This is a big move.
"A throw-away society is not sustainable," said sate California Senator Alex Padilla.
Coming from a plastics scientist, I am extremely cool with this.
A very innovative solar powered smart bench.
The solar powered smart bench
A new initiative in Boston is bringing Soofas, solar powered benches that can not only charge your gadgets, but also monitor air quality and sound levels, to several city parks in a pilot program
The Soofas, called “smart urban furniture”, were developed by Changing Environments, a spinoff of MIT Media Lab, and are capable of charging mobile gadgets via two USB ports, thanks to a solar panels and the free energy of the sun. And while they’re charging phones and powering Facebook updates, they’re also gathering environmental data about air quality and noise levels nearby, and uploading them to a public map online.
Sea Chair, from Studio Swine.
Part 2 of things making me happy this weekend.
The Obama Administration and the EPA introduce five-year plan to improve quality the Great Lakes.
EPA gettin’ all up in my neighborhood.
EPA, please keep getting all up in my neighborhood like this. It actually makes me really happy.
Now of course [science] was highly structured, articulated beyond the ability of any single individual to fully grasp. But this was only because of the sheer quantity of it; the spectacular efflorescence of structure was not in any particular incomprehensible, one could still walk around anywhere inside the parthenon, so to speak, and thus comprehend at least the shape of the whole, and make choices as to where to study, where to learn the current surface, where to contribute.
One could first learn the dialect of the language relevant to the study; which in itself could be a formidable task, as in superstring theory or cascading recombinant chaos; then one could survey the background literature, and hopefully find some syncretic work by someone who had worked long on the cutting edge, and was able to give a coherent account of the status of the field for outsiders; this work, disparaged by most working scientists, called the “gray literature” and considered a vacation or a lowering of oneself on the part of the synthesist, was nevertheless often of great value for someone coming in from the outside. With a general overview (though it was better to think of it as an underview, with the actual workers up there lost in the dim rafters and entablatures of the edifice), one could then move up into the journals, the peer-reviewed “white literature,” where the current work was being recorded; and one could read the abstracts, and get a sense of who was attacking what part of the problem. So public, so explicit.…
And for any given problem in science, the people who were actually out there on the edge making progress constituted a special group, of a few hundred at most—often with a core group of synthesists and innovators that was no more than a dozen people in all the worlds—inventing a new jargon of their dialect to convey their new insights, arguing over results, suggesting new avenues of investigation, giving each other jobs in labs, meeting at conferences specially devoted to the topic—talking to each other, in all the media there were. And there in the labs and the conference bars the work went forward, as a dialogue of people who understood the issues, and did the sheer hard work of experimentation, and of thinking about experiments.
And all this vast articulated structure of a culture stood out in the open sun of day, accessible to anyone who wanted to join, who was willing and able to do the work; there were no secrets, there were no closed shops, and if every lab and every specialization had its politics, that was just politics; and in the end politics could not materially affect the structure itself, the mathematical edifice of their understanding of the phenomenal world."
Kim Stanley Robinson, Blue Mars
A pretty fantastic description of How Science Gets Canonized, in one of the more brilliant works of modern Sci Fi.
Sure it’s romanticized, but overall it’s pretty spot on. Right until the last paragraph, where real world science is currently falling down HARD.