At the AAAS Meeting in Boston last week, protestors were picketing for science .
Rush Holt, AAAS chief executive, stated that it will
"sometimes require courage". Dr. Oreskes from Harvard
argued that scientists must speak out on climate change rather
than hope the findings will speak for themselves. The biggest
concern was the fear that scientists are being
intimidated and muzzled (e.g., DOE, EPA). I think that I
have signed at least a half dozen petitions that were emailed to
me from environmental and energy groups in the past month. IRI
encourages you to do your part to make a statement for future
renewable energy or else we may have to stop the Future Energy
eNews for any number of unthinkable reasons.
How about Bioenergetics Lessons on Aging Well? What
better tutor than a105-year old cyclist- Or the
latest study from Nature
Communications that translates to fasting once
a week and extends lifespan by an average monthly calorie
restriction (which is what my wife and I do every Sunday). We
recommend it for many reasons.
Story #1 leads us into the future with a train that
will connect all of Europe. Called the Hyperloop, It combines
magnetic levitation (maglev) technology with reduced-pressure
tubes for a smoother and faster ride and was originally proposed
by Elon Musk with a top speed of 800 mph (1200 km/h). Video is
Story #2 surprises everyone with the emergence of a
Star Trek Tricorder XPRIZE, sponsored by Qualcomm. Now two teams
are advancing to the Final Round to capture the $10 million prize
later this year. You can also help shape the future by getting on
their email list.
Story #3 mentioned above, shows the increase of
combined capacity of solar and wind went from 26 GW in 2008 to
123 GW in less than ten years.
Story #4 should be our lead story since it is so
revolutionary, with Ireland making the bold statement to outlaw
ALL coal and fossil fuels investments by Parliamentary bill as part of a
multi-billion euro government fund While the White House is
going backwards by approving a redundant Keystone XL pipeline in
parallel to the already existing Keystone pipeline to bring
expensive shale oil into the US, Ireland "will send out a
powerful message...acknowledging what the overwhelming majority
of people already know...combat catastrophic climate
change." Interestingly, a Divest Invest Initiative already
fossil fuel divestment pledges from 76 countries!
Story #5 shows us what to
expect in the not too distant future. With millions of dollars of
investment capital, the appearance of Floating Cities will very
soon become common place, as it is going to be in French
Polynesia. This is the only guaranteed therapy for rising seas as
landlocked ice from Greenland and Antarctica accelerate their dissolution
into the world’s oceans. Woe to the sea level cities on the
coastline. Venice Italy is their future.
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1) The Hyperloop: Train of the Future?
By Dom Galeon, Futurism.com February 2017
The Hyperloop has been dubbed 'the train of the
future.' With active projects already in Dubai, Canada,
and Russia, the futuristic pod is now coming to France
via Hyperloop Transportation Technologies (HTT).
Recently, HTT launched a new deal with
Slovakia and the Czech Republic to build a Hyperloop system that
will connect Bratislava and Brno. It's a first step toward the
plan to connect all of Europe with a Hyperloop. A 3,000 square
meter facility (roughly 38,000 sq ft) at Francazal Airport in
Toulouse will act as the company's base.
Toulouse is at the very heart of the European
aerospace industry, and is centrally located for
manufacturing the Hyperloop trains to be used in the Central
European line. HTT, one of two companies actively
working on these futuristic pods, recently announced a $108
million funding round, with the company raising $31 million in
The Hyperloop is a
train-like transportation system that uses specially designed pods
or capsules to transport people and cargo. It combines
magnetic levitation (maglev) technology with reduced-pressure
tubes for a smoother and faster ride. The idea for a Hyperloop was first proposed by Elon Musk in 2013. Since then,
a good number of people, institutions, and companies were quick to
jump on the idea.
How fast will it go? Well that really depends
on which engineer you ask, but it's believed that a Hyperloop
could go as fast as 1,200 km/h (800 mph). Designs show
that it could also work either underground or aboveground.
