Future left is an effort sustained by the voluntary efforts of its contributors and the support of its visitors. Please share content you find useful, and please consider donating.

Bleeding Edge Roundup

DISRUPTIVE TECHNOLOGY

MIT Prints A Walking Robot With No Assembly Needed
TechCrunch

MIT researchers have created a working hydraulic robot from a single 3D print. Meaning the robot can move right off the printer after its done. No assembly required. The tiny, six-legged robots are out of MIT’s CSAIL computer science lab and are made of both liquid and solid parts that are fully functional right after the printing process.

Read the full article here.

The Brainbelt Awakening
By Antoine Van Agtmael and Fred Bakker
Foreign Policy

The revitalization of former rustbelt areas is bringing new competitiveness to the United States and Europe. Former centers of industry have become centers of innovation: brainbelts. Over two years, we visited many of these areas around the world. We expected to find crumbling industrial sites, to drive through dilapidated neighborhoods, to meet with people struggling hard to keep their heads above water. But instead what we discovered blew those images out of our heads.

Read the full article here.

Self-driving delivery vehicle startup raises $2 million
By Megan Rose-Dickey
TechCrunch

On-demand delivery is something consumers have come to expect. With that in mind, startup Dispatch is building a fleet of autonomous delivery vehicles designed for sidewalks and bike paths. Today, the company announced a $2 million seed round led by Andreessen Horowitz’s Chris Dixon with participation from Charles Hudson of Precursor Ventures and others.

Read the full article here.

SUSTAINABILITY & ENVIRONMENT

Coal plants being planned are enough to cook the planet
By Brad Plumer
VOX

Coal: we still aren’t over you.  In the 2016 "Boom and Bust" report CoalSwarm, the Sierra Club, and Greenpeace it says there are plans to build more than 1,500 new coal plants world wide.  Even if only a fraction are built it will almost impossible to stay below the 2°C threshold.  Developing countries are having a hard time breaking up with coal because it provides access to low cost electricity.  Unfortunately Earth is subsidizing it.

Read the full article here

Sustainability’s New Frontier: Asia
By Alex Davidson

The Wall Street Journal

Once considered laughable, ‘do-good’ investing is making inroads in Asia, and grows in Europe. In order to compete, Asian companies are now incorporating environmental, social and governance into their business strategies. Better late than never.

Read full article here

LABOR, TRADE, & ECONOMY

Continuum of living: How co-ops can save rural communities
By Annie Pentilla
Montana Standard

In 2013, when the Big Flat Grocery closed in Turner—a farming community hub to about 200 people in northern Montana—its residents went a year without having access to a local grocery store. In 2014 the community reopened Big Flat Grocery as a cooperative business. For some the word cooperative might conjure images of hipster communes, but cooperatives provide services in a multitude of domains, including housing, food and utilities.

Read the full article here.

This is the scariest thing Bernie Sanders has said
By Zach Beauchamp
Vox

In a new interview with the New York Daily News, Bernie Sanders said something striking — he basically doesn't think the US should be trading very much at all with countries where wages are much lower than its own. From Sanders's point of view, this makes sense. He has recognized, correctly, that freer trade with countries like China has hurt a subset of American workers. But there's one big problem, according to development economists I spoke to: Limiting trade with low-wage countries as severely as Sanders wants to would hurt the very poorest people on Earth.

Read the full article here.

Where are all the Americans in the Panama Papers?
Fusion

If this is the biggest data leak in history – and our biggest window ever onto the offshore world – where are all the Americans? After all, an estimated $150 billion in potential U.S. tax revenues disappears into offshore tax schemes each year, according to a 2014 Senate subcommittee report. Fusion asked top experts in offshore finance to break down the American-related aspects of the Panama Papers leak.

Read the full article here.

GLOBAL CONFLICT & DEVELOPMENT

Why Rwanda Is Going to Get the World’s First Network of Delivery Drones
By Will Knight
MIT Technology Review

A startup called Zipline will use a fleet of long-distance drones to airdrop precious blood and medicines to remote medical facilities across Rwanda. The potentially life-saving project hints at the potential for unmanned aerial vehicles to revolutionize the delivery of some goods. But it also highlights the fact that drone delivery currently makes most sense only in extreme situations.

Read the full article here.

China Wants to Build a $50 Trillion Global Wind & Solar Power Grid by 2050
Futurism

It seems that China likes building big things. Take the Great Wall of China. The country has been constructing bigger (and sometimes better) things than the rest of the world for centuries. Now, the Chinese are at it again, but this time it’s on a global scale. China wants to build a $50+ trillion power grid. For the entire world. And they want to have it in operation by 2050. Talk about ambitious.

Read the full article here.

Will the Panama Papers Be a Catalyst for Change?
By Tom Cardamone
Foreign Policy

If it were not for the sheer enormity of the data dump, the “Panama Papers” scandal might have been met with the global equivalent of Captain Louis Renault’s “shocked” realization that there was gambling in Rick’s Café Américain. After all, the revelation that there is rampant corruption in weakly governed countries or in places run by strongman dictators isn’t much of a revelation. One need not delve too deeply into the history books to find similar activities; the billions found to be held offshore by Hosni Mubarak, Muammar al-Qaddafi, and Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali easily make the point. But sometimes more actually is more, and the Panama Papers certainly provide more of everything—documents, shell companies, clients, countries affected, government officials involved—than has ever been made public previously.

Read the full article here.

AMERICAN COMMUNITIES

US Prisoners Call for Strikes to Protest Forced Labor
By Alice Speri
The Intercept

Prison inmates around the country have called for a series of strikes against forced labor, demanding reforms of parole systems and prison policies, as well as more humane living conditions, a reduced use of solitary confinement, and better health care.

Read the full article here.

American Anger: It’s Not the Economy. It’s the Other Party.
By Lynn Vavrek
The New York Times

Americans are angry. That’s the sentiment that many believe is driving the 2016 election. They are angry because the rich are getting richer, the average guy is struggling and the government in Washington hasn’t done anything to stop the trend. But it may not be that simple. Data on the nation’s economic recovery, people’s reactions to current economic conditions and their overall sense of satisfaction with life do not suggest Americans are angry. So why does it feel more like a 1 a.m. bar brawl? The answer may have more to do with political parties than economics, or at least with the interaction of the two. Today’s voters have sorted themselves and polarized into partisan groups that look very different than they did in the late 1980s. And members of each side like the other side less than before. Americans aren’t annoyed only by the economy; they’re annoyed with one another.

Read the full article here.

What life is like on $7.25 per hour
By Jenn Jarvie
LA Times

Millions of low-income workers across the nation subsist, barely, on or below the federal minimum wage of $7.25. This week, California became the first state in the nation to raise its eventual minimum wage to $15 an hour, yet hourly wages in other parts of the country, particularly in the Southeast, continue to lag. While 29 states and Washington, D.C., have set the bar higher than the federal minimum, 14 states match the federal rate and five states have no minimum wage at all.

Read the full article here.

Bleeding Edge Roundup

Bleeding Edge Roundup