Bright light in big city mystifies New Yorkers after Queens transformer fire

The night sky is alight as a Con Edison facility in the Queens borough of New York experiences a transformer explosion, Thursday, Dec. 27, 2018, in New York. (AP)
Updated 28 December 2018

Bright light in big city mystifies New Yorkers after Queens transformer fire

  • Many social media users posted videos and photos of the night sky over New York City illuminated by a bright light
  • “The light you have seen throughout the city appears to have been from a transformer explosion at a Con Ed facility in Queens,” the New York Police Department said

NEW YORK: A transformer explosion at an electric power substation in the New York City borough of Queens lit up the night sky with a bright blue light on Thursday, mystifying some residents, but officials said no one was injured in the incident.
“The light you have seen throughout the city appears to have been from a transformer explosion at a Con Ed facility in Queens,” the New York Police Department said in an advisory on to residents on Twitter.
“The fire is under control, will update as more info becomes available,” it said.
Many social media users posted videos and photos of the night sky over New York City illuminated by a bright light.
“Why is the sky lit up bright blue in Queens New York City right now? Is it fireworks?” Louis Santoro, a New York City resident, wrote on Twitter.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said in a message on Twitter no one was injured and that Con Edison was evaluating the extent of power outages in the area. He said the light was caused by an electrical surge at the substation.

Con Edison said on Twitter an electrical fire at a substation in the Astoria section of Queens caused a transmission dip in the area. The cause of the incident was being investigated, it said.
A power outage at LaGuardia Airport, which is located in Queens, prompted flight cancelations, the New York affiliate of NBC reported earlier on Thursday. It was not immediately clear if the two events were related.
Power was returning at LaGuardia Airport, de Blasio said, but travelers could expect delays.


South Korean cafe hires robot barista to help with social distancing

Updated 25 May 2020

South Korean cafe hires robot barista to help with social distancing

  • It is believed the robots could help with social distancing as the COVID-19 pandemic continues
  • The manufacturer and the scientific institute aim to supply at least 30 cafes with robots this year

DAEJEON, South Korea: The new robot barista at the cafe in Daejeon, South Korea, is courteous and swift as it seamlessly makes its way toward customers.
“Here is your Rooibos almonds tea latte, please enjoy. It’s even better if you stir it,” it says, as a customer reaches for her drink on a tray installed within the large, gleaming white capsule-shaped computer.
After managing to contain an outbreak of the new coronavirus which infected more than 11,000 people and killed 267, South Korea is slowly transitioning from intensive social distancing rules toward what the government calls “distancing in daily life.”
Robots could help people observe social distancing in public, said Lee Dong-bae, director of research at Vision Semicon, a smart factory solution provider which developed the barista robot together with a state-run science institute.
“Our system needs no input from people from order to delivery, and tables were sparsely arranged to ensure smooth movements of the robots, which fits will with the current ‘untact’ and distancing campaign,” he said.
The system, which uses a coffee-making robotic arm and a serving robot, can make 60 different types of coffee and serves the drinks to customers at their seats. It can also communicate and transmit data to other devices and contains self-driving technology to calculate the best routes around the cafe.
An order of six drinks, processed through a kiosk, took just seven minutes. The only human employee at the two-story cafe was a patissier who also has some cleaning duties and refills ingredients.
The manufacturer and the scientific institute aim to supply at least 30 cafes with robots this year.
“Robots are fun and it was easy because you don’t have to pick up your order,” said student Lee Chae-mi, 23. “But I’m also a bit of worried about the job market as many of my friends are doing part-time jobs at cafes and these robots would replace humans.”