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Bleeding Edge Roundup

TECH

MIT Is Building 3D Solar Towards, and So Far They Have Achieved Phenomenal Results
Futurism

Most solar panels are placed flat on rooftops because they are designed to harness solar energy when the sun is directly overhead, but they are less efficient as the angle of the sun’s rays changes. To get around this inefficiency, scientists have been experimenting with a variety of new solar cell technologies. However a team of MIT researchers has taken a different approach by changing the shape of the solar panels. The result? 20 times greater power output.

Read the full article here.

Welcome to the robot-based workforce: will your job become automated too?
Julia Carrie Wong
The Guardian

At San Francisco’s first fully automated restaurant, meals appear in little glass cubbies after customers order and pay on iPads. It’s a human-less experience–no waiters or cashiers. The moment before the meal appears, the see-through display screen that fronts the cubbies goes black for the few seconds when you might catch sight of the hand that feeds you. Eatsa employs only a small kitchen staff, and a single team member in the front of the house, answering questions about how to order and dodging questions about what goes on behind the scenes.

Read the full article here.

Inside the Starburst-sized box that could save the Internet
By Michael Pozmantier
TechCrunch

Cybercrime is costing us millions. But there is hope. At Los Alamos National Laboratory, scientists have taken the first step toward tomorrow’s encryption. It’s a device the size of a Starburst candy, which fits on a small circuit board the size of a video card. Inside that unassuming exterior is a crazily fluctuating quantum light field—the quickest and most reliable true random number generator ever made. These quantum number generators are incredibly reliable sources of randomness.

Read the full article here.

SUSTAINABILITY

Women empowerment leads to sustainable economic growth
The Daily Times

Sustainable development is all inclusive.  Research by Action Pakistan reveals empowering women financially leads to sustainable economic productivity. The report launched on the eve of the International Women’s Day cites UNDP’s Gender Development Index 2014 under which Pakistan ranked 147th. “Research suggests that empowering women leads to sustainable economic productivity and growth, as well as the reduction of deeply entrenched social and cultural discriminatory practices against them,” said Ahmed Hassan at the launch of the report.

Read the full article here.

Solar Advocates Have Their Eyes On Low Income Communities
By Samantha Page
Think Progress

Reach for the stars, particularly the sun. The GW Solar Institute found that installing solar panels in homes in low income communities will add over $18 billion annually to the local economy and create hundreds of thousands of jobs.  The trick is getting the funding.  The executive director of vote Solar in CA says big businesses that have already pledged to use 100% renewable resources like Google, and Amazon, can drive policy with their bargaining power.

Read full article here.

LABOR & ECONOMY

Labor Protests Multiply in China as Economy Slows, Worrying Leaders
Javier C. Hernandez
The New York Times

As China’s economy slows after more than two decades of breakneck growth, strikes and labor protests have erupted across the country. Factories, mines and other businesses are withholding wages and benefits, laying off staff or shutting down altogether. Worried about their prospects in a gloomy job market, workers are fighting back with unusual ferocity.

Read the full article here.

Labor in the Age of Climate Change
By Stefania Barca
Jacobin

Climate change must be stopped. But who will do the stopping? Who, in other words, could be the political subject of an anti capitalist climate revolution? This social agent could be the global working class. Yet to play this role, the working class must develop an emancipatory ecological class consciousness. Fortunately, history is rife with examples of this kind of green-red synthesis — labor environmentalism is as old as the trade union movement.

Read the full article here.

GLOBAL CONFLICT & DEVELOPMENT

Don’t reward Egypt for torturing innocents
By WaPo’s Editorial Board
The Washington Post

Disappearances, torture and extrajudicial killings have become shockingly common under the Egyptian regime of Abdel Fatah al-Sissi. The abuses have largely been ignored by Egypt’s Western allies. The renewed scrutiny and criticism facing Cairo following the death of Giulio Regeni also ought to govern US ties with the Sissi regime. But the Obama administration is moving in the opposite direction, requesting another $1.3 billion in military aid for Cairo in next year’s budget, and asking Congress to eliminate human rights conditioning clauses on the aid. For the Obama administration to hand Cairo a blank check now would be foolhardy. Congress should prevent it.
Read the full article here.

How a simple SIM card makes farmers more efficient--and possibly saves lives
By Julianne Tveten
ArsTechnica

Just a few growing seasons after an unanticipated downpour ravaged Chandrakala Kongala’s peanut crop, her livelihood, she was flourishing. Cultivating a variety of crops, she was earning $300 to $450—a lavish sum in her community of south Indian subsistence farmers. What changed? The weather was more temperate, but the most important factor was a device familiar to much of the developed world: the SIM card.

Read the full article here.

AMERICAN COMMUNITIES

Why Louisiana's Best Option Is to Legalize Marijuana
By Brentin Mock
Citylab

Louisiana is broke. State lawmakers barely averted meltdown Wednesday by weaving together a patchwork of last-minute, temporary measures to clear up most of a near $940+ million budget shortfall. The state is still $30 million in the hole, and will have to resolve another $800 million deficit come the next fiscal year on July 1. As the Associated Press reports, governor Bobby Jindal went wild distributing state tax credits, privatizing services, and plundering state reserves during his two terms as governor in the name of keeping his promise to not raise taxes, ultimately leaving Louisiana residents “living in a fictional world for the last eight years.” But there is an option that could deliver solutions for the state’s fiscal, criminal justice, and health crises: Legalizing weed.

Read the full article here

'Housing first': Dallas's new strategy for the city's  homeless people
By Tom Dart
The Guardian

For rent: brand new one-bedroom apartments in the shadow of downtown Dallas, a short walk from one of the city’s trendiest areas. On-site concierge. Successful applicants will be homeless, mentally ill and possess criminal records.These are strange-sounding tenant requirements, but The Cottages at Hickory Crossing is an unusual kind of project. It is a “housing first” strategy: find the homeless a permanent place of their own before trying to solve their problems, rather than the other way around.

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Alleged LA Gang Members Win $30 Million in Job Training Benefits
By Brentin Mock
Citylab

The LAPD knew that it was illegal to enforce a curfew on people whom cops presumed were gang members. Police brass told its officers then to stop enforcing the curfew after the department was sued, but police continued busting alleged gang members anyway. This defiance spurred a federal judge last year to instruct jurors to award a financial sum to each of the nearly 6,000 people whose due process rights were violated under the gang curfew rules. Under the settlement, the plaintiffs will receive a total of as much as $30 million. But that money won’t be distributed directly to these individuals. Instead it will go to local job-training programs and continuing-education classes.

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How inequality extends to polling place
By Sean McElwee
Salon

The United States lags behind the rest of the developed world in total voter turnout. But disparities in turnout across class, race and age, have profound effects on policy. This so-called “turnout skew” further biases policy towards the rich by leading to turnouts that are overwhelmingly anti-redistribution. Research suggests that higher turnout would lead to more progressive policy, which would give more Americans a stake in elections, thus mobilizing them.

Read the full article here

 

Bleeding Edge Roundup

Bleeding Edge Roundup