Raising boats out of the water on hydrofoils makes them much more comfortable and efficient – and this French design uses electric propulsion and an automatic self-stabilizing system to give you clean, quiet and sexy water transport.
Making its US debut in Miami this week, the Seabubbles Bubble Taxi is a five-seat design about the size of a family car, with a sleek shape reminiscent of a flying car from The Fifth Element.
The Bubble Taxi prototype runs two props on a 20-kilowatt (27 hp) electric drive system, and once it hits around 13 kmh (8 mph), its hydrofoils develop enough lift to make it rise up out of the water, allowing a top speed of 28 kmh (17 mph) as it cruises along about 40 cm (16 inches) above the water.
Getting the main hull out of the drink cuts drag by around 40 percent, helping squeeze extra range out of its 21.5-kilowatt-hour battery, which is good for up to two hours of use or 40 km (25 miles) between five-hour charges. Flying on hydrofoils also takes the craft up above a lot of surface choppiness, making for a smooth and comfortable ride.
Again, the numbers above are only for the prototypes – Seabubbles says its production machines will be faster, with bigger batteries, longer range and 35-minute fast charge times.
If it looks a bit unstable riding on its single, central front hydrofoil and two rear ones, fear not: the Bubble Taxi uses gyroscopic and altitude sensors to measure pitch and roll angles constantly, and the steering system is completely fly-by-wire, allowing the boat to auto-correct for tilt and stabilize itself as you drive.
Price is around US$200,000 according to TechCrunch – a figure that’ll look more attractive due to fuel and maintenance savings if you plan to put a lot of nautical miles on it. But its eye-catching, futuristic look as it glides silently across the water could easily make it a status item for the well-heeled.
A handful of private buyers are already paid up and waiting for their watercraft in the United States, and the company is also preparing to start production for private and business customers in Moscow, St. Petersburg, Rotterdam and Amsterdam. Check out a video below.
(For the source of this, and many other interesting articles, plus the above mentioned video and eight photos, please visit: https://newatlas.com/seabubbles-bubble-taxi-electric-hydrofoil/58553/)
It was back in 2013 that California chiropractor and triathlete Vincent Marcel took to Kickstarter, to finance production of his bizarre-looking but supposedly very comfortable Infinity Seat bicycle saddle. Well, it’s become a commercially-available product since then, and guess what? It works!
The Infinity Seat has actually been available for some time now, although the E2 model was just released this year. Designed in response to user requests, it’s 1.25 inches (32 mm) shorter than the standard version. Among other things, this allows road racers to more easily drop down onto the top tube when going downhill, maximizing their aerodynamics.
In general, though, the idea behind the Infinity Seat is that the rider’s sit bones and pubic bones are suspended in mid-air, with the fleshier sides of the buttocks absorbing the rider’s weight over a wider area. This is claimed to greatly reduce butt pain, along with genital numbness. In fact, in tests performed in Arizona, pressure mapping of the Infinity Seat as compared to some popular conventional saddles did apparently show a marked decrease in pressure points and friction temperature.
Because there’s not much to it, the seat is also quite light. The E2 tips the scales at 245 grams, and features a flexible polymer body, steel alloy rails, and neoprene closed-cell padding that’s hand-wrapped in Italian leather.
Given that the roads are still covered with snow and ice where I live, I tested the E2 by putting it on my road bike, then riding on a set of rollers. Perhaps more so than with other saddles, it’s very important that you get the angle, seatpost height and other factors just right. To that end, “Dr. Vince” actually offers to guide buyers through the setup process via a Skype chat. Given that most customers probably won’t bother with that, though, I decided that I should also just follow the provided instructions.
Upon first trying it out, I noticed that one really sits in the Infinity Seat, not on it. And it doesn’t feel like you’re sitting in nothing – your butt is still pressing down on an immovable object, so you are aware of the edges of the saddle. After several rides, though, I have to say that the thing really is comfortable. Because it isn’t easy to stand up while doing so, roller-riding does tend to lead to a lot of rear-end and “down there” discomfort, but that wasn’t a problem with the E2.
One thing that should be noted, however, is that the Infinity Seat isn’t ideal for mountain bikers. Because it’s a bit wider than a regular saddle, along with the fact that it sort of kicks up at the rear, all-terrain riders would likely have some difficulty sliding off the back to transfer their weight rearward on steep descents.
And yeah, it does look kinda weird. Depending on the buyer, that could either be a selling point or a detractor.
The Infinity Seat E2 is available via the company website (linked below), and is priced at US$297. Buyers can also go for the more general-use $297 E1X, or the fancier $397 E3.
Product page: Infinity Seat
(For the source of this, and many other interesting articles, please visit: https://newatlas.com/infinity-seat-review/58873/)
When launched in 2017, the KO1 monowheel scooter – a kind of cross between a Segway and a Solowheel – offered a range of 20 miles and a top speed of 20 mph. The KO1+ has a very similar look to the original, but is quite a different animal.
Kiwano’s latest monowheel features LG battery cells stowed away in the scooter’s handlebar stem for 25 miles (40 km) of range for every one hour on charge. The 1,000 watt hub motor tops out at just 12 mph (19 km/h), which is less than the original but should be zippy enough for most riders. It should be able to tackle 30 percent inclines though.
Constructed from carbon fiber, flexi poly-carbonate and zinc alloy for a premium feel, IP54 weather resistance and durability, the KO1+ rides on a chunky tire that’s ready for grass, sand, dirt or pavement, with shock suspension to smooth out any bumps along the way.
Jack Skopinski’s rivet-packing electric trikes and four-wheelers like to tilt. It’s become something of a signature for EV4 machines over the years. But now the Polish engineer has created an off-road electric trail hugger that doesn’t sport a tilting mechanism. The EV4 Mountain Cart is designed to allow disabled riders to cleanly and quietly zip down dirt tracks, up grassy hills and through forest trails.
Skopinski has retained the industrial aesthetic for the aviation-grade aluminum frame with welded steel swingarms and head-turning color schemes, so the new member of the EV4 family won’t look too out of place in an identity parade.
The Mountain Cart features two 1,000 W BLDC rear hub motors controlled by an electric throttle on the handlebar. Top speed is reported to be 40 km/h (25 mph), and there’s a 36 V/23 Ah battery pack under the front rack that offers a range per 3-4 hour charge of 50-80 km (30-50 mi).
Each of the four 20 inch wheels wrapped in 20×2.125 Kenda tires has hydraulic disc braking, and the 160 x 138 x 90 cm (63 x 54 x 35 in) EV4 Mountain Cart has four bicycle shocks to help smooth out the bumps. An LCD display allows user to keep tabs on remaining charge and track trip info.
The seat – with seatbelt – is adjustable for different sized riders, and the vehicle can accommodate a maximum rider and cargo weight of 130 kg (286.6 lb).
The EV4 Mountain Cart isn’t road legal though, so you’ll have to find a suitable adventure trail to take it for a spin. It’s available now, prices start at US$5,285. The video below shows the vehicle in action.
