A day without coal-generated power in Britain

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April 21 was the first full day of coal-free power in Britain in 135 years. About half of the energy used that day came from natural gas, while the rest of the power was provided by nuclear, imported, and renewable energy sources. In fact, half of the power in the U.K. on a day-to-day basis now comes from renewables and nuclear. https://futurism.com/britain-goes-24-hours-without-coal-generated-power-for-the-first-time-in-135-years/

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A ban on alcohol supported by women

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Village women are enforcing a new prohibition law in Bihar, one of India’s poorest, most agrarian states. Since the law was introduced the crime rate has fallen sharply, brick houses are starting to be built instead of the usual mud huts and spending on things like motorbikes and appliances has risen significantly. https://mobile.nytimes.com/2017/04/15/world/asia/india-bihar-alcohol-ban-women.html?

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A laundromat for the homeless provided by the Pope

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Pope Francis has opened a new laundromat for the homeless to wash and dry their clothing. The laundromat, near the Vatican, has six washing machines and dryers donated by Whirlpool. It will remain open four days a week and services are free. http://bigstory.ap.org/article/1f6c5814a3df4dc29534fd85ca83e6e5/pope-francis-opens-free-laundromat-homeless

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School desks from recycled cardboard boxes

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Aarambh is using discarded cardboard waste to create school bags which unpack into small desks — designed to improve the posture of children who are used to sitting and writing on the floor. https://www.springwise.com/india-cardboard-boxes-create-school-bags-transform-desks/

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Fly by tiny plane instead of drive

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The obvious choice now for a trip of less than 500 km might be to drive. But what if you could show up at an airport, bypass security checkpoints, board a small hybrid-electric plane with luggage in hand, and be on the ground at your destination in about an hour — all for $25 each way? A company called Zunum Aero hopes to make that a reality, so you won’t think twice about flying on regional trips. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/innovations/wp/2017/04/08/why-tiny-electric-planes-and-25-tickets-could-be-the-future-of-air-travel/?

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A flight past the edge of space

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In the next few years Blue Origin plans to begin flying tourists past the edge of space, 62 miles or 100 km high, where for about four minutes you’ll experience the thrill of weightlessness and view the curvature of the Earth. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-switch/wp/2017/04/05/jeff-bezos-shows-off-the-crew-capsule-that-could-soon-take-tourists-to-space/?

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Veggies reduce your stress levels

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New findings in Australia are consistent with numerous cross sectional and longitudinal studies showing that fruit and vegetables, together and separately, are linked with a lower risk of depression and higher levels of well-being assessed by several measures of mental health. http://sydney.edu.au/news-opinion/news/2017/03/16/some-veggies-each-day-keeps-the-stress-blues-away.html?cid=em_se-apr-2017

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Headphones that measure brain activity and train you to concentrate

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Using advanced machine learning, Mindset measures your concentration level in real time, tracking your changes throughout the day. You can use it to schedule deep work sessions and, during these sessions, Mindset can alert you whenever you get distracted, so you can return to task immediately. https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/mindset/headphones

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A recycled plastic road

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Volkerwessels say that their plastic road has a lightweight design, a fraction of the construction time, is virtually maintenance free, and has three times the expected lifespan. It consists of 100% recycled material which makes it a sustainable alternative to conventional road structures. https://en.volkerwessels.com/en/projects/detail/plasticroad

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Free fast wifi on Qantas domestic flights

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Qantas is planning to roll out free wifi across 80 of its domestic aircraft from mid 2017 at speeds up to 10 times faster than US airlines offer. http://www.afr.com/business/telecommunications/qantas-to-roll-out-wifi-on-domestic-flights-from-midyear-20170223-guk8vy

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More effective sales

More effective sales

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A hotel with no front desk

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Philadelphia’s Old City is now home to a new style of hotel that seeks to erase the barriers between visitors and their destination with “invisible” service hospitality. https://www.springwise.com/boutique-hotel-opens-no-front-desk-invisible-service/?

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A TV that attaches to your wall

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The new LG SIGNATURE OLED TV W features a “Wallpaper” design so thin and light that it attaches to your wall. It’s also the first TV of its kind to bring both Dolby Vision™ and Dolby Atmos® together. http://www.lg.com/us/tvs/lg-OLED77W7P-oled-4k-tv

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Biodegradable bags that reduce plastic waste

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Evigreen bags are organic, made of ingredients such as bananas, flower oil, tapioca and corn. Left alone, they decompose in about three months. Using water, they can be disposed of in a day or even seconds if using boiling water. http://envigreen.in/

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A new way to find gold

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Compared to existing gold analysis methods which can takes days to get a result, the PhotonAssay delivers accurate results in just a few minutes without generating the toxic waste products which have been problematic in other analysis systems. This new method comes from Australia which is still a major gold producer following the gold rushes of the 1800’s. https://blog.csiro.au/finding-gold-rush/

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A social credit score

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Description: China plans to implement a system that collects financial, social, political, and legal credit ratings of citizens into a social credit score. It will then determine if a citizen can use certain services based on his or her social credit rating. https://futurism.com/chinas-new-social-credit-score-brings-dystopian-science-fiction-to-life/ This type of score is already being used by a matchmaking service in China. http://www.ideaspies.com/a-matchmaking-service-that-allows-you-to-display-your-social-credit-score/ It reflects the increasing importance of trust in dealing with people in a digital economy.

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Smart electricity generating windows

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Description: New smart windows are not only able to toggle transparency but also store electricity to power other devices. http://futurism.us8.list-manage.com/track/click?u=aa1f459b1dc368b292f0587f2&id=4f7d75fa1c&e=f83dccadb5

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Using VR for property inspections

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Description: Virtual reality has now become available for open inspections. Instead of running across town to view potential properties, either to purchase or rent, this time-consuming process can now happen in one place in just a matter of minutes. The new Realestate virtual reality app lets you move through spaces and see details like never before. http://www.realestate.com.au/vr/

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A horse welfare fund

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Description: One percent of all NSW prize money will be redirected into establishing a Horse Welfare Fund, an Australian first. Racing faces a new challenge with welfare of racing animals brought to the forefront of public opinion after the state government almost decided to close down the greyhound industry in July next year with “wastage” one of their principle reasons. NSW Racing is being proactive in looking after horses, including those that don’t make the racecourse. http://www.racenet.com.au/news/126368/Australian-first-–-NSW-to-establish-horse-welfare-fund

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