Daily archives: November 14, 2013

Workington has an Opera House?

I just discovered this post about a campaign to save the historic Workington Opera House. I never knew that Workington had an Opera House, but it hasn’t been home to grand musical events since before I was born, was a bingo hall for many years and more recently- based upon the photo in the post- was the awesomely named Marrafruits grocer’s shop.

It’s so odd to find out details like this about a town I lived just down the road from for most of my childhood.

Vote for Policies

Vote for Policies is an interesting site, another in a line of neat democracy enhancing tools on the web. You choose four to six areas of concern and are then presented with policies from six different parties, but you’re not initially told which policies belong to which party*. Choose the collection of policies which you most closely agree with in each area and the site will work out the party you’re most closely aligned with.

Here are my results. I come out as two thirds Green (which is reassuring, as I joined the Greens a couple of months ago). If you’re inclined to sneer and tell me that the Greens are a one-policy party, please note that the environmental policies I voted for were the LibDems’. Also interesting is that the results for my constituency (from only 458 respondents, admittedly), put the Greens ahead of Labour.

*But it’s fairly obvious in some cases- the repeated blaming of the EU or immigrants flags up the BNP and UKIP quickly.

A Neuroscientist’s Radical Theory of How Networks Become Conscious – Wired Science

I can’t be the only person who’s tried to plot out “the network’s alive!” story.

It’s a question that’s perplexed philosophers for centuries and scientists for decades: Where does consciousness come from? We know it exists, at least in ourselves. But how it arises from chemistry and electricity in our brains is an unsolved mystery.

Neuroscientist Christof Koch, chief scientific officer at the Allen Institute for Brain Science, thinks he might know the answer. According to Koch, consciousness arises within any sufficiently complex, information-processing system. All animals, from humans on down to earthworms, are conscious; even the internet could be. That’s just the way the universe works.

A Neuroscientist's Radical Theory of How Networks Become Conscious – Wired Science.

BBC News – 2013 ‘one of warmest’ on record

This year is likely to be among the top 10 warmest on record, according to the World Meteorological Organization.

It continues a pattern of high temperatures blamed directly on man-made climate change.

The president of the World Bank, Jim Yong Kim, told BBC News that warming could no longer be ignored.

He urged action to reduce emissions to minimise the likelihood of disasters like Typhoon Haiyan, which has claimed thousands of lives in the Philippines.

via BBC News – 2013 'one of warmest' on record.

Forget LED bulbs—the future of interior lighting is lasers – Quartz

Steven DenBaars, a research scientist at UC Santa Barbara, has been working on LED lights for 20 years. He has been instrumental in pushing them to the point that they are the true heir to Edison’s electric bulb. But in his own head, and in his lab, DenBaars is already onto the next big thing: Replacing a substantial portion of indoor lights, and the archaic bulb and socket infrastructure on which they depend, with lasers.

If the thought of illuminating an office, airport or even your home with lasers conjures up images of rock concerts, dance clubs or 80′s-era superweapons, fear not: The results could be much more accessible, even naturalistic. And some experts say we could get there within 10 years.

Forget LED bulbs—the future of interior lighting is lasers – Quartz.