2018 was an outstanding year for architecture, but 2019 is shaping up to be just as exciting too, and there are already several noteworthy projects on the horizon. From a super-tall skyscraper to a massive airport terminal shaped like a starfish, here’s our pick of projects to look forward to this year.
Though issues arise and buildings sometimes get delayed at the last hurdle, we’ve focused on projects that are, as of writing, expected to be completed in 2019. Read on below to see our pick and you can also hit the gallery to see more of each project.
CopenHill – BIG
First unveiled all the way back in 2011, the Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG)-led CopenHill (aka Amager Bakke) is a power station in Copenhagen with a “smoke ring generator” that will expel a steam ring each time 250 kg (551 lb) of carbon dioxide is produced. It’s also topped by a ski slope for visitors and locals to enjoy.
This one’s a lot of fun and it’s hard to imagine a firm other than BIG coming up with the idea. The power station itself is already operational but the ski slope roof is currently being tested and is expected to be open in April.
Under – Snøhetta
Snøhetta likens Under to an oversized periscope and it will sport a large panoramic window offering diners a view of the seabed as they eat. The building will measure 600 sq m (6,458 sq ft) and sport 1 m (3.2 ft)-thick concrete walls to protect it from the crashing waves. Under is expected to be open for bookings in “Spring 2019” (Northern Hemisphere).
One Thousand Museum – Zaha Hadid Architects
The late Zaha Hadid’s One Thousand Museum sports an eye-catching glass-fiber reinforced white concrete exoskeleton that twists as it rises to a maximum height of 215 m (706 ft)-tall.
The residential project is aimed at the well-heeled and billed as a “Six Star” residence. It includes just 83 homes in all, with apartments measuring between 4,600 and 9,900 sq ft (427 – 919 sq m). Each will boast multiple balconies and the building overlooks Miami’s famous Biscayne Bay. One Thousand Museum is due to be completed sometime this year.
Vessel – Heatherwick Studio
Looking like a strange cross between a big pineapple and an M.C. Escher artwork, Vessel is the centerpiece of a massive development in Hudson Yards, New York City, the largest private real estate development in the history of the United States.
Costing US$150 million for what is essentially just a fancy viewing point, the structure will rise to a height of 150 ft (45 m) and comprise 54 interconnecting flights of stairs, 2,500 individual steps, and 80 landings – as well as an elevator for disabled access. It’s certainly something a little different and should be finished in the next few months.
Lakhta Center – Gorproject/RMJM
Rising 462 m (1,516 ft) over St. Petersburg, Russia, the bullet-shaped Lakhta Center is rated the 13th tallest building in the world and is Europe’s tallest tower.
Its construction has taken over six years and involved 20,000 people from 18 countries. The foundations required concrete to be poured continuously for 49 hours and its glazing measures 72,500 sq m (780,383 sq ft). It takes the form of a spire with five wings that twist a total of 90 degrees from top to bottom and has been pre-certified LEED Gold (a green building standard) for its energy-efficient design. The Lakhta Center is due to be officially completed soon.
Beijing Daxing International Airport terminal – Zaha Hadid Architects
Another project by ZHA, the Beijing Daxing International Airport terminal (aka Beijing New Airport) was promoted as the world’s largest airport terminal building when revealed and as far as we know this still stands. It’s expected to open for business in September, 2019.
The huge building was created in collaboration with ADP Ingeniérie and takes the form of a massive starfish, with a total floorspace of 700,000 sq m (over 7 million sq ft). It will eventually have a capacity of 100 million passengers annually and will apparently also boast sustainable technology, but we’ve still received very little information on it as of writing. No doubt we’ll learn more once it’s finished in late 2019.
Gardenhouse – MAD Architects
MAD Architects’ Gardenhouse was originally slated for completion in late 2018 but now expected sometime this year. It consists of a large podium envisioned as an artificial mountain, with 18 houses atop. The podium will be covered in native, drought-tolerant greenery and contain commercial spaces for rent on ground level.
There are some potential issues like noise and pollution, but it’ll be fascinating to see if the firm can meet its goal of bringing the feel of a mountain village to Beverly Hills, California.
(For the source of this article, and to view more than 40 additional photographs, please visit: https://newatlas.com/2019-upcoming-architecture-projects/58048/)
It’s no secret that the course we’re on with food production and consumption is in need of serious correcting, but a major new report from a global team of scientists has laid out the kind of maneuvering needed to set us on a sustainable path. Billed as a planetary health diet for both the Earth and its people, the set of guidelines put forward by the EAT-Lancet Commission gun for nothing short of a “Great Food Transformation,” something they say would feed 10 billion people, save lives and avoid large-scale environmental destruction.
The UN expects the global population to hit around 10 billion people by 2050, and the reality is our current food practices cannot support both that and the health of our planet. Indeed, the environment that supports human existence will begin to burst at the seams if we continue with the status quo. As associate professor of mathematics Andrew Hwang notes in The Conversation, in wealthy countries “we live as if our savings account balance were steady income.”
The EAT-Lancet Commission is a team of 37 scientists from various disciplines that take aim at this problem via the prism of food. The aim of the team is to establish a robust, scientific consensus on what constitutes a diet that is not only nutritious and healthy, but will be sustainable for the planet in the year 2050.
One particularly unnerving statistic of our current food practices is that one in every three mouthfuls of it go to waste, around 1.3 billion tonnes annually, according to the UN’s Food and Agricultural Association. The EAT-Lancet scientists say that around 820 million people go hungry every day, with 150 million children experiencing long-term hunger that hampers growth and development and 50 million of those children classed as “acutely hungry.”
At the same time, obesity and diabetes rates are on the rise, with more than two billion adults around the world classed as overweight and obese. How we correct these imbalances, and do so in a way that looks after the planet, is a huge undertaking, but the scientists maintain that a healthy, sustainable food system is very much attainable.
“The food we eat and how we produce it determines the health of people and the planet, and we are currently getting this seriously wrong,” says one of the report’s authors, Professor Tim Lang, City University of London, UK. “We need a significant overhaul, changing the global food system on a scale not seen before in ways appropriate to each country’s circumstances. While this is uncharted policy territory and these problems are not easily fixed, this goal is within reach and there are opportunities to adapt international, local, and business policies.”
Red meat production places a huge strain on the environment, demanding vast amounts of land and water while outputting substantial greenhouse gas emissions. The scientists call for consumption of red meat to be halved globally, with that protein to be sourced from plants like chickpeas and beans instead. This is particularly pertinent in North America, where residents eat almost 6.5 times the recommended amount of red meat, compared to countries in South Asia where residents eat only half.
The team’s proposed diet allows for the consumption of no more than 98 g (3.45 oz) of red meat a week, 203 g (7.1 oz) of chicken and 196 g (6.1 oz) of fish. Meanwhile, the diet suggests consuming at least 500 g (17.6 oz) of fruits and vegetables, 125 g of dry beans, lentils, peas and other nuts and legumes each day. While this presents a massive shift for many, it won’t appear all that foreign to folks in some parts of the world.
“As the authors point out, many traditional diets, such as those in México and India, consist largely of plant-based food and only small amounts of animal products,” says Dr Matthew Ruby, a lecturer in Psychology at Melbourne’s La Trobe University. “At the same time, there is a steady stream of innovations in plant-based products and cuisine, making it even easier for people to follow healthy and sustainable diets while continuing to enjoy their food.”
The move away from unhealthy diets toward a more plant-based subsistence could help avoid approximately 11 million premature deaths per year, according to the scientists. Beyond the specifics, they also call for individuals to give greater consideration to how the food they buy is produced [organic vs. pesticide], implore them to consume a range of foods in order to support biodiversity in the food system, and to limit waste by avoiding overeating and making full use of their leftovers.
(For the source of this, and many other interesting and important articles, please visit: https://newatlas.com/eat-lancet-sustainable-diet/58102/)
Probably ever since bicycles were first invented, people have been looking for alternatives to the traditional approach of pedaling in circles. Los Angeles-based inventor Rodger Parker has utilized one such alternative in his NuBike, which he claims is more efficient than a chain-drive bike.
Along with its unique-looking carbon fiber frame, what really stands out on the NuBike are the levers that run from the pedals to a linkage on the rear hub. These allow riders to simply push up and down on the pedals, causing the rear wheel to turn. There are reportedly a number of advantages to this setup.
First of all, as mentioned, it’s claimed to be more efficient than a chain or belt-drive. According to Brown, because the levers are much longer than traditional cranks, riders are able to deliver more torque (and thus power) to the wheel for a given amount of effort. He also states that because the pedals just move vertically, riders can more effectively use the force of gravity to help push them down.
Additionally, the lever-drive system is said to be easier on the hips, knees and ankles, plus it doesn’t require users to pull an oily chain out of the way when removing the rear wheel. And yes, it does allow for multiple gears – the current road bike prototype has four, although Rodger tells us that future lower-priced models (such as kids’ bikes and cruisers) will have fewer.
The prototype weighs 22 lb (10 kg). By replacing the current 7075 aluminum levers with ones made of magnesium, along with making some other changes, it is hoped that the final commercial model will tip the scales at 18 lb (8 kg).
If you’re interested in getting a NuBike of your own, it’s currently the subject of a Kickstarter campaign. Assuming it reaches production, a pledge of US$3,600 will get you a sub-3-lb (1.4 kg) frame and drivetrain, to which you can add conventional components of your choice. The planned retail price for that package is $3,800.
You can see the NuBike in action, in the video below.
And perhaps not surprisingly, this isn’t the first commercially-oriented lever-drive bike we’ve seen. Korea’s Bygen announced one back in 2014, although there’s been no word on availability since.
is a spectacular photographic project from veteran artist and storyteller Milan Radisics. The project tells the story of how water shapes the planet by using aerial photography to deliver a series of stunning images that sit on the border between abstract art and documentary realism.
The ongoing series currently spans eleven countries and while, so far, the project has centered mainly on European locations, Radisics is planning on photographing areas of Africa, South America and India in the very near future.
The project is structured as a story with seven primary chapters, or topics. These topics cover the entire story of Earth and water, beginning with melting glaciers and ending with drought that has left us with the patterns and remnants of long lost streams and rivers.
Research for each prospective photographic location begins with a large scout using Google Earth. “For each selected region,” Radisics explains, “I scan through the satellite pictures. That way, after hours of research, I may come across something truly remarkable which is also appropriate for the project. When this occurs, I dive into the location and continue the search personally on site.”
While the project does have an overt environmental message, Radisics is not interested in pushing a specific ideology through his work. “I am not a guy who wants to fight by demonstration on the streets,” he says. “I believe in the power of aesthetics.”
Theproject is one that Radisics sees as both artistic self-expression and journalistic document. This is inspiring visual storytelling designed to proffer a sense of awe in the viewer, and Radisics hopes the work will maybe move some people to reconsider their approach to conservation and our place on this fragile planet.
Take a look through our gallery at some more of this magnificent aerial photography.
(For the source of this article, and to view additional photographs, please visit: https://newatlas.com/water-shapes-earth-milan-radisics-aerial-photography/58023/)
In 2018, a remote Alaskan community’s infrastructure was hit by a malware attack which forced it offline. It was only then they realized how much they depended on computers.
By Chris Baraniuk –
Mountain and lake in Mat-Su Borough – p06xjnns.
They still don’t know where it came from. But when it hit, the Alaskan borough of Matanuska-Susitna was knocked for six. Malware rapidly spread across the borough’s computer networks, disrupting a bewildering array of services. Hundreds of employees found themselves locked out of their work stations. Staff at local libraries received urgent phone calls telling them to quickly turn off all the public PCs. The animal shelter lost access to data on medications required by its furry residents.
It didn’t stop there. An online booking system for swimming lessons went down, leaving people to queue up in person. One borough office had to switch to electronic typewriters temporarily. And Helen Muñoz, an 87-year-old woman who has been campaigning for a better sewer system in the area, got an unexpected response to one of her regular calls to local administrators. “Our computers are down,” she was told. She threw her hands up in disgust.
“The cyber-attack, God help us, just about stopped everything, you know,” Muñoz says. “In fact, the borough still isn’t squared away with their computers.”
Matanuska-Susitna, known as Mat-Su, is still trying to recover from what happened, months after the attack began in July 2018. When the first signs of malware popped up, no-one expected the turmoil that followed. IT staff initially worked up to 20 hours a day, tasked with digitally scrubbing clean 150 servers.
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Mat-Su, a largely rural borough stretching across an area the size of West Virginia or Latvia, is home to just 100,000 people. It seems a strange target for a cyber-attack.
This is the story of what happened.
On the morning of 23 July 2018, employees at the borough offices of Matanuska-Susitna in the tiny town of Palmer arrived for work as usual. Within a few hours, an anti-virus program flagged unusual activity on some of their PCs.
The borough’s IT director, Eric Wyatt, told his team to take a closer look. They found some malicious files, so they followed standard procedure: get staff to change their passwords and, meanwhile, prepare an automated program to clear out any suspicious software.
