Friday, July 31, 2009

The Blackout Bomb

When a nuclear bomb detonates, the electromagnetic pulse emitted can knock out electronic equipment for miles. However, the pulse is accompanied by so much collateral damage that anyone who would be using a radio or computer would be vaporized by the blast. Instead, Instead, a new Air Force tool will fry electronics, as effective as a nuke's electromagnetic pulse, using high-power microwaves emitted by an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV). This might seem familiar because Don Cheadle used a similar device, a z-pinch (pictured below), in Ocean's 11.

Edl Schamiloglu, a high-power microwave expert at the University of New Mexico, speculates that the weapon would focus microwaves on a target, where they would induce a power surge in unshielded wires, destroying circuits in satellite dishes, radars and anything else electronic. This would clear the way for troops or airstrikes and could even wipe out gear in hidden bunkers. A UAV, such as Boeing’s upcoming stealth Phantom Ray, will probably be the conveyance of choice, because it can fly into enemy territory without risking a pilot’s life. This raises a challenge for powering the instrument, Schamiloglu says. Although a UAV’s small engine could provide some power, it will take high-capacity batteries to produce the gigawatt microwave pulses. To make this truly amazing, they should use a flux capacitor

Here's the in-depth breakdown:

The battery and engine generate 10 nanosecond-long, gigawatt bursts of power. Each pulse produces an electron beam, which then enters a wider pipe that causes the stream of electrons to scatter, slow down, and give off energy as microwaves.
The UAV’s antenna emits gigawatt microwave pulses.

The microwaves’ electric field induces a current surge in unshielded wires that fries electronics. The microwaves can even travel through pipes or ventilation ducts into bunkers.

Article compliments of WarNewsUpdate Blog

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Thursday, July 30, 2009

Alcohol and Mosquitoes

Here's the million dollar question: if a mosquito bites you after you've been drinking, does it get drunk from your blood? According to Michael Raupp, an entomologist at the University of Maryland, it's nearly impossible. But why? In lab tests, honeybees fly upside-down after alcohol exposure, and inebriated fruit flies have trouble staying upright and fare poorly on learning tests. So what's different about mosquitoes?

Scientists often puff ethanol vapors at insects and measure their sensitivity with a device called an inebriometer. Impressively, bugs can often withstand vapor concentrations of 60 percent alcohol, far more than what’s in our blood after a couple beers. To put that in perspective, someone who’s had 10 drinks might have a blood alcohol content of 0.2 percent. According to Coby Schal, an entomologist at North Carolina State University, a blood meal that contains 0.2 percent alcohol is like drinking a beer diluted 25-fold to a mosquito. Basically, you would certainly die if you ever tried to drink a mosquito under the table.

So what makes mosquitoes different from honeybees and fruit flies? It's mostly their diet and bodily features. They feed on fermenting fruit and plants, which contain at least 1 percent alcohol and might have boosted their tolerance. More importantly, in a mosquito, alcohol is diverted to a “holding pouch,” where enzymes break it down before it hits the nervous system.

Read more about it HERE

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Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The Mola Mola!

The mola mola, or ocean sunfish, is the world's largest bony fish. Bony fish is a taxonomic group that includes ray-finned and lobe-finned fish and excludes sharks because their bodies are made of cartilage. Their bizarre body structure resembles a giant fish head with a tail and they can be as wide as they are long when their ventral and dorsal fins are both extended. What's truly remarkable is their growth from one-tenth of an inch at birth to fourteen feet and 4000 lbs. as an adult. To put that in perspective, a mola mola can gain over 60 million times its birth weight. Their diet consists mainly of jellyfish, which they consume in massive quantities, and they are considered a delicacy in countries like Japan and Taiwan.

Learn more about the mola mola HERE

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Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Homemade Vaccum Gloves

So dangerous and so sweet. Inventor Jem Stansfield used his vacuum-powered device to clamber up the 120-foot aluminum wall of the White City building in London last week. His invention is surprisingly simple: each glove consists of wooden panels edged with latex and attached by tubing to its own motor. The motors were cannibalized from two vacuum cleaners and housed in a wooden backpack of sorts. Pressing the gloves flat against a surface creates the vacuum effect, which can be toggled through a shutter on the back.

Admittedly, Stansfield did use a safety rope in case of any accidents, which was smart because he slipped ten feet from the top, tenth story due to a greasy film on the wall. Safety rope or not, though, Peter Parker would be proud.

Read more about it HERE

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Monday, July 27, 2009


I have been really busy/lazy the last 8 or 9 days- starting tomorrow, I will post once a day for the rest of the year...

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Wednesday, July 22, 2009

40th Anniversary of Apollo 11!

