Harnessing the sun to haul platinum
Anglo American has created a mine haul truck for their platinum mine in South Africa. These trucks are massive and, until now, powered by internal combustion engines. The new truck is powered by hydrogen which is created with solar power. It weighs 510 tons. The truck generates 2 megawatts of power which is equal to about 2600 horsepower in a car. And car engines average 120 horsepower.
Sister powers up Congolese town
Students in a Congolese town near the Rwanda border used to study computing in books because electricity for computers was available only a couple days a week. Then Sister Ciza raised funds to build a small hydroelectric plant to provide stable electricity for two schools, a clinic, a convent, and a church in the town of 300,000 people.
Microsoft releases 27-year-old source code
A programmer who loves 3D Movie Maker tweeted Microsoft to make the original 1990s code available so he could modernize it. 3D Movie Maker lets users place cartoonish characters against a three-dimensional background, define actions, and then generate a video. It’s all very old school compared to our 21st century experience and a bit clunky and amateurish; but fun to play with.
Battery/Solar-powered device creates pure water from seawater
Hurricanes, earthquakes, and other disasters often leave people without safe water to drink. Engineers at MIT working with engineers in South Korea have developed a small electronic device that can be powered by the sun or batteries. Currently, seawater is forced through a membrane, which requires high pressure and cleaning of the membrane. The MIT device uses electric polarization to separate salt and pure water. The process also removes any viruses, contaminants, and bacteria.
Smaller brains unite!
Contrary to what you might think, our ancestors from 3000 years ago had bigger brains then we do now…about the size four ping pong balls bigger. Perhaps it’s because they were mostly responsible for their own survival. Even with all of our inventions, discoveries, and technological knowledge, our brains are smaller because we work together – much like a colony of tiny-brained ants – to help each other survive. Much of our technology today brings people together.
The Second is about to get longer, sort of
The length of a second, minute, hour, and other ways of measuring time are defined by humans working in organizations like the International Bureau of Weights and Measures, called BIPM in France. BIPM defines how long a second lasts using the wavelength of a cesium 133 atom. Yeah, that’s weird, but cesium 133 is a heavy atom with a stable wavelength. Measuring atom wavelengths with new tools shows if the length of a second might need to be adjusted. Using atoms turns out to be more accurate than using the spin of the Earth which varies a lot over time.