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Rising Sea Levels Putting 40% of World Population at Risk

When you consider global warming – melting glaciers, rising temperatures, forest fires, and increasing sea levels – are some of the major impacts that pop to mind almost immediately. Thanks to the massive campaigns for restoring the ecosystem worldwide, everyone is aware of the potential dangers of global warming. However, it will not be an overstatement to say that very little is being done on the grass-root level to avoid the inevitable.

With more and more cars running on the roads emitting toxic fumes, more CFC emitting devices, and increased industrialization leading to the cutting down of forests, the global temperature is rising and causing a major climatic change despite the efforts environmental agencies are putting in to save the environment. Studies suggest that the 100-year projections are still very bleak.

IPCC’s Projection on Rising Sea Levels:

According to projections made in 2019 by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), a UN body that reports on climatic changes, the sea levels would rise roughly by a maximum of 1.10 meters (3.61 feet) by the end of this century. A more conservative approach suggested that if the environmental protection agencies continued to actively engage in reinforcement of climate protection measurements, the sea level rise may be limited to 0.61 meters (2 feet).

The projections were made taking into account current climatic changes, greenhouse gas emissions, ocean warming, and the behavioral changes adopted by humans to reduce their carbon footprints.

Sea Levels Rising Much Faster than IPCC Projections:

However, many scientists believe that the IPCC’s model to calculate the rising sea levels is failing to take into account historical patterns and the sea levels might be rising at a rate faster than projected.

Environmental scientists from the University of Copenhagen and the Bjerknes Center for Climate Research in Norway joined hands and derived a new way to measure the direct impact of rising global temperatures on the sea levels. Their findings were published in February 2021, in the Ocean Science Journal and have raised serious concerns.

According to the study, looking through the lens of historical data, the sea levels are actually projected to rise by half a meter if the temperature rises only half a degree Celsius. However, given the current rate, the global temperature might go up to 2 Celsius causing a correspondingly higher rise in sea levels by the end of 2100

Nearly 40% of the global population is at risk given that they live near the coastlines and projections of the recent study suggest that the rise in the sea levels might go beyond 1 meter if the temperatures continue to rise.

Depleting the Carbon Budgets:

The study further suggests that to prevent the risks associated with such an alarming rise in sea levels, the global economy must reduce carbon emissions by 200 billion metric tons in addition to the actual carbon emission reduction required to meet the climate goals for the century.

The co-author of the study and geophysicist from the University of Copenhagen, Aslak Grinsted said that the global carbon budget has depleted even more and the current projections are too conservative to call for drastic measures.

Drawing a comparison between the IPCC projections and the research paper findings, the scientists have proposed that the upper levels of rising sea levels in the IPCC reports are too low and the IPCC hasn’t taken historical data into account thus calling for more urgent and active measures to stop the global temperatures from rising.

Popcorn Powered Robots

Robots have always been a futuristic phenomenon, and their production is conventionally viewed as technological and scientific advancements. There are many popular applications where Robots have proven their efficiency and productivity, like in healthcare, manufacturing, military and more. However, traditionally the importance has been placed on what tasks robots can do for us; like drive our cars, clean our floors or even give us extra limbs. But what can power their abilities.

Remember when we were engrossed in devouring popcorns while enjoying the theatrical experience at the movies? Steve Ceron came up with a genius idea of using the same popcorns we eat for a much bigger purpose at Cornell’s Collective Embodied Intelligence Lab.

With his team of researchers, Ceron drafted a paper explaining how simple robots can be powered by Popcorn without electricity or hydraulics, at the IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation. Yes, it’s true! In this ultra-modern era, it has become commonplace that we come across strange yet astounding developments in the sci-fi field and a popcorn robot is exactly that. The engineers from Cornell University demonstrated their hypothesis. Inside a silicon beam that was fastened with toasted wire, they put 36 kernels. An electrical current was dispersed through the metal chord, warming up the kernels which eventually started popping due to the heat, moving the silicon.

Popcorn has distinct features that include being readily available, cheap, and having the ability to expand in terms of the shape and size when heated. This invention could potentially be a stepping stone towards overall soft robots, but could also be utilized for a wider use. Ceron suggests that this invention’s long-term benefits are manifold; ranging from its ability to complete basic transportation, to serving as an inexpensive building block through which biodegradable structures can be made. He asserts that it can even function as a viable alternative to spray foam.

