China not worried about the future of its artificial islands in the South China Sea

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[In China], an astounding 155 planned projects received a permit this year [2015] alone, with total capacity equal to nearly 40 percent of operational coal power plants in the United States.

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/11/12/world/asia/china-coal-power-energy-policy.html?_r=1

China has been consuming as much as 17 percent more coal each year than reported, according to the new government figures. By some initial estimates, that could translate to almost a billion more tons of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere annually in recent years, more than all of Germany emits from fossil fuels.

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/11/04/world/asia/china-burns-much-more-coal-than-reported-complicating-climate-talks.html?partner=rssnyt&emc=rss&_r=0

More than 2,400 coal-fired power stations are under construction or being planned around the world, a study has revealed two weeks after Britain pledged to stop burning coal.

The new plants will emit 6.5 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide a year and undermine the efforts at the Paris climate conference to limit global warming to 2C. China is building 368 plants and planning a further 803, according to the study by four climate change research bodies, including Ecofys and the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research. India is building 297 and planning 149.

http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/environment/article4629455.ece

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-skopìa will cover the last mile of your H2020 project

H2020c

“Excellence”, “impact”, and “quality and efficiency of the implementation” are the three award criteria of European funds in 2016.

Impact is often the least represented in science-based consortia. However, because of the Commission growing emphasis on social and economic fallout, impact might decide the outcome of your next grant application.

-skopìa is a SME of the university of Trento, focusing on the impact of science-driven decisions on communities, companies and governments. As a consulting firm specializing on futures studies, -skopìa investigates the medium to long-term impact of science-based analyses and transdisciplinary solutions. -skopìa clients are NGOs, companies and governments.

-skopìa provides added value to its clients by supporting anticipatory governance and forward-looking decision making, and by promoting mutual learning between science and society.

-skopìa may join your consortium as a SME partner, and manage the last mile of your science project.

How does -skopìa cover the last mile of a H2020 project?
1. IDENTIFYING the decision makers, the relevant stakeholders, the potential IMPLEMENTERS AND BENEFICIARIES (as well as the opponents) of your proposed solutions, and help you understanding their motives
2. Working to DISSEMINATE results, PROMOTE adoption, and EVALUATE how society might react to the research project implementation
3. Establishing the KEY PERFORMANCE INDICATORS (KPIs) that best capture the combined effects of 1 and 2, then MONITORING short and long term KPIs performances

How will it be incorporated in your project?
Through facilitation and coaching for dissemination work packages, collecting and processing feedbacks from civil society, -skopìa will bridge the time and space mismatch among research expected results, decision or policy making and benefits for society.

-skopìa is a start-up of the University of Trento. Its founding partners have 80 years of collective experience coordinating European projects or managing Work Packages.

Should you be looking for a SME adding value to your next H2020 project, please browse http://www.skopia.it or contact our Grants manager Rocco Scolozzi, rocco.scolozzi@skopia.it

Tomorrowland – The future of the future is ours to create

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The present is the fleeting point in time in which the future is about to become the past…there is only one past although there are many different interpretations of it, but there are multiple futures and the present is the moment when that future happens and the others don’t, and the moment that happens is over and is consigned to the past.

Niall Ferguson on the John Batchelor Show

Our present is determined by the past and by the future

Jacques Vallée, a theory of everything else, TEDX

Physicists as renowned as John Wheeler, Richard Feynman, Dennis Sciama, and Yakir Aharonov have speculated that causality is a two-headed arrow and the future might influence the past. Today, the leading advocate of this position is Huw Price, a University of Cambridge philosopher who specializes in the physics of time. “The answer to the question, ‘Could the world be such that we do have a limited amount of control over the past,’ ” Price says, “is yes.” What’s more, Price and others argue that the evidence for such control has been staring at us for more than half a century.

George Musser, The Quantum Mechanics of Fate, Nautilus, 30 January 2014

In front of me I saw the space of all possibilities, that is, all states of affairs that can possibly happen. They were lying in front of me there like objects in physical space…thus, I concluded, there is no contradiction between determinism and free will.

Benny Shanon, Antipodes of the Mind: Charting the Phenomenology of the Ayahuasca Experience, Oxford University Press, 2002.

For every choice we encounter in life, a new timeline is spun off until another choice comes along, and then the process is repeated again and again throughout one’s lifetime.

Parallels, season 7, episode 11, Star Trek: The Next Generation

Casey Newton: There are two wolves who are always fighting. One is darkness and despair. The other is light and hope. The question is… which wolf wins?

Eddie Newton: The one you feed.

Tomorrowland

quote-from-movie
In the long run, today’s prevailing “serve nobody by yourself” mindset is suicidal.

We are all in this together and we co-create our interpersonal reality and our future via the butterfly effect.

My evolution is your evolution is our evolution.

Angry, greedy and fearful people driven by pain, guilt, resentment and desire to control, punish and hurt others, are too self-absorbed and narrow-minded to see problems as opportunities for cognitive and moral regeneration and maturation.

They tend to see them as obstacles to be removed and cleansed.

