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Archive for the 'News You Can Use.' Category

See-Through Solar Is Tomorrow’s Threat to Oil

24th May 2015

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Solar energy is the future. The problem is, it’s been the future for a long time. And while progress has been made, using the sun as a primary source of power hasn’t really broken through.

One possible breakthrough, however, is becoming clearer—literally. The engineers at Ubiquitous Energy are developing solar panels that are completely transparent and as thin as a laminate. They can do this by creating see-through solar cells that absorb only the invisible parts of the solar spectrum—ultraviolet and infrared radiation.

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What to Learn in College to Stay One Step Ahead of Computers

24th May 2015

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Don’t ever say we don’t have useful stuff here.

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USEFUL STUFF SATURDAY

23rd May 2015

Portable Folding Kayak. Well, you never know when you might need one….

TGX Tactical Flask.

Electric Boot Dryer.

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Ford F-150 Getting Trailer Backup Assist Feature That Takes Your Hands Off the Wheel

23rd May 2015

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After putting a checkerboard sticker on the trailer tongue for the rearview camera to use as a reference, and entering a few measurements to help it determine the size of the trailer and where it’s axles and pivot point are, you simply activate the system, turn the knob in the direction you want the trailer to go, then operate the gas and brake pedals while it manages the steering.

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New Greaseless Bearings Spin With 10 Times Less Friction

22nd May 2015

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New ball bearings developed by Coo Space solve that problem in an ingenious new way. Instead of forcing balls apart with a cage or retainer, Coo Space puts small divots in the track the balls roll over. These divots subtly speed up and slow down the balls just so, and the end result is balls that will never clash, even with no cage. That means 10 times less friction than traditional bearings and no need to ever lube them up. Win win!

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This Futuristic Concrete Heals Itself With Built-In Bacteria

20th May 2015

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Henk Jonkers, a microbiologist at Delft University of Technology, is working on a concrete with built-in bacteria that can fill in cracks as they form.

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Cursed Warship Revealed With Treasure Onboard

17th May 2015

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It was the largest and fiercest warship in the world, named the Mars for the Roman god of war, but it went up in a ball of flames in a brutal naval battle in 1564, consigning 800 to 900 Swedish and German sailors and a fortune in gold and silver coins to the bottom of the Baltic Sea.

Now, a few years after the ship’s discovery, researchers have concluded that the one-of-a-kind ship is also the best preserved ship of its kind, representing the first generation of Europe’s big, three-masted warships.

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Microwaves Turn Wood Waste to High-Value Carbon

17th May 2015

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“I think microwaves have been a largely overlooked idea,” says Tim Langley of CarbonScape. “It’s a technology that we almost all have in our homes, but as a commercial heat source for anything other than perhaps drying food we haven’t really looked at it.”

Blenheim-based company CarbonScape is using microwaves to turn wood waste from forestry into high-value carbon products in what it says is a world first.

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How Your Hometown Affects Your Chances of Marriage

17th May 2015

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Growing up in some places — especially liberal ones — makes people less likely to marry, new data shows.

Well, that’s encouraging.

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Pill of Super-Protective ‘Heavy’ Fat May Be Key to Eternal Youth

17th May 2015

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Or maybe not. New Scientist is a Voice of the Crust, so I’d want conformation from another source.

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Drug Perks Up Old Muscles and Aging Brains

17th May 2015

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We age, in part, because the adult stem cells in our tissues are surrounded by chemicals that prevent them from replacing damaged cells. One of these chemicals is TGF-beta1, known to depress stem cell activity. A new study shows that a drug that blocks TGF-beta1, which is now being tested for its anticancer properties, makes brain and muscle tissue more youthful. This is a step toward a drug cocktail that could rejuvenate aging tissue.

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Tiny Diamonds Wrapped in Graphene Get Rid of Friction

17th May 2015

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A phenomenon called superlubricity occurs when two perfectly flat surfaces with incompatible crystal structures slide past each other. It’s only been observed in extremely small samples, however, as larger surfaces have imperfections that tend to get stuck as they slide around.

