And the $64,000 question is ... does graphite conduct electricity? It certainly does! The video demonstration displays this quite convincingly. Graphite is an interesting material, an allotrope of carbon (as is diamond). It displays properties of both metals, and nonmetals. However, like a metal, graphite is a very good conductor of electricity due to the mobility of the electrons in its outer valence shells.
Way back in 1919 Sigmund Freud postulated his concept of the uncanny. In the (cleverly named) The Uncanny, Freud explored a problem of aesthetics—when something is both familiar and unknown the experience of viewing it can be strongly unsettling. Fifty years later, roboticist Masahiro Mori presented his own work on the uncanny. Drawing heavily on his predecessor's work, Mori developed his "uncanny valley" hypothesis.
the Blu-ray format stores and plays movies in high definition—easy for new flicks shot digitally in HD, but what about classics like Metropolis (due out on Blu-ray next year) that were shot on film? The trick is to make a small digital file without losing too much information in the process, which could yield a poor-quality image. Here’s how it works.
Agriculture is broken. Traditional techniques use too much energy and produce too little food for our growing planet. One fix: skyscrapers filled with robotically tended hydroponic crops and lab-grown meat
Microsoft is promoting "Olympics on the Go," downloadable coverage that only works on Windows Vista
By Brett Zarda
Posted 06.26.2008 at 5:08 pm 2 Comments
Bill Gates is taking over the Olympics. The supposedly retired CEO of Microsoft has taken his antitrust antics to new heights with the launch of NBC Olympics on the Go. Using a dedicated video player provided by TVTonic, users can specify their viewing preferences and events will download automatically when they're available. Commuters taking public transit can even watch saved video without an internet connection.
Watch a dedicated Japanese research team fire a ball from a speeding pickup truck — all in the name of science
By Adam Weiner
Posted 06.18.2008 at 10:58 am 5 Comments
While the principle is fairly straightforward, this video is such an endearing representation of the concept of relative motion that we had to share it. Who wouldn't appreciate the lengths they went to do the demonstration, not to mention the dramatic atmosphere of the video!
There’s not much you can do to put out a magnesium fire. Douse it with water or spray it with a fire extinguisher, and the results can even be explosive
By Theodore Gray
Posted 06.11.2008 at 12:22 pm 9 Comments
If you ever see a large industrial metal fire (yes, they happen) on the news, you may be surprised at what the firefighters do to extinguish it: nothing. Several metals, including lithium, sodium and magnesium, can burn easily, and from time to time large amounts catch fire in factories. But even heaps of burning metal need not cause immediate panic. They don’t blow up; instead they tend to build up ash that chokes off their oxygen supply, so they slowly burn out.
By PopSci Staff
Posted 06.06.2008 at 3:24 pm 5 Comments
World of wires got you down? Clear the clutter with your very own fire-proof gadget charging station. Editor Mike Haney shows how a power drill and some tape can transform a bread box into a pint-size panic room just for chargers.
Should sports-car racing's top dogs be grounded for safety?
By Mike Spinelli
Posted 06.04.2008 at 12:16 pm 2 Comments
The run-up to the annual 24 Hours of Le Mans endurance race is always a nail-biting enterprise for race teams. Naturally, techs are most concerned with assuring cars' ability to sustain the day-night race, which is the ultimate test for GT cars and sportscar prototypes that will wind through the Circuit of the Sarthe -- on a combination of racetrack and public roads -- in Le Mans, Sarthe, France. This year there's an added kink keeping teams up nights. It appears the gods of aerodynamics have been sending LeMans prototype-class racecars into the ether with a cosmic finger flick.
Our physics expert explains how these skiers launch themselves off cliffs without getting a scratch—and why you shouldn't try
By Adam Weiner
Posted 06.03.2008 at 12:33 pm 0 Comments
Skiing off of a 245 foot vertical cliff–looks like fun. It also looks like an insurance disaster in the making. And yet the skiers make it to the other side with nary a scratch. As you doubtless intuitively suspect, they end up ok because of the relatively “soft” snowy landing. As long as the acceleration involved in coming to a stop during impact is not beyond a certain threshold they can survive the fall. According to Newton’s Second Law (F = ma) if you extend the time of impact you reduce the acceleration (a = Δv/Δt) and therefore the force acting on a crazy extreme sport adrenaline junkie. The snow increases both the time and distance over which the collision occurs giving these guys a reasonable chance of walking away alive and without serious internal injuries. So let’s estimate how deep the snow needs to be for a safe landing.
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.