It was in the third hour of a bewildering odyssey into the iTunes rental wilderness (I and my crew were fiercely at arms with a six-foot DVI cable) when a quote I had read in the paper earlier that day came back to me with sudden, crystalline truthiness. It was in a brief New York Times piece recounting a staged talk between exmedia mogul Michael Eisner and polymath Mark Cuban at last weeks SXSW Interactive conference.
You're unique. Aren't you? One of the more creative hypotheses surrounding quantum mechanics posits the exact opposite. Though we can readily see only one world, quantum mechanics says that when were not observing the particles that make up that world, those particles exist in multiple places at once. There are many theories that attempt to grasp what this means, but one of the most tantalizing is Hugh Everett's multiverse concept.
Our ace reporter sleuths out the secret electrolyte formula that keeps Maria swinging
By Brett Zarda
Posted 03.17.2008 at 6:34 pm 0 Comments
Over the years, researchers at the Gatorade Sports Science Institute (GSSI) have tested hundreds of elite and recreational athletes to better understand hydration. A few months back they stepped on court to analyze the sweat of the worlds fifth ranked womens tennis player, Maria Sharapova. Tiger Woods went through a similar regimen in creating his own custom Gatorade formula, with fancy flavors set to launch this month. Ongoing tests on NFL and NHL players offer similar personalized suggestions on what to drink and when.
Fuel your stomach, then fuel your mind with this week's edition of Cocktail Party Science. Listen in as host Chuck Cage talks to writer Amanda Schaffer and PopSci editor Seth Fletcher about how E. coli could become the most alternative fuel of all.
Plus: Should pollution be a sin? How 'bout genetic engineering?
A new video of the Army's BigDog 'bot highlights its eery abilities
By John Mahoney
Posted 03.17.2008 at 3:49 pm 18 Comments
Two years ago we showed you Boston Dynamics' incredible BigDog—one of the world's most ambitious legged robots—being developed for DARPA and the U.S. Army. With its advanced system of hyper-responsive hydraulic joints and a suite of sensors, accelerometers and gyroscopes, the BigDog's most stunning achievement is it's ability to walk, climb and maintain its balance on diverse terrain, even after slipping on ice or receiving a kick to one side. All while carrying several hundreds of pounds of supplies on its "back."
After a successful assembly, NASA's newest robotic crew member awaits its first mission
By Gregory Mone
Posted 03.17.2008 at 1:53 pm 0 Comments
All reports suggest that the International Space Stations new robotic handyman will survive, and not freeze into a $209 million junk pile due to a power problem. Astronauts bypassed a faulty cable on Friday, and managed to get power to the robot arm, which will keep it warm, and ready for duty, in the deep cold of space.
Dish out the pie and start the rote recitation, it's every math geek's favorite holiday
By Matt Ransford
Posted 03.14.2008 at 4:57 pm 2 Comments
Happy Pi Day! Todays date is 3.14, the first three digits of arguably the most famous mathematical constant (anyone remember e? Napiers constant? Didnt think so). School children and geeks everywhere are celebrating it today by, well, eating pies, as it turns out.
By Matt Ransford
Posted 03.14.2008 at 4:09 pm 0 Comments
Your TV just came another step closer to your computer. TiVo has partnered with YouTube to bring its content to broadband-connected subscribers with the Series 3 and HD set-top boxes. This means youll no longer have to drag the laptop downstairs or force everybody to huddle around the tiny screen of your iPhone at parties to show your guests the latest pratfalls. Just flick on your TV and youre set.
Engineers are hopeful that Dextre will be up and running soon
By Gregory Mone
Posted 03.14.2008 at 12:35 pm 2 Comments
The International Space Stations new robotic repairman, a $200 million Canadian robot called Dextre, should end up working just fine despite some early glitches, officials say. Dextre, an incredibly dexterous ‘bot with two flexible three-meter arms (hence, of course, the name), is designed to be a kind of maintenance machine on the outside of the ISS.
By Bjorn Carey
Posted 03.13.2008 at 4:51 pm 3 Comments
When the GeoEye-1 surveillance satellite comes online this spring, its advanced optics will produce more-detailed images than any commercial satellite, capturing objects as small as home plate on a baseball diamond and filling in the fuzzy spots on Google Earth.
Creating a laser that can melt a soda can in a lab is a finicky enough task. Later this year, scientists will put a 40,000-pound chemical laser in the belly of a gunship flying at 300 mph and take aim at targets as far away as five miles. And we’re not talking aluminum cans. Boeing’s new Advanced Tactical Laser will cook trucks, tanks, radio stations—the kinds of things hit with missiles and rockets today. Whereas conventional projectiles can lose sight of their target and be shot down or deflected, the ATL moves at the speed of light and can strike several targets in rapid succession.
The GEnx engine, the powerplant of Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner, burns 15 percent less fuel than conventional jet engines by using fewer components and lighter composite parts. Flying in 2009, the engine will also be quieter and more durable
By Eric Adams
Posted 03.13.2008 at 4:34 pm 4 Comments
In a “high-bypass” turbofan engine like the GEnx, 90 percent of the thrust comes from spinning fan blades in front that draw in massive quantities of air and force it out in a ring around the engine’s center, or core. The GEnx’s primary innovation is in its fan blades, which have been reshaped to move air more efficiently with fewer blades and are made of carbon fiber to save weight.
What makes Pleo, the long-awaited toy dino from Ugobe, able to respond to its surroundings and learn from its environment? We take a look at his high-tech innards to see
By Sarah Z. Wexler
Posted 03.13.2008 at 4:32 pm 13 Comments
Four years in the making, Pleo, from California start-up Ugobe, is a baby dinosaur robot that acts and learns like a real animal, remembering traumatic experiences and friendly owners. We peeled off its skin to reveal more than a dozen motors, six processors and 38 sensors behind its personality.
AIM gets closer to open source with an updated platform for developers and third-party clients
By Matt Ransford
Posted 03.12.2008 at 3:48 pm 1 Comment
AOL last week finally opened its hugely popular AIM chat network to multi-client third-party access. The SDK had been partially open to developers, but with restrictions against using it with multi-network IM clients. In the past, developers behind popular chat applications like Trillian and Adium have had to reverse engineer or otherwise hack their way around using the AIM network.
An innovative coaching system gives Nike and Apple a run for their money
By Brett Zarda
Posted 03.12.2008 at 1:16 pm 2 Comments
Nike is to Apple, as Adidas is to . . . Samsung? In the race to make people run, Adidas is gaining steam with this week's European release of miCoach. Like the iPod-based Nike + system, at the heart of miCoach lies a Samsung phone that similarly follows your progress and motivates your workout.
The phone wirelessly tracks data from a chest strap heart rate monitor and a stride sensor that hooks onto your laces (an advantage over Apple's system since it lets you keep your sneakers). Workouts are built and analyzed on a full-service website complete with graphic data and recommendations for your fitness objectives.
Five amazing, clean technologies that will set us free, in this month's energy-focused issue. Also: how to build a better bomb detector, the robotic toys that are raising your children, a human catapult, the world's smallest arcade, and much more.