This is why the societies and timelines they build are dysfunctional, uncreative, selfish, inhumane, inelegant, tribalist, rapacious, chaotic, impotent, sterile, morally bankrupt, isolated, manipulative, violent and, ultimately, doomed.

Cynical, nihilist, and apathetic people do not score much better in terms of civilization- and future-building skills.

Conversely, sensitive, compassionate and creative people aspiring to wholeness, capable of owning up to mistakes, shouldering their responsibilities and facing their shadows instead of projecting them upon a scapegoat, are far more likely to build graceful, brighter, soulful and peaceful, more coherent, self-respecting, resilient, caring, eco-friendly civilizations and timelines that flourish and thrive (From a sociopathic civilisation to a socio-therapeutic civilisation, WazArs, 15 October 2014).

All in all, it’s about self-fulfilling prophecies: what you see and what you ask for is generally what you get.

Everyone is bound to mostly perceive corroborating evidence and act accordingly, thus strengthening their worldviews.

This is what makes the mentality of right-wing armageddonists and zombie/Mad Max survivalists, or left-wing deep ecology extinctionists, cosmic rebootists and climate change catastrophists so toxic for everyone else: they are an evolutionary dead-end of human thought that may well lead to an evolutionary dead-end for humankind.

They are driven by necrophilia and misanthropy, not by life-boosting and evolution-accelerating aspirations and sentiments (The first human revolution and creative explosion – a prelude to another possible Great Leap Forward? WazArs, 24 October 2014).

The thing is, our future is not a foreign, exotic, mysterious, alien country.

It is one among many possibilities, the summation of our individual choices and visions, and this means that we have an important say in its making.

We are sovereign individuals and we are not to be mere pawns.

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To Save Everything, Click Here: The Folly of Technological Solutionism

51zFUtHZviL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_Recasting all complex social situations either as neat problems with definite, computable solutions or as transparent and self-evident processes that can be easily optimized–if only the right algorithms are in place!–this quest is likely to have unexpected consequences that could eventually cause more damage than the problems they seek to address. I call the ideology that legitimizes and sanctions such aspirations “solutionism.” I borrow this unabashedly pejorative term from the world of architecture and urban planning, where it has come to refer to an unhealthy preoccupation with sexy, monumental, and narrow-minded solutions–the kind of stuff that wows audiences at TED Conferences–to problems that are extremely complex, fluid, and contentious. These are the kinds of problems that, on careful examination, do not have to be defined in the singular and all-encompassing ways that “solutionists” have defined them; what’s contentious, then, is not their proposed solution but their very definition of the problem itself. Design theorist Michael Dobbins has it right: solutionism presumes rather than investigates the problems that it is trying to solve, reaching “for the answer before the questions have been fully asked.” How problems are composed matters every bit as much as how problems are resolved.

[…].
It’s also not a coincidence that my critique of solutionism bears some resemblance to several critiques of the numerous earlier efforts to put humanity into too tight a straitjacket.

Evgeny Morozov, “To Save Everything, Click Here: The Folly of Technological Solutionism

Look at something like cooking. Now, you would hear a lot about smart kitchens and augmented kitchens. And what do those smart kitchens actually do? They police what’s happening inside the kitchen. They have cameras that distinguish ingredients one from each other and that tell you that shouldn’t mix this ingredient with another ingredient.

And for some, you might say this is great because it prevents errors from happening. But other people would say, well, this is how cultural innovation happens. We need to leave certain margins of error in place and actually allow people to mix ingredients in ways that are silly and unexpectable for new cultural innovation, new culinary products to emerge. I mean, something like sushi or lasagna were not built by a committee armed with big data. It’s not something that obviously occurs to you, right? It’s something that you need to experiment with.

And if we make a lot of these rituals too rigid and if we rely especially on previous methods, and that’s where all the hype about big data comes in, we might end up in a very culturally conservative universe that, I think, will not be very pleasant to live in.

[…].

But you have to understand how it’s being marketed to us now. It’s not being marketed as a vice fee. It’s being marketed as a health premium. So those of us who are healthy can start monitoring ourselves and then start disclosing that information to insurance companies and we will get a premium. But notice what happens: Once enough of us monitor ourselves in order to get lower prices and better premiums, those of us who refuse to monitor because we find it intrusive no longer have that option because institutions around us start assuming that if we don’t share, we have something to hide.

We have a disease. We have some health condition and that is the reason why we are not self-tracking, so they charge us a vice fee or they charge us a higher premium. Right? So in a sense, when Silicon Valley tells us that we all have a choice; you don’t have to use it if you don’t want to. Well, at some point, we are forced to do it because if we don’t, certain assumptions are made about us and certain discriminatory practices emerge…

I think governments will increasingly be tempted to rely on Silicon Valley to solve problems like obesity or climate change because Silicon Valley runs the information infrastructure through which we consume information.

And I think our policymakers need to be aware that – of the costs that come with solutions, once those solutions are taken on by Silicon Valley. They will not come from for free and the efficiency that we’ll get from Silicon Valley, we’ll have to pay for it with privacy or politics or just being able – being unable to live in a world that still tolerates inconsistency.

Op-Ed: There’s An App For Everything, And That’s A Problem