Climate Change Could Make Yellowstone’s Famous Geyser Less Faithful | Smart News

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Yellowstone National Park’s famous Old Faithful geyser is famously reliable, firing a jet of scalding water and steam high into the air some 17 times a day at 60 to 110-minute intervals.

But new research suggests that 800 years ago a severe drought caused this geyser, which was once somewhat hyperbolically known as “Eternity’s Timepiece,” to stop erupting altogether for many decades, reports Colin Barras for Science. When taken with climate model predictions of increasingly severe droughts, the findings could mean that America’s most dependable geyser will erupt less often or stop completely in the future.

Researchers arrived at the new findings, published last week in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, by studying 13 chunks of petrified wood found on Old Faithful’s mound. Trees can’t survive the geyser’s blasts of super-heated, alkaline water, so finding trees growing on Old Faithful’s mound is a sign that its regularly scheduled eruptions were at one point on hiatus. When researchers tested the tree remnants, they dated back to around 1230-1360 A.D., reports Catherine Meyers for Inside Science.

“When I submitted the samples for radiocarbon dating I didn’t know whether they would be hundreds or thousands of years old,” Shaul Hurwitz, a geologist with the U.S. Geological Survey and first author of the new paper, tells Science. “It was an ‘aha!’ moment when they all clustered within a hundred-year period in the 13th and 14th centuries.”

One specimen was large enough to allow Hurwitz and his team to estimate it grew for some 80 years, suggesting Old Faithful stopped erupting for nearly 100 years sometime between the 13th and 14th centuries.

That historical period coincided with what’s known as the Medieval Climate Anomaly, according to Inside Science, which was a period of prolonged warm, dry weather for many parts

Asteroid Bennu Could Shed Light on How Ingredients for Life Reached Earth | Smart News

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A series of studies published last week in the journals Science and Science Advances offer a new, detailed look at the makeup of a small asteroid called Bennu. The studies come just before NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft plans to pick up a sample from the asteroid’s surface on October 20 and return with it to Earth in 2023.

Before the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft reached the asteroid in 2018, astronomers could only study it with telescopes that couldn’t make out details smaller than cities or states, Michael Greshko reports for National Geographic. OSIRIS-REx allows astronomers to map details the size of basketball courts, sheets of paper and postage stamps, depending on the imaging tool they used.

“The reason there’s so much interest in asteroids is a lot of them are very primitive, from when the Solar System formed, and they didn’t change with wind and water, or weather like on Earth,” planetary scientist Amy Simon of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center tells Passant Rabie at Inverse. “They’re still more pristine than anything you could find in the universe.”

Researchers chose Bennu for close study and a sample-return mission because it is a relatively rare type of asteroid that’s rich in carbon-containing molecules, or organics, and because it formed early in the history of our solar system, Neel Patel reports for the MIT Technology Review. It’s also relatively close to Earth.

Bennu is about a third of a mile wide, made of a pile of rubble that is loosely held together by its own gravity, per National Geographic. The rubble resulted from a collision with a 60-mile-wide object in the asteroid belt that destroyed Bennu’s parent body, a larger asteroid. Bennu probably formed between 700 million and two billion years ago somewhere between Mars and Jupiter, and has drifted closer to Earth

Spark Turns On 5G In Auckland And Offers A Glimpse Into The Future Of Smart Cities

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Spark turned on 5G in downtown Auckland today and has
partnered with Auckland Transport (AT) to showcase some of
the latest in IoT (Internet of Things) technology and
demonstrate what the future could look like for Auckland’s
CBD with the power of 5G.

5G is expected to underpin
the widespread deployment of IoT technology with its
increased speeds, low latency (or lag) and reliability. To
bring this potential to life, Spark and AT have installed
IoT enabled infrastructure at Auckland’s Wynyard Quarter –
including 5G connected lighting, smart benches with charging
capability, smart bins, and parking sensors.

Spark
Technology Lead, Renee Mateparae said: “We are excited to
launch our commercial 5G network in downtown Auckland today,
building on the private network we have in place to support
Emirates Team New Zealand and the launch of Spark Race Zone
last month. Our partnership with AT is about helping bring
to life the significant contribution 5G and IoT will make in
addressing urban, economic and sustainability challenges
across the country.

