Economists expect international shipping to enjoy a particularly brisk year. Throughout 2022, cargo ships will get outfitted with various wind-powered devices, including sails, kites, wings, and tubes. Nearly two dozen innovative projects are now under development by shipping corporations to reduce emissions from shipping cargo by sea.
A high-flying kite by Airseas, a French venture created by ex-Airbus aeronautical experts, was the first to arrive on the scene. Airseas will use its Seawing automated technology on a cargo vessel for the first time later this month.
The 5,400-square-foot parafoil will get hoisted by the Ville de Bordeaux vessel throughout a six-month ocean testing period. Transporting airplane parts back and forth between France and America, Airbus requested the kite for its ship.
Airseas’ general counsel, Stéphanie Lesage, told Canary Media that the deal marked “a significant achievement and the start of a voyage for us.”
Seawing was put across the front of the ship in December by Airseas. Switching on an automatic unfurling mechanism for a kite helps to save fuel by making it easier for boats to move and reducing the strain on their main engines, which in turn reduces emissions.
Kite tether pods collect weather information to improve the system’s efficiency. With no need for towing, the core collapses, and the kite returns to the ship’s bow.
According to Lesage, a 10-person Airseas team will be onboard for trials to examine and fine-tune Seawing’s functionality without crew input. If everything goes according to plan, the business already has a significant new customer lined up. With two orders for parafoils of 10,800 square feet each, Japanese shipowner K-Line will be able to soar over 1,000 feet above the ocean.
Fuel usage and emission levels will be reduced by an estimate of 20%, according to Airseas’ estimations.
A quick remedy for soiled ships
Regulators, retailers, and customers are increasing their pressure on shipping businesses worldwide to reduce their environmental footprint. In terms of greenhouse gas emissions, international shipping is more polluting than the entire country of Germany.
Global shipping emissions are expected to be cut in half by 2050 compared to 2008 levels and entirely decarbonized by the end of the century, according to the United Nations’ International Maritime Organization.
For both new and old ships, the organization has set energy efficiency criteria. Cargo ships should be steered away from fossil fuels and to greener options, like green ammonia, according to environmental organizations and research scholars.
As a result of these initiatives, “wind-assisted propulsion” is gaining favor as an instant, albeit incomplete, answer to climate change.
Gavin Allwright, secretary of the International Windship Association, noted that “the momentum in wind propulsion is continuing to develop, and there are early indicators that investment, installations, and production lines are starting to ramp up.” He predicted a “bright with a stiffening breeze” future for the next two years.
In the first quarter of this year, 20 vessels would get equipped with wind-powered devices, he said. By the conclusion of this year or early in 2023, that number is likely to rise to 40 vessels.
Since approximately 100,000 merchant ships sail the world’s waters now, this isn’t exactly an indication of widespread adoption. Doubling the number of boats powered by wind would be an essential step forward for the burgeoning technological sector.
Smallville: A Social Village Simulator That’s Advancing AI Research
Researchers created a world where an entire village thrives with inhabitants who are not human but AI-driven characters exhibiting intricate human social behavior. This fascinating experiment is called Smallville, and it’s turning heads in the world of AI research. A collaborative effort between Stanford University and Google, Smallville is pushing the boundaries of what artificial intelligence can achieve.
Last August, Stanford and Google published a groundbreaking paper titled “Generative Agents: Interactive Simulacra of Human Behavior,” which shed light on their ambitious project, Smallville. At its core, Smallville is designed to simulate a small city environment, complete with local shops, a college featuring dormitories, a library, a café, and a handful of houses. Notably, there’s also a co-living space housing 25 generative agents – the AI characters that make this simulation so unique.
What sets Smallville apart is the remarkable depth of its AI characters. Each generative agent is imbued with its own identity, goals, and roles, essentially becoming “characters” within this simulated world. The objective? To explore what a world entirely populated by AI would look like and how these AI beings would interact with one another.
The results have been nothing short of astounding. Smallville has provided valuable insights into AI’s ability to mimic complex human social interactions. The agents within this simulated world engage in intricate relationships, reminiscent of real-life social dynamics. They rely on their memory to remember past interactions and nurture connections, demonstrating a level of sophistication that was once considered science fiction.
However, this advancement in AI research comes with a mix of excitement and apprehension. The potential of AI agents participating in complex social interactions has numerous applications, from improving customer service to enhancing virtual worlds and even aiding in mental health support. On the flip side, it raises questions about ethics, privacy, and the boundaries of AI’s capabilities.
Smallville is a testament to the ever-evolving landscape of AI research, where the line between the artificial and the human becomes increasingly blurred. As the development of AI agents like those in Smallville progresses, it challenges us to navigate the exciting and, at times, unsettling frontier of AI’s potential impact on our society.
