A burgeoning space tourism industry is gearing up for significant expansion. Critics believe that increasing space flights would be detrimental to the climate.
In the past year, two billionaire-backed companies, Virgin Galactic and Blue Origin, have completed successful test flights of their space tourism vehicles.
And last week, SpaceX, the company founded by Tesla CEO Elon Musk, announced that it had raised $1 billion from investors to help fund the development of its space tourism vehicle.
Let's find out how retail space flights will impact the climate.
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The scoop: The sustainability of Web 3 ties closely to the real world. A large portion of our world depends on energy also needed to run the web.
There are some outside factors you may not be aware of that can drastically change how Web 3 influences sustainability around the world (not just on the web).
- Only about 12% of the energy in the US comes from renewables right now. This needs to change in order to provide a more sustainable energy source for Web 3 applications.
- Web 3 applications can offset its energy consumption by making other aspects of our economy more sustainable.
- It’s still early. We are likely to see unexpected solutions come from unexpected areas. Buckle up for the ride.
What’s next? Rather than trying to predict the future, spot trends that influence the sustainability of Web 3 to better gauge its progress.
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The scoop: Uphold, a digital trading platform, released a digital carbon credit coin called UPCO2.
On a mission to democratize carbon: Think of corporations and governments as the gatekeepers of carbon credit markets. Using blockchain technology, UPCO2 hopes to ease the barrier to entry for ordinary people. UPCO2 can also help standardize carbon prices on a global level using voluntary carbon credits (VCUs).
Should you buy one? UPCO2 coins help reforestation efforts in areas like the Amazon, Congo Basin, and Indonesia. Carbon prices (like any commodity) are pretty volatile, but I predict durable demand for this asset. Everyday people want more ways to take climate action. This is one.
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Busy? Try the speed read.
The scoop: Electronics produce millions of material waste every year. Here are some simple ways to recycle or repurpose your old gear.
- You can dispose of old batteries, computers, tvs, and phones at major retailers like Home Depot, Best Buy, Lowe's and Staples. Use a search engine to find one near you.
- Make sure your device is shot before recycling it - you may be able to donate it, sell it online, or trade it in for a new device.
- Always back-up old files and do a factory reset before selling, recycling or donating a device.
Bottom line: Being responsible with e-waste is an easy way to dampen your footprint and help under-served communities at the same time.
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Why are wildfires detrimental to our environment?
- Burn millions of acres of forests each year; trees are critical to (1) absorbing greenhouse gases to lessen the effects of climate change and (2) preserving biodiversity.
- Kill and displace wildlife.
- Disrupt water cycles and soil fertility.
- Endanger lives and livelihood of local communities.
How are drones being used to fight wildfires?
- Provide real-time support on the ground for firefighters to improve safety.
- Map weather patterns to prevent spreading of the fire to mitigate environmental destruction.
What are the benefits of a drone compared to a traditional aircraft?
- Safer since you don’t need a pilot to operate it.
- More versatile since a drone can fly in poor conditions and hard to reach spaces.
- More accurate by using GPS and imaging technologies to generate a “smart map.”
More recently, the use of drones for fire prevention in the U.S. has been gaining support from the federal government. Regulatory hurdles are starting to lessen. Plus, the civil-use of drones is now more widely accepted.
Drones are becoming a key technological advancement in fighting wildfires. They can not only protect our communities, but they can also mitigate the environmental impact caused by fires.
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What is vertical farming? Indoor agriculture (like greenhouses) using vertical space to optimize crop production in a controlled environment
- Minimized pests and pesticides
- Greater precision and control over water and nutrients, less waste
- More food produced per acre of land, more sustainable for our planet in the long run
- Reduced distribution supply chains delivering fresher produce to customers at greater speed
- Higher costs
- Deep know-how and expertise required
- Limited number of crops can be grown profitably (leafy greens vs. strawberries that require more sunlight and thus more electricity)
Why vertical farming? The COVID-19 pandemic disrupted food supply chains around the world. The shift to remote work increased office space vacancies... creating an opportunity to redesign spaces. Now is a good time to rethink ways to feed a growing population, especially in urban cities. We need to better adapt to supply and demand shocks.
A touch on Big Tech Algorithmic or machine-learning solutions are applied to the biggest challenge in agriculture: optimization. Artificial intelligence (AI) helps minimize food waste by figuring out the right amount of energy, water, and nutrients required to produce food.
Bottom line With increased pressure on supply chains around the globe, rethinking traditional farming and redirecting efforts toward vertical farming (and AI) will address food security challenges and reduce waste in the future.
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The scoop Tech companies can use AI to compose new songs using existing datasets of music. This poses a serious threat to musicians and artists. Let's talk about it.
About the tech
- AIVA Technologies, based in Luxembourg, created an AI that composes music for movies, commercials, games and TV shows.
- OpenAI’s Jukebox allows users to generate genre-specific music. You can look up an artist and select a genre. Theoretically, it would fuse that artist with a Mississippi the selected genre.
- Holograms tours are becoming increasingly popular. Eventually, using AI composition tools and hologram tech, deceased artists will be able to tour new music... and it will be hard to tell the difference from a standard pop concert.
- VOCALOID is a voice synthesizing software that allows users to create 'virtual pop stars'. They are already widely popular in Asia.
- Other voice synthesizing tools allow users to imitate famous voices and spit out whatever output you'd like. Copyright law hasn't caught up to this deepfake dystopian reality, so feel free to go make Jay-Z say whatever you want.
Humans > robots ... for now At least for the foreseeable future, AI is incapable of creating music without mimicking an existing data set that originated from human innovation. Similar to the way AIVA pitched their product, Artificial Intelligence can be used to help the artist speed-up and maximize the composition process. It should be treated as a tool, not a replacement.
Zoom out There will always be a place for bipedal fleshbags in the arts. With or without AI in music. Why? Because the consumers of creation are also fleshbags, and we want to be wowed and wooed by the hairy, smelly creatures that feel and squeal just like we do.
What does this have to do with sustainability? Supporting a pro-human future (in the face of tech) is a critical component of a sustainable future. We need to develop new technologies in a way that prioritizes happiness and harmony over production and profit.
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What's happening Neuralink, a neural tech company owned by Elon Musk, is hosting a public event this Friday, August 28th. The event will feature a live demo of the innovative new technology.
What is Neuralink? The four by four millimeter chip sits in a sealed cylinder where it is inserted in the back of your head. Made up of 1,024 electrodes, the N1 works with your brain's neurons to solve neurological mysteries.
Musk believes the micro-chip will be able to solve any neurological disorder from Parkinson's to Alzheimer's.
Why it matters The technological prospects of solving neurological mysteries is fascinating and worthy of covering.
This emerging new era in the human timeline will make or break the human future, and quite possibly the natural world.
Some talking points
- Philosophical questions: Humans are flawed. That makes us human. If Neuralink makes our brains perfect, free of mistakes and failures, what does that world look like?
- Hacking: Technology is advancing faster than laws and regulations. Legal and compliance frameworks just can’t keep up. How can we safely stop hackers from entering our brains?
- Global inequality: When Neuralink inevitably matures into a product for convenience rather than desperation, rich kids who can afford neural chips will advance even faster beyond less-privileged peers.
Bottom line When do we take it 'too far'? Will we ever?
Let's learn the lessons of our past, and put reasonable pressure on innovative new technologies before they get too big to fail. That way we can ensure that the innovation is serving the best interest and will of the people, rather than exacerbating our greatest problems.
Dig deeper → 5 min