Wednesday, October 30, 2019

The next generation of small electric scooters may just guide themselves right to a rider’s door

Tortoise,  one of the newest startups to emerge from the San Francisco  micro-mobility landscape, wants to outfit scooters with about $100 of  autonomous technology that will allow the devices to be remote-guided or  re-positioned, at speeds of less than 5 mph. A camera on the front of  the device would send video data to a remote operator who can drive the  scooter to where it needs to be. Ideally, the scooters would be  re-positioned to another location less than five miles away. Tortoise is  not a scooter company, or a hardware manufacturer, but wants to partner  with scooter operators to reposition the devices for a fee, paid per  mile. The company plans to begin testing its concept at the Curiosity  Lab, a new autonomous vehicle test site in Peachtree Corners, Ga., where  100 of the ghost scooters will be deployed. The city-owned Curiosity  Lab sits within a 500-acre office park where some 7,500 people work, and  another 1,000 residents call home. The expectation is that people will  use the scooters to transport themselves to other offices, lunch and  shopping. (GovTech)

Stopping Global Warming Will Cost $50 Trillion

While  estimates vary on the cost of halting global warming and reducing net  carbon emissions to zero, a new report from Morgan Stanley analysts  finds that to do so by 2050 the world will need to spend $50 trillion in  the following five key areas of zero-carbon technology:

  • Renewables will  require $14 trillion of investment, and could deliver around 80% of  global power by 2050—up from 37% today. As solar energy becomes more  affordable, it will become the fastest-growing renewable technology.
  • Electric vehicles  will become more important than ever in the bid to reduce greenhouse  gas emissions from automobiles; $11 trillion will be needed to build  more factories and develop the batteries and infrastructure needed for a  widespread switch to electric vehicles—the total number of which could  grow to nearly 950 million by 2050.
  • Carbon capture and storage,  which Morgan Stanley says is the only viable option for reducing  emissions from coal-fired plants, is another key area and would need  almost $2.5 trillion of investment.
  • Hydrogen can  help provide clean fuel for power, cars and other industries—it will  require almost $20 trillion of cumulative investments to help make the  gas, increase capacity to power plants and manage its storage.
  • Biofuels,  like ethanol, will be key for future global transportation and  eventually spread to aircraft and other forms of other travel—requiring  $2.7 trillion by 2050. (Forbes)

Don’t Powder Your Nose Like This

A  Manhattan makeup artist found some alarming extras when she unpacked a  box of beauty supplies from a company called Sephora. She ordered $252  worth of products from the famed French retailer that arrived at her  home earlier this month. In addition to a foundation stick, false  eyelashes and other items, the shipment contained a Sephora-branded  retractable reel attached to a pair of plastic badge sleeves, one of  which held a female employee’s company ID, she said. When she checked  out the second sleeve, which held a forklift operator’s card and a photo  of a young girl, hidden inside was “a dollar bill folded up very nicely.” And  then when she opened that, there was a good amount of what appeared to  be cocaine inside. Also tucked into the sleeve was a short piece of a  plastic drinking straw with one end cut at 45 degrees, she added. She  said she thought it was cocaine because “I’ve seen it and I’ve been offered it in the past” and was freaked out because “I could have gotten in trouble for this.”She  contacted Sephora and sent the company photos of everything she  discovered, including a shot showing the powdery white substance inside a  folded $1 bill. In response, a customer service representative sent her  a message assuring her that the company “will take the next appropriate steps, after our investigation.” A follow-up message instructed her, “There is no need to send back the foreign items found in your box, I ask that you dispose of them. Additionally to apologize for your experience, I have added $100 in online credit to your Beauty Insider account,” it added. She said the company’s response left her “a little bit angry.” She felt like they were saying “here’s $100, like, you know, don’t talk about it”. (New York Post)

Google Maps will tell you where police are hiding

Google Maps is competing with traffic and GPS app “Waze” with some new features. Users around the world will soon be able to report where police officers are hiding. They’ll  also get the option to identify things like construction, lane  closures, disabled vehicles, and objects in the road. An earlier version  of the reporting feature is already available for android users. But  starting recently, updates will include apple users. (USA Today)

