Category Archives: Technology

New Statesman: Will Dunn: The amateur scientists tackling the global energy crisis

 

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TechXplore: Jennifer Chu, Massachusetts Institute of Technology: “Sun in a box” would store renewable energy for the grid

Vanity Fair: Nick Bilton: Silicon Valley’s most disturbing obsession

The Guardian: John Harris: Forget Zuckerberg: the tech giants don’t have to own the future

The New Yorker: Sam Knight: Do Proteins Hold the Key to the Past?

TED: Chad Frischmann: Project Drawdown: 100 solutions to climate change

This TedTalk offers an antidote to the pessimism and apocalypse fatigue associated with the problem of global warming, Project Drawdown. “Drawdown is that point in time when the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere begins to decline on a year-to-year basis.” The project “is the most comprehensive plan ever proposed to reverse global warming.” They gathered together “a qualified and diverse group of researchers from around the world” to find answers. They modelled the one hundred of the most substantive solutions to address the problems. The thing is, most of the solutions already exist. Please watch the video, share it, and have a look around Project Drawdown website.

NowThis: This ferris-wheel-water-slide hybrid is 100% real

There is a metaphor for life in there somewhere. Life is a twisting turning waterslide? Life is a wet knot? Life is speeding down a intestine shaped tunnel? Life is complicated, have fun on the way down?

The Guardian: Fiona Harvey: UK medics call for government ban to cut antibiotic resistance

The headline doesn’t actually get to the truth of the story. The headline should probably read, “UK medics call for government ban on the overuse of antibiotics in farming or risk apocalyptic consiquences.” As Ms Harvey points out antibiotics are used to prevent disease in farmed animals. What she does to make mention of is that antibiotics are also used, especially in the United States, because dosing animals with antibiotics makes them gain weight. Overuse of antibiotics in farming has put us in an “apocalyptic” situation where “farms are becoming a greater reservoir for antibiotic resistant bacteria.” While I think a ban on the overuse of antibiotics in UK farming is needed it will make little or no difference if the US is not brought into line. “Antibiotic use in US farming is six times higher per livestock unit than in the UK… and cattle in particular receive 13 times as much antibiotic medicine as in the UK.” You could also give serious though to switching to a plant based diet. It is healthier, does less harm to the environment, and reduces our need to use antibiotics in farming.

NowThis: This interface lets you navigate your phone without pressing buttons by pinning apps to real-life objects

The Guardian: Julia Kollewe: Alarm over talks to implant UK employees with microchips

This technology is the stuff of dystopian fiction, and should be outlawed. I don’t care that they could help legal or accounting firms improve security. “These companies have sensitive documents they are dealing with. [The chips] would allow them to set restrictions for whoever.” Their use  is “voluntary” at the moment. How long before it’s an entry on your curriculum vitae? Given the choice, an employer will choose the chipped candidate. Because the non-chipped candidate must have something to hide. People will get the chip to get the job. That’s not voluntary, that’s coercion. And that is the philosophy at the core of the panopticon.

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