• Business
    TechCrunch

    Firms backed by Robert Downey Jr. and Bill Gates have funded an electric motor company that slashes energy consumption

    Arguably, one of the biggest contributors in the fight against climate change to date has been the switch to the humble LED light, which has slashed hundreds of millions of tons of carbon dioxide emissions simply by reducing energy consumption in buildings. It's not as flashy as an arc reactor, but like light bulbs, motors are a ubiquitous and wholly unglamorous technology that have been operating basically the same way since the nineteenth century.

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  • U.S.
    The Conversation

    How some people can end up living at airports for months – even years – at a time

    Mehran Karimi Nasseri sits among his belongings in a 2004 photograph taken at Charles de Gaulle Airport, where he lived for nearly 18 years. Eric Fougere/VIP Images/Corbis via Getty ImagesIn January, local authorities arrested a 36-year-old man named Aditya Singh after he had spent three months living at Chicago’s O'Hare International Airport. Since October, he had been staying in the secure side of the airport, relying on the kindness of strangers to buy him food, sleeping in the terminals and using the many bathroom facilities. It wasn’t until an airport employee asked to see his ID that the jig was up. Singh, however, is far from the first to pull off an extended stay. After more than two decades studying the history of airports, I’ve come across stories about individuals who have managed to take up residence in terminals for weeks, months and sometimes years. Interestingly, though, not all of those who find themselves living in an airport do so of their own accord. Blending in with the crowd Whether it’s in video games like “Airport City” or scholarship on topics like “airport urbanism,” I’ll often see the trope that airports are like “mini cities.” I can see how this idea germinates: Airports, after all, have places of worship, policing, hotels, fine dining, shopping and mass transit. But if airports are cities, they’re rather strange ones, in that those running the “cities” prefer that no one actually takes up residence there. Nonetheless, it is possible to live in airports because they do offer many of the basic amenities needed for survival: food, water, bathrooms and shelter. And while airport operations do not necessarily run 24/7, airport terminals often open very early in the morning and stay open until very late at night. Many of the facilities are so large that those determined to stay – such as the man at O'Hare – can find ways to avoid detection for quite some time. One of the ways would-be airport residents avoid detection is to simply blend in with the crowds. Before the pandemic, U.S. airports handled 1.5 million to 2.5 million passengers on any given day. Once the pandemic hit, the numbers dropped dramatically, falling below 100,000 during the early weeks of the crisis in the spring of 2020. Notably, the man who lived at O'Hare for a little over three months arrived in mid-October 2020 as passenger numbers were experiencing a rebound. He was discovered and apprehended only in late January 2021 – right when passenger numbers dropped considerably after the holiday travel peaks and during the resurgence of the coronavirus. Living in limbo Of course, not all of those who find themselves sleeping in a terminal necessarily want to be there. Travel by air enough and chances are that, at one time or another, you’ll find yourself in the category of involuntary short-term airport resident. While some people may book flights that will require them to stay overnight at the airport, others find themselves stranded at airports because of missed connections, canceled flights or bad weather. These circumstances seldom result in more than a day or two’s residency at an airport. It might not be the most comfortable bed, but at least it’s indoors. Boris Roessler/picture alliance via Getty Images Then there are those who unwittingly find themselves in an extended, indefinite stay. Perhaps the most famous involuntary long-term airport resident was Mehran Karimi Nasseri, whose story reportedly inspired the movie “The Terminal,” starring Tom Hanks. Nasseri, an Iranian refugee, was en route to England via Belgium and France in 1988 when he lost the papers that verified his refugee status. Without his papers, he could not board his plane for England. Nor was he permitted to leave the Paris airport and enter France. He soon became an international hot potato as his case bounced back and forth among officials in England, France and Belgium. At one point French authorities offered to allow him to reside in France, but Nasseri turned down the offer, reportedly because he wanted to get to his original destination, England. And so he stayed at Charles de Gaulle Airport for nearly 18 years. He left only in 2006, when his declining health required hospitalization. Other long-term airport residents include Edward Snowden, the NSA leaker, who spent more than a month in a Russian airport in 2013 before receiving asylum. And then there is the saga of Sanjay Shah. Shah had traveled to England in May 2004 on a British overseas citizen passport. Immigration officials, however, refused him entry when it was clear he intended to immigrate to England, not merely stay there the few months his type of passport allowed. Sent back to Kenya, Shah feared leaving the airport, as he had already surrendered his Kenyan citizenship. He was finally able to leave after an airport residency of just over a year when British officials granted him full citizenship. More recently, the coronavirus pandemic has created new long-term involuntary airport residents. For example, an Estonian named Roman Trofimov arrived at Manila International Airport on a flight from Bangkok on March 20, 2020. By the time of his arrival, Philippine authorities had ceased issuing entry visas to limit the spread of COVID-19. Trofimov spent over 100 days in the Manila airport until personnel at the Estonian embassy were finally able to get him a seat on a repatriation flight. [You’re smart and curious about the world. So are The Conversation’s authors and editors. You can get our highlights each weekend.] The homeless find refuge While most involuntary airport residents long to leave their temporary home, there are some who have voluntarily attempted to make an airport their long-term abode. Major airports in both the United States and Europe have long functioned – though largely informally – as homeless shelters. Though homelessness and the homeless have a long history in the United States, many analysts see the 1980s as an important turning point in that history, as many factors, including federal budget cuts, the deinstitutionalization of the mentally ill and gentrification, led to a sharp rise in the number of homeless. It is in that decade that you can find the earliest stories about the homeless living at U.S. airports. In 1986, for example, the Chicago Tribune wrote about Fred Dilsner, a 44-year-old former accountant who had been living at O'Hare in Chicago for a year. The article indicated that homeless individuals had first started showing up at the airport in 1984, following the completion of the Chicago Transit Authority train link, which provided easy and cheap access. The newspaper reported that 30 to 50 people were living at the airport, but that officials expected the number could climb to 200 as the winter weather set in. This issue has persisted into the 21st century. News stories from 2018 reported a rise in the number of homeless at several large U.S. airports over the previous few years, including at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport and at Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport. The coronavirus pandemic has added an additional public health concern for this group of airport denizens. For the most part, airport officials have tried to provide aid to these voluntary residents. At Los Angeles International Airport, for example, officials have deployed crisis intervention teams to work to connect the homeless to housing and other services. But it’s also clear that most airport officials would prefer a solution where airports no longer operated as homeless shelters.This article is republished from The Conversation, a nonprofit news site dedicated to sharing ideas from academic experts. It was written by: Janet Bednarek, University of Dayton. Read more:How the homeless create homesIn an iconic airport terminal, the last vestiges of a bygone era Janet Bednarek does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.

