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Archive for the ‘sustainability’ category

Mar 27, 2020

Putting the Tesla HEPA Filter and Bioweapon Defense Mode to the Test

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, health, sustainability

Circa 2016


Air pollution has a significant and pervasive impact on public health. According to the World Health Organization, it is now considered “the world’s largest single environmental health risk,” with more than three million people dying every year as a result. This is more than twice the number of people that die in vehicle accidents each year.

Health and safety are important to us. Just as we’ve designed Model S and Model X to avoid collisions or protect their occupants when one happens, we felt compelled to protect them against the statistically more relevant hazard of air pollution*. Inspired by the air filtration systems used in hospitals, clean rooms, and the space industry, we developed a HEPA filtration system capable of stripping the outside air of pollen, bacteria, and pollution before they enter the cabin and systematically scrubbing the air inside the cabin to eliminate any trace of these particles. The end result is a filtration system hundreds of times more efficient than standard automotive filters, capable of providing the driver and her passengers with the best possible cabin air quality no matter what is happening in the environment around them.

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Mar 27, 2020

For His Next Trick, Elon Musk Will Revolutionize HVAC Systems

Posted by in categories: Elon Musk, space travel, sustainability

Because running Tesla and SpaceX and building a new Starship every 72 hours so he can colonize Mars isn’t enough, now Elon Musk would really love to build an efficient and quiet HVAC system for home use, according to Inverse. It could even piggyback the existing work Tesla has done to make heaters for its newest vehicle, the Model Y.

The first few Tesla vehicles used an electric cabin heater to replace a traditional fuel vehicle’s reliance on internal combustion engine heat. Trying to find the right kind of heater has been challenging at times for Tesla, which was faced with reinventing the wheel, so to speak. Before now, engines made the heat as a secondary effect of combustion.

Mar 27, 2020

5000-Year-Old Papua New Guinea Artifacts Rewrite Neolithic History

Posted by in categories: climatology, sustainability

Scientists unearth ancient Papua New Guinea artifacts in the highlands of the island that settle a longstanding archaeological argument regarding the emergence of complex culture on the island.

About 10,000 years ago, the climate changed to better suit the planting of crops and the Neolithic revolution that brought about agriculture emerged in different parts of the world at different times. In Europe and Asia it is known that at this time cultural complexity developed as people began settling and living together on farms.

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Mar 25, 2020

A nanoscale device to generate high-power terahertz waves

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, health, nanotechnology, security, sustainability

Terahertz (THz) waves fall between microwave and infrared radiation in the electromagnetic spectrum, oscillating at frequencies of between 100 billion and 30 trillion cycles per second. These waves are prized for their distinctive properties: they can penetrate paper, clothing, wood and walls, as well as detect air pollution. THz sources could revolutionize security and medical imaging systems. What’s more, their ability to carry vast quantities of data could hold the key to faster wireless communications.

THz waves are a type of non-ionizing radiation, meaning they pose no risk to human health. The technology is already used in some airports to scan passengers and detect dangerous objects and substances.

Despite holding great promise, THz waves are not widely used because they are costly and cumbersome to generate. But new technology developed by researchers at EPFL could change all that. The team at the Power and Wide-band-gap Electronics Research Laboratory (POWERlab), led by Prof. Elison Matioli, built a nanodevice that can generate extremely high-power signals in just a few picoseconds, or one trillionth of a second, which produces high-power THz waves.

Mar 25, 2020

Elon Musk: Tesla Model Y heat pump is some of the best engineering I’ve seen in a while

Posted by in categories: climatology, Elon Musk, engineering, sustainability

Elon Musk praised Tesla’s team for the Model Y’s heat pump — a feature that could make the electric SUV much more efficient in colder climates.

Last week, Tesla started deliveries of the Model Y, its fourth vehicle in the current lineup and fifth model ever.

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Mar 24, 2020

Team develops photosynthetic proteins for expanded solar energy conversion

Posted by in categories: bioengineering, biological, solar power, sustainability

A team of scientists, led by the University of Bristol, has developed a new photosynthetic protein system enabling an enhanced and more sustainable approach to solar-powered technological devices.

The initiative is part of a broader effort in the field of to use proteins in place of man-made materials which are often scarce, expensive and can be harmful to the environment when the device becomes obsolete.

The aim of the study, published today in Nature Communications, was the development of “chimera” complexes that display poly-chromatic solar energy harvesting.

Mar 24, 2020

Space in uncertain times

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, economics, satellites, sustainability

Last month, even as the coronavirus epidemic was ravaging China and making inroads in other nations, the space industry’s concerns were elsewhere. There were debates about a NASA authorization bill in the House that would reshape NASA’s Artemis program even as the agency sought more money for it, the ongoing review into the flawed test flight of Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner commercial crew vehicle, renewed concerns about orbital debris after a close call between two defunct satellites, and discussions about the viability and sustainability of satellite constellations like OneWeb and SpaceX’s Starlink as both moved into full-scale deployment.

Those were the days. In the last couple of weeks, and especially in the last week, those issues have largely disappeared as what is now a pandemic takes hold in the United States and many other nations. But while many parts of the economy have ground to a halt, like retail and tourism, the effects on the space industry have been uneven. Some parts of it have also effectively halted, yet others continue ahead at essentially full speed—at least for now.

The first clear signs of the effects of the pandemic on the industry was bringing the circuit of conferences and other events to a standstill. On March 9, the Satellite 2020 conference got underway in Washington despite growing concerns about the spread of the coronavirus disease COVID-19, including the first cases diagnosed in the city. Conference organizers plowed ahead even as some major companies, like satellite operator SES, bowed out, saying only about 10 percent of attendees as 12 percent of exhibitors had cancelled their plans.

Mar 23, 2020

No Autonomous Trucks? Wait, What?: Science Fiction in the News

Posted by in categories: Elon Musk, robotics/AI, sustainability, transportation

No Autonomous Trucks? Wait, What? ‘…it resembled conventional human-operated transportation vehicles, but with one exception — there was no driver’s cabin.’ — Philip K. Dick, 1955.

Elon Musk’s Traffic Tunnel Challenge Is Boring ‘The car vibrated… threading the maze of local tubes.’ — Jack Vance, 1954.

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Mar 22, 2020

A Tesla Model S reaches 1 million km for first time

Posted by in categories: sustainability, transportation

Circa 2019


A Tesla owner has put over 1 million km (621,000 miles) on a Model S for the first time and he explains his experience in a video interview.

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Mar 22, 2020

A ‘highly pathogenic strain’ of H5N1 bird flu has been reported in China’s Hunan province

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, food, government, sustainability

A “highly pathogenic” strain of the H5N1 bird flu has been reported in China’s Hunan province, Chinese officials said, according to a Saturday report from Reuters.

The outbreak was reported on a farm in the city of Shaoyang in the Hunan province, according to China’s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs. Of the 7,850 chickens on the farm where the outbreak occurred, 4,500 died of the H5N1 avian flu, Reuters reported.

The Chinese government said it culled 17,828 chickens as a result of the H5N1 outbreak, per Reuters.

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