Interesting story about the Johnsons, Cabe! I agree that the lifestyle isn't very appealing, even if it's admirable that some people can do it. Living here in Portugal and being a surfer, I have learned to reduce certain kinds of waste (single-use plastic, for example) because I see the effects first hand on the natural environment and the ocean. But to reduce waste to zero would be really hard and a full-time job. Good to try, though...and if companies can start reusing and recycling energy and then making this available to us through electronics and alternative electricity options (here in Portugal, a good bit of energy on the grid is from wind turbines), then it's a good place to start without being too painful for the end user.
Ha, Cabe, yes, I do live most people's holidays, but it isn't all easy...as you can see, I do work a bit. :) But it is a lovely lifestyle and place.
So I exaggerated a bit about the amount of electricity coming from wind here ...but there is still a lot going on here. In this NYTimes article, it says the country is aiming for 60 percent of electricity to come from wind by 2020...and 31 percent of energy overall. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/10/science/earth/10portugal.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0
It's a small country but that still is pretty good! The wind turbines in that photo are just down the road from me. There is a fair amount of solar work being done as well. Not bad for a country that in many other ways is quite behind the times! (I have lived here for three years...believe me, I know!)
Spain has boasted a 100% renewable energy sourcing, but at the detriment of their economy. It still needs subsidizing heavily to compete with the low cost of conventional sources. It's a tough world for energy production.
I did not know that about Spain...but funny, I did pass a large solar array when I was driving from Spain last week back to Portugal with some friends...so I guess that makes sense! But yes, I suppose financing is tricky. Portugal's economy is in the gutter as well. There are opportunities here for many people, however, to be off grid with their own solar power and wind turbines, and I know a few people who manage it successfully. This takes the load off the larger electricity grid.
Robots that walk have come a long way from simple barebones walking machines or pairs of legs without an upper body and head. Much of the research these days focuses on making more humanoid robots. But they are not all created equal.
The IEEE Computer Society has named the top 10 trends for 2014. You can expect the convergence of cloud computing and mobile devices, advances in health care data and devices, as well as privacy issues in social media to make the headlines. And 3D printing came out of nowhere to make a big splash.
For industrial control applications, or even a simple assembly line, that machine can go almost 24/7 without a break. But what happens when the task is a little more complex? That’s where the “smart” machine would come in. The smart machine is one that has some simple (or complex in some cases) processing capability to be able to adapt to changing conditions. Such machines are suited for a host of applications, including automotive, aerospace, defense, medical, computers and electronics, telecommunications, consumer goods, and so on. This discussion will examine what’s possible with smart machines, and what tradeoffs need to be made to implement such a solution.