Insight No. 95: Breakingthrough Technologies – “Cow-Free Burgers and Lab-grown Steaks”

Creatures, Food, Insights, Nature, Oddities, Technology
No, this is unfortunately no lab-grown steak…disappointed? …Me too.

Livestock production causes catastrophic deforestation, water pollution, and greenhouse-gas emissions. Is there an alternative meat production that won’t make us do without?

Both lab-grown and plant-based alternatives approximate the taste and nutritional value of real meat without the environmental devastation.

The UN expects the world to have 9.8 billion people by 2050. And those people are getting richer. Neither trend bodes well for climate change—especially because as people escape poverty, they tend to eat more meat.

By that date, according to the predictions, humans will consume 70% more meat than they did in 2005. And it turns out that raising animals for human consumption is among the worst things we do to the environment.

Depending on the animal, producing a pound of meat protein with Western industrialized methods requires 4 to 25 times more water, 6 to 17 times more land, and 6 to 20 times more fossil fuels than producing a pound of plant protein.

The problem is that people aren’t likely to stop eating meat anytime soon. Which means lab-grown and plant-based alternatives might be the best way to limit the destruction.

Making lab-grown meat involves extracting muscle tissue from animals and growing it in bioreactors. The end product looks much like what you’d get from an animal, although researchers are still working on the taste. Researchers at Maastricht University in the Netherlands, who are working to produce lab-grown meat at scale, believe they’ll have a lab-grown burger available by next year. One drawback of lab-grown meat is that the environmental benefits are still sketchy at best—a recent World Economic Forum report says the emissions from lab-grown meat would be only around 7% less than emissions from beef production.

The better environmental case can be made for plant-based meats from companies like Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods (Bill Gates is an investor in both companies), which use pea proteins, soy, wheat, potatoes, and plant oils to mimic the texture and taste of animal meat.

Beyond Meat has a new 26,000-square-foot (2,400 sqm) plant in California and has already sold upwards of 25 million burgers from 30,000 stores and restaurants. According to an analysis by the Center for Sustainable Systems at the University of Michigan, a Beyond Meat patty would probably generate 90% less in greenhouse-gas emissions than a conventional burger made from a cow.

Insight No. 94: Breakingthrough Technologies – Safer Nuclear Power Reactors Ahead???

Insights, Technology

From sodium-cooled fission to advanced fusion,
a fresh generation of projects hopes to rekindle trust in nuclear energy.

BP`s annual energy review 2018 message was stark: despite the angst over global warming, coal was responsible for 38% of the world’s power in 2017 — precisely the same level as when the first global climate treaty was signed 20 years ago.
Worse still, greenhouse-gas emissions rose by 2.7% last year 2018, the largest increase in seven years.

Such stagnation has led many policymakers and environmental groups to conclude that we need more nuclear energy. Even United Nations researchers, not enthusiastic in the past, now say every plan to keep the planet’s temperature rise under 1.5 °C will rely on a substantial jump in nuclear energy. Frankly speaking, I am not convinced yet. I`d prefer renewable energy concepts anytime and in general I am afraid of lobbyism. But I am also convinced that we need to consider and examine all options. And if there is any technological progress, we should have a look at it.

Interestingly, there is a growing number of voices that consider nuclear power as tool to stop/ slow climate change down. They say that advanced fusion and fission reactors might be a part of the solution in future.

New nuclear designs that have gained momentum in the past year are promising to make this power source safer and cheaper.
Among them are generation IV fission reactors, an evolution of traditional designs; small modular reactors; and fusion reactors, a technology that has seemed eternally just out of reach.
Developers of generation IV fission designs, such as Canada’s Terrestrial Energy and Washington-based TerraPower, have entered into R&D partnerships with utilities, aiming for grid supply (somewhat optimistically, maybe) by the 2020s.

Small modular reactors typically produce in the tens of megawatts of power (for comparison, a traditional nuclear reactor produces around 1,000 MW). Companies like Oregon’s NuScale say the miniaturized reactors can save money and reduce environmental and financial risks.

There has even been progress on fusion. Though no one expects delivery before 2030, companies like General Fusion and Commonwealth Fusion Systems, an MIT spinout, are making some headway. Many consider fusion a pipe dream, but because the reactors can’t melt down and don’t create long-lived, high-level waste, it could face much less public resistance than conventional nuclear.

Shared No. 103: “What if we could fight drug addiction with digital technology?” — European Parliamentary Research Service Blog

Insights, Technology
Pill button on keyboard

Drug addiction is one of the greatest problems facing European public health authorities. Advances in drug addiction research have focused mostly on the neurobiological aspects of the disease, but now promising new technologies are enhancing our ability to understand and treat drug addiction.

What if we could fight drug addiction with digital technology? [Science and Technology podcast] — European Parliamentary Research Service Blog

Insight No. 93: “Breakingthrough Technologies -Perfect Online Privacy”

Insights, Technology

True internet privacy could finally become possible thanks to a new tool that canfor instancelet you prove you’re over 18 without revealing your date of birth, or prove you have enough money in the bank for a financial transaction without revealing your balance or other details. That limits the risk of a privacy breach or identity theft.

Perfect Online Privacy

The tool is an emerging cryptographic protocol called a zero-­knowledge proof. Though researchers have worked on it for decades, interest has exploded in the past year, thanks in part to the growing obsession with cryptocurrencies, most of which aren’t private.

Much of the credit for a practical zero-knowledge proof goes to Zcash, a digital currency that launched in late 2016. Zcash’s developers used a method called a zk-SNARK (for “zero-knowledge succinct non-interactive argument of knowledge”) to give users the power to transact anonymously.

