Category: World

Emissions have dropped 17% — but it doesn’t mean we’re addressing climate change


The global COVID-19 quarantine has meant less air pollution in cities and clearer skies. Animals are strolling through public spaces, and sound pollution has diminished, allowing us to hear the birds sing. But these relatively small and temporary changes should not be mistaken for the COVID-19 pandemic actually helping to fix climate change. Quite the contrary: the pandemic that made the world stop offers a glimpse of the deep changes in lifestyles and economic structures that we need to implement if we are to effectively mitigate the worst of climate change. The short-term effects are not in doubt. A new…

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UK getting 200 mile route to test self-driving vehicles on public roads


A mobility consortium in the UK has begun work on a real-world test route for self-driving vehicles as part of local government trials exploring the future of mobility tech. The project, led by Midlands Future Mobility, is building the route to include 300 km (190 miles) of roads around the University of Warwick, Coventry, Solihull, and central Birmingham, Coventry Live reports. [Read: Engineer finds Tesla Model 3 is secretly equipped with hardware for powering homes] It should give autonomous vehicles a mix of urban, rural, suburban, and motorway roads to navigate. It will also take in important transport hubs including…

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Research: political hashtags make online news discussions more extreme


Whether you’re a conservative or a liberal, you have most likely come across a political hashtag in an article, a tweet or a personal story shared on Facebook. A hashtag is a functional tag widely used in search engines and social networking services that allow people to search for content that falls under the word or phrase, followed by the # sign. First popularized by Twitter in 2009, the use of hashtags has become widespread. Nearly anything political with the intent of attracting a wide audience is now branded with a catchy hashtag. Take for example, election campaigns (#MAGA), social…

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What is CHAdeMO? Let us explain


Welcome to SHIFT Basics, a collection of tips, guides, and advice to help you navigate the changing world of electric vehicles and mobility tech. One of the more confusing aspects of owning an electric vehicle (EV) is knowing how to charge it. Unfortunately, there are a few different standards used in the industry, connectors vary from vehicle to vehicle. As a result,  it’s not quite as simple as just knowing whether you need to fill up with diesel or petrol. Once you’re passed the new terminology though, it’s actually all quite straightforward. In its simplest form, there are two things…

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Comet SWAN is coming — and it’ll be visible without a telescope


A new comet is coming our way — Comet SWAN. Will it be a sight to remember, or will it dash our dreams, like Comet ATLAS? Night skies in late May and early June may be graced by the sight of a magnificent swan. But, this is no bird — it is a visitor from the distant reaches of the Solar System. C/2020 F8 (SWAN) (or Comet SWAN) is, just now, starting to be visible to viewers under dark skies without the use of binoculars or a telescope. Oddly, this icy remnant from the outer solar system was discovered by…

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Want to turn on the new Polestar 2? Use your butt cheeks


Earlier today, Volvo subsidiary and electric vehicle maker Polestar held a public webinar to highlight some of the features found on its new all-electric Polestar 2 vehicle. As it turns out, there is no ignition, or start button, but you turn the car on with your, ahem, posterior. During the webinar, product manager Beatrice Simonsson demonstrated how Polestar 2 drivers can seamlessly approach the vehicle, get in without having to use a key, sit down, place their foot on the brake, select drive, and take off. All without actually having to manually turn the car on. [Read: Engineer finds Tesla…

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Engineer finds Tesla Model 3 is secretly equipped with hardware for powering homes


Despite not being that keen on the idea in the past, Tesla seems to have made some of its vehicles capable of bi-directional charging, otherwise known as vehicle-to-grid charging. During a reverse engineering vehicle tear down, an engineer that works for a Tesla competitor found that their Model 3 came equipped with a charging controller capable of both taking on electricity and dishing it back out, Electrek reports. [Read: VW wants its EVs to become part of the power grid when charging] “The design is fully bidirectional. This means power can be converted from AC to DC the same way…

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Rolls-Royce to cut 9,000 aviation jobs to save $860M amid coronavirus downturn


British aviation engine manufacturer Rolls-Royce has announced that it plans to reduce its workforce by almost a fifth. This equates to around 9,000 jobs at the company around the globe. With many borders being shut to international travel around the world amid the coronavirus pandemic, planes are grounded. There simply isn’t the demand to introduce new aircraft to fleets with such low passenger numbers, and demand for new engines has dropped significantly. [Read: After Airbnb, Uber lays off 14% of its workforce — nearly 3,700 employees] The cuts come as part of a company-wide reorganization designed to find £1.3 billion…

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Survey: Americans still aren’t drinking the autonomous car Kool-Aid


American perceptions of autonomous vehicles have are showing a trend that doesn’t seem to be improving, for automakers at least. According to a recent survey from industry body PAVE (Partners for Automated Vehicle Education), most Americans don’t believe autonomous vehicles are “ready for prime-time.” [Read: The crazy story how self-driving’s biggest star stole Google secrets, joined Uber, and became bankrupt] Nearly half of those surveyed said they would never get in a taxi or ride-share vehicle if it was being driven autonomously. It seems most of the distrust displayed by those surveyed is rooted in the present. When asked about…

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Why the math behind the UK’s ‘COVID alert levels’ makes no sense


During these uncertain times of coronavirus lockdown, we are expected to look towards our leaders for advice and guidance. Critically, the instructions should be as simple and accurate as possible, to ensure that people follow the advice. Unfortunately, on May 10, Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Twitter account released a number of “infographics” which are, quite frankly, baffling. At the time of writing, the infographics are still available and no further explanation has been offered. The goal of the infographics was primarily to introduce the idea of the “COVID alert levels,” which go from one (COVID no longer present in the…

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