Category Archives: Tech

China Creates Forest City To Fight Polution 

By: Lucy Wang of Inhabitat 

A pollution-fighting green city unlike any before is springing to life in China. Designed by Stefano Boeri Architetti, the first “Forest City” is now under construction Liuzhou, Guangxi Province. The futuristic city will use renewable energy for self sufficiency and be blanketed in almost 1 million plants and 40,000 trees—a sea of greenery capable of absorbing nearly 10,000 tons of carbon dioxide and 57 tons of pollutants annually.

Commissioned by Liuzhou Municipality Urban Planning for the north of Liuzhou along the Liujiang river, the 175-hectare Liuzhou Forest City will be the first of its kind that, if successful, may raise the bar for urban design worldwide. This first Chinese Forest City will host 30,000 people in a community where all buildings are entirely covered in nearly a million plants of over 100 species, as well as 40,000 trees, that produce approximately 900 tons of oxygen. The use of greenery-covered facades builds on Stefano Boeri’s previous works, including the Vertical Forest residential building in Milan.

The new green city will be entirely wired and connected to Liuzhou with a fast rail line used by electric cars. Powered by geothermal and solar energy, Liuzhou Forest City will include residential areas, commercial and recreational spaces, two schools, and a hospital. The project is slated for completion in 2020.

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Separate Experts Conclude Ocean Temperatures Continue Rising 

By: John Abraham of The Guardian

As humans put ever more heat-trapping gases into the atmosphere, the Earth heats up. These are the basics of global warming. But where does the heat go? How much extra heat is there? And how accurate are our measurements? These are questions that climate scientists ask. If we can answer these questions, it will better help us prepare for a future with a very different climate. It will also better help us predict what that future climate will be.
The most important measurement of global warming is in the oceans. In fact, “global warming” is really “ocean warming.” If you are going to measure the changing climate of the oceans, you need to have many sensors spread out across the globe that take measurements from the ocean surface to the very depths of the waters. Importantly, you need to have measurements that span decades so a long-term trend can be established. 
These difficulties are tackled by oceanographers, and a significant advancement was presented in a paper just published in the journal Climate Dynamics. That paper, which I was fortunate to be involved with, looked at three different ocean temperature measurements made by three different groups. We found that regardless of whose data was used or where the data was gathered, the oceans are warming.

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Putin Provides Specific Instructions To Support Trumps Presidency 

Compliments of CBS 

A report Friday morning claims Russian President Vladimir Putin gave direct instructions to help elect Donald Trump president.

According to a Washington Post investigation, former President Obama received a secret CIA report in August.

That report “captured Putin’s specific instructions on the operation’s audacious objectives – defeat or at least damage the Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton.”

CBS News confirmed last year that U.S. intelligence officials knew that the Russian government operation to interfere in the U.S. election had been approved by Putin himself, but they were reluctant to reveal how much they knew out of concern that sources and methods could be compromised, CBS News justice and homeland security correspondent Jeff Pegues reports.

The Post reports that U.S. intelligence agencies had sourcing deep inside the Russian government capturing Putin’s direct instructions in the operation.

The Post also reports that before he left office Mr. Obama set in motion a secret program that authorized the deployment of “implants” in Russian networks – digital bombs that could be triggered in a retaliatory cyberstrike in the event of Moscow aggression – and that it would be up to President Trump to decide to use the capability.

CBS News confirmed that Obama officials felt that their effort to expel Russian diplomats in retaliation was undermined by the incoming administration.

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Google Scrubs Medical Records and Other Personal Information From Its Results 

By: Samuel Gibbs of The Guardian 

Google has started removing private medical records from its search results, after adjusting its policy regarding personal information.

The change was made on Thursday to include the “confidential, personal medical records of private people” in the bracket of information Google may remove unprompted from search results. Other examples of such information include national or government issued identification numbers, bank account numbers, credit card numbers and images of signatures.

The leaking of private medical records can be extremely damaging to the victims, both financially and emotionally, with future prospects affected and private lives of the vulnerable exposed. Given that Google’s indexing system will capture anything that’s publicly accessible on the internet, leaks such as those created by an Indian pathology lab which uploaded more than 43,000 patient records in December, including names and HIV blood test results, can be particularly damaging.

