‘The Next Mass Extinction?’

source: cnn.com (contributed by FAN, Bill Amshey |  image: pexels.com

 

Bird flu is back. With a large outbreak still unfolding, a New York Review of Books essay by Oliver Wang asks if this particular strain, H5N1, could cause “the next mass extinction.”
 
Word of the outbreak in animals spread last summer, Wang writes, recounting eerie mass deaths of seals, sea lions, and birds on South American coasts. “By the time I spoke to [Argentine veterinarian Marcela] Uhart, the breeding season in Patagonia had ended. Over 17,000 baby elephant seals—96 percent or more of the juveniles in the region—were estimated to have died, as well as more than 500,000 birds. In some areas there were no longer any organisms to infect. Still, Uhart told me, she saw sick and dead animals on each visit to the beach: a sea lion, a duck, a tern. ‘My suspicion is that the virus will linger on,’ she said. ‘We just don’t know whether it will continue to cause epidemic outbreaks, or whether it will just trickle in like it is now.’”
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Is the ‘Dead Internet’ theory suddenly coming true?

This could be a sign

source: fastcompany.com  |  image: pexels.com

No, not shrimp Jesus—though that’s noteworthy, too. We’re talking about what TikTok could be planning with AI influencers.

 

There’s been a popular theory floating around conspiracy circles for about seven or eight years now. It’s called the “Dead Internet” theory, and its main argument is that the organic, human-created content that powered the early web in the 1990s and 2000s has been usurped by artificially created content, which now dominates what people see online. Hence, the internet is “dead” because the content most of us consume is no longer created by living beings (humans).

But there’s another component to the theory—and this is where the conspiracy part comes into play. The Dead Internet theory states that this move from human-created content to artificially generated content was purposeful, spearheaded by governments and corporations in order to exploit control over the public’s perception. 

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Majority of Consumers Feel Safe With DIY Home Security: Parks Study

 

source: technewsworld.com  |  image:  pexels.com

 

Some 60% of consumers believe their self-monitoring home security systems keep them just as safe as monitoring provided by security pros, according to research released by Parks Associates.

“Consumers view self-monitoring as a way to be notified of what’s going on in their homes. For many of them, that can provide the peace-of-mind that’s safe enough for certain households,” Parks President and CEO Elizabeth Parks told TechNewsWorld.

Based on a survey of 8,000 U.S. internet households, the research also found that the major reason for canceling professional monitoring systems was cost, with 25% of consumers citing “fees too high” as their reason for terminating their monitoring services.

Also mentioned as reasons for cutting professional monitoring were an increased sense of neighborhood safety and a realization that the household doesn’t use its system enough.

While many consumers feel their self-monitoring systems keep them safe, professional monitoring services remain popular.

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Holographic message encoded in simple plastic

source: science daily.com  |  image: pexels.com

 

Important data can be stored and concealed quite easily in ordinary plastic using 3D printers and terahertz radiation, scientists show. Holography can be done quite easily: A 3D printer can be used to produce a panel from normal plastic in which a QR code can be stored, for example. The message is read using terahertz rays — electromagnetic radiation that is invisible to the human eye.

 

There are many ways to store data — digitally, on a hard disk, or using analogue storage technology, for example as a hologram. In most cases, it is technically quite complicated to create a hologram: High-precision laser technology is normally used for this.

Humanizing a popular holiday with AI

source: https://www.armstrongeconomics.com, contributed by FAN, Steve Jones  |  image: armstrongeconomics.com

 

In his submission, Steve writes “This video is rather interesting from the technology point of view as well as how people are viewed from their image.    I think the impact of a first impression , body language, and  eye contact are more important now-a-days than a handshake.    Similarly the smile gesture and body language is just as important as appearance.”

This short video will undoubtedly “wow!” you…and probably make you want to view it at least a couple of times.  It’s AI at its finest and worthy of a look-see!  Click on the image below.  It’ll take you to the source site where the video resides!

