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Beyond the hype of Hyperloop: An analysis of Elon Musk's proposed transit system

cylonlover cylonlover writes  |  1 year,11 days

cylonlover (1921924) writes "Now that the media kerfuffle surrounding Elon Musk's Hyperloop transit system proposal has settled down to a dull roar, it's a good time to step back and consider in detail some of the real innovations and difficult issues raised through analysis of the 57-page Hyperloop plan. The shortest description of the Hyperloop is Musk's own bon mot: "It's a cross between a Concorde, a rail gun, and an air hockey table." In this article I am only considering the science and engineering aspects of the Hyperloop. While acknowledging that political issues may actually determine its fate, what concerns us here is whether or not it could work."
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Facebook joins forces with Samsung, Nokia, etc. to bring internet to the world

cylonlover cylonlover writes  |  1 year,12 days

cylonlover (1921924) writes "If you thought Facebook was only good for spamming you with Farmville updates and showing you what your high school classmates ate for lunch, think again. The social network just teamed up with a consortium of other tech big-wigs to form Internet.org, an organization dedicated to bringing the internet to the two-thirds of the world that is still without it. In addition to Mark Zuckerberg's social network, the Internet.org initiative lists Ericsson, MediaTek, Nokia, Opera, Qualcomm and Samsung as the other founding members."
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RINGS propels satellites without propellants

cylonlover cylonlover writes  |  1 year,14 days

cylonlover (1921924) writes "Astronauts on the International Space Station (ISS) are testing a new propulsion system ... inside the station. While this might seem like the height of recklessness, this particular system doesn't use rockets or propellants. Developed in the University of Maryland's Space Power and Propulsion Laboratory, this new electromagnetic propulsion technology called the Resonant Inductive Near-field Generation System (RINGS) uses magnetic fields to move spacecraft as a way to increase service life and make satellite formation flying more practical."
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NASA abandons Kepler repairs, looks to the future

cylonlover cylonlover writes  |  1 year,17 days

cylonlover (1921924) writes "If NASA has anything to say about it, Kepler is down, but not out. At a press teleconference on Thursday it announced that it has abandoned efforts to repair the damaged unmanned probe, which was designed to search for extrasolar planets and is no longer steady enough to continue its hunt. But the space agency is looking into alternative missions for the spacecraft based on its remaining capabilities."
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Bioengineered mouse heart gets a beat using human cells

cylonlover cylonlover writes  |  1 year,18 days

cylonlover (1921924) writes "Heart transplants have given new life to thousands, but are only an unfulfilled hope to thousands more due to a shortage of donor organs. With the goal of meeting this shortfall, scientists at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine have bioengineered a mouse heart in the lab that beats on its own. The mouse heart had its cells replaced with human cells, offering the potential of growing custom replacement hearts that wouldn't be rejected by the recipient."
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NASA maps Earth-killer asteroids in one image

cylonlover cylonlover writes  |  1 year,21 days

cylonlover (1921924) writes "There’s something comforting about a map with “You are here” marked on it, but not when the arrow points to a spot where giant asteroids are whizzing by like cannon balls in a pirate movie. NASA has released a map of the inner Solar System showing the orbits of the 1,400 Potentially Hazardous Asteroids (PHA) known as of early this year. According to the agency, the plots show the orbits of asteroids over 460 ft (140 m) in diameter that pass within 4.7 million miles (7.5 million km) of Earth."
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Super-slippery SLIPS coating now transparent and more durable

cylonlover cylonlover writes  |  1 year,24 days

cylonlover (1921924) writes "Joanna Aizenberg, Ph.D. and her team at the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University have improved upon the Slippery Liquid-Infused Porous Surfaces (SLIPS) technology they developed back in 2012. The ultra smooth surface, which the team claims is the slipperiest known synthetic surface, has now been made transparent and more durable, giving it the potential to make the issues glass has with sticky liquids, frost and ice formation, and bacterial biofilms a thing of the past."
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New "fishless" feeds could make aquaculture more sustainable

