Innovation and discovery have always been a double edged sword. While our society and culture progress with new inventions, these same inventions can tend to create new problems. It’s a story as old as time. The printing press helped spread knowledge and educate the masses, but also provided a tool for propagandists. Nuclear energy has helped provide electric power to countless households without the need for fossil fuels, but has also allowed for the engineering of weapons of mass destruction. The list goes on.
In the 21st Century, the Internet has helped give everyone a voice; it has connected people and alerted them to injustices taking place halfway around the world, but it has also helped facilitate atrocities. In a recent article, the BBC has highlighted the dangers of sharing newly discovered species on the Internet. While we should rejoice in learning of wildlife discoveries, the article tells of a sordid twist of fate. Due to the rarity of many such species, writing about them can help them become objects of desire for limitless illegal wildlife collectors worldwide. While wildlife enthusiasts read of discoveries around the world, so do smugglers and traffickers.
This reality puts conversationists in a bind. It is difficult to raise money for new discoveries and conservation efforts without sharing findings but sharing findings can make their work more challenging. Some conservationists argue that listing species as endangered can seal their fate. The BBC article offers no solutions to the problem but we ask you: How would you solve this dilemma?
Read the BBC piece here.
Photo from the field! Tiger Shark Pup caught in the Bahamian MPA getting some measurements taken prior to being released back in to the ocean.
Today, I will be leaving on a wild expedition to the Bahamas organized by Thayer Walker and Natalie Spilger of Summit Series to survey a Marine Protected Area in the South Berry Islands we are helping to support. Should be an amazing adventure! With our oceans under increasing threat, the creation of such MPAs is becoming more than critical to ensure sustainable fishing and protect top predators, namely sharks. A major reason we started Good World Games was to find an effective way to drive awareness of the planet’s perils - games offer a really powerful platform to get people to pay attention and take immediate action to protect people and the planet. We love our oceans and desperately want to protect all life in them. Our support for MPAs such as this helps us achieve one of our main goals at Good World Games: Transparent, Real World Results through Virtual World Actions.
Big, big thanks to The Nature Conservancy and Summit Series (their post on it) , along with Kristofor Lofgren of Bamboo Sushi, Tim Ferriss, Edward Norton and Shauna Robertson who have stepped up to raise money and support for this initiative. Our friends at the University of Miami will be leading shark-tagging for research on the trip. I’m still looking around for those shark-proof pants they told us to bring, but hope I can help anyway. And leading IMAX filmmakers MacGillivray Freeman will be shooting for their next film OneWorldOneOcean.org. (Watch the trailer)
Good World Games CEO
So many cool discoveries were made this year. Check out this Top 10 list from National Geographic and learn more about this year’s coolest finds.
The Arctic ice shelf has broken apart 1400 years ago according to scientists, indicating this isn’t the first time the shelf has been fractured.
Scientists at Fujitsu have finally built “K”, a computer that surpasses the human brain by computing four times faster and holding 10 times as much data.
Researchers find that Native Hawaiian islanders began practicing reef conservation activities during the 1400s, and the ecosystem recovered over the next 400 years.
Lake Ellsworth could hold clues to climate change and on evolution of life on other extra-terrestrial environments. It could also uncover new forms of life previously unseen on earth, according to UK engineers and a scientist. The challenging drilling operation to reach the lake will begin in November.
In an amazing exhibit of the good that can come from the synergism of internet and fun, University of Washington game creation FoldIt enabled gamers to reveal the structure of a long-researched protein essential to HIVs replication mechanism.
While scientist have been researching this protein for over 15 years without being able to identify its structure, gamers connected through FoldIt were able to reveal the structure in only 10 days!
The main methods for combating traffic are:
1. congestion pricing (fees charged to drive in heavy-traffic areas during peak hours)
2. land-use planning that makes it easier to walk, ride bicycles or use mass transit
In a NYU study comparing areas that used congestion pricing and those that didn’t, the researchers found reduction in vehicle-miles traveled is greater in traditional (dense and mixed-use) neighborhoods than it is in suburban (single use, low-density) ones, since traditional neighborhoods tend to offer more transportation options.