Birds and power companies adapt to climate change; scientists downgrade its role in hurricane formation
By Jessica ChengPosted 07.25.2008 at 4:58 pm 31 Comments
So it looks like it's not all gloom and doom after all. A few recent studies have managed to find the slim silver lining of climate change. Below, a look at the three small positive outcomes of global warming.
Our FYI experts tackle your burning questions . . . with the power of science!
By Jessica ChengPosted 07.23.2008 at 6:05 pm 6 Comments
It's not necessarily laziness that makes people hit the "snooze" button in the morning. Most likely, your body clock is mismatched with the demands of your life.
Your clock is controlled by the suprachiasmatic nucleus, a part of the brain that controls the body's biological rhythms. But, says Jean Matheson, a sleep-disorders specialist at Beth Israel Medical Center in New York, these preset natural rhythms often don't align with daily realities—work or school start times cannot be adjusted to fit a person's sleep schedule.
The first submersible speedboat transforms from wave rider to deep diver in seconds
By Jessica Cheng & Day GreenbergPosted 07.16.2008 at 6:16 pm 8 Comments
Nautical engineers have long dreamed of a craft that could race across wave tops like a speedboat and seconds later dive beneath them like a submarine. But crossing the two breeds presents a catch-22: Subs need heft to sink, but speedboats need to be lightweight to go fast. With an investment of nearly $2 million and years of research, former auto-shop owner Reynolds Marion of Lake City, Florida, has finally hit on a solution, a machine he’s dubbed the Hyper-Submersible Powerboat. When complete, it will reach speeds of up to 45 mph and dive down to 1,200 feet.
Robotic jellyfish just like the real thing, but without the sting
By Jessica ChengPosted 07.16.2008 at 4:47 pm 3 Comments
All Together Now
AquaJellies are an experiment to create autonomous robots that can work alone or cooperatively.
AP Photo; Kai-Uwe Knoth
Swimming around in their tank, these autonomous robotic jellyfish move alone or in a swarm and communicate with their brethren to avoid underwater collisions. Developed by German industrial-automation company Festo as an attention-grabbing experiment in cooperative robotics, each AquaJelly uses eight bendable "tentacles" to propel itself forward.
Polaroid goes digital with pocket-size PoGo photo printer
By Jessica ChengPosted 06.16.2008 at 5:19 pm 4 Comments
Photo printing just got faster and easier. Instead of waiting until you get home, you can use Polaroid's pocket-sized PoGo to print on the spot. Using Zink's "zero-ink" technology—paper that contains layers of heat-activated color dye crystals a few microns thick—PoGo eliminates the clunky ink cartridges of traditional printers. The device—weighing just eight ounces and measuring 4.7 by 2.8 by 0.9 inches—goes on sale July 6 for $150.
By Jessica ChengPosted 06.06.2008 at 2:00 pm 1 Comment
If the thought of planning a trip to the happiest place on Earth on a flat map online (let alone on paper) seems too dull—Disney World now offers visitors a 3-D interactive map on Google Earth.
The program allows for a more interactive (and fun) way to check out the park, letting you view photos, videos, and write-ups and better judge if Space Mountain is really worth the lines. It even shows the location of park benches; plan the ideal spot to rest your feet.
An assortment of green burial options, from high-concept to just-plain-gross, are becoming a reality for the environmentally conscious
By Jessica ChengPosted 05.09.2008 at 6:02 pm 7 Comments
Worried that embalming fluids or emissions from cremation will pollute the earth after your death? There may be a more eco-friendly albeit somewhat grisly alternative—dissolving the body in lye. The process, which has been used to dispose of animals and lab specimens for many years, is now being considered more seriously for human use. Called alkaline hydrolysis, the method uses a steel cylinder that dissolves the body in lye with 300-degree heat and 60 pounds of pressure per square inch. The result is a sterile, coffee-colored liquid with the consistency of motor oil that can be safely poured down the drain. A small amount of bone residue that can be scattered like cementation ashes is the only solid byproduct.
A new monitoring system allows plants to text farmers when thirsty
By Jessica ChengPosted 05.07.2008 at 3:38 pm 2 Comments
Just in time for this years growing season, farmers have new equipment to help keep tabs on their crops while away. With SmartCrop, a system developed by Accent Engineering, farmers get text messages when their plants need water. The system uses infrared thermometers to measure leaf temperature and data is then transferred to a computerized base station. A cellphone modem hooked up to the base station allows farmers to receive SMS alerts when their plants are too hot. Research has shown that each plant species has a range of temperatures that is best for its growth.