Digital and Entrepreneurial Pioneer/Kindertransport Survivor
This is an excerpt from an article appearing in the August 20, 2016, Science News with the headline, “Quenching society’s thirst: Desalination may soon turn a corner, from rare to routine.”
When Khaled Moustafa looks at a beach, he doesn’t just see a place for sunning and surfing. The biologist at the National Conservatory of Arts and Crafts in Paris sees the future of farming.
In the April issue of Trends in Biotechnology, Moustafa proposed that desalination could supply irrigation water to colossal floating farms. Self-sufficient floating farms could bring agriculture to arid coastal regions previously inhospitable to crops. The idea, while radical, isn’t too farfetched, given recent technological advancements, Moustafa says.
Floating farms would lay anchor along coastlines and suck up seawater, he proposes. A solar panel–powered water desalination system would provide freshwater to rows of cucumbers, tomatoes or strawberries stacked like a big city high-rise inside a “blue house” (that is, a floating greenhouse).
Each floating farm would stretch 300 meters long by 100 meters wide, providing about 3 square kilometers of cultivable surface over only three-tenths of a square kilometer of ocean, Moustafa says. The farms could even be mobile, cruising around the ocean to transport crops and escape bad weather.
Such a portable and self-contained farming solution would be most appealing in dry coastal regions that get plenty of sunshine, such as the Arabian Gulf, North Africa and Australia.
“I wouldn’t say it’s a silly idea,” Voutchkov says. “But it’s an idea that can’t get a practical implementation in the short term. In the long term, I do believe it’s a visionary idea.”
Floating farms may come with a large price tag, Moustafa admits. Still, expanding agriculture should “be more of a priority than building costly football stadiums or indoor ski parks in the desert,” he argues.
Whether or not farming will ever take to the seas, new desalination technologies will transform the way society quenches its thirst. More than 300 million people rely on desalination for at least some of their daily water, and that number will only grow as needs rise and new materials and techniques improve the process.
“Desalination can sometimes get a rap for being energy intensive,” Dave says. “But the immediate benefits of having access to water that would not otherwise be there are so large that desalination is a technology that we will be seeing for a long time into the future.”
IBM’s Artificial Intelligence (AI) product Watson, teamed up with Georgia Institute of Technology to experiment using Watson as a TA for an online course. “Jill” Watson was able to deftly handle most questions, stimulate weekly discussions, and fool most students, who never guessed that they weren’t communicating with a real person.
Last year, a team of Georgia Tech researchers began creating Ms. Watson by poring through nearly 40,000 postings on a discussion forum known as “Piazza” and training her to answer related questions based on prior responses. By late March, she began posting responses live.
By Melissa Korn | Wall Street Journal
Read Full Article Here
Flexible patches of silicone that stick to skin and conduct electricity could serve as the basis for a new, reusable electrode for medical applications.
For years, researchers have recreated the microscopic hair-like pillars on gecko feet that, through atomic forces known as van der Waals’ interactions, allow the animals to scurry up walls and across ceilings. Such gecko-inspired adhesives could have a variety of applications, including medical bandages, but materials scientist Seokwoo Jeon at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) and colleagues wanted to apply these materials to create a novel wearable electrode.
Read more of Jef’s article in The Scientist here:
A ‘mobile phone lane’ on a street in a theme park in Chongqing, China. Photograph: Imaginechina/Rex
The word “smombie” is one of the most recent additions to the German language. Last November, the term – a mashup of “smartphone” and “zombie”, referring to oblivious smartphone users staggering around cities like the undead – was voted Youth Word of the Year in Germany.
The disease is virulent. A recent study of 14,000 pedestrians in Amsterdam, Berlin, Brussels, Paris, Rome and Stockholm found that 17% of people used their smartphone while walking. The heaviest users were 25 to 35-year-olds: almost a quarter of them exhibited smombie-esque behaviour.
Now Augsburg, a municipality outside Munich, has braced itself for this new public peril. After several smombies caused accidents by carelessly crossing tram tracks, city officials decided to install new traffic lights – at ground level.
At Haunstetterstraße station, one of two locations for the experiment, 16 red LEDs, each about the size of a beer mat, are embedded in the pavement next to a tram crossing.
