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Posts Tagged ‘The Economist’

Techno Beat

3609TQ11The Technology Quarterly issue of The Economist came out last week, and as usual it amazes and dazzles.  I encourage you to check it out as usual.  A favorite of mine from this issue has to do with 3-D printing.  As the name implies it is possible to “print” out 3-D objects now, such as the one shown here.

Pretty amazing.  I also like the article on turning softwoods into hardwoods with recycled alcohol and the environmental benefits of that.  Check it out if you have a chance.

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cocoabeansA unique report from The Economist.  Testing has been going on in New Hampshire to mix cocoa-bean shells with coal in power plants.  Cocoa-beans apparently burn at a similar value as wood but are otherwise useless and go to waste.  If the tests (which were successful by the power company’s standards) are verified by the state then the utility company in NH will start mixing in free cocoa-beans from the Lindt & Sprüngli factory nearby into their coal mixture.

I love innovation.

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End The War On Drugs?

drugsfinalLast weeks issue of The Economist had a series on the global drug war and the cost/benefits of ending the prohibition of drugs.  Their conclusion, and one that they have held since 1988, is that “the least bad policy is to legalize drugs”.  Take a look at the article and see what you think… also be sure to read the related articles they link to on the right.

I would love to hear everyone’s thoughts.

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It is very easy to become depressed and cynical when the news you hear all day is peppered with sobering economic forecasts, climate change concerns, and terrorist warnings.  My friend Mark (not myself…I’m not that narcissistic) and I were talking and he told me that he is rather pessimistic about the future, particularly our energy resources and consumption.  I told him that I many times feel the same way, until the Technology Quarterly in The Economist comes out.  Then I read about all the innovation and advancement that is taking place worldwide, and I get a boost of enthusiasm for where we are headed.  It is always reassuring to me to know that there are people, businesses, schools and governments out there that are pursuing exciting and beneficial ways to improve our world and our lives.  Well the newest Quarterly is out; check out the link above to read it online, or better yet get a subscription so you can enjoy it every time it comes out.

Here’s some of what you’ll find in this Quarterly:

  • Better stoves for developing nations
  • Surgical sutures made from cows’ blood
  • Reduced energy consumption at telecoms firms
  • Digital-cinema projectors using lasers
  • Enhanced ballot encryption
  • Industrial wastewater treatment
  • Space solar power
  • Wind power update
  • Abu Dhabi zero-emission city?

Always a good read.

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econMany of you have heard of the broken windows theory, the idea that stopping petty crime helps lead to a reduction in overall criminal behavior.  This has been heavily publicized regarding Rudy Giuliani’s efforts as mayor of New York and their crime reduction.

Well The Economist has an article talking about a Dutch experiment to verify this theory.  Very interesting read, I recommend it.

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Placebos & Ethics

Just read a very interesting article in The Economist about the placebo effect.  It appears that the AMA is very opposed to the secret use of a placebo, and issued a warning that it is only to be used when the patient is informed of its use (doesn’t that make it cease to be a placebo?).  The problem apparently is the ethics of it all.  It is a lie after all, though it may be a “virtuous lie” as the article states.

I hope you find this as interesting as I.  Placebo’s are proven to be very highly effective, and are even leading to new advances in neuroscience.  But does the ethical problem really get in the way.  Thoughts?

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