Links for 22nd February 2010

Fresh from the clogged tubes of teh intarwubs…

  1. Should We Clone Neanderthals?

    "The problem lies in how that individual would be treated by others. "I don't think it is fair to put people…into a circumstance where they are going to be mocked and possibly feared," he says, "and this is equally important, it's not going to have a peer group. Given that humans are at some level social beings, it would be grossly unfair." The sentiment was echoed by Stringer, "You would be bringing this Neanderthal back into a world it did not belong to….It doesn't have its home environment anymore."

    There were no cities when the Neanderthals went extinct, and at their population's peak there may have only been 10,000 of them spread across Europe. A cloned Neanderthal might be missing the genetic adaptations we have evolved to cope with the world's greater population density, whatever those adaptations might be. But, not everyone agrees that Neanderthals were so different from modern humans that they would automatically be shunned as outcasts."

    Tagged with: sciencebiologyevolutionethicscloningNeanderthal

  2. Don’t Be Afraid Of Foursquare, But We Need Circles Of Trust

    "The slippage of geolocational information from a closed, stable network into an open, dynamic one opens up a wider assemblage of contacts, but without the assumed friendship that comes from symmetric following. And it is much more likely that Twitter contacts that opt to follow you are not geographically near by, than Foursquare buddies. One purpose of Foursquare is to increase the likelihood of bumping into known people, […] So the networks have reasonably high geographic overlap. But that is not the case with Twitter, since the service serves as a way for people to connect through weak ties, and without much concern for geography […] (Brazilians are more likely to follow Brazilians, but they may live very far away.)

    So, I think the slippage of geolocational information from a closed, stable system like Foursquare into an open, dynamic system like Twitter is less problematic than generally considered. I don't think it, per se, is scary." Common sense here.

    Tagged with: privacypublicyfoursquaregeolocationaldatacrimenetworkingfuturismStowe-Boyd

  3. How slums can save the planet

    "Urban density allows half of humanity to live on 2.8 per cent of the land. Demographers expect developing countries to stabilise at 80 per cent urban, as nearly all developed countries have. On that basis, 80 per cent of humanity may live on 3 per cent of the land by 2050. Consider just the infrastructure efficiencies. According to a 2004 UN report: “The concentration of population and enterprises in urban areas greatly reduces the unit cost of piped water, sewers, drains, roads, electricity, garbage collection, transport, health care, and schools.” In the developed world, cities are green because they cut energy use; in the developing world, their greenness lies in how they take the pressure off rural waste."

    Tagged with: economicsenvironmentenergyurbanismslumfavela-chicinfrastructurecities

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