“5G will eventually allow for
one million devices to be connected per square kilometre on
a continual basis1, generating data that will help
Governments, Councils and businesses respond quickly,
allocate resources wisely and plan for the future, which
will ultimately improve services and amenities for New
Zealanders.

“We know from existing research that IoT
applications can improve quality of life significantly by
saving us time, improving health and safety outcomes,
reducing environmental impact, and boosting social
connectedness and civic participation,2” said
Renee.

Smart lighting has been installed in the
surrounding streets of Wynyard Quarter’s Innovation
Precinct, which can now generate heat maps of foot traffic
to help AT identify any ‘choke points’ to better inform
future infrastructure investments, as well as monitor air

This Smart Home Gym Is The Future Of Fitness

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JaxJox, which makes a smart personalized home gym that uses AI to track and improve your performance and give you a wellness score, just scored itself. The Seattle-based fit tech company announced today that it has raised $10 million to bring its JaxJox “interactive fitness studio” to market.

The company also announced an exclusive retail partnership with Best Buy, and customers can get the fitness studio installed by Best Buy’s Geek Squad.

The system consists of a 43” touchscreen TV that can display fitness classes as well as data about your performance. The screen rotates both horizontally and vertically, and tilts if you’re doing floor exercises. Crucially, however, JaxJox isn’t just about cardio: the system has integrated smart dumbbells and a smart kettlebell — both configurable for different weights — that also report performance data. There’s also a “smart push-up device” and a vibrating, massaging foam roller.

All integrate with Apple’s HealthKit and will integrate with GoogleFit in a few months.

“The InteractiveStudio is the first home gym that includes connected free-weight equipment with AI performance tracking and interactive live and on-demand coaching for a personalized workout experience,” the company says. “Interactive Studio has a substantially richer training experience with personalized, real-time data including repetitions, power and a proprietary Fitness IQ score.”

That Fitness IQ score is generated by AI, the company says, and includes data on peak and average power, heart rate, workout consistency, steps, body weight, and the fitness level you’ve chose to attain.

“Beyond fitness-tech products, my vision is to close the gap between fitness and health,” says JaxJox CEO Stephen Owusu. “By monitoring performance metrics and using AI, we can give users a more holistic view of their health and provide recommendations on improving

Google’s Nest announces new smart thermostat with simpler design, lower price

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Google’s Nest smart home division has a new smart thermostat available to order starting today. The new Nest Thermostat is a simpler model than the Nest Learning Thermostat or Nest Thermostat E and comes with a lower price, just $129.99. That’s $40 less than the Nest E and $120 less than the top-of-the-line third-generation Nest Learning Thermostat. It is available to pre-order starting today, and Google says it will be shipping in a few weeks.



a hand holding a video game: The new Nest Thermostat ditches the traditional rotating dial for a simpler, touch strip control system


© Photo: Google
The new Nest Thermostat ditches the traditional rotating dial for a simpler, touch strip control system

Simpler is the theme with the new Nest Thermostat, and that starts with its design. Gone is the traditional rotating dial that’s been on every Nest thermostat for the past nine years. In its place is a touch sensitive strip on the right side that is used to navigate the interface and make adjustments. Instead of turning a dial to adjust the temperature, you swipe up and down and tap on this touch strip. This design eliminates all of the moving parts and allowed Google to bring the price down.

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The front of the thermostat is a completely mirrored finish with a display that shines through the mirror when the thermostat is being used. Google is using the same Soli technology that was in the Pixel 4 smartphone underneath the mirrored finish to automatically detect when you are standing in front of the thermostat and wake it up. The company says that the Soli tech allows the mirrored finish to be uninterrupted, without an obvious window or cutout for a traditional motion sensor, as used on the other models. But that is the extent of the Soli use in the Nest Thermostat — there are no gesture-based controls outside of the touch strip.



The new Nest Thermostat has a mirrored front and comes in four different colors


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