cylonlover cylonlover writes  |  1 year,25 days

cylonlover (1921924) writes "When it comes to commercial aquaculture, a lot of people have some legitimate concerns – fish farms can introduce antibiotics, anti-algal chemicals and concentrated fish waste into the ocean; escaped fish can upset the local ecological balance; and wild fish still need to be caught in large numbers, as a food source for some species of farmed fish. While there have been recent efforts to address the first two concerns, the fish-in-the-fish-food problem is now being taken on in two different research projects. These are aimed at replacing the fish content in fish feed with more sustainable ingredients."
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First public tasting of US$330,000 lab-grown burger

cylonlover cylonlover writes  |  1 year,27 days

cylonlover (1921924) writes "If Professor Mark Post of Maastricht University ever opens a burger bar, you might want to take a close look at the prices before you order. On Monday, at a press conference in London, a burger made by Post and his team was served that cost a cool €250,000 (about US$330,000). The reason? The beef that went into making it never saw a pasture and the people in the white coats who handed it to the chef weren't butchers, but bioengineers.

"The burger had a very bland, neutral flavor,” said Josh Schonwald, Chicago-based author of Taste of Tomorrow. “The thing that made it most similar to real beef was the texture. When I bit into it, I was impressed with the bite and how it had a kind of density that was familiar.""

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Radical new icebreaker will travel through the ice sideways

cylonlover cylonlover writes  |  1 year,28 days

cylonlover (1921924) writes "Given that icebreakers clear a path for other ships by traveling through the ice head-on (or sometimes butt-on), then in order for one of them to clear a wider path, it would have to be wider and thus larger overall ... right? Well, Finland’s Arctech Helsinki Shipyard is taking a different, more efficient approach. It’s in the process of building an asymmetric-hulled icebreaker that can increase its frontal area, by making its way through the ice at an angle of up to 30 degrees."
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NASA and ESA to communicate with lunar orbiter using lasers

cylonlover cylonlover writes  |  about a year ago

cylonlover (1921924) writes "Space communications have relied on radio since the first Sputnik in 1957. It’s a mature, reliable technology, but it’s reaching its limits. The amount of data sent has increased exponentially for decades and NASA expects the trend to continue. The current communications systems are reaching their limits, so NASA and ESA are going beyond radio as a solution. As part of this effort, ESA has finished tests of part of a new communications system, in preparations for a demonstration in October in which it will receive a laser data download from a NASA lunar orbiter."
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Full-size remote control cars – coming soon to a road near you?

cylonlover cylonlover writes  |  about a year ago

cylonlover (1921924) writes "Thanks to efforts of groups such as Google, Oxford University, BMW and Continental, we’re getting closer and closer to the advent of autonomous cars – vehicles that drive themselves, with the human “driver” pretty much just along as a passenger. Researchers at Germany’s Technische Universität München (TUM), however, are looking at taking things a step further. They’re developing remote-control cars that could travel along city streets with no one in them at all, their operator located somewhere far away."
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Farm 432: The handy kitchen appliance that breeds fly larva for protein

cylonlover cylonlover writes  |  about a year ago

cylonlover (1921924) writes "Flies are usually considered unwelcome guests in the kitchen, but one industrial designer is aiming to turn them into a renewable food source. Katharina Unger's Farm 432 concept is a fly-breeding device for home use that continually collects fly larva as a protein source for less squeamish diners. As unappetizing as it may sound, the designer hopes that convincing the Western world to add insects to its diet could help increase the planet's overall food supply."
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Slingatron to hurl payloads into orbit

cylonlover cylonlover writes  |  about a year ago

cylonlover (1921924) writes "People have been shooting things into space since the 1940s, but in every case this has involved using rockets. This works, but it’s incredibly expensive with the cheapest launch costs hovering around US$2,000 per pound. This is in part because almost every bit of the rocket is either destroyed or rendered unusable once it has put the payload into orbit. Reusable launch vehicles like the SpaceX Grasshopper offer one way to bring costs down, but another approach is to dump the rockets altogether and hurl payloads into orbit. That's what HyperV Technologies Corp. of Chantilly, Virginia is hoping to achieve with a “mechanical hypervelocity mass accelerator” called the slingatron."
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The physics of the world's fastest man

