In this episode of Cocktail Party Science, host Chuck Cage sits down with features editor Nicole Dyer and Eric Hagerman, author of "Wingman" to learn more about just what kind of lunatic straps jet engines to his back and leaps out of an airplane. Learn more about how Yves Rossy's homemade jet-fueled wingsuit works, why there's nothing crazy about his mission. Plus: hey! What about a bird strike?
Download the episode here, or subscribe to the iTunes feed.
By Kevin M. RyanPosted 02.06.2009 at 8:11 am 2 Comments
Google's index reached a trillion pages last year, but that doesn't mean it (or other large search engines, like Yahoo) will always understand the exact intent of your search and yield results that have the information you really want.
A legendary sports-car builder engineers a featherweight, ethanol-powered supercar on skis to lead an expedition across Antarctica
By Michael DumiakPosted 02.04.2009 at 9:05 am 12 Comments
When you're driving a 4.7-ton truck filled with scientific equipment across a crevasse-strewn Antarctic wasteland, choosing the right path is critical. Deep cracks in the ice, invisible from a distance, can swallow a truck whole. An Antarctic expedition needs an ultra-light scout vehicle to run ahead and find a safe route before the heavy machinery rolls through. That's exactly what the Concept Ice Vehicle (CIV) is built to do.
Create a business card that automatically places a Skype call when waved near a computer, or a photo that opens an online video of your vacation. A new kit makes it easy to devise your own uses for radio-frequency ID tags, something that previously only programmers could do.
It’s late and you just want to get those last 100 miles of interstate behind you, drowsiness be damned. Bad idea. Recognizing that too many fatigued road-trippers end up in accidents, Mercedes-Benz developed software, dubbed Attention Assist, that monitors behavior and urges sleepy drivers to get some rest. The system will debut on two of the company’s 2010 luxury sedans, the redesigned midsize E-Class [concept design above] and its flagship S-Class.
The waning black crescent is all that remains from an Escherichia coli sample. "If it could scream, it would," says University of Iowa microbiologist John Kirby, who led a recent study on bacteria behavior. The E. coli has fallen victim to Myxococcus xanthus, a type of bacteria that forms unique rippling waves as it feasts on other bacteria. During an attack, M. xanthus secretes enzymes to break down E. coli, and then each bacterium moves back and forth like a vacuum cleaner to suck up its food.
By Jonathan CoultonPosted 02.02.2009 at 12:42 pm 5 Comments
Chances are you've got a more advanced recording studio in your laptop than the Beatles had when they made Sgt. Pepper's, so record your music yourself. Then build an Internet home that can grow with your entourage. Skip the cookie-cutter MySpace stuff and get a full-fledged content-management system like WordPress or Drupal, which will allow you to build your empire as you go: a blog, forums, photos, videos -- all in one place that you control. And make sure it can support a digital music store so you can sell your own MP3s.
By Danny FreedmanPosted 01.28.2009 at 11:57 am 8 Comments
A Funnel For Sunlight
Solar panels convert the most light into electricity when the sun shines directly on them, but as soon as it wanes, so does efficiency. A new antireflective film coating could help panels collect sunshine at 96 percent efficiency from nearly any angle. Developed by scientists at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, the film consists of seven layers of nanoscopic silicon and titanium-oxide rods arranged in increasing densities, with the topmost nearly as porous as air.
Two thieves could face hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines and possibly years in jail after pulling off one of the highest-profile heists in Arizona history. Their loot: 17 saguaro cacti they uprooted two years ago from Saguaro National Park near Tucson. The 35- to 70-year-old plants each stand five to seven feet tall (saguaros grow to well over 40 feet, but young plants like these are easier to steal) and can fetch $2,000 apiece from landscapers. "We have an active patrol," says the park's chief ranger, Bob Love.
At 3 p.m. last June 22, Pam Barco’s heart stopped. The 46-year-old ER clerk at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia was near the end of her shift when she felt dizzy, put her head down on her desk, and suddenly stopped breathing. A nearby co-worker saw Barco slump over and shouted, “Staff emergency!” Minutes later, a dozen doctors and nurses surrounded Barco’s body. They shocked her with a defibrillator. No response. They shocked her twice more. Nothing. Then: Beep. Beep. Beep.