20 Nov

Between 2011 and 2014, more than 2,000 search and rescue missions were launched each year as the National Parks Service sought to rescue lost hikers. While many were saved, hundreds died, some due to not being found in time.

Technology may be the answer to that. Finding a lost individual in thousands of miles of tree-covered terrain can be a challenge, especially for the limitations that come with helicopter and ground searches. But through the use of drones, MIT researchers believe lost hikers can easily be spotted so that rescuers can help them. The drones don’t even require GPS ­– they navigate relying on onboard computation and wireless communication.

18 Nov

Every minute, approximately one million plastic bottles are purchased across the globe, with only 23 percent of bottles in the U.S. making their way to the recycle bin. All of that waste pollutes waterways and harms ocean life. Although consumers have been urged to reduce, reuse, and recycle, bottled water waste is still an ongoing issue.

In recent years, scientists have turned their attention to trying to find a way to convert discarded plastic water bottles into useful resources. The most recent of those studies was conducted by scientists in Singapore, who say they’ve found a way to convert plastic bottles into aerogels, which are diverse enough to be used in a variety of ways. Those ways include thermal insulation and absorption.

16 Nov

Southern Cross University’s Professor Peter Harrison and Queensland University of Technology’s Professor Matthew Dunbabin recently came up with a plan to restore coral reefs that succeeded in winning an innovation challenge sponsored by the Great Barrier Reef Foundation.

The proposal involves creating identical coral "babies" and then placing them with the assistance of robotics. The Out of the Blue Box Reef Innovation Challenge will provide $225,000 USD (approximately $300,000 AUD) to help the concept grow to fruition.

It's intended that the new "babies" will be planted this month at the same time that coral spawns every year on the Great Barrier Reef.

14 Nov

If people could accurately predict the value of a work of art before the creator becomes noticed and famous, Vincent Van Gogh would have succeeded in dying a rich man -- instead of leaving this world having never sold a single painting.

Is the next big thing in the world of art a creator known as...Artificial Intelligence (AI)? Or, possibly, Alle Geax-Rhythm?

If a recent sale of a machine-generated portrait is indication, the possibilities in that general direction look encouraging. The seemingly unfinished work (so much the better to leave something to the imagination) recently sold at auction for $432,500 -- almost 45 times higher than its estimate, says Christie's, the auction house that facilitated the sale.

12 Nov

As the population grows, environmentalists have become increasingly concerned about the future of the global food supply. Many sustainable options have been proposed, but none have quite taken hold. A group of researchers recently released a report on the crisis to show the exact scope.

By 2050, the expected world population of between 8.5 million and 10 million people will take a serious toll on the food supply. The team created a model to demonstrate the effects that this population will have on the Earth’s resources. The model was broken down by country, forecasting food demand while also taking into consideration changing nutritional preferences and income levels.

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