By Gregory MonePosted 09.20.2007 at 10:45 am 4 Comments
Forbes just released a list of the least fuel-efficient hybrids, and though the fact that some of these supposedly green rides aren't exactly saving the planet shouldn't shock too many people, it's still nice to see the guilty called out. Just because your Lexus LS 600h has some batteries in it shouldn't make you feel all nice and environmental. The thing still burns up a gallon of gas every 21 miles. Even worse: A GMC Sierra model that gets only 16 mpg. Enough said. Here's the list.—Gregory Mone
By Gregory MonePosted 09.20.2007 at 10:44 am 2 Comments
A large meteorite supposedly fell from the sky over the weekend, excavating a 65-foot-wide crater in a remote area of the Andes. But whether the space rock really gave off fumes that caused hundreds of people to become ill is another issue. Some scientists are wondering whether it was a meteorite at all, or if, on the other hand, some kind of hydrothermal event produced the fumes.
Others speculated that the water collected in the crater may have boiled for up to ten minutes, and this could have emitted some vapors. One official reportedly experienced nose and throat irritation upon approaching the crater even though he was wearing a mask. According to the AP, though, doctors that visited the area uncovered no evidence of a stomach bug. Clearly, none of these Peruvians have seen Smallville. They should really be testing the locals for superpowers. Duh.—Gregory Mone
By Gregory MonePosted 09.19.2007 at 4:26 pm 5 Comments
It's got to stop sometime. That's the message from Intel co-founder and computer visionary Gordon Moore, whose 1965 prediction that the number of transistors on a chip would double roughly every two years proved startlingly true. But Moore's Law, as it's known, can't apply indefinitely.
On an NPR show recently, Moore explained that he sees his famous axiom expiring in about 10 to 15 years. Eventually scientists will run into a wall trying to uncover new ways of jamming in more transistors. But let's hope that this time he's wrong.—Gregory Mone
By Gregory MonePosted 09.19.2007 at 4:25 pm 5 Comments
Yes, yes, and yes. Owners of Nintendo's revolutionary new Wii system will soon be welcoming a new game to the stable, Star Wars: The Force Unleashed. Sure, you'll be able to play it on the PS3 and the Xbox 360, too, but why would anyone bother? This is what the Wii is made for.
Next year, players will be able to wield their controllers like a Skywalker. And you'll do so as a bad guy. Apparently, you'll serve as Darth Vader's apprentice, charged with ridding the universe of Jedi. That might not sound too appealing for those of you who don't like the idea of working for a murderous villain, but watch the trailer here, then try to tell me you're not ready to work for the Empire.—Gregory Mone
By Gregory MonePosted 09.18.2007 at 12:53 pm 1 Comment
Last night Google released Presentations, the latest in its suite of online applications, and a potential competitor to Microsoft's massively popular PowerPoint. All you need is a Google Docs account to access the free tool, an easy-to-use, scaled-down version of Microsoft's mainstay. Not all the reviews have been glowing. At this point there's really no competition. Powerpoint has far more features, and it's already more than a simple business presentation tool—it's a medium for artistic expression, and nearly a cultural force. But every champion needs a good challenger now and then.—Gregory Mone
By Gregory MonePosted 09.18.2007 at 12:52 pm 0 Comments
Filmmaker Werner Herzog, director of Grizzly Man and the recent Rescue Dawn, chronicles his time at Antarctica's famous McMurdo Station for his latest movie, Encounters at the End of the World. The movie is both about the place and the animals that inhabit it—the natural life and the scientists that study it. Reviews of the film, which premiered at the Toronto Film Festival this weekend, suggest that Herzog didn't throw all of his considerable skill at the project, but that the finished product and, in particular, the director's take on just what we're doing there at McMurdo in the first place, is impressive.—Gregory Mone
By Gregory MonePosted 09.18.2007 at 12:51 pm 2 Comments
A Florida developer is building a massive, $29 million waterfront home that should end up being the first of its size to get a thumbs-up from the U.S. Green Building Council.
He didn't skimp on amenities: The house will have eight bedrooms, 11 baths, two eleveators, two wine cellars and more. But it will also boast an extensive solar panel system, reflecting ponds and water gardens designed to cool the property and a water runoff collection system, and energy-efficient lighting.—Gregory Mone
By Gregory MonePosted 09.17.2007 at 10:35 am 0 Comments
We've already seen a bunch of solar-panel backpacks, but now scientists are designing some luggage that harvests energy from a more immediate source. The straps for these new backpacks are made of a piezoelectric material, which means they can generate an electrical charge when stressed. If you're carrying a hefty pack and walking at a decent clip, you'll generate enough juice through the straps to power small electronic devices. And the researchers say there won't be a noticeable difference—the pack will feel the same on your shoulders.—Gregory Mone
By Gregory MonePosted 09.17.2007 at 10:35 am 3 Comments
Free music? As in, honestly, no record companies coming after you free? Yes, that's the story with the newly launched, ad-supported Web site, Spiralfrog.com.
The music service, which has had its share of business woes recently, cut a deal with Vivendi SA's Universal Music Group to build its catalog. Universal opened up its collection, which includes top artists like Gwen Stefani (left), in return for a cut of advertising and sponsorship revenue. Selling those little discs must not be working out so well anymore.
Users sign up for free, but must visit the site at least once a month to retain access to their tunes. You won't be able to burn discs, but you can transfer the music to portable players. Just not the iPod. And that's the catch.—Gregory Mone
By Gregory MonePosted 09.17.2007 at 10:33 am 0 Comments
As if launching a space tourism company and stocking seats with Linux computers weren't enough, Virgin has now truly endeared itself to the tech community, as the company is going to start offering inflight Wi-Fi and seat-based Ethernet jacks starting in 2008. If passengers don't feel like pulling their notebooks out, they can access the Internet through the entertainment system built into the seat-back. Impressed by the WiFi news, Tech blog Gadgetell has named Virgin Air "Geeks Airline of 2008."—Gregory Mone