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Archive for the ‘sustainability’ category

Jan 26, 2020

2025 Electric Ferrari Leaked in European Patent Filing

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, sustainability

It doesn’t seem like all that long ago that even the idea of an electric Ferrari was controversial. Indeed, it was 2016 when then-Ferrari Chairman Sergio Marchionne said that, “with Ferrari, (an electric car) is almost an obscene concept,” before he finished up with, “you’d have to shoot me first.” Well, Sergio– times sure do change, don’t they? At least, that’s what a series of plans for an electric Ferrari from a leaked patent filing would seem to say about the matter!

In fairness to Marchionne, he would pass on before Ferrari built a pure electric car, succumbing as he did to cancer at the age of 66. Tragic as that was, what isn’t tragic is Ferrari joining the rest of the automotive universe in the 21st century with plans to build a for-real battery-powered Ferrari by 2025.

The push for Ferrari to finally go electric was, no doubt, accelerated by the success of the electric Porsche Taycan and, obviously, the rapid growth of Tesla (and, likely, the staggering growth of TSLA stock). With the launch of its first PHEV last year and recently announced plans to go “60% hybrid by 2022”, then, the step towards all-electric seems ready to happen.

Jan 25, 2020

Blue-emitting diode demonstrates limitations and promise of perovskite semiconductors

Posted by in categories: computing, solar power, sustainability

University of California, Berkeley, scientists have created a blue light-emitting diode (LED) from a trendy new semiconductor material, halide perovskite, overcoming a major barrier to employing these cheap, easy-to-make materials in electronic devices.

In the process, however, the researchers discovered a fundamental property of perovskites that may prove a barrier to their widespread use as solar cells and transistors.

Alternatively, this unique property may open up a whole new world for perovskites far beyond that of today’s standard semiconductors.

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Jan 24, 2020

Pandemic simulation exercise spotlights massive preparedness gap

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

Circa 2019 Event 201, hosted by the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, envisions a fast-spreading coronavirus with a devastating impact.

Back in 2001, it was a smallpox outbreak, set off by terrorists in U.S. shopping malls. This fall, it was a SARS-like virus, germinating quietly among pig farms in Brazil before spreading to every country in the world. With each fictional pandemic Johns Hopkins experts have designed, the takeaway lesson is the same: We are nowhere near prepared.

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Jan 23, 2020

Tesla destroys recent China FUD

Posted by in categories: sustainability, transportation

It’s pretty difficult to believe it at this point, but there are still groups of Tesla critics who insist that Gigafactory 3 is not really fully operational. A central part of this thesis is the allegation that Gigafactory 3 does not have a stamping press, which means that Tesla’s China team is only assembling cars in the Shanghai-based factory using pre-stamped panels from Fremont.

A recently released video from Tesla China has just decimated these allegations in a subtle but definitive manner. The clip was short, less than 30 seconds long, but it showed a busy stamping press operating in Gigafactory 3. The video was released in China, and shared on Twitter by Tesla enthusiast @JayinShanghai.

Jan 23, 2020

U.S. Agency for International Development

Posted by in category: sustainability

In September 2015, as the Millennium Development Goals expired and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (link is external) was being adopted, USAID put forward an ambitious Vision for Ending Extreme Poverty.

Jan 23, 2020

A Mini Farm That Produces Food From Plastic-Eating Mushrooms

Posted by in categories: materials, sustainability

Circa 2014


According to one recent study, there’s at least 5 trillion pieces of plastic in the ocean. That’s more than 250 tons. So what to do with mountains of plastic waste with nowhere to go? Katharina Unger thinks we should eat it.

The Austrian designer partnered with Julia Kaisinger and Utrecht University to develop a system that cultivates edible plastic-digesting fungi. That’s right, you can eat mushrooms that eat plastic. In 2012, researchers at Yale University discovered a variety of mushroom (Pestalotiopsis microspora) that is capable of breaking down polyurethane. It kicked off a craze of research exploring how various forms of fungi can degrade plastic without retaining the toxicity of the material. The findings got Unger thinking: What if we could turn an environmental problem (waste) into an environmental solution (food)?

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Jan 22, 2020

World’s largest vertical farm grows without soil, sunlight or water in Newark

Posted by in categories: food, sustainability

AeroFarms has put $30m into a green revolution that seeks to produce more crops in less space, but whether it’s economically viable is an open question.

Jan 22, 2020

Veggie Factory: World’s First Vertical Farm Run Entirely By Robots

Posted by in categories: food, robotics/AI, sustainability

Circa 2016


Taking vertical urban indoor farming efficiency to the next level, a new automated plant coming to Japan will be staffed entirely by robots and produce 30,000 heads of lettuce daily.

spread indoor farm

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Jan 21, 2020

Our current food system can feed only 3.4 billion people sustainably

Posted by in categories: food, sustainability

We are struggling to feed half the world sustainably – but reorganising where we farm could allow us to feed 10 billion people within sustainability boundaries.

Jan 21, 2020

Capella Space reveals new satellite design for real-time control of high-resolution Earth imaging

Posted by in categories: satellites, sustainability

Satellite and Earth observation startup Capella Space has unveiled a new design for its satellite technology, which improves upon its existing testbed hardware platform to deliver high-resolution imaging capable of providing detail at less than 0.5 meters (1.6 feet). Its new satellite, code-named “Sequoia,” also will be able to provide real-time tasking, meaning Capella’s clients will be able to get imaging from these satellites of a desired area basically on demand.

Capella’s satellites are “synthetic aperture radar” (SAR for short) imaging satellites, which means they’re able to provide 2D images of the Earth’s surface even through cloud cover, or when the area being imaged is on the night side of the planet. SAR imaging resolution is typically much higher than the 0.5-meter range that Capella’s new design will enable — and it’s especially challenging to get that kind of performance from small satellites, which is what Sequoia will be.

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