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Bleeding Edge Roundup

DISRUPTIVE TECHNOLOGY

Wild Transhumanist Campaign Tech We’ll See in Future Presidential Elections
By Zoltan Istvan
VICE

Zoltan wants to be your President. Some candidates of skeletons in their closet. Zoltan has an RFID chip implanted in his wrist. Read his op-ed in VICE to find out how he thinks the presidency will change as humans become augmented.

Read the full article here.

Iranian Engineer Develops Robots To Construct Buildings In One Day Via 3D Printing
By Michael Finn
Science World Report

Iranian robots are being developed by a team of experts headed by Iranian professor Behrokh Khoshnevis of the USC Viterbi School of Engineering in California, United States of America.  According to reports, the team is currently working on making a robot that can construct buildings in just one day. The Iranian robot expert Khoshnevis confirmed in an interview about his project on Selective Separation Sintering process for  20 years now, with an aim of building structures in an automated procedure by using 3D printing. According to the professor, SSS is the initial process that is able to function in zero gravity. As compared to expensive technologies such as lasers, the SSS will offer precision, more speed and independence, and also has high potential for planetary and space use.

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Your Coffeemaker Is Watching You
By Adrienne LaFrance
The Atlantic

Refrigerator design hasn’t changed that much in the decades since its invention in 1957. Nowadays, though, smart fridges almost always come up in conversations about the Internet of Things, a term that describes a network of Web-connected objects designed to perceive their surroundings and communicate with one another.Today, the refrigerator of the future is an appliance that, yes, keeps your Chablis chilled, but also adjusts its temperature based on the kinds of food it contains, reminds you to drink more water, and automatically orders a gallon of milk from the store before you run out. Which makes it a pretty good proxy for an ongoing shift—one poised to accelerate in the decades ahead—in how people interact with their homes. Here’s what that shift will look like.

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SUSTAINABILITY & ENVIRONMENT

Can incineration and landfills save us from the recycling crisis?
By Bruce Watson
The Guardian

It’s been a tough year for plastic recycling, and the culprit is oil. Over the past two years, petroleum prices have plummeted, at one point dropping to 70% below June 2014 levels. As prices have fallen, they’ve dragged down the cost of virgin plastic, which is made from oil. In many areas, it now costs more to recycle old plastic than to make new containers. Environmentally, there’s no question that recycling is the best method for dealing with waste. Recycling one ton of aluminum saves 14,000kWh of electricity – compared to making aluminum from raw materials – more energy than the average household uses in a year. Paper products are less profitable, but recycling one ton of cardboard still saves 390kWh – more than a week’s worth of electricity.

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If the World Gives Up Meat, We Can Still Have Burgers
By Michael Reilly
Technology Review

If you accept that global meat consumption is a polluting, energy-hogging, climate-and-landscape-destroying problem, then the obvious question is: how do we fix it? There are, it would appear, two answers to that question. This week, China unveiled its approach: use the power of a strong central government to issue dramatic changes to your nation’s dietary guidelines, and back that up with everything from billboards to celebrity endorsements to get the word out. Chinese meat consumption has exploded in the last three decades, rising by almost a factor of five from around 30 pounds per person. The government’s plan is to encourage people to cut back to around 50 pounds per person—a measure that could save a billion tons of carbon emissions by 2030, if it works. In the US, such an option isn’t feasible—government efforts to change dietary guidelines are inevitably mired in resistance from food industry groups. Instead, we are left to rely on the determination of people like biochemists.

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Clean water should be a basic human right. Why are we charging so much for it?
By Ben Adler
Grist

Aging infrastructure + warming climate = rising prices. That’s the basic conclusion of a new report showing that clean water is getting more expensive in cities across the country — in some cases, far more expensive than what poor residents can reasonably afford for what should be a basic human right. Rates vary hugely across the country — water will cost you five times as much in Seattle as in Salt Lake City, for example — but on average, the cost of clean water and wastewater services has risen 41 percent over the last five years, according to an examination of national data by the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee, a human rights advocacy organization.

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LABOR, TRADE, & ECONOMY

'Fund it, not run it': big tech's universal basic income project has its skeptics
By Julie Carrie Wong
The Guardian

Y Combinator plans to pilot a universal basic income (UBI) study in Oakland, giving up to 100 individuals “an amount [of money] that is sufficient to meet basic needs” for six months to a year. In theory, a universal basic income is a system whereby the government provides every individual–no matter how rich or poor–with enough income to survive, no strings attached. But not everyone is enthralled with the idea of big tech leveraging its wealth to experiment on people in Oakland. While the city’s mayor, Libby Schaaf, tweeted her enthusiasm for the pilot project, Dawn Phillips of Causa Justa Just Cause, a housing and workers’ rights organization in Oakland, expressed concerns about Y Combinator’s leadership.

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New Chicago Law Will Give Almost Half a Million Workers Guaranteed Paid Sick Leave
By Jeff Schuhrke
In These Times

In a 48 to 0 vote Wednesday, the Chicago City Council passed a landmark ordinance guaranteeing workers the opportunity to take paid time off when they or their loved ones get sick. The law will benefit about 460,000 workers—42 percent of the city’s private sector workforce—who currently lack paid sick leave. Over three-quarters of those who will benefit are in low-wage jobs earning under $20,000 per year. Kahphira Palmer, a member of the workers’ rights group Arise Chicago, said in a press conference that workers will no longer “have to choose between caring for their health and their financial security.”

