Staying Within The Speed Limit Is About To Get A Lot Easier

When you love driving, you do a lot of it. What’s more, you like to do it in style. While sitting around in traffic is par for the course, there are times when you can get out on the open road and enjoy yourself. 

Unfortunately, though, you’re not perfect. And sometimes you can dip over the speed limit, especially on wide-open roads. And that can cause you to fall foul of the law. 

Pixabay – CC0 License

Getting a speeding ticket is not a pleasant experience. Not only does it cost you a lot of money, but it also means that you now have points on your license, which take many years to disappear. Furthermore, it takes away from the pleasure of being out on the road. You don’t want to feel as if a cop could pull you over at any minute. You want to be able to relax and get the most out of the experience. 

The good news, though, is that car manufacturers are listening and coming up with gadgets and solutions. 

Adjustable Speed Limiter

Nobody wants to build a speed limiter into all cars that works automatically. People want freedom on the road. And they don’t like to feel as though they are under control. Similarly, speeding tickets are a great way for local authorities to make money, so they’re not going anywhere soon. 

A growing number of companies, however, are offering their customers automatically-adjusting speed limiters. Instead of just capping a vehicle to 155 mph – as most do – these adjust their limits according to your geographic location. If the system detects that you’re in a 30 mph zone, it’ll stop you from floating above that. 

The cool thing about these systems is that they’re optional, and they help protect you from the police. You can put the pedal to the metal, and your vehicle will continue cruising along under the speed limit. It takes the element of luck out of getting a ticket. And that can only be a good thing. 

Gadgets That Detect Police Radar

The police measure the speed of oncoming vehicles using radar technology. Their equipment sends out a pulse of energy that bounces off the incoming car and then back again, telling them how fast it is going. 

Because of it, you can actually buy equipment that detects the signal, as this radar detector buyers guide points out. These devices pick up on the EM pulses coming out of radar devices and let you know in an instant whether there’s one nearby. It means that mobile speed cameras won’t come out at you as a surprise. You’ll be ready.

Autopilot Technology

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Of course, the moment machines take over the job of driving, the difficulty of staying within the speed limit goes away. We already see a large number of companies invest in autopilot technologies. And every year they continue to improve. Soon, we will have systems that can keep you under the speed limit while driving you down the highway. And soon that will extend to urban areas too. 

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How To Make Society Healthier

A society that has the essentials of life in shape is one that can reach its full potential. So what are the essentials in life? They include having clean water, plentiful food, shelter, and, of course, health. Alas, while we’ve more or less eradicated the issues of food, water, and shelter, the health aspect of society remains an issue. It always will, because there are always new health concerns popping up with each generation, usually as a reaction to the lifestyles of the time. For example, in recent years, there has been a huge rise in childhood obesity, which is a result of, among other things, the rise in usage of personal devices and video games.

So how can we overcome these problems? It’s all about education. When it comes to our health, public health officials play an incredibly vital role in helping to educate the public so that serious conditions can be prevented from occurring in the first place. While there is an endless number of health matters in society, health professionals tend to focus on the main dangers, the ones that cause death or severely impair quality of life. Examples of these conditions would be diabetes, heart disease, and strokes, as well as lifestyle conditions such as drug and alcohol abuse. 

It’s the public health officials that help to get the vital information about positive health actions into the public sphere. They also implement policies at a government level, and plan the future of healthcare, among other duties. You can learn more by checking out the infographic below. 


Infographic design by University of Nevada-Reno University of Nevada-Reno

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What Would You Change About Health Care

When it comes to health care, there always always going to be different changes that you may wish you could be able to make. While you may not be able to have any direct impact on the health care system yourself, it’s always a good idea for you to understand where the changes you would make are. Then, you may be able to make a difference combined with other people and over time.

The Availability Of Treatments

To start with, you may find that the availability of treatments is very important to you. Do you have access to what you need? Are reliable and revolutionary treatments available near to you? Are there other options you wish were available? It all matters.

The Access & Cost

Maybe you are concerned about the access to health care in your local area? It may not even be for you, but for others. And when this is the case, it could be that you’re also concerned about the cost and wish you could make changes about that. So keep that in mind.

