In an effort to increase awareness about climate change, scientists in Australia are busy experimenting with printed solar panels. The team from the University of Newcastle is getting the newly invented panels ready for a 15,100-km (9,400-mile) trip in a Tesla electric car which will begin in September.
Charge Around Australia is a project that plans to power a Tesla vehicle using 18 of these special solar panels. With each plastic panel measuring 18 meters (59 feet) long, they are meant to be rolled out on the ground to absorb sunlight in order to charge. Created from laminated PET plastic, the printed solar is lightweight and costs less than $10 per square meter.
According to Paul Dastoor, the developer of the panels and coordinator of the project, the plan is twofold: the first purpose is to check the durability of the plastic panels and the second is to test the possibility of using the panels for other purposes in the future. He explained, “This is actually an ideal test bed to give us information about how we would go about using and powering technology in other remote locations, for example, in space.”
The 84-day journey is sure to raise interest in the effects of climate change. The team’s findings will have significant impact in the use of sustainable energy and solutions for the security of our planet.
In an exciting revelation, Honda and Sony have just announced plans to partner up and develop electric cars. The two Japanese companies have not yet announced the name of their upcoming entity. The vehicles will be manufactured in Honda’s facilities and Sony will provide the mobility service platform. Their goal is to team together this year and begin selling the first car in 2025.
While the joint venture is unique, the announcement is not entirely surprising, as there has been an international push for zero emission vehicles as well as systems that provide more advanced features. This gives tech companies like Sony an opportunity to enter the automobile market. Sony CEO Kenichiro Yoshida reiterated the vision, remarking: “In the joint venture, we would like to lead the mobility evolution by combining our technology and experience with Honda’s long experience in mobility development and vehicle body manufacturing technologies.” When asked about the possibility of others joining the partnership, Honda CEO Toshihiro Mibe responded, “In the future, we would like to expand our business with an open mindset,” while adding that the focus remains on building the electric car model for now.
Newly-elected New York City Mayor Eric Adams, and recently re-elected Miami Mayor Francis Suarez both want their first payments as mayor to be in cryptocurrency.
Adams made his announcement on social media, saying that he would like to have his first three months’ worth of salary transferred to him in the form of bitcoin. Since the currency’s launch in 2009 it has been extremely volatile—from about $1,000 at the end of 2013 to $66,000 in late 2021, with lots of ups and downs in between.
Both Adams and Suarez want to make their respective cities “the center of the cryptocurrency industry” and “a hub for cryptocurrency innovation.”
“In New York we always go big, so I’m going to take my first three paychecks in bitcoin when I become mayor,” wrote Mr. Adams on Twitter
“NYC is going to be the center of the cryptocurrency industry and other fast-growing, innovative industries! Just wait!”
Adams was elected in early November 2021 as New York’s second Black mayor.
Suarez established in August 2021 a new cryptocurrency called MiamiCoin, run by an non-profit organization called CityCoins. The group sends 30% of the value of the currency that is created on someone’s computer to Miami. So far the city has raised over $7 million in this way. Adams stated that he would like to create a similar non-profit as well.
Axiom Space, a non-government, private company that specializes in spaceflight, is teaming up with SpaceX, Elon Musk’s rocket-making enterprise, to bring more missions to fruition. The deal is to add a total of four missions to the SpaceX schedule.
The Houston-based Axiom had already announced its first mission, Ax-1 would be ready to launch in January 2022, utilizing SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket and the Crew Dragon capsule. The new agreement will provide for Ax-2, Ax-3 and Ax-4.
SpaceX already has three Crew Dragon flights to the International Space Station under its belt, all of them under the Commercial Crew program of NASA, using government trained and paid astronauts. Ten astronauts have flown with SpaceX already and a full schedule of astronauts, both government and private Crew Dragon missions are coming up this year.
“SpaceX has blazed the trail with reliable, commercial human launch capability and we are thrilled to partner with them on a truly historic moment,” Axiom CEO Michael Suffredini said.
The US presidency may have shifted parties, but social media giants Google, Facebook and Twitter are in a wait-and-see pattern vis-à-vis President Biden’s approach to the social media sector .
At home, all three platforms have come under fire in recent years for allegedly violating federal antitrust statutes. In December, the Federal Trade Commission filed suit for what the Commission called “a years-long course of anticompetitive conduct.” That followed a trifecta of antitrust cases filed against Google.
The companies have also run into trouble in recent months on the socio-cultural stage, with social and political conservatives accusing the platforms of censoring conservative voices, and progressives arguing that the lack of oversight has facilitated the spread of disinformation and fake news.
Here, too, the battle is likely to play out in court: Parler, a Twitter-like platform favored by many conservatives that have been banned by Twitter, sued Amazon after the latter’s Amazon Web Services announced it would cut service to Parler.
In the international arena, too, the social media giants are facing unprecedented scrutiny and legal challenges. In Brussels, the European Commission has opened an investigation into Google’s advertising practices, while in Australia the company is embroiled in a political fight with Canberra over paying for news articles that appear in the company’s search results.