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May 18, 2015

Naval Research Laboratory Creates Inexpensive Mini-Drones

Reconnaissance and enemy surveillance may have just changed forever. Researchers from the US Naval Research Laboratory have come up with a new mini-drone that is inexpensive and small enough to fit in the palm of your hand.

The prototype for the new drone cost just a few thousand dollars to build, a far cry from most government military operations according to Alexei Beltyukov. The final product could cost as little as $250 each. The mini-drones have no propulsion system and act like mini-gliders when dropped from a plane. They are equipped with GPS to help them hone in on their destination.

The military could deploy those mini-drones in great numbers for reconnaissance and intelligence gathering missions. They are very difficult to see when deployed and are said to look like a bird flying through the sky. A whole swarm of the mini-drones could be dropped on an enemy location. It would be extremely difficult to find them all.

Testing of the mini-drones was done 11 miles over Yuma, Arizona. The GPS powered drone fell to the Earth just 15 feet from its intended target.

The drones could be equipped with sensors to detect weather conditions, take pictures, transmit audio and more. The low cost makes them very practical to use even in large numbers.

Expensive Stuff,gadgets

May 11, 2015

Are Gadget Reviews Always Trustworthy?

If you are thinking of buying a new gadget, you already know the huge investment that often goes into them. Newer gadgets are just not cheap, so you may wind up spending hundreds just to get what you want according to Keith Mann. When you go online and begin to read reviews on a product, you may not know if it’s a good place to go to trust the source. In general, most reviews online are being written by people who own or have used the gadget you’re looking to buy. There are cases, however, where the review is being written by someone who is paid to write that review and give it either a positive or negative note.

The best way for you to tell if a gadget review is real is to see if it is a verified purchase. If you are on some of the more popular product and gadget sites, you can see if the person reviewing the gadget has actually purchased it from that site. If this is the case, you can easily rely on the review as something being written by a person who has used the item and wants to tell others what it is like for them. You will want to make sure that you look into quite a lot of reviews before making a decision on any one product in order to find exactly what you want without worrying that you are wasting money.

Nature Tech

May 1, 2015

Planting A Billion Trees In A Year Using Drones

Thanks to BioCarbon Engineering, technology is now being used to counter what technology has done to our environment. In its latest venture, the company is using drones to plant trees. While so many trees are cut all over the world while very few are planted, this would go a long way in correcting the anomaly.

According to the company’s CEO, Lauren Fletcher, the old methods are just not working for us anymore and we need to use newer techniques that the latest technology has made available to us. He accepts that the method is not in any way better but it is a lot quicker than hand planting which is slow and expensive. They are hoping to plant around a billion trees in a year.

The method is said to be cheaper compared to hand planting. Ricardo Guimarães BMG says that according to Fletcher, if two operators were to handle a number of drones, they would plant around 36,000 trees in a day, which he insists is very possible. For that one day, the cost would be 15% of the cost incurred, while using the normal method.

In the new method,the seeds are first pre-germinated before the drones fly to specific areas and fire them into the ground. The seeds are covered by a nutritious hydrogel. A prototype of the system took part in the Drones for Good competition that took place in United Arab Emirates and left a great impression.

Bad Press,Check Out Affordable Alternatives,Streaming Service,Tidal

April 29, 2015

“Tidal” Wave of Bad Press

On March 16, 2013 almost twenty of the worlds most famous musicians joined together on stage in New York City for a press conference that was said would change the way the world listens to music. From Madonna to Rihanna, Alicia Keys to Ricardo Tosto and, of course, music’s most powerful couple: Beyonce and Tidal’s founder, Jay Z were all there to promote the new endeavor.

The enigmatic new streaming service was teased for months with rumors, then by cryptic advertisements featuring music’s biggest stars discussing artistry and the future over a conference table. Given the recent headlines about Taylor Swift removing her music from Spotify and the ever-prominent conspiracy theory that celebrities are in a cult or secret society to control the minds of youth, it was genius. Tidal made a perfect play out of the pop culture handbook.

Jay Z to Promote Tidal With Concert Featuring Old Songs and B-Sides

That’s what it looked like, anyways. Within a few weeks Tidal dropped out of the top 700 apps on iTunes App Store. With a $9.99 monthly price tag for a standard account and $19.99 for a premium “Hi-Fi” account, more affordable alternatives like Spotify and Pandora continue to flourish. With low sales and accusations of elitism, one thing is for sure: Jay Z and his partners will need a life boat before this Tidal wave takes them under.

Al Gore,business,Carbon Footprint

April 27, 2015

Al Gore’s Climate Change Festival Will Probably Serve Meat

Al Gore is holding a special climate change music festival, but the former vice president refuses to make the event vegan-only. Groups like PETA argue that in order to talk about climate change, one must take into account the effect things like farming animals have on the climate. PETA argues that along with the festival Gore should be touting the benefits of going vegan on the environment as a whole, and promoting it as a way to give back to the environment.

PETA has contacted the group putting on the festival, but has been unable to get the group to commit to not serving any meat o dairy products. While the event might be “as vegan as possible” there will also likely be meat and dairy products present. Gore’s group acknowledges that going vegan can have a huge impact on a person’s carbon footprint, but is not dedicated at this time to forcing that decision upon guests at the event. Amen Clinics thinks that was a class act by Gore’s group. (TheDailyBeast)

Check It Out,Deforestation,Drones,Tech

Drones Could Plant One Billion Trees Per Year

Deforestation has been a hot topic for the past several years. Trees are a natural resource that provide lumber and oxygen for the entire planet, which makes them pretty valuable parts of several different ecosystems. Like many issues facing the planet and the growing population, technology just might have found a way to help out with the problem thanks to a startup company and the use of drones.