The Delivery & Service

It could even be down to the service that you get and how health care is delivered. When that’s the case, you may want to understand more about technology is advancing and how it can help. If you’d like to know more about AI and how nurses can integrate this technology, just take a look at the infographic below.


Infographic Design By Regis College

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Why Smart Grid Technology Is the Future

We‌ ‌have‌ ‌to‌ ‌talk‌ ‌about‌ ‌energy‌ ‌a‌ ‌lot‌ ‌these‌ ‌days.‌ ‌If‌ ‌we’re‌ ‌going‌ ‌to‌ ‌have‌ ‌a‌ ‌world‌ ‌that‌ ‌can‌ ‌give‌ ‌everyone‌ ‌a‌ ‌high‌ ‌quality‌ ‌of‌ ‌life‌ ‌without‌ ‌harming‌ ‌the‌ ‌natural‌ ‌world,‌ ‌then‌ ‌it’s‌ ‌important‌ ‌that‌ ‌we‌ ‌transition‌ ‌towards‌ ‌using‌ ‌our‌ ‌energy‌ ‌in‌ ‌the‌ ‌most‌ ‌efficient‌ ‌way‌ ‌possible.‌ ‌Though‌ ‌we‌ ‌don’t‌ ‌always‌ ‌think‌ ‌about‌ ‌where‌ ‌or‌ ‌how‌ ‌the‌ ‌energy‌ ‌we‌ ‌consume‌ ‌in‌ ‌our‌ ‌home‌ ‌was‌ ‌produced, if we did look into it, we’d see that the infrastructure that is serving the energy is outdated and inefficient. 

There have been moves to make energy-production and usage more efficient, which has given rise to smart grid technologies. This can help correct the issues faced by traditional energy production sources. Aside from helping consumers to get a better handle on their energy consumption, smart grids can also help to drastically reduce the number of greenhouse gases that are produced through energy production. 

The exciting thing about this technology is that it’s still in its infancy. The early signs are promising, and it’s likely that the benefits will be even wider ranging in the coming years, when the technology is perfected and more readily available. Every year, the value of the smart grid industry grows by some 8%. With plenty of benefits, there’s no surprise that this is an industry that is soon to be valued at around $400 billion. To learn more about smart technology and all the benefits it can bring, take a look at the infographic below. 


Infographic design by University of California University of California RIverside

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Tesla Motors Is Going To Dominate In The 2020s. Get Ready

Just a couple of years ago, short-sellers like Jim Chanos were announcing that it was the end of Tesla. There hadn’t been a new, successful car company in the US for nearly one hundred years. And there certainly wasn’t going to be one based on the laughable concept of electric vehicles. 

Now though, it is Tesla founder Elon Musk who is rubbing his hands together with glee, with the short-sellers running from their positions with their tails between their legs. The enigmatic entrepreneur seems to have pulled off the impossible: create a profitable car company that people love. 

Pixabay – CC0 License

The story of Tesla, however, doesn’t end with the company’s current $500-plus share price. Many analysts, including those who focus on disruptive change, think it could go to $5000 by the end of the 2020s, maybe more. 

Why is this? How can a “car company” increase in value so much over a decade? 

Elon Musk Holds All The Cards

The critical thing to understand about Tesla is that the company holds all the cards that it needs to create the most compelling automotive product that the world has ever seen. 

Consider first, the fact that Tesla makes all its own batteries. It’s not going to some third-party vendor who also sells cells to the rest of the automotive world. Instead, it makes them all itself, using proprietary technology that nobody else can access. It’s why the California-based firm can build cars that will drive more than 350 miles on a single charge while its competitors are struggling to get about 150. When it comes to batteries, it’s miles ahead of the game. 

Pixabay – CC0 License

Now consider the company’s over-the-air updates. Teslas are the only cars in the world that get BETTER the longer you own them. All Tesla needs to do is create a new software package that adds features and drivers can immediately feel the benefits.

These updates can be practically anything. Most of the time, they’re improved driving assist features, but nothing is stopping Tesla from adding entertainment options, voice control, and other stuff that adds to drivers’ quality of life. 

