Elon Musk says new company will start drilling under LA next month

January 26, 2017 by  
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Never one to dally, Elon Musk has announced he’s about to dig into his ambitious project to build a tunnel under Los Angeles. The new tunnel is expected to tame the city’s massive traffic congestion problem . According to Motherboard , the mogul announced the news via Twitter on Wednesday morning with a tweet that said: “Exciting news on the tunnel front. Plan to start digging in a month or so.” It’s clear that Musk is not one to let an idea languish, as he only stated his goal to build a tunnel in mid-December 2016 while publicly complaining on Twitter about the traffic problems in Los Angeles. “Traffic is driving me nuts. Am going to build a tunnel boring machine and just start digging…” he wrote on Twitter in December. Related: Elon Musk says Trump administration may be “positive on renewables” “It shall be called ‘The Boring Company,’” he wrote, according to Motherboard . “Borings, it’s what we do.” And, a month later, after a meeting with then-President-Elect Trump , voila – it’s happening. Musk confirmed he’s soon going to begin work on a tunnel carved out by Tunnel Boring Machines that will start at some point next month. According to Motherboard, the tunnel will start across the road from the SpaceX office in Los Angeles, located in Crenshaw, near the 105 Freeway. Musk stated his interest in tunnels that would “alleviate congestion completely” as far back as 2015 in an interview with scientist Neil DeGrasse Tyson . Via Motherboard Images via Maurizio Pesce and Minesweeper ,

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Elon Musk says new company will start drilling under LA next month

New law requires all electric and hybrid vehicles to make noise by 2019

November 16, 2016 by  
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The days of having an electric car suddenly appear out of nowhere next to you will soon be gone, as the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHSTA) just finalized its “Quiet Car” rule – a law designed to make sure pedestrians don’t get hurt by near-silent electric cars they can’t hear coming. As of 2019, electric vehicles will have to make enough noise at low speeds to let you know they’re coming.

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New law requires all electric and hybrid vehicles to make noise by 2019

Nicolas Sarkozy calls for a carbon tax on the US if Trump pulls out of the Paris climate agreement

November 16, 2016 by  
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President-elect Trump has made no secret of his plans to pull out of the Paris climate agreement – a move that would have devastating environmental implications. But former French President Nicolas Sarkozy isn’t going to take this sort of climate change-repudiating nonsense lying down. He is calling for a carbon tax on the United States should the country decide to back out of its promises under the new Trump administration. Trump has repeatedly denied that global warming is a threat to the environment, even while quietly fortifying his real estate holdings against rising sea levels . Still, during his campaign, he promised to pull out of the Paris agreement that the US and over 100 other countries enacted to combat manmade warming. President Obama has championed the agreement, defending the pact on Monday during a press conference . Related: Trump advisers seek loopholes to allow ASAP withdrawal from Paris climate deal If Trump finds a way to scrap the agreement – and it is increasingly looking like he will – Sarkozy thinks Europe should impose a carbon tax on the US – sort of like an economic wall against poor policy decisions. “Well, I will demand that Europe put in place a carbon tax at its border, a tax of 1-3 per cent, for all products coming from the United States, if the United States doesn’t apply environmental rules that we are imposing on our companies,” he said. It is particularly important for the US to stick to the agreement, which aims at keeping temperatures from rising beyond the 2 degree point that most scientists agree is the point of no return for the planet. The US is one of the biggest carbon emitters on Earth, and it is hard to make a real global impact if the country isn’t on board. It is also difficult to convince other countries to comply if the US isn’t willing to take steps to reduce its emissions. Speaking about the agreement, President Obama stated “It says to China and India and other counties that are potentially polluting: come on board.” Via ZME Science Images via Wikimedia and Gage Skidmore

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Nicolas Sarkozy calls for a carbon tax on the US if Trump pulls out of the Paris climate agreement

A river made of 10,000 glowing books flows through Toronto

October 26, 2016 by  
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This large, interactive  art installation is created by group of anonymous artists/activists who “want literature to take over the streets and conquer public spaces, freely offering those passersby a traffic-free place which, for some hours, will succumb to the humble power of the written word.” Related: Alicia Martin’s Amazing Book Sculptures Pour out of Windows and Into the Streets The team has previously carried out the installation illegally in New York and Madrid, received official permission to appear in Melbourne, and has recently visited Toronto during Nuit Blanche Toronto, an annual, city-wide celebration of contemporary art. For this occasion, the group has used 10,000 books donated by the Salvation Army and worked for 12 days alongside 50 volunteers to replace cars with books on Hagerman Street, downtown Toronto . Related: Guy Laramée Carves a Majestic Lifelike Mountain Range Out of an Encyclopedia Britannica Set The artwork was open to the public for one night, during which visitors could immerse themselves in a literal flow of words and paper illuminated by soft lighting coming from the pages. They would sit down to read, take photos and eventually take pieces of the installation home. It took 10 hours for the installation to self-dismantle. + Luzinterruptus + Nuit Blanche Toronto

