Google+ is shutting down next year. My disappointment is great. It’s been my social network of choice for years. I’ve kept at it even after I deleted both my Facebook and Twitter accounts.
While I found those to be distracting, Google+ has and continues to be a terrific source of entertainment, information, wide-ranging news, and even humor.
Before I jump onto another platform I’ve decided to examine how I’ve been using Google+ and what I enjoy the most about it. What follows are my initial thoughts.
A court in The Hague has upheld a historic legal order on the Dutch government to accelerate carbon emissions cuts, a day after the world’s climate scientists warned that time was running out to avoid dangerous warming.
Appeal court judges ruled that the severity and scope of the climate crisis demanded greenhouse gas reductions of at least 25% by 2020 – measured against 1990 levels – higher than the 17% drop planned by Mark Rutte’s liberal administration.
According to some studies, there are 90% chances that by the end of this century, the average global temperature will have increased between 2ºC and 4.9ºC, with a median of 3.2ºC. So in order to address this, decarbonization needs to happen sooner rather than later. We are talking about a transition towards a new energy model: the electrification of the economy and the increase of energy efficiency. Renewable energies will be the key point that will enable this change. In fact, the European Parliament proposed in May 2017 to increase the renewable energy target from the current 27% to 35%.
First up, though Beijing’s use of technology has been horribly effective in infiltrating and controlling public discourse in China, and seeps into our own virtual worlds, that’s a generic outcome of technology. We need to share the blame: look at how uncontrolled the empires of Facebook and other Western companies have been.
We created this particular monster. China has been opportunistic in developing it. And as the Chinese proverb said, when you want to get rid of the bell round the tiger’s throat you may as well ask whoever put it on to take it off. The West needs to create a more effective regime to deal with the threat to personal liberty—and that means combating our own companies, not just those in China.
And before agonising about the days when mandatory study of Xi Jinping’s works becomes part of the British, French or Australian curriculum, we need to see things in a different context. The extraordinary thing is not how successful the promotion of China’s values to the outside world has been, but how clumsy and inept.
Twenty-three centuries ago, the Greek mathematician Eratosthenes sat in the Great Library of Alexandria and tried to find a way to identify prime numbers. He wrote every number from one to 100 in ten rows, and crossed out the one. He circled the two, crossed out all the multiples of two, circled the three and continued. He had created an algorithm, in essence something very simple. His ‘sieve’, as it was called, did what all algorithms do. It took an input, followed a series of well-described steps and produced an output. Input, process, output: that’s all an algorithm is, and has ever been.