A Deepening Cognitive Divide?

Two or three technological areas are likely to transform life in the 21st century ... while also being so counter-intuitive to so many people that they're just as likely to leave millions in a state of incomprehension.

Some top candidates:

1) Quantum physics (computing, cryptology, nanotechnology):

Leaving common-sense, big-world thinking behind and embrace chaos, ambiguity, and physical forces we never experience

2) Virtual worlds (commerce, gaming, communication):

Thinking in deep and complex metaphors, parallel identities and rule systems

3) Modeling of complex adaptive systems (market analysis, policymaking, ecology):

Thinking in non-linear terms, fuzzy logic, probability, self-organizing systems, and punctuated equilibria

How will the vast majority of people be able to keep up? Our education systems are failing as equalizers on so many levels. Our living spaces are awash in neurotoxins and endocrine disruptors. The grip of poverty grows tighter everywhere.

Where is it all going?

European wind farms could meet global energy demand, researchers now say

A new study estimated the untapped potential of wind energy across Europe.

Surprising Science
  • A new report calculated how much electricity Europe could generate if it built onshore wind farms on all of its exploitable land.
  • The results indicated that European onshore wind farms could supply the whole world with electricity from now until 2050.
  • Wind farms come with a few complications, but the researchers noted that their study was meant to highlight the untapped potential of the renewable energy source in Europe.
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First solar roadway in France turned out to be a 'total disaster'

French newspapers report that the trial hasn't lived up to expectations.

Image source: Charly Triballeau / AFP / Getty Images
Technology & Innovation
  • The French government initially invested in a rural solar roadway in 2016.
  • French newspapers report that the trial hasn't lived up to expectations.
  • Solar panel "paved" roadways are proving to be inefficient and too expensive.
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New vaccine (for cats) nixes allergic reactions for humans

You want one. Now you may be able to survive one.

Photo credit: Jie Zhao
/ Getty contributor
Technology & Innovation
  • Cats live in a quarter of Western households.
  • Allergies to them are common and can be dangerous.
  • A new approach targets the primary trouble-causing allergen.
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