Non-profit uses machine learning and solar energy to protect the rainforest

March 23, 2018 by  
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San Francisco-based non-profit Rainforest Connection has created a unique, technologically advanced system to defend the rainforests of Brazil . The high-tech protection system incorporates machine learning and solar energy to operate sensor devices called Guardians that listen to the rainforest and send real-time messages if illegal logging activity is detected. Built out of modified cellphones, the Guardians are placed high in the canopy. The solar panels mitigate the need for battery changes or maintenance. With assistance from Google, Rainforest Connection has focused their efforts on the Amazon Rainforest in Pará, northern Brazil, where they have also collaborated with the local Tembé people, who are defending their homeland from encroaching logging. About 30 members of the Tembé people regularly patrol the forest to repel illegal loggers. Even with refined knowledge of the local environment, the Amazon Rainforest is difficult for anyone to navigate. Up in the canopy, the Guardians capture sounds, which are then sent to Rainforest Connection. The company recently announced it will be using Google’s TensorFlow tool, which facilitates the use of machine-learning software by other companies. The sounds are then analyzed so that the location and origin of the sounds can be determined. Related: Giant curtain built in Peru to study climate change in the cloud forests “The people on the ground, they’re the solution,” said Rainforest Connection founder and CEO Topher White. “They’re the ones who can fight off deforestation . But technology can play a really big part in helping them do it more safely and more effectively.” Rainforest Connection intends to provide services for those who live in rainforests and other ecological treasures all across the world. Communities equipped with the tools they need to thrive are more resilient.”The system pinpoints exactly where the problem is, so we no longer need to spend months patrolling the land like we used to,” said Chief Ednaldo Tembé . “That means we have more time for our culture, for our family, and for our survival.” Via Gizmodo Images via Google

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Non-profit uses machine learning and solar energy to protect the rainforest

This adventurous couple revamped an old Airstream into a dream house on wheels

March 23, 2018 by  
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Many people purchase items on eBay–but only a few decide to live in them. When Atlanta-based couple Sheena and Joe stumbled upon an old Airstream  for sale on eBay, they decided to transform it into a home on wheels perfect for avid travelers like themselves. They revamped the Airstream and had it road-ready 10 months later. The original owners intended to use the trailer as a retirement home, but their plans fell through, leaving the Airstream in storage for eight years. After Sheena and Joe purchased it, they affectionately named it Mavis and set about turning it into a mobile living space. Related: Airstream unveils new off-grid ready Globetrotter trailer The couple renovated the structure, including the plumbing and electrical work, themselves. They also included two dedicated work areas and relocated the bedroom from the rear to the front of the trailer, which receives the most sunlight during the day. They added wood accents to the walls and countertops and designed the space in a minimalist Scandinavian style. Ample storage spaces are hidden under the sofa and bed, as well as under the refrigerator. Because of the lack of space, the couple learned to make every inch count and have everything inside serve a purpose. Related: Apollo 70 Airstream trailer renovated as an amazing “green” cocktail bar on wheels Sheena and Joe have already tested the road-readiness of the trailer by traveling through the western part of the United States. They plan to continue using the trailer while traveling and, eventually, to build a small solar-powered container home , with a special place in the backyard for Mavis. + Mavis the Airstream Via Dwell

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This adventurous couple revamped an old Airstream into a dream house on wheels

Poor urban design could be at fault for Uber driverless car crash

March 23, 2018 by  
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Uber’s self-driving cars are grounded after a fatal accident over the weekend — but a Cato Institute article questions if bad urban design was really to blame. Elaine Herzberg, the woman killed, seems to have been using a pedestrian path, which the institute described as poorly designed, before attempting to cross a street. The video is disturbing and heartbreaking to watch, and our thoughts continue to be with Elaine’s loved ones. Our cars remain grounded, and we're assisting local, state and federal authorities in any way we can. https://t.co/wUfLw2nNnk — Uber Comms (@Uber_Comms) March 22, 2018 A fatal accident in Tempe, Arizona involving an Uber driverless car left in its wake questions about the safety of autonomous vehicles . But it seems “the accident could not have been prevented no matter who was in control of the car ,” according to Randal O’Toole for the Cato Institute. Related: Uber grounds all self-driving vehicles after fatal Arizona accident Herzberg was reportedly walking on a roadway median before stepping out into traffic — and the Uber car, which did have a backup driver at the wheel, didn’t even have a moment to brake. The Cato Institute shared an aerial view, seen below, of Herzberg’s probable path. In between the northbound and southbound lanes of North Mill Avenue, there’s a median strip with a paved pedestrian path. There’s a sign, seen via Google Maps , indicating no pedestrians, telling them to use a crosswalk — so pedestrians or cyclists using the trails aren’t supposed to walk over the strip. But the Cato Institute pointed out the pedestrian path saves almost two-tenths of a mile, making it a tempting alternative for people walking or biking. O’Toole was loath to blame the victim in his article, but didn’t think the car was at fault either. He said “the question that must be asked is why are there paved trails between the north and southbound lanes of Mill Avenue when there is no safe way for pedestrians to use those trails?” Via Cato Institute Images via zombieite on Flickr and Cato Institute

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Poor urban design could be at fault for Uber driverless car crash

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