According to an online poll conducted by the British technology
magazine T3, the greatest invention of the past 40 years was the beer widget, the small ball filled with nitrogen that is designed to release the
carbon dioxide dissolved in a can of Guinness beer, giving it a foamy head.
The device, introduced in 1989, previously won the Queen's Award for
In a bid to become the first teen in space, 18-year-old Justin Houchin has booked a berth on the Solaris X. Interorbital Systems (IOS) is building the rocket to compete for the X Prize, the $10 million jackpot for the first civilian team to put humans into space on a reusable vehicle. Even though IOS has yet to launch a rocket -- let alone a human -- higher than 10,000 feet, they're already selling tickets for 25-minute suborbital rides.
By Suzanne Kantra KirschnerPosted 01.26.2004 at 2:07 pm 0 Comments
For all the hype about HDTV, there's been a dearth of high-def programming on the dial. This month, however, satellite-TV start-up Voom (voom.com) will begin delivering 39 channels of HDTV (competitors DirecTV and DISH Network have six and seven HD channels, respectively). Voom will
supplement the usual HD fare with 21 exclusive commercial-free channels devoted to music, sports, movies and more.
The service also includes 88 regular channels. Monthly costs are competitive ($40/month), but the setup
Display innovations make 3-D imaging a reality. No glasses required.
By Suzanne Kantra KirschnerPosted 01.26.2004 at 2:04 pm 1 Comment
3-D technology has traveled a long and sometimes ugly road. In recent years, red-and-blue glasses and bulky LCD headsets made moving images pop off the screen, but fashion-wise landed somewhere short of fabulous. The Holy Grail has always been true 3-D without extra eyewear, and now several companies are bringing headgear-free 3-D displays to market, for applications ranging from gaming to medical imaging to battlefield simulations. Here's a look at the leading contenders in the race to get us out of flatland.
Streaming video makes an underwhelming debut on cellphones.
By Suzanne Kantra KirschnerPosted 01.26.2004 at 2:01 pm 0 Comments
For the true info-junkie or sports nut, no screen is too small for getting caught up on the news or watching highlights of the game. But while diehards might put up with the new video services available on select Sprint PCS and
AT&T Wireless cellphones, for the rest of us it's really a stretch to even call them video.
Cory Bird, an engineer at Burt Rutan’s remarkable aviation design shop, builds a composite-fiber airplane of Swiss-watch precision.
By Stephan WilkinsonPosted 01.24.2004 at 2:00 pm 0 Comments
When a yellow two-seater called Symmetry flew for the first time in California last April, a machine that is very likely the most finely crafted handmade artifact of its type took to the air. Certainly I’d wager that Symmetry comes closer to perfection than any other homebuilt airplane in the world, and it deserves equal measures of admiration and incredulity. Admiration for the precision of the machine, incredulity for the obsession that produced it. This is technology as aviation art, from the hands of one man.
Anomaly = Disaster, and other handy
By Dawn StoverPosted 01.23.2004 at 4:16 pm 0 Comments
The U.S. space agency has a language all its own. NASA uses so many acronyms that the agency issues a book to its employees to keep track of them. And even when NASA uses ordinary words, they're often imbued with special meaning, generally designed to take the edge off graphic situations. "When you're inside," says one NASA spokesman, "it's not a problem understanding what we're talking about." It's the rest of us who need some help. Here are our translations of NASA's favorite lingo.
Your DNA holds the secrets of your ancestry, and at least a dozen companies offer to crack the code. But there’s more than a bit of hype here.
By Rebecca SklootPosted 01.22.2004 at 2:00 pm 0 Comments
It all started, as so many quests do, on the Internet. Just a random link on a random Web site, but something made me click it. And before I knew it, I was scrolling through what felt like an online genealogic red- light district, a sensory overload of temptation and promises of fantasies fulfilled: “Use DNA to illuminate the past and bring ancient ancestry to life”...click...“The only way to know where you come from is by reading your DNA”...click...“Are you adopted and curious about your heritage?