To take advantage of the strong winds that blow over the ocean, this gearless turbine uses a giant ring of magnets and 176-foot blades
By Rena Marie PacellaPosted 03.26.2010 at 10:44 am 40 Comments
There’s enough wind energy along our coastlines to power the country four times over, and the race is on to build the best offshore turbines to capture it. Manufacturers worldwide are experimenting with two techniques: ever-longer blades to harness more gusts, and simplified drivetrains (including new generators) that slash the need for costly repairs at sea. GE’s upcoming machine, slated to go online in 2012, will combine both into one package.
Kyle Evans, a 24-year-old artist, bought his first didgeridoo in a small shop in Cairns, Australia, three years ago. The owner helped him pick out one of his handmade Aboriginal instruments, and after Evans taught himself to play, he decided to build an enhanced version: an electronically modified, Bluetooth-enhanced PVC pipe that cranks out didgeridoo-like sound with added digital flourishes.
Traditional didgeridoos are simple wind instruments made from hollowed-out trees. While learning to play the one from Cairns, Evans was also getting into computer-synthesized music, and he noticed similarities between the sounds. His first attempt to combine the two, involving a Big Gulp mug and a USB link to his laptop, proved too cumbersome, so he designed a Bluetooth version instead.
A robotic rocket that can repeatedly take off and land vertically would have endless uses: As a lunar lander that can park itself at a fuel station, gas up, and immediately relaunch to ferry supplies elsewhere on the moon. Or as a space-tourism craft that can touch down safely on helicopter-like landing pads. That's why four years ago, NASA opened the $1-million Northrop Grumman Lunar Lander Challenge, a competition designed to encourage private companies to develop low-cost rockets with the precision, power and quick turnaround needed for moon and other missions.
Flashlight: Surefire’s military-grade torch shines more than 500 yards, even though it’s not much bigger than your hand. Its LED combines four light-emitting chips on one circuit board, instead of giving each its own electronics and case. The result is a concentrated yet efficient beam. A processor regulates power to run for 100 minutes on high, 500 on low.
SureFire M3LT $450; surefire.com
A piece of plastic the size of a credit card, combined with a book-size gadget, can diagnose as many deadly diseases as big laboratory machines can—but quickly, cheaply and in remote locations
By Amber AngellePosted 03.23.2010 at 6:28 pm 1 Comment
Most blood tests require shipping vials off to a lab, followed by several days of nail biting. This kit, one of the first that can diagnose multiple diseases on the spot, shrinks an entire lab into a two-piece portable package that even novices can use. A disposable, $1 plastic card, formed through injection molding, holds miniature versions of test tubes and chemicals. In place of technicians or $100,000 machines, a battery-powered, $100 gadget mixes the molecules.
We realize you’re asking hypothetically. If you’re looking to indulge in the other, other white meat but can’t stand the idea of society branding you a cannibal, this might be the loophole you’re looking for. And there are plenty of dishes to choose from.
On December 8, 2006, Markus Häring caused some 30 earthquakes -- the largest registering 3.4 on the Richter scale -- in Basel, Switzerland. Häring is not a supervillain. He's a geologist, and he had nothing but good intentions when he injected high-pressure water into rocks three miles below the surface, attempting to generate electricity through a process called enhanced geothermal. But he produced earthquakes instead, and when seismic analysis confirmed that the quakes were centered near the drilling site, city officials charged him with $9 million worth of damage to buildings.
By Adam PashPosted 03.22.2010 at 11:51 am 5 Comments
You’ve finally got your PC set up to your liking and running smoothly. So when you decide to add software later on, the last thing you want is something potentially unstable that could endanger the system. Although they’re not a replacement for antivirus applications, virtual machines can really come in handy. Essentially, they’re full-fledged operating systems that run as an application inside your actual operating system while remaining safely isolated from it.
By Lana BirbrairPosted 03.22.2010 at 10:02 am 18 Comments
It depends on the source of the pulse. Electromagnetic pulses (EMPs) large enough to cause you trouble come in two varieties: those produced by the sun, and those created by a nuclear bomb or another military-grade emitter device. With the sun-related variety, specifically coronal mass ejections (CMEs), your gear will probably be fine. But a really large CME could take down the power grid, says Bill Murtagh, the program coordinator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Space Weather Prediction Center.