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Is the internet good or bad? Yes.

blastboy blastboy writes  |  about 5 months ago

blastboy (3468455) writes "“It’s just a tool.” I'd heard this many times before. It contains a modicum of truth, but buries technology’s impacts on our lives, which are never neutral. Often, I asked the person who said it if they thought nuclear weapons were “just a tool.” Humans have always fought, but few would say it doesn’t matter if we fight with sticks, knives, guns, or nuclear weapons." Great essay on Snowden, technology and the problem with how we think of surveillance."
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The true story behind the world's biggest population boom

blastboy blastboy writes  |  about 6 months ago

blastboy (3468455) writes "The global population has rocketed from 2.5 billion people in 1950 to more than 7 billion today. But what does that actually mean? Just ask Iran, where the world's biggest boom has been happening— with fertility rates sometimes as high as nine children per woman. It's fuelled revolutions, built armies, put the country under strain, and lots of tough lessons about dealing with overpopulation."
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When cars go driverless, what happens to the honking?

blastboy blastboy writes  |  about 6 months ago

blastboy (3468455) writes "The potential upside to getting rid of drivers: "Today car horns are still a leading source of noise pollution in urban centers. India's honking problem is so severe that the response to it—from both activists and government officials—mirrors the response to an actual epidemic. Officials in Peru, meanwhile, began treating honking like a serious crime in 2009, threatening to confiscate the cars of people who honk when they shouldn't."
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How Chinese clinics make millions with untested stem cell therapies

blastboy blastboy writes  |  about 6 months ago

blastboy (3468455) writes "Stem cells could offer all kinds of amazing breakthroughs, but right now commercial treatments are experimental at best—and snake oil at worst. That doesn't stop unregulated clinics in countries like China and India offering expensive therapies and making vast amounts of money off some of the poorest and most desperate."
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Are we on the verge of being able to regrow lost limbs? This scientist thinks so

blastboy blastboy writes  |  about 6 months ago

blastboy (3468455) writes "Michael Levin is a Russian-American scientist who started life programming Pac-Man clones on his TRS-80 and freezing bugs in his kitchen. In recent years, he's become fascinated by the role electricity plays in the body—and whether it could even help people regrow lost limbs. Guess what? It's starting to pay off: his team at Tufts is on the verge of a major breakthrough in regenerative medicine. It was just announced that this story was awarded the 2013 Institute of Physics prize for science journalism."
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It's not just the NSA: police are tracking your car too

blastboy blastboy writes  |  about 7 months ago

blastboy (3468455) writes "Every day in Britain, a vast system of cameras tracks cars on the road, feeding their movements into a database used by police. And because that data is networked, cops can use it to go back in time—or even predict your movements. But even though there are serious concerns about the technology, and it's regularly been abused by law enforcement, it has now been exported by the Brits and put in place by police departments around the world."

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