Should We Regulate Big Tech?

By Luigi Zingales – Re-Blogged From Imprimis & Hillsdale College

At the beginning of the twentieth century, the invention of the automobile liberated individuals from the yoke of distance. While people could travel before the invention and widespread use of the automobile, they were bound in their daily lives by the limited distance horses could cover. Railroads alleviated but did not eliminate those restrictions—movement was confined by the location of railroad tracks and by train schedules. It was only the automobile that gave individuals the freedom to move at their own leisure.

A century after the invention of the automobile, the invention of the smartphone triggered a similar revolution. And while history never repeats itself, sometimes it rhymes, and these rhymes can help us understand the present.

Before the smartphone, people were tethered to their landlines. In the 1990s, the proliferation of mobile phones and increased access to the Internet greatly expanded our freedom to communicate and our access to information. But it was the introduction of the smartphone in 2007, coupled with mobile communication and the Internet, that brought unprecedented access to information to the Western world and to a significant portion of the developing world.

Continue reading

Advertisements

The Scientific Paper Is Obsolete

By James Somers – Re-Blogged From The Atlantic

The scientific paper—the actual form of it—was one of the enabling inventions of modernity. Before it was developed in the 1600s, results were communicated privately in letters, ephemerally in lectures, or all at once in books. There was no public forum for incremental advances. By making room for reports of single experiments or minor technical advances, journals made the chaos of science accretive. Scientists from that point forward became like the social insects: They made their progress steadily, as a buzzing mass.

The earliest papers were in some ways more readable than papers are today. They were less specialized, more direct, shorter, and far less formal. Calculus had only just been invented. Entire data sets could fit in a table on a single page. What little “computation” contributed to the results was done by hand and could be verified in the same way.

Continue reading

The One-sided Worldview of Eco-Pessimists

By Joanna Szurmak and Pierre Desrochers – Re-Blogged From Quillette

The Pull of Environmental Narratives

In his critique of Hans Rosling’s optimistic take on the human condition (which Rosling co-authored with son Ola and daughter-in-law Anna Rosling Rönnlund),1 Christian Berggren scolds the late professor of international health for ignoring negative trends and for dodging the “preconditions and ecological consequences of the current techno-economic regime” as well as the risks inherent to “continued global population growth.” As Berggren further argues in the longer paper on which his Quillette essay is based, the Roslings illustrate the philosopher Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel’s apocryphal statement that “You do not see with your eyes; you see with your interests.” In this, he claims, the authors of Factfulness failed to present “the world and how it really is.”

Continue reading

California Fire Crews Drink Water Pulled From Thin Air

Re-Blogged From WUWT

An Israeli company is helping America’s disaster victims and first responders

Watergen sends Israeli water-making machine to assist massive wildfires.

Abigail Klein Leichman

An emergency response vehicle (ERV) carrying an innovative Israeli machine that pulls pure drinking water directly out of ambient air is on its way to California, to provide hydration to police and firefighters dealing with the aftermath of two massive wildfires that have taken at least 87 lives and destroyed over 10,000 homes and businesses.

Continue reading

Looming US Technology-Security Minerals Crisis?

By Paul Driessen – Re-Blogged From WUWT

Impacts from the 1973 OPEC oil embargo could pale by comparison to an embargo or other disrupted access to the exotic, critical and strategic metals and minerals that are essential for energy, computer, defense and other technologies that are the foundation for virtually every facet of US economy and security. Right now, the United States imports up to 100% of those materials – and two dozen of them come 60% to 100% from China, Russia or mines controlled by those two countries.

Ironically, we likely have all of them right under our feet. But the United States is the only nation in the world that locks them up, makes them inaccessible under almost any conditions. My article lays out some of the steps that must be taken to address this untenable, unsustainable situation … and cites a new book that provides fascinating and disturbing details about it.


Continue reading

Most Wear-Resistant Metal Alloy in the World

Re-Blogged From Sandia National Laboratory

If you’re ever unlucky enough to have a car with metal tires, you might consider a set made from a new alloy engineered at Sandia National Laboratories. You could skid — not drive, skid — around the Earth’s equator 500 times before wearing out the tread.

Sandia’s materials science team has engineered a platinum-gold alloy believed to be the most wear-resistant metal in the world. It’s 100 times more durable than high-strength steel, making it the first alloy, or combination of metals, in the same class as diamond and sapphire, nature’s most wear-resistant materials. Sandia’s team recently reported their findings in Advanced Materials. “We showed there’s a fundamental change you can make to some alloys that will impart this tremendous increase in performance over a broad range of real, practical metals,” said materials scientist Nic Argibay, an author on the paper.

Fighting Friction

Sandia National Laboratories researchers Michael Chandross, left, and Nic Argibay show a computer simulation used to predict the unprecedented wear resistance of their platinum-gold alloy, and an environmental tribometer used to demonstrate it. (Photo by Randy Montoya) Click on the thumbnail for a high-resolution image.

Continue reading

Making Concrete From Coal Ash

By Anthony Watts – Re-Blogged From WUWT

WSU researchers use coal waste to create sustainable concrete

New coal concrete reduces energy demand, greenhouse emissions

PULLMAN, Wash. – Washington State University researchers have created a sustainable alternative to traditional concrete using coal fly ash, a waste product of coal-based electricity generation.

Continue reading