Thermal Insulation of Solid-Walls is Underestimated

Oula Lehtinen – CC BY-SA 3.0

Approximately 5.7 million solid-walled houses exist in England, comprising 25% of the housing stock. Most were built between 1750 and 1914. Research shows that their energy efficiency has been underestimated for decades. [Read more…]

Biological Pest Control: Bat Towers

At the turn of the twentieth century, Dr. Charles A. Campbell, a physician and former city bacteriologist in San Antonio, Texas, began the first experiments with attracting bats to artificial roosts. Although he had the highest regard for bats, the motive behind his experiments was not that he thought bats needed homes. The real reason was to find a way to control a disease that caused millions of deaths throughout the world each year: malaria. In his native Texas, mosquitoes and disease rendered countless acres of fertile land uninhabitable, and Campbell, who treated victims of malaria, knew the suffering it caused. [Read more…]

Invisible Algorithms, Invisible Politics

We have been enticed into a world in which computing has faded into the background of everyday life, effectively becoming invisible. At the same time, we have actively concealed the ways in which these networked systems of software, data, technologies, and infrastructures “have politics”. And, with promises that computers are impartial, we have removed them from the public eye, making them difficult to expose and critique.

Yet these systems can only be understood as the flawed extensions of human creation. They act on our biases by replicating them and distributing them into the background of everyday life, thereby reinforcing and even exacerbating existing structural inequalities… Rather than letting these systems fade into the background, a deeper engagement with the material realities of digital technologies is necessary.

Read more: Invisible algorithms, invisible politics, Laura Forland. Via SF Sutcliffe.

Mobile Clothes Washer

The Breathing Mobile Washer was designed so that manually plunging, the washer forces water through clothing. Compared to friction washing with hands, washboards and rocks, the mobile washer is easier to use, much less abrasive, reduces wear on clothes, and provides a superior clean. Review.

 

A Good Life For All Within Planetary Boundaries

“No country in the world currently meets the basic needs of its citizens at a globally sustainable level of resource use. Our research, recently published in Nature Sustainability (and summarised in The Conversation) is the first to quantify the national resource use associated with achieving a good life for over 150 countries. It shows that meeting the basic needs of all people on the planet would result in humanity transgressing multiple environmental limits, based on current relationships between resource use and human well-being.”

“The purpose of this interactive website is to foster discussions about the meaning of a good life for all, and what it would mean for nations to thrive within planetary boundaries. Explore the challenge using the chart below, check out a World Map with our results, or select individual Countries to see their environmental and social performance relative to a ‘safe and just’ development space.”

More: A Good Life For All Within Planetary Boundaries, University of Leeds. Related: How Much Energy Do We Need?

No Tech Reader #15

From the new world, Yang Yongliang.