Stop biodiversity loss or we could face our own extinction, warns UN | The Guardian

The world must thrash out a new deal for nature in the next two years or humanity could be the first species to document our own extinction, warns the United Nation’s biodiversity chief.

via Stop biodiversity loss or we could face our own extinction, warns UN | Environment | The Guardian

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Final call to save the world from ‘climate catastrophe’ – BBC News

The researchers have used these facts and numbers to paint a picture of the world with a dangerous fever, caused by humans. We used to think if we could keep warming below two degrees this century, then the changes we would experience would be manageable.
Not any more. This new study says that going past 1.5C is dicing with the planet’s liveability. And the 1.5C temperature “guard rail” could be exceeded in just 12 years, in 2030.
We can stay below it – but it will require urgent, large-scale changes from governments and individuals and we will have to invest a massive pile of cash every year, about 2.5% of global gross domestic product (GDP), the value of all goods and services produced, for two decades.
Even then, we will still need machines, trees and plants to capture carbon from the air that we can then store deep underground – forever.

via Final call to save the world from ‘climate catastrophe’ – BBC News

Hue Lights Workflow

I’ve enjoyed using the Workflow app (acquired by Apple) to create little workflows to help my dad complete tasks. Remind him at work, remember supermarket coupons, show interesting stuff, like indicate the number of people in space right now etc.

Recently he got Phillips Hue lights. I decided this was a perfect opportunity to cross Workflow with the Hue API. Yes I know, the Hue app, but where is the fun in that?

Hue API Workflow

First step was building a workflow to hook up with the Hue Bridge and pass the API commands. I followed the steps on the ‘getting started’ guide on the Phillips developer site.

For easy future editing, I broke out the ‘Bridge IP address’ and the ‘User ID’ as variables.

After a little test, I had a workflow that sent a colour value to a Hue light.

API Workflow Reuse

To avoid long complex workflows I decided to keep the Hue API workflow very simple. It just passes the colour hue value to the lights. Thats it.

Any future flows I make, their last step will be RunWorkflow Hue API, to run that flow and pass it a colour input.

This avoids duplication. Any future change to the Hue API, will only have to be made in one place.

Carbon Intensity Workflow

The Carbon Intensity Forecast (carbonintensity.org.uk) is an API provided by the National Grid.  It returns the amount of CO2 used by the UK power grid.

I already had a flow that returned the current Carbon Intensity from their API. I modified this to extract the returned value – low, moderate or high.

Three variables with green, amber and red colour hue values were created. An odd colour hue format is the format Hue requires, unsurprisingly.

Selecting one of three values wasn’t straightforward, as Workflow only has if/else statements, not if/if else/else. I had to get a little creative and nest statements:

  • If does not contain ‘moderate’?
    • If contains ‘low’?
      • Get low variable colour value (green)
    • Else ‘high’
      • Get high colour value (red)
  • Else moderate
    • Get moderate value (amber)

The corresponding variable fetched, gets passed when I run the Hue API workflow and the LED strip displays the Carbon Intensity level as green, amber or red. Success.

Workflow

Its a simple use case and may seem a simple project but it still threw up some interesting little problems to solve etc. I enjoy using and looking for excuses to use Workflow app.

I am interested in the ability of iOS 12 to use Siri Automation with custom phrases to accomplish the same functionality.

I am also hoping for the day when the Carbon Intensity is low by default.

How your home could generate, store and sell energy – BBC News

More energy storage providers – such as Ovo Energy, Powervault and Moixa are entering the market – particularly as electric vehicles (EVs) promise to become a useful addition to the domestic energy mix. BMW i3 batteries are already being used to store windfarm energy in Wales, so it makes sense to integrate such car battery tech into homes.

via How your home could generate, store and sell energy – BBC News

Where have all our insects gone? | Environment | The Guardian

The start of summer is the time of year when the nation’s insects should make their presence known by coating countryside windows with their fluttering presence, and splattering themselves on car windscreens. But they are spectacularly failing to do so. Instead they are making themselves newsworthy through their absence. Britain’s insects, it seems, are disappearing.

via Where have all our insects gone? | Environment | The Guardian

One in five UK mammals at risk of extinction – BBC News

The red squirrel, the wildcat, and the grey long-eared bat are all facing severe threats to their survival, according to new research.
They are among 12 species that have been put on the first “red list” for wild mammals in the UK.
The Mammal Society and Natural England study said almost one in five British mammals was at risk of extinction.

via One in five UK mammals at risk of extinction – BBC News

Great British Bee Count 2018

Joining the Great British Bee Count is a great way to learn about bees – and helping experts learn more too.

Thousands of your verified bee sightings will contribute to the national Pollinator Monitoring Scheme – the  first comprehensive health check of Britain’s bees and other pollinators.

via The Great British Bee Count | Friends of the Earth

Take part from 17 May–30th June.

https://friendsoftheearth.uk/bee-count

The Plastic Tide Project

This year for British Science Week we are helping out The Plastic Tide by getting them over 1 million classifications by the end of Sunday 19th March! The Plastic Tide aims to significantly enhance our understanding of the amount of plastic on coastlines, by trialling revolutionary drone-based automatic detection of litter. Help them reach […]

As with all the Zooniverse citizen science projects, its straight forward to take part. You categorise beach plastic to help train an AI algorithm. This will take over the task and track the problem of plastic in the sea in future.

via British Science Week Challenge – The Plastic Tide — Daily Zooniverse

 

Formula-E ‘Gen2’ Car Revealed

Designed to be used for the next three seasons, the car will make its competitive debut in the 2018/19 season of the series. With almost double the energy storage capacity and double the range of the current car, the Gen2 will enable the teams and drivers to complete a full race at higher speeds, without making a mid-race car swap. With all that, the Gen2 car is clear proof of the advancements in battery and electric motor technology achieved in the space of only four years, which will eventually make its way into everyday electric road cars.

I’ve spoken about the Formula-E cars design before, particularly the distinctive top front wing. The top wing is gone but I like the split rear wing(winglets?). The corners of the car look a little more substantial to enable more wheel to wheel racing.

Looks like a futuristic electric sled. I love it!

via Introducing: the Gen2 Formula E car – Formula E

Encouraging More Battery Recycling

Major high street retailers have joined forces to encourage people to recycle their used household batteries as a new poll revealed that more than half of respondents admitted they throw them in the bin.

Asda, B&Q, Currys PC World, Marks & Spencer and Morrisons are all backing the drive to make it easier for consumers to recycle dead batteries and avoid millions ending up in landfill every year and wreaking environmental havoc.

via Campaign urges people to recycle dead batteries | Environment | The Guardian