January 29, 2023
Chicago 12, Melborne City, USA

Equilibrium/Sustainability — Scientists train ‘robot chef’ to prepare tastier foods



British scientists have trained a “robot chef” to taste ingredients while preparing food – with the long-term goal of streamlining and even improving future food production.

“The development of robotic chefs will play a major role in the future for busy families and supportive housing,” said Muhammad Chughtai, a senior scientist at Beko PLC Appliances.

The discovery marks a major step towards automating culinary tasks, which could be transformative in both domestic and global sustainable enterprises, but also reduce jobs for people cooking.

“This result is a leap forward in robotic cooking, and using machines and deep learning algorithms, mastication will help robot chefs adjust different foods and users’ tastes,” Chughtai said.

According to their study, published in Frontiers in Robotics an AI, Chughtai’s company worked with researchers at Cambridge University to determine if their robot chef was sufficiently mature at different stages of the chewing process.

As people chew and excrete both saliva and digestive enzymes, their perceptions of food taste change – and robot chefs are now mimicking this human sensitivity, the author explains.

Welcome to Equilibrium, A newsletter that looks at the growing global war on the future of sustainability. We are Saul Elbein and Sharon Udasin. Send us tips and feedback. A friend you forwarded this newsletter? Subscribe here.

Today we will examine ongoing litigation and settlement efforts regarding the Flint water crisis We’ll then look at why Volkswagen is probably not releasing coal, as well as the potential for rooftop solar installation.

More time for Flint victims

Residents of Flint, Mich., Could have more time to deal with the $ 626 million water crisis that seeks to compensate victims of massive lead poisoning in 2014.

Although about 50,000 people have submitted initial applications or submitted part of the settlement with Michigan State, Flint City, McLaren Flint Hospital and Row Professional Services, so far, only 13,000 official claims have been made, Michigan Radio reported.

And the time to do so is running out fast, because the deadline to file a claim is May 12.

What was the Flint water crisis?

  • In April 2014, Flint’s drinking water source changed the city from the Detroit water network to the surrounding Flint River.
  • That resource was not properly treated, and corrosive river water damaged city pipes, releasing lead and other pollutants into Flint’s drinking system.
  • A year and a half later, Flint returned to the Detroit water system.

Millions have been allocated for children: U.S. District Judge Judith Levy gave final approval to the $ 626 million settlement in November.

According to Michigan Radio, about 80 percent of settlement funds were earmarked for plaintiffs who were children during the water crisis, as children are particularly at risk of long-term health effects from lead exposure.

Risks and costs: Levi wrote in his opinion in November, quoted by the Detroit Free Press, “The complexity and volume of this case presents significant risks and potentially significant costs for all parties if the cases are tried.”

Judgments and tribunals

Levy is presiding over a federal lawsuit that began in February, Michigan Live reported.

According to Michigan Live, a family of four is suing two engineering companies for negligence in the city’s water crisis.

Problems focusing, pushing anger: On Tuesday, the parents of one of the children – Riley Vanderhagen, who was a child during the crisis – described their daughter’s difficulty concentrating and her anxious anger, Michigan Live reported.

“I’m worried about her anger,” her father said of her now eight-year-old. “She stays very happy, and then she doesn’t get what she wants and her head goes off.”

Criminal proceedings are also ongoing: Several defendants, including former Governor Rick Snyder (R), are on trial for two counts of intentional negligence, the Detroit Free Press reports.

  • Nine people have been charged with the Flint Water Crisis, announced by the Michigan Solicitor General in January 2021, local NBC-approved Mid-Michigan Now reported.
  • According to Mid-Michigan Now, the Michigan Supreme Court began hearing the arguments of three of the defendants on Wednesday.

And as for the settlement? Extra time can be on the horizon. During Tuesday’s court hearing, Special Master Deborah Greenspan – who oversees the claims process – said she could submit a recommendation to the levy for an extension in the coming days, Michigan Radio reported.

Greenspan told Michigan Radio that “giving some more time for individual claimants and lawyers to complete all the data collection would probably be helpful for the whole process.”

Burn baby burn?

Volkswagen CEO Herbert Dice announced Wednesday that a shortage of natural gas supplies – due to tensions with Russia – could force his company to power its factories with coal longer than expected, CNBC reported.

“Really a threat:” Disk was asked how concerned he was about shutting off gas supplies from Russia, CNBC reported.

