Shineanthology’s Weblog

An anthology of optimistic, near future SF

Good news from around the Globe, part 3

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


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.


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).


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.


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.


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.


  gillian wrote @

A neurosurgeon performed a life-saving procedure on a teenager’s brain thanks to a surgical laser-tool initially developed as a military device.

A CO2 laser initially developed as a military deathly device evolved into a tool allowing surgeons to perform difficult life-saving surgeries.

Cell phone turned into a simple med lab. Used in remote parts of the world where no sophisticated medical tools are available.

People are still trying to safe lives. There is still hope in the world.

  Eva Maria Chapman wrote @

Thank you for good Valentines Day, Mother Earth news.
Interesting about the shock absorber.
What do you think of the car that runs on air?

  shineanthology wrote @


Many thanks for the added news. I think they demonstrate that technology is in most cases value-neutral: it’s how we use it that counts.


The car that runs on air is a bit like electric cars: they don’t pollute while they run, but what’s important is how the energy for charging them up is made. If both your electric car or your compressed air car have been charged on the grid then it depends on where that grid gets its power from, and today that’s still mainly gas, fuel or coal plants.

If you have your own solar collector, or windmill, or biomass burner and you use it to charge your car, then it makes a difference. Otherwise, not much (unless [inter-]national grids turn to renewable energy in much larger numbers.

  gillian wrote @

You are right!

[…] an article about positive developments in the world (I’ve already posted plenty of those). Here’s one development that particularly caught my attention, because it is a solution that […]

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