by Mad Rocket Scientist
Will is unable to do a Linky Friday this week, so he asked me to fill in. Since I have an active interest in many areas of science and technology, I’ve decided to bore you all with all the things that interest me. So here goes!
[S2] If we ever get Warp Drive figured out, this might be what we travel to the stars in.
[S3] Thanks to 3D Printers and improved understanding of materials, saying that your home in space has good bones might be more apropos than you realize! (This is the future of structural materials, no bones about it; which leads us into the next section)
[M1] I’ve seen other demonstrations of tape that uses the properties of insect feet, but this is the first time I’ve seen it done with Gecko feet. And self cleaning to boot! I wonder how long before fabric or cellophane backed glue strips are a novelty of the past. Hell, velcro will be a thing of the past. Possibly even zippers. It’s a brave new world!
[M2] Using a tree branch as a water filter. Seems MIT has some former Eagle Scouts on staff.
[M3] All sorts of materials get funky at or about Absolute Zero. Here’s another one. If cooling things down to that point wasn’t such a pain, our world would be a much more interesting place.
[M4] Programmable magnets! Can I get a hover car now?
[M5] Tough Gel! Possible cartilage replacement (seeing as how I have a knee in desperate need of new cartilage, this caught my interest), among other applications. Very cool!
[M7] Turning sunlight into steam with a sponge. Those MIT folks are kind of smart!
Transportation & Robotics:
[TR1] Homemade Robot muscles!
[TR2] Robots that print buildings. But can they be Unionized?
[TR3] A new kind of reciprocating engine? This is not the first alternative to the inline, V, or boxer arrangements I’ve seen, but it is one of the more fun ones to watch.
[TR4] This is the obvious next step before we have driverless cars. Technologically, it’s cool. But I do worry about the privacy/tracking aspects of it when it comes to overzealous law enforcement & the NSA.
[TR5] This could have also gone into materials or energy, but since it’s all about Solar Roadways, I’m putting it here. In my professional opinion, this is never going to happen. Not as roadways, anyway. If you want a fuller examination as to why this is probably a waste of time & money, ask me in the comments.
[TR6] Finally, so we can transition to the next section, why almost every speed limit you probably disobey is too low (so you can feel morally superior as you sign that ticket). When I worked for Civil Engineer, this was often a topic of discussion among the traffic engineers, who usually advocated for designing roads to encourage slower speeds, rather than trying to arbitrarily set a number & hope people obey it.
Political, Legal, Military:
[PLM1] We had this discussion last week a bit in the comments, but part of the bloated military budget is for crap the military doesn’t want, but for politics.
[PLM2] One weapon I’m certainly glad we never built!
[PLM3] Things that make you go, hrmmmm. The Media & wrongful convictions. This is one topic Balko hits on from time to time, usually as it relates to the way police & prosecutors will gleefully release the name(s) of suspects to the press if it serves their purposes, while vigorously protecting officer & lawyer privacy; and at the same time, the media just goes ahead & publishes those names with either nary a critical thought regarding the game the police may be playing, or active involvement in said game.
[PLM4] An interview with Dr. Sydney Brenner, a contemporary of Sanger, Watson, and Crick, and one of the people who was at the bleeding edge of understanding DNA. This is all kinds of fascinating & I am still digesting it all. One of my favorite quotes: Because I think ignorance in science is very important. If you’re like me and you know too much you can’t try new things.
[PLM5] From Will Truman: Three cheers for Jolly Ole, which has announced that it will be using ODF document standards in lieu of Microsoft’s docx. As a LibreOffice/OpenOffice user, I’m thrilled. In part because I hope this moves the needle for GoogleDocs support for the format. I have written more here.
[E1] I’ve said this before, vertical wind turbines (VAWT) are superior to the big horizontal ones. At least, they are when you put them in an array.
[E3] An artificial leaf to produce solar power. Well, they split the water molecule with solar power. Still pretty cool.
[E4] The touch, the feel, the fabric in your battery? We shall see…
[E5] Paging Michael Cain. Michael Cain, will you please take a moment to comment on this