Links for 16th October 2008

Fresh from the clogged tubes of teh intarwubs…

  1. Plato’s laptop and the problem of informal knowledge

    "The great challenge of the future will be to turn information technologies from things that encourage us to narrow our conception of what knowledge is, to things that can more fully reflect the diverse ways that knowledge is produced and performed. You might say that we have to learn to give information technologies social lives."

    Tagged with: ITtechnologysocialinformalknowledgeusephilosophy

  2. How our economy is killing the Earth

    "In recent weeks it has become clear just how terrified governments are of anything that threatens growth, as they pour billions of public money into a failing financial system. Amid the confusion, any challenge to the growth dogma needs to be looked at very carefully. This one is built on a long-standing question: how do we square Earth's finite resources with the fact that as the economy grows, the amount of natural resources needed to sustain that activity must grow too? It has taken all of human history for the economy to reach its current size. On current form it will take just two decades to double."

    Tagged with: sciencepoliticseconomicsenvironmentclimateresources

  3. ‘Black silicon’ boosts solar cell efficiency

    "The rough surface of black silicon allows it absorb light from many different angles, producing an electrical response to light that is 500 times greater than normal silicon. Another advantage is that black silicon can absorb infra-red radiation, which makes up around a quarter of the energy coming from the sun and which normally passes through silicon panels. As well as PV cells, it could improve the performance of any device that uses silicon to detect low levels of light, such as night vision goggles, medical imaging equipment, surveillance satellites and even digital cameras."

    Tagged with: blacksilicontechnologyphotovoltaicsolarenergyefficiencymaterials

  4. The Science of Gossip: Why We Can’t Stop Ourselves

    "When you cut away its many layers, our fixation on popular culture reflects an intense interest in the doings of other people; this preoccupation with the lives of others is a by-product of the psychology that evolved in prehistoric times to make our ancestors socially successful. Thus, it appears that we are hardwired to be fascinated by gossip."

    Tagged with: sciencepsychologymediaculturesociologygossip

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