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