Product page: EV4 Mountain Cart
(For the source of this article, and to watch a video of it doing a “testing jump,” please visit: https://newatlas.com/ev4-mountain-cart-electric/58795/)
The cluster of elite car auctions associated with Rétromobile grew in strength yet again this year with official auction house Artcurial and the world’s largest collectible car auctioneer RM-Sotheby’s both achieving their highest totals ever in Paris. Bonhams’ annual total dropped slightly from previous years, but the overall result was an all-time high auction total besting US$90 million in sales.
The cluster of elite car auctions associated with Rétromobile grew in strength yet again this year with official auction house Artcurial and the world’s largest collectible car auctioneer RM-Sotheby’s both achieving their highest totals ever in Paris. Bonhams’ annual total dropped slightly from previous years, but the overall result was an all-time high auction total besting US$90 million in sales.
The foundation for the auctions, the audience attending Rétromobile, also grew again this year to an all-time high of 132,000 over the five days of the exhibition, besting the 121,884 visitor record set in 2015 when the Barnfind of the Century (the Baillon Collection) went on sale.
Perhaps the most telling statistic to emerge from the sales was from Artcurial, which noted that its $47.9 million revenues came from buyers in 20 different countries, with those buyers constituting 84 percent of the sale total.
Automobile auctions appear to have made the digital transition far better than most industries, and although the marketplace may no longer be the rampant bull market we saw a few short years ago, with youngtimer classics now very much in vogue thanks to changing demographics, the collectible car industry looks in better shape than ever.
Here’s a selection of the more interesting lots that sold in Paris.
$15,672 | €13,800 | 2018 Bugatti Type 35 Child’s Car
$45,078 | €39,795 | 1961 Renault 4CV R1062 Beach car
Though the Fiat Jolly is the established star in this genre of beach cars, with a record price of $170,500, that’s a lot of money for a car with a 500cc or 600cc twin-cylinder motor and not a lot of space. There were far fewer of these cars produced using a Renault 4CV base car, there’s more room, more power (750cc four cylinder engine) and a considerably more reasonable price tag. It will never have the cachet of a Fiat Jolly, which had a string of celebrity owners such as President Lyndon B. Johnson, Mae West, Aristotle Onassis, Yul Brynner, John Wayne, Grace Kelly, Henry Ford II, Gianni Agnelli, ad infinitum, but it is rarer and better so … it’s surprising that the price wasn’t more than this given the estimate of €45,000 to €65,000.
$135,024 | €119,200 | 1944 Volkswagen 166 “Schwimmwagen”
Given that the record price for a Volkswagen Schwimmwagen is $230,724 (€149,500) set by Bonhams in Monaco in 2008, this amphibious vehicle might have sold for a whole lot more. It is a very close relation to the Volkswagen Beetle, because it is derived from Porsche’s Type 60, and hence has a common ancestor with the Beetle and the WW2 German Army’s Kübelwagen. Schwimmwagens are rare because so very few survived the war, with other recent auction results including $138,712 (KR840,000) by RM-Sothebys in Denmark, and $141,743 (€110,000) by Pierre Bergé & Associés in Brussels in 2013.
$197,136 | €174,032 | 1908 Mercedes-Simplex 35 / 45HP Recreation
This replica nearly doubled its low estimate (€90,000 to €120,000) for very good reason.
At least four cars are regularly claimed to be the world’s first sportscar. In 2016, we considered the validity of those claims, added another four contenders, and chose a new winner – this car. Follow that link for the long story on the history of what was essentially the first modern motorcar. Its reliability, speed, lower center of gravity and better protection for the occupants made it a favorite among royalty and the aristocracy … and racers who used it to win races at all levels.
This isn’t an original, but an exact, atom-perfect replica created at enormous expense by the legendary Pursang company of Argentina.
At this price, it represents a fraction of the cost of a replica from Pursang, and a substantial discount on the most recent Mercedes Simplex prices ($2,805,000 and $1,072,500). Authentic everything, made the same way as the original, and offering an authentic experience in every respect.
$241,610 | €212,750 | 1939 BMW 327/328 Sports Cabriolet
Introduced in 1938, the 327 sports-tourer featured a 55-hp version of BMW’s 1,971cc pushrod six cylinder engine, though it could be ordered with a sporting 80-hp Type 328 engine. In 1939, Autocar (UK) magazine timed a 328-engined Type 327 Sports Cabriolet at 96.77 mph (156 km/h) at Brooklands, validating what enthusiasts already knew – it was a rocket ship. One of only 428 produced, this is such a car, with matching chassis and engine and recently restored.
$241,610 | €212,750 | 1934 Lagonda M45 T7 Tourer
The Lagonda M45 was based on the company’s proven 3-liter model but fitted with one of Henry Meadows’ powerful 4½-liter six-cylinder engines. The esteem the car was held in by those that know can be best illustrated by the people who purchased it, and a near identical car to this was purchased new by Sir Malcolm Campbell, then the world speed record holder. Campbell’s car sold in 2007 for £111,500 ($230,324), which speaks volumes for this car.
$244,709 | €216,030 | 1936 Talbot-Lago T120 by Graber
The story of this car is extraordinary, and the body was created by Herman Graber for Chassis No. 90110, until it came to light that the original bodywork for that chassis was one of the fabled Figoni and Falaschi “Goutte d’Eau” art deco masterpieces, and one of only two examples with fully enclosed front fenders.
Hence, the bodywork was removed and replaced with the original configuration bodywork of the Talbot-Lago T150 C SS “Tear Drop” by Figoni and Falaschi and the car sold at RM-Sotheby’s Villa Erba sale in 2017 for €3,360,000.
The bodywork that had been removed was mated with a T120 chassis and a 3.0-liter motor provided to the car that was sold in Paris on Friday night for €216,030. The 4.0 liter insignia was kept on the body in respect for what it once clothed. The car was sold at that price with receipts totaling €295,000, so the restoration was therefore subsidized and the car was free. What a bargain!
$300,380 | €264,500 | 1937 Alfa Romeo 6C-2300 Berlina by Stabilimenti Farina
This is a fascinating car with a storied history, beginning with its bespoke body created by Stabilimenti Farina, the family of Italian automotive coachbuilders where a young Battista “Pinin” Farina learned his craft, and which also schooled such names as Pietro Frua, Felice Mario Boano, Giovanni Michelotti, Franco Martinengo and Alfredo Vignale. Most importantly, this car is highly original, having been in the collection of noted Iranian collector Fuad Majzub for many decades and purchased from his estate in 1991 by the vendor.
