infrastructure & design

Could ‘green’ energy kill the desert?

(Summer re-run: first published 22 February 2009) One of the more remarkale sights on my recent trip was this vast wind farm outside Palm Springs. Located on the San Gorgonio Mountain Pass in the San Bernadino Mountains, it contains more than 4000 separate wind turbines and provides enough electricity to power Palm Springs and the […]

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Have I cracked the the telepresence conundrum?

Last evening I particpated remotely from my home in France in a pre-event in Amsterdam of ElectroSmog International Festival for Sustainable Immobility. I didn’t use the fancy gadget in the photo above. My set-up yesterday was a bit, but not a lot, better-organized than the remote recording session (below) I did for a BBC radio […]

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New questions for the Internet of Things

For Gunter Pauli it’s the sight of electronic devices that need batteries or electric wires in order to function. For me it’s hard or paved surfaces. For Usman Haque, it’s these pigs in a poke. These curious obsessions reflect new questions being raised about the design of things. My obsession first. After being mesmerised by […]

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Do we need any more things?

Well, it’s a question. All objects use resources, and have consequences. It’s one of the topics i touched on during my lecture at the LIFT conference in Marseille last week.

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Hackers help government to open up

Paul Jongsma draws my attention to an intriguing event on 13 June called HackdeOverheid (Hack the government). HackdeOverheid will focus on building prototypes or web platforms that demonstrate in practise how government services can be improved when they are based on open-ness. The idea is to harness the passion of eager developers, who already know […]

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After the High life?

I was taken on a sneak preview visit to The High Line in New York. It’s an elevated public park on a 1.5 mile elevated railway that runs along the West Side of Manhattan. Everyone is rightly proud that this historic rail structure has been saved from being razed by developers. 150 million dollars have […]

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Call from system: Chill !

Mobile phones tend to be personal devices and Intel plans to take that further – a lot further. Researchers Margaret Morris and Farzin Guilak are developing “mobile therapy” – a system of just-in-time personal coaching, by the system, that is triggered by physiological indicators of stress. Mobile Heart Health, as it’s called, uses body sensors […]

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How they’re playing the game

Roughly once a week, I admonish myself for spending too much time reading financial blogs. “Focus on the positive,” I tell myself. “Raging at politicians and banksters is a waste of your life energy. Build an alternative reality to theirs. Go and plant a carrot”. So yesterday I went into the real world (well, Nice) […]

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Are you, or do you know, a wind catcher expert?

A friend in Colombia has sent me this picture of the model of their proposed new house. She asks my advice on its wind-catching performance, how wide these have to be…etc. Now I’m flattered to be thought to be an expert on such an incredibly sustainable thing as zero energy airco – but my practical […]

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