Archive for Alexandra Appolonia

20 construction machines getting the job done

  • These construction machines are all working hard to get the job done.
  • From a machine that digs up tree trunks to a tunnel-washing truck that looks like a car wash on wheels, we're highlighting 20 machines.
  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

Following is a transcript of the video.

#1 The Ponsse Beaver is an industrial tree-harvesting machine.

It cuts the tree at the base.

Then in one motion, it removes the limbs and cuts the tree into logs.

#2 This monster machine can dig trenches in seconds.

It digs holes up to 5.5m deep and 1.5m wide.

Used on large trenching projects like water pipes, it can also be used for sewage, oil, and gas projects.

#3 The 5700-C machine continuously forms and pours concrete.

It makes curbs, gutters, sidewalks, and barrier walls.

It can even handle irrigation ditches and bridge walkways.

#4 These machines can paint road markings in seconds.

The paint is made up of thermoplastics.

It also uses reflective glass beads.

This makes the markings more visible and long-lasting.

#5 This truck could save 90% of construction time.

The arched rollers on the back function as the structural frame.

Supporting the blocks while they're set in place.

The blocks fit together like LEGOs.

#6 The rotor stump grinder can dig up a tree trunk in seconds.

Each grinder is powered by hydraulics.

#7 The ScreedSaver BOSS 240 smoothes out concrete with rollers and blades.

It uses a boom instead of wheels that damage concrete.

A GPS ensures accuracy.

#8 The Hunklinger makes bricklaying much quicker.

It lays 1,000 bricks of any size and shape per hour.

#9 The Moty KE 3000 harvests pumpkin seeds.

It picks up the pumpkins using a spike wheel and sends them down a conveyor belt.

The pumpkin seeds are then separated, cleaned and easily transferred.

#10 The Roadrunner machine places and retrieves street cones.

The cones are loaded into the machine from the bed of the truck.

This makes placing cones safer and more efficient.

#11 The BMM300 truck rolls out 300 bricks a minute.

Raw clay is loaded into the back.

Where it's compressed into molds.

The brick is pushed out once the mold is facing the ground.

Leaving a clean trail of perfect bricks.

#12 SAM is a bricklaying machine.

It picks up bricks, adds mortar, and places them in order.

#13 This machine replaces railway ties, also known as sleepers.

It does it without removing any of the railway track.

The machine is fitted with a tie changer.

Which grabs the railway ties and replaces with a new one.

#14 This Splitmaster machine splits logs with a hydraulic press. The machine picks up heavy logs.

The press then feeds the log into a splitting knife.

And voila! Smaller pieces.

#15 These scraping machines remove floor coverings. It can handle ceramics, linoleum, vinyl, carpet, and even glue.

#16 The Spartan Leaf Pro Plus sucks up thousands of leaves per minute.

It works on wet or snowy leaves. It's controlled by a remote.

#17 This road-building machine rolls out bricks like a carpet. As the RPS6 RoadPrinter rolls backward, gravity brings the bricks flat to rest on the ground. This creates a perfect brick road.

#18 The Golden Series Six Shooter machine is used to remove manhole frames. It's braced to the center of the manhole. It then cuts a perfect circle around the hole.

#19 This machine cleans tunnels. It uses the same rollers as a car wash. It can easily adapt to different tunnels.

#20 The LSM 740 machine can mow around signposts. It uses two mower disks that automatically turn the mower when near a post. Avoiding any damage to the mower.

EDITOR'S NOTE: This video was originally published in March 2019.

Read the original article on Business Insider

How planes land sideways in high crosswinds

  • Airplane crabbing is usually needed because of high crosswinds.
  • Those strong winds can also prevent planes from taking off and landing at the airport.
  • A perfect crosswind landing is when the upwind wheel touches down first, the aircraft is straight down the runway, and then the second wheel comes down after.
  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

Following is a transcript of the video.

Alex Appolonia: It's not always a smooth and pleasant landing for airplanes. Intense strong winds can affect the position of how planes land on the runway, making it look like the plane is literally landing sideways. Here's how planes land sideways in high winds. Landings like this actually have a name, crabbing. The name comes from the way crabs walk sideways across the beach. That's kind of what the airplane looks like when it's landing this way. Crabbing is usually needed because of high crosswinds.

Les: The wind can either be blowing straight down the runway or 90 degrees to the runway or somewhere in between. And usually it's somewhere in between there.

Alex Appolonia: That's Les Westbrooks. He teaches aeronautical science at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, and is a retired airline pilot.

