Hydrogen-Powered Car

When the kid from Back to the Future went to the future, he saw flying cars and floating transportation. Even though we have not quite achieved this, we still are moving towards it. Recently, the concept of hydrogen cars has been introduced.

Image: https://www.hyperion.inc/xp1

In California, a company called Hyperion has unveiled the XP-1 which is a car powered by Hydrogen with a 1000 mile range as well as a top speed of 221 mph and can launch from 0-60 in just a few seconds.

Many would assume that this firm is a competitor of Tesla, the car company created by Elon Musk, however, they intend to produce more interest in hydrogen power for the masses, rather than electric. Hence, they believe that they are not a car company rather they are an energy company that is building a car to let the world know more about hydrogen power.

Usually, cars that we use tend to have heavy lithium-ion batteries that are extremely bad for the environment. However, the Hyperion XP-1 does not have such a battery pack. It generates power through the help of two hydrogen tanks that feed its motor. This then results in lower curb weight and a much larger range.

The company generates hydrogen mostly from steam reforming of natural gas. Hence, making hydrogen is extremely environmentally friendly because the byproduct that is left behind is just water, with no harmful greenhouse gases.

However, the main issue with this car is that there are not enough hydrogen refueling stations across the country. This then makes it difficult for users to refuel their car and discourages many buyers. In the US in 2018, there were only 39 hydrogen refueling stations across the country, something that would need to change if this technology were truly to become mainstream and commercial.

Fortunately, Hyperion wants to change that and believes that there needs to be many more refueling stations. To counter this problem, they have decided to create their hydrogen fueling stations all across the country, similar to Tesla’s supercharger network.

Pandemic Murder Rates

The COVID-19 pandemic has turned the whole world upside down, affecting everyone. Now if that was not enough, recent investigations show that the current pandemic has resulted in a substantial increase in the crime rate in major US cities. Among others, crimes like murder, theft, burglary and gun violence have been the top trending. Even though the murder rates when compared to the same time last year are more this year, experts are still unsure on how to connect the increase in these rates with the global pandemic.

According to studies, New York is witnessing the highest rate of gun violence during the last 25 years and the murder rate has risen by 4.1% compared to last year. This a serious matter for concern and experts are still drawing lines of comparison with the pandemic. If it isn’t controlled immediately, it might increase. Starting from June, homicides saw an increase of 250 percent in Los Angeles alone over Independence Day weekend, while Chicago witnessed 14 murders with 106 people being shot. These same cities are witnessing a rise in burglary and theft as well.

Mass shootings were reported between 3rd and 5th July that resulted in 160 people murdered and around 500 wounded. With the rise in murder, other crimes are growing as well as if the threat of the COVID-19 pandemic isn’t enough for governments to focus on.

Whether the increase in murder rates can be connected to the global pandemic or not, the rise still poses a major concern for the government. Apart from taking care and making sure that the danger posed by corona virus doesn’t increase further, the government now has to take preventive measures to control these murders as well. The entire world is facing a crisis situation where everyone is affected, the rise in murder rates increases the stress to those who are trying to remain unaffected by the global pandemic.

However, contrary to the increase in crime rates in the major US cities, the overall crime has decreased in other parts of the world. The logic behind this being that all around the world, governments imposed lockdown and stay at home orders. This affected commutes, day to day routine and leisure activities, and this meant that as people were not leaving the safety of their homes, the crime rates in those areas decreased, which is just a little ray of sunshine in these testing times.

 

Population Decline

Contrary to the widespread perception of overpopulation that will in turn lead to the exhaustion of the earth’s already scarce resources, the recent statistics show otherwise. In recent years, there has been a shift in the number of babies people are having and the rate is only decreasing. With education and awareness and also the transition of more women now entering the workforce prolonging their career paths paired with the increase use of contraception and a drop in fertility rates, the natural population is witnessing a steady decline. By 2040, some major nations like Italy and Japan are expected to witness a decline in population by half.

A population decline might seem like good news as it will reduce the negative impact on the environment and improve the division of the scarce resources among the available population, but there are several aspects that are a downside to it as well. For instance, with fewer younger people and a large number of older, the economic policies will have to be rethought. With fewer working age people, it will likely cause a negative impact on the overall GDP. This could result in a major concern for many nations as they will have to come up with well devised policies to counter these rising issues and changes in the population. The major challenge will be the huge burden of the increased need for healthcare and social support systems for the aging population.

The decline is nearer than we think, so it is vital for nations to start preparing now, before the situation actually proves to be a major problem. With the increase in aged people, it will be essential for nations to focus on increasing and improving healthcare facilities and hospitals as well as social support. The demographic change that will occur requires a lot of consideration. Will people be expected to work past their retirement age? Who will take care of all the old people? Will people just keep on working until they die? All these questions and more will have to be answered to ensure that this shift in the population structure is countered intelligently.

However, it is still unclear how the world will adapt to this major change. Overpopulation and increasing growth has always been a major problem but a shrinking population will also have an extremely harsh impact on humanity and whether or not we will prosper.

