Google Acquires Boston Dynamics
Wow, this is getting a bit scary. I didn't expect Google to go ahead and snatch up a company like Boston Dynamics. If they pick up Hanson robotics I'm going to be incredibly excited/freaked out for what they might create.
Open Source Beehives Designed To Help Save Honeybee Colonies
At first I was thinking about the design, and while I'm no expert I was immediately concerned about the "bee space" along some of the angled portions inside the hive, though it being a top bar design I'm not certain that's so much an issue. I do wonder about the sensor apparatus, as a key issue would be the ability to monitor sections of the hive much like the work done by Meitalovs et. al ("Automatic microclimate controlled beehive observation system.") It's been a bugger for me just to put any kind of sensor in a hive without it being covered in propolis, so I'd be interested to see what they plan on doing with the Arduino-based Smart Citizen Kit. But it seems like good intentions on these guys' parts, so kudos to them!
Andy Rubin Is Heading a Secret Robotics Project At Google
I hope that the automation systems they'll also consider is waste management and disposal. Sure everything can go into an incinerator if you'd like, but disassembling old electronics en-masse would be more suitable than mechanical/chemical separations if we'll still need the eight 9's of purity we want in the next generation of electronics. The ethics of robots harvesting old robots may need to be considered though when robots' rights start coming into play....
Perceiving Robotic Industrial Arm Inches Toward Autonomy
Zen Robotics is doing this now with C&D (Construction and Demolition) Debris. http://www.zenrobotics.com/ , http://singularityhub.com/2011/05/16/robots-take-over-recycling-video/
There is work being done by a bunch of people in the EU, mainly due to the great legislation regarding waste reduction. There's a great little book I picked up a bit ago outlining some of the processes in automated waste recovery (Comprehensive Information Chain for Automated Disassembly of Obsolete Technical Appliances ) . I had gone into grad school to work on this area, and it turns out it's been going on for the past 30 years or more.
The biggest issue is cost, where it's still cheaper for manual labor than to automate the system. If you're interested in some papers I have a whole boatload regarding automation in electronic waste.
Tracking Whole Colonies Shows Ants Make Career Moves
Not always the case. A study had shown that foragers can switch back to nurses due to switching gene sets (http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn22273-worker-bees-reboot-brain-genes-to-suit-the-task.html) . So while the nursing bees often keep the role for 2-3 weeks, there is a possibility of seeing older nursing bees due to this switch-back in roles.
Scientists Study Getting an Unwanted Tune Out of Your Head
Though I don't listen to pop music, I've found it often to be quite invasive. But I have easily gotten it out of my head by actually singing it, might be some sort of internal thought process that needs to be executed. But again, just some guy's anecdote.
Tesla Motors Battles the New York Times
You're driving it wrong.
HydroICE Project Developing a Solar-Powered Combustion Engine
While the engine may ideally just vaporize the water with hot oil, the reactions involved would eventually degrade the oil. Additionally, the separations processes are often 50% of the whole system's energy requirements, I just wouldn't see the viability of such a system. Now a heat exchanger for hot oil/water vaporization would wake a lot more sense, but it seems they want to generate a funding buzz with an internal engine spin.
Our Weather Satellites Are Dying
As AC pointed out below, this cost likely includes the design, build, launch and maintenance for the satellite. Before Space-x The launch alone could have been a tenth or more of that total $13B, as most weather satellites are around 3000 kg (http://noaasis.noaa.gov/NOAASIS/ml/genlsatl.html), but with Space-X's projected costs per payload ($850/lb from Delta Heavy's $8600/lb) (http://www.nss.org/articles/falconheavy.html) this cost likely can now be in the single $M range.
While economies of scale would likely get those drones into the range of cost you suggested, it certainly wouldn't take into account the cost to maintain and monitor such a system. The congressional research service (CRS) (http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/homesec/RS21698.pdf) identified that for operation (facilities, maintenance) it can be at least 100% or more of the cost of the drone, So that would have to drop the number of drones available to 140,000. Secondly, all drones, by FAA mandate, are required to be a operated by a licensed pilot. I would imagine the training and licensing involved for this would not be cheap, as last estimated the number of pilots was ~598K in 2009, with only ~320K certified with instrument ratings http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pilot_certification_in_the_United_States), and It's likely commercial air pilots would have to have a pretty big incentive to go (http://www.payscale.com/research/US/Job=Commercial_Pilot/Salary) but keeping it on the low scale, that would have to be $50K per pilot per drone, making even a yearly cost of operation at $7B (140,000 drones * $50K/pilot). That doesn't go into operation times either, as drones are listed to operate from 10-48 hrs (CRS reference). So turn-around times for getting those drones back up would end up having even less drones available at any time for weather surveillance.
