By Onur Kilic, as told to Flora LichtmanPosted 09.15.2011 at 10:10 am 6 Comments
Ocean research, navigation, seafloor mapping, object-tracking (sonar, for example)—they all rely on sound, which is still the best way to transmit information through water. So we wanted to build the ultimate hydrophone, one that could listen to the quietest sounds and the loudest sounds and could work anywhere, even six miles underwater, where the atmospheric pressure is 1,000 times as much as it is up top. Whale ears were our inspiration.
In May, inventor Glenn Martin—along with fire-rescue officers and crews on board a pair of chase helicopters—watched as his jetpack flew for nine minutes and 43 seconds, soaring 3,500 feet into the New Zealand sky. Had the machine been holding a live person instead of a 150-pound dummy, it would have smashed the record for the longest and highest jetpack flight ever.
Hunting the world's most wanted man for school credit
By Paul Kvinta and Madhumita VenkataramanaPosted 09.04.2011 at 2:58 pm 0 Comments
In 2008, students in Tom Gillespie's geography class at the University of California at Los Angeles were floating ideas for class projects. One student wanted to calculate changes in the size of refugee camps in Sudan. Another figured he could gauge the effectiveness of the military surge in Iraq by looking at aerial images of Baghdad at night. To execute these projects, the students planned to employ the methodologies and systems Gillespie had been teaching them about, primarily geographic information systems (GIS), remote-sensing and GPS.
By Adam HadhazyPosted 08.17.2011 at 10:11 am 21 Comments
In 2006, while flying by Saturn's moon Titan, the radar on NASA's Cassini orbiter discovered seas of liquid ethane and methane on the moon's –300ºF surface, the only bodies of liquid we know of that exist anywhere but on Earth. Some of the oily seas appeared on Cassini's radar to be larger than Lake Superior, but visibility was poor because Titan's atmosphere is thick and hazy. Now NASA is considering sending a probe called the Titan Mare Explorer (TiME) to splash down on one of Titan's seas for a closer look.
By Victor Youk,18, MIT freshman, as told to Ryan BradleyPosted 08.15.2011 at 10:14 am 3 Comments
Usually high-school rocket clubs launch an egg and try to have it land safely. But our teacher suggested that we do something harder: enter a competition to build a Mars rover that could be deployed from a rocket. A few of us started working on it. The goal was to launch a robot 1,000 feet in the air, have it land safely on the ground, and then drive it about 30 feet. But the robot had to fit inside a rocket that was just four inches in diameter and 20 inches long—it looked like a stick.
By Andrew RosenblumPosted 08.08.2011 at 10:24 am 9 Comments
In January, at the newly opened $4-billion Cosmopolitan casino in Las Vegas, a gang called the Cutters cheated at baccarat. Before play began, the dealer offered one member of the group a stack of eight decks of cards for a pre-game cut. The player probably rubbed the stack for good luck, at the same instant riffling some of the corners of the cards underneath with his index finger. A small camera, hidden under his forearm, recorded the order.
By Noreen MalonePosted 08.01.2011 at 10:10 am 23 Comments
On Sakhalin Island, in Russia’s far east, temperatures can fall to 35 degrees below zero. Many islanders herd reindeer. And in January, oil crews drilled the world’s longest and deepest extended-reach well, 7.7 miles down into the ground and 7.1 miles out under the ocean. Seven of the 10 longest oil wells on Earth have been drilled there since Exxon Mobil launched its Sakhalin-1 project in 2003. Crews expect to keep breaking their previous records in the coming months.
By Lucas PollockPosted 07.30.2011 at 3:04 pm 0 Comments
When Jacob Appelbaum spoke at a workshop for Arab bloggers in Beirut in 2009, he knew his audience would pay special attention. The 26-year-old American programmer had spent the previous year in Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Tunisia and Hong Kong training communities and activists how to use an increasingly popular program called Tor to evade government attempts to track their movements online.
By Joshua SaulPosted 07.29.2011 at 3:28 pm 1 Comment
During the 2010 season, about 160 NFL players suffered concussions, which doctors have linked to depression, early onset of Alzheimer’s and chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a degenerative brain disease. The number of concussions in the NFL has increased by at least 20 percent each season for the past three years. The rate of concussions among high-school and college players (where they go unreported) is probably much higher.
By Barry Trimmer, as told to Flora LichtmanPosted 07.25.2011 at 10:27 am 1 Comment
I make robots that are soft and floppy. If you can change your shape, you can go anywhere—you can squeeze through small holes in a rubble field and navigate unstructured terrain like forests. The problem is that if you’re soft, you’re slow, because when you push against something, your body deforms rather than creating forward motion. So we looked to the caterpillar as a model.