Add “shutting down the Internet” to batons and tear gas as the protest-silencing methods of the modern era. In response to protests simmering throughout Egypt this week, with calls for the president to resign and outcries over the jailing of political dissidents, the government shut off the Internet Friday.
Built to battle skyscraper fires, this jet-propelled water cannon is the new pride and joy of China’s Luoyang City fire department. It is made from a jet-fighter engine and is capable of spraying 4 tons of water per minute.
The price tag of $456,000 seems to be worth it, as the water is said to blast fast enough to separate fires from their oxygen supply. It has a range of almost 400 feet and can rotate a near-full 360 degrees. And if the firefighting business slows down, China can always deploy the cannon to clean the sure-to-be-megadirty streets of its future megacity.
Though Homeland Security is scrapping its color coded terror alert system, researchers at Colorado State University are working to make green the color of anti-terror vigilance. Biologists there have developed plant proteins capable of screening the air for hints of dangerous substances, including those given off by nearby explosives.
We’ve awarded “Robot of the Week” to all kinds of smart machinery for all sorts of reasons, but never for wreaking havoc on one’s fair city. In a first for evil robots everywhere, Chitti has smashed through that barrier (and an entire division of Indian assault officers) to secure this week’s honors. Frankly, we’re afraid to award them to anyone/anything else.
I was thrilled last night, as I'm sure many of you readers were too, to see President Obama frame his State of the Union address around the philosophy that Popular Science champions every day: Scientific and technological innovation is the single most powerful force propelling us toward a better life in the future. He even gave us, as a country, a new slogan and rallying cry: "win the future." So, how exactly do we do that?
Bats — you know we love ‘em — have a remarkable ability to turn, swirl and dive on a dime while in mid-flight, dodging obstacles and grabbing food from the air. Engineers would like to give robots and autonomous vehicles this ability, and they’re turning to bat ears for inspiration.
While the astronomical community anxiously awaits the launch of the James Webb Space Telescope, the Hubble Space Telescope keeps reminding us just how remarkable of an instrument it really is. Astronomers studying ultra-deep imagery from Hubble have located what could be the most distant galaxy ever glimpsed some 13.2 billion light years away—so far away that the galaxy appears as it did when the universe was just 480 million years old.
Think Robert Bigelow's much anticipated, sometimes ridiculed idea to build an orbiting space hotel from inflatable, habitable modules is something of a pipe dream? NASA apparently doesn't think the technology is bunk.
Since you must be currently plugged into the information tubes to be reading this, it's safe to assume you're also aware that President Obama will deliver the President's annual State of the Union address tonight at 9 p.m. EST. While the SOTU is often a list of achievements made in the past year, a to-do list for the coming year, and a big-language pep talk, this year's is supposedly going to be focused on upcoming challenges. Many of those are economic, but many also tie directly into science and technology (with at least a dash of defense).
So what should the sci/tech-conscious citizen be looking for from President Obama in tonight's speech?