$364,566 | €321,840 | 1937 Peugeot 402 DS Darl’Mat Sport Roadster
This car is a collaboration between Émile Darl’Mat and Georges Paulin, and is unquestionably one of most elegant French sports cars of the pre-war period. The first of this model was run at Montlhéry, where it averaged 139.3 km/h (86.5 mph) for 24 hours, increasing demand to such a degree that the small company decided to produce a limited run. The cars finished seventh, eighth and tenth outright in the 1937 24 Hours of Le Mans, and fifth outright and first in class in the 1938 24 Hours of Le Mans. Gorgeous, rare and fast, this car is equally at home contesting any concours d’elegance at the same time as being eligible for such motorsport celebrations as the Le Mans Classic.
$511,345 | €449,375 | 1956 Mercedes-Benz 300 Sc Coupé
Auction Description: RM-Sotheby’s
A rare and beautiful car that was hand-built in limited numbers during an era of mass production. Just 98 such cars were built and this fully-optioned matching-numbers example was the show car at the 1956 New York Motor Show.
$540,098 | €476,800 | 1954 Mercedes-Benz 300 S Convertible
A convertible version of the 1956 Mercedes-Benz 300 Sc Coupé which sold for $511,345 | €449,375 in this listing. For those with a sense of history, the mechanicals from this model were the basis of the famous 300 SL Gullwing and Roadster which rarely drop below seven figures these days.
$567,058 | €500,600 | 1937 Bugatti Type 57 Cabriolet by Graber
Renowned coachbuilder Herman Graber clothed nine Bugatti 57 cabriolets, and given their beauty, it isn’t surprising that they all still exist, closely held.
$894,609 | €787,750 | 1931 Bentley 8-Liter Sports Tourer
Auction Description: Bonhams
$966,127 | €852,900 | 1936 Bugatti 57 Altantic modifiée Erik Koux
There were four Bugatti Atlantics made and three survive. One of them won the Peninsula Classic Best-of-the-best award 12 months ago, and is conservatively estimated to be worth $40 million. Another is owned by Ralph Lauren and from time to time it appears at concours events. Last time out in 2013 it won the Concorso d’Elegenza Villa d’Este in 2013.
This is a replica, built from a genuine Bugatti Type 57 and it is sensational – read the auction description – in the flesh, it presents as worth far more than the price it fetched, which works out at a 98 percent discount on a real one, yet delivering exactly the same experience.
$1,107,156 | €977,400 | 1930 Alfa Romeo 6C 1750 Gran Sport Corsica
Auction Description: Artcurial
$1,305,998 | €1,150,000 | 1928 Bentley 6½-Liter
Four Light Weymann Fabric Sports Saloon
Auction Description: Bonhams
$1,371,298 | €1,207,500 | 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Gullwing
$1,795,748 | €1,581,250 | 1939 Mercedes-Benz 540 K
Auction Description: Bonhams
$2,588,730 | €2,275,000 2018 Bugatti Chiron
Auction Description: RM-Sotheby’s
$18,968,675 | €16,745,600 | 1939 Alfa Romeo 8C 2900 B Touring Berlinetta by Touring
In selling for $19 million to an American collector, this 1939 Alfa Romeo 8C 2900 B Touring Berlinetta became the third most expensive pre-war car ever to sell at auction, behind a 1939 Alfa Romeo 8C 2900B Lungo Spider by Touring that sold for $19,800,000 and Gary Cooper’s Duesenberg SSJ that sold for $22 million.
Having been in single family ownership for 43 years, this beautiful automobile has appreciated considerably in value since it was acquired for €10,000 in 1976.
(For the full article, plus all 73 photographs, please visit: https://newatlas.com/retromobile-collectible-car-auctions-2019/58424/)
Another flying car company is preparing to join the race to the skies, as Australia’s Macchina Volantis gears up to build a prototype of its road-drivable 5-seat electric aircraft. With VTOL capability, winged flight mode and a diesel range extender, this thing promises to fly at three times highway speed and offer some serious range.
“Serial problem fixer” Stephen Fries is as sick of traffic as the rest of us, and ready to start commuting in three-dimensional space. Unlike most of us, however, he’s not planning to wait for somebody else to make it happen. He believes that practical, road-drivable electric VTOL aircraft are possible today, using existing and proven technology, and he’s decided to prove it by building one.
On the road, it will be fairly limited, with a top speed governed to 60 km/h (37 mph). The design sees an enclosed trike with two wheels at the back and a driven, steerable wheel (or dual wheel) at the front with a modest 70 kilowatts (93 horsepower) of power to get it moving. It’s designed for the skyway, not the highway. In road mode, it’s compact enough to comfortably fit in a garage or single car parking space.
When it’s time to take off, its top wing will telescope out from its enclosures, and its bottom wings will fold down. There are ducted fans at each corner, each housing two 60-kilowatt (80 hp) electric motors with contra-rotating props. Covers on the lower wing slide back to reveal an extra two sets of ducted fans to give a total of 12 motors, enough to handle the high power load of vertical takeoff and landing in a 1,650 kg (3,638 lb) airframe about the weight of a decent sized family car. Each motor gets its own battery pack for redundancy.
Once you’re in the air, and you begin moving forward, the ducted fans will begin to tilt forward, and from an airspeed of 65 knots the wing fans will fold away behind their covers and the machine will become a high-efficiency winged aircraft. With a 100-liter (26.4 gallon) diesel fuel tank driving a range extending generator, Fries says you’re looking at an aircraft capable of 150-knot (278 kmh/173 mph) cruising speeds and a range in excess of 1,000 miles (1,600 km).
On top of the redundancy factor provided by the 12 separate motors, the aircraft will carry a ballistic parachute for emergency landings. And, much like the latest consumer camera drones, takeoff and landing will be highly automated push-button affairs leaving little to chance, and there will be the facility to plot a flight path and have the aircraft autopilot itself to the destination. Fries says it shouldn’t be looked at as an autonomous aircraft until it learns to handle all sorts of edge case scenarios – he’s only interested in building what can be achieved today without relying on future tech to fill any holes.
We sat down with Fries to discuss where Macchina Volantis is at, what makes them the right team to make this happen, and what the next steps will be. What follows is an edited transcript.
Loz: So have you ever built an aircraft before?
Fries: No, I haven’t! But I’m a serial problem solver. I get annoyed when problems can be fixed and nobody’s fixing them. And I’ve been around boats all my life. I’ve designed, built, sailed and raced internationally. I’ve built vacuum bag molds … I’ve been sailing since I was nine, built a new boat every winter for the first nine years of my sailing life. I started out with steamed plywood, moved onto foam sandwich, then kevlar foam, and just kept going and going. Made my own carbon masts and put them together.
I’m quite au fait with this. I designed it in a freeware piece of software from NASA, aerospace software, so that’s how I know it flies. About this time last year we gave it to an aerospace company in Perth, and they third-party accredited the entire design.
We know it can be done. The ducts are available, you can currently buy them. The electric motors, we know we can get them. The batteries are available, in the sizes we need them. Better and cheaper ones will probably be available by the time we build it, so we prefer not to nominate anything in particular at this time.
