Unusual stuff invented by ordinary people: Calvin Williams wants kids to play soccer without crunching their skulls.
By Gunjan SinhaPosted 07.01.2002 at 1:30 pm 0 Comments
Calvin Williams was tired of seeing kids suffer head Injuries while playing soccer. "I had so many friends who made their children quit the game," says the Houston real estate developer who has coached children's sports for years. Soccer players can get serious concussions from directing balls with their heads, colliding with other players, or falling. So about four years ago, Williams decided to do something about it. After scrutinizing numerous studies on head injuries, he came up with a soft helmet for kids.
A prize-winning teen proves the mettle of an ancient herb.
By Rebecca SklootPosted 06.26.2002 at 8:31 pm 1 Comment
Kavita Shukla of Ellicot City, Maryland, may be just 16, but she's been inventing stuff for years. In fourth grade, she came up with an egg slicer (decorated with a plastic chicken) that was activated by a marble. At 13, after her mother lost three gas caps from her car, Shukla rigged up a temperature-sensitive system that signaled when the cap was off.
In February 2001, while driving on the state turnpike to her home in Miramar, Florida, 32-year-old Karla Gutierrez lost control of her BMW 328i and skidded into a canal. She dialed 911 on a cellphone and explained her predicament as the vehicle slowly sank. But since Gutierrez couldn't describe her precise location-"I'm not sure where I am," she told the operator-Miami-Dade County rescue units didn't know where to go to save her. By the time a passing patrolman noticed a busted fence by the accident site and found Gutierrez, she was dead.
HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) is the virus that causes AIDS (acquired immune deficiency syndrome). HIV destroys cells that are crucial to the human immune system.
The Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS estimates that out of the 40 million people living with HIV worldwide, 28.1 million dwell in Africa. The organization reports that 24 million people worldwide have died of AIDS. Although scientists have been able to slow replication of the virus, currently no cure exists.
When will the next ice age occur?
Glen Ridge, N.J.
If historical patterns repeat themselves, within about 2,000 years. But that's an extremely big "if." Over the past several million years, Earth has spent most of its time sheathed in ice. But about every 100,000 years, the planet thaws. These warm spells, called interglacial periods, usually last between 15,000 and 20,000 years. We've been enjoying our current interglacial period for about 18,000 years-giving us roughly 2,000 to go before the next deep freeze.
A solar cell may one day turn your clothes into portable power sources—keeping you warm or cool, or charging your phone.
By Etienne BensonPosted 06.24.2002 at 1:24 pm 0 Comments
A new type of solar cell may one day prove so inexpensive and flexible, it could be used to turn your clothes into portable power sources—keeping you warm or cool, or charging your phone. Materials scientist Paul Alivisatos and colleagues at the University of California, Berkeley, mixed P3HT, a plastic that conducts electricity, with nanorods made from cadmium selenide, a semiconductor material. This mixture was then "spin-cast" onto a glass base, a process similar to swirling a wineglass so that the wine spreads into a thin film.
With the right equipment, cows can be trained to milk themselves.
By Diane LaniganPosted 06.24.2002 at 1:01 pm 0 Comments
The dairy farms of Europe are as picturesque as ever, but for the past 10 years they've had something American farms lack: robotic milking technology. Labor costs are higher across the pond, so as many as half the European dairies have the machines, which can milk cows 24 hours a day with no human interaction (see left). Lately, American farmers have begun to wonder if the machines, built by Bou-matic of Madison, Wisconsin, and Lely of Holland, are worth a try.
By Harald FranzenPosted 06.24.2002 at 12:47 pm 0 Comments
Last year more than 1 million Americans had their eyes zapped with lasers to free themselves from eyeglasses. For the majority, the procedure was a success-but not for everyone. People who are farsighted, for instance, don't generally have great results. Many experience side effects such as seeing halos around objects. And laser surgery won't help people who need reading glasses because their vision continues to deteriorate as they age. So Mohsen Shahinpoor of the University of New Mexico decided to come up with an alternative.