Future Tense Newsletter: Climate Change, Disappearing Drones, and Encryption Backdoors

Will ice caps become museum pieces?

Photo by Uriel Sinai/Getty Images

Greetings, Slate-lings,

Museums typically focus on the past, but this week John Light argued that they should focus on the future in an article on a climate change museum that proponents are hoping to open in New York City. As the recent presidential debates demonstrate, we have to acknowledge the history of climate change, lest we end up with more proposals like this crazy one from Alaska’s governor.

Meanwhile, mere access to the future remains an issue for others. David Kaye and Brett Solomon proposed that it’s not enough to connect the world to the Internet—we also need to ensure that those connections will be secure, safe, and free. These issues are just as important in the United States—where debates about encryption backdoors continue to rage—as they are elsewhere in the world.

Here are some of the other stories this week delivered on vanishing drones:

  • Research: A new paper suggests that Google Books may be lousy at mapping cultural trends.
  • Celebrities: Always at the forefront of drone legislation, California banned the paparazzi from spying on the rich and famous (at least while they’re at home) with unmanned aerial vehicles.
  • Security: We learned that you should eat your airplane boarding pass after you take your seat. No, really.
  • Health: There may be a power to not knowing, but doctors hate ambiguity.
  • Facebook: Facebook finally has an alternative to the like button, but it’s still not ready to let you go negative.

And here’s an upcoming Future Tense event:

Futurologically yours,

Jacob Brogan

for Future Tense