[ futurism.com ] Facebook’s Drone Is One Step Closer to Beaming Internet to the World

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Facebook’s Drone Is One Step Closer to Beaming Internet to the World

Second Successful Test Flight

Facebook’s solar-powered Aquila drone completed its second successful flight Thursday near Yuma, Arizona. It stayed aloft for 1 hour and 46 minutes, cruising over the desert and gathering data the team will use to optimize its efficiency moving forward. After the flight was over, the drone landed smoothly without incident, Mark Zuckerberg reported in a Facebook post.

This was the latest step in the Aquila project which will eventually see an entire fleet of the drones staying in flight for months at a time. The unmanned drones will need to be completely optimized to make this kind of longer term performance possible, so these test flights are critically important. Zuckerberg said that Facebook intends to use the drone to increase the world’s access to the internet.

“When Aquila is ready, it will be a fleet of solar-powered planes that will beam internet connectivity across the world,” Zuckerberg wrote on Facebook. “Today, more than half the world’s population — 4 billion people — still can’t access the internet. One day, Aquila will help change that.”

Future Directions

Aquila’s wingspan is wider than a Boeing 737, but it weighs less than 455 kg (1,000 pounds). To stay aloft, Aquila’s solar panels collect power during the day and stores enough in a battery for the dark hours. It uses about 5,000 W of power at its cruising altitude, which will be about 18,300 meters (60,000 feet). Aquila cruises at a deliberately slow speed of about 129 km/h (80 m/h) to maximize efficiency.

The Top 12 Benefits of Drones: Emergency Response, Animal Protection, and More
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Right now the Aquila team is working to make the craft lighter and trim down its power consumption. They also aim to more accurately assess how much power it will take to operate during the different altitudes and temperatures of take off, flight, and landing, and how those power demands will affect battery size, latitude range, solar panel performance, and seasonal performance. Additional test flights will also allow the team to assess actual in-flight dynamics and see how the massive drone batteries stress the large, flexible wings.

The Aquila fleet is just one way Facebook is working to connect people with technology. Zuckerberg has also revealed that the company is working on a brain-computer interface that will let us communicate using just our minds.

The post Facebook’s Drone Is One Step Closer to Beaming Internet to the World appeared first on Futurism.

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[ futurism.com ] SpaceX COO Claims the Company Will Produce 20 Rockets in 2017

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SpaceX COO Claims the Company Will Produce 20 Rockets in 2017

SpaceX has no plans to relax following their recent successful weekend doubleheader. Serial entrepreneur Elon Musk’s space venture company is already looking ahead, beginning with a final upgrade to their Falcon 9 rocket scheduled for later this year.

Invaders From Earth!: How Elon Musk Plans to Conquer Mars
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“We are flying Block 3s right now,” SpaceX president and COO Gwynne Shotwell said during a June 22 appearance on the online radio program The Space Show. “Block 4s start flying shortly, and then Block 5 at the end of this year. We definitely have gotten better [at] more smooth introducing of change. You don’t see the big impacts to production we’ve had before when we’ve changed vehicle designs.”

Block 5 is going to be the definitive version for the Falcon 9, Shotwell explained, and it is capable of being relaunched “a dozen or so times.” It would also not require refurbishing — the reusable rocket would simply undergo inspections prior to launch.

Shotwell said during her radio show appearance that SpaceX’s much larger Falcon Heavy’s first mission in 2018 will be carrying a payload for Arabsat. “We’ll be flying Arabsat to [geostationary transfer orbit] on the second Falcon Heavy flight, and then we’ll be flying STP-2, an Air Force mission,” she said. In total, the Falcon Heavy has three missions scheduled in the next 18 months, the first being a demonstration later in 2017.

SpaceX has much more planned for the months to come, including that commercial Moon roundtrip. “Three years ago or so we were producing six rockets a year,” Shotwell said. “This year we are going to produce more than 20.” When you consider that reusability is a key element of SpaceX’s design, you can imagine just how many missions those rockets will be capable of handling in the coming years.

The post SpaceX COO Claims the Company Will Produce 20 Rockets in 2017 appeared first on Futurism.

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[ lifehack.org ] No.1 Relationship Killer: Your Good Intention to Advise Your Partner When They’re Upset

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No.1 Relationship Killer: Your Good Intention to Advise Your Partner When They’re Upset

Imagine that after an extremely difficult day at the office, a man comes home to his significant other. All he wants to do is relax and get some of the stress off his chest. When he’s finished talking, however, his partner starts going on and on about what he should or shouldn’t have done throughout the day.

