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Kari Fulton Looks Out For Greenwashing

Question: What is greenwashing?

Kari Fulton: Yeah, surprisingly enough. So I went to Whole Foods the other day, maybe a few weeks ago and it had organic apples on sale for like 99 cents like a pound or something crazy like that. And that's like great because if you go to Giant or any regular grocery store, it's going to be at least $1.69 per pound. That's the real issue is that for the grocery stores and this is an issue, I was just down in New Orleans and I was talking to some people down there and they were talking about the East Bank where most of the black folk live and they are saying how there is no real grocery stores and the prices of the grocery stores that is in that area are at least like two or three dollars higher for things like milk.

So, it's the placement for certain things like organic foods can be affordable but a lot of times they won't sell in our neighborhoods because they'll say like, "Oh well, there is a high crime rate in that neighbourhood," or "The economic demographics aren't what they need to be," so that we can actually sell our products here. So people who live in this low-income communities are paying more for this worse stuff than people who live in more affluent communities. So that kind of is irritating. I think that groups is like Whole Foods and other organic grocery stores should be working to put more grocery stores in low-income areas to benefit from that.

One thing though about DC is we have the highest number of farmer's markets per capita for that area which is really good because a lot of the farmer's market takes wick in EBT which is important but they only happen like every weekend and it's seasonal.

But as far like things like Patagonia, stuff like that, all of that is green washing to me because yeah, you... it's good that you made the clothes with organic cotton but people of color had been green from jump street, a lot of the things that people have been talking about like, oh, I'm shopping vintage so I'm green now. I was shopping at the thrift store before you, like we didn't necessarily shop at a thrift store but I definitely was shopping at the thrift store as a little kid and so were a lot of people. So a lot of people were conserving energy because your grandmother tells you to turn that damn light off. So, it is not a case to me of to spend... to be green you have to spend lots of money. I think the biggest thing is to be green, you have to go back, think about what your grandparents were doing and how they were saving money because a lot of that stuff of saving money is also green when you think about it.

Question: Is the environmental movement too privileged?

Kari Fulton: The environmental movement is really a movement of privilege more than anything else like there aren't too many advocacy, progressive movements where you can say, "Yes, I am privileged enough to care about polar bears and Arctic sea change," because first of all the people I worked with on a daily basis don't, number one, probably are n not going to see a polar bear outside of a zoo and, number two, if you tell them, a lot of them, if you tell them, "Yeah, we want to reduce carbon 80 percent by 2050," they are looking at you and they're thinking, "I don't even expect to live to be... to 2050."

Recorded on: May 8, 2009

 

 

The activist talks about environmental justice and where Whole Foods and Patagonia fit in.

Does conscious AI deserve rights?

If machines develop consciousness, or if we manage to give it to them, the human-robot dynamic will forever be different.

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  • Does AI—and, more specifically, conscious AI—deserve moral rights? In this thought exploration, evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins, ethics and tech professor Joanna Bryson, philosopher and cognitive scientist Susan Schneider, physicist Max Tegmark, philosopher Peter Singer, and bioethicist Glenn Cohen all weigh in on the question of AI rights.
  • Given the grave tragedy of slavery throughout human history, philosophers and technologists must answer this question ahead of technological development to avoid humanity creating a slave class of conscious beings.
  • One potential safeguard against that? Regulation. Once we define the context in which AI requires rights, the simplest solution may be to not build that thing.

A new hydrogel might be strong enough for knee replacements

Duke University researchers might have solved a half-century old problem.

Photo by Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images
Technology & Innovation
  • Duke University researchers created a hydrogel that appears to be as strong and flexible as human cartilage.
  • The blend of three polymers provides enough flexibility and durability to mimic the knee.
  • The next step is to test this hydrogel in sheep; human use can take at least three years.
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Hints of the 4th dimension have been detected by physicists

What would it be like to experience the 4th dimension?

