Shineanthology’s Weblog

An anthology of optimistic, near future SF

Archive for February 14, 2009

Good news from around the Globe, part 3

Where we keep trying to show the other — often neglected — side of the coin.

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First, a simple process that turns raw plant material into fuel (via the tweet feed of Green Options, who linked me to Gas 2.0 ). I realise that biofuels are controversial, and I personally agree that turning edible food into fuel while many people around the world still starve is madness (not to mention the amount of food that is thrown away in the west). However, if we can turn the non-edible parts of crops into fuel, then it might become interesting.

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Second, while climate changes is causing species extinction on the one side, we still find unexpected biodiversity: 12 frog species discovered in India (also via Green Options).

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Third — via New Scientist — a personal dynamo gadget for power-depraved countries such as in sub-Saharan Africa that can feed cellphones, which are increasingly becoming key to economic activity in many areas around the world with poor infrastucture.

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Fourth, filed under civil disobedience, green version, local residents of San Francisco, Mexico stage a sit-in to halt the destruction of local trees.

mit_shockabsorbersFifth, MIT undergraduates develop a shock absorber that generates energy. Basically the heat from the absorbed shocks is fed back, and this can save up to 10% of fuel, especially on trucks.

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Sixth, researchers demonstrate ‘quantum data buffering’ scheme. The quantum computer comes closer, step by step, day by day. Obviously, it’s a tool, not something evil or good from itself: like the internet, it’s how we use it. As an optimist, I think the good uses will overcome the bad.

Finally, a few days after the 200th Anniversary of Charles Darwin’s birthday, a post about ‘survival of the weakest‘. This not to say — as New Scientist did, somewhat tongue in cheek in the lead article of their January 21, 2006 issue — that Darwin was wrong, but to highlight that evolution is not just a simple ‘survival of the fittest’, but a highly complex, dynamic and highly interesting process.

UPDATE: A new gang comes to Los Angeles: Solar-Panel Installers. This is the kind of synergy I love.