Tag Archives: news

Futurology ~ Super Earth, Planet 9, NASA space pooh, exploration bots, Spanner, AI’s killer instinct, Trump crazinesses, ancient Chinese beer, Woolly Mammoth


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60 new planets include a Super Earth — An international team of astronomers has found 60 new planets orbiting stars close to Earth’s solar system, including a rocky “super Earth.” The experts also found evidence of an additional 54 planets, bringing the potential discovery of new worlds to 114. One, called Gliese 411b (that’s an artist’s impression, above), has been generating plenty of attention. Described as a “hot super Earth with a rocky surface,” Gliese 411b is located in the fourth-nearest star system to the Sun, making it the third-nearest planetary system to the Sun.
~ But Gliese411b is actually too hot for us to live on. 

Planet 9 has a new team — Since Pluto was infamously demoted to a dwarf planet in 2006, some astronomers have turned their attention to finding the true Planet 9, a hypothetical, Neptune-sized world that orbits the Sun at least a few hundred times further out than Earth. While there’s no shortage of ideas about what Planet 9 could look like – or what it may have experienced throughout its life – so far, no one has been able to spot this elusive world.
~ Go Team 9!

NASA’s space pooh competition — NASA needs a new method that can handle an emergency situation in which an astronaut may have to go longer periods in a poop-filled suit. Crowdsourcing site HeroX handled the duties of pulling together all of the submissions for NASA’s judges and it was a record-setting campaign. Since October, more than 5000 ideas were floated by 20,000 people working as individuals or teams.
~ I can think of many other human problems massed teams could be focussing on. 

Exploration robot competition — Nearly two dozen teams are racing to develop robots that can investigate, map, and conduct science at extreme depths, and under serious time constraints. They’re also competing for $7 million in prize money.
~ And am I the only one bothered by the competition sponsor being Shell? 

Google’s remarkable Spanner is now open — Before Spanner, machines couldn’t keep databases consistent without constant and heavy communication, and communication across the globe took much too long. But Google’s Spanner works because those engineers found a way to harness time. And now Google is offering this technology to the rest of the world as a cloud computing service.
~ And once Trump’s minions find out how to harness this, we’re really screwed. 

AI proves to have a killer instinct — And before you get too comfortable, researchers at DeepMind have been working with two games to test whether neural networks are more likely to understand motivations to compete or cooperate. But the dueling agents were, at times, likely to light each other up with ray gun blasts to get ahead.
~ This is true binary, surely: on or off …

And in Trump crazinesses — Some voting errors and glitches may be coming from outer space, according to scientists who discussed this cosmic conundrum today at the annual meeting of American Association for the Advancement of the Sciences in Boston. Although this does not mean that aliens influenced the US 2016 election. which I’d welcome as an explanation, at this point.
Russian President Vladimir Putin signalled he wanted to help avoid the nuclear apocalypse during his first phone call with President Donald Trump, and Trump fumbled it because he had no idea what the most important treaty between America and Russia was.
But at least IBM backs him: IBM CEO Ginni Rometty has taken some major heat from her employees for continuing to advise President Trump, and that seems likely to continue in the near future. Rometty just sent out a new internal memo defending her collaboration with the Trump regime, and like every IBM statement to come before it, the whole thing is pretty weak. Well, hey, this is the company that controlled the information flow for the Holocaust after all.
And the White House has blocked the listing of US bumble bees as endangered species …
~ Remember, actual human beings voted for this living US parody of a Banana Republic despot.

5000-year-old Chinese beer brought back to life — Stanford University students have recreated a Chinese beer using a recipe that dates back 5000 years. The beer “looked like porridge and tasted sweeter and fruitier than the clear, bitter beers of today,” said Li Liu, a professor in Chinese archaeology.
~ Sounds yum.

Wooly mammoth may yet return — The woolly mammoth vanished from the Earth 4000 years ago, but now scientists say they are on the brink of resurrecting the ancient beast in a revised form, through an ambitious feat of genetic engineering.
~ I’m imagining a future of very big woollen jumpers. 

Futurology ~ Sun hunch, NASA side mission, space junk, losing freeways, mind-boggling maths, bee drones, US genes


(Image from Nine Planets)
(Image from Nine Planets)

Scientists have a weird hunch about why the Sun spins too slowly — Physicists have long known that the Sun spins, like the Earth. But a few decades ago, they realized the surface of the Sun spins more slowly than their models predicted – not by a lot, but enough to signal that something they didn’t understand was going on. This kicked off a solar mystery.
A team of astronomers has stared into the Sun long enough that they think they’ve found the source of the slowdown.
~ I’d suspect tiredness.

