First civilian jetpack gives humans the power of flight

April 24, 2017 by  
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Most of us have dreamed about flying . Now company JetPack Aviation is making those dreams reality. They’ve designed “the only true JetPack ,” the JB10, and it packs a powerful punch. Humans can soar up to 10,000 feet in the air at speeds of 68 miles per hour with the futuristic technology . JetPack Aviation has designed a personal flight jetpack that allows humans to zoom through the air for around 10 minutes. The technology is powered by two efficient jet engines that run on diesel. While flying, users can lean forward to move and speed up, or lean back to slow down to a hover. The right handle controls thrust and throttle; the left handle governs spin. The jetpack can even be equipped with an automatic inflation system which will release a float bag in seconds if the jetpack hits water. Related: Dubai firefighters now have jetpacks in their arsenal JetPack Aviation CEO David Mayman said in a Mashable video, “I think that the jetpack is the ultimate expression of freedom. It’s more than just a fantasy or a dream; it’s more than science fiction ; it’s something that we can literally do right now.” Mayman has been working for ten years with chief designer Nelson Tyler, who has been working on jetpacks for decades and whom Mayman describes as “like one of the original Wright brothers.” The jetpacks aren’t just for having fun in the backyard; the company has envisioned several practical applications for their jetpacks as well. They said commuters and first responders could benefit from the technology, and the military could use the jetpacks on search and rescue missions. JetPack Aviation recently raised $285,269 on equity crowdfunding platform StartEngine . The company says 500 people, military services, and government agencies have contacted them for more information, and they’ve already received their first order from a private citizen. Start saving now – the retail price is $250,000. + JetPack Aviation Via Mashable and JetPack Aviation on StartEngine Images via JetPack Aviation Facebook and screenshot

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First civilian jetpack gives humans the power of flight

Trump is switching off the EPA’s invaluable public data service

April 24, 2017 by  
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President Donald Trump’s war on science and the environment continues as his administration is set to switch off the Environmental Protection Agency’s Open Data Web site this week. The data service is the United States government’s largest civilian-linked data tool, according to The Independent , and offers information open to researchers on the climate , the environment, and public health . While that would be awful enough, since the tool is vital for keeping people informed about health and climate data, that isn’t all Trump has planned for this week. Private citizens will soon no longer have access to a tool that allowed them to obtain data on climate change , health impact analysis, environmental justice , and life cycle assessment. The EPA’s Open Data Web page provided information on toxic chemicals, and allowed people to see if a treacherous spill had happened near them during the last 30 years. All that information is about to go dark, thanks to Trump. Related: 75 American mayors affirm climate goals even after Trump executive order The move to yank data away from citizens isn’t Trump’s only planned assault this week. On Wednesday he is supposed to sign an executive order  connected to the 1906 Antiquities Act, signed into law by Theodore Roosevelt. President Barack Obama  the act – more than other presidents – to protect federal areas such as the 1.6 million acres of land in Nevada and Utah which he designated as national monuments. The land contains Native American artifacts, and Obama’s move protected the area from drilling and mining . Then on Friday Trump is set to sign another executive order to review rules on offshore drilling and look at areas for offshore oil and gas exploration. Both orders could pave the way for more fossil fuel development. Trump’s been working hard to undo Obama-era climate change regulations, citing goals for improving jobs in the US. An anonymous White House official told Reuters over the weekend, “This builds on previous executive actions that have cleared the way for job-creating pipelines , innovations in energy production, and reduce unnecessary burden on energy producers.” Whether these moves will create jobs remains to be seen, but the impact on the environment is very real. Via The Independent and Reuters Images via Gage Skidmore on Flickr and Becker1999 on Flickr

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Trump is switching off the EPA’s invaluable public data service

The chicken or the egg — or neither

April 22, 2017 by  
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Lab-grown promises to be one of modern science’s finest hours. Is it enough to change, or end, the way humans consume animals?

