Is Switzerland about to introduce a universal basic income?

A referendum on 5 June, triggered by a 100,000-strong petition, will determine whether the country transforms its welfare state with a monthly no-obligations cash handout available to all.

Source: Is Switzerland about to introduce a universal basic income?

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Hyperloop pod design unveiled by MIT scientists after 1st test — RT Viral

In a week that saw the Hyperloop complete its first ever track test, scientists at MIT have unveiled their design for the high speed pod.

Source: Hyperloop pod design unveiled by MIT scientists after 1st test — RT Viral

In a week that saw the Hyperloop complete its first ever track test, scientists at MIT have unveiled their design for the high speed pod.

Since winning a competition to design Elon Musk’s super-fast transport system in January, a team of 30 researchers and engineers has been developing “a mode of transportation that could change how we think about travel.”

Solar Impulse aeroplane reaches Oklahoma – BBC News

Solar Impulse has landed in Tulsa, Oklahoma, ending stage 11 in its round-the-world journey.

Source: Solar Impulse aeroplane reaches Oklahoma – BBC News

Leaving PhoenixImage copyrightSOLAR IMPULSE
Image captionThe plane left Goodyear, Phoenix, before dawn on what was to be an 18-hour flight

Solar Impulse has landed in Tulsa, Oklahoma, ending stage 11 in its round-the-world journey.

Pilot Bertrand Piccard brought the plane in from Phoenix, Arizona, in a flight that lasted just over 18 hours.

The zero-fuel aircraft has now reached halfway across America, with its immediate goal of getting to New York firmly in sight.

The Swiss team wants to be on the East Coast at the start of June to begin planning the big Atlantic crossing.

To complete its circumnavigation of the globe, the solar-powered aeroplane needs to get to Abu Dhabi, UAE. That is where the adventure got under way in March last year.

As well as setting new aviation milestones, the stated purpose of the project is to demonstrate the capability of clean technologies.

Sadiq Khan to more than double size of London’s clean air zone | Environment | The Guardian

New mayor of London calls air pollution ‘our biggest environmental challenge’ and plans to bring the increased ultra low emission zone into force early

Source: Sadiq Khan to more than double size of London’s clean air zone | Environment | The Guardian

Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London
 Khan plans to extend the clean air zone beyond the congestion charge zone to reach as far as the north and south circulars. Photograph: David Levene for the Guardian

The Ultra Low Emissions Zone (ULEZ) – which could also now come into force earlier than planned – will require drivers of the 2.5m oldest and dirtiest vehicles to pay a charge. Owners of cars that fail to meet the standards will pay a £12.50 charge, separate to the congestion charge.

The scheme is intended to act as an incentive to drivers to use cleaner vehicles or alternative transport to reduce the levels of nitrogen dioxide, a toxic gas produced by diesel vehicles.

Rainforest Biome, world’s largest indoor rainforest – Eden Project, Cornwall

Rainforest plants, facts and figures in the Rainforest Biome at the Eden Project, Cornwall.

Source: Rainforest Biome, world’s largest indoor rainforest – Eden Project, Cornwall

Rainforest Biome

Key info

  • Largest indoor rainforest in the world
  • Over 1,000 varieties of plant
  • Allow 1.5 hours to see everything
  • Temperature: 18–35°C

Feel the tropical heat in our stunning Rainforest Biome and experience four of the world’s rainforest environments: Tropical Islands, Southeast Asia, West Africa and Tropical South America.

With the awe-inspiring domes and enormous trees towering above you, you’ll follow the path deep into our vast indoor jungle and find surprises around every corner.

Latest news: three titan arums – the largest flowering structure in the world – are set to bloom in our Rainforest Biome soon. Keep an eye on our live webcam and Twitter feed for updates.

Tomorrow’s Buildings: Construction industry goes robotic – BBC News

Drones, autonomous bulldozers and 3D printing – how tech is transforming the building site.

Source: Tomorrow’s Buildings: Construction industry goes robotic – BBC News

Tomorrow’s Buildings: Construction industry goes robotic

Media captionMexico City is trialling new technologies to tackle air pollution

The building site of the future is going to look very different to the one we are all used to today.

Instead of men in high-visibility jackets and hard hats, there are going to be drones buzzing overhead, robotic bulldozers and 3D printers churning out new structures.

That at least is the hope of those making technological solutions.

But first they have to convince the traditionally risk-averse construction industry that such change is necessary.

