No supersonic passenger airliners have flown since the Concorde retired in 2003, due to high fuel costs, low passenger volumes, and noise disruption from the sonic boom. Now, computer models from MIT assistant professor Qiqi Wang and colleagues suggest that at supersonic speeds, a biplane would use less fuel, cause less drag, and produce a quieter sonic boom, as the shock waves from the two wing surfaces cancel each other out. I say, this is the best invention to come out of aviationÆs golden age since leather jackets and frozen pizza. Mmm, thanks, Baron!
Windows 8 police car
Systems integrator Modularis has built a police car integrated with a tablet running Windows 8. While the app cannot drive the car, it can control such systems as the siren, lights, locks and doors, both through its touch screen and with vocal commands. Car running Windows? Alright, letÆs do this. ItÆs like a regular car, but when it crashes it kernel dumps; its top speed is 90, (25 if antivirus is running); you can only use its power locks if youÆre an administrator, and every time the car starts it tells you there are six dozen engine upgrades that it strongly recommends.
Finnish mobile phone company Nokia has filed a patent for a haptic feedback tattoo embedded in the skin, that vibrates when it receives a magnetic signal, such as one coming from a ringing mobile phone. The tattoo would be partially made with ferromagnetic inks, which are first demagnetized at high temperatures, then attached to the skin, and finally magnetized through an exposure to an outside magnet. The tattoo could even vibrate differently when different people call. See? This tattoo of a teardrop says that my Mom wants to talk. It also says that I killed a man.
Traditionally, filling a pothole requires a six-step process with several machines and a sizeable road crew. Now, Python Engineering has created the Python 5000, a single machine that air-blasts loose debris, sprays on tack oil, pours asphalt and compresses the mound. New York City is currently testing the machines to see how they compare against existing road crews. IÆm pretty sure that in New York the way to test construction equipment is to place cones around it, in a lane, during rush hour, not fixing things, for three weeks. HowÆd it do? Alright, letÆs buy a gross!
Hydrogen fuel in a safe liquid
Hydrogen is an excellent clean fuel, but storing it can be dangerous, and producing it can produce carbon dioxide. Now, scientists from Brookhaven National Laboratory and JapanÆs National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology have developed a new catalyst that, in alkaline solutions, combines hydrogen and CO2 into liquid formic acid. In acidic solutions, it releases hydrogen for use as a fuel. Safe hydrogen transport? I was looking forward to a Hinden-car that explodes sometimes. We donÆt call it a Hindencar. We call it "Pinto"!
Battery made from paper waste
One of the by-products of paper production is a pungent brown liquid known as "brown liquor", often reused by paper mills for fuel. But now, Olle Inganas from SwedenÆs Linkoping University and Grzegorz Milczarec of PolandÆs Poznan University of Technology, have used the liquid to create a battery cathode without precious or rare metals. The cathodes are created when a conductive polymer called a polypyrrole is combined with lignin derivatives in the waste liquid. This is great, but the paper industry produces a lot of kinds of waste. Now, what can we do with political campaign memoirs?