“A wildflower super bloom is underway in Southern California after nearly 10 inches of much-needed winter rain. For four years, the state has struggled with a serious drought that drained reservoirs and prompted water bans. But this year’s El Niño-like winter brought the rain and the wildflowers are taking a giant gulp.
The year-over-year change is so remarkable you can see it on satellite imagery.”
A show about nothing? It has nothing on a website about watching grass grow. From Southwest Spirit magazine
Mr. Grass (Alek Komarnitsky) is a former systems administrator for a variety of tech companies and, back in 1987, was a founding member of the Rocky Mountain Internet User Group. His 1992 MBA thesis was titled “The Internet: The Information Superhighway of the 21st Century.” He was in the Air Force, and then got a job in New Mexico at Sandia National Laboratories. He first put up his webcam in 2002 so that he could monitor his drought-scourged turf while on vacation. He began leaving it up for Halloween and Christmas, which led to increasingly fantastical holiday displays. Eventually he rigged his whole 25,000-light system onto modules that let viewers around the world control them (along with his ginormous inflatable Santa). One day in 2005 he stopped taking the camera down between Halloween and Christmas, and Watching Grass Grow was born.
The tiger's trail, dubbed Big Cat Crossing, is part of a bigger initiative called Zoo360 that has changed the way humans and animals experience the nation's oldest zoo. There's no question the experience is compelling for the humans. On a recent visit, I watched children drop their lunches in awe of white-faced saki monkeys hanging out in the trees. I witnessed one couple stop midconversation when a gorilla lumbered overhead, and saw more than a few families startled by the appearance of a large cat that seemed eerily close to them. But the bigger impact of Zoo360, says its chief operating officer, Andrew Baker, may be its effort to transform the experience of animals in captivity.
At a time when scientists know more than they ever have before about the inner lives of animals--and when concerns about animal rights loom large--many experts think that zoos need a major overhaul if they're going to last.
I have seen people play Kodi on an Amazon Fire TV Stick, on a Raspberry Pi and some Linux devices
“Although it was originally created for the Microsoft Xbox and called Xbox Media Center (XBMC), Kodi has continued to evolve - spawning a community of its own.
Unlike services like Chromecast or Plex, Kodi is managed by the non-profit XBMC Foundation, and it's constantly being modified and upgraded by countless of coders around the world. Since its creation in 2003, Kodi has been shaped by more than 500 software developers and more than 200 translators. That means you can now customize by installing addons or builds, and they're totally free, too. And it's not just for laptops; Kodi can now work on everything from a smartphone to an Amazon Fire TV Stick.”
It’s probably the first time you’ve seen 300 drones flying in formation, but it’s almost certainly not the last. The technology underpinning the Intel Shooting Star drone system is fascinating in and of itself, but its potential applications are even more so. The same drones that accompanied Lady Gaga will one day revolutionize search-and-rescue, agriculture, halftime shows, and more.
Of all the tech innovationscoming out of McDonald's, we never would have expected the humble drinking straw needed a redesign. But that's exactly what a team of robotic and aerospace engineers did as part of a marketing push for the burger chain's new Chocolate Shamrock Shake.
For those who aren't familiar: the new menu item is a layered fifty-fifty combination of McDonald's standard chocolate milkshake with the minty seasonal favorite on top.
The redesigned STRAW -- short for "Suction Tube for Reverse Axial Withdrawal," of course -- is meant to alleviate the most basic of problems: having to wait for your shake to melt a bit before you can get the perfect mix of chocolate and mint flavors. While a conventional straw will only slurp up one part of the shake at a time, engineers from JACE Engineering and NK Labs carefully engineered the STRAW's J-shaped snorkel design and side openings to suck in both layers at once. According to McDonald's, their new tubular sipping device required some fairly complex computational fluid dynamics simulations to get the flow right and make sure it works just as well at the bottom of your shake as it did on the first sip.
Google is partnering with H&M’s Ivyrevel on the Data Dress, a smart couture piece of fashion that is created specifically for a user, based on various criteria that is gathered through the Snapshot API via an app that Google is creating with Ivyrevel. With the app, and the use of the Snapshot API as well as the Awareness API, multiple details like fitness activities, visited places like restaurants and other businesses, the weather in the location of the user and more are collectively used to design and make the dress, making this a unique piece of fashion that is truly tailored to one’s lifestyle.
Every America’s Cup has its own design rules, influenced by the defending champion. The next one in Bermuda this summer will see a 50 footer (down from 72 in the 2013 Cup) and have a crew of 6, instead of 11.
“The new America’s Cup Class boats are foiling, wingsailed catamarans, 15 meters in length and capable of reaching highway speeds approaching 100 km/h. In addition they are extremely maneuverable, making them ideal match racing platforms.”
“We know there is still speed to be found between now and May 26 when racing begins”
“America’s Cup Class catamarans use lift generated over a hydrofoil suspended under the hull—like a wing under water—to boost the boat up out of the waves and make it fly. Instead of pushing its hull through the water, the yacht skims the surface, riding on what look like little feet. The result? Where the old boat could only “fly” when going downwind, Oracle has nearly perfected how to rest on its foils no matter the conditions.”
According to the Oracle USA team
“Over 15 designers and 50 boat-builders have contributed to the design and build of “17”, with more than 85,000 man-hours accumulated to date. Team partners like Airbus, BMW, Parker and Yanmar have provided technical expertise and support.”
One of the Airbus contributions is “the use of brand-new microelectromechanical sensors or MEMS. Typically used to monitor aircraft wings, the company developed a special version of the sensors to return information on the boat's wing. Eight strips containing a total of 400 sensors were applied to the wing during testing, which were able to reveal information about the conditions found at the top of the (75 foot) sail versus the bottom.”