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Bleeding Edge Roundup

TECH

A Little 3-D Printer On The ISS Is A Huge Step For Space Exploration
By Madison Kotack
WIRED

When humans depart from Earth to set up the first planetary colony, they’ll have to travel light. Seeds, water, and tools might secure a spot on the cargo ship, but everything else will have to be built from extraterrestrial materials. The question is, how? Made In Space might have an answer. Today, NASA will send a resupply mission to the International Space Station carrying a high-tech 3-D printer and feedstock from the microgravity tech company. Voila: the first off-world manufacturing facility.

Read the full article here.

Google built tech to support the Syrian uprising, Clinton email says
By Jessica Conditt
Engadget

Google built a tool in 2012 designed to help organize Syrian dissidents opposed to President Bashar Assad.  This is according to a new batch of emails released from former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's private server. Jared Cohen, once the head of the Google Ideas division, sent a message to top Clinton officials in July 2012 outlining a tool that would publicly track and map defections in Syria.

Read the full article here.

This tiny electric car could be the future of urban transportation
By Sean O’Kane
The Verge

The future of transportation is a tough thing to peg down. It could involve Hyperloops, or self-driving cars, or some strange mix of both. Two years ago, Nissan started up an experimental wing called "Future Lab" to address this shifting landscape. And the first project is the Nissan New Mobility Concept—a squat, four-wheel electric vehicle that Nissan has taken from Renault and modified for the United States.

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SUSTAINABILITY

The Climate Change Spending Gap
By Laura Bliss
CityLab

The grand total is $323 billion! That’s how much was spent on adapting to climate change in 2015. A study finds huge disparities in how global megacities are investing in order to adapt. The most money was spent in heavily populated cities where like New York and Paris.  The high spending wasn’t because government officials had an overwhelming sense of responsibility to protect the planet, but rather, to protect physical capital.  Unfortunately those living in developing countries are more vulnerable to the effects of climate change, and their leaders aren’t spending as much to adapt to it, because there are less, non-human assets to protect.

Read the full article here.

Could Mold Power the Batteries of the Future?
By Emily Matchar
Smithsonian

Researchers have discovered how to use a fungus to create materials that could be used to make more sustainable lithium-ion batteries. What else can fungi do? Turn lead into gold! Ok it can’t turn it into gold, but a process called “biorecovery” can change lead in contaminated soil into a less dangerous form. It also helps to recover rare elements like cobalt and selenium from waste materials. This would help keep in-demand elements like these in circulation, which means we need less of them from China.

Read the full article here.

LABOR & ECONOMY

US Confirms Labor Concerns in Peru Apparel Sector
By Michelle Russell
Just-Style

A US department of labor report has raised significant concerns about worker’s rights and labor law enforcement in Peru’s textile and apparel sectors.  This leads to new questions regarding the labor rights record of a key member of the Trans-Pacific Partnership. The report was released under the labor chapter of the US-Peru Trade Promotion Agreement (PTPA.) It particularly raises questions regarding the right to freedom of association in the South American nation, especially for workers employed on consecutive short-term contracts.

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Solar Power Reflects Morocco’s Energy Ambitions
By Siona Jenkins
Financial Times

When production officially began in February at the world’s biggest concentrated solar power plant at Ouarzazate in southern Morocco, the country was widely celebrated for its achievement. (Weird sentence) Noor 1, named after the Arabic word for light, is a concentrated solar power plant (CSP) designed to deliver 160 megawatts of electricity at peak output. It is the first of three stages in a project expected to provide 510MW of generating capacity by 2018.

Read the full article here.

Amazon employees hold strike over pay
Reuters

Workers at an Amazon warehouse in Germany, the company’s second-biggest market behind the US, are starting a new round of strikes in an attempt to pressure the online retailer to increase pay. The walkout by workers in Koblenz, western Germany, began on Monday night and was due to run until the end of the night shift on Wednesday 23 March, the Verdi union said in a statement.

Read the full article here.

GLOBAL CONFLICT & DEVELOPMENT

Obama Says Climate Change Is a Security Risk. Why Are Republicans Laughing?
By Keith Johnson
Foreign Policy

From the melting Arctic to the Syrian drought, the president says climate change poses a bigger threat than the Islamic State. Too bad the GOP doesn’t want to do much to fight it. In the middle of January, Deputy Secretary of Defense Robert Work signed off on one of the potentially most significant orders in recent Pentagon history. The directive told every corner of the Pentagon, the joint chiefs of staff, and all the combatant commands around the world, to put climate change front and center in their strategic planning.

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Extracting Democracy
By Joshua Lew McDermott
Jacobin

Despite reports that Sierra Leone has been reaping the rewards of neoliberal capitalism, the country’s democratic and economic record is not so sunny. Foreign investment hasn’t made life better for the country’s broader population. Extractive industries such as mining generate minimal jobs and engage in “satellite development,” relying on the minimal level of infrastructure to get the loot to the coast, rather than providing generalized growth.

Read the full article here.

The next step for developing Cuba? Microfinance.
By Carmen Muñoz
Devex

President Barack Obama and at least 20 members of Congress descended on Havana on Monday. While members of the delegation differ on the best path forward for U.S.-Cuban relations, everyone hopes for economic development that improves the quality of life for the average Cuban. What are the next steps for development in Cuba? As Cuba continues to work toward a more open, hybrid economic model, its social gains will come under stress, and development programs and external investment will be needed more than ever.  Before sustainable development can take root, Cuba needs a modern, functioning financial system.

Read the full article here.

AMERICAN COMMUNITIES

Western Voters Faced Chaos At The Polls Last Night
By Alice Ollstein
Think Progress

Last night’s primary in Arizona delivered big wins and sizable delegate hauls to Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. While Bernie Sanders dominated the Democratic caucuses in Idaho and Utah, and Utah Republicans handed a win to Ted Cruz. Republicans in the U.S. territory of American Samoa gave one delegate each to Ted Cruz and Donald Trump. But with reports of three hour wait times, online glitches, and legal restrictions, the contests also highlighted serious voting rights problems in those states.

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Ted Cruz Criticized After Suggesting Law Enforcement Patrol Muslim Areas
By Sam Sanders
NPR

Shortly after this week's terror attacks in Brussels, American politicians and elected officials of all stripes issued statements and made comments. Many said they stand in solidarity with Belgium, that the country was in their thoughts and prayers. President Obama said America would do all it could to help bring the perpetrators to justice.  This drew swift criticism in some corners. In a statement issued Tuesday, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz wrote, "We need to empower law enforcement to patrol and secure Muslim neighborhoods before they become radicalized."

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Uninformed Voters Are a Problem. This May Be a Solution.
By Mike Maciag
Governing

When voters head to the polls, they’re often confronted with a long list of downballot races they don't know anything about. Even moderately informed voters may find themselves staring blankly at names of candidates for school board seats, judgeships, neighborhood commissions and so on. Some voters might make guesses or vote based on candidates’ names. Others may choose to leave part of their ballot blank. It can be a frustrating process, leaving some voters to skip elections altogether. One new startup aims to change that and bridge the gap of voter awareness of downballot races. BallotReady, which is affiliated with the University of Chicago, offers comprehensive nonpartisan voter guides on local elections in addition to state and national races.

Read the full article here

 

Bleeding Edge Roundup

Bleeding Edge Roundup