Linklist: October 19, 2011

Awad Mustafa and Caline Malek in The National: BlackBerry cuts made roads safer, police say: “Oct 15, 2011 
ABU DHABI // A dramatic fall in traffic accidents this week has been directly linked to the three-day disruption in BlackBerry services. In Dubai, traffic accidents fell 20 per cent from average rates on the days BlackBerry users were unable to use its messaging service. In Abu Dhabi, the number of accidents this week fell 40 per cent and there were no fatal accidents. On average there is a traffic accident every three minutes in Dubai, while in Abu Dhabi there is a fatal accident every two days.”

Robo-boats from UMNewsUniversity of Minnesota robots to join search for invasive species : : “MINNEAPOLIS / ST. PAUL (10/17/2011) —Computer scientists and biologists from the University of Minnesota and two other universities are teaming up with robots to tackle a major invader of rivers, wetlands and lakes across the United States—the common carp. Researchers from the University of Minnesota, Johns Hopkins University and Central State University in Ohio have been awarded $2.2 million from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to develop robotic boats and train them to locate and follow radio-tagged carp as part of a new approach to controlling populations of the nonnative fish.”

Stephen Ebert @ Humans Invent “Underground living: The death of the skyscraper “It could be time to say sayonara to the skyscraper and hello to underground living. If Mexican architects have their way we’ll all be living in Earthscrapers over 30 stories below ground. Forget loft living, the next trend might be subterranean suburbia.
For a glimpse into the blueprint of future city-dwelling, look no further than Mexico City. Rather than ask “who can go highest?” BNKR Arquitectura’s highly ambitious Earthscraper project is instead asking “how low can you go?” Burrowing down 35 stories beneath the heart of Mexico City, the Earthscraper defies everything the skyscraper stands for. It’s an ambitious rebuttal to architectural obsession with high-rise, so-called space efficient living.”

[As someone who works in an award-winning 7 story underground building, (on the first floor, with windows, thank you), this is a bad idea. Our sixth floor was recently put out of commission for an economically-infeasible to solve water and mold issue. Oddly the seventh floor is still functional, at this time. Water tables remain an issue. Mexico City also has seismic issues.]