My second grade teacher had a pair of supermagnets. She wowed us with them one day, lifting a metal barstool by just holding onto the tiny silver nub. We were allowed to play with them only when closely supervised. Apparently, a couple years back, a girl had pointed one magnet at the other from across a table, and it had zipped up and hit her in the face.
A lot of oil spill clean-up technology is focused on heavily mechanical solutions--gadgets and machines pumping the muck out of water. But some interesting solutions to the quandary come from other fields of science, and one team is looking to chemistry for a better way.
Reddit’s IAmA forums can be a regular source of BS, so when we came across this “Ask Me Anything” session in which a 24-year-old electrical engineer (and grad student) shares his experiences with having magnets implanted in his fingertips, we were skeptical. Then we read it, and it was kind of awesome. Moreover, it appears there are lots of people out there interested in the magnetic implant subculture--which apparently is a real thing.
By Bryan Gardiner
Posted 02.14.2012 at 11:07 am 1 Comment
Building and programming robots is no small feat. Just to get a robot to perform a simple action—say, turning when someone claps—can require hours of coding. Cubelets make robot creation as simple as stacking blocks.
An international team of researchers claims to have figured out a way to use ultrafast bursts of heat, rather than the typical magnetic field, to record a bit of information on a hard drive--a development they say could vastly increase the efficiency and speed of hard drives. They say it could record multiple terabytes per second, hundreds of times faster than current methods.
Electron-free magnetic microprocessors would use 1 million times less energy per flop than today’s computers, according to researchers at the University of California-Berkeley. They would be so efficient, they would consume the least amount of energy allowed by the second law of thermodynamics.
The well-publicized failures of cold fusion may have tainted the field’s reputation, but physicists have been successfully joining nuclei with hot fusion since 1932. Today, research in hot fusion could lead to a clean energy source free from the drawbacks that dog fission power plants. Fusion power plants cannot melt down; they won’t produce long-lived, highly radioactive waste; and fusion fuel cannot be easily weaponized.
Call it another victory for German design. Researchers in Dresden have set a new world record for the strongest magnetic field ever manufactured at the High Magnetic Field Laboratory Dresden (HZDR). Using a two-layer, 440-pound copper coil the size of a water bucket, they managed to coax 91.4 teslas from their creation for just a few milliseconds, surpassing the previous record of 89 teslas.
A new alloy with unique properties can convert heat directly into electricity, according to researchers at the University of Minnesota. The alloy, a multiferroic composite of nickel, cobalt, manganese and tin, can be either non-magnetic and highly magnetic, depending on its temperature.
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.
Silly Putty is pretty much the best non-Newtonian viscoelastic liquid we can think of--it stretches, it bounces, it transfers ink, it's reminiscent of mussel fibers, and it can be broken with a sharp blow. But what if it's blended with magnetic powder? Turns out magnetic Silly Putty has an unquenchable hunger for magnets.
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.