Passengers are divided on their merits. Katja Lechner commutes here daily to university. “OK, you really do see the lights blinking when the tram approaches,” she says. “But that doesn’t stop anybody from crossing, as people rush to catch their trains.” She thinks the €10,000 should have been invested in education.
Arzu Araz, a hairdresser who lives nearby with her seven-year old daughter, disagrees. “The lights are ideal for kids, who notice them immediately,” she says.
Augsburg is not the first city to react. Cologne has equipped three tram crossings with similar lights, prompting the creation of yet another portmanteau: “Bompeln”, an abbreviation of “Boden-Ampeln” (ground traffic lights).
In Munich, where a 15-year-old girl wearing headphones was recently killed by a tram, certain particularly dangerous crossings were fitted with special beacons that send warnings to smartphones enabled with a corresponding app, called Watch Out!
In the US, meanwhile, cities such as Portland, Seattle and Cleveland have experimented with talking buses that alert pedestrians during turns. Rexburg, Idaho has even imposed fines of $50 for texting while walking.
After a trial period, Augsburg officials will interview tram drivers and passengers before deciding whether to roll the lights out to other stations.
“This is not just about smartphones. The crossing here is so busy and dangerous that we are used to the screeching noise of the tram’s emergency breaks,” says Sebastian Hrabak, owner of the restaurant Schwarze Kiste at Haunstetterstraße station. “But since the lights were installed last week, there hasn’t been a single dangerous incident.”
Have you been a “smombie” yourself ?
Read the full article @ Always practise safe text: the German traffic light for smartphone zombies
INFLUX Public Art Project in TEMPE, AZ
I’d like to announce that my #influxaz project is up -All Credits given to Casey Farina. on #HaydenMill in #Tempe.#publicart #projectionmapping #raspberrypi #influxcycle6 #generativeart #CityofTempe #downtowntempe
Cascade.Erode.Construct. is a video installation that abstractly explores the history of the iconic Hayden Flour Mill. The Mill’s proximity to water (the Salt River) is an integral part of its identity as a Tempe landmark. The movement and erosive power of water form the fundamental structure of the animation from which new forms are constructed. The visual artifacts that remain on the north wall of the Mill are isolated and reinvigorated by the projected light. The animation was created by using a digital image of the wall as the input for a variety of algorithmic processes. The installation repeats every ten minutes between 8:00 PM and 1:00 AM on the north wall of the Hayden Mill. Casey’s research was facilitated by John Southard and E. Hunter Hansen in the Tempe Historic Preservation Office and Jared Smith at the Tempe History Museum.
They may have happened within days of one another, but the devastating earthquakes in Japan had nothing to do with the strong temblor that struck Ecuador over the weekend, experts say.
Both Japan and Ecuador are located along the so-called Pacific Ring of Fire, which spans the coasts lining the Pacific Ocean. The regions along the Ring of Fire are prone to earthquakes, but it’s extremely rare for an earthquake on one side of the world to trigger earthquakes on the other, said Ross Stein, CEO and co-founder of Temblor.net, a free website and smartphone application that helps people understand locations’ seismic risk.
For one thing, the earthquakes that hit Japan are a completely different type of quake than the one that struck Ecuador, Stein said. On April 14, a magnitude-6.2 earthquake hit southern Japan, and a day later, on April 15, a magnitude-7.0 earthquake struck the same region, according to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). [The 10 Biggest Earthquakes in History]
Both of these earthquakes were strike-slip earthquakes, Stein said, which occur when two parts of the Earth’s crust slide against each other. The best way to imagine this is to place your hands together, with your fingers pointing away from your body, and slide your left hand forward and your right hand backward.
Both of these strike-slip earthquakes were shallow — about 6 to 8 miles (10 to 12 kilometers) deep — and both were destructive, killing more than 40 people in total, according to news sources. But the second quake was about 20 times stronger than the first, and released about 400,000 times more energy than the amount unleashed by the atomic bomb dropped on Nagasaki in 1945, Stein and Volkan Sevilgen, the other Temblor.net co-founder, wrote in a blog post.
