Aquatic Moss Makes Contaminated Water Drinkable

Algae used to be fashionable, what with eco-friendly biomass algae shoes and green chandelier air purifiers. Something that looks quite similar (though is biologically different), moss, used to be functional and innovative, with equally eco-friendly moss-covered tires that absorb moisture and expel oxygen.

But now moss is just plain genius and essential, as scientists in Sweden discover an aquatic one that purifies water contaminated with arsenic, enough that it even becomes potable.

Researchers at Stockholm University say the aquatic moss, warnstofia fluitans, which flourishes in northern Sweden, can rapidly absorb arsenic, removing as much as 82 per cent of the toxins within one hour in some tests.

Due to mining operations in this part of Sweden, wetlands and water sources used for drinking and for growing crops are often contaminated with arsenic.

Arsenic is known to be a waste product from mining. Mine tailings are often toxic and difficult to separate from waste deposits, and toxin concentrations often end up in water sources. This makes mining a major environmental issue.

“We hope that the plant-based wetland system that we are developing will solve the arsenic problem in Sweden’s northern mining areas,” said Maria Greger, associate professor at the Department of Ecology, Environment and Plant Sciences at Stockholm University and leader of the research group.

The process of cleaning the contaminated water done by the aquatic moss is called phylofiltration. The researchers have also mentioned that sometimes this process takes no more than an hour, which is indeed very quick. If only more humans are inspired to be as quick to act in the name of the environment.

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Oxford Street To Become Full Pedestrian Zone

The streets of London have been getting some serious makeovers. Select popular boulevards are now energy-harvesting, which are not only high-tech, but also sustainable. To further counter traffic and lower carbon emissions, London mayor Sadiq Kahn is pedestrianizing shopping capital Oxford Street.

“Oxford Street is world famous with millions of visitors every year, and in just over a year the iconic part of the street west of Oxford Circus could be transformed into a traffic-free pedestrian boulevard.”

With over 500,000 visitors daily, Oxford Street is a breeding ground for potential vehicular accidents. (One every week, to be specific) Renovations will also allow easier access to the Elizabeth Line. The project will likely be rewarding — but at a cost of £60 million and years of remodeling.

The western section is due to finish by the end of 2018, with the eastern section between Oxford Circus and Tottenham Court Road going traffic free by December 2019. The final part, by Marble Arch, will then be turned over to pedestrians after 2020.

Without the hazard of passing vehicles, Oxford Street may be double the hot spot it is today.

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AI Alerts Cars When You’re Texting And Driving

Distracted driving survivors have Apple Watches and shock bracelets to thank for sparing their lives. However, car accidents remain abundant — but not if researchers at the University of Waterloo have anything to say about it. A new artificial intelligence software can now alert cars when you’re texting and driving, which can prevent oncoming disasters.

This system can detect signs of distraction, which could be caused by texting or talking on the phone, reaching into the backseat, or anything else that causes a change in head and face position.

With the rise of self-driving vehicles comes the simultaneous ascent of new safety features. In other words, you can count on your car to pick up the slack.

“The car could actually take over driving if there was imminent danger, even for a short while, in order to avoid crashes.”

Majority of crashes are caused by human error. Researchers claim that autonomous vehicles can save tens of thousands of lives every year. Of course, this isn’t to hand over free passes to reckless drivers. Staying focused remains a number one priority for anyone behind the wheel.

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Smart Pedestrian Crossing Makes Roads Safer

Road accidents are among the leading causes of death worldwide and many are looking to change this statistic. With the ability to phone emergency services, an Apple Watch makes a great driving companion. So does Steer, a wearable that monitors your drowsiness. On the other side of drunk and lazy drivers are distracted pedestrians. This high-tech zebra crossing in south London is tackling the issue, making roads safer for everyone.

Dubbed the “Starling Crossing” by designers from UK technology company Umbrellium, it aims to update the traditional British zebra crossing with the help of a neural network and tracking cameras, which can calculate the trajectory of anyone walking across its surface.

Here’s the thing — looking down at our iPhones while crossing the street? We’ve all done it. To avoid accidents, Starling Crossing alerts walkers when a car is nearby the pedestrian crossing using LED lights.

“We’re trying to update it for the 21st century with a crossing that deals with the fact that people are on mobile phones and they might not be looking up, vehicles might be coming more often, there might be pedestrians suddenly coming out at the end of a film . . . This is trying to perform very much like a traditional crossing with the difference that it responds in real time.” [says Umbrellium founder Usman Haque.]

In the midst of a tech savvy society, this may be what we need. Of course, people can decide looking both ways at a pedestrian crossing is a much simpler solution, but we cannot take enough precautionary measures to ensure road safety. Plus, well, tech is always here to help.

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Retired Troops Rescue Teen Trafficking Victims

More often than not, society can be grisly. Many will turn a blind eye — but staying silent is many a time just as dangerous as not knowing. It’s individuals like dentist Kenny Wilstead, who treated a domestic abuse victim free-of-charge, who are calling attention to everyday horrors. Now, in a very public campaign, U.S. Navy Seals and retired officers are banding together to put an end to human trafficking.

“It is partnerships such as this that play a significant role in law enforcement today, not only from a public safety standpoint but also as an opportunity to make a difference in the lives of those who have been victimized,” wrote [Sheriff] Mike Williams.

