Category Archives: Science

Meet the first Robotic Waiter of Pakistan

This restaurant in Multan is providing Robotic Waiter service to its customers

A pizza place in Multan, Pizza.com, is all set to provide robotic waiter service to its customers. The amazing thing is that this robot in question and all of its underlying technology is completely made from the ground up in Pakistan.

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The face behind this technology
The main force behind this whole operation is Syed Usama Aziz, an electrical engineering graduate from NUST. He is the son of restaurant’s owner and has a keen interest in the field of Robotics.

Source of motivation
Usama enrolled in Electrical Engineering department of NUST in 2011 and graduated in 2015. He wanted to study further and explore the field of Robotics by going abroad. His father, the owner of Pizza.com, encouraged him to stay in Pakistan and prove his mettle here.

Upon failing to convince his parents on going abroad for further studies, he decided to follow his passion right here in Pakistan. In order to improve his fathers’ hotel, he struck the notion that whole serving process should be automated to increase efficiency by many folds.

But when he realized that the cost of importing an automatic serving machine from other countries would set him back millions of rupees, he decided to develop one in Pakistan from scratch.

Meet the first Robotic Waiter of Pakistan
After 8 months of hard work, and investment of around 0.4 million Pakistani Rupees (4 lakh Rupees/ around 4 thousand dollars), Pakistan’s first robotic waiter is finally ready to be put to work. Usama is currently beta testing the robot in Multan branch of Pizza.com.

Read more » Tech Juice
See more >> https://www.techjuice.pk/this-restaurant-in-multan-is-providing-robotic-waiter-service-to-its-customers/

Yoshinori Ohsumi of Japan Wins Nobel Prize for Study of ‘Self-Eating’ Cells

Yoshinori Ohsumi, a Japanese cell biologist, was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine on Monday for his discoveries on how cells recycle their content, a process known as autophagy, a Greek term for “self-eating.”

It is a crucial process. During starvation, cells break down proteins and nonessential components and reuse them for energy. Cells also use autophagy to destroy invading viruses and bacteria, sending them off for recycling. And cells use autophagy to get rid of damaged structures. The process is thought to go awry in cancer, infectious diseases, immunological diseases and neurodegenerative disorders. Disruptions in autophagy are also thought to play a role in aging.

But little was known about how autophagy happens, what genes were involved, or its role in disease and normal development until Dr. Ohsumi began studying the process in baker’s yeast.

Read more » The New York Times
See more » http://www.nytimes.com/2016/10/04/science/yoshinori-ohsumi-nobel-prize-medicine.html?smid=fb-share&_r=0

Pakistani scientists find 30 new genes that may cause intellectual disabilities

Study finds 30 new genes that may cause intellectual disabilities

BY IKRAM JUNAIDI

ISLAMABAD: The number of children suffering from intellectual disabilities in Pakistan is increasing due to cousin marriages.

A study conducted by the Shaheed Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto Medical University, the University of Maryland School of Medicine in the United States and Radbound University in the Netherlands has found that 30 new genes have developed which are causing these disabilities.

In light of the study, recommendations will be sent to the government within a week for legislation that requires cousins to be screened before marriage.

The recommendations also include a proposal to ensure neonatal screening, which is already practiced in Europe and the US.

Neonatal screenings can identify conditions that could affect a foetus’ long term health or survival.

Early detection, diagnosis and intervention can prevent death or disability, and allow children to reach their full potential.

Read more » DAWN
See more » http://www.dawn.com/news/1282564/

 

Stephen Hawking Warns Humanity: Leave Earth Before the Ruling Class Destroys It

by hqanon

 

Excerpt:

In fact, taken collectively, Hawking’s numerous warnings are aimed directly at the careless hubris of the ruling elites and their tendency to act in favor of profit — in a variety of fields — without consideration given to long-term consequences resulting from such hastily implemented projects.

Despite the numerous cautionary scenarios Hawking has proffered, he claims society will likely discover the means to cope.

“We are not going to stop making progress, or reverse it, so we have to recognize the dangers and control them,” he stated. “I’m an optimist, and I believe we can.

“It’s important to ensure that these changes are heading in the right directions. In a democratic society, this means that everyone needs to have a basic understanding of science to make informed decisions about the future.

“So communicate plainly what you are trying to do in science, and who knows, you might even end up understanding it yourself.”

Read more » Anonymous
See more » http://anonhq.com/stephen-hawking-warns-humanity-leave-earth-before-the-ruling-class-destroys-it/

Meet the 22-Year-Old Physics Genius That Harvard Believes is the Next Einstein

Sabrina Gonzalez Pasterski was only 14 years old when she stepped foot into MIT’s campus offices seeking approval one morning for the single-engine plane she built.

