Sensational. Seductive. Sexy.
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Liquid Robotics’ Wave Gliders Begin Historic Swim Across Pacific
Four Wave Gliders—self propelled robots, each about the size of a dolphin—have left San Francisco for a journey that combined will total 60,000 km
Full Story: IEEE Spectrum
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Real-Life Inception: Army Looks to ‘Counteract Nightmares’ With Digital Dreams
A soldier tries to sleep. But he is not safe in his dreams. Jolted awake by a nightmare, the combat veteran fumbles in the dark for his 3-D glasses.
He puts them on. Around him are the faces of people whom he trusts. They fight the darkness with him. The soldier’s re-lived this scene in his head and the laboratory over and over again, until it has become reassuringly familiar. The soldier knows that his pixelated friends will take him away from these troubled dreams. When the scene is over, he takes off his goggles and looks around him. The soldier is home.
Full Story: Wired
Nokia shows off flexible mobile device of the future
A future “kinetic device” from Nokia lets you scroll through music collections or photo albums by twisting a flexible display, or zoom in/out by bowing it inward or outward, Mashable reports from the Nokia World show.
One version of the device could be based on carbon nanotubes (they change resistance as they are flexed)
Full Story: Kurzweil
Is feeding nine billion people possible?
“Based on data gathered about crop production and environmental impacts using satellite maps and on-the-grounds records, the scientists propose a five-point plan for doubling the world’s food production while reducing environmental impacts.
“Our research has shown that it is possible to both feed a hungry world and protect a threatened planet,” says lead author Jonathan Foley, head of the University of Minnesota’s Institute on the Environment.
The five-point plan consists of the following:
Halt farmland expansion — Reduced land clearing for agriculture, particularly in the tropical rainforests, achieved using incentives such as payment for ecosystem services, certification and ecotourism, can yield huge environmental benefits without dramatically cutting into agricultural production or economic well-being.
Close yield gaps — Many parts of Africa, Latin America and Eastern Europe have substantial “yield gaps”— places where farmland is not living up to its potential for producing crops. Closing these gaps through improved use of existing crop varieties, better management and improved genetics could increase current food production with nearly 60 percent.
Use inputs more strategically — Current use of water, nutrients and agricultural chemicals suffers from what the research team calls “Goldilocks’ Problem”: too much in some places, too little in others, rarely just right. We need to use water and nutrients in more intelligent ways: less where it isn’t needed, and more where it is. This will ensure that we can grow more food, but with less harm to the environment.
Shift diets — Growing animal feed or biofuels on top croplands, no matter how efficiently, is a drain on human food supply. Dedicating croplands to direct human food production could boost calories produced per person by nearly 50 percent. Even shifting non-food uses such as animal feed or biofuel production away from prime cropland could make a big difference.
Reduce waste — One-third of the food farms produce ends up discarded, spoiled or eaten by pests. Eliminating waste in the path food takes from farm to mouth could boost food available for consumption another 50 percent.
“What is new and exciting here is that we considered solutions to both feeding our growing world and solving the global environmental crisis of agriculture at the same time,” Johan Rockström says.
“We focused the world’s best scientific data and models on this problem, to demonstrate that these solutions could actually work — showing where, when and how they could be most effective. No one has done this before,” Rockström and his colleagues argue.”
This is excellent. When you click on a dot, a box opens to the right. You can read about the name of the facility, pollution type, and past violations.
To begin exploring how air pollution may affect your community, use our snazzy interactive map of more than 17,000 facilities that have emitted hazardous chemicals into the air. Color-coded dots and scores of one to five smoke stacks are based on an EPA method of assessing potential health risk in airborne toxins from a given facility. More smoke stack icons signify higher potential risks to human health. Zoom in to your neighborhood by clicking on the map or use the search box to find the area you’re looking for.
Want to know more? Check out our series, “Poisoned Places.”
Was Steve Jobs a Samuel Crompton or was he a Richard Roberts? In the eulogies that followed Jobs’s death, last month, he was repeatedly referred to as a large-scale visionary and inventor. But Isaacson’s biography suggests that he was much more of a tweaker. He borrowed the characteristic features of the Macintosh—the mouse and the icons on the screen—from the engineers at Xerox PARC, after his famous visit there, in 1979. The first portable digital music players came out in 1996. Apple introduced the iPod, in 2001, because Jobs looked at the existing music players on the market and concluded that they “truly sucked.”