A fine-mesh kitchen sieve with a candle inside simulates a Davy miner's safety lamp. An explosive mixture of propane gas and air is blown in from the outside. If the mesh is fine enough, the fire will stop at the screen even as the explosive gas flows through it.
If you were a coal miner in the early 1800s, the light you used was an open-flame oil lamp—even though mines were sometimes filled with "fire-damp," a volatile mixture of air and methane gas. Explosions were inevitable, and at times threw bodies from mine shafts like grapeshot from a cannon. Humphry Davy became a national hero when, in 1815, he found a remedy: Surround the lamp flame with mosquito screen.
By Darren MurphPosted 01.14.2010 at 2:48 pm 7 Comments
Feel chained to your tunes? There are a number of ways to get your home music library from your computer to other rooms. You could go the DIY route and set up another computer on your wireless network to share songs. But for a simpler setup, go with a dedicated media-streaming device.
According to Ray Kurzweil, the Singularity is a point at which man will become one with machine and then live eternally—which makes Singularity University, a nine-week academic retreat named for the concept, sound a little cultish. Our writer traveled west to investigate and found 40 stunningly sane brainiacs out to change the world.
By Josh DeanPosted 01.14.2010 at 12:02 pm 9 Comments
Class of 2009
The students and faculty of the inaugural Singularity University
summer graduate-studies program
"What happened to your finger?" Bruce Klein asked after noticing my bandaged digit. Cooking injury, I told him. "Maybe we can sprinkle some nanobots in there and fix it up," Klein replied, and chuckled, though he was only sort of kidding.
Prior to hanging his hat here in the administration office of Singularity University (S.U.), Klein produced the film Exploring Life Extension and co-edited the book Scientific Conquest of Death, both of which are pretty self-explanatory. He is reed thin, thanks to strict adherence to a health regimen designed to prolong life (minimal calories, healthy foods, no booze, many supplements) and possibly because of the stress of helping to create and open this, America's newest and most peculiar institution of higher learning.
By Bjorn CareyPosted 01.12.2010 at 11:14 am 10 Comments
“It’s not as silly a question as you might think,” says Michael Moore, a marine-mammal research specialist at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts. “It would take some extraordinary circumstances, but any mammal can get rabies.”
What’s a green home without actual greenery? I wanted my eco-friendly house to feel more connected to nature, so I turned the flat stretches of roof into gardens. Rooftop flora is not only scenic, but it can also protect a home against temperature extremes, absorb carbon dioxide, and triple the life span of a roof.
In this depiction of the rod-shaped E. coli, two flagella trail from one end while hairlike pili surround a capsule full of tangled nucleoids.
This 41-inch-long sculpture of the Escherichia coli bacterium is part of British artist Luke Jerram’s “Glass Microbiology” series of portraits. Other organisms he has vitrified include HIV, SARS and swine flu.
An 11-year-old boy taps furiously on a laptop, blasting enemies as he weaves through a maze. They wipe him out before he can reach the end—game over. Frustrated, he opens the game’s programming window, adjusts the gravity setting, and this time bounds over the baddies. Victory!
In this micrograph of dorsal closure in a fruit-fly embryo, the protein actin is marked red, prominent around the gap in the epithelial cells. The microtubules that give shape to cells are green, and epithelial cells with their microtubules destroyed are blue.
One of the steps in fruit-fly development is similar to the healing of wounds. Until recently, scientists believed that when fruit-fly bodies take form during a process called dorsal closure, long strings of the protein actin behaved like the drawstring of a purse, pulling together the epithelial cells that eventually form the fly's skin.
Microwaves can transform a frozen pizza into hot, melted goodness in four minutes flat, but they can't rescue your melted ice-cream sundae. To cook food, a microwave oven converts voltage into high-frequency electromagnetic microwaves. The molecules in food—especially water and fat—absorb this energy and wiggle at high speeds, causing them to heat rapidly and warm the surrounding food. Although quickly turning leftovers cold would be handy, this is a one-way operation, explains David Pozar, a professor and microwave expert at the University of Massachusetts.