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The Effect Of Climate Change On Coffee And Bees May Compound

effect of climate change

Not to get all Nicholas Cage in Wicker Man here, BEEEEEEEESSSS!!! We need our bees. Big fluffy bumbly ones, the less fluffy honey ones, the ones that are actually just a bear in a bee costume. We need them all. They pollinate our plants—like, say, our coffee trees—and help make sure we can survive on this little rock floating through space.

And like with the coffee trees themselves, climate change is endangering the bees. That may not be particularly revelatory information, but a new study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences states that climate change will affect these two things—coffee trees and bees—differently and that it may have a compound effect on coffee production.

Bees play a pretty significant role in coffee production. Taylor Ricketts, the director of the University of Vermont’s Gund Institute for Environment, tells NPR that bees are responsible for 20-25% of coffee produced by increasing the total yield via pollination. And though Arabica coffee is capable of self-pollinating, Ricketts points out that bees even “increase the quality of the beans by making their size more uniform.”

But climate change isn’t going to affect bees and coffee trees uniformly. That is to say, as temperatures rise, arable coffee lands are going to shift—possibly moving out of the Coffee Belt entirely—and this study suggests that global warming “could reduce the amount of ground usable to grow coffee in Latin America by up to 88 percent.” But the bees may not be shifting in the same way. “For example, a bee that is at the very edge of its heat tolerance won’t follow coffee into warmer areas.”

Using computer modeling, researchers predict that most coffee growing areas will experience a decrease in the number of bee species, though they do note that around 16% will see an increase.

Or to put it more succinctly, Ricketts states, “We’re going to lose a lot and not gain too much.”

Image and Article Source: sprudge.com

Apple silently kills off some colors for iPhone, iPad & Apple Watch accessories

A variety of colors for official Apple accessories are reportedly vanishing from the company’s online and retail stores, suggesting that it’s phasing out some options, and/or allowing stocks to deplete before new devices arrive this fall.

iphone

In Japan, nine iPhone 7 cases, 18 iPad cases, and 13 iPad Smart Covers have disappearedMacotakarasaid on Friday. Also gone are a number of Apple Watch options, include 12 sport bands, seven nylon bands, and some Nike and Hermes accessories.

The situation is less severe in countries like the U.S. and the U.K., but may still be indicative of a global trend.

Apple often scales back the color options for older accessories as new devices launch, choosing to shift focus. It’s also possible however that some colors won’t return in a new form if Apple considers them unprofitable.

The company is expected to launch at least four new devices this fall, led by the “iPhone 8”“iPhone 7s,”and “iPhone 7s Plus.” The fourth is a third-generation Apple Watch with LTE.

Apple released updated iPads earlier this year, and indeed some of the accessories gone in Japan were for the 9.7-inch iPad Pro and iPad mini 4. Three of them, however, were Smart Covers for this year’s 10.5-inch Pro.

Source: appleinsider.com

 

3D Simulations Show How Galactic Centers Cool Off

magnetic kink

The most extreme outbursts in the universe are the mysterious jets of energy and matter beaming from the center of galaxies at close to the speed of light. The narrow jets typically form in opposing pairs, and they are associated with supermassive black holes and other exotic objects. The mechanisms that drive and dissipate the jets are not understood.

A team of researchers has developed theories supported by 3D simulations to explain what’s at work.

“These jets are notoriously hard to explain,” said Alexander “Sasha” Tchekhovskoy, a former NASA Einstein fellow who co-led the new study as a member of the Nuclear Science Division at the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab), and the Astronomy and Physics departments and Theoretical Astrophysics Center at UC Berkeley. “Why are they so stable in some galaxies and in others they just fall apart?”

This rendering illustrates magnetic kink instability in simulated jets beaming from a galaxy’s center. The jets are believed to be associated with supermassive black holes. The magnetic field line (white) in each jet is twisted as the central object (black hole) rotates. As the jets contact higher-density matter the magnetic fields build up and become unstable. The irregular bends and asymmetries of the magnetic field lines are symptomatic of kink instability. The instability dissipates the magnetic fields into heat with the change in density, leading them to become less tightly wound. (Berkeley Lab, Purdue University, NASA)

Almost half the jets’ energy escapes in the form of X-rays and stronger forms of radiation. The researchers showed how two different mechanisms that are both related to the jets’ interaction with surrounding matter, also known as “ambient medium” and serve to reduce half of the energy of the powerful jets.

“The exciting part of this research is that we are now coming to understand the full range of dissipation mechanisms that are working in the jet no matter the size or type of jet,” he said.

Tchekhovskoy co-led the study with Purdue University scientists Rodolfo Barniol Duran and Dimitrios Giannios. They concluded that the ambient medium itself has a lot to do with how the jets release energy.

“We were finally able to simulate jets that start from the black hole and propagate to very large distances—where they bump into the ambient medium,” said Duran.

Tchekhovskoy has studied these jets for over a decade. He said that an effect known as magnetic kink instability causes a bend in the direction of some jets. This along with another effect that triggers a series of shocks within other jets appear to be the primary mechanisms for energy release. The density of ambient medium that the jets encounter serves as the key trigger for the types of the release mechanism.

