As promising as 3D printers seem, their usefulness is still questionable. High costs, safety concerns, patents, and design complexity are all contributing to legitimate skepticism.
2018/03/26: the more we grow, the more we eat away at the web of life on which we all depend.
We have known about this problem for decades now, but we've been told not to worry: As technology improves and becomes more efficient, we'll be able to keep growing the economy while nonetheless reducing our impact on the natural world. The technical term for this is "green growth," which requires absolute decoupling of GDP from material use. According to the theory, we can speed this process along by incentivizing innovation; if we tax carbon emissions and material extraction, we can spur companies to invest in more efficient tech.
Here's the magic number: 50 billion tons. That's how much of the Earth's materials and life forms we can safely use each year. That includes everything from wood to plastic, fish to livestock, minerals to metals: all the physical stuff that we consume. Right now, we're using about 80 billion tons each year-way over the limit. So for growth to be green, we need to somehow get back down to 50 billion tons despite expanding the GDP.
When green growth theory was first proposed, there was no evidence on whether it would actually work-it was purely speculative. But over the past few years, three major studies have set out to examine this question. All have arrived at the same rather troubling conclusion: Even under best-case scenario conditions, absolute decoupling of GDP growth from material use is not possible on a global scale.
Why the bad news? The main reason is that tech innovation just doesn't work the way most of us assume. We know that Moore's law says that chip performance doubles about every two years-but this doesn't apply to material use. There are physical limits to material efficiency, and once we start to reach them then the scale effect of growth drives material use back up in the long run. For instance you might be able to produce a wooden table more efficiently, but you can't produce a table out of nothing. In the end you'll need a minimum amount of wood, and once you reach that limit, then any growth in table production is going to come along with a corresponding growth in wood use.
It would be hard to overstate the impact of these results. Right now, our only plan for dealing with the ecological emergency that's staring us in the face is to hope that tech innovation and green growth will mitigate the coming disaster. Yes, we're going to need all the wizardry we can get-but that alone is not going to be enough. The only real option is in fact much simpler and more obvious: We need to start consuming less.
New York's top cocktail bars are facing something of a crisis. A fashionable global protest movement has nightlife venues scrambling to replace their plastic straws with more sustainable alternatives, such as paper ones, on the theory that doing so will reduce plastic waste in the oceans. It all sound virtuous -- but in reality, it's likely to make matters worse. Straws make up a trifling percentage of the world's plastic products, and campaigns to eliminate them will not only be ineffective, but could distract from far more useful efforts.rnrnThe anti-straw movement took off in 2015, after a video of a sea turtle with a straw stuck in its nose went viral. Campaigns soon followed, with activists often citing studies of the growing ocean plastics problem. Intense media interest in the so-called Great Pacific Garbage Patch -- a floating, France-sized gyre of oceanic plastic -- only heightened the concern.rnrnBut this well-intentioned campaign assumes that single-use plastics, such as straws and coffee stirrers, have much to do with ocean pollution. And that assumption is based on some highly dubious data. Activists and news media often claim that Americans use 500 million plastic straws per day, for example, which sounds awful. But the source of this figure turns out to be a survey conducted by a nine-year-old. Similarly, two Australian scientists estimate that there are up to 8.3 billion plastic straws scattered on global coastlines. Yet even if all those straws were suddenly washed into the sea, they'd account for about .03 percent of the 8 million metric tons of plastics estimated to enter the oceans in a given year.rnrnIn other words, skipping a plastic straw in your next Bahama Mama may feel conscientious, but it won't make a dent in the garbage patch. So what will?rnrnA recent survey by scientists affiliated with Ocean Cleanup, a group developing technologies to reduce ocean plastic, offers one answer. Using surface samples and aerial surveys, the group determined that at least 46 percent of the plastic in the garbage patch by weight comes from a single product: fishing nets. Other fishing gear makes up a good chunk of the rest.rnrnThe impact of this junk goes well beyond pollution. Ghost gear, as it's sometimes called, goes on fishing long after it's been abandoned, to the great detriment of marine habitats. In 2013, the Virginia Institute of Marine Science estimated that lost and abandoned crab pots take in 1.25 million blue crabs each year.rnrnThis is a complicated problem. But since the early 1990s, there's been widespread agreement on at least one solution: a system to mark commercial fishing gear, so that the person or company that bought it can be held accountable when it's abandoned. Combined with better onshore facilities to dispose of such gear -- ideally by recycling -- and penalties for dumping at sea, such a system could go a long way toward reducing marine waste. Countries belonging to the United Nation's Food and Agriculture Organization have even agreed on guidelines for the process.rnrnBut while rich countries should be able to meet such standards with ease, in the developing world -- where waste management is largely informal -- the problem is much harder. In Indonesia, for example, one study concluded that fishermen have little incentive to bring someone else's net to a disposal point unless they're getting paid to do so.rnrnThat's where all that anti-straw energy could really help. In 1990, after years of consumer pressure, the world's three largest tuna companies agreed to stop intentionally netting dolphins. Soon after, they introduced a "dolphin safe" certification label and tuna-related dolphin deaths declined precipitously. A similar campaign to pressure global seafood companies to adopt gear-marking practices -- and to help developing regions pay for them -- could have an even more profound impact. Energized consumers and activists in rich countries could play a crucial role in such a movement.rnrnThat's a harder sell than trendy anti-straw activism, of course. But unlike those newly virtuous night clubs, it might actually accomplish something useful.
