CNET: Facebook built a new fiber-spinning robot to make internet service cheaper. “The robot rests delicately atop a power line, balanced high above the ground, almost as if it’s floating. Like a short, stocky tightrope walker, it gradually makes its way forward, leaving a string of cable in its wake. When it comes to a pole, it gracefully elevates its body to pass the roadblock and keep chugging along. This isn’t a circus robot. Facebook developed the machine to install fiber cables on medium-voltage power lines around the globe.”
The Next Web: How coronavirus is reshaping the mobility industry, from EVs to supply chains. “The following anticipation of the likely winners and losers of the Covid-19 crisis is based on the drivers behind the various segments that constitute the future of mobility. Overall, I do not foresee any aspects of the pre-crisis future being completely absent from the post-crisis future. I rather anticipate an acceleration for some segments and deceleration for others. Likewise, programs with a long term benefit will trigger more collaboration to share costs and risks.”
US News & World Report: US Allowing Longer Shifts at Nuclear Plants in Pandemic. “U.S. nuclear plants will be allowed to keep workers on longer shifts to deal with staffing problems in the coronavirus pandemic, raising worries among watchdogs and some families living near reactors that employee exhaustion will increase the risks of accidents.”
VentureBeat: How AI is fighting, and could enable, ransomware attacks on cities. “Before 2019, ransomware was perhaps best known for targeting businesses and individuals. Attacks against Travelex, oil and gas companies like Maersk and industrial control systems led to hundreds of millions of dollars in losses in recent years. But increasingly, cities, public utilities, and public-facing institutions are also being targeted. As attacks increase, a growing number of security experts are using AI to improve the effectiveness of their malware attack defenses.”
The Scotsman: Archive reveals how planners drove motorway through Glasgow. “Thousands of previously unseen archive photos of the UK’s biggest urban motorway network including ‘stunning visualisations and construction photos’ are to be made publicly available for the first time.”
9News: You can use Colorado’s new search tool to see the oil and gas flowlines under your neighborhood. “What’s underground in Colorado is now being revealed through a searchable oil and gas map online. The location of oil and gas lines underground is being added to a geographic information systems (GIS) database maintained by the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission. That means the public can search for the pipes that connect oil and gas wells.”
Los Angeles Times: Thousands of L.A. apartments aren’t ready for the next earthquake. Is yours?. “In 2016, Los Angeles launched a program to find and fix ‘soft-story’ apartment buildings — those perched above parking spaces with little support and at risk of collapse in a major earthquake. The city identified about 11,400 apartment buildings in need of retrofitting. So far, only a quarter have done the work. ”
The College of New Jersey: Civil engineering students and their professor apply big data to understand New Jersey’s bumper-to-bumper lifestyle.. “On a 100-degree day in late July, civil engineering professor Tom Brennan and three students in his research lab made it snow. No, indoor precipitation was not in the forecast: the snow storm was a computer simulation of an actual one that blew in pretty much out of nowhere on the afternoon of November 15, 2018, creating traffic nightmares throughout New Jersey.”
Total Telecom: Google announces the completion of Curie Cable, connecting US and Chile. “Google has announced that its trans-Continental Curie cable, which connects Chile with the US, has been successfully installed and tested. The cable is expected to go live in the second quarter of 2020.”
Fast Company: The first map of America’s food supply chain is mind-boggling. “My team at the University of Illinois just developed the first high-resolution map of the U.S. food supply chain. Our map is a comprehensive snapshot of all food flows between counties in the U.S.—grains, fruits and vegetables, animal feed, and processed food items.” I don’t want to get into a whole compare/contrast thing, but I do want to note that Arizona State University released a food supply chain tool in April.
New-to-me, from Esri: Web Maps Share Detailed Submarine Cable Data. “The Submarine Cable Database enables analysis for the Submarine Cable Almanac, Cable Map, Industry Tender Package, and Industry Newsfeed. The Submarine Cable Database was developed in 2013 and modified with real-time data thereafter. It tracks more than 400 current and planned domestic and international cable systems, including project information suitable for querying filtered by client, year, project, region, system length, capacity, landing points, data centers, owners, and installers.” I don’t know if there are any paywalled information sets, but I was able to browse around without registering/logging in and found a fair amount of information.
University of Chicago: In fight against global poverty, researchers map fast-growing informal settlements in Africa. “Urban scientists at the University of Chicago’s Mansueto Institute for Urban Innovation on Oct. 23 launched the Million Neighborhoods Map—a groundbreaking visual tool that provides the first comprehensive look at informal settlements across Africa, helping to identify communities most in need of roads, power, water, sanitation and other infrastructure. Updates for Central and South America, India, and parts of Europe and Asia will come online over the next several weeks.”
Techdirt: Why Navigation Apps, Working Properly, Can Make Traffic Flows Worse — And What To Do About It. “Techdirt has just written about how advanced digital technology can be used for less-than-benign purposes, simply because it is a tool that can be applied in both good and bad ways. A fascinating analysis by Jane Macfarlane in IEEE Spectrum explores something similar: how new technology being used as designed, and with only the best intentions, can nonetheless give rise to potentially serious problems.”
Bloomberg Quint: India Will Create Online Database For All Cities By 2024, Says Government. “India will have an online database of all cities by 2024 on infrastructure, education and health facilities among others as it aims to create a ‘culture of data’ to address urban challenges of the country, an official said on Monday.”
Route Fifty: The Unsettling Rise of the Urban Narc App. “It’s getting easier for city residents to use technology that can report bad drivers who block bike lanes. Welcome to the self-surveillance era of traffic safety.”