“For a long time, we have speculated that shocks and instabilities trigger the spectacular light displays from jets. Now these ideas and models can be cast on a much firmer theoretical ground,” said Giannios, assistant professor of physics and astronomy at Purdue.

The length and intensity of the jets can illuminate the properties of their associated black holes like their age and size and if they are actively “feeding” on surrounding matter. The longest jets extend for millions of light years into space.

“When we look at black holes, the first things we notice are the central streaks of these jets. You can make images of these streaks and measure their lengths, widths and speeds to get information from the very center of the black hole,” Tchekhovskoy noted. “Black holes tend to eat in binges of tens and hundreds of millions of years. These jets are like the ‘burps’ of black holes—they are determined by the black holes’ diet and frequency of feeding.”

Nothing can escape a black hole’s interior, but jets manage to draw their energy from the black hole. In the black holes, the laws of physics allow them to spew energy and matter even when they suck in surrounding matter.

The friction and heating of gases spiraling in toward the black hole cause extreme temperatures and compression in magnetic fields. This results in energetic backlash and an outflow of radiation that escapes the black hole’s pull.

Earlier studies have shown how magnetic instabilities in the jets can occur when jets run into the ambient medium. A jet experiencing the instability can change direction when it rams into matter outside the black hole’s reach.

The same instability frustrated scientists working on early machines attempting to create and harness a superhot, charged state of matter known as plasma in efforts to develop fusion energy that powers the sun. The space jets, also known as active galactic nuclei (AGN) jets, are a form of plasma.

The latest study found that if an earlier jet had “pre-drilled” a hole in the ambient medium surrounding a black hole and the matter impacted by the newly formed jet was less dense, a different process is at work in the form of “recollimation” shocks.

These shocks, formed as matter and energy in the jet, bounce off the sides of the hole. The jet loses energy with every shock and immediately reforms a narrow column until its energy dissipates to the point that the beam loses its tight focus and spills out into a broad area.

“With these shocks, the jet is like a phoenix. It comes out of the shock every time,” though with gradually lessening energy, Tchekhovskoy said. “This train of shocks cumulatively can dissipate quite a substantial amount of the total energy.”

The researchers designed the models to smash against different densities of matter in the ambient medium to create instabilities in the jet that mimic astrophysical observations.

New, higher-resolution images of areas in space where supermassive black holes are thought to exist—from the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT), for example—should help inform and improve models and theories that explain jet behavior. Future studies could also include more complexity in the jet models, like a longer sequence of shocks.

“It would be really interesting to include gravity into these models, and to see the dynamics of buoyant cavities that the jet fills up with hot magnetized plasma as it drills a hole in the ambient medium,” Tchekhovskoy said. “Seeing deeper into where the jets come from—we think the jets start at the black hole’s event horizon (a point of no return for matter entering the black hole)—would be really helpful to see in nature these ‘bounces’ in repeating shocks, for example. The EHT could resolve this structure and provide a nice test of our work.”

A paper on this study was published in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.

Source: Electronics360

iPhone 7 Plus and iPhone 8 – All Things You Need to Know

The latest batch of dummy “iPhone 8” and “iPhone 7 Plus” series phones have apparently made their way out of China, as a pair of videos on Wednesday offer hands-on looks at what appears to be identical device mockups.

In a first video, YouTube creator Danny Winget got his hands on what he claims to be an “iPhone 7s Plus” prototype (dummy phone), though the part is almost assuredly a mockup based on leaked CAD renderings and rumors.

Like alleged “iPhone 7s” and “7s Plus” dummy units photographed earlier today, the mockups in Winget’s video are emblazoned with “Conformité Européenne” (CE) and battery disposal iconography. Apple digitized regulatory markings with iPhone 7 in the U.S. and moved the icons to the “About” section in Settings, leaving only the “iPhone” logo above small text reading “Designed in California Assembled in China” and information regarding model number, FCC identifier and IC code. International models incorporate regulatory marks, but are much longer than simply “CE.”

While the dummy unit is probably a knock-off, its design could be based on legitimate schematics. Apple suppliers in China have been known to leak sensitive data, including final design molds, documents and internal components.

As seen below, the “iPhone 7s Plus” dummy unit is expectedly similar to current iPhone 7 Plus hardware in terms of component positioning, bezel design and dimensions. The only obvious difference is a glass back, which appears to sport thinner antenna lines than existing iPhone models. Apple is anticipated to employ a glass chassis in all 2017 iPhone models to facilitate wireless charging.

Winget goes on to compare the “7s Plus” against a supposed “iPhone 8” unit, illustrating the extreme deviation in display size and obvious aesthetic differences. While the “7s Plus” model boasts Apple’s normal thick “chin” and “forehead” bezels, the “iPhone 8” bezels are almost nonexistent.

Notably, Winget’s “iPhone 8” sports white bezels, contradicting recent reports that Apple intends to limitfront face color options to black when the device launches. Whether the company plans to release a version with white bezels, as is available on certain iPhone configurations, is unclear.

