AI, fake images and crumbling trust in our narratives

Resource Insights / Kurt Cobb / 19 August 2018

In a piece I wrote in 2014 I opined, “If you want to corrupt a people, corrupt the language.” I added, “Once it becomes impossible to say the truth with the language we have, it will ultimately be impossible for us to adapt and survive.”

In that piece I was complaining about what I dubbed “oil Newspeak,” an Orwellian lexicon created by the oil industry to deceive policymakers, investors and the public.

Of course, back then I concerned myself only with words. But with the increasing power of artificial intelligence (AI) enhanced software which is now available to average computer users, practically anyone can alter and/or create images and audio recordings that seem real, but which are entirely concocted. It means that comedian Richard Pryor’s famous line—”Who you gonna believe, me or your lying eyes?”—may very well morph from a joke into a serious question.

[ FULL ARTICLE ]

More heat, drought and longer fire season in Canada’s future

Montreal Gazette / Anna Junker / 18 August 2018

Heat and drought. A longer fire season with more frequent wildfires and larger areas burned. That’s what’s in store for Canada, especially the prairie provinces, in the coming years, experts say, a situation that is being directly attributed to climate change.

In Canada, 2.5-million hectares — equivalent to about half the size of Nova Scotia — burn every year from wildfires on average. The annual destruction has more than doubled since about the 1970s, where numbers were around one million hectares.

Current projections forecast even warmer, drier conditions across the country, creating the perfect catalyst for more wildfires in the future.

[ FULL ARTICLE ]

The message of a scorching 2018: Scientists were right

National Post / Somini Sengupta / 13 August 2018

This summer of fire and swelter looks a lot like the future that scientists have been warning about in the era of climate change, and it is revealing in real time how unprepared much of the world remains for life on a hotter planet.

The disruptions to everyday life have been far-reaching and devastating. In California, firefighters are racing to control what has become the largest fire in state history. Harvests of staple grains like wheat and corn are expected to dip this year, in some cases sharply, in countries as different as Sweden and El Salvador. In Europe, nuclear power plants have had to shut down because the river water that cools the reactors was too warm. Heat waves on four continents have brought electricity grids crashing.

And dozens of heat-related deaths in Japan this summer offered a foretaste of what researchers warn could be big increases in mortality from extreme heat. A study last month in the journal PLOS Medicine projected a fivefold rise for the United States by 2080. The outlook for less wealthy countries is worse; for the Philippines, researchers forecast 12 times more deaths.

[ FULL ARTICLE ]

Extreme temperatures ‘especially likely for next four years’

The Guardian / Jonathan Watts / 14 August 2018

The world is likely to see more extreme temperatures in the coming four years as natural warming reinforces manmade climate change, according to a new global forecasting system.

Following a summer of heatwaves and forest fires in the northern hemisphere, the study in the journal Nature Communications suggests there will be little respite for the planet until at least 2022, and possibly not even then.

Rising greenhouse gas emissions are steadily adding to the upward pressure on temperatures, but humans do not feel the change as a straight line because the effects are diminished or amplified by phases of natural variation.

From 1998 to 2010, global temperatures were in a “hiatus” as natural cooling (from ocean circulation and weather systems) offset anthropogenic global warming. But the planet has now entered almost the opposite phase, when natural trends are boosting man-made effects.

[ FULL ARTICLE ]

How to make your home-based business greener

Mother Earth News / Jennifer Tuohy / 25 June 2018

Taking steps to make your business “greener” is a win/win. It can help your bottom line, improve your company’s image and promote a healthier planet. As the owner of a home-based business, you have an advantage over most companies: Your carbon footprint is already smaller thanks to cutting out a daily commute and the expense of heating, cooling and lighting an extra space. Use this head-start wisely and be sure to implement a “Green Policy,” even if you’re your only employee.

A Green Policy is a simple list of the things you do or plan to do in your office to achieve a more sustainable environment. Write it down and promote it on your website and in your company brochure to demonstrate to your clients and vendors the efforts you’re making. Here are some steps you can take and policies you can implement to make your home-based business a green one.

[ FULL ARTICLE ]

CO2 has soared to levels not seen in 800,000 years

Common Dreams / 03 August 2018

As temperatures bust heat records across the globe and wildfires rage from California to the Arctic, a new report produced annually by more than 500 scientists worldwide found that last year, the carbon dioxide concentrations in the Earth’s atmosphere reached the highest levels “in the modern atmospheric measurement record and in ice core records dating back as far as 800,000 years.”

While the most significant jump was the global average for carbon dioxide (CO2)—which, at 405.0 parts per million (ppm), saw a 2.2 ppm increase from the previous year—concentrations of other dominant planet-warming greenhouse gases, methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O), also hit “record highs,” according to State of the Climate in 2017 (pdf) released Wednesday.

[ FULL ARTICLE ]

«page 1 of 229

The Transition Framework

The Transition Towns movement aims toward veering away from excessive consumption – to deal with the conjoined problems of peak oil and climate change – but also in the belief that we may create an essentially more contented society, through building strong and resilient local communities. We will get to know our neighbours better, because we shall all need one another in the time to come.

— Chris Rhodes, Resource Insights (03 June 2013)
TB Projects

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Like to receive a monthly digest of our key posts plus local news and event listings?

Subscribe

View past issues

Subscribe to our Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Area Community Gardens