Now, researchers have managed to create superlubricity in a large sample. They do so by getting graphene to wrap around nanoscopic diamonds, creating something akin to tiny ball bearings.

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The Genome Engineering Revolution

16th May 2015

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The CRISPR-cas9 system makes gene editing in many organisms and cells — like our own egg, sperm or embryo — more efficient, accessible and simple than ever before. These groundbreaking capabilities have spawned discussions surrounding the ethics and applications of the new system, and have garnered significant attention around the world to ensure ethically correct usage.

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California’s Catalina Island Will Sink Into Sea; May Cause LA Tsunami

16th May 2015

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Here’s hoping. There is very little wrong with California that a rise in sea level of about 20 feet wouldn’t cure, although I’m hoping for 40.

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Wind Power Without the Mills

11th May 2015

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When wind hits a structure and flows over its surfaces the flow changes and generates a cyclical pattern of vortices at the tail end of the flow. This is known as the vortex shedding effect which creates something known as vorticity and that is what Vortex Bladeless uses to generate energy.

What the engineers at Vortex Bladeless are doing is embracing this effect instead of avoiding the aerodynamic instabilities to capitalize on the oscillation and therefore capture the energy. The mast is designed to oscillate in the wind (which is very different from Blowing in the Wind). As you can see in the picture above, this is not your usual wind turbine. It consists of a fixed mast, a power generator that has no moving parts which come into contact with each other and a semi-rigid fiberglass cylinder. The power generator is a system of magnetic coupling devices which means there are no gears needing lubrication and an overall system needing less maintenance.

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Researchers Reverse Bacterial Resistance to Antibiotics

9th May 2015

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Biologist Miriam Barlow of the University of California, Merced, and mathematician Kristina Crona of American University of Washington, DC have found a way to return bacteria to a pre-resistant state to help doctors deal with the growing problem of resistant bacteria. In research published in the open-access journal PLOS ONE, they show how to verify treatment options for a family of 15 antibiotics used to fight common infections, including penicillin.

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Russia’s Great New Tank Breaks

9th May 2015

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Hey, these thing happen. Just ask the Pentagon.

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USEFUL STUFF SATURDAY

9th May 2015

Solar Grill.

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Harvard Engineering Students Devise Ultimate BBQ Smoker

8th May 2015

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But it costs $40,000 a year (less if you’re black or female). It also helps if you’re from a well-connected Democrat family.

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Malaria Vaccine Found 67 Percent Effective in Human Trial

8th May 2015

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A malaria vaccine was 67 percent protective against infection in an early-stage trial involving adults in Kenya, according to a study published in Science Translational Medicine today. The results are encouraging, as many malaria vaccines that work well in the lab have failed to show the same efficacy in the field. But low malaria infection rates in the region at the time of the study are putting a damper on the results.

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Forget Harvard: Here’s Where to Go to College if You Want a High-Paying Job

3rd May 2015

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Want a prestigious education? Harvard, Yale, and Princeton are the way to go. But if you’re looking for a high-paying career after graduation, you may want to look elsewhere.

It’s too late for me, but the rest of you might have a chance.

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USEFUL STUFF SATURDAY

2nd May 2015

Foot-Powered Washing Machine.

High-Capacity Household Icemaker.

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This Bee Hive Can Give You Honey on Tap

30th April 2015

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This is an amazingly clever idea.

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Cracking Knuckles: Real-Time Visualization of Joint Cavitation

30th April 2015

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Just in case you were wondering. I know I was.

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Scientists Are Figuring Out How To Change Blood Types

30th April 2015

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At some point in your life, you’ve probably been asked to donate blood. If your blood is type O, you may have been asked to donate even more, because your blood type is the most useful and is less common. The difference between blood types may seem small–people with blood types A and B have an extra sugar molecule bound to the surface of their red blood cells–but a transfusion of the wrong blood type can be fatal. For example, the immune system of a type O individual will launch a massive attack on the “invading cells” of a type A individual, all because it detects that sugar molecule.

