outdoors in the summer, whether for a day at a nearby lake or a monthlong road trip. For environmental economists like me, decisions by vacationers and outdoor recreators offer clues to a challenging puzzle: estimating what environmental resources are worth.

In 1981 President Ronald Reagan issued an executive order that required federal agencies to weigh the costs and benefits of proposed major new regulations, and in most cases to adopt them only if the benefits to society outweighed the costs. Reagan’s order was intended to promote environmental improvements without overburdening economic growth.

I had what seemed like rather a good idea a few weeks back. Building on some prominent findings in social psychology, I hypothesized that politicians on the right would wipe their bum with their left hand; and that politicians on the left would wipe with their right hand.

Ludicrous? Yes – absolutely. But for once my goal wasn’t to run a bona fide scientific study. Instead, I wanted to see if any “journal” would publish my ass-wiping “findings”.

Suicide rates in the U.S. have increased nearly 30 percent in less than 20 years, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported June 7. These mind-numbing statistics were released the same week two very famous, successful and beloved people committed suicide – Kate Spade, a tremendous entrepreneur, trendsetter and fashion icon, and Anthony Bourdain, a distinguished chef and world traveler who took us on gastronomic journeys to all corners of the world through his TV shows.

“Diversity” as a concept has a lexical and political value all its own, with a widespread appeal. The problem with that is, however, that no one actually has the same idea of what diversity actually means. There is some consensus that the concept has, over time, morphed into something that it was not originally intended to be. Denise Green’s 2004 study looks at the University of Michigan’s response to a 1997 affirmative action case, and argues that legal precedents such as this one moved the cursor away from social and racial justice towards a narrower, simplified idea about diversity.

It probably happens every minute of the day: A little girl demands to see the photo her parent has just taken of her. Today, thanks to smartphones and other digital cameras, we can see snapshots immediately, whether we want to or not.

But in 1944 when 3-year-old Jennifer Land asked to see the family vacation photo that her dad had just taken, the technology didn’t exist.

Across the North Atlantic, shipwrecks scatter the seabed like the carcasses of prehistoric creatures. Bygone relics of sea exploration, trade, migration and conflict, these historical monuments are important sites of cultural interest. But they also form the basis of a burgeoning recreational dive tourism industry, and contribute substantially to the biodiversity and abundance of marine life.