But when they launched this defense mechanism, there was an unintended response.
The scale of these cyber-attacks was certainly new to Wyatt
Wyatt watched as the network lit up. It looked like a larger or second stage attack had been triggered. Perhaps someone was monitoring the IT department’s defensive moves, or it was an automatic response by the malware. Either way, it had begun spreading further and, in some cases, it locked down more employees’ files and demanded ransom payments.
This form of malware is known as ‘ransomware’ – an increasingly common, and dangerous, threat to computer systems. In recent years, ransomware outbreaks around the world have temporarily shut hospitals, halted production at factories, skewered operations at major ports and sent hundreds of offices into chaos. Some estimates put the annual total cost of ransomware events at several billion dollars.
The scale of these cyber-attacks was certainly new to Wyatt, who started his IT career in the US Air Force before working for defense and government contractors.
“I have over 35 years in this business and have dealt with this kind of thing during that time,” he says. “This was certainly larger than anything I had seen, more sophisticated.”
When he realized the incident was going to cause significant headaches, he went to see borough manager John Moosey.
Moosey listened as Wyatt explained what he knew about the situation. Moosey and Wyatt were soon on the phone to the FBI – and their insurer – explaining that they seemed to be the target of a large cyber-attack.
Almost all of the borough’s office phones had to be taken offline. As IT experts were drafted in to help with the recovery, printers and computers were gathered up in droves – more than 700 devices in total had to be checked and scrubbed. “All data is considered suspect,” read one update published a short time later.
They wanted the library to disconnect every computer and printer – not just switch them off, but unplug them too
“It really hammered us extremely hard,” says Moosey.
In the borough’s purchasing department, staff faced filling out forms with pen and ink while their computers sat idle. Then they had a bright idea. In the cupboard were a couple of old electronic typewriters. They dusted them off and used them, a move that made international headlines.
As systems were taken offline, and staff switched to mobile phones and temporary webmail services, many functions of the borough were forced to slow down. Computer programs had been designed to help process everything from data on construction sites to credit card payments at the local landfill – but now they were all out of action.
“The virus was amazingly terrible,” says Peggy Oberg, a librarian at the Big Lake Public Library in south central Mat-Su.
In the space of one week, Big Lake library welcomes between 1,200 and 1,500 people through its doors. Many of them rely on internet and computer services there.
Oberg remembers the call she got from the IT department. They wanted the library to disconnect every computer and printer – not just switch them off, but unplug them. Staff were also asked to turn off the public wi-fi.
In 20 years, Oberg had never had a call like it.
Staff at a number of the borough’s libraries were also unable to place books on hold, search for new items patrons requested, or communicate through the usual channels with other colleagues around Mat-Su. For a few weeks, they were partially cut off.
I don’t mind technology, but when I can’t get a sewer system built I get very uptight – Helen Muñoz
Oberg spent two months worrying that the data for library groups and services would be lost forever.
“I was kind of sick thinking about them possibly not being able to recover that,” she says. Thankfully, she later found that the files had in fact been restored, nine weeks after she’d last had access to them.
Mat-Su’s local animal shelter takes in between 200 and 300 stray or unaccounted-for animals every month – from stray domestic pets to livestock found on open roads. Staff computers at the shelter were taken away. Without records of medications and previous cases, employees didn’t know how much to charge people who came to collect pets or missing cattle. The website with photos of animals up for adoption also couldn’t be updated.
Helen Muñoz is an 87-year-old resident of Palmer. She moved to Mat-Su in the 1970s with her husband, whose family ran a septic tank and sewerage business. Lately, she has made it her mission to force an improvement of Mat-Su’s own sewage system. She has a place on a committee overseeing the development of a new waste-water treatment plant.
Muñoz was frustrated by the way the hampered communications affected the borough. “I don’t mind technology, but when I can’t get a sewer system built,” she tells me, “I get very uptight.”
Others were equally worried. As one local resident put it in a comment to a Facebook update about the cyber-attack: “It’s pretty amazing how this can effect [sic] our day-to-day.
“So far it’s changed the way I had to pay for the dump, the email proof of my dog getting his rabies vaccine hasn’t shown up, and when I pay my taxes it looks like that’s going to be different too.”
Shortly after the attack began, investigators found evidence that the malware had been on the borough’s systems since May
Meanwhile, Mat-Su estate agents, who regularly sign in to an online system for local land registry data, found themselves locked out. Even the system for signing up children for swimming lessons went down.
“Everyone had to stand in line, it was all done the old-fashioned way,” says Nancy Driscoll Stroup, a local lawyer and critic of the borough.
The incident has so far cost Mat-Su more than $2m (£1.59m).
Shortly after the attack began, investigators found evidence that the malware had been on the borough’s systems since May. This raises Stroup’s curiosity – she notes that a borough delegation visited China on a trade mission that month. While no-one has made any official link to the Chinese, there have been allegations of Chinese involvement in other recent hacking episodes.
As they combed through the digital wreckage, Wyatt and his colleagues realized that the malware had deposited data, in files named with a specific number, on victim computers. After investigating, they realized this number, 210, identified Mat-Su as the 210th victim of this particular version of the malware; the other 209 victims are still unknown.
They also gleaned some clues now about how the attack started. Wyatt has some hints it was a targeted phishing attack, in which an organization working with the borough was compromised in a separate attack. Wyatt says he has evidence that this allowed someone to send a carefully composed malicious email, containing the first batch of malware, to a Mat-Su employee.
By cloaking an attack within a seemingly innocuous message, malware creators increase the chances that someone clicks on a link or downloads the attachment that spreads the malware to their computer. From there, it can attack other computers on the same network.
The only people to blame are the people who write these viruses – Eric Wyatt
Wyatt doesn’t blame anyone for being tricked, though. “The only people to blame are the people who write these viruses,” he says.
Over the ensuing 10 weeks, a dedicated team gradually brought the majority of Mat-Su borough’s affected services back online.
In August 2018, Wyatt appeared in a YouTube video published by the borough explaining the extent of the recovery operation. IT contractor Kurtis Bunker was also filmed saying he thought the FBI had been “pleasantly surprised” at how Mat-Su’s staff responded to the attack.
Not all members of the public were understanding. “Who or why would anyone ‘hack’ a little rinky dink town?” scoffed one Facebook user. But many were supportive. And various organizations that have links or business relationships with the borough were also part of a larger effort to make sure the cyber-attack didn’t spread any further.
Mat-Su may not have been attacked for any other reason besides the malware creators belief that they could collect ransom payments. The FBI’s advice was clear, though, says Wyatt: don’t pay up.
William Walton, a supervisory special agent at the FBI investigating what happened in Mat-Su, says the kind of attack Mat-Su experienced can have serious consequences. Being a smaller community, Mat-Su has less of a safety net to rely on, he points out.
“In terms of its infrastructure, it doesn’t perhaps have the same redundancy as a major metropolitan area so we would absolutely consider that as a critical infrastructure event,” says Walton.
We may never know who attacked Mat-Su, or why. But such incidents are unsettlingly common. As communities and businesses rely on computers for even the most basic tasks, the potential for a cyber-criminal to cause havoc has only increased.
Now, a handful of small towns in Alaska, scattered across the borough of Mat-Su, know that only too well.
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(For the source of this, and many other important articles, please visit: http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20190108-the-cyber-attack-that-sent-an-alaskan-community-back-in-time/)
Cryptocurrency, especially Bitcoin, continues to rise in popularity despite its value’s recent volatility; and if you are looking to use bitcoin to pay for things, you have to take due diligence in knowing how to do it, where you can spend, buy, or earn bitcoins, the best trading platforms, and what the risks and advantages are.
How do you pay with bitcoin?
First, you need a bitcoin wallet. There are free bitcoin wallets available for smartphones and all major operating systems. Just like with a physical wallet, you must always secure it – this means being careful with online services, putting backup and encryption, and putting just small amounts in it for everyday use.
A very common use for bitcoin is for online purchases. Today, there are hundreds of retailers and online shops – even local businesses – that accept bitcoins. Bitcoin can be used to purchase gift cards, video games, and household items; you can also use it in tipping and donating to charity. There are different ways to pay using your bitcoin. You can pay using your wallet or app, via QR code, or pay directly to a bitcoin address. Making a blockchain payment is fast and convenient – and you do not need to key-in sensitive information when making a payment.
What are the advantages?
- Anonymity. Your purchases are discrete with bitcoin, which means they are never associated with your personal identity. In fact, the bitcoin address generated is different for every purchase you make.
- Low Transaction Fees. Since there is still no government involvement in bitcoin transactions, at this point, the costs of transacting are very low.
- Mobile. Since paying with bitcoin can be done using an app on your mobile phone, you can pay for your purchases anywhere you are as long as you have internet access.
- No interruptions. Since the bitcoin system is purely peer-to-peer, it is void of involvement of banks, financial institutions, and the government.
- No Sales Taxes. One major advantage of paying with bitcoin is that no sales taxes are added in your purchases since there are no third parties to identify or track them.
What are the risks?
One thing that you need to understand is that bitcoin, no matter how popular it has become at this point, is still experimental. Getting into bitcoin now can mean that you have to deal with the growing pains as it is still at the stage in which it is still improving and such improvements may bring about new challenges.
Bitcoin price is very volatile. You should look at bitcoin as a high risk asset and you should not keep your savings with bitcoin at this point.
You must adopt good practices in protecting your privacy as bitcoin is not entirely anonymous. Your identity behind the bitcoin address you’re using may be anonymous, but transactions and balances in your address can be seen by anyone.
Bitcoin payments cannot be reversed, so only transact with people you trust and business that have already established their reputation. Beware of scams, fake ICOS (Initial Coin Offerings), and fraudulent activities.
Moreover, bitcoin purchases are not taxed at the moment since there is no way for third parties to identify, track, or intercept transactions that use bitcoins.
(Source of this article: https://www.hoganinjury.com/paying-with-bitcoin-what-you-need-to-know/)
None of the content on Hoganinjury.com is legal advice nor is it a replacement for advice from a certified lawyer. Please consult a legal professional for further information. You may wish to contact Hogan Injury for expert legal advice.
Civita Bagnoregio (pronounced “Ban-yo-regio”) is a delightful ancient hamlet, noted for its striking position atop a plateau of volcanic tuff overlooking the Tiber river valley.
Perched on top of a tufa hill among a desolated valley made up of calanchi, Civita Bagnoregio is an Etruscan town with over 2500 years of history. The continuous erosion makes the soft tufa rock becoming thinner and thinner: the hills edges fall off, leaving the buildings built on the plateau to crumble. Civita Bagnoreggio is slowly dying.
In 1695 the beginning of Civita’s decay was signed by a terrible earthquake which compelled many inhabitants to leave the city. The continuous seismic activities that followed in the course of the centuries, brought a long series of landslides; for this reason, Civita almost became completely desolated. Today, in fact, only a very small number of people live there who are determined to keep this little fragment of rock alive.
Thanks to these stubborn inhabitants, today Civita is an enchanted place, where time seems to have stopped. Wandering around the century old city is an unbelievable experience.
Civita Bagnoreggio is just one hour and a half driving time from Rome, which makes it a perfect destination for a day trip.
(For the source of this, and many other interesting articles, please visit: https://delightfullyitaly.com/2015/03/01/civita-bagnoregio-the-dying-city/#more-49734/)
As the United States becomes a net oil exporter for the first time in 75 years, the US Department of the Interior has announced the discovery of the largest continuous oil and gas field ever found. Situated in the Wolfcamp Shale and overlying Bone Spring Formation in Texas and the Permian Basin in New Mexico, the new resource is estimated to contain 46.3 billion barrels of oil, 281 trillion cu ft of natural gas, and 20 billion barrels of natural gas liquids worth trillions of dollars.
One of the problems when it comes to understanding the oil and gas industry is that the terminology can be misleading. For example, when someone asks how much oil or gas there is, the answer is almost invariably that we have enough to last 20 years. That seems straightforward enough and argues for the phasing out of increasingly scarce fossil fuels, but the curious thing is that 20 years ago we had 20 years worth of oil and gas, and the same was true 20 years before that, and will probably be true in 20 years time.
This is because what that 20-year figure deals with are reserves or, rather proven reserves. These are oil and gas fields that have been found with 90 percent certainty and can be recovered given the economic, technological, and political conditions of today. Because oil and gas prospecting is incredibly expensive, the oil companies like to find enough reserves to last a generation and call it good.
But it isn’t as simple as that. Behind the proven reserves are the probable reserves, which are 50 percent certain, and the possible reserves, which are 10 percent certain. And there tend to be a lot more of these than the proven reserves.
Then there are the resources, which is what the Department of the Interior is talking about. Resources are large areas where oil and gas are known to be, but it hasn’t been determined if its economically practical to recover them. Yet.
The “yet” is the big variable here because as new surveying, drilling, and recovery technologies like fracking are developed, resources can very rapidly shift up the ladder to proven reserves in the same way that wells that were once “dry” when they were three-quarters full are now productive again.
