Roland’s Sunday Smart Trends #236
October 19th, 2008

India’s humble rickshaw goes solar

It’s been touted as a solution to urban India’s traffic woes, chronic pollution and fossil fuel dependence, as well as an escape from backbreaking human toil. A state-of-the-art, solar powered version of the humble cycle-rickshaw promises to deliver on all this and more. The “soleckshaw,” unveiled this month in New Delhi, is a motorised cycle rickshaw that can be pedalled normally or run on a 36-volt solar battery.
Source: Elizabeth Roche, AFP, October 12, 2008

Step-on Scanner lets Air Passengers keep Shoes on

Israel has introduced a step-on scanner that spares airline travelers the nuisance of having to remove their shoes so they can be X-rayed for hidden weapons, though the new device cannot yet sniff out explosives. Only the shoes of passengers deemed suspicious by Ben-Gurion Airport staff are removed, X-rayed and swabbed for bomb residues. Most people can now keep their shoes on.
Source: Dan Williams, Reuters, October 12, 2008

Social melting pots foster technological innovation

Samuel Arbesman and colleagues at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, have developed computer models of social networking which show that the sheer size of larger cities generates disproportionately more connections between people with very different personalities and backgrounds. Such bonds tend to foster innovation as they link people with complementary skills, they say.
Source: New Scientist, October 14, 2008

Facebook is ‘social glue’ for university freshers

The University of Leicester’s own Facebook network lists 10,000 members, including current and past students and staff. A research project, funded by the Registrar and Secretary of the University and its Teaching Enhancement Fund, was launched to find out more about how students were using Facebook at university, and how it helps them integrate into university life.
Source: University of Leicester news release, October 14, 2008

Software blocks car phone users

A safety device which prevents drivers using mobile phones by automatically intercepting calls and text messages when they are moving has been unveiled. The software tells callers the person they are trying to reach is driving and asks them to leave a message. Canadian firm Aegis Mobility hopes its system will become available via a monthly subscription fee.
Source: BBC News, October 14, 2008

World trends: Everything you say will be recorded

Executive summary: The World Future Society’s 10 forecasts for 2009 and beyond – about bioviolence, a farewell to cars, more specialized careers and how fast knowledge will be outdated.
Source: Peter Horn & Co. Executive Magazine, Denmark, October 15, 2008

Passports will be needed to buy mobile phones

Everyone who buys a mobile telephone will be forced to register their identity on a national database under government plans to extend massively the powers of state surveillance. Phone buyers would have to present a passport or other official form of identification at the point of purchase. Privacy campaigners fear it marks the latest government move to create a surveillance society. A compulsory national register for the owners of all 72m mobile phones in Britain would be part of a much bigger database to combat terrorism and crime.
Source: David Leppard, The Sunday Times, London, October 19, 2008

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