When Kai Grundt announced his decision to build the ultimate snowblower from a discarded V8 engine, a friend of his just laughed. So a year later, instead of showing his buddy the finished product, Grundt showed him what it could do. He buried the man's truck under a seven-foot-tall pyramid of snow. From two houses away.
Nearly every summer rainstorm comes with thunder and lightning. Yet during even the blusteriest blizzard, there's nary a spark in the air. It can occur (although snow lightning strikes just six times a year on average in the U.S.), but winter air doesn't make for prime lightning-forming conditions, says meteorologist Robin Tanamachi of the University of Oklahoma.
Nearly four years after a series of disastrous tsunami waves struck coastlines bordering the Indian Ocean, a new Tsunami Early Warning System is up and running in Indonesia. Using a series of buoys linked to detectors that sit on the ocean floor, the new high-tech warning system will be able to detect an undersea earthquake and predict within minutes whether it will cause a tsunami.
John Pavlus and Christopher Mims, also known as Small Mammal, are here again with the latest episode of The Science of YouTube, the Popular Science video series that humanely anesthetizes YouTube videos, dissects them deftly, and labels their exposed organs for all to enjoy.
What happens when lightning strikes? A lot of bad language, for starters.
In a Mars exploration milestone, a laser remote sensing instrument on the Phoenix Mars lander has detected snow falling on the red planet. Data from the light detection and ranging (lidar) instrument—designed to gather information about interactions between the Martian atmosphere and ground surface—showed the snow falling from clouds about 4 kilometers (2.5 miles) above the spacecraft's landing site.
Weeks before Hurricane Gustav slammed into the Caribbean and the Louisiana Gulf Coast, hurricane forecasters at Colorado State University continued to warn of the higher-than-average probability of at least one intense (or major) hurricane making landfall in the United States in the remaining months of this year's hurricane season.
PopSci reader Dave wants to know: "Hello, if the earth spins east to west why does our wind blow west to east? The wind has to be blowing faster than the earth spinning. Yes?"
Feel free to tackle this one in the comments section.
Submit your science and technology questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Customize a circuit’s firmware and make your own personal weather forecast system
By Dave ProchnowPosted 08.08.2008 at 11:13 am 1 Comment
If you've ever wanted to learn how to hack a circuit's firmware, a great beginning point would be SparkFun Electronics. Many of the development, prototyping, and sensor products sold by SparkFun come equipped with a special programming interface. Even better, most of these products feature downloadable firmware. Therefore, with just a modest amount of effort, you can modify one of these products' firmware, reprogram the circuit, and create your own customized product.
Researchers find that listening for storms underwater can help them predict intensity
By Gregory MonePosted 04.15.2008 at 8:10 am 0 Comments
MIT researchers have proposed a strange new way to predict the severity of a hurricane: Listening underwater. Currently, the most common way to gauge a storm's strength is to either study satellite images (which can be pretty inaccurate), or fly a weather plane straight on into the storm and gather critical data (which gets expensive).
Scientists get closer to generating lightning bolts on-demand by firing laser pulses at thunderclouds
By Gregory MonePosted 04.14.2008 at 8:10 am 4 Comments
Scientists have been trying to figure out how to stimulate lightning strikes with lasers for several decades, and now a group of European researchers have made an important advance.
The group, led by Jerome Kasparian of the University of Lyon, used laser pulses to trigger electrical activity in thunderclouds passing over New Mexico's South Baldy Peak. By tweaking these laser pulses in the future, Kasparian thinks they should be able to create charged channels of molecules that act like conducting wires, and provide the lightning with a path to the ground.