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Archive for the ‘habitats’ category

Aug 23, 2019

This Hurricane Proof House Made From 612,000 Recycled Plastic Bottles Can Withstand 326 MPH Winds

Posted by in categories: climatology, habitats

If you’re looking to build a new home on coastal waters where hurricanes are known to roam, you might want to skip the two-by-fours and cement and instead start drinking bottled soda. A Canadian company has recently completed construction of a home with exterior walls made from recycled plastic, and it’s claimed to be able to withstand winds gusting at over 300 miles per hour.

Built by JD Composites, the three bedroom home is situated near the Meteghan River in Nova Scotia. Aside from a distinct lack of trees, gardens, and neighbors, the house looks like any other dwelling with a clean modern design and a minimalist facade. Inside it’s fully furnished and finished with drywall covered lumber walls, but the exterior is what makes the house appealing as a new, and seemingly much improved, approach to construction.

Aug 23, 2019

Inside Sierra Nevada’s Inflatable Space Habitat for Astronauts in Lunar Orbit (Photos)

Posted by in categories: habitats, space

“We don’t have the official results of that testing, but we are told it went very, very well, so we are really excited about that,” Lindsey said.

Key to SNC’s habitat design is its ability to grow in volume once it is launched into space. The Large Inflatable Fabric Environment, or LIFE, habitat can start out compact enough to fit inside an 18-foot (5.4 meters) rocket fairing but then expand to 27 feet in diameter and 27 feet long (8 by 8 m).

Aug 21, 2019

New technique could streamline design of intricate fusion device

Posted by in categories: habitats, mathematics, nuclear energy, space

Stellarators, twisty machines that house fusion reactions, rely on complex magnetic coils that are challenging to design and build. Now, a physicist at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) has developed a mathematical technique to help simplify the design of the coils, making stellarators a potentially more cost-effective facility for producing fusion energy.

“Our main result is that we came up with a new method of identifying the irregular magnetic fields produced by coils,” said physicist Caoxiang Zhu, lead author of a paper reporting the results in Nuclear Fusion. “This technique can let you know in advance which coil shapes and placements could harm the plasma’s magnetic confinement, promising a shorter construction time and reduced costs.”

Fusion, the power that drives the sun and stars, is the fusing of light elements in the form of plasma—the hot, charged state of matter composed of free electrons and atomic nuclei—that generates massive amounts of energy. Twisty, cruller-shaped stellarators are an alternative to doughnut-shaped tokamaks that are more commonly used by scientists seeking to replicate on Earth for a virtually inexhaustible supply of power to generate electricity.

Aug 20, 2019

Brain scans could help personalize treatment for people who are depressed or suicidal

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, habitats, neuroscience

By his late 20s, Moe had attained the young adult dream. A technology job paid for his studio apartment just blocks from the beach in Santa Barbara, California. Leisure time was crowded with close friends and hobbies, such as playing the guitar. He had even earned his pilot’s license. “There was nothing I could have complained about,” he says.

Yet Moe soon began a slide he couldn’t control. Insomnia struck, along with panic attacks. As the mild depression he’d experienced since childhood deepened, Moe’s life collapsed. He lost his job, abandoned his interests, and withdrew from his friends. “I lost the emotions that made me feel human,” Moe says. (He asked that this story not use his full name.)

Although many people with depression respond well to treatment, Moe wasn’t one of them. Now 37, he has tried antidepressant drugs and cycled through years of therapy. Moe has never attempted suicide, but he falls into a high-risk group: Though most people with depression don’t die by suicide, about 30% of those who don’t respond to multiple antidepressant drugs or therapy make at least one attempt. Moe was desperate for relief and fearful for his future. So when he heard about a clinical trial testing a new approach to treating depression at Stanford University in Palo Alto, California, near his home, he signed up.

