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David Szondy

David Szondy

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.

— Military

DARPA sees future in vacuum tubes

By - August 15, 2015

In today's world, vacuum tubes or radio valves seem as dead as high button shoes and buggy whips, but DARPA sees them as very much the technology of the future. As part of a new program, the agency is looking to develop new tube designs and manufacturing techniques for use in tomorrow's high-powered communications and radar systems.

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— Space

Comet 67P and Rosetta make their closest pass of the Sun

By - August 13, 2015 6 Pictures

On Thursday at 02:03 GMT, Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko and the European Space Agency's (ESA) Rosetta orbiter reached their closest point (known as perihelion) to the Sun, coming within 186 million km (115 million mi) of our parent star. The event was marked by an increase in activity on the comet, which is expected to continue over the next few weeks as it now heads toward the outer Solar System.

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— Space

Canadian firm patents inflatable space elevator

By - August 12, 2015 7 Pictures

In space travel, the first step is always the most expensive, but why blast-off in a rocket if you can catch a ride on a space elevator? Canadian space firm Thoth Technology has received a US patent for an elevator to take spacecraft and astronauts at least part way into space. If it's ever built, the 20 km (12.4 mi) high Thothx inflatable space tower holds the promise of reducing launch costs by 30 percent in terms of fuel, and may even replace some classes of satellites.

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— Automotive

Spofec Black One adds bling and horses to Rolls-Royce Ghost Series II

By - August 11, 2015 14 Pictures

The "entry level" Rolls Royce Ghost Series II aimed at the younger, entrepreneurial market has been turning some heads lately, but Germany-based car customizer Spofec is trying to turn them a bit farther. The Spofec Black One takes the Ghost and adds bespoke modification packages featuring a matte black motif and improved engine performance kits to create a car that wouldn't look out of place in the Green Hornet's garage.

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— Marine

Paul Allen recovers bell from HMS Hood

By - August 11, 2015 12 Pictures

One of the great tragedies of the Second World War has been remembered with Microsoft co-founder and philanthropist Paul G Allen recovering the bell from the British battlecruiser HMS Hood, which was sunk in battle 74 years ago by Hitler’s flagship Bismarck. The brass ship's bell was recovered from a mile and a half (2.4 km) down in the Denmark Straits by a remote operated submersible (ROV) controlled from Allen's private yacht M/Y Octopus.

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— Space

Astronauts chow down on space harvest for the first time

By - August 10, 2015 8 Pictures

The International Space Station (ISS) was the scene of an historic lunch this week with the crew members of Expedition 44 dining on the first meal harvested in space. The dish, which consisted on leaves of "Outredgeous" red romaine lettuce grown in NASA's "Veggie" zero-gravity greenhouse, is part of the space agency's effort to find ways to feed tomorrow's deep-space travelers.

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— Environment

Addition of a single gene makes rice more environmentally friendly

By - August 9, 2015 2 Pictures

The world's growing population faces a constant string of tradeoffs. On the one hand, we need more rice to feed ourselves. On the other hand, control of greenhouse gases is a major priority and rice growing generates a lot of methane. It seems like a Catch 22, but a team led by the US Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) has come up with a genetically engineered strain of rice that not only produces almost no methane, but also more grains.

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— Space

Diminutive Lunar IceCube satellite to scan Moon for water and other resources

By - August 6, 2015 4 Pictures

Recently, NASA has been looking at CubeSats as a way of carrying out economical deep space missions. One of the first of these may be shoebox-sized satellite called the Lunar IceCube, which is designed to look for water ice and other resources on the Moon. Tentatively aimed to launch on the first Orion mission scheduled to fly by 2018, it is intended to not only uncover materials for future deep-space missions and lunar colonization, but also as a technology demonstrator for a new class of interplanetary probes.

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— Aircraft

Airbus patents design for Mach 4-plus supersonic jet

By - August 4, 2015 4 Pictures

If there's one area where the 21st century has gone backwards technologically, it's in supersonic passenger flight. With the grounding of the Concorde fleets in 2003, flying faster than the speed of sound reverted to a military monopoly, but that hasn't kept engineers from trying for a revival. Now Airbus' Marco Prampolini and Yohann Coraboeuf have been granted a US patent for an "ultra-rapid air vehicle" designed to fly at 20 km (12.4 mi) higher than conventional aircraft and over four times the speed of sound – twice the speed of Concorde.

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