The last change to the removal policy was made in 2015 with the addition of “nude or sexually explicit images that were uploaded or shared without your consent” to cover so-called revenge porn.

The new addition to Google’s scrubbing policy marks a change from the search company’s traditional hands-off, algorithmic approach which resists attempts at censorship. This has come under scrutiny over the last few years due to the spread of fake news and misinformation. Google recently adjusted its search results to down-rank contested information such as fake news.

For many Google has become the gateway to the internet, meaning that removal from the company’s search results effectively scrubs them from the internet. While the information will still be accessible via other search engines or directly, other associated actions including the European right to be forgotten have seen being removed from Google’s search results as good enough to affect change.

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Stephen Hawkings: Space Colonization Will Unite and Elevate Humanity 

By: Pallab Gosh 

They should also aim to build a lunar base in 30 years’ time and send people to Mars by 2025.

Prof Hawking said that the goal would re-ignite the space programme, forge new alliances and give humanity a sense of purpose.

He was speaking at the Starmus Festival celebrating science and the arts, which is being held in Trondheim, Norway.

“Spreading out into space will completely change the future of humanity,” he said.

“I hope it would unite competitive nations in a single goal, to face the common challenge for us all.

“A new and ambitious space programme would excite (young people), and stimulate interest in other areas, such as astrophysics and cosmology”.

He addressed the concerns of those arguing that it would be better to spend our money on solving the problems of this planet along with a pointed criticism of US President Donald Trump.

“I am not denying the importance of fighting climate change and global warming, unlike Donald Trump, who may just have taken the most serious, and wrong, decision on climate change this world has seen,” he said.

Prof Hawking explained that human space travel is essential for the future of humanity precisely because the Earth was under threat from climate change as well as diminishing natural resources.

“We are running out of space and the only places to go to are other worlds. It is time to explore other solar systems. Spreading out may be the only thing that saves us from ourselves. I am convinced that humans need to leave Earth,” the Cambridge University theoretical physicist explained.

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Tube Transportation Reaching Speeds of 4K MPH Closer Than You Think 

By: Brendonm of Gadget Dx 

It’s no doubt the future we’ve imagined for years is arriving. In 2007 the iPhone was invented before that most people had flip phones and keyboard phones. Nowadays if you have a flip phone you’re probably a 65-year-old man who can’t quite make the change. It may be because I’m still young but I cannot picture the world without smartphones.

When you think of the future you think of stuff like you’d see on shows like Futurama and The Jetsons, every day we are getting closer and closer to that reality. Today marks a new step in the evolution of transportation because we are finally building the Tube Transport System like seen in Futurama.
The Hyper Chariot

The people behind hyper chariot plan on one day building a door to door tube transportation system capable of traveling 4000MPH. First, they need your help to fund a 3 mile long, 300MPH version of this tube transportation system to help show people that it works and is safe.

Once the project is complete they plan on turning it into a ride called “The Velocitator”. The team behind this has already begun working on this project with their partners at Super 78.

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Power Companies are Warned of Cyber Virus That Causes Black Outs

By: Kevin Poulsen of The Daily Beast 

Seven minutes before midnight last Dec. 17, a bomb of sorts went off in a high-voltage substation north of Kiev.

But if you were standing outside the 20 acres of gleaming metal transformers and coils, you wouldn’t have heard a bang or seen a flash. It wasn’t that kind of bomb. It was a piece of malicious software that had been hiding in a control-room computer miles away, waiting for the right time to reveal itself. At 11:53 p.m., the logic bomb transmitted a staccato burst of pre-programmed commands to the substation, popping one circuit breaker after another until a strip of houses in and around western Kiev were plunged into darkness.

Technicians responded to the Pivnichna substation and took the circuit breakers off computer control, restoring power a little after 1 a.m. It was only the second confirmed case of a computer attack triggering an electrical blackout, and compared to the first, 12 months earlier—also in Ukraine—it was a fizzle, affecting far fewer customers and for a fraction of the time. In the six months since the Kiev attack, security researchers have wondered why the hackers even bothered with such a fleeting disruption and speculated that someone was using Ukraine as a testing ground for a more serious attack.

