The sixth scenario


Europe lacks a statesman whose platform would be “I am a European.”

Who would sell to Europeans the dream of making Europe – not great again – just making Europe. Who could say what great things “we Europeans could do if we stood together.”

And say it to the Germans, the French, the Dutch, the Slovenians and so on. It seems the founding fathers in the 1950s were able to do so but then this art was lost.

Source: The sixth scenario

The Quest To Grow Cities From Scratch | Co.Design


Imagine that the year is 2050.

The global average temperature has risen by two degrees Celsius since 2017, the effects of which have displaced hundreds of millions of people, as scientists had warned.

Our environments are profoundly impacted but we’ve avoided human extinction, so now we focus on relocating and rebuilding. Advancements in algorithmic building technologies and toxic-free, natural biomaterials have paved the way for a handy invention: automated “City Kits” that build replicas of decimated cities in alternate locations.

In this futuristic scenario, the kits drop from the sky, unfold into a temporary habitat, and deploy a fleet of insect-like robots to turn traditionally inhospitable environments—like the desert or the arctic—into sparkling new metropolises.

Source: The Quest To Grow Cities From Scratch | Co.Design | business + design

When America Was Most Innovative, and Why


Our research finds that innovation flourished in densely populated areas where people could interact with one another, where capital markets to finance innovation were strong, and where inventors had access to well-connected markets.

States with a legacy of slavery were considerably less innovative, and religion had a negative effect, too, though to a lesser degree.

Places that were economically and socially open to disruptive new ideas tended to be more innovative, and they subsequently grew faster.

Source: When America Was Most Innovative, and Why

The smart city and its publics: insights from across six UK cities | Urban Research & Practice


As a globally ‘mobile’, though ill-defined, body of urban policy (Crivello 2015), the smart city is likely to be selectively adopted and reworked as it becomes embedded in local governance networks and per-existing strategic concerns (Peck and Theodore 2001, 2010; Prince 2010).

These processes increasingly provide the opportunity to analyze smart cities as situated bodies of practices, into which human actors are differently enrolled. Rather than understanding the smart city as a given set of technologies whose promoters (problematically) assume certain deterministic effects on society, this article construes the smart city as contingently shaped both by local factors and by broader (policy) discourses.

To develop a grounded understanding of the varying implications for the ‘public city’ when different technologies are labeled as smart, implemented by combinations of local actors in response to varied agendas, and enacted in particular ways in particular spaces, we propose that smart city initiatives may be usefully theorized as techno-public assemblages.

Source: The smart city and its publics: insights from across six UK cities: Urban Research & Practice: Vol 0, No 0

The End of the Idea of North America | The New Yorker


This North America has a weakness, at least in the United States. It was assembled through economic and bureaucratic coöperation—through NAFTA and the Mérida Initiative, which began in 2008—and not through popular politics.

It has been far less visible in our daily politics than the European project has been on the Continent. The project of North America is neither nationalist nor universalist, so it does not fit the current mood on either the right or the left.

It came out of the internationalist wing of the Republican Party and the pro-business section of the Democratic Party, both of which have been effectively dust-binned by voters.

Now travelers arriving in Mexico have their names checked against security databases, and plainclothes U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents patrol the Mexico City airport.

Automobiles leave Mexican plants halfway assembled and go to American plants, where the job will be finished.

Source: The End of the Idea of North America – The New Yorker

Maersk Tests Blockchain-Based Freight Tracking | Fortune.com


Maersk, the world’s largest shipping company, has completed the first test of a system that would manage the company’s cargos using blockchain, the distributed ledger technology behind Bitcoin. The system, as reported by Coindesk, was built in a partnership between Maersk and IBM, and used the Hyperledger Fabric framework.

More ambitiously, IBM also told Coindesk the system could be used to optimize freight flows by publicly identifying empty containers and finding takers for the extra capacity.

Source: Maersk Tests Blockchain-Based Freight Tracking | Fortune.com

IBM is launching the “IBM Q” division to turn quantum computing into an actual business | Quartz


As it stands, IBM’s largest quantum computer has five qubits. By contrast the average laptop has hundreds of millions of bits in its processors, although the two types of computers are not directly comparable.

IBM hopes, however, to continue its research with the aim of building quantum computers with roughly 50 qubits.

Source: IBM is launching the “IBM Q” division to turn quantum computing into an actual business — Quartz

Teen Invents Liquid-Metal 3D Printer With Potential to Transform Manufacturing | Design News


Five years ago, then 19-year-old Zachary Vader aimed to 3D-print in metal a proof of concept for a gas turbine generator that he was working on. Vader was a student at the University at Buffalo (UB) at the time.

When he realized that 3D metal printing wasn’t a viable option for the project, he decided to do something about it, inventing his own metal printer with the help of his father Scott, a mechanical engineer.

Source: Teen Invents Liquid-Metal 3D Printer With Potential to Transform Manufacturing | Design News

Panpsychism is crazy, but it’s also most probably true | Aeon Ideas


Common sense tells us that only living things have an inner life. Rabbits and tigers and mice have feelings, sensations and experiences; tables and rocks and molecules do not. Panpsychists deny this datum of common sense.

According to panpsychism, the smallest bits of matter – things such as electrons and quarks – have very basic kinds of experience; an electron has an inner life …

Source: Panpsychism is crazy, but it’s also most probably true | Aeon Ideas

The professor of impossibility | The Indian Express


Kenneth Arrow‘s most celebrated contribution is his so-called Impossibility Theorem that appeared in his 1951 book, Social Choice and Individual Values.

Arrow was interested in aggregating diverse opinions. For instance, suppose the government wanted to rank all the states in India in terms of the well-being of the country’s citizens. This ranking would draw on several other rankings — per-capita income, the performances of the states in life expectancy and literacy rate.

There are an astronomically large number of procedures to arrive at the overall ranking even when the numbers of states and criteria are small. However, Arrow’s Impossibility Theorem proves that there is no procedure that orders these individual rankings into a satisfactory evaluation of well-being in the country.

In other words, the theorem proves that meaningful aggregation is impossible from individual choices. Arrow showed that any procedure that satisfies two plausible requirements has to be dictatorial.

Source: The professor of impossibility | The Indian Express