Alien Civilizations

Since childhood, most of us have been watching movies and TV shows which tell of the possible existence of alien lifeforms, a concept that is very popular throughout the world, but until now we’ve never truly known whether alien civilizations actually exist or not.

However, as technology has improved, we have been able to probe deeper into whether the concept of aliens is valid or not. Scientists have recently found some compelling evidence. According to an article in The Astrophysical Journal, it has been said that there could be dozens of intelligent lifeforms hidden around the universe communicating with one another.

This may seem like a confusing thought and many might find it very odd because we’ve always been told there is no proof of aliens. The assumption that aliens exist has been made through the fact that it takes around 5 billion years for intelligent life to form on a planet like Earth. If this is the case, then it is likely that other planets like Earth must have life on them.

The lead researcher believes that the idea is similar to evolution, but one needs to view it from a cosmic point of view. From their observations and findings, they predict that there must be 36 such civilizations in the universe which could have intelligent life on them.

Previously, all the research that had been conducted was based loosely on numbers that varied and were unpredictable. They believe that their new study has simplified such assumptions with new data and helped them research this specific number of alien civilizations.

Wrapped alongside the good news is bad news too. Even though such assumptions have been made with new data collected, the closest intelligent alien civilization must be at least 17,000 light-years away. Also, it could be possible that that civilization went extinct a long time ago.

Nonetheless, finding out more about such civilizations may give us more information about the future of humanity and reveal secrets and information we may not yet be aware of.

If we were to find out more about such civilizations, then this could help reveal the lifespan of the human race and how far we as humans can live until become extinct. However, if for example, we find that no such life exists, it predicts a grave future for our existence in this universe.

To consider that alien life could exist and might be just as technologically advanced, is very exciting, and the possibility that someone might be doing the same thing as me or you right now 17,000 light-years away is a weird thought.

Alien Pathogens

Travelling to outer space is fascinating, but little do we think about what happens when distant planets are visited by humans, or when those humans come back to Earth. Critical to the survival of any planet is the close connection between everything in nature, which also affects us.

While it is a huge achievement to be able to visit outer space, it has raised many questions for scientists. One of the most important risks from such activities is the exposure to bacteria. One possibility is an astronaut contaminating their destination planet, while the other is bringing harmful bacteria back to Earth.

Scientists refer to these bacteria as alien pathogens and some believe it could be potentially harmful for the human population. This is a cause for concern as the world is currently in a terrible state due to the COVID-19 pandemic as well as other environmental issues.

However, many also believe that these pathogens do not pose too much risk to human health, claiming that the chance of one infecting Earth are zero. Scientists say that these pathogens react differently compared to the ones typically found on Earth.

Even if that is the case, astronauts still have a responsibility when travelling to distant planets to avoid contaminating those planets. Humans must avoid treating other planets the same way they have treated Earth. The consequence of our carelessness is clear.

Space travelers must be educated on ethical travelling to rule out even the slightest chances of pollutants from other planets infecting any planet.

Every day scientists are making new discoveries and the potential for travelling to Mars and other planets has drastically improved. Ways to ensure that these activities do not disrupt the life on any planet must be considered.

Scientists have come up with ways to minimize the after-effects of such activities, including chemical cleaning and heat sterilization to stay safe.

There has been news that NASA has already carried out decontamination processes for a mission that is set to launch this year. This is a proactive approach that could save nature and the human race from major catastrophes.

Oil Prices

Apart from knowing what’s going on in everyone’s life, commenting and talking about oil prices is a favorite sport for many. Interestingly, almost all social classes are quite keen to know about the daily rise and fall in oil and gold prices as their work is often directly or indirectly impacted by it. Even a student might worry about oil prices as it reflects in their transportation expenses.

For many years, oil prices were on an upward trajectory with minor changes. However, suddenly, the entire world was walloped by a deadly pandemic that caused everything to go upside down. But who would have though the impact of COVID-19 would be so harsh that oil prices would go negative.

It came as a massive shock for economists, politicians, and even the general public as this has never happened before. Even the Great Depression did not bring such a surprise for the world.

In these times, the demand for oil plummeted to the extent that oil traders no longer have any idea how to store excess oil. Although oil companies have been making endless efforts to curb the demand and find adequate storage, it is a rough time for them.

No one has anything to learn from history regarding this situation because this has never happened before! Oil refineries are also rejecting barrels of oil adding to the storage problem from oil manufacturers.

When will the situation get any better? No one knows! The world is dealing with a new virus. Huge corporations, politicians, and everyone else is in a race to find a solution to it and bring everything back to normal.

The recovery of this situation depends upon when normal transportation resumes to what it previously was, but this is only going to happen when the transmission of the Coronavirus lowers and people feel the need to buy oil for their transportation and business needs.

However, this situation favors the general public, tired of refilling their vehicle’s tanks every second day, at huge expense. The pandemic may have brought unlimited issues, but it really has controlled oil consumption, and consequently air pollution has also lowered in most major cities.