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September 21st, 2020 at 11:25 am

Momentum for basic income builds as pandemic drags on

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A man shows off an Andrew Yang “Freedom Dividend” $1,000 bill sign on a street in San Francisco. Amid the pandemic and a global recession, basic income and a basket of related policies have gained unprecedented momentum.

When the idyllic upstate city of Hudson, New York, launches its basic-income pilot program in late September, it will become one of the smallest U.S. cities to embrace a policy once seen as far-fetched or radical.

“Basic-income” programs — designed to dole out direct cash payments to large swaths of people, no strings attached — were, until earlier this year, largely the realm of Washington, D.C., policy wonks and West Coast futurists.

But amid the pandemic and a global recession, both basic income and a basket of related policies have gained unprecedented momentum, surfacing everywhere from Capitol Hill to community Zoom meetings in cities like Hudson.

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September 21st, 2020 at 11:19 am

Tesla Model 3 bucks trend of electric vehicles depreciating rapidly

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The average vehicle coming off a three-year lease has lost 52 percent of its value, but a Model 3 only loses about 10 percent, one study finds.

On average, your average new sedan depreciates 39 percent in its first three years. Trucks go down 34 percent. But electric vehicles drop an astonishing 52 percent, according to iSeeCars, which evaluated values of cars coming off lease.

The outlier is the Tesla Model 3—both compared to other EVs and the market as a whole—which iSeeCars estimates is worth only 10 percent less coming off lease after three years than when it was new.

Tesla’s technological advantages—real and perceived—are a big reason the 3 keeps so much of its value. They help keep the Model S and X above average as well.

For people who buy new vehicles, expected depreciation can be an important factor in trying to estimate what their shiny new object will be worth in a few years. The U.S. used-car market in recent years has seen electric vehicles suffer from particularly high depreciation rates, but there’s at least one EV that’s done playing by the rules.

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September 21st, 2020 at 11:16 am

EV startup Bollinger unveils electric delivery van

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The Deliver-E van will come in a variety of sizes with a range of battery packs for multiple cargo configuration.

 Michigan-based electric truck startup Bollinger Motors hasn’t started production on its rugged electric trucks, the Jeep-like B1 and the B2 pickup, but it’s already rolling out a new vehicle type. This week, the company unveiled the Deliver-E, its all-electric delivery van concept that is slated for production in 2022.

A lot of companies, from legacy automakers to tech startups, are developing their own electric delivery vans right now. But what sets Bollinger apart is the variability of its platform. The EV startup is promising a variety of battery pack sizes, including 70 kWh, 105 kWH, 140 kWh, 175 kWh, and 210 kWh. This will mean customers will have a variety of range-options, prices, and wheelbase sizes to chose from. The front-wheel-drive platform will be engineered to fit Classes 2B, 3, 4, and 5, Bollinger said.

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September 20th, 2020 at 2:59 am

Amazon and FedEx push to put delivery robots on your sidewalk

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Amazon hopes its Scout robots will carry packages autonomously the “last mile,” from delivery hubs to homes. – ROGER KISBY/GETTY IMAGES

The companies are backing bills in more than a dozen states that would legalize the devices. Some bills would block cities from regulating them at all.

IN FEBRUARY, A lobbyist friend urged Erik Sartorius, the executive director of the Kansas League of Municipalities, to look at a newly introduced bill that would affect cities. The legislation involved “personal delivery devices”—robots that, as if in a sci-fi movie, might deliver a bag of groceries, a toolbox, or a prescription to your doorstep. It would have limited their weight to 150 pounds, not including the cargo inside. And it would have allowed them to operate on any sidewalk or crosswalk in Kansas at speeds up to 6 miles per hour, the pace of a quick human jog.

Lawmakers and lobbyists say the bill was drafted with help from Amazon. In later testimony to a state senate committee, Amazon lobbyist Jennie Massey said the bill would allow devices like Scout, the company’s bright blue, six-wheeled robot, “to bring new technology and innovation to Kansas.” She noted that Amazon had invested $2.2 billion in Kansas since 2010, and that the company employed 3,000 full-time workers in the state.

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September 20th, 2020 at 2:58 am

The economic, social impacts of AV delivery services: study

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A new report on the economic impacts of autonomous delivery services found the continued development and deployment of delivery AVs could generate 3.4 million jobs and $4.1 trillion in total value to the U.S. economy.

The scope of the report, produced by Steer for AV company Nuro, centered around on-road autonomous delivery vehicles and their projected impact from 2025-2035. The findings suggest AV delivery services could have impacts that differ from other forms of autonomous systems; for example, job creation could be spurred by a demand for “pick and pack” workers at shopping locations, an economic growth factor not seen in other segments of automation.

The report also highlighted the social impacts of autonomous delivery systems, including reductions in traffic collisions and emissions due to fewer delivery drivers on the road. It detailed a potential reduction of 348,000 road injuries and of 407 million tons of CO2 emissions between 2025-2035.

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September 20th, 2020 at 2:53 am

Robot dogs join US Air Force for major exercise, could be ‘key to next-gen warfare’

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US Air Force exercised robot dogs last week

The robot dogs — four-legged, headless, mechanical creatures — were made to exit an aircraft and look for signs of danger at Nellis Air Force Base in the US state of Nevada.

New Delhi: In a bid to increase use of artificial intelligence in the military, the US Air force conducted a major exercise with robot dogs trained to scout for threats before their human counterparts enter the field.

The four-legged, headless, mechanical creatures were made to exit an aircraft and look for signs of danger at the Nellis Air Force Base in the US state of Nevada last week.

