ANOTHER PLANET?

TERMINATOR2-300x251The Centre for the Study of Existential Risk (CESR) has said that it will look at the threat posed by technologies such as artificial intelligence, nanotechnology, bio technology and climate change which they identify as major threats to humanity saying that to dismiss concerns of a potential robot uprising would be “dangerous”.  The CSER project has been co-founded by Cambridge philosophy professor Huw Price, cosmology and astrophysics professor Martin Rees and Skype co-founder and entrepreneur Jaan Tallinn. Professor Price said that as robots and computers become smarter than humans, we could find ourselves at the mercy of “machines that are not malicious, but machines whose interests don’t include us”. As Arnie didn’t say in the Terminator films  – we may NOT be back .………

Dr. Hartmut Michel who won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1988 for his work on photosynthesis, and is currently the director of the Molecular Membrane Biology department at the Max Planck Institute for Biophysics and one of the top experts on how plants turn sunlight into energy has said that biofuels are ‘nonsense’> If you want to read more have a look at Treehugger at http://www.treehugger.com/renewable-energy/all-biofuels-are-nonsense-says-nobel-winning-photosynthesis-expert-hartmut-michel.html .

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency (NOAA), the US government agency, says that October 2012 will be the 332nd consecutive month with above average temperature. It is expected that figures for November will also show a rise. Levels of CO2 in the atmosphere are expected to rise 3% this year meaning the fight to prevent temperatures rising more than 2C is almost certainly lost, with some areas such as the Arctic warming faster than others.

M&S’ new distribution centre in Castle Donington in Leicestershire will feature Europe’s largest solar wall when it opens in early 2013. The 8,400 m2 carbon-neutral facility is set to be the UK’s largest dedicated e-commerce warehouse, distributing two million clothing and home products a week direct to customer homes.

Most smartphones sold by brands such as Samsung and Apple are almost certain to contain tin from Indonesia where tin mining is destroying forests, farmland, and coral reefs and harming local communities, a report reveals. The Friends of the Earth research reveals that companies use tin mined on Bangka island which likely ends up in their products. Tin is used as solder in all phones and electronic gadgets and the dangerous and unregulated mining on Bangka is killing and injuring miners and killing sea grass and coral reefs.

It seems Chancellor George Osbourne’s push towards shale gas may backfire, as his Tatton & Shropshire North constituency has been indentified by the Department of Energy maps as sitting right above what potentially are some of the most lucrative gas fields in England. I can’t see local voters being too happy when their green and pleasant countryside and rare flora and fauna is dug up – and blown up.  Osbourne want to use gas to generate 50% of the UK’s power within 15 years and is pushing for shale gas extraction under large parts of the UK. Britain’s ‘dash for gas’ has been criticised for placing fossil fuels at the heart of the UKs energy policy – Cambridge Econometrics say that investment in wind power would give the economy a £20 billion boost as well as increasing UK GDP by 0.8% by 20130 and reducing greenhouse gas emissions by two thirds.

Investment in renewable energy in the UK – wind, solar, water, biomass and – yes – nuclear – has more than halved in the last three years in what is being blamed on ‘inaction’ by the coalition government.  Researchers say billions of pounds of private investment is needed to ensure Britain has energy and meets ambitious environmental targets and greenhouse gas emission reductions.  Figures from Bloomberg suggest that investment in wind, solar, biomass, hydro-electricity and other renewable energy resources has fallen from £6.65 billion ($10.65 billion) in 2009 to less than £3.1 billion ($5 billion) last year.

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