For California's high-speed rail line, eleven years late is better than never. The highly contested $100-billion project is finally underway, with 20 sites along the train's planned proof-of-concept route between Bakersfield and Madera having broken ground. The 119-mile stretch is slated to be complete by 2022. The final length of the high-speed rail will be 300 miles.
The Tesla of the Sea Has Arrived
First trains, then cars, and now yachts are getting the eco-friendly electric treatment. The Hinckley Company's Dasher is the world’s first fully-electric luxury yacht, earning the nickname "Tesla of the sea.” The stylish boat produces zero emissions, runs with whisper-quiet propulsion, and can be fully charged at the dock in half the time of its land-locked counterparts.
Carbon May Be Humanity’s Best Bet Against Climate Change
One of the most ambitious fights against global warming today is being fought on the carbon capture and sequestration front. Instead of viewing carbon as a problem, entrepreneurs across many sectors are viewing carbon as an economic and environmental opportunity.
The life-sized LEGO Bugatti Chiron might not drive as fast as the original, but it still looks great. Over 13,000 hours of work and a million LEGO Technics went into recreating the world's fourth-fastest car, which sports motors from the LEGO Power Function platform. The car tops out at just 12 mph, making it 21-times slower than the real Bugatti Chiron.
Here's Our First Look at Martian Architecture
While the timing of Mars colonization remains a mystery, we now have a better idea of where the first homo sapiens on the red planet will live. Swamp Works, a small team at the Kennedy Space Center, have their sites set on regolith, plastic polymers, and 3-D printing as the key to future martian dwellings. Robots and a beefed-up version of Autodesk will ensure that the structures can withstand solar radiation, extreme weather, and micro-meteorites.
NASA Scientists Use Tech-Forward Tools to Monitor Water Conservation
If less than 2% of the world's fresh water is usable and the earth's population is expected to reach nearly 10 billion by 2050, then humanity needs to figure out water conservation, and fast. A team of NASA scientists hope to offset this crisis through weather and water-related research. They're surveying the Sierra Nevada mountain range to get a better idea of how climate change affects reliable access to water.
Robo-bees may sound like our worst nightmare, but they could be a dream come true for the endangered insects and their human saviors. A group of European scientists developed robotic bees to learn how other social animals communicate and maybe one day use that knowledge to influence their survival rates. The experiment was also conducted on zebra fish, opening up an avenue to save aquatic animals, too.
Mexico Aims to Take the Lead in Latin American Solar Development
In the Mexican state of Coahuila, Italian energy firm Enel will install 2.3 million solar panels over nearly 3,000 acres, providing enough electricity to power 1.3 million homes by the end of 2018. By 2024, Mexico aims to generate up to 35% of its energy from renewables, a sizable portion of which will come directly from solar panels. Only a few years ago, Mexico's energy industry was driven by a crude-oil-based state monopoly, but the emerging realities of climate change provoked the government into exploring greener alternatives.
Solar-Powered Ikea Gadgets are Coming
Icelandic-Danish artist and environmental activist Olafur Eliasson recently announced a new partnership with furniture giant IKEA to mass produce solar-powered, off-the-grid gadgets. IKEA and Eliasson aim to continue the mission started with his Little Sun solar-energy enterprise and eventually expand on it with new products. It is not exactly known yet what IKEA will produce, but some early concept ideas, like water pumps and off-grid satellite-communication devices, were suggested.
Researchers in England have discovered that carrots may soon emerge as a sustainable—and affordable—way to strengthen concrete. When combined with ordinary cement, nano platelets extracted from root vegetable fibers can greatly reduce energy consumption and carbon emissions associated with manufacturing. This discovery could have a huge impact, especially considering how cement production accounts for around 8% of the world's total carbon dioxide emissions.
Ford's Manufacturing Employees Get a Boost From Wearable Exoskeletons
Ford is slowly rolling out wearable exoskeletons for its manufacturing employees to reduce injuries on the job. A collaboration between Ford and , the vests help support workers' arms while performing overhead tasks that may pose potential danger. It's the latest development in Ford's ergonomics research, which seeks innovative ways to improve assembly and production.
WeLive Aims to Disrupt Sad, Anonymous City Living Next
WeWork, the co-working company that has almost single-handedly redefined the modern workplace, isn’t content to simply make the traditional office obsolete. It has recently turned its eye toward the residential sphere with their newest project, WeLive, an optimized and amenity-heavy half-apartment, half-college dorm setup where there’s free beer in the laundry room. So, what's it actually like to live there?
Carbon capture presents the easiest, most intuitive way of getting the excess carbon dioxide out of our atmosphere, but it hasn’t been a financially viable option at scale. A new study suggests that may not be the case anymore. Carbon capture could be accomplished for a cheap price of $94 to $232 per ton.
Honda Has Officially Ceased Production of Asimo, The World’s Cutest Humanoid Robot
Sayonara, Asimo! Throughout its 18-year-long life, Honda's humanoid robot delighted and inspired people around the world with charming antics and a peculiar walk. But Asimo's legacy lives on in Honda’s new companion and mobility-assistance bots, which debuted at CES 2018.
Soap Brand Borrows From Brutalism
Finally, a bar of soap for the truly zealous lovers of the Brutalist style. Called Tetra Soap, the three-sided, graphite-gray bar draws inspiration from concrete Tetrapods that line coasts the world over. The design, besides being aesthetically adventurous, also provides a better grip than a traditional bar soap.