Seen in → No.125
Bye Bye Smartypants
Under cover (excuse) of Covid-induced economic uncertainty, Alphabet’s Sidewalk Labs have given up on their smart city project in Toronto and are packing their bags. Hooray! Thanks to all the activists and @blocksidewalk for raising hell and making this happen.
- After Sidewalk Labs, Toronto should get smart
- Alphabet’s Dream of a Smart City in Toronto Is Over
- The real reason Sidewalk Labs failed in Toronto
- 😰 😱 🤯 🥵 One billion people will live in insufferable heat within 50 years – study. “In a worst-case scenario of accelerating emissions, areas currently home to a third of the world’s population will be as hot as the hottest parts of the Sahara within 50 years, the paper warns. Even in the most optimistic outlook, 1.2 billion people will fall outside the comfortable ‘climate niche’ in which humans have thrived for at least 6,000 years. The authors of the study said they were ‘floored’ and ‘blown away’ by the findings because they had not expected our species to be so vulnerable.”
- Very good 🧵 by Jason Hickel on what is and isn’t degrowth. Just to be clear: the economic contraction that’s happening right now is *not* degrowth. If you’re ever confused, you can consult this handy list of questions:1. Is it part of a coherent policy to reduce ecological impact and improve well-being? If not, then it’s not degrowth.
- 🇳🇿 🇩🇪 🇮🇸 🏴 🇳🇴 Women Leaders Aren’t Better. Strongmen Are Worse. “The final potential explanation for why countries with female leaders appear to have done better in this crisis is the most thought-provoking. Women find gaining power easier in ‘a political culture in which there’s a relative support and trust in the government,’ Kathleen Gerson, a sociology professor at NYU, told The Guardian. A country that elects a strongman—or where a strongman can hold on to power, once elections become a sham—is an already troubled country.”
- 🍄 ⚡️ 🤯 Fungal Lightning. Paging Nikola Tesla to the mushroom counter. “These electrical storms do not have to be nearby, and they do not even need to be natural: ‘In a series of experiments, Koichi Takaki at Iwate University and colleagues showed that artificial lightning strikes do not have to directly strike shiitake mushroom cultivation beds to promote growth.’ Instead, it seems one can coax mushrooms into fruiting using even just the indirect presence of electrical fields.”
- 🇰🇭 😍 🎥 Great 🧵 by Paul Cooper One thing that has made Episode 5 of Fall of Civilizations TV so exciting to work on is the digital recreations of the ancient Cambodian city of Angkor, done by Thomas Chandler and his team at Sensilab, Monash University.
- 👀 🤔 Short 🧵 by Jack Clark Playing around with notion that we’ll evaluate 21st century geopolitics through lens of ‘information empires’. It’s going to be increasingly apparent that AI-driven OODA loops are going to define competitive dynamics in many areas of life.
- 🏁 🚗 Indycar's Virtual Race Crashes Sparked Real-World Controversy Among Drivers. “An inherent tension in F1 and Indy racing is that drivers are in ruthless competition at the same time that they are all trying to prevent crashes that can easily turn deadly. Now that these same drivers are competing in a space where the deadly physical consequences are no longer an issue, the sport is changing fast, and in ways that can carry over to real-world tracks when drivers are able to race on them again.”