Pacific Standard: For Climate Scientists, the Siberian Anthrax Outbreak Is a Sign of What’s to Come
If you’re a climate scientist, what happens when your dire predictions start coming true? The ongoing anthrax outbreak in Siberia is offering us a preview: What was once considered a future theoretical possibility -- a reanimated deadly bacterium emerging from the permafrost -- is now a reality.
Throughout July, temperatures in northern Siberia have soared as high as 95 degrees Fahrenheit (35 degrees Celsius) during what’s typically the warmest part of the year. It’s unknown exactly how the disease emerged -- possibly via a thawed reindeer carcass or human remains at a crumbling, above-ground cemetery that’s typical of the region. Russia has sent troops trained for biological warfare to help establish a quarantine in what’s become the first anthrax outbreak in the region since 1941.
World Economic Forum: Chernobyl Could Be Turned Into a Solar Energy Farm
The site of one of the world’s worst nuclear disasters might be on the verge of getting a makeover: The Ukrainian government has announced a plan to transform the radioactive wasteland of Chernobyl into a solar energy farm.
In 1986, the Chernobyl nuclear power plant suffered a catastrophic meltdown -- one of the worst in history. Thirty years later, much of the site is still unsuitable for humans to live.
Now, the Ukrainian government has concocted a plan to construct a series of solar panels in a large chunk of land outside the exclusion zone to harvest energy.
Bloomberg: Apple Can Sell Power as Tech Giants Boost Energy Investments
Apple Inc., which spent $850 million last year on a 130-megawatt solar farm near San Francisco, can begin selling power into wholesale markets in the latest foray by a technology company into the energy business.
Apple’s subsidiary Apple Energy LLC may sell energy, capacity and other services needed to maintain reliable power, according to an order by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Thursday. In granting approval, the commission determined the company did not raise the risk of being able to unfairly hike up power prices.
The iPhone maker is among a group of companies investing in energy projects in a bid to tackle global warming and cut electric bills. Google, Microsoft Corp. and Amazon.com are backing wind turbines and solar farms to power their operations and lower their carbon footprint.
MIT Technology Review: Tesla Might Replace Autopilot’s Eyes With Something Far More Advanced
What will Tesla’s new brain be capable of?
The car company announced last week that it would no longer use a vision system provided by MobileEye, an Israeli company that supplies technology to many automakers. This comes a few weeks after the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announced that it was investigating a fatal accident that occurred while one of Tesla's cars was operating in Autopilot mode, a system designed to enable automated driving under a driver's supervision. It is unclear why Tesla is dropping MobileEye, but one reason may be the emergence of newer approaches to automated driving.
Vox: How Barcelona Is Taking City Streets Back From Cars
Modern cities are ruled by cars. Streets are designed for them; bikers, pedestrians, vendors, hangers-out, and all other forms of human life are pushed to the perimeter in narrow lanes or sidewalks. Truly shared spaces are confined to parks and the occasional plaza. This is such a fundamental reality of cities that we barely notice it any more.
Some folks, however, still cling to the old idea that cities are for people, that more common space should be devoted to living in the city rather than getting through it or around it.
But once you’ve got a city that’s mostly composed of street grids, devoted to moving cars around, how do you take it back? How can cities be reclaimed for people?
The city of Barcelona has come up with one incredibly clever solution to that problem.