May 22, 2013

Electrified, student-built Karmann Ghia runs on tweets

posted by Larra Morris

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A group of Kansas City high school students and their mentors have electrified a Karmann Ghia, modifying it so that it will only run when it gets mentioned in social media. If that sounds like a publicity stunt, that’s because it is. And it’s for a good cause.

Minddrive has taken kids who have fallen through the cracks and developed an after-school programthat matches them with mentors and gets them excited about learning through hands-on automotive work. Each year, the students’ final project is a road trip in the car they built.
via Wired Autopia

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May 21, 2013

500 million years of evolution in under 4 minutes

posted by Laura Domela

Although this video by Fatboy Slim isn’t particularly new, it’s a great depiction of the process of evolution and still deserves recognition. Starting with some of the earliest forms of life, and ending with an interesting twist on human evolution (is our species evolving in a positive direction?) the video brings you a seamless and entertaining view of evolutionary biology. A great science-music video to get your week started!

via Scientific American 

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May 21, 2013

Ant studies to aid design of search and rescue robots

posted by Larra Morris

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A study showing how ants tunnel their way through confined spaces could aid the design of search-and-rescue robots, according to US scientists.

A team from the Georgia Institute of Technology found fire ants can use their antennae as "extra limbs" to catch themselves when they fall, and can build stable tunnels in loose sand.

Researchers used high speed cameras to record in detail this behaviour.
via BBC News

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May 21, 2013

Robot octopus shows off new sculls (video)

posted by Larra Morris

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Octopi are pro swimmers, thanks (at least in part) to that octet of arms they've got going on. They've adopted a particular swimming gait called sculling, which works great for them, but until they start publishing scientific papers, we're missing out on all of their gait testing data. Roboticists have had to start from scratch, and along the way, they've experimented with some swimming gaits that we've never seen a real octopus try and pull off. 
via IEEE Spectrum

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May 21, 2013

New fabric sucks out sweat and remains completely dry

posted by Larra Morris

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Unsightly underarm sweat patches could soon be a thing of the past thanks to a new fabric developed at the University of California, Davis. Instead of simply soaking up sweat like conventional fabrics, the new fabric is threaded with tiny channels that pull the sweat from one side to the other where it forms into droplets that drain away.

The fabric grew out of microfluidics research in the UC Davis Micro-Nano Innovations Laboratory of Tingrui Pan, professor of biomedical engineering, which generally focuses on microfluidic “lab on a chip” devices that use tiny channels to manipulate fluids for medical diagnostic tests and other applications.
via Gizmag

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May 21, 2013

Dominoes made from dominoes (video)

posted by Larra Morris

YouTube user Flippycat laughs at your puny attempt at domino. Watch this clip of him knocking down giant dominoes made from 30,000 individual domino bricks
via Neatorama

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May 21, 2013

This house is designed to be eaten by plants

posted by Larra Morris

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Italian architecture firm Act Romegialli designed this building to start as a little garden house, and then be gradually eaten by the garden. Here’s what it started as, an unused garage structure:
via Grist

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May 20, 2013

Take a metronome. Then take another. Then another. Set them ticking at different times. Look. Lift. Watch.

posted by Laura Domela

If this wasn't a science page, if this happened 3,000 years ago in, say, a Middle Eastern desert, I would call it a Miracle. But it's not. It's just a plain, ordinary moment of "wow!"

First, the beginner's version. A man takes a bunch of metronomes, sets them ticking in different ways, then — and this is the crucial part — he lifts them collectively off the table, so their different motions now start to offset each other. And this happens:

But why? How does it work, you may be asking. I wondered too, and simply stated, what we have here is the transfer of momentum resulting in the alignment of motion. (Don't be afraid. Keep reading.)

via NPR

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May 20, 2013

How to survive an elephant charge

posted by Laura Domela

via Boing Boing. Now you know.

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May 20, 2013

FPGA plays Mario like a champ (video)

posted by Larra Morris

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This isn’t an FPGA emulating Mario Bros., it’s an FPGA playing the game by analyzing the video and sending controller commands. It’s a final project for an engineering course. The ECE5760 Advanced FPGA course over at Cornell University.
via Hack a Day

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