Are the planes of the future all “weird”? | Feel Good Weekly Newsletter

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  • Are the planes of the future all "weird"?
  • Making patients feel better should be the new responsibility of hospital design
  • Microsoft: We're facing a huge climate talent gap
  • She has written more than a thousand encyclopedia entries, all of which are unreasonably "cold"
  • Cicil: "Innovation" is not necessarily a good thing

Are the planes of the future all "weird"?

By the late 2030s, maybe the planes we're flying in will all be "weird."

This year, NASA held an aircraft design competition for U.S. companies, inviting them to design aircraft that could meet existing climate challenges. At the same time, these designs must be able to carry 150 passengers, roughly the size of a Boeing 737, and 60 of them will be mass-produced within a month.

Although the specific design plan for the competition cannot be announced, NASA revealed that most of the participating teams are designed on three basic types – Transonic Truss-Braced Wing and Blended Wing Body ) and Double-Bubble.

▲ Wing-body fusion design rendering

R. John Hansman, director of MIT's Center for International Air Transport, said these designs can improve efficiency and reduce carbon emissions.

Both wing-body fusion and double-bubble modes utilize the body of the aircraft to provide lift, rather than relying solely on the wings.

▲ Double bubble design rendering

The transonic truss-supported wing version uses the tubular fuselage of a traditional airliner, but its long, thin wings provide less drag in flight. However, such wings are also more fragile and require additional support.

▲ Rendering of the transonic truss-supported wing design

Boeing and Airbus have been developing new models for a long time, but airlines always choose cheaper models with some improvements, and new designs that require high investment are always difficult to implement.

If we don't act, nothing will ever change.

We need to quickly incorporate this into our daily flights to have a positive climate impact.

Rich Wahls, director of NASA's National Partnership for Sustainable Flight, said.

At the same time as the aircraft design competition, the industry is also developing new energy supply systems, including hydrogen and electricity, and synthetic materials.

As for when we will see change come to life, Wahls thinks it will be 20 years from now.

Making patients feel better should be the new responsibility of hospital design

In recent years, there has been a growing belief that hospitals should not be seen as just a treatment facility that provides basic facilities, but should be built as a space for people to heal.

One of the largest hospitals in Portugal, the Hospital de São João, has opened a new paediatric ward, which also includes a relaxation area where younger patients can read, play and learn.

The entrance hallway to this area features a bright yellow ceiling and an art installation designed by illustrator Francisca Ramalho that looks like flying kites.

Going further inside, these art installations transform into colorful murals.

In the leisure area, the construction team set up stairs by the window, which is like a transitional space – children can sit and play on the stairs, or go from the public rest area along the stairs to the window to get more Independent rest space.

In the lounge area, the space is divided into five functional spaces, each with its own colour theme – a warm yellow for the library, a soft pink for the play area, etc.

While this is clearly a space designed for children, the design team believes this caring thinking should extend to the wider hospital space:

Everyone always has to face the distress or stress caused by disease, we have to find a way to soothe people by designing space, color and lighting.

Design researcher Roger Ulrich believes that medical space design will affect the health of patients. He also proposed that medical space design should provide support in the following three aspects:

"Perceptions of control" is to make patients feel that they have a sense of control over their environment, and some designs will enhance this experience by optimizing orientation guidance.

"Social support" is about providing patients with a quiet and private space where they can discuss their condition or how they are feeling with relatives, friends or healthcare workers.

"Positive distraction" is to provide pleasing visual elements to distract the patient's attention, whether it is TV, books, plants, natural scenery or art can significantly improve the patient's perception.

Microsoft: We're facing a huge climate talent gap

"While more than 3,900 companies have pledged to reduce corporate carbon emissions, we're facing a critical shortage of climate professionals," said Brad Smith, vice chairman and president of Microsoft.

In a related report released this week, Microsoft pointed out that until now, most of the companies that have been leading in sustainable work have transferred their existing employees to sustainable-related businesses, lacking professionals from this field. .

In Smith's view, this approach falls short when the initiative is to scale:

In the history of human civilization, no generation has had to do as much in such a short period of time as we have.

Additionally, Smith worries that corporate climate responsibility will be pushed to a lower priority by various other projects, whether it’s the COVID-19 pandemic or the recession. He believes it is understandable that companies are cutting back in some areas, but "the world can't wait any longer for action to cut carbon faster".

In his experience, the most important thing is common sense and the will to act – "the quickest way to get ahead is to start doing it".

She has written more than a thousand encyclopedia entries, all of which are unreasonably "cold"

Besides being a physicist and OBE, Jess Wade is also a fairly prolific author of Wikipedia entries.

Wade has now written more than 1,750 encyclopedia entries, all about women and minority scientists.

Wikipedia is a very powerful tool for honoring those long forgotten by history.

Not only do we not have enough women working in science, but we also don't do enough to celebrate the women that exist in academia.

Wade decided to write the entry in 2017. At the time, she discovered that American climatologist Kim Cobb didn't have her own Wiki entry, even though she was highly accomplished in the field.

After some research, she found that many female and minority scientists did not have their own entries, and decided to start writing.

Wade believes that with the entry, more people will have the opportunity to know them, which also means that they can get more opportunities.

At the same time, "exposure" may also have a far-reaching impact, alleviating the "talent bias" caused by gaps in gender data.

Caroline Criado Perez points out in "Invisible Women" that simply including pictures of female scientists in textbooks can already improve girls' science grades.

In Wade's view, the best way to support girls in science subjects is to provide them with tutoring so that "students know what different career paths they have in science, and to get parents and teachers on board."

Cicil: "Innovation" is not necessarily a good thing

After more than a decade in the textile industry, Caroline Cockerham and Laura Tripp decided to go out on their own and do something different.

They saw the industry change, with unhealthy chemicals, long supply chains, products serving trends and goods in landfills, leading them to decide to be a more sustainable brand, Cicil, and asked a question: Is "innovation" necessarily a good thing?

In our work with big brands, "innovation" is synonymous with "new," driven by the marketing machine.

But not all "innovations" are good.

In the textile industry, newly added coatings on blankets and sofas often contain perfluoro/polyfluoroalkyl compounds (PFAS), which pose safety concerns; many new technologies also have unintended negative effects, such as the demand for electric vehicles The increase caused a boom in lithium mining, which in turn affected water resources and biodiversity in South America.

Cicil, as a wool brand, has slowed down and returned to more traditional manufacturing methods.

The wools used by the brand are not dyed, but are "toned" by adding a certain amount of black and brown wool to the wool material. Also, these colours of wool are not normally used by peers, thus reducing material waste.

They value the underutilized local small farm resources. Some farmers in New York state discard some of the wool because it is too rough to be used in sweaters. There are also black wool on farms that have been discarded all the time, because black wool cannot be used for dyeing, but now it can be used for "coloring".

These have become Cicil's resources.

In terms of technology, Cicil will make good use of the antibacterial and stain resistance of wool itself.

Instead of adding unnecessary things, we let materials do what they do. We're trying to simplify things as much as possible and asking questions – why are we changing this?

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