Category: Engineering Marvels


Astronomers Using Kepler Telescope Discover First Earth-Sized Exoplanet Within The Habitable Zone

 

 

 

 

 

” A potential game changer in the hunt for life outside our neighborhood has just been discovered about 493 light years away. Using NASA’s Kepler Space Telescope, astronomers have found a rocky planet that is similar in size to Earth and is within the “habitable zone” of the star it orbits.

  The discovery of this planet, called Kepler-186f, is confirmation that exoplanets the size of Earth do exist in the habitable zone of stars other than our sun. The habitable zone – often referred to as the Goldilocks Zone – is the range of distance from a star where liquid water can pool on the surface of an orbiting planet.

  This is not the first planet that has been discovered within the habitable zone, but it is the first of near equal size to Earth. Other larger planets that have been found have been at least 40 percent larger than Earth and have been difficult for researchers to determine their exact composition.”


Red Orbit has the story

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Navy’s Newest Destroyer Is A Drone

 

 

 

 

 

 

” When the U.S. Navy christens the first of its newest class of destroyers this month, it will launch the first ship with a brain of its own.

  Among the high-tech features included on the USS Zumwalt—cannons that fire rocket-propelled, GPS-guided rounds and stealth design that gives the 610-foot ship the radar signature of a small fishing vessel—there’s also a computer intelligence capable of preparing the ship for battle and engaging enemy targets on its own. Think of it as a gigantic floating drone: “Most UAVs [unmanned aerial vehicles] are a few million dollars,” says Wade Knudson, who heads the Zumwalt project for Raytheon (RTN), which made most of the ship’s computer systems. “This is a $5 billion UAV.”

  Unlike aerial drones, however, the Zumwalt will still have a human crew and it will know how to anticipate their needs. If the ship’s smoke alarms and cameras detect a fire, the ship will turn on the sprinklers and seal off the area. When the fire is out, the ship knows to drain the water so the crew can investigate. All of this automation means the ship will carry a crew of just over 150—half of what would normally be required on a ship of this size. In a pinch, it can be manned by a crew of 40.”

 

Read more at Bloomberg

 

 

 

 

 

 

Senior Airman Brian Kolfage

 

 

 

” A member of SDVT1 (Seal team 1), Lt. Michael Murphy’s SEAL Team and friend of his invited me to Maui to test out this gear they use when he heard I was getting SCUBA certified. Its military equipment and not available to the public. It allows me to actually be functional under water, without legs you cannot propel yourself in the ocean, and the currents would just wash me away.

This allowed me to be free, literally have full control and go speeds up to 5 Knots underwater, which is very fast. Everyone who saw us zip by was like WTF was that? It was one of the coolest things I’ve done. it seems very basic but its highly advanced. When the battery would get low we would just swap them out right under water and continue on.”

Watch A Very Cool Five Minute Photo Montage Of Some Of The Coolest , Most Unusual , And Awesome Firearms Ever Made 

 

 

 

Awesome Display Of Firepower Both Unique And Historical 

New 3-D Printed Ammo To End Ammo Drought

 

 

3DAmmoCover1

 

 

 

 

 

” 4.1.2014, Palermo, Italy – Italian 3D-printing startup, Brachia Caeli Industries (BCI) announced today at a press conference that it had successfully printed fully functional centerfire ammunition. This comes on the heels of December’s congressional ruling that the Undetectable Firearms Act (UFA), which bans guns not visible to metal detectors or x-ray scanners, does not apply to 3-D printed arms.”

 

 

     We could find no reference to the “start-up” anywhere but Brachia Caeli translates from the Latin to “Arms of Heaven” and we have been unable to determine whether this is an April Fool’s story or not but Guns.com has the details .

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pilot’s Calm Announcement As Plane Is Struck By THREE Bolts At Once

‘Ladies And Gentlemen, You May Have Noticed We Were Hit By Lightning’

KLM Lightning Strike

 

 

 

” A bright flash of light and booming noises in a cramped seat thousands of feet in the air would be enough to put off even the most hardened fliers.

But passengers landing at Birmingham airport on Friday afternoon were led by example as their captain coolly steered them through three lightning blasts and left it until afterwards to calmly explain what happened.

Passengers spoke of a ‘massive bang’ as one of the bolts struck the body of the KLM service from Amsterdam, but the blasts had no effect on the landing, which proceeded as normal to touch down at 4.30pm.”

