Hologram Campaigning

In 1977, a science fiction adventure called Star Wars was released. The epic was met with unprecedented anticipation and fanfare. The general populace and media alike were fascinated by the concepts depicted in the movie.

One of its most famous scenes involved a princess leading a rebellion who records a distress signal in the form of a holographic message. At the time, it felt like a distant and innovative concept. However, a few decades later, it has become a reality.

Even politicians are relying on holograms to contest elections. With the United States elections of 2020 only eighteen months away, candidates have already incorporated holograms into their campaigns.

Joko Widodo

One of the highest profile cases of a politician using holographic images to generate buzz is that of President Joko Widodo of Indonesia. Widodo has used a hologram to beam himself to areas and voters in key regions in anticipation of the election.

As Indonesia is the third largest democracy in the world and with elections fast approaching, Widodo and Ma’ruf, his vice presidential candidate, began projecting three dimensional images at campaign rallies. This allowed them to reach their followers in various hard to reach regions of the country and overcome stringent time constraints as well.

As more than 190 million voters were registered to participate in the elections, time was of the essence and through hologram campaigning, Widodo was able to deliver his message to more prospective followers.

The life size hologram was simply moved from one place to another across Indonesia as voting day grew closer. Widodo is not the only high profile example of a politician banking on the power of holographic images to reach his followers. Others include Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

As Widodo shuttled around the archipelago, the 57-year-old tactics seemed to have paid dividends, since the latest polls have shown that Widodo and party held a lead over their rivals.

Narendra Modi

Modi, the incumbent Prime Minister of the largest democracy in the world, solved the conundrum of how to reach the maximum number of people all the way back in 2014. The BJP leader used holograms to address rallies across India and convey his message to the largest electorate on the planet.

Indian voting can typically last longer than a month which means that campaigning can become frantic at times. However, Modi successfully used the aid of holographic images to address various rallies simultaneously.

Once he emerged victorious in the aftermath of the elections, experts lauded Modi for pioneering the use of holograms in the country and using them to great effect. In a vast country such as India, embracing the technology meant that Modi was able to reach remote villages and garner greater support for his cause.

These two prominent examples show that hologram campaigning is no longer just a concept depicted in science fiction, but has become a reality.

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Asteroids

Asteroids are basically small planets that may be found on the inner side of the solar system. Those which are larger in size are also referred to as planetoids.

Basics

Any astronomical object that orbits the sun, even if they do not always look similar to planetary discs, and do not have traits akin to comets, are categorised as asteroids by scientists. The most eminent example of asteroids are the co-orbital ones in proximity to the planet Jupiter.

In terms of substance, asteroids are rocky and airless in nature. The vast majority of these are the leftovers from the inception of the solar system and date back almost 4.6 billion years! Furthermore, there are approximately eight hundred thousand asteroids in the solar system.

A high number of these are located in the orbit of the sun and between the planets Mars and the aforementioned Jupiter. Asteroids also vary in terms of sizes. For instance, the largest known is called Vesta, which is comprised of a diameter of 329 miles. On the other end of the spectrum, there are some which are only a few feet in size as well. All in all, the complete mass of all asteroids in space in total is less than that of the moon.

As it stands, there are hundreds of thousands of asteroids that have been discovered by researchers and have been allocated tentative designations as well. In terms of further examination, agencies like NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) analyse thousands more on a yearly basis.

An interesting assessment that authorities have made is that there are also asteroids present in the solar system that are tiny enough that they cannot be observed from Earth. On the other hand, there are only 26 known asteroids in all which have a diameter that exceeds 200 kilometres.

Types

In terms of types, asteroids are categorised according to their spectra, chemical composition and albedo as well. The first kind is called the C-type. This classification includes more than 75% of discovered asteroids.

These are extremely dark in nature and are similar to carbonaceous chondrite meteorites. They have the same composition as the sun. However, the key difference is that they do not contain volatiles like hydrogen and helium.

The second form of asteroids is called the S-type. These make up roughly 17% of asteroids in the solar system. They are relatively brighter than the C-type and have a metallic nickel iron element that is mixed with magnesium silicates.

The third and final type is known as the M type. These make up the remainder of asteroids that we have not classified yet. They are extremely bright and have a pure mixture of nickel and iron. This only leaves the asteroids that have not been discovered yet or simply cannot be seen from our vantage point.

