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+ - Looking Up Symptoms Online? These Companies Are Tracking You

Submitted by merbs
merbs (2708203) writes "When we feel sick, fear disease, or have questions about our health, we turn first to the internet. According to the Pew Internet Project, 72 percent of US internet users look up health-related information online. But an astonishing number of the pages we visit to learn about private health concerns—confidentially, we assume—are tracking our queries, sending the sensitive data to third party corporations, even shipping the information directly to the same brokers who monitor our credit scores."

+ - Is Sega the next Atari?

Submitted by donniebaseball23
donniebaseball23 (1888144) writes "As CEO of Sega of America in the early 1990s, Tom Kalinske oversaw the company during its glory days, when all eyes in the industry were glued to the titanic struggle for console superiority between the Super Nintendo and Sega Genesis. Times have changed, to put it mildy, and Sega is now a shell of its former self. Where did things go wrong? According to Kalinske, Sega's downfall was failing to partner with Sony on a new platform, and the bad decisions kept piling on from there. Sega's exit from hardware "could have been avoided if they had made the right decisions going back literally 20 years ago. But they seem to have made the wrong decisions for 20 years.""

+ - The burden of intellectual property rights on clean-energy technologies->

Submitted by Lasrick
Lasrick (2629253) writes "If climate change is to be addressed effectively in the long run, nations of all descriptions must pursue mitigation and adaptation strategies. But poor countries face a potential hurdle when it comes to clean-energy technologies—most of the relevant intellectual property is held in the rich world. Many observers argue that it's unfair and unrealistic to expect massive energy transformations in the developing world unless special allowances are made. Yet intellectual property rights are intended in part to spur the very innovation on which climate mitigation depends. This article is the first post in a roundtable that debates this question: In developing countries, how great an impediment to the growth of low-carbon energy systems does the global intellectual property rights regime represent, and how could the burdens for poor countries be reduced?"
Link to Original Source

+ - This 43-Second Short May Be the First Sci-Fi Film

Submitted by merbs
merbs (2708203) writes "There’s a case to be made that the first science fiction ever filmed wasn’t about spaceships, aliens, or trips to the moon. Our rich history of cinematic sci-fi may have begun instead with a 43-second, single-reel film about a box that turns pigs into pork products". It’s true: Some of the earliest sci-fi ever filmed was about drones and factory farming."

+ - The Poem That Passed the Turing Test

Submitted by merbs
merbs (2708203) writes "In 2011, the editors of one of the nation’s oldest student-run literary journals selected a short poem called “For the Bristlecone Snag” for publication in its Fall issue. The poem seems environmentally themed, strikes an aggressive tone, and contains a few of the clunky turns of phrase overwhelmingly common to collegiate poetry. It’s unremarkable, mostly, except for one other thing: It was written by a computer algorithm, and nobody could tell."

+ - This Is the Most Anti-Science Congress in Recent History 1

Submitted by merbs
merbs (2708203) writes "Over the last four years, Congress developed a reputation for institutionalizing an “anti-science” attitude. During the 112th and 113th Congresses, the label was typically applied to its Republicans, who controlled the House of Representatives, and typically because of their propensity to dismiss climate change science. Typically, but not only—misinformed musings about women’s reproductive processes, support for creationist education, attempts to remove the peer review process at the National Science Foundation, and efforts to roll back funding for research programs also ignited the ire of the science-loving public.

Now, Republicans have taken over the Senate, and historians, scientists, and policy experts worry it's going to get even worse."

+ - Climate Change Will Fuel the World's Longest-Burning Fires

Submitted by merbs
merbs (2708203) writes "Peat is the stuff of bogs and wetlands; it gives rise to our swamp things and our Scotch. But peat burns, and to ugly effect. It doesn’t burst into flames so much as smolder—instead of towering fires, it produces thick walls of foggy smoke. These fires are already the largest in the world in terms of carbon output, and, in a category they share with coal blazes, they are the longest-lasting. 'Smoldering fires' can go on for years.