This is effectively how the new giant oil and gas field was found. According to the Department of the Interior, the US Geological Survey (USGS) had already made assessments of the Permian Basin province, though the Wolfcamp shale and Bone Spring Formation weren’t originally included. The area is already highly productive in oil and gas, but it was only with the introduction of new technology and studying their effects on output that the size and wealth of the resource could be assessed. How economical it will be to recover the oil and gas there has yet to be determined.
“In the 1980s, during my time in the petroleum industry, the Permian and similar mature basins were not considered viable for producing large new recoverable resources,” says Dr Jim Reilly, USGS Director. “Today, thanks to advances in technology, the Permian Basin continues to impress in terms of resource potential. The results of this most recent assessment and that of the Wolfcamp Formation in the Midland Basin in 2016 are our largest continuous oil and gas assessments ever released. Knowing where these resources are located and how much exists is crucial to ensuring both our energy independence and energy dominance.”
Of course, advances in technology have also opened up alternative energy pathways based on renewable energy. Even if the new oil and gas resources prove reachable, the case for economic viability could weaken as the cost of renewables continues to drop – that’s without even factoring in the predicted economic and environmental concerns around climate change.
Source: US Department of the Interior
(For the source of this, and many other equally important articles, please visit: https://newatlas.com/largest-continuous-oil-gas-us/57579/)
Intermittent fasting diets are all the rage these days. We are seeing everything from the conservative 5:2 diet to more extreme fasting methods gaining prominence in Silicon Valley circles, but while there has been plenty of observational research pointing out the correlation between fasting and positive health outcomes, we still don’t have a good understanding of any underlying biological mechanism at play.
A new study from Harvard researchers has now shown how fasting can increase lifespan, slow aging and improve health by altering the activity of mitochondrial networks inside our cells.
“Although previous work has shown how intermittent fasting can slow aging, we are only beginning to understand the underlying biology,” says William Mair, senior author on the study.
Mitochondria are a little like tiny power plants inside our cells. Last year a team of researchers led by Newcastle University successfully showed how mitochondria are fundamental to the aging of cells. The new research from Harvard shows how the changing shapes of mitochondrial networks can affect longevity and lifespan, but more importantly the study illustrates how fasting manipulates those mitochondrial networks to keep them in a “youthful” state.
Inside cells mitochondrial networks generally alternate between two states: fused and fragmented. Using nematode worms, an organism useful for studying longevity as it only lives for two weeks, the study found that restricted diets promotes homeostasis in mitochondrial networks allowing for a healthy plasticity between these fused and fragmented states.
Above we can see mitochondrial cells in muscle tissue from the nematode worms
“Our work shows how crucial the plasticity of mitochondria networks is for the benefits of fasting. If we lock mitochondria in one state, we completely block the effects of fasting or dietary restriction on longevity,” says Mair.
The study also found that fasting enhances mitochondrial coordination with peroxisomes, a type of organelle that can increase fatty acid oxidation, a fundamental fat metabolism process. In the study’s experiments, the lifespan of the worm was increased by simply preserving mitochondrial network homeostasis through dietary intervention. These results help shed light on how fasting can increase longevity and promote healthy aging.
“Low-energy conditions such as dietary restriction and intermittent fasting have previously been shown to promote healthy aging. Understanding why this is the case is a crucial step toward being able to harness the benefits therapeutically,” explains Heather Weir, lead author of the study.
“Our findings open up new avenues in the search for therapeutic strategies that will reduce our likelihood of developing age-related diseases as we get older.”
The study was published in the journal Cell Metabolism.
Source: Harvard University
(For the source of this, and other equally important articles, please visit: https://newatlas.com/fasting-increase-lifespan-mitochondria-harvard/52058/)
Comments from BOOTHE GLOBAL PERSPECTIVES: We often ponder that “time” is a man made phenomena, and we try to get to the source of our concept of time. Here we see that the idea of the “second” was rooted in Babylonian science and philosophy. We thank BBC Focus Magazine and Robert Matthews for writing this. Enjoy your time, every second. Ben, BootheGlobalPerspectives.
How was the length of a second first calculated? In our old grandfather’s clock every tick tock of the pendulum swing represented
a second. It didn’t have a second hand. It had a pendulum. But the idea of dividing an hour into 60 “secunda” originated in ancient Babylon.
“Ticking away, the moments that make up a dull day …”
By Robert Matthews, BBC Focus Magazine
Ancient civilizations like the Babylonians focused on the major time units of years, days and hours, whose relative lengths they determined using astronomical observations. But the invention of the first practical clocks in medieval times allowed finer division. These were named in Latin pars minuta prima – “the first very small part.”
“The first very small part,” is now called the minute, and pars minuta secunda – “the second very small part,” is now called the second.
Following the tradition set by the Babylonians, these divisions were expressed using the sexagesimal system, a form of counting based on units of 60.
And even that modern electric clock points out the “secunda” of the ancient Babylonians in the sexagesimal system. Next time you look at a second hand, remember it is a concept devised by man centuries before our modern clocks came into being.
Using this, the length of a second became a sixtieth of a sixtieth of an hour, leading to its definition as 1/3600th of an hour.
(For more interesting articles please visit: https://bootheglobalperspectives.com/)
- “I’m just not a math person.” This trite statement suggests some people don’t have an innate ability to succeed at math.
- But math ability is not genetically determined and this myth only strengthens America’s growing math anxiety.
- How do people get so good at math? In a word, practice.
Americans have a love-hate relationship with mathematics. On the one hand, we understand that success in our technology-dependent world requires proficiency in mathematics, and if we don’t cultivate this proficiency in students, we may languish behind those who do. On the other hand, we’re just bad at it.
Research seems to support this view. The National Assessment of Educational Progress found that, in 2015, just 25 percent of 12th graders performed at or above proficiency in mathematics. Nor are we doing well when compared to other countries. The United States’ mathematics performance score (474 mean score) falls below the average for all OECD countries (494). Meanwhile, Japan, China, and Singapore are crushing it (mean scores 539, 540, and 564 respectively).
Is it any wonder that the refrain “I’m not a math person” has become hackneyed in America? But this defense contains a troubling subtext: Some people are born good at math, some aren’t, and the speaker is the latter. This is simply untrue.
In his conversation with Richard Dawkins, Neil deGrasse Tyson explains why: “If there’s any one subject that the greatest number of people say, ‘I was never good at insert a topic,’ it’s going to be math. So I say to myself, ‘If our brain were wired for logical thinking, then math would be everyone’s easiest subject, and everything else would be harder.’ I’m kind of forced to conclude that our brain is not wired for logic.”
Tyson’s right. The brain is (mostly) not hardwired for mathematics. But if that’s the case, then where did the myth of the math person come from, and how can we correct for it?
How we know math ability isn’t genetic
While there is no innate math ability in this brain, there sure is a lot of room for math anxiety. (Photo from Flickr)
The reason skill in mathematics isn’t genetically determined is because math hasn’t been around long enough to be written into our genes. As developmental psychologist Steven Pinker writes in How the Mind Works:
On evolutionary grounds it would be surprising if children were mentally equipped for school mathematics. These tools were invented recently in history and only in a few cultures, too late and too local to stamp the human genome. The mothers of these inventions were the recording and trading of farming surpluses in the first agricultural civilizations.
With that said, Pinker notes that we do come pre-equipped with some innate mathematical intuitions. For example, toddlers can choose which picture has fewer dots, children can divide snacks to share, and all cultures have words for numbers (even if that lexicon is limited to one, two, and many.) All feats managed with no formal schooling, and all evolutionary advantageous.
Citing the work of mathematician Saunders Mac Lane, Pinker speculates that these intuitions may have provided the inspiration for contemporary branches of mathematics: grouping, arithmetic, geometry, and so on.
These intuitions are not the same as the highly formal rule systems we start learning in elementary school, though. He explains the distinction as so: Anyone can tell you that cutting through a field is shorter than walking its edges, but it takes a mathematician to point out that “the hypotenuse is equal to the sum of the squares on the other two sides.”
While mathematical ability may not be congenital, it is worth noting that general intelligence is. To some degree at least. General intelligence is influenced by both genetic and environmental factors, and it can be challenging to study the complex interplay between the two. Raw intelligence will, naturally, help one acquire math skills, but as we’ll see, environmental factors should not be underplayed.
Creating a self-fulfilling prophecy
Professors Miles Kimball and Noah Smith are highly critical of the math people myth, calling it “the most self-destructive idea in America today.” Writing for the Atlantic, they argue this pernicious myth originates from a pattern children suss out when they first enter math class.
The pattern goes like this:
Some children come from homes where parents teach them math at an early age, while others are first introduced to math in school. The prepared children do well because they are already familiar with the subject matter. The unprepared children struggle because they are not.
As test and homework scores accumulate, the prepared children begin to recognized their successes. They assume they are “math people,” take pride in their achievement, learn to enjoy the subject, and push themselves to work harder.
The unprepared children, however, don’t realize that the prepared children had a head start. They assume they weren’t born “math people,” find the subject frustrating, and don’t push themselves, believing achievement will remain out of reach because of some unrecifiable deficiency.
The result is that “people’s belief that math ability can’t change becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.”
Teachers and parents may also perpetuate the math person myth, even when trying to reduce math anxiety and encourage students that they can succeed.Consider Dr. Randy Palisoc. He claims that math difficulties lie in our dehumanized approach toward teaching it. He believes that if we show students that math is a language “just like English, Spanish or Chinese” and that it can be used to communicate, they will recognize their natural talents and approach the subject with alacrity.
Mathematician Eddie Woo follows a similar tactic, but he relegates mathematics to a human sense, one akin to sight and touch:
Naturally some people are born with sharper sense than the rest of us; others are born with impairment. As you can see, I drew a short straw in the genetic lottery when it came to my eyesight. Without my glasses everything is a blur. I’ve wrestled with this sense my entire life, but I would never dream of saying, ‘Well, seeing has always been a struggle for me. I guess I’m just not a seeing kind of person.’
Both Ralisoc and Woo propose to reduce abstraction in the teaching of math — make it less hieroglyphics on a blackboard and more an exploration of the student’s world. That’s an admirable goal. I quote them here only to show how the metaphors teachers and parents may use to encourage unprepared students, in fact, perpetrate the genetic myth.
Woo’s argument undercuts his own point. A person born with perfect eyesight will effortlessly read the 20/20 line on an eye chart. But if you are born with poor sight, the eye chart will forever look like the laziest post-impressionist painting. Only corrective lenses, not hard work, can change this fact. He wouldn’t say, “I’m just not a seeing kind of person,” because that’s an odd thing to say. But that doesn’t make it any less true.
Similarly, math is not a language as Ralisoc claims. Language is something children master effortlessly because their brains are programmed with what linguists call “universal grammar.” Every English-speaking child knows that the sentences are spoken in SVO format and that you add an s to most words to plural it. They manage this incredible feat without any formal schooling.The same cannot be said for their multiplication tables.
Linguist Noam Chomsky disregarded this idea: “To say that mathematics is a language is just a metaphoric use of the notion of language. […] It certainly doesn’t have the properties of human language. A human language is a natural phenomenon [while] mathematics is a human creation.”
And students know these facts. They understand that eyesight comes naturally, and while they may not have learned about universal grammar, they have a sense that language acquisition came easily to them. They didn’t even have to think about it.
Metaphors such as these, even if presented with encouragement, are wrong and reinforced the belief that being a math person requires being born with an innate gift for the subject.
Practice makes proficient
Only practice and hard work will can translate this math teacher’s blackboard for students. (Photo from Wikimedia)
But if math is not hardwired into us, why do some people become math people while others perpetually flounder? According to Pinker, it’s the same reason some of us play Carnegie Hall while others don’t. Practice.
“Mastery of mathematics is deeply satisfying,” Pinker writes, “but it is a reward for hard work that is not itself always pleasurable. Without the esteem for hard-won mathematical skills that is common in other cultures, the mastery is unlikely to blossom.”
To promote this sense of hard work and esteem, Kimball and Smith argue that we need to change the way we teach math and how our culture views intelligence as a whole. Namely, we need to switch from fixed-mindset mathematicians to growth-mindset ones.
Put simply, a growth mindset sees skills and intelligence as something that can be developed. Failure, in this perspective, is a learning experience that allows for a reassessment before the next attempt. A fixed mindset, on the other hand, sees skills and intelligence as something you are more-or-less born with. Failure, here, is simply evidence of one’s own inaptitude.
Kimball and Smith cite the work of psychologists Lisa Blackwell, Kali Trzesniewski, and Carol Dweck to support their argument. Dweck, et al., set up an experiment where they taught students that intelligence was “highly malleable” and could be “developed by hard work.” The experiment’s control group was only taught how memory works.
The students who learned that intelligence was malleable through hard work received higher grades, and those who switched from a fixed-mindset to a growth one showed the most improvement. The control group showed no such improvement.
Kimball and Smith also note that many East Asian countries — the ones currently dominating in math performance scores — utilize the techniques of hard work and a growth mindset as part of their culture.