Tesla is also a monopoly. It sounds strange to say given how many car companies that there are in the world, but bear with me. The company is the only firm in the world, producing luxury electric vehicles for the western market at scale. Traditional automakers aren’t there yet. More importantly, Tesla is a transportation solutions firm, not a car company in the old-fashioned sense. It’s more akin to Uber or Lyft, but with manufacturing facilities to make its own vehicles. 

If you find that hard to swallow, your perceptions will change over the coming decades. The best Tesla trip planner app won’t be the traditional rideshare companies; it’ll be for the company’s electric vehicles. And these won’t have human pilots. Tesla will create software that allows its cars to drive themselves, collect passengers, and form part of a massive fleet of vehicles, providing low-cost rides across the world. 

This feature of Tesla’s business model is the real genius of their entire operation. If they can perfect autonomous taxi technology, they don’t need customers willing to put $60,000 down on a vehicle. Instead, they just need people willing to pay $5 for a ride across town. Tesla will then be in a race to get cars on the road. If customers want to rent out their Teslas to the public and to share an income with Tesla, they can do that. If they’re not willing to use their cars while they’re idle, then Tesla will sell cars to itself and create an in-house fleet. This group of vehicles will then serve the general public, just as Uber and Lyft do today, but at a much lower cost. 

Autonomy Is The Real Game-Changer

Autonomous technology is the real game-changer for Tesla. Forget the engineering, battery tech, and electric drivetrain – the thing that is really going to make the difference to the company’s business model over the next ten years is the rise of cars that drive themselves. Tesla will be able to use this technology to produce vehicles that have intrinsic value before it even sells them to customers. Each car, the company estimates, will be able to generate a lifetime revenue of $300,000 in today’s terms. For the first time in history, a company will sell a vehicle that adds to its customers’ wealth. 

Think for a second, too, about how this will change the lending side of the equation. In typical situations, a person has to work to recoup the money that they borrow when they purchase a vehicle. Firms providing loans take on substantial risk. They need to ensure that the borrower pays back the loan faster than their car is depreciating to make sure that they don’t lose money if they have to repossess. 

The same is not true of a Tesla of the future. A lender knows that the car will continue to generate money as it goes forward. Even if the borrower can’t pay, the lender can take back ownership of the vehicle and use it to make money. 

Pixabay – CC0 License

When you think about this fact, the economics of buying a Tesla starts to look a bit crazy. We could see a situation where people who hold capital buy as many Teslas as they can so they can benefit from the returns. Lenders could pay people to own Teslas, so long as they rent them out to the public. The possibilities are truly bizarre!

The Space Factor

The final part of the equation is Elon Musk’s other pet project: Spacex. SpaceX is going to become the biggest private company in the world over the next couple of decades, thanks to its Starlink effort. Global internet satellites will change communications across the globe. 

Tesla, however, will benefit from Spacex because vehicles will be able to get internet wherever they go on the planet, including rural locations. 

The electric car maker, therefore, is positioned to become the most valuable firm in the world — what a turnaround from a couple of years ago. 

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History of Hemp: A Comprehensive Look at the Past and Future

history of hemp cbd

It’s hard not to browse a feed, turn on the television, or read a magazine without coming across news about CBD. CBD is a powerful compound found in hemp. While hemp-based products are soaring with popularity, using them was taboo just a couple of years ago. For over a century, hemp was outlawed throughout the United States. Yet, this crop was a source of food, clothing, and medicine for our ancestors who settled in this country. So, what led to the prohibition on hemp and inevitably, the lifting of the ban? Here is a comprehensive look at the complicated history of hemp.

History of Hemp Origins

The hemp and human connection dates back as far as 8000 BCE. Archeologists recovered hemp cloths in regions associated with ancient Mesopotamia (present-day Iran and Iraq). Indigenous people used the durable hemp fibers to create textiles. Meanwhile, those who lived in present-day China and Taiwan used hemp seeds and oil for food sources and to make pottery.

While hemp flourished in the areas that we know today as Asia, the hardy plant can be grown in a variety of climates. As our ancestors migrated west, they brought hemp along with them. The plant was used by our ancestors to make shelter, sails, food, and eventually, medicine.

Hemp was held in such high regard that ancient texts, The Vedas, dubbed it one the five essential plants. Records indicate the herb was christened with the name, “sacred grass.”