Now researchers from the University of British Columbia have figured out a way to change the type of blood donated by volunteers, by using an enzyme that simply snips off that extra sugar, called an antigen. The result: The blood is more like type O, the universal donor.

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Rubella Virus Officially Eliminated From the Americas

29th April 2015

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It’s official: rubella, a disease that can be deadly for fetuses, has been eliminated from the Americas. The news was announced today by a scientific panel convened by global health authorities, reports The New York Times. The Americas is the first World Health Organization region to eliminate the disease.

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NASA’s Shapeshifting Airplane Wings Pass Flight Tests

29th April 2015

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The shape-changing wings are an alternative to flaps, whose hard edges generate drag and noise. That drag is, at times, sort of the point. Looking out a wing seat on a jetliner as it lands, it’s possible to see the flaps angling up and down to slow the plane or turn. The flexible edge still allows this, bending and contorting in drag-increasing ways when needed, but it does it all under a smooth, continuous surface. Servos and actuators inside the flexible shell of the aircraft pull strings that then contort the wings’ surface, bending and warping to produce an effect similar to mechanical flaps. The smooth wings promise to be more aerodynamic in flight, which helps to save on fuel.

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Researchers Can Tell Twins Apart Because of Environmental Changes to DNA

29th April 2015

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Forensics specialists have a few ways to tell twins apart, such as testing sperm or using identifying markings like tattoos or scars, but these techniques are very limited. Now a team of researchers has developed a new way to differentiate twins’ DNA by identifying parts of it that have changed over time because of environmental factors.

Whoops, there goes the mystery writhers’ plot device….

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3D-Printed Biomaterial Restores Babies’ Breathing

29th April 2015

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3D aficionados have been printing everything from candy to guns, and the technique has been making its way into the biomedical realm, generating everything from functional organs to prosthetics. In 2012, a team of researchers from the University of Michigan implanted splints 3D-printed out of a special biomaterial in the airways of three children with tracheobronchomalacia, a condition that may cause their airways to spontaneously collapse. The customized splints have done more than just keep the boys alive—they are flexible enough to allow the children to continue healthy growth so that they may no longer need respiratory intervention. The researchers published their work today in Science Translational Medicine.

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Prince Harry Invited to Become Head of a New Secessionist Nation

28th April 2015

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They could do a lot worse. At least he’s actually fought to defend Western civilization, unlike most of the people in the British — or Australian — government.

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Lost City Discovered in the Honduran Rain Forest

26th April 2015

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An expedition to Honduras has emerged from the jungle with dramatic news of the discovery of a mysterious culture’s lost city, never before explored. The team was led to the remote, uninhabited region by long-standing rumors that it was the site of a storied “White City,” also referred to in legend as the “City of the Monkey God.”

Archaeologists surveyed and mapped extensive plazas, earthworks, mounds, and an earthen pyramid belonging to a culture that thrived a thousand years ago, and then vanished. The team, which returned from the site last Wednesday, also discovered a remarkable cache of stone sculptures that had lain untouched since the city was abandoned.

In contrast to the nearby Maya, this vanished culture has been scarcely studied and it remains virtually unknown. Archaeologists don’t even have a name for it.

If you run across a guy named Belloch, watch your back.

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The Runway Tech That Stops Runaway Planes

26th April 2015

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The 4-foot cubes are made of a concrete aggregate infused with a foaming agent, which creates air bubbles. The bubbles give the cubes a low density, which allows them to collapse on impact. The number of air bubbles can be adjusted to create different strengths depending on whether an airport caters to larger or smaller aircraft.

I suppose it really isn’t practical to use tail hooks and arresting wires….

