Tech Today w/ Ken May

Archive for February 6th, 2017

Rich countries have low birthrates (in part because they have more rights for women, and women who can control their bodies and fates choose to have fewer children on average than women who live in poor countries with fewer rights for women); Japan, one of the most xenophobic of all the rich countries, has the killer combination of a near-total ban on immigration from poor countries (where all the young people are) and a high standard of living. (moreā€¦)

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Uber’s latest option is a personal chauffeur

Posted by kenmay on February - 6 - 2017

If you’re traveling, or flitting about from one business meeting to another, it can be annoying to arrange a ride for very stop on the journey. Uber is looking to remedy the issue by launching UberHire, a service that lets you rent a car (and driver) for a day. The service is launching in a handful of Indian cities, including New Delhi, Mumbai and Pune, amongst others. Uber users in India can access the service simply by swiping across to UberHire and selecting the first part of your trip. Mashable reports that the minimum fare will set you back around $10 for two hours and 30 kilometers worth of travel. Afterward, you’ll be charged a flat fee for every minute and kilometer afterward, apparently up to a top limit of 12 hours. The company has found life in India to be complicated, and has had to tweak its business several times to better suit the market. Car rentals, for instance, was offered by local rival Ola last year, and the service had to implement cash payments in the country. In addition, users can book rides from their browsers and had to suspend surge pricing after pressure from regulators. Via: Mashable Source: Uber

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Scientists map every atom inside a nanoparticle

Posted by kenmay on February - 6 - 2017

Even the smallest defects can create serious problems. It’s a good thing, then, that researchers have found a way to map nanoparticles at an “unprecedented” level of detail — they’ve located the 3D positions of all 23, 000 atoms in an iron-platinum particle. The group used an extremely high-resolution transmission electron microscope (TEAM I) to capture 2D projections of the nanoparticle’s structure, and used an algorithm to stitch those together into a 3D reconstruction. If there’s a missing or misplaced atom, you could easily spot it. The work could help spot consistent flaws in nanoparticle products, which could be vital in health care and other areas where you can’t afford a mistake. And even if it doesn’t, there are numerous other practical purposes. Scientists hope to create an internet database that illustrates atom-level material properties, and the 3D algorithm could be used for CT scans and other imaging tech. In short, this clearer look at the nano-scale world could have a tremendous effect on many fields — it may just be a matter of time. Source: Berkeley Lab , UCLA

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Imagine the horror being trapped in a hostile landscape surrounded by snowflakes that were one objects of amusement but now form a blizzard of menacing proportions. Then smile because you’re not a fascist, and are merely stuck on a polar icebreaking vessel for 10 hours. 10 hours video of Arctic ambience with frozen ocean, ice craking, snow falling, icebreaker idling and distand howling wind sound. Natural white noise sounds generated by the wind and snow falling, combined with deep low frequencies with delta waves from the powerful icebreaker idling engines, recorded at 96 kHz – 24 bit and designed for relaxation, meditation, study and sleep.

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It’s the end of an era for the US sea power, in more ways than one: the Navy has decommissioned the USS Enterprise (CVN-65), the world’s first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier. The vessel launched in 1961 and is mainly known for playing a pivotal role in several major incidents and conflicts, including the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Vietnam War and the 2003 Iraq War. However, it also served as the quintessential showcase for what nuclear ships could do. Its eight reactors let it run for years at a time, all the while making more room for the aircraft and their fuel. As you might guess, the decommissioning process (which started when the Enterprise went inactive in 2012) is considerably trickier than it would be for a conventional warship. It wasn’t until December 2016 that crews finished extracting nuclear fuel, and the ship will have to be partly dismantled to remove the reactors. They’ll be disposed of relatively safely at Hanford Site, home of the world’s first plutonium reactor. It’s hard to know what the long-term environmental impact of the ship will be — while there’s no question that the radioactive material is dangerous, this isn’t the same as shutting down a land-based nuclear power plant . Whatever you think of the tech, the ship leaves a long legacy on top of its military accomplishments. It proved the viability of nuclear aircraft carriers, leading the US to build the largest such fleet in the world. Also, this definitely isn’t the last ( real-world ) ship to bear the Enterprise name — the future CVN-80 will build on its predecessor with both more efficient reactors and systems designed for modern combat, where drones and stealth are as important as fighters and bombers. It won’t be ready until 2027, but it should reflect many of the lessons learned over the outgoing Enterprise’s 55 years of service. Source: US Navy

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