Or what about the situation where a woman buys herself a new outfit that she loves. She took a lot of time picking it out and feels really good about the way she looks with it on. So, she wears it out one day with her family. Her significant other notices the new dress and offers this critique: “It makes you look fat.”

Both of these situations happen far more frequently than they should and neither one is healthy for relationships. You can only imagine how the rest of those stories went, and all because of some unsolicited advice.

Most of the time, your significant other just wants someone to listen to them.

As you go about your daily life, try to avoid giving criticisms or offering feedback to people that haven’t asked for it. Especially with your romantic partner. Looking for some relationship advice? Unless they specifically ask for your opinion, they probably just want you to listen to them. Most of the time, your partner turns to your for comfort.

Giving unsolicited advice can be damaging to your relationship.

How do you think it feels to be hit in the face with criticisms when all you really wanted was some understanding? Not good, right? Every time you offer up your advice without being asked, it’s called giving “unauthorized feedback”. All of those moments of unauthorized feedback between the two of you is slowly eating away at the solid foundation of your relationship.

Giving advice is hard, even with the best intentions.

The problem is, giving feedback to our loved ones is hard. We think we can be direct with our friends, family, and romantic partners because we share really close relationships with them. So with all of the confidence in the world, we go about our days making small comments and offering our opinions about the things they have done, the things they are doing, and the things they will do.

We don’t mean anything by it, we’re just trying to help the people we love. Instead, our little comments and opinions can actually end up hurting other people. This hurt may not be in a big way, not at first. But over time, all the little pieces of unsolicited advice and all the little feelings of hurt that they cause start to add up, chipping away at the relationship little by little. Before long, we’ve created a big ball of pain – an obstacle to happiness in our relationship.

The way you give advice always matters.

Does this mean you should stop giving advice and keep your opinions to yourself? Absolutely not. Every bit of relationship advice out there tells us that clear and honest communication is the key to a healthy and happy relationship.

What’s important is how you talk to your partner and give your opinions. Advice should be given so that it gives each person the opportunity to grow. The last thing you want is to cause disturbances between you and your partner.

Before giving feedback to your partner, ask for permission.

You can change the vicious cycle of unauthorized feedback by simply asking for permission first. According to relationship advice from Margie Warrell, one question can make all the difference in the world: “Can I share some feedback with you that I hope will be helpful?”[1]

Think about when your partner talks to you about a difficult professional relationship with one of their coworkers. While you’re listening, they tell you about something they said or did to their coworker and you think it may be the cause of their problem.

Now, imagine you just come right out and say, “Well, you shouldn’t have said ___.” What did you just do? That’s right, you instigated an argument by putting your partner on the defense or making them feel bad. Now take that same situation and imagine you say, “You know what, I noticed something about what you said. Do you mind if I give you my opinion on the matter?” Once you have your partner’s consent, you can proceed with your feedback. You’ve opened up the lines of communication in your relationship.

Don’t focus on what “should have” happened, focus on what should happen.

Remember this relationship advice: When giving your partner feedback, don’t focus on what you think they should have done. Instead, offer feedback about what they could do in the future. This way, you’re giving your partner more than just an emotional opinion that could damage your relationship. You’re giving them information that could help them become a better person in the future. And that’s what romantic relationships are about, helping each other grow.

Featured photo credit: Stocksnap via stocksnap.io

Reference

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[ lifehack.org ] How Successful Leaders Give Honest Feedback That Inspires People and Does Not Hurt Their Ego

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How Successful Leaders Give Honest Feedback That Inspires People and Does Not Hurt Their Ego

Leader’s are the most scrutinized, misinterpreted and misunderstood people in the world. As a leader, you must be cognizant of your tone, body language and your word choice. You have to be firm but not overbearing, assertive but never aggressive, friendly but never to familiar…and the list goes on. Good leadership is akin to walking a tight-rope while juggling knives and being chased by a lion.

Communicating as a leader is never easy.

Effective communication and good leadership are synonymous. They are espoused. If the two ever divorce, efforts, organizations, and vision become orphans struggling to survive in a dysfunctional home.

One particular aspect of communication trips up more leaders than anything else…and that is providing feedback to those they lead. It’s tricky terrain to navigate. There are so many extremes and variations of feedback, from the angry boss that no one can please, to the leader who provides no feedback whatsoever. Understanding and appreciating the value and importance is one side of this important coin. The other side is truly understanding how to use feedback and criticism as a tool[1] that corrects and empowers those you lead.

