Every ocean lover knows the perils of getting caught in a rip current. Experienced swimmers know it is relatively easy to escape the narrow channel of fast moving water by floating and allowing it to drag you further into the ocean or by swimming alongside the shore. However, novice beachgoers often panic, and try to swim to land, placing themselves at risk of drowning due to fatigue. According to the US National Ocean Service, the currents kill about 100 Americans each year and account for 80% of all lifeguard rescues. These scary statistics may soon be a thing of the past, thanks to Clever GIRL (Global Intelligent Rip Locator), a smart buoy that alerts swimmers of the presence of deadly rip currents.
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Some fortunate visitors to the Chicago Botanic Garden recently witnessed the rare opening of not one, but two, titan arums. Better known as corpse flowers due to their pungent odor that resembles decaying flesh, the massive plants bloom once every ten years, and that too, for only a few hours. However, that may be a good thing given that when the petals unfurl, the stench emanated is so foul that it has earned the titan arum the title of the “world's smelliest flower.”
The city-state of Dubai that is home to the world’s tallest building, manmade islands shaped like palm trees, drone taxis, and jetpack wielding firefighters, is fast cementing its reputation as the city of the future. On May 22, Dubai officials added to their list of futuristic accomplishments with the introduction of the world’s first operational robot police officer.
On Tuesday, June 1, President Donald Trump fulfilled yet another campaign promise by announcing that the US was withdrawing from the 2015 Paris climate agreement. The goal of the historic pledge signed by 195 countries is to curb the use of fossil fuels to ensure that average global temperatures do not increase more than 2°C (3.6°F) above pre-industrial levels. Environmentalists believe this is a critical threshold above which the planet could experience irreversible impacts, such as an unprecedented rise in sea levels and widespread plant and animal extinction.
Housing ranks high among the numerous challenges that still need to be overcome before humans can colonize Mars. The brave pioneers that make the six-month voyage to the Red Planet will need a place to reside as soon as they land. While the optimal solution would be to have the structures ready before they get there, it has thus far been a challenge given that most automated construction robots have never made it out of the laboratory. Now, there may be a glimmer of hope thanks to Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s (MIT) newly unveiled Digital Construction Platform (DCP).
Thailand’s free-roaming monkeys are a huge tourist draw. The primates, mostly macaques, are known to boldly visit with tourists who lure them with food. One of these monkeys, in particular, has recently become a worldwide sensation for both its gargantuan size and unique social status among his peers.
Though plastic shopping bags are incredibly cheap and useful, their disposal causes widespread pollution. That's because the non-biodegradable polyethylene takes centuries to decompose and is also detrimental to wildlife who often mistake the colorful debris for food. Now, we may have an unlikely ally to help clean up our trash – a small wax worm bred primarily for use as premium fish bait.
Japan’s newly unveiled Train Suite Shiki-shima that travels at a leisurely pace of 110 kph (68 mph) is a bit of an anomaly in a country known for magnetic levitation bullet trains that can traverse at speeds of up to 603 kph (375 mph). However, the purpose of the luxury sleeper train, which accommodates just 34 guests, is not to get passengers to their destination rapidly but to allow them to the enjoy the country’s beautiful landscapes while being thoroughly spoiled.