Friday, May 14, 2021

Specialized Kenevo SL Electric Mountain Bike

electrek reports: [edited]

The Kenevo SL is a hardcore downhill-style e-bike designed for extreme riders.

The six-bar, six-pivot big-trail rear suspension is tuned for bump force management, moving the rear axle backwards in the first third of travel then forwards to compress in the second two-thirds of travel when pedaling usually isn’t occurring.

Powered by Specialized’s SL1.1 motor, the bike puts out a claimed 250W, though the motor peaks at higher power. Specialized claims that the motor is designed to offer twice the sustained output of a typical rider, so this isn’t an electric motorcycle by any stretch of the imagination. Instead, the motor is designed to help riders pedal themselves up the mountain before bombing back down.

The motor is powered by a built-in 320 Wh battery that can also be supplemented by a 160 Wh range extender. The optional range extender battery mounts in the bike’s water bottle cage.

The Kenevo SL’s carbon monocoque frame increases chassis stiffness while reducing weight, weighing in at as low as 18.4 kg (40.6 lb).

The Kenevo SL’s software brings everything together in one high-tech e-bike package.

The MasterMind Turbo Control Unit (TCU) is the “brain” of the Kenevo Super Light. This is the hardware and software that controls how the motor, battery, bike, and you interact. It allows real-time support tuning while riding, and it displays all relevant data about your bike and ride. The MasterMind TCU also enables over-the-air updates so that as new features and functionality come online, your bike will get even better over time. Finally, MasterMind seamlessly integrates with the Mission Control app for advanced tuning, on- trail diagnostics, and more.

Just the S-Works frameset starts at US $8,500, while the complete Kenevo SL Expert bike is priced at US $11,000. The complete Kenevo SL S-Works will cost $15,000.

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Tuesday, February 02, 2021

Listen Notes reports: [edited]

Listen Notes is a podcast search engine that allows you to search around two million podcasts and more than 90 million episodes by people or topics.

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Monday, January 25, 2021

Free Font: Chomsky

Fontsquirrel reports: [edited]

This is Chomsky, a newspaper masthead font in the style of the New York Times masthead. This font is not an exact copy of the New York Times masthead. Rather, it aims to be suitable for running text as well, so I used a larger stem size.

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Solar now provides cheapest electricity in history

Carbon Brief reports: [edited]

The world’s best solar power schemes now offer the “cheapest electricity in history”.

That is according to the International Energy Agency’s World Energy Outlook 2020. The 464-page outlook, published today by the IEA, also outlines the “extraordinarily turbulent” impact of coronavirus and the “highly uncertain” future of global energy use over the next two decades.

Reflecting this uncertainty, this year’s version of the highly influential annual outlook offers four “pathways” to 2040, all of which see a major rise in renewables. The IEA’s main scenario has 43% more solar output by 2040 than it expected in 2018, partly due to detailed new analysis showing that solar power is 20-50% cheaper than thought.

Despite a more rapid rise for renewables and a “structural” decline for coal, the IEA says it is too soon to declare a peak in global oil use, unless there is stronger climate action. Similarly, it says demand for gas could rise 30% by 2040, unless the policy response to global warming steps up.

This means that, while global CO2 emissions have effectively peaked, they are “far from the immediate peak and decline” needed to stabilise the climate. The IEA says achieving net-zero emissions will require “unprecedented” efforts from every part of the global economy, not just the power sector.

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Saturday, January 23, 2021

10 billion pixel 'Girl with a Pearl Earring'

Digital Photography Review reports: [edited]

Johannes Vermeer's 'Girl with a Pearl Earring' has been transformed into a 10 billion pixel image, enabling viewers to see the masterpiece in unprecedented detail.

The panorama was made possible using the Hirox 3D Digital Microscope RH-2000, which features a CMOS sensor capable of capturing up to 50 frames per second at 1920 x 1200 resolution.

Using this technology, Hirox Europe's Vincent Sabatier and Emilien Leonhardt scanned the painting. One pixel in the new panorama is equal to 4.4 microns.

Available to view here

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Tuesday, December 15, 2020

Back in 2010, I blogged on the Uni-ball Impact 1.0mm RT Gel Pen. It had replaced the hard-to-find Zebra Sarasa 1.0mm gel pen as my everyday writing implement.

And now the Uni-ball Impact seems to have been discontinued.

Enter the Pentel EnerGel X Retractable Gel Rollerball Pen, 1.00mm. The pen has a cheaper, lighter feel than the Uni-ball, but the rubber grip is decent and the ink flow is reliable, if not quite as dense.

And it is very reasonably priced, available on Amazon at £10.13 for 12.

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Monday, December 14, 2020

The Independent reports: [edited]

The makers of a $26,000 solar-powered electric car that they claim never needs charging have sold out the first batch within 24 hours.

