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Tracking the Future
Explore the most important technology and science trends! News, Analysis, Interviews, Presentations, Documentaries. All in one place at Tracking the future magazine
Curated by Szabolcs Kósa
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Natural deep-sea batteries

Natural deep-sea batteries | Tracking the Future | Scoop.it

Exploring the deep oceans presents huge technical challenges, many of which could be overcome if there were some cheap and efficient way to deliver power to machines while at depth. To tackle this problem, a collaborative research team including Ryuhei Nakamura from the RIKEN Center for Sustainable Resource Science has now demonstrated a remarkable system that uses natural hydrothermal vents on the sea floor to generate electricity.

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Renewable energy use gaining worldwide: IEA

Renewable energy use gaining worldwide: IEA | Tracking the Future | Scoop.it

Renewables like solar and wind represent the fastest-growing source of energy power generation and will make up a quarter of the global power mix by 2018, the International Energy Agency said in a report Wednesday.
The IEA said that in 2016 renewable energy will overtake natural gas as a power source and will be twice that of nuclear, and second only to coal as a source of power.

Szabolcs Kósa's insight:

download the report via this link: http://www.iea.org/Textbase/npsum/MTrenew2013SUM.pdf

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What Could Disappear

What Could Disappear | Tracking the Future | Scoop.it

Maps show coastal and low-lying areas that would be permanently flooded, without engineered protection, in three levels of higher seas. Percentages are the portion of dry, habitable land within the city limits of places listed that would be permanently submerged.

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Can We Bring Back the Wilderness?

Can We Bring Back the Wilderness? | Tracking the Future | Scoop.it

Once a rainforest is gone, it’s gone forever, right? Not necessarily. Katherine Rowland surveys the brave new world of restoration ecology: the art of breathing new life into dying lands.

Ever since Aldo Leopold warned of a world irrevocably diminished by human appetite, conservationists have urged that we “act now, before it’s too late”. But what if nature’s end was not a foregone conclusion? Imagine if we could recreate lost rivers, meadows, rainforests even…

A few years back this would have been wishful thinking. But the science of restoration ecology is a fast moving one. Across the globe, from the Aral Sea to the arid Sahel, ambitious programmes to revive and recreate degraded ecosystems are challenging the assumption that once destroyed, nature is gone for good.

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The Next 50 Years: Why I'm Optimistic Because Everything Will Be Terrible

The Next 50 Years: Why I'm Optimistic Because Everything Will Be Terrible | Tracking the Future | Scoop.it

With everything rolling towards the abyss, our only hope for a bright future seems to be the Singularity, a technological transformation of what it means to be human.

But in a talk for TEDx Brussels, science fiction and horror writer John Shirley argues that there are really two Singularities — and yes, everything will be terrible in the short term. So why is he optimistic about the future of the human race? Read on.

You can watch the presentation on Youtube: http://youtu.be/dtpX_9E__hU

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Solar Engineering

Climate engineering-which could slow the pace of global warming by injecting reflective particles into the upper atmosphere-has emerged in recent years as an extremely controversial technology. A leading scientist long concerned about climate change offers a proposal for an easy fix to what is perhaps the most challenging question of our time. After decades during which very little progress has been made in reducing carbon emissions we must put this technology on the table and consider it responsibly.

David Keith is the Gordon McKay Professor of Applied Physics in the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) at Harvard University and Professor of Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School.

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Writing the Future

Writing the Future | Tracking the Future | Scoop.it

What does the future hold for the global economy? Will living standards rise worldwide, as today’s poor countries leapfrog technologies to catch up with richer countries? Or will prosperity slip through our fingers as greed and corruption lead us to deplete vital resources and degrade the natural environment on which human well-being depends? Humanity faces no greater challenge than to ensure a world of prosperity rather than a world that lies in ruins.

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Megacities pose serious health challenge

Megacities pose serious health challenge | Tracking the Future | Scoop.it

Rapid urbanization will take a heavy toll on public health if city planning and development do not incorporate measures to tackle air pollution, warns a report launched in Beijing last month.

The report1, compiled by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) in Geneva, Switzerland, and the International Global Atmospheric Chemistry (IGAC) project in Boulder, Colorado, was launched as part of the IGAC Open Science Conference on Atmospheric Chemistry in the Anthropocene. A striking point in the report, says Liisa Jalkanen, head of the WMO’s Atmospheric Environment Research Division, is how quickly megacities — metropolitan areas with populations of more than 10 million — are rising in developing countries.

There are now 23 megacities in the world, compared with just two 60 years ago. Just over half of the population currently dwells in cities, and with the urban population expected to nearly double by 2050, that proportion is projected to approach 70%. “Almost all this growth will take place in the developing world,” says Jalkanen.

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Peter Steffan's curator insight, October 9, 2013 1:44 PM

Megacities in general - not a specific one.

 

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Amory Lovins: A 50-year plan for energy

In this intimate talk filmed at TED's offices, energy theorist Amory Lovins lays out the steps we must take to end the world's dependence on oil (before we run out). Some changes are already happening -- like lighter-weight cars and smarter trucks -- but some require a bigger vision.

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