To claim popcorn robots will take over the world is not a coherent argument to make at this point. While they can hold objects and lift relatively lighter weights by expanding, there are certain limitations to achieving tasks beyond their ability. The engineers accomplished this by creating a claw where its “fingers” or insides were lined with raw kernels and a heating wire. As soon as the kernels burst open, they wield tension on the sleeve, holding them in a process that is similar to tense muscles. Given that the production is exceptionally cheap, deploying many of these robots will pave the way for a wide range of applications across various fields.

One can claim that the future looks bright, fluffy and delightful as researchers are now integrating food into Science and increasing the scope for similar innovations.

Energy from Black Holes

Commonly known as a space phenomenon that sucks everything into a central singularity, black holes can emit radiation. Even though a typical perception paints an uncongenial representation of black holes, relativity’s general theory gives an extraordinary prediction. The theory of Einstein envisages black holes as an efficient and enormous source of untapped energy.

Unarguably, the most enigmatic celestial object, black holes, are now believed to be energy powerhouses. For several decades, astrologists and scientists have contributed to decrypting the mystery of black holes. Roger Penrose discovered that the development of black holes is a prediction of the theory of relativity. Stephen Hawking theorized the entire phenomenon “Hawking Radiation.”

Energy and space colonization

Populating space might be the highest frontier that humans have ventured on. The vision of large, manned habitats on the moon and or elsewhere in the solar system has so far been science fiction. However, new research hints towards the realization of the ultimate fantasy of every astrophysicist. According to a study at Colombia University and Universidad Adolfo Ibanez in Chile, the energy from black holes could be extracted through the charged plasma particles. These particles could be harvested right before the event horizon to extract that energy.

Luca Comisso, the research scientist at Colombia University, proposed the acceleration of plasma particles to negative energy, resulting in the possible extraction of black hole energy. The theory makes black holes the endless source of energy for possible colonization in deep space. The discovery makes it easier for astronomers to formulate accurate estimations and theories regarding the spin and emissions of black holes.

As far as the theory goes, human habitats in space seem like a reality. Asenjo, the coauthor of the study, postulated that energy extraction is possible because of the high relative velocity between captured and escaping plasma particle streams. Plasma energization is known to produce maximum efficiency due to the black holes “leak energy”. Leak energy is an accumulation of negatively charged particles in black holes reducing energy. Comisso’s theory is subjected to the polarity of the plasma shot against the spin of the black hole and not with the spin of the black hole.

Can the future have a celestial realization?

The discovery of black hole energy might just help us claim life in space. Researchers always believed that humans need watery bodies to survive and live; but the potential of black hole energy is changing the dynamics of life in space.

A WORKING HOVERBOARD? NOW, A REALITY!

Hacksmith Industries comprises a group of renowned and capable engineers on YouTube who have previously proven themselves by creating some amazing sci-fi tech. However, maintaining the reputation of competency, they have once again raised the bar in the field of scientific technology. Hacksmith Industries have made a hoverboard that, through magnets, can function even off the ground. Yes, read it again! And this isn’t some publicity ploy or ruse, unlike hoverboard projects created in the previous years.

Genius Behind the Work

Hacksmith Industries had already made their mark in the industry through the video-sharing medium when they manufactured a wonderful little Cybertruck. This mini truck has the ability to drive like regular vehicles as well as cut through metal with a plasma-powered lightsaber.

The genius who conceived the hoverboard project was Jimmy Zhou, an intern at Hacksmith Industries who is also an engineering student in Canada. Zhou devoted a number of hours to work on the complex technicalities that entailed the creation of the hoverboard. The founder of Hacksmith Industries, James Hobsen, gave a befitting analogy in his attempt to describe how hard Zhou worked: “He drank more Red Bulls than a frat house on spring break.” The statement reflects the unbridled dedication and consistency that Zhou displayed, both of which serve as key components in creating something of scientific value.

There were a few steps the team took to get the board to hover. The very initial act was the installation of around eight magnets that were spinning to generate a powerful magnetic field. This was done to set off the steel floor to create an opposing magnetic field, forcefully pushing back on the board.

The Flaw

Needless to say, it is a remarkable accomplishment that deserves all the praise coming its way. It is exceptionally noteworthy that it is not required for the board to be cryogenically chilled with liquid nitrogen. Nerdist aptly underscored that this was a setback in the year 2015 in the case of carmaker Lexus’ hoverboard. It is appreciable that it has not been an issue in the new functional hoverboard.

