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  • El gran diseño - Stephen Hawking & Leonard Mlodinow June 23, 2017
    Aun antes de aparecer, este libro ha venido precedido, en todos los medios de comunicación, de una extraordinaria polémica sobre  sus conclusiones: que tanto nuestro universo como los otros muchos universos posibles surgieron de la nada, porque su creación no requiere de la intervención de ningún Dios o ser sobrenatural, sino que todos los universos pro […]
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  • La tabla rasa - Steven Pinker June 23, 2017
    La concepción que podamos tener de la naturaleza humana afecta a todos los aspectos de nuestra vida, desde la forma en que educamos a nuestros hijos hasta las ideas políticas que defendemos. En La tabla rasa , Steven Pinker explora la idea de la naturaleza humana y sus aspectos éticos, emocionales y políticos. Demuestra que muchos intelectuales han negado su […]
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  • Ask the Brains, Part 1 - Scientific American Editors June 23, 2017
    Why do we do the things we do? The human brain is a marvelous, mysterious piece of evolution that on one hand empowers us to be rational, self-aware and innovative. On the other, the disciplines of psychiatry and psychology are a testament to our attempts to understand the human brain and behavior. Why do we persist in believing opinions despite scientific e […]
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  • Ágilmente - Estanislao Bachrach June 23, 2017
    Bachrach es Doctor en biología molecular y explica el funcionamiento del cerebro. A través de ello, da consejos y herramientas para ser más creativos y felices en el trabajo y en la vida. La neurociencia es clara: el cerebro aprende hasta el último día de vida. La creatividad puede expandirse. Tu mente, mediante la aplicación de las técnicas correctas, puede […]
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  • Réussir sa mort - Fabrice Hadjadj June 23, 2017
    Ce n'est pas nous qui réussissons notre mort, c'est elle qui ne nous rate pas. À nous toutefois de ne pas la rater non plus. Que signifie dès lors réussir sa mort ? Avec verve, humour, espièglerie, mais vérité et sincérité, Fabrice Hadjadj nous invite à passer du confort au combat, à choisir la vie alors même que nous mourons et que nous mourrons. […]
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  • Inteligencia emocional para niños. Guía práctica para padres y educadores - Mireia Golobardes Subirana & Sandra Celeiro González June 23, 2017
    ¿Cómo podemos enseñar a los más pequeños a gestionar sus emociones? ¿Cómo ayudar a nuestros hijos a mejorar en sus relaciones con los demás? ¿Cómo facilitar a nuestros alumnos su capacidad para identificar sus emociones y la de los demás y favorecer relaciones sanas y positivas, con empatía y respeto? ¿Cómo contribuir a que padres y profesores puedan también […]
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  • La teoría del todo - Stephen W. Hawking June 23, 2017
    Una manera clara y amena de acercarse a los misterios del universo. En esta esclarecedora obra, el gran físico británico Stephen Hawking nos ofrece una historia del universo, del big bang a los agujeros negros. En siete pasos, Hawking logra explicar la historia del universo, desde las primeras teorías del mundo griego y de la época medieval hasta las más com […]
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  • La física del futuro - Michio Kaku June 23, 2017
    Un recorrido asombroso a través de los próximos cien años de revolución científica. El futuro ya se está inventando en los laboratorios de los científicos más punteros de todo el mundo. Con toda probabilidad, en 2100 controlaremos los ordenadores a través de diminutos sensores cerebrales y podremos mover objetos con el poder de nuestras mentes, la inteligenc […]
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  • EnCambio - Estanislao Bachrach June 23, 2017
    EnCambio te va a permitir alumbrar los procesos por los cuales te comportás de determinada manera con el fin de dejar atrás aquellos hábitos y conductas que ya no te sirven. El objetivo es que aprendas del potencial que tiene tu cerebro para cambiar y la capacidad que tenés vos para modificarlo. Este año cambio de trabajo, empiezo el gimnasio, bajo esos kili […]
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  • Breve historia de mi vida - Stephen Hawking June 23, 2017
    La mente maravillosa de Stephen Hawking ha deslumbrado al mundo entero revelando los misterios del universo. Ahora, por primera vez, el cosmólogo más brillante de nuestra era explora, con una mirada reveladora, su propia vida y evolución intelectual. Breve historia de mi vida cuenta el sorprendente viaje de Stephen Hawking desde su niñez […]
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California’s a climate leader — if we’re grading on a curve

California just got its climate report card and we’re betting the state wants to hide this one from its parents.

