Elon Musk Tweets ABB! Cancer-fighting robots! The polar vortex, and more unmissable stories this week
A weekly roundup of the most interesting science and technology news published on the Web
1. The sun is the future
Technically not a story from this week, but I just had to mention two great pieces on solar energy. 2013 was a huge year for solar and renewable energy in general, but 2014 is predicted to be even bigger. And Elon Musk would agree (in a Tweet from December 21).
READ: 7 Impressive Solar Energy Facts (+ charts) and Solar PV Market 2014 – 7 Predictions
2. Cancer-fighting robots
Normally, cancer treatments destroy all of the good in an attempt to fight the bad. But this “Bacteriobot,” which is essentially an intelligent, non-toxic salmonella bacteria, attacks only the bad, leaving the good parts unharmed – a huge development in the fight against the disease.
READ: Cancer-Fighting Nanorobot May Be Able to Target Tumors, Spare Healthy Tissue
3. Temperatures down + thermostats up = energy use like never before
Icy eyelashes, frostbite and arctic temperature – this week’s deep freeze and record temperature crippled most of the US. As you can imagine, energy use reached record levels, as well.
READ: Polar Vortex Drives Record Winter Energy Use in PJM
4. Saved by the wind
When I think of Texas, I think of two things: oil, and cowboy boots. Well now add wind power to that list, because apparently Texas is a “wind power superstar.” Which is a very good thing, because the Arctic chill put a strain on the Texas power supply it would not have been able to handle were it not for their abundance of wind energy.
READ: Wind Power Saved the Texas Power Grid From the Polar Vortex
5. Not so fast …
It looks like the space station will stay put for at least several years beyond the original 2020 end date. Which makes sense, seeing as how it cost a mere $100 billion to build, and was completed only three years ago! Which means Lady Gaga can probably have her wish of performing concerts up there soon enough.
READ: NASA Extends the Life of the International Space Station
6. “Top 10” tired yet?
The new year signals a slew of top 10 lists from the year prior. I suppose it’s good to look back in order to understand the way forward. In that vein, here are 10 energy highlights from 2013.
READ: Top 10 (Energy) Headlines of 2013
7. The year of the “cloud”
New buildings are being built to be cleaner, smarter and more efficient. Here a list of some of the trends for the upcoming year.
READ: 10 Megatrends for Green Building in 2014
8. It’s an EV world
So much negative press around electric vehicles in the US last year, but you wouldn’t know it from the incredible spike in sales in 2013.
READ: EV Sales Up 228.88% In 2013 In US (2013 Electric & Hybrid Vehicle Sales Report)
9. Speaking of EV’s …
Growing up in a loud city, I never found cars to be quiet in nature, quite the opposite! But when they’re too quiet, as is the case with electric vehicles, they can become a danger to cyclists and pedestrians. So with so many more of them on the roads, there is a scramble to make the newer ones purr just a little bit louder.
READ: Electric Cars Are Getting Engine Sounds to Make Them Safer
10. The next next “big” thing
The amount of information out there is overwhelming, even frightening. But how can we process and maintain it all, in a secure and positive way? Read what some professionals in the smart grid world have to say about it.
READ: Is Big Data the Next Next Thing?