Labeled as discuss in The Break Room, started by CraigD, Oct 19, 2020
Fascinating stuff -- and shows how critical early child experience is to brain development.
Millions of electric cars are coming. What happens to all the dead batteries?
The battery pack of a Tesla Model S is a feat of intricate engineering. Thousands of cylindrical cells with components sourced from around the world transform lithium and electrons into enough energy to propel the car hundreds of kilometers, again and again, without tailpipe emissions. But when the battery comes to the end of its life, its green benefits fade. If it ends up in a landfill, its cells can release problematic toxins, including heavy metals. And recycling the battery can be a hazardous business, warns materials scientist Dana Thompson of the University of Leicester. Cut too deep into a Tesla cell, or in the wrong place, and it can short-circuit, combust, and release toxic fumes.
Solitary otters have a surprisingly rich vocabulary
Hair waste from salons recycled to mop up oil spills on sea shores
Hair cuttings from salons are being used to mop up oil spills and hair bleaches, and dyes are being burned to create energy as part of a scheme to make the hairdressing industry greener.
Over the past 10 months, 550 salons across the UK and Ireland have signed up to the Green Salon Collective (GSC), an initiative that reduces salon waste through recycling and education programmes.
“Hair salons are one of the biggest contributors to waste on the high street,” said GSC co-founder Paul Seaward. “We were shocked to see how far behind the UK is with salon sustainability, this was long overdue.”
NASA Selects 2 Missions to Study ‘Lost Habitable’ World of Venus
NASA has selected two new missions to Venus, Earth’s nearest planetary neighbor. Part of NASA’s Discovery Program, the missions aim to understand how Venus became an inferno-like world when it has so many other characteristics similar to ours – and may have been the first habitable world in the solar system, complete with an ocean and Earth-like climate.
These investigations are the final selections from four mission concepts NASA picked in February 2020 as part of the agency’s Discovery 2019 competition. Following a competitive, peer-review process, the two missions were chosen based on their potential scientific value and the feasibility of their development plans. The project teams will now work to finalize their requirements, designs, and development plans.
NASA is awarding approximately $500 million per mission for development. Each is expected to launch in the 2028-2030 timeframe.
The selected missions are:
DAVINCI+ (Deep Atmosphere Venus Investigation of Noble gases, Chemistry, and Imaging)
VERITAS (Venus Emissivity, Radio Science, InSAR, Topography, and Spectroscopy)
Climate tipping points could topple like dominoes, warn scientists
Ice sheets and ocean currents at risk of climate tipping points can destabilise each other as the world heats up, leading to a domino effect with severe consequences for humanity, according to a risk analysis.
Tipping points occur when global heating pushes temperatures beyond a critical threshold, leading to accelerated and irreversible impacts. Some large ice sheets in Antarctica are thought to already have passed their tipping points, meaning large sea-level rises in coming centuries.
The World's Oldest Water Lies Deep Below Canada And Is 2 Billion Years Old
The world's oldest known water was found in an ancient pool below Canada in 2016, and is at least 2 billion years old.
Back in 2013 scientists found water dating back about 1.5 billion years at the Kidd Mine in Ontario, but in 2016, deeper investigation revealed an even older source buried underground.
Microsoft’s Kate Crawford: ‘AI is neither artificial nor intelligent’
What’s the aim of the book?
We are commonly presented with this vision of AI that is abstract and immaterial. I wanted to show how AI is made in a wider sense – its natural resource costs, its labour processes, and its classificatory logics. To observe that in action I went to locations including mines to see the extraction necessary from the Earth’s crust and an Amazon fulfilment centre to see the physical and psychological toll on workers of being under an algorithmic management system. My hope is that, by showing how AI systems work – by laying bare the structures of production and the material realities – we will have a more accurate account of the impacts, and it will invite more people into the conversation. These systems are being rolled out across a multitude of sectors without strong regulation, consent or democratic debate.
Jeff Bezos is going to space on first crewed flight of rocket
New York (CNN Business)Jeff Bezos will be flying to space on the first crewed flight of the New Shepard, the rocket ship made by his space company, Blue Origin. The flight is scheduled for July 20th, just 15 days after he is set to resign as CEO of Amazon.
Blue Origin said Bezos' younger brother, Mark Bezos, will also join the flight.
"Ever since I was five years old, I've dreamed of traveling to space," Bezos, 57, said in a Monday morning Instagram post. "On July 20th, I will take that journey with my brother. The greatest adventure, with my best friend."
Jeff Bezos is going to space on first crewed flight of rocket
A little venture for the man who has everything.
