On MNN: We are all Flint (NOT), ban disposables and your thermostat is spying on you

Flint water
© Lining up for bottled water (Photo: Brett Carlsen/Getty Images)

A roundup of posts Lloyd Alter has written for sister site MNN.com about technology, boomers, and whatever.

We are all Flint (sort of)

There's lead in water systems all over, but don't hit the bottle just yet. There is lead plumbing in as many as ten million homes, and they are not all in Flint. They have not been removed because it would cost as much as $ 50 billion to do it. Nick Kristof of the New York Times says "We are indeed all Flint. Lead poisoning continues to be a silent epidemic in the United States." But it's not really true; most of it is in the homes of the poor and the black. More on MNN: We are all Flint (sort of)

Should cities ban disposable cups and plates?

litter coffee© Even snow can't hide the coffee cup litter. (Photo: John Moore/Getty Images) This isn't a tempest in a disposable teacup, but it is a big problem.

Fifty years ago, litter wasn’t much of a problem. Cities didn’t even have litter bins; people would go to restaurants or diners, sit down and drink out of mugs and eat off china plates. Now our cities are drowning in fast food litter and paper cups, and some cities are considering banning them. I wonder if they have the guts to do it. More: Should cities ban disposable cups and plates?


Can your thermostat spy on you? Yes. (Is this news? No.)


clapper© Director of National Intelligence James Clapper telling it like it is. (Photo: Gabriella Demczuk/Getty Images)
The Internet of Things is new, but electronic spying is not.

All the blogs and papers are worked up about a paragraph in the report by Director of National Intelligence James Clapper to the Senate Armed Services Committee where he expresses concern that your Nest thermostat might pose both a security risk and an intelligence opportunity. Meanwhile the police have been following your phone with StingRay for years, and the FBI can look through your computer's webcam. And we are worried about them interviewing your smart fridge? Meanwhile everyone ignores another paragraph in the report where he speaks truth to power:

Extreme weather, climate change, environmental degradation, related rising demand for food and water, poor policy responses, and inadequate critical infrastructure will probably exacerbate — and potentially spark — political instability, adverse health conditions, and humanitarian crises in 2016.

More on MNN: Can your thermostat spy on you? Yes. (Is this news? No.)

In honor of Chinese New Year, here are 540 dancing robots!

Forget everything else, this is amazing. This is truly the future of dance, and I suspect a few other things that might not be so much fun to watch. But right now I, for one, welcome our robot dancing team.

More at MNN: In honor of Chinese New Year, here are 540 dancing robots!

And finally, before your eyes totally glaze over, please believe me when I tell you that labels and certifications are a really interesting subject. Look for the label before you hop on that hoverboard

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