Oct 22, 14

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Wildfire Watch

I could go on and on about how the GeoMAC Wildfire Viewer is a tool for open-source intelligence about the environment, or -- by allowing overlays of regional hydrographical, transportation, and historical fire information -- how it makes the invisible visible, or how it is the latest manifestation of Internet-accessible Geographical Information Systems (GIS)... but, really, the reason I am fascinated by this GeoMAC site is that it so damn cool. GeoMAC -- the name stands for Geospatial...


Social Networks and Work

A fun and interesting little article exploring social networking services and their impact on how we work. Includes some Q + A with allies danah boyd, Joi Ito and WorldChanging webhost extraordinaire Scott Beale of Laughing Squid.


Wiring the Vast Left-Wing Conspiracy

Jon noted it earlier, but you ought to get it while it lasts: the NYT Magazine's piece Wiring the Vast Left-Wing Conspiracy is essential reading for those who want to understand why the new Democratic Party isn't the Party at all, but the host of new thinktanks, blogs, email activist outfits and 527s who are driving this year's electoral activity. Combine with the Networked Intellectual and Dan Bricklin's observations on Convention Blogging, shake well and serve before the link expires this...


Welcome, Nicole

Astute byline observers have already noted the latest WorldChanging addition, Nicole-Anne Boyer. Her essay contributions (today's on "The Paradox of Choice" and last week's on "Harry Potter, Deconstructed") provide welcome insights and ideas from an international perspective. And "international" is Nicole's secret middle name: born in Canada, she cut her professional teeth in Singapore and San Francisco, and now lives in Paris (while engaging in research in London). I first met Nicole in...


Solar Activated Linear Evaporation System

...aka, a "clothesline." If you're wondering what (prior to Nov. 2) you can do about our deadly dependence on foreign energy, or about ever-rising utility bills, or about the flood of carbon into the atmosphere that's steadily raising temperatures, here's one answer: Let air and sun and wind do their job. ...sez Bill McKibben.


The Paradox of Choice: Why More is Less

Are people really less happy than before? Apparently so according to happiness researchers. The reasons why are both complex and simple, not to mention hard to measure, which I touch upon in another blog, Gross Domestic Happiness (May 04, 2004) A compelling new book, The Paradox of Choice: Why More is Less, by Dr. Barry Schwartz, has added another dimension to this discussion. It turns out the leading culprit stealing our happiness is the abundance of choice, and the relentlessness of...

politics

After the Convention: A Call to Action

(This is part of a longer piece I just posted in full at Greater Democracy: ....This makes me think about the context for this election: Traditionally the U.S. has had elements on the right (corporate interest above all) and left (public or social interest above all) advocating for either extreme, but actual governance and policy has been relatively well-balanced somewhere near the middle. The GW Bush presidency is the culmination of one extreme's careful strategic work over the last thirty...

community

Mr. Germy

Bruce recommends this page of fictional products for the germophobe of the future. Given how real the danger is of antibacterials breeding super bugs, I actually think Mr. Germy is a pretty good idea: Mr Germy - "Exposure to the right bacteria can naturally strengthen your child's immune system."Mr Germy is a baby teether embedded with micro encapsulated bacteria. Designed to strengthen babies' immune systems weakened by growing up in our increasingly sterile world. I'm still waiting for...


Tough Ceramics through Biomimicry

Prof. George Mayer and his team at the University of Washington have had some new success in imitating nature to create advanced materials. They have produced a brick-and-mortar style composite of ceramic and polymer which imitates the microstructure of mollusk shells, and it has proven to be six times tougher than a solid block of the ceramic. The secret is to have squishy mortar instead of strong/brittle mortar. This allows the energy of cracks to be diverted into tortuous paths and...

planet

Understanding Amazonia

Roland Piquepaille writes today about the Large-scale Biosphere-Atmosphere Experiment in Amazonia (LBA) now underway in Brazil, with the cooperation of NASA. The researchers claim that this is the world's largest environmental science experiment, comprising 120 projects (of which 61 are already complete). The Earth Observatory group at NASA has an extensive introduction to the LBA. The LBA site summarizes the program in this way: LBA will combine newly developed analytical tools and...

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