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Archive for the ‘environmental’ category

Mar 16, 2017

Warming Mars and thickening its atmosphere can be done in 10–100 years

Posted by in categories: biological, engineering, environmental, space

If all the solar incident on Mars were to be captured with 100% efficiency, then Mars would warm to Earth-like temperatures in about 10 years. However, the efficiency of the greenhouse effect is plausibly about 10%, thus the time it would take to warm Mars would be ~100 years. This assumes, of course, adequate production of super greenhouse gases over that entire time. The super greenhouse gases desired for use on Mars would be per fluorinated compounds (PFCs) as these are not toxic, do not destroy ozone, will resist degradation by ultraviolet life, and are composed of elements (C, S, and F) that are present on Mars. Fluorine has been detected on Mars by Curiosity.

The Warming Phase of a terraforming project on Mars results in a planet with a thick CO2 atmosphere. The thickness is determined by the total releasable CO2 present on Mars.

The temperatures would become well above freezing and liquid water is common. An Earth-like hydrological cycle is maintained. Photosynthetic organisms can be introduced as conditions warm and organic biomass is thus produced. A rich flora and fauna are present. A natural result of this is the biological consumption of the nitrate and perchlorate in the.

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Mar 15, 2017

Blockchain can dramatically reduce pollution and traffic jams

Posted by in categories: bitcoin, cryptocurrencies, Elon Musk, energy, environmental, futurism, sustainability, transportation

The World Economic Forum has posted an article that hints at something that I have also suggested. (I am not taking credit. Others have suggested the idea too…But advancing tech and credible, continued visibility may help us to finally be taken seriously!)

I am not referring to purchasing and retiring carbon credits. I like that idea too. But here is a blockchain idea that can enable fleets of autonomous, shared, electric vehicles. Benefits to individuals and to society are numerous.

The future is just around the corner. Non-coin applications of the blockchain will support many great things. Goodbye car ownership. Hello clean air! The future of personal transportation.

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Mar 13, 2017

Synthetic Stars and the Future of Energy — By Dr. Edward Moses | TEDxSF

Posted by in categories: astronomy, energy, environmental, physics

Mar 10, 2017

The boom is here: U.S. solar experiences record-smashing year — By Joe Romm | ThinkProgress

Posted by in categories: engineering, environmental, governance, policy, science, solar power

“The industry reports that, for the first time ever, solar was the number one source of new generating capacity, beating out wind and gas.”

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Mar 9, 2017

Why and How Investors Use ESG Information: Evidence from a Global Survey — By Amir Amel-Zadeh & George Serafeim

Posted by in categories: environmental, ethics, governance

“Using survey data from a sample of senior investment professionals from mainstream (i.e. not SRI funds) investment organizations we provide insights into why and how investors use reported environmental, social and governance (ESG) information.”

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Mar 7, 2017

NASA Wants to Launch a Giant Magnetic Field to Make Mars Habitable

Posted by in categories: climatology, engineering, environmental, space

NASA scientists have proposed a bold plan that could give Mars its atmosphere back and make the Red Planet habitable for future generations of human colonists.

By launching a giant magnetic shield into space to protect Mars from solar winds, the space agency says we could restore the Red Planet’s atmosphere, and terraform the Martian environment so that liquid water flows on the surface once again.

Mars may seem like a cold, arid wasteland these days, but the Red Planet is thought to have once had a thick atmosphere that could have maintained deep oceans filled with liquid water, and a warmer, potentially habitable climate.

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Mar 6, 2017

Nanotechnology Combatting Global Warming

Posted by in categories: chemistry, complex systems, disruptive technology, energy, environmental, innovation, materials, nanotechnology, Singularity University, sustainability, transportation

Superlubricity nano-structured self-assembling coating repairs surface wear, decreases emissions and increases HP and gas mileage.

Globally about 15 percent of manmade carbon dioxide comes from vehicles. In more developed countries, cars, trucks, airplanes, ships and other vehicles account for a third of emissions related to climate change. Emissions standards are fueling the lubricant additives market with innovation.

Up to 33% of fuel energy in vehicles is used to overcome friction. Tribology is the science of interacting surfaces in relative motion inclusive of friction, wear and lubrication. This is where TriboTEX, a nanotechnology startup is changing the game of friction modification and wear resilience with a lubricant additive that forms a nano-structured coating on metal alloys.

