Any Futurama fans? High speed tube transport concept similar to the show could go NY to Hollywood in 45 minutes
The future has once again been predicted by a TV show. A new concept vehicle that is strikingly similar to that in the TV cartoon Futurama could make trips around the world in only 6 hours. New York to Hollywood could be completed in a mere 45 minutes. All of this is thanks to magnetic levitation.
This new concept is called Evacuated Tube Transport (ETT) and works by moving at incredibly high speeds. Each tube vehicle car thing (honestly, I'm not sure what to call them!) seats 6 people and has a baggage compartment. The passenger capsule is then put into a vacuum tube where it is levitated leaving it frictionless and air drag free.
Without friction or drag, the system is efficient and can attain a top speed of approximately 4,000 miles per hour. No typo there, folks. This speed allows it to do the incredible feats described above. Even with that speed, passengers would experience no more G-force than a typical car ride down the freeway.
Better yet, the people behind the technology say that it could be available in the next 10 years. "Just like trains, initial ETT use will be for cargo, and along high use routes of travel," ET3 says in a statement on its official site. "Since the system is efficient in energy and materials used, high-speed travel will be low-cost, and sustainable. Eventually, everyone in the world may use the system."
Scientists have discovered a molecule that could very well double the lifespan of humans if the rat trials are anything to go on. Obviously there is a lot more research to be done before this can even be considered for human trials, but the early results are definitely positive. Imagine living to 150, 200 years old!
Researchers at the Universite Paris Sud in France began experimenting with a special carbon molecule called Buckministerfullerene or, more commonly, "Buckyballs." These molecules are composed of 60 carbon atoms arranged in the shape of a sphere. The researchers then fed the molecule along with olive oil to several groups of rats.
One group of rats was the control group and was fed just a normal diet. A second group was fed the normal diet and olive oil. The third group was fed the normal diet along with olive oil and a 0.8mg/ml concentration of Buckminsterfullerene. The control group lived for an average of 22 months, the oil-fed group lasted an average of 26 months, and the final group, the ones fed the Buckminsterfullerene, lived for an unbelievable 42 months.
The group fed the Buckminsterfullerene survived for almost double that of the control group and still significantly better than the oil-fed group. Scientists had previously hypothesized the benefits of the molecule, but this is the first time their life-extending properties had been tested. Just imagine if these results transfer to humans. Hello, overpopulation!
It appears to be all good news for space enthusiasts today especially for those who want to go into space eventually. SpaceX has filed a notice of intent with the FAA regarding building a new spaceport in Cameron County, Texas. Cameron County, Texas is very close to the Mexican border and is right on the Gulf of Mexico.
The filing reads:
Under the Proposed Action, SpaceX proposes to construct a vertical launch area and a control center area to support up to 12 commercial launches per year. The vehicles to be launched include the Falcon 9, Falcon Heavy (up to two per year), and a variety of smaller reusable suborbital launch vehicles...All launch trajectories would be to the east over the Gulf of Mexico.
SpaceX currently uses NASA's Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral for its Falcon 9 rocket. They have also been interested in gaining access to NASA's Complex 39A for heavy loads, although it's unclear whether or not they are still interested in that.
The founder of SpaceX spoke last year about this "commercial Cape Canaveral" and would like to launch 4 Falcon Heavies a year in order to keep the price below $1000 per pound, a price that China has said they can't beat. However, Congressional support may not be behind the effort and could possibly delay the construction. More as it comes.
Most people know that when you flow an electric current through a wire, the wire heats up. Most of our readers will also know that heat is the killer of many of our favorite electronic devices. That's why this new discovery by the University of Maryland is very pertinent to our cause. It's uses could allow for more efficient heat dissipation.
Kamal H. Baloch, Norvik Voskanian, Merijntje Bronsgeest, and John Cumings found that they could outsmart the traditional "Joule heating" and have the heat dissipate into the substrate rather than into the wire. This is due to a process they have dubbed "remote Joule heating." When an electric current flows through a carbon nanotube, the heat will go into the material that the nanotube is sitting upon.
The researchers determined that as much as 84 percent of the power in the nanotube was transferred to the substrate. In the nanoscale that they were working on, it was a bit hard to determine just where the heat was going. They had to use electron thermal microscopy (EThM) in order to figure it out.
The researchers postulate that the electrons are passing the energy along via their electric field. The nanotubes are capable of carrying high density currents, and as such, Baloch et al. suspect this kind of remote heat dissipation could be very useful in future electronic devices. If the heat can be dumped out to a different material than the circuit, this could prove to be very useful.
