Items: Technology and society
These and the Bussard stuff in the previous entry seem to sort of fit into a general theme, something to do with the impact of current and near-future tech on society:
- "Amateur Videos Are Putting Official Abuse in New Light": Washington Post article on the effects of amateur videos and photos, from cell phones and digital cameras, on increasing awareness of abuses of power. See also WITNESS, "an international human rights organization that provides training and support to local groups to use video in their human rights advocacy campaigns." This all ties in with David Brin's Transparent Society stuff, of course.
- Which leads me to Fast Company's article on Gordon Bell and lifelogging. Fairly well-known stuff in some circles, but a good summary of what Bell does, how it works, and some of the pros and cons. Basically, he's a 72-year-old computer scientist (he was involved in the PDP and VAX projects at DEC) who wears a small camera and microphone that record everything he encounters; it's all saved to disk. Unfortunately, it sounds like his search technology isn't as good as he'd like; in particular, it's hard to search all those hundreds of thousands of photos. Also, there are all sorts of privacy and legal issues. Still, a fascinating project. For more, see the official MyLifeBits site.
- BMW creating production-ready hybrid hydrogen car. Not quite in the same category as the above items, but somewhat relevant, I think.