They are part of an Advanced Battle Management System (ABMS) that the US Air force is building, which will use artificial intelligence and data analytics to detect counter threats to the US military.

“Valuing data as an essential war fighting resource, one no less vital than jet fuel or satellites, is the key to next-gen warfare,” Will Roper, assistant secretary of the Air Force for acquisition, technology and logistics, told CNN.

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September 19th, 2020 at 12:36 am

Anduril’s new drone offers to inject more AI into warfare

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A swarm of Ghost 4s, controlled by a single person on the ground, can perform reconnaissance missions like searching for enemy weapons or soldiers.

Anduril’s Ghost 4 drone can carry systems capable of jamming enemy communications or an infrared laser to direct weapons at a target.

THIS SPRING, A team of small drones, each resembling a small, sensor-laden helicopter, scoured a lush stretch of wilderness near Irvine, California. They spent hours circling the sky, seeking, among other things, surface-to-air missile launchers lurking in the brush.

The missiles they found weren’t enemy ones. They were props for early test flights of a prototype military drone stuffed with artificial intelligence—the latest product from Anduril, a defense-tech startup founded by Palmer Luckey, the creator of Oculus Rift.

The new drone, the Ghost 4, shows the potential for AI in military systems. Luckey says it is the first generation that can perform various reconnaissance missions, including searching an area for enemy hardware or soldiers, under the control of a single person on the ground. The vehicle uses machine learning (the method behind most modern AI) to analyze imagery and identify targets, but it also relies on more conventional rules-based software for critical control and decisionmaking among swarm teammates.

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September 19th, 2020 at 12:33 am

To repair a damaged heart, three cells are better than one

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Cell therapy for cardiac regeneration, while promising, has been hampered by issues with long-term survival of the transplanted cells. Now, a technique that combines three different types of cells in a 3-D cluster could improve its efficacy in reducing scar tissue and improving cardiac function after a heart attack.

Called CardioCluster, the bioengineering technique was developed by Megan Monsanto, a recent doctoral candidate who worked with Mark Sussman, distinguished professor of biology at the San Diego State University Heart Institute. They found there is strength in numbers, even in cell therapy.

Their research shows the cell clusters improve heart function because they have much better retention rates compared to single cell injections—the clusters persisted inside the heart walls of mice models for as long as five months after transplantation, a significant advancement.

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September 19th, 2020 at 12:31 am

Nasa is looking for private companies to help mine the moon

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Nasa has announced it is looking for private companies to go to the moon and collect dust and rocks from the surface and bring them back to Earth.

The agency announced it is buying lunar soil from a commercial provider as part of a technology development program,

The American space agency would then buy the moon samples in amounts between 50 to 500 grams for between $15,000 to $25,000.

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September 18th, 2020 at 12:27 am

China is building a floating spaceport for rocket launches

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In the near future, launch facilities located at sea are expected to be a lot more common. SpaceX announced that it is hoping to create offshore facilities in the near future for the sake of launching the Starship away from populated areas. And China, the latest member of the superpowers-in-space club, is currently building the “Eastern Aerospace Port” off the coast of Haiyang city in the eastern province of Shandong.

This mobile launch facility is being developed by the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC), the country’s largest aerospace and defense contractor. Once fully operational, it will be used to launch light vehicles, as well as for building and maintaining rockets, satellites, and related space applications. As China’s fifth launch facility, it will give the country’s space program a new degree of flexibility.

The addition of a sea platform will also help mitigate the risk to populated areas. At present, all of China’s other launch facilities are located inland at Jiuquan (northwest China), Taiyuan (north), Xichang (southwest), and the coastal site at Wenchang (south) on the island of Hainan. Launches from these locations often result in spent stages falling back to Earth, which requires extensive safety and cleanup operations.

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September 18th, 2020 at 12:24 am

Using drones to disrupt the status quo

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Drone-based digital imagery can be used to better estimate the size of large crowds.

From Standing Rock to Syria, drones are being used to hold the powerful to account. Let’s keep it that way.

The civil rights movement and Moore’s law are colliding to transform politics. On the street, smartphone technology is being used to document social life as never before, putting power into the hands of the public and making eyewitnesses of us all.

This same technology, bolted onto cheap and easy-to-fly drones, is also providing a birds-eye view of politics on the ground. Indeed, a recent explosion in the availability and affordability of drones has driven an uptick in their use in support of social movements. In the years since the first use of a drone to document a protest — a 2011 event organized against Russian president Vladimir Putin — they have been a consistent presence at protests in societies where democracy is under threat.

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September 18th, 2020 at 12:23 am

Cryogenic 3Dprinting improves bioprinting for bone regeneration

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Researchers from China continue in the quest to improve methods for bone regeneration, publishing their findings in “Cryogenic 3D printing of dual-delivery scaffolds for improved bone regeneration with enhanced vascularization.”

A wide range of projects have emerged regarding new techniques for bone regeneration—especially in the last five years as 3D printing has become more entrenched in the mainstream and bioprinting has continued to evolve. Bone regeneration is consistently challenging, and while bioprinting is still relatively new as a field, much impressive progress has been made due to experimentation with new materials, nanotubes, and innovative structures.

Cell viability is usually the biggest problem. Tissue engineering, while becoming much more successful these days, is still an extremely delicate process as cells must not only be grown but sustained in the lab too. For this reason, scientists are always working to improve structures like scaffolds, as they are responsible in most cases for supporting the cells being printed. In this study, the authors emphasize the need for both “excellent osteogenesis and vascularization” in bone regeneration.

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