Friday, 30 November 2012

SKYLON spacecraft's engine passes critical test

SKYLON spacecraft's engine passes critical test: SKYLON spacecraft's engine passes critical test. By David Szondy. November 30, 2012. 14 Pictures · Tweet. A rendering of SKYLON in flight, showing the SABRE engine. Image Gallery (14 images). Reaction Engines Ltd. announced on Wednesday the ...
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Wednesday, 28 November 2012

New small fission reactor for deep-space missions demonstrated

New small fission reactor for deep-space missions demonstrated: New small fission reactor for deep-space missions demonstrated. By David Szondy. November 28, 2012. 8 Pictures · Tweet. Artists concept of spacecraft using the Los Alamos reactor. Image Gallery (8 images). Exploring the regions of deep space beyond ...
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Hamburger-making machine churns out custom burgers at industrial speeds

Hamburger-making machine churns out custom burgers at industrial speeds: David Szondy is a freelance writer based in Monroe, Washington. An award-winning playwright, he has contributed to Charged and iQ magazine and is the author of the website Tales of Future Past. All articles by David Szondy. Tags. » Cooking; » Food; » ...
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Monday, 26 November 2012

SpaceX Mars mission will fly on methane

SpaceX Mars mission will fly on methane:
Artist's concept of SpaceX Mars landing (Image: SpaceX)
Elon Musk, founder and CEO of SpaceX, says that the missions to Mars by his company will use rockets powered by methane, which can be manufactured on the Red Planet. The announcement came last as the South-African born entrepreneur was giving a lecture in November to the Royal Aeronautical Society in London, where he was presented with the Gold Medal – the society’s highest award. .. Continue Reading SpaceX Mars mission will fly on methane

Section: Science and Education

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Sunday, 25 November 2012

Hamburger-making machine churns out custom burgers at industrial speeds

Hamburger-making machine churns out custom burgers at industrial speeds:
A hamburger made using Momentum Machines' automated hamburger maker
Hamburgers are a multi-billion dollar business, and while fast food chains have got the process down to an efficient production line process, making them is still labor intensive with armies of burger flippers and sandwich assemblers. In a move that could put millions of teenagers around the world out of their first job, Momentum Machines is creating a hamburger-making machine that churns out made-to-order burgers at industrial speeds and aims to use it in its own chain of restaurants. .. Continue Reading Hamburger-making machine churns out custom burgers at industrial speeds

Section: Good Thinking

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Friday, 23 November 2012

Dear God


Remember when Britain was a free country?

Blind judgement

Ah, here's condescension for you.  In the eyes (pardon the pun) of the BBC, Enrico Dandolo wasn't a great man, he was a great blind man and should be remembered as such.

In the brave new world of gruesome identity politics, refusing to see past a physical flaw to see the man isn't bigotry, it's enlightenment.

Spare me.  I refuse to be remembered as a sinus problem.

Thursday, 22 November 2012

BAE Systems releases details of hybrid tank

BAE Systems releases details of hybrid tank:
Artist's concept of the BAE Systems/Northrop Grumman hybrid GCV
BAE Systems has released an infographic outlining the features of its hybrid Ground Combat Vehicle (GCV). A joint venture between BAE Systems and Northrop Grumman with other partners, the GCV proposal is part of a US Army competition to replace the Bradley Fighting Vehicle, which entered service in 1981... Continue Reading BAE Systems releases details of hybrid tank

Section: Military

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Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving

From

Ephemeral Isle

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Cloaking technology could protect offshore rigs from destructive waves

Cloaking technology could protect offshore rigs from destructive waves:
Brazilian oil platform P-51 (Image: AgĂȘncia Brasil/Wikipedia)
Recent years have seen much progress in the development of invisibility cloaks which bend light around an object so it can't be seen, but can the same principles be applied to ocean waves that are strong enough to smash steel and concrete? That's the aim of Reza Alam's underwater “invisibility cloak.” The assistant professor of mechanical engineering at the University of California, Berkeley, recently outlined how to use variations of density in ocean water to cloak floating objects from dangerous surface waves... Continue Reading Cloaking technology could protect offshore rigs from destructive waves

Section: Science and Education

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Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Honda's new 1.6 liter diesel engine is lightest in its class

Honda's new 1.6 liter diesel engine is lightest in its class:
The 1.6-liter i-DTEC engine
Honda apparently wants to show that good things come in small packages, so it's announced that it will be installing its 1.6-liter i-DTEC diesel engine in the 2013 Civic manufactured at the company’s facility in Swindon, U.K. Specifically designed for the European market, the 1.6-liter i-DTEC is the lightest in its class, yet puts out 120 PS (118 bhp) and 300 Nm (221 ft-lb) of torque... Continue Reading Honda's new 1.6 liter diesel engine is lightest in its class