Quoting an analysis by Richard Nisbett’s, they point out that children in Japan go to school 60 more days a year than U.S. students, study more hours a day, and are culturally more accustom to criticism, leading them to be more persistent to correct failures.
“We see our country moving away from a culture of hard work toward a culture of belief in genetic determinism,” Kimball and Smith conclude. “In the debate between ‘nature vs. nurture,’ a critical third element — personal perseverance and effort — seems to have been sidelined. We want to bring it back, and we think that math is the best place to start.”
True, practice and a growth mindset won’t guarantee a teaching position in Harvard’s math department. If that’s your goal, you’ll need a healthy dose of raw intelligence and luck. But Kimball and Smith’s point isn’t that we can all become math geniuses.
Instead, by replacing the math person myth with an ethos of hard work and a growth mindset, we can teach children to achieve their personal best. For most students, this will mean reaching at least high school-level proficiency, but even if it doesn’t, it will help them see failure as a chance to improve, not a source of debilitating math anxiety.
Maybe we can’t all be math people, but we can all learn to love and appreciate the Queen of the Sciences in our lives.
(For the source of this article, and to watch a video relating to it, please visit: https://bigthink.com/mind-brain/bad-at-math-myth/)
Drones called in to save the Great Wall of China
Large sections of the Great Wall of China are in urgent need of preservation work, but hard to reach. So drones are coming to the rescue. | http://ow.ly/rwnm30mHdTO #Drones #UAV #Photography #Archaeology #GreatWall #China
Camera drones are not only getting better, they are also getting cheaper, giving more and more aspiring aerial photographers the tools to gather incredible imagery from above. All over the world, hobbyists and professionals are putting their aircraft into the sky to gain incredible new perspectives on the natural world. Here we take a look at some stunning examples taken from photo-sharing platform Dronestagram.
In the space of a few short years, drone photography has become hugely popular, meaning there are more eyes in the sky than ever before. These flying cameras can be positioned out over waterfalls, above forests and in the midst of wildlife to show us perspectives on the world that simply haven’t been seen before.
In the mix here we have all manner of natural phenomena, from flamingos taking flight, to majestic waterfalls in Laos, to frozen lakes in Siberia where cracks are beginning to appear. This particular photo reveals a rocky coastline in Portugal.
And this one shows a waterfall in El Salvador’s El Impossible National park. Dronestagram user “Champagneroads” believes she was the first person to fly over this incredible landmark with a drone.
To see the full selection of images, jump on into the gallery.
(For the source of this article, and to see many additional photos, please visit: https://newatlas.com/jaw-dropping-drone-photos-natural-world/57333/)
While many people enjoy dirt-biking, they often can’t afford the truck or trailer necessary to transport the things. That’s why Stanford University aerospace engineering grad Dak Steiert created the Comanche. It’s a gas or electric-powered recumbent trike that fits in the back of a hatchback or SUV.
Plans actually call for there to be four versions of the Comanche – gas and electric off-road models, along with gas and electric street-legal moped models. As compared to traditional motorbikes, all four are claimed to be not only more easily transported, but are also said to offer greater stability (there are a set of outrigger wheels in the back, to keep the trikes from tipping over) and better cargo-carrying capacity via an optional package that includes dual rear boxes and a rack.
The gas off-road model features a 6.5-hp engine that takes it to a top speed of 45 mph (72 km/h) although optional upgrades to beefier engines boost that figure, maxing out with a 450cc engine that delivers about 70 mph (112 km/h). The electric off-road version, on the other hand, has a 5-kilowatt motor powered by a 24-Ah battery pack. It also tops out at 45 mph, and has a claimed range of 70 miles (112 km) per 5 to 8-hour charge.
Both of the off-road models have 11 inches of rear suspension travel, with 8 inches of front suspension available as an upgrade. For really serious obstacle-climbing, there’s also a 14-inch independent front suspension option.
The gas moped model has a 50cc engine that puts out roughly 1.5 hp, while the electric moped has a 3-kilowatt motor and a 14-Ah battery pack, delivering a range of about 40 miles (64 km) per charge. In order to stay street-legal, both versions are limited to a top speed of approximately 20 to 25 mph (32 to 40 km/h). And no, they don’t have pedals.
Should you be interested, the Comanche is currently the subject of an Indiegogo campaign (see the link below). There are a number of packages available, with pledges for full vehicles starting at US$2,475 for the base gas off-road or moped models (planned retail $2,975), $4,275 for the base electric off-road (retail $4,950) and $3,650 for the electric moped (retail $4,175).
You can watch the trikes in action, in the following video.
(For the source of this article, and to watch a video, please visit: https://newatlas.com/comanche-gas-electric-recumbent-trike/57298/)
Termites were building these mounds when humans were building Egypt’s pyramids.
Termite mounds typically outlive the colonies that built them, so it was doubly astonishing when thousands of insects were recently discovered existing among tall, dirt monoliths discovered in northeastern Brazil. These elaborate mounds, described recently in Cell, were the initial surprise — until recently, they were hidden from view by thorny scrub forests. Now, it’s obvious that tens of millions of conical mounds cover this part of the world and have done so for thousands of years.
In the new study, an international team of scientists explains that the mounds cover a complex subterranean network — tunnels that allow termites, guided by pheromones, to move from mound to mound, exploiting a food supply of rotting, fallen leaves. Study co-author Roy Funch, Ph.D. of Universidade Estadual de Feira de Santana in Brazil describes the mounds as “the world’s most extensive bio-engineering effort by a single insect species.”
This massive array of termite mounds is shown from an aerial view in the video. There are approximately 200 million of these mounds, each about 2.5 meters tall and 9 meters across. The regularly spaced piles look like polka-dots from above and cover a region roughly the size of Great Britain.
The mounds themselves — examined by Funch and his colleagues through a combination of satellite surveys and on-land excavations — have been there for thousands of years. Soil sample analysis revealed that the oldest mounds were built about 3,820 years ago, meaning that termites began building these eusocial settlements about the same time as humans were building the Pyramids of Giza.
The working theory behind the mounds’ existence is that they are a byproduct of a single termite species’ effort to build a network of tunnels, which would bring them close to dead leaf dinners. As the termites built their tunnels, mounds of dirt accumulated. These dumps of dirt mark evenly spaced locations and create a spatial pattern not unlike Namibian fairy circles. The mounds do not contain any internal structure, just a central tunnel that descends into the earth and intersects with other underground tunnels and narrow galleries containing dead leaves or more termites.
Unlike other termite mounds, these haven’t revealed any nesting sites and do not appear to serve as a ventilation system. Mysteriously a queen chamber hasn’t been found either — and in turn, no queen. Termites exist as self-organized systems in which every insect is divided into one of three social castes: soldiers, workers, and winged termites that are there to reproduce. Termite queens lay about 20,000 eggs daily and can reach ages of up to 20 years.
But just because she hasn’t been found doesn’t mean she’s not there — after all, the scientists are working with a terrain the size of Michigan. A living colony in an ancient network will take time to examine, and it’s an opportunity that the scientists don’t take lightly. “It’s incredible,” says co-author Stephen Martin, Ph.D., “that, in this day and age, you can find an ‘unknown’ biological wonder of this sheer size and age still existing, with the occupants still present.”
(For the balance of this article, including the video, please visit: https://www.inverse.com/article/51029-termite-mound-brazil-discovered-video/)
Intriguing new research has revealed that people with a preference for drinking coffee over tea tend to display a genetic variant that signals a higher sensitivity to tasting bitterness in caffeine. This counter-intuitive finding suggests coffee drinkers develop a positive association with the bitterness of caffeine that reinforces their attraction to the beverage.
The study examined the genetic data of over 400,000 people, homing in on the association between three genes for bitter taste perception and a correlating preference for certain bitter-tasting beverages. The three bitter taste receptor genes studied were responsible for generating the bitter profiles in caffeine, quinine and propylthiouracil (PROP), a synthetic bitter profile similar to that tasted in cruciferous vegetables such as brussel sprouts.
The results of the study somewhat surprised the researchers, with people most sensitive to the bitter profile of caffeine reporting the most significant levels of coffee consumption.
“You’d expect that people who are particularly sensitive to the bitter taste of caffeine would drink less coffee,” says Marilyn Cornelis, senior author on the research. “The opposite results of our study suggest coffee consumers acquire a taste or an ability to detect caffeine due to the learned positive reinforcement (i.e. stimulation) elicited by caffeine.”
However, the results were flipped when the researchers examined subjects carrying the bitter taste receptors for quinine and PROP. This suggests those subjects most sensitive to an overall sense of bitterness ultimately preferred tea over coffee.
“Taste has been studied for a long time, but we don’t know the full mechanics of it,” says Cornelis, explaining the motivations behind the study. “Taste is one of the senses. We want to understand it from a biological standpoint.”
The study was published in the journal Scientific Reports.
Source: Northwestern University
(For similar interesting articles, please visit: https://newatlas.com/coffee-tea-bitter-taste-genes/57261/)
Grow bikes are nothing new in the children’s bicycle scene, however Monkeycycle is an extraordinarily modular new innovation designed to offer your child eight different configurations, morphing from a stroller for the nine-month-old, to a pedal-powered quad bike for a six-year-old, and a few configurations in between.
Kids grow out of stuff really fast and bicycles are no exception. We’ve seen several innovative grow bikes over the years, designed to effectively expand so parents don’t have to buy a new bike for their child every 12 months. The new Monkeycycle takes the idea of a grow bike to an impressive new level, with a clever design allowing a single bike to turn into eight different kits.
The first iteration for the Monkeycycle is its stroller formation. This is being offered as part of a stretch goal during the Kickstarter campaign so the company suggests it is still under development. The current stroller configuration outlined offers a locking brake for the rear axle, and a storage bag. This is claimed to still be six to eight months away from general release.
The next three iterations form the Monkeycycle’s basic kit. This comprises a simple two-wheeler, offering both a low-seat and a high-seat balance bike. The basic kit also comes with a pedal attachment for that key transition point where your child can start to learn to pedal.
The next kit up is the trike kit. This essentially adds a third wheel to the whole operation allowing the bike to be swiftly turned into a trike. The full kit offers a few extra pieces allowing for a pedal system to be added to the trike configurations. On top of this, the full kit allows for a tilting quad-bike configuration.
Monkeycycle is currently available for preorder on Kickstarter at US$249 for the basic kit and $349 for the full kit. Early bird prices are slightly cheaper, but have just about all sold out as the campaign has already surpassed its goal. The usual Kickstarter disclaimer applies here, as the company doesn’t have a notable background in crowdfunding although it claims to be relatively close to production with delivery scheduled for March 2019.
Take a look at the campaign video below.
(For the source of this article, plus a video of how it works, please visit: https://newatlas.com/monkeycycle-grow-bike-kickstarter/57245/)
Denmark’s e-bike maker Biomega has unveiled its first four-wheel electric vehicle – the Sin crossover utility vehicle. The concept brings to mind Renault’s Twizy, but has room for four, is designed as a car not a quadricycle and has a top speed of 130 km/h (80 mph).
In keeping with Biomega’s e-bike naming convention, the Sin concept has been named after a city that inspired some of the design elements, which in this case is Singapore.
“Biomega has always been about creating a paradigm shift in the way society imagines transportation,” said the company’s founder Jens Martin Skibsted. “We feel that we are in an extremely strong position to design an EV that represents the frontier of the new mobility. We are working on a new spectrum of vehicles where, for now, the EV is the largest and the bicycle is the most compact; making Sin another step in the natural progression of our ongoing battle against the combustion car.”
Pitched as an affordable and sustainable solution to modern urban mobility, the 950 kg (2,094 lb) vehicle sports a body shell fashioned from lightweight composites (including carbon fiber) and aluminum crossbeams with a one-piece transparent roof and windshield, a see-through front section where the grille sits on a traditional car and transparent driver and passenger doors – all to allow for optimum view of the road.
The majority of the Sin’s 20 kWh battery modules are housed in the floor of the vehicle. But 6 kWh worth of modular battery units to the rear can be removed and replaced while out and about, presumably at some sort of battery swap facility along the way – though it’s not clear at this point exactly how this will work.
Each wheel gets a 15 kW in-hub motor for 160 Nm of torque, and a zero to 100 km/h (0 – 62 mph) time of 13 seconds on the way to a top speed of 130 km/h. Biomega gives a range per charge figure of 160 km (100 mi).
There’s a distinctly less-is-more approach to the inside of the vehicle, with a rectangular steering “wheel” and tablet-like display, and mesh seats for the driver and three passengers. And not much else.
The production window for the Sin EV is somewhere between 2021 and 2023, with a price tag of €20,000 (about US$23,000). The brief video below has more.
(For the source of this article, and to see the video, please visit: https://newatlas.com/biomega-sin-electric-city-car/57151/)
First of all, just how does the original Plimp drone work?