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The chicken or the egg — or neither

Elon Musk’s latest company aims to make us cyborgs within the next four years

April 21, 2017 by  
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Elon Musk must not be busy enough with his Boring company , Space X and Tesla , because he just became CEO of another company, and this one has a goal of turning us all into cyborgs .  Neuralink,  a  San Francisco -based startup says they are “developing ultra high bandwidth brain -machine interfaces to connect humans and computers ” and Musk says he hopes to start delivering by 2021. Musk hinted that he was working on neural lacing last year , though details were scant, but he has never been shy about his opinion that we should be connecting our brains to computers. According to TechCrunch, Musk wants to make that leap with Neuralink. He wants to integrate our brains and computers, or allow us to connect cloud-based artificial intelligence computing with our selves. This could allow humans to communicate directly with each other, instead of having to compress thoughts into language. Related: Elon Musk says new company will start drilling under LA next month It sounds like science fiction. Musk explained it in detail to Tim Urban of Wait But Why . Musk said we already are cyborgs; we’ve “already kind of merged” with smartphones and laptops. He added, “You’re already digitally superhuman. The thing that would change is the interface – having a high-bandwidth interface to your digital enhancements. The thing is that today, the interface all necks down to this tiny straw, which is, particularly in terms of output, it’s like poking things with your meat sticks, or using words – either speaking or tapping things with fingers. And in fact, output has gone backwards. It used to be, in your most frequent form, output would be ten-finger typing. Now, it’s like, two-thumb typing. That’s crazy slow communication. We should be able to improve that by many orders of magnitude with a direct neural interface.” Neuralink’s product probably won’t be ready for the public any time soon – it could be eight to 10 years for people without disabilities, according to Musk, who said the timeline depends both on regulatory approval and how well the devices could work for disabled people. If you want to dig more into the project, Urban wrote a 36,000-word explanation . About the piece, Musk said on Twitter , “Difficult to dedicate the time, but existential risk is too high not to.” Via Wait What Why ,  The Next Web and TechCrunch Images via OnInnovation on Flickr and Max Pixel

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Elon Musk’s latest company aims to make us cyborgs within the next four years

Tel Aviv’s Gran Mediterraneo Tower blooms with with a lush vertical garden

April 21, 2017 by  
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This curvy new skyscraper envisioned for Tel Aviv is a lush oasis that combines modern, sustainable living with plenty of nature. The skyscraper is filled with Mediterranean and Dead Sea flora and features an automated car park, farms, electric charging stations and public gardens. The mixed-use Gran Mediterraneo tower, designed by French architect David Tajchman , is wrapped in mirrored glass and white concrete conceived using the latest construction and digital technologies. Gran Mediterraneo combines different programs, including apartments, a hotel, an automated car park , a public charging station, farming and public gardens , co-working spaces and spas. The automated public car park will operate as the first induction charging station for public and shared electric driverless vehicles in the city. Related: Bordeaux’ Canopia tower will be one of the tallest timber frame structures in the world The tower aims to renew Tel Aviv’s skyline with its vertical form, generated using state-of-the-art digital tools . “Innovative with its topological geometry giving a spiral effect to the high-rise, the Gran Mediterraneo breaks with the global and usual stacking of horizontal slabs wrapped with mirrored glass ,” said Tajchman. + David Tajchman Via Archdaily

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Tel Aviv’s Gran Mediterraneo Tower blooms with with a lush vertical garden

Can the internet of things solve environmental crises?

April 15, 2017 by  
Filed under Business, Green

If so, it must consider local business and cultural needs, build business processes and market structures around the world.

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Can the internet of things solve environmental crises?

Researchers develop solar-powered device to harvest water in the desert

April 14, 2017 by  
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A solar-powered device could make water worries a thing of the past. Nine scientists from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology , and University of California, Berkeley designed a water harvester that can pull water from air even if humidity is just 20 percent. Chemist Omar Yaghi of UC Berkeley said, “We wanted to demonstrate that if you are cut off somewhere in the desert , you could survive because of this device.” Yaghi invented compounds known as metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) 20 years ago, and now is using MOF crystals to harvest water even in dry places. In the water harvesting device, around two pounds of tiny MOF crystals are compressed between a solar absorber and condenser plate to collect around 0.7 gallons of water in 12 hours. Related: World’s largest fog harvester produces water from thin air in the Moroccan desert That may not sound like all that much, but it’s plenty for a human trapped in the desert to survive. Yaghi said, “A person needs about a [330ml] can of water per day. That is something one could collect in less than an hour with this system.” Right now there’s no other way to harvest water in low humidity except to draw on extra energy , according to Yaghi. “Your electric dehumidifier at home ‘produces’ very expensive water,” he says. In contrast sunlight enables the new device to work. Rooftop tests at MIT have already demonstrated the device works in the real world. Even if you never find yourself stranded in the desert, you could benefit from such a water harvester. “One vision for the future is to have water off-grid , where you have a device at home running on ambient solar for delivering water that satisfies the needs of a household,” said Yaghi. “To me, that will be made possible because of this experiment. I call it personalized water.” Science published the team’s research yesterday . Via the University of California, Berkeley and The Independent Images via MIT/laboratory of Evelyn Wang and MIT/Hyunho Kim