Two different experiments show hints of a 4th spatial dimension. Credit: Zilberberg Group / ETH Zürich
Technology & Innovation

Physicists have understood at least theoretically, that there may be higher dimensions, besides our normal three. The first clue came in 1905 when Einstein developed his theory of special relativity. Of course, by dimensions we’re talking about length, width, and height. Generally speaking, when we talk about a fourth dimension, it’s considered space-time. But here, physicists mean a spatial dimension beyond the normal three, not a parallel universe, as such dimensions are mistaken for in popular sci-fi shows.

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Predicting PTSD symptoms becomes possible with a new test

An algorithm may allow doctors to assess PTSD candidates for early intervention after traumatic ER visits.

Image source: camillo jimenez/Unsplash
Technology & Innovation
  • 10-15% of people visiting emergency rooms eventually develop symptoms of long-lasting PTSD.
  • Early treatment is available but there's been no way to tell who needs it.
  • Using clinical data already being collected, machine learning can identify who's at risk.

The psychological scars a traumatic experience can leave behind may have a more profound effect on a person than the original traumatic experience. Long after an acute emergency is resolved, victims of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) continue to suffer its consequences.

In the U.S. some 30 million patients are annually treated in emergency departments (EDs) for a range of traumatic injuries. Add to that urgent admissions to the ED with the onset of COVID-19 symptoms. Health experts predict that some 10 percent to 15 percent of these people will develop long-lasting PTSD within a year of the initial incident. While there are interventions that can help individuals avoid PTSD, there's been no reliable way to identify those most likely to need it.

That may now have changed. A multi-disciplinary team of researchers has developed a method for predicting who is most likely to develop PTSD after a traumatic emergency-room experience. Their study is published in the journal Nature Medicine.

70 data points and machine learning

nurse wrapping patient's arm

Image source: Creators Collective/Unsplash

Study lead author Katharina Schultebraucks of Columbia University's Department Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons says:

"For many trauma patients, the ED visit is often their sole contact with the health care system. The time immediately after a traumatic injury is a critical window for identifying people at risk for PTSD and arranging appropriate follow-up treatment. The earlier we can treat those at risk, the better the likely outcomes."

The new PTSD test uses machine learning and 70 clinical data points plus a clinical stress-level assessment to develop a PTSD score for an individual that identifies their risk of acquiring the condition.

Among the 70 data points are stress hormone levels, inflammatory signals, high blood pressure, and an anxiety-level assessment. Says Schultebraucks, "We selected measures that are routinely collected in the ED and logged in the electronic medical record, plus answers to a few short questions about the psychological stress response. The idea was to create a tool that would be universally available and would add little burden to ED personnel."

Researchers used data from adult trauma survivors in Atlanta, Georgia (377 individuals) and New York City (221 individuals) to test their system.

Of this cohort, 90 percent of those predicted to be at high risk developed long-lasting PTSD symptoms within a year of the initial traumatic event — just 5 percent of people who never developed PTSD symptoms had been erroneously identified as being at risk.

On the other side of the coin, 29 percent of individuals were 'false negatives," tagged by the algorithm as not being at risk of PTSD, but then developing symptoms.

Going forward

person leaning their head on another's shoulder

Image source: Külli Kittus/Unsplash

Schultebraucks looks forward to more testing as the researchers continue to refine their algorithm and to instill confidence in the approach among ED clinicians: "Because previous models for predicting PTSD risk have not been validated in independent samples like our model, they haven't been adopted in clinical practice." She expects that, "Testing and validation of our model in larger samples will be necessary for the algorithm to be ready-to-use in the general population."

"Currently only 7% of level-1 trauma centers routinely screen for PTSD," notes Schultebraucks. "We hope that the algorithm will provide ED clinicians with a rapid, automatic readout that they could use for discharge planning and the prevention of PTSD." She envisions the algorithm being implemented in the future as a feature of electronic medical records.

The researchers also plan to test their algorithm at predicting PTSD in people whose traumatic experiences come in the form of health events such as heart attacks and strokes, as opposed to visits to the emergency department.

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