Most houses require hundreds of feet of electrical wire to connect light switches to a main power source, but not my eco-friendly dream home. I’ve installed a wireless lighting system called Verve that uses radio waves instead of copper wiring to command all the lights and outlets in my house. The system not only saves copper (imagine the savings in a skyscraper) but also lets me put switches wherever I want—beside the kids’ beds, in my pocket or even on the dash of my car—without the need to pull out wires or rip up walls.
It tracks fielders for definitive defensive analysis
By Bjorn CareyPosted 02.12.2010 at 10:13 am 12 Comments
This could be the year that baseball-stat freaks finally crack the "Derek Jeter enigma." A panel of coaches has awarded the New York Yankees' shortstop four of the past six Gold Glove awards for fielding excellence. That drives statisticians nuts, because nearly every statistical model ranks Jeter's defense below average.
But evaluating fielding is baseball's hardest math. There are just too many unknowns in a play. How much ground did Jeter cover? How fast was the ball moving? In essence: How unlikely was it that he'd catch the ball?
This off-season, the broadcast-tech company Sportvision will install a new player-tracking camera system into ballparks that could finally help produce accurate defensive statistics.
The sun-parched Tanezrouft Basin in Algeria is known as the "Land of Terror." This photo shows some 1,500 square miles of the area.
Photograph Courtesy ESA
In the Tanezrouft Basin of south-central Algeria, vegetation is sparse and sand is plentiful. Images like this one, taken by Japan's Advanced Land Observing Satellite, provide researchers with an easy look at hard-to-reach areas to survey natural resources, monitor disasters, and track vegetation coverage.
A worker stands inside one of the Metro tunnels under construction in New Delhi, India, in preparation for the Commonwealth Games this October. To overcome the challenges of a tight three-and-a-half-year schedule and construction underneath a densely populated city, engineers used 14 tunnel-boring machines (TBMs) to dig the underground thoroughfare.
It's after dark on a warm Monday night in April, and I'm lying face-up in a 13-ton tube at the Henry H. Wheeler, Jr. Brain Imaging Center at the University of California at Berkeley. The room is dimly lit, and I am alone. A white plastic cage covers my face, and a blue computer screen shines brightly into my eyes. I'm here because a neuroscientist named Jack Gallant is about to read my mind. He has given me strict instructions not to move; even the slightest twitch could affect the accuracy of what he's about to do. As I stare straight up, I notice an itch on my thigh.
A battery that runs on air? Why, that’s almost as good as a car that runs on water! Those cars are fantasy, but batteries that run on air are actually quite common, especially among older people. Tiny zinc-air batteries are widely used in hearing aids, where they have replaced toxic mercury-based batteries in providing a small but steady stream of power. They supply more energy for their size than any other battery, because they draw some of their power straight from the air.
In 1951, Henrietta Lacks, a poor woman with a middle-school education, made one of the greatest medical contributions ever. Her cells, taken from a cervical-cancer biopsy, became the first immortal human cell line—the cells reproduce infinitely in a lab. Although other immortal lines have since been established, Lacks's "HeLa" cells are the standard in labs around the world. Together they outweigh 100 Empire State Buildings and could circle the equator three times.
When TV went digital, Verizon, AT&T and other cellphone carriers shelled out a combined $19 billion for some of the freed-up airwaves, known as white spaces. Now wireless company Spectrum Bridge is using the parts that are still unclaimed to deliver high-speed Internet from its broadcast tower to your laptop computer.
Two mechanics on a remote outpost build a “snow chopper” out of salvaged parts
By Andrew RosenblumPosted 02.04.2010 at 2:57 pm 7 Comments
In the desolate environment of Antarctica, when mechanics Bob Sawicki and Toby Weisser weren’t at their jobs maintaining a fleet of snowmobiles at the U.S. logistics hub there, they passed the time by building a motorcycle-like snow vehicle out of junked parts and trash. As government employees, they were forbidden to use any new equipment on their side project. Instead, they got the engine and track from a totaled 1981 Ski-Doo Elan and, with the exception of nuts, bolts and fuel hoses, everything else from savvy dumpster diving.