Crunch time for plastic recycling and 100 years of the BBC
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As we approach crunch time in the climate crisis, how much help will America's great hope of recycling really be?
As COP27 meets in Egypt this month, the world’s attention is once more on the environmental crisis. One great technological hope in recent years, especially in America, has been an emerging method known as ‘chemical recycling’, aka the more publicity-friendly ‘advanced recycling’. In this month’s cover story investigation, Conor McGlone takes a closer look at how it works, its pros and cons, and how green or sustainable it really is – or could be. Is it everything its proponents praise it for – or is it just so much greenwashing?
In this issue, we also have a selection of your responses to Conor’s investigation a few months ago on electrical wiring inspections. He uncovered evidence of widespread sub-standard inspections on potentially dangerous installations. Your emails contained plenty of experiences and stories that support his findings. They relate the difficulties of doing honest business in a cut-price market and a few suggestions for how things could be improved.
Beyond our cover story investigation, we have a broadcast special to mark the BBC’s centenary. It all started at the IET’s Savoy Place buildings, where the company spent its early years under Lord Reith. The BBC is a British landmark and everlasting influence on the world’s media landscape. Even E&T’s own mission to inform and entertain is modelled on the BBC’s earliest remit. We look at the BBC’s role in emerging technologies of the last 100 years, from radio, through television to streaming technologies, but also how today’s emerging technologies will reshape its future.
Siobhan Doyle tours our smart home to see what new tricks the goggle box now has in store for us (literally), from stunning sound to amazing resolutions, from multiple points of view to virtual smells. Artificial intelligence combined with videos and bad actors has given us deepfakes. But Hilary Lamb argues there’s much more to this technology than, er, meets the eye. AI is also coming to a streaming service near you if it’s not there already. Viewer research shows almost everyone wants smarter personalisation, but what are the potential downsides in recommendation bubbles and undiscovered masterpieces?
In-car entertainment is on the cusp of a new driverless era, as the dashboard of controls, from steering wheel to signals, could be cleared to make way for games, video, internet and more. Stephen Cousins looks at the not-so-distant future of in-car entertainment and what the automakers and consumer electronics designers have on their drawing boards.
When drivers can at last take their eyes off the road, they can tune in to so much more than radio. But radio, where it all started for the BBC, isn’t going away any time soon. The BBC’s short-wave radio service is proving an enduring influence in the world, not least as a weapon in Ukraine’s disinformation wars.
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