Firsts This week we're taking a look at first things, early things, and—for better or worse—things that are #1. The world is filled with amazing technologies, many that are so old we don’t even think of them as technologies at all. Today, we present the definitive list of every important technology ever, ranked by their importance. These aren’t all necessarily good technologies, of course. There are plenty that have made the world a more miserable place for everybody. But they’re still on the list. If you have any opinion about the fact that this list may be omitting an extremely vital technology, you would be wrong. This list is both correct and definitive and cannot be changed. And you’re wrong. 100. Cow milking machine Are you one of those chumps still milking a cow by hand? An extremely primitive automated cow milker was invented around 1860, but the contraption would see many iterations through the 1920s and ‘60s as the rise of … [Read more...] about Technology, Ranked
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Autonomous vehicles were supposed to make driving safer, and they may yet—some of the more optimistic research indicates self-driving cars could save tens of thousands of lives a year in the U.S. alone. But so far, a recklessness has defined the culture of the largest companies pursuing the technology—Uber, Google, and arguably even Tesla—and has led directly to unnecessary crashes, injury, even death. Let’s be clear about this, because it seems to me that these companies have gotten a bit of a pass for undertaking a difficult, potentially ‘revolutionary’ technology, and because blame can appear nebulous in car crashes, or in these cases can be directed toward the humans who were supposed to be watching the road. These companies’ actions (or sometimes, lack of action) have led to loss of life and limb. In the process, they have darkened the outlook for the field in general, sapping public trust in self-driving cars and delaying the rollout of … [Read more...] about The Deadly Recklessness of the Self-Driving Car Industry
SpaceX's successful Falcon Heavy rocket test launch into Earth's atmosphere Tuesday, Feb. 6, was a total game changer. SpaceX When the Falcon Heavy rocket successfully rumbled off its Florida launching pad at NASA's Kennedy Space Center Tuesday, Feb. 6, 2018, it heralded a new era of audaciousness, both in humanity's quest to conquer space and for the man who hatched the latest space dream, businessman/brainiac/audacious dreamer Elon Musk. The trick for Musk and his rocket ship company, SpaceX, was making sure that "when" happened. Though the launch's original 1:30 EST was pushed back to 3:45 EST due to upper atmosphere winds being 20 percent above the maximum allowable load, the launch auto-sequence was initiated. The Falcon Heavy lifted off Tuesday at 3:45 EST, and was livestreamed at spacex.com/webcast. It reached the outer atmosphere of Earth, immediately earning the distinction of becoming the world's most powerful rocket to do so. Plus, it now paves the way for lifting … [Read more...] about Falcon Heavy Launch Major Success for SpaceX
A coal-fired power plant in Conesville, Ohio Image courtesyof Morgue File Coal is the dirtiest of all fossil fuels. When burned, it produces emissions that contribute to global warming, create acid rain and pollute water. With all of the hoopla surrounding nuclear energy, hydropower and biofuels, you might be forgiven for thinking that grimy coal is finally on its way out. But coal is no sooty remnant of the Industrial Revolution -- it generates half of the electricity in the United States and will likely continue to do so as long as it's cheap and plentiful [source: Energy Information Administration]. Clean coal technology seeks to reduce harsh environmental effects by using multiple technologies to clean coal and contain its emissions. Coal is a fossil fuel composed primarily of carbons and hydrocarbons. Its ingredients help make plastics, tar and fertilizers. A coal derivative, a solidified carbon called coke, melts iron ore and reduces it to create steel. But most coal -- 92 … [Read more...] about What is clean coal technology?
Whether fully autonomous or merely just technologically advanced, the trucks of the future will still require some human oversight, industry experts say. Education Images/UIG/Getty Images If you saw the recent X-Men movie "Logan," you probably remember one startling scene that showed driverless robotic trucks hurtling down the highway in the year 2029. That futuristic vision isn't here yet, and experts say there are significant technological and regulatory challenges that would have to be overcome before autonomous trucks dominate our highways. But already, truck manufacturers have been making significant strides toward automating much of the work human truck drivers currently perform — and those advances eventually may lead to future fleets of big rigs that transport their loads safely without a person behind the wheel. New Tech on the Road Vehicle manufacturer Daimler tested an experimental big rig in Nevada in 2015, but the company isn't going to put such autonomous … [Read more...] about The Trucking Industry Is Gradually Embracing Autonomous Vehicles