What is "design fiction?"

I've been writing "design fiction" for years (see, for example, Knights of the Rainbow Table), and when people ask me to explain it, I say something like, "An engineer might make a prototype to give you a sense of how something works; an architect will do a fly-through to give you a sense of its spatial properties; fiction writers produce design fiction to give you a sense of how a technology might feel." Read the rest

Swedish law will let you write off the money you spend fixing things rather than trashing them

In Sweden a legislative proposal will let repair shops will charge lower sales-tax, and allow people who repair their appliances and bicycles be to write off their expenditures. Read the rest

Climate denial's internal contradictions spring from a need to defend economic doctrine

A trio of scholars who study the psychology and philosophy of science have written a fantastic paper for Springer's Sythese looking at the way that climate change conspiracy theorists construct their view of the world, and how these conspiracy theories contain self-contradictory theses (like the idea that climate change can't be predicted and the idea that the data shows we're actually headed for an ice-age). Read the rest

What technologists can do about climate change

Bret Victor complained on Twitter that technologists were wasting their imaginations, energy and talent on things that wouldn't matter after climate change reduced the world to a drowned cinder; his followers pushed back and asked what they, as technologists, could do about climate change. Read the rest

XKCD's massive, vertical climate change infographic

Randall Munroe once again shows that he's one of the web's most talented storytellers, inventing ways of conveying information that use the web's affordances to novel and sharp effect (there's a reason he won a Hugo award). Read the rest

As America's temperatures soar, prisoners are dropping dead

Most states have no maximum temperature standards for their prisons: combine that with a succession of hottest-months-on-record and a prison system that provides less water than is medically recommended even when it's not hotter than blazes, and you've got a carceral state that is roasting prisoners alive. Read the rest

Starve #2: Brian Wood lands the tale in a screaming dive and a perfect touchdown

Brian Wood's Starve, Volume One (collecting issues 1-5) was the best, meanest new graphic novel debut since Transmetropolitan; now, with Starve, Volume Two (issues 6-10), Wood brings the story in for a conclusion that is triumphant and wicked and eminently satisfying, without being pat.

UK PM Theresa May nukes climate change department, appoints a climate denier as Climate Secretary

One of Theresa May's first act as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom was to shutter the Department for Energy and Climate Change, moving the climate change to a new entity called the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy, with Andrea Leadsom -- who, as Energy Minister, celebrated her first day on the job in 2015 by asking the civil service "Is climate change real?" and giving the UK coal industry a role in answering the question -- as Environment Secretary. Read the rest

Brexit's other shoe drops: austerity, deregulation, climate nihilism

As Conservative grandees jostle each other in the looming contest to become Prime Minister of the UK, we're starting to learn more about their plans for governing UK without the constraint of the European Union's human rights, environmental and labour rules. Read the rest

Strangely satisfying realtime lightning strike map

The Blitzortung live lightning map shows the world's storms and strikes in real time, with a little click played every time heaven and earth become one. You can zoom right down to the state level; it's an indoors day in Ukraine and Greece. Read the rest

CO2 in Antarctica reaches 400 PPM for first time in 4 million years

Earth's most remote continent finally caught up with its more populated counterparts. “Carbon dioxide has been steadily rising since the start of the Industrial Revolution, setting a new high year after year,” writes Brian Kahn at Climate Central. “There’s a notable new entry to the record books. The last station on Earth without a 400 parts per million (ppm) reading has reached it.”

Read the rest

Make custom maps with Mapchart

Mapchart makes it possible to create maps of the world, of Europe, of the Americas and elsewhere with custom colors, captions and descriptions. For example, here is a map of America that I have made. Read the rest

The Vulnerable 20 Group: coalition of 20 countries threatened by climate change

Reps from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Barbados, Bhutan, Costa Rica, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Kiribati, Madagascar, Maldives, Nepal, Philippines, Rwanda, Saint Lucia, Tanzania, Timor-Leste, Tuvalu, Vanuatu and Vietnam just gathered in Peru to announce the formation of the "Vulnerable 20" group, a coalition of 20 nations threatened by climate change. Read the rest

Canadian government thinktank warns that renewables will gut market for Canada's dirty oil

For a decade, Canada's previous petro-tory government prosecuted scientists who publicly reported their results without first passing them through the party's commissars, almost as though reality had a well-known left-wing bias and couldn't be trusted. Read the rest

Mount Washington Observatory shares video of man being blown away by 109-mph winds

The Mount Washington Observatory published this insane video from weather observers Mike Dorfman and Tom Padham demonstrating the effects of strong winds on top of a New Hampshire mountain.

Read the rest

The Planet Remade: frank, clear-eyed book on geoengineering, climate disaster, & humanity's future

Since its publication in late 2015, science writer Oliver Morton's The Planet Remade: How Geoengineering Could Change the World has swept many "best book" (best science book, best business book, best nonfiction book) and with good reason: though it weighs in at a hefty 440 pages and covers a broad scientific, political and technological territory, few science books are more important, timely and beautifully written.

It's too late to do anything about sudden oak death, which has already killed 1,000,000 trees

Phytophthora ramorum is a mold, related to the Irish Potato Famine pathogen, that causes some oak and tanoak trees to split open and bleed out all their sap, something called "sudden oak death." Read the rest

More posts