By Soulskill from Slashdot's given-enough-heat-i'm-pretty-sure-all-architecture-will-change-shape department
An anonymous reader writes "A group of students at Barcelona's Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalunya has created a functioning prototype of architecture that adapts to environmental inputs. "The project, Translated Geometries, tackles the idea by developing a new use for Shape Memory Polymers, a composite material that can deform and return to its original state when activated by cues like heat, humidity and light." The idea is this: create a wall or a roof out of a series of folded triangles. At low temperatures, the roof would be in its folded state, laying mostly flat. When exposed to heat, the creases would flex and expand, unfolding the roof and giving it a much greater surface area, thereby increasing its convective cooling. As it cools, it folds back down into a smaller shape."Read Replies (0)
By Soulskill from Slashdot's sounds-good-everybody-go-out-and-buy-an-electric-bus-ok department
An anonymous reader writes: All the EV attention these days is going to Tesla and other sedan manufacturers, but this article makes the case that it's far more important to switch our buses over to electric power than our cars. "Last year, according to the American Public Transportation Association, buses hauled 5.36 billion passengers. While usage has fallen in recent years, thanks in part to the growth of light rail and subway systems, buses still account for more rides each year than heavy rail, light rail, and commuter rail combined—and for about half of all public transit trips." This, while managing around 4-5 miles per gallon of gas, and public buses usually average about 50,000 miles per year. The electric buses themselves are significantly more expensive, but the difference is made up dramatically lower fuel costs. And there will be difficulties: "The range—up to 30 miles—limits Proterra buses to certain routes, so it's hard for an agency to go all in. Drivers have to be trained to brake and accelerate differently, and to maneuver into the docking stations. And Doran Barnes of Foothill Transit notes that some of the cost advantage of using electricity instead of diesel can dissipate. Electric cars can be charged at night, when power prices are low. But buses have no choice but to recharge in the middle of the day, when utilities often impose higher peak usage rates."Read Replies (0)
By Soulskill from Slashdot's go-small-or-go-home department
writes: Intel is upping their bid for a place at the efficient-yet-powerful device table. They've launched their Edison board, which features an x86 based SoC running at 100 MHz. The footprint measures 35.5mm x 25.0mm and offers a 70-pin connector to break out 40 pins for add-on hardware.
Also at the Intel Developer Forum today, the company demonstrated a PC running on Skylake
, a new CPU microarchitecture based on the 14nm process used for Broadwell. Intel is pushing to break into both wearable devices and household devices
, as it sees both as huge opportunities for growth.Read Replies (0)
By Soulskill from Slashdot's please-can-the-hype-stop-now department
Today at Apple's September press conference, they announced the new iPhone 6 models. There are two of them — the iPhone 6 is 4.7" at 1334x750, and the iPhone 6 Plus is 5.5" at 1920x1080
. Both phones are thinner than earlier models: 5S: 7.6mm, 6: 6.9mm, 6 Plus: 7.1mm. The phones have a new-generation chip, the 64-bit A8
. Apple says the new phones have a 25% faster CPU, 50% faster GPU, and they're 50% more energy efficient (though they were careful to say the phones have "equal or better" battery life to the 5S). Apple upgrade the phones' wireless capabilities, moving voice calls to LTE and also enabling voice calls over Wi-Fi. The phones ship on September 19th, preceded by the release of iOS 8
on September 17th.
Apple also announced its entry into the payments market with "Apple Pay." They're trying to replace traditional credit card payments with holding an iPhone up to a scanner instead
. It uses NFC and the iPhone's TouchID fingerprint scanner. Users can take a picture of their credit cards, and Apple Pay will gather payment information, encrypt it, and store it. (Apple won't have any of the information about users' credit cards or their purchases, and users will be able to disable the payment option through Find My iPhone if they lose the device.) Apple Pay will work with Visa, Mastercard, and American Express cards to start. 220,000 stores that support contactless payment will accept Apple Pay, and many apps are building direct shopping support for it. It will launch in October as an update for iOS 8, and work only on the new phones.
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By timothy from Slashdot's now-how-much-would-you-pay department
Whatever it is that Apple's going to announce a few hours from now
, it seems Amazon has decided it's probably not going to send people rushing to buy its Fire phone. Amazon's cut the price of the phone from $199 to 99 cents
. At that price, the Fire phone comes with free Amazon Prime membership, too -- but also a 2-year contract with (exclusive carrier) AT&T. Writes ExtremeTech: Whether that’s going to be enough to stimulate sales is an open question — $450 unlocked is still a tough sell for a device that is overmatched by products like the cheaper Nexus 5, or the recently unveiled $500 second-gen Moto X.
In August, adoption data from advertising agency Chitika claimed that total Amazon Fire Phone sales were paltry, representing just 0.015-0.02% of phones in use, or fewer than 30,000 phones. That number will have doubtlessly ticked up slightly since then, and it’s true that Amazon’s partners, like AT&T, have aggressively pushed the phone in online stores.Read Replies (0)
By timothy from Slashdot's where-would-you-move? department
Figures released Tuesday by a United Nations advisory body reveal that 2013 saw new recorded highs for both carbon dioxide and methane
, as well as the largest year-over-year rise in carbon dioxide since 1984, reflecting continuing worldwide emissions from human sources but also the possibility that natural sinks (oceans and vegetation) are near their capacity for absorbing the excess. From the Washington Post's account:The latest figures from the World Meteorological Organization’s monitoring network are considered particularly significant because they reflect not only the amount of carbon pumped into the air by humans, but also the complex interaction between man-made gases and the natural world. Historically, about half of the pollution from human sources has been absorbed by the oceans and by terrestrial plants, preventing temperatures from rising as quickly as they otherwise would, scientists say.
“If the oceans and the biosphere cannot absorb as much carbon, the effect on the atmosphere could be much worse,” said Oksana Tarasova, a scientist and chief of the WMO’s Global Atmospheric Watch program, which collects data from 125 monitoring stations worldwide. The monitoring network is regarded as the most reliable window on the health of Earth’s atmosphere, drawing on air samples collected near the poles, over the oceans, and in other locations far from cities and other major sources of pollution.
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