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

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Hovertrain: The British Hyperloop That Never Happened

The hovertrain, it was hoped, would speed passengers from London to Glasgow in little more than two hours at speeds of up to 300mph. It would revolutionise long-distance travel and consign conventional trains to the history books. But the vision never materialised. In 1975, little more than five years after construction started, the test track was demolished and the project was unceremoniously mothballed.

via The strange tale of the hovertrain, the British hyperloop of the 1970s | WIRED UK

Amazon Working On First Robot

There are no firm details on what Amazon’s robot looks like or what purpose it will serve, but Bloomberg suggests it could be a sort of “mobile Alexa” — following users around their house to places where they can’t speak directly to an Echo speaker. Prototype robots built by Amazon reportedly have computer vision software and cameras for navigation, and the company is said to be planning to seed devices in employees’ homes by the end of the year.

via Amazon is reportedly working on its first home robot – The Verge

Yep, I see this as a mobile Alexa or a robot vacuum cleaner. Nothing too big or scary, to ease people into having robots in their home.

Falcon Heavy First Flight

On Tuesday, Feb. 6th at 3:45 PM ET, Falcon Heavy successfully lifted off from Launch Complex 39A at Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Falcon Heavy is the most powerful operational rocket in the world by a factor of two, with the ability to lift into orbit nearly 64 metric tons (141,000 lb)–a mass greater than a 737 jetliner loaded with passengers, crew, luggage and fuel.

via Falcon Heavy Test Launch | SpaceX

Formula-E ‘Gen2’ Car Revealed

Formula-E Gen2 car

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

Driverless bus ‘pod’ tests come to Cambridge Busway

Tests have started on a new driverless bus system which could pave the way for an evening public transport service.
The RDM Group is using self-driving pods along the guided busway in Cambridge to test the feasibility of running 10-seater shuttles along the route.
If successful, the buses will run between Trumpington Park and Ride and Cambridge Station after 20:00.

Perfect route for them, hopefully the test are a success.

via Driverless bus ‘pod’ tests under way in Cambridge – BBC News

Dyson Electric Car In 2020

British inventor Sir James Dyson has announced plans to build an electric car that will be “radically different” from current models and go on sale in 2020.

The billionaire who revolutionised the vacuum cleaner said 400 engineers in Wiltshire had been working since 2015 on the £2.5bn project.

No prototype has yet been built, but Dyson said two different battery types are under development that were already more efficient than in existing electric cars.

via James Dyson to invest £2.5bn on ‘radically different’ electric car | Technology | The Guardian

UK Hover Train on Inside Out East

http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b0952dp0/inside-out-east-18092017

There is a fascinating segment about the UK Hover Train developed back in the 1970s and then frustratingly abandoned in this ‘Inside Out East’ programme on iPlayer (Hover Train features at 19m 40s in, available until 18 Oct).

I had heard about the Hover Trains existence before but this is the first film footage I have seen. Such a waste of technological development. Could have been the Concorde of the land.

Wikipedia Timeline of the Far Future

Wikipedia’s prediction of far-future events really makes me wish I could stick around to see the red supergiant star Antares go supernova in 10,000 years. “The explosion is expected to be easily visible in daylight.” I’m happy I’ll miss the 1km asteroid that’s likely to hit Earth in the next 500,000 years. Looking farther out, the moon Phobos will collide Mars in 50 million years. Anything alive 2.8 billion years from now will need good air conditions because “Earth’s surface temperature, even at the poles,” will be 300 °F.

via Wikipedia’s mindblowing timeline of the far future / Boing Boing

Secrets of Silicon Valley

Jamie Bartlett uncovers the dark reality behind Silicon Valley’s glittering promise to build a better world. The tech gods believe progress is powered by technology tearing up the world as it is – a process they call disruption.

Interesting two part series. If you are not familiar with the tech/startup scene you might want to be in a good/hopeful mood before you watch it.

via BBC iPlayer – Secrets Of Silicon Valley – Series 1: 1. The Disruptors