 

Fast forward eight years and the 22-year-old is now an MIT graduate and Harvard Ph.D. candidate interested in answering some of the most complex questions in physics, according to Yahoo.

The first-generation Cuban-American woman has already received job offers from Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon.com, and aerospace developer and manufacturer Blue Origin. NASA has also shown interest in the young physicist. Pasterski’s study seeks to explore black holes and spacetime and she is particularly concentrated on explaining gravity through the context of quantum mechanics.

Read more » Next Shark
See more » http://nextshark.com/sabrina-pasterski-22-mit-grad/

Israel-Indian missile system Barak 8 carries out successful trial in Indian Ocean

“Trial will benefit both the Indian and Israeli navies,” CEO of IAI says.

The Israeli-Indian developed Barak 8 missile system carried out two successful interceptions from an Indian Navy ship over the past day.

Israel Aerospace Industries said that the weapons system successfully hit its target and completed a series of three tests that demonstrate its readiness.

Yossi Weiss, CEO of IAI, said the interceptors were fired from the heart of the Indian Ocean from an Indian Navy ship, striking their targets successfully.

Weiss described the trial as a “most impressive technological achievement” that will benefit both the Indian and Israeli navies, both of which are expected to receive the system in a fully operational mode soon.

The Indian ship used to fire the interceptors is significantly larger than the Sa’ar 5 type Israel Navy corvette used for a similar recent trial of the Barak 8.

The Barak 8 missile system is designed to protect naval ships and offshore gas rigs from hostile aircraft, missiles and rockets.

Read more » Jerusalem Post
See more » http://www.jpost.com/Israel-News/Israel-Indian-missile-system-Barak-8-carries-out-successful-trial-in-Indian-Ocean-438821

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More details » BBC urdu
Read more »  http://www.bbc.com/urdu/regional/2015/12/151230_india_new_missile_test_zh?ocid=socialflow_facebook

Burn these books, please!

BY PERVEZ HOODBHOY

NO, I take that back. Books shouldn’t ever be burned. Instead recycle the paper, use for wrapping vegetables or fish, or dispose of in some environmentally friendly way. But please keep our students away from the rotten science textbooks published by the Sindh Textbook Board (STB), an entity operating under the Sindh Ministry of Education. Else yet another generation will end up woefully ignorant of the subjects they study — physics, mathematics, chemistry, and biology. Tragically they will see these magnificent human achievements as pointless, boring, and dry as dust.

Keep our students away from the rotten science textbooks published by the Sindh Textbook Board.

I have a pile of STB books before me at the moment. Both in English and Urdu, they are the officially prescribed texts for classes 4 to 10 (ages 10 to 16) and are in current use. In addition, I have two manuscripts on general science for classes 4 and 5, scheduled for publication this year or next. My blood pressure is steadily rising as I turn the pages, and I take careful sips of water.

Imagine the torture inflicted on a class 4 kid from Sindh, a non-native speaker of English, when confronted with difficult words (no explanations provided) like ‘obesity’, ‘ulcer’, ‘characteristics’, ‘interpret’, ‘deficiency’, ‘osteoporosis’, ‘decomposers’, ‘ecoregion’, ‘translucent’, ‘trough’, ‘lukewarm’, ‘constriction’, etc. In class 5, he will be haunted by monster words like ‘monocotyledonous’ and ‘dicotyledonous’. Strewn across these unattractive books are hazy diagrams, hundreds of capitalisation and spelling mistakes, plus countless grammatically incorrect sentences.

Read more » DAWN
See more » http://www.dawn.com/news/1225815

Enough PhD’s, thank you

Pakistan now has legions of highly paid ignoramus cartoon professors.

BY PERVEZ HOODBHOY

When Freeman Dyson suggested we have lunch together at the Princeton University cafeteria on my next visit, I almost fell off my chair. To be invited by this legendary physicist, now 90-plus but sharp as ever, meant more than a banquet especially arranged for me by the Queen of England. Countless kings, queens, and generals have come and gone but only a tiny number of visionaries, Dyson included, actually make history.

Overwhelmed, I was about to blurt “thank you, Dr Dyson” but stopped in time. Else this would have violated an unstated protocol. We theoretical physicists address colleagues by their first name. And so I simply thanked him as Freeman. This avoided a still more serious error. Freeman Dyson does not have a PhD and has never sought or needed one.

Three books and biographies have been written on this PhD-less scientific genius. But, were he to apply to a Pakistani university, at best he might become an assistant professor. I thought of this while suffering through some lectures last week at an international physics conference in Islamabad.

