Final call to save the world from ‘climate catastrophe’ – BBC News

The researchers have used these facts and numbers to paint a picture of the world with a dangerous fever, caused by humans. We used to think if we could keep warming below two degrees this century, then the changes we would experience would be manageable.
Not any more. This new study says that going past 1.5C is dicing with the planet’s liveability. And the 1.5C temperature “guard rail” could be exceeded in just 12 years, in 2030.
We can stay below it – but it will require urgent, large-scale changes from governments and individuals and we will have to invest a massive pile of cash every year, about 2.5% of global gross domestic product (GDP), the value of all goods and services produced, for two decades.
Even then, we will still need machines, trees and plants to capture carbon from the air that we can then store deep underground – forever.

via Final call to save the world from ‘climate catastrophe’ – BBC News

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How your home could generate, store and sell energy – BBC News

More energy storage providers – such as Ovo Energy, Powervault and Moixa are entering the market – particularly as electric vehicles (EVs) promise to become a useful addition to the domestic energy mix. BMW i3 batteries are already being used to store windfarm energy in Wales, so it makes sense to integrate such car battery tech into homes.

via How your home could generate, store and sell energy – BBC News

Where have all our insects gone? | Environment | The Guardian

The start of summer is the time of year when the nation’s insects should make their presence known by coating countryside windows with their fluttering presence, and splattering themselves on car windscreens. But they are spectacularly failing to do so. Instead they are making themselves newsworthy through their absence. Britain’s insects, it seems, are disappearing.

via Where have all our insects gone? | Environment | The Guardian

Fernando Alonso wins Le Mans 24 with Toyota – BBC Sport

Fernando Alonso won Le Mans 24 Hours at the first attempt as he and team-mates Sebastien Buemi and Kazuki Nakajima finally ended Toyota’s long drought.

Toyota had never won the sportscar race despite years of trying but finally delivered in an event in which they were effectively without opposition.

via Fernando Alonso wins Le Mans 24 with Toyota – BBC Sport

Even though Toyota were effectively unopposed, I was still nervous for them. It’s still not an easy thing to make a car take that punishment.

I am pleased for the Toyota team and that Alonso can try for the ‘Tripple Crown’ with a win in Indy 500.

One in five UK mammals at risk of extinction – BBC News

The red squirrel, the wildcat, and the grey long-eared bat are all facing severe threats to their survival, according to new research.
They are among 12 species that have been put on the first “red list” for wild mammals in the UK.
The Mammal Society and Natural England study said almost one in five British mammals was at risk of extinction.

via One in five UK mammals at risk of extinction – BBC News

Great British Bee Count 2018

Joining the Great British Bee Count is a great way to learn about bees – and helping experts learn more too.

Thousands of your verified bee sightings will contribute to the national Pollinator Monitoring Scheme – the  first comprehensive health check of Britain’s bees and other pollinators.

via The Great British Bee Count | Friends of the Earth

Take part from 17 May–30th June.

https://friendsoftheearth.uk/bee-count

The internet’s problems haven’t changed in 22 years

A 1996 Wall Street Journal article that’s been quietly sitting on the web, waiting for its rediscovery and renewed relevance, has found its moment on Twitter this week. Though it discusses the contemporaneous issues and concerns of its time, if you extract the particular problems it identifies with the internet and apply them to our present day, you’ll find something disturbing: nothing’s changed. The core concerns that troubled us about our participation in online communities and services in 1996 are basically identical in 2018.

via The internet’s problems haven’t changed in 22 years – The Verge

Its Google On The Line

The crowd was shocked, but the most impressive thing about the call was that the person on the other end didn’t seem to suspect they were talking to AI at all. This is a huge technological achievement for Google, but it also opens up a Pandora’s box of ethical and social challenges.

For example, does Google have an obligation to tell people they’re talking to a machine? Does technology that mimics humans erode our trust in what we see and hear? And is this another example of tech privilege, where those in the know can offload the boring conversations they don’t want to have onto a machine, while those receiving the calls (most likely low-paid service workers) have to deal with some idiot robot?

via Google’s AI sounds like a human on the phone — should we be worried? – The Verge

It is pretty incredible to watch. Probably seals the fate of the telephone too, to humans anyway. Just going to be robots calling robots in future.

Amazon Working On First Robot

There are no firm details on what Amazon’s robot looks like or what purpose it will serve, but Bloomberg suggests it could be a sort of “mobile Alexa” — following users around their house to places where they can’t speak directly to an Echo speaker. Prototype robots built by Amazon reportedly have computer vision software and cameras for navigation, and the company is said to be planning to seed devices in employees’ homes by the end of the year.

via Amazon is reportedly working on its first home robot – The Verge

Yep, I see this as a mobile Alexa or a robot vacuum cleaner. Nothing too big or scary, to ease people into having robots in their home.

OLPC was going to give every child a laptop — then it all went wrong – The Verge

…instead of “the $100 laptop,” Bender wanted to call it “the Children’s Machine,” he says. “I think we got more mileage out of ‘The $100 Laptop’ at the time, because typical laptops cost over $1,000, so it was a very bold statement. But we got burned by that — because we set an expectation around price, rather than an expectation around what this machine was really for.”

via OLPC was going to give every child a laptop — then it all went wrong – The Verge

It’s not the fairytale ending the project was aiming for but it is helpful to get the OLPC story in full.