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Archive for the ‘environmental’ category: Page 8

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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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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