Sadly, the presentations by most Pakistani PhD’s were uninteresting, others were wrong. One was even laughably wrong. Probably the worst was by a professor who was not just a ‘doctor’ but a ‘professor doctor’. This terrible pomposity, borrowed from some German tradition, is now routinely augmented with ‘distinguished professor’, ‘national professor’ and what-not. Like cartoon generals who have won no wars but have medals stuck to oversized chests, Pakistan now has legions of highly paid ignoramus cartoon professors.

Read more » DAWN
See more » http://www.dawn.com/news/1221057

 

Europe and Russia mission to assess Moon settlement

The European and Russian space agencies are to send a lander to an unexplored area at the Moon’s south pole.

It will be one of a series of missions that prepares for the return of humans to the surface and a possible permanent settlement.

The spacecraft will assess whether there is water and raw materials to make fuel and oxygen.

BBC News has obtained exclusive details of the mission, called Luna 27, which is set for launch in five years’ time.

The mission is one of a series led by the Russian federal space agency, Roscosmos, to go back to the Moon.

Read more » BBC
See more » http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-34504067

9 Mind-Blowing Inventions That You Did Not Know Were Made By Pakistanis

Pakistanis are pure genius… We just don’t say it, we can prove it. Here is the list of some of the amazing inventions made by Pakistanis, followed/ practiced/ used by people around the globe.

1. Fertilizers With Non-Explosive Materials

Recently a Pakistani fertilizer company invented a new formula to make fertilizers that cannot be converted into bomb-making materials. Previously, fertilizers with ammonium nitrate, were easily converted into bomb-making ingredients.

2. Successful Brain-Silicon Chip Connection

Dr. Naweed Syed is the first scientist who managed to “connect brain cells to a silicon chip”. This Pakistani helped the world achieve a great milestone. This discovery will significantly help in the research of integrating computers with the human brains in order to assist people monitor vital signs control artificial limbs, correct memory loss or vision impairment.

Read more » PARHLΟ
See more » http://www.parhlo.com/9-mind-blowing-inventions-that-you-did-know-were-made-by-pakistanis/?track=facebook

Drone, helicopter or plane? NASA’s 10-Engine Electric Plane Takes Off and Lands Like a Helicopter

NASA’s 10-Engine Electric Plane Takes Off and Lands Like a Helicopter

BY DEVIN COLDEWEY

NASA researchers took a rather unique prototype aircraft for a spin last week: Greased Lightning, a 10-engine electric plane with rotating wings that allow it to take off and land like a helicopter. Vertical take-off and landing aircraft, or VTOL, are not a new idea, but this particular configuration sure is. The GL-10 has four engines on each wing and one on each tip of its rear stabilizer — that’s much different from the large, tilting rotors of the V-22 Osprey or the rotating jets on a Harrier.

Read more » NBC News
See more » http://www.nbcnews.com/tech/innovation/nasas-10-engine-electric-plane-takes-lands-helicopter-n353556

Commercial drones are ready for takeoff—if only the government will get out of the way

Amazon delivery drone
Amazon delivery drone

Drone On – The Sky’s the Limit—If the FAA Will 
Get Out of the Way

By Gretchen West

In the beginning, drones were almost exclusively the province of militaries. At first little more than remote-controlled model planes used in the World War I era, military drones advanced steadily over the decades, eventually becoming sophisticated tools that could surveil battlefield enemies from the sky. Today, the terms “drone” and “unmanned aircraft system” denote a vehicle that navigates through the air from point A to point B and is either remotely controlled or flies autonomously. While they vary in size and shape, such vehicles all feature a communications link, intelligent software, sensors or cameras, a power source, and a method of mobility (usually propellers).

Inevitably, drone technology spilled out from the military and into other parts of the public sector. In the United States over the last decade, federal researchers turned to drones for monitoring weather and land, the Department of Homeland Security started relying on them to keep an eye on borders, and police adopted them for search-and-rescue missions. Then came everyday consumers, who took to parks on the weekend with their often homemade creations. Outside government, drones were mostly flown for fun, not profit.

Until recently, that is. In the last several years, a new group of actors has come to embrace drones: private companies. Inspired by the technological progress made in the military and in the massive hobby market, these newcomers have realized that in everything from farming to bridge inspection, drones offer a dramatic improvement over business as usual. The potential for the commercial use of drones is nearly limitless. But in the United States, the growing drone industry faces a major regulatory obstacle: the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has issued overly restrictive rules that threaten to kill a promising new technology in the cradle.

SERIOUS BUSINESS

In the face of a new and poorly understood technology, the FAA refused to allow drones for commercial purposes.

As more and more actors have invested in drone research and development, the vehicles themselves have become cheaper, simpler, and safer. Perhaps even more exciting are the changes in software, which has advanced at lightning speed, getting smarter and more reliable by the day: now, for example, users can fly drones without any guidance and set up so-called geo-fences to fix boundaries at certain altitudes or around certain areas. The economics are now attractive enough that many industries are looking to drones to perform work traditionally done by humans—or never before done at all.

