Science’s Signals – Week 15
Science’s Signals is a weekly selection, containing some of the insights found during our desk research. Signals we use in our continuous trend research, combined with the examples from our network and the results of the International Cool City Hunt research.
This week’s edition contains stories from the Financial Times, NY Times, Wallpaper, Wired, TED, the Economist. We write about Bitcoins, nervous Europeans, fototenders, pseudo-transparency, craftsmanship and the art of giving.
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Recession Fever & Transparency
Recession hits hard. After Cyprus, Slovenia might be the next victim of it’s own financial instability. Although an international bailout should be avoidable, ‘European citizens’ are starting to worry more and more. “Nervous Europe drives demand for $100 notes”, so we read in the FT. Maybe the time is really ripe for a new currency. The NY Times has a great story with Reuben Grinberg, a former Yale student and writer of one of the first academic papers about Bitcoin. He tries to explain the sudden run-up in value. Bubble or not, the idea of sharing without interference is gaining ground. The Atlantic states that the Bitcoin is no longer a currency though. It is the ultimate dotcom stock.
Meanwhile Acxoim sets to open its databanks to individuals:
“The consumer data broker, which tracks everything from a person’s estimated income to his political laeanings, shopping patterns and exercise habits, is readying a service that will reveal to people what it knows about them.”
Transparency from the bottom of the heart, or pseudo-transparency to gain trust? Either way, Axcoim’s genie is -partly- out of the bottle. We wonder who or what will be next…
Earth’s Abandoned Places vs. Space
Thinking about leaving altogether? Here are some abandoned places. Maybe we should look at the crisis from an aerial perspective. ‘From above’ might be a good idea. KLM announced ‘the ultimate journey of inspiration’ this week, they’re giving away a flight into space. You can wear this star man suit we found in Wallpaper. And please take some pictures while you’re at it.
One of the best articles of this week is Wired’s story about forecasting with data from the past. Know your history and be accurate. Sounds like trend research to us…
About the -near- future: will future cops upload everything for us to watch? After the dashcam, Google Glass-like technology is used to film everything the lam servers do, as the Verge tells us. Or will this be another privacy vs. security discussion?
New Profession: Fototender
Did you know what a fototender was? Apparently it is a pro that helps you port your photos from your smartphone to the real world. Polaroid plans to open 1o ‘fotobars’ this year, where fototenders will optimize digital images for output onto substrates ranging from paper to bamboo. Also in Wired, the pro’s and con’s for technology that helps us improve our lives. What if your selve-driving car has to choose between you or the lives of ten innocent children in a schoolbus?
“Machines can make decisions. That doesn’t mean they’re right.”
With this in mind, the use of these CourseSmart E-textbooks with tracking software that Bits & Blogs writes about are doubtful, to say the least. Another argument: if you’ve read it, it does not mean you get it.
TED informs us with 11 websites we did not know we needed and Avaaz claims that Monsanto is evil. According to the website the food giant is trying to patent away varieties of our everyday vegetables and fruits like cucumber, broccoli and melons, virtually forcing growers to pay them for seed and risk being sued if they don’t. Almost 1,6 million people have signed a petition against this act in the last couple of days. Virtually empowered protest against virtual actions. Who said the future isn’t Onlife?
As for China, Onlife is certainly not what it seems: it is a big giant cage according to this special report by the Economist.
We’ve said it before: age is nothing but a number. In the last couple of years we found dozens of examples of ageless professions in which craftsmanship is key. A tattoo maker and a shoemaker, living in prosperity while doing what they love. Is this the secret to getting ahead? Or would it be the act of giving? We leave you with that for this week.
Whag Od: The Kaling Tattoo Maker