NASA’s Trojan side mission —OSIRIS-REx is one of the busiest spacecrafts in the solar system. It blasted off in September 2016, and has been getting ready to rendezvous with the object of its mission, an asteroid called Bennu, to bring back samples to Earth. But before the spacecraft links up with Bennu in 2018, it’s been assigned a side project: for 10 days this month, OSIRIS-REx will investigate whether or not Trojan asteroids exist at certain points in Earth’s orbit called Lagrange points.

Space junk — An experimental Japanese mission to remove dangerous debris from orbit has ended in failure. It’s a frustrating setback given the mounting risks posed by the nearly two million bits of junk currently swirling around our planet.
~ Here’s my idea: stick a powerful magnet on one, and when it’s collected a few others, deal with them together. 

Losing freeways — Rip out eight lanes of freeway through the middle of your metropolis and you’ll be rewarded with not only less traffic, but safer, more efficient cities … it’s true, and it’s happening in places all over the world.
~ This is apt, as I feel like a loser every time I get trapped on Auckland’s. 

Maths is beautiful in theory, miraculous when applied, and awe-inspiring at every turn — Appreciate the diversity and implications of math. While an artistic temperament is often considered the exact opposite of the kind of personality that loves complicated equations, pure mathematicians are really just a bunch of lunatics endlessly working with abstraction and beauty. And folks who work in fields of applied mathematics often end up finding a use for those abstract ideas.
~ I used to use a calculator, but now Siri does all my maths. 

Bees are dying but … tiny bee drones — We rely heavily on bees and other species to pollinate our plants, and though there isn’t global data, there have been enough local die-offs to spark widespread concern, according to a report from the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services. Now, a team of scientists from the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST) in Japan has engineered drones featuring a specially-engineered adhesive to pick up and deposit pollen.
~ I already saw this on Black Mirror

Huge US diversity thanks to 770,000 vials of spit — Genetics have been used to track historical migration before, but this new study gives us a look at recent history. Where the data is most remarkable is in its granularity: the ability to point not just to France but to specific regions of France, and track the migration of those groups of people over time.
~ And surprise! Despite Trump’s henchmen’s ideas, the US is very, very diverse. All that spit seems most appropriate.

Futurology ~ Life on Europa, odd astronaut DNA results, 2nd Life VR Social world, entry into physics, concrete


After four years' work, Sansar the VR world should arrive this year
After four years’ work, Sansar the VR world should arrive this year

Promising new tool may help find life on Europa — Scientists have tailored an old-school chemistry technique to analyse amino acid patterns, creating a tool for sniffing out alien biosignatures in just a few grams of seawater.
The method, 10,000 times more sensitive than similar techniques used by NASA’s Mars Curiosity Rover, is ideally suited for a life-hunting mission to Jupiter’s moon Europa, or Saturn’s Enceladus, lead study author Peter Willis told Gizmodo.
~ Not so good for dry planets, then. 

Odd DNA results for Scott Kelly — Astronauts Scott and Mark Kelly volunteered themselves as test subjects for NASA, which has been studying the pair since they’ve returned from their respective voyages in space: the identical twin brothers are subjects of a 10-part investigation to understand the impact of space travel on the body.
As identical twins, the brothers are genetically very similar. However, researchers found that while he was in orbit, Scott’s telomeres — the caps on the ends of chromosomes — grew longer than his twin brother’s. Though Scott’s telomeres returned to their pre-flight lengths shortly after he returned to Earth, these results were totally unexpected, since telomeres naturally shrink over the course of one’s life, and the stresses of spaceflight are supposed to accelerate this.
~ Must be a pain being born as an Identical Test Subject. 

Sansar, the new virtual reality world from Second Life’s creators — after four years work, will arrive later this year on Oculus Rift and HTC Vive headsets. “It is trying to solve some of the big problems that plagued Second Life for years,” reports MIT Technology Review, “such as that most users come in through what is essentially a front door and have a hard time finding things to do once they get in… In the demos I tried, I navigated via an atlas that shows a simple clickable thumbnail image of each destination along with its name.”
~ Let me in! Reality has become so freakin’ crazy!