 

Source: Daily Mail

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Buy The ICON D200 Power Wagon

 

 

Icon Dodge Power Wagon

 

 

” If you don’t remember the ICON D200 Power Wagon, I strongly suggest you take a moment to familiarize yourself. The truck is another one of Jonathan Ward’s brilliant creations, and it combines a 2006 Dodge ¾-ton pickup truck chassis with a 1965 Dodge D200 Power Wagon Crew Cab body. There’s a 5.9-liter Cummins turbo diesel engine under the hood that’s been worked over by Gale Banks that dumps 975 lb-ft of torque and 560 hp on the ground. “

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

” Incredible truck, fusing vintage aesthetic with modern functionality. We took a vintage 1965 Dodge Crew Cab, ex-military, truck, then restored and modified it upon the chassis and mechanical underpinnings of a modern 3500HD Dodge MegaCab turbo diesel truck. Get the best of both worlds, 975 lbs. of torque, refined performance and chassis dynamics with the timeless lines of the early Power Wagon. It is tough to describe everything that went into this truck. There are so many subtle design details. All custom ICON designed CNC’ed stainless steel trim, architectural silver glass, Hutchinson Bead Lock wheels, 37″ BFG tires, a host of Gale Banks engine performance modifications, enhanced suspension and brakes (with exhaust brake), class IV tow hitch, all LED lighting, Bison leather and Rolls Royce Wilton wool interior, extensive Dynamat insulation, Lear jet visors, high end Focal iPod dependent audio system, and much much more. We are currently building two more varations on this truck. This is the one that started the style. Featured in multiple magazines, numerous awards and reviews on line, simply Google “ICON D200″. “

 

 

 

This is one Badass truck and you can read more about it at Road & Track Magazine and the Icon web page .

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The New Bionics That Let Us Run, Climb And Dance

 

 

 

” Hugh Herr is building the next generation of bionic limbs, robotic prosthetics inspired by nature’s own designs. Herr lost both legs in a climbing accident 30 years ago; now, as the head of the MIT Media Lab’s Biomechatronics group, he shows his incredible technology in a talk that’s both technical and deeply personal — with the help of ballroom dancer Adrianne Haslet-Davis, who lost her left leg in the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, and performs again for the first time on the TED stage.”

Honda Builds A Batbike

 

 

 

 

” Honda has revealed a new motorcycle called the NM4 Vultus. While not the most inspiring name, it does at least look really stealth. Cool stealth. Batbike-level stealth.

  It’s not a Batbike, of course, but is instead inspired by ‘Japanimation’ – that’s anime and manga – both genres long interwoven into the fabric of Japanese life and culture. Just last week we found out how Toyota is now plumbing this as inspiration for the new Aygo.”

 

 

 

 

 

” Reference is made to a ‘stealth bomber silhouette’, and it measures 933mm across the mirrors, while the seat sits at 650mm high. There are full LED headlights too, while everything else comes in black and stainless steel. Some concession to colour has been made: the digital dash changes depending on mood, ranging from white, through blue and pink and finally red.

  Underneath there’s a 745cc twin-cylinder engine canted forward, with a low centre of gravity delivering “strong low and mid-range power and torque”. It produces 54bhp and 50lb ft, with twin balance shafts and a single 36mm throttle body. Honda reckons it’s efficient, too, offering up 185 miles from a single 11.6-litre tank.”

 

BBC Autos has the scoop

 

 

 

 

 

 

South Bay Wins 1st In High School Robot Competition

 

 

 

” More than 60 teams competed in the 14th annual FIRST Robotics Los Angeles Regional Competition, considered the “Superbowl of Smarts” that culminated with an alliance of teams from three South Bay high schools taking home the top trophy.

  The winners came from Mira Costa High School in Manhattan Beach, Redondo Union High School and West High School in Torrance. They will now go on to the FIRST Championships in St. Louis set for April 23-26.

“ As the competition went on, it just got more and more exciting,” said Michael Tamaki, 17, of West High School in Torrance. This was the first year the school’s team, with about 30 students, competed in the event. “On Wednesday, when we were loading everything for the trip, we weren’t expecting to get any goals in. But we just won, and it’s an incredible feeling.”  “

 

Read more

 

 

 

 

 

 

Florida Gun Supply’s AR15 Torture Test Is A Sight To See

 

 

 

 

 

” The Smith & Wesson M&P15 Sport is a very popular AR15 that can be bought for less than $700. In the interest of creating a more affordable AR15, the engineers over at Smith & Wesson decided not to include a dust cover or forward assist in their M&P15 Sport model. But does it matter?

