Physicists Open Up

Results from publically-funded research often ends up in places that the average person can’t access the findings because scientific (and other) journals where results are printed cost an arm and a leg. Physicists, who are already renowned for being open, have taken the next logical step and said that any research paid for by public funds will be available for all for free!

After six years of negotiation, the Sponsoring Consortium for Open Access Publishing in Particle Physics (SCOAP3) is now close to ensuring that nearly all particle-physics articles — about 7,000 publications last year — are made immediately free on journal websites. Upfront payments from libraries will fund the access.

Mele says that the goal of SCOAP3 is to switch the discipline’s journals to open access without researchers noticing any effect on their grant funding or on the way they publish papers. The consortium will pay the contracts from an annual budget of €10 million, which is funded not by authors or research grants, but by pledges from more than a thousand libraries, funding agencies and research consortia across the world. In effect, existing journal subscription fees are being repurposed to provide the open-access funds.

Read more at Nature.

Track the Small Things for Big Happiness

Teresa Amabile is a professor at Harvard Business School who has researched diary keeping and has made a very nifty realization: even keeping a few thoughts a day can amount to huge differences in happiness. I use I Done This to track my days, perhaps you’d like to too after watching this video:

Via the Atlantic.

Why Drivers Don’t Understand Cyclists

As an average cyclist I often find it confusing when drivers get their hate on for sustainable transit. Anyone who knows anything about the environment or living in an urban centre would acknowledge that bicycle infrastructure is important and creates a more vibrant city than car-dominated streets.

Yet, car drivers still demand more space and want to take away space from cyclists, what’s up with that? According to a columnist at Slate it has to do with the fact that car drivers can’t conceptualize riding a bicycle as a form of everyday transportation.

Moreover, bicycling as a primary means of transportation—I’m not talking about occasional weekend riders here—is a foreign concept to many drivers, making them more sensitive to perceived differences between themselves and cyclists. People do this all the time, making false connections between distinguishing characteristics like geography, race, and religion and people’s qualities as human beings. Sometimes it is benign (“Mormons are really polite”), sometimes less so (“Republicans hate poor people”). But in this case, it’s a one-way street: Though most Americans don’t ride bikes, bikers are less likely to stereotype drivers because most of us also drive. The “otherness” of cyclists makes them stand out, and that helps drivers cement their negative conclusions. This is also why sentiments like “taxi drivers are awful” and “Jersey drivers are terrible” are common, but you don’t often hear someone say “all drivers suck.” People don’t like lumping themselves into whatever group they are making negative conclusions about, so we subconsciously seek out a distinguishing characteristic first.

Now that we know what one of the problems is in North America it would be great to see more public awareness programs like car drivers for Jarvis.

Read more at Slate.

Tesla Motors Builds Solar Charging Stations

Tesla, the electric car company, has unveiled solar powered electric charging stations in the USA. This is a good step toward sustainable personal transportation.

Not only has Tesla created battery charging stations called Superchargers for electric cars but they are giving the energy away for free to some lucky people. If you own a Model S car made by Tesla then you will soon be able to travel for free right across the USA.

The six California locations unveiled today are just the beginning. By next year, we plan to install Superchargers in high traffic corridors across the continental United States, enabling fast, purely electric travel from Vancouver to San Diego, Miami to Montreal and Los Angeles to New York. Tesla will also begin installing Superchargers in Europe and Asia in the second half of 2013.

The Supercharger is substantially more powerful than any charging technology to date, providing almost 100 kilowatts of power to the Model S, with the potential to go as high as 120 kilowatts in the future. This can replenish three hours of driving at 60 mph in about half an hour, which is the convenience inflection point for travelers at a highway rest stop. Most people who begin a road trip at 9:00 a.m. would normally stop by noon to have lunch, refresh and pick up a coffee or soda for the road, all of which takes about 30 minutes.

Read more.

Proposed Chicago Tower Cleans the Air and Looks Great

Chicago is already internationally known for his stunning architecture and that reputation is set to continue with a new eco-tower. The CO2ngress Gateway Towers will bring the skyline into the 21st century because that building is focused on cleaning the air that people in Chi-town breath.

In attempt to cut down on Chicago’s CO2 emissions produced from cars in the Eisenhower Expressway, Danny Mui & Benjamin Sahagun propose the splitting of the Congress Gateway Towers, using a system of carbon scrubbers and filtration devices that clean carbon dioxide and other air pollutants. Aimed to increase public awareness and improve of Chicago’s public health, the CO2ngress Gateway Towers absorb the CO2 emissions from passing cars and is then fed to algae grown in the building. The algae then helps with the processing of biofuels which will supply the building residents’ eco-friendly cars.

The two towers split and converge at the top to create an iconic gateway to the city. A bridge joins the two towers and contains a public restaurant with views of neighboring buildings. Pedestrian connections are landscaped at the base, accentuating the building’s car-centric identity. Located at the crown of the towers are the carbon scrubbers which capture CO2 and other air pollutants. These scrubbers are the first step in the processing of biofuel.

Read more here.

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