This backyard observatory lets you see more stars than ever before
By Eric Adams
Posted 10.15.2009 at 9:27 pm 0 Comments
What a heavenly year for stargazers. We’ve had a spectacular solar eclipse in Asia, a clutch rescue of the Hubble Space Telescope, and the surprising crash of a comet into Jupiter—discovered, no less, by an amateur astronomer. Try the gear below to find the next marvel yourself.
By Jake Ludington
Posted 10.14.2009 at 5:04 pm 1 Comment
Three words: Reliability, flexibility, simplicity. No matter what, you want a Web host that never goes offline, so make sure it guarantees uninterrupted uptime. Beyond that, you’ll first need to identify the features you want your site to have. If all you require is yourname.com and an easy way to post text and images, try a free service like Wordpress.com. It offers automated site design, a choice of 76 themes, and the ability to add and edit pages with the click of a button.
Metals can be classified by hardness, malleability and conductivity. One quality you won’t find listed in the reference books is sparkiness.
A delicate balance between flammability and hardness determines which metals spark. For example, magnesium is a famously flammable metal, but grinding it produces no sparks because the energy needed to cut chips from the soft metal is not enough to heat them to their ignition point.
Turn a secondhand tablet PC into a fully functional e-book reader
By Phillip Torrone
Posted 10.14.2009 at 4:24 pm 11 Comments
I tried to love Amazon's amazing e-ink electronic book reader, the Kindle, I really did. But I wanted a device that had full color and a higher-resolution display and that didn't limit the content you can view on it. So instead of shelling out $300, I decided to make my own version using a tablet PC -- basically a computer with a stowable keyboard (or no keyboard at all) that you mainly control with a stylus and touchscreen.
By Carina Storrs
Posted 10.14.2009 at 2:54 pm 2 Comments
Six Europeans recently wrapped up 105 days in an isolation chamber with no TV, no showers, and lots of precooked food, to test the stresses of a journey to Mars. Real Marstronauts might not have to suffer through all that. A new ion engine, which shoots charged particles to create thrust, could get them to the Red Planet in just 39 days.
By Carina Storrs
Posted 10.14.2009 at 1:17 pm 2 Comments
The earliest known attempt at earthquake-proofing dates to the sixth century B.C., when builders in modern-day Iran inserted stone blocks between a structure and its foundation to reduce vibrations. Today’s engineers buffer buildings with metal springs, ball bearings and rubber pads, all designed to sop up the energy from seismic waves. This summer, a team of physicists at the University of Liverpool in England and the French National Centre for Scientific Research tested a different strategy: redirect the waves altogether.
Multitouch screens, which can register more than one finger-press at a time, will let computers trade keyboards and mice for simple strokes and pinches. The models shown here are just the start. Nearly every major PC maker will introduce touch-y designs of various shapes and sizes in the coming months.
By Lawrence Ulrich
Posted 10.14.2009 at 1:11 am 0 Comments
We the people already own 61 percent of General Motors. Now GM has to convince us to buy another stake in it: a new car. Fresh from bankruptcy, the company’s survival hinges on cranking out appealing designs that Americans want today. That means fewer supersized pickups and SUVs and more efficient cars and crossovers—a fleet for an age of volatile gas prices and a federal requirement that cars get 35 miles per gallon by 2016. Here are the key models GM will offer in the next few years.
Cadillac CTS Coupe:On Sale: Summer 2010 Courtesy General Motors
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.