Want to get into physics? Wired has some tips for you.
~ No, I want to get into Sansar! Meanwhile, Siri is the maths master for converting units easily. 

Concrete … what is it? we invented it, we lost it, we reinvented it — Here’s how we discovered concrete, forgot it, and then finally cracked the mystery of what makes it so strong. For concrete, we usually picture white pavements, swimming pools and building foundations. Most of us aren’t aware of concrete’s fiery volcanic origin story, or that concrete is a $100 billion dollar industry. In fact, it’s the most widely-used material on our planet after water. Ton for ton, humans use more concrete today than steel, wood, plastics, and aluminum combined.
~ “We are all Romans, unconscious collective…”

Futurology ~ Our ancient meteors, Sagan knew, super-laser, Australian biometric passport, 3D-printed human skin, seawater lamp, coffee genetics


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466-million-year-old meteors raining down on Earth — When the solar system was in its rebellious stage about 466 million years ago, two massive asteroids collided in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, sending tiny pieces of shrapnel flying all over the solar system.
After examining bits of crystals that fell to Earth just before the collision, an international team of scientists has learned that space rocks that only enter our atmosphere rarely now were much more prevalent back in the day. And stuff from that big breakup is still raining down on us.
~ So we’re still seeing the effects of an event that took place almost 500 million years ago.

 In 1995, Carl Sagan predicted manufacturing jobs gone & no control over our political lives — Did Carl Sagan really warn about a time in the future when manufacturing jobs would slip away, when the average person would have virtually no control over their political lives, and when we would all cling to superstitions? Yes, Sagan did. And plenty of people are worried that Carl was talking about our era. The passage comes from Sagan’s book Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark, first published in 1995.
~ Go him. I just wish he’d been wrong. 

Super-powerful laser — A Czech and British research team says their ‘super laser’ is capable of an average power output of over 1000 watts, making it ‘10 times as powerful‘ as other lasers of its type.
~ There have been more powerful, but that’s peak pulses. This has a powerful average output, which is the important bit. Bzzt. 

Australian biometric passports — Australia has begun the search for technology companies that could provide biometric systems, such as facial, iris and fingerprint recognition for border control. Head of border security John Coyne said it could be a “world first.” But critics have questioned the privacy implications of such a system.
~ Surely it’s not that hard to figure out who desperately needs asylum and safety and therefore should be turned back? 

Spanish scientists developed a prototype 3D printer capable of printing functional human skin — It could be used for transplant patients, as well as an ethical alternative to animal testing. The so-called bioprinter uses special ‘ink’ consisting of human cells and other biological components to reproduce the natural structure of the skin, including the external epidermis and the deeper dermis layer.
~ Surely it could add tattoos?

Lamp glows 80 hours on seawater — There are plenty of legitimate reasons to prepare for the end of civilisation as we know it (and now many of them have Trump in the title), and if the world’s supply of batteries ever runs out, you’ll be glad you had this emergency LED lamp tucked away in your doomsday shelter.
Hitachi Maxell’s Mizusion lamp for goes for about three days on a mix of salt and water. The ingredients work alongside oxygen in the air and a replaceable magnesium ‘power bar’ to create positive and negative electrodes, which in turn generates electricity.
~ Just make sure you have a seaside apocalypse.

Coffee’s gene-fueled future — This just drew nearer, now that scientists have sequenced the genome of the Coffea arabica coffee plant – the species that makes up the vast majority of global production – and made the data public. That means the world is in for a coffee renaissance, as breeders use the information to develop new plant varieties.
~ Banana with that?

MagBytes 83 for January 2017


mb83The Swiss have arrived so seize the carp! OK, I’m not very good at French and Latin, but MagBytes 83 is here, full of news, views, tips and tricks for all Apple users, free and bulging with info in electronic form.

That’s just a thumbnail at left, so click …

THIS LINK —> issue83jan17 to get this PDF magazine on your device and/or computer.

Futurology ~ Galaxy killer, wave maker moon, Venus commotion, NASA on climate, flying car, Zebra stripes


Airbus promises a flying car prototype by the end of this year. Yay!
Airbus promises a flying car prototype by the end of this year. Yay!

