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Links 1 through 10 of 1695 Alexander Trevi's Bookmarks

[NYT] At least 40 percent of Japan’s 22,000-mile coastline is lined with concrete seawalls, breakwaters or other structures meant to protect the country against high waves, typhoons or even tsunamis. They are as much a part of Japan’s coastal scenery as beaches or fishing boats, especially in areas where the government estimates the possibility of a major earthquake occurring in the next three decades at more than 90 percent, like the northern stretch that was devastated by Friday’s earthquake and tsunami. /// But while experts have praised Japan’s rigorous building codes and quake-resistant buildings for limiting the number of casualties from Friday’s earthquake, the devastation in coastal areas and a final death toll predicted to exceed 10,000 could push Japan to redesign its seawalls — or reconsider its heavy reliance on them altogether.

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[Wired UK] "Smartphone-controlled tractors that steer themselves via GPS. Intelligent sensors that know precisely how much fertiliser to spray. Precision agriculture lets farmers tame nature with data -- thus boosting their crops"

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"Basically its an exploration of the field before it actually gets to be defined and/or narrowed down by convention. For now it looks a one year research-period starting Jan 2011 investigating the possibilities which the field of AR offers for connecting people to their direct environment, trying to propose tangents to explore and perhaps prototype new practices or technologies."

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[NYT] "A chain of sand berms built by the State of Louisiana to block and capture oil from BP’s runaway well in the Gulf of Mexico stopped a “minuscule” amount of oil and was largely a waste of money, the staff of the presidential commission investigating the spill said in a report issued on Thursday."

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[NYT] "[A] breed of huge ships loaded with foreign-made iPods, furniture and other goods that will soon be able to traverse a newly widened Panama Canal will head elsewhere. And with them would go potentially billions of dollars in business."

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[Places] "In Italy today, politicians have become the lead architects of a low-cost human-warehousing system designed to contain the minority Roma, or Gypsy, community. Visitors to the city remark that the visibility of the Roma — especially around train stations, restaurants and tourist sites — is lower than in past decades. What they do not realize is that this superficial change reflects a series of political actions which have profoundly reshaped the Roma’s status within the Italian state."

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[BBC News] "Of all the leaks to have emerged from this set of releases from Wikileaks, this global list of infrastructure sites which the US considers critical for its national security interest must surely count as one of the most sensitive. In its preamble, the cable from the US State Department in 2009 specifically notes it was compiled to try to protect US interests from terrorists."

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"The probes were designed to measure difference over time rather than the static characteristics of any given instance. Powered by solar energy, the probes gathered and recorded ‘micro environmental data’ over time. The probes were simultaneously and physically responsive to these changes, opening out when warm and sunny, closing down when cold and dark. Thus not only did the probes record environmental change, but they demonstrated how these changes might induce a responsive behaviour specific to a single location."

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[BBC News] "In February 2009 the State Department asked all US missions abroad to list all installations whose loss could critically affect US national security."

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[Thomas Thwaites] "Pharmaceutical companies are experimenting with pharming – genetically engineering plants to produce useful and valuable drugs. Currently undergoing field trials are tomato plants that produce a vaccine for Alzheimer’s disease and potatoes that immunise against hepatitis B. Many more plant-made-pharmaceuticals are being developed in laboratories around the world.  //  However, the techniques employed to insert genes into plants are within reach of the amateur…and the criminal. Policing Genes speculates that, like other technologies, genetic engineering will also find a use outside the law, with innocent-looking garden plants being modified to produce narcotics and unlicensed pharmaceuticals.  // The genetics of the plants in your garden or allotment could become a police matter…" (via we make money not art)

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