Five for Friday: So crazy it just might work

Happy Friday! Things are warming up here in Minnesota which makes us think all sorts of springlike thoughts, ranging from climate change to chocolate factories. See why below.

From Science Alert - When the sub-head is "So crazy, it just might work", you fully have my attention. With North Pole temperatures continuing to rise at unprecedented levels (#actualfacts), scientists are trying to find innovative ways to reverse the catastrophe toward which we are careening. The plan laid out here calls for re-freezing the arctic. Yes, re-freezing. The plan is to install 10 million+ wind-powered pumps which will spray sea water over the surface and ultimately add in the neighborhood of a meter of ice/year to off-set melting. (If a meter doesn't sound like a lot, the quoted scientist assures readers it's significant.) There's obviously a lot to un-pack and re-freeze here, but desperate times and all. (If you want to read more, check out the "Arctic Ice Management" article in Earth's Future.)

  1. From USA Today - Citing the need for car manufacturers and innovators to have the flexibility they need to continue developing self-driving car solutions that can reduce traffic fatalities, two senators said they intend to introduce legislation later this year. Senators Peters (MI) and Thune (SD) acknowledged that current regulations on the books may be prohibitive in allowing for technology to actually hit the road since it's written in the framework of the vehicles we're used to driving and using. We couldn't agree more that flexibility and anticipatory governance are necessary to keep innovation productively doing the most public good.

  2. From Finance & Commerce - MnDoT made a big (although quiet) announcement earlier this month when they decided to look into self-driving buses and potentially conducting a test of self-driving bus technology in Minnesota. Like the senators mentioned in the previous snippet, safety was the top motivator in considering autonomous technology. The article points out concerns among transit workers and union leadership regarding the safety of self-driving technology as well as the potential displacement of many transit workers. With manufacturers like Daimler putting self-driving mass transit vehicles on the road elsewhere, now seems like a good time to at least investigate what it could mean for Minnesota's transportation system.

  3. From The Daily Mail (yes, that Daily Mail) - Not my usual science periodical of choice, but this is a good counter-balance to Science Alert. Not only is this a fun read on some of the very cool and imaginative frontiers in nanotechnology, but it points to a bigger picture of interest in how technology is bringing innovations large and small to our everyday lives. Sure, we could eat Willy Wonka-esque candy creations, but we could also find faster ways to stop an injured person from bleeding out before help arrives.

  4. From NY Mag / Science of Us - Since we've already cited The Daily Mail and since it was just Valentine's Day this week, why not a psych/science piece on why IKEA holds so much power over the stability of your relationship? Illustrated by actual psychological theories and terms, this article will not only give you a laugh, it will remind you that you are not alone wishing you could ditch your S.O. in the lamps and go eat Swedish meatballs until you explode.

If you haven't gotten your fill of emerging technology, anticipatory governance and policy, and all things robots, join us live or via live-stream Feb. 28 and March 1 for the Robotics Alley event at The Depot. Apparatus is presenting the Virtual Policy Forum which, among other activities and thoughtful discussion, will bring you the Legislator Panel moderated by Margaret Anderson Kelliher. Learn more and join us virtually or on-site!

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