infrastructure & design

London: burning, flooding, drying ….

Fifteen per cent of London is at high risk from flooding due to global warming – an area that includes 1.25 million people, almost half a million properties, more than 400 schools, 75 underground and railway stations, 10 hospitals, and an airport (London City ). According to the draft of The London climate change adaptation […]

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Palin’s poisonous pump and dead ducks

A diary piece at daily Kos investigates the environmental impacts of the so-called Palin Pipeline. It points out that the pipeline is not a conduit of natural gas to US consumers, but (as the map shows) to the tar sands of Alberta, Canada where it will be used to power the extraction of oil. Canada […]

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Eurotrash

This chilling image, which I saw first at Core 77, is a visualization of space-junk by the European Space Agency. The images (there’s a series) show all the satellites and human-made debris now orbiting space as a result of 51 years of launching devices since Sputnik – a total of 6,000 rocketloads. If you think […]

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Heathrow chaos: time to start digging?

The chaos at Heathrow’s Terminal 5 is an excellent example of what happens when the logic of finance interacts with the logic of large complex systems. As Will Hutton wrote at the weekend, shareholders in British Airways (its sole tenant) and BAA (which runs the airport) demand perpetually growing dividends. Financial returns on this scale […]

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High entropy notions of quality

Last week I gave this talk at a seminar in Milan called Art For Business. “On my way to this conference on art and business, two Erasmus University business school students (a Russian and a Dane) came to meet me in Amsterdam. They came from “Team Aesthetics” . We talked of Aesthetics, Innovation, Complexity, Meaning, […]

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The birth of the transistor

Join Joel Shurkin, author of the book Broken Genius, on a tour at the Science Museum in London. He’ll be in conversation with the Curator of Computing and Information, Tilly Blyth. Their topic is the birth of the transistor; its marriage to the computer was one of the key moments of the information age. Monday […]

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The power used by television

Decentralised energy – using waste heat, and encouraging individual home owners to generate electricity with solar panels and new boilers – could provide nearly 70 per cent of all Britain’s electricity, and reduce emissions by as much as 60 per cent. The development of solar and and other micro generation technologies would, as a bonus, […]

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New voting computers crisis

The Dutch computerised voting system is completely open to fraud, and bad guys could find out, remotely, how you voted. So argue Rop Gonggrijp and colleagues of the “We do not trust voting computers” foundation in The Netherlands. Gonggrijp and co are some of smartest hackers around, so we are sure they are right. A […]

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Fat, cities, and homeland insecurity

As I mentioned a while back, two geographers, Simon Marvin and Will Medd, have published a quease-inducing paper about fat in cities. In Metabolisms of Obecity: Fat across bodies, cities and sewers they write that the number of sewer blockages and overflows across cities in the United States is growing as restaurants and fast food […]

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