Rea more » Foreign Affairs
See more » http://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/143325/gretchen-west/drone-on

Rise of the Robots: Technology and the Threat of a Jobless Future

by Martin Ford 

What are the jobs of the future? How many will there be? And who will have them? We might imagine—and hope—that today’s industrial revolution will unfold like the last: even as some jobs are eliminated, more will be created to deal with the new innovations of a new era. In Rise of the Robots, Silicon Valley entrepreneur Martin Ford argues that this is absolutely not the case. As technology continues to accelerate and machines begin taking care of themselves, fewer people will be necessary. Artificial intelligence is already well on its way to making “good jobs” obsolete: many paralegals, journalists, office workers, and even computer programmers are poised to be replaced by robots and smart software. As progress continues, blue and white collar jobs alike will evaporate, squeezing working- and middle-class families ever further. At the same time, households are under assault from exploding costs, especially from the two major industries—education and health care—that, so far, have not been transformed by information technology. The result could well be massive unemployment and inequality as well as the implosion of the consumer economy itself.

Rise of the Robots presents one idea, the basic income model, with clarity & force.

In Rise of the Robots, Ford details what machine intelligence and robotics can accomplish, and implores employers, scholars, and policy makers alike to face the implications. The past solutions to technological disruption, especially more training and education, aren’t going to work, and we must decide, now, whether the future will see broad-based prosperity or catastrophic levels of inequality and economic insecurity. Rise of the Robots is essential reading for anyone who wants to understand what accelerating technology means for their own economic prospects—not to mention those of their children—as well as for society

Read more » Amazon
See more » http://www.amazon.com/Rise-Robots-Technology-Threat-Jobless/dp/0465059996

Tesla updates software to roll out driverless cars in three months

Seeing a Tesla is about to get a lot more wild, as the company is preparing to install its self-driving software in the Model S fleet. The autopilot feature will only work on highways… as the technology may not yet be legal in the US.

Tesla will roll out an auto-steering software update for the Model S in the next three or four months, and owners won’t even have to go into a Tesla store for the upgrade, founder Elon Musk said at a Thursday press conference.

Read more » RT
See more » http://rt.com/usa/242733-tesla-models-autopilot-software-update/

It’s On: Asia’s New Space Race

While NASA and the European Space Agency gets most of the world’s attention, China, Japan and India are racing for the heavens.

The general public in the West largely views the exploration of space as dominated by the United States and perhaps Russia. Sometimes, as in the case of the Rosettamission, they may give thought to Europe’s capabilities. Few people think of India when it comes to missions to Mars, but popular joy erupted across India in September 2014 after its Mangalyaan scientific spacecraft successfully achieved orbit around the red planet. One Indian reader responded to the story on a major online news outlet by posting: “It is [a] moment of pride as India becomes [the] 1stAsian nation to reach Mars.” And understood to all Indian readers was the point that China had—after a series of Asian firsts in space—finally been surpassed.Since China’s first human spaceflight in 2003 and its threatening anti-satellite test in 2007, Asia has seen a surge in space activity, with budgets increasing rapidly across the region. While few officials admit to the term, a “space race” is emerging in Asia.

The surge of Asian countries joining the ranks of major space powers mirrors the rise of Asian economies and their militaries more generally since the end of the Cold War. But following the political drivers of these trends leads most often to regional rivalries, not a desire to compete with the United States or Russia. Being first in Asia to do anything in space brings prestige, lends credibility to governments in power, and helps stimulate Asia’s young population to study science and technology, which has other benefits for their national economies.

The responses to China’s rise have included the sudden development of military space programs by two countries that previously shunned such activities—Japan and India—and dynamic new activities in countries ranging from Australia to Singapore to Vietnam. On the Korean Peninsula, both North and South have orbited satellites in the past three years and both have pledged to develop much larger rockets. Many of these countries realize that they can’t “win” Asia’s space race, but they also know that they cannot afford to lose.

China’s rapid expansion in space activity has also raised serious concerns within U.S. military circles and in NASA. But these developments pose an existential threat to China’s neighbors, some of whom see Beijing’s space program as yet another threatening dimension to their deep-seated historical, economic, and geo-political rivalries for status and influence within the Asian pecking order. Even more, space achievements affect the self-perceptions of their national populations, challenging their governments to do more.

How this competition will play out and whether it can be managed, or channeled into more positive directions, will have a major impact on the future of international relations in space. The U.S. government has thus far responded with a two-track strategy, seeking a bilateral space security dialogue with Beijing, while quietly expanding space partnerships with U.S. friends and allies in the region, adding a space dimension to the U.S. “pivot” to Asia.