Early civilians grew dependent on hemp. In fact, King Henry VIII of England fined farmers who didn’t cultivate the crop. It was imperative that our ancestors brought hemp along with them on their journey overseas. It was in the New World that the value of hemp would hit an all-time high and a near-fatal low.

History of Hemp in the New World

Hemp made its way to the New World in 1606. By 1616, the first settlement of Jamestown was established. The first line of action was to transform the fertile soils of modern Virginia into robust hemp farms. In 1632, the Virginia Assembly mandated that farmers grow hemp on the farms–a practice that would continue as our ancestors colonized New England throughout the 1700s.

The plant was of such importance that hemp was considered a legal form of tender in early settlements. Even the Declaration of Independence was drafted on hemp paper!

Throughout the 19th century, America continued to rely on this durable plant. Congress was as far as enacting a law in 1841 that required the Navy to purchase hemp from domestic farmers.

The hemp industry was booming, requiring innovations in technology such as the hemp decorticator. This machine would strip the fibers and stalks off the hemp plant, making manufacturing more efficient. It also revolutionized the way we handle agriculture to this day.

By 1850, hemp was listed in the United States Pharmacopeia. In this important historical text, they recorded the uses of hemp for everything from hysteria to gout to tetanus. It wasn’t long before hemp was included in many over-the-counter products. All of these practices would continue until 1937. That was when a century-long prohibition went into effect, almost erasing the history of hemp forever.

History of Hemp: The Path to Prohibition

At the beginning of the 20th century, the New World experienced a cultural shift. Settlers leaned toward more conservative values. In the early 1900s, the use of mind-altering substances was frowned upon. These outlooks led to the prohibition of alcohol. Simultaneously, these actions helped foster the growth of a stigma that would bleed over into the cannabis industry.

Our ancestors didn’t have the technology in the 1930s that we have today. They couldn’t distinguish that hemp was a plant species in the cannabis genus. No one had a way of differentiating between hemp and marijuana. People figured out that smoking a cannabis plant will sometimes create psychoactive effects. Early civilians didn’t know they were smoking marijuana, not hemp.

Around the time of a national cultural shift, California was undergoing a local one as well. During this era, there was political unrest in Mexico. Many Mexicans were migrating to the border, and they were smoking cannabis recreationally.

Playing on the nation’s fear of immoral behavior, and in an attempt to thwart the colonization of immigrants, California became the first state to lay a hefty tax on hemp items. They signed into law the Marihuana Act of 1937.

marihuana tax act

With cotton being sewn for textiles, twine being used for rope, and the rise of pharmaceuticals, growing hemp wasn’t worth the tax. Eventually, hemp production started to slow down. By 1957, the last commercial hemp field was planted in Wisconsin. In 1970, growing hemp became illegal.

Hemp Becomes Illegal

The Controlled Substance Act was drafted in 1970 as a replacement to the 1956 Narcotics Control Act that cracked down on drug arrests. Most notably, the Controlled Substance Act put drugs in tiers based on how dangerous they were to the community. Cannabis was declared a schedule 1 drug, making punishment comparable to those who possess heroin, LSD, and cocaine. This is perhaps one of the worst things to happen in the history of hemp.

Since cannabis landed on the list, that meant hemp was treated the same as marijuana. This ban would take place just as science and technology would hit an evolutionary boom. While scientists discovered CBD and THC in 1946, they didn’t realize how these chemical compounds potentially interacted with the body.

In 1964, scientists defined the molecular structures of both THC and CBD. It was in those moments that the differences between hemp and marijuana started to become clear. Dr. Raphael Mechoulam concluded that cannabis plants with high concentrations of THC caused psychoactive reactions.

Whereas, plants with low levels of THC seemed to have elevated amounts of CBD. Dr. Mechoulam noted CBD didn’t exhibit euphoric side effects but may have other benefits.

With advances in technology covering all of our ancestors’ uses of hemp, the plant wasn’t missed. Coupled with the War on Drugs and propaganda against cannabis, hemp was merely an afterthought until the end of the 20th century.