Turning Back Time

We have all heard about “Time Travel” in films and books and the concept of traveling into the future. But, scientists are now focused on the real possibility of going back into the time.

The Latest Scientific Development

Although it sounds like a strange concept modern-day scientists are striving to make time travel a reality by using Quantum Computing – a completely new idea and concept of computing which relies on “Qubits” instead of “bits” in classical computing technology.

After reviewing today’s research and development in the area of modern-day technology, some Russian scientists have claimed that they have actually rolled back the flow of time in a Quantum Computing based experiment.

Findings from the Experiment

According to the research published on the journal Nature Scientific Reports by Gordey Lesovik, a quantum physicist at the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology, he has created an artificial state that is capable of evolving in contrast to the thermodynamic arrow of time; however, the discovery is not at all capable of transforming its shape into a time machine.

Lesovik’s team has conducted numerous experiments to reverse time on a single electron programmed quantum system. Compared to the three-qubits system that is more complex and resulted in only 49% succession in the objective, they found it easier to achieve an unbelievable 85% of succession towards their desired goal with a two-qubit system.

It is imperative to understand that quantum computing has nothing to do with time traveling, but everything is currently unclear due to a lack of supporting arguments and evidence. Nevertheless, it is surprising to know that Russian scientists have made the impossible happen.

The majority of scientists, researchers, and analysts have concluded that an immense amount of comprehensive research and development is needed to achieve the desired effect from quantum computing. On the other hand, scientists continue to face several limitations to study and explore more about this subatomic discovery.

While looking at the current span of knowledge that we have about quantum physics and quantum computing, we have not yet stepped into an era where we are able to build a time machine for humans, but scientists from all over the world consider it a huge leap forward that will help them further explore quantum computing and the possibilities it may bring.

Turning Plastic Into Fuel

People all around the world are now trying to practice and actively advocate for environmental sustainability. The biggest revolution taking place these days is with the consumption of plastic items. Companies are introducing more environmentally friendly options for packaging. However, the biggest problem of plastic still remains: recycling and decomposition. More than 300 million tons of plastic actually adds up in landfills. The worst part: plastic takes centuries to decompose, killing off wildlife in the process.

However, scientists have found a way to make plastic more useful than harmful. We finally have the opportunity to turn plastic into fuel! Let’s learn more.

Who, What, Where, When?

At Purdue, the efforts of chemists finding a solution to our plastic problems have finally paid off. They have detailed their efforts and research in a paper that was published this year in Sustainable Chemistry and Engineering. The chemists have found that polypropylene, plastic commonly found in medical devices, product packaging and toys, can be converted into gasoline or dieselesque fuel.

The team have stated that the fuel is so pure that is can be used in place of ‘blendstock,’ which is a main element used in different motorized vehicles.

The waste that polypropylene contributes to the world is approximately 5 billion tons that have been filling up landfills globally during the past 50 years or so.

How?

They figured out that the way to convert polypropylene into usable energy would be through the use of supercritical water. Supercritical water is an underdeveloped stage of water when both the characters of gas and liquid can be demonstrated, keeping in mind the temperature and pressure conditions.

Linda Wang, one of the chemists at Purdue, along with her team heated H2O to a temperature between 716 degrees and 932 degrees Fahrenheit at the pressure of 2300 times more than atmospheric pressure found at sea level.

Thus, when a pure version of polypropylene waste was mixed into supercritical water, it was changed to oil in just a few hours, varying upon the temperature conditions. It was found that heating the water at 850 degrees Fahrenheit lowered the conversion time to less than an hour.

The main by-products of this conversion process were diesel and gasolineish oils. The researchers have claimed that this process can be used as a way to convert an estimated 90% of worldwide polypropylene waste into fuel every year!

Here is what Linda Wang said about this discovery: “Plastic waste disposal, whether recycled or thrown away, does not mean the end of the story. Plastics degrade slowly and release toxic microplastics and chemicals into the land and the water. This is a catastrophe because once these pollutants are in the oceans, they are impossible to retrieve completely.”

The Bottom Line

This discovery is a monumental breakthrough discovery that could possibly save the planet and all of its inhabitants! The way proposed can be adopted worldwide and will not only help us to keep our environment cleaner but help us make out lives more sustainable.

Russian Internet

The whole world is connected through one common medium: the internet. Wherever it could reach, it did and the whole world’s information is fed to this global monopoly. However, one country has realized the benefits and power that could be achieved if they significantly separated their internet traffic from the rest of the world. Let’s explore all that is currently known about the internet situation in Russia.

