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Apr 2, 2018

A Blockchain For Mars

Posted by in categories: bitcoin, cryptocurrencies, finance, space travel

Outside John Snow Pub, arguably one of the best pubs to visit on a rainy November day in Soho, London, I was having a beer with my dear friend Alex, discussing tech and cryptocurrency like we always do. The thing that struck me the most from the conversation that Alex brought up was the technical challenges of Mars to have its own blockchain due to speed of light delays between Earth and Mars. It took me on a little journey of determining what might a blockchain on Mars look like, what are the challenges brought upon by speed of light and other factors, and how to push forward the efforts of colonizing the Red Planet.

The past few years and especially 2017 have brought cryptocurrency to the mainstream. Everyone and their grandmother can be seen at one point asking around “How can one buy bitcoin?” and “Would you buy Ripple?” among other questions. Every day, someone armed with a badly-edited whitepaper (a paper outlining how the technology works) will raise millions of dollars in Initial Coin Offerings, or ICOs (the cryptocurrency version of a stock market IPO). By now, one can see that, while 99% of the coins will probably fail due to bad planning, overpromised marketing, or because of their scammy nature, there is no doubt that the future of the cryptocurrency market is bright and it has a lot of room for growth.

The race to Mars is on going. SpaceX still is leading the efforts to allow humans for colonization of the Red Planet, most recently with their two simultaneous Falcon Heavy rocket landings.

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Apr 2, 2018

Retailers Race Against Amazon to Automate Stores

Posted by in categories: business, mobile phones, robotics/AI

Companies are testing robots that help keep shelves stocked, as well as apps that let shoppers ring up items with a smartphone. High-tech systems like the one used by Amazon Go completely automate the checkout process. China, which has its own ambitious e-commerce companies, is emerging as an especially fertile place for these retail experiments.

But the opening of Amazon Go in January was alarming for many retailers, who saw a sudden willingness by Amazon to wield its technology power in new ways. Hundreds of cameras near the ceiling and sensors in the shelves help automatically tally the cookies, chips and soda that shoppers remove and put into their bags. Shoppers’ accounts are charged as they walk out the doors.

Amazon is now looking to expand Go to new areas. An Amazon spokeswoman declined to comment on its expansion plans, but the company has a job posting for a senior real estate manager who will be responsible for “site selection and acquisition” and field tours of “potential locations” for new Go stores.

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Apr 1, 2018

China says its space station re-entered earth, broke up over South Pacific

Posted by in category: space

“China’s Tiangong-1 space station re-entered the earth’s atmosphere and burnt up over the middle of the South Pacific on Monday, the Chinese space authority said.

The craft re-entered the atmosphere around 8:15 a.m. Beijing time (0015GMT) and the ”vast majority” of it had burnt up upon re-entry, the authority said in a brief statement on its website.

It had said shortly before that it was expected to re-enter off the Brazilian coast in the South Atlantic near the cities of Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro.

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Apr 1, 2018

One of Estonia’s first “e-residents” explains what it means to have digital citizenship

Posted by in categories: economics, internet

Three years in, what I find most incredible about e-Residency is that it actually works.

Estonia’s quest to become a “digital nation”

To better understand how e-Residency came about, let’s go back almost 30 years, to 1991. Estonia had just won independence from the Soviet Union and was in the early stages of building a market-oriented economy from scratch. At the time, leaders were quick to identify the potential of the internet and open source collaboration tools (interestingly this was less out of principle, and more for the simple reason that they had no money to pay for Microsoft Office). They decided to become the world’s premier “digital nation.” A favorite quote I’ve heard in Estonia: “What do you think of when you hear the word Slovenia? Nothing. Precisely! We don’t want to be Slovenia.”

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Apr 1, 2018

How Cape Town found water savings California never dreamed of

Posted by in category: policy

High-income Cape Town families have cut their average water use by 80%, according to Martine Visser, director of the Environmental Policy Research Unit at the University of Cape Town, while low-income families cut back by 40%. After city residents were restricted to just over 13 gallons per person a day, any household that blew the limit had a water restriction device attached to its pipes by authorities.

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Apr 1, 2018

‘Splendid’ fireball: China’s Tiangong-1 space lab to hit Earth on Monday

Posted by in category: space

Wayward space station finally set to re-enter atmosphere, with debris landing anywhere between New Zealand and midwest US

Agence France-Presse and Reuters

Sun 1 Apr 2018 02.48 EDT Last modified on Sun 1 Apr 2018 03.11 EDT.

Continue reading “‘Splendid’ fireball: China’s Tiangong-1 space lab to hit Earth on Monday” »

Apr 1, 2018

Bees on Mars: NASA funds swarm of robotic insects for exploring Red Planet

Posted by in categories: robotics/AI, space

A swarm of robotic bees, nimble enough to fly across the surface of Mars and explore the Red Planet’s nooks and crannies, is being funded by NASA.

The cyber-insects, dubbed Marsbees, are the size of bumblebees but have giant wings to generate sufficient lift to hover in the Martian atmosphere, which is around 100 times thinner than Earth’s.

Developed by US and Japanese scientists, the bees would be fitted with sensors and wireless communication devices so they could map terrain, take samples, or even look for signs of life, such as methane emissions.

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Apr 1, 2018

An app that lets you create 3D paintings in AR and leave them in the real world for people to find

Posted by in categories: augmented reality, media & arts

We can’t wait to play around with this.

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Apr 1, 2018

Your Brain is Lying to You: Here’s How to Force it to Tell the Truth

Posted by in category: neuroscience

Everyone suffers from unconscious bias, but here’s an easy way to check yourself.

By Suzanne Lucas

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Apr 1, 2018

Lockheed Martin Receives Patent For ‘World Changing’ Fusion Reactor

Posted by in categories: nuclear energy, transportation

CBS Local — Lockheed Martin has reportedly been working on a revolutionary new type of reactor that can power anything from cities to aircraft carriers.

The Maryland-based defense contractor recently received a patent for the compact fusion reactor (CFR) after filing plans for the device in 2014. According to reports, one generator would be as small as a shipping container but produce the energy to power 80,000 homes or one of the U.S. Navy’s Nimitz-class carriers.

Lockheed’s advanced projects division, Skunk Works, has reportedly been working on the futuristic power source since 2014 and claimed at the time that a CFR could be ready for production by 2019.

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