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

AT&T wants drones to provide cell service at concerts
By Jacob Kastrenakes
The Verge

In a blog post today, AT&T floated the idea of building cell extensions into drones and flying them into concerts to handle high demand. It imagines using these drones for "large events or even rapid disaster response," the latter of which is really the more important application, since cell towers often get overloaded as people begin calling for assistance or trying to get in touch with their families. The only bad thing about this idea is that AT&T has decided to name the drones "Flying COWs," standing for "cell on wings." Earlier this year, it announced plans to begin inspecting cell towers using drones, allowing the company to assess damage without sending a human up.

Read the full article here.

GM’s Roboglove Will Turn Workers Into Cyborgs
By Alex Davies
WIRED

GM’s now working with Swedish med-tech company Bioservo to adapt the Robonaut’s grip to gloves. Robonaut 2 was a joint project between GM and NASA, a robot strong enough to lift 40 pounds and dexterous enough to tap out texts on an iPhone. Pressure sensors and actuators mimic nerves and muscles, so the glove knows when the hand inside is picking something up. It’s gentle enough to handle eggs but firm enough to maintain a strong grip, so you aren’t wasting energy holding your hammer.

Read the full article here.

Will a Camera on Every Cop Make Everyone Safer? Taser Thinks So
By Karen Weise
Bloomberg

Cop cams are inextricably tied to Taser, by far the dominant supplier, and the company will likely shape whatever the devices evolve into. For Taser, the cameras are more than just a new product category. Founded at one national moment of police angst, the company is using another such moment to transform from a manufacturer into a technology company. From a business perspective, body cameras are low-margin hunks of plastic designed to get police departments using the real moneymaker: Evidence.com, which provides the software and cloud services for managing all the footage the devices generate. Taser markets these tools under the Axon brand. About 4.6 petabytes of video have been uploaded to the platform, an amount comparable to Netflix’s entire streaming catalog. All of it must be preserved to an evidentiary standard. The company can sell a weapon or camera once, but cloud services are billed year after year. “Taser wants to be the Tesla or Apple of law enforcement,” says Hadi Partovi, a venture capitalist who sits on the board.

Read the full article here.

SUSTAINABILITY & ENVIRONMENT

Half of all US food produce is thrown away, new research suggests
By Suzanne Goldenberg
The Guardian

Americans throw away almost as much food as they eat because of a “cult of perfection”, deepening hunger and poverty, and inflicting a heavy toll on the environment. Vast quantities of fresh produce grown in the US are left in the field to rot, fed to livestock or hauled directly from the field to landfill, because of unrealistic and unyielding cosmetic standards, according to official data and interviews with dozens of farmers, packers, truckers, researchers, campaigners and government officials.

Read the full article here.

Cutting carbon emissions isn’t enough. We need negative emissions.
By Bobby Magill
Grist

Humans will have to not only stop emitting greenhouse gases by 2085, but also develop technology that will result in negative emissions — the removal of 15 billion tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere each year by the end of the century — in order to prevent global warming from exceeding 2 degrees C (3.6 degrees F), according to a new study.

Read the full article here.

Climate Change: Advisers warn of climate change domino effect
By Roger Harrabin
BBC

Climate change could have a domino effect on key infrastructure in the UK, government advisers have warned. In a 2,000-page report, the Climate Change Committee says flooding will destroy bridges - wrecking electricity, gas and IT connections carried on them. The committee also warns that poor farming means the most fertile soils will be badly degraded by mid-century. And heat-related deaths among the elderly will triple to 7,000 a year by the 2050s as summer temperatures rise. The UK is not prepared, the committee says, for the risks posed by climate change from flooding and changing coasts, heatwaves, water shortages, ecosystem damage and shocks to the global food system.

Read the full article here.

LABOR, TRADE, & ECONOMY

The Near Impossibility of Moving Up After Welfare
By Alana Semuels
Citylab

The challenge for unemployed, single-mother Candace Vance, and for millions of people like her, is that jobs available to her don’t provide much of a chance to build a better life. Most of the jobs that she is qualified for pay around the minimum wage, which, at $7.25 an hour in Wisconsin, Vance says, is not enough to cover her rent, groceries, and gas, and allow her to have anything left over. Saving up to go back to college is out of the question, and she’s not allowed to go back to school while she’s receiving W-2.
 

Read the full article here.

Pokémon Go is everything that is wrong with late capitalism
By Timothy Lee
Vox

Last week, two things happened that will have long-lasting impact on American society and the global economy. First, the yield on the 10-year Treasury fell to a record low of 1.366 percent. Second, Nintendo released Pokémon Go, a mobile game that in a matter of days has become a viral sensation. These two developments are more closely connected than it might seem at first glance. Obviously, it would be ridiculous to claim that Pokémon Go is single-handedly responsible for recent macroeconomic trends. But technology-based products like Pokémon Go explain a lot about the current state of the global economy.

