Hyperloop One says it can connect Helsinki to Stockholm in under 30 minutes
By Andrew J. Hawkins
Many questions swirl around the Hyperloop: how much will it cost? Where will it be built? How fast will it travel? Really, that fast? Who will be the first to ride it? Will their bodies turn into paste or goo? What’s the difference? Now, Hyperloop One, one of the LA-based startups seeking to realize Elon Musk’s vision of 760 mph, tube-based travel, has answers to some of those questions. (Sadly, not the last one.) In a new study released today, the company says a hyperloop connecting Stockholm, Sweden, and Helsinki, Finland, could transform a 300-mile trip — normally a 3.5 hour trip (including getting to-and-from the airport) or overnight ferry ride — into a breezy 28-minute ride. And they would only need 19 billion euros, or $21 billion, to build it.
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Sanders, Warren Urge FCC to Ban 'Pay for Privacy' ISP Schemes
By Karl Bode
Senators Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders have come out swinging against ISPs and cable companies that treat privacy like a luxury consumer option. Over the years we've noted how this has increasingly been the case at ISPs like AT&T, which charges its consumers a very steep premium if they want to opt out of AT&T's deep packet inspection snoopvertising. For example, AT&T U-Verse users may pay $30 or more per month just to avoid being part of AT&T's "Internet Preferences" behavioral marketing and tracking system. In a letter (pdf) sent to the FCC, Warren, Sanders and four other Senators support the FCC's push for new privacy rules that would forbid this kind of privacy surcharge. "Every click a consumer makes online paints a detailed picture of their personal and professional lives, and this sensitive information should be protected by strong privacy standards," the Senators state.
In-Ear EEG Makes Unobtrusive Brain-Hacking Gadgets a Real Possibility
By Eliza Strickland
Brain hacking gadgets could soon be an unobtrusive part of daily life, thanks to EEG sensors that fit snugly inside the ear. Two research groups are making progress on discreet devices that offer reliable brain data—and that reliability is a key point. A few neuro gadgets for consumers have already hit the market, but it’s not at all clear that they deliver the promised brain data. Why might you want a brain hacking gadget? Well, maybe you want to control objects in the physical world with your mind, and long to use a mere thought to unlock your front door or raise your X-wing spaceship from a swamp. Or perhaps you want to keep tabs on your brainwaves throughout the day, and seek a data-collecting gadget that acts as a Fitbit for your brain.
SUSTAINABILITY & ENVIRONMENT
A Tesla Co-Founder Is Making Electric Garbage Trucks With Jet Tech, and Why Not
By Jack Stewart
Ian Wright is a founder of Tesla Motors who left early on to launch Wrightspeed. He realized he could make a much bigger difference tackling trucks most often associated with early morning wakeups, diesel fumes, and the stench of rotting garbage. Sure, garbage trucks are boring. But they’re devilish environmental actors, belching diesel exhaust all day as they creep through the city. So Wright developed an electric drivetrain that bolts right in. When the battery runs low, a turbine spins up, burning fuel to generate electricity to keep the truck moving. Coupled to motors at the wheels, it makes the system more similar to a train, which have used hybrid engines for decades, or a hugely overpowered Chevrolet Volt.
We just broke the record for hottest year, nine straight times
By Dana Nuccitelli
2014 and 2015 each set the record for hottest calendar year since we began measuring surface temperatures over 150 years ago, and 2016 is almost certain to break the record once again. It will be without precedent: the first time that we’ve seen three consecutive record-breaking hot years. But it’s just happenstance that the calendar year begins in January, and so it’s also informative to compare all year-long periods. In doing so, it becomes clear that we’re living in astonishingly hot times.
GOP lawmaker says EPA is absurd, irresponsible, and “un-American”
By Katie Herzog
A Congressional hearing regarding the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) regulatory power showed us that time travel may be real after all. On Wednesday, a House Republican took us back to the 1950s when he accused the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) of being “un-American” at a committee hearing to review the EPA’s Clean Power Plan — regulations aimed at reducing carbon emissions from the energy industry.
Read the full article here.
