November 2001 Archives

The winning essay from the competition is in the form of a letter from a Bangladeshi to an American. I must admit that it's rather dull to read. If I had to come up with a stereotypical letter from the future it would read like this, crammed with exposition. Not many interesting ideas in it either; I guess many people are familiar with directions in which technology, politics etc. seem to be heading and merely extrapolate from these trends.

Mining asteroids

Sounds a bit cranky ("visionary" always reads like a polite synonym for "crank"), but Greg Nemitz wants to create a mining colony on 433 Eros, an asteroid, in order to get at a potential US$325 quadrillion worth of platinum.

Rethinking urban lighting

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I'm intrigued by people thinking about light and sound pollution. Lighting engineer Nancy Clanton is working on a project for the California Energy Commission, looking at reducing the use of outdoor lighting without reducing its effectiveness. Some interesting points about the effects of good and bad lighting, and what makes lighting effective in different situations (it's not just how bright it is).