  This video compares the Smith & Wesson M&P15 Sport with the ATI Omni Hybrid. They are both .223 and 5.56 – but the ATI Omni Hybrid has a dust cover and forward assist.”

 

Thanks To Wide Open Spaces

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fueled Presents: 40 Years Of Cellphone

 

 

” Starting with the DynaTAC in 1974 and ending with a side-by-side comparison between the iPhone 5s and the Galaxy Note, Fueled’s designers and animators crafted the 40-year history of the mobile cell phone. For some it will be a walk down memory lane, for others a history lesson.

  Fueled’s Design Team describes the short video as Art Deco, a style characterized by its bold geometric shapes and rich colours. It’s a very eclectic style, deriving taste from a broad range of sources — some representing the machine age. You’ll notice the snappy animation style reflects the lightning fast transformation and evolution of cellphones.

  While the film may have ended with the first model of an iPhone, Fueled decided to dig into the evolution of Apple’s iPhone and compare it to top Android phones. It’s remarkable how little the iPhone’s aesthetic has changed in contrast to Android models, which are becoming larger and changing constantly.

  What will the next 40 years look like? Fueled’s Founder Rameet Chawla says, “While I don’t know exactly when, it’s only a matter of time before the cellphone will be completely obsolete.”

  If you recognize the voice in the script, you’ll know it’s from an old advertisement from 1980s for DynaTAC. At the time, no one knew how big mobile would become and that this one man’s prophecy would come true.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

America Could Be Plunged Into A Nationwide Blackout If Just NINE Of Its Thousands Of Power Plants Were Attacked

Three parts: The United States energy grid is made up of three systems that only have minimal interactions which means that only nine stations would have to be attacked to shut down the whole system

 

 

 

” Federal reports have revealed that terrorists would only have to sabotage nine out of the 55,000 electric-transmission substations across the U.S. in order to cause a national blackout that could last for more than a year.

  A coast-to-coast blackout has become a very harrowing- and plausible- prospect that has scared federal regulators into issuing warnings calling for widespread security precautions to be put into place.

  The Wall Street Journal has published the findings from a Federal Energy Regulatory Commission that told how the three electric systems could be brought down entirely by attacks on select stations.

‘ Destroy nine interconnection substations and a transformer manufacturer and the entire United States grid would be down for at least 18 months, probably longer,’ wrote FERC’s director of external affairs Leonard Tao in a June memo that was only revealed publicly today.”

Continue reading

 

 

 

 

Students Compete To Build Craziest Rube Goldberg Contraptions

 

Rube Goldberg Contest

 

 

” There were more mad scientists than normal at COSI Columbus Saturday morning. 

  Eight high schools – including six from Ohio – sent their Rube Goldberg teams to complete a simple task: Zip a zipper. But in Rube Goldberg fashion, their goal was to include as many extra steps as possible to make the zipper move. 

“A Rube Goldberg machine is a series of different machines doing a very simple job but in a very complex way,” said Reno Sith, one of the West High School competitors. Goldberg was an  early 20th century cartoonist known for drawing elaborate, complicated machines that resulted in everyday tasks being finished in a comical way. 

The regional competition was won by Columbia Central High School in Brooklyn, Michigan. Columbus’ Centennial High School placed second. Other area high schools included Metro, Beechcroft, Reynoldsburg’s eStem Academy, and West. “

 

    Continued  … LOL … The Rube Goldberg way of taking a simple task and making as difficult as possible reminds us present day government … think about it . The difference being that Rube Goldberg inspired creations are funny were disfunctional government is not .

 

 

 

 

 

 

Internet Transition Triggers GOP Backlash

 

 

 

 

” The Obama administration’s decision to relinquish oversight over the group that manages the Internet’s architecture has raised an early red flag with Republicans, who blast the move as a threat to free speech.

  Exactly who would regulate the Web’s back-end is unclear, but the decision already has sparked backlash among some in the GOP, who warn it could allow the United Nations or authoritarian countries to step in and seize control of the Web.

  U.S. lawmakers have long warned about the dangers of ceding ICANN’s authority to the International Telecommunication Union, a United Nations agency. They see the U.N. as a vehicle for countries with tight constraints to allow even greater online censorship. Congress unanimously passed Bono’s resolution ahead of a 2012 ITU meeting to reinforce America’s commitment to an open Internet.”

    At first glance the Obama administration’s promise to relinquish control over ICANN seems like a good idea … one less thing the government controls … but given that this administration is not known for championing liberty and the free markets one is left wondering if this is a back-handed way for the Statists to cede control over the free flow of information to the UN or some other Statist body while appearing to do the opposite .

