Solar panels don’t have to be eyesores. The city of Glasgow is considering the installation of giant, glowing solar "lily pads" on the River Clyde. Designed by Scottish firm ZM Architecture, the circular floats are made of steel and recycled rubber and range in diameter from 15 to 45 feet. Motorized disks covered with solar panels track the sun and angle themselves for maximum exposure. Once panels soak up enough rays, the energy is converted to AC/DC power and transferred to the city’s grid, where it will help offset Glasgow’s electrical bills.
Here's a secret they didn't tell you when you bought a 3G iPhone: One of its best features—the ability to run new applications found on iTunes—is also possible on the old iPhone with an easy software upgrade. Plus, you can hack your first-gen to run unofficial apps alongside the sanctioned ones (known as "jailbreaking" the phone). And remember that your deactivated iPhone still has built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth as well. With all this at your disposal, there are lots of ways to give a first-gen a second life.
Werner O. Merlo’s patio umbrella refused to stay locked in a tilted position. Frustrated, he replaced the sagging sunshade’s flimsy ball-and-joint with a self-designed mechanism that swiveled smoothly yet held fast at an angle. His umbrella never flopped over again. "I'm not really the umbrella-manufacturing type, so the first thing that came to mind was, What else can I use this for?" says Merlo, a former chemist at the University of Alberta.
In Terrafugia's Transition driving airplane, the canard wing doubles as the front bumper.
John B. Carnett
The Transition is not a flying car. The vehicle, set to go on sale next year, will cruise smoothly on the road and through the sky. It will have four wheels, Formula One–style suspension, and a pair of 10-foot-wide wings that fold up when it switches from air to asphalt. And when the engineers at Terrafugia in Woburn, Massachusetts, let me sit inside their just-finished proof-of-concept vehicle and grab the steering wheel, it's easy to imagine piloting this thing up and out of traffic, into the open skies.
To make its Duramax 4.5 diesel cleaner and leaner, GM turned traditional engine design inside out and dumped 70 parts.
The biggest change was flipping around the exhaust system to direct hot gases through short pipes toward a central turbocharger and catalytic converter inside the “V” of the engine. This compact design harnesses more exhaust heat and requires fewer components than conventional V8s, which send exhaust through long manifold pipes that protrude from each side of the engine, taking up more space and losing heat before they reach the turbo.
A tank welded from junkyard parts -- that shoots hot dogs
By Rena Marie PacellaPosted 10.03.2008 at 12:40 pm 8 Comments
If you want to crash a local parade of human-powered vehicles and soak unsuspecting onlookers in water or vaporized hot dogs, a pink camouflage tank is a pretty good craft to do it in. At least that's what 30-year-old Philadelphia gearhead Vin Marshall thought when he persuaded nine of his friends to build the 2,000-pound replica, complete with a functioning pneumatic cannon.
To look at his academic résumé, you wouldn't think David X. Cohen was funny. The son of two biologists, Cohen left his hometown of Englewood, New Jersey, in 1984 to major in physics at Harvard University. He followed up with a master's degree in computer science from the University of California at Berkeley and was on track to earning his doctorate. Then came Beavis and Butt-Head. Cohen had been an amateur comedy writer since Harvard, and in 1992, one of his scripts landed him a job writing for the now-classic MTV animated series. That was the end of grad school.
Wear the same 23-ounce jacket whether it's slightly cool or downright frosty outside: A new North Face coat becomes more than a third warmer when it's turned inside-out. Its versatility comes primarily from the way the insulation is sewn. The quilted squares on the metallic -- or cool -- side have small pockets at their edges. When worn on the outside, the pockets stretch open and allow air to flow in and out. When reversed, the jacket pushes the pockets together and traps air inside them, providing greater warmth.
We could all use an extra hour in the day, but clocks won't need to be extended anytime soon. The time the Earth takes to make a complete rotation on its axis varies by about a millionth of a second per day, says physicist Tom O'Brian of the National Institute of Standards and Technology. While some days are shorter than average, the planet's rotation shows a long-term slowing trend, ultimately leading to a longer day.
Keep your digits toasty without swaddling them in layers. Outdoor Research’s PrimoVolta gloves pack an electric heater that can stay hot for six hours—more than twice as long as others—yet are still flexible enough to grab your jacket’s zipper pull.