WIRED UK Nov / Dec 2018

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United Kingdom
Conde Nast Publications Ltd
6 期号


creating wired

WORLD BUILDER Sam Barker must have felt positively old-school while taking flat, 2D photographs of VR documentary producer and pioneer, Anthony Geffen, in his multidisciplinary studio in west London: “Geffen was great to shoot, a charismatic man with a wonderful energy and a very strong sense of himself. It was an interesting time to take a portrait of him, as he had just come out of a very intense meeting and was excited about a future project he had just secured. You could tell his mind was constantly exploring – at one point he was chuckling to himself about a joke in VR he had just thought of. I wanted to capture a flavour of his intensity and the passion he has for his craft, and to show a little of…

the internet economy needs new incentives

Much of the recent debate around the damage that large technology companies are causing to parts of the economy, the social fabric of society and democracy comes back to the foundation on which most media organisations are built: advertising. Services such as Google and Facebook are free because users are willing to share information about themselves, which is then sold to third parties in search of eyeballs (and, increasingly, ears – I’m talking about you, Alexa/Siri). You are the product, as the saying goes – platforms are incentivised to gain as many users as possible and to obtain as much data from them as they can. Alphabet and Facebook are the third and fifth most valuable companies in the world because they have managed to scale advertising in unsurpassed ways. When Google…

hazardous material

DANGEROUS LEGACY: WHY IT’S CRITICAL THAT WE PRESERVE THE HISTORY OF BRITAIN’S NUCLEAR INDUSTRY Seventy years of British nuclear history lie behind these concrete, stone and aluminium walls. Since opening in February 2017, Nucleus, the UK Nuclear Decommissioning Authority’s (NDA) Nuclear and Caithness Archive, near Wick, Scotland, has been gathering thousands of records, images and plans about the UK’s civil nuclear industry. More documents are being transferred from 17 archives across the UK, as the NDA plans to house them all in this single purpose-built location. The archive contains documents dating back to the 1950s, and some are classified as Top Secret. Records are kept in triplicate: a copy on paper, one on microfilm and one as a PDF version, to reduce wear on the originals. Some of the documents are in poor…

faux gras

If you think French gastronomy and veganism don’t mix, you should meet Alexis Gauthier. A classically-trained chef, Gauthier, 45, transforms the expectations of diners at his London restaurant by serving them French cuisine with one crucial difference: it’s mainly devoid of animal products. Gauthier turned vegan in 2016 and says that he was forced to be more innovative in his cooking as a result. “It’s very easy to do something delicious with meat or fish, but a vegetable, flower or fruit, I can’t hide behind,” he says. “My creativity has to shine in order for me to please and impress.” One of his creations offers a meat-free take on a rather unlikely subject: foie gras, the quintessentially French dish usually made from the livers of ducks or geese that have been force-fed.…

a dyed-in-the-wool creative partnership

Designer Natsai Audrey Chieza has an unusual collaborator: the soil-dwelling bacterium Streptomyces coelicolor. Under the right conditions, S. coelicolor produces a pigmented compound, which Chieza uses to dye fabric and garments in patterned hues of pink, purple and blue. “It dyes textiles in a colourfast manner with barely any water and no chemicals,” Chieza says. “That’s the definition of a natural dye.” Chieza has been working with her “companion species” since 2011, and this year launched Faber Futures, a London-based biodesign lab that aims to help other researchers harness the power of living organisms to develop their own sustainable materials. “Project Coelicolor is a great way to say, ‘This is what we did with this micro-organism; let us help you figure out what to do with yours,’” she says. Biology, Chieza argues,…

climate hacking

Former US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson once said that climate change is “an engineering problem, and it has engineering solutions”. Following President Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris Agreement on climate, the concept of geoengineering has been catching on among Republican politicians and climate researchers alike. In other words: what if we reversed global warming simply by redesigning the atmosphere? Geoengineering trends focus on carbon capture (sucking CO2 from the air), and solar radiation management (SRM – reflecting sunlight to reduce heat). The Royal Society in London estimates that, for tens of billions of pounds a year, reducing solar radiation by two per cent could rebalance the heat caused by a doubling of CO2. But SRM is not a cure-all: it would not reverse ocean acidification; it would likely interfere with…