A  London museum dedicated to vaginas has been granted an alcohol license,  with neighbors fearing it could attract ‘rowdy’ stag and hen parties

The Vagina Museum is due to open on November 16th in Camden Market, London, with the aim of spreading knowledge about ‘gynaecological anatomy and health’. According to its website it is the ‘world’s first bricks and mortar museum dedicated to vaginas’.  The museum has received widespread support with the public raising the  equivalent to $55,551.10 US Dollars to fund it and the Camden Council  leader saying she is ‘incredibly excited’ for it. However, its  application for an alcohol license has sparked concern from local  residents’ groups. The museum’s opening exhibition, entitled “Muff Busters: Vagina Myths And How To Fight Them”,  begins on November 16th. It will host exhibitions that will change  every six months and they will be on topics ranging from the history of  period products, the science of animal vaginas and vulva art. The museum  will also hold performances, talks, plays, concerts and comedy shows,  as well as workshops for making magazines, embroidery, protest signs,  and more. It will have its own dedicated shop where you can pick up  merchandise, feminist books, and jewellery. The building also has a  balcony and the museum will be hanging up Sheela Na Gigs and other vulva  related bits of our history (FYI: Sheela na gigs are carvings of naked women displaying an exaggerated vulva). The museum will even host plants that have historically been used as period pain relief and contraception. (Daily Mail)

A new study shows that a widely-used health care algorithm is hurting some of the US’s sickest black patients

The  algorithms are used in pretty much every aspect of the health care  system, from hospitals to government agencies. It’s designed to identify  the most high-risk patients and suggest additional help: like more  nurses and primary care appointments. Doctors and other health care  providers are stretched thin, so many rely on algorithms like this to  figure out how to prioritize caring for patients. To put it into  perspective, roughly 200 million people in the US are assessed using  tools like this each year, about two-thirds of the US population.  However, the algorithm explicitly ignores race. Instead, it tries to  gauge how complex a patient’s medical situation is by looking at their  recent health care costs. Black patients tend to engage with the health  care system less than white patients. It’s not clear why, but it could  be because of racial bias in the health care system or challenges with  health care access as a result of socioeconomic differences. Whatever  the reason, black patients incurred fewer health care costs. And the  algorithm wasn’t taking that into account. The algorithm flagged a white  patient at the same risk level as a much sicker black patient. If the  bias was fixed, more than double the number of black patients could be  flagged as in need of extra medical attention, up to almost 50%. The  study’s authors are working with the company behind the algorithm to get  this fixed. This isn’t the first time that it’s looked like algorithms  could exacerbate biases. But this particular algorithm has major reach  on one of the most critical aspects of our infrastructure: health care. (The Verge)

Depending On Mom And Dad?

Young  workers are increasingly leaning on their parents to cover tuition,  housing costs and even household expenses. While most Americans believe  young people should reach financial independence by age 22, that’s  hardly the reality. Just 24% of young adults were financially  independent at 22, down from 32% in 1980. Some 59% of parents of 18- to  29-year-olds also said they provided “at least some financial help” in  the past year. (Pew Research Center)

Brussels To Ban Conventional Cars By 2035

Drivers  in Brussels, the capital of the European Union and of Belgium, have 16  years to switch to an alternative-fueled vehicle under legislation  adopted by the city’s government recently. The measures is one part of  an ambitious climate plan approved by the Brussels Capital Region.  Brussels has some of the worst air pollution in Europe as a result of  being one of the continent’s most congested cities for traffic. Under  the plan, traditional combustion engines running on diesel fuel will be  banned by 2030, and those running on petrol fuel five years later. The  measures in the whole climate plan will see CO2 emissions in the city  drop 40% by 2030 and make it completely de-carbonized by 2050 – in line  with an incoming European Union goal. (Forbes)

Wednesday Loves Us With:

  • Birth of Baha’u’Llah
  • Checklist Day
  • Create A Great Funeral Day
  • Devil’s Night or Mischief Night
  • Haunted Refrigerator Night
  • National Candy Corn Day
  • National Publicist Day
  • Speak Up For Service Day
  • World Audio Drama Day
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