Silent but deadly galaxy killer — Across the universe, galaxies are literally getting the life sucked out of them. A team of researchers at the International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research in Western Australia has examined 11,000 galaxies using the Sloan Digital Sky Survey and Arecibo Legacy Fast ALFA survey. The team concluded that a process called ram-pressure stripping — which forces gas out of galaxies — is more common than previously imagined. It’s a quick death, because without gas, galaxies are unable to produce more stars. The group’s findings were published on January 17th in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.
~ I get that from eating chickpeas. 

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Cassini gets a look at Saturn’s wavemaker moon — Saturn’s tiny moon friend, Daphnis, is finally getting its close-up. In a stunning new image [in detail, above] from NASA’s Cassini spacecraft, the elusive moon can be seen peeking out from within the Keeler gap of Saturn’s rings. According to NASA, the image was taken in visible (green) light by Cassini’s narrow-angle camera.
~ It creates waves, unlike the other 61 moons of Saturn. 

Venus’ atmospheric commotion — An infrared camera aboard the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency’s Venus-orbiting Akatsuki spacecraft spotted lazy pockets of atmosphere on Venus in December 2015. Akatsuki’s camera brought the first hard evidence: an enormous, 6000-mile bow-shaped region hanging over a mountainous region of Venus.
~ It’s refusing to budge despite the 225 mile-per-hour winds that surround it.

NASA director explains what 2016’s temperature changes mean — To understand where we are – and more importantly, where we’re headed – Gavin Schmidt, Director of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, said we should be focusing on data that shows how much the Earth has warmed since the Industrial Revolution. According to NASA, the global temperature has increased 1.7 degrees F since 1880.
Over that same time frame, carbon dioxide levels have dramatically increased, from roughly 280 to 405.25 parts per million: the highest they’ve been in 650,000 years.
Meanwhile, ‘rogue’ scientists have been struggling to save climate data from that supreme idiot Trump, who has just become the most powerful idiot in the world.
Gizmodo reckon’s Trump’s Age of Ignorance threatens humanity.
~ A former friend of mine was still insisting, a year ago, that global warming was a ‘left wing plot’. I asked him what he thought the left would gain from such a plot. His answer was …. he didn’t have an answer, of course. But the fact remains that people’s wish that this wouldn’t be happening seems to be enough for them to decide it isn’t. It’s not about the causes, really, but what we can do to slow it, for all our futures. 

Airbus promises flying car — Airbus last year formed a division called Urban Air Mobility to explore concepts such as a vehicle to transport individuals or a helicopter-style vehicle that can carry multiple riders. The aim would be for people to book the vehicle using an app, similar to car-sharing schemes. (Meanwhile, look at Wired’s outstanding cars of the last year.)
~ Finally!

Scientist finally figures out why zebras are striped — Camouflage? No; social recognition? no; lion’s eye shapes? No …
~ It’s a long article, and you’ll never believe the answer!

Futurology ~ new galaxy class, more mystery signals, planet farts, Chilean UFO, next food, Tsunami size, Moore’s Law and Intel, coal vs solar


The Chilean government has released 2014 footage of a 'UFO'
The Chilean government has released 2014 footage of a ‘UFO’

A new class of galaxy — Astronomers at the University of Minnesota Duluth and the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences have identified a new class of ring galaxy. Named PGC 1000714, it features an elliptical core with not one, but two outer rings. It’s the only known galaxy of its kind in the known universe.
~ So far. 

Astronomers detect mysterious radio signals coming from outside our galaxy — Powerful radio signals have been detected repeatedly in the same exact location in space,  generating as much energy as the sun does in a whole day.
The most likely hypothesis so far for these outer-galactic FRB is that they’re coming from an exotic object such as a young neutron star, that’s rotating with enough power to regularly emit the extremely bright pulses.
~ Dang. I was hoping for some new beats. 

Black Hole farts out planet-sized gas balls — At the centre of our galaxy sits Sagittarius A, a supermassive black hole around four million times the mass of the Sun. If an unlucky star ventures too close, the black hole’s gravity tears it to shreds. But rather than leaving the gassy star corpse to die, Sagittarius A might ball up the entrails into masses bigger than planet Neptune, and fart 95% of them out of the galaxy at 20 million miles per hour
~ Crikey! (And please note that was Gizmodo’s nomenclature, not mine.) 

