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Today's Links: May 29, 2012

OPINION

SARAH GOODYEAR: "Chicago's Ambitious Plan For Zero Traffic Fatalities"
"What would happen if a United States city decided it was going to reduce the traffic deaths within its borders not by 10 percent, or 50 percent, or even 80 percent, but by 100 percent – all the way to zero. What would happen then? In Chicago, we’re about to find out. The city of Chicago’s transportation department, headed by commissioner Gabe Klein, has released a new 'action agenda' called Chicago Forward. It contains a goal that, as far as I know, has never to date been explicitly embraced by a major United States city: Eliminate all pedestrian, bicycle, and overall traffic crash fatalities within 10 years."

LAURA MILLER: "Tubes: What the Internet Is Made Of"
"The title of Andrew Blum’s 'Tubes: A Journey to the Center of the Internet' is a ricocheting joke. When Alaskan Sen. Ted Stevens described the Internet as a 'series of tubes' back in 2006, he was roundly mocked for not understanding the online world despite being chairman of the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee and therefore instrumental in overseeing it. Stevens may not have known what he was talking about, Blum (a correspondent for Wired magazine) acknowledges, but he wasn’t wrong, either. In writing this account of 'the Internet’s physical infrastructure,' Blum found that “one thing [the Internet] most certainly is, nearly everywhere, is, in fact, a series of tubes.”"

JENNY NELSON & ROBERT GROSS: "Are Solar, Wind, and Marine Power Too Intermittent to Be Useful?"
"Electricity generated from renewable sources such as wind, marine and solar helps to cut carbon emissions by reducing the need for fossil fuel power generation. Renewable energy can also diversify supplies, helping to make a power system more resilient to failures and less exposed to fluctuating fuel prices. However, renewables pose a challenge in the form of intermittency, as their output varies with the available sunlight, wind speeds and wave activity."

NEWS

FREE SPEECH - Crackdown on Chinese Bloggers Who Fight the Censors With Puns
"One of China’s largest hosts of Twitter-like microblogsdecreed new punishments on Monday for users who post comments that its editors — and by extension, China’s government censors — deem inappropriate."

INNOVATION - Tool-Wielding Robots Crawl in Bodies For Surgeries
"Scientists and doctors are using the creeping metallic tools to perform surgery on hearts, prostate cancer, and other diseased organs. The snakebots carry tiny cameras, scissors and forceps, and even more advanced sensors are in the works. "

PRIVACY - Britain's "Cookie Law" Prohibits Tracking Without Consent
"What the media have called Britain's 'cookie law' became enforceable this weekend and will require UK-based website operators to give visitors notification if the website will use any method of tracking—not just cookies but other types of analytics as well—on the user's computer."