Understand that different feedback has different effect on people.

The first step in providing proper feedback is to understand what it is. The best description that aptly frames the concept of feedback is Kevin Eikenberrry’s four types of feedback model.[2] His model breaks feedback into four distinct categories:

  1. Negative feedback: corrective comments about past behavior (things that didn’t go well).
  2. Positive feedback: affirming comments about past behavior (things that went well and should be repeated).
  3. Negative feedforward: corrective comments about future behavior (things that shouldn’t be repeated in the future).
  4. Positive feedforward: affirming comments about future behavior (things that would improve future performance).

His approach encourages leaders to establish a balance both positive and negative with emphasis on providing advice on how to improve in the future. This is the primary component that is largely missing from the feedback repertoire of most leaders–focusing on the future or feedforward.

Helping those you lead understand what worked and what didn’t and how they can move forward without repeating negative behaviors should be the goal of feedback. Simply providing negative–or even positive feedback isn’t enough. Feedback should be a tool that teaches, enhances and moves people forward. Feedback that isn’t accomplishing this is ineffective.

The key to an effective feedback is not skipping negative feedback, but balancing both positive and negative elements in it.

Now that we have a clear picture of what balanced feedback looks like, let’s turn our attention to the “how” of providing feedback. One of the most ineffective, insincere forms of feedback is the blanket praise that is vague and insincere.

“I’d like to thank the team for the great job and all of their hard work on that project.” It sounds nice and it technically is positive feedback but it doesn’t point out which behaviors were good and should be repeated and what they should do to improve performance on the next project. It also may feel disingenuous to some team members who may feel they carried more of the load than others. Everyone is aware that a leader is supposed to say “great job team!” and be encouraging, however, feedback should never have a “check the box” feel.

Below are a few things to consider as you are providing balanced, yet feedforward focused feedback:

1. Make sure your feedback is objective and not emotional in nature.

This is especially critical when dealing with massive mistakes that have been made. It’s important to take some time, cool off, evaluate the situation and choose your words carefully. Try to take a step back from the situation and view it from an objective standpoint. You want to provide feedback that is helpful, actionable and that builds the team.

2. Target behaviors, NOT the person or the team.

Personality conflicts are a part of human interaction. As a leader, you are not going to like everyone on your team–but you should respect and value them. Don’t let personal feelings and preferences cloud your judgment and lead you to attack a person’s personality or character. Make sure your feedback is always authentic and that it is designed to bring about positive change and is never used to inflict wounds.

3. Keep the feedback balanced and always affirm positive behaviors you want to be repeated.

Always try to balance the negative with the positive. Giving too much negative feedback or feedforward can leave those you lead feeling disillusioned and that you are never satisfied. When giving positive feedback, make sure that it is about specific and reproducible behaviors.

For constructive feedback, make use of the 70% rule. Make sure you have 30% positive feedback if you’re having 70% negative feedback which focuses on what needs to be improved.

4. When giving negative feedback, be sure you provide suggestions and guidance on how performance can be improved in the future.

We’ve established that providing negative feedback is essential for growth, however, pointing out the negative without providing suggestions for corrective actions can leave your team feeling hopeless. For example, if an employee is constantly interrupting and cutting people off in meetings, let them know what they are doing and how it affects others. Then, provide suggestions on how they can improve that behavior–such as signaling/gesturing they have something to say and would like to comment once their cohort has finished speaking in lieu of cutting them off mid-sentence.

5. Focus on the strengths of your team and show them how to leverage their strengths to compensate for their weaknesses.

Chase negative feedback with positive feedforward. If an individual is constantly late to meetings and the meetings are unable to begin on time, run over or information has to be repeated, let the person know that being on time is critical to the effectiveness of the team. You could then assign them a task that plays to one of their strengths and requires them to get to the meeting ahead time–such as prepping the meeting space, recording the minutes, moderating the meeting or calling the meeting to order.

6. Engage in dialogue, not a monologue.

The more personal and engaging the conversation is the more effective it will be. Allow your team to know that you care about them and are personally invested in their success. Encourage them to participate in the feedback process and to find ways to shore up weak areas and to improve their performance. Help them to be accountable and responsible for their own progress. Talk to them, not at them. Simply broadcasting your message ad nauseum will not have the same effect as engaging in meaningful conversation–and not a lecture or a monologue.