Customers say they want brands to be more environmentally conscious - but eco-friendly marketing campaigns fall flat.
Bullismo, se l'essenza cui i ragazzi si affidano 232 il cellulare: Letti da rifare , di Alessandro D'Avenia
Researchers are sounding the alarm after an analysis showed that buying a new smartphone consumes as much energy as using an existing phone for an entire decade.
Networked devices for your smart home are the modern way to manage your life, but the rush to sell shoddy smart products risks compromising security
Of course overpopulation is a problem, a huge problem. Look around. I live in one of the most crowded pieces of real-estate in the world.
If there is any indication of the cultural import and effect of the "millennials" - a term I dislike for reasons I will explain later - look no further than America's malls. The Baby Boomer hubris and NIMBYism that sent malls into further and further orbits from city c
One of the simple memes revolving around desktop 3D printers is the notion of producing your own spare parts, Is this really feasible?
Grocery suppliers are feeling the squeeze - big-time.
A Vatican conference on biodiversity has found that wasteful attitudes when it comes to consumption could be leading to the extinction of certain species, and that changing personal habits and a promoting more equal distribution of the earth's resources could make the difference.
2016/12/21: Professor Maurie Cohen emphasizes that advancing toward a post-consumer future is a very challenging venture whose outcome is by no means clear.
With the coming destruction of Pebble and the announcement by Motorola that it doesn't "see enough pull in the market to put [a new smartwatch] out at this time," you would be excused for thinking the smartwatch world is contracting. This is correct, but this is not the end of for
2016/10/21: Retirees will have 2.5 trillion hours of leisure time to fill over the next 20 years, according to a report from Bank of America Merrill Lynch. They will spend $4.6 trillion over that span—and a great deal of it will be on things like adventure and educational travel, and group activities that bring family and friends closer. This isn’t just about the well-to-do. Retirees with relatively few assets are nearly as likely as those that are wealthy to agree that in retirement they have greater freedom and flexibility to do whatever they want—and 95% in the Merrill Lynch survey said they value experiences over things.
Nowadays, the traditional measure of success - owning an apartment and/or a car - is out of date. An increasing number of young people around the world don't want to buy them. Research shows that the so-called millennial generation, who are now 30-35 years old, rarely buy houses and even more rarely - cars. In fact, they don't buy super expensive things at all. In the USA, people under the age of 35 are called 'the generation of renters.'
Showerloop is a water filtration and purification system that recycles shower water in real time allowing you to shower with hot water for a long time but only use 10 liters of water per shower (normal shower = ~6-10l/min) and a fraction of the energy (around one tenth) compared to a normal shower. The device can be installed inside or outside of a shower stall or bathtub.
Despite improved living standards, the poor have fallen further behind the middle class and the affluent in both consumption and income, and crucial services remain unattainable.
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Gizmodo, in its typical sensational voice, ran a story this week in which it argues that smartphones are in a "ridiculously boring place" right now. Alex Cranz with the publication expresses her discontent with some of the recently launched smartphones such as the iPhone SE, the LG G5, and the Galax...