Loz: In terms of emergency failure, have you given much thought to the “death zone” problem when you’re flying under 100 feet? Ballistic parachutes don’t have time to open out and be effective under that sort of altitude.
Fries: The way I envisage this aircraft, as soon as it clears any obstacles it’ll start going forward. And it’ll fly forward at such a rate that we hope we’ll be in winged flight within 60 seconds. We’re saying 100 seconds for sure. Once you’re there you can perform a controlled glide down even if you lose all but two motors.
Obviously these are edge case scenarios, but I see these things as a hundred times safer than a regular light plane. Those don’t have ballistic parachutes at all, they don’t have transponders. They can only land on a runway doing 100-plus kilometers per hour.
So we should start out being somewhat safer than the average kit aeroplane or experimental aircraft that’s out there flying today. At the moment, anyone can design an experimental aircraft, build it and fly it. You can get an experimental pilot’s license for 40 hours of training.
Loz: Have you got one of those?
Fries: No, I haven’t. I’m a sailor, not a pilot. This will eventually be far in advance of anything like that. It’ll be fully tested, fully computed, we’ll have a full detailed design and a fluid dynamics design.
But we’re looking at putting it into the experimental plane arena to get it out there and get it seen by the public. We’ll make it available as a kit. You’d put it together in our factory, under our supervision. The rules in relation to experimental planes require that the owner builds 51 percent of the plane. That might be a way to get it out there, get it seen, get it flying before we get it approved by CASA or the FAA in the US.
As far as using them as an air taxi, well, until it’s certified, you can’t make money out of it. The owner has to pilot it, and you can’t charge a fee for carrying people around. There’s a tiny loophole in that for carrying equipment or cargo. So that’s a potential early commercial use case. We’ll have the option that the seats can be removed and you can carry 450kg (990 lb) of cargo in there instead.
Fries: Well, I can make that thing a two-seater, and I’d save barely 20 percent of the weight of the vehicle. Yet I’ve restricted myself to one pilot and one joyrider. The pilot will be there much longer than people think, too – it’s a five or ten year job before these aircraft become autonomous and pilotless. Some people are happy to wait around for five or ten years until that happens, but I want something now!
Roads take up roughly 15 percent of the land space. Go upwards, and you can use 100 percent of the air space. Put every car on the road up in the sky and it still won’t look busy or cause traffic jams. It has to come about. It will come about. And I want a pilot to be able to take three or four passengers.
Loz: OK, so anyone can fly a drone, they’re a piece of cake. They self-stabilize, most of it is done by the flight controller. But as you go to forward flight, you’re tilting props, generating wing lift, changing flight dynamics … Are you moving to a different control scheme? Will this be difficult to fly?
It’ll be exactly the same as a drone. It’ll be self-stabilizing. And the air speed over the wing, that’ll determine how fast the props spin. You won’t have to worry about that at all. You want to turn? Turn the steering wheel.
There’s no rudders or flaps. We’re relying on exactly what a drone does to turn a corner. All it does is power one fan up, tilt it and goes around. When it’s in full winged flight, we just power one side up or slow the other down.
Top speed is around 150 knots. Don’t forget, we’ve got two fans in each duct. We can drive it very differently to a regular aircraft. Each duct has two contra-rotating fans, and we can control the speed of each fan very precisely. So we can do a lot with that.
Takeoff will be fully automatic, nobody has to touch it. Same with landing, you’ll look at your screen, choose a landing point, and the system will check to make sure there’s no power lines or anything else in the way, and it’ll land it for you. That’s the beauty of these systems – with cars, because there’s so much traffic around, you need your autonomous software to be centimeter perfect. Up in the air, you can be 10 or 20 meter perfect and you’re still safe.
We’ll allow manual flight when you’re in the air if you want it. You might just choose a takeoff point and a landing point, but how you get there is your own business. You might want to fly along the coast.
There’s a whole lot of benefits to a ducted fan setup as opposed to exposed rotors. They can land a meter from a tree and not worry about it. It won’t hurt people. But most importantly, it creates 40 percent more power just by putting a fan inside a duct. And we’ve got two fans … the second fan doesn’t have 100 percent of the first fan’s power, it’s more like 50 percent.
Noise-wise, it just sounds like an electric motor. But that’s why we can only go 150 knots – if we pushed it to 180 knots the fan tips are going so fast, they’d go supersonic. We don’t want that squeal.
Loz: So what’s your timeline like?
Fries: It’s all totally dependent on funding. If we get some VC funding, we can go straight into the detailed design. Our software partner is the excellent Anushka Bandara at Elegant Media, who will handle the integration of the flight control and navigation systems. I’ve worked with him on two mobile app projects. We’ve found our people to do the ducts in America and Perth. Our electric motors are going to be designed in Germany. Aerodynamic design is probably going to be done in Adelaide, and probably wind tunnel testing here in Melbourne, either at RMIT or Monash University. We’ve found our builder, who can build these exotic composite products for us, he’s a boat builder up in New South Wales, and he’s used to doing one-offs at cost-effective rates.
It’ll be carbon with a titanium Nomex honeycomb core. It’s a honeycomb shape, like a sandwich, normally made out of paper or plastic, but we’ll use titanium for extra strength. It’s well proven in super yachts and motor yachts, things like that. We’ll use Kevlar on the inside to help make it puncture-proof.
So it’ll all be dependent on when the funds arrive. We believe we can do detailed design in six to nine months, and then build it in another 12 months.
And we’re not asking for a lot of money in this case. There are companies out there with $90 million worth of investment behind them that don’t even have a full-size prototype yet. We’re looking for 10 million dollars, US. A million to complete the design, and 9 million to build the prototype. We’re marketing it around the 350-400 grand US mark.
Loz: That sounds cheap for a flying five-seater!
We’ve got a full component list, and we’ve priced it. It’s just a little bit more than a Cessna – but it’s current technology. Those aircraft are 60 year old technology.
We see a lot of our market being in the United States, partially because of the much bigger population over there. But we want to build the prototype in Australia.
Loz: What issues do you see getting them road certified?
I’m glad you asked. The road certification will be harder than the flying certification at this point, because of the experimental category we can use to fly them initially. So going forward, one of the hardest parts will be the crash testing. We’ll have to prove the monocoque can take it.
Part of what we’re investigating right now is seeing what we can do to get it out there as a prototype, and maybe have some sort of road trial prior to crash testing.
If it ends up working better in America [due to looser road laws in the three-wheeler and motorcycle categories], we’ll take it over there if we have to. But we want to build it here. Australia has plenty of capability in building these sorts of one-offs cost-effectively at small volumes. This country’s skills in exotic constructions are second to none.
Loz: How do you expect to raise this kind of capital as somebody who’s never worked in aerospace before?
That’s why it can be so different! I spoke to a lot of aero folk early on, and they were so negative, it can’t be done. If you challenge an expert, it just doesn’t work if you’re trying to do something different. Experts are experts in their field, and they’ll try to protect their field. But we want to think outside of the field.