“It’s really a threat … because it’s very difficult to predict what’s going to happen,” he said.

Sudden hesitation: “Here in Wolfsburg [Germany] We still have the coal-fired power plants we wanted – and we’re converting them to gas, “Dice told CNBC.

“It’s all ready but now we’re a little hesitant, and we’ll see how the situation unfolds,” he added.

Transfer delay: According to Dice, Volkswagen could deal with uncertainty by slowing its transition.

We can [for] Little by little, lengthen our coal-fired plants – hopefully not too long, ”he said. “Then we want to switch to gas if the supply is secure.”

Rising excitement: As our colleague Jack Budrik reports, by the end of 2022 – all Russian oil – though not natural gas – Dice has spoken out against the background of a new proposed EU boycott.

When Congress passed legislation last month to ban energy imports from Russia, the European Union was even more hesitant to do so, as the bloc relies heavily on Moscow’s oil and gas supplies.

Solar is leaping on the roof

While much of the discussion on clean energy tends to focus on consumers, according to energy investment expert Chaim Lubin, roofing power is also becoming increasingly attractive to large investors.

Lubin told Equilibrium that investors see solar as a traditional source of energy and even large-scale solar and wind blows – creating an investment cycle that increases the availability and purchasing power of solar panels.

Investors see an opportunity: Lubin runs a renewable energy consolidation and acquisition program at Chicago-based investment bank Lincoln International, helping solar companies obtain private equity investments.

  • Last month, Lubin helped Utah-based rooftop solar installer Ion Solar secure an investment from Blackstone Credit and Energy Impact Partners, according to a statement from his bank. Lubin said the ION represents an emerging “middle market for solar companies” that are installing on the roof.
  • These are জায়গায় 50 million to $ 1 billion in revenue each year – companies in sweet places for big investment deals, and that “probably didn’t exist three or four years ago,” Lubin added.

Some benefits of roofing: Lubin said rooftop panels are attractive to investors because they do not require any additional investment or infrastructure.

In contrast to utility-scale solar or wind, investors “need to install more new substations in our additional grid infrastructure at a much higher cost,” he explained.

He added that there is a lot of diversity in the size of roofing companies, which provides more affordable options for consumers.

State-by-state capability

With rising home energy costs, and between 11 and 12 cents per kilowatt-hour of solar power break-even point on the roof, Lubin argues that solar panels now make sense in most parts of the United States.

According to the Energy Information Agency (EIA), the US average is 13 cents per kilowatt hour, and even the least expensive regions are in the break-even zone above the average of 11 cents.

The states where solar energy is most significant: In California – where an average homeowner pays 25 cents per kilowatt-hour – it certainly means solar energy, Lubin said.

  • New England is also particularly ripe. Its power consumption averages 24 cents per kilowatt hour based on EIA data.
  • In Hawaii, the average cost of EIA charting is 38 cents per kilowatt hour, with residents paying almost three times the price of a solar break-even.

Lubin said the broad spectrum of rising electricity prices and the reduction in the cost of solar installation have helped persuade large investors to invest more in the sector.

Perception changes: Between buyers and investors – Solar has been suffering for decades from the notion that it can only succeed if homeowners “get adequate discounts or tax credits,” Lubin said.

And the realization that Roof Solar is a fragile business, relying on easily-withdrawn local incentives, has also made it very difficult for installation companies to secure the loans or investments needed to increase investment, he noted.

These comments have been transferred: “Investors are now able to see and say, ‘OK, this is a sustainable business model,’ and that’s when you start seeing the flow of capital,” Lubin said.

Concerns on Wednesday

Permanent chemicals in children’s toys mean more heart attack deaths for black and poor people and the spread of wind energy means more danger for migratory birds.

Some eco-friendly children’s products contain toxic ‘perpetual chemicals’: study

Black, low-income patients do not benefit from a lower death rate from a heart attack

  • Black and low-income patients are dying at the same rate after a heart attack – even as the population grows, their 10-year survival rate has increased, according to a study by JAMA Cardiology.

Danger at the junction of migration paths and wind power

  • The ideal spots for wind energy are consistent with the ideal path for migratory birds – often with fatal consequences, especially when they descend into the “rotor-swift zone” to rest for the night, according to a study by Conservation Letters.

For a web version of this newsletter and more stories please visit The Hill’s Sustainability section. Ok see you tomorrow

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