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Nov 20, 2017

Christiana Figueres Europe Regional Round Table—United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative (UNEP FI)

Posted by in categories: environmental, finance, governance, innovation, policy, sustainability

“Former Executive Secretary to UNFCCC, Christiana Figueres has laid down a challenge to UNEP FI’s banking members, and the wider finance industry to increase their allocations to low carbon investments to avoid a 2 degrees scenario. Watch her recording which she made for participants at UNEP FI’s Europe Regional Roundtable on Sustainable Finance which took place in October 2017.”

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Nov 20, 2017

Al Gore — Fiduciary Duty in the 21st century—Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI)

Posted by in categories: business, economics, environmental, finance, governance, sustainability

“Former Vice President and Chairman of Generation Investment Management, Al Gore, introduces PRI, UNEP FI and The Generation Foundation’s Fiduciary duty in the 21st century programme. The project finds that, far from being a barrier, there are positive duties to integrate environmental, social and governance factors in investment processes.”

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Nov 20, 2017

Fifty years since the first United Nations Conference on the Exploration and Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (1968 — 2018): UNISPACE+50 — United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA)

Posted by in categories: business, environmental, governance, government, law, policy, science, space, space travel, treaties

“UNISPACE+50 will celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the first United Nations Conference on the Exploration and Peaceful Uses of Outer Space. It will also be an opportunity for the international community to gather and consider the future course of global space cooperation for the benefit of humankind.

From 20 to 21 June 2018 the international community will gather in Vienna for UNISPACE+50, a special segment of the 61 st session of the Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS).”

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Nov 20, 2017

VLT reveals dark, reddish and highly-elongated object

Posted by in category: space travel

For the first time ever astronomers have studied an asteroid that has entered the Solar System from interstellar space. Observations from ESO’s Very Large Telescope in Chile and other observatories around the world show that this unique object was traveling through space for millions of years before its chance encounter with our star system. It appears to be a dark, reddish, highly-elongated rocky or high-metal-content object. The new results appear in the journal Nature on 20 November 2017.

On 19 October 2017, the Pan-STARRS 1 telescope in Hawai‘i picked up a faint point of light moving across the sky. It initially looked like a typical fast-moving small asteroid, but additional observations over the next couple of days allowed its orbit to be computed fairly accurately. The orbit calculations revealed beyond any doubt that this body did not originate from inside the Solar System, like all other asteroids or comets ever observed, but instead had come from interstellar space. Although originally classified as a comet, observations from ESO and elsewhere revealed no signs of cometary activity after it passed closest to the Sun in September 2017. The object was reclassified as an interstellar asteroid and named 1I/2017 U1 (‘Oumuamua) [1].

We had to act quickly,” explains team member Olivier Hainaut from ESO in Garching, Germany. “‘Oumuamua had already passed its closest point to the Sun and was heading back into interstellar space.

Continue reading “VLT reveals dark, reddish and highly-elongated object” »

Nov 20, 2017

Why Longer Lives Thanks to Science Will Probably Not Create Cultural Stagnation

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, life extension, science

You probably know the quote by Steve Jobs saying that death is life’s single best invention because it gets rid of the old and makes room for the new. This view is the core of another fairly common objection to rejuvenation, codename “cultural stagnation”.

Wouldn’t all those rejuvenated people, however physically young, be always old people “inside”, and drag everyone down with them into their anachronistic, surpassed ways of thinking, making it harder for fresh ideas to take hold, ultimately hindering social progress and our growth as a species? Maybe it’d be best not to take the risk, forget rejuvenation, and be content with old age as it is.

Well, try explaining to your grandfather that the reason he has to put up with heart disease is that we’re afraid people his age may all become troublemakers when you let them live too long.

Continue reading “Why Longer Lives Thanks to Science Will Probably Not Create Cultural Stagnation” »

Nov 20, 2017

There will soon be more plastic than fish in the ocean

Posted by in category: materials

Calling for a plastic deposit refund system

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Nov 20, 2017

Everything You Need to Know About 5G

Posted by in categories: internet, robotics/AI, virtual reality

Millimeter waves, massive MIMO, full duplex, beamforming, and small cells are just a few of the technologies that could enable ultrafast 5G networks.

