Lawmakers in Nevada made a pretty forward-thinking move a couple weeks ago when they passed a measure ordering new regulations for driverless cars. Many vehicles already participate in once-human-driven activities like parking and skid control, and it’s not long until they’ll be able to navigate, make decisions and drive totally by themselves.
This is a fairly common scenario during the conflict in Afghanistan: A forward operating base along the Khyber Pass needs supplies, and a C-130 cargo plane is dispatched to deliver them. The plane aims to drop several 2,000-pound pallets carrying food, water and ammunition.
Enemy fire in the area will make a supply recovery mission risky, however. An Army convoy must risk IEDs and sniper fire to retrieve the goods. If only the pallet would only drop more precisely, much closer to the base''s boundaries, the soldiers could stay out of harm's way.
The internal combustion engine gets a bad rap these days. With electric vehicle technology finally coming to market in meaningful ways, oil prices spiking, global warming looming, and "green" sentiments pervading American culture, motors driven by exploding carbon chains have become something of a pariah. But the truth is that we're stuck with the internal combustion engine, and the petroleum-derived fuels that power it, for the next couple of decades, at least. But that doesn't mean we can't still trim fuel consumption and reduce emissions across the board. Designers large and small are building wholly new engines and components that slash fuel requirements, waste less heat energy, and squeeze the most out of every BTU, every engine stroke, and every iota of chemical energy that physics will allow.
Indeed, the internal combustion engine is far from dead. In automotive design shops and university labs across the world the gasoline engine is experiencing something of a technological renaissance.
Oil won't run the world forever, but it will for the next few decades--so how do we get from here to the next energy economy?
By Paul RobertsPosted 07.12.2011 at 10:16 am 45 Comments
For all our talk of an online future unbounded by physical limits, life in our increasingly global economy still requires the movement of actual people and things, often over long distances. And without a steady supply of prehistoric hydrocarbons, that movement would come to a halt. More than 95 percent of the vehicles on Earth--from cars to trucks to freighters to jumbo jets--run on oil products, and without them we'd be hard-pressed to commute to the office or import our gadgets, much less till our fields or get food from the farm to our kitchens. For now, we must have oil.
They learned to handle explosives in the U.S. Army and they met while skydiving in Wisconsin (he was flying, she was jumping). Now, Rich and Dee Gibson travel the country blowing stuff up, creating dazzling pyrotechnic displays for airshows--and even for the occasional film--that are second to none.
Or, perhaps more accurately: Dear Congress: please fund NASA sufficiently. After witnessing first-hand the extraordinary act of putting humans into space this Friday, I've realized that the importance of our manned exploration of space transcends budgets and politics
Just like Rebecca, I'm sitting here drinking out of a space shuttle mug. Mine, with the STS-135 mission seal, I bought from the Kennedy Space Center souvenir stand on Friday, a few hours before Atlantis took to the skies. I certainly won't need it to remember my first (and last) shuttle launch--something that's been thoroughly seared into my memory--but it will be a nice, frequent reminder of the incredible feelings of that day.
It's been tough to articulate those feelings--where they came from, and why. But I think I've managed to trace them back to a single source: the four astronauts inside Atlantis.
Your life is full of what NASA calls "spinoffs": ideas or products initially designed for NASA's particular (and particularly challenging) uses, but which trickled down to become commercial products. Of course, you may not recognize these items--there's no "made for NASA" sticker, and many of the iconic NASA products (Tang, Teflon, Velcro) weren't actually designed for or by NASA at all. But NASA-developed stuff is everywhere, from insulation to infant formula, from prostheses to fishing nets. Here are ten of our favorites that originated in the Shuttle program--the very program that just saw its last launch ever.
Click here to see 10 ways Shuttle tech can be found right here on Earth.
Before I sat down to write this morning, I poured coffee into my shuttle-emblazoned Space Camp mug and thought about the end of this era. Like many of you, and like legions of space advocates around the globe, I've rolled through a litany of emotions at the denouement of the American space shuttle program.
What’s next for the system that moves most of the stuff on Earth?
By Rena Marie PacellaPosted 07.07.2011 at 7:48 pm 0 Comments
The basic unit of the global economy is the humble container. Every year, a vast fleet of freighters hauls more than 17 million of them to destinations around the world. Now the ships are getting bigger, the routes are getting better, and the ports are getting smarter than ever before. Oh, and for a longer-term look at the future of shipping, check out Cargotec's plan for Port 2060.
Click the links below to explore how our shipping system is moving into the future.
It is very hard to say. In February, the editors of The Guinness Book of World Records announced that the Infinity chili, grown by Nick Woods, the proprietor of a hot-sauce company in Lincolnshire, England, was the hottest pepper ever—more than 250 times as hot as Tabasco sauce. Just two weeks later, Guinness declared that the Infinity had been unseated by another British-grown hybrid, the Naga Viper.