‘It was sad having to leave’: Climate crisis splits Alaskan town in half
Two years ago, Lisa Charles and her family moved from their lifelong home in the town of Newtok, Alaska, to Mertarvik, a 30-minute trip by boat or snow machine depending on the season.
Lisa is a member of one of the US’s first communities of climate transplants, though she is also Yup’ik, a mother of seven, a nonprofit employee, and a political volunteer. Melting permafrost has rapidly accelerated the erosion of the land under Newtok, bringing houses precariously close to the water’s edge.
‘It was sad having to leave’: Climate crisis splits Alaskan town in half. All of the town’s nearly 400 residents will eventually have to make the move to Mertarvik, but a lack of funding and the global pandemic have left the village split in half, both in population and in spirit.
1,000-foot multi-rotor floating Windcatchers to power 80,000 homes each
A single Windcatcher floating offshore grid could power 80,000 European homes at grid-parity prices
Quantum leap for medical research as microscope zooms in on tiny structures
Australian researchers have developed a microscope that can image tiny biological structures that were previously not visible in what has been described as a significant step for quantum technology.
It is believed to be the first time that quantum technology has improved on existing light microscopes, which in future may lead to improvements in medical imaging and navigation systems.
Quantum technologies are based on the principles of quantum physics, used to describe how tiny systems like atoms and subatomic particles behave.
Lake Mead: largest US reservoir falls to historic low amid devastating drought
Levels in Lake Mead – the largest US reservoir by volume – fell to historic lows on Thursday, as the region continues to face the effects of a devastating prolonged drought.
Stationed on the main stem of the Colorado River in the Mojave along the Arizona-Nevada border, Lake Mead was formed with the construction of the Hoover dam, which generates electricity for areas in Arizona, California and Nevada. It provides water for urban, rural and tribal lands across the south-west.
Officials, who said the reservoir will be at its lowest since the 1930s when the dam was built, expect levels to get worse through another dry, hot summer. With no reprieve expected in the coming months, the human-made lake is currently at roughly 36% of its capacity.
Cape Cod diver left with a whale of a tale after a humpback spat him out
(CNN)A Cape Cod lobster diver is safe Friday, following a fluke encounter with a humpback whale that nearly made him the leviathan's lunch.
Michael Packard was diving off the coast of Provincetown, Massachusetts, Friday, when the capital cetacean caught him unawares.
"I got down to about 45 feet of water, and all of a sudden I just felt this huge bump, and everything went dark," Packard told CNN affiliate WBZ. "And I could sense that I was moving, and I was like, '"Oh, my God, did I just get bit by a shark?'"
"Then I felt around, and I realized there was no teeth and I had felt, really, no great pain," Packard said. "And then I realized, 'Oh, my God, I'm in a whale's mouth. I'm in a whale's mouth, and he's trying to swallow me.'"
Jeff Bezos is going to space for 11 minutes. Here's how risky that is
New York (CNN Business)Jeff Bezos can have anything. He could circle the globe in a private jet or sail it forever in a fleet of megayachts. He could afford to buy a the whole NFL; he could buy an archipelago for his family and friends; he could buy over 65,000 Bugatti Chirons (base price $2.9 million), even though only 500 are being built. As the world's richest person, the possibilities are endless. But Bezos appears ready to risk it all for an 11-minute ride to space.
Just how risky is his decision?
The answer isn't what you might expect. Space travel is, historically, fraught with danger. Though the risks are not necessarily astronomical for Bezos' jaunt to the cosmos, as his space company Blue Origin has spent the better part of the last decade running the suborbital New Shepard rocket he'll be riding on through a series of successful test flights. (Also, being in space is Bezos' lifelong dream.)
I wonder what the environmental cost of this joy ride will be.
I believe the propellant is a mixture of liquid oxygen and liquid methane, while the hardware is re-useable. Surprisingly, it's comparable to a handful of wide-body international jet flights.
I wouldn't be keen to risk everything on a 10-minute vertical flight either. Let me ride a Soyuz to the ISS and spend a month up there.
Coral carpentry on the Great Barrier Reef
Photos by James Brickwood
The Great Barrier Reef Foundation is working with the University of Technology Sydney and five local tourism operators to plant 100,000 healthy corals on reefs in the Cairns and Port Douglas region. The corals, grown in underwater nurseries from salvaged broken fragments, are being attached using Coralclip® – an innovative device that fast-tracks coral restoration.
A lot depends on the aerospace engineer who calculates the center of gravity -- if he/she gets it wrong, the spaceship will explode. No pressure.