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A river made of 10,000 glowing books flows through Toronto

Science confirms traffic jams are bad for your health

August 26, 2016 by  
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Not only are traffic jams a total rage-inducing drag, but new scientific studies have confirmed they are also bad for our health . Sitting in a bumper-to-bumper gridlock multiplies the toxicity of air pollution , especially when windows are rolled down or fans are circulating outdoor air inside the vehicle. Luckily, taking a few simple steps will reduce your risk of exposure. Researchers from the University of Surrey have published studies over the last two years highlighting the risks of sitting in traffic. One study showed that those stuck behind the wheel, whether in a jam or at a red light with a car in front of them, are exposed to 29 times more pollution particles than those cruising down the street. As you can expect, the emissions from idling cars can build up quickly, putting drivers, passengers, and even nearby pedestrians at risk. Related: Paris just banned all cars built before 1997 to fight air pollution One way to reduce exposure to pollution while stuck in traffic is to keep the car windows rolled up. This might not be appealing during hot summer months, so circulating air from inside the car is a less sweaty option. Seeing as the World Health Organization reported that 7 million people died from exposure to air pollution in 2012, however, sacrificing a cool breeze and arriving at work with pit stains seems doesn’t sound so bad. Via  Phys.org Images via Pexels ( 1 , 2 )

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Science confirms traffic jams are bad for your health

Blackened timber home draws energy from a large wood-burning stove

August 26, 2016 by  
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The House Bäumle 2 was built on a slender strip of land next to a steep incline that falls away to a small stream. Its arresting blackened timber facade is a nod to the traditional vernacular of sunburned agriculture houses that the architects say have largely disappeared in Vorarlberg’s Rhine Valley. Large square windows of varying sizes with unpainted timber frames punctuate the dark facade. A large reinforced concrete mass sits at the heart of the home to help absorb and retain heat during the day and release it during cool nights. Heat is provided through a large black wood-burning stove and heat pump. The home’s highly insulated frame also helps prevent heat from escaping. Related: Prefab C/Z House is clad in blackened timber on the island of Pico Aside from the concrete core, the interior of the home is largely lined in untreated wood for a cozy appearance. “The classic theme of a solid characterful center of the house is operated, which includes the stove, the kitchen and the bathrooms,” write the architects. “Opposite, towards the windows it becomes continuous wooden, more tender, lighter. The spatial compression of the interior widens softly, with differentiated transitions, to the exterior.” + Bernardo Bader Architekten Via ArchDaily Images via Bernardo Bader Architekten

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Blackened timber home draws energy from a large wood-burning stove

Researchers discover evidence of supernovae on the sea floor

August 26, 2016 by  
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After a long and dedicated search, scientists believe they have discovered trace elements from supernovae settled on the sea floor. Iron isotopes created from a supernova explosion 2.2 million years ago have found their way into fossilized bacteria taken from a sample of the sea bed floor – the only place they could still be found after all this time. Astrophysicist Shawn Bishop from the Technical University of Munich , Germany, published a new paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences detailing his findings and following up on the hunch he has been following for several years. According to Gizmodo , he used accelerator mass spectrometry to analyze bacteria found in core samples from the ocean floor , counting each and every iron-60 isotope atom he found. Related: NASA captures shockwave of a massive supernova for the first time ever Iron-60, or 60Fe, is one of many elements produced by supernovae during an explosion. After being dispersed around space, these elements eventually settle onto planets. Because of 60Fe’s short half-life, none of it should still be around on Earth. However, traces have been found in fossilized bacteria thought to have picked up the crystals from the sea bed long ago. When the bacteria die, 60Fe remains preserved in the fossil record . Australian National University’s Anton Wallner also published a study  in Nature earlier this year, solidifying the case for supernovae depositing 60Fe on Earth. He and his team estimate the closest explosion occurred about 326 light years away. It is thought that either this event or Bishop’s findings are related to the onset of the Pleistocene, which triggered a period of global cooling. Via Gizmodo Images via Wikimedia , Wikipedia

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China builds a futuristic bus that soars above cars and beats traffic jams

August 3, 2016 by  
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The massive two-lane-wide Transit Elevated Bus (TEB) battles gridlock by soaring above traffic and is capable of replacing around 40 conventional buses and saving over 800 tonnes of fuel. The bus would be powered with electricity, rather than petrol. Each bus is designed to hold up to 300 passengers at a time and its elevated profile would allow two lanes of traffic to pass underneath. Related: China to test crazy traffic straddling bus this summer The first completed TEB prototype took to the roads yesterday morning on a 300-meter-long controlled track. The prototype measures 22 meters in length with a 7.8-meter width and 4.8-meter height. Up to four TEB cars can be linked together at a time to carry up to 1,200 passengers at speeds of 60 kilometers (40 miles) per hour. Similar to China’s subway trains , the bus is spacious and equipped with many LCD TV screens; however, engineers say producing TEB would amount to less than a fifth of the time and cost of a typical subway line. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jhfUn2Zen00 The TEB is still a long way away from being implemented on the mean and busy streets of Chinese cities, but the initial test run is a promising first step towards what may be the future of public transportation. Via The Verge