The group, Saved In America, works within the system and employs volunteers. The foundation takes cases on missing juveniles, and rehabilitating those who are rescued.

“People don’t realize this is going on in their own backyards. This isn’t in some far away country with very poor people,” says Joshua Travers, Joseph’s son, a former U.S. Marine and SAIM’s case manager.

When high-profile cases are shelved, we often forget that, for many, the search isn’t over.

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Pet Dog Rescues Owners From Gas Leak

Historically, dogs are famed for being highly affectionate companions. Some will risk their lives for two-legged family members, whether or not there is a bone at the end of the tunnel. Despite the heroism of man’s best friend, breed-specific bans remain intact (save for those that are now abolished). Yet pit bulls, a most-feared animal, continue to ride against the odds. Just a night ago, Ruby, a three-year-old pittie, saved Ronene Ando from a dangerous gas leak.

“Typically she only barks for one reason, and that’s if someone is at the door,” [said Ando.]

For an hour and a half, the therapy dog refused to let up. Ando then followed her persistent pup into the basement, where she discovered a leak in her propane heater. Had it not been for Ruby, Ando and her husband would’ve potentially succumbed to carbon monoxide poisoning.

“Dogs are typically intuitive. I believe that breed is even more so with all the research I’ve done, and I think that was it, hands down.”

Remember, folks, if you’ve come across a pit bull with a rap sheet, it’s likely due to abuse or neglect. All dogs are good dogs.

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Drive GM’s Autonomous Car Without A Pedal

In view of the escalating rate of vehicular accidents, tech societies are turning to wearable devices for sleepy drivers. Despite the success of products such as Steer, drunk driving remains to be a pressing predicament. Keeping reckless drivers off the road may be difficult, but not if General Motors has its foot in the door. The automobile manufacturer is mass producing a self-driving car without manual controls.

It’ll be possible for humans to stop the car – GM says customers having an emergency “may end the ride by making a stop request, and the vehicle will pull to the side of the road at the next available safe place.”

As with any drastic change, motor aficionados are voicing concerns regarding safety laws. Testing prototypes in San Francisco, GM is confident in its sleek, new model. The Cruise AV may be unique, but it isn’t the first of its kind.

“Mercedes-Benz will make an electric or hybrid version of all its cars by 2022, and they’re not alone. Volvo will go all electric by next year. Ford has plans for an electric F-150 truck and an electric Mustang.”

It’s a lot of competition to face, but hopefully safety remains a priority.

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Aviation Safety Was At Its Best In 2017

If trains that travel at 350 km per hour are safe for passengers, surely aircrafts can be too. Still, this isn’t the case as a number of accidents are recorded every year — except 2017, that is.

Dutch aviation consulting firm To70 and the Aviation Safety Network both reported Monday there were no commercial passenger jet fatalities in 2017. “2017 was the safest year for aviation ever,” said Adrian Young of To70.

While the odds of a fatal crash are something of a relief (one in every 16 million), 303 deaths occurred in 2016. Still, technological advancements and more stringent safety measures have allowed death rates to fall. Comparatively, accidents weren’t uncommon as early as 13 years ago.

As recently as 2005, there were 1,015 deaths aboard commercial passenger flights worldwide, the Aviation Safety Network said.

With no X-Men to control the weather, our safety relies solely on ourselves and those around us. Luckily, it seems we aren’t doing too bad.

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Eco Car Is Made With Only 580 Parts

It’s 2017 and electric vehicles are all the rage. Because owning one can be pricey, groups such as Michelin are creating sustainable parts. However, the new XYT is an eco mini car made with only 580 parts.

XYT figures that its EV is so uncomplicated that a small, trained crew could assemble vehicles wherever they’re in demand. Its straightforward, highly modular design also makes it easy to customize.

The XYT may not be suitable for long-haul road trips, but for everyday use, it’s pretty darn impressive. Comparatively, most family cars boast up to 30,000 individual parts. The best part about the XYT? Consumers can revamp its features to suit their needs.

The company also doesn’t think you should have to trade your old vehicle in just so you can enjoy a few new features on a new model. XYT plans to offer upgrades to extend the lifespan of its vehicles.

The car, which passed all crash tests, is more than just quirky to look at. Affordable and eco-friendly, the XYT is a big win for the automobile industry.

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Alphabet Testing Burrito Deliveries By Drone

Now that drones have proven themselves vital in the technological universe, gadget firms are pushing its limits even further. From delivering blood transfusions to restoring forests, drones are now making more conventional deliveries. Thanks to Alphabet, Australians will be receiving spontaneous burrito bags by — you guessed it — drone.

Project Wing has teamed up with Mexican food chain Guzman y Gomez, along with pharmacy chain Chemist Warehouse to allow customers to order items through a dedicated app. The drones are then sent off to collect goods from the stores’ loading sites and dropping off to the testers at their homes, traveling at up to 120 km/h.

Part of Project Wing, the drones are giving Alphabet the breakthrough they’ve been after. The company is targeting the Australian Capital Territory, which is a 40-minute round trip to the nearest store. Gauging from the success of rural deliveries, Alphabet is challenging the precision of its drones.

Project Wing is training its drones to deliver items anywhere, using its sensors to identify new obstacles and each time that it does so, improving the onboard algorithms and its capacity to pick out a safe spot for delivery.

While accuracy is a must for any drone-related activity, I wouldn’t mind a splattered burrito. Anyway, it’s all about taste.

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