Disconnect To Connect

The Russian Government has already decided to disconnect the internet across Russia before April this year. However, Russians need not worry as they will only carry out the disconnection experiment for a brief moment. The brief internet interlude will help the government gain critical insights in order to provide feedback for modifications in accordance with the telecom law that was proposed in the Russian Parliament at the end of 2018.

The Government of Russia had already announced two years ago that they are planning to source 95% of internet traffic through local mediators. By 2020, they want to regulate incoming and outgoing internet traffic in complete isolation from the world.

Before April 1st of this year, the amendments to this law, also known as the Digital Economy National Program, must be submitted.

But… Why Exactly?

Apparently, Russia wants to strengthen its cybersecurity in efforts to secure themselves against other countries trying to invade them. This shutdown will help them test whether the local networks will be resilient enough and if all, or a massive proportion, of the internet traffic, can be filtered through. Internet providers in Russia will now have to abide by a newly introduced law that states that the internet traffic will only be directed through ‘government approved servers,’ making sure that content bans are enforced.

Will It Work?

President Putin’s endorsed law is fully expected to pass. Discussions are still going on as the technicalities are still being worked on. Disconnecting the entire country’s internet isn’t a joke, especially in this technology dominated world. They are trying to figure out a way in which Russia can be completely disconnected from the internet without hindering government bodies, companies and consumers and starting up again smoothly.

Russia’s biggest telecom regulator, Roskomnazor will be the ones to reroute the internet traffic in Russia to a specific exchange pointed managed by them.

What Could This Mean?

Of course, many people are speculating that Russia is trying to hide their plans and critical developments in the coming years, which could be considered as a big threat to other weaker countries and the superpowers as well. Alongside, The Russian Population will have very strict, regulated and monitored internet privileges.

It could be said that they are building The Great Firewall of Russia.

Fake Foliage

Finally, people have started to take the environment seriously! With vast deforestation, global warming and depletion of the ozone layers, we need to start being extremely careful in the way we live our lives. However, the University of Illinois at Chicago has developed fake plants that can actually ‘recycle’ carbon dioxide. This is an effort to reduce the amounts of harmful gases found in the atmosphere and thus, produce clean fuel.

This ‘fuel’ is generated by the sun, meaning it actually mimics plants during photosynthesis. The researcher Salehi-Khojin stated, “Real leaves use the energy from the sun and convert carbon dioxide to sugar. In the artificial leaf, we use the sun and we convert CO2 to (synthetic gas), which can be converted to any hydrocarbon, like gasoline.”

Seems incomprehensible? Well, the process basically involves the sun’s energy rearranging the chemical bonds composing carbon dioxide. The energy from the sun gets stored as a chemical bond, generating the ability to be burned as fuel. The technology companies face a lot of issues trying to store batteries. Particularly where solar panels and wind turbines have been developed to generate sustainable energy, providing corporations with an energy source in the form of solar and wind farms. But the ability to store the generated energy has not yet been discovered. Until now.

The director of the Institute for Sustainability and Energy at Northwestern University, Professor Micheal R, Wasielewski, said “Whether you use solar or wind to generate electricity, you have a source that’s intermittent and not storable, so what you need to do is find a storage method. This fake foliage closes the carbon cycle so you don’t have any excess CO2, so it’s an environmentally friendly way of storing renewable energy.”

The Salehi-Khojin team at the UIC found a compound that had the ability to break down and rearrange the chemical bonds composing carbon dioxide better than the traditionally used gold and silver. Salehi-Khojin thinks that a prototype could be ready for use in the next 5 years with the help of a suitable manufacturing company. They believe it can be placed in solar farms alongside the power plants in order to recycle the carbon dioxide collected and convert it to be used as energy.

Professor Nathan Lewis of the California Institute of Technology, who has been researching artificial photosynthesis and solar fields for over 40 years, says that the development by Salehi-Khojin is just the starting piece of a product that will be widely executed in the near future. “There’s a lot of steps that need to occur to envision how these things would translate into a commercializable system, but it’s a step for building a piece of a full system that may be useful. It’s going to take a lot of effort from a lot of people to really push this over the goal line.”

Salehi-Khojin are yet to patent their technology and they were recipients of a $330,000 grant by the National Foundation last year to help further their research.

This is still a groundbreaking discovery by UIC which can really help to transform our environmental state if employed correctly.