Martin Empson

The Carbon Neutral Myth - Offset Indulgences for your Climate Sins

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Kevin Smith, Carbon Trade Watch

Every time a politician takes a flight these days, they are hardly off the aircraft steps before they boast that they have "offset" their emissions and made their flight carbon neutral. We can be safe in the knowledge that our leaders haven't made the environment any worse flying to the G8.

Carbon offsetting does seem too good to be true. After all, if you can really pay a third party to offset the consequences of the fossil fuel you have burnt driving your SUV around town, then we might not have to worry about climate change instead we can continue behaving exactly as we like.

The Myths of Nuclear Power

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The renowned anti-nuclear activist Helen Caldicott has written a new book entitled Nuclear Power is Not the Answer. She spoke to Martin Empson about her work.

ME: The British government claims that nuclear power is a "carbon neutral" form of energy generation, and so does not contribute to global warming. Can you explain why, as you argue in your book, this isn't the case?

Watching Them, Watching You

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Governments all over the world are trying to censor internet dissent.

The issue of censorship and the internet has once again reared its ugly head in the last month. Firstly the French authorities came under fire when, as the first days of rioting spread in Paris, they forced Skyblog, a French web hosting company, to close down three blogs that they alleged had posted messages inciting people to join the riots. Three young French men face prison for running these sites.

Interview with Charles Stross - the full text

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This is the full text of the interview referred to in Martin Empson's article Electric Reading in the November 2005 issue - it didn't appear in the printed edition.

Is it not strange for an author to post an entire, newly published book online. Surely your publishers must be up in arms about lost revenue?

Electric Reading

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Free downloads benefit artists and the public.

Charles Stross could be described as the latest in a new wave of science fiction writers coming out of Britain, though his first short story was published in 1987. His books Singularity Sky and Iron Sunrise have had rave reviews, and the latter was nominated for the Hugo award for best novel. With his latest novel Accelerando, however, he has taken the unusual step of releasing it for free internet download at the same time as it has been published.

It's Good to Talk

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Communication via the internet could one day replace that by the phone.

For a long time instant messaging has allowed computer users to communicate over the internet using a text-based chat service. Both Yahoo! and Microsoft's messenger services are used by millions of people - one report from last year in Wired News said that over 250 million users sent over 7 billion messages every year.

We Know Where You Live

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Google's new software makes the world smaller.

Just like any other industry, the computing world is continually on the lookout for the next big thing - whenever you get geeks, programmers and industry watchers together you will hear them talk about the 'killer app' - 'app' being the 'cool' shorthand term for application. The idea is that those behind the next such 'app' will take the world by storm and get bucketfuls of cash. What it means is that every new programme, however limited its innovation, is hailed as the 'killer app'.

Blogging Off

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Be careful what you reveal about your workplace.

Readers may remember at the beginning of the year the media coverage of Joe Gordon, an employee of Waterstones in Edinburgh, who was sacked because of comments he made on his blog. Joe's 'crime', in the eyes of his Waterstones managers, was that his comments online brought the company into disrepute. His supporters pointed out that Joe's website hardly mentioned his job, just an occasional moan about his boss. Such cases are going to become more of an issue.

Rich Pickings to Combat Poverty

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Edinburgh gears up for the protests against the G8.

There is no doubt that the G8 meeting next month in Gleneagles will be marked by huge protests. The Make Poverty History (MPH) campaign has brought together a huge number of people and organisations dedicated to exposing and ending the vast inequality suffered by millions around the world.

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