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Scientists Discover Root Cause of Asthma and Believe Bone Drug Could Be Cure

25th April 2015

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Scientists have proven for the first time the role of a protein in cell walls which causes sufferers’ airways to narrow and handicap or prevent breathing.

A class of drugs known as calcilytics – first created to treat the bone disease osteoporosis – have been found to reverse all symptoms associated with the debilitating respiratory condition.

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USEFUL STUFF SATURDAY

25th April 2015

Survival Orb.

Steel Star Trek Coasters. A fool and his money are soon parted – that’s what the free market is all about.

Leatherman Bit Kit.

Liese Hair Reset Straightener Wipes. Lack of straight hair has never been one of my problems, but I imagine it would be useful for somebody.

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To Get Rid Of Mitochondrial Diseases, Just Edit Them Out Of DNA

23rd April 2015

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To test this approach, the researchers used the enzymes on mitochondrial DNA in mouse embryos and found that much of the targeted DNA had been snipped out. After they were born, the mice had healthy mitochondrial function. Even more interestingly, that same edited DNA was successfully passed on for two successive generations.

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MIT Invention Turns Salt Water Into Drinking Water Using Solar Power

23rd April 2015

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Ah, but will it be in time to save the Left Coast?

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MMA Embraces Medieval Martial Arts

23rd April 2015

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The next big thing in mixed martial arts competition could be knight-on-knight combat. Russian fight promoter Vadim Finkelchtein has recently started a “medieval division” and it seems like people are really getting into it. The fights pit combatants dressed in medieval armor and armed with (thankfully) dulled swords against each other, but just like unarmed MMA fights, there are rules to protect the fighters from deadly injury.

‘Like an event, only everyone’s in costume.’

 

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Indians Flock to See EIGHT-limbed Baby Believed to Be Hindu God Ganesha

22nd April 2015

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In a world in which an incompetent slacker gets elected President because of his skin tone, anything is possible.

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How Nicaraguan Villagers Built Their Own Electric Grid

21st April 2015

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On a dirt road high in Nicaragua’s northern mountains, a small knot of men and two precocious young boys uncoil electrical cable from the back of a pickup truck. Other workers swing machetes at overhanging tree branches. Along the cleared shoulder of the road, another crew tightens a cable on a freshly planted utility pole.

Verdant coffee plantations line the steep road, punctuated by wooden shacks where pigs orbit stakes in the mud. Placards on outhouses proclaim the names of aid organizations. Cinder-block evangelical churches mark even the tiniest clusters of homes.

This extension of the power grid will serve about 30 families in the San Ramón valley, about 200 kilometers northeast of Managua. “We’ve always lived in the dark here,” says Salvador Gonzáles, a resident of the valley and one of the men volunteering on the line crew. For him, the arrival of electricity means a refrigerator and a leap in quality of life. “I’ll have my soda cold, some chicken, some meat, a Popsicle,” he says.

And the SWPL cry goes ’round the clubs: ‘Oh noes! They’ corrupting these innocent primitive people with – gasp – technology!’

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Korean Shipbuilder Uses “Iron Man” Exosuit to Help Build World’s Largest Freighter

20th April 2015

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Daewoo, Samsung, and Hyundai’s shipbuilding wings are already setting a standard for the use of bleeding edge robotics in manufacturing. According to a U.S. Navy study they rely on robots for over two thirds of the welding, as well as much of the cutting, grinding steel, and polishing. But keeping the robotic assembly components fed with material requires a lot of heavy lifting and transfer of large metal components.

That’s where the Daewoo S&M Eng. is having the RoboShipbuilder step in. Currently the exosuit is being used by employees and can lift up to 30 kg (66.1 lb.). That’s enough to lift a variety of smaller steel components, and precisely position them for the most difficult welding tasks.

The suit uses a mixture of hydraulics and electric servomotors to carry the load. Workers start by standing on footpads and then strap the exoskeleton legs frame to their legs, followed by a backpack-like section and arm frame. The exoskeleton accommodates workers of heights between 1.6 and 1.85 meters (5’3″ to 6’1″).

