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DIY Drones: The Future is Now
Rapid cost reduction, or demonitization, has led to breathtaking innovation in the field of unmanned air vehicles (or UAVs), and UAV advocates see the FAA issuing personal and commercial licenses by 2015.
What's the Big Idea?
"Hacking the physical" is how Dale Dougherty described the burgeoning DIY Drone movement to Peter Daimandis in his book Abundance: The Future is Better Than You Think. Dougherty, the founder and publisher of Make magazine, was describing the broad trend that has enabled individuals to construct homebrew versions of sophisticated machines at a fraction of the cost. In the case of unmanned air vehicles (or UAVs), 90 percent of the functionality of a military drone was accomplished for just 1 percent of the military's price.
This rapid cost reduction, or demonitization, has led to breathtaking innovation in this field, and UAV advocates see the FAA issuing personal and commercial licenses by 2015. Imagine what the aerospace industry will look like in three years if amateurs continue to beat the dinosaurs at their own game. The sky will be filled with UAVs, and people who had previously been cut off from the global transportation network will have access to vital supplies and materials. Two recent developments suggest this isn't just the stuff of fantasy.
What's the Latest Development?
Jerry LeMeiux, a retired colonel with an engineering PhD and "10,000 hours of aviation experience," has just launched the so-called Unmanned Vehicle University. While there are currently no FAA-issued requirements for personal or commercial drone operators, LeMeiux is getting a head start by offering a broad unmanned vehicle education.
Here is a sample of LeMeiux's course that is available on Youtube:
We also recently learned that Chinese researchers had developed a brain-operated drone for the purpose of aiding disabled people. If you watch the video below, it is not difficult to see other possible uses for this technology.
Watch the video here:
While some see the proliferation of drones leading to a dystopian future of swarms of cyborg insect drones, these recent developments show us an industry that is maturing, and which offers clear benefits to humanity. That does not mean that civilian and commercial drones will not need to be regulated in the future. Our already overcrowded airspace could get very crowded indeed. It's time for the FAA to get to work!
Image courtesy of Shutterstock
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Construction of the $500 billion dollar tech city-state of the future is moving ahead.
- The futuristic megacity Neom is being built in Saudi Arabia.
- The city will be fully automated, leading in health, education and quality of life.
- It will feature an artificial moon, cloud seeding, robotic gladiators and flying taxis.
The Red Sea area where Neom will be built:
Saudi Arabia Plans Futuristic City, "Neom" (Full Promotional Video)<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="c646d528d230c1bf66c75422bc4ccf6f"><iframe type="lazy-iframe" data-runner-src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/N53DzL3_BHA?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span>
Are we genetically inclined for superstition or just fearful of the truth?
- From secret societies to faked moon landings, one thing that humanity seems to have an endless supply of is conspiracy theories. In this compilation, physicist Michio Kaku, science communicator Bill Nye, psychologist Sarah Rose Cavanagh, skeptic Michael Shermer, and actor and playwright John Cameron Mitchell consider the nature of truth and why some groups believe the things they do.
- "I think there's a gene for superstition, a gene for hearsay, a gene for magic, a gene for magical thinking," argues Kaku. The theoretical physicist says that science goes against "natural thinking," and that the superstition gene persists because, one out of ten times, it actually worked and saved us.
- Other theories shared include the idea of cognitive dissonance, the dangerous power of fear to inhibit critical thinking, and Hollywood's romanticization of conspiracies. Because conspiracy theories are so diverse and multifaceted, combating them has not been an easy task for science.
A growing body of research suggests COVID-19 can cause serious neurological problems.
- The new study seeks to track the health of 50,000 people who have tested positive for COVID-19.
- The study aims to explore whether the disease causes cognitive impairment and other conditions.
- Recent research suggests that COVID-19 can, directly or indirectly, cause brain dysfunction, strokes, nerve damage and other neurological problems.
Brain images of a patient with acute demyelinating encephalomyelitis.
COVID-19 and the brain<p>A growing body of research reveals alarming neurological complications among COVID-19 patients. On Wednesday, for example, researchers from University College London published a <a href="https://academic.oup.com/brain/article/doi/10.1093/brain/awaa240/5868408" target="_blank">study</a> in the journal Brain that describes how some patients have suffered temporary brain dysfunction, strokes, nerve damage, and other neurological problems concurrent with COVID-19.</p><p>Some patients suffered brain inflammation as a result of a rare disease called acute disseminated encephalomyelitis, which can cause numbness, seizures, and confusion. One patient in the study even hallucinated monkeys and lions in her home.</p>
Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images<p>A separate study published in the <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7198407/" target="_blank">Journal of Clinical Neuroscience</a> notes that some COVID-19 patients have also suffered neurological complications like impaired consciousness and acute cerebrovascular disease. The study notes that past viruses like MERS and SARS also seemed to cause neurological problems.</p><p>A troubling finding among this growing body of research is that some patients seem to suffer neurological damage even when respiratory symptoms aren't obvious. Additionally, scientists aren't sure whether damage from the disease will be permanent.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"Given that the disease has only been around for a matter of months, we might not yet know what long-term damage COVID-19 can cause," Dr. Ross Paterson, joint first author of the University College London study, said in a <a href="https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2020-07/ucl-iid070620.php" target="_blank">press release</a>. "Doctors needs to be aware of possible neurological effects, as early diagnosis can improve patient outcomes."</p><p>If you've been diagnosed with COVID-19 and want to enroll in the study, visit <a href="https://www.cambridgebrainsciences.com/studies/covid-brain-study" target="_blank">cambridgebrainsciences.com/studies/covid-brain-study</a>.</p>
Coronavirus layoffs are a glimpse into our automated future. We need to build better education opportunities now so Americans can find work in the economy of tomorrow.