Read more » The Daily Beast
See more » http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2015/01/17/why-china-will-win-the-next-space-race.html

25-100 times faster: Revolutionary 3D-printing technology announced

A new 3D-printing system is forecast to change the industry forever. The revolutionary liquid method has been found to be 25 to 100 times faster than its rivals – and it looks like something straight out of Terminator 2.

Carbon 3D, the relatively unknown California-based start-up behind the marvel, has pioneered the technique, which it calls Continuous Liquid Interface Production (CLIP). It uses lasers and oxygen in a way that slows down and allows the formed photosensitive resin to cure. This allows the printing to occur in three dimensions at once.

Read more » http://rt.com/usa/241453-liquid-printing-system-faster/

Are superfast trains speeding down the tracks?

At the time the UK was completing its first stretch of high-speed rail in 2007, China had barely left the station. Nearly a decade on, Britain still has only that same 68-mile (109km) stretch of track, but China has built itself the longest high-speed network in the world.

At more than 12,000km (7,450 miles) in total, it is well over double the length of the European and Japanese networks combined.

So if you want to get a sense of what the future of rail travel might look like, China would seem to be the place to come.

Vacuum velocity

As it stands, train technology doesn’t seem to have changed much for decades.

The UK may have just received its first Hitachi-made Super Express high-speed train capable of running at up to 140mph (225km/h), but this is hardly a quantum leap forward.

The much-loved InterCity 125 – as its name suggests – could do 125mph back in the 1970s. And France’s TGV and Spain’s AVE travel at more than 190mph.

Continue reading Are superfast trains speeding down the tracks?

Wireless electricity: Scientists send energy 55 meters away through air

Japanese scientists have made a breakthrough step towards developing new energy source for humans in the future by for the first time transmitting electric power wirelessly to a pinpoint target using microwaves.

Japanese scientists from the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) have succeeded using microwaves to deliver 1.8 kilowatts of power through the air to a pinpoint target 55 meters away, a spokesman for the agency said.

“This was the first time anyone has managed to send a high output of nearly two kilowatts of electric power via microwaves to a small target, using a delicate directivity control device,” he said as quoted by AFP on Thursday.

Though the energy was only enough to run an electric kettle and the distance was not huge, this appears to be a giant leap in developing new energy sources. The successful experiment could pave the way to collecting inexhaustible solar energy in space and transmitting it to Earth, the researchers said.

The International Space Station and other satellites have been able to collect solar energy and use it for maintaining work. The main benefit of solar power generation in space instead of Earth is the permanent availability of energy regardless the weather conditions or the time of the day.

JAXA has been working for years on the Space Solar Power Systems project (SSPS) which envisages a space-based solar power plant that generates energy by collecting sunlight in geostationary orbit.

“SSPS consists of a space-based power generation/transmission facility that gathers sunlight, converts it into microwaves or laser beams, and transmits those to the ground; and a power receiving facility on the ground,” said lead researcher Yasuyuki Fukumuro.

Read more » http://rt.com/news/240193-wireless-electricity-send-energy/

Self-driving cars all across the UK within 10 years

Self-driving cars are coming but Britain isn’t ready for them, say MPs

By Jonathan Walker

Newcastle University academic Professor Eric Sampson tells MPs that automated cars could cut or end deaths on the roads

Driverless vehicles which could dramatically cut deaths on the roads are coming to Britain – but the Government must do far more to ensure the UK is a world leader in adopting the technology, according to MPs.

The findings were published after a Newcastle academic told MPs that driverless cars could even potentially cut the number of road fatalities down to nothing.

But Professor Eric Sampson, visiting professor at Newcastle University, told the inquiry that the Government would have to pass legislation making the new technology compulsory.

Giving evidence at Westminster, he said: “To get zero fatalities, if you can ever get there, you have to mandate the fitment. You cannot have vehicles travelling around that are not fitted with the latest technology.”

Cars which drive themselves might sound like science fiction but manufacturers say they could have vehicles available within five years.

Nissan, which has a major plant in Washington, Tyne and Wear, says it will introduce vehicles with affordable autonomous drive systems by 2020.

The firm is planning to introduce technology which automates specific tasks, such as driving in heavy traffic or traffic jams; maintaining a steady speed and changing lanes in motorways, and parking.

A spokeswoman said: “The first of these systems will be in the market from 2016 with a successive roll-out towards 2020 when full autonomous drive systems will be available.”

But in a new report, the Commons Transport Committee said the UK needed a “visionary strategy” to make the most of new motoring technology.