Ultra-High-Density Hard Drives Made With Graphene Store 10x More Data
Graphene can be used for ultra-high density hard disk drives (HDD), with up to a tenfold jump compared to current technologies, researchers at the Cambridge Graphene Centre have shown.
HDDs contain two major components: platters and a head. Data are written on the platters using a magnetic head, which moves rapidly above them as they spin. The space between head and platter is continually decreasing to enable higher densities.
Currently, carbon-based overcoats (COCs) – layers used to protect platters from mechanical damages and corrosion – occupy a significant part of this spacing. The data density of HDDs has quadrupled since 1990, and the COC thickness has reduced from 12.5nm to around 3nm, which corresponds to one terabyte per square inch. Now, graphene has enabled researchers to multiply this by ten.
Some disturbing news about old-technology live virus Polio vaccines:
Polio was eliminated in the Asia-Pacific. Then it suddenly came back
In the first half of the 20th century, polio killed thousands of children, left many with a disability, and struck fear into the hearts of parents all over the world.
Fortunately, in 1955, an American scientist named Dr Jonas Salk developed an effective polio vaccine that saw cases drop dramatically.
Dr Jonas Salk.
A few years later, another vaccine arrived from Polish-American scientist Dr Albert Sabin, which proved even more effective.
The combination of vaccines opened up the possibility of global eradication, and in 1988 the World Health Organisation launched a campaign to do just that.
The campaign has been hugely successful: polio cases have dropped more than 99 per cent globally, and all but two countries — Afghanistan and Pakistan — have been declared polio-free.
So how, after 18 years, had the disease suddenly made its way back into Papua New Guinea?
Using genomic testing, scientists were able to trace each outbreak back to a "vaccine-derived poliovirus" — in other words, a strain that originated from the weakened but live virus contained in the vaccine, which was then excreted by someone into the community, where it spread.
Plastic rafting: the invasive species hitching a ride on ocean litter
Japan’s 2011 tsunami was catastrophic, killing nearly 16,000 people, destroying homes and infrastructure, and sweeping an estimated 5m tons of debris out to sea.
That debris did not disappear, however. Some of it drifted all the way across the Pacific, reaching the shores of Hawaii, Alaska and California – and with it came hitchhikers.
Nearly 300 different non-native species caught a lift across the ocean in what can be thought of as a “mass rafting” event. The Smithsonian Environmental Research Center in 2017 counted 289 Japanese marine species that were carried to distant shores after the tsunami, including sea snails, sea anemones and isopods, a type of crustacean.
‘They look like waves’: spider webs blanket Gippsland after Victorian floods
Residents in eastern Victoria [Australia] have been taken aback after waking up to vast, alien-like sheets of spider webs laying across paddocks and roadsides.
The East Gippsland town of Traralgon was one of the hardest-hit areas by recent flooding and wild weather. While its neighbour Sale avoided the brunt of the damage, flooded roads and paddocks disrupted the local spider populations, which are now seeking higher ground on road signs, trees and any tall grass they can find.
“It’s just incredible, when they blow in the winds they look like waves,” said Jena Beatson, who saw the spiders on her first trip into Sale from Longford after the roads were cut off by flood waters.
“It does look creepy the way it covers all the signs and everything. You can’t really see it in the photos but there are spiders all over. It’s like thousands and thousands of spiders.”
Actually, according to Dr Ken Walker, a senior curator of entomology at the Melbourne Museum, it is millions.
Wow ... a real live Halloween.
Crayfish behave more boldly after exposure to antidepressants – study
Antidepressant drugs in water can alter the behaviour of crayfish, making them bolder and more outgoing, and therefore more vulnerable to predators, researchers have found.
Low levels of antidepressants – excreted by humans or disposed of incorrectly – are found in many water bodies. Researchers from the University of Florida assessed the impact of these medicines on crayfish, which are a fundamental component of many aquatic food webs – given they eat almost everything, from plants, insects, leaf litter to small fish (even cannibalising each other).
When exposed to low levels of antidepressants, the crayfish were more outgoing – emerging from hiding relatively quicker and spent more time foraging, behaviours that make them more susceptible to predators, according to the study published in the journal Ecosphere.
Mass-produced floating nuclear reactors use super-safe molten salt fuel
Copenhagen startup Seaborg Technologies has raised an eight-figure sum of Euros to start building a fascinating new type of cheap, portable, flexible and super-safe nuclear reactor. The size of a shipping container, these Compact Molten Salt Reactors will be rapidly mass-manufactured in their thousands, then placed on floating barges to be deployed worldwide – on timelines that will smash paradigms in the energy industry.
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