Floating communities aren't just for libertarian billionaires looking for places to do things they might not otherwise get away with. A UN partnership is looking into whether they could be part of a sustainable urban development program, for when the floods roll over the lowlands and don't go away. Read the rest
The following essay was written by Dr. Leonardo Trasande, MD, MPP, a renowned pediatrician, professor at NYU, and prominent leader in children’s environmental health. He's the author of a new book, Sicker, Fatter, Poorer: The Urgent Threat of Hormone-Disrupting Chemicals to Our Health and Future . . . and What We Can Do About It. -- Mark Frauennfelder
As a consumer, when it comes to chemical safety you’d be surprised how powerful your voice really is. When the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) banned bisphenols A (BPA) from baby bottles and sippy cups, it wasn’t the scientific knowledge that moved the needle to trigger that decision. There had been a huge outcry in the media about the effects of this synthetic estrogen. Manufacturers changed their process for making these materials, and literally ran to FDA to ask for a change in the rules so that they didn’t lose market share and profit.
In the current political climate, you might think this is less likely to happen, as chemical companies might feel emboldened. But it’s quite the opposite actually. A small study recently found perfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), chemicals known to mess with thyroid hormone and our metabolic rate, in the linings of those buffet-style food carry out boxes you see in supermarkets. The findings from a small sample of measurements literally triggered two major supermarket chains to insist that their suppliers either shape up or literally be shipped out.
This article focuses on five other examples where the same phenomenon is not that far away. Read the rest
Friends of mine at Because We Can (a local Bay Area "design build architecture" firm) shared some good news:
Congratulations to the Long Now Foundation on beginning installation of the 10,000 year clock. This is a must-see video showing publically for the first time just how far along they are on this bold, ambitious, and world-changing project.
Here's some info about the incredible clock from the Long Now site:
Read the rest
There is a Clock ringing deep inside a mountain. It is a huge Clock, hundreds of feet tall, designed to tick for 10,000 years. Every once in a while the bells of this buried Clock play a melody. Each time the chimes ring, it’s a melody the Clock has never played before. The Clock’s chimes have been programmed to not repeat themselves for 10,000 years. Most times the Clock rings when a visitor has wound it, but the Clock hoards energy from a different source and occasionally it will ring itself when no one is around to hear it. It’s anyone’s guess how many beautiful songs will never be heard over the Clock’s 10 millennial lifespan.
The Clock is real. It is now being built inside a mountain in western Texas. This Clock is the first of many millennial Clocks the designers hope will be built around the world and throughout time. There is a second site for another Clock already purchased at the top of a mountain in eastern Nevada, a site surrounded by a very large grove of 5,000-year-old bristlecone pines.
LEGO is releasing a number of 60th anniversary sets. The Robot and Spaceman from the Fun Future kit are already making waves.
Sets in the multi-piece LEGO style of old, rather than the single purpose build-a-thing sets, get a lot less playtime here, with my daughter. These 60th anniversary sets, however, have sucked her in.
186 pieces in a small box, with limited instructions? That is a lot of fun!
LEGO Classic Fun Future 10402 Building Kit (186 Piece) via Amazon
Image via Amazon Read the rest
Let the right one in. The Verge: "Amazon Key is a new service that lets couriers unlock your front door."
The service is called Amazon Key, and it relies on a Amazon’s new Cloud Cam and compatible smart lock. The camera is the hub, connected to the internet via your home Wi-Fi. The camera talks to the lock over Zigbee, a wireless protocol utilized by many smart home devices.
When a courier arrives with a package for in-home delivery, they scan the barcode, sending a request to Amazon’s cloud. If everything checks out, the cloud grants permission by sending a message back to the camera, which starts recording. The courier then gets a prompt on their app, swipes the screen, and voilà, your door unlocks.
Read the rest
What might humans alive today be reasonably expected to witness in their lifetimes? RealLifeLore has compiled a list of near-future predictions ranging from the sublime to the terrifying. Read the rest
However sad things are at home, the trend worldwide is looking good. [via] Then consider this; and this:
https://www.vidio.com/watch/68705-the-beatles-getting-better-lyrics Read the rest
When inventor and MacArthur "genius grant" recipient Saul Griffith started reading papers about global warning that were written in 1974 (the same year he was born) he discovered that "all the problems we face today are familiar from 43 years ago. All the proposed solutions are similar. Merely the motivation was a little different." In this episode of For Future Reference, a new podcast from Institute for the Future, David Pescovitz and I talk with Griffith about how we need new mindsets as much as new technologies to alleviate climate change.
Please subscribe to For Future Reference a podcast series about the expanding horizons of science, technology, and culture over the next decade: iTunes, RSS, Soundcloud
Image: Kris Krug Read the rest
Computers in your fingernails. Temporary tattoos laden with sensors. These are some of the new wearable technologies that UC Berkeley engineer and artist Eric Paulos is developing with his colleagues in the Hybrid Ecologies Laboratory. Mark Frauenfelder and I interviewed Eric about Cosmetic Computing in this episode of For Future Reference, a new podcast from Institute for the Future:
Please subscribe to For Future Reference: iTunes, RSS, Soundcloud
Read the rest
Bora Barroso created a compilation of imagery from postapocalyptic movies, creating the ultimate depressing-yet-curiously-liberating vision of human doom.
Read the rest
A Tribute to the Post-Apocalyptic Cinema.
