Without conducting some tests on a smartphone, it’s hard to tell whether an upgrade is overdue or just a waste of money. The most important component to benchmark is the CPU, which is most easily done on Android phones—the free application Quadrant generates a graph comparing processor speed with that of other popular phones.
By Becky Ferreira
Posted 01.13.2012 at 2:12 pm 44 Comments
The science of stealth has long been a matter of fading into already obscure environments—the night sky, say, or the deep sea. But engineers are now developing materials that could hide anything in plain sight. Instead of bending light inward, like water and glass do, these optical metamaterials bend it outward, guiding photons around an object like river water around a stone.
By David Hambling
Posted 01.13.2012 at 12:02 pm 12 Comments
Manned surveillance missions are critical to obtaining useful intelligence. But sending a soldier into sensitive areas can often be too dangerous. Scientists are developing robots that could do the job. Last spring, the Advanced Technologies Laboratory at Lockheed Martin unveiled a prototype that uses sensors to model its environment, detect potential threats, calculate lines of sight, and locate good hiding places.
By David Hambling
Posted 01.11.2012 at 12:58 pm 16 Comments
Tanks are easy to see by day and, since they generate a lot of heat, they are also easy to spot at night, at least for those equipped with infrared imaging equipment. In August, the British company BAE Systems unveiled its new Adaptiv system, which hides a tank’s heat signature beneath hundreds of electrothermal cells bolted to the vehicle’s exterior.
By Shaunacy Ferro
Posted 01.06.2012 at 5:36 pm 9 Comments
The musty smell is most likely cellulose decay. Since the mid-19th century, when papermakers began using groundwood pulp in place of cotton or linen, most paper has contained an unstable compound called lignin, which breaks down into acids and makes paper very brittle. Since 2001, the Library of Congress has treated at least 250,000 books every year with magnesium oxide. The chemical deacidifies paper and slows decay.
By Matthew Yglesias
Posted 01.06.2012 at 3:08 pm 16 Comments
The U.S. spent some $400 billion on research and development last year, well over twice the amount invested by China, its next closest rival. But as the U.S. rolls back research budgets in 2012, China will take another approach: When its current leaders step down next fall, their replacements will oversee a major increase in science spending.
By Ann Finkbeiner
Posted 01.06.2012 at 2:01 pm 34 Comments
in the beginning of the beginning, the exploding hot universe was full of elementary particles, but the particles had no mass. The universe also contained force fields, and one of those fields, the Higgs, cooled and condensed into a quantum liquid. The liquid dragged on the other particles, giving them mass. The liquid rippled, and the ripples formed a new particle, called the Higgs.
By Ryan Bradley
Posted 01.04.2012 at 12:01 pm 15 Comments
This month, Russian scientists will nearly reach the waters of Lake Vostok, which have been sealed more than two miles under Antarctica’s surface for at least 15 million years. If all goes well, the drill will never touch the fragile ecosystem.
Invisible warriors: the engineering breakthroughs that will make everything from planes to subs to soldiers...disappear
By David Hambling
Posted 01.04.2012 at 11:03 am 57 Comments
The youngest active stealth bomber in the U.S. turns 15 this year, and the other 19 B-2s in the Air Force fleet are nearly five years older. Meanwhile, the integrated defense systems they face have become much more sophisticated. Multi-static radar, which is now relatively common, is so sensitive that it can detect certain stealth craft. To stay ahead of such defense systems, the Air Force has budgeted $3.7 billion over the next five years to develop a successor to the B-2 that could be active by 2020. Actual designs of the new bomber are classified, but some secrets are already out.
By Amber Williams
Posted 01.03.2012 at 6:10 pm 11 Comments
To strain out the nasty stuff we breathe in. It’s like an air filter in your house, says Justin Turner, an otolaryngologist (short, sort of, for otorhinolaryngologist, Greek for ear (oto), nose (rhino), and throat (laryng)) at Stanford University. Nose hairs trap dirt, viruses, bacteria and toxins until we blow them out, sneeze, or swallow.
in 2012, two large, well-funded companies, Virgin Galactic and SpaceX, will begin making regular journeys to suborbital and orbital space, commencing the post-NASA era of commercial space travel. But those companies will not be alone in their efforts.
By Chuck Cage and Amber Williams
Posted 01.02.2012 at 12:00 pm 9 Comments
Sledgehammers are the monsters of demolition. They can deliver enough force to pound boulders into dust, but strangely, it doesn’t take much to break them in two. When workers miss their target and whack the hammer’s handle on debris, called overstriking, the hammerhead can snap off, becoming a dangerous projectile. Wilton guarantees its Bad Ass Sledge Hammers (B.A.S.H.) against breaks, and will cut a $1,000 check to anyone who can destroy one. Depending on the model, up to six steel rods run the length of the handle and affix to a plate inside the head, holding the two parts together.
The hundreds of millions of bats in the U.S. are in serious trouble, threatened by such hazards as wind turbines and a fungal infection called white-nose syndrome, all while facing the uncertainty of a changing climate. Most bats hide in caves during the day and live in the air at night, making them notoriously difficult to study. But if scientists are going to help them, they need to be able to track them.
By Kaitlin Miller
Posted 12.14.2011 at 1:11 pm 0 Comments
Yes, but only with practice. The best place to start is right before bed. Deirdre Barrett, a professor of psychology at Harvard University and author of The Committee of Sleep, asked 76 college students to choose a problem (where to take a vacation; how to arrange their furniture) and focus on it while falling asleep. The subjects recorded their dreams for a week, and graduate students reviewed the material and found that a third of the students successfully solved the problem in their dreams.
Five amazing, clean technologies that will set us free, in this month's energy-focused issue. Also: how to build a better bomb detector, the robotic toys that are raising your children, a human catapult, the world's smallest arcade, and much more.