World's First Solar-Powered Lock Protects You and Your Bike
Remember that bicycle lock you had as a kid? Maybe you still have it? You close it and go on your way until you get back and insert the key or input the combination, assuming the lock hasn't been cut or jimmied and your bike is gone. Let's hope not.
The Skylock isn't anything like that. The "intelligent" lock may not be able to take your bar exam for you, but when it comes to you and your bicycle, there's very little it can't do to keep you both safe and secure.
The keyless, Bluetooth-enabled smart lock was developed by a team of San Francisco-based engineers who call it "the world's first solar-powered connected bike lock." An app downloaded on the user's iPhone or Android device is the connection between him and his Skylock-equipped bike.
Yes, it controls the lock remotely, but it does much more than that. If someone is trying to cut the lock—a difficult and time-consuming process—the lock's triaxial accelerometer will have notified you that your bike is being tampered with before the thief can take off. According to the developers, "Any lock can be cut with enough time and the right tools. Since Skylock requires two cuts to break, this means you have twice the amount of time to respond to a theft alert." Sure, it can send a false alarm if someone accidentally bumps your bike but at least you can go check to see what's going on.
The Skylock can also be programmed so that if you are in an accident or get hit by a car it sends an automatic alert to a person or persons of your choice. The system only works if both phone and Skylock get a shock, so nothing will happen if you drop one or the other. What happens if both are in your backpack and you drop it? "The system will ask you if you are ok and take action if you don’t reply, so if you activate this feature, keep this in mind and don’t slam your backpack," they advise. That's probably good advice in general.
The Skylock isn't just convenient and protective, it's also eco-friendly. With its low-power design and solar-recharged battery, it needs little charging to provide power for up to months at a time. Although Skylock's developers say you're unlikely to run out of battery power (or your phone runs out) and find yourself locked out of your bike, they've got you covered.
"If you are ever running low, just plug in the USB charger and Skylock will be ready to guard you and your bike again," they say. "Skylock also has a built-in capacitive panel. Just type in a key code combination to unlock Skylock if your phone ever runs out of battery. Never worry about getting your bike stuck outside."
With Skylock, you can even share your bike with trusted friends. You can alert them to the bike's location and send them access to it via phone.
Cycling enthusiasts were excited enough by the Skylock that it blew through its first Indiegogo fundraising goal in a single day and raised double its set goal in the second.
Naturally, Skylock doesn't come cheap, but we know some serious cyclists that measure their dedication by how much money they are able to spend. Skylock can help them. While regular bike locks may run you anywhere from $10-$100, Skylock will retail for $250 but the company is taking preorders at $159. The lock should be in your hands before the summer cycling season is too far along.
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"These are not just wildfires, they are climate fires," Jay Inslee, Governor of Washington State, said as he stood amid the charred remains of the town of Malden west of Seattle earlier this month. "This is not an act of God," he added. "This has happened because we have changed the climate of the state of Washington in dramatic ways."
'These Aren't Wildfires'<p>Sam Ricketts, who led climate policy and strategy for Governor Jay Inslee's 2020 presidential campaign, tweeted on September 11 that "These aren't wildfires. These are #climatefires, driven by fossil fuel pollution."</p><p>"The rate and the strength and the devastation wrought by these disasters are fueled by climate change," Ricketts told DW of fires that have burnt well over 5 million acres across California, Oregon, Washington State, and into neighboring Idaho. </p><p>In a two-day period in early September, Ricketts notes that more of Washington State burned than in almost any entire fire season until now, apart from 2015. </p><p>California, meanwhile, was a tinderbox after its hottest summer on record, with temperatures in Death Valley reaching nearly 130 degrees Fahrenheit, according to the U.S. National Weather Service. It has been reported as the hottest temperature ever measured on Earth.</p>
<div id="29ad9" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="8346fe7350e1371d400097cd48bf45a2"><blockquote class="twitter-tweet twitter-custom-tweet" data-twitter-tweet-id="1306969603180879872" data-partner="rebelmouse"><div style="margin:1em 0">Drought-parched wetlands in South America have been burning for weeks. https://t.co/pjAKdFcKPg #Pantanal https://t.co/ImN2C5vwcp</div> — NASA Earth (@NASA Earth)<a href="https://twitter.com/NASAEarth/statuses/1306969603180879872">1600440810.0</a></blockquote></div><p>As evidenced by Australia's apocalyptic Black Summer of 2019-2020, fires are burning bigger and for longer, with new records set year-on-year. Right now, Brazil's vast and highly biodiverse Pantanal wetlands are suffering from catastrophic fires.</p>