That’s not normally possible in Bitcoin and most other public blockchain systems, in which transactions are visible to everyone. Though these transactions are theoretically anonymous, they can be combined with other data to track and even identify users. Vitalik Buterin, creator of Ethereum, the world’s second-most-popular blockchain network, has described zk-SNARKs as an “absolutely game-changing technology.”

For banks, this could be a way to use blockchains in payment systems without sacrificing their clients’ privacy. Last year, JPMorgan Chase added zk-SNARKs to its own blockchain-based payment system.

For all their promise, though, zk-SNARKs are computation-heavy and slow. They also require a so-called “trusted setup,” creating a cryptographic key that could compromise the whole system if it fell into the wrong hands. But researchers are looking at alternatives that deploy zero-knowledge proofs more efficiently and don’t require such a key.

Tipp No. 97: Spectacular Couture – A Fusion of Traditional Craftsmanship & New Technologies by Iris van Herpen (Netherlands)

arts, Insights, Kunst, Technology

IRIS VAN HERPEN – Definetely one of my absolute favorite fashion designers, inventors & artists….unfortunately beyond my budget.

Her COUTURE respectively the brilliant pictures of her breath-taking art pieces – taken by MORGAN O`DONOVAN – is pure eye-candy in my view…

ABOUT IRIS VAN HERPEN

IRIS VAN HERPEN is a Dutch fashion designer who is widely recognized as one of fashion’s most talented and forward-thinking creators who continuously pushes the boundaries of fashion design.

Since her first show in 2007 van Herpen has been preoccupied with inventing new forms and methods of sartorial expression by combining the most traditional and the most radical materials and garment construction methods into her unique aesthetic vision. 

Van Herpen is often hailed as a pioneer in utilizing 3D printing as a garment construction technique, and as an innovator who is comfortable with using technology as one of the guiding principles in her work because of its sculptural nature and unfamiliar form.

The designer’s intent is to blend the past and the future into a distinct version of the present by fusing technology and traditional Couture craftsmanship.

Her singular vision combined with the complexity of her creations has made van Herpen a fixture on the Paris Haute Couture calendar, where she has shown since January 2011. Additionally, van Herpen’s work has been featured in various notable museum exhibitions.

Because of van Herpen’s interest in multidisciplinary approach to creation that goes beyond fashion, she has often collaborated with various artists such as Jolan van der Wiel and Neri Oxman and architects such as Philip Beesley and Benthem and Crouwel Architects. The designer’s interest in science and technology has led to ongoing conversations with CERN (The European Organization for Nuclear Research) and MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology).

https://www.irisvanherpen.com/boutique

Insight No. 92: “Austria is introducing online taxation” – TAX JUSTICE!

Insights, Technology, Tipps
Congratulation!!! Well-done!

Austria’s federal government has proposed levying a tax of as much as 5% on advertising revenue of big-tech corporations like Google, Amazon, Facebook and Alibaba.

The tax, which is much higher than the levy proposed by France earlier this year, is aimed at preventing the “unfairness”of internet giants that have routed their sales via subsidiary units in EU members with a low taxation base, according to Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, as cited by AFP.

Unfortunately, the German government is hesitating to take action although it was discussed to complement its tax law. Surprisingly, the topic: “Transaction Taxes” was an extraordinary quick non-starter after one week of media attention, the supporter were silenced abruptly. Another example of the fairytale and false claim that Germany has got independent media.

There was just one brief note. Out of consideration for the German automobiler industry, the German government won`t call tax refugees like Amazon, Google, Alibaba, Facebook or non e-commerce businesses like starbucks, Nike, Apple etc. to account. Obviously, The government fears to kick of a trade war with the States that will target the German automobile immediately.

In my view, this in not acceptable. Whenever, new ideas or reforms are introduced the German government sabotage them with a hint on the automobile industry that will cut overhead due to digitalisation, automatisation (- 50% productive man-hours) and substitution of their products with e-cars in future anyway. Finally, it will be the regular citizen who will have to bear all tax burdens to finance banking institutions and industry sectors – like the car or aviation industry – whenever they have to face the consequences of their mismanagement and criminal and risky business practices.

It would be very important to reach a consensus in the EU as soon as possible to follow Austria to be better prepared to defend European interests and tax fairness towards blackmailing by the States, China and any other power system. Interestingly, the majority of tax scammers are based in the USA.

In the meantime, I will act as responsible consumer. Actually, I don`t purchase products & services of tax refugees anymore if feasible.

“NO TAX PAYING – NO SALES!”

The chart was issued in 2017
Basic Tax Evasion Scheme
United Nations University, 2017

Postcard No. 30: “Tel Aviv – Zombie Traffic Lights”

humor, Insights, Oddities, Reisen, Technology, Travel

The Walking Dead Zombies – an endangered species…. As the plague of so called “iZombies” continues to spread and infect unabated, cities are forced to adapt to this relatively new reality. The phenomenon of staggering human beings sucked in by the glow of white light from their smartphones. At the expense of the world at large.
Enough to cause headaches for sidewalk denizens, and even severe injury.

According to city authorities worldwide all attempts to educate iZombies failed. Warning signs on “natural” eye-level or writings on ground didn`t work either. The latter also because of the attention span needed to draw attention to the writing combined with the time required to read the warning.

Recently, Tel Aviv took action and embedded these brilliant LED stripes in select sidewalk slabs so pedestrians don’t wander into crosswalks without the light.
The Israeli metropolis joins other cities worldwide in implementing this innovative battlefield tactic.

Conventional traffic signs “Beware of Smartphone Zombies” and similar warnings will be used additionally due to the fact that the walking and driving “offline Zombies” shall be alert of the smartphone Zombies, who are disconnected to real life and its pitfalls.