Today’s mobile users want faster data speeds and more reliable service. The next generation of wireless networks—5G—promises to deliver that, and much more. With 5G, users should be able to download a high-definition film in under a second (a task that could take 10 minutes on 4G LTE). And wireless engineers say these networks will boost the development of other new technologies, too, such as autonomous vehicles, virtual reality, and the Internet of Things.

Continue reading “Everything You Need to Know About 5G” »

Nov 20, 2017

The New Madrid Fault may take out 150 miles of the Midwest

Posted by in category: energy

Way back in 1811 and 1812, a series of over 1,000 earthquakes rocked the Mississippi River between St. Louis and Memphis. One was so powerful that it caused the river to run backwards for a few hours. The infamous New Madrid earthquakes of 1811–1812 rang church bells in Boston, which is 1,200 miles from St. Louis. Today, scientists say that the 150-mile-long New Madrid Seismic Zone has a terrifying 40% chance to blast in the next few decades, impacting 7 states – Illinois, Indiana, Missouri, Arkansas, Kentucky, Tennessee and Mississippi – with 715,000 buildings damaged and 2.6m people left without power.

Unlike California, which has been super-prepared since the last major earthquake hit hard enough to delay the World Series, the New Madrid fault area has been sitting blissfully by. In case the “40 percent” statistic didn’t bother you, this should: The New Madrid fault has an impact zone ten times as big as its more famous San Andreas cousin.

Continue reading “The New Madrid Fault may take out 150 miles of the Midwest” »

Nov 20, 2017

EU Cybersecurity Package: New Potential for EU to Cooperate with NATO

Posted by in category: cybercrime/malcode

The European Union’s new ambitious approach to cyber challenges could be a game-changer for its cyber posture as well as for the transatlantic and neighbourhood relations, concludes this analysis by Tomáš Minárik and Siim Alatalu of the NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence, the NATO-affiliated cyber defence think-tank. Nevertheless, the EU could make better use of existing expertise in NATO and individual Member States.

The following analysis does not represent the official views of NATO.

On 13 September 2017, the European Commission and the High Representative issued a Joint Communication to the European Parliament and the Council [JOIN(2017) 450 final], bearing the title Resilience, Deterrence and Defence: Building strong cybersecurity for the EU. It introduces an ambitious and comprehensive plan to improve cybersecurity throughout the EU. The Commission and the High Representative (HR) proposed a broad range of measures, divided into three areas – resilience, deterrence and defence:

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Nov 20, 2017

KRUSTY: First of a New Breed of Reactors, Kilopower Part II

Posted by in categories: nuclear energy, security, space travel

Hello, and welcome back to the Beyond NERVA blog, and the second installment in our series on NASA’s current plans for in-space nuclear reactors. Last time, we looked at the experiments leading up to the development of NASA and the Department of Energy’s newest reactor. Today, we’re looking at the reactor that will be tested by the end of this year (2017), and the reactors that will follow that test. We have two more installments after this, on larger power systems that NASA has planned and done non-nuclear testing on, but can’t continue due to the testing and regulatory limitations it operates under. These are the Fission Surface Power program and Project Prometheus.

As we saw in the last post, in-space nuclear reactors have been flown before, mainly by the USSR, and their development in the West has stalled in terms of testing since the 1970s. However, a recent (2012) test at the National Nuclear Security site by scientists and engineers from the Department of Energy and NASA, the Desktop Using Flattop Fission test (DUFF), has breathed new life into the program by demonstrating new heat transport and power conversion techniques with a nuclear reactor for the first time.

Now, the results of this experiment are being used to finalize the design and move forward with a new reactor, the Kilowatt Reactor Utilizing Stirling TechnologY, or KRUSTY. This is an incredibly simple small nuclear reactor being developed by Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) for the DOE, and Glenn Research Center (GRC) and Marshall Spaceflight Center (MSFC) for NASA.

Continue reading “KRUSTY: First of a New Breed of Reactors, Kilopower Part II” »

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