- Mad Max Fury Road
- I Am Legend
- The Book of Eli
- The Road
- Los últimos días
- 28 Days Later
- Children of Men
- 12 Monkeys
- The Day After Tomorrow
- Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
- Terminator Salvation
Cold is easier to deal with than the raging heat of Venus. The Moon and Mars are bathed in dangerous radiation. This means Titan is humanity's best existential insurance policy. Charles Wohlforth and Amanda Hendrix, authors of Beyond Earth: Our Path to a New Home in the Planets, explain:
It’s cold on Titan, at -180°C (-291°F), but thanks to its thick atmosphere, residents wouldn’t need pressure suits—just warm clothing and respirators. Housing could be made of plastic produced from the unlimited resources harvested on the surface, and could consist of domes inflated by warm oxygen and nitrogen. The ease of construction would allow huge indoor spaces.
Titanians (as we call them) wouldn’t have to spend all their time inside. The recreational opportunities on Titan are unique. For example, you could fly. The weak gravity—similar to the Moon’s—combined with the thick atmosphere would allow individuals to aviate with wings on their backs. If the wings fall off, no worry, landing will be easy. Terminal velocity on Titan is a tenth that found on the Earth.
How will we get there? Currently, we can’t.
Oh well. Doom it is, then! Read the rest
My colleagues at Institute for the Future are hosting a "Positive Platform Design Jam" November 30-December 1 at our Palo Alto, California gallery and offices. The goal is to hack on software or conceptual frameworks for on-demand platforms that not only maximize profits for their owners but also provide dignified and sustainable livelihoods for those who work on them. Are you a creative technologist, social inventor, policy expert, labor activist? IFTF hopes you'll apply to participate!
Read the rest
Why are we doing this?
A host of technologies—from automation to digital platforms for coordination of tasks — are reinventing not just what people do to earn a living but at a much deeper level how we organize to create value. The landscape of labor economics is in upheaval. In the process, new platforms, algorithms, and attitudes are undermining many established institutions, regulatory regimes, and work practices, challenging some of the basic tenets of the social safety net established in the 20th century. But what of the workers? How can we ensure dignified and sustainable livelihoods for everyone?
Solutions won’t come from any one agency, discipline, or company. It will take collaboration, broad public engagement, smart policy, and an openness to reinventing old economic models. And while we can’t put the technologies enabling on-demand platforms back in the box, the algorithms we embed in them, the platform design choices we make, the policy and regulatory solutions we create can be shaped by all of us. It is one of the more urgent tasks that we face today.
Are you jonesing for a dose of optimism and possibility? In the mood to contemplate the cosmos? Want to experience a musical message for extraterrestrials the way it was meant to be played? The Voyager Golden Record: 40th Anniversary Edition, a project I launched with Timothy Daly and Lawrence Azerrad, is a lavish vinyl box set containing the contents of the phonograph record launched into space in 1977 and now 13 billion miles from Earth.
Our Kickstarter ends at 8pm PDT tonight (Thursday). Once we fulfill the rewards from this campaign, we'll never produce this deluxe 40th Anniversary Edition again.
We are so thankful enthusiasm and excitement about our project and the incredible Voyager interstellar mission. The curiosity and support is infectious. We're deeply grateful that a project that has been on our minds for so long has resonated with so many people around the world. Ad astra!
For more on the Voyager Golden Record: 40th Anniversary Edition, please visit our Kickstarter page here.
And here's an excerpt from an interview with me about the project, from The Vinyl Factory:
Read the rest
Ultimately it was a utopian vision for Earth as much as an actual attempt to communicate with extra terrestrials… Wasn’t it?
Yeah I think the idea is that if there is a civilisation that is intelligent enough to actually intercept it, they’ll be able to follow the instructions on how to play it. And I think that’s true. In some ways though, it doesn’t even really matter if it’s ever played or not by an extra-terrestrial civilisation.
The broken ansible in the basement ("We've been instructed in no uncertain terms never to use it, and the last editor to do so disappeared in a flash of late 1970s-era BBC special effects, presumably an extremely painful demise.") coughed this up today. I suspect it might be real.
Tzump_(Wikipedia article from the future) Read the rest
Flash Forward: RSS | iTunes | Twitter | Facebook | Web | Patreon | Reddit
In this episode we discuss the history of drug laws, why some drugs are legal and others aren’t, and what would happen if we just let everybody lose to do whatever they want.
▹▹ Full show notes Read the rest
Today we travel to a future where your microbiome becomes a key part of your identity. From health to your child’s kindergarten, here are all the ways knowing about your microbiome might impact your life.
Flash Forward: RSS | iTunes | Twitter | Facebook | Web
In this episode we talk about the possibilities and limitations of the microbiome — the trillions of bacterial cells that live in and on your body. There’s a lot of money going towards microbiome research right now, and a whole lot of claims about what the microbiome can do. We break down what we actually know, and where we’re probably going.
▹▹ Full show notes Read the rest
In this episode of the Flash Forward podcast we travel to a future where humans have decided to eradicate the most dangerous animal on the planet: mosquitos. How would we do it? Is it even possible? And what are the consequences?
Flash Forward: RSS | iTunes | Twitter | Facebook | Web | Patreon
We talk to experts on mosquito ecology, public health, and a guy who’s trying to genetically engineer mosquitoes to eliminate themselves. We talk about everything from how hard it would be to exterminate mosquitoes, to which species we should target, to what the potential side effects might be. Listen for all that and more!
▹▹ Full show notes
Check out all the great podcasts that Boing Boing has to offer! Read the rest