Aug 18, 2019

This bird-of-paradise in New Guinea sounds like something from another planet

Posted by in category: habitats

Endemic to the mountain forests of New Guinea, the King of Saxony bird-of-paradise (Pteridophora alberti) is best-known for the flamboyant, mate-attracting efforts of its males. The bird’s courtship displays – which often double as a means of keeping competitors at a comfortable distance – make use of bright yellow breast feathers, wildly waving head plumes and peppy dance manoeuvres capped off with an exceptionally outsized, almost otherworldly bit of squawking. This video from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology provides a rare glimpse into the world of this idiosyncratic little bird, which has proven notoriously difficult to photograph in its rugged natural habitat.

Director: Tim Laman

Websites: Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Birds of Paradise Project.

Aug 13, 2019

AI could be your wingman—er, wingbot—on your next first date

Posted by in categories: habitats, information science, mobile phones, robotics/AI

The art of matchmaking has traditionally been the province of grandmas and best friends, parents, and even—sometimes—complete strangers. Recently they’ve been replaced by swipes and algorithms in an effort to automate the search for love. But Kevin Teman wants to take things one step further.

The Denver-based founder of a startup called AIMM has built an app that matches prospective partners using just what they say to a British-accented AI. Users talk to the female-sounding software to complete a profile: pick out your dream home, declare whether you consider yourself a “cat person,” and describe how you would surprise a potential partner.

Continue reading “AI could be your wingman—er, wingbot—on your next first date” »

Aug 13, 2019

What the Golden State Killer Tells Us About Forensic Genetics

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, genetics, habitats

Three hundred and sixty-six days ago, CeCe Moore woke up to the headline that would change her world: “Suspected Golden State Killer, East Area Rapist Arrested After Eluding Authorities for Decades.” Later that day, those authorities would hold a press conference in front of the Sacramento County District Attorney’s office to explain how, a day earlier, they had finally put handcuffs on the man believed to have committed a series of sadistic rapes and murders that spread terror through California for more than 40 years. But Moore didn’t have to tune in to know how they had done it. “I knew immediately they had cracked it with genetic genealogy and GEDmatch,” she says.

She knew it because at the time, Moore was working as the genetic genealogy researcher on the PBS show Finding Your Roots and had a consulting business helping adoptees find their biological parents. To aid her searches, she regularly logged on to GEDmatch, a public database where hobbyists upload results from consumer genetic testing companies like 23andMe and Ancestry to find relatives with shared DNA and to reverse-engineer their family trees. It had come to her attention that another genealogist on the site, Barbara Rae-Venter, had been uploading files that seemed out of place, and Moore suspected they came not from family members, but from crime scenes. But she had never imagined that one of them belonged to the man believed to be one of the most notorious serial killers in US history. “This was going to be huge,” she remembers telling people that day.

Continue reading “What the Golden State Killer Tells Us About Forensic Genetics” »

Aug 8, 2019

Earth: We haven’t seen a photo of our home planet that we didn’t like!

Posted by in categories: habitats, space

😍 While living and working 250 miles above Earth, crew members aboard the International Space Station captured these mesmerizing images of the place we call home. Take a look at more images like this:

Aug 2, 2019

We live in a warped and twisted galaxy

Posted by in categories: habitats, space

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Jul 17, 2019

This toaster-inspired space-saving dishwasher pops out clean dishes in a jiffy

Posted by in categories: habitats, space

The Dishwasher. The must-have kitchen appliance for the time-conscious and lazy home-occupiers alike. However, justifying the loss of valuable space and the increase in water-bill that comes with them is sometimes a little tricky… especially when you live in a place that is on the smaller side! This was the motive that led to the creation of Toasher, the portable dishwasher for limited living spaces.

Toasher utilizes a method of interaction that has been lifted from another kitchen appliance, the toaster. The dirty items are lowered into the stainless steel tank, where an ultrasonic transducer agitates the dirt and separates it from the dishes. Add-ons elevate Toasher’s functionality even further; with the modular peg-board that can be attached to the rear of the unit, to expanding the amount of storage that it can hold and allowing it to be used as an item of furniture as well as just a kitchen appliance!

Designer: Lin Shuo De

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