Well, it’s basically a VTOL (vertical take-off and landing) blimp with two wings, each wing in turn equipped with an electric motor/propeller. When it’s taking off, landing or hovering in one place, the wings rotate so that the props are facing straight up – this lets it move vertically. Once it’s ready to head for its destination, though, the wings rotate so that the props face forward, allowing for fast and efficient fixed-wing flight.
Additionally, thanks to the buoyancy provided by its helium-filled envelope and the lift provided by its wings, it will reportedly glide gently down to the ground at a speed of 9 mph (14 km/h) if its motors give out.
Plans call for the Model J to have all of those same features, but it’ll be bigger. More precisely, it will measure 169 feet long (51.5 m), have a 61-ft wingspan (18.5 m) and sit 54 ft tall (16.5 m). Its gross weight will be 9,500 lb (4,309 kg) although the envelope will be lifting 5,564 lb of that (2,524 kg), reducing its ground weight to 3,936 lb (1,785 kg).
Capable of carrying ten people (eight passengers plus crew) or 2,000 lb of cargo (907 kg), it will use electric power for its vertical take-offs and landings, with a hybrid gas/electric system taking over for fixed-wing flight. That system should provide a range of 267 miles (430 km) at a speed of 86 mph (138 km/h), or 320 miles (515 km) at 63 mph (101 km/h) – those figures are for a fully-laden aircraft. Short sprints at 93 mph (150 km/h) will also be possible.
As an added bonus, unlike regular blimps that have to land at airfields where a ground crew secures them to a mast, the VTOL-capable Model J will conceivably be able to set down just about anywhere there’s room. And because it’s somewhat heavier than air, it will be less likely than a traditional blimp to drift away once it’s on the ground.
Buyers can expect to pay approximately four to six million US dollars for a Model J, paid at $1 million a year for four years, plus overages. If you’re OK with that price and really want a Model J, you can preorder one via the company link at the end of the article. Not unlike the case with a Kickstarter project, the funds will be used to finance production and development. Delivery is expected to take place in about four years.
“Since experimenting with helium balloons and model balsa gliders as a child in the early 70’s, I always conceived that there must be a certain streamlined way to retain a slow and safe descent speed and get vertical take-off and forward speeds through a rotational wing around the center of gravity/buoyancy of a buoyant hanging plane,” Egan Airships CEO James Egan tells us. “This is the expert design my quest ordered up.”
There’s more information in the video, which accompanies the original of this article.
Company website: Egan Airships
(For the balance of this article, and audio version, please visit: https://newatlas.com/plimp-model-j-airship/57154/)
After first spotting this crazy looking motorcycle-styled hoverbike in early 2017, we were skeptical the contraption would ever move beyond just an odd engineering curiosity. However, Russian company Hoversurf has just revealed its hoverbikes are now ready for production and preorders are open, with delivery scheduled for sometime in 2019.
Ever since the Scorpion hoverbike was revealed we seriously questioned its safety, with such a crazy close proximity between spinning blades and fleshy legs it seemed like a device only really suitable for “aspiring amputees“. Nevertheless, Hoversurf has rapidly moved from ambitious prototype to commercial aircraft, first revealing a deal to sell the aircraft to Dubai Police, and then more recently passing the US Federal Aviation Administration requirements to be classified as a legal ultralight vehicle.
The plan to classify the hoverbike as an ultralight vehicle resulted in some minor design tweaks to fulfill the legal requirements of the classification, but this final commercial iteration is still, at its core, the same crazy quadcopter hoverbike.
Its new carbon fiber frame drops the weight of the overall machine down to just 253 lb (114 kg), spot on the legal limit for FAA powered ultralights, and its maximum speed also tops our at 52 knots (60 mph or 96 km/h), again just under the legal maximum allowed by the FAA. Slipping into the FAA’s ultralight classification also allows the hoverbike to be operable with no pilot’s license.
Another new addition to this commercial iteration is a hybrid lithium-manganese-nickel battery, suggesting a flight time of between 10 and 25 minutes depending on the weather and pilot weight. There is also a remote-controlled drone mode that reportedly offers up to 40 minutes flight time.
So, if you are keen to grab a super expensive toy that looks a little dangerous, and can only really stay in the air for around 15 minutes at a time, then you can preorder a Hoverbike S3 2019 right now with a US$10,000 deposit. Full price is set at $150,000, and deliveries are slated to take place within two to six months from your time of reservation.
Take a look at the most recent Hoverbike design flying around in the video.
(For the original of this article, plus a video, please visit: https://newatlas.com/hoverbike-scorpion-preorders-on-sale/56988/)
It’s looking more and more like Harley’s only hope is to branch out into new segments in search of a replacement for its withering customer base, and the 2020 Livewire represents the storied company’s first big punch as it tries to fight its way into millennial relevancy. There are a few key things we still don’t know about this bike – namely power, torque, range, voltage and price. H-D’s EICMA reveal stayed silent on these very important points, but it did give us our first glimpse of what it’ll look like – and it’s not bad at all.
The design isn’t as clean as what we first saw in the Project Livewire prototype fleet that made its way around the world starting back in 2014. In particular, the area around the footpegs is a lot busier to look at, but the overall lines are nice, paying homage to Harley’s flat tracking heritage and doing a decent job of working around the big, unattractive battery box that necessarily sits as a giant design black hole just where the beautiful Harley V-twin would ordinarily take pride of place.
All we know about the electric motor is that it’s a permanent magnet design, it’s painted bright silver to make it a visual feature, and it’s located under the battery box to keep the weight of the bike low and central for sprightly handling. This should certainly out-handle most of Harley’s current portfolio, particularly given the “premium high-performance, fully adjustable Showa suspension” it’ll run at both ends.
The shock will be a balance-free rear cushion-lite monoshock, the forks will be big piston, separate function, and the setup will be tuned for “composed control in typical urban riding conditions.” The Brembo monoblock brakes and dual 300mm front discs might give Harley riders their first good reason to reach for the front brake lever in many moons. They’re ABS units, as well, and traction control will also be standard when the Livewire debuts.
There will be seven selectable riding modes – four pre-programmed and three available custom slots for riders to set up themselves – and the main interface will be a full color, tilt-adjustable TFT touchscreen with Bluetooth connectivity, as is the style of these times.
Like all electrics, it’ll happily slow-charge in the garage at home or work when plugged into a standard wall outlet. It’ll also support DC fast charging using the J1772 or CCS2 – IEC Type 2 connectors if you need to juice up faster.
To assuage any fears riders might have about gliding around on a silent motorcycle that can’t annoy passers-by, Harley has designed the Livewire motor “to produce a tone that increases in pitch and volume at speed.”
This idea excited me a little, because Harley has always paid attention to the sound of its bikes, going so far as to trademark the iconic “potato-potato-potato” sound of its engines at idle back in 1994. Electrics are much quieter than thumping v-twins, but there’s an opportunity for somebody to come out and start making electrics with an iconic sound that’s a bit more compelling than the turbine-like whine coming out of most I’ve ridden to date.
Unfortunately, there’s a video to put an end to this train of thought. You’ll find it at the bottom of the page. The Livewire sounds more or less exactly like an electric motorcycle. Which is fine.
That’s all we know at this stage, but pre-orders will open up with the release of more information in early 2019, and Harley says it expects to have a “full portfolio” of electrics on offer by 2022.
Will it get millennial buttocks onto Harleys as effectively as the skull-face bandannas and sly outlaw connotations did for baby boomers’ buns? Time will tell. But Harley’s going wide open throttle to take the lead on mass-market premium electric motorcycling. And that’s got to be good for progress.
There are plenty of pics in the gallery and the video highlight’s the new Harley sound.
(For the balance of this article, plus a video, please visit: https://newatlas.com/2020-harley-davidson-livewire/57148/)
Ducati has just debuted the most extreme petrol-powered supersport bike in history on the eve of EICMA in Milan. The new king of the Panigale range is a World Superbike homologation special with a set of specifications that should strike fear into the heart of any mortal. Oh, and it’s got wings, too.
The homologation special
World Superbike (WSBK) is a production-based race series, which pits hotted-up versions of the actual streetbikes you can go and buy against one another in competition – as opposed to MotoGP, which is more like Formula One, in that each race bike is essentially a prototype that was never built for road use.
In order to race a given bike in WSBK, it needs to meet an exhaustive list of homologation regulations to keep the playing field as level as possible. No titanium frames are allowed, for example, and ABS systems have to be removed from the race bikes.
But you also need to prove that the bike you’re entering for racing is actually a genuine production bike that customers can buy and ride on the road. They can’t cost any more than €40,000 to buy, and the manufacturer has to prove it has built at least 500 units by the end of the year following the homologation inspection date.
Thus, if you want to enter something really special, you need to make it available to the public as well as the race team, and this occasionally leads to some absolute lunatic-level machinery being built for the road.
The latest, and thus far, greatest example of the homologation special is next year’s Ducati Panigale V4R. The current Ducati superbike is a 1198cc V-Twin, taking advantage of the rules that allow twins to run a higher engine capacity than 4-cylinder engines. But the current model Panigale V4 streetbike has an 1103cc V4 motor, which is 103cc too big to race with as a 4-cylinder.
Hence the beast we see today, just unveiled in a spectacular event at the world’s biggest bike show: EICMA in Milan.
(For the balance of this article please visit: https://newatlas.com/2019-ducati-panigale-v4r-most-powerful-motorcycle/57092/)
One look at the all-new Moar e-bike and you can tell this isn’t your average pedelec. The bike greets the eye with fat tires, thickly sheathed wires and a battery compartment that shoots off the back of the seat post to double as a cargo rack. Looking more closely, its feature set includes full suspension, a 750-W electric drive and a powerful lighting system. This e-bike just packs “moar” than average, pardon the pun.
We’ve come to expect electric bikes in every shape and size imaginable, but we weren’t expecting an on/off-road, full-suspension electric folder with 26-in wheels, fat tires and a 750-watt powertrain. But that’s exactly what the Moar e-bike, which is currently the subject of a crowdfunding campaign, promises – a powerful, rugged two-wheeler built for everyone from trail-riding weekend warriors to daily city commuters.
When the non-electric fat bike first began its popularity rise from endurance competition workhorse to trendy piece of kit parked in front of every microbrewery around, it seemed to run almost exclusively without suspension – maybe something about big, spongy tires not needing to be sprung, or perhaps it was more that suspension makers weren’t building components for the fat market.
But over the past three years or so, notable manufacturers like Surly and Trek have started rolling out big-tired bikes with front and rear suspension, providing an option for those that want a little extra spring. As those full suspension fat bikes were gaining a little traction, electric bike companies like Bad and Rad started introducing (unsuspended) folding, electric fat bikes. In short, the fat tire trend has been finding its way into all shapes and forms of bike … or maybe it’s been all shapes, forms and components wrapping their way around those wide, bloated tires.
Moar has gone a step farther than the others in packing a fatty with the kitchen sink, combining all those different aspects into a single bike, then tacking on an impressive collection of tech and components. The company’s electrified full-suspension fat-tire folder features a heat-treated 6061 aluminum frame that folds in half via a hinge at the top tube. The distinctive welded rear cargo rack shoots upward to double as an easy-access compartment for the removable 48-V lithium-ion battery. Folding pedals further shrink the bike’s footprint during storage and transport.
Moar has developed three models around its folding frame, relying on two powertrain options: a 750-watt-rated mid-drive motor and a 500-watt-rated rear hub motor. Whichever motor you choose, a torque sensor or cadence sensor and motor controller regulate output to maintain the desired level of pedal-assist according to five rider-selectable modes. There’s also a thumb throttle for direct motor output.
Moar has electronically capped top speed at 20 mph (32 km/h) to meet regulations, but it says that the owner can easily unlock the fuller top speeds of 28 mph (45 km/h) for the 750-watt mid-motor and 25 mph (40 km/h) for the 500-watt rear hub motor. The battery has enough power for between 30 and 85 miles (48 and 137 km) of range, depending upon model/motor, pedal-assist mode selected and other factors.
Another interesting feature on the Moar bike is its integrated lighting system, which includes a 1,000-lumen LED dual-headlight system, LED taillight, turn signals and brake lights. The headlights include an “Angel Eye” surround that illuminates the road directly in front of the bike to make the rider more visible while the LED projectors throw light farther ahead, up to 30 feet (9.1 m).
Other features of interest include a backlit LCD on the handlebars, USB gadget charging, a horn, internally routed wiring and heavy sleeving where the wires are outside the frame, disc brakes, and Kenda 26 x 4-in fat tires.
Moar is currently at the prototype stage and trying to raise development funding on Indiegogo, where it’s offering all three of its electric bike models. The nine-speed performance flagship Rapt, featuring the 750-watt mid-drive with a 17-Ah/815-Wh Samsung li-ion battery for up to 85 miles (137 km) of range, slots in at a US$1,999. The eight-speed 24/7 ($1,199) and seven-speed Sun & Fun ($999) models both rely on the 500-watt rear motor with smaller batteries and range figures. Some of the other features vary by model, as well.
The campaign page linked below has a thorough rundown of Moar’s overarching design and all the features and individual models, so if you want more of the ins and outs, it’s worth a read.
