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The ray-cat solution

14 minutes

Could the weirdest solution to the problem of nuclear waste also be the best?

In 1981, the US Department of Energy and the civil engineering company Bechtel Corp assembled a task force to help tackle the problem of how to warn future humans to stay away from radioactive nuclear waste sites thousands of years into the future. Perhaps the strangest solution came from the French author Françoise Bastide and the Italian semiologist Paolo Fabbri, who proposed genetically engineering cats to change colour in response to radiation, and creating a mythology of danger around those cats. An exploration of unusually creative problem-solving, the French director Benjamin Huguet’s film probes how the once-obscure, decades-old ‘ray-cat solution’ has recently found new life.

Director: Benjamin Huguet

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Essay/
Automation & Robotics
Robot says: Whatever

What stands in the way of all-powerful AI isn’t a lack of smarts: it’s that computers can’t have needs, cravings or desires

Margaret Boden

Essay/
Future of Technology
The blitzscaling illusion

All the great inventions took painstaking, risky, indirect routes to fruition. Has Silicon Valley really escaped history?

Edward Tenner