Before asking the question of how technology can affect democracy, I‚Äôm going to ask: What is democracy for? In a developed, post-industrial country at the start of the twenty-first century, one of the main functions of a democratic political system is to help us collectively manage living in a complex, global society. Our daily lives take place in a network of technological, socio-technical, and social systems that we barely notice, except when things go wrong.
Well, that photo would have been just fine in the orangutan world: young orangutans keep nursing for 8 years or more ‚ÄĒ longer than any other mammal, according to a new study. Researchers analyzed the teeth of four wild orangutans for an element absorbed from breast milk, barium. The presence of barium suggested that breastfeeding continues in cycles for at least 8 years, helping young orangutans get their nutrition even when other food sources like fruits are scarce.
Tesla isn't the only automaker vying to claim your rooftop as well as your garage.¬† Mercedes-Benz now wants to sell you a full "ecosystem" of clean energy services, including solar panels that charge battery packs, which in turn charge electric vehicles ‚ÄĒ or at least let you store daytime solar power for nighttime use. The German automaker on Thursday became the newest player in the growing U.S. market for home batteries through a collaboration with Vivint Solar, a leading U.S. residential rooftop solar installer. SEE ALSO: How Elon Musk plans to make Tesla Motors a clean energy powerhouse The partnership will allow both companies to compete with similar offerings from Elon Musk's Tesla, which acquired rooftop installer Solar City last year, as well as Sunrun, LG Chem, and other clean energy firms. A new kind of Benz.Image: vivint solarEnergy storage systems are rapidly spreading in the United States as the prices of both lithium-ion batteries and solar photovoltaic panels steadily plummet. Deployments of these set-ups totaled 336 megawatt-hours in 2016, double the amount deployed in 2015, GTM Research and the Energy Storage Association reported in March. Still, they're not exactly cheap.¬† The Mercedes-Vivint systems will cost between $5,000 and $13,000 to fully install. The systems are made up of 2.5-kilowatt-hour batteries ‚ÄĒ each the size of a mini-fridge ‚ÄĒ that can be combined in systems up to 20 kilowatt hours. That's about enough to run a typical refrigerator for a week. Boris von Bormann, chief executive of Mercedes-Benz Energy Americas, said the new venture presents two big opportunities for the automaker. Image: GTM Research / ESA U.S. Energy Storage MonitorHome energy storage opens up an entirely new market for the company's battery technology, which it originally developed to power its line of electric vehicles. Mercedes began selling its batteries in Europe and South Africa this year and will offer them in the U.S. through Vivint this summer, starting in California. The second advantage is that energy storage gives electric vehicle owners a more convenient way to charge their cars at home. With solar panels charging the batteries, owners won't have to worry about racking up high utility bills or overloading the electric grid. Plus, they can avoid using electricity from coal or natural gas. Mercedes said it plans to release 10 new electric vehicles by 2022. If would-be car buyers don't have to fret about how they'll charge the car batteries, they might be more inclined to give these models a chance. Hi, I'm a battery.Image: vivint solar"An energy storage system will allow you to have an electric vehicle and self-produce that electricity for the electric vehicle," von Bormann said in an interview. He noted the company will soon launch other "add-on offerings" to further ease customers' transition from internal combustion engine to electric car. "We're looking at ... the whole ecosystem that a future electric vehicle driver will experience," he said. Electric car owners aren't the only target audience for these new storage systems. Homeowners who have rooftop solar panels ‚ÄĒ or want to get them ‚ÄĒ would also benefit by having round-the-clock renewable energy. "It solves a great problem and need for our customers, where they'll produce power during the day, and now they can consume it in the evening hours," David Bywater, CEO of Vivint Solar, said in an interview. The new collaboration "is allowing us to expand our reach," he added. WATCH: Faraday Future just unveiled a super fast Tesla competitor ‚ÄĒ here's what it looks like ¬†
Five years ago, Roger Ailes tried to predict his own death. ‚ÄúMy doctor told me that I‚Äôm old, fat, and ugly, but none of those things is going to kill me immediately,‚ÄĚ Ailes told a Vanity Fair reporter when he was 71. Where did Ailes get his estimate?
WASHINGTON (AP) ‚ÄĒ Pranay Varada was stung by last year's National Geographic Bee, when he flubbed the official language of Sierra Leone ‚ÄĒ it's English; he answered French ‚ÄĒ and finished in sixth place. Determined to avoid another setback in his final year of eligibility, he started studying for this year's bee that same day.
President Trump said the United States¬†will be hurt by the appointment of¬†former FBI Director Robert Mueller as a special counsel to look into Russian influence in the 2016 election. ‚ÄúI believe it hurts our country terribly,‚ÄĚ said Trump in a quote provided by NBC News‚Äô Savannah Guthrie, ‚Äúbecause it shows we‚Äôre a divided, mixed-up, not unified country. Guthrie was one of a group of news anchors who met with Trump at the White House Thursday.
