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Archive for the ‘environmental’ category

Apr 21, 2017

How Global Value Chains Push and Pull U.S. Companies on Climate Action — By Emilie Prattico | Business for Social Responsibility

Posted by in categories: business, energy, environmental

“But for most companies operating within global value chains, the pull and push of climate action also comes from abroad, and many U.S. companies now understand the potential to demonstrate global leadership through climate action.”

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Apr 14, 2017

Entrance to Mars: How this fascinating Dome-Space-Elevator grows in all directions

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

Architecture has evolved and has become much more than just a design realized in concrete and modern building material. It has been transformed to help humanity in achieving all kinds of sustainability.

The eVolo Magazine for Architecture has been organizing another round of Skyscraper Competition in 2017 to honor those visionaries that try to realize a future that benefits humanity and the one Earth we all need to cherish and sustain.

A team from Spain with aspiring architects Arturo Emilio Garrido Ontiveros, Andrés Pastrana Bonillo, Judit Pinach Martí and Alex Tintea is thinking of a hybrid solution, that ensures Humanity’s survival in the early days of Mars’ colonization. The skyscraper design is both clever and beautiful, combining existing technologies with many practical ideas to open up and terraform more red soil as we understand the planet. It’s a genesis of Mars and a revival of form following function.

Continue reading “Entrance to Mars: How this fascinating Dome-Space-Elevator grows in all directions” »

Apr 11, 2017

What is a city? The SDGs depend on an answer — By Brendon Bosworth | GreenBiz

Posted by in categories: business, economics, environmental, governance, sustainability

“This month, urban thinkers from the United Nations, the European Commission and other organizations are meeting in Brussels to continue a curiously complex attempt: developing a universal definition of the “city.””

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Apr 11, 2017

Limits to the Nonparametric Intuition: Superintelligence and Ecology

Posted by in categories: environmental, existential risks, machine learning

In a previous essay, I suggested how we might do better with the unintended consequences of superintelligence if, instead of attempting to pre-formulate satisfactory goals or providing a capacity to learn some set of goals, we gave it the intuition that knowing all goals is not a practical possibility. Instead, we can act with a modest confidence having worked to discover goals, developing an understanding of our discovery processes that allows asserting an equilibrium between the risk of doing something wrong and the cost of work to uncover more stakeholders and their goals. This approach promotes moderation given the potential of undiscovered goals potentially contradicting any particular action. In short, we’d like a superintelligence that applies the non-parametric intuition, the intuition that we can’t know all the factors but can partially discover them with well-motivated trade-offs.

However, I’ve come to the perspective that the non-parametric intuition, while correct, on its own can be cripplingly misguided. Unfortunately, going through a discovery-rich design process doesn’t promise an appropriate outcome. It is possible for all of the apparently relevant sources not to reflect significant consequences.

How could one possibly do better than accepting this limitation, that relevant information is sometimes not present in all apparently relevant information sources? The answer is that, while in some cases it is impossible, there is always the background knowledge that all flourishing is grounded in material conditions, and that “staying grounded” in these conditions is one way to know that important design information is missing and seek it out. The Onion article “Man’s Garbage To Have Much More Significant Effect On Planet Than He Will” is one example of a common failure at living in a grounded way.

In other words, “staying grounded” means recognizing that just because we do not know all of the goals informing our actions does not mean that we do not know any of them. There are some goals that are given to us by the nature of how we are embedded in the world and cannot be responsibly ignored. Our continual flourishing as sentient creatures means coming to know and care for those systems that sustain us and creatures like us. A functioning participation in these systems at a basic level means we should aim to see that our inputs are securely supplied, our wastes properly processed, and the supporting conditions of our environment maintained.

Continue reading “Limits to the Nonparametric Intuition: Superintelligence and Ecology” »

Apr 7, 2017

Britons expected to send 235m items of clothing to landfill this spring — By Rebecca Smithers | The Guardian

Posted by in category: environmental

“Study finds three-quarters of consumers throw away rather than recycle or donate unwanted garments”

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Apr 7, 2017

Arctic Ocean In Serious Danger As Sea Ice Melts, Needs Better Protection — By Juliana Rose Pignataro | International Business Times

Posted by in category: environmental

“Rapidly melting sea ice in the Arctic Ocean has opened up previously inaccessible areas to industrial fishing, oil exploration, shipping and other human activities.”

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Apr 7, 2017

Disaster Assistance Handbook | Third Edition, March 2017 | The American Institute of Architects (AIA)

Posted by in categories: architecture, engineering, environmental, governance

“This handbook will:

  • help architects better understand their role and how to prepare for and respond to disasters
  • prepare AIA Component staff to engage and coordinate their architect members and provide community discourse and assistance
  • explain how built environment professionals can work with architects and the community on disaster response and preparedness efforts
  • inform municipal governments of the unique ways architects assist the public and their clients in mitigating, responding to and recovering from disasters”

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Apr 7, 2017

In search of sustainable style — By Luke Leitch | 1843 Magazine

Posted by in categories: business, energy, environmental, sustainability

“The clothing industry is said to be the world’s second most polluting business, runner-up in grubbiness to oil.”

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Apr 3, 2017

Climate of Hope — By Michael Bloomberg and Carl Pope

Posted by in categories: business, environmental, finance, governance, government

“Bloomberg, an entrepreneur and former mayor of New York City, and Pope, a lifelong environmental leader, approach climate change from different perspectives, yet they arrive at similar conclusions.”

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Mar 30, 2017

How The Power Of Synthetic Biology could reshape the world

Posted by in categories: bioengineering, biotech/medical, computing, environmental

Mushroom buildings, jurassic park and terraforming.

Did you ever hear about synthetic biology? No? Imagine that we could alter and produce DNA from scratch just like an engineer. Doesn’t it sound like one of the greatest interdisciplinary achievements in recent history?

Think about it, a bio-technologist is doing more or less the work of a programmer but instead of using a computer language he’s doing it by arranging molecules embedded in every living cell. The outcome, if ever mastered, could reshape the world around us dramatically.

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