Les: Landing in a crosswind situation requires a couple of different maneuvers. When we're at altitude, the aircraft just flies in a crab, and we just go across, kinda sideways. Once we get down to the ground, we can't land with the aircraft in a crab, because that's gonna put a lot of stress on the outside of the landing gear, and could actually cause the landing gear to collapse if we put too much stress on it.

Alex Appolonia: Whenever there is a crosswind, there's a lot of turbulence, so it's not like the pilots are flying through a slight summer breeze. Of course the ultimate goal is for the aircraft to land straight, where the nose of the plane is in alignment with the stripe that's down the runway. Those crosswinds sure make it challenging!

Les: There is an angle to that. You know, as a forced vector, so the direction and the intensity that it's coming at will determine how much input we have to put into the aircraft's flight controls.

Alex Appolonia: As the plane comes in, the pilots are actively controlling it, so that it's in the perfect landing position. But, when a gust of wind comes at the wrong time, it will cause the pilot to execute a go-around instead of landing. If the crosswinds are severe enough, around 45 miles per hour or so, the pilot does not have enough control to straighten the airplane out and land. If this happens, the pilot will abandon the approach and divert the plane to another airport. These strong winds can prevent the planes from taking off at an airport. That's sometimes where those flight delays come in, and we all love those!

So, exactly how do the aircrafts land in these conditions?

Les: So, at the last minute, we want to move the nose of the aircraft parallel with the runway, but soon as we do that, the aircraft's gonna start blowing off to the side of the runway with the wind. So in order to counteract that, we'd lower the wing, the upwind wing, we lower the wing, and straighten the nose out, and a perfect crosswind landing will be when the upwind wheel touches down first, the aircraft is straight down the runway, and then the second wheel will come down after that.

Alex Appolonia: Finally, the plane is on the runway and heading to the terminal.

Les: Some of your best landings are actually made when it is in challenging conditions, 'cause you are on your A-game when you're doing this. All right, and you're completely engaged, and actively controlling the airplane so, actually some of our best landings are made when we are in these crosswind landing situations.

Narrator: So, if you're ever on a plane that feels like it's landing sideways, feel safe knowing the pilots have the situation totally under control.

EDITOR'S NOTE: This video was originally published in April 2019.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Everything wrong with e-scooters

  • E-scooters are a form of shared transportation designed to tackle transportation and congestion issues.
  • Companies like Bird, Lime, and Ojo have placed e-scooters in over 100 cities and towns around the world.
  • In the US, e-scooters are more popular than bike-sharing programs. But they also come with their own set of problems, like confusion over where to ride them and concerns for rider safety.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Following is a transcript of the video.

It seems like e-scooters have been popping up everywhere in the last few years. Companies like Bird, Lime, and Ojo have placed their e-scooters in over 100 cities and towns around the world. And they're even more popular in the US than bike-sharing programs, according to the National Association of City Transportation Officials. But, while those bike-sharing programs seem to have it all figured out, dock-less e-scooters have hit some speed bumps along the way.

The e-scooter premise is simple. You use an app to find and unlock a scooter near you, ride it where you need to go, and then leave it there for the next person. The company takes care of charging the battery and making sure the scooters are where they need to be. Pricing varies, but generally there is an initial unlocking fee along with a per-minute fee. Some other additional fees are possible, like if you venture outside the scooter's "home zone." The scooters are designed to tackle transportation and congestion issues in towns and cities.

Sure, the scooters are a form of shared mobility and are convenient and affordable, but that doesn't mean they're perfect. Pedestrians, cars, bikes, pretty much everyone is trying to adapt to sharing the roads and sidewalks, while riders are confused about where to use them and what regulations to follow. Sidewalk, bike lane, or road? With traffic or against it? And then there's the question of parking. Without designated docking stations for e-scooters, they can end up in a pile, obstructing sidewalks and crosswalks. It's not so much the scooters themselves that are to blame, but the people behind the handlebars who choose to ignore the rules.

These aren't problems that can be easily ignored. And parking issues aren't the biggest concern when it comes to e-scooters.

Tarak Trivedi: There are definite dangers, including death. I mean, we've seen a number of deaths already since they've been introduced.

That's UCLA Health emergency physician Tarak Trivedi. After seeing so many patients with scooter-related injuries, he decided to study them and publish the results.

Trivedi: So, anecdotally, some of the stories that I've heard are: I fell off. I don't know how. The break didn't work appropriately. The accelerator got stuck. There was a pothole in the road that I missed. I was riding, and the sidewalk was a little bit uneven, and I sort of just tipped over. Hit by cars, of course, intoxication and not paying attention.