 

NASA’s new supersonic jet goes so fast it can’t have a windshield. Here’s how pilots will fly it

source: fastcompany.com  |  image: nasa.gov

 

Today NASA is officially trotting out the finished version of an experimental aircraft that looks like a stretched-out arrowhead. Painted in red, white, and blue, the plane is called the X-59, and it has a lofty goal: to fly faster than the speed of sound over land, but do so in a quiet enough way that no one below is startled by a sonic boom. (You can watch the event here.)

The aircraft’s most noticeable feature is a nose that measures 38 feet long, which represents more than one-third of its total length of 99 feet and 7 inches. Tucked into a compartment behind that nose will be space for one pilot. But because the cockpit sits totally flush with the top surface of the aircraft—it’s embedded in the body of the plane—there is no forward windshield for the test pilot to look out of when they fly. Instead, they’ll fly using a camera system and a screen inside the cockpit to reveal what’s in front of them. 

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Virginia Tech researchers receive grant to create way for developing underground power lines

source: https://www.wdbj7.com, contributed by FAN, Steve Page  |  image: vt.edu

 

BLACKSBURG, Va. (WDBJ) – There are thousands of power lines underground that allow us to use our phones, laptops and devices daily.

A Virginia Tech research team will be using a grant from the U.S. Department of Energy Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy(ARPA-E) to develop new technology that will enhance how underground power lines are made.

“The problem that we’re trying to solve is challenges with the current way our electrical grid [is] set up,” said Dr. Joseph Vatassel, an assistant professor with Virginia Tech’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. “So most of our electricity that we get to our homes, or to our businesses is through overhead power lines.”

Dr. Vantassel will lead a team to revamp how underground power lines around the country are built.

“What we’re looking at is the alternative of drilling underneath the ground. And this is something that’s been done. It’s very expensive right now, it’s very risky right now,” Dr. Vantassel adds.

The research is being funded by a $2.5 million grant for technology designed to make underground drilling safer.

“What we’re proposing is a system that is going to allow the drill operator to essentially see ahead of where they’re drilling,” explained Dr. Vantassel. “So we have sensors on the drill head itself. We have complementary sensors at the ground surface. And then we’re going to use this artificial intelligence machine learning predictive model to take the data coming from the drill head, the data we’re measuring at the surface, put that all together and present it to the drill operators.”

Congressman Morgan Griffith (R- 9th District) announced the grant on behalf of ARPA-E. He said he is excited for this project because is important now more than ever

“Whenever you have high winds and cold temperatures, you are more likely to have power outages as we as we see here,” said the Congressman. “Same thing with ice storms. The reason that your power goes out in an ice storm is that ice builds up on the lines and the lines collapse.”

Underground power lines can also help prevent catastrophes like the fires in Maui we saw last year.

“We held a hearing last year related to the Maui fires, which were caused by power line,” explained Congressman Griffith “If they’d been underground, you wouldn’t had those problems.”

Congressman Griffith also mentioned as technology advances, our power grids need to as well.

“There’s so many more electrical devices, we are going to have to put in more power lines and the more that we can do, where we’re able to do some of that underground, the stronger the grid’s going to be. I think that’s important,” he said.

Although the research will be based at Virginia Tech, Dr. Vantassel says the research will not only impact our hometowns; it will help the entire country.

“The idea is really to develop this system to be used across the United States. So we’re looking not just at how do we improve the electrical system here at Virginia Tech, but really across the whole us,” said Dr. Vantassel. The whole United States has these challenges with how do we underground utility lines. And I think that’s why you’re seeing the Department of Energy put so much resources behind developing these projects, funding our project, and all of these.”

Dr. Vantassel is teaming up with colleagues at Virginia Tech along with Brigham Young Universityand the Colorado School of Mines. He plans on using grant money to begin research immediately.

