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Aug 29, 2018

ESA Business Applications

Posted by in categories: business, economics, sustainability

In 1999 the United Nations acknowledged that the development gap between rich and poor countries was widening: about three-fifths of the world’s population lacked access to basic sanitation and one-third did not have access to safe drinking water. In spite of many initiatives and efforts, the sanitation issue is still largely unresolved; it is estimated that 2.3 billion people — primarily in Asia, sub-Saharan Africa, and Latin America and the Caribbean — still lack access to basic sanitation (toilet). To address this challenge, in 2015, the global community adopted a Sustainable Development Goal dedicated to clean water and sanitation (SDG 6). Target 6.2 under this Goal calls for, “by 2030, achieving access to adequate and equitable sanitation and hygiene for all and ending open defecation.”

ESA business applications in cooperation with Toilet Board Coalition ( will be launching a new Invitation to Tender in Q3 2018 to assess the technical feasibility and viability of space-based services in support of sanitation for developing economies, and will establish the roadmap for service implementation through potential follow-on demonstration projects.

Toilet Board Coalition is a business-led partnership addressing the global sanitation crisis by accelerating the Sanitation Economy; it brings a network of business partners and sanitation development stakeholders, as well as experts from the global sanitation community. The Toilet Board Coalition will provide specific use cases and requirements derived from its two funded pilot projects, each assessing scalability of the Sanitation Economy.

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Aug 29, 2018

Mitochondrial Link to Inflammation Discovered

Posted by in category: biotech/medical

In a new study, researchers have identified a direct link between mitophagy and inflammation.

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Aug 29, 2018

Study identifies distinct groups interested in types of electric vehicles

Posted by in categories: economics, policy, transportation

Drivers considering plug-in hybrid vehicles with a gasoline backup are most interested in economic benefits while those gravitating toward battery-electric vehicles have stronger environmental concerns, according to a study led by a University of Kansas transportation policy scholar.

The research has identified distinct profiles of people considering newer electric vehicle technologies showing the two types of vehicles—one that offers gasoline as a safety net and another that relies solely on battery charging—are very different in the eyes of consumers.

“Our findings inform the misconception and show that electric vehicles are not a homogeneous entity,” said the study’s lead author Bradley Lane, associate professor in the KU School of Public Affairs & Administration. “There are distinctive profiles of potential users for whom a plug-in hybrid is attractive and another for whom a battery electric is attractive. And these are two very distinct groups, similar to how there is a group of users who are attracted to a sport-utility vehicle and a separate group attracted to an economy car. We have shed more light on what factors influence how people make these decisions.”

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Aug 29, 2018

Manmade mangroves could get to the ‘root’ of the problem for threats to coastal areas

Posted by in categories: computing, engineering, habitats

With threats of sea level rise, storm surge and other natural disasters, researchers from Florida Atlantic University’s College of Engineering and Computer Science are turning to nature to protect humans from nature. They are developing innovative ways to guard coastlines and prevent scouring and erosion from waves and storms using bioinspired materials that mimic mangrove trees found along shores, rivers and estuaries in the tropics and subtropics. Growing from a tangle of roots that twist their way out of the mud, mangrove trees naturally protect shorelines, shelter coastal ecosystem habitats and provide important water filtration. In many cases, these roots trap sediments flowing down rivers and off the land, helping to stabilize the coastline.

Certain root systems even have the ability to dissipate tidal energy through unique hydrological flows and divert the energy of water in different directions reducing risk of coastal damage. Yet, to date, few studies have examined the fluid dynamics such as flow structure and on mangrove roots.

For a study, published in the American Physical Society’s journal, Physical Review Fluids, researchers singled out the red mangrove tree (Rhizophora mangle) from more than 80 different species of mangroves, because of its robust network of roots that can withstand extreme environmental conditions. The red mangrove provided the researchers with an ideal model for bioinspired shoreline applications.

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Aug 29, 2018

New Data On Exomoon Candidate Reveals ‘A Very Exciting Object’

Posted by in category: space

But they can’t say much more — for now.

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Aug 29, 2018

Internet by Google Balloons & Facebook Drones (Project Loon & Project Aquila)

Posted by in categories: drones, internet

This video is the second in a three-part series discussing global internet connectivity. In this video, we’ll be discussing the Earth-based, more specifically, stratosphere based initiatives to bring internet connectivity to the entire planet.

[0:30–5:30] Starting off we’ll take a look at Google’s bid to bring internet connectivity to the planet, dubbed, Project Loon. As well as, the importance of a hyper-connected society, for example, aiding in disaster relief efforts.

[5:30–9:30] Following that we’ll take a look at Facebooks initiative titled, Project Aquila. As well as, discuss the benefits of each initiative in bringing connectivity to the planet.

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Aug 29, 2018

Artificial Intelligence Project Judges People on Attractiveness and Responsibility to Trigger Discussion on Consent and Algorithmic Bias

Posted by in categories: information science, robotics/AI

This AI can JUDGE how attractive you are and more… and it could be a dangerous sign of things to come.

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Aug 29, 2018

Inside the United Nations’ effort to regulate autonomous killer robots

Posted by in categories: drones, Elon Musk, existential risks, law, military, robotics/AI

Amandeep Gill has a difficult job, though he won’t admit it himself. As chair of the United Nations’ Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW) meetings on lethal autonomous weapons, he has the task of shepherding 125 member states through discussions on the thorny technical and ethical issue of “killer robots” — military robots that could theoretically engage targets independently. It’s a subject that has attracted a glaring media spotlight and pressure from NGOs like Campaign to Stop Killer Robots, which is backed by Tesla’s Elon Musk and Alphabet’s Mustafa Suleyman, to ban such machines outright.

Gill has to corral national delegations — diplomats, lawyers, and military personnel — as well as academics, AI entrepreneurs, industry associations, humanitarian organizations, and NGOs in order for member states to try to reach a consensus on this critical security issue.

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Aug 28, 2018

GreyOrange to expand its supply chain robotics operation in the U.S.

Posted by in category: robotics/AI

Robotics supply chain startup GreyOrange is expanding stateside, it announced today. It intends to open a new headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia and a manufacturing plant by 2019.

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Aug 28, 2018

Scientists observe decay of Higgs boson particle into two bottom quarks

Posted by in category: particle physics

Aug. 28 (UPI) — Particle physicists have finally witnessed the decay of a Higgs boson particle into two bottom quarks.

Models predict Higgs boson particles decay into two bottom quarks 60 percent of the time. Bottom quarks, or b quarks, are the second heaviest of the six types of quarks.

Scientists have struggled to directly observe the predicted decay. Several types of proton-proton collisions can produce bottom quarks, making it difficult to link quarks produced by particle collisions with decaying Higgs boson particles.

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