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Tel Aviv pilots ‘electric road’ in attempt to charge public busses on the fly

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Tel Aviv has launched a pilot project using under-road electric infrastructure to charge public buses. Vehicles are charged dynamically as they travel along the route.

​In partnership with electric road systems company ElectReon and Dan Bus Company, the trial will run on 600 metres of electrified road along a two-kilometre route between Tel Aviv University Railway Station and Klatzkin Terminal in Ramat Aviv.

The technology uses copper coils embedded under roads and connected to the electricity grid, along with receivers installed under vehicles.

Following the completion of tests and integration of the technology – expected to take around two months – a Dan Bus Company electric bus will commence regular journeys on the route, serving passengers travelling to Tel Aviv University.

The city will evaluate the possibility of expanding the technology to more locations and for additional electric transportation, including public transit, distribution trucks, and private and autonomous vehicles.

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Air quality

The pilot is part of the municipality’s drive to boost electric vehicles and improve air quality. At scale, it could also reduce the need for charging stations and petrol stations.

Meital Lehavi, Deputy Mayor for Transportation at Tel Aviv-Yafo Municipality, said: “Transforming a road into an electrified surface and a means for charging, through advanced and effective infrastructure, will enable the acceleration of the transition to electric buses. Relying on direct charging of vehicles from the road itself will remove the need to establish charging stations or be operationally bound to terminals.

“Electric transportation will assist municipal efforts to reduce air pollution and noise, and assist the transition to green modes of transport, which will contribute to improving the quality of life and the environment for residents and visitors to the city. We have no doubt that, if the wide-scale experiment is successful, it will not only benefit the public, but also save resources, improve the operational efficiency of public transportation, and maybe even a new world-class method of electrification will emanate from Tel Aviv-Yafo. This is another milestone in advancing municipal policy on sustainable transportation.”

Window to the world

Oren Ezer, ElectReon CEO and founding partner, said: “This is a very important step in the implementation of electric road technology, and we are delighted that the first electrified public route is being established in Tel Aviv.Tel Aviv is understood to be the first city worldwide to roll out the technology to charge buses on a wide scale.

Electric road construction. [Image: Tel Aviv-Yafo Municipality]

“The pilot will be a display window to the world, showcasing the ability to charge urban public transportation.”

The company is also running a project in Sweden to charge heavy trucks on an intercity road. A forthcoming initiative in Karlsruhe will power a bus line connecting utility company EnBW’s new training centre in the city’s Rhine harbour to the local public transport system.

ElectReon recently announced the successful completion of a trial in which an electric vehicle travelled continuously along a 25-metre section within its experimental complex in Beit Yanai, Israel.


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Published October 16, 2020 — 09:00 UTC

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Chrome OS may finally be getting a dark mode

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Chrome OS may finally be getting a dark mode, but so far it’s only been spotted in its experimental Canary channel, Android Central reported.

Before you go tinkering with Canary just be advised: Canary is Google’s “bleeding edge” Chrome OS path, which receives daily updates of features before they’ve been widely tested. It can only be accessed from Chromebooks switched into a special developer mode (not to be confused with the Chrome OS Developer channel). Google warns that Canary can be “unstable.”

But at the moment, to activate dark mode on your Chromebook, you need to have the Canary channel installed. Once you’ve done that, Android Central says you just open Chrome and type in chrome://flags/#enable-force-dark and chrome://flags/#enable-webui-dark-mode into the URL bar. I should note I tried this on my older Chromebook and wasn’t able to get it to work. But here’s the view Android Police captured:

A look at the experimental Chrome OS dark mode
Android Police

Android Central says the dark mode has some bugs, but notes it seems to apply across the UI, not just as darker backgrounds.

Google has rolled out dark mode versions for its Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Fit, and its mobile app over the last several months. Both iOS and Android both began supporting dark mode at the system level last year.

We reached out to Google to see if there are plans to roll out dark mode in Chrome OS to all users, and will update if we hear back.

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The science of why lockdown barely affected global temperatures

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Countries across the world took unprecedented action in the first few months of 2020 to control the spread of COVID-19. At its peak, one-third of the world’s population was in lockdown. Around the world, car travel fell by 50%, the number of flights plummeted by 75% and industrial activity fell by around 35%.

With so many cars parked, aeroplanes grounded and factories closed, global carbon dioxide (CO₂) emissions fell by around 17% compared with the same period in 2019. But greenhouse gases such as CO₂ weren’t the only emissions to fall, and not all pollution heats the planet. Some of the industrial activities that shut down – particularly heavy industry, including steel and cement making – also produced aerosols, which are tiny particles that linger in the atmosphere for weeks and reflect heat from the Sun.

Previous studies have suggested that if a lot of these industrial processes were to suddenly shut down, it would lead to short-term warming because the atmosphere would lose the reflective effect of aerosols. But as the lockdown cleared skies, temperatures didn’t rocket.

[Read: What audience intelligence data tells us about the 2020 US presidential election]

In new research, we show that lockdown had a negligible effect on global temperatures. So what really happened?

Climate and chemistry

Sulphur dioxide (SO₂) gas is mainly produced in industrial processes that burn coal. In the atmosphere, it reacts to form white sulphate aerosols. These particles offset some of the heating caused by greenhouse gases such as CO₂ by reflecting sunlight back into space, in a process known as global dimming. If SO₂ were the only pollutant whose emissions fell, we would expect Earth’s temperature to increase.