Being a yachtie and knowing aerodynamics extremely well, competing at international levels with sails, hulls and rigs I’ve built myself, I fully understand what’s required to get it done.
Having said that, I’d never do the final designs. I’m the project manager, and I’ve managed plenty of large projects before. $40 million dollar budgets, $20 million … they all require multi-talented teams. You bring them together all at once for a price, and for a time.
That’s where my skill is. Plus I have the initial ability to scope out the concept. But I’ll be relying on absolute experts to do the detailed design work, and managing the process with my team.
We look forward to following the progress of this project and wish Fries and his team the best of luck in securing funding.
Source: Macchina Volantis
(For the source of this, and many additional interesting articles, please visit: https://newatlas.com/macchina-volantis-flying-car/58659/)
Adventurer, environmental activist and “Dude Making a Difference” Rob Greenfield is also involved in the tiny house movement but feels that the rise in luxury models is missing the point. In a bid to prove that small living can be done on a modest budget, he recently built a tiny house for under $1,500 in Florida using mostly recycled materials.
“I often find tiny houses to be very inaccessible,” explains Greenfield on his blog. “At the festival I went to in Oregon there were plenty of houses in the $40,000-$80,000 range and even some as costly as $150,000. Don’t get me wrong, they were amazing tiny houses, but I know many people just find that idea to be totally absurd. There’s no way I could afford a tiny house that expensive, even if I wanted one, which I don’t. I love simple living, and living far more simply than most tiny house dwellers even.”
His tiny house measures just 100 sq ft (9.2 sq m) and was built using different recycled materials, such as pieces of fencing and plywood. The build was carried out with a lot of help from friends and only produced 30 lb (13 kg) of waste. There’s currently no insulation and Greenfield considered adding some or a wood-burning stove to keep the chill at bay, but says he’s been fine so far.
A good chunk of the snug interior is taken up by storage for Greenfield’s homegrown foods. A small desk is made from wood scraps and the floor is decked out in wood that was being thrown out from a house that flooded. The bed is made from more scrap wood.
Greenfield originally planned to live totally off-the-grid but it didn’t make sense to install solar power with the tiny amount of electricity he uses (the bill is roughly $100 per year), so he makes use of a hookup to power a deep chest freezer.
The kitchen is located outside in a little shelter made from leftover materials from the tiny house build. It has a small solar-powered light, propane camp stove, a solar oven, and a biogas stove. A fire pit is also nearby. The sink is fed by a rainwater collection system and the water is then reused for irrigation.
The toilet is also outside and is a composting system with two separate toilet seats, one for each type of waste. The resulting waste is then either diluted with water and poured onto plants, or composted for a year and used to grow more plants. The “toilet paper” is a mint leaf grown on the property, which Greenfield says is very soft. His shower is basically a bowl fed by rainwater, with burlap surrounding it for privacy.
As you’d probably guess, the $1,500 cost doesn’t include the purchase of any land and Greenfield has his tiny house installed in someone else’s garden in Orlando. Instead of paying rent, he helps out around the house and does garden work. Once he leaves in about two years, the owner will get to keep the tiny house.
Greenfield has a lot going on. He gives talks on sustainable living, and has also headed a campaign that strives to end food waste in the USA. Check out the video below to learn more on his tiny house and lifestyle.
Source: Rob Greenfield
(For the source of this article, and to view all 29 photos plus the video mentioned above, please visit: https://newatlas.com/1500-tiny-house-rob-greenfield/58665/)
Cryptocurrencies continue to surprise us with their behavior through the years. Amidst all the instability and unpredictability in terms of performance, trading, litigation, regulation, and taxation, miners and investors brave the odds and explore what these cryptocurrencies have to offer. Pessimists and optimists alike have much to say about the future of cryptocurrencies like bitcoin – such as bitcoin’s supposed nearing end because of the consistent drop in bitcoin price after reaching its peak. But it’s more viable to focus on observable trends in order to have an idea on what to expect as far as these cryptocurrencies are concerned. Here are some of them.The MarketThe word “bubble” is thrown around in the finance world, and if you’re wondering what it means, it is simply the cycle created by the fast escalation of asset prices followed by a contraction. The bubble deflates when investors cease to buy at elevated prices and massive sell-offs occur. As for bitcoin, yes it is a bubble, and it indeed popped. The market is expected to calm down a bit after the bubble and cryptocurrency trading will likely remain profitable.Cryptocurrency as PaymentRetailers are starting to accept cryptocurrency as payment. At this point in time, including cryptocurrency in the list of payment methods can potentially boost income, in the same way that establishments that accept credit cards do have a wider reach than those who do not. Now you can book flights, purchase household goods, get web domains, buy computer products, and so much more with bitcoin. As of December 2018, more travel services, web services, food, and general merchandise have started to accept bitcoin payments. Those with a Microsoft account, for example, have the “Redeem Bitcoin” option upon checkout and can add up to $100 at a time via Bitpay.CybersecurityIn recent years, crypto traders and holders have seen security threats such as phishing and mining malware. Cryptocurrencies, in theory, are secure; however, we expect that new crypto exchanges and platforms will bring about new cybersecurity threats and challenges.BlockchainThe blockchain industry has always been associated with cryptocurrency, and in 2019, it is expected to work on its image as an industry that has a lot more to offer. If the industry wants to operate on a larger scale, it needs to be communicated that the blockchain technology has a lot of uses that are unrelated to cryptocurrency.Taxation and Regulation2019 is set to be the year of more widespread, formal, and international crypto regulation. In cryptocurrency news this year, Malta became the first country to have a clear regulatory framework for cryptocurrencies. Countries such as Russia and India have also begun to draft national legislation for cryptocurrencies; and we expect other countries to follow suit – giving way for cryptocurrency to become more legitimate. Preventing money laundering, fraud, and terrorist funding is a prime motivation in putting these regulations in place. If cryptocurrencies are safely policed, more and more people will be confident to use and adopt them.Contact us at Hogan Injury for expert legal advice.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.
(For the source of this article please see https://www.hoganinjury.com/cryptocurrency-in-2019-things-to-expect/)
The world’s watersheds, mapped in gorgeous detail
Voro Motors – the firm responsible for last year’s Orca Mark I seated e-scooter – has been selling its eMove scooter series in Singapore, Malaysia and China over the last year or so, and is now making the Cruiser edition available in the US. So what makes this model stand out in an overcrowded e-scooter market? It has a powerful motor that peaks at 1,600 watts.
The powerful eMove Cruiser electric scooter features a 52 V/600 W brushless hub motor that’s reported to reach a peak of 1,600 W, and is capable of carrying two adults (max load capacity is 160 kg/352 lb). Voro told us that the eMove has a top speed of between 27 and 34 mph (43.5 – 54.7 km/h), though the product page mentions 37 mph, with a finger throttle used to increase speed.
