Archive | April, 2018

The global village and the surveillance society

Media savant Marshall McLuhan coined the term “global village” in 1962 in his book The Gutenberg Galaxy. Today, we take the concept of an electronically connected global population with instant access to practically every plugged-in person on the planet as a fact of life. We often see our global village as a force for good, […]

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First presentation ride aboard Alstom’s German hydrail train

by guest blogger Stan Thompson A major milestone in railway history was passed on April 13, 2018, when Alstom Transport’s Coradia iLint hydrail [hydrogen fuel cell rail] train made a “presentation ride” from Wiesbaden to Frankfurt, in the federal state of Hesse, Germany. From my point of view it was a bittersweet occasion for two […]

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Fake news, algorithmic sentinels, and facts from the future

The suggestion that social media outlets need to police so-called “fake news” rings true on its face. Who wants to read news coverage known to be false? But what rates as “fake news” will be harder to define than we think. And, putting algorithms in charge of policing those vast information flows claiming to be […]

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Migrant caravan: Foreshadowing the future and reflecting the present

The march of hundreds of Central American migrants through Mexico has inflamed tensions between the Trump administration and the Mexican government and focused attention on the United States’ southern border. The ostensible reasons for the march are familiar: The migrants were fleeing corruption, social and political turmoil, and lack of opportunity in their home countries. […]

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Silent spring revisited: New worries and the human future

A precipitous decline in bird populations in France suggests that the silent spring foretold by Rachel Carson more than 50 years ago in her book of that name may yet arrive. The proximate cause of the 33 percent decline in avian populations noted by French researchers over the last 15 years is lack of food. […]

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