Soot, otherwise known as black carbon, is also made when burning dirty fuels, and emitted in large quantities from older cars. Since soot is black, it absorbs sunlight and heats the atmosphere. Cars and aeroplanes also emit lots of nitrogen oxides (NOₓ), gases that make ozone in the lower atmosphere where it acts as a greenhouse gas that warms the planet. Satellite images in March and April showed huge reductions in NOₓ over Europe as national lockdowns came into force.

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The different gases and aerosols we emit either contribute to global heating or global dimming. So determining how lockdown affected global temperatures is a matter of finding out which effect dominated.

We ran a series of computer model simulations of the atmosphere during lockdown, versus what we would have expected if the pandemic had never happened. We fed into the model the best estimates of how much emissions of SO₂, black carbon and NOₓ fell from industry, transport and aircraft for the period between mid-February and mid-June.

Our model simulations showed that reductions of these different pollutants only had a small and temporary influence on the climate, overall, in part due to their opposing effects. This may sound like a dull conclusion, but it has important lessons.

Which sectors were affected most was hugely important. The largest emissions reductions were in transport, where NOₓ and black carbon emissions are particularly high. This largely offset any heating that would otherwise have occurred from the drop in SO₂ caused by the slowdown in heavy industry.

The global average temperature saw little change, but there were regional variations. For example, the Middle East was cooler since less black carbon in the air meant the highly reflective desert sand could send more solar energy back out to space. Other regions, such as eastern China, saw more heating overall, as they had some of the largest reductions in industrial SO₂ emissions. These differences in heating patterns could affect weather systems, such as monsoon cycles.

What we’ve described here are model simulations – they’re not perfect, but they’re our best method for investigating global atmospheric changes. Simulating the effects of all these different pollutants is difficult. In fact, the struggle to simulate how aerosols affect the climate is one reason we cannot predict exactly how hot the climate will get.

The lockdown offered an invaluable test for our theories about how pollutants affect the climate. From this, we’ll be able to improve our models and make better predictions. We’ll also know better how to plan a strategy that reduces emissions from different sectors without inviting a sudden and sharp increase in global heating.

The post-pandemic climate

The long-term effects of the pandemic on our climate will be determined more by what happens to long-lived greenhouse gases, such as CO₂ and methane. These remain in the atmosphere for centuries and decades respectively, compared to a few days to weeks for NOₓ, SO₂ and black carbon. CO₂ emissions dropped during lockdown, but not enough to stop levels in the atmosphere growing. Global heating won’t stop until emissions reach zero.

It may seem daunting that the near shutdown of society didn’t cause a big enough reduction in emissions to stop climate change. But this just shows the limits of doing less of the stuff we normally do, instead of changing how our economies and infrastructure are powered. While lockdown measures have brought temporary reductions in emissions, there are better ways of doing this that cause less harm to society and people.

Only a decisive shift from fossil fuels will stabilize global temperatures. That’s why the decisions governments take to revive economic growth after COVID-19 will be pivotal. The 2008 financial crisis caused a similar slowdown, but emissions soon rebounded as a direct result of economic rescue packages which invested heavily in fossil fuels. We cannot afford to make the same mistake again.The Conversation

This article is republished from The Conversation by Scott Archer-Nicholls, Postdoctoral Research Associate in Atmospheric Science, University of Cambridge and James Weber, PhD Candidate in Atmospheric Chemistry, Pembroke College, University of Cambridge under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

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PayPal cuts ties with domain registrar Epik over digital currency

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PayPal has terminated the account of domain registrar and web hosting company Epik for violating its “risk controls,” prompting angry letters and blog posts from Epik alleging conservative bias was to blame, Mashable reported.

Seattle-based Epik is perhaps best known for its support of right-wing social media site Gab. The site was banned by its hosting company, domain registrar, and PayPal in 2018, after it was discovered that the alleged shooter at a Pittsburgh synagogue had written anti-Semitic tirades on Gab. In a 2018 blog post, Epik CEO Robert Monster criticized what he called the “digital censorship” by other sites.

According to Mashable, the issue that got Epik kicked off PayPal has to do with Epik’s digital “alternative currency” Masterbucks. It can be used to buy Epik products or converted into US dollars, and Mashable reports Epik did not take proper legal steps to run the digital currency.

But in an open letter to PayPal employees dated October 19th and posted to Epik’s blog, Epik senior vice president for strategy and communications Robert Davis said PayPal’s actions amounted to “abuse of power and overreach by a de facto monopoly,” and questioned the timing of PayPal’s decision.

“It would appear that in a direct effort to silence conservative voices, PayPal has terminated our payment services— just two weeks before a Presidential election,” Davis writes in the post, echoing a common— but thoroughly debunked— complaint about online anti-conservative bias.

Epik did not immediately reply to a request for comment Sunday.

In a six-page letter to PayPal CEO Dan Schulman dated October 13th, Davis writes that Epik “has zero tolerance toward racism, believes itself to be a force for good in the fight against inequality,” before launching into a litany of bizarre and seemingly unrelated complaints about Hollywood, Hunter Biden, the Democratic Party, and the Southern Poverty Law Center. Davis also asserted that Epik “has been targeted and past labeled in horrifically unfair ways that did not reflect either its actions or its core beliefs.”

A PayPal spokesperson said in a statement emailed to The Verge on Sunday that “PayPal has sophisticated risk controls in place to alert our teams to potentially violative activity occurring on our platforms. The company independently reviews each matter and bases its decisions on the management of risk and compliance with our long-standing User Agreement.”

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