7. Timing is everything when it comes to giving feedback too.

The best leaders know when to speak and when to shut-up. Feedback–positive or negative–that is targeted, well framed and delivered at the right moment can make or break your team. You never want to kick a man when he’s down–but you shouldn’t just step over him and keep going either. The ability to discern the proper time and place to deliver feedback is a skill that must be mastered in order to be a great leader.

As a leader, communication is not about you, your opinions, your positions or your circumstances. It is about helping others. Your job is to provide guidance that meets needs, understand concerns, and add value to your team’s world. It’s about pushing them picking them up and pushing them forward.

Featured photo credit: Flaticon via flaticon.com

Reference

[1] Hill Writing & Editing: Handling Criticism and Harnessing the Power of Feedback
[2] Kevin Eikenberry’s Blog: Using the Four Types of Feedback Correctly

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[ futurism.com ] Here’s a First-Ever Look at the New Electric Vehicle That Charges in 9 Minutes

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Here’s a First-Ever Look at the New Electric Vehicle That Charges in 9 Minutes

Fisker’s Coming Soon

Fisker CEO Henrik Fisker has unveiled a prototype of his luxury electric vehicle (EV) — the EMotion — on Twitter, ahead of the official unveiling event that will occur later today. Pre-orders for the $129,000 vehicle have also opened, which require a $2000 deposit. Production of the car is set to begin in 2019.

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The company also took to Vimeo to release a video of the hotly anticipated vehicle.

The car will, reportedly, have a range of over 643 km (400 miles), a top speed of 260 km/h (161 m/h), a charge time of nine minutes for 100 km (62 miles), and utilizes the wonder material graphene in its battery, which was developed in collaboration with Nanotech Energy Inc. Fisker has previously announced that the car’s other salient feature is fully autonomous driving capabilities. A press release stated:

“The EMotion will be equipped with hardware that will allow fully autonomous driving when approved and released by a soon-to-be-announced partnered supplier. The interior will emphasize ultimate comfort and user interface from both front and rear seats, and all seats will have access to screens and infotainment features.”

The Luxury EV Market

The development of EVs at all ends of the spectrum is pivotal to the success of the technology. Fisker’s price indicates he is aiming for the luxury car price range, and if the figures stand up to scrutiny, the vehicle will be able to compete with its petrol or diesel powered counterparts.

All Electric Cars: What’s My Range? [INFOGRAPHIC]
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If Fisker’s bold claims are true, the car will exceed almost any other EV on the market — including the Tesla model S, the car Fisker claims to have helped design and now seems to be taking aim at. Tesla’s vehicle has a range of up to 300 km (186 miles) if you use the $10,000 85-kwh battery, and takes an hour to charge if you use a Tesla Supercharger station.

There is also promising competition from Porsche in the form of the Mission E. The company aims to be producing the EV by 2020, which they estimate will have a range of 450 km (250 miles), and a charge time of 15 minutes.

This competition is good news for the EV market, as it will encourage innovation that will drive the more environmentally friendly type of car forward. Whoever wins the EV supercar race, the planet wins too.

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[ gsmarena.com ] First Oppo R11 Plus sale is now live at $545

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First Oppo R11 Plus sale is now live at $545

As promised the bigger, 6-inch variety of the Oppo R11 went on sale today on JD.com. Fans who signed up for the sale have been able to pay for a unit in Gold, Rose Gold or Black, since this morning. As previously announced, the asking price is CNY 3699, or about $545.

That’s a $100 more than the basic Oppo R11. That extra bit of cash gets you a spacious 6-inch, FullHD display. However, you are also trading AMOLED for an IPS panel. There is a bump in RAM as well – 6GB. The specs sheet also includes a Snapdragon 660 chipset, Dual 20 MP (f/2.6, AF) + 16 MP (f/1.7, PDAF) camera setup…

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[ singularityhub.com ] Ray Kurzweil: Our Brain Is a Blueprint for the Master Algorithm

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Ray Kurzweil: Our Brain Is a Blueprint for the Master Algorithm

Ray Kurzweil is an inventor, thinker, and futurist famous for forecasting the pace of technology and predicting the world of tomorrow. In this video, Kurzweil suggests the blueprint for the master algorithm—or a single, general purpose learning algorithm—is hidden in the brain.

The brain, according to Kurzweil, consists of repeating modules that self-organize into hierarchies that build simple patterns into complex concepts. We don’t have a complete understanding of how this process works yet, but Kurzweil believes that as we study the brain more and reverse engineer what we find, we’ll learn to write the master algorithm.

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