10 June 2019
01 June 2019
The Sun is a giant thermonuclear reactor in the sky powerbeaming 24x7. A tiny sliver hits the daily rotating Earth and then you have to discount for angles and overcasts. When all's accounted for, here's the resulting worldmap of terrestrial potential for PV or photovoltaic sunpower... Curiously enough, most maps like this only show land incidence. But surely we could float massive solar panels out on swathes of ocean? In fact, perhaps we should hoover up the massive ocean gyres of waste plastic and convert these into floatation for PV paneling.
27 May 2019
I'm particularly interested in seeing half of Earth be protected by 2050. Towards this goal, Protected Planet shares the World Database on Protected Areas (WDPA) covering both terrestrial and marine protected areas and tracks progress... The IUCN has a half dozen so-called "Protected Area Management Categories" -- and those are important and worth adding to directly, but I hope we can especially push for enhancement of Category VI "Sustainable Use" with particular eye on private conservancies, land banks, forestry reserves, flood management zones, and potentially even the careful extractions of natural resources. Finally, I hope that we figure out how not to ravage the other half of Earth but rather we green it appropriately (e.g. our cities), share it with nature, and refrain from eco-devastation generally.
Very interesting to see adoption of personal electric vehicles in Europe and Asia. Curious how much of the advantages are State subsidy and tax relief? Norway, for example, offers substantial tax benefits, the right to drive in carpool lanes solo, and free charging, which kind of distorts market action. Also, China has endless ways of State subsidies for both personal and mass transit electrification. Which all may make environmental sense. In any case, here's share and size info from Statista...
01 April 2019
31 March 2019
Visual Capitalist helps us understand which countries support entrepreneurship and business and which do not, much to the suffering of their peoples...
Visual Capitalist helps us visualize where people live? Roughly 1/5 in each of Eurasian-Americas, Africa, Rest-of-Asia, Tjina, and Hindia. Or on EARTH for short...
30 March 2019
14 March 2019
Jennifer Chu of MIT News spotlights recent research indicating that Tectonics in the Tropics Trigger Earth’s Ice Ages...
"Over the last 540 million years, the Earth has weathered three major ice ages [each] preceded by tropical “arc-continent collisions” -- tectonic pileups that occurred near the Earth’s equator -- in which oceanic plates rode up over continental plates, exposing tens of thousands of kilometers of oceanic rock to a tropical environment. [The] heat and humidity of the tropics likely triggered a chemical reaction between […] the rocks’ calcium and magnesium […] pulling the [CO2] out of the atmosphere and permanently sequestering it in the form of carbonates such as limestone [cooling] temperatures globally and ultimately [setting] off an ice age."
Excellent to see the third year of Beyond the Cradle organized by the Space Exploration Initiative at MIT Media Lab today! Great talk by Nobel physicist Prof Sam Ting this morning plus SF panel featuring Daniel Suarez (of Daemon, FreedomTM, and Influx fame, with Delta-v coming soon!) among others! See live video!
23 February 2019
19 February 2019
Luke Kemp at the BBC asks Are we on the road to civilisation collapse?
"If the fate of previous civilisations can be a roadmap to our future, what does it say? One method is to examine the trends that preceded historic collapses and see how they are unfolding today. [...] The collapse of our civilisation is not inevitable. History suggests it is likely, but we have the unique advantage of being able to learn from the wreckages of societies past. [...] We will only march into collapse if we advance blindly. We are only doomed if we are unwilling to listen to the past."
"Collapse is a tipping point phenomena, when compounding stressors overrun societal coping capacity. We can examine these indicators of danger to see if our chance of collapse is falling or rising. Here are four of those possible metrics, measured over the past few decades:"
18 February 2019
The BBC's Ade Adepitan visits the coast of Gabon which has implemented a substantial Marine Protected Area off its coast. I've been moved by the idea that half of Earth should be set aside in nature protection reserves. That is, half for animal kingdom, half for humanity. Right now, there's a lot more work to be done. Here's the biggest of the MPA's...
09 February 2019
Together with colleague Ramesh Raskar, I'm co-teaching the AI for Impact seminar this Spring 2019 every Mon afternoon starting Feb 11th from 2:30-4:30a in E15-341, the heart of the MIT Media Lab! Our goal is to bring computational, analytics, and AI techniques to bear on solving problems in the high impact realms of health & wellness, cities & sustainability, across scales of action from each of us as individuals to embracing all of humanity, in both developed and emerging markets alike, all broadly understood. We want to help students identify top AI opportunities for impact and help make progress towards building prototypes, planning action ventures, and/or better understanding the emerging technology and impact trendscape. Formerly known as "Imaging Ventures" or “AI Ventures”, this “AI for Impact” class seeks answers to the question: If you could make almost anything, what's actually most worth making, i.e. what problems are most worth picking? We believe starting with the right problem is 90% of what makes for great projects and ultimately epic, worthy solutions.
05 February 2019
Together with colleagues Kate Mytty and Libby McDonald, I'm co-teaching the Inclusive Economies seminar this Spring 2019 every Wed morning starting Feb 6th from 9:30-11:30a in N51-350, the D-Lab classroom area! We explore how innovations and market mechanisms can benefit humanity by rallying impact investments, engaging participants cooperatively, boosting equity and resilience, and broadening prosperity. We look at market mechanisms for maximizing participation, choice, and growth; impact investing approaches which are socially responsible and include metrics that matter; cooperative and mutual ownership structures for shared gains; equitable citizen participation in basic and natural resource wealth; and the role of new technologies and methods towards boosting affordability, accessibility, and overall inclusive prosperity.
25 January 2019
Richard B. Alley, Kerry A. Emanuel, Fuqing Zhang write in Science about Advances in weather prediction...
"In recent decades, advances in forecasting have been rapid, arising from improved observations and models, and better integration of these through data assimilation and related techniques. Investment in weather forecasting pays large dividends, ranging from 3 to 10 times the costs. [But] the developing world is especially vulnerable to weather disasters yet is underserved by forecasting."
14 January 2019
09 January 2019
Roberto Stefan Foa and Yascha Mounk in The Signs of Deconsolidation in the Journal of Democracy share evidence of a global pattern of disaffection with democratic systems...
"Americans’ dissatisfaction with the democratic system is part of a much larger global pattern. It is not just that the proportion of Americans who state that it is “essential” to live in a democracy, which stands at 72 percent among those born before World War II, has fallen to 30 percent among millennials. It is also that [...] a similar cohort pattern is found across all longstanding democracies, including Great Britain, the Netherlands, Sweden, Australia, and New Zealand. In virtually all cases, the generation gap is striking, with the proportion of younger citizens who believe it is essential to live in a democracy falling to a minority."
"What is more, this disaffection with the democratic form of government is accompanied by a wider skepticism toward liberal institutions. Citizens are growing more disaffected with established political parties, representative institutions, and minority rights. Tellingly, they are also increasingly open to authoritarian interpretations of democracy. The share of citizens who approve of “having a strong leader who does not have to bother with parliament or elections,” for example, has gone up markedly in most of the countries where the World Values Survey asked the question -- including such varied places as Germany, the United States, Spain, Turkey, and Russia"
08 January 2019
The Getty Research Institute shares timelapse maps of Los Angeles Instrastructure, Networks, Settlements, Population, Economy, and Conflicts!