Now, new research published in Nature Geoscience indicates that in the age of climate change, vast swaths of the world’s peatlands are poised for ignition."

+ - How Close Are We to Engineering the Climate?

Submitted by merbs
merbs (2708203) writes "The scientists had whipped themselves into a frenzy. Gathered in a stuffy conference room in the bowels of a hotel in Berlin, scores of respected climate researchers were arguing about a one-page document that had tentatively been christened the “Berlin Declaration.” It proposed ground rules for conducting experiments to explore how we might artificially cool the Earth—planet hacking, basically. This is the story of scientists' first major international meeting to tackle geoengineering."

+ - Harvard Scientists Say It's Time to Start Thinking About Engineering the Climate

Submitted by merbs
merbs (2708203) writes "Harvard has long been home to one of the fiercest advocates for climate engineering. This week, Harvard’s School of Engineering and Applied Sciences published a research announcement headlined “Adjusting Earth’s Thermostat, With Caution.” That might read as oxymoronic—intentionally altering the planet’s climate has rarely been considered a cautious enterprise—but it fairly accurately reflects the thrust of three new studies published by the Royal Society, all focused on exploring the controversial field of geoengineering."

+ - The Software Big Oil's PR Firm Uses to 'Convert Average Citizens'

Submitted by merbs
merbs (2708203) writes "The CEO of the world’s largest PR firm has a policy when it comes to campaigns that focus on the environment. “We do not work with astroturf groups and we have never created a website for a client with the intent to deny climate change," Richard Edelman wrote in a blog post in August. That may actually turn out to be true. Technically. Edelman may not work with astroturf groups. Instead, it appears to prefer to build them itself, from the ground up, using sophisticated proprietary software platform designed to “convert” advocates and then "track" their behavior."

+ - The US-China Climate Deal Changes Everything

Submitted by merbs
merbs (2708203) writes "As a result of the deal, which negotiators have reportedly hashed out over a nine-month period, in secret, the US has promised to double the rate at which it's cutting carbon pollution—slashing emissions over a quarter from 2005 levels by 2025. Meanwhile, China has pledged to ensure its greenhouse gas output peaks by 2030. The two nations are by far the world's largest contributors to global warming—combined, they account for a jaw-slackening 40 percent of the world's emissions.

And until now, the two nations have not seen eye to eye on fighting climate change. In fact, it's closer to the opposite: they've been outright hostile."

+ - Buying goods to make nuclear weapons on eBay, Alibaba, and other platforms->

Submitted by Lasrick
Lasrick (2629253) writes "The blossoming of online Internet-trading platforms has at least one downside: insufficient inspectors and product controls when it comes to goods relevant to nuclear proliferation.'On Alibaba (and other platforms), one can purchase many of the specialized items needed for the manufacture of nuclear weapons. A short list of items advertised for sale on the site include metals suitable for centrifuge manufacturing, gauges and pumps for centrifuge cascades for uranium enrichment, metallurgical casting equipment suitable for making nuclear weapon ‘pits,’ and high-speed cameras suitable for use in nuclear weapon diagnostic tests. A company on an Alibaba-owned Chinese Internet-trading platform even posted an ad for the sale of the rare metal gallium, which the seller trumpeted could be used to stabilize plutonium.' Although many companies have strict compliance procedures in place to help avoid proliferation, many do not. There are several procedures these platforms can put into place to minimize risk, and both national (and international) regulators have a role to play, as well as shareholders. Great read."
Link to Original Source

+ - These Drones Hold the Key to Understanding How Fast Greenland Is Melting

Submitted by merbs
merbs (2708203) writes "Thank glaciologist Jason Box for the Arctic bird’s-eye view of one of the most serene, alien landscapes on the planet. Box spends much of his time in Greenland, where he uses drones to measure 'dark snow'—snow that has accumulated soot and dust, thanks to human activity—which absorbs more sunlight and melts faster. Drone photography, then, may hold the key to understanding just how fast Greenland is melting."

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