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  • Health
    The Telegraph

    I’m finally pregnant at 42 – but why aren’t all my friends happy for me?

    Telling people you are pregnant for the first time at 42 is a funny old thing. For 20 odd years, I’ve watched my friends go through the elation of pregnancy and share their news – at times when I’ve desperately wished I could be a mum too. But those stars just hadn’t aligned. Regardless, I’ve been as delighted as any friend could be and especially sensitive when I’ve known people have struggled to conceive or had life situations that have made the whole process much harder. In December, after nearly a year of fertility treatment with my long-term partner Jonjo who is infertile after cancer, I got to share my own news: I was pregnant with twins. It felt like I was proclaiming a lottery win. For the most part friends were joyous but the odd few comments, all relating to my age, really knocked the wind out of my sails. On a walk with a fellow IVF friend, she quipped “We can’t all be fertile geriatrics like you”. I understood her frustrations. In essence, it looked like it had happened easily because it was our first round of ICSI/IVF. But it hadn’t. I’d decided to freeze my eggs when single and, after the procedure in 2017, ended up in hospital with excruciatingly painful and swollen ovaries. This time around, I’d opted to do another fresh egg collection as I’d been told my fertility was still very good and, if it didn’t work, I’d have the frozen eggs as back up. I ended up in hospital again, dosed up on morphine for a night with the same pains. Then the pandemic hit and the clinic shut down so, like many others, we were left in limbo. When the clinic reopened in the summer, two days before our embryo transfer, I found what I thought was a lump in my left breast. I had a mammogram and was told I needed a biopsy the following day, so our treatment was immediately cancelled. We finally picked it back up in the beginning of September when we had two embryos successfully implanted. Her comments left me feeling deflated. I’d waited decades to get to this point in my life and here I was feeling almost lambasted for it. I didn’t relish being called a geriatric either. Another friend emailed me to say congratulations followed by a throwaway comment: “I thought you were never going to do it.” She didn’t mean any harm but it frustrated me that others were watching my biological clock and making the assumption that I’d almost missed my chance. One family member said they were beginning to worry I was leaving it too late and they were planning to talk to me about it. I was incensed that they thought I somehow needed hurrying along, as if unaware. With so much negative discourse and scaremongering surrounding women’s fertility, I wanted to be a beacon of hope for others who, for whatever reason, found themselves trying “later in life”. I’ve encountered many “expert” opinions throughout my 30s that, solely based on my age, had panicked me into believing my chances of having a family were over. While a woman’s fertility does decline with age, the statistics I was given didn’t relate to me personally. Instead, I had my own fertility checked with a blood test and ultrasound (a far cheaper process) and planned what I would do around that. In fact, it’s becoming more natural for women to start their families in their 40s. In the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority’s (HFEA) 2018 fertility trends report, it stated that “patients aged 40-42 had a higher chance of a live birth than patients aged under 35 in 1991” while, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), the number of women aged 40-44 giving birth in 2019 had doubled in the last two decades alone, rising from 13,617 in 1999 to 27,228 in 2019. Jonjo is five years younger than me and, when we got together after meeting at work nearly six years ago, I made it clear that family was on my agenda. I didn’t want to be in another situation where I was ready for a family but my partner wasn’t. He replied with “I know what I’m signing up for” and that was enough for me to trust we were on the same page. I was already 37 but I knew there were some things we both wanted to do before a family and he knew my deadline for myself. So when the time came to make decisions, it was the exact right time for us. His sperm was already frozen and I was told my fertility was that of a 25-year-old, so we weren’t any more worried than anyone else would be. For us, my age wasn’t an issue. I feel lucky to be having a successful pregnancy and that, for us, we have only had to encounter one round of IVF. But there are no guarantees for anyone trying at whatever stage in life. I’ve seen younger friends go through miscarriages and numerous rounds of treatment to no avail. No one wants to be pitied because others form an opinion of their chances. Especially not us geriatrics.

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  • Sports
    INSIDER

    Former MLB executive says Albert Pujols was lying about his age when he signed a $240 million contract with the Angels

    "Not one person in baseball believes Albert Pujols is the age he says he is," former Miami Marlins President David Samson.

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  • Lifestyle
    MarketWatch

    My husband and his brother inherited a property. Our son lived there rent-free for 4 years. We paid $60K in taxes and repairs after a fire. Do we still split it 50/50?

    My husband and his brother inherited their family home. When they were able to take possession, our son and his family needed a place to live. Now comes my concern: If my husband and his brother had sold the house when they first inherited it, they would have split proceeds 50/50.

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  • Entertainment
    Yahoo Music

    Bella Thorne talks directing and starring in controversial new video with adult film star: 'My perfect idea for a woman'

    Thorne says breaking away from her Disney image was "very, very hard."

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