Everyone, admit it: Youve stolen wireless Internet before. And although popping on to some poor suckers unsecured network to BitTorrent last nights episode of So You Think You Can Dance? is one of the Internet ages great semilegal pleasures, having people ganking your wireless only impedes your God-given right to free dance-based reality-show downloads at a reasonable speed.
Yes, you could always just enable encryption on your router to stop casual users from freeloading. But instead of simply locking them out, wouldnt you rather have them questioning their sanity by, say, redirecting all their traffic to kittenwar.com? Or by flipping all the images they see upside down, or making them all blurry? With a little Linux hacking, this guy split his network into two halves—an encrypted half for himself, and an unsecured, tweaked-out half for the Wi-Fi thieves. A pretty ingenious prank, if you ask me, especially if you have thin enough walls to hear your Interweb-stealing neighbors wondering where their marbles have gone. —John Mahoney
If you're walking along one fine summer day, and happen to look up in the air and see a giant cursor pointing down at you, do not freak out. Tron is just a movie, you are not a program, and that giant cursor is just a giant kite. Flown by a giant nerd. And since the company that makes the thing, Windfire Designs, prices its kites pretty reasonably, chances are that giant nerd pointing at you with his cursor kite will be me.—Joe Brown
Thanks to advances in consumer tech, daily activities like stirring your coffee and ironing your clothes just might become obsolete. Think what you could do with all the extra time and energy you´ll save by not mowing your lawn or mopping your floors. You could write the great American novel, or start working on a cure for cancer. Or catch a few M.A.S.H. rerunsâ€
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Its no secret that major world events send ripples of collective emotion through communities—witness the outpourings of grief and charity after 9-11, the Southeast Asian tsunami and Hurricane Katrina—but what if those ripples could be felt without the aid of TV broadcasts and Web news reports? What if such events made a psychic impression independent of any sort of human communication? Sounds like a bunch of New-Age hooey, but researchers at Princeton University, and one graduate of NYUs Interactive Telecommunications program, are exploring the possibility with the help of random number generators.
Without going into too much detail about the Princeton project (you can read more about it at the link below), researchers found, over the course of a 30-year project, that during significant global events, random number generators present statistical anomalies that could conceivably be chalked up to changes in the collective human consciousness.
Even if youre skeptical about this hypothesis, NYU grad Rob Sewards thesis project, the Consciousness Field Resonator, is worthy of attention. Seward built a random-number generator (housed in a handsome copper box) that hangs on the wall and alerts users of statistical anomalies with a series of bright lights. When the lights flash, youre left to wonder whats causing the alert. Is it the bombing in Lebanon or Iraq? A World Cup victory? Shiloh Jolie-Pitts birthday? Whole new systems of superstition could be built around this thing. Sure, its art first and foremost, but its also a really interesting use of technology and a kick-ass DIY project. Download instructions for making your own here. —Megan Miller
Link via robseward.com
Link via Princeton University
My cousin, Jonathan Adams, is an Army medic serving in Iraq. A few weeks ago, I sent him a care package with a bunch of PopSci magazines, books on military, space and technology subjects, Starbucks coffee, and some of the goofy gadgets that show up in the office from time to time, including a DJ sound mixing station they can use for parties and a hydrogen-fuel-cell-powered model car.
Thankfully, the box arrived safely. Heres a brief look into life over there:
Eric: Thanks so much for the package. It was great. I've already read the book "Contract Warriors" and I'm now working on "First Man." My friend saw the book about the Navy Seal Corpsman and just had to read it while on leave, so I let him borrow it. I have passed around all of the magazines and all of my guys say thank you! The thumb-wrestling dragons cracked me up. When I actually get some solid free time, I'd like to mess around with the fuel cell kit. I have yet to completely read the article on the networked battlefield yet, though I have browsed it. Looks like all the contributors really did their research.
Time is really flying by here. I should be going on leave at the end of next month...I can't wait!! Things do get crazy every now and then around here. I'm a medic for an infantry platoon in a cavalry squadron (battalion). I love my guys and we really take good care of each other. We spend most of our time "outside the wire" where cold water and an unoccupied cot is heaven sent. Just the other night, my platoon was hit with an IED while conducting a route recon. No one was injured thank God but two of my trucks were damaged, including mine. My lower back is a little sore from the concussion but nothing serious. We all actually got a kick out of it a few moments after it happened, yelling curses in the middle of the night to the bastards who set it off. But no time to be scared. Mission first. Going right back out tomorrow for another 5-7 days of fun. I hope all is well with you and your family. Thanks again for the package. It really lifted our spirits!
Talk to you soon, Jon
Related:Winning—and Losing—the First Wired WarGraphic Indeed
People don't usually become scientists expecting fame, glory or to have a line of sneakers named after them. But we at Popular Science believe that scientists are the true celebrities of our time. Their contributions enhance our lives and stretch our imaginations. For the fourth year running, we conducted a rigorous search to identify some of the most dynamic, promising young researchers at institutions around North America.
I probably dont have to tell you that its been hot this week—almost every state in the country reported a high temperature above 90�F somewhere within its borders yesterday. And as we all know, oppressive heat means oppressive energy consumption, a vicious cycle that perpetuates the effects of global warming. New York Citys power company, Con Edison, reported all-time usage records earlier this week as people remained indoors with their air conditioning cranked, causing scattered blackouts across the city (our managing editor has been without power for three days). But what if our air conditioners were able to harness some of the suns wicked heat and turn it into the life-saving cool air on which our comfort depends? Florida-based Matteran Energy might be able to help us do just that.
Instead of using expensive photovoltaic cells to convert solar radiation to electricity directly, Matterans solution uses far-cheaper thermal-collection technology to heat a synthetic fluid with a very low boiling point (around 58�F), creating enough steam to drive a specially designed turbine. And although a fluid-circuit system converting heat into electricity is nothing new, Matterans innovative solution increases the systems efficiency to a point where small-scale applications make economic sense (see the animation on the companys Web site for a more thorough explanation).
So far, Matteran has created only small amounts of refrigeration, but the technology is in place to take the next step, creating a unit with the equivalent cooling of a standard window-mounted A/C that is powered entirely by the suns heat—something I dont think our carbon-choked planet will be running out of anytime soon. —John Mahoney
Link matteranenergy.com (via Treehugger)
Related:It's Pretty Easy Being GreenThe Life Aquatic
Experts go head to head on the issue of nanotech safety
By Josh CondonPosted 07.20.2006 at 2:00 am 0 Comments
There´s nothing tiny about the international controversy brewing over the safety of nanomaterials. In April, a German company recalled a tile sealant called Magic Nano after dozens of consumers suffered breathing problems while using it. Never mind that the product contained particles too large to actually count as nanomaterials (which must be smaller than a billionth of a meter)-the scare was on, and European confidence in products labeled â€nanoâ€ had already sunk.
Here, we present a compilation of PopSci coverage of the season´s hottest tech- 60 pages of lust-worthy items, from a luxury amplifier that will please the most discerning audiophile to cutting-edge smartphones to household gizmos that will make everyday tasks easier. Get ready to drool.
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