What an astronaut, Molly Baz, and your mom

can teach you about creativity

 

source: fastcompany.com  |  image: pexels.com

 

As a journalist prone to nerding out on books about design and creativity, a fair number of them cross my desk. But within them, there’s often a preponderance of thought leadership presented at its thinnest—a veritable Ikea table of wisdom that, let’s admit, probably came from a ghostwriter to begin with. 

Which is why Mike Schnaidt’s Creative Endurance is such a delightful anomaly.  

Now, disclaimer up front: Schnaidt is the creative director of Fast Company—but we’d cover this book even if he wasn’t because it’s such an anomaly in the “creative inspo” genre. Crack its covers, and there’s a wonderland of editorial design inside. Concept-driven type treatments dance across colorful pages. Illustrations. Activities. But above all, insights on pushing through obstacles and remaining engaged in your process and practice from not only designers (though you’ll indeed find such minds as Sagi HavivJennifer Kinon, and Bobby C. Martin Jr. here), but also from athletes, an astronaut, architect, wardrobe stylist, chefs, a sommelier, and . . . a third grader. 

If the book feels unorthodox, that’s by design. When teaching at Kean University in 2022, Schnaidt, a marathoner, eschewed the typical portfolio presentation and instead gave a talk titled, “The Runner’s Guide to Design.” 

This new cement could become America’s next big bumper crop and help save the world as we know it

source: archdaily.com  |  image: pexels.com

 

Colorado-based Prometheus Materials and other emerging companies are developing new biocements that could help meet the world’s growing concrete demands and avert climate catastrophe.

Innovation thrives when we pause to observe, question, and reimagine the world around us, turning challenges into opportunities for progress. Nature, in particular, serves as a rich source of inspiration. By observing it, studying its daily challenges, and contemplating its processes, we can discover valuable insights that inspire innovative solutions.

One of these current challenges is the production of concrete, an ancient and extremely popular material that is now accountable for a significant portion of global CO₂ emissions, due to the energy-intensive process of cement production and the chemical reactions involved. It is estimated to be responsible for approximately 8% of the world’s annual CO₂ emissions, pumping 11 million tons of CO₂ into the atmosphere every day and consuming 9% of the world’s annual industrial water usage. In addition, the world’s building stock is expected to double by 2060—the equivalent of building an entire New York City every month for the next 36 years, which means an incredible increase in demand for cement and concrete. Faced with this daunting situation, is there anything we can do? In this article, we speak with Loren Burnett, CEO of Prometheus Materials, which has developed a material that mimics nature’s processes to recreate concrete as we know it.

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The new, sci-fi ways AI will radically redesign airports

source: fastcompany.com  |  Image: pexels.com

 

Someday you might be able to check into your flight from your car.

Airports today are shaped like dumbbells. One end of the dumbbell is for ticketing and checked bags. The opposite end is where the gates are located along with restaurants and shops. The thin middle between the two ends is for security screening, which separates the “landside” of the airport from its “airside.”

This airport shape has become more pronounced in the past two decades, mainly because of security screening apparatuses. But artificial intelligence is poised to subvert that shape, first by creating new ways for people to interact with existing airport infrastructure, then by challenging the traditional landside-airside barrier, and, finally, enabling all-new design approaches to the physical and digital footprints of airports. Here’s how those changes will unfold in the next five, 10, and 20 years.

FIVE YEARS FROM NOW: EARLY NEGOTIATIONS WITH INFRASTRUCTURE

Airports have historically told you what they are doing: a giant flight information display system or series of gate announcements is the airport broadcasting its operations. What you are doing as a passenger is extracting relevant information and maneuvering those operations. This power dynamic between what an airport is doing and what a passenger is doing is changing, though, and becoming far more collaborative. At Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA), passengers can make “spot saver” appointments for security screenings, skipping the lines and avoiding any anxiety about getting through checkpoints ahead of flight times. Also at SEA, passengers parking their vehicles can use anautomated parking guidance system to find open spots faster. In each instance, the airport is improving its efficiency by allowing passengers to interact with infrastructure more directly.

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