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This Robot Chef Has Mastered Crab Bisque

19th April 2015

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Right now, the chef of the future looks like a pair of robotic arms that descend from the ceiling of a very organized kitchen. And it makes a mean crab bisque.

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Desolenator Creates Clean Water From Salt Water Using Sunlight

19th April 2015

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Having lived in United Arab Emirates’ capital, Abu Dhabi, for more than five years, William Janssen was already accustomed to drinking desalinated water — seawater treated in large machines that consume lots of energy. So Janssen came up with the idea of using solar energy instead to transform salt water into drinking water, a more sustainable, cost-effective method.

So Desolenator was founded in 2012, and the company has been working with Innovation Experience, a group that helps marry “clean tech development” with human-centered design, since 2013 to make the idea a reality. The company has since become part of London’s Imperial College accelerator program for clean technology startups, and just this week it met its $150,000 crowdfunding target on Indiegogo, with a week still to go.

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World-Record Electric Motor for Aircraft

19th April 2015

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Siemens researchers have developed a new type of electric motor that, with a weight of just 50 kilograms, delivers a continuous output of about 260 kilowatts – five times more than comparable drive systems. The motor has been specially designed for use in aircraft. Thanks to its record-setting power-to-weight ratio, larger aircraft with takeoff weights of up to two tons will now be able to use electric drives for the first time.

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Tactical Laser Weapon Module Can Laserify Almost Anything

18th April 2015

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The thing in this picture isn’t a photon torpedo. But, it’s close. It’s a photon cannon, currently under development by General Atomics. Small, versatile, and completely self-contained, it turns anything onto which you stick it into a powerful laser weapon. And at just two cubic meters in volume, you should have no trouble mounting it on the roof rack of your Volvo.

Me want.

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Odd Sound In Antarctica May Be From New Whale Species

18th April 2015

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Or it may be the screams of the Global Warming crowd.

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USEFUL STUFF SATURDAY

18th April 2015

Air Vent Safe Features RFID Lock.

Bug-Blasting Blunderbuss.

Grab-It Gadget for cars.

Adjustable Reading Wedge Light.

Pill Remover Fabric Shaver. There were times when I would have killed for this device.

Magnetic Vest Holds Your Tools For You.

Self-Heating Butter Knife.

Rolling Cooler With Own Tables and Chairs.

Tactical Credit Card Axe. I am not making this up.

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Man Goes Exploring With Metal Detector, Finds Roman-Era Grave

18th April 2015

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Oddly enough, they’re all registered to vote as Democrats.

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An Ice-Proof Coating for Airplanes Based on a Frog’s Skin

17th April 2015

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Konrad Rykaczewski, an assistant professor of engineering at Arizona State University, has strived for years to develop a better anti-icing solution for airplanes. His drive is more than academic: He was once stranded for two days in London when a long snowfall depleted Heathrow Airport of the supplies of antifreeze it uses to keep ice off airplane wings.

Rykaczewski’s eureka moment came later on a Panama vacation, sparked by a chance encounter with a poison dart frog. The frog’s skin inspired him to design a novel anti-icing coating. He learned that poison dart frogs have various glands in their skin. Some glands always secrete lubricant, while others secrete bits of toxin when provoked.

Is this a great country or what?

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WW II Wreck Gives Up Millions in Silver

17th April 2015

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The SS City of Cairo was carrying 100 tons of silver rupees from India in November 1942 when it was hit by a torpedo from a German U-boat and sank nearly 17,000 feet to the bottom of the Atlantic, reports CNN.

Underwater recovery company Deep Ocean Search, working under a contract from the British government, brought up coins worth millions from the record-breaking depth. The 100 tons would be worth about $50 million today, and the salvage team’s leader tells the BBC a “large percentage” of the coins were reclaimed.

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What’s the True Cost of Wind Power?

16th April 2015

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Hint: More than it’s worth.

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