The sun produces enough energy to power the planet many many times over. The issue is how to harness it. The current solar solutions are fairly inefficient at producing electricity and are stiff and heavy which makes them impractical for some uses. The rigidity also makes them fragile which further limits the applications in which they can be used.
But, researchers from the University of Austria and the University of Tokyo have made a pretty significant advancement in the technology of solar cells. They were able to create an ultra-thin solar cell which measures a minuscule 1.9 micrometers thick. This is roughly one-tenth the size of the next smallest device.
It's flexibility comes from the fact that it is composed of electrodes mounted on plastic foil, rather than glass. This allows it to be wrapped around a human hair which is nearly 20 times thicker. It could be ready for use in as little as 5 years. There's a plethora of information available at the source below.
I think I found a project that's going to consume my spring break. Well, that is if I didn't already have about 50 things to do over it, none of which are particularly fun. But, even though I can't do it, I think I should share it with you guys, just in case you want to make one. And if you do, you better send me a video.
This incredibly awesome turret is the brainchild of Rudolph Labs and requires a sturdy tripod, an airsoft or paintball gun, and a PC. The PC uses a webcam to scan the scene and watch for movement. Once it locates a target, it can stick to it and fire at will! The software includes the ability to anticipate where the target is going to move. The bill of materials (excluding PC) is about $110. The designers of the project warn that it could consume a weekend, or three:
It's going to take up all your free time. This will take a lot of effort, probably a few afternoons to build it, then some more work to get it set up with your computer. And, if you are a truly inspired person, you won't want to stop tweaking and personalizing it after it is finished.
Our Solar System is an absolutely mind-blowing thing, and I personally believe we haven't even scraped the surface in terms of our knowledge base on it. There are things that we (the normal people, not NASA high-ups or anything) couldn't even begin to comprehend, let alone know the ins and outs of things we have no idea about.
The latest dance our closest star is doing is letting out solar tornadoes that are several times as wide as the Earth, and are generated in the solar atmosphere. The new data was discovered using the Atmospheric Imaging Assembly telescope that is onboard the Solar Dynamic Observatory (SDO) satellite.
Dr. Xing Li, of Aberystwyth University says:
This is perhaps the first time that such a huge solar tornado is filmed by an imager. Previously much smaller solar tornadoes were found my SOHO satellite. But they were not filmed.
Dr. Huw Morgan, co-discover of the solar tornado chimes in with:
This unique and spectacular tornado must play a role in triggering global solar storms.
The US Army shows no signs in stopping its demand for robots, even in the 10-year old conflict. The two new robots that the Army are currently testing will join the over 2,000 robots that are already employed by the Army for bomb disposal, classified ops, and for security checkpoints. Boston Dynamics, creator of the cool BigDog bot and others, is the creator for these two new robots.
Both were developed with funding from the Army's Rapid Equipping Force. They are now undergoing testing at the Army Test and Evaluation Command to pass safety and reliability assessments. The first type is the RHex which is a six-legged, 30-pound crawling bot inspired by cockroaches. It wiggles around through mud, streams, and rocky terrain, going up to six hours on a battery charge. The bot can be controlled by remote up to 650 yards away and can manage stairs, slopes, and even swim underwater.
Personally, I'm getting a little sick of the 3D trend that is visible everywhere. I mean, 3D printers, movies, and game consoles, it's all starting to become a bit ridiculous. Finally, there's a piece of 3D that I can get behind. Researchers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology have recently discovered that a 3D inspired solar panel could produce 20 times more energy than its traditional flat brethren.
Traditional solar panels lay on a roof facing the sun to produce energy. MIT researchers decided to test the hypothesis set forth by 13-year-old Adiean Dywer. He hypothesized that a design based on trees would produce more energy. His testing failed, but MIT's didn't. MIT tried various 3D shapes such as a cube, tall cube, and tower to see which produced the most energy. All three outpaced the traditional panel and the accordion-style tower drew in 20 times more power per square foot.
"I think this concept could become an important part of the future of photovoltaics," said Jeffrey Grossman, one of the project leaders. The accordion-style worked so well because it could absorb energy from all angles. It also reduces the foot print of the installation by standing vertically. While MIT is confident with the tower design, they haven't figured out the best distribution for them yet. Since one tower may shade another, they are best used in a urban environment...at least for now.