‚Äú[O]n the TV you see someone go to the faucet and get a drink of water, and it just makes me mad cause, you know, we can‚Äôt do that,‚ÄĚ says Mr. Fannin, who buys two or three 24-packs of bottled water a month for drinking and cooking. For the rest of the community,¬†relying solely on bottled water is¬†seen as just a way of life, not a reason to protest.
A recent cartoon in the liberal Israeli newspaper Haaretz showed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu breaking a sweat as he greeted a friend bearing gifts: President Trump with a package containing an Israeli-Palestinian peace process. Mr. Netanyahu, on the heels of a famously bad relationship with former President Barack Obama that both sides did little to hide, has gone out of his way to signal that Mr. Trump is a president he can deal with. For his part, Trump took office after campaigning hard on the theme he would be a more sympathetic friend to Israel.
For his first official trip abroad, President Trump will be in Saudi Arabia this weekend, attending a dizzying number of public events. Written by Swiss entrepreneur Rolf Dobelli with tips for independence in thought, the book‚Äôs popularity speaks volumes about what Saudis want in a society long controlled by a monarchy and clerical authorities. In recent years, Saudis have taken to Twitter to speak out against government ‚Äď despite the threat of a public lashing if they go too far in criticizing the monarchy.
Inside a 5-million-year-old sinkhole in Tennessee, at a spot dubbed Gray Fossil Site, scientists have unearthed the fossilized remains of an ancient "winged serpent" among hundreds of other snake bones. Though it may sound like the stuff of nightmares, the winged snake was not gifted with flight ‚ÄĒ its name is in reference to the wing-like protrusions on its vertebrae. Snakes' vertebrae are key to the classification of the creatures' fossils, according to study lead author Steven Jasinski, a doctoral student at the University of Pennsylvania and acting curator of paleontology and geology at the State Museum of Pennsylvania.
On the stage of Google I/O, CEO¬†Sundar Pichai announced Google.ai, a new initiative to democratize the benefits of the latest in machine learning research.¬†Google.ai will serve as a center of Google's AI efforts ‚ÄĒ including research, tools and applied AI. The new site will host research from Google and its Brain Team.
Pope Francis praised scientists working on treatments for genetic diseases on Thursday but condemned any use of human embryos in medical research. "I encourage you to carry out (your work) in ways that do not contribute to nourishing the 'throwaway culture' that sometimes creeps into the world of scientific research," he said at an event aimed at raising awareness of Huntington's disease, a degenerative brain condition. "We know that no end, even a noble one like the expectation of a benefit for science, for other human beings or for society, can justify the destruction of human embryos," Francis added.
A looming trade conflict with the United States over sugar is threatening to disrupt the livelihood of residents in sugar cane growing regions like the central Mexican town of Atencingo. Mexico has until June 5 to reach an agreement with Washington for its sugar exports to continue entering the US market duty-free. Mexico exported 1.1 million tonnes of sugar to the United States in 2016, according to government figures.
Late last month, fired National Security Adviser Michael Flynn ‚ÄĒ under investigation by federal prosecutors, with his lawyer seeking immunity for him to testify to Congress ‚ÄĒmet with a small group of loyalists at a restaurant in the northern Virginia suburbs. But one overriding question among those present were his views on the president who had fired him from his national security advisor post. Flynn left little doubt about the answer. Not only did he remain loyal to President Trump; he indicated that he and the president were still in communication.
At least one person is dead and 12 more are injured after a speeding car plowed into a crowd into New York City‚Äôs Times Square Thursday, according to Reuters.¬†The New York City Police Department told Yahoo News the incident, which occurred around 12 p.m. local time, does not appear to be terror-related. A witness told Yahoo News that after the car came to a halt on the sidewalk, the driver attempted to flee on foot before being apprehended.
LONDON (AP) ‚ÄĒ A retired British television producer was convicted Thursday of trying to hire hit men to kill his partner, after a jury rejected his claim that he was merely conducting research for a thriller.
The Justice Department‚Äôs appointment of a special counsel to investigate ties between President Trump‚Äôs campaign and Russian officials should provide structure and some measure of order for a Washington situation that was threatening to spin out of control. Indeed, the presence of former FBI Director Robert Mueller III at the head of a semi-independent probe may provide the White House something of a respite. It provides a ready answer to further questions about Russia on developments both old and new.
As Mark Lowenthal climbed the CIA‚Äôs ranks, he prided himself on staying level-headed even in tense political moments. When popular CIA Director George Tenet resigned that July after US intelligence leads failed to turn up suspected weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, reports in The Wall Street Journal indicated that CIA rank-and-file officers had begun supporting President Bush‚Äôs Democratic rival, John Kerry. White House officials quickly seized on those rumors, accusing the agency of playing politics.