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Archive for the ‘habitats’ category

Dec 3, 2016

Off the grid solar is increasingly solving power problems in parts of rural Africa

Posted by in categories: energy, habitats, space

Pay-as-you-go solar systems have begun to light up homes in underserved parts of the continent, but will need to pack more punch to leapfrog the grid.

Dec 1, 2016

Artificial Intelligence Invades the Home … In Toys

Posted by in categories: government, habitats, robotics/AI

The first thing I learned about Cozmo is that it doesn’t like to stay put very long. Roused from slumber, the little robot’s face illuminates, and it begins zooming around the table in front of me. A moment later, it notices I’m watching and turns to greet me, saying my name with a computerized chirp.

Cozmo, which came out on Oct. 17, is the latest toy from six-year-old San Francisco startup Anki. It’s also an attempt to bring the burgeoning fields of robotics and artificial intelligence to consumers. While companies large and small work on both, applications tend to be in high-end computing, defense and government. Anki is betting toys will give the technologies a foothold at home. And Gartner predicts sales of such smart toys will grow, globally, from 8 million units this year to 421 million by 2020.

Toymakers have been cramming circuit boards and wireless chips into their products for years. Mattel and Hasbro, for example, sell high-tech versions of classics Barbie and Furby. But toys like Cozmo differ in the way they interact with the people and objects around them, changing their behavior over time as their software “learns.” Right out of the box, cameras and sensors allow Cozmo to recognize individuals, avoid falls or bumping into obstacles and play simple games like keep-away. But Anki says it will evolve; in December it will be able to recognize pets and learn new words. “Every input trigger, no matter what happens to him, will influence his future behavior,” says Hanns Tappeiner, Anki’s president.

Nov 17, 2016

Colonizing the Solar System, part 2: the Outer Solar System

Posted by in categories: engineering, environmental, habitats, space

This is a nice vid but there are two things to note.

1. he does not mention Callisto in place of Europa. Europa gets enough radiation to kill you in a day where on Callisto you would not even get the radiation you get here on Earth.

Continue reading “Colonizing the Solar System, part 2: the Outer Solar System” »

Nov 17, 2016

Stephen Hawking: Humans will die out within 1,000 years unless we leave Earth

Posted by in categories: cosmology, habitats

Professor Stephen Hawking has warned that mankind will not survive another millenia unless it makes a home beyond Earth’s atmosphere.

The celebrated physicist was addressing a lecture audience at the Oxford Union debating society on Monday evening when he gave the stark warning.

“Most recent advances in cosmology have been achieved from space where there are uninterrupted views of our Universe,” he said “but we must also continue to go into space for the future of humanity.

Continue reading “Stephen Hawking: Humans will die out within 1,000 years unless we leave Earth” »

Nov 17, 2016

Seabird Crap Could Help Save the Arctic

Posted by in category: habitats

Seabird poop: good for ruining your picnic at the beach, and apparently good for keeping the Arctic cool, too. But if the birds want to stop their summertime home from melting away, they’re going to have to start taking laxatives.

Nov 16, 2016

Private Space Stations could start launching in 2020 and large multi-module stations able to hold 100 or more people by 2030

Posted by in categories: habitats, space travel

Bigelow Aerospace and Axiom Space — plan to launch habitat modules to orbit in 2020, with the aim of making some money off Earth. If all goes according to plan, private space stations will eventually form the backbone of commercial facilities that replace the International Space Station (ISS), which is currently funded through 2024.

“Hopefully, if we’re successful in the private-sector community, NASA’s going to save a boatload of money, on multiple locations [in orbit] — not just one — with more volume than they’ve ever had before,” Bigelow founder and CEO Robert Bigelow said here Wednesday (Oct. 12) at the 2016 International Symposium for Personal and Commercial Spaceflight (ISPCS). “So, whether it’s Axiom or us or other people, that is the future.”

A new company, named Axiom Space LLC, was incorporated in January, 2016 in Delaware but is based in Houston. Mike Suffredini (former NASA manager of the International Space Station) serves as its president and Kam Ghaffarian, the president and chief executive of SGT, is the chief executive.

Continue reading “Private Space Stations could start launching in 2020 and large multi-module stations able to hold 100 or more people by 2030” »

Nov 14, 2016

Coming to Grips with Artificial Intelligence’s Many Manifestations

Posted by in categories: habitats, robotics/AI, transportation

The categories of AI.


Click here to learn more about author James Kobielus.

Artificial intelligence (AI) is all the rage these days. However, people often overlook the fact that it’s a truly ancient vogue. I can’t think of another current high-tech mania whose hype curve got going during the days when Ike was in the White House, “I Love Lucy” was on the small screen, and programming in assembly language was state of the art.

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Nov 10, 2016

Astronomers have designed a house for Mars — take a look inside

Posted by in categories: food, habitats, space

Everyone from astronomers to tech companies wants to know what it would be like to live on Mars.

From growing vegetables in Martian soil, to claims that leaving Earth could save the human species, scientists are constantly making advances in this field.

Now, astronomers from the Royal Observatory in London and Stephen Petranek — author of “How We’ll Live on Mars” — have designed a Martian Show Home to demonstrate what life could be like on the Red Planet.

Continue reading “Astronomers have designed a house for Mars — take a look inside” »

Nov 7, 2016

Unless It Changes, Capitalism Will Starve Humanity By 2050

Posted by in categories: business, climatology, existential risks, food, habitats, sustainability

The wealth gap worries Forbes, not your usual wide-eyed socialist.


How do we expect to feed that many people while we exhaust the resources that remain?

Human activities are behind the extinction crisis. Commercial agriculture, timber extraction, and infrastructure development are causing habitat loss and our reliance on fossil fuels is a major contributor to climate change.

Continue reading “Unless It Changes, Capitalism Will Starve Humanity By 2050” »

Nov 6, 2016

What Happens Inside NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab Changes the World

Posted by in categories: education, habitats, space

Everyone’s talking about private industry getting humans on Mars. Mars trips! Mars houses! Mars colonies! But no one’s going anywhere without the help of one brilliant, peculiar, fantastical space center—NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab, which is behind almost every amazing feat in the history of space travel. August 2012.

At 2:00 a.m. in the blond hills of La Cañada Flintridge, California, one house stands lit among the others—an open eye in a sleeping town. Bryn Oh, the woman who lives in the house, helps her son Devyn, eight, walk his bike to the parking lot of the high school across the street. Devyn, who just learned to ride, wobbles for a few minutes before pedaling furiously out into the darkness, letting off a whoop as he gets going. Bryn’s older children, Ashlyn, ten, and Braden, thirteen, watch as he goes. David Oh, Bryn’s husband and the reason they’re all up at this uncivilized hour, isn’t there to see it. He’ll arrive home around 3:00 a.m., when he gets off work. Tomorrow will probably be closer to 3:40. Bryn has it all worked out on a spreadsheet.

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