Chile’s unexplained UFO footage — The report from an alleged UFO sighting by the Chilean military over two years ago has just been declassified, leaving experts completely stumped. The Chilean government agency which investigates UFOs, the CEFAA, reports that a naval helicopter was carrying out a routine daylight coastal patrol in November 2014 when the camera operator noticed an unidentified flying object ahead, flying horizontally and at a steady speed similar to that of the helicopter. The mysterious object could be seen with the naked eye but couldn’t be detected with the helicopter’s radar, ground radar stations or air traffic controllers.
~ Well, it looks like it was burning fuel (main picture, above) and could do with a tune-up.

The next foods — A person born in the year 1000 AD definitely wouldn’t comprehend a Dorito, and if you showed them a Twinkie … But our food is bound to get a lot weirder.
Scientific research doesn’t just bring us more convenient and cheaper food options, but the hope of overcoming sustainability issues, too. The meat industry plays a huge role in climate change— around 10% of America’s total greenhouse gas emissions came from the agriculture sector in 2014, with almost a third of that climate-warming carbon attributed to methane from cattle. So many are fretting about how to feed the 9 billion people who will be inhabiting the planet in 2050.
~ Hanging out for that 3D-printed biscuit made of insect flour, are you?

How big can tsunamis actually get? Tsunamis are very probably the scariest natural disaster out there because they ravage everything in their path. But learning about how big they can actually get makes tsunamis even scarier. The tsunami disasters we know, like the 2011 Japan tsunami, are classified as just ‘regular’ tsunamis. There’s a whole other category of mega tsunamis that dwarf regular tsunamis in height. Back in 1958, a tsunami in Alaska generated waves as tall as 525 metres (1722 feet), which is considerably higher than the Empire State Building. (The new One World Trade Center is 541 metres (1776 feet) tall, and that’s the tallest building in New York City…)
~ I firmly believe that any tsunami over 3cms is already too big. 

Moore’s Law’s next step — Sometime in 2017, Intel will ship the first processors built using the company’s new, 10-nanometer chip-manufacturing technology. Intel says transistors produced in this way will be cheaper than those that came before, continuing the decades-long trend at the heart of Moore’s Law – and contradicting widespread talk that transistor-production costs have already sunk as low as they will go.
~ This revs the chip industry more than it’s managed to jump over the last few years. 

In 1917, they thought coal would not be used for power in 2017 — The November 12, 1917 edition of the Lincoln Evening Journal in Nebraska which ran under the headline Looking Ahead. The piece was reprinted from the Chicago News and ridiculed the idea of worrying about whether people of the future would have enough coal. They needed coal now, and there’s absolutely no way that people of the year 2017 would still be using coal as energy. But But in 2015, roughly 67% of America’s energy needs were still met by fossil fuels.
~ Well, it’s not all bad news: solar could be the cheapest energy source in less than a decade

Futurology ~ 2017 in space, massive Antarctica object, Avatar robot, 2016 as horror film, Ebola vaccine, Vera Rubin and Dark Matters


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Next year in space — Wired has a story about all the great space stuff the magazine’s writers are expecting in 2017. One is that NASA needs to get to Mars, and is just about ready for liftoff: the SLS is still deep in its testing stages, and those will continue right up to the rocket’s projected 2018 launch date, when it’s set to carry the Orion spacecraft on an unmanned mission. In 2017, the rocket will enter its Green Run phase at NASA’s Stennis Space Center: a bunch of static booster-firing, resonance-checking test runs.
~ Pah! Mars is so 2016, don’t you think?

Satellite spots massive object hidden under the frozen wastes of Antarctica — Scientists believe a massive object which could change our understanding of history is hidden beneath the Antarctic ice. The huge and mysterious “anomaly” is thought to be lurking beneath the frozen wastes of an area called Wilkes Land. It stretches for a distance of 243 kms (151 miles) across and has a maximum depth of about 848 meters. Some researchers believe it is the remains of a truly massive asteroid which was more than twice the size of the Chicxulub space rock which wiped out the dinosaurs.
~ Well, that’s more likely than Nazi flying saucer bases. 

South Korean Avatar-styled robot — A robot which bears a striking resemblance to the military robots seen in the movie Avatar has taken its first baby steps. The robot standing in a room on the outskirts of Seoul, South Korea stands four meters (13 feet) tall and weighs 1.5 tons.
~ Designer Vitaly Bulgarov’s work experience includes work on Transformers, Terminator and Robocop.

