Welcome to another curated list of interesting stuff that I’ve discovered online this week. It’s a bit longer than usual but a lot of stuff has happened that I think needs to feature, so without further ado…
Scenes of police violence unfolding in America were broadcast live to the world this week as a series of shootings of black men shocked the world. Many of us scrolled through our social media timelines and were met with the footage of Alton Sterling being murdered by a police officer. Later we watched Philando Castile die after being shot at point blank range by a police officer. Then came the videos of the attack on police officers at a Black Lives Matter protest in Dallas which resulted in several officers being murdered and injured.
That this violence is a regular occurrence is one terrible thing, but that it now plays out to the world in real time is new, shocking and difficult to process.
I can remember the first time I heard that a man had been shot dead on the news – I was about three years old and I ran to tell my parents what had happened and I was surprised at how little my parents seemed to care. It was just an abstract thing then – something that happened to someone else somewhere that we never had to be confronted by – words spoken by a news anchor and nothing much more. Now it is all too real, in your face and there is no avoiding this brutality. Vice explores this in an excellent piece titled ‘The Week America Watched Death on Our Phones’.
Then came the news that the shooting in Dallas had been stopped by an armed police robot – news which prompts strange images in your mind before you grapple with the scary reality of the situation. Should police be this militarised? Gizmodo explores that very question and over on The Verge is a conversation about the ethics of the situation. Vice have a piece exploring the deadliest attacks on police officers in the last 100 years.
It seems that in the aftermath of these unfathomable tragedies people desperately search for anything that can justify what has happened. However it’s important to remember that there are no absolutes – not all cops are racists, not all black men who have criminal records are thugs and so on. Boingboing reminds us that we should reflect on how we respond to breaking news. It’s good to sit back and think before reacting because facts are not always what they seem.
These seem like grave times for humanity. Especially when you add to the mix the fact that Trump is so popular, that people are being subjected to racist abuse on a daily basis following the EU referendum here in England – why are right wing movements across Europe becoming more popular? New Scientist breaks it all down here and it’s scarily fascinating.
all that’s needed for greater understanding between groups is contact – Thomas Pettigrew
In the week that saw NASAs Juno spacecraft begin its orbital mission around Jupiter many people in my timelines were not sure what all the fuss is about. Popsci have a great overview of the project, as well as previous observations of the planet too. In other NASA related news, technology used in space may be coming to Earth in the form of an exosuit for the human hand that would enable people to weild tools for longer without sacrificing dexterity.
Elsewhere, Belgian researchers have developed an extremely sensitive gas sensor and the good news is that it’s super portable and may have several different used. Chemists at UC Irvine recently devised a new method to break down plastic into its constituent elements, including diesel. This could be big news for the future of recycling!
Could a DVD player be more conscious than a human? George Johnson explores the latest ideas and thoughts around consciousness for the New York Times. Over at New Scientist Jeffrey Guhin puts forward the argument that a national ruled by “rationalism” would be terrible, and I’m in agreement.
Grist reports on a The Global Food Security Act which will see over $1 billion a year spent providing support to small farmers in developing countries. This will vastly increase their quality of life and see rise in education standards for children living in poverty. Nice one!
Did you know that Dry Shampoo might be damaging your hair? These 11 hair experts suggest that this might be the case. Excuse me while I throw mine out. I guess if something seems too good to be true, that’s for a reason.
I wanted to share this beautiful animated short which explores how modern technology has been influenced by the shapes and dimensions found all around us in nature. Technically not from this week but still worth a share, I think.
As Pokémon Go launches around the globe people are leaving their computer desks and taking to the streets in the hunt for Pokémon. Laughing Squid have all you need to know about the App. I personally walked three miles in the search of nearby Pokémon yesterday without even realising the app was making me exercise more, but many are wondering how long it will be until someone gets in trouble for trespassing or gets killed by a car because they’re so engrossed in the App. It has been reported that a teenager using the App to find Pokémon discovered a dead body. Eesh.
China have completed work on the world’s biggest radio telescope which will be used to study pulsars and can help in the search for radio signals from extraterrestrial civilisations, and more. Perhaps we can expect more discoveries such as the one made by astronomers at the University of California-Santa Cruz who have found evidence of water clouds outside of our solar system for the first time.
Finally, a Happy Pride to all of my readers, friends and family who are taking part or watching Bristol Pride this weekend. #LoveIsLove