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Archive for the ‘habitats’ category

Aug 14, 2018

From office windows to Mars: Scientists debut super-insulating gel

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, habitats, space travel

A new, super-insulating gel developed by researchers at CU Boulder could dramatically increase the energy efficiency of skyscrapers and other buildings, and might one day help scientists build greenhouse-like habitats for colonists on Mars.

The “aerogel,” which looks like a flattened plastic contact lens, is so resistant to heat that you could put a strip of it on your hand and a fire on top without feeling a thing. But unlike similar products on the market, the material is mostly see-through.

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Aug 13, 2018

From windows to Mars: Scientists debut super-insulating gel

Posted by in categories: habitats, space travel

A new, super-insulating gel developed by researchers at CU Boulder could dramatically increase the energy efficiency of skyscrapers and other buildings, and might one day help scientists build greenhouse-like habitats for colonists on Mars.

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Aug 13, 2018

The fastest-sinking city in the world

Posted by in category: habitats

With frequent floods, sinking markets and engulfed homes, by 2050 parts of Jakarta will be underwater.

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Aug 13, 2018

Flat-pack homes and profit-sharing retrofits are making sustainable housing affordable

Posted by in categories: habitats, sustainability

Wealth-generating, flat-pack solar houses and a profit-sharing scheme that incentivises retrofitting are bringing sustainable living to people who would otherwise not be able to afford it.

“One of the biggest problems that we see right now is (the creation of) a big gap between the lower and the middle classes. Everyone is talking about this growing inequality gap,” said Bart Glowacki, co-founder of SOLACE, a start-up based in Warsaw, Poland, set up with the aim of making sustainable housing widely affordable.

Tighter mortgage controls, job insecurity and high student debts in Europe has meant that it is increasingly difficult for young people to buy their own homes.

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Aug 11, 2018

V.S. Naipaul, Nobel-winning author who drew admiration and revulsion, dies at 85

Posted by in category: habitats

V.S. Naipaul, the Trinidad-born Nobel laureate whose celebrated writing and brittle, provocative personality drew admiration and revulsion in equal measures, died Saturday at his London home, his family said. He was 85.

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Aug 10, 2018

A Chance Encounter in a Graveyard – Part 1

Posted by in category: habitats

This is a fictional story about a man realizing for the first time, under rather unusual circumstances, that he has a deep desire not to age and die.

It’s been a few months already, yet that day still feels like yesterday. I am still not convinced that I didn’t lose my mind that day, and even if I didn’t, it’s changed my thinking quite a bit.

I was in a green grove in the local cemetery, sitting on a bench. As it is the piece of nature closest to home, I used to go there quite often. A small group of men, all at least in their 40s and wearing black suits and ties, had passed by just as the bells in the nearby church began ringing.

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Aug 6, 2018

Building the backbone of a smarter smart home

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

The state of artificial intelligence (AI) in smart homes nowadays might be likened to a smart but moody teenager: It’s starting to hit its stride and discover its talents, but it doesn’t really feel like answering any questions about what it’s up to and would really rather be left alone, OK?

William Yeoh, assistant professor of computer science and engineering in the School of Engineering & Applied Science at Washington University in St. Louis, is working to help smart-home AI to grow up.

The National Science Foundation (NSF) awarded Yeoh a $300,000 grant to assist in developing smart-home AI algorithms that can determine what a user wants by both asking questions and making smart guesses, and then plan and schedule accordingly. Beyond being smart, the system needs to be able to communicate and to explain why it is proposing the schedule it proposed to the user.

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Aug 4, 2018

Britain looks to bring commercial rocket launches to home soil

Posted by in categories: government, habitats, space travel

The British government is preparing to launch its first commercial rocket from the country by 2021, and has upped its funding and partnerships with American companies to do so, reports CNBC.

The details: Lockheed Martin has already been allotted the largest chunk of UKSA’s (United Kingdom Space Agency) funding, receiving over $30 million “to develop an orbital launch site for small rockets in Melness, Scotland.” The company told CNBC, “[t]he launcher will be a flight-proven, dedicated small sat vehicle.” Richard Branson’s Virgin Orbit also locked in a deal with UKSA “to launch its LauncherOne rocket from Cosmic Girl,” and plans to be the first to launch a commercial rocket from the island in the next three years.

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Aug 3, 2018

Joris Column: Printcrime, augmenting humans, nanoconvergence and Segway polo

Posted by in categories: 3D printing, biotech/medical, cyborgs, habitats, transhumanism

Often only a few years separate the tinfoil hats from the millionaires to be. I was writing the piece on the Youbionic arm and thinking of how we will use 3D printing to augment human beings. Clearly augmenting the human body with mechatronics would be a good idea. The flesh is weak but stepper motors are strong! Oh how we will eeck, ooow, brrrr whine in our old stepper augmented age. Machines could very well fill the gaps once our bodies start failing us. But, will old people homes really be filled with Borg grandmas?

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Aug 1, 2018

Miracle in Midtown: Tiny House May Be Answer to a Global Crisis

Posted by in categories: climatology, habitats

As heat and humidity soared and New Yorkers slowed their famously fast strides to cope, a small miracle happened in Midtown: A single-family house was assembled in three days.

The tiny 22-square-meter (237-square-foot) prototype, on display on United Nations Plaza, is designed for a family of four. It’s self-sustaining, producing drinkable water from the air, energy from the sun and food from a vertical vegetable garden embedded in the exterior walls. And at an expected price of about $35,000, it may provide an affordable answer to a global housing shortage.

“In this climate, this home would produce enough food for a family of four for about 260 days” out of a year, said Anna Dyson, a professor of architecture and forestry and environmental studies at Yale University. “In better climates — in Africa, for example — it could actually produce a surplus of food.”

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