242 posts tagged future
Concerns over feeding a growing global population are not new. But what is new is the challenge of feeding a population of 9 billion on a planet with a markedly warmer climate. Agriculture: both part of the problem and part of the solution. Humans, it’s no secret, are versatile and unpredictable in how they use their land. We build mega-cities in deserts, raise crops on flood plains, live along vulnerable coast lines enjoying seas dangerously rising, and burn rain forests to create new pastures. As it turns out, however, this versatility with land may only get us so far. The world’s growing population, coupled with climate change and limited acres of fertile soil, pose fundamental challenges feeding the world. Today, farmland claims half the surface of the planet. With world population projected to reach 9.3 billion by 2050, just how to coax more food out of each field and where to obtain additional land — without clearing forests, contributing to climate change and harming the environment — will not be easy.
Forget a steering wheel - new Toyota inspired by horses
Toyota has suggested motorists of the future could ride about in a vehicle inspired by a horse. It has announced a concept car that drivers would control by shifting their body weight while standing, doing away with the need for a steering wheel. One analyst said the current design posed too many safety issues, but did point towards future developments. The FV2 vehicle will make its official debut at the Tokyo Motor Show in two weeks’ time. (via BBC News - Forget a steering wheel - new Toyota inspired by horses)
On the evening of February 12, 2009, a Continental Connection commuter flight made its way through blustery weather between Newark, New Jersey, and Buffalo, New York. As is typical of commercial flights today, the pilots didn’t have all that much to do during the hour-long trip. The captain, Marvin Renslow, manned the controls briefly during takeoff, guiding the Bombardier Q400 turboprop into the air, then switched on the autopilot and let the software do the flying. He and his co-pilot, Rebecca Shaw, chatted—about their families, their careers, the personalities of air-traffic controllers—as the plane cruised uneventfully along its northwesterly route at 16,000 feet. The Q400 was well into its approach to the Buffalo airport, its landing gear down, its wing flaps out, when the pilot’s control yoke began to shudder noisily, a signal that the plane was losing lift and risked going into an aerodynamic stall. The autopilot disconnected, and the captain took over the controls. He reacted quickly, but he did precisely the wrong thing: he jerked back on the yoke, lifting the plane’s nose and reducing its airspeed, instead of pushing the yoke forward to gain velocity. Rather than preventing a stall, Renslow’s action caused one. The plane spun out of control, then plummeted. “We’re down,” the captain said, just before the Q400 slammed into a house in a Buffalo suburb.
Future Internet aims to sever links with servers
A revolutionary new architecture aims to make the internet more “social” by eliminating the need to connect to servers and enabling all content to be shared more efficiently. Researchers have taken the first step towards a radical new architecture for the internet, which they claim will transform the way in which information is shared online, and make it faster and safer to use. The prototype, which has been developed as part of an EU-funded project called “Pursuit”, is being put forward as a proof-of concept model for overhauling the existing structure of the internet’s IP layer, through which isolated networks are connected, or “internetworked”. The Pursuit Internet would, according to its creators, enable a more socially-minded and intelligent system, in which users would be able to obtain information without needing direct access to the servers where content is initially stored. Instead, individual computers would be able to copy and republish content on receipt, providing other users with the option to access data, or fragments of data, from a wide range of locations rather than the source itself. Essentially, the model would enable all online content to be shared in a manner emulating the “peer-to-peer” approach taken by some file-sharing sites, but on an unprecedented, internet-wide scale. (via Future Internet aims to sever links with servers)
As infants, we begin to experience new tastes by exploring our tactical senses. It is, in a sense, our original obsession. As adults, we still have an appetite to trigger those latent senses with fresh and unexpected delights. This desire is the motivation for the STIMULI — a sensory dining experience presented during Dutch Design Week. STIMULI was brought forth through a cooperation between design Studio Jinhyun Jeon, renowned Michelin star restaurant Treeswijkhoeve, and Ravanello Food & Concepts. Connected by their mutual passion for stimulating taste, they created an enhanced dining event: a five-course haute cuisine sensory menu served with tactile tableware — such as silicone ‘nipple’ cups, glazed ball spoons, and spiked tasting palettes — that excite the tongue, trigger taste buds, and alter the perception of salty, acidic, sweet, and bitter tastes for a new experience. The project focuses on the subject of joint perception — sensorial disturbance inspired by phenomenon of synesthesia. The main objective of the food design experience was to understand how the human brain intuitively responds to different stimuli during eating, and as such contributes to a different way of producing consumer energy. This will provide insights outside of the existing food culture in which societal, technological, and environmental influences play an important role. (via A Multisensory Dining Experience At Dutch Design Week - PSFK)
Contemporary life is overloaded with visions of the future. Whereas Friedrich Nietzsche bemoaned the surplus of historical sense, crushing old Europe under the weight of its past, we are now suffering from an obsession with what lies ahead. Personal and national debts are accruing as rapidly as our obligations to subsequent generations. We are awash in reports that the global environmental crisis may soon reach a tragic turning point. With the possibility of apocalypse peering at us from every corner, how are we to face the time to come?
Human beings have long performed sexual acts with artifacts. Ancient religious rituals oftentimes involved the performance of sexual acts with statues, and down through the ages a vast array of devices for sexual stimulation and gratification have been created. Little wonder then that a perennial goal among roboticists and AI experts has been the creation of sex robots (“sexbots”): robots from whom we can receive sexual gratification, and with whom we may even be able achieve an emotional connection.
Gender as it functions today is a problem because dominant gender systems hierarchically classify people into limited roles. Phenotype - particularly genitals - serves as the primary basis for classification, thus dividing human beings into males and females and men and women according to hegemonic conceptions. This binary division, the associated social roles, and the privileging of men over women cause overwhelming physical and psychic harm each moment. Binary gender’s many barbs range from piercing - rape, bashing, poverty - to irritating - pronouns, bathrooms, jokes - but on the whole form an agonizing trap. This is the context, acknowledged or not, in which programs to transform and/or abolish gender emerge.
There is a saying in flying: “If it looks good, it will fly well.” Stefan Klein, a designer from the Slovak Republic, has announced the first flight of his Aeromobil Version 2.5, a flying car prototype he has been developing over the last 20 years. This vehicle is a strikingly beautiful design with folding wings and a propeller in the tail. But will its flight capabilities match its looks? The Aeromobil V2.5 is a propeller-driven aircraft that also functions as an automobile – or you can think of it it a car with lofty aspirations. The aviation aspects seem to be prominent in the design, with a streamlined cockpit, super light weight, and sleek tail fins in the back. Propulsion is provided by a 100 hp Rotax 912 water cooled engine mounted behind the seats, with drive shafts leading both aft to the propeller and forward to the two front wheels for driving. This project is not the only flying car around. There is also the US-based Terrafugia, which folds up its wings vertically on the sides of the vehicle. There is also a Dutch design called the PAL-V, where the ground vehicle is a three wheeled tilting motorcycle that turns into a gyrocopter at the airport. (via Aeromobil Flying car prototype gets off the ground for the first time)