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Submission The Road to a 100% Clean-Powered Planet

merbs writes: Sven Teske's latest study, the tenth of its kind, shows that clean energy technologies can meet all of the world’s power demands by 2050. And, given his track record, perhaps we should take the conclusion seriously: The man who most accurately predicted today's clean power boom in 2005 is now saying we could see 100 percent clean energy by midcentury.

Submission The Campaign to Get Every American Free Money, Every Year

merbs writes: Supporters of a basic income have finally organized a proper political movement. Basic Income Action is, according to co-founder Dan O’Sullivan, “the first national organization educating and organizing the public to support a basic income.”He tells me that “Our goal is to educate and organize people to take action to win a basic income here in the US.”

Submission The First Talking, Artificially Intelligent Surveillance Camera

merbs writes: Two NYU AI researchers have created a surveillance camera that, when hooked up to a crude artificial intelligence, speaks aloud what it 'sees'.

“Our idea was to raise awareness regarding the omnipresence of surveillance equipment, and the current state of technological advancement with artificial intelligence,” Ross Goodwin said. “We wanted to create an entity with its own sense of social awareness, its own eyes, and an ability to communicate with humans, albeit with some glitchiness that underscores the limitations of the current technology.”

Submission The US Owes the World $4 Trillion for Trashing the Climate

merbs writes: Climate change wasn’t created equal. Rich, industrialized nations have contributed most of the pollution and gone way over their carbon budgets—while smaller, poorer, and more agrarian countries are little to blame. The subsequent warming will, naturally, impact everyone, often hitting the poorer countries harder. So should rich countries pay up? Researcher Damon Matthews has quantified how much historically polluting nations owe their global neighbors—and it's a lot.

Submission The Decade-Long Battle to Put the 'Labor' in Wikipedia's 'Labor Day'

merbs writes: Given that Labor Day is just about our least-understood national holiday—today, we know it better as one of our most reliable three-day-weekend enablers, a proto Black Friday retail sale stretch, or the subject of outdated jokes about the temporal limits of wearing white—its Wikipedia page is now the portal through which most of us learn anything at all about the supposed worker’s holiday. And over the last decade, the 'Labor Day' page has struggled to even mention the labor movement that it supposedly honors.

Submission The Only State Where Everyone Gets Free Money

merbs writes: Every year, the state of Alaska hands each of its citizens hundreds to thousands of dollars, no strings attached. The only requirement for receiving the cash is that a person has a) held residence in Alaska for more than one year and is b) alive. It's "pretty much the closest thing the world has to a universal basic income anywhere," and now, the movement is seeking to export the model around the world.

Submission Gaming Computers Use a Truly Astonishing Amount of Energy

merbs writes: Worldwide, gaming computers suck down $10 billion worth of electricity (or 75 terawatt hours) a year. Given that sales rates are projected to double by 2020, that figure is expected to do the same. The study finds that while gaming computers comprise just 2.5 percent of personal computers worldwide, they account for 20 percent of global computer energy use.

Submission The Nations That Will Be Hardest Hit by Water Shortages by 2040

merbs writes: Water access is going to be one of the most pressing issues of the 21st century. As climate change dries out the already dry areas and makes the wet ones wetter, we’re poised to see some radical civilizational shifts. For one, a number of densely populated areas will come under serious water stress—which analysts fear will lead to strife, thirst, and even violent conflict. With that in mind, the World Resource Institute has assembled a new report projecting which nations are most likely to be hardest hit by water stress in coming decades—nations like Bahrain, Israel, Palestine, and Spain lead the pack.

Submission By 2100, the Earth Will Have an Entirely Different Ocean

merbs writes: The ocean is in the midst of radical, manmade change. It can seem kind of crazy that one of the most immense properties on Earth—the ocean washes over 71 percent of the planet—could be completely transformed by a swarm of comparatively tiny, fleshy mammals. But humans are indeed remaking the ocean, in almost every conceivable way. The ocean we know today—that billions swim, fish, float, and surf in—that vast planetary body of water will be of an entirely different character by the end of the century: hotter, higher, trashier, and more acidic.

Submission How the Biggest, Most Expensive Oil Spill in History Changed Almost Nothing

merbs writes: Tthe biggest oil spill in US history, despite incurring the largest environmental fine on the books—$18.7 billion, handed down this month—has done almost nothing to change the nation’s relationship to oil. Five years after the spill, and, by BP’s count, $54 billion in projected total expenses, there have been no serious legislative efforts to improve the oversight or regulation of the United States’ still-expanding offshore oil operations. Public opinion of deepwater drilling barely budged during the ordeal; today, a majority of Americans favor doing even more of it.

Submission The Presidential Candidate With a Plan to Run the US on 100% Clean Energy

merbs writes: Thus far, no other candidate has said they're going to make climate change their top priority. Martin O'Malley has not only done that, but he has outlined a plan that would enact emissions reductions in line with what scientists say is necessary to slow global climate change—worldwide emissions reductions of 40-70 percent by 2050. He's the only candidate to do that, too. His plan would phase out fossil-fueled power plants altogether, by midcentury.

Submission An AI Learned Magic: Tthe Gathering, Now Creates Thousands of New Cards

merbs writes: Reed Milewicz, a computer science researcher, wowed a major online Magic: The Gathering forum when he posted the results of an experiment to “teach” a weak AI to auto-generate Magic cards. Milewicz had trained a deep, recurrent neural network—a kind of statistical machine learning model designed to emulate the neural networks of animal brains—to "learn" the text of every Magic card currently in existence. Then he had it generate thousands of its own.

He shared a number of the bizarre “cards” his program had come up with, replete with their properly fantastical names (“Shring the Artist,” “Mided Hied Parira's Scepter”) and freshly invented abilities (“fuseback”). Players devoured—and cheered—the results.

"The urge to destroy is also a creative urge." -- Bakunin [ed. note - I would say: The urge to destroy may sometimes be a creative urge.]