Yesterday was the 4oth anniversary of the United States' first successful moon landing, which, of course, was "a giant leap for mankind" and a significant triumph in the Cold War, but even still there are still people who think the moon landing was faked on a Hollywood sound stage. The main argument being that the flag in the video is waving in zero gravity. If you are one of those morons, here is the link to a Bad Astronomy article that dissects everything in the video and explains, in layman's terms, why what you're seeing is real. Still convinced that it's fake, say so to Buzz Aldrin's face... and this will happen:

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Exclusive Scene from Funny People

Are you mad... that you died at the end of Die Hard?

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Friday, July 17, 2009

Controlling the Weather

Bill Gates can seriously do anything. Just recently, he patented the idea to halt hurricanes by decreasing the surface temperature of the ocean. The patent calls for a large fleet of specially equipped ships which would mix warm water from the ocean surface with colder water down below, according to five new patents that include Microsoft's chairman as a co-inventor. That could then reduce or perhaps eliminate the heat-driven condensation which hurricanes feed upon, thus significantly reducing their intensity.

One major problem is that Gates will not finance this venture with his enormous fortune as one of the five patents also suggests how to pay for the massive seagoing fleet, including selling insurance policies in hurricane-prone areas. For now this seems as far fetched as the previous idea to fly supersonic jets into the eye of the storm.

For now, I suggest coastal cities to invest in more grounded ways to hurricane proof their shores.

Read more about it HERE

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Thursday, July 16, 2009

Taser Shotguns

As if regular tasers weren't fucked enough already, weapons manufacturer, Taser International, released a new stun cartridge for 12-gauge shotguns with a range of over 100 feet. Wired's Danger Room, an online newsletter on national security, notes that Taser International has not revealed the results of field and safety trials using the XREP. That could cause some hesitation for even the most eager would-be buyers, given that Taser weapons have attracted more than their share of controversy in the past.

In particular, this video of a student getting tasered by police after persistently questioning John Kerry became viral on the internet and questioned police procedure with regard to discharging their tasers:

Personally, I think this is nuts. Regular tasers have 50,000 volts of electricity, which is enough to completely paralyze a human being and render them powerless over their own convulsing muscles. I can't even imagine how much worse a shotgun is. Only time will tell.

Read more about it HERE

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Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Urine- The Future of Alternative Energy

Hydrogen is the most abundant element in the universe; making it the logical candidate for renewable energy. The main problem is manageability. Storing hydrogen in its pure form is a hassle that requires high pressure and low temperature, and unbinding it from paired elements used to stabilize it comes with significant secondary energy costs. The Solution? Pee.

Gerardine Botte, an Ohio University professor, believes the solution lies in the composition of urine's major component, urea. Urea has a 2:1 ratio of hydrogen to oxygen, which is convenient because hydrogen can be extracted from nitrogen using much less electricity than that needed to separate, say, hydrogen and oxygen.

Botte has recently come up with a nickel-based electrode that can do just that: dip the electrode into urine, apply electrical current, and like magic, hydrogen is released. While the research is still in an initial phase, it’s possible that urine could power cars, homes, and various devices in as near of a future as six months from now.

However, if any of you remember the Hindenburg, there must also be some way to prevent this form happening:

Reaad more about it HERE

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Monday, July 13, 2009

Best KO ever?

If the giant right hook wasn't enough, the overhand jackhammer was. I'll let Chris Tucker do the honors:

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Sunday, July 12, 2009

Shocking Research Results

A recent study, which polled almost 2500 women with the assumed adult lifetime from 16 to 60, found that women spend nearly a year out of their lives rifling through their wardrobe to decide what to wear. Here's the breakdown:

Week nights out can take up to 20 minutes a time. Deciding on what clothes to take on holiday uses up to 52 minutes each time AND while on holiday, ten minutes a morning will be taken up trying to find an acceptable outfit with another ten minutes spent picking evening clothes. On top of that dinner parties, Christmas parties and black tie events, at around 36 minutes a time six times a year, adds up to three and a half days.

The study also found on average women will try on two outfits each morning before coming to a final decision. And one in two women spend 15 minutes the night before work working out what to wear. Wow. If only they spend that much time sandwich making (completely kidding).

HERE is the link to the article

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Saturday, July 11, 2009

Memory Pills

Ever wish you had photographic memory? Well, thanks to extraordinary advances in science and medicine, your wish could soon be granted. A group of Spanish scientists claim to have singled out a protein that can extend the life of visual memory significantly. When the production of the protein was boosted in mice, the rodents' visual memory retention increased from about an hour to almost 2 months.

This memory extension only applies to memories made through the poorly-understood visual cortex of the brain. In their tests with the mice, the scientists first removed the portion of the brain believed to be associated with visual memories- layer six of the V2 region. Subsequent observations showed that the mice could no longer remember any object they saw. They then increased the production of a group of proteins, RGS-14, created in that cortex. The mice's retention of visual images was increased almost 1,500 times. Pictured above is a colorful diagram of the RGS-14 strand of proteins.