   There is much talk as well that this new move opens the door to an internet tax and censorship which should be of concern to us all . If there is one thing we know about the Obama administration it is that it loves both taxes and regulation so we cannot help but wonder that something larger is at play here than “fairness” and freedom . 

 

Read on

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

31 Of The Most Exotic Pools On Earth…

 

 

Infinity pool in Singapore at Marina Bay Sands resort

 

Infinity Pool Singapore Marina Bay Sands

 

 

” Summer is right around the corner and I’m sure you’ll want to jump into a swimming pool soon to celebrate. We’ve compiled a list of some of the most awesome swimming pools on earth for you.”

 

 

If you’re not to keen on heights perhaps a pool a little closer to the water would be more to your liking …

 

 

 

Chongwe River House pool in Zambia, Africa

 

Chongwe River Pool

The suite that goes with the Changwe pool for $2000 per night must be seen to be believed .

 

 

Finally , for those who like a more traditional pool/seaside combination we offer you this beauty from the Bahamas …

 

 

 

The pool at Nandana Villas in Bahamas

 

Nandana Villa Pool

 

 

The inquisitive reader can explore the other 28 exotic water holes here … Think summer …

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

UPDATE: Encrypt The Web Report: Who’s Doing What

 

EFF Privacy Report

 

” We’ve asked the companies in our Who Has Your Back Program what they are doing to bolster encryption in light of the NSA’s unlawful surveillance of your communications. We’re pleased to see that four five six seven companies—Dropbox, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Sonic.net,SpiderOak, and Twitter—are implementing five out of five of our best practices for encryption. See the infographic.

  By adopting these practices, described below, these service providers have taken a critical step towards protecting their users from warrantless seizure of their information off of fiber-optic cables. By enabling encryption across their networks, service providers can make backdoor surveillance more challenging, requiring the government to go to courts and use legal process. While Lavabit’s travails have shown how difficult that can be for service providers, at least there was the opportunity to fight back in court.

  While not every company in our survey has implemented every recommendation, each step taken helps, and we appreciate those who have worked to strengthen their security. We hope that every online service provider adopts these best practices and continues to work to protect their networks and their users.”

 

     Read more at EFF and consider making a donation to help fund their valuable contributions to online freedom and privacy .

 

 

 

 

 

 

California Gun Shop Drops The Smart Gun After Furious Backlash

 

 

” A California shooting club that was “the only outlet in the country” selling the first smart gun is “facing a furious backlash from customers and gun rights supporters,” as reported by Michael S. Rosenwald in the Washington Post:

Attacks in online forums and social networks against the Oak Tree Gun Club have prompted the store to back away from any association with the Armatix iP1 smart gun…

The vitriol began almost immediately after The Washington Post reported that the Armatix iP1 smart gun was for sale at the pro shop. Electronic chips inside the gun communicate with a watchthat can be purchased with the gun, making it impossible to fire without the watch.

  The backlash “has apparently shaken Oak Tree, one of the largest gun stores and shooting ranges in California,” and the club’s owner has denied “ever offering the gun” and apologized for “any confusion.”

  According to the Post account, Armatix claims Oak Tree at first said they needed more smart guns for a TV report, but then the tone “quickly changed” and the TV spot was cancelled, after Oak Tree received phone calls from irate gun rights supporters.

  The somewhat murky situation was somewhat clarified by Oak Tree’s owner, in comments to Examiner.com’s David Codrea, to the effect that

Our facility does NOT carry the Armatix pistol, never has… The FFL [Federal Firearms Licensed] dealer on site has not ever merchandised or sold the firearm and does not intend to carry this firearm.”

    Read more at the American Thinker and David Codrea has a piece in the Examiner on the association between the UN and Armatix that you should read as well . The reader can see a video of Armatix president and CEO Belinda Padilla speaking to the UN below .

Dji Phantom Flies Into Volcano

 

 

 

 

Published on Jan 27, 2014

Yasur volcano on Tanna island, Vanuatu
Amazingly no phantoms where harmed while filming!

 

 

This is a DJI Phantom Quadcopter drone …

   These drones are readily available for around $400 from Amazon and other retailers . Get yours today and pair it up with your GoPro for amazing videos of your own . The potential results are plain to see . HT/Daily Caller

US Approves Electric Headband To Prevent Migraine

 

 

” The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said Tuesday it approved a Belgium-made nerve-stimulating headband as the first medical device to prevent migraine headaches.

