Archives August 2018

Scotland Creates Energy Turbine, Smashes Renewable Energy Records

Scotland’s new tidal stream turbine has officially generated more sustainable, renewable energy than the 12-year history of Scotland’s use of wave technology.

In only one year, the floating tidal stream turbine, named the SR2000 turbine, has accumulated more green energy than the past 12 years that Scotland’s wave and tidal sector has been in operation. This means that the turbine was able to produce 3GWh of energy, enough to power around 830 households.

Before the advent of this turbine, the tidal sector had only managed to produce 2.983 in the entire existence of the program.

On top of the astounding performance the machine has managed to display in regard to renewable energy, the machine is easy to clean and easily accessible for routine maintenance checks.

Scotland’s chief executive officer of Scotrenewables Tidal Power highlights the benefits of the machine.

“The ability to easily access the SR2000 for routine maintenance has been a significant factor in our ability to generate electricity at such levels over the past 12 months, including over winter,” Scott notes.

Many renewable officers in Scotland are optimistic regarding the future of this technology.

“This milestone for the tidal energy industry truly demonstrates the untapped potential of this emerging sector. Scotland’s remarkable marine energy resource has placed us front and centre in developing this industry with global potential,” notes senior policy manager, Hannah Smith.

Renewable energy has been on the rise for years, but with innovations like this, clean energy may be poised to beat out natural gas as the leading source of green energy.

According to the Charleston Gazette, the ever-lowering price of green fuels may lead to more renewable power plants. By 2035, it’s estimated that renewable power plants might be cheaper to build than maintaining current natural gas plants already in operation.

According to writer David Roberts, wind has become one of the cheapest renewable energy resources, especially in the midwest. For the southwest, however, solar energy is the leading renewable energy source.

For large companies, making this switch is becoming a fast reality. But for the average homeowner, making changes to large-scale renewable energy can be difficult.

If you’re feeling like you want to help the environment, you can contribute by making small changes in your home.

One of the first things you can do is limit your car use. The carbon emissions from cars and some of the 184,549 motorcycles that are registered in Colorado alone are key promoters of climate change. Try to carpool or work from home whenever possible to reduce your carbon footprint.

Farming is an important staple to our livelihood, but heavy industrial farming is bad for the environment. This is because of the massive amount of carbon used by machinery to grow, process, and transport goods. By eating locally and opting for a vegan diet, you can reduce your carbon footprint by practically 75%. In the UK alone, there are 3.5 million people who have opted for a vegan diet.

If you can’t commit to engaging in a vegan diet, there are other ways to reduce your energy consumption. In the winter, the average home loses up to 38% of its heat through drafty doors and windows. If your windows are single-pane, then you could be losing up to 50% of your heating. This raises your energy bill as your HVAC unit has to work harder to heat your home. Choose modern double-pane windows or consider putting plastic around your windows to prevent heat loss when you need it most.

You can also help by donating to sustainability initiatives. This can help promote the innovations, like Scotland’s beneficial SR2000.

‘Candy Crush’ Creator King Games Moving To Google Cloud Services

Remember Candy Crush? Still play it, even? Well, its parent company just made a huge announcement: they are moving a large portion of its data processing onto the public Google Cloud Platform by 2019. This isn’t an unusual move today for companies that deal with a lot of data. In fact, around 82% of companies have reported saving money by moving some or all data processing to the cloud. So what does this mean for Candy Crush?

When the mobile game ‘Candy Crush’ first dropped on Facebook in April 2012, casual and experienced gamers alike went nuts for its simple, colorful, addictive gameplay. The result? Less than two years later, its daily users rivaled that of Twitter. As by far the most-used product to come out of game-developing company King, Candy Crush became the shining jewel in King’s crown.

Even in 2018, the statistics coming out of Candy Crush are still impressive. The game has been downloaded in all seven continents — yes, that’s right, all seven. Some bored Antarctic scientist did indeed download Candy Crush in their off time.

Back to our opening question, what does this move to the cloud mean for Candy Crush and King? Many companies these days are moving to cloud-based computing. It’s often an energy-efficient and cost-efficient choice for those who process a lot of data, like King. Some fans have speculated that the move is to save money in anticipation of Candy Crush mania fading, but King seems confident that the move is simply for the good of the company’s growth, not its decline.

First vice-president of technology at King, Åsa Bredin, had this to say about using cloud computing to better handle and analyze their massive amounts of data:

It is very hard to know exactly what lies ahead, so by being able to act quickly on insights, we can also handle challenges better… One area where we expect to see a lot of innovation in mobile gaming is around our relevance. With machine learning, we predict offers and suggestions for what to tackle next and what will become increasingly relevant.

Another interesting tidbit for techies and business watchers? Bringing such a big client on Google Cloud services is another drop in the bucket of stressors Amazon Web Services has accumulated this year. King has specifically stated that they chose Google services because of their innovative technology that seemed suitable for gaming needs. It will be interesting to see how that affects future gaming partnerships with the two cloud competitors.

Bringing Murals Back: Local Charleston Artist Starts Sign Restoration Of A Former Corner Store

Artist David Boatwright is restoring hand-painted advertisements on the storefronts of Charleston, South Carolina. When new owners bought the building on the corners of Spring and Coming streets in 2005, they removed the existing vinyl siding and revealed two original hand-painted signs, surprisingly well-preserved underneath the vinyl.

