Category: Technology & ideas

scientific developments, inventions, design, sci fi


So, what have we actually got on our hands here?

A British teenager has contacted scientists at Nasa to point out an error in a set of their own data. A-level student Miles Soloman found that radiation sensors on the International Space Station (ISS) were recording false data.

The 17-year-old from Tapton school in Sheffield said it was “pretty cool” to email the space agency. The correction was said to be “appreciated” by Nasa, which invited him to help analyse the problem.

“What we got given was a lot of spreadsheets, which is a lot more interesting than it sounds,” Miles told BBC Radio 4’s World at One programme.

I’d refer back to two things:

1. In Tenerife, on that KLM plane, the young Flight Engineer noticed the Captain was wrong in his judgement of the situation prior to takeoff. That Captain had almost flown his full time quota for the day, he was a decorated and feted man, featured in flight magazines, he was a KLM hero.… More here ...

You need a good poof

Call me technically stupid but I can’t see how this helps:

A small team at Otherlab, which does all kinds of weird things, has been using ARPA-E funding to develop what they’re calling “thermally adaptive materials.” We’ll call it self-poofing fabric, for its ability to dynamically change its insulation in response to temperature. The idea is that the fabric will provide a small amount of insulation when it’s warm out, and then increase how insulating it is (by trapping more air) in response to colder temperatures. When you see the prototype fabric in action, it looks like magic.

Now this is insulating material to me:

Also, in Russia, they make the house walls two feet thick.  of course the materials theselves need to be insulating.  In that fabric above, there is no increase in thickness, it has the insulating properties it has.  Increasing air pockets are then subject to both outside cold and body heat.… More here ...

Is this battery Goodenough?

Most are sceptical:

Still, batteries remain wanting. Inferior battery technology is perhaps the biggest impediment to mainstream electric-car manufacturing. Batteries cost too much, take too long to charge, and don’t transport drivers far enough.

Hence the excitement over the new paper by Goodenough and his team published in Energy and Environmental Science. A Feb. 28 release from the University of Texas reported they had figured out how to incorporate an electrode—an anode—made of pure lithium or sodium metal, which because of their potential energy has been a top goal for decades.

A key is the use of glass as the electrolyte, the substance that connects a battery’s two electrodes and facilitates the shuttling of ions to create electricity.

[H/T Chuckles]… More here ...


Which brings us to the saga of National Part Number 716102, Seal, Rear Crank. Let’s call it “Cranky” for short, and because all the sentences after this will be more amusing with “Cranky” in the place of “National Seal #716102.” Is that alright with you?

Cranky burst on the automotive scene with a flourish forty-three years ago, firmly inserted in the 1.7-liter four-cylinder engine of the brand-new VW Golf/Rabbit. Everywhere that engine went, the seal was sure to go, which is why you can find Cranky in the Plymouth TC3 and the Dodge Omni 024.

But it also fits in the unrelated 1.7-liter four-cylinder engine of the Renault Alliance, presumably because the Renault engineers did not see any value in coming up with a new design.… More here ...