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Brian Dodson

A rendering of the GE Chandelier as it will be mounted high above PlayhouseSquare in Cleve...

PlayhouseSquare in Cleveland's historic theater district is erecting what is claimed as the world's largest outdoor crystal chandelier. With a height of 20 ft (6 m) and comprising some 4,200 crystal pieces, the biggest surprise is that General Electric, which is designing the chandelier, believes it will stand up to Cleveland's extreme weather.  Read More

1.8 mm-wide windmill on a US Lincoln penny (Photo: U of Texas at Arlington)

Professor J.C. Chiao and his postdoc Dr. Smitha Rao of the University of Texas at Arlington have developed a MEMS-based nickel alloy windmill so small that 10 could be mounted on a single grain of rice. Aimed at very-small-scale energy harvesting applications, these windmills could recharge batteries for smartphones, and directly power ultra-low-power electronic devices.  Read More

Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo on its way to a record 71,000 ft altitude and Mach 1.4 (Pho...

Virgin Galactic SpaceShipTwo (SS2) continues to inch toward a full suborbital test flight with its third supersonic test carried out Friday morning. The SS2 rocket engine fired for 20 seconds, pushing the suborbital spacecraft to an altitude of 71,000 ft (18 km) and a top speed over Mach 1.4, both of which were new records for SS2. The Reaction Control System, feather re-entry system, and a thermal protection coating were successfully tested during the flight.  Read More

The Vizio 50-inch 4K television provides a high-quality photo-like image (Photo: Vizio)

4K televisions have undergone tremendous progress this last year, as has been clearly demonstrated at the CES 2014 show. Both Polaroid and Vizio introduced 50-inch 4K televisions with an MSRP of US$999.99. But what kind of user can really use a 4K TV today? High-power computer users, that's who.  Read More

ISS receives reprieve to 2024 (Photo: NASA)

The Obama Administration has approved an extension of the International Space Station (ISS) program from 2020 until at least 2024. This is an unfunded statement of intent, which must be both approved and funded by the US Congress. Neither NASA nor the White House have revealed from where the additional US$4 billion per year of funding for this extended operation will come. At present none of the ISS international partners have plans to support such an extension. Is this the best decision for the future of manned space exploration?  Read More

An Antares launch vehicle boosts the Orbital Sciences Cygnus spacecraft on it's way to the...

Orbital Sciences Corporation today successfully launched the first of eight Cygnus cargo supply missions to the International Space Station (ISS). Orbital's Antares medium-lift rocket (originally called the Taurus II) carried the Cygnus into an initial orbit of 135 x 175 miles (220 x 280 km), inclined at 51.6 degrees relative to the equator. The Cygnus is flying solo now, with full communications and deployed solar arrays, carrying roughly 2,800 lb (1,300 kg) of cargo toward a January 12 rendezvous and docking with the ISS.  Read More

The Skully AR-1 helmet give the rider a heads-up display of real-time information and a vi...

Distraction, disruption, destruction. While enjoying a ride, you glance down at the gas gauge, or check your six, and just at that moment an oncoming car decides to make a quick turn right in your path, or a car comes at speed out of a side road. Proper gear is important to survive in such situations, but avoiding them is even better. Enter the Skully AR-1 augmented reality helmet, with a voice-controlled heads-up display (HUD) that provides rear and side view video, bike data, GPS instructions, and phone and music utilities.  Read More

Is reading a book like living the story? (Image: Shutterstock)

Stories, whether fact or fiction, are at the heart of human culture. A strong narrative can resonate with your personality and experiences, and help set a framework for your future. "That book changed my life" is a cherished maxim. So can a book change your brain too? A recent study led by Emory University's Gregory Berns has demonstrated that reading a novel produces physical changes in the brain similar to those that would result from living as one or more of the characters.  Read More

The Urb-E electric riding implement folds into a remarkably compact package (Photo: Urb-E) Compact personal mobility vehicles are a great option for commuters looking to solve the "last mile" problem. The latest such vehicle to hit the streets aimed at filling this need is the Urb-E from Urban Mobility, which claims it is the "world's most compact electric vehicle."  Read More

A view of the OpenWorm simulated nematode while swimming (Photo: OpenWorm)

The OpenWorm project is aimed at creating the first artificial lifeform – a bottom-up computer model of a millimeter-sized nemotode, one of the simplest known multicellular organisms. In an important step forward, OpenWorm researchers have completed the simulation of the nematode's 302 neurons and 95 muscle cells and their worm is wriggling around in fine form.  Read More

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