The Golden State has been cramming to clean up its greenhouse-gas grades for more than a decade, and Gov. Jerry Brown has pledged to fight President Donald Trump’s efforts to roll back climate action. So when Trump dropped out of the Paris agreement earlier this month, California was all like, “Whatever dude, I’m going to work even harder, and score the winning touchdown, and graduate for all of us!”

To put it another way, California has set lofty goals and now wants to set them even higher.

“There’s support for more aggressive California climate action,” says Meredith Fowlie, an environmental economist at the University of California, Berkeley. “California is determined to step up, particularly as Washington pulls back.”

The problem is, the state has struggled to hit the targets it already set. After psyching itself up to take on the world, California has taken some important steps forward, but it looks like it has also taken the a few bong hits and a lot of naps. The Golden State wants to bring its greenhouse gas emissions down to 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030, but it’s not on pace to get there, according to the state’s annual inventory of greenhouse gas emissions. That target looks so far away, Fowlie says, that it “makes the much-celebrated greenhouse gas emissions reductions we’ve achieved so far look timid.”

The state will need new policies, including a stronger cap-and-trade program, to improve its pace, Fowlie and other experts say.

Using the California Environmental Protection Agency’s recent report, we’ve created a handy report card, grading California in four key areas.

Getting the economy off carbon: Great effort! (but not fast enough)

California is bringing down emissions even as the state’s population (39 million and counting) and economy keeps growing. That’s great news as well as a monumental change.

Until recently, an uptick in the economy meant an uptick in greenhouse gas emissions; you couldn’t have one without the other. But now emissions are dropping as California’s businesses boom.

However, the state is still burning more than its share of dinosaur slime. The average Californian still emits more than 11 metric tonnes of carbon dioxide every year, a little over twice the world average.

Transportation: Backsliding (see teacher)

Share of emissions: 37 percent

Planes, trucks, cars, and the like are the biggest source of emissions in the state, and their emissions are headed in the wrong direction. That’s because, after years of burning less fuel, Californians are back behind the wheel and most likely sitting in traffic. Cheap gas takes some of the blame.

Sharp-eyed readers will notice a similarity between the orange line above, which tracks total emissions from transportation, and the next graph, which shows how much Americans drive. Hence, Silicon Valley’s dream of a nation getting ferried around in electric-powered self-driving cars.

Electricity: Improving (but stole answers from classmates)

Share of emissions: 19 percent

Every year, it takes less carbon to power Silicon Valley’s smartphones, Hollywood’s cameras, and Humboldt’s grow lights. Hooray! It’s not because the technology is getting greener. California is getting more of its electrons from wind turbines and solar plants. But if you look closely at these graphs, you can see that improvement comes from sucking clean electricity away from other states.

California just hasn’t managed to increase the amount of carbon-free electricity it produces in state.

How can this be? It seems like there are new solar panels going up all the time in California. It turns out that all those new renewables weren’t enough to make up for the loss of electricity when the state shut down nuclear plants and droughts shut down hydropower. Another graph (Figure 10) reveals what’s happening: Natural gas has replaced most of the electricity that was coming from dams and nuclear plants.

Industry: No improvement (please see doctor about unhealthy gas leakage)

Share of emissions: 21 percent

California’s wineries, cement plants, and aerospace companies are mostly just treading water. We could go searching for silver linings here and find some improvement (look, emissions from refineries are falling!) but let’s be real: This is disappointing.

The problem is that most of these emissions come from combustion; that is, industry burns stuff to make other stuff. You’ve got to get limestone really hot to make cement, and you need a fiery forge to turn steel into a Tesla or a BPA-free water bottle. People are starting to figure out more environmentally friendly manufacturing techniques, but they are still new, and therefore really expensive.

Also, remember that big gas leak at Aliso Canyon? It’s captured by these numbers.

Final grade: C-

(Young California has lots of potential, but hasn’t turned ambition into enough progress)

This may seem like a harsh assessment, but we are measuring the Golden State against its own expectations, not against Wyoming or North Korea. Basically, California is great at making big promises about defying Trump and fighting climate change. It’s not yet good enough at walking the walk. Not to say that California is all talk. Jeffrey Greenblatt, a scientist at Lawrence Berkeley Lab who has been studying California’s efforts, says the state has made a lot of significant policy changes. Think green building standards, carbon sequestration efforts, and subsidies for electric cars and renewable energy. “The problem is that, even with all that, it’s not quite enough to get us to our targets,” Greenblatt says.

California’s climate team has a plan for upping the pace that depends on getting a new cap-and-trade law passed. A few weeks ago, one cap-and-trade bill failed a key vote. But there’s still time. The state legislature has a Democratic supermajority, and a Governor Moonbeam who cares deeply about climate change.