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Researchers develop solar-powered device to harvest water in the desert

6 space farming projects that could save the human race

April 11, 2017 by  
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What will humans eat on Mars ? It’s a daunting question: the red planet’s frigid average temperature is around negative 80 degrees Fahrenheit and its thin atmosphere is comprised of 95.32 percent carbon dioxide . But not to worry, future astronauts. NASA’s on it, as are several other institutions worldwide. Inhabitat rounded up six exciting space farming projects revealing the progress scientists have made on the issue of sustainable space cuisine. Scientists grow potatoes in Mars-like conditions, justifying The Martian’s Mark Watney Scientists from the International Potato Center , NASA’s Ames Research Center , and Peru’s University of Technology and Engineering recently showed the 2015 movie The Martian may have not just been science fiction after all. Inside a CubeSat , a small satellite in which the scientists could simulate Mars conditions, they were able to sprout potatoes , the crop of choice for astronaut Mark Watney in the film. Their research shows maybe we could grow those tubers on Mars after all, but also could offer insight into how to cultivate crops here on Earth in climate change -impacted regions. Related: Six scientists just completed a year-long simulated Mars mission Scientists find four crops grown in Mars-like soil are edible Wageningen University scientists in the Netherlands have also been growing crops in Mars-like soil. They successfully cultivated ten crops – like tomatoes, rye, and peas – in dirt provided by NASA that came largely from a Hawaii volcano, but feared the resulting food might be filled with heavy metals . Further tests showed they didn’t have to worry quite so much: at least four of the crops do not contain heavy metals like cadmium, lead, or arsenic and are edible. The Wageningen team hopes to continue their research and raise more money for their project. Astronauts harvest lettuce on the International Space Station International Space Station (ISS) astronauts are in on the space farming effort too. In 2014, Orbital Technologies Corporation’s Veggie system was deployed to the ISS , and recently in late 2016, NASA checked in with space gardener astronaut Shane Kimbrough who has harvested multiple batches of lettuce on the space station. The experiment not only gives astronauts the chance to nibble on some rare fresh greens harvested every ten days or so, but will also further NASA’s knowledge of how different life forms perform in zero gravity environments. Self-contained greenhouse could grow plants with Earth air on Mars The Mars Plant Experiment (MPX) was a small, self-contained greenhouse with enough Earth air to last 15 days and around 200 seeds of the flowering plant Arabidopsis used often in research. The little greenhouse would have hitched a ride to Mars aboard a rover for the 2020 mission. One of 58 proposed experiments, MPX didn’t make the list of seven selected payload proposals NASA announced a little over two months after Inhabitat’s article, but it’s still an intriguing idea for how humans might go about growing plants on Mars. NASA Advanced Food Technology team designs over 100 vegan recipes for future Mars crew Forget freeze-dried ice cream. NASA’s Advanced Food Technology project took a healthier approach by looking into an entirely vegan diet for future space voyagers. They developed more than 100 vegan recipes for a six to eight person Mars crew, featuring fresh fruits and vegetables possibly grown in hydroponic systems. Veganism wasn’t so much a ideological choice for the NASA team as a practical one: it would be difficult to store easily perishable dairy and meat products during the lengthy trip to Mars. Experts suggest kitchen garden for astronauts venturing to Mars All the way back in 2011, NASA was pointing to kitchen-style gardens as a solution for astronauts, realizing pre-packaged food alone probably wouldn’t cut it for deep space missions. Speaking at an American Chemical Society gathering, scientist Maya Cooper of NASA’s Space Food System Laboratory said chefs and horticultural experts could help devise a plan for producing the over 7,000 pounds of food required for the five year journey to Mars. Experts identified 10 likely candidates for a spaceship kitchen garden: cabbage, spinach, herbs, carrots, strawberries, tomatoes, peppers, spring onions, radishes and lettuce – of course we’re now growing that last plant already on ISS. In just over five years, scientists have come a long way in developing space farming , and we’re excited to see what innovations crop up in the upcoming years as humanity prepares to go to Mars. Images via Pixabay , Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation, Food for mars and moon Facebook , NASA , NASA/JPL/Cornell University , Wikimedia Commons , and NASA

