It killed 739 people in Chicago 1995. In Europe in 2003, it claimed another 70,000 lives. Just seven years later, it would take down 55,000 more in Russia. Extreme heat can and does kill. And while those heatwaves garnered global attention, according to a study released today in the journal Nature, they're more common than we think. The study's authors note that worldwide, some 30 percent of people are exposed to life-threatening extreme heat for at least 20 days of each year. If we do nothing to reduce climate changing emissions that are helping to push the mercury higher, they write, 74 percent of people will experience routine extreme heat events by 2100. And as is already the case today, at least some of those people will die.
On the morning of March 20, 2020, a solar eclipse will pass over all of Europe, visible from Turkey to Greenland. A decade ago, that probably wouldn't have mattered to anyone except people who love astronomy (and all the schoolchildren building pinhole cameras to observe the sun.) But now, three percent of Europe's electricity grid comes from solar power, making the March event a proving ground for this renewable energy technology.
At first blush, the emergence of man's best friend is pretty straightforward. The first dogs descended from wolves in Europe about 14,000 years ago. Then humans domesticated those proto-dogs until the eventual animal known as a "dog" had many of the traits we associated with the animal today. That much of the evolutionary history of the modern dog has been clearly understood. But further research suggests that that European dog is not the ancestor of all our dogs; instead, every modern Western dog hails from a Southeast Asian progenitor lineage. Why? Why did some upstart Southeast Asian lineage triumph, even in Europe, instead of the endemic European one? Turns out, it might have to do with your pet dog's affinity for Cheetos.
Cars in Europe may soon become very much more robotic whether drivers want them to or not. New rules coming down from the European Commission will require all commercial vehicles to be fitted with autonomous emergency braking (AEB) technology by November 2013, and passenger vehicles could soon follow suit. These cars will go beyond simply sending a signal to the driver when they detect an impending collision via radar, lidar (that's like radar but with light), or video sensors and apply the brakes themselves.