#climatefires Started in Australia<p>Governor Inslee this month invoked the phrase climate fires for arguably the first time in the U.S., according to Ricketts.</p><p>But the term was also used as fires burnt out of control in Australia in late 2019. In the face of a 2000km (more than 1,200 miles) fire front, and government officials and media who <a href="https://www.dw.com/en/trump-climate-change-denial-emissions-environment-germany-fake-heartland-seibt/a-52688933" target="_blank">played down the link to climate change</a>, Greens Party Senator Sarah Hanson-Young and a friend decided that reference to bushfires was inadequate. </p><p>"We both just said, we've got to start calling them climate fires, that's what they are," the Australian Senator told DW.</p><p>Hanson-Young says scientists have been warning for decades that these would be the effects of global heating. "We've been told these kinds of extreme weather events and destruction is what climate change would look like, and it's right here on our doorstep," she said from her home state of South Australia — where by early September fire warnings had already been issued.</p><p>"Calling them climate fires was making it absolutely crystal clear. It is essential that there's no ambiguity," she said </p><p>Having deliberately invoked the term, Hanson-Young soon started to push it on social media via a #climatefires hashtag. </p>
How to Talk About the Urgency of Global Heating<p>The need to use more explicit language when talking about extreme weather events linked to climate change is part of a broader push to express the urgency of global heating. In 2019, activist Greta Thunberg tweeted that the term "climate change" did not reflect the seriousness of the situation. </p><p>"Can we all now please stop saying 'climate change' and instead call it what it is: climate breakdown, climate crisis, climate emergency, ecological breakdown, ecological crisis and ecological emergency?" she wrote. </p><p>"Climate change has for a long time been talked about as something that is a danger in the future," said Hansen-Young. "But the consequences are already here. When people hear the word crisis, they understand that something has to happen, that action has to be taken."</p><p><span></span>Some terms are now used in public policy, with state and national governments, and indeed the EU Parliament, declaring an official climate emergency in the last year. </p>
Words That Reflect the Science<p>But while the West Coast governors all fervently link the fires to an unfolding climate crisis, U.S. President Donald Trump continues to avoid any reference to climate. In a briefing about the fires, he responded to overtures by Wade Crowfoot, California's Natural Resources Secretary, to work with the states on the climate crisis by stating: "It'll start getting cooler. You just watch." Crowfoot replied by saying that scientists disagreed. Trump rejoined with "I don't think science knows, actually." </p><p>It was reminiscent of the anti-science approach to the coronavirus pandemic within the Trump administration, <a href="https://www.dw.com/en/donald-trump-admits-playing-down-coronavirus-risks/a-54874350" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">at least publicly</a>. Fossil fuel companies are also benefiting from his disavowal of climate science, with the Trump administration having <a href="https://www.dw.com/en/opinion-trumps-paris-climate-accord-exit-isnt-really-a-problem/a-51124958" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">pulled out of the Paris Agreement</a> and reopened fossil fuel infrastructure like the Keystone XL pipeline. </p><p>But the science community has responded, with Scientific American magazine endorsing Trump's Democratic presidential challenger Joe Biden, the first presidential endorsement in its 175-year history. </p><p>Hanson-Young says the use of explicit language like climate fires has also been important in Australia due to the climate denialism of politicians and the press, especially in publications owned by Rupert Murdoch. As fires burnt out much of Australia's southeast coast, they were commonly blamed on arson — a tactic also recently used in the U.S.</p>
Climate Rhetoric Could Help Decide Election<p>The language of climate has begun to influence the U.S. presidential election campaign, with Democratic nominee Joe Biden labelling President Trump a "climate arsonist."</p><p>Biden is touting a robust climate plan that includes a 2050 zero emissions target and a return to the Paris Agreement. Though lacking the ambition of The New Green Deal, it has been front and center of his policy platform in recent days, at a time when five hurricanes are battering the U.S. Gulf Coast while smoke blanketing the West Coast spreads all the way to the East. </p><p>People are experiencing the climate crisis in a visceral way and almost universally relate to the language of an emergency, says Ricketts. "They know something is wrong."</p>
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