The implications of this breakthrough are astounding. No more cramming for tests, no more asking for directions; memory games would become obsolete. Photographic memory for everyone!

Read more about it HERE

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Friday, July 10, 2009

Terrible Injustice (Please Read)

Here's the deal: in 2007, Eric Frimpong, a poor immigrant from Ghana, was selected to play for the Kansas City Wizards in the MLS after he lead UC Santa Barbara to their first ever national championship the previous year. However, 3 weeks after the draft, he was accused of raping another student on the beach near his house. Now he's a convicted felon. Here are the facts of the case: his accuser was a woman with little memory of what happened that night because of a near-toxic blood alcohol level, Frimpong's DNA wasn't found on the victim, and the semen found on his accuser's underwear belonged to a jealous boyfriend; a white student who was never a suspect. He was convicted by a jury of his peers, 12 white people, and a white judge who "had never seen a rape case with so much incriminating, credible and powerful evidence." Frimpong, unlike the Duke lacrosse players, does not have the resources to navigate the justice system and he is currently serving a six year sentence.

All he has is this ESPN article, this Digg page, and you. Digg the article and get him the media coverage he deserves. And for those of you who don't know what Digg is, it's a social news website that allows people to discover and share content from all over the internet. Voting, or digging, is it's primary function and doing so increases the story's networking potential. I urge you all to digg the article and help get the word out.

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Monday, July 6, 2009

Synthetic Trees

Trees are great natural absorbers of carbon dioxide and inhibitors of climate change, but leave it to humanity to engineer a better tree. This synthetic tree, pictured above, is currently being tested as a prototype and ensnares carbon about 1,000 times faster than a real tree. To put it in perspective, each synthetic tree could collect about 90,000 tons of carbon per year.

The synthetic trees uses plastic leaves that capture the carbon dioxide in a chamber. The carbon dioxide is then compressed into liquid form. The tree captures the carbon without the need for direct sunlight, which means that, unlike real trees, the synthetic trees can be stored in enclosed locations such as barns. They can also be used anywhere and transported from one site to another regardless of conditions.

Klaus Lackner, a professor at Columbia University who is developing the tree, met with U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu last month to talk about the concept. Lackner says the captured CO2 could be used to create fuel for jet engines and cars, the two most common carbon emitters. In other cases, the CO2 could be used to enhance current production of vegetable produce.

Read more about it HERE

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Sunday, July 5, 2009

Trailer for Lupe's new album- Lasers

We are not losers, we are lasers.

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Saturday, July 4, 2009

New Los mixtape is here

Los' long anticipated follow to G5.2 is finally here.

Download it HERE

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Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Clearly it's a Sea Pig

One of the new species discovered off the coast of Antarctica by a team of New Zealand scientists is a sea pig. Sea pigs are actually sea cucumbers, which are part of a group of marine animals, that includes starfish and sea urchins, that inhabit the seafloor. Sea pigs feed on food particles that they find in the mud on the ocean floor and they move around using their long tube feet. As shown in the picture above, sea pigs are very small; only 2-4 inches in length. Given the sea pig's slimey skin, it bares a striking resemblence to a gastropod mollusc, better known by it's non-scientific name- slug. The sea pig- frightening, repugnant, and cute. All at the same time.
Hmm, I wonder how good sea pig bacon would be... probably still delicious
Read more about the sea pig HERE

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Band of Brothers

Unspoken camaraderie in war is common among fellow soldiers, but, in today's modern battlefield, a new relationship is being forged. Soldiers in Iraq have been known to become so attached to their bomb disposal robots that they are willing to risk their lives to retrieve them. "One of the psychologically interesting things is that these systems aren't designed to promote intimacy, and yet we're seeing these bonds being built with them," said Peter Singer, a leading defense analyst at the Brookings Institution and author of Wired for War: The Robotics Revolution and Conflict in the 21st Century. Singer recounted one EOD, or Explosive Ordnance Disposal, soldier who ran 164 feet under machine gun fire to retrieve a robot that had been knocked out of action. And several teams have given their robots promotions, Purple Heart awards for being wounded in combat, and even a military funeral. One EOD soldier brought in a robot for repairs with tears in his eyes and asked the repair shop if it could put "Scooby-Doo" back together. Despite being assured that he would get a new robot, the soldier remained inconsolable. He only wanted Scooby-Doo.

Singer's explanation? "This attachment to robots stems in part from the human brain's mirror neuron system, which fires up whenever watching the movement of someone or something. The system helps form the foundation for empathy and understanding the mindset of another being, but can also lead people to project personalities and emotions onto objects.

Personally, I am very intrigued by the whole concept of robots in combat. Predator Drones, especially, have been effective in loitering over hot zones for hours until targets come in sight, and then firing their missiles at suspected insurgents; all while being controlled by human operators sitting thousands of miles away in Nevada. In fact, there's this story about a 19 year old drone operator who honed his skills at flying predators by playing XBOX.

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