Riders can expect up to 62 miles per 6-8 hour charge with the 30.5 Ah battery option, and the kickscooter folds down with one click to 124 x 25 x 35 cm (48.8 x 9.8 x 13.7 in) for transit. When unfolded for use, the adjustable handlebar can extend to a height of 118 cm (46.4 in) from the ground.
The wide 25 cm standing deck has integrated LED lights front and rear, as well as dedicated head and tail lighting a little further up the frame. There’s spring suspension to the front and air suspension at the rear, 10 inch pneumatic tires and disc brakes front and back plus electric braking.
The eMove Cruiser comes in four color options and all that extra power does come with a hefty price tag. The e-scooter costs US$1,299 for the 26 Ah battery model and $1,399 for the 30.5 Ah version.
Source: Voro Motors
(For the source of this, and many ofther interesting articles, please visit: https://newatlas.com/voro-motors-emove-cruiser/58227/)
Maybe math isn’t so hard after all.
By Peter Hess –
Scientists trained bees to do basic math, complicating what we know about brain size and brain power.
Honeybees may have sesame seed-sized brains, but they’re way smarter than scientists suspected. Stunning new research shows they can even do simple math, suggesting that our bigger brains aren’t necessarily better or especially unique.
In the paper, published Wednesday in Science Advances, researchers described how they used color-coded shapes to train 14 honeybees to do simple arithmetic, as the video details. When presented with a math problem and two possible solutions (one correct, one incorrect), these trained bees chose the correct option between 63.6 and 72.1 percent of the time — significantly more often than if they just chose at random.
This development calls the relationship between brain size and intelligence into further question, and it even makes scientists question whether math is really as “difficult” as we think.
“In the current study, the bees not only succeeded in performing these processing tasks but also had to perform the arithmetic operations in working memory,” write the study’s authors, led by Scarlett Howard, Ph.D., a postdoctoral researcher at the French National Center for Scientific Research who conducted the research as a Ph.D. student at RMIT University in Australia. Howard was also the first author of a 2018 study showing that honeybees grasp the abstract mathematical concept of zero.
Of course, these honeybees didn’t solve math problems like we do, with the questions written out in numerals with plus and minus symbols between them. Instead, they were taught to recognize colors as different operations — blue for addition and yellow for subtraction. Three blue shapes, for instance, meant the correct answer would be one greater — four. Three yellow shapes, meanwhile, meant the correct answer was one fewer — two.
The researchers write that these results are exciting because arithmetic is a complex cognitive process, requiring the bees to use both long-term memory to remember rules and short-term working memory to deal with the figures in front of them.
In a Y-shaped maze, the bees were rewarded with sugar water for choosing correctly and were punished with a bitter quinine solution for choosing incorrectly. Since bees naturally want to seek food, they kept returning to forage and learn. The scientists observed each bee do this 100 times, as each one continuously became more accurate.
Once they’d been trained, the bees were tested dozens more times, and in the end, they guessed correctly most of the time, regardless of whether they were adding or subtracting.
The researchers argue these results generally show the brain areas primates use for math — the posterior parietal cortex and the prefrontal cortex — are not necessary for bees. While math itself may not be crucial to bees’ survival, they write, the simultaneous use of long- and short-term memory has an evolutionary purpose when it comes to tasks like remembering the size, shape, and petal arrangement of flowers that are more nutritious.
“This important step in combining the arithmetic and symbolic learning abilities of an insect has identified numerous new areas for future research and also poses the question of whether these complex numeric understandings may be accessible to other species without large brains, such as the honeybee,” the authors write.
Based on the results of this study, they argue that neither language nor numerical abilities are required for an animal to learn to do math. Maybe, it suggests, humans aren’t so special after all.
Abstract: Many animals understand numbers at a basic level for use in essential tasks such as foraging, shoaling, and resource management. However, complex arithmetic operations, such as addition and subtraction, using symbols and/or labeling have only been demonstrated in a limited number of nonhuman vertebrates. We show that honeybees, with a miniature brain, can learn to use blue and yellow as symbolic representations for addition or subtraction. In a free-flying environment, individual bees used this information to solve unfamiliar problems involving adding or subtracting one element from a group of elements. This display of numerosity requires bees to acquire long-term rules and use short-term working memory. Given that honeybees and humans are separated by over 400 million years of evolution, our findings suggest that advanced numerical cognition may be more accessible to nonhuman animals than previously suspected.
White Earth Band Enacts First-of-its-Kind Rights of Nature Law
First law securing the rights of a plant species to exist and flourish
Band of Ojibwe Legally Recognized … yesmagazine.org
Callaway, MN – The White Earth Band of Ojibwe – part of the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe – adopted a Rights of Manoomin law. The law protects legal rights of manoomin, or wild rice, securing on- and off-reservation protection of manoomin and the clean, fresh water resources and habitats on which it depends. The 1855 Treaty Authority adopted the Rights of Manoomin as well.
The White Earth tribal resolution explains that Rights of Manoomin was adopted because “it has become necessary to provide a legal basis to protect wild rice and fresh water resources as part of our primary treaty foods for future generations.” This comes as wild rice, a traditional staple and sacred food for this Nation, faces significant impacts from habitat loss, climate change, development, genetic engineering, and other threats.
The Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF) assisted Honor the Earth, an indigenous-led environmental advocacy group, in the development of the law.
“Manoomin is sacred to the Anishinaabeg, and it is time the law reflects this,” explains Winona LaDuke, Honor the Earth’s executive director.
“This is a very important step forward in the Rights of Nature movement, as this is the very first law to recognize legal rights of a plant species,” adds Mari Margil, head of CELDF’s International Center for the Rights of Nature.
CELDF has pioneered the first world’s first rights of nature laws, through its partnerships with communities and groups across the United States, with tribal nations, as well as with organizations in Nepal, India, Australia, and other countries.
Honor the Earth, 607 Main Street, Callaway, MN 56521 Website: honorearth.org
Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund, P.O. Box 360, Mercersburg, PA 17236-0360 Website: celdf.org
The Sony World Photography Awards are in full swing for another year, and yet again the early signs are nothing short of amazing. The jury has just finalized the shortlist for the Open category of the 2019 edition, with those to make the cut putting all cultures and corners of the globe under the spotlight in breathtaking fashion.
Last year’s Sony World Photography Awards drew more than 300,000 submissions and the 2019 event has again attracted huge numbers, with judges sifting through 327,000 photos sent in from 195 different countries, the largest haul in the competitions’s 12-year history.
This means that just like last year, the shortlisted images are not only visually striking works of art, they offer fascinating insights into cultural peculiarities from all over the world. Take, for example, this snapshot captured during Bishwa Ijtema, the second largest Muslim congregation in Bangladesh.
An overcrowded train takes off during Bishwa ijtema, Bangladesh’s second largest Muslim congregation.
Then there’s this image from a show by a special horse unit of the Polish police.
Also in the mix are artful portraits and opportunistic snaps of endangered wildlife like the Arabian red fox (below) and the Ethiopian wolf.