The Associated Press reported there were 11 deaths linked to e-scooters from the start of 2018 through June of 2019. But that's a rough estimate, since there's no official data available. And that's not including the 1,500 injuries also reported in that same time period.

Trivedi: Overall, we found 249 emergency-department visits that were associated with an electric-scooter use of some sort. Some other results that we found interesting were that almost no one was wearing a helmet. Approximately 30% of our injured patients actually had some sort of fracture, and 40% of them had some sort of head injury. Those stats are kind of alarming. They should make helmets a requirement, right? There's a lot of arguments inside of required, mandatory-helmet laws. On one hand, we know that helmets protect the skull and brain. However, some cyclists and cyclist-advocacy organizations argue against mandatory-helmet laws, saying that it makes people less likely to use bicycles in general.

And the same applies to e-scooters. Which means local governments have to do all they can to keep riders safe. And in some cities, that means no e-scooters at all. New York City, for example, has yet to install an e-scooter program because of safety and infrastructure concerns. But just across the Hudson River, in the 1-square-mile city of Hoboken, New Jersey, e-scooters are everywhere. Hoboken has pilot e-scooter programs with both Lime and Ojo in hopes of addressing their lack of street space and parking demands.

Ryan Sharp: The benefit of doing a pilot program for six months is that it gives the city an opportunity to test out the model of e-scooter sharing. To put out surveys to the public, to get their feedback, and to collect data to see how popular or how much ridership is happening through this program.

Pilot programs help these cities learn what works, what doesn't, and where they can make improvements, like setting safety standards and better educating scooter riders.

Sharp: Some of the major rules that everybody has to follow includes no riding on sidewalks, you must ride in the direction of traffic. There's an age requirement, you must be 18 years or older to ride. Only one rider per scooter, so no tandem riding.

Rules are posted on the scooters on signs around the city and reinforced in the app itself. It's in the scooter company's best interest to comply with all the local laws. As the vehicles become more widespread, cities like Washington, DC, and Atlanta are imposing strict restrictions on their usage or banning them completely. Some of these policies may be the result of rider misuse, like breaking local laws and leaving scooters in all the wrong places.

But at least they're better for the environment, right? Not quite. In fact, compared to other transport options, e-scooters are not as green and eco-friendly as you might think. A study published in the journal Environmental Research Letters found that a lot of greenhouse gasses are created when manufacturing and transporting the scooters. In fact, scooters typically emit more greenhouse gasses than buses with high ridership and electric bikes. But it doesn't look like they're going to go away anytime soon. They're convenient, easy, and, we have to admit, fun.

So how do you keep everyone safe and not infuriate local residents with sky-high piles of scooters? It's a shared responsibility between the riders, pedestrians, companies, and local governments. Towns and cities need to make sure they designate where scooters should be ridden and keep them safe for everyone.

In Hoboken, local police are enforcing scooter rules through citations and suspending or even terminating accounts. Meanwhile, companies need to make sure that they are enforcing the rules and that the scooters are not disruptive to local residents. As for the riders, they need to understand and acknowledge they are operating a moving vehicle. Trivedi: A number of people also came in intoxicated. About 10% of our riders were actually under the legal age; they were under 18 years of age.

It's clear changes need to be made to make e-scooters safer and less disruptive. We don't really think about it now, but before 1915, stop signs for cars didn't exist, and the US had no uniform approach to street safety until the mid-1920s. Hopefully, it won't take that long to solve the issues e-scooters present. And if you're riding one, consider wearing a helmet. Follow all the local rules, and maybe stick to areas without many pedestrians or cars. Don't leave it in the middle of the sidewalk. And don't forget to enjoy the ride. It, like, doesn't, whoa!

EDITOR'S NOTE: This video was originally published in September 2019.

Read the original article on Business Insider

How Christmas lights go from pieces of wire to the decorations on your tree

  • Christmas lights are made from a simple string of miniature light bulbs with some wiring inside that connects everything together.
  • Taizhou Haoran Machinery sells machines that create LED holiday light strings — it's all in the manufacturing and how the lights are wired at the factory.
  • Here's how those massive strings of glowing festive decor are made.

Following is a transcript of the video.

Narrator: Have you ever wondered how these bands of lights come together? It's a simple string of miniature light bulbs, with some wiring inside that connects everything together.

Holiday light companies use various methods to make their string lights. Taizhou Haoran Machinery sells machines that create LED holiday light strings.

Here's how it works.

First, the wire is fed into the machine so it can be cut and shaped. Then, it is stripped at the tip and coated with flux, a cleaning agent that makes soldering and welding of metals a little easier.

