Hydrogen fuel cells could someday meet a host of industrial energy needs, but it’s difficult and dirty to produce hydrogen using current methods. A new type of microbial fuel cell can power itself and produce a renewable supply of hydrogen, according to researchers at Penn State University. The system uses some seawater, some freshwater and bacteria.
Understanding how the brain perceives the passage of time could lead to treatments for mental illnesses. Why does time seem to slow down during a life-threatening situation? Our reporter falls 15 stories to find out
By Steven KotlerPosted 04.12.2010 at 10:59 am 35 Comments
A few moments ago, I was strapped into a harness and winched 150 feet into the air. Four massive steel girders support my weight, and I can see that I'm the highest object around for miles. I am about to become the fastest-moving man in science, and I can barely keep my breakfast down.
This contraption is called the Suspended Catch Air Device, but the folks at the Zero Gravity Thrill Amusement Park in Dallas prefer the more colloquial "Nothin' But Net." That's because when the operator releases my rope, I will fall, untethered, until I plop into a modified circus net. The terrifying free fall will last less than three seconds, but to me it will feel much longer. And in this experiment, that is exactly the point.
While Robert Frost famously said that he prefers the world to end in fire, physicists have long predicted the universe will end with an icy sputter known as "heat death." Heat death occurs when the universe finally uses up all its energy, with all motion stopping and all the atoms in creation grinding to a halt. And, based on new calculations from a team of Australian physicists, it looks like heat death is far closer than previously thought.
In a paper published last week, MIT physicist Lorenzo Maccone hypothesizes that, yes, quantum physics is messing with our minds. The laws of physics work just as well if time is running forwards or backwards. But we all seem to experience time running in only one direction, and in the same direction as everyone else -- a mystery of physics that's yet to be solved.