Is it so bad if the World gets a little bit hotter? You bet!

Hot Planet

Many of us share some dim apprehension that the world is flying out of control, that the centre cannot hold. Raging wildfires, once-in-1,000-year storms, and lethal heat waves have become fixtures of the evening news—and all this after the planet has warmed by less than 1 degree Celsius above pre-industrial temperatures. But here’s where it gets really scary. If humanity burns through all its fossil fuel reserves, there is the potential to warm the planet by perhaps more than 10

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A very British Brexit

David vs Goliath Bot

Well, Brexit has begun. Two years of interesting negotiations, debates and edicts I am sure we’ll be left with on not-so-silver platters. Maybe we have aces hidden up our sleeves with other global powers, but the neighbours are getting restless. The day after the referendum vote, I woke up with a dream rattling round my head. It was something of a dystopian future. A drone camera followed a lone Trabant along the A316 along the section next to Twickenham Rugby

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Cyberwar 1: 2007-?

The Matrix

The job of the historian is often to pull together broad themes and trends, then give them a snappy title that people will easily recognise and understand. That’s how we end up with labels like “The decline and fall of the Roman Empire” or “The Rise of Hitler and the Third Reich”. The article We’re living through the first world cyberwar – but just haven’t called it that appeared in the Guardian on 30 Dec 2016. TL;DR: Essentially the piece

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A New Approach to the Fermi Paradox

The Algebraist

We, the Aliens What is the problem? The Fermi paradox (or Fermi’s paradox), named after physicist Enrico Fermi, is the apparent contradiction between the lack of evidence and high probability estimates, e.g. those given by the Drake equation, for the existence of extraterrestrial civilisations. The basic points of the argument, made by physicists Enrico Fermi (1901–1954) and Michael H. Hart (born 1932), are: There are billions of stars in the galaxy that are similar to the Sun, many of which

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Your Digital Footprint Delete Button

Bin Cage

Why can’t I delete my account easily? It baffles me in the technology age why so much stock is given to privacy, user permissions, control over your own data, etc, etc. It baffles me because in almost every single app there is no simple way to ‘please delete my account and my data as I don’t want to be part of this system any longer.’ For emails, they passed laws that insist that opt-in is mandatory, and that there is

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A Roleplayer’s view of Pokémon GO

Pokemon around the campfire

Meh. Pokémon GO is a global phenomenon. You can’t avoid it (unless it’s not available in your country). Stories are in the press almost daily (shortly after release at least), but the novelty soon wears off. Sure, there are hordes of players who are addicted and out there day and night collecting them all. It gets them off the couch and out doing some exercise, breathing the fresh air and discovering things about the neighbourhood they probably never knew. And

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Brexit vs Article 50

UK Hot Air Balloon

How do we leave the EU? A summary from the excellent MoneyWeek on the process of Brexit. How do we begin Brexit? Britain has to formally notify the European Council of its intention do so. The process is laid out in Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, though it appears that since nobody ever thought anybody would do this, Article 50 is vague, only 250 words long and has just 5 clauses. Once notice is formally served, the “Union shall

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The Case for Geoengineering

Doctor Strange

So, you’re Caretaker of the World (that’s the Number One, the Big Boss, Head Honcho, You Know Who) and your advisers are lining up to tell you how things are out there. You listen absently … All goes well abroad, sir. However, we are concerned about the ever-increasing global population. Despite measures to curb growth (e.g. birth control), just the sheer weight of numbers itself acts as an accelerator. The population spike after the Second World War triggered this condition

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