Scientist accidentally creates a battery than can last a lifetime. Gamechanger | Minds

Finding a battery should could charge and discharge over 200,000 times was not her expectation, but Mya Le Thai, lead study author at University of California, Irvine, pulled it off while “playing around” with the materials. “Mya was playing around, and she coated this whole thing with a very thin gel layer and started to cycle it,” said senior author Reginald Penner, chair of UCI’s chemistry department, in a statement. “She discovered that just by using this gel, she could cycle it hundreds of thousands of times without losing any capacity.” “It” is a battery with coated gold nanowires in manganese dioxide.  When she added the Plexiglas-like gel it stabilized and protected the nanowires.   “That was crazy,” added Penner, “because these things typically die in dramatic fashion after 5,000 or 6,000 or 7,000 cycles at most.” You can see the gel surrounding the nanowires “The coated electrode holds its shape much better, making it a more reliable option,” Thai said. “This research proves that a nanowire-based battery electrode can have a long lifetime and that we can make these kinds of batteries a reality.”   photo credit: A nanowire compared to a human hair. Thai et al./UC Irvine via YouTube

Source: Scientist accidentally creates a battery than can last a lifetime. Gamechanger | Minds

Material Atlas of Ecotones: Dance Floor Power!

Source: Material Atlas of Ecotones: Dance Floor Power!

Club Surya opened its doors in London in 2008 making it Britain’s first eco friendly nightclub. The club itself is built of recycled materials, but the dance floor is the best piece.  Using piezoelectricity technology, a way of converting the kinetic energy of the dance into electricity, it produces enough electricity to power sixty percent of the entire club.

 

Japanese unveil electric car that doesn’t need battery — RT News

Japan has made another technological leap – Toyohashi University of Technology and Taisei Corp has unveiled the first electrical car in the world that will run without a battery, receiving its charge from an electrified road.

Source: Japanese unveil electric car that doesn’t need battery — RT News

© Toru Hanai
Japan has made another technological leap – Toyohashi University of Technology and Taisei Corp has unveiled the first electrical car in the world that will run without a battery, receiving its charge from an electrified road.

The unveiling on Friday was in the form of a test drive in Toyohashi, in the Aichi Prefecture. The small vehicle moved over the electrified surface, which had two rail-like steel paths spaced to match the car’s special tires. The charge is derived from steel wires embedded in them, which serve as a conduit.

The drive lasted for 30 meters at a speed of 10km/h, and, according to Professor Takashi Ohira, as cited by Kyodo: “Acceleration was smooth, and the ride was comfortable.”

BBC – Future – Potato power: the spuds that could light the world

With a simple trick, the humble spud can be made into a battery, so could potato powered homes catch on?

Source: BBC – Future – Potato power: the spuds that could light the world

 

Mashed, boiled, baked or fried? You probably have a preference for your potatoes. Haim Rabinowitch, however, likes his spuds “hacked”.

For the past few years, researcher Rabinowitch and colleagues have been pushing the idea of “potato power” to deliver energy to people cut off from electricity grids. Hook up a spud to a couple of cheap metal plates, wires and LED bulbs, they argue, and it could provide lighting to remote towns and villages around the world.

They’ve also discovered a simple but ingenious trick to make potatoes particularly good at producing energy. A single potato can power enough LED lamps for a room for 40 days,” claims Rabinowitch, who is based at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

The idea may seem absurd, yet it is rooted in sound science. Still, Rabinowitch and his team have discovered that actually launching potato power in the real world is much more complex than it first appears.

While Rabinowitch and team have found a way to make potatoes produce more power than usual, the basic principles are taught in high school science classes, to demonstrate how batteries work.

To make a battery from organic material, all you need is two metals – an anode, which is the negative electrode, such as zinc, and a cathode, the positively charged electrode, such as copper. The acid inside the potato forms a chemical reaction with the zinc and copper, and when the electrons flow from one material to another, energy is released.

This was discovered by Luigi Galvani in 1780 when he connected two metals to the legs of a frog, causing its muscles to twitch. But you can put many materials between these two electrodes to get the same effect. Alexander Volta, around the time of Galvani, used saltwater-soaked paper. Others have made “earth batteries” using two metal plates and a pile of dirt, or a bucket of water.

Dome Shaped Earth Bag House Keeps Residents Naturally Cool in Colombia | Inhabitat – Green Design, Innovation, Architecture, Green Building

Building with earth is an ancient practice that has recently been updated to accommodate modern homes. Vallejo built this house using a system called Superadobe, which was originally invented by…

Source: Dome Shaped Earth Bag House Keeps Residents Naturally Cool in Colombia | Inhabitat – Green Design, Innovation, Architecture, Green Building