Next in line are the LED light bulbs. They're fed into the machine and tested for positive or negative charges. Then, the metal ends of the lights are cut and shaped. Like the string, the LED light bulbs are also dipped in flux. The bulbs are then finally soldered with the wire.

The machine lines up all the stripped parts of the string with the individual light bulbs. The stripped ends of the string and the metal tips of the bulbs are soldered together. After the two parts are combined, each light is tested again for electric charge. Then the machine covers the metal piece in between the light bulb and the string with an insulator. The insulated lights are also wrapped with clear acrylic sleeves, to make them a little more durable. Lastly, the string is released and collected to go into the twisting machine.

And it comes out like this, bright and sparkling with colorful lights. Now, here's the thing.

The machine makes string lights in a series circuit. In a series circuit, the current passes from the power source to the first light, then the next, then the next, and so on, until it returns to the power source and completes the circuit. In this setup, if one bulb burns out in the strand, the current won't flow through the entire circuit, which means the entire string of Christmas lights will go out. Some of these could be replaced with a working bulb, but not all.

The other type of circuit light strands use is a parallel circuit. In this setup, each bulb is on its own circuit to the power source. The current is divided into paths, and since there is a separate path for each light, the rest of the bulbs will stay lit even if one goes out.

No matter what kind of lights the machine makes, they're finally ready to be hung up on a Christmas tree.

EDITOR'S NOTE: This video was originally published in December 2018.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Should you dine indoors? An infectious-disease expert ranks the risks of everyday activities for COVID-19.

  • The risk of becoming exposed to the COVID-19 coronavirus increases in some cases and decreases in others
  • Dr. Susan Hassig, an epidemiologist at Tulane University, shares how to think about managing the risk of everyday activities
  • Analyze situations by looking at the distance you will be able to maintain with others, the diversity of households in the area, and the duration of your activity and interactions.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Following is a transcript of the video.

Susan Hassig: I basically try to remind people that this virus isn't just out in the environment waiting to jump down your respiratory tract. It's captured, it's acquired from interacting with people.

Narrator: This is Dr. Susan Hassig. Hassig: I'm an associate professor of epidemiology. I was not one of those that rushed to a restaurant the first weekend they opened up. Given the opportunity, it will spread.

Narrator: Staying safe from COVID-19 doesn't require isolating in a bunker, but it does mean weighing different risks based on the situation. You can think about everyday activities in terms of the three D's: diversity, distance, and duration. Diversity is the number of households mixing. So risk is higher if you're meeting with people you don't live with, particularly if you don't know everywhere they've been in the past two weeks. It's also higher if your area has had lots of recent cases or if testing is too limited to know how many active carriers are around. Distance is an issue whenever you're less than six feet from other people, especially if you're indoors or people aren't wearing masks. Lastly, it comes down to duration. Are you running past people in the park, or are you having an extended conversation or encounter?

Hassig: So, the challenge that you have is kind of translating that into normal day-to-day behaviors. Pool-party kinds of situations. There's food involved, and there's more than likely, at an adult gathering, alcohol involved. I would be concerned about mask-wearing in that context, which actually should be part of the mix. When you're thinking about distance and density, those are two things that can be really problematic to maintain in that kind of an environment, and there may be social pressure not to maintain the distance.

Bars are really designed to attract people in in large numbers and to get up close and personal, so that's one of the venues that I am most concerned about when they eventually are allowed to reopen.

Houses of worship, very frequently the population present there is generally older, potentially more vulnerable to consequences of coronavirus infection, but there are also lots of activities that can be potentially really problematic. We know singing results in tremendous projection of air and virus, potentially.

Group sports, when you're physically working out, you're gonna be breathing a lot harder. And forced exhalation, if you happen to be infected, is a great way to expel a lot of virus. In the gym context, what I've seen, they have broken up those banks of treadmills. They've removed some of the machines or spaced them out to provide distance between individuals on them. I think the real challenge is, I think, in some respect, is for the trainers. The indoor dinner party is also fairly high. You may have some reasonable distancing, but probably not enough. And then when you're eating you're obviously not wearing a mask. If it's households comingling, that's where, you know, the real issue does come in.

Mass-transit options, basically they're relatively small, enclosed spaces with potentially lots of people in them for an extended period of time. Whether it's a surface bus or a subway or an airplane, you've got lots of possibilities going on there. A date, one on one, making sure you know who it is that you're having a date with before you actually get into a physical proximity with them is probably a really good idea. Troll their social media to see what they're posting, and if they've been to a couple of bars or parties, I wouldn't go on a physical date with them. I'd keep it virtual.