In fact, one of the Hyperloop plans in Dubai envisions
a central hub that connects Hyperloops traveling on
their cylinder tubes to the streets. On top of it being fast, a
Hyperloop is also green, capable of running using solar energy.
From a sci-fi inspired concept in 2013, to a super-fast
train that will someday connect all of Europe, it looks like the
Hyperloop is becoming a reality.
2) Medical Tricorder inspired by Star Trek created
By John Sung New Atlas 2017
Five years ago, Dr. Sonny Kohli found himself in the
dust of post-earthquake Haiti with a couple of engineers cobbling
together a 12-lead electrocardiogram (ECG) machine with guitar
strings when he thought: "I could really use a tricorder
right about now." A fan of the original Star Trek series,
he'd always been a great admirer of Dr. Leonard McCoy's frontier
medicine approach, unafraid to step into what the Canadian-born
Dr. Kohli calls "a dog's breakfast of problems" and roll
up his sleeves. "I was working in what was their most modern
hospital at the time by default since the rest of them had been
destroyed. There was a lady who came in who was a smoker, [she'd]
had angina previously, and was having chest pains. The first thing
you think is, 'Are they having a heart attack?' And the first tool
a physician utilizes is a 12-lead ECG: we capture the electrical
activity of the heart using 12 different stickers that go on the
chest and arms-and while that's something considered
standard-issue in the Western world, we didn't have one
Fortunately, I met two engineers there who happened
to be volunteering who said 'Hey, we'll help you MacGyver this
broken ECG machine with guitar string.' We were able to diagnose
her not with a heart attack, but a related condition that we could
treat in Haiti. Afterward, over very cheap Haitian beer, we were
sitting around saying, 'The world needs a tricorder; let's start
with a 12-lead ECG.'"
Fast-forward to 2013: Dr. Kohli got a phone call from
Robert Kaul, then CEO of a medical device company in Toronto.
Would he be interested in taking part in a team going after the
Tricorder XPRIZE? It didn't take much thinking over, and Team Cloud DX was born.
"There are so many use cases for a
tricorder," says Dr. Kohli. "If, for instance, I were to
take off my doctor hat and just be a father: checking on my
children, or on my parents who live 4,000 miles away, being able
to do things remotely and throw up flags if their vital signs are
off or a disease ends up being positive-that would be very cool to
me. Or just as a person: here in Canada, we have public health
care, and sometimes there are long waits at the clinic or the ER,
and we don't want to burden the system unnecessarily; there's a
rationale for wanting to be able to check yourself out at home.
And then when I put on my doctor hat, I've got a million and one
use cases: in disaster zones, in remote areas, even in
space." As a flight surgeon and one-time finalist candidate
for the Canadian Space Agency's astronaut program, Dr. Kohli is
delighted to see interest in Cloud DX's technology from companies
in the suborbital and space tourism fields.
3) Solar Installations Soared in 2016
By James Condlife MIT Technology Review,
Solar installations are soaring in the U.S., almost
doubling in 2016-and new tax incentives mean that wind power
may also see a surge by 2020.
Figures published by the Solar Energy
Industries Association show that 14,626 megawatts worth of
photovoltaic installations went online in 2016. That's up from
7,493 megawatts of capacity that were added in 2015-a 95 percent
In fact, a new report written by Bloomberg
New Energy Finance for the Business Council for Sustainable
Energy, an industry group, shows that solar accounts for much of
the growth in low-carbon energy production over the past few
years. New wind capacity, meanwhile, arrived in the same quantity
in 2016 as it did in 2015.
The same report notes that a set of tax credits were
made available for wind power projects at the end of 2015 for
projects that start construction by 2019. That means that
there should be a surge in wind installations in the coming years,
predicted to peak in 2020, according to BNEF.
noting that capacity alone isn't necessarily that
useful. Without the right supporting grid infrastructure
to carry generated power to users, the capacity to
convert sunlight or wind into electricity is wasted. Texas is a prime
example of how the correct grid technology can facilitate the
growth of renewables, but many regions can't afford the billions
of dollars required to make it happen at such scale.