A Small Act of Kindness That Saved a Life
In 2014, Trieste Belmont found herself in the depths of depression, grappling with the recent loss of her grandmother and the pain of a breakup with her partner. She was facing a challenging period in her life, relying on friends to give her rides to and from work as she didn’t have a driver’s license. Little did she know that a small act of kindness from a stranger would ultimately save her life.
One fateful day, as she waited for her ride to work, Belmont experienced a heartbreaking disappointment. Her ride failed to show up, leaving her stranded and feeling isolated. With no other option in sight, she made the decision to walk home, embarking on a path that would take her across a high bridge.
As she walked along that bridge, Belmont’s thoughts grew increasingly bleak. She was overwhelmed by the weight of her despair, feeling like a burden on the people in her life. In that moment, she believed that ending her life was the only solution to her pain.
“I was just having one of the worst days of my life. And I was looking down at all the cars, just feeling so useless and like such a burden to everyone in my life that I decided that this was the time, and I needed to end my life,” Belmont recalled, tears in her eyes.
With a heavy heart, she stood at the edge of the bridge, ready to take that fateful step. But in that moment of darkness, a voice from a passing car behind her pierced through her despair. A stranger shouted, “Don’t jump.” Those two simple words had an enormous impact on Belmont.
“Those words just changed everything for me,” she said. “Having a stranger care about me in my darkest time made it so that I didn’t jump, and it saved my life.”
Trieste Belmont’s story is a powerful reminder of the profound impact that small acts of kindness can have on someone’s life, especially when they are facing their darkest moments. Her journey towards healing didn’t end on that bridge. With the support of a therapist, family, and friends, she found her way to a brighter place.
Today, Trieste Belmont is in a much better place mentally and emotionally, and she has an important message to share with the world. She emphasizes the importance of recognizing that even seemingly small gestures of kindness can make a significant difference in someone’s life.
“Even if you see someone that has a cute outfit on, telling them might make their day,” Belmont wisely advises. “They might be super depressed and worried about the way they look. But if you come in and you give them a small little compliment, it could change everything for them.”
Hope on the Horizon: Wild Atlantic Salmon Making a Comeback in US Rivers
The United States has witnessed a resurgence in the population of wild Atlantic salmon in its rivers. After years of decline, recent counts have revealed a remarkable increase.
One of the most significant milestones in this revival occurred in the Penobscot River, which hosts the largest run of Atlantic salmon in the country. In a recent count, approximately 1,500 salmon were recorded, marking the highest number since 2011. This encouraging resurgence suggests that efforts to protect and conserve these magnificent fish may be paying off.
For years, Atlantic salmon have faced numerous challenges that have led to their decline. Factors such as overfishing, loss of habitat, and pollution have taken a toll on their populations. Recognizing the gravity of the situation, Atlantic salmon were granted protection under the Endangered Species Act, a crucial step in their conservation journey.
Sean Ledwin, the director of the Maine Department of Marine Resources’ sea-run fish programs, believes that the increased survival of salmon may indeed be a result of these conservation measures. He stated, “The greater survival of the salmon could be evidence that conservation measures to protect them are paying off.”
But the story of salmon’s recovery isn’t just about one species. The count of river herring, another essential part of the river ecosystem, has also seen an upswing. This increase in river herring populations plays a critical role in the salmon’s precarious journey from the sea to the river. According to Ledwin, “The increasing runs of river herring help distract hungry predators such as seals and striped bass from the relatively rarer Atlantic salmon, which may help increase salmon survival of the predator gauntlet.”
However, while the recent progress is undoubtedly cause for celebration, experts like Greg McCaw, a scientist with the Maine Department of Marine Resources, urge caution. “So it is a tick up compared to previous years, but in the grand scheme of things, it’s still abysmal,” he cautioned. Conservationists recognize that much work remains to be done to ensure the long-term survival of this cherished species.
In New England, conservation groups have been tirelessly working to remove dams and restore salmon habitats. The recent gains in salmon populations have emboldened these organizations, such as the Atlantic Salmon Federation, to continue their vital efforts.
Yet, the challenges facing Atlantic salmon extend beyond the local level. Climate change poses a growing threat to their survival. Neville Crabbe, a spokesperson for the Atlantic Salmon Federation, emphasized that global action is needed to address the root causes of climate change and its impacts on salmon populations. “It’s going to take a commitment from everybody in the world to reduce emissions, and try to negate the most severe implications of climate change,” he noted.
Honest Thrift Shop Manager Returns Lost $5,000 Regular Donor
In the charming town of Burlingame, California, where community values and integrity shine brightly, a heartwarming story of honesty and goodwill has unfolded. At the heart of this tale is Oliver Jolis, the dedicated manager of Pick of the Litter, a beloved thrift shop in Burlingame. Oliver’s remarkable act of integrity touched the hearts of many, reinforcing the values of honesty and kindness.
