Paris as a Green and Sustainable Future City Is Even More Beautiful

Paris is one of the world’s most beautiful cities, with its landmarks, parks and the cobbled roads of Montmarte the envy of the world. Architectural progress can sometimes meet opposition when a city’s iconic sights and historic look is challenged, but architects Vincent Callebaut’s vision of a green, sustainable Paris is so gorgeous, it makes the glorious French capital looking even more magical.

The 2050 Paris Smart City project was commissioned by Paris’s City Hall, as it looks at ways to reduce the capital’s greenhouse gas emissions by 75 per cent by 2050.

With input from engineering firm Setec Bâtiment, Vincent Callebaut envision great residential towers featuring photovoltaic and thermal shields, producing electricity and heating water. Rainwater would be collected for “reversible hydro-electrical” pumps too for generating power cleanly.

Other mad ideas include vertical parks with “algae bioreactors”, bamboo towers with vegetable gardens and bridges that seem inspired by jellyfish.

It’s a drastic overhaul of the city, and one that is unlikely to ever approach reality, at least in our lifetimes. But with the designs also supporting increased population numbers, such designs will increasingly have to be taken into consideration by future city planners. [Vincent Callebaut Architecture]

via Paris as a Green and Sustainable Future City Is Even More Beautiful.

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Project Ara Spiral 2 specs and release date | BGR

Google on Wednesday unveiled more details about its modular smartphone plans at the Project Ara Developers Conference, announcing the first such handset that interested fans are going to be able to buy. Set to debut in Puerto Rico later this year, where Google will conduct its first market test, the first Project Ara phone will not be the high-end Android handset you may have been fantasizing about. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing, considering that Project Ara is a modular smartphone, which you should be able to turn into a flagship-like handset in no time, assuming certain modules will become immediately available for purchase.

Called Spiral 2, the first Project Ara phone packs a 1280 x 720 display, dual application processors including Marvell’s PXA1928 and NVIDIA’s Tegra K1, 5-megapixel camera, 3G, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity.

Unfortunately, the device will have a battery that’s 20% to 30% smaller than an average smartphone battery, which means battery life might not be that great.

Initially, 11 working modules will be available to buyers, with the number supposed to reach 30 by the end of the year. The first modules collection will include a better camera, and 4G LTE support.

Pricing for the handset, and actual release dates aren’t available at this point. A promo video further explaining the theoretical advantages of building your own smartphone follows below.

via Project Ara Spiral 2 specs and release date | BGR.

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Appetite ‘pacemaker’ tells you when you’re actually hungry

For some, the biggest challenge of reaching a healthy weight isn’t adjusting their diet or getting more exercise — it’s resisting pangs of hunger when they’ve already eaten enough. They might have a better time resisting that urge after today, as the US Food and Drug Administration has approved a first-of-its-kind appetite controlling device, EnteroMedics’ Maestro Rechargeable System. Think of it as a pacemaker for your stomach. The device sits just under your abdomen and sends electrical pulses that both block hunger signals and send fullness signals more often. In theory, you’ll lose weight simply because you have a better sense of when to stop.

Don’t be too quick to ask your doctor about getting one, though. For one thing, the jury’s still out on how well it works. People with a test Maestro only lost 8.5 percent more excess weight in a year than people who had dummy units, and the FDA wants EnteroMedics to conduct a five-year study to see if its claims match reality in the long run. Also, your health insurance probably won’t cover this — you’ll likely have to pay for the device and surgery. If Maestro does work as promised, though, it could be a lifesaver for anyone whose weight issues are normally out of their control.

via Appetite ‘pacemaker’ tells you when you’re actually hungry.

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Obama’s Plan to Loosen Comcast’s Stranglehold on Your Internet

President Obama glad-handed some network engineers in Cedar Falls, Iowa today. No, it was not a campaign stop. (He’s done running for president.) The commander-in-chief’s visit to the local utility office of Iowa’s first gigabit city is a mission statement: America needs more internet service providers that aren’t called Comcast.

Oh, thank God. This mission is both valiant and practical. One in three Americans have no choice when it comes to picking an internet service provider. Meanwhile, the vast majority of American internet users are saddled with slow speeds, crippling data caps, absurdly awful customer service, and other related bullshit. Thank God the president is finally using his presidential powers to do something about it.

It’s about damn time

This community-based broadband plan isn’t a new initiative by any means—at least not for some local governments and startup ISPs around the country. It’s also not the beginning of a government-run internet—despite what some dumb misleading headlines might say. It is something that would benefit millions.

The mission to create more competition between broadband providers and better internet at a lower price to the end user has been underway for years. It just got a really, really nice boost from the White House, a boost that President Obama will talk more about at the State of the Union on January 20. The White House has already released a 37-page long report on Community-Based Broadband Solutions that explains why the initiative is so important now. (Executive summary: America’s internet is too slow, too expensive, too unreliable, and too inaccessible in rural areas.)

via Obama’s Plan to Loosen Comcast’s Stranglehold on Your Internet.

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Google’s first test market for Project Ara will be Puerto Rico

Want to get your first taste of Project Ara, Google’s modular phone project? You might have to move to Puerto Rico. That’s because Google has designated the US territory as the market pilot site for Project Ara. Why Puerto Rico? Well, according to Paul Eremenko, Project Ara’s lead, the island is very “well-connected” and has a designated free trade zone that would make it easy to get developer modules from around the world. Puerto Rico also apparently has a very diverse “mobile-first” market, and entry-level phones make up a great majority of sales. But perhaps more importantly, Puerto Rico is still under FCC jurisdiction and would therefore make a great test market for the US. The first two carriers to offer Project Ara will be Open Mobile and Claro, both of which offer 4G LTE coverage in addition to 3G. As for when exactly this will happen, well, Google didn’t say, but we’ll tell you as soon as they do.

via Google’s first test market for Project Ara will be Puerto Rico.

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Microsoft Has Ended Free Tech Support and Feature Updates for Windows 7

Unlucky for some: It’s January 13, 2015, and that means the end of free support for Windows 7.

That doesn’t mean your computer is going to automatically stop working, but it does mean Microsoft will no longer offer free help and support if you have problems with your Windows 7 software from this point on. No new features will be added, either.

Microsoft is keen to move users onto Windows 8 instead — to find out more, check out our how-tos, troubleshooting, news and reviews of Windows 8. Alternatively, you can wait for Windows 10 later this year. Continue reading

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Solar Roadways

Years ago, when the phrase “Global Warming” began gaining popularity, we started batting around the idea of replacing asphalt and concrete surfaces with solar panels that could be driven upon. We thought of the “black box” on airplanes: We didn’t know what material that black box was made of, but it seemed to be able to protect sensitive electronics from the worst of airline crashes.Suppose we made a section of road out of this material and housed solar cells to collect energy, which could pay for the cost of the panel, thereby creating a road that would pay for itself over time. What if we added LEDs to “paint” the road lines from beneath, lighting up the road for safer night time driving? What if we added a heating element in the surface (like the defrosting wire in the rear window of our cars) to prevent snow/ice accumulation in northern climates? The ideas and possibilities just continued to roll in and the Solar Roadway project was born.

via Solar Roadways – Introduction.

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