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Aug 20, 2017

VW’s electric microbus will become a reality in 2022

Posted by in categories: economics, robotics/AI, transportation

When Volkswagen unveiled the ID Buzz, the assumption was that it would meet the same fate as many concept cars: it’d look good at an auto show, and promptly disappear when cold economic realities set in. Thankfully, the Buzz won’t suffer that fate. VW has announced that it will put the Microbus-inspired EV into production, with a launch expected by 2022. We wouldn’t expect everything about the Buzz to remain intact (those large wheels are likely the first things to go), but the ’60s-inspired styling, semi-autonomous driving and all-wheel drive option will carry over. VW is even teasing a cargo variant, so couriers may have a clean (and slightly kitschy) alternative to the usual vans.

The EV is primarily targeted at China, Europe and North America.

The melding of a nostalgic vibe with electric transportation is the primary allure, of course, but VW notes that going electric should make it very practical. As it doesn’t need a giant gas engine, there’s a tremendous amount of space. You’d get as much passenger room as a big SUV in the size of a compact commercial van, VW says. It’s also practical for the automaker. If prior leaks are accurate, VW is producing the Buzz precisely because it’s based on the same platform as other ID cars, making it far less expensive to develop than the previous Microbus concept (which had a one-off platform).

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Aug 20, 2017

This man built a water filter unlike any you have seen before

Posted by in category: futurism

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Aug 20, 2017

Turn your bike into a jetski in 5 seconds!

Posted by in category: transportation

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Aug 20, 2017

Scientists Are Finally Set to Mass-Produce The Active Compound Found in Magic Mushrooms

Posted by in categories: chemistry, neuroscience

For nearly 60 years scientists have known the chemical responsible for magic mushrooms’ psychedelic reputation is a compound called psilocybin. What we haven’t known is the biochemical pathway behind this famous hallucinogen.

Feel free to now tick that one off your chemistry bucket-list. German researchers have identified four key enzymes involved in making the chemical, potentially setting the stage for mass production of a promising pharmaceutical.

Psilocybin was first identified by the Swiss scientist Albert Hofmann way back in 1959, but has only recently re-entered the spotlight as a safe way to treat conditions related to anxiety, depression, and addiction.

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Aug 20, 2017

Quantum Weirdness Has Been Tested Beyond The Particle Scale For The First Time

Posted by in categories: particle physics, quantum physics

A small tweak on a definitive experiment in quantum physics has allowed scientists to observe for the first time exactly how molecules behave as waves.

The results are solidly in line with what theory covering complex quantum phenomena predicts, so don’t expect any radical new physics here. But as with most quantum experiments, the implications of seeing such a counter-intuitive theory in action makes our head spin.

Researchers from the Universities of Vienna and Tel Aviv have recently collaborated on turning a two-decade old idea into a reality, replacing tiny particles with large organic molecules in a variation on Clinton Davisson and Lester Germer’s classic 1927 double slit experiment in order to test the limits of a law governing their behaviour.

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Aug 20, 2017

The First True Multi-User Holographic Table Has Been Built

Posted by in category: innovation

An Australian company has created a prototype holographic projector that can support multiple users and angles of presentation simultaneously. If it works, it could be a major breakthrough.

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Aug 20, 2017

A Six-Legged Insectile Robot Is Just As Creepy As It Sounds

Posted by in category: robotics/AI

It’s not designed to remind you of an insect, though. It’s meant to bring robot hacking to the masses.

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Aug 20, 2017

The Vertical Farm

Posted by in categories: education, food, sustainability

The term “vertical farming” has not been around long. It refers to a method of growing crops, usually without soil or natural light, in beds stacked vertically inside a controlled-environment building. The credit for coining the term seems to belong to Dickson D. Despommier, Ph.D., a professor (now emeritus) of parasitology and environmental science at Columbia University Medical School and the author of “The Vertical Farm: Feeding the World in the 21st Century.”

Hearing that Despommier would be addressing an audience of high-school science teachers at Columbia on a recent morning, I arranged to sit in. During the question period, one of the teachers asked a basic question that had also been puzzling me: What are the plants in a soil-free farm made of? Aren’t plants mostly the soil that they grew in? Despommier explained that plants consist of water, mineral nutrients like potassium and magnesium taken from the soil (or, in the case of a vertical farm, from the nutrients added to the water their roots are sprayed with), and carbon, an element plants get from the CO2 in the air and then convert by photosynthesis into sucrose, which feeds the plant, and cellulose, which provides its structure.

In other words, plants create themselves partly out of thin air. Salad greens are about ninety per cent water. About half of the remaining ten per cent is carbon. If AeroFarms’ vertical farm grows a thousand tons of greens a year, about fifty tons of that will be carbon taken from the air.

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Aug 20, 2017

China Will Launch World’s First ‘Unhackable’ Computer Network

Posted by in categories: cybercrime/malcode, quantum physics

[Image Source: Erik Lucero/WikimediaCommons]

The development of the computer network puts China amongst the world leaders of quantum technology. The network works by using the city of Jinan as a quantum computer hub. The city is located between Beijing and Shanghai so it can enhance the Beijing-Shanghai quantum network.

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Aug 20, 2017

Physics Just Made the Axe Cooler

Posted by in category: physics

By swapping out the traditional wedge-shape for a lever, a new take on the 8,000 year old axe makes the tool more powerful. An added bonus is that the LeverAxe will never getting stuck in wood as it’s being used.

A video of a revised version of the axe has been making the rounds on the internet. The LeverAxe is a decided improvement on the tool that has served humanity (relatively unchanged) for 8,000 years. It uses physics to make the axe safer, more efficient, and that much cooler.

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