California based startup Aptera describes its three-wheeled car as “the world’s first Never Charge solar electric vehicle”, and boasts a range of up to 1,000 miles.

“Aptera leverages breakthroughs in lightweight structures, low-drag aerodynamics and cooling, material science, and manufacturing processes to deliver the most efficient vehicle ever made available to consumers,” the company states on its website.

“Aptera’s Never Charge is built into every vehicle and is designed to harvest enough sunlight to travel over 11,000 miles per year in most regions.”

No mass market electric vehicle currently on the market has a range greater than 500 miles, though Aptera’s huge range and no charge claims have certain limitations. The solar panels covering the car are only able to capture enough energy from the sun to charge 40 miles per day, and even that requires sunny California weather.

“40 miles doesn’t sound like a lot but it’s the equivalent of parking your car and having it magically fill up with two gallons of gas overnight," said Aptero co-founder Steve Fambro.

“So the fact that you can park it at work or wherever and go back to it with more energy in the tank than when you left it – have it charge itself without having to pay a dime to drive it every day. That’s the kind of freedom I think a lot of people would love.”

There is a 110V outlet that allows manual charging, which can be plugged into a standard wall socket. This can provide 150 miles of range from an overnight charge.

330 of the futuristic three-wheelers were available to order in the first batch, with deliveries set to begin in 2021.

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Saturday, November 21, 2020

iPhone Pro 12 Camera Analysis

Halide has published an excellent article on the image processing technology behind the latest iPhone Pro range.

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Friday, November 20, 2020

CRISPR genome editing destroys cancer cells

Medical Press reports: [edited]

Researchers at Tel Aviv University have demonstrated that the CRISPR/Cas9 system is very effective in treating metastatic cancers. The researchers developed a lipid nanoparticle-based delivery system that specifically targets cancer cells and destroys them by genetic manipulation. The system, called CRISPR-LNPs, carries a genetic messenger (messenger RNA), which encodes for the CRISPR enzyme Cas9 that acts as molecular scissors that cut the cells' DNA.

"This is the first study in the world to prove that the CRISPR genome editing system can be used to treat cancer effectively in a living animal," said Prof. Peer. "There are no side effects, and a cancer cell treated in this way will never become active again. The molecular scissors of Cas9 cut the cancer cell's DNA, thereby permanently preventing replication."

Prof. Peer and his team chose two of the deadliest cancers: glioblastoma and metastatic ovarian cancer. Glioblastoma is the most aggressive type of brain cancer, with a life expectancy of 15 months after diagnosis and a five-year survival rate of only 3%. A single treatment with CRISPR-LNPs doubled the average life expectancy of mice with glioblastoma tumors, improving their overall survival rate by about 30%.

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Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Fairchild K-17 Camera

Petapixel reports: [edited]

This camera was used for aerial photography during World War II. Mounted on the front of the camera is a 610mm f6 lens.

The Fairchild K-17 was designed by Fairchild Camera and Instrument and manufactured under license for the US Air Corps by Folmer Graflex in Rochester, New York in the early 1940s. It shot 9×9-inch (22.86×22.86cm) photos on 9 1/2-inch wide roll film.

While these cameras were normally clamped into mounts, a pair of handles and a viewfinder could be fitted for hand-held operation. What “hand-held” meant is subject to interpretation, as with a 200 foot roll of film, the A-5 film magazine used with the K-17 weighed 30 pounds. A complete K-17 with 12″ lens cone and a full magazine weighed about 55 pounds. With a 24″ lens instead of the 12″, the weight climbed to 75 pounds.

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Monday, November 16, 2020

iPhone 12 Pro Max Camera

Austin Mann's review of the iPhone 12 Pro Max's camera is a good place to start if you need convincing that phone cameras are getting very close to the quality of their 'separates' cousins.

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Thursday, November 05, 2020

Using drones to plant trees

Fast Company reports: [edited]

On land north of Toronto that previously burned in a wildfire, drones are hovering over fields and firing seed pods into the ground, planting native pine and spruce trees to help restore habitat for birds. Flash Forest, the Canadian startup behind the project, plans to use its technology to plant 40,000 trees in the area this month. By the end of the year, as it expands to other regions, it will plant hundreds of thousands of trees. By 2028, the startup aims to have planted a billion trees.

The drones can work more quickly and cheaply than humans planting with shovels. Flash Forest’s tech can currently plant 10,000 to 20,000 seed pods a day; as the technology advances, a pair of pilots will be able to plant 100,000 trees in a day. By hand, someone might be able to plant 1,500 trees in a day.