Despite the multiple features of the hoverboard that distinguishes it from other hoverboards created in the past, one drawback of this invention cannot be neglected. There have been many such instances whereby the electric currents have produced an immense amount of heat, eventually causing an accident. The board suddenly caught fire a couple of times in the experiment process, and this suggests that it could be hazardous to use it.

So, you better ensure you have a fire distinguisher at your disposal every time you come across someone on this working hoverboard!

Earth Spinning

A common perspective is that one rotation of Earth on its axis is equal to 24 hours that make up to 86400 seconds. Did you know that the Earth’s revolution in the year 2020 was a millisecond faster than average? Not even the Earth’s rotation was left unscathed in the dreadful year of 2020. The year 2020 holds the record for 28 fastest days in the year, which means that the world experienced 28 shortest days after decades—and no, that’s not just a figure of speech.

The accelerating rotation varies all the time because of variations in the atmospheric pressure, winds, ocean currents and movement in the Earth’s core. However, these variations can be troublesome for the timekeepers who are responsible for setting the Coordinated Universal Time (UTC). The UTC is used to set clocks and whenever the astronomical time differs by 0.4 seconds from UTC; UTC is adjusted. 

Before the year 2020, scientists would add a leap second after every year and a half to keep the Earth’s spin and global time in line. However, the accelerating spin and shortening rotational time might result in the addition of a negative leap second. In other words, the scientist and timekeepers might have to subtract a complete second from the year to cater for the spinning speed. To elaborate, an average astronomical day is about 86400 seconds long, but the year 2021 would begin 0.05 second earlier than average day-length. Summing the entire time lag for 2021, the New Year would be 19 milliseconds shorter than an average year.

Even though it is a tiny margin, the lag indicates the increasing spin speed of Earth, making the scientists worry about the time in future. Scientists blame rapidly increasing global warming which has led to quicker melting of the glaciers. The speedy meltdown of glaciers leads to inappropriate and non-uniform distribution of mass.

There’s no doubt that global warming has disturbed most natural habitats, processes and ecology, but it could not be the only cause of the increase in spin speed. No matter what the factors and reasons are, the addition of a negative leap second could have catastrophic impacts on modern technologies. To avoid any disastrous consequence, some scientist suggests to let the difference between astronomical and atomic times expand until the addition of leap hour is required. 

The International Earth Rotation and Reference System Service (IERS) in Paris will make the final decision regarding adjusting time. Currently, the organization has not issued any report that would state the highly anticipated addition or subtraction of a new leap second. 

New Alexa Device Uses Radar to Track Your Breathing

Amazon is devising an instrument which scans your body while you sleep via radar. The company has assembled a team who are reportedly working on manufacturing a new Alexa-abled device that measures your breathing for sleep apnea symptoms with radar.

Credible sources associated with the project recently reported that this is a palm-sized device with the core objective of monitoring your breathing and sensing if there are any interruptions. In case there are, it detects that you have a sleep apnea disorder. There have been no details released by those working on the project regarding the final product’s look.

This is currently an undercover plan with the internal codename “Brahms”. It is interesting to note where the codename is derived. Johannes Brahms was a German composer who wrote a famous lullaby and was suspected of having sleep apnea in his lifetime.

Amazon’s Contributions to the Health Sector

Business Insider has further been informed that the shape of the device is apparently like a “standing hexagonal pad connected to a metal wire base”.

The goal of installing the tracker may not be limited to detecting signs of sleep apnea; Amazon could employ its AI prowess to examine various other sleeping disorders like sleepwalking or insomnia. Through its cloud technology, the tracker could have the potential to develop a wide-ranging sleep analysis system that keeps these disorders in check.

It will not be the first time Amazon integrates its machine-learning technology into the health sector. Only last year, the company introduced an affordable Halo fitness tracker that assesses your health by scanning your body and voice. Amazon Pharmacy, a well-developed prescription drug delivery service, was also introduced recently. All of this is reflective of how the company is continually making valuable contributions to the healthcare and wellness domain, improving the quality of life for people worldwide.

Company’s Future Plans

Amazon has maintained silence on ‘Brahms’ to uphold a mysterious impression surrounding its upcoming release. This was corroborated when a spokesperson of the company refused to talk about the project. Recently, a firm that Amazon launched, partnered with JPMorgan and Berkshire Hathaway called Haven Healthcare, was shut down. According to CNBC, it was a corporation that was anticipated to reduce the costs of employee healthcare.

However, there are a variety of projects which Amazon is involved in when it comes to healthcare space and is working on its execution. Despite Haven turning out to be an unsuccessful venture, Amazon will not be shying away from the healthcare area any time soon.