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China builds a futuristic bus that soars above cars and beats traffic jams

The food we eat isn’t what we think it is, new book shows

August 3, 2016 by  
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Inaccurate food labeling is a rampant problem in America. That Kobe steak you ordered? Unless you’re at one of three U.S. restaurants to whom Japan sells the rare beef, it’s probably a cheaper cut. That white tuna sushi you crave? It could actually be escolar, otherwise known as “Ex-Lax fish.” Journalist Larry Olmsted shows just how prolifically the food industry lies in his new book released this month, Real Food/Fake Food: Why You Don’t Know What You’re Eating and What You Can Do about It . To research for Real Food/Fake Food , Olmsted traveled around the world, hitting up Alaska, Italy, and Japan (to name a few countries) in a quest for the truth about what we’re eating. He found items as common as honey, rice, and coffee as well as more exotic items like Kobe beef are often either cut with other ingredients or, in some cases, substituted with cheaper food items pretending to be the real thing. Related: Michael Moss Investigates How Junk Food Is Engineered to Be Addictive Let’s take the example of extra-virgin olive oil . Often other oils like soybean oil or peanut oil are added to olive oil, but they’re not listed under the ingredients. And if the bottle says “pure” on it, it’s probably not a good buy; that misleading label actually means the olive oil is the lowest grade it can be. The mislabeling issue doesn’t end with the food industry. According to Olmsted, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) knows about some of the mislabeling. He wrote, “They’re not clueless. They know…They say they don’t have the budget.” We can’t exactly swear off eating food, so Olmsted offered tips of what to look for in his book. In the case of olive oil, there are a few more trustworthy labels. The California Olive Oil Council’s “COOC – Certified Extra Virgin” label can be trusted, as can UNAPROL and EVA labels, said Olmsted. Marine Stewardship Council (MSC), Global Aquaculture Alliance’s Best Aquaculture Practices (BAP), and Alaska Seafood: Wild, Natural, Sustainable logos can help you find quality seafood. Olmsted wrote, “The good news is that there is plenty of healthful and delicious Real Food. You just have to know where to look.” + Real Food Fake Food Via the New York Post Images via PublicDomainPictures.net and Pixabay

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The food we eat isn’t what we think it is, new book shows

Peter Thiel thinks the blood of the young could help him fight death

August 3, 2016 by  
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Elon Musk and Peter Thiel co-founded PayPal together, but public perception of the two is wildly different. While Musk is often seen as a real-life Iron Man here to usher in an age of green technology and carbon-free living, Thiel has made headlines for supporting Donald Trump and bankrupting Gawker . Now an interview with Thiel has surfaced, in which the tech billionaire says he’s exploring parabiosis, or blood transfusions from young people to help fight aging and death . Thiel told Inc. reporter Jeff Bercovici, “I’m looking into parabiosis stuff, which I think is really interesting. This is where they did the young blood into older mice and they found that had a massive rejuvenating effect…it’s one of these very odd things where people had done these studies in the 1950’s and then it got dropped altogether. I think there are a lot of these things that have been strangely underexplored.” Related: PayPal Co-Founder Peter Thiel Invests Big Money in 3D-Printed Steaks Thiel is referring to 1950’s experiments in which scientists connected the circulatory systems of two rats by stitching them together. For decades parabiosis was generally considered fringe science, but now some researchers in the U.S., China, and Korea are taking another look. A U.S. company, Ambrosia, is conducting trials where participants over 35 pay $8,000 to receive blood transfusions from donors younger than 25. Thiel Capital Chief Medical Officer and Thiel’s Personal Health Director Jason Camm reportedly reached out to Ambrosia for more information, but a Thiel Capital spokesperson told Inc. Thiel has yet to begin parabiosis treatments. Thiel has spoken out on his unique perspective on death before. He’s invested in biotech startups and plans to be cyrogenically frozen upon death. Nearly two years ago he told The Telegraph , “You can accept [death], you can deny it, or you can fight it. I think our society is dominated by people who are into denial or acceptance, and I prefer to fight it.” Back in 2009 he wrote in the journal Cato Unbound , “I stand against confiscatory taxes, totalitarian collectives, and the ideology of the inevitability of the death of every individual.” Via Vanity Fair Hive and Inc. Images via Steve Jurvetson on Flickr and Fortune Live Media on Flickr Save

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Peter Thiel thinks the blood of the young could help him fight death

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