Section: Automotive

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NASA working on getting rid of the "new satellite" smell

NASA working on getting rid of the "new satellite" smell:
Goddard technologist Nithin Abraham analyzes a sample of gas-adsorbing paint (Photo: NASA/...
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland is working to eliminate new car smell. No, they aren't a bunch of killjoys. That distinctive odor is caused by outgassing of chemicals used in car manufacturing. Some scientists believe these gases to be harmful, but whether they are or not, satellites suffer from the same problem. The gases released by satellites themselves can damage them, so NASA is working on new ways to control or eliminate these emissions. .. Continue Reading NASA working on getting rid of the "new satellite" smell

Section: Science and Education

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One deserves the other

From the BBC:
The son of Hollywood Reporter founder Billy Wilkerson has apologised for the trade paper's role in the 1940s witch-hunts that saw many in the industry ostracised for having communist ties.
Excellent.  Now the blacklisted Communists can apologise for helping their comrades in trying to enslave mankind.

Monday, 19 November 2012

Definition of insanity

Animal rights ecofacists activists keep sending in drones to video pigeon hunts and the pigeon hunters keep shooting them down.  You'd think they'd learn that using flying cameras against people with guns has predictable results.

As for the hunters, use a shotgun instead of a rifle next time, man.

MIT produces new metamaterial that acts as a lens for radio waves

MIT produces new metamaterial that acts as a lens for radio waves:
The MIT metamaterial lens
We expect the world to be predictable. Water flows downhill, fire burns and lenses bend light in a particular way. That worldview took a jolt as Isaac Ehrenberg, an MIT graduate student in mechanical engineering, developed a three-dimensional, lightweight metamaterial lens that focuses radio waves with extreme precision. That may not seem too disturbing, but the lens is concave and works in exactly the opposite manner of how such a lens should... Continue Reading MIT produces new metamaterial that acts as a lens for radio waves

Section: Science and Education

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McLaren confirms limited run for 12C GT Can-Am Edition

McLaren confirms limited run for 12C GT Can-Am Edition:
The McLaren 12C GT Can-Am Edition
When McLaren GT unveiled its 12C GT Can-Am Edition concept at the at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance earlier this summer, it was supposed to be a one-off. Its purpose was basically to show what McLaren’s designers could do if they chucked the racing regulations in the bin and let themselves go. However, that one-off sparked a lot of interest – so much so that at the 2012 United States Grand Prix at the Circuit of the Americas, McLaren announced that the track car would go into production. The bad news is that it’s for a run of only 30 cars... Continue Reading McLaren confirms limited run for 12C GT Can-Am Edition

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Sunday, 18 November 2012

MIT investigating ways to combat boredom in drone pilots

MIT investigating ways to combat boredom in drone pilots:
Drone pilots (Image: Department of Defense)
The saying that "war is long periods of boredom punctuated by moments of sheer terror” could have been written for military UAV pilots. The news media like to portray drones like the MQ-1 Predator as robot warriors, but behind each one is a human pilot with only limited powers of endurance. On long missions, pilots get bored and distracted, so a team from MIT’s Human and Automaton’s Lab is studying how what can be done to stave off boredom and keep pilots alert... Continue Reading MIT investigating ways to combat boredom in drone pilots

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Thursday, 15 November 2012

CSIRO sensor detects explosives at sea

CSIRO sensor detects explosives at sea:
US Navy divers with a practice mine
Clearing explosives is a major operation and removing the deadly residue of over a century of warfare is a never ending task. The problem is that before you can remove explosives you have to find them. That isn’t always easy - especially underwater, so Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) have developed a new sensor that uses high-temperature planar gradiometers to seek out explosives in the sea. .. Continue Reading CSIRO sensor detects explosives at sea

Section: On the Water

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Wednesday, 14 November 2012

I'm back


It's been, what?  Four months since I've done a personal entry on this blog?  Oh, dear.

For those of you who are new to Ephemeral Isle and think that it's just a feeder for Gizmag, welcome.  I am David Szondy, your host.  Up until July of this year, I spent a lot of time posting rants on this and three other blogs in hopes of building traffic for my freelance writing business.  That didn't work as planned and I had to do some retrenching as I went back to journalism.  Just call me the Carl Kolchak of the Internet.