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Monday, September 21, 2020

Florida to release 750 million genetically altered mosquitoes


Fast Company reports: [edited]

In the Florida Keys, the local mosquito control agency has just approved the release of 750 million genetically engineered mosquitoes. The test, which is likely to begin in 2021, will be the first time that mosquitoes—designed to be “self-limiting,” meaning that they’ll breed offspring that can’t survive—will be used in the United States.

Oxitec, the U.K.-based company that engineered the mosquitoes, plans to place boxes filled with mosquito eggs in the area, releasing male mosquitoes bred with the self-limiting gene. When they breed with female mosquitoes, female offspring won’t survive. Because only female mosquitoes bite humans, this can help stop the spread of disease. The species they’re targeting is the Aedes aegypti or “yellow fever” mosquito, an invasive species that transmits diseases such as dengue, chikungunya, and Zika.

In previous tests in other countries including Brazil, the company says that the process has worked to dramatically shrink populations. “We’ve had multiyear programs giving over 80% control in every single year,” he says. “And that far exceeds typically what people get trying to control Aedes aegypti with chemicals, because aegypti is very resistant. It’s not usually present in super-high numbers. So it can be difficult to actually reach.”

The startup also claims that it’s a more environmentally friendly way to control mosquitoes, because it’s possible to target only a particular species, and after around 5 to 10 generations, the modified gene will be removed from the population (since the females with the gene die, halving the number of modified bugs each generation), leaving no ecological footprint. Advocacy groups, however, argue that the technology hasn’t been tested enough, and it could potentially have unintended effects.

“If they do work to reduce the number of Aedes aegypti, other mosquitoes might move into their niche,” says Jaydee Hanson, policy director for the International Center for Technology Assessment and Center for Food Safety. “The most likely one is the Asian Tiger mosquito, which is better at carrying some illnesses like West Nile.” (Oxitec says that as it has tested its mosquitoes in other areas, it hasn’t seen significant increases of the Asian Tiger mosquito.)

Image courtesy of: Jimmy Chan ------------

Thursday, September 17, 2020

iOS 14 Home Screen

Is it just me, or does the iOS 14 home screen look like it is just begging for another line of icons?

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London Greenground Map

Time Out reports: [edited]

If 2020 has reignited anything in Londoners, it’s the love of putting one foot in front of the other. In lockdown it became about so much more than getting from A to B – walking is now a way of London life.

Its creator, Helen Ilus, first pitched the idea on Twitter as part of the National Park City campaign. When people responded to the concept, Ilus developed it. It’s now a London-wide map marking 380 parks and open spaces and suggesting green routes to walk or cycle between them all. While it doesn’t detail the exact routes between each park, it helps you plot your way between green spaces, with walking distances between each park also on display so you can calculate your step count.

It includes London’s major parks and well-known nature spots – from Hyde Park to Primrose Hill – but it also maps lesser-known wetlands, commons, moors, woods and reserves all across Greater London.

You can order a fold-out pocket map for £10, here.

Read more about the project and how you can support the map’s development here.

View/download a PDF version of the London Greenground map here.
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Wednesday, September 16, 2020

How Chuck Feeney gave away 8 billion dollars

Forbes has published an excellent article on Chuck Feeney's philanthropy.

Snippets follow:

Charles “Chuck” Feeney, 89, who cofounded airport retailer Duty Free Shoppers in 1960, amassed billions while living a life of monklike frugality. As a philanthropist, he pioneered the idea of Giving While Living—spending most of your fortune on big, hands-on charity bets instead of funding a foundation upon death. Since you can't take it with you – why not give it all away, have control of where it goes and see the results with your own eyes?

Over the last four decades, Feeney has donated more than $8 billion to charities, universities and foundations worldwide through his foundation, the Atlantic Philanthropies. When I first met him in 2012, he estimated he had set aside about $2 million for his and his wife's retirement. In other words, he's given away 375,000% more money than his current net worth. And he gave it away anonymously.

His extreme charity and big-bet grants have won over the most influential entrepreneurs and philanthropists. His stark generosity and gutsy investments influenced Bill Gates and Warren Buffett when they launched the Giving Pledge in 2010– an aggressive campaign to convince the world’s wealthiest to give away at least half their fortunes before their deaths. “Chuck was a cornerstone in terms of inspiration for the Giving Pledge,” says Warren Buffett. “He’s a model for us all. It’s going to take me 12 years after my death to get done what he’s doing within his lifetime.” 

At its height, the Atlantic Philanthropies had 300-plus employees and ten global offices across seven time zones. The specific closure date was set years ago as part of his long-term plan to make high-risk, high-impact donations by setting a hard deadline to give away all his money and close shop. The 2020 expiration date added urgency and discipline. It gave the Atlantic Philanthropies the time to document its history, reflect on wins and losses and create a strategy for other institutions to follow. As Feeney told me in 2019: “Our giving is based on the opportunities, not a plan to stay in business for a long time.” 
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