However, looking at a combination of mini-satellites might be the best option, as redundancy and low cost could take this project down by a large amount (~300K per satellite) (http://www.hawaii.edu/offices/op/innovation/taylor.pdf) . While it might end up with similar issues as stated above, there would be significantly less satellites needed based on the larger surface area covered from their height (50 km for possible best drone (http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/guest-blog/2012/02/24/high-altitude-surveillance-drones-coming-to-a-sky-near-you/)) and 870 km for satellite (http://noaasis.noaa.gov/NOAASIS/ml/genlsatl.html). But this might not be available just yet for our weather measurement needs.
In Summary, it may seem like a huge amount of money, but you need to consider all aspects of the project, not just the non-recurring costs.
Florida Accused of Concealing Worst Tuberculosis Outbreak In 20 Years
Looks like their thoughts on consumption didn't have much... gumption?
Researchers Spray-Paint Batteries Onto Almost Any Surface
I'm actually surprised to see this coming out from Rice, wasn't this stuff being done 20 years ago by another Rice group? Maybe additional substrates this time? Looks like a review of their references may be necessary.
Space Junk Forced Astronauts Into ISS Escape Capsules
Never mind, misread that part about the Core component of the ISS.
Space Junk Forced Astronauts Into ISS Escape Capsules
Does anyone know if Lockheed's Orion Multi Purpose Crew Vehicle will actually replace or be a backup for Soyuz? It's wikipedia page states
"Features the development of a new crew exploration vehicle (CEV), the completion of the International Space Station (ISS), and an early retirement of the shuttle orbiter. Orbiter retirement would be made as soon as the ISS U.S. Core is completed (perhaps only 6 or 7 flights) and the smallest number of additional flights necessary to satisfy our international partners’ ISS requirements. Money saved by early orbiter retirement would be used to accelerate the CEV development schedule to minimize or eliminate any hiatus in U.S. capability to reach and return from LEO."
Does anyone know if this "U.S. Core" is something different all-together?
Solving Climate Change By Bioengineering Humans?
While it's a little off-topic, I think these insights could be useful instead of geo-engineering other planets. For that matter James Blish has precedence with his Seedling Stars Thanks for the info, now off to find that novella!
Ask Slashdot: Good, Forgotten Fantasy & Science Fiction Novels?
I made it my goal two years ago to read all the Hugo and Retro-Hugos, but soon I started looking at the BASF list and Seiun Awards (Japanese Nebula Award), it just keeps on going! At the moment I've only 10 books to go for the Hugos, but then you start to look at the runner ups and think... hmmmm....
But I agree those lists are great places to start. I always have a simple database in my phone to check up on what i have/haven't read when i'm at a used book store ( the used bookstore near Monroeville mall outside of Pittsburgh and Strange Maine, Portland were some serious treasure troves!)
Physics Is (NP-)Hard
Relating physics to some other delicious item might make this discussion more satisfactory.
Test-Tube Burgers Coming Soon
Fetal Bovine Serum. This is still the medium that's used for the growth of such vat burgers. I haven't found any articles that explicitly state the growth medium for these tissues, but I have often seen this as the medium for various cell growth. I'd like to see improvements on the actual growth medium not being tied to the meat industry, otherwise it seems like another addition to the inefficiency chain before that steak gets eaten.
A Paper Alloy To Replace Plastic Cases
are you in the e-scrap waste business? I'm inquiring because I'm currently doing research on the capability of a fully automated dissassembly plant and was wondering if you had any robotics implemented in your processes or if manual labor may be involved instead for breakdown of parts.
A Paper Alloy To Replace Plastic Cases
You're right to point out the serious issues of trying to recycle mixed polymer plastics. While we're all familiar with downcycling, your post reminded me about the costs of separation processes, and I thought i might drag up my old book. From Humphrey and Keller's Separation Process Technology "Plants commonly have from 40% to 70% of both capital and operating costs in separations."
Polymer blends provide desired properties from their individual components, but the amount of energy that would be required to break those down and at a desired purity (not considering the minute amount of catalyst often consumed in the polymerization process as well as flame retardants and other additives fuzzyfuzzyfungus pointed out ) just makes it too costly to break down the polymer blend into the purity levels that companies want in their raw materials.
Businesses Now Driving "Bring Your Own Device" Trend
The article discusses health care as the main industry that's important to have 24hr information connection, and by utilizing mobile devices that information and connectivity can be available 24/7. This is then generalized, saying because it works there all companies should utilize this opportunity to get a high ROI on employee efficiency. While we've all seen these posts before, what other industries require 24 hr access from all employees? I know managers and the like in most all businesses often are required to be on-call, but this seems to be addressing the lesser employees, as in the manager contacts his/her subordinate, making the subordinate more or less be on-call.
Does anyone have such circumstances (besides power plants/industry and manufacturing)? Is it often outlined in your contracts?
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