As The Future Melts Away

I’ve always been a sucker for a good time lapse.  This one strikes me as a time lapse within a time lapse.  It’s half a day, compressed into less than 5 minutes, with people flitting around like moths, posing for pictures with an ice sculpture of the future.  Only the time lapse eyes of the camera can see what’s happening.  And by the end the passers by probably can’t even tell what the message might have been.  But the art is a piece of time lapse too.  A century or a millennium compressed into a day of melting.  Even that is a stretch for our attention span.  Even the 5 minute video seems long and slow.  How can we create a society with a more meditative mindset?  With an attention span that reflects the extent of our impacts in deep time?

 

The Ecuadorian Library

Bruce Sterling has posted a great, almost purple rant entitled The Ecuadorian Library, on Manning, Assange, Snowden, and the future of the surveillance/leak game that’s only now just beginning to be played with modern equipment.  The information wants to be free, but the governments of the world will crush your sniveling, naked meatspace body in a cold, hard cell afterward.  And yet miraculously there’s more to come.  Maybe lots, lots more.

Refining Steel Without GHG Emissions

Refining metal ores is one of those things that’s really, really hard to do without emitting a huge amount of greenhouse gasses.  The energy sources behind our material economies are not as easily substitutable with renewables, because what they often require is extreme heat, and sometimes the carbon itself (in the case of steelmaking and concrete).  Researchers at MIT are looking at a way of directly refining molten iron oxide directly into pure iron electrolytically that results in very pure iron, and virtually no emissions, and it might work for other oxide refining processes as well.

Communicating sustainability: lessons from public health

Some lessons from public health for sustainability and climate campaigners.  Our choices are largely not our own — context and norms are far more powerful forces for behavioral change than abstract attitudes.  Most people just stick with the default settings.  We need to change the default settings.