Elon Musk releases 15-page manifesto explaining how humans will colonize Mars

June 16, 2017 by  
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Long gone are the days of dreaming about space travel and seemingly impossible inventions, thanks to science and geniuses such as Elon Musk , fantastical goals are turning into everyday realities. In fact, Musk — the founder of PayPal, Tesla, and SpaceX — recently unveiled a 15-page paper that goes into great depth explaining how humans will successfully colonize Mars in the near future. Published in the journal New Space , the paper details the realistic costs per person, possible engineering challenges and even a timeline of transferring humanity to the Red Planet — which includes sending the first unmanned payload into space within two years. The paper, entitled “ Making Humans a Multi-Planetary Species ,” follows on the heels of Musk’s hour-long presentation last year in which he outlined his ambitious plan to transport humans to Mars. Though it is lacking in some specifics it is a compelling read and is available to the public for free until early July. As The Guardian reports, the founder of SpaceX is ambitious to colonize Mars in the potential likelihood of a nuclear war or natural disasters which cause Earth to become uninhabitable. To Musk, Mars is a “backup drive” for the planet we all live on now. “So how do we figure out how to take you to Mars and create a self-sustaining city,” Musk asks in the paper, in ”a city that is not merely an outpost but which can become a planet in its own right, allowing us to become a truly multi-planetary species.” His long-term goal is to create a self-sustained civilization of about one million people which, admittedly, will take about 40-100 years. Before full colonization can take place, however, much work needs to be done. After sending supplies to Mars beforehand, Musk envisions blasting off a gigantic spacecraft that can carry the first 100 passengers. “The thrust level is enormous,” Musk says in the paper. “We are talking about a lift-off thrust of 13,000 tons, so it will be quite tectonic when it takes off.” Regarding the timeline, Musk wrote, “We are going to try to send something to Mars on every Mars rendezvous from this point on. We plan to send Dragon 2, which is a propulsive lander, to Mars in a couple of years, and then probably do another Dragon mission in 2020.” Related: Send your loved one’s ashes to space – on one of Elon Musk’s rockets Colonizing the Red Planet might seem like a grand ambition — and it is, but Musk isn’t ready to stop there. He wants humans to be able to explore even more of the galaxy. As NewsAtlas reports , “He envisions a series of in situ propellant depots, from the asteroid belt to Europa or Titan, allowing humanity full access to the greater Solar System .” The engineer fails to mention where on Mars new settlements will be founded — a detail that is vital yet will likely be determined in the near future. Whether or not this vision will be made a reality in this century remains to be seen. What is clear is that Musk is one of the more extraordinary minds in our time who has played a big role in advancing humanity. + “Making Humans a Multi-Planetary Species” Via The Guardian , NewsAtlas Images via Pixabay

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Elon Musk releases 15-page manifesto explaining how humans will colonize Mars

Britain installs worlds biggest wind turbines near Liverpool

May 18, 2017 by  
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It’s official: Britain is now the world’s leader in wind turbine technology. Yesterday, Danish company Dong Energy finished installing 32 of the world’s biggest turbines in Liverpool Bay as part of the Burbo Bank extension. Standing 195-meters in length with blades longer than nine London buses, the turbines are now live and generating clean energy . Each of the new turbines stands taller than the Gherkin skyscraper and has more than twice the power capacity of those in a neighboring wind farm which was completed a decade ago, according to the Guardian. Said Benjamin Sykes, the country manager for Dong Energy UK, “That shows you something about the scale-up of the industry, the scale-up of the technology.” Sykes hailed the installation as a “very important milestones” for the renewable energy sector. The Guardian notes this is the first time 8MW turbines have been commercially used anywhere in the world. As a result, the UK can now boast that it has installed more offshore wind power than any other country. Subsidies, agreeable regulations, and a maritime past have made this monumental achievement possible. Related: Siemens Creates the World’s Largest Turbine Blades for New UK Wind Farm! Now, the UK has a capacity of 5.3GW, which means enough electricity can be generated to power 4.3 million homes. And, the sovereign state has no intention of slowing down. Eight more projects are already under construction, and they are expected to add more than half the capacity again. In Germany, Sykes recently received approval to build the world’s first subsidy-free offshore wind farm . By the time that project begins construction, he believes turbines as powerful as 13MW or 15MW will be on the market. “There’s every reason to think they will arrive,” said Sykes. Improved technology will also ensure those in the clean energy sector continue to receive taxpayer support in the UK, as ministers have made it clear cuts need to be made in the industry. “This and other projects have been crucial for driving costs down for the whole industry,” said Skyes, referring to the Burbo Bank extension. + Dong Energy Via The Guardian Images via Pixabay , Dong Energy

