Independent research teams from the U.S. and the U.K. are developing genetic techniques similar to those used in forensics labs to trace the ancestry of the bedbug. The work may help map the spread of the pesky bloodsucker over the course of the continuing global resurgence, as well as lead to DNA tests for use in lawsuits and other bed-bug-related disputes.
Most musicians can tune their instruments whenever they like. The exception is the pianist, who typically isn't trained to tune the piano's 200-plus strings. Instead, both amateur and professional piano players must hire a technician to get their instrument in shape. But Don Gilmore has accomplished an engineering feat that he says could do away with the need for tuners: a self-tuning piano.
During a regular fishing season, most lobstermen can afford to check and rebait their traps only every three or four days. Each run to the traps can cost as much as $600 for fuel and take 18 hours of work. But three or four days can be more than enough time for lobsters to eat the chunks of herring or mackerel that serve as bait. With no bait left, lobsters don't enter the trap and fishermen are left with a smaller catch. Thus, the millions of traps that dot the Atlantic from Newfoundland to North Carolina remain empty about half the time.
Vince Stuart, the owner of a Nova Scotia company that makes winches, gantries and other fishing-boat rigging, first heard about the lobstermen's problem from his clients on the docks in 2003. He soon began building the Bait Savour, a device that would release an extra supply of lobster bait a few days after a trap was laid. It allows the lobstermen to check their traps less frequently (about once every five days instead of every three or four), saving time, labor and fuel.
Conventional scuba systems have some major limitations. Divers using them must carefully monitor the depth and time they stay underwater and endure a series of lengthy decompression steps during resurfacing. Rebreathers recycle air, allowing divers to go deeper and remain underwater for longer, with shorter decompression on ascent. The Navy has used the devices for decades, but they were very expensive, and difficult to maintain and operate. In 2008, VR Technology introduced the Sentinel, a $12,000 rebreather with automated safety systems and full manual backup. See how this scuba system works here.
Early last October, Brendan Foley found himself on a small, inflatable boat making rings in the middle of the Aegean Sea. The 43-year-old maritime archaeologist was waiting on three divers, who were searching for ancient shipwrecks 100 feet below. Rather than drop anchor, the boat's skipper, a potbellied Greek man named Giorgos, held the wheel hard to port, spinning the boat around and around. Whether inured to the repetitive course or just oblivious to it, Giorgos didn't appear to mind making circles. But the repetition was making Foley antsy. He fidgeted with the zipper on his wetsuit. He rearranged the dive gear, still dripping wet from his own survey earlier that day. Then he sat down next to me and made an unusual confession for someone whose livelihood is tied to the sea. "I hate small boats," he said. "Not too fond of big ones either."
Greenpeace's fleet of campaign ships has gained a member: the new and improved Rainbow Warrior. Hippie name aside, the boat is pretty darn cool, with unusual A-frame masts that reach 177 feet (nearly the length of the ship) and sails that measure 13,520 square feet. With this setup, the Rainbow Warrior can reach speeds of 14 knots, or around 16 mph.
The well-publicized failures of cold fusion may have tainted the field's reputation, but physicists have been successfully joining nuclei with hot fusion since 1932. Today, research in hot fusion could lead to a clean energy source free from the drawbacks that dog fission power plants. Fusion power plants cannot melt down; they won't produce long-lived, highly radioactive waste; and fusion fuel cannot be easily weaponized.
A robber is cornered in a dead-end alley. He turns to face the police officer pursuing him, ready to fight. He pauses. The officer's left forearm is encased in ballistic nylon, and half a million volts arc menacingly between electrodes on his wrist. A green laser target lands on the robber's chest. He puts his hands up; it's a fight he can't win.
For police and corrections officers, preventing and defusing confrontations can save lives, and that's the premise behind the BodyGuard.
Chris Goggin doesn’t like the title “inventor,” despite the fact that nearly two dozen patents list him as one. He prefers “innovator.” Either way, the Wilmington, North Carolina, mechanical engineer and former product developer — his résumé includes military missile electronics, the George Foreman Spin Fryer, and fuel-tank mechanisms for the F-22 Raptor jet recognizes the need for a new device when he sees one. Two years ago, as more and more people began waking up with itchy, red welts on their body, he realized the world needed a cheap and effective way to detect bedbugs.
After a half-century of relative inactivity in the U.S., bedbugs returned in the late 1990s. Nationwide, 95 percent of pest-control companies have treated an infestation in the past year. A decade ago, it was just 22 percent.