Still, that problem can be surmounted, and the
overall trend in installations is overwhelmingly upward. Since
2008, combined capacity of solar and wind in the U.S. has risen
from 26 gigawatts to 123 gigawatts.
Such strong momentum will be useful in the coming
years, given the Trump administration's disdain for
renewables-though it by no means guarantees that the trend will last.
If the White House chooses to abandon tax credits for renewables,
it could make clean-energy installations less attractive to
Not everyone is pessimistic, though. Barack Obama has argued that
the world's transition to a renewable energy future is by this
point "irreversible." Let's hope he's right.
4) Ireland To Rid Themselves of Fossil
By Futurism.com February 2017
- Ireland's Parliament
has passed a bill that stops the country from investing in
fossil fuels as part of an €8 billion government fund.
- Ireland's divestment
is the most aggressive move taken against fossil fuels to
date, but they are certainly not alone in their efforts to
move towards clean energy.
made history by passing a bill that will stop all investments in
coal and oil. The legislation gathered the majority vote (90
to 53) in favor of fully divesting fossil fuel investments from
the eight billion pound Ireland Strategic Investment Fund.
Executive Director Eamonn Meehan shared in a statement:
This move by elected representatives in Ireland will
send out a powerful message. The Irish political system is now
finally acknowledging what the overwhelming majority of people
already know: That to have a fighting chance to combat
catastrophic climate change we must phase out fossil fuels and
stop the growth of the industry that is driving this crisis
The bill, introduced by Deputy Thomas Pringle, will
now be reviewed by a financial committee before it is passed into
law in the next few months. Once it passes, Ireland will become
the first nation to completely remove funding for fossil fuel
Given its size, Ireland's move won't necessarily have
a major effect on the environment; but the decision stands as a
benchmark for countries who want to strengthen their stance
against climate change and show support for renewable energy.
Ireland's divestment is the most aggressive move
taken against fossil fuels to date, but the government is
certainly not alone in its efforts to move towards clean energy.
By December of 2016, The Divest Invest Initiative had already
gathered almost $5.2 trillion in fossil fuel divestment pledges
from 76 countries. Norway has also set a national target to be
carbon neutral by 2030; while China announced its plan
to shut down 104 coal-fired projects across 13 provinces as part
of their anti-coal stance.
Collectively, these initiatives could make a real
difference in our effort to address climate change
5) Floating Cities, the Only Answer to Rising Seas
By Stephanie L. Miller, Dezba G. Coughlin, Dezba
G. Coughlin, Erik I. Waldorff, James T.
Ryaby, Jeffrey C. Lotz,
You might call it a Noah's Ark for an era of melting
polar ice sheets.
An audacious plan to respond to climate
change by building a city of floating islands in the South
Pacific is moving forward, with the government of French Polynesia
agreeing to consider hosting the islands in a tropical
The project is being put forward by a California
nonprofit, the Seasteading Institute, which has raised about
$2.5 million from more than 1,000 interested donors. Randolph
Hencken, the group's executive director, said work on the project
could start in French Polynesia as early as next year, pending the
results of some environmental and economic feasibility studies.
"We have a vision that we're going to create an
industry that provides floating islands to people who are
threatened by rising sea levels," Mr. Hencken said.
The group's original founders included Peter
Thiel, a billionaire investor and prominent supporter of President
Trump, although Mr. Thiel is no longer donating to the institute,
Mr. Hencken said.
Mr. Hencken said that the project's pilot islands
would cost a total of $10 million to $50 million and house a few
dozen people and that the initial residents would most likely
be middle-income buyers from the developed world. He added that
the institute was seeking to build the islands in what would be a
nautical version of a special economic zone and that it would
showcase innovations in solar power, sustainable aquaculture
and ocean-based wind farms.
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