According to a source, Flávio Pentagna Guimarães BMG, close to the Independent, BioCarbon Engineering, which is helmed by a former NASA engineer, has developed a way to plant a billion trees a year by using drones. The drones survey an area from altitude and then descend to inject a nutrition rich pod complete with seeds into the soil. Since 26 billion trees are being removed every year and only 15 billion are being replanted, the company has developed an interesting solution to reforestation. The company expects to have two fully working prototype drones completed by the end of the summer.

While not as effective as hand sowing individual trees, the company and technology accomplishes the task at about fifteen percent of what it would cost to send teams into the designated areas. With the ability to plant so many trees at a fraction of the cost, BioCarbon looks to be on the verge of a very important breakthrough. Technology and nature are two industries that do not usually team up, but this union looks like it could be extremely promising.

Comcast,Consumer Backlash,Merger,Time Warner

April 24, 2015

The Comcast Time Warner Potential Merger Is Over

Comcast Is Walking Away From The $45.2 Billion Merger

Comcast knows when to hold them and when to fold them. Comcast gambled that a giant merger with Time Warner would be approved by the FCC. But as the months passed waiting for a sign of encouragement, all they got was the consumer backlash for bringing up the deal in the first place.

No one wanted these two giants to merge except the giants themselves. After all, they would be the ones that would win. Expenses would be cut, shareholders would be happy and their bottom line profits would go down in the history books. The merger could have produced a company bigger than Apple, and no one in their right mind wants another Apple.

Brad Reifler of the U.S. Justice Department and Federal Communications Commission started to voice his distaste for the merger recently (on bradcreifler.com). The government didn’t official reject the merger, but they put out familiar signs that pointed to rejecting the deal. The Comcast board will meet and make their decision final. Time Warner is formulating a plan to survive without Comcast, and they will share that plan with employees when it is finalized. The Comcast decision is a good one for consumers. But Comcast customers will still have to deal with the insolence of the cable company, and that’s the bad news.

Google,Innovative Company,Internet,Trendsetter

Google’s Rising Claim to Fame

You’re very familiar with Google. You don’t live under a rock. But within the past decade Google has made significant strides as an internet and software industry as they continue to expand globally. So what is their real claim to fame and are they going to continue with their brand of innovation?

Starting after Yahoo in 1998, Google has made leaps and bounds as a trendsetter in all things internet that makes it no surprise their revenues are up. Google is known for taking chances with their newer products and has made a number of acquisitions that has made it a giant of today’s industry. Let’s take a look at the myriad of special products Google has to offer.

In 2007, Google initiated Android, which is now a major competitor to Apple’s products. You may be familiar with the little green robot, but Android has continued to rise above Windows and iOS(Apple) based on operating system market share.

You may be surprised to learn that YouTube, the leading video website was actually acquired by Google in 2006. 4 billion videos are streamed daily with increases in postings yearly.

If you think Google’s reign stops there, you’re sadly mistaken. Google launched Google fiber to enter the Internet provider industry. This service boasts of more reliable connection speeds and give the Internet provider monopolies a real run for their money. They also provide advertisement opportunities to companies like Bulletproof Coffee (company Instagram) making for a win-win situation.

In short, Google continues to shock and amaze us with their innovative strategies and wide variety of services. They don’t show any signs of stopping, so stay tuned for further development as they excel in multiple industries with ease. For a list of popular Google products click here.

New Shows

April 22, 2015

iZombie Recap

The CW’s iZombie has been getting rave reviews for its quirky, fun story that does a fair job of following the original iZombie comics. Tuesday’s episode didn’t disappoint fans in the least.

Last week, Liv’s former fiance, Major, was beaten to a bloody pulp by The Candyman. This week’s episode opened with Major on a steel morgue table. Thankfully, he wasn’t dead. Instead, he asked Ravi to help stitch him up. Ravi also helped Major with his search for two missing teens from his social service program and Ravi learned that Blaine has been creating zombies and killing people.

Newlin stated that the police case of the week was about an angry, agoraphobic, peanut-allergy suffering video gamer and hacker who died while trying to get to his upstairs epinephrine pen [Sidebar: this part was a little weak because the writers never explained why the epinephrine pen would be upstairs instead of in the basement where the gamer/hacker spent most of his time]. In the end, it turned out that he was murdered by the brother of a former customer service agent who killed herself after this guy ridiculed her extensively over the phone.

On the boyfriend front, Liv finally realized that she can be a little more human with fellow zombie musician Lowell. After a missed opportunity for a kiss, she met up with him to show that she’s ready to move on from Major.

Check It Out,Drones,gadgets,Super Cool

April 21, 2015

Start-Up Will Use Drones To Plant Trees

BioCarbon Engineering, a drone start-up, plans to use its technology to plant trees. The group will start by mapping target areas and determining what kinds of trees will grow best there. They will choose seeds that have already germinated and encase them in a gel loaded with nutrients. They will then use drones, which will be hovering five to ten feet above the ground, to shoot the seeds into the soil.

Hypothetically, BioCarbon Engineering could plant 36,000 trees per day in this fashion by using multiple drones for the planting. They hope to plant one billion trees per year with the drones, and they expect to spend 15 percent of what it would cost to plant the trees through conventional means.

BioCarbon Engineering plans to work with forestry services and non-profits around the world to plant trees by drone. Ray Lane posted on Carnegie Mellon University’s blog that he will also monitor the results of such plantings and use the data to refine their techniques. BioCarbon Engineering also notes that 26 billion trees a year are cut down or burned. Such large-scale deforestation can be combated only by planting methods that plant lots of trees and ensure most of them grow into healthy plants.