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6 space farming projects that could save the human race

Tesla unveils discreet new rooftop solar panels

April 10, 2017 by  
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Elon Musk’s solar roof tiles won’t fit the bill for every home. Some homeowners won’t want to replace their entire roofs , but Tesla , of course, already has a solution. They’re now marketing sleek, low-profile solar panels that are easy to install and better blend in with roofs than traditional panels. Leave it to Tesla to offer an elegant alternative to traditional solar panels. They updated the Energy section of their website over the weekend to include new images of their solar panels. The seamless look of the new technology is thanks to “integrated front skirts and no visible mounting hardware” according to Tesla’s website. Electrek said these features come from Zep Solar , a mounting equipment company SolarCity acquired before Tesla’s acquisition . Zep Solar engineers designed the rail-less system Solar City employed to slash solar installation times in half. Related: Elon Musk says Tesla’s solar roof will be cheaper than ordinary roofs Tesla says their panels “exceed industry standards for durability and lifespan” on their website. Panasonic will be manufacturing the exclusive panels at the Gigafactory 2 in Buffalo, New York. There aren’t many specifics available for the new solar panels yet, but Electrek said they will be 325-watt panels. They noted Panasonic sells other 325 watt panels, and those have a 25-year power output warranty and a 21.76 percent module efficiency. Tesla and before that SolarCity used to install solar panels from multiple suppliers as many solar companies do, but told Electrek once these new panels go into production, Tesla will use them for all residential projects in the future. It seems Elon Musk aims at offering solar solutions with better aesthetics for those who have been hesitant to go solar in the past with the bulky rooftop options. Anyone interested right now can request a custom quote on Tesla’s website . The company told Electrek production should begin this summer. Via Electrek and Engadget Images via Tesla

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Tesla unveils discreet new rooftop solar panels

Bee-killing pesticides have been found in US drinking water

April 7, 2017 by  
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We’ve known that neonicotinoid insecticides are bad news for bee populations for several years now, but one thing we don’t know about these pesticides is how they impact human health. A new study from the US Geological Survey and the University of Iowa reveals how terrifying that question could be, revealing minute traces of neonicotinoid chemicals are present in at least some drinking water in the US. In the study, published in the journal Environmental Science and Technology Letters , researchers took samples from two water treatment plants in Iowa. Though many might assume waste treatment plants would be able to remove pesticides from drinking water, trace amounts of the neonicotinoids were still present after passing the water through the facilities’ carbon filtration systems. Granted, the amounts present ranged from 0.24 to 57.3 nanograms per liter, which Gizmodo describes as “like a single drop of water plopped into 20 Olympic-size swimming pools.” The amount is obviously incredibly small, but unfortunately scientists have no idea whether the residue that remains in drinking water could potentially impact human health. The Environmental Protection Agency has set no regulatory limits on the use of these substances, saying that previous studies have shown they have only low rates of adverse health effects for humans. There’s a catch, though – those older studies only looked at brief exposure to high concentrations of neonicotinoids. It’s still unknown whether low-level chronic exposure could result in long-term health problems. Related: Over 700 North American bee species are heading towards extinction Ideally, more research would be done to learn more about the effect these chemicals have on human health. But with Donald Trump and his cabinet attempting to loosen regulations on industries that pollute the environment and hobbling critical environmental research, it may be a few years before we know for certain whether low levels of neonicotinoids are harmful or not. Via Gizmodo Images via Pixabay ( 1 , 2 )

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