Even from his house six and a half miles away, Gary Arold’s son can clearly hear the artillery-grade boom from his father’s giant air cannon. Along with his friend and co-builder, John Gill, Arold’s favorite pastime is sending pumpkins—and other roughly spherical projectiles, including a bowling ball and a 12-pound frozen turkey—flying nearly 4,000 feet across Gill’s Hurley, New York, farm.
Good news for the busy and the impatient: It’s easy to speed up your start-up. PC users can boot up within 15 seconds using new “instant-on” Linux software like Presto ($20) and Phoenix’s alternative OS, HyperSpace ($40 per year), both of which bypass Windows at start-up while still offering access to e-mail and other frequently used programs.
Add a button from microfinance site Tipjoy.com to your Facebook page, blog or Web site to let your fans tip you for entertaining them. Or encourage your Twitter followers to text-message you some coin: Tipjoy tracks payment "tweets" (usually a dollar or so) and transfers the money via PayPal.
Try this: See that bright blue sign on the far wall? Can you read it? Double-click it. Can you read it now? Now move in again. And again.
This impressive panorama is actually a collection of 592 distinct photos, shot with a Canon Powershot with a 360mm zoom, and the help of a nifty gadget called the GigaPan Epic. Plop your camera into the device and it will automatically take between 20 and several hundred slightly overlapping pictures of a scene. The GigaPan software stitches them together for you into one massive, ultra-detailed, thousands-of-megapixels collage.
Many ordinary FM and AM stations transmit small amounts of digital data, such as song titles. And nearly 1,800 channels are entirely digital. Radio manufacturers are starting to take advantage of this extra information, creating gadgets that can not only play music, but also take notes, help you shop, or even save your life.
The Toy Industry Association's annual toy fair had some standout 21st century innovations. Some were creepy, like the Dora the Explorer doll whose hair actually grows when you play an online beauty game. And some were just plain cool. The best thing I got my hands on: A fully electronic version of the classic Rubik's Cube.
See below for details on the technology, plus exclusive video of one of the two existing prototypes.
Nothing inspires innovation like a seven-figure check, which is why more and more private and government sources are offering big money for creative technologies -- and plenty of Americans are rising to the challenge. The California company Scaled Composites won the $10-million Ansari X Prize in 2004 for its trips to suborbital space on SpaceShipOne, a feat that all but launched the private space industry. And in 2007, Carnegie Mellon University won the $2-million Darpa Urban Challenge, bringing us one step closer to a world in which cars drive themselves.
Think back to your college years. Did you spend more time at the lab bench than at the bar? Was getting a date harder than organic chem? If you carried protection was it for your pocket? We thought so.
The number of school-age kids with peanut allergies has doubled in the past decade. Yet scientists can't quite put their finger on what makes the legume such a threat or why the allergy has become so prevalent.