LABOR, TRADE, & ECONOMY
Nearly 90% of garment factory jobs at risk of automation: ILO
By Hor Kimsay & Cheng Sokhorng
Phnom Penh Post
Local industry experts responded yesterday to a new report that warns the majority of Cambodia’s garment sector workers could lose their jobs in the coming two decades as automation and innovative technologies replace low-skilled labour and allow multinational producers to move their operations closer to market. A study by the International Labour Organization (ILO) released on Thursday found that 88 per cent of Cambodia’s salaried textile, clothing and footwear (TCF) workers were at high risk of automation. It outlined a number of technologies that stand to disrupt the sector, including 3D printing, body-scanning technology, computer-aided design (CAD), wearable technology, nanotechnology, environmentally friendly manufacturing techniques, and robotic automation.
Closing the Funding Gap for Worker Cooperatives
By Oscar Perry Abello
“One of the things that has always been the hardest about financing cooperatives is finding lenders or finding investors that understand the uniqueness of the structure,” says Kate Khatib, one of the seven founding worker-owners of Red Emma’s Bookstore Coffeehouse. Cities around the country (see Cleveland, Madison,Rochester and NYC) are betting resources on the idea that worker cooperatives can foster a more democratic, inclusive economic future, but the financial system remains stuck in the past.
UK’s Largest Trade Union Endorses Basic Income
By Kate McFarland
GLOBAL CONFLICT & DEVELOPMENT
The IMF Confronts Its N-Word
By Rick Rowden
The research department of the International Monetary Fund dropped a political bombshell last month. The furor was set off by the publication of an article — “Neoliberalism: Oversold?” — that sparked a near-panic among advocates of free market policies and celebrations among their critics. The piece concluded that, over the past 30 years, the proponents of the economic philosophy known as “neoliberalism” have been systematically overselling the benefits of the two planks at its heart — namely, fiscal austerity during economic slowdowns and the deregulation of financial markets.
How can we achieve real data transparency in governance?
By Peggy Ochandarena
Citizens can better hold government accountable and demand improved service when they are armed with evidence. Donors can help by designing interventions that promote a norm where it is expected that government data is accessible and shared data is of a reasonable quality, and where perverse incentives to misuse data can be exposed.
Conflict destroyed factories, damaged Yemen economy
By Ahmed al-Haj
Businesses worth millions of dollars have sustained major destruction in Yemen's year-long conflict either by the Saudi-led coalition targeting Shiite rebels or ground fighting and random shelling by the rival parties, an international rights group said Monday. In a lengthy report, Human Rights Watch mainly blamed the coalition for the destruction of the factories saying that it documented airstrikes on 13 key facilities in Yemen since the beginning of the Saudi-led campaign in March 2015, through February 2016. The New York-based watchdog said those airstrikes killed a total of 130 civilians and left hundreds of Yemenis unemployed. The facilities that were hit had produced, stored, and distributed food, medicine, and electricity. It stated that 10 appear "unlawful"—meaning there were no military facilities in the vicinity, suggesting also that the airstrikes could amount to "war crimes."
More police officers die on the job in states with more guns
By Christopher Ingraham
The Washington Post
Five police officers were killed and seven others were wounded this week by sniper fire in Dallas, in what has become the deadliest day for the nation's law enforcement officers since 9/11. Texas has long had a strong gun culture, with the state's gun laws among the country's least restrictive according to the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence. But late last year, researchers at Harvard and elsewhere discovered an alarming fact: Police officers are much more likely to be killed in the line of duty in states with high rates of gun ownership.
Mass Transit Doesn't Cause Gentrification
By Richard Florida
An intriguing new study by Michael S. Barton and Joseph Gibbons published in the journal Urban Studies explores the connection between mass transit access and household income in New York. The researchers wanted to see if the conventional wisdom on transit corridors—both subways and buses—held true: the idea that rising real estate values near transit stops contributes to the displacement of low-income households. The study’s initial cross-sectional analysis unveiled close correlations between higher incomes and access to subway stops in both 2000 and 2010, which appeared to get stronger over time. What the researchers found is that changes in neighborhood income levels were driven by factors other than transit.
In July 2011, Stanford University professor Sebastian Thrun announced that he and colleague Peter Norvig were making their “Introduction to Artificial Intelligence” course available free online. At the same time Andrew Ng, also a Stanford professor, made one of his courses on machine learning available online for free as well. In 2012 Mr. Thrun founded an online-education startup called Udacity and Mr. Ng co-founded another called Coursera. That same year Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology got together to form edX, a non-profit MOOC provider, headed by Anant Agarwal, the head of MIT’s artificial-intelligence laboratory. The fact that Udacity, Coursera and edX all emerged from AI labs highlights the conviction within the AI community that education systems need an overhaul.