By Michael MoyerPosted 02.15.2008 at 12:27 pm 1 Comment
Day 1,464 of the Mars rovers' 90-day mission to Mars (for those of you keeping track), and Steve Squires, the head of science operations for the Spirit and Opportunity rovers is getting us up to date on their latest findings. Most important: serendipity in action. The Spirit rover's right front wheel has broken, so engineers turn the rover around, drive it in reverse, and drag the wheel behind the rover. As it slogs across the planet, it carves a trench. And my, what a trench it carves.
Sleek designs, robotic aircraft and next-generation weapons will make the ships of the future the most formidable ever
By Christian DeBenedettiPosted 02.15.2008 at 12:18 pm 5 Comments
It’s hard to tell what kind of wars the future will bring, but one thing is certain: Robots will be doing much of the fighting. In fact, they already are. Last year, aerial drones flew 258,502 hours of missions—up from 27,201 in 2002. Spending on unmanned aircraft systems by the U.S. military is expected to hit $3.76 billion by 2010. Robotic warfare, long the stuff of science fiction, is now a reality.
Forget corn; we'll get fuel from all the other stuff, says DOE
By Michael MoyerPosted 02.15.2008 at 9:32 am 5 Comments
"Cellulosic ethanol technology is a lot closer to reality than a lot of articles would have you think," said Jacques Beaudry-Losique, manager of the Department of Energy's Biomass Program this morning at the American Association for the Advancement of Science meeting. After some well-publicized studies stated that corn-based biofuels might exacerbate CO2 damage to the environment, focus has shifted to these so-called "second generation" biofuels that use non-food crops such as switchgrass, wood chips or crop residues (e.g. all the parts of the corn plant that are currently wasted after harvest--the stalk, leaves and "cob").
As any informed PopSci reader will know, the iPhone is definitely a game-changing piece of hardware, but it's not without its problems. Chief among those nagging little imperfections, for me, was the recessed headphone hack that rejected any headphones but Apple's trademark gleaming white buds. Apple's 'phones aren't that bad, but my Shure in-ear pair is better for blocking out noise on the subway (and my Grado SR60s are better for listening at home). Thankfully, an easy solution to this problem is just a trip to the local Radioshack away.
FEMA is urged to move residents after reports that their trailers have dangerously high levels of formaldehyde—but the news is nothing new
By Abby SeiffPosted 02.14.2008 at 5:07 pm 2 Comments
As the third Spring since hurricane Katrina approaches, officials at the Centers for Disease Control today urged FEMA to move the 114,000 people who still live in "temporary" travel trailers as quickly as possible. The problem? Dangerously high levels of formaldehyde—a known carcinogen and respiratory irritant—which will only increase as the heat takes its toll on unstable building materials.
By Diandra Leslie-PeleckyPosted 02.14.2008 at 4:59 pm 4 Comments
For any vehicle—airplane or car—to fly, there needs to be some force pushing it up so that it can overcome gravity. Airplane wings are specifically designed to create just such a force. As a plane moves forward, the wings push air down, and because for every action there's an equal and opposite reaction, this action creates an upward force on the wing, called lift.
We've received some great ideas, and will continue to do so until April 1, 2008. Now's your chance to win the coolest open source hardware platform around!
By John MahoneyPosted 02.14.2008 at 12:46 pm 0 Comments
As entries continue to roll in for our Build-a-BUG challenge, we're excited to announce that you've got a little extra time to polish that first- or second-prize entry. We'll now accept entries for both prize levels until April 1, 2008.
Before opening that Valentines Day e-card, better make sure you know who sent it
By Gregory MonePosted 02.14.2008 at 12:01 pm 2 Comments
The Storm Worm, malicious software spread via spam, has been so active in recent weeks that the FBI has even gotten involved. The agency posted an alert on the home page of its Web site Tuesday: If you unexpectedly receive a Valentines Day e-card, be careful. It may not be from a secret admirer, but instead might contain the Storm Worm virus.
One of the world's most influential scientists would have turned 199 this week, and his work remains as volatile as ever
By Abby Seiff and John MahoneyPosted 02.14.2008 at 11:54 am 3 Comments
In 1809, exactly 199 years ago this past Tuesday, Charles Darwin was born. Fifty years later, he published The Origin of Species, arguably the most intellectually innovative and intensely disruptive single text in the history of science.
And now, here we are two centuries later: 262 days ago, the $27 million Creation Museum opened its doors; 174 days ago, a U.S. presidential candidate defended his stance against evolution; and earlier this week, the last public hearing was held by Florida's Board of Education over proposed standards to require that evolution be taught as the fundamental underpinning of biology. Clearly, Darwin and his singular theories are still under fire, but if a group of British scientists have their way, Darwins upcoming 200th birth year may be the time to begin an organized campaign to address Darwins critics with fervor.