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Britain installs worlds biggest wind turbines near Liverpool

Minimalist barn-inspired home was built as a "landscape viewing instrument"

May 18, 2017 by  
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Halifax-based firm MLS Architects has created a minimalist barn-inspired home that pays homage to the local vernacular of Lower Kingsburg, Nova Scotia. The A-frame form of the Muir Craig house takes on the traditional shape of the local barns found in the area , and was built with simplicity in mind using corrugated metal and wood on the exterior, with exposed wood framing on the interior. The entire design for the three-bedroom home with two baths was kept simple to reduce the budget and blend the design into its surroundings. The steep gabled roof is similar to those in the same area. Also in an attempt to keep things subtle, the interior living space was left open and uncomplicated in order to keep the focus on the home’s beautiful natural surroundings. In fact, according to the architects, the home was meant to be purely a “landscape viewing instrument in which every opening is subtly positioned to frame specific landscape features and nearby vernacular precedents.” Related:Barn-inspired contemporary home ages beautifully over time The minimalist design found inside the 1,400-square-foot interior of the home follows what the architects call an “outsulation” strategy. Exposed wood framing with large ceiling beams gives the interior a playful country-home feel. Baltic birch plywood , which was chosen for its durability as well as its affordability, covers the walls of the home, further blending its design into its rural setting. + MLS Architects Images via MLS Architects

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Minimalist barn-inspired home was built as a "landscape viewing instrument"

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

Hawaii issues alert for brain-invading parasite transmitted by snails

April 11, 2017 by  
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The Hawaiian island of Maui is experiencing an uptick in infections stemming from a parasitic roundworm that invades the human brain. Or, in less scientific parlance, brain slugs . In the past three months alone, health officials have confirmed six cases of the picturesquely named rat lungworm disease, with three additional cases still pending investigation. The trend is worrisome beyond the obvious: Maui has encountered only two cases of the disease over the past decade. Of the 10 or so cases that are reported each year in Hawaii, nearly all are restricted to the Big Island . The grownup version of the Angiostrongylus cantonensis , the offending nematode, is carried by rats, which drop a load of the larvae in their poop. The junior versions can thereafter hitch a ride on other hosts, including snails, slugs, freshwater shrimp, crabs, and frogs. People can get infected by eating raw or undercooked snails or slugs that have been infected by the parasite, or by handling contaminated fruits and vegetables. The infection can trigger a rare form of meningitis characterized by severe headaches, stiffness of the neck, tingling or painful feelings in the skin, a low-grade fever, nausea, and vomiting, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention . Hawaii’s Department of Health Disease Investigation Branch cautions that temporary paralysis of the face and light sensitivity may also occur. Related: Rare brain-eating amoeba found in Louisiana tap water “If you could imagine, it’s like having a slow-moving bullet go through your brain and there’s no rhyme or reason why it’s going to hang out in this part of the brain or that part of the brain,”Sarah Park, a state epidemiologist, told the Associated Press . Although there is no treatment for rat lungworm disease, residents can reduce the risk of contracting it by scrupulously washing their produce before consumption, officials say. Tricia Mynar, a Maui woman who said she contracted the parasite on the Big Island, has one piece of advice . “Take your time and wash your veggies,” she said. Via ScienceAlert Photos by Unsplash

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Hawaii issues alert for brain-invading parasite transmitted by snails

Architect Jim Olson spent 55 years renovating this breathtaking Puget Sound cabin

April 5, 2017 by  
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It would be safe to say that architect Jim Olson from Olson Kundig Architects is an incredibly patient man. In a world where architects strive to build skyscapers at record-breaking speed , the award-winning architect took his time with the construction of his own lake house, as in 55 years. Olson began to build the cabin, located in Longbranch, Washington, in 1959. What began as a mere 14-square-foot bunk house has been patiently and lovingly transformed over the years into a breathtaking lake-side cabin . Starting the cabin construction when he was just 18-years-old, Olson has worked on the structure for decades, always adding new features to the design. However, the word “renovation” doesn’t adequately describe the cabin’s decades-long transformation; rather it was a creative layering process that always incorporated the cabin’s past features into its more modern present. Related: Enproyecto Arquitectura’s Spanish Coastal Stone Cabin Holds More Than a Few Surprises Details hidden among the modest cabin mark each remodeling stage, architecturally revealing the cabin’s design history. Distinct textures and color schemes make up the impressive living space which lies under the exposed glulam beams. Steel columns mark the living space divisions and impressive floor-to-ceiling windows allow for incredible full-frame views of the Puget Sound. In addition to the architect’s sophisticated design features, there are various signs of Olson’s love of nature within the home. Fir flooring extends throughout the living room onto the exterior deck, seamlessly connecting the interior with the exterior. The outdoor deck was also built around three large trees that grew up during the long construction period. Olson wanted to make sure that they were able to continue to grow uninterrupted no matter what new construction may come to the house. + Olson Kundig Architects Via Gessato Images via Olson Kundig Architects  