Now that dark assessment seems to be confirmed. Researchers at two security companies on Monday announced they’ve finally found and analyzed the malware that triggered the Kiev blackout, and it’s far worse than imagined. The computer code, dubbed “CrashOverride” by Maryland-based Dragos, and “Industroyer” by ESET in Slovakia, is a genuine cyber weapon that can map out a power station’s control network and, with minimal human guidance, issue malicious commands directly to critical equipment. Only once before has the world seen malware designed for such sabotage, with the 2010 Stuxnet virus used against Iran’s nuclear program. CrashOverride is the first to target civilians and the first such malware built to target a nation’s power supply.

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New Tech Can Translate Sign Language To Written Text 

By: Luke Dormehl 

Voice-based dictation tools may be old news from in terms of technology, but not everyone is able to fully take advantage of them. For deaf people who use signing as their primary means of communication, available options are far more limited. That’s even more frustrating when you consider the challenges that may confront a person trying to converse with folks who are not proficient in signing.

A Dallas-based startup is setting out to set things right, though. Called KinTrans, the team has developed smart tech capable of translating sign language into voice and text, and voice taken to text or sign language automatically.
The results allow signers and non-signers to communicate together in their own languages, effectively, effortlessly, and instantaneously.

“What makes this technology exciting is the ability to open up conversations between signers and speakers in the marketplace, workplace, schools, health care, and civic centers,” Catherine Bentley, cofounder and business development officer at KinTrans, told Digital Trends. “Traditionally, communicating in these settings has been difficult; requiring friends or family who sign and interpret, or professional interpreters on-site or off-site through video, and even using pen and paper. None of these dependencies are scalable — plus they lack privacy and independence for the signer.”

KinTrans’ tech relies on a 3D camera which tracks the movement of a signer’s hands and body when they sign out words. When requested, it can then translate the signed words into written English (or, currently, Arabic, although additional languages will follow in the future). Alternatively, voice can be translated into signed words communicated by an animated avatar on the screen. According to its creators, the system is already able to recognize thousands of signed words with an accuracy of around 98 percent.

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VR and AR With Military Application 

By : Lukemary Slade of Mondi Virtuali 

The repetition of bloody attacks such as those in London of these last months, is bringing some companies operating in the field of virtual reality and increased to develop counterterrorism applications.

An example is given by the US multinational Eon Reality, founded in 1999 by Dan Lejerskar, Mikael Jacobsson and Mats Johansson in Irvine, California, which has grown throughout the world over the years (with offices, among others, in Paris, Manchester, Moscow, Doha, Singapore, Seul and Melbourne).

Eon Reality develops counterterrorism apps

Precisely thanks to a new counterterrorism application Eon Reality won, for the second year, the InnovPlus Award promoted by Singapore’s Ial (Institute for adult learning). The project used virtual reality platform AVR to create an improvised explosive device recognition and defusal application for anti-terrorism training and VIP protection.
The goal of the project is to create a realistic simulation for security personnel to give them a realistic training experience without the danger. This is just an example how virtual reality and aumented reality could help security forces to raise the alert level against further terroristic attacks quickly and with relatively small investments.

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California Signs With China To Make Green Technology 

Compliments of DW 

US state of California signs accord with China for green technology development

The agreement comes less than one week after US President Donald Trump said the US was leaving the Paris climate accord. California governor Jerry Brown agreed to develop more green technology.

California governor Jerry Brown met with Chinese leaders on Tuesday in Beijing and signed a memorandum of understanding to develop more green technology and reduce greenhouse emissions. The agreement builds on subnational pacts Brown signed with officials in Sichuan and Jiangsu provinces earlier this week. 

“I have proposed that California will cut its greenhouse gases 40 per cent below 1990 levels and that we’ll have 50 per cent of our electricity from renewables,” Brown told President Xi Jinping in a 45-minute meeting. 

“To keep that goal, we need a very close partnership with China – with your businesses, with your provinces, with your universities,” Brown said.  

“Nobody can stay on the sidelines. We can’t afford any dropouts in the tremendous human challenge to make the transition to a sustainable future,” Brown said during a green energy conference in Beijing. “Disaster still looms and we’ve got to make the turn.” 

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