Harry Potter's invisibility cloak is pretty cool. But it's just fantasy, isn't it? Well, by applying some technology, scientists have been able to make a breakthrough in cloaking objects from heat-sensing cameras and the like. This is done by controlling the flow of heat, either focusing it into a small point, or spreading it outside of an invisibility zone.
the technology will most likely go to the military, where something similar has been proven to hide a tank. This technology also has applications in computers, because it is fundamentally shuffling heat around at will. In computers, heat is still a major challenge for engineers. "We can design a cloak so that heat diffuses around an invisibility region, which is then protected from heat," Dr Guenneau explained. "Or we can force heat to concentrate in a small volume, which will then heat up very rapidly."
It could also be used by thieves, provided they can steal it from the military in the first place. They would be able to hide from police helicopters at night, or from thermal imaging alarm systems. Harry Potter's cloak is becoming reality. It will just take more time and research.
OK, I'll admit it: I'm scared of heights. I live in a two-storey house and can barely look over my balcony without feeling scared. But this, this is just absolutely insane! Enter "Fearless Felix" Baumgartner, who has jumped 2,500 times from planes, and helicopters as well as some of the world's highest landmarks and skyscrapers, such as the Christ the Redeemer statue overlooking Rio de Janeiro, the Millau Viaduct in southern France, and the 101-story Taipei 101 tower in Taiwan.
This summer, Baumgartner hopes to fly toward the Earth at supersonic speeds from a record 23 miles above the Earth, breaking the sound barrier... with only his body. During a dress rehearsal last Thursday, he made it more than half-way, ascending from the New Mexico desert in a helium balloon, and jumping from more than 13 miles up. It's said that he is one of only three people who have jumped from such a height and free-fall to a safe landing. He's also the first to do so in 50 years.
He's even caught the attention of NASA, where engineers working on astronaut escape systems for future spacecraft keeping an eye on the skydiver. Here's where things get insane: Baumgartner took a 100-foot helium balloon and pressurized capsule which lifted from Roswell, New Mexico last Thursday morning. He then jumped at 71,581 feet - 13.6 miles - and landed safely just 8 minutes and 8 seconds later.
Check out this cool use of an Arduino. It's a robotic arm that writes the time, erases it, and then writes up the new time over and over again. This device gives a whole new meaning to the phrase "time stops for no man." Apparently, "time stops for no man or machine." The robotic arm was created by a hacker going by the name of Ekaggrat. Of course, I'm sure you'd like to see this in action, so take a look at the video below.
I'm not sure just how practical something like this is to replace current clocks, but it sure is cool! What a display to have in a maker-shop or robotics office. Now, if only he provided instructions and the code required so that we could all make them in our own homes!
A few months ago, news found its way into the world that scientists in the Geneva-based CERN lab had broken the speed of light. But, news has broken that this may have been a 'connection' problem. The news is from a source close to the experiment, who spoke to the US journal, Space Insider that "a bad connection between a GPS unit and a computer may be to blame".
Scientists had originally claimed that neutrinos arrived 60 nanoseconds earlier than the 2.3 milliseconds taken by light. Science Insider reported:
The 60 nanoseconds discrepancy appears to come from a bad connection between a fiber optic cable that connects to the GPS receiver used to correct the timing of the neutrinos' flight and an electronic card in a computer. After tightening the connection and then measuring the time it takes data to travel the length of the fiber, researchers found that the data arrive 60 nanoseconds earlier than assumed.
Since this time is subtracted from the overall time of flight, it appears to explain the early arrival of the neutrinos. New data, however, will be needed to confirm this hypothesis.
3D printers have come a long way now, and in 2012, they're ready to do something quite miraculous. An 83-year-old woman is set to be the first to receive a titanium jaw crafted by one of these 3D printers.
The method was developed by the BIOMED Research Institute at Hasselt University in Belgium and what the printer does is create the low jaw replacement from layer-upon-layer of titanium dust. This is made possible by using a computer-controller laser that ensures the correct molecules are fused together.
The result, is a perfect titanium jaw which takes just hours to built, versus previous options where it would take days. Of course this new nail-biter weighs a bit more than its natural bone-based predecessor, but that doesn't stop the patient from returning close to "normal speaking and swallowing" the day after the operation.
First off, some back story. This will end up as a mini-editorial, but some of you will find this very interesting. Lake Vostok is a large (10,000km2), presumably fresh water body located under some 4km of ice in East Antarctica. The lake is not some little pool of water, its a gigantic, 250km long and 50km wide.
Because the lake is under kilometres of frozen ice, it has been untouched by todays technology and hence, the hands of man. The contents of this secret under-the-ice lake, have not seen the light of day for more than 20 million years. Because of this long period of pure isolation, it is believed that the water inside Lake Vostok could contain new, never-before-seen lifeforms, and unique geochemical processes.