These two earthquakes in Japan were likely related, Stein said. However, it’s unclear whether the magnitude-6.2 earthquake was a foreshock of the magnitude-7.0 earthquake or the magnitude-7.0 earthquake was an aftershock of the magnitude-6.2 earthquake, Stein said.
“So far, the evidence suggests that both are true,” the experts wrote in the blog post. Though it’s rare for an aftershock to be larger than the main shock, it does happen, Stein told Live Science.
Regardless, the first earthquake made the faults near it more likely to rupture, which likely helped to trigger the second, larger earthquake, Stein said.
On Saturday (April 16), merely a day after the second Japanese earthquake, a massive magnitude-7.8 earthquake rocked Muisne, Ecuador, the USGS reported. [Image Gallery: This Millennium’s Destructive Earthquakes]
Unlike the strike-slip earthquakes in Japan, this one was a so-called megathrust quake, which occurs when one tectonic plate jams under another. In this case, the Nazca Plate is moving under the South American continent at a rate of about 2.2 to 2.4 inches (55 to 61 millimeters) a year, Stein and Sevilgen wrote in another blog post.
More than 400 deaths have been reported from the Ecuador quake so far.
This isn’t Muisne’s first large earthquake. Another magnitude-7.8 earthquake hit almost the exact location in 1942, Stein said. In fact, given that the subduction rate is about 2.3 inches (60 mm) a year, and nearly 75 years have elapsed since the last large earthquake, it makes sense that this is a “repeat earthquake,” Stein said.
Read more at the following site… cbsnews.com
A worker at L.A.’s Hyperion sewage treatment facility removes trash that has been separated from incoming wastewater. (Gary Friedman / Los Angeles Times)
very day Southern California hospitals unleash millions of gallons of raw sewage into municipal sewers.
The malodorous muck flows miles to one of the region’s sewage plants, where it is treated with the rest of the area’s waste and then released as clear water into a stream or directly to the Pacific.
Scientists at the Environmental Protection Agency recently announced they had discovered a lethal superbug — the same one that caused outbreaks at UCLA and two other Los Angeles-area hospitals — in sewage at one of those plants. They declined to name the facility.
EPA scientists did not test treated wastewater flowing out of the plant to determine whether it still contained CRE, or carbapenem-resistant enterobacteriaceae.
But a growing number of studies show sewage plants can’t kill the superbugs. Instead the facilities serve as “a luxury hotel” for drug-resistant bacteria, a place where they thrive and grow stronger, said Pedro Alvarez, a professor of environmental engineering at Rice University, one of the scientists studying the problem.
Alvarez and other researchers say the failure of sewage plants to eliminate the dangerous bacteria is one way they may be spreading from hospitals to the environment.
“Chlorine is just not doing it,” Alvarez said of the treatment used by most plants.
The fear is that healthy people otherwise not at risk from the bacteria — including swimmers at the beach — could be infected.
Already officials are worried about the surprising number of people sickened with CRE who have not recently visited a medical facility: 8%, according to an October study.
Hospitals are not breaking laws by releasing the sewage. Laws regulate the overall level of disease-causing bacteria in the nation’s surface waters, but there is no specific regulation of bacteria resistant to antibiotics.
Deemed the “nightmare bacteria” by federal officials, CRE survives nearly all antibiotics. It kills as many as half its victims.
Government officials, including those at the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, say they are monitoring the wastewater studies but have so far made no recommendations to hospitals about the treatment of sewage that may harbor CRE.
“The prevention and control of CRE is an evolving process,” said Melissa Brower, an agency spokeswoman. “CDC will continue to assess the appropriateness of this as new information becomes available.”
Continue to read the full article by clicking on the link : http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-superbug-sewers-20160307-story.html
Computers were all about spools of paper and tape back when the first email was sent in the 1960s. Photograph: H. Armstrong Roberts/ClassicStock/Corbis
Ray Tomlinson, the man who literally put the “@” in email, died on Saturday, but his invention, which allowed electronic messages to spread across the internet and fill our lives and our inboxes on a daily basis, will live on.
So who is Ray Tomlinson? Read more on this article by clicking on the link: http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2016/mar/07/email-ray-tomlinson-history