Agency officials said the device provides a new option for patients who cannot tolerate migraine medications.”

 

 

 

 

” The Cefaly device is a battery-powered plastic band worn across the forehead. Using an adhesive electrode, the band emits a low electrical current to stimulate nerves associated with migraine pain. Users may feel a tingling sensation on the skin where the electrode is applied. The device is designed to be used no more than 20 minutes a day by patients 18 years and older.”

 

Continue reading

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Interactive Map Reveals The World’s 22 Most Deadly Highways

Deadly Roads

 

 

” From cliff-top single track roads with deadly drops in Pakistan to highways renowned for their bandits in Mexico, an interactive map includes ‘fear factor’ ratings for the routes and includes perilous facts about them to highlight the dangers of driving.

  The North Yungas road in Bolivia is widely considered to be the world’s most dangerous route and has even earned the nickname of ‘death road’.

  The 40-mile stretch of single-track road meanders round cliffs and there are no barriers to protect drivers going in opposite directions from deadly drops. 

  The interactive map, by Hertfordshire- based Driving Experiences is based upon the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) global status report of 2013 on road safety as well as other data sets.”

 

    While the selections on the video below do not match exactly with the roads in the accompanying story there is enough overlap between the two to offer the reader a view and brief history of many of the world’s deadliest highways .

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE WORLD’S 22 MOST DANGEROUS ROADS ON THE MAP

 

Read more and experience the interactive features of the map here

 

 

 

 

 

Flying The World’s Fastest Plane: Behind The Stick Of The SR-71

 

 

 

 

” The Lockheed SR-71 “Blackbird” is the fastest jet ever built, a machine so far ahead of its time even its own pilots thought it looked more like a spaceship than an airplane. It is an engineering marvel, powered by innovative engines that operated most efficiently at Mach 3.2, its typical cruising speed. From 1966 to 1998, it operated in secrecy, flown only by a handful of the Air Force’s most elite pilots. Rick McCrary was one of them.

  SH: How did you end up flying that thing?

  RM: Well, I’d be lying if I said there wasn’t a lot of luck involved. I entered the Air Force in 1970, and was accepted for pilot training. After I completed that, I was a pilot instructor for about five years in the T-38, the supersonic trainer the Air Force still uses to this day. Subsequent to that I flew the F/B-11, the Aardvark, up at Pease AFB, New Hampshire. Then I was actually on nuke alert up there when I got a phone call from a fella I flew T-38s with who asked if I was interested in “a new position.” I was due to rotate, so I said sure.

  I was anticipating a desk job, which is just part of the rotation cycle as an Air Force officer. I can’t say I was looking forward to it. He said that he’d been out with the SR-71 program, and that they were looking for a pilot. Of course, that was an easy answer. They said, “Well, why don’t you come out and have a look,” so when I got off alert that tour I flew out to Sacramento and drove up to Beale AFB to meet everyone.”

 

Lots more of the interview and pictures here . Enjoy

 

 

 

 

 

 

This Is How Supercomputers Cook: IBM’s Watson Dreams Up Creative Dishes

 

 

” A master chef can think about a combination of two, maybe three ingredients at a time. Watson, the same IBM supercomputer that won Jeopardy in 2011, can crunch through a quintillion. That’s a one and 18 zeroes, as the IBM researchers like to say. But does that make their computer a good cook?”

 

 

 

 

” For about two years, IBM’s cognitive computing group has been working to apply Watson’s vast processing ability to food. The system analyzed about 35,000 existing recipes and about 1,000 chemical flavor compounds, which allows it to make educated guesses about which ingredient combinations will delight and, just as importantly, surprise. From there, it tries to encourage unconventional combinations — like chocolate, coffee, and garlic — in order to produce dishes that have never been made before.

” Creativity is the crowning achievement of human intelligence,” says Steven Abrams, director of the Watson group. “Can we make a computer be creative?”

 

Read more about supercomputer cooking

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The App Controlled Smart Security Drone With A STUN GUN Built In To Zap Intruders With An 80,000 Volt Dart

 

 

” A Texas firm has revealed a personal security drone with a stun gun capable of unleashing 80,000 volts.

  The firm showed off the drone in a series of shocking demonstrations bringing a volunteer to the ground.

  It says the drone uses a smart app to track intruders, and once it had received the go ahead from a human operator, it fires taser darts and unleashes 80,000 volts.”

 

Story Continues

 

 

 

 

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