World-scale issues

Gmail interface horror

July 9, 2014

Accidentally sending an unfinished, unedited email can be a really big mistake, so one wouldn’t want to make this mistake really, really easy… Here is the button-filled corner of the “Reply” edit window in Gmail. Note the a measurement added in red: Is there any imaginable excuse for placing the Send button just 10 pixels […]

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Just in case you missed reading XKCD…

June 11, 2014

Failing to read XKCD is, of course, a mistake.

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Rise of the robots (per the Economist)

April 1, 2014

In the Economist: “Rise of the robots: Prepare for a robot invasion. It will change the way people think about technology”. The robotics revolution is, of course, riding the exponential wave of today’s leading nanotechnology, digital nanoelectronics, and today’s robots give only a taste of what nanomechanical technologies will enable through radical improvements in the […]

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Civilizational impact

March 13, 2014

Nanoelectronics is a nanotechnology that makes possible the drone technologies that threaten to upend the power relationships that underpin modern civilization: Drones will cause an upheaval of society like we haven’t seen in 700 years Noah Smith is often worth reading:

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Environmental Impact

March 5, 2014

From xkcd. How to roll back the impact of agriculture here.

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Four Revolutions Compared: Agriculture, Industry, Information, and APM

November 4, 2013

The following table is excerpted from the new report, NANO: Nano-Solutions for the 21st Century (the full report is available from the Oxford Martin School here). “HT-APM” refers to high-throughput atomically precise manufacturing, a critical development on the horizon of advanced nanotechnology. The Agricultural Revolution Provided new means of producing food and materials by exploiting […]

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Climate reporting: Spot the difference?

October 31, 2013

BBC, October 31, 2013, 9:19 AM: BBC RSS-feed headline: “Decline in CO2 may be ‘permanent’” The BBC article’s headline: “Report suggests ‘permanent slowdown’ in CO2 emissions” The article’s lead sentence: “Global emissions of carbon dioxide may be showing the first signs of a “permanent slowdown” in the rate of increase.” From the article’s closing sentence: […]

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Guardian post #3:
Big Nanotech: An unexpected future

October 29, 2013

The third in my series of three posts at The Guardian is up: Big Nanotech: An unexpected future. The three posts in the Big Nanotech series: Towards post-industrial manufacturing Building a new world with atomic precision An unexpected future The third post includes the Oxford Martin School link to the Nano-Solutions report (which I announced […]

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Report on advanced nanotechnology

October 28, 2013

A recently released report on atomically precise manufacturing, NANO: Nano-Solutions for the 21st Century, is now available via the Oxford Martin School, in conjunction with the Research Center for Sustainable Development of the China Academy of Social Sciences. The report (105 pages) discusses the status and prospects for APM enabling technologies together with a range […]

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London & Istanbul followup

October 8, 2013

The FutureFest event in London last week (hosted by NESTA in conjunction with the Oxford Martin School) embraced topics spanning science, technology, governance, societal change, and the arts. On the Oxford Martin School side, I spoke in the biology and nanotechnology panel with Sonia Trigueros, the Co-Director of the Oxford Martin Programme on Nanotechnology. The […]

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Transforming the Material Basis of Civilization
(TEDx talk, take #2)

August 30, 2013

Here’s take #2 of my recent Lisbon TEDx talk. The earlier post linked a version of the talk (take #1, morning) in which the slides often wouldn’t advance and got skipped; I now have the video of the noon redo with debugged visuals: If you’ve linked to the earlier version, please update. If not, then […]

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Software, trust, and proof

August 22, 2013

A recently developed high-performance OS microkernel supports the capability security model and comes with a formal specification and machine-checked proof: it’s called seL4. This is very, very, important. As the NICTA project notes: …software systems are increasingly trusted with critical operations. Yet, the traditional ways in which they are engineered provide limited or no assurance […]

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