Largest Known International Dark Sky Reserve in the World

Big Bend National Park, located in Texas, is now a part of a dark sky reserve and is the world’s largest one yet. Additionally, it is the first-ever reserve that is international. It crosses the international border between Mexico and the US. The aim of creating this reserve was to minimize light pollution from spreading by practicing night-sky friendly actions. This entire reserve is about 40,000 sq km (more than 15,000 sq. miles) and could benefit the local communities, astronomers, wildlife, businesses, and tourists.

Working Together

The McDonald Observatory University of Texas at Austin, National Park Service, the Nature Conservancy, International Dark-Sky Association (IDA), Texas Parks as well as the Wildlife Department, along with the National Commission of Natural Protected Areas, Mexico, and local businesses all came together to make this happen. The Superintendent at McDonald Observatory Teznie Pugh said that if it was not for all the support from different communities and organizations, this reserve would never have become a reality.

Years of Hard Work

Davis Mountain Preserve will be the core area of the reserve, which is the same place where McDonald Observatory is located. Stringent rules shall be applied to lights and minimizing light pollution shall be done without disrupting the lives of people living around this region. Taft Armandroff, the Director at the Observatory said that this reserve will protect not only scientific research but also public education goals at the Observatory. This observatory has been studying the cosmos, which includes topics like the planets that orbit nearby stars or how the universe is constantly expanding, since 1939.

All for Positive Outcomes

There are many benefits to this Dark Sky Reserve. The adoption of these lighting practices will help increase safety and decrease energy, without disrupting the life forms around (humans included). The director of conservation at IDA, Ashley Wilson, said that this was a historic moment. Decades of hard work will now be recognized to provide solutions that reduce the wasteful use of artificial light.

A New Modular Computer Called Pockit Creates Gadgets From Scratch

A New Modular Computer Called Pockit Creates Gadgets From ScratchWhile DIY modular devices are no longer fashionable, they have had varying degrees of success over time. Some products, like AIAIAI’s TMA-2 headphones, were successful, while others, like the Blocks smartwatch and Google’s modular phone, failed. However, the failure of these systems to design and ship does not stop others from creating new modular devices. Pockit is a tiny modular system that can be turned into several gadgets, which may have created a must-have for its creator Anil Reddy. It appears to be incredibly cool, at the very least.

Pockit Creates 3D-Printed Blocks

Pockit can be compared to an electronic Lego package. Users can “snap” small SLA 3D-printed blocks on top of a magnetized baseboard the size of a credit card to create clocks, Bitcoin tickers, thermostats, cameras, automatic watering systems for indoor plants, and almost anything else, including a plug-and-play Linux computer with a Raspberry Pi.

Some blocks have elevated icons on top of them to signify that they are intended for specific use cases. A teeny, tiny circuit board and a coin-sized battery are among the blocks, which can be used in a range of devices such as garage door openers, watches, and motherboards. Some blocks may be used as controllers or keyboards. To make a Pockit module, you don’t need to be a coding wizard.

Pockit Creates 3D-Printed BlocksTo put it another way, Pockit can program itself by recognizing which blocks are connected and how they are arranged on the board. Pockit recognizes that when you attach an LED block to a button block, you want the button block to turn the LED on and off. Reddy says that this auto-adaptive behavior makes the creation of more complicated gadgets like a smart thermostat or a gardening controller easier because the modular device already knows what blocks go together.

Reddy’s Career

Reddy started his career as an embedded engineer, building many projects from the ground up, using precise and time-consuming methods. Many people have great gadget ideas, even if they just want to make one for themselves, but soldering and coding are difficult to pick up on their own. Reddy wanted to make it easier for electronic DIYers to create gadgets with just their imagination as a limit.