For the FAA, it's not the flying that keeps regular joes out of the sky. It's the landing and the navigating. Dealing with air traffic control is so attention consuming and complex that large planes require multiple crewmen, and single-pilot planes have significant restrictions and where and when they can fly.
However, a new flight management system (FMS) created by GE may automate so much of the navigation and landing that commercial flights could use only a single pilot, and the rest of us could get cleared to use flying cars.
Because so much of Ray Kurzweil's publicity these days revolves around the Singularity, it's easy to forget he's also a hell of an inventor. And his newest venture, an e-reader software suite dubbed Blio, highlights that talent by bringing Kurzweil's voice-recognition developments into the lucrative world of e-books.
It's been less than a year since NASA launched the Kepler Space Telescope, and the device is already paying off with new discoveries. In particular, NASA scientists have identified a planet with the consistency of styrofoam, a gaggle of exoplanets, and two never-before-observed objects too small to be stars, but too hot to be planets.
In a break from their usual business of overthrowing South American governments, covering up alien landings, and broadcasting coded messages through my fillings, the CIA has revived a program that teams up spies and scientists for the study of climate change. Through the program, scientists get access classified images of the polar ice caps, as well as the chance to pick the targets of off-duty spy satellites.
The US Congress has well over 100 caucuses, or groups of common interests. They're like the clubs in a high school that play chess or work on the year book, except they usually focus on a constituency like fiscal conservatives or Americans of Asian descent. Well, thanks to California Representative Howard "Buck" McKeon, Congress has a new caucus focused entirely on unmanned aerial vehicles.
Thanks to improved body armor, more US troops survive encounters with the enemy than ever before. Unfortunately, the flip side of that equation means more soldiers return home with horrific injuries that would have killed them in older wars. The military has placed a lot of emphasis on developing limb replacements, but a new funding push by the Department of Defense (DoD) focuses on the emerging field of face transplants.
As bacteria continue to grow more resistant to a wide range of antibiotics, doctors are searching furiously for better ways to kill infectious microbes. Enter hydroxyurea. Researchers at MIT and Boston University have discovered that hydroxyurea, normally a drug prescribed for sickle-cell anemia or psoriasis, also causes bacteria to create their own poisons and kill themselves.
Chaos, confusion, and uncertainty have pervaded battle since Homer first described the din of clashing hoplites. But new developments in computer modeling look to pierce the fog of modern war by predicting the time and location of insurgent attacks.
Everyone loves a good road movie, whether it's Hope and Crosby or Fonda and Hopper. But the scope of those films pales in comparison to the ground covered by the Hayden Planetarium's new video, The Known Universe. The video starts in Tibet and zooms out through time and space until it shows well, the entire known universe.