It’s Tech Tuesday!
On a completely unrelated note, I saw LEGO Movie 2 with Bug this weekend. An excellent follow-up to the very entertaining LEGO Feature Length Commercial that was the first LEGO Movie. Seriously, I enjoyed both, obvious product placement aside.
[TT1] Seriously, this is why I love science. As much as I love the new tech, and interesting designs, and fun bits of analysis, in the end, it’s the potential of that bleeding edge to upend everything we think we know.
It’s as though physics has been turned inside out. It now appears that the answers already surround us. It’s the question we don’t know.
[TT2] Understanding the networks within the brain that define ‘consciousness’.
[TT3] More specifically, it was the death of a massive star that helped us out.
[TT4] One step closer to a cure for Type I diabetes, thanks to Stem Cells.
[TT6] Now that is a cool looking skyscraper, and the kind of thing that makes one think, “I am living in the future!”. Although, innovative designs like that always worry me a bit. Not because the design is bad, or anything, but because of the ‘Black Aluminum’ problem I’ve talked about in aerospace, where the regulators and assemblers are so stymied by the new design or the techniques needed to realize it that they are unable to bring it into being. One of the reasons I find the idea of a Seastead, or of getting us into space, is that society should always have a real world sandbox to try things out in. We can sandbox a lot these days in the digital realm (and we do!), but in the end, it helps to have a place where things can safely be allowed to fail in whatever spectacular manner they will.
[TT7] Two new, non-toxic flame retardants have come about at the same time. EDA-DOPO, and this one from Texas A&M. The stories are similar enough I dug around a bit to try and verify that I wasn’t reading two different perspectives of the same development. It’s always interesting when you have these (nearly) simultaneous advances. This happens in science more often than people realize. For instance…
[TT9] Using the shockwaves of massive earthquakes to get a look at the mountains of the Underdark! Be warned, Lloth, we are mapping your domain!
[TT10] Airbus is killing the A380. Honestly, pretty much everyone saw this coming, even before the first one was delivered. Not enough airports were willing to commit to the runway and gate upgrades necessary to accommodate the beasts, and the routes that would have the passenger volume needed to make them profitable could be served just as well by the 747-8 or 777X. Which is a kind of sad, because they are magnificent feats of aerospace engineering, much better than something like the Spruce Goose. But in the end, Airbus was just asking too much of it’s customers.
[TT12] A cure for…. something… it’s on the tip of my tongue…
[TT13] Getting artificial leaves ready for life outside the lab.
[TT14] Using Titanium nano-particles, a previously unweldable aluminum alloy, can now be welded. Actually, it could be welded before, but it had a problem. Typically, when two pieces of metal are welded together correctly, the weld itself is as strong as, if not stronger than, the rest of the material. Except AA7075, which refused to play ball, and resulted in weaker welded joints. So this is a pretty big deal, because AA7075 is as strong as steel, and one third the weight.
[TT15] The simplest wave power generator to date. It’s a balloon.
[TT16] Fireflies have helped LEDs become even more efficient. Score another one for mother nature.
[TT17] Why do human females go through menopause (very few animals do)? Because evolution thinks grandmothers rock, apparently.
[TT18] I love useful materials that defy expectations. A flexible ceramic that laterally contracts when compressed, and is an aerogel, and thus a fantastic insulator.
[TT19] Bees which make a habit of pushing the cart through the hive, shouting, “Bring out yer dead!” are better able to withstand CCD.
[TT20] Turning the waste brine from desalination into a useful industrial product that the desal plant actually needs. Along the same vein, turning un-recyclable waste glass into a useful industrial product.
[TT21] Universal Moral Rules. Thoughts?
Photo by jfingas