Dec 17, 14

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The Kind of Science Africa Needs

Southern science: as we've discussed before, science and technology, properly understood, are essential to development goals. Now, David Dickson has laid out, in very concrete terms, the kind of science Africa needs to move forward: "...Africa needs to go further. The concept of a 'system of innovation' most not be conceived or planned in a narrow, technocratic manner. Rather, it must embrace significant social dimensions. This must ensure, for example, that research and development...

business

The 100 Most Sustainable Corporations

The Global 100 is a new annual ranking of the world's most sustainable corporations, unveiled last week at Davos. Their definition of corporate sustainability is pretty loose ("A Corporation that produces an overall positive impact on society and the environment"). Certainly, even their top-three companies have their critics: TOYOTA The automotive transportation sector has significant environmental impacts, especially with respect to climate change. Toyota Motors has developed and...

planet

Robert Neuwirth's "Shadow Cities"

Robert Neuwirth has a thing for squatters. Fascinated by the illegal, homemade neighborhoods lived in by a billion people worldwide, Neuwirth spent two years (courtesy of a MacArthur Foundation grant) living in four squatter neighborhoods around the world: Rocinha, in Rio, Brazil; Kibera, in Nairobi, Kenya; Sanjay Gandhi Nagar, in Mumbai, India; and Sultanbeyli, in Istanbul, Turkey. His time living in these neighborhoods has led to a book - Shadow Citiesand a blog, Squatter Cities. His time...

planet

End Of Upload

I watch a lot of Google, looking for my queries, doing vanity searches, testing it's latest tools and trying to figure out where the company is going. The eerily dystopian EPIC movie aside, there are some short-term speculative thoughts I have. The launch of Google Video is directly coincidental with the rise of vlogging, or video blogging. Some say that we are going to see an explosion in The Internet Of Video: Now that video can be produced cheaply and with reasonable production values,...


Rise of the Geo-Greens?

Thomas Friedman of the New York Times alternately edifies, mystifes, and terrifies me with his books and columns. It is genuinely difficult to predict his position on any number of global issues. Now I know why: I didn't have him in the right category. The right category is Geo-Green. He says so himself, and it's certainly an interesting proposition. What he stands for is a reduction in the price of oil ... as a way of moving toward renewable energy and saving the world. He says the...

cities

This Week in Sustainable Transportation, 1/30

This Sunday, as always, Mike Millikin lays out for us the week's top stories in green cars and transportation-related environmental news. Metaefficient's Justin Thomas is taking the week off -- his Week in Green Design feature will return next week. Quite a lot happened underscoring the need for urgent action on climate change this week: A report from the International Climate Change Taskforce suggested that the planet may hit a point of no-return within 10 years if significant changes are...

politics

Open Source Disaster Relief - by Email

Ippimail is an Open Source solution to an interesting problem: funds for disaster relief. By offering free email, such as done by Yahoo, Hotmail, Google and a host of others, Ippimail has a major difference. It's goal is to raise a million dollars per day for charity. That's certainly a worthwhile endeavour - and as a user, you get to choose which charity you wish to contribute to. Basically, you decide where the advertising dollars are spent, for a cause that you believe is worthwhile. The...


Harvest your coat hangers

Lois Walpole has developed a way to harvest a willow coat hanger. She grafted the hanger and sawed from a two-year-old plant. The coathanger and the wine rack (both can be bought online in kits) are part of her "grown home" ongoing research that aims at demonstrating that a functional product can be planted, nurtured, harvested, used and finally composted all in one location. These wooden products have used no fossil fuels in their production and have had only a beneficial effect on the...

planet

Batteries vs. Fuel Cells

In the continuing race to be the best energy-storage and retrieval system, which will win? Batteries, or fuel cells with hydrogen fuel? The last few years have seen boundless hype for fuel cells, but remember, no fuel cells are affordable or robust enough for vehicle use yet, and are barely affordable enough for high-end building use. Most people think that battery technology is maxed out, with no breakthroughs to be made, but most people have not been paying close attention. And...


The Paris Appeal for Biodiversity

The five-day conference on Biodiversity: Science and Governance in Paris wound up this past Friday with the 1,200-odd scientists and lawmakers present calling for action on the impending, great Sixth Extinction of wild plants and animals. Their Paris Appeal (a draft version as of this linking) states: Biodiversity is a natural heritage and a vital resource for all humankind Biodiversity is being destroyed irreversibly by human activities A major effort is needed to understand, conserve...

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