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How to win back the city: the Barcelona en Comú guide to overthrowing the elite
By Stephen Burgen
The Guardian

A local government dominated by a single party for decades, with no end in sight. Sound familiar? In Barcelona, a 10-month old political party just threw over the tables. Here’s how they did it.

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GLOBAL CONFLICT & DEVELOPMENT

A Better Approach to Fragile States
By John Norris
Center for American Progress

The United States should draw on lessons from recent innovations in development and transform its approach to fragile states to center on mutually beneficial arrangements by developing Inclusion, Growth, and Peace Compacts (IGPCs) that provide substantial, consistent, and targeted assistance aimed at developing stronger and more legitimate institutions in partner countries. This model incorporates many elements of the model employed by the Millennium Challenge Corporation, or MCC. However, IGPCs represent a distinct and complementary approach to the MCC, particularly in recognizing the complex political and economic factors that often drive conflict. Inclusion, Growth, and Peace Compact countries would receive more diplomatic attention from senior US officials, as well as greater support in working through domestic and regional political obstacles to reducing fragility.

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Could delivery drones cut down China’s emissions?
By Samantha Lee
Grist

Delivery drones are taking flight in China. Recently, one of the country’s biggest e-commerce companies, JD.com, successfully launched the first drone delivery service to rural areas in the Jiangsu province of eastern China, and plans to expand to other cities soon. The operation is still in its nascent stages, but if the technology persists, drone deliveries could potentially cut vehicle emissions in one of the world’s most polluted countries. JD.com’s battery-powered drones whizz packages from township depots to rural depots in 20 minutes or less – eliminating the need for delivery trucks that can take hours to wind their way through Jiangsu’s mountain roads. The li’l machines can carry up to 33 pounds of goods, travel at about 34 mph, and aren’t bothered by a little wind and rain.

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The Growing Risk of a War in Space
By Geoff Manaugh
The Atlantic

When China shot down one of its own weather satellites in January 2007, the event was, among other things, a clear demonstration to the United States that China could wage war beyond the Earth’s atmosphere. In the decade since, both China and the United States have continued to pursue space-based armaments and defensive systems. A November 2015 “Report to Congress,” for example, filed by the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission (PDF), specifically singles out China’s “Counterspace Program” as a subject of needed study. China’s astral arsenal, the report explains, most likely includes “direct-ascent” missiles, directed-energy weapons, and also what are known as “co-orbital antisatellite systems.”

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AMERICAN COMMUNITIES

After Orlando, the Homemade AR-15 industry soars
By Andy Greenberg
WIRED

In the wake of the worst mass shooting in US history, many Americans want to ban civilians from buying the AR-15, that ultra-popular, all-American killing tool. But in basements and garages around the country, another group of Americans is collecting the machines and materials to make those firearms in the privacy of their own homes. And for them, just as much as for gun control advocates, Orlando represents a call to arms. Using power tools, chunks of aluminum, and cheap, consumer-grade digital gadgets, those firearm-focused members of the maker movement fabricate homemade weapons like AR-15s and AR-10s that skirt all regulation and would be untraceable in some imagined, future crackdown in which the government were to seize registered weapons.

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Anti-Muslims Groups Have a Stockpile of $205 Million, According to Report
By Sarah Harvard
Mic

According to a report released on Monday, the country's top 33 anti-Muslim groups made $205,838,077 in revenue between 2008 to 2014. The 92-page report, which was completed by researchers at UC Berkeley's Center for Race and Gender and the Council of American-Islamic Relations, found that groups like the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) and ACT for America used the funds to push anti-Muslim propaganda and legislation in addition to providing trainings for law enforcement agencies. It also highlights ties between anti-Muslim organizations and several GOP presidential candidates.

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Sotomayor’s fierce dissent slams high court’s ruling on evidence from illegal stops
By Robert Barnes
The Washington Post

The Supreme Court ruled Monday that courts need not throw out evidence of a crime even if the arresting police officer used unlawful tactics to obtain it. But the low-profile case more likely will be remembered for a fierce and personal dissent from Justice Sonia Sotomayor, who said the decision would exacerbate illegal stops of minorities. Her 12-page opinion explained “the talk” that black and brown parents have with their children about police interactions, invoked Ferguson, Mo., and, without direct acknowledgment, referenced the sentiments of the Black Lives Matter movement. The court voted 5 to 3 to reverse a decision of the Utah Supreme Court that threw out drug-possession evidence seized from Edward Strieff in 2006.

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FUTURE LEFT PODCAST EP.8: Libertarianism and the Future:  A Conversation with Ford Fischer

FUTURE LEFT PODCAST EP.8: Libertarianism and the Future: A Conversation with Ford Fischer

Make America Afraid Again! What the Right Doesn't Understand About Violent Extremism

Make America Afraid Again! What the Right Doesn't Understand About Violent Extremism