Nobody is expected to start mining asteroids this decade, but the U.S. Congress is to hold hearings on the Asteroids Act, legislation that takes a simple line: If you extract a resource from an asteroid, it's yours.
California legislators' efforts to impose America's first statewide ban on single-use plastic bags smack of an easy way to demonstrate concern for the environment without requiring too much of their constituents or local businesses.
The highly publicized arrests and confessions in President Xi JInping anti-drug use campaign play an important propaganda role, contrasting Xi's administration against the supposedly more permissive governments that preceded it.
Over the last two years, restaurants in Shanghai have dropped shark fin from their menus amid an awareness campaign against the shark-fin trade. Could a similar campaign curb the Chinese public's demand for ivory and help to save Africa's elephants?
There's little that the Chinese government likes less than the projection of U.S. military power, yet Beijing offers grudging support for U.S. efforts to safeguard Iraqi sovereignty with airstrikes against Islamic State jihadists.
Official voices and microbloggers are becoming more comfortable discussing the broad and entrenched nature of corruption in China. Meanwhile, personalities remain at the heart of President Xi Jinping's current anti-corruption purge.
One would have expected some civic joy at Monday's news that Beijing is listed as one of three candidate finalists to host the 2022 Winter Olympics. Curiously, though, that news has been hard to find in China.