Laws and regulations governing car insurance needed to be reformed to make it clear how the introduction of self-driving cars will affect the liabilities of drivers, manufacturers and insurers, the MPs said.

Britain must also work with the EU to develop common standards which will help UK manufacturers develop products suitable for export.

Committee chair Louise Ellman MP said: “The public need to be sure that new types of vehicles are safe to travel on our roads.

The Government must do more to prepare for a transition period where manual, semi-autonomous and driverless vehicles will share UK roads.

“Transport Ministers must explain how different types of vehicles will be certified and tested, how drivers will be trained and how driving standards will be updated, monitored and enforced.”

The inquiry heard evidence from a range of experts before publishing its findings. As well as Professor Sampson these included Professor Phil Blythe, Professor of Intelligent Transport Systems at Newcastle University.

He told the committee that self-driving cars were probably inevitable.

Giving evidence to the inquiry, Prof Blythe said: “I see a real role for moving towards autonomous vehicles, for all sorts of reasons.

“In urban areas, you can manage and optimise traffic if you have some control over speed, lane or whatever at certain times.

“As people get older, they have functional and cognitive declines. Assistive technologies in cars to help them when they cannot judge distances or speeds are important.”

He added: “I see a lot of reasons why automation in vehicles will come. Virtually all you need for fully autonomous vehicles is there now in different vehicles; it just has not all been brought together.

“It has real safety benefits and will allow platoons of freight, which may increase capacity on the roads.”

News courtesy: Chronicle Live
Read more » http://www.chroniclelive.co.uk/news/north-east-news/self-driving-cars-coming-britain-isnt-8783135

Tesla Motors Announces A New Home Battery; Living Off The Grid Will Soon Be Status Quo

Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla Motors, announced Wednesday that the company is working on a new kind of battery that would be used to power homes. Based on Tesla’s lithium-ion battery technology, the new battery is expected to help the company become a leader in the growing home energy-storage market.

Speaking during an earnings conference call on Wednesday, Musk said that the design of the battery is complete, and production would begin in about six months. Although the company did not provide any date for the product’s launch, Musk said that he was pleased with the result.

“We are going to unveil the Tesla home battery, the consumer battery that would be for use in people’s houses or businesses fairly soon,” Bloombergquoted Musk as saying.

During an earnings call last year, Musk had talked about his plans to make a product that would be fitted into consumers’ homes, instead of their cars. He had expressed an interest in the home energy-storage market and predicted enormous demand for battery systems for backup power at both homes and businesses.

“We are trying to figure out what would be a cool stationary (battery) pack,” Forbes had quoted Musk as saying at the time. “Some will be like the Model S pack: something flat, 5 inches off the wall, wall mounted, with a beautiful cover, an integrated bi-directional inverter, and plug and play.”

The Palo Alto, California-based automaker already produces residential energy-storage units through SolarCity Corp., a solar-power company that names Musk as its chairman and the biggest shareholder. In addition, Tesla’s Fremont, California, facility also produces large stationary storage systems for businesses and utility clients, Bloomberg reported.

“The long-term demand for stationary energy storage is extraordinary,” JB Straubel, Tesla’s chief technical officer, said. “We’ve put in a huge amount of effort there.”

At this moment, many solar or wind-powered homes have to remain on a the grid because there has not been a way to store extra power for lean hours. If given a relatively cheap and reliable battery to hold the power needed, building off-grid in the country will become commonplace, and even in the city, self powered homes could be a less expensive option than being grid-tied.

Courtesy: Off Grid Quest
Read more » http://offgridquest.com/news/tesla-motors-announces-a-new-home-batter

How Stephen Hawking, diagnosed with ALS decades ago, is still alive

By Terrence McCoy

On April 20, 2009, a moment arrived that doctors had foretold for decades. Stephen Hawking, a scientist who overcame debilitating disease to become the world’s most renowned living physicist, was on the cusp of death. The University of Cambridge released grim prognoses. Hawking, diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) at the age of 21, was described as “very ill” and “undergoing tests” at the hospital. Newspapers ran obituary-esque articles. It seemed time was up for the man who so eloquently explained it.

But, as is his custom, Hawking survived.

Hawking shouldn’t be able to do the things he now does. The 73-year-old shouldn’t be able to deliver meditations on the existence of God. He shouldn’t be able to fret over artificial intelligence or humanity’s capacity for self-destruction. And he most definitely shouldn’t be able to attend the BAFTAs — Britain’s academy awards — settled inside the wheelchair that has carried him for decades, expressing admiration for a recent biopic that paid homage to his struggle. But yet, he is. And he does.