Dental visits are close proximity, certainly with a dental hygienist for an extended period of time, and as a patient your mouth is wide open, ready to accept virus. I'm assuming they would screen, physiologically, any of their patients. I think the other kinds of personal care and close-interaction services, I mean, we've seen the example of what happens when a hairstylist goes into work sick, and that's really problematic.

Airbnbs, I think it really depends on the proprietor and what kind of interval they have between their guests. Because, I mean, we know the virus will not survive more than two or three days on any kind of surface without renewed contamination. And so I would be very concerned about an Airbnb that was flipping it the same day from one client to the next. In a hotel I have a little bit less concern, although I would like to think that they are leaving at least one day in between guests in individual rooms, preferably two days.

Shopping in general is relatively low, but in a mall, where there may be opportunities for people to gather, is what I would be concerned about. Public pools, the water itself is not a risk. But if that water is full of people, you know, shoulder to shoulder or whatever, it's a risk. It's a risk environment.

I think campsites are relatively safe, as long as you're not, again, gathering around the campfire in close proximity with five other households. Walking in the park or whatever, where you're not stopping and chatting for 10 minutes with an old friend, you know, I'm not sure that you really even need to wear a mask in that context, because you're not spending any length of time in proximity to anyone, unless, of course, it's the crowded boardwalk in New Jersey or North Carolina or wherever else.

Narrator: All of this varies from situation to situation and person to person. The three D's may not be enough if you're high risk or interact with people who are, as even moderate risk can lead to major consequences. Hassig: There are some people ready and willing to accept the consequences of engaging in certain kinds of activities. But here it's more than just about an individual. It's really about your collective sphere of friends, family, and those that you interact with.

EDITOR'S NOTE: This video was originally published in June 2020.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Apple announced its iPhone 12 5G lineup in its October 2020 event with the iPhone 12 Mini and iPhone Pro

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Everything Google announced in its September event, with the new Pixel 5, Chromecast & smart speaker

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How NASA strategically paints its vehicles for space

Following is a transcript of the video. 

Narrator: Getting one of NASA's vehicles into space takes engineering, aerodynamics, lots of science, and a special paint job. This is NASA's Mars 2020 rover.

It's scheduled to land on the red planet on February 18, 2021. NASA paints all of its Mars rovers, and Mars 2020 is no exception.

But painting a vehicle for an alien world is a lot different from painting a car. For starters, the process is all done by hand. The Mars 2020 rover started as a pile of aluminum panels that took four months and over 5,000 hours to assemble. It'll take another three to four months to turn the frame, also known as the chassis, into a completed rover.

That's where the paint job comes in. The rover beings as a shiny aluminum that is then painted white to reflect sunlight and help the rover from overheating. Unlike the paint we put on cars, this paint is far more durable. It's made to endure the extreme temperatures of Mars, which can range from 70 degrees Fahrenheit, 20 degrees Celsius, near the equator, to minus 100 degrees Fahrenheit, minus 73 degrees Celsius. In fact, you can still see sections of white paint on NASA's Curiosity rover, which has been on Mars since 2012.

Many areas on the chassis need to be painted, while other parts won't have any paint at all. These areas usually have electronic boxes, wiring, or sensitive scientific instruments. To protect them during the process, these areas are carefully masked with tape. Emphasis on carefully. Instead of just ripping off a piece of tape, it is precisely measured and cut by a computer.

Then the rover is sanded to scuff the shiny, smooth aluminum which helps the paint adhere better. As for the paint, it is specifically formulated to withstand all the difficulties of getting to Mars. Like the shaky ride during launch and landing, as well as dust storms on Mars. For the paint to work effectively, it has to be the right thickness and evenly applied. Once the paint is applied, NASA has to make sure the rover's surface can't absorb anything like water or other chemicals.

So they bake it.

This happens in large, thermal vacuum chambers. The chassis is cooked in the vacuum for three days at 230 degrees Fahrenheit, 110 degrees Celsius. The rover is then covered with two bags to protect it and transported to an air lock room. This room preps the rover to go from the dirty outside to the clean inside of the assembly facility. The outer bag is removed and the clean, interior bag is left on for the rover to enter. Once the inner bag is removed, final assembly of the rover can begin.

All the components that control the rover, along with all its instruments, will go inside the chassis, forming the foundation for the entire rover. Who knew painting could also count as rocket science? See you in 2021, Mars.

EDITOR'S NOTE: This video was originally published in April 2019.

Read the original article on Business Insider