By Emily StonePosted 08.24.2009 at 4:15 pm 8 Comments
An enemy missile has no strategic value if its computer is down. A high-power-microwave emitter can disable a missile's electronics on the launchpad, leaving bystanders unharmed -- and now Texas Tech University engineers have a plan to scale down the truck-size tech.
While their peers worry about zits, these rising young stars are designing lunar bioreactors and new cancer drugs. What did you accomplish before turning 18? Meet our eight future Edisons here
By Blaire BriodyPosted 08.24.2009 at 1:06 pm 16 Comments
Farming for Inventors
Every year, instead of prepping for prom or hanging out at the mall, thousands of high-school students are busy in labs, basements and classrooms finding fresh solutions to age-old problems. We've scoured the country to find the brightest among them, settling on eight teen talents who make Thomas Edison (whose first patented invention didn't come until the ripe old age of 21) look like a late bloomer.
The third molars—the last of a group of teeth that grinds food into easy-to-swallow chunks—tend to be overcrowded in adult human mouths, and thus require yanking. But every other toothed mammal has room for their “wisdom teeth,” and so did Neanderthals and other early hominids, says evolutionary biologist Leslea Hlusko of the University of California, Berkeley. So why have those teeth become such a pain for us?
Thinking of keeping a giant roach as a pet? Make sure it's infested with beneficial parasites first
By Natalie AvonPosted 08.19.2009 at 1:32 pm 2 Comments
What’s more disgusting than cockroaches? Mites that feed off cockroaches. Here, mites munch moist debris from around the breathing holes of a Madagascar hissing cockroach, an insect sometimes kept as a pet that, unfortunately, can trigger allergies.
Control your appliances in the dark with a hidden system that works just by placing your hand on your nightstand
By Mike RigsbyPosted 08.19.2009 at 11:30 am 4 Comments
It's the middle of the night, when suddenly you're jarred awake by your ringing phone. It must be urgent, so you can't waste time—or worse, miss the call—fumbling around trying to find the receiver. Instead, simply touch your hand to the top of your bedside table to answer the speakerphone. The secret is a stud finder (stuffed into the drawer of the nightstand). With a few modifications, it can sense when your hand is near it and activate a switch connected to your landline.
The age of remote-control warfare isn't coming--it's here, and not even the Air Force, which made it happen, is entirely prepared. Here, a firsthand look at the struggle to train thousands of drone pilots virtually overnight
Armed with precision-guided bombs and missiles, the Reaper MQ-9 is the deadliest war drone yet. Here, it sits on the flight line at Creech Air Force Base in Nevada.
Lance Cheung/U.S. Air Force Photo
Without traffic, it takes Captain Adam Brockshus about 45 minutes to drive from his four-bedroom suburban home outside Las Vegas to Creech Air Force Base in Indian Springs, Nevada. His commute follows Highway 95 northwest through a stretch of the Mojave freckled with Joshua trees and flanked by arid mountain ranges. He trains pilots for combat in Iraq and Afghanistan, yet this desolate drive may be the most harrowing part of his job.
New Orleans sits smack dab between the Gulf of Mexico and Lake Pontchartrain, and when a hurricane comes rolling in, those bodies of water tend to spill into the streets. This summer, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers started construction on a barrier that can block a 16-foot swell blown in from the Gulf and a massive pumping station that will blast floodwaters back to sea.
By Arnie CooperPosted 08.18.2009 at 10:44 am 4 Comments
Having scrubbed the notoriously squalid streets of Paris spotless, the French have set their sights on a bigger clean-up project: the expanding swarm of space debris circling the planet. French spaceflight engineer Brice Santerre of the European aerospace company EADS Astrium has constructed the Aerobraking Sail for bringing defunct satellites out of orbit.
When a satellite dies, the built-in braking system will deploy two inflatable booms, which release a pair of heat-resistant polymer "wings." The wings increase the friction drag that slows the satellite's orbit and allow gravity to tug it into the lower atmosphere, where it will burn up in 25 years instead of the typical 50 to 100, Santerre says.
By Carina StorrsPosted 08.17.2009 at 11:52 am 0 Comments
Open Heart Surgery
Roger W. Winstead
This is a pig heart, procured from a slaughterhouse, beating on a heart-pumping machine called the Heart Cart. Because pig hearts share many anatomical similarities with humans', scientists often use them to test new medical devices and surgical procedures. Instead of operating on the entire, living hog, which costs about $2,500 for each experiment, the Heart Cart lets researchers work on just the hearts, dropping that cost to $25, by pumping them with a saline solution to make the heart valves move realistically.
AirDat's sensors, currently installed on the nosecones of 160 commercial airplanes, beam real-time atmospheric data to forecasters
By Devon O'NeilPosted 08.17.2009 at 10:40 am 0 Comments
AirDat's Tamdar sensors, currently installed on the nosecones of 160 commercial airplanes, beam real-time atmospheric data to forecasters.
Courtesy AirDat; Courtesy EMBRAER
Last September, five days before Hurricane Ike pulverized the Texas coast, the National Hurricane Center pegged a point near Corpus Christi as the storm’s most likely landfall. Residents of the low-lying region around Galveston, some 250 miles north, breathed a sigh of relief.