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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.

— Aircraft

DARPA gives Northrop Grumman nod to develop unmanned VTOL flying wing for small US Navy ships

DARPA has revealed more details of the Tactically Exploited Reconnaissance Node (Tern) program that aims to turn smaller US Navy ships into miniature aircraft carriers for Unmanned Air Vehicles (UAV). Phase 3 of program to develop a tail-sitting flying wing designed to take off and land vertically from destroyers and other small ships was awarded to Northrop Grumman, which will build a full-scale demonstrator for sea trials.

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— Around The Home Review

Review: Does the CleverLoop security system keep you in the loop?

Once the reserve of the rich and the tech obsessed, home security systems have become as affordable and simple to use as a wireless stereo speaker. Yet another entry into this ever-expanding field is the CleverLoop video security system, which comes in a variety of configurations and is aimed at renters and small businesses. We recently got hold of one and put it through its paces.

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— Electronics

Laser X-rays to nab nuclear smugglers

With over 100 million cargo containers in transit each year, screening them for illicit nuclear material is a major problem. To keep commerce flowing while maintaining an eye on nuclear terrorism and smuggling, a team of scientists at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) is developing a laser-based X-ray machine that can image a uranium disk the size of a stack of three US nickels hidden between three-inch (7.6 cm) steel panels.

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— Space

US restarts production of plutonium-238 to power space missions

In an effort to avert an outer space energy crisis, the US Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) has restarted production of plutonium-238 (PU-238) after almost 30 years. The civilian stockpile of the plutonium isotope used to power the radiothermal generators (RTG) that make electricity for US deep space probes has dwindled to only 35 kg (77 lb), so the first 50 g (1.7 oz) of plutonium oxide produced by the laboratory marks a major turnaround in American space capabilities.

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— Space

Faulty instrument delays Mars lander launch

NASA's next big Mars mission will have to wait a couple of years due to a faulty piece of equipment that won't stay fixed. The space agency announced today that the launch of the Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations Geodesy and Heat Transport (InSight) lander mission scheduled for next March has been scrubbed due to a persistent vacuum leak in the lander's primary science instrument. A new launch date has yet to be determined.

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— Biology

Scientists grow new implantable teeth for mice

One annoying fact of life is losing teeth. Since humans only get two sets of teeth, losing an adult dinner grinder means either going without or replacing it with a substitute made of something like ceramic or metal. A more natural solution is the subject of a project by a team of scientists in Japan that is working on growing multiple, fully-functional teeth and implanting them in mice.

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— Wearables

Goldfinger smart glove gets power from finger movements

Smart gloves have potential as human-machine interfaces that can help extract us from the joystick and mouse era, but the challenge is to make them, natural, intuitive, and efficient. Scientists from Politecnico di Torino and MIT led by Giorgio De Pasquale of the Italian University believe they have have come a step closer to this goal with Goldfinger – a self-powering glove that promises simple gesture control.

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— Space

SpaceX static firing test of Falcon 9

SpaceX has announced that its Falcon 9 rocket may head back into space on Sunday after being grounded for nearly six months due to a mid-air explosion. The improved version of the booster carried out a static test firing on Friday at Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida in preparation for the mission to send 11 Orbcomm OG-2 communication satellites into low Earth orbit. If the results of the test prove positive, the launch will go forward on December 20.

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