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20 Aug

Getting old, as the saying goes, isn't for sissies.

That includes crossing the street -- even in a clearly marked crosswalk. Just ask Dutch citizen Noud Rommen, a mobility-challenged 71-year-old who has to cross a six-lane roadway in order to get to local shops. One where the crossing time allowed by electronic signals is known to be too short for those who aren't brisk walkers.

“If I stick to the rules I can only get to the island halfway across before it turns red, so I have to press the button and wait again,” Rommen recently told the Guardian. “But nobody wants to do that, so you try to cut between the traffic. It’s not good, but that’s what happens.”

18 Aug

The WT2 includes a pair of headsets that hook up to an iOS app. As speech is received by the headset, it is then sent to a smartphone to be translated. Then, following a brief delay, the translated speech is spoken into an earpiece worn by the receiving person.

The current delay in spoken-to-translated speech is three seconds. TimeKettle, the company that makes the WT2, hopes to cut that by two-thirds. And for now, Mandarin Chinese to English is the only translation that the unit can handle; again, more languages should be added as the product is developed.

So far, the company hasn't set a price on the system, though an anticipated Kickstarter campaign should reveal more details shortly.

16 Aug

Alphabet's top secret ideas lab, known as X, recently hatched an idea for a system that could hold onto renewable energy that otherwise would go to waste.

X, which famously launched Google's driverless car nearly ten years ago, has named the project Malta. It uses large containers of salt and antifreeze and could be situated nearly anyplace on Earth. X researchers and executives say that the system has the potential to outlast lithium-ion batteries and give hydroelectric plants -- as well as other clean energy sources currently in use -- a run for their money, price-wise.

Malta is another so-called "moonshot" project undertaken by X (others include drone delivery and Google Glass). Although maybe Malta ought to be classified more of a "Mars shot" since governments and venture capitalists are increasingly scaling back on funding entities that center on alternatives to fossil fuels. Even so, the folks at X remain committed to their modern salt storage facility.

14 Aug

New parents encourage their infants to get plenty of sleep for a variety of reasons. But a new study may have them putting baby down more often. As infants begin to form memories, the study found, sleep is necessary to help them consolidate what they’ve learned.

Researchers have previously studied the benefits of sleep on consolidating memories in babies as young as six months, but this study goes back to an even earlier age, testing the benefits of frequent naps in children at only three months of age. Even a nap that is only an hour and a half in length after learning something new can make a big difference.

12 Aug

Wine consumption has already been linked to cardiovascular health and lower inflammation risk, but a new study gives consumers another reason to enjoy that daily glass. When consumed in moderation, researchers say red wine can prevent Type 2 diabetes, a leading cause of blindness, kidney failure, heart attacks, and more.

A previous health study conducted between 2007 and 2012 surveyed 70,000 adults on their lifestyle and health habits. During the five-year period, 859 men and 887 women developed diabetes, but those in the study who were at the lowest risk for the disease were moderate drinkers.

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