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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.

— Space

Elon Musk announces December 19 launch date for next Falcon 9 rocket

SpaceX is heading back into orbit with founder and CEO Elon Musk announcing that a Falcon 9 rocket launch is scheduled for December 19. The improved version of the rocket is set to lift off from Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida and will carry 11 Orbcomm OG-2 communication satellites into low Earth orbit. This marks the first flight of the Falcon 9 since the June 28 mid-air explosion of the CRS-7 mission shortly after launch.

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— Electronics

Tiny temperature sensor powered wirelessly with radio waves

One of the problems for the smart buildings of tomorrow is that they may depend on some very un-smart wires to power them. To cut the cord, Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e) researcher Hao Gao, as part of his PhD thesis, is developing a tiny transmitting temperature sensor that is powered by radio waves to eliminate the need for wires or batteries. Instead, it picks up radio waves from a special router, converts them into electricity, and uses it to transmit readings.

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— Biology

Malaria-carrying mosquitoes genetically modified to pass on infertiity

The old joke says that infertility isn't hereditary, but a team of scientists at Imperial College London is proving it wrong as a way to fight malaria. Using gene splicing, the team is working on a way to introduce a strain of infertility into female Anopheles gambiae mosquitoes that can be passed from one generation to the next to significantly cut, if not eradicate, local populations of the malaria-carrying insect.

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— Around The Home Review

Review: Canary security camera learns your habits as it keeps watch

Two of the biggest drawbacks to home security systems is that many of them are difficult to install and that people aren't very keen on sharing their homes with obvious cameras staring at them. New York-based startup Canary's eponymous security device is a plug-and-play system that's designed to blend into the decor. The recently-released upgraded version includes a new learning functionality, so we set one up to see how well it got on with the job of standing guard.

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— Architecture

Self-sufficient floating home to create its own water and energy

Living on a houseboat may seem very romantic, but the day-to-day misery of hauling water from shore and listening to the thump of the generator can soon take the icing off the cupcake. As a glimpse into what could be the future of aquatic living, two Fraunhofer Institutes and their partners are working on a self-sufficient floating home that creates its own water, electricity, and heat without looking like a works barge.

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— Space

Akatsuki probe enters orbit around Venus

Space exploration rarely gives second chances, but the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) took advantage of a big one today. The Agency has confirmed that its Akatsuki space probe has successfully made it into orbit around the planet Venus on its second attempt. The first try was way back on December 7, 2010, when a malfunction of the main engine sent the spacecraft back into orbit around the Sun.

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Sending a letter to Mars would need a £11,602.25 stamp

Keeping in touch with your Martian pen pal won't be cheap according to the British postal service. Five-year old aspiring future astronaut Oliver Giddings asked the Royal Mail how much it would cost to post a letter to the Red Planet. After consulting with NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, the answer came back: 18,416 First Class stamps costing £11,602.25 (US$18K).

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