(For the source of this, and similar articles, please visit: https://newatlas.com/moar-folding-electric-fat-bike/48043/)
There are many compelling reasons to use open source software, where the code behind an app is free for anyone to view or contribute to. There’s the obvious benefit that it’s free to use. It’s arguably more secure (thanks to the many eyes on the source code). It’s built solely for the benefit of users. And it may have ethical appeal over an app built by, say, a multinational corporation. This in mind, here are 10 of the best open source alternatives to the software we use on our computers every day.
1. Web browser: Firefox
Developed by the Mozilla Foundation, the Firefox web browser has been a mainstay of web users since its release in 2002.
Firefox puts privacy front and center. Its Private Browsing mode not only deletes passwords and cookies after a browsing session, it also detects and blocks tracking software now prevalent on the web.
It’s also highly customizable thanks to myriad extensions which can enhance bookmarking and password management, YouTube watching, online shopping and almost anything else you can think to do in a browser.
Its latest release, Firefox Quantum, purports to be twice as fast as before, with a memory footprint 30 percent lighter than Chrome. It’s also kinder to your laptop battery than Google’s heavyweight browser.
Firefox is available for Windows 7 or later, OS X and MacOS 10.9 or later, and Linux.
2. Email: Thunderbird
Also the work of the Mozilla Foundation, Thunderbird is to email clients as Firefox is to web browsers: a powerful open source alternative to the likes of Outlook and Apple Mail.
As well as email, Thunderbird can be used to read news and blogs thanks to its in-built RSS capabilities.
Like Firefox, Thunderbird can be heavily customized via its suite of add-ons which can add features like instant messaging, calendars or encryption, or simply enhance the look and feel of the app.
And again, just like Firefox, Thunderbird can be downloaded for Windows 7 or later, OS X and MacOS 10.9 or later, and Linux.
3. Instant messaging: Pidgin
Pidgin aims to be the free one-stop shop for all messaging needs, offering support for a number of messaging networks including AIM, Google Talk, ICQ, IRC, Bonjour and XMPP, with support for more via the use of plug-ins. (And forgive us if you’re spotting an open source theme, here.)
Sign in to more than one network and you see a unified contacts list so the networks in use are, to all intents and purposes, invisible.
Thanks to its global network of contributors, Pidgin has been translated into a vast number of languages, including Irish, Valencian-Catalan and Belarusian Latin.
The latest release has dropped support for MSN, Myspace and Yahoo chat. It’s supported on Windows and Linux.
4. Media player: VLC
The ultra-lean and fast VLC player from the VideoLAN Organization has been the go-to media player for open source users since 2001.
VLC plays a host of file types as well as supporting DVD, audio CD and VCD playback. MPEG-2, MPEG-4, H.264, MKV, WebM, WMV and MP3 are among the codecs supported, with more available thanks to (you guessed it) downloadable plug-ins, which can also be used to customize the appearance of the app.
VLC is available for Windows, MacOS and Linux. It’s also available for Android, iOS, Apple TV and a host of other operating systems.
5. Text editor: Notepad++
Sometimes a full-blown word processor is too much hassle or not fit for the job. Whether it’s jotting down some quick notes to writing reams of (presumably open source) code, a simple text editor may be all you need.
Built as an unofficial homage to Windows’ own barebones editor Notepad, Notepad++ adds a number of advanced features from tabbed documents, WYSIWYG editing and syntax highlighting (which is a must for software developers).
Alas, Notepad++ is only available for Windows.
6. Office suite: LibreOffice
But should you need a fully-fledged suite of office apps, the world of open source software has you covered in the shape of LibreOffice. It trumps the open source predecessor Open Office in its superior support for Microsoft Office file formats, including the ability to create and save more recent file types like DOCX and XLSX.
LibreOffice includes a word processor (called Writer, pictured here), spreadsheet software (Calc) and presentation software (Impress) as well as dedicated apps for diagrams and databases.
The software has come a long way over the years, so if you’ve tried open source office suites in the past and been put off by iffy formatting, modern day LibreOffice may be worth another look.
LibreOffice is available for the Windows, MacOS and Linux triumvirate.
7. Image editor: GIMP
GIMP, which stands for GNU Image Manipulation Program, is an open source alternative to Adobe Photoshop and a powerful tool for photographers, designers or artists needing powerful image creation or editing software. (GNU is a license which makes software freely available.)
It includes numerous powerful features pitched at photographers, including quick fixes for barreling and vignetting, retouching tools, black and white enhancements.
It’s an extremely powerful tool which offers a Python development platform to create editing automations. It’s available for Windows, MacOS and Linux.
8. Antivirus: ClamAV
Antivirus package ClamAV detects not only viruses, but also trojans and malware and keeps an eye on email, Office files, PDFs, software signatures and archive files such as Zip and RAR formats among others. It boasts access to a virus database which is updated several times each day.
A number of job-specific third-party tools have been built to work with ClamAV, including firewalls, proxy servers, file transfer tools and POP3 email servers.
ClamAV is available for Windows, Mac and Linux. It needs to be installed via a package or the source code, so it’s not as simple as downloading an installer, unfortunately.
9. Password storage: KeePass
Online security is a hotter topic than ever, and with the prevailing wisdom stating not to reuse passwords, keeping on top of all your logins is no easy feat. That’s were a password manager like LastPass, 1Password or the open source KeePass comes in.
It’s ultra-secure, using both the NSA-approved AES encryption standard and the Twofish algorithm co-designed by Bruce Schneier.
It’s not the prettiest, but KeePass is a lightweight yet powerful app worthy of consideration. It’s available for Windows, MacOS and Linux, and can be run from a portable USB stick.
10. Operating system: Ubuntu
It’s not for the faint of heart, but if you want to go fully open source, your best bet is to run an open source Linux distribution as an alternative to Windows or MacOS.
Perhaps the best-known and most user-friendly version of Linux is Ubuntu, which began life as an offshoot of the Linux distro Debian in 2004. It comes with the afore-mentioned Firefox, Thunderbird and LibreOffice pre-installed.
Unlike other Linux distros, software is easily installed by virtue of Ubuntu Software, essentially a built-in software store (with many of its wares available for free).
Though there’s never been an easier time to adopt Linux, caution is nevertheless advised. Replacing your currently-installed operating system straight off the bat isn’t advised. A dual-OS setup is a good way to test the waters.
(Source of this, and many other excellent articles: https://newatlas.com/best-open-source-apps/56366/)
The ALLight guys didn’t manage to get their self-leveling motorcycle headlight bulb over the line in their first crowdfunding attempt, but they’re back, and this time it looks like it’s going to happen. It’s a simple gadget that replaces your stock headlight bulb with one that stays level in corners.
Many times now, I’ve railed in these hallowed Web pages about how crappy the average motorcycle headlight is. When you lean over to go around a corner with a fixed headlight, you basically plunge the bit of road you’re riding toward into darkness.
These days, the vast majority of full-size motorcycles come with all sorts of fancy safety gear, such as traction control and lean angle-sensitive ABS. Blind spot warnings are on their way, and even side thrusters to push back against any sideways loss of traction. But there are still only one or two bikes on the market whose headlights can look around corners. It’s a joke.
Enter the aftermarket. ALLight aims to be the simplest possible solution to this problem. Pull out your current H4 globe, plug in the ALLight H4, and off you go. The process is a little more fiddly for H7 and H11 globes, but not much.
ALLight replaces your terrible standard globes with extra-bright LED projectors, including low and high beams, which are mounted on small brushless gimbal motors, and equipped with inertial measurement gear to work out when the bike is leaning over. When you lean the bike, the headlight stays level, and you can see where you’re going instead of making every sharp turn a leap of faith.
Each one is yours for US$140 at the moment on Indiegogo, with a retail price of US$220 looming after crowdfunding. As a motorcycle accessory of such utility, that’s not a bad price at all. It’s certainly a ton cheaper than something like the J.W. Speaker Adaptive Headlight, plus relevant to a far wider selection of bikes, and we would expect it to be even more effective, too. Beyond that, your next option is to go buy yourself a BMW K1600GT, which has this kind of tech built in.
If ALLight nails this project, it’s got a chance to become an absolute must-have accessory in my books. If all goes to plan, backers will receive their Retrofit Projector Bulbs from January 2019. Fingers crossed!
(Check out the video at: https://newatlas.com/allight-self-leveling-motorcycle-headlight/56162/)
(Source: ALLight Indiegogo via: https://newatlas.com/allight-self-leveling-motorcycle-headlight/56162/)
Bitcoin Mining on the Blockchain | by Flickr user Descryptive, Creative Commons
Cryptocurrencies have taken the world by storm. Between January 2017 and December 2017, the price of Bitcoin rose by over 2,000%—from $953 to $20,089.
Right now, the market cap of Bitcoin alone is over $120 billion. However, the most exciting part of blockchain technology isn’t Bitcoin rather, the way it can be applied to change the world we live in.
Useful crypto properties
There are a number of reasons that blockchain technology is playing an increasing role in our society. Perhaps the most obvious benefit of the blockchain and the core concept behind it is the fact that it is decentralized which means that there is no requirement for an intermediary or a third party to validate transactions. Instead, they can be carried out automatically using a consensus mechanism.
Because no third-party is required to validate transactions, this massively reduces overhead costs, making blockchain models cheaper and more efficient. In addition, blockchain is immutable, meaning that once data has been entered into it, it’s almost impossible to edit, which is a big advantage and increases people’s trust in the system.
Finally, one of the most vital properties of blockchain is its extremely high level of security. All transactions on the blockchain are cryptographically secured, making it extremely difficult for hackers to break into them.
Current barriers to crypto mass adoption
Despite these benefits, there are still a number of problems with blockchain that have yet to be solved which are preventing crypto from becoming mainstream. To help it along, we need to look for solutions to these issues.
Over the past couple of years, the price of cryptocurrencies has varied massively. In some cases, cryptocurrencies have lost as much as 50% of their value within a matter of days.
For instance, PayPal was one of the first platforms to accept cryptocurrencies in 2014. However, CFO, John Rainey, has stated that the volatility of crypto is one of the major things that keeps merchants from using them.
In an interview, he said, “If you’re a merchant and you have, let’s say, a 10 percent margin on a product that you sell and you accept Bitcoin, for example, and the very next day it moves 15 percent, you’re now underwater on that transaction… You could have something that appeals to consumers, but if merchants don’t accept it, it’s of little value. Right now, we don’t see a lot of interest from our merchants.”
As the value of cryptocurrencies has risen, so have the number of hackers targeting the most popular crypto exchanges and startups. Because of this, many exchanges have significantly increased their security precautions in order to protect their users. The downside of this is that the increased security has made it all too easy for investors to get locked out of their accounts.
The blockchain tracking company, Chainalysis, have estimated that over 3 million Bitcoins have been lost so far. Since the supply of Bitcoin is finite, this means that over 14% of all the bitcoins that will ever be created are already gone.
Public interest in cryptocurrencies has risen so fast that legal authorities have been unable to keep up. Right now, most cryptocurrencies are not backed by any central government, so each country has wildly different standards and laws in regards to them.
Many people are hesitant to invest in crypto because they don’t want to risk investing and then having these standards change drastically or affecting them retroactively.
High barrier to entry
The process of investing in cryptocurrencies can seem complicated – especially for people who have never done such a thing before. Many people simply don’t know where to start, and the idea of keeping track of all of their different accounts over a large number of different websites can seem intimidating.
One of the biggest issues by far with cryptocurrencies right now is the liquidity problem.
Liquidity is a required element for any market. A lack of liquidity signifies a lack of control, and many people don’t want to risk that they won’t be able to cash out immediately if something were you go wrong – an issue that several crypto exchanges, including the likes of Bitfinex, have already experienced.
Crypto companies breaking down these barriers
There are an increasing number of companies trying to overcome the current barriers of crypto and encouraging their adoption by the mainstream population.
Elephant is one company reaching to bridge the gap between virtual and physical boundaries in order to solve the liquidity challenge by introducing emerging blockchain applications to secondary markets. The platform is designed to appeal to investors – both experienced and new – who want a more stable investment that is tied to ‘real’ assets.
The platform lowers the barrier to entry for both buyers and sellers and opens the door to investments in shares of the world’s most important and interesting pre-IPO private companies, including the likes of BlaBlaCar and IronSource. So far, they have shares of over 20 high-profile pre-IPO companies worth a combined total of over $70 million for sale on the platform and have already amassed over 2,000 registered investors.
Blox is another company trying to simplify the process of investing in cryptocurrencies and making them more accessible and less intimidating for newbie investors.
Essentially, it is a completely free blockchain and crypto portfolio asset management platform that syncs all of wallets and exchanges into a single account. Using their own integrated native token, known as CDT, which users can earn by using Blox to track their portfolio, they can then either trade in tokens or use them to access premium features.
Crypto could be closer to the mainstream than we think
Right now, it might feel like we’re a long way off from a world where crypto is mainstream.
