ABOUT THE CIRCULAR ECONOMY: Peer review request and first response

Dear Eric,

Surprise! I am at my desk and your email asking me about an eventual independent “peer review” on the current state of science and accomplishment under the heading of Circular Economy arrived moments ago and is staring at me. In fact I was at a conference on just this topic in another country, which was OK, except that I could have given virtually all the talks myself.

I didn’t learn very much, which was disappointing. Waste of time, except it got me thinking more about one aspect of the circularity problem. In brief, most of the elements in the periodic table are now “in play”, and most of them are really “hitch-hikers” obtained from the ores of major industrial metals (copper, zinc, aluminum etc.).

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David Provoost, ISG 2016: On Understanding the Link between Sustainable Development and Big Data for Business

big date world parameters - devicepharm

“Big Data” is a term referring to all the massive amount of information with which people can work in this 21st Century. It is fundamentally different from the casual denomination of “simple” or “historic” data because there is such a huge mass of information generated with Big Data that normal tools of treatment cannot deal with it. This change in the data itself is due to the technological revolution we call “digitalization”.

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* A running start on our topic

Intro to SD course - COlumbia

While we are getting ready for our intensive three-day graduate ISG seminar  in June — on what has to be THE greatest challenge of the international agenda of this century —  let me invite you to see how my colleagues Professor Jeffery Sachs handles some of this in his much longer three week introductory course at Columbia University,

This course, “Introduction to Sustainable Development” is intended to give  an understanding of the key challenges and pathways to sustainable development – that is, economic development that is also socially inclusive and environmentally sustainable.

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It’s a very different century. Have you understood?

And just in case that has not yet entirely sunk in, let’s have a look at what Luis Louis von Ahnvon Ahn of Carnegie Mellon University’s School of Computer Science has to say about Massive-scale online collaboration. And here, as we think about your futures, is maybe a good time and place as any to get it in our heads that there is a massive tectonic shift between our new century and the one in which people of my generation and younger learned most of their skill sets. How is the triad of sustainable development, economic and society going to fit in this new environment? One thing we can say for sure: it will be very different and would have been well beyond the imaginations of anyone pondering all this back in, say, 1999. Are you ready for that?

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Doodling with Frank

A recent edition of the Atlantic Monthly carried a series of short articles on creativity, and one of their short profiles was an interview with Frank Gehry which I reproduce below. (Click here for the original article). And here is why I am sharing this with you this morning, namely my attempt to understand the early minutes of his (and yours and my) creative process. I am uber-struck by the relations between his initial pen sketches as his mind wanders about his problem, and the building that he finally makes happen a couple of years later. Continue reading

ISG planning notes: Machine translations of site contents

If you click the Translate link on the top menu here, you will see a dropdown list of e the languages spoken by people in this class. We have popped in the Google Translate links  here with a view to seeing if, even with their evident limits, they can be useful to help anyone who may not have full English fluency to get some kind  of useful understanding of the materials available here. Continue reading

ISG planning notes: Putting the links to work

In support of the research component of this project, we have started to build up what should in time develop into a useful  library of links to what we regard as outstanding sources of activity and information in the sectors we are investigating here. It is our hope that the students will spend a bit of time reviewing and working with them, especially in the early stages in which they are starting to get their research and projects in order.  And for our part we shall continue to work on this important research tool in the months ahead. Continue reading