The images are sorted into 10 different categories, including Architecture, Landscape, Motion, Culture, Portraiture, Natural World and Wildlife and Travel. In addition to battling it out to top those individual categories, contestants are also in the running to be crowned the Open category best overall image, which will be announced on April 17, 2019.
Alongside this competition, the Sony World Photography Awards also hold a contest for professionals and students, with those shortlisted images to be revealed on March 26.
Only 10 finalists for the Open category will be revealed later this month on February 26, but there’s plenty on the shortlist to marvel at right now. Jump on into the gallery to see for yourself.
Source: Sony World Photography Awards
(For the source of this article, and to see all 120 digital photographs, please visit: https://newatlas.com/gallery-sony-world-photography-awards-2019/58333/)
Why colorful foods boost immunity
You may have grown up constantly hearing that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. It was claimed to kick-start your metabolism and reduce over-eating later in the day, ultimately helping maintain a healthy weight. Recent research, however, has raised doubts over the veracity of this commonly held belief, and a new meta-analysis has concluded there is no good evidence to suggest eating breakfast promotes weight loss or improves metabolic rates later in the day.
The meta-study gathered data from 13 separate randomized control trials, all conducted to compare the effects of eating breakfast and skipping breakfast in adults. The results were pretty clear with the breakfast groups eating, on average, 260 calories more per day than those that skipped breakfast. Those that skipped breakfast also weighed an average of one pound (0.44 kg) less than their breakfast eating counterparts.
Of the studies included in the review that examined metabolic rates and hormone levels associated with appetite regulation, the data revealed no significant difference between breakfast consumers and breakfast skippers. Two studies examining changes in diet-induced thermogenesis, the metabolic process in which your body converts calories to heat, also found virtually no differences between the two groups.
All of this evidence adds up to a reasonably confident conclusion that breakfast consumption does not promote weight loss or play a major role in altering energy expenditure across the day. In fact, the researchers suggest that eating breakfast may, in some cases, have the opposite effect and hinder weight loss plans.
“Although eating breakfast regularly could have other important effects, such as improved concentration and attentiveness levels in childhood, caution is needed when recommending breakfast for weight loss in adults, as it could have the opposite effect,” the researchers conclude in the published article.
But why then has such as strong anecdotal history built up around the idea of breakfast being so beneficial and important? Almost every major governmental health body around the world recommends breakfast as important and advises people to avoid skipping it.
Tim Spector, from King’s College London, examines this very question in an opinion piece published in coordination with the new research. Spector suggests the idea that breakfast is important may stem from the classic causation/correlation problem that haunts the vast majority of observational research. While epidemiological studies may often show that, in general populations, people who skip breakfast tend to be more overweight and eat more later in the day, this does not mean skipping breakfast actively causes those subsequent effects.
“People who skipped breakfast were more likely on average to be poorer, less educated, less healthy, and to have a generally poorer diet,” Spector writes. “Overweight people were more likely to try and diet, and after a binge were more likely to feel guilty and skip a meal.”
Some research is affirming that large caloric intakes late in the evening can be unhealthy. So, certainly, skipping breakfast and having a big dinner late at night is not an ideal strategy, but it is becoming increasingly clear that breakfast, in and of itself, is not as important as we previously suspected. Spector does note that every individual’s biological make up is different, so there is no “one size fits all” piece of advice regarding breakfast.
“Around a third of people in developed countries regularly skip breakfast, whereas many others (including myself) enjoy it,” Spector writes. “This does not mean that all overweight people would benefit from skipping breakfast. Some people are programmed to prefer eating food earlier in the day and others later, which might suit our unique personal metabolism.”
The new study was published in the journal BMJ.
(For the source of this, and many other interesting articles, please visit: https://newatlas.com/skipping-breakfast-weight-loss-metabolism-bmj-study/58268/)
Before we get too carried away in our indignation, it’s worth pointing out that soap is neither the holy elixir we sometimes think it is, nor do the vast majority of people actually use it as fastidiously as they should. Below, what science has to tell us about the real value of soap.
How effective is soap over plain old water? It works, but all else being equal, water has a greater marginal effect. Health professionals recommend handwashing before eating, after using the bathroom, changing a diaper, and other situations in which you might come into contact with harmful bacteria. Germs cling to our hands a lot more easily than we give them credit for, and almost no amount of soap will remove them if other aspects of your handwashing technique aren’t up to snuff. On the bright side, combining good technique with water alone can actually remove a significant share of germs from your hands.
The expedition vehicle specialists at Action Mobil are filling out their Pure lineup with an even meaner all-terrain motorhome. The Mercedes Zetros base brings serious turbo-diesel muscle, plenty of height and an off-road-specific driveline. Drop a 16.4-foot (5-m) living module on its back, and the Zetros becomes the Action Mobil Pure 5000 Zetros, an ultra-rugged expedition motorhome built to climb, crawl, splash and maneuver all around the world, spending blissful nights below the the starry, wide-open sky.
When you’re looking for a rugged off-road truck to serve as the basis of your world-conquering expedition rig, it’s hard to go wrong with a vehicle that can rightfully call itself the Unimog’s bigger, stronger brother. That’s the Zetros. Action Mobil has built Zetros expedition trucks before, but the Pure 5000 Zetros represents the first time it’s married the rugged Zetros 1833 A 4×4 with the type of compact Pure motorhome box it usually bolts to a MAN chassis. The MAN trucks aren’t exactly fragile snowflakes, but the Zetros’ big pronounced nose, cut chin and high, sturdy front wheel arches leave the Pure series looking more powerful than ever.
Designed to perform some of the world’s most difficult jobs in its hardest-to-reach corners, the two-axle Zetros 1833 comes powered by a 322-hp 7.2-liter six-cylinder turbo-diesel offering up to 959 lb-ft of torque permanently split between the front and rear axles. The truck also includes three switchable mechanical differential locks and a 1.69 off-road gear ratio. Beyond off-road adventuring, the Zetros spends its time working mines, battling raging forest fires, responding to emergencies and reworking landscapes.
Needless to say, the Zetros makes an incredibly capable foundation for any specialized off-road vehicle. By dropping on the Pure motorhome box, Action Mobil works that foundation into a “luxury expedition truck for extreme terrain.”
The Pure 5000’s interior layout is straightforward but nicely equipped, starting in the back with a raised fixed bed behind a convertible dinette with U-shaped bench seating. Just ahead of the dining area on the driver’s side, the kitchen houses a four-burner induction cooktop, electric oven with steaming capabilities, dishwasher, fridge and freezer. The sink is set into granite countertop.
At the front of the living area, the dry bath is split into a shower room in the small central hallway just behind the driver cab pass-through door and a separate toilet compartment to the side.