cylonlover cylonlover writes  |  about a year ago

cylonlover (1921924) writes "The Honourable Usain Bolt (Order of Jamaica; Commander of the Order of Distinction) is often held out as the world's fastest man. The reigning Olympic champion in the 100-meter and 200-meter sprints as well as a member of the Olympic champion 4x100 meter relay team, Bolt is the first man to win six Olympic gold medals in sprinting, and is a five-time world champion. Long and lanky at 6 ft 5 in (2 m) tall, he towers above the (mostly) much shorter sprinters. How has he managed to come out on top for the past five years? A team of physicists from the Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico (UNAM) has analyzed Bolt's past performances in the 100-meter sprint to understand what makes a record-breaker."
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Cassini captures photo of Earth and Moon as seen from Saturn

cylonlover cylonlover writes  |  about a year ago

cylonlover (1921924) writes "If the midweek hump has you in a contemplative spirits, a stunning image of Earth as pictured by the Cassini spacecraft from Saturn, 898 million miles (1.44 billion kilometers) away, may offer a little context. The Earth and the Moon appear to be seemingly insignificant specks from the perspective of the spacecraft from its orbit around the gas giant, the second biggest planet in the Solar System. But as it turns out, Cassini is actually talking us up."
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HAARP ionospheric research program set to continue

cylonlover cylonlover writes  |  about a year ago

cylonlover (1921924) writes "Reports that the High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program (HAARP) had been shut down permanently were apparently a bit premature. According to HAARP program manager James Keeney, the facility is only temporarily off the air while operating contractors are changed. So why does anyone care? Despite being associated with various natural disasters over the past two decades by the conspiracy fringe, HAARP is in reality a facility for studying the ionosphere. Gizmag takes a look at the goings on at HAARP – past, present, and future."
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Self-assembling multi-copter demonstrates networked flight control

cylonlover cylonlover writes  |  about a year ago

cylonlover (1921924) writes "Researchers at ETH Zurich have demonstrated an amazing capability for small robots to self-assemble and take to the air as a multi-rotor helicopter. Maximilian Kriegleder and Raymond Oung worked with Professor Raffaello D’Andrea at his research lab to develop the small hexagonal pods that assemble into flying rafts. The true accomplishment of this research is that there is not one robot in control – each unit in itself decides what actions to take to keep the group in the air in what's known as Distributed Flight Array."
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James Bond's creator, and the real spy gadgets he inspired

cylonlover cylonlover writes  |  about a year ago

cylonlover (1921924) writes "It's one of the most memorable moments in perhaps the best James Bond film, From Russia with Love: SPECTRE agent Rosa Klebb, posing as a hotel maid, drops her gun, and appears to be at a disadvantage as she goes toe to toe with Sean Connery's imposing Bond. That is until she deploys her iconic poison-tipped dagger shoes, which have gone on to be copied in other notable action films and Wild Wild West. But as kitsch as Klebb's cleaver clogs might seem, the CIA attempted to replicate them, and another classic Bond gadget, in real life, according to research by Dr. Christopher Moran of Warwick University. At the heart of the story is the close friendship of Bond author and Ian Fleming and former CIA Director Allen Dulles. Gizmag spoke to Moran about 20th century Intelligence, and its peculiar relationship with the fictional British spy."
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Adverts with eyes know when you're watching ... and they're already here

cylonlover cylonlover writes  |  about a year ago

cylonlover (1921924) writes "Though facial recognition software has been in our homes for some time (having been a feature in Picasa and iPhoto since 2009), the prospect of being the unwitting subject of similar technology while out and about is an alien one. That could be about to change thanks to the announcement of OptimEyes, a system designed to be fitted to digital advertising hoardings in Europe to gauge just who is paying attention. Amscreen says that the system, which, unsurprisingly, requires the integration of a camera, will gauge the number of possible viewers and compare it with the actual number of viewers, as well as their age and gender. The system will also log the time and location of each view."
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