2016 as a horror movie — This year has been pretty horrifying. Dozens of our favorite celebrities died, a gorilla was shot dead in front of children at the zoo and a former professional wrestling star was elected president. Not to mention America being taken over by a fatuous big-mouthed idiot.
So it makes perfect sense that 2016 should be made into a horror film: YouTube channel Friend Dog Studios published a fictional movie trailer based on the year’s events.
~ Hey, at least it was a good year for architecture

Obama wrote the most popular science journal of 2016 — The hottest scientific journal article of 2016 wasn’t on black holes or dinosaur-killing asteroids: it was on the Affordable Care Act, and it was penned by sitting President Barack Obama. Imagine that ever happening again.
~ Indeed.

Ebola vaccine 100% effective — A new Ebola vaccine provides 100% protection against one of the two most common strains of the Ebola virus. The results of this trial were released in The Lancet. Although the vaccine, known as rVSV-ZEBOV, has yet to be approved by regulators, the New York Times reports that scientists have already created an emergency supply of 300,000 doses, should another Ebola outbreak occur.
~ This is definitely very good news. 

The woman who convinced us that Dark Matter existed was never awarded a Nobel Prize — Vera Rubin, one of the most important astronomers of the 20th century, died on December 25th in Princeton, NJ at age 88. She played a seminal role in our understanding of dark matter, and should have been awarded a Nobel Prize in Physics … but never was.
~ Yet another very smart, overlooked woman scientist. Actually, 2016 cemented science’s sexual inequality problems

MagBytes 82 for December 2016


mb82MagBytes 82 is here — this is the final issue for 2016, and has the usual roundup of news, views, tips and tricks, updates plus some interesting new products. It looks like the thumbnail at top left, and it’s available from …

THIS LINK ——> issue 82 Dec16

Futurology ~ Rosetta’s mish, Trump’s idiocy, humanoid undersea robot, solar road, imperilled water, hot Pole


roseetta

Watch Rosetta’s entire mission in four minutes — With the historic Rosetta mission now over, the ESA has compiled a four-minute simulation showing the spacecraft’s complete journey as it weaved around Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko.
~ Certainly saves some time. 

Trumps idiocy may drive some science — President-elect Donald Trump is tweeting again about the F-35 fighter jet. Last week, he said the F-35 program costs have gone “out of control,” and he was right, sort of. Except now his proposed solution appears to be a physically impossible fantasy plane. He has also decided what the world needs now is a new nuclear arms race.
~ Democracy has failed us. 

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Stanford built a humanoid submarine robot to explore a 17th-century shipwreck — Back in April, Stanford University professor Oussama Khatib led a team of researchers on an underwater archaeological expedition, 30 kilometres off the southern coast of France, to La Lune, King Louis XIV’s sunken 17th-century flagship. Rather than dive to the site of the wreck 100 metres below the surface, which is a very bad idea for almost everyone, Khatib’s team brought along a custom-made humanoid submarine robot called Ocean One.
~ Wel, that’s what I’d do. If I had a Stanford. 

The world’s first solar road has officially opened in the small village of Tourouvre-au-Perche in Normandy, France — The solar road is 1 kilometre long and can generate enough electricity to power the street lights. The panels have been covered in a silicon-based resin that allows them to withstand the weight of passing big rigs, and if the road performs as expected, Royal wants to see solar panels installed across 1000 kilometers of French highway. There are numerous issues, however.
~ No parking. 

Stunning images show Earth’s imperilled water — Throughout Earth’s 4.37 billion year history, water has been a constant—and in constant flux. During some periods, it’s covered the planet in glaciers. During other, warmer periods, it saturates the atmosphere into a planetary greenhouse. These days, the planet is thawing off from it’s last ice cycle — and being warmed at an unprecedented rate by industrialised civilisation. DigitalGlobe wanted to know what the state of Earth’s water currently looked like, so deployed an army of high-definition drones to snap pictures over four billion square kilometers of water-formed landscapes.
~ At least its photogenic.

North Pole’s alarming warming — So far 2016 is the hottest year on record (the only thing that could pull 12 months of above-average temperatures down now is if our sun suddenly vanished, and in that case we’ve got bigger problems). And if the north pole is any indicator, freak hot weather isn’t going away. In fact, it seems to be getting freakier.
~ As Gizmodo’s scribe puts it, “Santa’s elves must be sweating their pants off up there.”