The city of Charleston had forbidden painting over the areas of the former signs like the rest of the building’s exterior had been painted over. Instead, two large empty square spaces sat where the advertisements had been. Boatwright had taken photos of the advertisements 13 years ago, before the paint had been burned off by the sun and washed away by the rain.

Taken in the era before smartphones, Boatwright’s photos are in color, but small. The two original signs advertised “Kreuger’s beer and ales” and “Ashley ice cream”, two offerings of the corner store that stood there over 50 years ago. Small corner stores like these were the neighborhood beacon, serving the diverse population of Greeks, Jewish, and African-Americans who live in the area.

“I just like it. We have so few of these graphic artifacts in Charleston,” says Boatwright of the old advertisements.

As the use of illustration software, giant printers, and vinyl cutting became widespread, sign painting as an occupation and an industry took a big hit. Thankfully, there is a growing cultural reinvestment in the value of manual work that is giving sign painting its comeback.

According to the Smithsonian Magazine, while some contemporary sign painters consider themselves artists, some prefer the title “mechanic” as its the term used by original sign painters and frames the job more as a service. Others recognize that sign painting is heavily tied into marketing and realize that they’re essentially creating a brand identity.

In Charleston, the owner of the building that Boatwright is restoring realized this marketing potential. While the advertisements are not for his specific business, they draw attention and stand out among contemporary signs. Grabbing the attention of passersby is important, as about half of all customers enter a business due to its signage.

Although the city of Charleston turned down Boatwright’s proposal to create new hand-painted signs that actually advertise for the business now on the street corner, they were very enthusiastic about his restoration project that will showcase the authentic history of Charleston.

Aside From the King, NBA Players Are Not Too Happy With Their 2k Ratings

Approximately 155 million Americans play video games on a regular basis. There are all kinds of games out there, but one of the most popular genres for years as been sporting video games. For years, FIFA, Madden, and similar sports titles have been extremely popular. Perhaps the most popular sports gaming franchise over the last few years has been NBA 2k — and this year’s version is garnering a lot of media attention.

NBA 2k19 is set to be released on September 11, and over the last few weeks there have been numerous player rating announcements. Aside from LeBron James’ 98 overall rating, many other NBA superstars are not happy with their personal ratings. Not happy at all.

According to Forbes, Detroit Pistons all-star Blake Griffin had his 2k rating released a few days ago: an 86 overall. That puts Griffin behind last season’s standout rookies; 20-year-old Jason Tatum of Boston, Utah’s Donovan Mitchell, and Philadelphia 76ers’ Ben Simmons — all three young players were given a rating of 87.

Griffin voiced his displeasure on Twitter, posting a screenshot of his rating, tagging NBA 2k19 and the game developers, and simply writing “…”

Here are a few other NBA player ratings that have been released thus far:

  • Giannis Antetokounmpo — Milwaukee Bucks: 94 overall
  • Anthony Davis — New Orleans Pelicans: 90 overall
  • Kawhi Leonard — Toronto Raptors: 94 overall
  • Karl-Anthony Towns — Minnesota Timberwolves: 91 overall
  • Demarcus Cousins — Golden State Warriors: 90 overall
  • Damian Lillard — Portland Trail Blazers: 90 overall
  • James Harden — Houston Rockets: 96 overall
  • Kevin Durant — Golden State Warriors: 96 overall
  • Russell Westbrook — Oklahoma City Thunder: 93 overall
  • Kyrie Irving — Boston Celtics: 93 overall
  • Chris Paul — Houston Rockets: 90 overall
  • Steph Curry — Golden State Warriors: 96 overall
  • Joel Embiid — Philadelphia 76ers: 90 overall
  • Victor Oladipo — Indianapolis Pacers: 88 overall
  • John Wall — Washington Wizards: 89 overall
  • Paul George: — 89 overall

Understanding Alzheimer’s and Debunking Some Common Myths

More than 5 million Americans are currently living with Alzheimer’s, and that number could rise to 16 million by the year 2050.

As the scientific community continues to try and understand Alzheimer’s and similar diseases, new research is leading to some revolutionary discoveries. According to Science Alert, scientists have just discovered a crucial link between eye disease and Alzheimer’s.

A study that took place across five years, covering 3,877 patients above the age of 65, found that those with specific degenerative eye diseases were actually between 40% and 50% more likely to develop Alzheimer’s, as well.

“We don’t mean people with these eye conditions will get Alzheimer’s disease,” said lead researcher Cecilia Lee, of the University of Washington School of Medicine. “The main message from this study is that ophthalmologists should be more aware of the risks of developing dementia for people with these eye conditions, and primary care doctors seeing patients with these eye conditions might be more careful on checking on possible dementia or memory loss.”

The research has been published in the journal Alzheimer’s and Dementia.

“What we found was not subtle,” added researcher Paul Crane. “This study solidifies that there are mechanistic things we can learn from the brain by looking at the eye.”

Over the years, there have been plenty of misconceptions when it comes to understanding Alzheimer’s. Clearly, there is much more to be done in terms of research and development before we fully understand this debilitating disease, but we can at least put an end to the rumors. Here are some of the most common myths regarding Alzheimer’s disease:

  • Alzheimer and dementia are two separate things
  • Alzheimer’s is not an inherited disease
  • Alzheimer’s disease is a normal part of aging
  • Alzheimer’s disease medications will stop the progression of my disease progress
  • Visiting someone with Alzheimer’s is pointless
  • Alzheimer’s is an almost inevitable consequence of aging
  • Alzheimer’s only affects the elderly
  • Alzheimer’s isn’t treatable