The push for high-speed rail in America is picking up speed -- it's just happening really, really slowly. Yesterday, efforts to connect American cities with new high-speed passenger rail links received a shot in the arm to the tune of $2.4 billion in federal funding for 54 projects in 23 states. And while it's not even close to enough to push America's rail system toward the modern railways linking Asian and European cities, it is a baby step in the right direction.
"This new millennium sucks! It's exactly the same as the old millennium! You know why? No flying cars!" – Lewis Black
Of all the far-out visions for the future provided us by popular culture (indeed, by this very magazine above almost all else), perhaps none is so conspicuously absent today as the flying car. Other sci-fi fantasies – the invisibility cloak, laser weapons, universal translators, 3-D printers – exist to some degree, if only on a lab bench somewhere. But the flying car, once considered the next logical step in personal transit, simply never took flight.
But now, for the first time since the age of Henry Ford, the flying car has a serious patron. And it's not some eccentric millionaire or overzealous garage inventor. It's the United States Department of Defense.
As the pieces of the James Webb Space Telescope – the next-gen replacement for the Hubble Space Telescope – come together, there's plenty of excitement in the astronomy community, but as Nature reports, there is plenty of anxiety as well. Webb, scheduled for launch in 2014, simply has to work.
They’re out there, biding their time. Waiting patiently. And when you least expect it, they’re going to plunge you and everyone you care about into total darkness. Luckily, we can see solar storms coming from about 93 million miles away, and NASA is now in the process of creating a “Solar Shield” that should be able to minimize the damage to power grids caused by electromagnetic disturbances in the atmosphere and ground caused by foul weather on the sun.
Back in July, two all-electric, driverless vans set out from Italy bound for China, an 8,000-mile trek through two continents, several countries, and endless driving variables like traffic, weather conditions, and roadway conditions.
The old adage says "If you find yourself in a hole, stop digging." So in an energy economy where electricity is costly in both an economic and environmental sense, it makes sense to try to reduce your energy suck across the board in any way possible.
If you ever have trouble remembering your dreams, you’re certainly not alone. Our dreams are as elusive as the mechanisms behind them, few of which are understood completely. But Dr. Moran Cerf wants to develop a system capable of reading and recording your dreams electronically. Cue the “Inception” theme music.
Just in time for the end of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, a University of Manchester professor has developed a portable, radio frequency-based scanner that is able to show the presence of breast tumors, both malignant and benign, in real time.