Utility Week

UTILITY Week 21st July 2017

Utility Week - authoritative, impartial and essential reading for senior people within utilities, regulators and government

Issue link: https://fhpublishing.uberflip.com/i/851032

Contents of this Issue


Page 30 of 31

Community Survival of the toughest In the beginning was the word, and the word was God. In the end was another word, and that word was tardigrade. At least it is according to boffins at Oxford University, who reckon tardigrades are the toughest life form on earth. The creatures do not grow to be more than half a centi metre long, but can survive at temperatures as high as 150C and take a radiation dose of 6,000Gy – equivalent to some chemotherapy treatments. And they can survive with out food or water for 30 years at a stretch. The scientists were trying to calculate what sort of doomsday event would be required to wipe out all life on the planet – not just humans – which led them to identify the hardiest life form on the planet, and that turned out to be the tardigrade. They concluded that the creatures could survive an asteroid strike or the explosion of a nearby star. In fact, the chances are that they will still be kicking around in ten billion years when the sun finally burns out. At which point it's the end of the road for even the tardigrade. We, on the other hand, will be throwing in the towel on existence much earlier, because we can only survive maximum temperatures of about 28C and need to eat every three hours. Or maybe that's just Discon nector. Machine learning Tardigrades might be the last living creature around when the sun winds down, but they may not be alone. Machine intel ligence in the form of AI could also be there at last knockings – having done for us. That is a concern raised by no less a personage than Elon Musk, the guy behind Tesla and SpaceX. He warns that AI is an "existential threat" to human civilisation and warns tech companies to "slow down" in case they unintentionally build something that's unsafe. He calls for a strong regulatory framework to oversee such development, and he's calling for it "now". It seems strange for a tech disruptor of Elon's pedigree to be championing regulation – and it may be too late anyway. Ray Kurzweil, a futurist and Google's director of engineer ing, is on record declaring that computers will have "human level intelligence" by 2029. Transparent absurdity Talking of humanlevel intelli gence, over in the US president Donald Trump has been rumi nating further on his "beautiful wall" and has decided that it needs to be seethrough. The reasons for this are twofold: first so that border guards can check out the other side and see troublemakers coming, and second to stop people being hit on the head by bags of drugs. Said the prez: "As horrible as it sounds, when they throw the large sacks of drugs over, and if you have people on the other side of the wall, you don't see them. They hit you on the head with 60 pounds of stuff? It's over." Writing for Wired, Rhett Allain, associate professor of Physics at Southeastern Louisi ana University, calculated that it would take "2,646 newtons of force, or almost 600 pounds," to heave a 60pound sack over a wall 10m high. It would, he concluded, "make this one tough sack throwing hombre". Disconnector Editor, Utility Week, and content director, Utilities: Ellen Bennett, t: 01342 332084, e: ellenbennett@fav-house.com; Deputy editor: Jane Gray, t: 01342 332087, e: janegray@ fav-house.com; Insights editor: Mathew Beech, t: 01342 332082, e: mathewbeech@fav-house. com; Features editor: Lois Vallely, t: 01342 332080, e: loisvallely@fav-house.com; Senior reporter: Tom Grimwood, t: 01342 332061, e: tomgrimwood@fav-house.com; Reporter: Josh Downes, t: 01342 332102, e: joshdownes@fav-house.com; Policy correspondent: David Blackman, e: davidblackman@fav-house.com; Production editor: Paul Newton, t: 01342 332085, e: paulnewton@fav-house.com; Sales executive: Sidney Houliston, e: sidneyhouliston@ fav-house.com. t: 01342 332009; Conference sponsorship manager: Sophie Abbott, t: 01342 332062, e; sophieabbott@fav-house.com; Publisher: Amanda Barnes, e: amandabarnes@fav-house.com. General enquiries: 01342 332000; Membership enquiries: Peter Bissell, t: 01342 332057, e: peterbissell@fav-house.com. ISSN: 1356-5532. Registered as a newspaper at the Post Office. Printed by: Buxton Press, Buxton, Derbyshire SK17 6AE. Published by: Faversham House Ltd, Windsor Court, Wood Street, East Grinstead, West Sussex RH19 1UZ, 3,580 Average circulation Jan–Dec 2015 Membership subscriptions: UK £669 per year. Overseas £781 per year. Contact Peter Bissell on: 01342 332057 Utility Week is a member of the Independent Press Standards Organisation (which regulates the UK's magazine and newspaper industry). We abide by the Editors' Code of Practice and are committed to upholding the highest standards of journalism. If you think that we have not met those standards and want to make a complaint please contact the editor, Ellen Bennett, at ellenbennett@fav-house.com. If we are unable to resolve your complaint, or if you would like more information about IPSO or the Editors' Code, contact IPSO on 0300 123 2220 or visit www.ipso.co.uk Rachel Reeves @RachelReevesMP Huge privilege to have been elected chair of @CommonsBEIS. I'm looking forward to getting to work! National Grid UK @nationalgriduk Marcus Stewart, head of energy insights @ nationalgriduk "The consumer is at the heart of the energy revolution." #FES2017 EnergyforLondon @energyforlondon "I had a lot of respect for @ofgem independence – but has gone down since embedded generation review." Alastair Martin. @Flexitricity #FES2017 paul massara @paulmassara Cracking down on diesels a good move. Changing embedded benefits without changing other charges for renewables/storage an issue. Thomas Edwards @TomHenryEdwards There was 2GW of storage with connection offers to the HV and EHV networks at start of 2017, mostly in eastern and midlands regions. Ann Robinson @AnnRobinson8 UK Power Networks want to be able to turn off car charger points during peak time. They should invest to increase their own capacity. Daniel Walker-Nolan @DWN85 Key issue w/early #SmartMeters isn't that they go dumb when they switch, it's that consumers aren't being informed about this limitation. Richard Khaldi @RichardKhaldi @Ofwat has set a high bar in #PR19 – can #water firms rise to the challenge and meet customer, investor and regulatory expectations? William Marchant @richonlyinname The Helm team needs rounding out with an energy efficiency/demand-reduction voice. Bryony Worthington @bryworthington If Jim Gao and Steve Holliday involved should be pretty interesting. Repowering onshore wind farms should feature. Top Tweets UTILITY WEEK | 21ST - 27TH JULY 2017 | 31

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of Utility Week - UTILITY Week 21st July 2017