However, the industry has come a long way within the past two years alone. With more and more companies working on solutions to solve some of crypto’s biggest problems and making it more practical for real-world application, it could be closer than we’ve been led to believe.
There have even been rumors that big companies like Amazon are planning on jumping onto the crypto bandwagon. The retail giant has released no official statements on the topic, but its recent purchases of domain names including AmazonEthereum.com, AmazonCryptocurrency.com, and AmazonCryptocurrencies.com, suggest that it could be gearing up to become more involved in this growing industry.
Amazon is also pushing its ‘Blockchain on AWS’ platform that provides users with the resources they need to experiment with blockchain networks and deploy solutions. Qtum is an example of one blockchain platform that has recently become available through Amazon Web Services (AWS). Qtum is a decentralized, open source smart contracts platform that aims to completely revolutionize the way that smart contracts are viewed, developed, and used.
This launch will enable AWS users to access the platform and use it to develop and launch their own smart contracts by using Amazon Machine Image (AMI), without having to go outside of the platform.
Having Qtum available on the Amazon platform has already served as a huge boost for the QTUM cryptocurrency. And this is just the beginning. Over the next few years, it’s likely that Amazon will become increasingly interested in the potential of the blockchain.
Who knows…within a few years, buying a loaf of bread with Bitcoin could be the new norm.
(Source of this article, and to watch videos relating to Bitcoin visit: https://bigthink.com/reuben-jackson/bitcoin-is-closer-to-breaking-into-the-mainstream-than-ever-before/)
For centuries, various cultures have used clay as a remedy for infections. Now, scientists from Arizona State University (ASU) and the Mayo Clinic have determined that blue clay in particular may indeed be effective at treating infected wounds.
The study builds on previous ASU research, which indicated that the chemically-reduced iron and aluminum in blue clay from Oregon was capable of killing free-floating bacteria. In the new study, a solution containing the clay was also shown to be effective when used on biofilms made up of harmful bacteria such as Escherichia coli and Staphylococcus aureus.
Basically self-supporting colonies of bacteria, such biofilms are present in about two thirds of infected wounds seen by physicians. Because they take the form of a coating that protects the microbes within, they’re often resistant to antibiotics.
You may think that drinking one or two alcoholic beverages per day isn’t so bad. You might even believe moderate drinking is healthy—after all, it seems like every few months there’s a new study in the news linking alcohol consumption to a healthier heart, longer lifespan and decreased risk of diseases like diabetes.
But forget all that for now. A new study on global alcohol consumption, said to be the largest and most detailed of its kind, says the “safest level of drinking is none.”
Alcohol abstinence is “in conflict with most health guidelines, which espouse health benefits associated with consuming up to two drinks per day,” the study authors wrote. “Alcohol use contributes to health loss from many causes and exacts its toll across the lifespan, particularly among men.”
The study, published in The Lancet, used global data from the Global Burden of Disease report to analyze the effects that alcohol consumption had on 23 health conditions and alcohol-related risks among people ages 15 to 95 in 195 countries between 1990 and 2016.
The data showed:
- Alcohol led to 2.8 million deaths in 2016
- Alcohol was the leading risk factor in premature deaths in 2016, accounting for one in 10 deaths
- One-third of people worldwide drink regularly (25% of women, 39% of men)
- The global average number of daily drinks is 1.7 for men and 0.7 for women
The top 10 heaviest-drinking countries are all in Europe, with Romania leading the pack at an average 8.2 daily drinks among all men, and an astounding 12 drinks per day among men ages 45 to 59. The researchers defined a standard drink as one that contains 10 grams of alcohol, which is equivalent to a 12-ounce beer that’s 3.5 percent alcohol by volume.
Globally, the most common causes of alcohol-related death among those ages 15 to 49 were road injuries, self-harm and tuberculosis. For people ages 50 and up, it was cancer.
“Alcohol poses dire ramifications for future population health in the absence of policy action today. Our results indicate that alcohol use and its harmful effects on health could become a growing challenge as countries become more developed, and enacting or maintaining strong alcohol control policies will be vital,” Emmanuela Gakidou, the report’s senior author, told The Guardian.
“Worldwide we need to revisit alcohol control policies and health programmes, and to consider recommendations for abstaining from alcohol. These include excise taxes on alcohol, controlling the physical availability of alcohol and the hours of sale, and controlling alcohol advertising. Any of these policy actions would contribute to reductions in population-level consumption, a vital step toward decreasing the health loss associated with alcohol use.”
(For the balance of this article see: https://bigthink.com/stephen-johnson/no-amount-of-alcohol-is-safe-warns-new-global-study/)
In 1973, a computer program was developed at MIT to model global sustainability. Instead, it predicted that by 2040 our civilization would end. While many in history have made apocalyptic predictions that have so far failed to materialize, what the computer envisioned in the 1970s has by and large been coming true. Could the machine be right?
Why the program was created
The prediction, which recently re-appeared in Australian media, was made by a program dubbed World One. It was originally created by the computer pioneer Jay Forrester, who was commissioned by the Club of Rome to model how well the world could sustain its growth. The Club of Rome is an organization comprised of thinkers, former world heads of states, scientists, and UN bureaucrats with the mission to “promote understanding of the global challenges facing humanity and to propose solutions through scientific analysis, communication, and advocacy.”
What World One showed was that by 2040 there would be a global collapse if the expansion of the population and industry was to continue at the current levels.
As reported by the Australian broadcaster ABC, the model’s calculations took into account trends in pollution levels, population growth, the amount of natural resources and the overall quality of life on Earth. The model’s predictions for the worsening quality of life and the dwindling natural resources have so far been unnervingly on target.
In fact, 2020 is the first milestone envisioned by World One. That’s when the quality of life is supposed to drop dramatically. The broadcaster presented this scenario that will lead to the demise of large numbers of people:
“At around 2020, the condition of the planet becomes highly critical. If we do nothing about it, the quality of life goes down to zero. Pollution becomes so seriously it will start to kill people, which in turn will cause the population to diminish, lower than it was in the 1900. At this stage, around 2040 to 2050, civilised life as we know it on this planet will cease to exist.”
Alexander King, the then-leader of the Club of Rome, evaluated the program’s results to also mean that nation-states will lose their sovereignty, forecasting a New World Order with corporations managing everything.
“Sovereignty of nations is no longer absolute,” King told ABC. “There is a gradual diminishing of sovereignty, little bit by little bit. Even in the big nations, this will happen.”
How did the program work?
World One, the computer program, looked at the world as one system. The report called it “an electronic guided tour of our behavior since 1900 and where that behavior will lead us.” The program produced graphs that showed what would happen to the planet decades into the future. It plotted statistics and forecasts for such variables as population, quality of life, the supply of natural resources, pollution, and more. Following the trend lines, one could see where the crises might take place.
Can we stave off disaster?
As one measure to prevent catastrophe, the Club of Rome predicted some nations like the U.S. would have to cut back on their appetites for gobbling up the world’s resources. It hoped that in the future world, prestige would stem from “low consumption”—one fact that has so far not materialized. Currently, nine in ten people around the world breathe air that has high levels of pollution, according to data from the World Health Organization (WHO). The agency estimates that 7 million deaths each year can be attributed to pollution.
Here, Parag Khanna gets into the specifics of what the world may be like in the near future, if we don’t change course:
(Source, and to watch the video, please visit: https://bigthink.com/paul-ratner/in-1973-an-mit-computer-predicted-the-end-of-civilization-so-far-its-on-target/)
With space at a serious premium in many cities, some think that downsizing may be the answer to housing growing populations. Few homes come much smaller than the Tikku (which is Finnish for Stick), by architect Marco Casagrande (ironic name ¿no?). It has a footprint of just 2.5 x 5 m (8.2 x 16.4 ft), making it roughly the size of a standard car parking space.
The Tikku was recently built for Helsinki Design Week 2017 and has a total floorspace of 37.5 sq m (403 sq ft), split over three floors. The prototype model shown is divided into a work area on the first floor, a bedroom upstairs, and a small greenhouse/living space on the top floor.
It includes a dry toilet and electricity comes from solar power, but there’s no running water or kitchen. The idea is that thanks to its location in a city, the occupant should have easy access to water and food and whatever else they need.
However, Casagrande has bigger plans for the Tikku and envisions it also serving as an office, shop, workshop, hotel, and more, swapping out the interior and amenities to suit. He’s already started selling units and the starting price for a basic model comes in at €35,000 (US$41,500), not including transportation costs (nor of course some land to put it on).
Casagrande reports that it can be built within a night and that its CLT (cross-laminated timber) construction also means that no insulation is required, even during a Finnish winter.
“CLT is five times lighter that reinforced concrete,” says Casagrande. “With normal streets Tikku does not require any foundation, it will just simply stand on the street. There is a sand-box in bottom balancing the building. 10 cm [4 in] CLT is plenty for the structure and 20 cm [8 in] CLT is sufficient even for cold winters. No added insulation is needed.”
The Tikku isn’t the first parking space-sized home we’ve seen but seems a bit more practical than the SCADpad, even if it isn’t for everyone.
(Source: Casagrande Laboratory. For additional photos please visit: https://newatlas.com/casagrande-laboratory-tikku-micro-house/51728/)
Sitting in middle of southern Pacific Ocean around 5,000 km, (3,100 mi) from the nearest major population center, you might think that the uninhabited Henderson Island would appear relatively untouched. It is, after all, only visited by humans every five to ten years for research. The latest scientists to set foot on the remote coral atoll found a nasty surprise, however, discovering the highest density of plastic waste reported anywhere on the planet.
The amount of plastic waste washing around in the ocean is a huge problem, one that the Ocean Cleanup Project hopes to help solve when it tackles the Great Pacific Garbage Patch next year. The world produces more than 300 million tons of plastic each year, according to Jennifer Lavers, a research scientist at the University of Tasmania’s Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies, much of which is never recycled and ends up bobbing about in the ocean instead.
Lavers led a research team to Henderson Island to find its beaches awash with vast amounts of trash. Counting the rubbish, the team calculated a concentration of 671 items per square meter (10 sq ft), the highest density ever recorded, which equates to an estimated 37.7 million pieces spread over the whole island.
“Based on our sampling at five sites we estimated that more than 17 tons of plastic debris has been deposited on the island, with more than 3,570 new pieces of litter washing up each day on one beach alone,” Lavers says. “It’s likely that our data actually underestimates the true amount of debris on Henderson Island as we were only able to sample pieces bigger than two millimeters down to a depth of 10 centimeters (0.08 and 4 in), and we were unable to sample along cliffs and rocky coastline.”
The scientists say that the island’s location close to the center of the ocean current known as the South Pacific Gyre is what places it in harm’s way, catching debris that floats over from South America or pieces of plastic trash left behind by fishing boats.
“What’s happened on Henderson Island shows there’s no escaping plastic pollution even in the most distant parts of our oceans,” Lavers says. “Far from being the pristine ‘deserted island’ that people might imagine of such a remote place, Henderson Island is a shocking but typical example of how plastic debris is affecting the environment on a global scale.”
The team’s research was published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, while the video below provides a snapshot of the damage.
(Source: University of Tasmania)
(To see the video visit: https://newatlas.com/highest-density-plastic-waste-island/49550/)
Cheap, durable and multifunctional, plastic is one of humanity’s most successful inventions. From the 1950s to 2015, we’ve produced 8.3 billion metric tons of the stuff. By now, it’s everywhere. It’s also non-biodegradable. And that’s devastating the environment. Only 9% of all plastic waste has been recycled, and another 12% has been incinerated. That means that almost 80%—nearly 6.3 billion tons—has turned into waste with no half-life to speak of: condemned to an eternity as landfill, litter or ocean-clogging junk.
Every year, plastic kills around 1 million seabirds, 100,000 sea mammals and inestimable numbers of fish. The volume of plastic trash in the world’s oceans is currently estimated to be around 150 million tons. No less than eight million tons are added to that every year—that’s one truckload every minute. Between 0.5 and 2.75 million tons come from rivers alone.
Large rivers are particularly efficient conveyors of plastic waste to the oceans, especially in countries lacking a well-developed waste management infrastructure. Up to 95% of river-borne plastic comes from just 10 rivers, scientists at the Helmholtz Center for Environmental Research in Leipzig, Germany have found.
The scientists analysed data on both microplastic debris (<5mm) such as beads and fibres, as well as microplastic objects (plastic bottles, bags, etc.) from 79 sampling sites on 57 of the world’s largest rivers, singling out the 10 mapped out here as the biggest culprits, due to “mismanagement of plastic waste in their watersheds”.
As this map shows, eight of the rivers are in Asia.
Four are solely in China:
- The Yangtze, which flows into the East China Sea.
- The Hai He and the Yellow River, both debouching in the Yellow Sea.
- The Pearl River, going into the South China Sea.
Two others closely involve China:
- The Amur rises in Russia and flows into the Sea of Okhotsk, but for a large part of its course forms the border with China (where it’s called Heilong Jang).