Oliver Jolis was going about his usual business at the thrift shop, sorting through bags of donated clothes with care and dedication. Little did he know that an unexpected surprise was about to unfold. As he organized the donated clothing, something unusual began to happen—money started to fall out of the garments.
“Money just started falling out,” recalled Jolis. “Money flew out of the shirt! We went ‘uh oh’,” added his co-worker, Amy Walsh. The cash kept pouring out, and soon they realized they were dealing with a substantial sum—$5,000, to be exact. Alongside the money, they found a piece of paper with car insurance information, which provided a valuable clue to the owner’s identity.
Rather than succumbing to temptation, Oliver Jolis and his co-workers decided to take the high road. They embarked on a mission to locate the rightful owner of the money. What they discovered was truly heartwarming: the generous donor who had unknowingly parted with $5,000 was a regular contributor to the thrift shop.
“I said come on down, I’ve got something for you,” Jolis recounted. The woman who regularly donated clothes to the shop returned, likely unaware of the treasure that had been concealed within her donations. Oliver handed her a paper bag containing the $5,000 and expressed his gratitude for her continued support.
“He could have just put the money in his pocket. Nobody would have known. But he didn’t,” acknowledged the woman whose generosity had unintentionally included the significant sum. Her appreciation for Oliver’s honesty and kindness was evident, and she expressed her trust in his character.
Residents of San Mateo, Burlingame, and beyond were quick to applaud Oliver Jolis for his integrity. Trina Pierce, a San Mateo resident, voiced her admiration, saying, “I wasn’t surprised he found it and gave it back. We just love Oliver. The whole staff is great, but Oliver is special.”
Oliver himself believes in the profound principle that the universe rewards acts of goodness and kindness. “Whatever you do in this world comes back to you ten times, be it negativity or positivity, it comes back,” the anonymous woman remarked, reflecting on the beauty of Oliver’s selfless actions.
In the end, Oliver Jolis humbly summarized the experience: “We’re grateful for all the donations we get, so it was a win-win.” His actions remind us that honesty and goodwill are timeless virtues that can bring communities closer together and inspire us all to do the right thing when faced with unexpected challenges.
The Remarkable Return of New Zealand’s Takahe Birds
In the breathtaking landscapes of New Zealand’s South Island, a remarkable story of resilience and conservation is unfolding. The Takahe, a prehistoric bird thought to be extinct, has made a triumphant return to the wild, thanks to dedicated efforts by conservationists.
The Takahe, scientifically known as Porphyrio hochstetteri, is a unique bird native to New Zealand. These remarkable birds are not your typical feathered friends; they have a striking appearance with vibrant blue-green plumage, oversized red beaks, and large, sturdy legs. Once upon a time, Takahe birds roamed freely in New Zealand’s lush landscapes, but their population began to dwindle.
In 1898, these majestic birds were declared extinct. It was believed that the Takahe had vanished from the face of the Earth forever. However, nature had a surprise in store for us. In 1948, more than half a century after their supposed extinction, Takahe birds were rediscovered in the remote and pristine wilderness of New Zealand’s South Island, specifically in the Lake Whakatipu Waimaori Valley.
The rediscovery of the Takahe was a momentous event, sparking hope and renewed interest in their conservation. It became evident that immediate action was required to ensure the survival of these magnificent creatures. Conservationists embarked on a mission to protect and nurture the remaining Takahe population.
One of the initial strategies employed by conservationists was proactive and hands-on. They began collecting Takahe eggs and carefully incubating them in controlled environments. This approach was designed to shield the vulnerable eggs from predators that posed a significant threat to the survival of the species.
As the eggs hatched and adorable Takahe chicks emerged, they received special attention. Conservationists played a vital role in feeding and nurturing these young birds, ensuring they had the best possible start in life. Workers even donned sock puppets resembling the Takahe’s unique red beaks to feed and interact with the chicks, a heartwarming sight in the name of conservation.
Over time, the strategy evolved to focus on breeding Takahe birds in controlled environments. This approach allowed for more precise monitoring of the birds’ health and ensured their safety. Additionally, conservationists intensified efforts to protect the Takahe from their main threats – predators like stoats, ferrets, and feral cats.
Deidre Vercoe, who oversees the Takahē recovery operations at the Department of Conservation (DOC), emphasized the importance of trapping these predators to reduce their numbers. By maintaining a low predator count, conservationists have created a safer environment for the Takahe to thrive.
Thanks to these unwavering efforts, the Takahe population has been steadily increasing. Today, there are approximately 500 Takahe birds, a testament to the power of conservation and the determination to protect and preserve New Zealand’s unique wildlife.
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