Month: December, 2018

Our Calendar Is A Mess. Here’s How It Got That Way

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It’s New Year’s Eve, so let’s take a look at the calendar, how it got the way it is, and what might make it better.

The New Wave Of Flying Cars

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Watch a science fiction film and you’re sure to see a flying car. We’ve been dreaming of flying cars since before there were even cars. But it’s always been just a bit out of reach. Today, several companies are working on using drone technology to create personal flying vehicles. Here’s some of the most promising.

The PAL-V Liberty is a gyrocopter that debuted at the Geneva Motor Show in March 2018. You need a pilot’s license to fly it, and it can’t lift off and land vertically, you need a little forward momentum to drive. It runs on regular gasoline and can get 37 miles per gallon on the ground and 310 miles in the air.].

The company Kitty Hawk, financed by Google co-founder Larry page, has introduced the Kitty Hawk Flyer, which is basically a giant jet ski featuring 10 open rotary blades and pontoons instead of wheels, so you have to land on water. It’s a battery electric vehicle that’s computer controlled so that literally anybody could fly one of these things.…

The Flyer will be followed up with the Cora, a 2-seater vertical take off and landing vehicle (VTOL) that works like an air taxi. It’s also fully electric and can carry 400 pounds of people and cargo at a max speed of 110 miles per hour.…

The Terrafugia Transition has foldable wings that spread out when it’s time to fly. Changeover from driving takes about a minute, and it costs around $400,000. You also need a pilot’s license to fly the Transition.……

DeLorean Aerospace is run by the nephew of the famous John Delorean of Back to the Future fame. They’re working on a VTOL vehicle with a cool design.

Urban Aeronautics out of Israel has a couple of models they are working on, including the X-Hawk powered by two ducted fans carrying only two passengers. The Cityhawk is a larger variant that could be used for urban rescue missions.

4 Megaprojects That Could Reverse Climate Change

Climate change is happening, and time is running out to turn it around. The IPCC’s most recent report gives us about 10 years to reverse our carbon emissions. We’re not going to get there by reducing our emissions alone. Here are 4 megaprojects that could actually save the planet.

Biomass Energy with Carbon Capture and Storage Biomass is the burning of biological material (usually plant matter) to generate energy. BECCS scrubs the CO2 out of the exhaust and sequesters it underground, thus taking CO2 out of the air via that plants and putting it into the ground.

Direct Air Capture With DAC, giant carbon scrubbers pull CO2 out of the air, after which the CO2 can be used to produce other items like fuel. Two companies that are leading in this field are Carbon Engineering and Climeworks. Stratospheric Aerosol Injection SAI is, basically, creating an artificial volcano. The Mount Pinatubo eruption of 1991 cooled the planet by half a degree for 18 months. By flying a fleet of SAI Lofters (SAILs) regularly into the upper atmosphere, we could spread particulates around the planet and cool the atmosphere.

Space Solar Shield By creating a giant solar shield at the L1 Lagrange point, we could block up to 2% of the sun’s rays, enough to alter the amount of heat getting trapped by the atmosphere.

How Atomic Bombs Help Catch Art Forgeries

Art forgery is a multi-million dollar business, one that museums and appraisers are constantly battling. But there is one technique they’ve found to foil forgers that’s near foolproof – and it involves atomic bombs.

Wolfgang Beltracchi is an artist who got his start as a forger of classic masters like Picasso, Van Gogh, and others. But he and those in his business found a foil in Peggy Guggenheim, Dr. Elena Basner, and a cadre of scientists that found a technique that searches for traces of the isotopes cesium-137 and strontium-90.

The reason is that these isotopes are only created by fission of Uranium 235, and between 1945 and 1963, 522 open-air atomic bomb blasts scattered these isotopes into the atmosphere, which then got into the soil, made its way into flax plants, which were used to create linseed oil, which was used as a binding agent in paint.

So if a painting shows traces of these isotopes in the paint, there is no way that it was created before 1945.

This technique has foiled hundreds of art forgers in the years since and has proven to be one of the most difficult challenges for future Wolfgang Baltracchis.

Can Dyson Reinvent The Electric Car?

James Dyson is the inventor and innovator behind the bagless vacuum, air blade hand dryers, blameless fans, and more luxury home appliances. His approach has revolutionized multiple industries. Now, he sets his sights on an electric car.

The European Space Agency Sets Its Sights On Mercury

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The European Space Agency – or ESA – has been a major player in the commercial launch space for decades with their Ariane series of rockets. But they also have been racking up some impressive interplanetary missions, their latest one being the BepiColumbo mission to Mercury.

Here we break down the ESA, talk about some of their biggest victories, and where they want to go in the future.

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