Cut through titanium-marketing hype—take a grinder to your stuff
By Theodore GrayPosted 12.19.2007 at 2:00 am 0 Comments
How will other materials hold up under the grinder? Launch the gallery here to find out.
In the early 1900s, the element radium was so popular, it became a marketing term. Luminous watch hands used radioactive radium, but Radium-brand butter, fortunately, did not. Today, titanium is the new radium. Everything from credit cards to crowbars is advertised as having the strength of titanium. How many products actually do?
Gasifying coal will allow the facility to store carbon dioxide underground
By Sean CaptainPosted 12.18.2007 at 12:59 pm 6 Comments
FutureGen picks Illinois for carbon-sequestering facility
Coal is almost the perfect fuel. Its cheap and absurdly abundant—especially in the U.S., which has the worlds larges reserves. Theres just that tiny problem of massive climate-altering carbon dioxide emissions. Or is there?
By Gregory MonePosted 12.18.2007 at 11:33 am 0 Comments
Sure, astronomers have witnessed plenty of galactic collisions, which can be pretty intense events, but the latest cosmic conflict is of a different breed.
Using a variety of space- and ground-based observatories, scientists discovered a supermassive black hole shooting a jet of particles at a neighboring galaxy. It's located 1.4 billion light years from Earth, and they're calling it the Death Star galaxy because of the powerful beam.
The eventual outcome of this long-distance shot could be positive, however. The jet might fry any planets in its path in the short run, the scientists say, but in the long run, the energy it deposits could lead to the formation of stars and planets.—Gregory Mone
By Gregory MonePosted 12.18.2007 at 11:32 am 6 Comments
Real estate prices may be dropping domestically, but on the Moon they're still climbing. The investment bank UBS released a report concluding that lunar land prices have risen 40 percent since the start of 2007. The costs vary, with some sources claiming the high was $37 per acre in December 2005 and others saying a chunk of land will cost you as little as $56.
Whether anyone will really be able to lay claim to these plots one day is a big question, but apparently that hasn't stopped people from buying them. The king of space real estate, Dennis Hope, of the Lunar Embassy USA, claims to have sold 3.5 million parcels on the Moon and other planets.—Gregory Mone
By Gregory MonePosted 12.18.2007 at 11:30 am 1 Comment
Say this five times fast: Counter-Rotating-Ring Receiver/Reactor/Recuperator. OK, so it doesn't quite roll off the tongue, but this new device, which its designers wisely refer to as CR5, could help solve our planet's carbon dioxide problem.
The device, developed at Sandia National Labs as part of the Sunshine to Petrol project, uses sunlight and steam to neutralize carbon dioxide instead of spewing the stuff up into the atmosphere. The process would produce methanol, which could be used for fuel. The downer? The engineers say it could be a decade or more before the device is available.—Gregory Mone
By Dave ProchnowPosted 12.18.2007 at 11:26 am 2 Comments
As we mentioned earlier, iPod Touch Mods has a project for adding a microphone/preamp to your iPod touch. Coming on New Years Day 2008, you will be able to download the SIP-VoIP software that will add voice-calling capability to your iconic Apple MP3 player. More than just good cheer is at work here, so donations are being solicited.—Dave Prochnow
By Dave ProchnowPosted 12.17.2007 at 3:07 pm 0 Comments
Are you looking for something to do as a nice holiday break approaches? Head over to MoDaCo and read/see the exploits of Paul. Paul claims to have installed Microsoft Windows Vista on an ASUS Eee PC. The post includes video and a fairly thorough tutorial on accomplishing the same feat on your very own Easy to Hack PC. —Dave Prochnow
By Gregory MonePosted 12.17.2007 at 10:51 am 0 Comments
Scientists at the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University have discovered how the brain essentially re-wires itself to quickly process new stimuli.
Connections between neurons change rapidly, based on the input to the brain. So, when your nose picks up an odor, a whole bunch of neurons start to fire, but then a process called lateral inhibition kicks in. With lateral inhibition, certain neurons tell their neighbors to shut up and thereby reduce the noise, allowing the brain to focus on identifying the smell.
In this work, the group identified a process that enhances lateral inhibition, so the brain can quickly and clearly identify a stimulus. Read the full paper in Nature Neuroscience.—Gregory Mone
By Gregory MonePosted 12.17.2007 at 10:50 am 0 Comments
There's a reason that physics breakthroughs don't always grab front-page headlines. It's just about impossible to break many of these discoveries down to a few excited words. But that's why we have end-of-the-year round-ups. The American Institute of Physics has just released its top ten stories of 2007, so if some of them slipped past your radar in the preceding twelve months, now's the time to catch up on Gravity Probe B (pictured here) results, neutrino mysteries, cosmic rays, Bose Einstein condensates, and more.
Read about them here.—Gregory Mone
(Image credit: Adam Jeziak and Aaron Pozzer / York University)