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Architect Jim Olson spent 55 years renovating this breathtaking Puget Sound cabin

"Piggy Bank," a turtle that swallowed 915 coins, has died

March 23, 2017 by  
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A venerated sea turtle who was fed hundreds of coins by supplicants seeking good fortune is dead . The 25-year-old animal was living in a pond in a town near the Gulf of Thailand in late February when rescuers found her close to drowning from the weight of her cache—about 11 pounds worth. After naming her Omsin, which is Thai for “piggy bank,” a team of veterinary surgeons operated on the turtle for seven hours. By the time they were finished, they had filled a bucket with 915 coins, in currencies both foreign and domestic. Omsin was expected to survive, if not thrive. By all accounts, her rehabilitation at Bangkok’s Veterinary Medical Aquatic Animals Research Center went smoothly. She received laser therapy on her belly incision. A large kiddie pool, coupled with physical therapy for a wonky flipper, helped her ease back into water. Following a liquid diet, Omsin returned to eating solid food. “She is getting stronger,” Nantarika Chansue, a veterinary scientist who tracked Omsin’s progress on Facebook, wrote on March 9. Just as her doctors began planning her release to the wild, Omsin’s condition suddenly deteriorated. They found her intestines in a tangle in the space where the coins once filled. An infection had developed, causing her abdomen to swell up with gas and fluid. Related: Sea turtle is rescued after being dragged onto a beach and beaten for selfies Despite rushing the turtle into intensive care on Sunday night, then emergency surgery on Monday, Omsin lapsed into a comma. On Tuesday, she died, a victim of ignorance and superstition. “At 10:10 a.m., she went with peace,” Nantarika said during a news conference. Visibly weeping, she called Omsin her “friend, teacher and patient.” Nantarika was comforted by just one thought. “She at least had the chance to swim freely and eat happily before she passed,” she said. Via the Washington Post Photos by Unsplash

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"Piggy Bank," a turtle that swallowed 915 coins, has died

Tesla is so confident in their vehicles they’re offering lifetime insurance

February 27, 2017 by  
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Once again Tesla is shaking up the automotive industry, this time through insurance for life. The company has started offering a lifetime maintenance and insurance package for some customers, meaning monthly car insurance bills could soon be a budget item of the past. Tesla President of Global Sales and Service Jonathan McNeill said, “It’s our vision in the future that we’ll be able to offer a single price for the car, maintenance, and insurance in a really compelling offering for the consumer. And we’re currently doing that today.” Assured of the features incorporated in a Tesla that purportedly make the vehicle safer than a typical car, such as Autopilot, Tesla has begun including lifetime insurance and maintenance package right in the initial price of their cars . The new package reflects the idea that their safety features could reduce the price of maintenance and insurance. Related: Tesla just introduced the world’s longest range electric car In an earnings call, McNeill said, “We’ve been doing it quietly, but in Asia in particular where we started this, now the majority of Tesla cars are sold with an insurance product that is customized to Tesla, that takes into account not only the Autopilot safety features but also the maintenance costs of the car.” Such a package could allow consumers to know exactly how much a Tesla car will cost them over the long term, rather than facing unforeseen repair costs or rising insurance costs. Elon Musk made it clear Tesla is willing to offer the package if insurance companies aren’t on board, even though he said his company isn’t trying to disrupt the insurance market. He said of the insurance plan, “If we need to we’ll insource it, but I think we’ll find that insurance partners do adjust rates proportionate to the risk of a Tesla.” Via Mashable Images via Tesla Facebook and Wikimedia Commons

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Tesla is so confident in their vehicles they’re offering lifetime insurance

5 Myths About Ecotourism Debunked

February 21, 2017 by  
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As editor of Eco Companion, I spend my days writing about wonderful eco-lodges, tours and conservation projects from all over the world. And in my time, I’ve come across plenty of misconceptions about my subject of choice: ecotourism. So I’m here…

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5 Myths About Ecotourism Debunked

5 reasons your company should buy off-site renewables now

February 15, 2017 by  
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If you’ve set procurement goals for 2020, the time is ripe to follow through.

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5 reasons your company should buy off-site renewables now

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