By Juliet Eilperin
Posted 06.16.2011 at 10:17 am 10 Comments
In 2005, Eric Stroud, the managing partner of Shark Defense, a New Jersey company that specializes in shark-repelling technologies, happened to be carrying a rare-earth magnet as he passed a tank full of sharks. The sharks fled, and Stroud took note. After further tests, Stroud and his colleagues found that sharks that came within 20 inches of rare-earth magnets similar to the one he had been carrying would consistently swim away.
The Steadicam was originally developed to take the shake out of Hollywood chase scenes. Now a California company, Equipois, has given it a new purpose: to help line workers and file clerks. The x-Ar arm reimagines a Steadicam’s spring system to make arms and tools feel weightless, diminishing the risk of repetitive-stress injuries without motors, batteries or external power.
What a predicted 2013 blast from the sun could mean for the U.S.
By Damon Tabor
Posted 06.09.2011 at 12:30 pm 17 Comments
On Tuesday, the biggest solar flare in four years erupted from the sun, sending a mass of charged particles hurtling towards Earth. NASA announced that it was an M-2 (medium-sized) flare and an S1-class (minor) radiation storm. The electromagnetic pulse it induced created amazing auroras, but it could also damage satellites and radio communications. What would happen with an even stronger, larger flare? Something terrible...
Green technology is on the rise, but the U.S. still consumes an enormous amount of fossil fuels
By Fathom Information Design
Posted 06.06.2011 at 3:42 pm 0 Comments
The U.S. consumed 94.6 quadrillion BTUs of energy in 2009, more than any other nation. It also produced more energy than any nation but China: some 73 quadrillion BTUs.Those 94.6 quads break down into 308 million BTUs per capita--the equivalent of about 50 barrels of oil for every American.
On the ground, solar power has its limitations. Solar cells are not especially efficient. It rains. The sun disappears at night. A space-based solar panel can generate five times the energy of a similar panel on Earth by circumventing both weather and hours lost to darkness. A 2007 study by the National Space Society estimates that a half-mile-wide band of photovoltaics in geosynchronous orbit with Earth could generate the energy equivalent of all the oil remaining on the planet over the course of one year. Though costly, launching working solar satellites is possible today. It’s transmitting the captured energy to Earth that presents a challenge—one that scientists are just starting to work on.
By Rena Marie Pacella
Posted 06.01.2011 at 3:52 pm 0 Comments
We’re just starting to figure this one out. The companies that keep our data on remote servers have inconsistent, confusing or nonexistent policies for what happens after a customer passes away. As a result, many “digital estate” services are popping up that can help you plan ahead.
By Katharine Gammon
Posted 05.31.2011 at 6:00 pm 0 Comments
Three low-energy innovations to keep out the heat help scientists ship snowmen to Bahrain, chill beer with nanoparticles, and bring vaccines to developing areas.
Physicists led by Geoff Smith of the University of Technology– Sydney have created a coating that allows heat to escape all the way into space. When an object radiates heat, some of it bounces off nearby molecules in the air, ending up right back on the object itself.
Major League Baseball pitchers can’t wear white gloves or wristbands because they obscure the ball, making it difficult for batters to gauge a pitch’s path. Professional table-tennis players aren’t allowed to wear clothes that match the ball for similar reasons, but there are no such rules in tennis.
By Peter Kirn
Posted 05.27.2011 at 2:43 pm 0 Comments
Building a home studio is now as simple as plugging in a few USB cords. The newest audio gear interacts directly with your computer, eliminating complicated setups and even a couple of pieces of hardware.
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.