Read the full article here.

Sharing Economy Expert Says Social Safety Net Must Be Revamped
By Steve Rosenbush
The Wall Street Journal

Arun Sundararajan says his latest book, The Sharing Economy: The End of Employment and the Rise of Crowd-Based Capitalism, is fundamentally optimistic. Yet Dr. Sundararajan, a professor at New York University’s Stern School of Business, says there will be winners and losers in the emerging digital economy, and says the public must rethink the social safety net and find ways to fund it.

Read the full article here.

GLOBAL CONFLICT & DEVELOPMENT

Human rights are not ‘abstract ideas,’ must be main tool in meeting development targets
United Nations News Centre

Far greater emphasis must be placed on human rights as the international community continues to work towards implementing the agreed-upon sustainable development agenda, because it is the most powerful driver of peace and development, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said today. “Human rights are norms and standards, against which institutions and Governments are measured. But they are not just abstract ideas, or aspirations to be addressed once peace and development have been attained. They call for extremely specific and concrete actions on the part of States and other authorities,” the Secretary-General said at the opening of a High-Level Thematic Debate of the General Assembly on human rights at the centre of the global agenda, taking place today and tomorrow at UN Headquarters in New York.

Read the full article here.

Renewed Violence in South Sudan Threatens Fragile Peace Agreement
By Jason Patinkin and Ty McCormick
Foreign Policy

Intense fighting erupted once again in South Sudan’s capital, Juba, on Sunday, after days of clashes left more than 250 soldiers and former rebels dead, imperiling an already faltering peace deal and threatening to plunge the country back into all-out civil war.

Read the full article here.

New report helps cities find the money they need for climate change projects
By Jessica Cheam
Eco-Business

Cities across the world will need to invest some US$57 trillion in infrastructure from now till 2030 to cater to their growing populations and maintain economic growth. Faced with increasing climate change challenges, it is ever more important for these cities to be investing into sustainable, climate-resilient projects, said a new report launched by technology giant Siemens, banking firm Citi and non-profit C40 on Tuesday. Titled “New Perspectives on Climate Finance for Cities”, the document outlines ways in which cities can tap into financial markets to fund climate change projects. It also highlights successful case studies from around the globe.

Read the full article here.

AMERICAN COMMUNITIES

How an Uber Copycat Can Fill the Transit Gap in Rural Nebraska
By Linda Poon
Citylab

For those without cars in the western panhandle of Nebraska, grocery shopping or visiting the doctor can become an hours-long ordeal. It takes careful planning: You have to call a few days ahead to arrange for a bus to pick you up, for example. Said bus might arrive at your door an hour or so before your appointment, and drop off multiple passengers before finally arriving at your destination. “After your appointment, you might need to wait half an hour to two hours before you can get home,” says Valerie Lefler, who heads Liberty, a company born out of the US Department of Transporation Small Business Innovation Research program that seeks to improve transportation access in the region. Liberty will partner with local transit agencies, picking up where buses leave off.

Read the full article here.

Cash-Strapped Towns Are Un-Paving Roads They Can’t Afford to Fix
By Aarian Marshall
WIRED

When Montpelier decided to rip up a pothole-riddled asphalt road and replace it with gravel in 2009, it didn’t see itself at the forefront of a growing trend in public works. It was simply responding to a citizen complaint. City Hall received a hollering from a couple living on Bliss Road in the Vermont capital who wanted to sell their home, but feared the horrifying pavement in front of the house would scare away buyers. They had reason to be pissed off: The city of 8,000 people ranks pavement on an index of one to 100. Bliss Road scored a one. Repaving roads is expensive, so Montpelier instead used its diminishing public works budget to take a step back in time and un-pave the road.

Read the full article here.

Inside 8chan's /pol/, the Far-Right Forum Where Trump's Star of David Meme First Spread
By Tom McKay
Tech.Mic

In early July, presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump tweeted an image of his Democratic counterpart Hillary Clinton. What distinguished this particular post, and outraged many, was its brazen anti-Semitism: The graphic showed Clinton's face over a pile of money, accompanied by an unmistakable Star of David emblazoned with the words "Most Corrupt Candidate Ever!" As Mic originally reported, before the image made its appearance on Trump's Twitter, it wove its way through multiple online venues tied to the ideology of white supremacy. One of the venues where the image found a happy home was /pol/, aka "Politically Incorrect," one of the many message boards found on internet free-speech haven 8chan.

Read the full article here.

FUTURE LEFT PODCAST EP. 13: Prejudiced? There's An App For That.

FUTURE LEFT PODCAST EP. 13: Prejudiced? There's An App For That.

TECHNOLOGY AND/OR FREEDOM: The New Challenges to Democracy

TECHNOLOGY AND/OR FREEDOM: The New Challenges to Democracy