A second video from Techtastic, also posted today, reveals what appears to be an “iPhone 8” chassis and front screen assembly. Both the chassis and front face are done in black, consistent with recent rumors.

Not much can be gleaned from the video, but it does give a sense of what the device might look like in a user’s hand.

Closer inspection of Winget’s mockup and the Techtastic unit shows both dummy models are identical to parts featured in today’s image from leaker Sonny Dickson. Further, a separate “leak” on Wednesday featured a gold copper colored “iPhone 8” showing the same “CE” and battery disposal indicia. Considering the timing and apparently identical markings, each of the components seen today seem to originate from a single source.

Apple is expected to debut “iPhone 8” alongside incremental changes to the iPhone 7 series at a special event in September. The new flagship smartphone is thought to include new and exotic technologies never before seen in Apple’s product line. A number of these features, including facial recognition, 3D-sensing cameras, a home button-less display, high-definition video recording, “SmartCam” photo and video capture, and more, have been all but confirmed by Apple’s inadvertent release of HomePod firmware late last month.

Source: Appleinsider.com

Rendering Now Used by Law Enforcement to Solve Plane Crash Investigation

FARO Laser Scanner Render

Investigators will be able to view the entire scene of a recent fatal plane crash on Interstate 15 in extreme detail from any angle they want because of the high-tech equipment used to document the scene.

The FARO X330 uses lasers and a camera to construct any scene around it, resulting in a high-definition 3D map.

Sgt. Randall Akers, the accident investigation program manager for the Utah Highway Patrol, said the department bought seven of the scanners in 2014 and each cost about $40,000.

Akers said the machine takes multiple scans to document a typical crime scene and each scan takes between 4 and 12 minutes.

“Like any laser measurement device it shoots out a beam and gets a return to measure distance,” he said. “It does it in 360 degrees — in a circle.”

Akers said the scanner is particularly useful when it comes to plane crashes because law enforcement responding to the scene aren’t experts in that field. Using the FARO, they can get a true to life 3D rendering of everything — from cars on the side of the road to miniature pieces of debris — and send it off to qualified investigators.

The FARO is about the size of an XBox console and is weather resistant. The data it collects is analyzed with a program called SCENE.

Utah Highway Patrol Sgt. Todd Royce said the machines have been used at major crashes and some crime scenes, and Akers estimated they’re in use about once a week.

Akers said they use the FARO even at small crime scenes because, for instance, sometimes just using a single laser point to measure where a gun sits in a crime scene leaves crucial evidence behind.

“What if there happened to be some element to the handgun that didn’t get captured in a picture or something else?” he said. “Whatever that was, it’s gone.”

Akers said he was initially hoping the FARO would speed up crime scene analysis times to — in the case of the plane crash — speed up road opening times. He said that hasn’t turned out to be the case because of the multiple scans required and time it takes to set up scene markers for easier analysis, but they’re still incredibly useful.

The FARO scanner has other applications aside from accident reconstruction which includes industrial inspections, reverse engineering, and robot calibration, according to the FARO website.

Royce said the FARO renderings will be used by the highway patrol and the State Bureau of Investigation and handed off to the Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board if requested.

Source: standard.net

African Coffee On The Rise Thanks To Specialty Coffee

african coffees

Preaching the gospel of specialty coffee can often feel like an uphill climb. You can have a beautiful floral Yirgacheffe or a Kenya that just tastes like pomegranate juice that just don’t seem to move because customers favor the comfort and familiarity of a more straightforward Central American profile. It can be frustrating to say the least. But have heart, SCW (specialty coffee warrior), a new article in Grub Street states that thanks to third-wave coffee shops, demand for African coffees is increasing and it is a boon for farmers.

The 70s were the last hay day for coffees coming from Africa; Ethiopia, Uganda, Angola, and the Ivory Coast were all top-ten countries in terms of coffee production. But in the last 40 years, numbers have dropped pretty significantly. As a continent, Africa’s total coffee exports have dropped by 25%, and only Ethiopia and Uganda remain the in top ten.

But the tide is turning. Since 2003, Africa’s global coffee yearly coffee exports have increased by 35 millions bags, from 95 million to 130 million. Leading the charge in this growth is the Yirgacheffe region of Ethiopia, but the article notes that Rwanda, Kenya, Burundi, and the Congo are also seeing increases in demand. This increase is crucial, as a Bloomberg article notes that coffee farming in Africa is facing a handful of threats: young would-be farmers are pursuing more profitable careers (the average age of a coffee farmer in Africa is 60), some farms are replacing coffee with subsistence crops, and even more still are choosing to sell their land entirely.

Nonetheless, demand for African coffees is trending upward, and that is thanks in no small part to the growing popularity of specialty coffee. So keep up the good work. Though it may not always seem like it, people are coming around.

Zac Cadwalader is the news editor at Sprudge Media Network.

An earlier version of this article stated African coffee exports had reached 130 million bags per year. This statistic refers to all global coffee exports. 

Source: Sprudge.com