Welcome to episode 56 of the Citizens of Tech podcast. This show is about all things science and tech, cuz we’re into that sort of thing and presumably you are too.
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This week on the show we dive into Bluetooth 5, Phones on a Plane, dinosaur feathers in amber, the Tesla of Trash, cooling off the globe with aerosols, along with Content We Like and Today I Learned.
Bluetooth 5 is out.
- “Key feature updates include four times range, two times speed, and eight times broadcast message capacity.”
- “Longer range powers whole home and building coverage, for more robust and reliable connections.”
- “Higher speed enables more responsive, high-performance devices. Increased broadcast message size increases the data sent for improved and more context relevant solutions.”
WiFi Phone Calls – Coming to a plane near you.
- Cell calling is banned still
- WiFi service is becoming more common on flights
- Many mobile phones can make calls over WiFi now
- US Govt. is about to weigh in
- Pros / Cons
- Who’s who:
- Continental said it would “carefully evaluate the views of our customers and crew members on this topic.” Delta and JetBlue have said they would continue to prohibit calls no matter what the Department of Transportation decides, according to The Wall Street Journal. American Airlines offers first and business class passengers onboard satellite phone service. United said it bars VoIP calling, as does Southwest.
Dino feathers in amber.
- “Geoscientist Lida Xing was shopping at an amber market in Myitkyina, Myanmar in 2015 when he saw an unusual piece of amber.”
- “Xing had discovered eight fully preserved vertebrae from a young, non-avian dinosaur called a coelurosaur. As an adult it would have been about the size of an ostrich, but this juvenile was still tiny enough to get trapped in tree sap and never escape. Feathers covered its tail, but at the tip they fluffed out in a pattern that suggested this animal may have had a fan-shaped tail.”
- “Modern bird feathers have a thick central quill called a rachis, and from that branch barbs covered in the soft barbules provide the feather with color and a structure that enables flight. This young coelurosaur’s tail has barbs and barbules only, though one central barb is in the same position that a rachis would be on a modern bird.”
- “What this means is that feathers appear to have started out as what some paleontologists call “dinofuzz,” a soft, downy covering for warmth.”
The Tesla of Trash
- Ian Wright assisted with engineering on the Tesla Roadster
- Went on to make his own performance EV, the X1 ( 0-60 in 2.9 seconds)
- His new plan: Electric Trash Trucks
- The most impact as quickly as possible
- Trash trucks can burn 14,000 Gallons of fuel a year – approximately 3 MPG
- 400HP Electric motors
- 20 Miles of charge on a full charge
- Turbine Engine Range Extender (Like a really big Chevy Volt or BMW i3)
- Weighs only 250lbs – ~ 1/10 the engine weight
- Diesel or Natural Gas
- ~70% less fuel consumed, and turbine engines burn much cleaner than straight 6 engines
- Significantly quieter than existing trash trucks
- Retrofit kit or they’ll build to suit, apparently.
- Estimated 10,000 hours between maintenance, which in the diesel world is a lot.
- Retrofitted Mack LR Garbage Truck has shipped, estimated cost $200,000
Aerosols to cool the planet. What could possibly go wrong?
- “One drastic idea is solar geoengineering — injecting light-reflecting sulfate aerosols into the stratosphere to cool the planet. Researchers know that large amounts of aerosols can significantly cool the planet; the effect has been observed after large volcanic eruptions.”
- “But these sulfate aerosols also carry significant risks. The biggest known risk is that they produce sulfuric acid in the stratosphere, which damages ozone. Since the ozone layer absorbs ultraviolet light from the sun, its depletion can lead to increased rates of skin cancer, eye damage, and other adverse consequences.”
- “Through extensive modeling of stratospheric chemistry, the team found that calcite, a constituent of limestone, could counter ozone loss by neutralizing emissions-borne acids in the atmosphere, while also reflecting light and cooling the planet.”
- Risky. Not well understood yet. Solar geoengineering could increase ozone while at the same time making the ozone hole at the poles bigger.
- Not a solution. “Like taking painkillers.”
- Oh, and…Snowpiercer. ““Snowpiercer’s” premise is that the only surviving humans live on the train because the world has been frozen over by a botched attempt by big business to geo-engineer the planet and rescue it from global warming.“
Content I Like
Webkay – See what your web browser reveals about your system.
- Browser & Plugins
- CPU / GPU / RAM
- Battery Status, whether charging, discharging, percentage
- Public & Private IP, ISP, Bandwidth,
- Gyro data
- What social networks you’re signed into
- Clickjacking you may be subject to
- And so on.
Today I Learned
There was a large city in the area of southern Illinois east of St. Louis about 1,000 years ago. We don’t know it’s name. We refer to it by its culture, known as “Mississippian.”
Ethan talks about Arrival, a first contact scifi movie featuring Amy Adams. He gushes effusively.
See you next week!