[Stephen Hawking says that ‘aggression,’ humanity’s greatest vice, will destroy civilization]

It’s difficult to overstate the lethality of ALS, the condition with which Hawking lives. The disorder can befall anyone. It first brings muscle weakness, then wasting, then paralysis, ripping away the ability to speak and swallow and even breathe. The ALS Association says the average lifespan of someone diagnosed with the condition is between two and five years. More than 50 percent make it past year three. Twenty percent make it past year five. From there, the number plummets. Less than 5 percent make it past two decades.

And then there’s Hawking. He has passed that two-decade mark twice — first in 1983, then in 2003. It’s now 2015. His capacity for survival is so great some experts say he can’t possibly suffer from ALS given the ease with which the disease traditionally dispatches victims. And others say they’ve simply never seen anyone like Hawking.

Read more » The Washington Post
Learn more » http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2015/02/24/how-stephen-hawking-survived-longer-than-possibly-any-other-als-patient/?tid=sm_fb

Secret to the Apple Car Is the Battery

By

When news leaked that Apple could produce an electric car as early as 2020, lots of people had visions of driving a sleek, white, environmentally friendly automobile with a big iPad running down the center console. The number of employees Apple had already poached from Tesla and other car makers implied that Chief Executive Tim Cook had ambitions that went far beyond auto software like its existing CarPlay. Reports outlined the many ways that tech’s golden child could disrupt the car industry. Auto execs were put on notice: Apple the Unstoppable is coming for you.

Read more » Bloomberg

In the Time It Takes to Read This Story, a Solar Array Will Go up Somewhere

The marketplace for solar power isn’t cooperating with pessimists

Solar panels are super cheap, with prices down more than 75 percent in five years. Just $0.70 a watt! That’s great news, even if few people can explain what a watt feels like exactly.  And the future is growing even brighter, according to a report released today from the independent German research group Agora Energiewende. The analysts report that leading global projections of world energy use may be missing the big picture: “Most scenarios fundamentally underestimate the role of solar power in future energy systems,” the report states. The price of silicon panels is no longer the cost headache it’s been historically. How much sun a location gets, the authors write, is less than a factor than many might think. What increasingly matters is financing costs.

Read more » Bloomberg
See more » http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-02-24/in-the-time-it-takes-to-read-this-story-a-solar-array-will-go-up-somewhere-i6jrbr4x?hootPostID=d7724d162a760d8a3b726708c34ed292

The Robots Are Coming for Your Paycheck

Technological progress isn’t always a good thing.

A paper out this month concludes smart machines, such as robots, have the potential to destroy good-paying jobs and damage the economy.

“In other words, technological progress can be immiserating,” Boston University’sSeth Benzell, Laurence Kotlikoff and Guillermo LaGarda, and Columbia University’s Jeffrey Sachs write.

The study, “Robots are Us: Some Economics of Human Replacement,” is careful to note that’s not the only possible outcome. But it does predict a long-run decline in labor’s share of income, a cycle of tech booms and busts, and a growing dependency on past software investment rather than continued.

Economists have long debated the role of technology and the future of the economy. And clearly automation is playing a bigger and bigger role in daily life.

Messrs. Benzell, Kotlikoff, LaGarda and Sachs look specifically at the creation of software code that powers machines used to produce goods–that is, robots. Their worry is that the stock of good code will grow during a boom to the point that the demand for new code will decline, leading to lower wages in the high-tech field. That, in turn, means less savings and investment, and the accumulation of fewer assets.

“The long run in such a case is no techno-utopia,” the authors say. “Yes, code is abundant. But capital is dear. And yes, everyone is fully employed. But no one is earning very much.”

During the ensuing bust, consumption falls and not enough capital accumulates for the next round of investment.

“In short, when smart machines replace people, they eventually bite the hands of those that finance them,” the authors say.

Read more » The Wall Street Journal 
Learn more » http://blogs.wsj.com/economics/2015/02/17/the-robots-are-coming-for-your-paycheck/

Darwin Day

“IT’S NOT THE STRONGEST SPECIES THAT SURVIVES, NOR THE MOST INTELLIGENT BUT THE SPECIES THAT RESPONDS BETTER TO CHANGING”. ~ CHARLES DARWIN

Naturalist Charles Darwin was born in Shrewsbury, England, on February 12, 1809. In 1831, he embarked on a five-year survey voyage around the world on the HMS Beagle. His studies of specimens around the globe led him to formulate his theory of evolution and his views on the process of natural selection. In 1859, he published On the Origin of Species. He died on April 19, 1882, in London.

Courtesy: Internet + Social media

Robots rising: Automated workforce rapidly gaining on humans, will push labor costs down – report

Robots will become cheaper and more efficient in the coming years, replacing human workers at a faster clip than expected while driving labor costs down by 16 percent, according to a new report.