Industrial Hemp Movement Begins

In 1998, the very state that closed the door on hemp was the first to reopen it. California enacted a medical marijuana program. This gesture would open the door for hemp legalization a crack and therefore one of the best things to happen in the history of hemp. However, it would take almost 20 years to bust it down.

By 2012, several states enacted medical marijuana laws. With each passing state, education about cannabis became more available. People started to see firsthand that those using hemp-based products didn’t act high.

Simultaneously, the opioid crisis grew to epic proportions. The very products that were created to save people from cannabis were killing them. Desperate for an alternative, millions got behind the hemp movement. President Obama couldn’t ignore the demand and signed a 2014 Farm Bill that called for a pilot farming program.

Following the 2016 election, many perceptions of hemp changed. With medical marijuana becoming legal in over half of the nation, it became time to readdress how we categorize the two separate cannabis plants.

At the end of the 2018 calendar, a new Farm Bill entered Congress. With a hemp pen, Mitch McConnell lifted the federal ban on hemp cultivation. Thanks to the new Farm Bill, hemp was downgraded from a schedule 1 controlled substance to a schedule 5 under the Controlled Substances Act. Now, hemp-derived products are legal in all 50 states.

The Future of Hemp

Many companies are taking advantage of the ban lift on hemp and growing interest in CBD products from consumers. CBD products are popping up in everything from supplements to cosmetics to pet treats. Suffice to say; the sky is the limit for hemp.

While hemp is no longer criminalized, it is still under a watchful eye. The Justice Department no longer holds jurisdiction over hemp cultivation. It is now regulated by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). All hemp products must contain 0.3% THC or less. Otherwise, it will be classified as marijuana and you run the risk of breaking local laws.

Currently, CBD products are not regulated. However, the demand for hemp-based products continues to grow. That means stricter guidelines and transparency will be required of anyone attempting to sell hemp products in the near future. Until that day comes, you should buy products from reputable brands you can trust.

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What’s Stopping Robots From Taking Over The World? (Hint: Not Much)

It’s been a dream of humanity to develop a legion of mechanical slaves to do their bidding for generations. And to a large extent, that’s what we’ve done. The reason only about 2 percent of people work on farms is that machines do the work of the other 98 percent, burning vast amounts of energy in the process.

But when we talk about robots, we have something different in mind to combine harvesters. We’re talking about things that look and move like use: general purpose devices that will do our bidding, whatever that happens to be. A combine harvester might be great at scooping up corn, but it’s probably not all that great at making you a salad.

In this article, we’re going to look at some of the things that are stopping robots from being our personal assistants and when we can expect technological breakthroughs to make it possible.

Servos

Pixabay

You can think of servos as the equivalent of robot muscles. They’re little motors in robot joints that translate rotational energy into linear movement. The problem is that, compared to biology, they’re poor. Although they have a lot of strength, they use a lot of energy and don’t have the finesse or ability to spin up and down quickly enough to provide robots with real-world balance.

Improvements in software and panel design, however, is changing the status quo. Servos will likely never be as good as muscle tissue, but as companies like Boston Dynamics are making increasingly clear, they are improving. Servos have now advanced to the point where they can provide stabilization for bi-pedal robots, something that looked hopeless just a few years ago.

Brains

Wikipedia

Google has a room at an undisclosed facility where it is testing robot arms. All of the arms are lined up in a row, attempting to grab objects in boxes in front of them in slightly different ways. Most of the time they fail, but when they succeed, they update smart software which integrates how the arm did it into its software so that it knows what to do next time.

There are, naturally, a lot of failed attempts. But every so often, one of the arms succeeds in picking up one of the irregularly shaped objects and depositing it into a nearby container. When this happens, the instructions that led to that success are shared with all of the other robots, improving their picking ability.

Google will be the first to admit that the technology has a long way to go. But in under a decade, we’re like to see robots like this on production lines and in fulfillment centers picking things up and depositing them elsewhere, so human workers don’t have to.

Pliable Materials

The trick to life-like robots is to create artificial muscles that behave like their natural counterparts. Researchers have already built synthetic muscle in the lab which contracts when an electrical current is passed through it. Once this technology matures, it will help some robots more naturally mimic the movements of people – movements that we’ve evolved to inhabit planet Earth.

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