For the past five-plus years, Russia and the United States have been seeking to probe Vostok in order to discover its underlying secrets from this pure, pristine body of water. The problem associated with such an untouched body of water is that as soon as it is discovered, tested and exposed, we would have contaminated it in multiple ways. Because of its long period of isolation, it cannot be explored without the introduction of the outside world, i.e. us.
We're not even finished with the first month of 2012 and we are already experiencing some seriously powerful stuff happening to us because of one of the most important things we, humans, require to live: our Sun, our Star. The Sun, at around 0359 UT on January 23, from sunspot 1402 erupted and produced a long-duration M9-class solar flare.
The explosion's M9-ranking puts it on the threshold of being classed an X-flare, the most powerful there can be. NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory captured the flare's most extreme ultraviolet flare, below:
The resulting coronal mass ejection (CME) hit Earth's magnetic field at 0617 UT on January 22 and according to analysts at the Goddard Space Weather Lab, the CME strongly compressed Earth's magnetic field and briefly exposed satellites in geosynchronous orbit to solar wind plasma. The effects of this will last roughly 24 hours, where Earth's magnetic field reverberates from the impact. This causes bright auroras to be seen around the arctic circle. Bjørn Jørgensen observed this display from Tromsø, Norway:
Jørgensen said "this was amazing, it was a wonderful experience to see these stunning auroras".
Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it's Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen who has plans to create a business for commercial space travel
Space Travel. Microsoft. Skynet. The steps are there, and we're hitting them at a nice pace. Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen has announced new plans to create a business for commercial space travel. It should take roughly five years to develop.
With the U.S. government slicing space flight, Allen has sensed a gap in the market for investment. Yesterday, Allen showcased designs for a new craft that would eventually have the ability of taking human passengers into the vast space that is, well, space.
Allen has previously funded spaceflight, as he was behind SpaceShipOne, which was the first manned private journey. Stratolaunch System are the ones behind the building of the new craft, which is a company founded by Paul Allen.
Lunar Eclipse this Saturday, visible in Australia and parts of Asia, won't be seen against until 2014
Want to see something you won't be able to see again for another three years? Well, be outside on Saturday and you'll see a lunar eclipse. It will only be visible from Australia and in some parts of Asia.
The entire moon will turn red, as it falls behind Earth's darkest shadow. Sydney Observatory's Geoffrey Wyatt says:
People will see the shadow of the earth moving across the moon, and for 52 minutes witness the usually milky white moon turn a blood-red rusty colour.
This is the second total lunar eclipse this year, with the previous one in May. Wyatt says that the east coast will be the one of the best places on Earth to see the eclipse. It is set to start at around 11:30pm on Saturday, and last for around three hours.
Thank you to my wife for reminding me of this news!
For those of you who don't know, there is a 400m-wide asteroid called "2005 YU55" that will fly past us (and in-between the Moon) on November 9. It will fly past at just 324,600km away, which is 0.85 the distance of the Moon itself, it won't kill us; but it is close enough to be news-worthy.
According to NASA, the "trajectory of asteroid 2005 YU55 is well understood", so there's no dangers whatsoever. The asteroid won't have any gravitational influence on Earth, so it won't make volcanoes go off or cause Earthquakes, etc. But, our gravitational pull might re-direct 2005 YU55. This is something NASA don't really cover, because it will [of course] most likely cause panic.
Also remember, that on the same day, FEMA (the Federal Emergency Management Agency) along with the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) and the NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration will be running a nationwide event coordinated by those agencies and administrations. Come November 9, there will be a test of the Emergency Alert System (EAS) in which the test will be heard on the radio and seen on local, cable and satellite TV.
Elon Musk of SpaceX has made pretty bold moves here, he's saying that his company will "probably" have a man in space within the next three years and has another goal of having men on Mars within the next 10 to 20 years.
SpaceX earlier this month unveiled plans for the "world's most powerful rocket", the Falcon Heavy, mere weeks from receiving NASA's $75 million gift in hopes of kick-starting development of it's commercial spaceflight projects. Musk's enthusiasm is great, with an excellent quote from him below:
This could well be the future folks, reprogrammable chips. Startup company, Tabula, is trying to create the hardware equivalent of software - a chip that over time, can have hardware improvements without completely replacing the device. If a programmable chip like this makes it to the market, it would replace the current mantra of replacing the entire device when a new, faster device comes out.
The idea isn't new, field programmable gate array (FPGA) is a similar technology which is used in some finished devices or prototypes before production begins. But right now FPGA chips are large as they require all the space for the reprogrammable circuitry. This of course makes them slow and expensive.