New Zealand launches into space race with 3D-printed rocket | Reuters


Rocket Lab, a Silicon Valley-funded space launch company, on Thursday launched the maiden flight of its battery-powered, 3-D printed rocket from New Zealand’s remote Mahia Peninsula.

New Zealand has created new rocket legislation and set up a space agency in anticipation of becoming a low-cost space hub.

Ships and planes need re-routing every time a rocket is launched, which limits opportunities in crowded U.S. skies, but New Zealand, a country of 4 million people in the South Pacific, has only Antarctica to its south. The country is also well-positioned to send satellites bound for a north-to-south orbit around the poles.

Source: New Zealand launches into space race with 3D-printed rocket | Reuters

New Technique Enables 3D Printed Objects to Change Shape Under Heat | Design News


A team of researchers from Georgia Institute of Technology, Singapore University of Technology, and Design (SUTD) and Xi’an Jiaotong University in China recently developed a new 3-D printing method to create objects that can permanently change their shape in response to heat. Using a Stratasys multimaterial Objet 3D printer, the team laid down layers of shape memory polymers, with each layer designed to respond differently when exposed to heat.

Smart shape memory polymers (SMPs) are materials with the ability to “remember” one shape and change to another programmed shape when uniform heat is applied.

Source: New Technique Enables 3D Printed Objects to Change Shape Under Heat | Design News

The Birth and Death of a Tectonic Plate


Several hundred miles off the Pacific Northwest coast, a small tectonic plate called the Juan de Fuca is slowly sliding under the North American continent. This subduction has created a collision zone with the potential to generate huge earthquakes and accompanying tsunamis, which happen when faulted rock abruptly shoves the ocean out of its way.

In fact, this region represents the single greatest geophysical hazard to the continental United States; quakes centered here could register as hundreds of times more damaging than even a big temblor on the San Andreas Fault.

Source: The Birth and Death of a Tectonic Plate

Graphene City: Research Hub Accelerates Innovation


Thirteen years ago Andre Geim and Kostya Novoselov— two researchers at the University of Manchester—isolated graphene for the first time.

Prior to that day scientists knew the one atom thick, 2D crystal material existed, but no one had worked out how to extract it from graphite.

Six years later they won the Nobel Prize in Physics for their discovery.

Today Manchester continues to serve as a center for graphene innovation.  Coined ‘Graphene City,’ the University of Manchester is home to over 250 researchers working on graphene and has over 70 industry partners, including high-profile companies Dyson, Merck, GlaxoSmithKline, Rolls-Royce, Samsung, Sharp, and Siemens.

Source: Graphene City: Research Hub Accelerates Innovation

Scientists Finally Figured Out Why Earth Twinkles From Space | Smithsonian


.. That means that the twinkle is pretty different from the one that humans spot on stars. Those twinkles occur because of atmospheric turbulence on Earth that refracts starlight, creating the illusion of a shifting shape.

Earth’s distinctive glint, on the other hand, is due to its water—and the technique could one day be used to spot other water-rich planets.

Source: Scientists Finally Figured Out Why Earth Twinkles From Space | Smart News | Smithsonian

Toward a global treaty on plastic waste


If there are any geologists in millions of years, they will easily be able to pinpoint the start of the so-called Anthropocene – the geological age during which humans became the dominant influence on our planet’s environment. Wherever they look, they will find clear evidence of its onset, in the form of plastic waste.

Plastic is a key material in the world economy, found in cars, mobile phones, toys, clothes, packaging, medical devices, and much more. Worldwide, 322 million metric tons of plastic were produced in 2015. And the figure keeps growing; by 2050, it could be four times higher.

But plastic already is creating massive global environmental, economic, and social problems.

Source: Toward a global treaty on plastic waste

Why We Have Different Reactions to Manchester and Syria


Thinking Fast and Slow, Author: Daniel Kahnemann.

The fast system is based on very quick, intuitive feelings that arise when see or hear something. Our sensory system brings information to our attention and that awareness leads to feelings. By contrast, our slow-thinking system carefully considers a problem with a deliberate analysis that may lead to feelings but only after significant cognitive effort.

As Kahnemann points out, the human mind is lazy. The feeling system is easy to rely on and is our default mode of thinking. But the fast system makes mistakes when it comes to arithmetic. It can’t count. It responds to images and people right in front of our faces, things we are experiencing immediately and directly, not symbols and numbers.

Thus our feelings are incapable of responding rationally to large-scale problems like human atrocities.

Source: Why We Have Different Reactions to Manchester and Syria

India Launches Massive Push for Clean Power, Lighting, and Cars


Now mainly powered by coal, India is adding 50 percent more solar and wind than the U.S. currently has installed. It is replacing 770 million street and household lights with energy-saving and long-lasting LEDs and bringing electric access for the first time to tens of thousands of poor rural villages. And India is already doing all of this faster than anyone believed possible.

India is a leader in a type of business called an Energy Service Company (ESCO), which makes money only on energy costs they manage to save their customers.

Government power utilities set up an ESCO company called Energy Efficiency Services Limited, which has made nothing but profits since its inception.

This company has worked with LED manufacturers to drive the costs of these lights down 85 percent in less than three years. Now India gets the world’s lowest price, Goyal said in an interview.

Source: India Launches Massive Push for Clean Power, Lighting, and Cars

Cadence Puts a Neural Network in a DSP | Systems Design Engineering Community


What is a Neural Network?

The neural network technology mimics our present understanding of how a human brain works.

The neuron takes inputs from the dendrites, process them and send the output through the axon to be distributed by the boutons.  The “signals” are propagated and operated upon throughout the network, which operates as a pattern recognition machine.

It is important to understand that a neuron network is a directed flowgraph, so that the output of a node impact all of the following connected nodes in the graph, and that the signals are unidirectional.

Source: Cadence Puts a Neural Network in a DSP | Systems Design Engineering Community

U.S. Loses Top Spot Among Most ‘Attractive’ Renewables Markets


The U.S. is no longer the most enticing renewable energy market for investors, according to EY’s latest Renewable Energy Country Attractiveness Index (RECAI). China and India have surpassed the U.S. at the top of the index, a bi-annual ranking of the 40 leading countries on the attractiveness of their renewable energy investment and deployment opportunities, based on a number of macro, energy market and technology-specific indicators.

The report says that the U.S.’ fall in the ranking – the first for the country since 2015 – follows a marked shift in policy under the new Trump administration. The report identifies President Donald Trump’s executive orders to roll back many of the past administration’s climate change policies, revive the U.S. coal industry, and review the Clean Power Plan as key downward pressures on renewable investment attractiveness.

Source: U.S. Loses Top Spot Among Most ‘Attractive’ Renewables Markets

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