Not surprisingly, the Pure 5000 Zetros rolls out of the garage much better prepared than the average motorhome for roaming off-grid for long periods of time. It carries dual 300-L diesel tanks, a 460-L fresh water tank, a 140-L gray water tank, a 540-Ah lithium battery bank, and a 1.1-kW solar power system. The spec sheets we’ve seen don’t mention the type of fancy A/V equipment seen on other Action Mobils, but they do list diesel/electric heating capabilities, air conditioning and a washer/dryer.
Action Mobil announced the Zetros-based Pure 5000 last month, showing a polished model with global exterior graphics standing strong against the frigid Siberian backdrop. We also saw an earlier iteration of the truck at the 2018 Abenteuer & Allrad show.
Unfortunately, there’s no pricing information on the Pure 5000 Zetros product page, in Action Mobil’s December announcement, or on the specs sticker that was slapped on the side of the show truck. We do know that when Action Mobil first launched its MAN-based Pure trucks in 2015, prices started at €265,000 (approx. US$302,000, as converted today), so you can be sure the Pure 5000 Zetros is among the more expensive fresh-built Mercedes vehicles a private citizen can buy.
(For the source of this, and many other interesting articles, please visit: https://newatlas.com/action-mobil-zetros-pure/57887/)
You might have heard that one of the smartphone trends of 2019 is going to be foldable phones, devices with displays you can actually bend all the way in half. What you might not realize is just how many of these devices are on the way – so we’re listing all the phones currently in the pipeline here.
If you’re old enough to have had a mobile phone in the late 1990s or early 2000s then you may well remember the classic clamshell design – being able to snap your phone shut with a flick, a much more dramatic way to end a call than today’s screen tap.
The devices now coming down the line are truly foldable phones, though – complete with screens and internal circuitry that actually bend to take on multiple form factors, whether you want to use them as tablet-style devices, or handsets with screens on the front and the back.
Official pre-launch images are pretty much non-existent, and bear in mind that the product names, specs, and designs are just speculation for the time being.
Rumors of a foldable Samsung phone have been swirling for years now, and late in 2018 we finally got a proper look at a prototype, using what Samsung is calling an Infinity Flex Display. The phone itself is reportedly going to be called the Galaxy X or the Galaxy F (for Foldable), and it might even appear alongside the Galaxy S10 phones early in the year.
Samsung has scheduled a product launch for February 20 at which the Galaxy S10 phones are going to be unveiled – will a Galaxy X/F join them? Considering the bendable tech crammed into the phone, plus its rumored high-end specs (12 GB of RAM has been mooted) it’s likely to be a very expensive device – probably well into four figures.
Patents filed by Samsung suggest the phone display is going to automatically adapt to however it’s folded or unfolded, with the full screen measuring 7.3 inches corner to corner. Considering the company first teased the idea of a folding phone eight years ago, we’re expecting this to be one of the more polished and reliable folding handsets that arrive.
Industry insiders let slip that Sony was working on flexible display technology quite some time ago, so it wouldn’t be a huge surprise if we saw a foldable phone from Sony during the course of 2019. As with LG though, specific details about the handset are hard to come by at the moment, so it’s not clear exactly what it’ll look like or how powerful it’ll be.
In fact patent applications that have come to light suggest one of Sony’s future phones is going to be transparent as well as foldable, which means it might be one of the last to launch. Developing a phone that can bend in the middle is a difficult enough challenge on its own without adding transparency as well, but that’s what Sony seems to be doing.
We’ve seen concept videos showing off what the Sony foldable phone might look like – potentially with an 8-inch screen and potentially called the Sony Xperia Note Flex – but for the time being these are based on rumors and speculation rather than anything solid. All we know for definite is that Sony will want to keep up with the trend for flexible displays.
The big phone manufacturers don’t like to get outpaced by their rivals, and it seems as though all of Samsung’s big competitors are gearing up for their own foldable phone launches. Based on leaked trademark applications, it looks as though the LG foldable phone could be called the Flex, the Foldi, or the Duplex (or perhaps all three).
As well as those trademark filings, we’ve seen plenty of other hints and links that LG has a foldable phone in the pipeline. There was talk that such a device would appear at CES 2019 – that didn’t happen, but we did see a rollable television screen instead, which proves that LG is busy investigating the potential of these flexible displays for all of its product lines.
LG has also been busy filing patents around foldable phone tech, so we know the company is at least considering how to get it to market. Other details on the LG foldable phone, like specs and sizes, are thin on the ground – but we have seen reports that the LG G8 will come with a dual-screen display, setting the stage for a folding phone later in the year.
Huawei is one of the phone makers that has come out and confirmed it’s working on a foldable phone for the future, though exactly when we’ll see it and exactly what form it’s going to take remains to be seen. CEO Richard Yu has said the bending handset should appear at some point during 2019, though it’s unlikely to be before Samsung’s launch.
As with several of the other foldable phones in this list, we’ve seen concept videos and patent filings giving hints about what the Huawei foldable phone is going to look like – with the option of one screen doubling up as a keyboard, perhaps – but for now we don’t know whether they’re going to end up being anything like the finished product.
What we do know from Huawei phones of the last few years is that the company is unlikely to skimp on specs and features. Expect the foldable Huawei phone to come packing the most powerful internal components available, and quite possibly a triple-lens camera around the back. It’s also certainly going to be very expensive when it finally goes on sale.
News that Motorola is working on a foldable phone should be no surprise to those who’ve been paying attention, parent company Lenovo has been dropping hints about the potential of folding screens since early last year, and mentioning them in the same breath as the Razr brand. Could the old-school foldable phone be getting a new lease of life?
Once again, there are patent filings to pore over: it does indeed look like the Razr form factor might be making a comeback, only this time the physical hardware hinge is going to be replaced with a bend in the screen. That might mean a keyboard or keypad at the bottom of the display, with apps above. There’s also a secondary display on the back.
It’s worth noting that patents don’t always match the finished product, or even end up being finished products at all – but they do give an idea of the way a company is thinking.
Xiaomi has recently teased the arrival of its own foldable phone by posting a video showing co-founder and president Lin Bin playing around with what we presume is a prototype. As you can see, the fold mechanism is a little different to the norm: there are two hinges, so the two sides of the larger display fold around the back of the device.
As one of the biggest phone makers in China, you would expect Xiaomi to be on top of whatever new tech is coming down the line, but we don’t know much else about its foldable phone beyond what’s in the video. The software interface certainly looks slick and responsive, adapting quickly to the change in form factor while a video plays on screen.
If Xiaomi is able to push out a foldable phone before the year is out, it’s most likely going to follow the template of the other ones mentioned here: high powered and expensive. Keep an eye on MWC (Mobile World Congress) in Barcelona in February, when we might well hear more about the Xiaomi foldable phone and the other folding devices on this list.
(For the source of this, and many other interesting articles, please visit: https://newatlas.com/foldable-phones-2019/58193/)
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.
If you liked this story, sign up for the weekly bbc.com features newsletter, called “If You Only Read 6 Things This Week”. A handpicked selection of stories from BBC Future, Culture, Capital, and Travel, delivered to your inbox every Friday.
(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/)