By Dawn StoverPosted 07.13.2007 at 3:06 pm 2 Comments
Living in a New York City apartment on a journalist's budget is one way to rein in your greenhouse gas emissions. But a woman in Olympia, Washington, has it all over our two editors who are vying for green bragging rights. Dee Williams lives in a standalone house, not an apartment. But her house measures only 84 square feet.
The tiny house incorporates recycled materials and cost about $10,000 to build. It has heat, electricity and a composting toilet, but no running water.
Williams says she wanted to reduce her impact on the planet, and didn't feel right about spending a lot of time and money on a house when people in other parts of the world have so little. —Dawn Stover
The Large Hadron Collider (LHC), a massive internationally-funded particle accelerator located in Switzerland, keeps hitting setbacks. Originally scheduled to power up around 2005, the project's latest snag—supports for the collider's many powerful magnets are failing—has pushed the start date to May of 2008 [this could also affect the Higgs Boson PPX proposition]. Scientists also reported that cooling the massive magnets to the required 1.9 degrees Kelvin (that's cold) seems to be taking "a little longer than planned." Personally, I'm glad they're spending a bit of extratime to get everything perfect, since one theoretical failure situation could lead to the creation of a black hole that devours the earth.
Every now and again, I come across a site or a place that makes me really wish the boss would fire me so I could move to a city where I could afford a workshop and just build crap all day. Fazzio's metalyard comes to mind, as does Faztek's site of slotted aluminum components. But stumbling upon Robot Marketplace is like falling down the fabled rabbit hole. Page after page of robotics kits, components, platforms, metal, batteries, electronics—they even sell subscriptions to PopSci.
I don't know what this thing in the photo is, but I know I want to buy it and build it into one bad metal, t-slotted robotic coffee table.
Anyone shopped there? Built anything from the site? Let us know in the comments.—Mike Haney
By Gregory MonePosted 07.12.2007 at 6:28 pm 5 Comments
All top-secret government labs are either buried underground or hidden deep in a mountain. Everyone knows that, which is what makes the National Science Foundations recent announcement that it plans to convert the Homestake Mine, the deepest of its kind in the U.S., into a research facility, so surprising. How can it possibly be top secret if theyre telling everyone? The only answer, of course, is that they really are going to conduct legitimate research in astrophysics, biology and geology. The Homestake Mine, located in Lead, South Dakota, extends 8,000 feet down into the Earth and has over 375 miles of tunnels. It already has a rich scientific history: In 1965, physicist Raymond Davis led a team that set up the worlds first underground solar neutrino detector in a cavern deep in the mine, and eventually earned the Nobel Prize for his work. Scientists at the new lab will also pursue astrophysics research, along with work on carbon sequestration, organisms living in extreme conditions and geophysics. Over the next 30 years, two laboratories will be constructed. One will extend down to 4,800 feet, and the other will lie all the way down at 7,400 feet. Were guessing thats where theyll hide the aliens.—Gregory Mone
By Gregory MonePosted 07.12.2007 at 6:24 pm 0 Comments
This must have been a strange surprise. Late yesterday, an Australian who went for a walk on a remote beach on the western coast of Tasmania came across one of the largest giant squid ever found lying in the sand. Scientists rushed to the site to start examining the rare creature, which, thanks to dramatic reports from fishermen and books like Peter Bentley's Beast, has long had a kind of mythical quality. Scientists believe that these giant squid can grow to 33 feet long. They live primarily in deep waters, as far down as 2,300 feet below the surface, which explains the scarcity of sightings, and the reason for all the excitement over yesterday's find. The total length of the beached squid could not be determined because its tentacles had been damaged, but one of the scientists on hand called it, "a whopper."—Gregory Mone
By M HarbisonPosted 07.12.2007 at 6:24 pm 1 Comment
Although its existence has long been suspected, scientists have finally found evidence of water vapor in the atmosphere of an exosolar planet. The feat was accomplished by looking at the spectum of the Sun-like parent star (which is located in the constellation Vulpecula) as the light filtered through the planet's upper atmosphere on its way to Earth. Water vapor in the planet's atmosphere selectively absorbs certain frequencies of infrared radiation, and the tell-tale absorption spectrum was recorded by the Spitzer Space Telescope. The planet itself is one of a class called "Hot Jupiters"—large gaseous planets that orbit especially close to their parent stars—so chances are slim that it harbors any life. One of these days, though, we'll find evidence of life outside the solar system. For PPX players out there, keep an eye out for an upcoming IPO about Earth-like planets... this knowledge might come in handy. —Martha Harbison
Looking like Kermit the frog—if he were a Transformer instead of a muppet—the Street Triple is a genetics experiment gone oh-so-right. This beastie boasts the DNA of the race-bred Daytona 675 melded with the more aggressive skin of the naked Speed Triple. Extracting the award-winning engine, aluminum frame and swingarm from the sport bike, the Street benefits from the Daytonas braking system as well. The front two Nissin calipers come in extremely handy considering those 675 cubic centimeters churn out 107 bhp and 51 foot-pounds of torque. Not to be outdone, the Speed Triples genes contribute strikingly to the overall look and more importantly, the feel, of the Street. A low dual-seat, new foot pegs and handlebars have sired an exceptionally comfortable riding position.
Available this September, the Street Triple seems poised to become the market leader in naked middleweights. Knowing how much fun the Daytona 675 and Speed Triple are to ride leads me to believe living organisms arent the only things to benefit from Darwins theory of evolution. -MotoMatt Cokeley
By Gregory MonePosted 07.12.2007 at 6:17 pm 0 Comments
After announcing that it will take a $1 billion hit due to Xbox 360 repairs, Microsoft spun some good news at this week's E3 Media and Business Summit. The company broke news of a new slate of games, including the much anticipated Halo 3, due out September 25th. But another interesting newcomer, the original yes, that means its not a sequel, and not based on a movie game Lost Odyssey has also been grabbing attention.
By Gregory MonePosted 07.12.2007 at 6:15 pm 0 Comments
Oh, those silly Wall Street research analysts. First, dot-com bubble inflater Henry Blodget brings ruin upon the Internet economy with his buoyant predictions, and now his kind are causing trouble in the gadget world. After one JP Morgan analyst suggested that Apple may be developing a simpler, slimmer model of its much-touted iPhone - a kind of Nano version - several of his colleagues are trying to douse his claims. In a note released yesterday, and posted on the Unofficial Apple Weblog, the three analysts say that while a lower-end iPhone is inevitable, it wouldn't be wise to expect it to some out anytime soon. In other words, don't get excited just yet.—Gregory Mone
New cameras can spot a face in a crowd—and focus on it
By Aimee BaldridgePosted 07.12.2007 at 2:00 am 0 Comments
The goal of autofocus is to make something in the picture come out sharp. But if you're taking a photo of people, it's not their hands you want in focus. Recently, camera makers have been adding the ability to detect faces in a scene, track them if they move, and optimize both focus and exposure to make everyone look their best. But not all face-detection systems are equal, as I discovered after testing several compact cameras
on patient friends who posed by indoor light, as well as on passersby rushing through Times Square.