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GOOGLE BUYS WEB-BEAMING SOLAR DRONES CAPABLE OF FLYING FOR YEARS AT A TIME
A Google spokesperson announced Monday that the tech giant has purchased Titan Aerospace, snatching the New Mexico-based drone developers from Facebook, which has long been rumored to be interested in such an acquisition deal.
Titan Aerospace began operation in 2012 and its team of approximately 20 employees will continue to function out of its Moriarty headquarters after the deal goes through. They have spent years developing an unmanned-aerial-system (UAS) that, unlike the military drones buzzing over nations throughout the world, have been designed with the reported aim of bringing unfettered internet access to remote areas of the globe.
The sale was first reported Monday by the Wall Street Journal, although the terms of the deal were not disclosed.
“Titan Aerospace and Google share a profound optimism about the potential for technology to improve the world,” a Google spokesman told the Journal. “It is still early days, but atmospheric satellites could help bring internet access to millions of people, and help solve other problems, including disaster relief and environmental damage like deforestation.”
Titan deploys thin, solar panel-covered aircraft that are able to convert sunlight into fuel. The two models under development, the Solara 50 and Solara 60, are capable of flying for five years at an altitude twice the height passenger airlines travel.
Google has suggested the drones will be used to collect images from high above the planet, aiding initiatives like Google Earth and Google Maps. The spokesperson also told reporters the Titan aircraft will work closely with Google’s Project Loon, which is working to release high-altitude balloons that will broadcast Internet connectivity to closed-off areas of the world.
Matisse exhibition reunites ‘Blue Nude’ paper cut-outs
Even when he was in his 80s and in frail health, the French painter, sculptor and, latterly, master of painted cut-out paper Henri Matisse, still had it.
That, in part, is what an exhibition of Matisse's late-life works, some huge and covering most of the gallery walls, demonstrates in the show opening this week at London's Tate Modern, and then heading to the Museum of Modern Art in New York.
For one of the rare occasions since Matisse made them in the south of France in the early 1950s, his four "Blue Nudes" are together again in one room - much to the delight of Tate director Nicholas Serota.
Final book in ‘Divergent’ trilogy to be split into two films
The final book in the "Divergent" trilogy will be split into two movies, Lions Gate said on Friday, following the same formula the studio used for the upcoming final instalments of "The Hunger Games" series.
"Allegiant Part 1" is set to be released on March 18, 2016, and its second part a year later on March 24, 2017, the studio said.
"Divergent," a dystopian thriller based on the young adult book series by author Veronica Roth, stars Shailene Woodley and was released last month, grossing $116.6 million (69.6 million pounds) so far at the U.S. box office.
The series tells the story of a futuristic society that divides people into groups based on personality traits.
Chinese rush for bottled drinks after benzene pollutes tapwater
Residents in the Chinese city of Lanzhou rushed to buy bottled drinks on Friday after authorities said benzene, a cancer-inducing chemical, had been found in tapwater at 20 times above national safety levels.
The water supply was turned off in one district, and officials warned citizens not to drink tapwater for the next 24 hours.
"Lanzhou has shut down the contaminated water supply pipe and deployed activated carbon to absorb the benzene," local authorities said in a statement.
The water supply company, Lanzhou Veolia Water Co, is majority-owned by the city government, with Veolia China, a unit of French firm Veolia Environnement, holding a 45-percent stake.
‘Million Orchid’ project to revive native Florida flowers
Inside a small bright lab, nestled behind sprawling Banyan trees in Miami's Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, scientists and volunteers tend to tens of thousands of just-germinated orchids tucked in glass bottles.
Fifty thousand more with long verdant leaves wait in a nearby nursery. In the coming weeks, crews in bucket trucks, usually used to fix power lines, will lift the fragile plants onto trees that line south Florida's roads, hoping they will take root and re-establish the blanket of millions of brightly colored flowers that once covered the state.
"We want to bring back not just the orchids, but the insects that pollinate them," said Carl Lewis, who leads the Million Orchid Project as director of the botanic garden.
Decades of breakneck urban development and population growth all but destroyed the region's native orchid species. The vividly colored flowers were pulled from their perches by enthusiasts and dealers, who shipped them north to be sold in home stores and at spring farmer's markets.
Florida's obsession with orchids, particularly rare species, was detailed in journalist Susan Orlean's 1998 book, "The Orchid Thief," which was about the arrest of a man and a group of Seminole Indians who poached the rare Ghost Orchid in hopes of cloning it for profit.