Anyway, what's up?  As you can see from the webcam shot, this is not the office at Chez Szondy.  This isn't even Chez Szondy.  That's gone, I'm afraid.  This is the living room/office in my new flat some fifty miles north of where Chez Szondy was.  It's "efficient", which means that it's small.  I've had to give away a ridiculous amount of stuff and my two acres of wood and garden have been reduced to a strawberry pot on the patio.  The good news is that I live on the edge of town, so the view is still suitably rustic.

I still have the dogs, which is good because I can do with the company.  Why?  Good question.  Fact is, the wife left me and I lost Chez Szondy because I couldn't manage it on my own.  Now I live in a small town in northern Washington where my wife moved to and I have followed so that I can be near my daughter and preserve some sort of family life.

It's not bad.  The money situation is good, the work is steady and interesting, I have a new town to explore and I get a lot of exercise walking the dogs.  It's a new start and Lord knows I've started over enough times in my life.  Another one won't be that hard.

I won't be going back to the old posting schedule.  There's too much work to do and writing to relax from writing is too much of a bus man's holiday, but as the man said, I rant, therefore I am.  So, I'll rant occasionally.

Probably about bread or something.

Curiosity's SAM lab gets down and dirty with first soil sample

Curiosity's SAM lab gets down and dirty with first soil sample:
Artist's concept of Curiosity (Image: NASA)
NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover has sniffed the Martian air and now its Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) instrument has taken its first taste of soil. The microwave-size internal laboratory of the nuclear-powered rover received its first sample on November 9 and spent the next two days analyzing it. Taken at the Rocknest area of Gale Crater, the purpose of the sampling is to study soil composition with a special emphasis on seeking organic molecules... Continue Reading Curiosity's SAM lab gets down and dirty with first soil sample

Section: Science and Education

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ISS astronauts control robot on Earth via "interplanetary internet"

ISS astronauts control robot on Earth via "interplanetary internet":
The Meteron Operations and Communications Prototype, or Mocup (Photo: ESA)
The internet has changed a great deal of modern society, and now it promises to change space exploration as well. In late October, International Space Station (ISS) Expedition 33 commander Sunita Williams used a NASA-developed laptop aboard the station to control a LEGO Mindstorm robot, located at the European Space Agency (ESA) European Space Operations Centre in Darmstadt, Germany. Using a “space internet,” she was able to control the robot in real time despite being in orbit at an altitude of 230 miles (370 km). .. Continue Reading ISS astronauts control robot on Earth via "interplanetary internet"

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Tuesday, 13 November 2012

BMW M Performance steering wheel puts driving data at your fingertips

BMW M Performance steering wheel puts driving data at your fingertips:
The BMW M Performance steering wheel in ECO mode
Taking a BMW M series car out on the track is an occasion for daydreaming that you're Michael Schumacher at the wheel of a Formula 1 racer. Unfortunately, the average BMW doesn’t come with a US$50,000 F1 steering wheel, making the illusion that bit harder to maintain. To help rectify this, BMW is offering a steering wheel with a touch of the racetrack as part of its M Performance accessories catalog... Continue Reading BMW M Performance steering wheel puts driving data at your fingertips

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Monday, 12 November 2012

MasterCard releases card with LCD display and keyboard

MasterCard releases card with LCD display and keyboard:
This coming January, MasterCard Worldwide will makes its largest deployment of its Display...
In a world where “phone” means a pocket computer, it isn’t surprising that credit cards are turning into interactive security devices. This coming January, MasterCard Worldwide will makes its largest deployment of its Display Card, in Singapore. The card looks and acts like a conventional credit, debit or ATM card, but it also has an LCD display and keypad that allows users to access account information and make more secure financial transactions... Continue Reading MasterCard releases card with LCD display and keyboard

Section: Good Thinking

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Sunday, 11 November 2012

NASA using 3D laser printing to create complex rocket parts

NASA using 3D laser printing to create complex rocket parts:
M2 Cusing Machine in operation (Image: NASA)
NASA engineers are using a 3D laser printing system to produce intricate metal parts such as rocket engine components for its next-generation Space Launch System (SLS). The method called “selective laser melting “ (SLM) promises to streamline fabrication and significantly reduce production costs... Continue Reading NASA using 3D laser printing to create complex rocket parts

Section: Aero Gizmo

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Medieval manuscripts go digital

Medieval manuscripts go digital:
The Book of Exeter app
The 10th century is meeting the 21st with the University of Exeter announcing the development of an app that will make medieval manuscripts available to the public. The app, which is being developed in collaboration with interactive museum technology company Antenna International, will allow students and the general public to study manuscripts that until now have been too fragile to be even exhibited. .. Continue Reading Medieval manuscripts go digital

Section: Good Thinking

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Remebrance Day