“We can’t fall back and give in to the climate deniers,” Gov. Brown said in his State of the State speech earlier this year. “The science is clear, the danger is real. We can do much on our own, and we can join with others — other states and provinces, even other countries — to stop the dangerous rise in climate pollution.”

The world needs this well-meaning slacker to turn into a climate valedictorian. One solid session of summer school could put the state on the right trajectory.

[…]

More peas or less Pepsi? Researchers compare how food policies could save lives.

There’s been much high-profile gushing over the spaceship-in-Eden–themed campus that Apple spent six years and $5 billion building in Silicon Valley, but it turns out techno-utopias don’t make great neighbors.

“Apple’s new HQ is a retrograde, literally inward-looking building with contempt for the city where it lives and cities in general,” writes Adam Rogers at Wired, in an indictment of the company’s approach to transportation, housing, and economics in the Bay Area.

The Ring — well, they can’t call it The Circle — is a solar-powered, passively cooled marvel of engineering, sure. But when it opens, it will house 12,000 Apple employees, 90 percent of whom will be making lengthy commutes to Cupertino and back every day. (San Francisco is 45 miles away.)

To accommodate that, Apple Park features a whopping 9,000 parking spots (presumably the other 3,000 employees will use the private shuttle bus instead). Those 9,000 cars will be an added burden on the region’s traffic problems, as Wired reports, not to mention that whole global carbon pollution thing.

You can read Roger’s full piece here, but the takeaway is simple: With so much money, Apple could have made meaningful improvements to the community — building state-of-the-art mass transit, for example — but chose to make a sparkly, exclusionary statement instead.

[…]

Urban highways could be giant bike paths in the sky

Why do the cars get all the nice wide roads? They should learn to share. […]

These 2 towns have dimmed their lights to show off the glorious night sky

Stargazers are flocking to these neighboring towns in Colorado that have traded streetlights for starlight. […]

Our plan for Earth Day is to ponder whether feminism is dead.

You can’t fight what you can’t measure. But Davida Herzl has a solution: Her company, Aclima, builds sensor networks that monitor environmental impacts at a hyperlocal scale. Clients can deploy sensors on city streets, inside buildings, even on vehicles, to compile data on pollutants, carbon footprint, and more.

Think of it as a Fitbit for a planet trying to take more steps toward carbon reduction. In addition to working with the Environmental Protection Agency, Aclima has partnered with Google’s Street View fleet to map greenhouse gas emissions and air quality in California.

Herzl ultimately wants her sensor networks to create changes in behavior, both from large institutions and from individuals who can follow their lead. “One of the things we know is that emissions from non-electric vehicles influence climate change — but now we’ve learned that the proximity of my house to a freeway increases my health risk,” she says. “That can influence whether I choose to buy an electric vehicle or a nonrenewable-fuel-based vehicle … That personal moment motivates me every day.”

Workplace culture matters to Herzl, too: She sees Aclima’s multiracial, gender-diverse crew as part of a new vanguard in Silicon Valley dedicated to solving the world’s biggest problems through industry and innovation.


Meet all the fixers on this year’s Grist 50.

[…]

Striking live-work loft is 3D optical puzzle inspired by gaming

Created for a novelist and game designer, this open-plan loft is cleverly divided into smaller zones using angular elements, and a multifunctional furniture unit. […]

America Has No Appetite For Animal Cruelty

The recent public outcry around the USDA‘s removal of animal welfare violation records from its website reinforces a clear truth: Americans are united in their opposition to animal cruelty, and they want more – not less – information on how animals are protected in our society. But when it comes to farm animals, the blocking of vital information – whether on the USDA website or in the form of anti-whistleblower state “ag-gag” bills across the country – doesn’t just happen through government. It also happens in local supermarkets, where information about the treatment of farm animals raised for meat, milk and egg products is actively hidden behind misleading and meaningless food labels. Consumers Care About Welfare A recent national survey, commissioned by the ASPCA, found that more than three in four consumers are concerned about the welfare of animals raised for food. Seventy-four percent are paying more attention to the labels that indicate how farm animals were treated than they were just five years ago. Unfortunately, these labels don’t meet consumers’ common sense expectations. For example, sixty-five percent of consumers we surveyed believe the term “free-range” ensures that the animal spent most of its time in a pasture when, in reality, there is no legal definition of that term for pork, beef or dairy products. For poultry products, the size, duration, and quality of birds’ outdoor experiences on “free range” farms is not defined. In some facilities, these “free-range” chickens spend most of their lives indoors. […]