This nano-structured coating increases operating efficiency and component longevity. It is comprised of synthetic magnesium silicon hydroxide nanoparticles that self-assemble as an ultralow friction layer, 1/10 of the original friction resistance. The coating is self-repairing during operation, environmentally inert and extracts carbon from the oil. The carbon diamond-like nano-particle lowers the friction budget of the motor, improving fuel economy and emissions in parallel while increasing the power and longevity of the motor.

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Feb 18, 2017

2017 (Buckminster) Fuller Challenge Prize

Posted by in categories: complex systems, energy, engineering, environmental, futurism, innovation, science, sustainability

“Launched in 2007, the Fuller Challenge has defined an emerging field of practice: the whole systems approach to understanding and intervening in complex and interrelated crises for wide-scale social and environmental impact. The entry criteria have established a new framework through which to identify and measure effective, enduring solutions to global sustainability’s most entrenched challenges. The rigorous selection process has set a unique standard, gaining renown as “Socially-Responsible Design’s Highest Award.”

The Fuller Challenge attracts bold, visionary, tangible initiatives focused on a well-defined need of critical importance. Winning solutions are regionally specific yet globally applicable and present a truly comprehensive, anticipatory, integrated approach to solving the world’s complex problems.”

Deadline is March 31, 2017

Feb 11, 2017

Value Conflicts surrounding the Meaning of Life in the Trans/Post/Human Future

Posted by in categories: biological, cryonics, cyborgs, economics, environmental, ethics, futurism, governance, health, homo sapiens, law, mobile phones, policy, posthumanism, security, theory, transhumanism

Posthumanists and perhaps especially transhumanists tend to downplay the value conflicts that are likely to emerge in the wake of a rapidly changing technoscientific landscape. What follows are six questions and scenarios that are designed to focus thinking by drawing together several tendencies that are not normally related to each other but which nevertheless provide the basis for future value conflicts.

  1. Will ecological thinking eventuate in an instrumentalization of life? Generally speaking, biology – especially when a nervous system is involved — is more energy efficient when it comes to storing, accessing and processing information than even the best silicon-based computers. While we still don’t quite know why this is the case, we are nevertheless acquiring greater powers of ‘informing’ biological processes through strategic interventions, ranging from correcting ‘genetic errors’ to growing purpose-made organs, including neurons, from stem-cells. In that case, might we not ‘grow’ some organs to function in largely the same capacity as silicon-based computers – especially if it helps to reduce the overall burden that human activity places on the planet? (E.g. the brains in the vats in the film The Minority Report which engage in the precognition of crime.) In other words, this new ‘instrumentalization of life’ may be the most environmentally friendly way to prolong our own survival. But is this a good enough reason? Would these specially created organic thought-beings require legal protection or even rights? The environmental movement has been, generally speaking, against the multiplication of artificial life forms (e.g. the controversies surrounding genetically modified organisms), but in this scenario these life forms would potentially provide a means to achieve ecologically friendly goals.

  1. Will concerns for social justice force us to enhance animals? We are becoming more capable of recognizing and decoding animal thoughts and feelings, a fact which has helped to bolster those concerned with animal welfare, not to mention ‘animal rights’. At the same time, we are also developing prosthetic devices (of the sort already worn by Steven Hawking) which can enhance the powers of disabled humans so their thoughts and feelings are can be communicated to a wider audience and hence enable them to participate in society more effectively. Might we not wish to apply similar prosthetics to animals – and perhaps even ourselves — in order to facilitate the transaction of thoughts and feelings between humans and animals? This proposal might aim ultimately to secure some mutually agreeable ‘social contract’, whereby animals are incorporated more explicitly in the human life-world — not as merely wards but as something closer to citizens. (See, e.g., Donaldson and Kymlicka’s Zoopolis.) However, would this set of policy initiatives constitute a violation of the animals’ species integrity and simply be a more insidious form of human domination?

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Jan 15, 2017

Engineers Have Released Plans for a 5-Km-High Skyscraper That Eats Smog

Posted by in category: environmental

2017 only just arrived, but one manufacturing company is already looking 45 years into the future.

Arconic, a materials science company, has envisioned a 3-mile-high (4.8-km) skyscraper built from materials that are either in-development or have already been brought to market, including smog-eating surfaces and retractable balconies.

The tower was concocted as part of the company’s larger campaign known as The Jetsons, an homage to the 1962 cartoon set in 2062. Arconic’s engineers worked alongside futurists to imagine the technologies that will be most useful several decades from now.

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