The number of industrial robots will jump by 10 percent a year in the world’s top 25 export nations through 2025, according to the Boston Consulting Group’s report, The Shifting Economics of Global Manufacturing.” The current growth rate is about 2 or 3 percent per year.

The abundance of robotic workers will slash labor costs by 22 percent in the United States, 33 percent in South Korea, and 25 percent in Japan.

Read more » http://rt.com/usa/231079-robots-work-humans-labor/

Technology And the Threat of a Jobless Future

The Typical Millennial Is $2,000 Poorer Than His Parents at This Age

More young people are living in poverty and fewer have jobs compared their parents’ generation, the Baby Boomers, in 1980

By 

The past is another country. In 1980, the typical young worker in Detroit or Flint, Michigan, earned more than his counterpart in San Francisco or San Jose. The states with the highest median income were Michigan, Wyoming, and Alaska. Nearly 80 percent of the Boomer generation, which at the time was between 18 and 35, was white, compared to 57 percent today.

Three decades later, in 2013, the picture of young people—yes, Millennials—is a violently shaken kaleidoscope, and not all the pieces are falling into a better place. Michigan’s median income for under-35 workers has fallen by 26 percent, more than any state. In fact, beyond the east coast, earnings for young workers fell in every state but Hawaii and South Dakota.

Read more » The Atlantic
Learn more » http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2015/01/young-adults-poorer-less-employed-and-more-diverse-than-their-parents/385029/

Terminator-style implant may help paralyzed people walk again

Swiss scientists have created a cyborg-style implant they hope will soon give paralyzed people a chance to walk again. So far, it has been successfully tested in labs, which means clinical trials with humans should start soon.

The soft, stretchable device, dubbed e-Dura, is the brainchild of scientists from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne. It is designed to act as a “bridge” between two ends of severed spinal cord and deliver electrical impulses and drugs.

It is named after dura matter, a thick membrane that surrounds the brain and spinal cord.

Due to its softness and flexibility, this silicon and gold “ribbon” implant doesn’t cause inflammation and rejection when connected to spinal tissue.

To make the gold even more elastic, the scientists laid it down in layers of just 35 nanometers (0.000035 millimeters) thick.

“The spinal cord expands and relaxes,” said Professor Stéphanie Lacour. “If you have a hard, non-deformable material, the friction and rubbing cause inflammation.”

The implant imitates the mechanical properties of living tissue, and can simultaneously deliver electric impulses and pharmacological substances with little risk of damage.

In previous attempts, similar implants caused the immune system to reject the “foreign body,” and so they had to be removed.

The Swiss scientists believe their e-Dura can last 10 years in humans before its needs replacing.

“It’s the first neuronal surface implant designed from the start for long-term application. In order to build it, we had to combine expertise from a considerable number of areas,” says Courtine.

Read more » http://rt.com/news/221567-implant-paralyzed-walk-test/

Why ideas – not labor or capital – will decide countries’ economic success in the future

New World Order

Labor, Capital, and Ideas in the Power Law Economy

By Erik Brynjolfsson, Andrew McAfee, and Michael Spence

Recent advances in technology have created an increasingly unified global marketplace for labor and capital. The ability of both to flow to their highest-value uses, regardless of their location, is equalizing their prices across the globe. In recent years, this broad factor-price equalization has benefited nations with abundant low-cost labor and those with access to cheap capital. Some have argued that the current era of rapid technological progress serves labor, and some have argued that it serves capital. What both camps have slighted is the fact that technology is not only integrating existing sources of labor and capital but also creating new ones.

Machines are substituting for more types of human labor than ever before. As they replicate themselves, they are also creating more capital. This means that the real winners of the future will not be the providers of cheap labor or the owners of ordinary capital, both of whom will be increasingly squeezed by automation. Fortune will instead favor a third group: those who can innovate and create new products, services, and business models.

The distribution of income for this creative class typically takes the form of a power law, with a small number of winners capturing most of the rewards and a long tail consisting of the rest of the participants. So in the future, ideas will be the real scarce inputs in the world — scarcer than both labor and capital — and the few who provide good ideas will reap huge rewards. Assuring an acceptable standard of living for the rest and building inclusive economies and societies will become increasingly important challenges in the years to come.

LABOR PAINS

Turn over your iPhone and you can read an eight-word business plan that has served Apple well: “Designed by Apple in California. Assembled in China.” With a market capitalization of over $500 billion, Apple has become the most valuable company in the world. Variants of this strategy have worked not only for Apple and other large global enterprises but also for medium-sized firms and even “micro-multinationals.” More and more companies have been riding the two great forces of our era — technology and globalization — to profits.

Read more » Foreign Affairs
Learn more » http://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/141531/erik-brynjolfsson-andrew-mcafee-and-michael-spence/new-world-order