- The Mekong rises in China, but touches or crosses Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam on its way to the South China Sea.
Two flow through the Indian subcontinent:
- The Indus, which rises in China and crosses India, but mainly runs through Pakistan, ending in the Arabian Sea.
- The Ganges, flowing through India and Bangladesh, into the Bay of Bengal.
The two non-Asian rivers are both in Africa:
- The Nile, with two sources in Ethiopia (Blue Nile) and Rwanda (White Nile) and flowing through Uganda, South Sudan, Sudan and Egypt towards the Mediterranean.
- The Niger, rising in Guinea and flowing through Mali, Niger, Benin and Nigeria into the Gulf of Guinea.
Not all of these rivers are equally guilty. As the graph below shows, the Yangtze is the main culprit, ejecting around 1.5 million tonnes of plastic into the East China Sea. That’s more than the other nine rivers combined.
While awareness of the issue is rising, plastic pollution itself is still on the increase as well. In 2016, 480 billion plastic bottles were sold globally. By 2021, that figure will be close to 540 billion. Fewer than half of that total is currently recycled.
If current trends continue, the amount of plastic dumped into the ocean will increase from one truckload every minute today to one every 15 seconds in 2050, by which time plastic waste will literally outweigh all the fish in the ocean.
However, as the scientists from Leipzig point out, quick fixes are possible. Focusing waste management efforts on just these 10 rivers could put a serious dent in the plastic pollution trend. Halving the discharge of plastic waste in Yangtze, Ganges, Niger and the other seven rivers listed above would reduce the global flow of river-borne plastic into the oceans by no less than 45%.
(Source of this article: https://bigthink.com/strange-maps/these-10-rivers-carry-95-of-all-plastic-into-the-ocean/)
The U.S. is Cow Country, and other lessons from this land use map
Yes, this is America. The borders are all new, but the areas are correct; this is a map of land use in the contiguous United States, each category corralled into a homogenous rectangle. As you can see, humans have a minority stake in the nation. The U.S. is Cow Country.
Of course, this is not what America really looks like. The 1.9 billion acres in the coterminous states are a coast-to-coast jumble of residential areas, industrial zones, farmlands and more. This map gives all that the Ursus Wehrli treatment.
Mr Wehrli is a Swiss artist with an obsessive-compulsive bent. He produces before-and-after images of, among other things: alphabet soup, alphabetized; a parking lot full of cars, rearranged according to color; or René Magritte’s famous It’s raining men painting (1), with the bowler-hatted gentlemen lined up in three size categories.
The results are strangely satisfying ‘tidied-up’ images, and so is this map, regimenting statistical data into coherent cartographic cohorts. It doesn’t even look too much out of order, given that most U.S. states are at least partially rectangular in shape anyway. The result: an illuminating overview of land management in the Lower 48.
The map is based on the six major land use (MLU) categories as defined by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, but also shows various subdivisions.
- 654 million acres (about 35% of the total)
Judging by land use, the U.S. is dominated by cattle. More than one-third of the area of the contiguous states is given up to pasture—more than any other land use type. Most of it is for cows, with much smaller areas nibbled by horses, and sheep/goats/other.
About a quarter of pastureland is federally administered, mainly in the western states.
Adding up pasture and cropland used to produce feed (124.7 million acres), cattle dominate 41% of all land in the contiguous U.S.
- 539 million acres (28.5%)
These are forested areas outside of parks and reserves. About a quarter of the contiguous states are covered in these unprotected wooded areas.
About 11 million acres of timber are harvested every year, but thanks to regrowth, U.S. timber stock grew by about 1% per annum from 2007 to 2012.
The largest private owner of timberlands in the U.S. is a company called Weyerhaeuser. It owns 12.4 million acres or 2.3% of all available timber. Put differently: that’s an area almost the size of West Virginia (or, on this map, a private fiefdom spanning the Arizona-New Mexico border).
- 391 million acres (21%)
More of it is used for livestock feed (127 million acres) than for human consumption (77 million acres).
Most of the land planted with food we eat is covered by wheat, followed by soybeans, peanuts and oilseeds.
More land is dedicated to sugarcane and sugarbeets and maple syrup than to vegetables.
More than a third of the entire corn crop, or around 38 million acres, is dedicated to ethanol, for bio-diesel.
Around 21.5 million acres are planted with wheat for export, 63 million acres are used for growing other grain and feed exports.
- 168 million acres (9%)
Most of this is nature reserves, either state or national parks (15 and 29 million acres, respectively), but most of all federal wilderness areas (64 million acres).
Military areas cover around 25 million acres. That’s about the size of Ohio.
Perhaps surprisingly, rural highways cover no less than 21 million acres. Farmsteads add up to 8 million acres, almost enough to cover New Hampshire.
Airports and railroads cover 3 million acres each, equal to the area of Connecticut (each) or Vermont (together).
- 69 million acres (3.6%)
Swamps, marshes, deserts, non-harvestable forests and generally any barren land of low economic value. Most of this category (about 50 million acres) is made up of rural residential lands.
- 69 million acres (3.6%)
About four in five Americans live in urban areas, which is about the size of the Northeast. Sounds like a good balance with nature. But urban areas have quadrupled in size since 1945, and are adding about a million acres—that’s four of the squares on this map—each year.
For reference, the map indicates the approximate outlines of state borders and, in thinner white lines, a grid of squares with an area of 250,000 acres each.
For instance, that’s the area covered by Christmas trees (conveniently corralled into one location on the coast of Georgia for this map).
Double that area is covered by tobacco plants (half a million acres), and double again by flowers (a million acres), both growing on the shores of North Carolina.
Double again: America’s One Giant Golf Course, taking up 2 million acres on South Carolina’s central coast.
One of the fastest-growing categories: land owned by the 100 largest private landowners. Was 28 million acres in 2008, is about 40 million acres now—slightly larger than the entire state of Florida.
Climate change threatens many facets of modern human life, from eroding coastlines, climbing temperatures, and ocean acidification. But these problems extend beyond our natural world — they affect our digital world as well.
“Our findings are clear,” Paul Barford, a computer science professor and the University of Wisconsin-Madison told Popular Mechanics. “A good deal of internet infrastructure will be underwater in the next 15 years.”
In a study, Barford and his team discovered that more than 4,000 miles of buried fiber optic cable may be underwater and 1,100 nodes may be surrounded by water in just 15 years. To put that in perspective, New York City, one of the most at-risk metropolitan areas, would lose nearly 20 percent of its metro conduit and 32 percent of its long-haul conduit to rising sea levels. That’s enough to cripple internet access in the area.
What We Could Lose
To come to this concerning conclusion, researchers compared two datasets. One was the Internet Atlas, a map charting the physical location of the internet. This map geocodes infrastructure from more than 1,500 internet service providers around the world.
The researchers focused on two kinds of infrastructure: buried conduit, which includes long-haul and metro fiber; and nodes, including landing points where deep sea transoceanic fiber comes ashore, data centers, colocation facilities, and points of presence that house servers, routers, and other hardware. On the outside, nodes can look like small huts and nondescript buildings, but on the inside they are the points where buried cables terminate.
The other piece of data was the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s projection of sea level rise inundation. NOAA’s data refashions the world and its coastlines 100 years in the future, drawing on published research to describe a range of best- and worst-case scenarios. The data they use predicted a best-case rise of one foot and a worst-case rise of eight feet. Barford and his team used a range between one foot and six feet.
What they found wasn’t good. In the near term, internet infrastructure would experience a “devastating impact.” That’s because nodes are often clustered at low-elevations around dense populations. In fact, the study found that most of the damage could occur within 15 years, regardless of the scenario.
(For the balance of this article please visit: https://www.popularmechanics.com/technology/infrastructure/a22454576/climate-change-internet-damage/)
The fact mercury makes up roughly 50 percent of the content of dental amalgam is a contentious subject for many, and a new study that found MRIs can release the toxic heavy metal from fillings is sure to give those in the anti-amalgam camp even more to chew on. But before you start digging all the fillings from your teeth with a chisel, it’s worth noting that this effect was only found to relate to new ultra-high-strength MRIs.
Most current MRI machines are rated as 1.5-T and 3-T, where the ‘T’ stands for Tesla, the unit of measurement used to describe the strength of an MRI’s magnet. Any mercury leakage as a result of exposure to a 1.5-T or 3-T MRI is minimal, however, there are new 7-T MRI machines capable of producing more detailed images whose effect on amalgam fillings has not been studied. Dr Selmi Yilmaz and Dr Mehmet Zahit Adişen set out to change that.
“In our study, we found very high values of mercury after ultra-high-field MRI,” Dr. Yilmaz says. “This is possibly caused by phase change in amalgam material or by formation of microcircuits, which leads to electrochemical corrosion, induced by the magnetic field.”
The researchers began with a collection of teeth, opened two-sided cavities in each and applied amalgam fillings to the cavities. After nine days, three groups of 20 randomly selected teeth were placed in a solution of artificial saliva. One group of teeth was then subjected to 20 minutes of exposure to a 1.5-T MRI, the second was exposed to a 7-T MRI, while the control group of teeth received no exposure.
The artificial saliva from each batch was then analyzed for mercury content and it was found that the 7-T group had approximately four times the mercury levels of the 1.5-T and control groups.
(For more information on this visit: https://newatlas.com/high-strength-mri-mercury-leakage-amalgam/55306/)
Flickr user: Amtec Staffing
Ties: they’re what the majority of the men in the western working world wear day in, day out, around their necks. Some wear them way too long. Others wear them comically short. Some have bows, some wear bolos. But one widely-circulating study is making one thing certain: they restrict circulation of blood to your brain.
The study, which appeared in the journal Neuroradiology, took place at the University Hospital Schleswig-Holstein in Germany with 30 participants, half of whom had the blood flow to their heads observed while wearing a tie, while the other half went tie-free. The ties actually squeezed the veins that allowed the blood to reach the brain. It cuts off circulation by 7.5%. You might not be acutely aware of this, but it’s a sizable percentage; enough to make a potentially fatal difference if you already have high blood pressure (I did some research on this: you’d have to have REALLY high blood pressure to have a tight tie be the catalyst for your demise).
Wearing a tie can also add unneeded pressure to your eyes, which could lead to an early onset of glaucoma. And if you’re still of the mindset that wearing a tie makes a difference in professionalism: according to a 2015 study, it only really makes a difference to the person wearing the tie.
We explain nothing.
The top frauds of 2017 [As reported by FTC.gov]
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March 1, 2018 by Monica Vaca, Associate Director, Division of Consumer Response and Operations
The numbers are in, the counts have been made, and today the FTC announced what we heard from you during 2017. Here are some highlights:
This year’s top fraud is again Imposter Scams, with nearly 350,000 reports. Nearly 1 in 5 people who reported an imposter scam lost money – a whopping $328 million lost to someone pretending to be a loved one in trouble, a government official, tech support, or someone else who’s not who they say they are, but who wants your money.
We heard from nearly 2.7 million people last year. There were fewer debt collection reports in 2017 (23% of all reports), but it’s still the top category by a wide margin, followed by identity theft (14%), which overtook imposter scams (13%) for the number two slot in 2017.
For everyone who reported identity theft, credit card fraud tops the list, and continues to grow. Reports of tax fraud are down 46%, but it was still reported by nearly 63,000 people.
Of the more than 1.1 million people who reported fraud, 21% told us they lost a total of more than $905 million. That’s an increase of $63 million from 2016.
People reported that scammers mostly contacted them by phone, and they mostly paid for frauds – once again – by wire transfer. But check out the $74 million in losses on credit cards, which are charges that could potentially be disputed and recovered, if done in time.
Median losses tell an interesting story: for all fraud reports in 2017, the median loss was $429. Compare that to a $500 median loss to imposters, a $720 median fraud loss to scams that come in by phone, a $1,710 median loss related to travel, vacations and timeshares. Among military consumers, median losses were higher than the general population — $619.
More younger people reported losing money to fraud than older people – but when people aged 70 and older had a loss, it was a much higher median loss than other groups.
And, based on reports per 100,000 population, the top states for fraud reports were Florida, Georgia and Nevada. For identity theft, it’s Michigan, Florida and California.
Have you spotted any scams? If so, tell the FTC – and then come back this time next year to hear what happened during 2018.
Tagged with: credit card, identity theft, imposter, military
Money & Credit
Santa Fe, NM – State Auditor Wayne Johnson [recently] released the final audit of a $10.5 million federally-funded project meant to bring broadband connectivity to communities across northern New Mexico. The audit found nearly $1,000,000 in expenses that can’t be accounted for, 12.12 miles of missing fiber optic cable worth nearly $200,000, and a lack of financial controls to ensure compliance with laws, regulations, policies, and grant agreements.
Johnson’s office continues to look for missing documentation and has served several subpoenas on contractors and vendors who received significant payments from the broadband project.
The entire audit can be found here: https://www.saonm.org/media/audits/821_North_Central_NM_Economic_Development_District_REDI_Net_March_2018.PDF
For more information contact: Enrique C Knell at 505-551-2407.