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Tannith Cattermole

The Unbreakable Umbrella is a peculiar mix of genteel elegance and chilling weaponry

Looking like an unassuming weapon from Oddjob's arsenal, the Unbreakable Umbrella is the weapon of choice for well-heeled bowler-hatted gentlemen cum ninja assassins everywhere. It's also a good buy for anyone who has some cash to splash on a nifty umbrella that not only keeps the rain off but can carve up a watermelon with one well-placed chop.  Read More

Artist's impression of the data clipper concept (Credit: Thales Alenia Space)

There's a new kind of spaceship on the horizon. No, it's not a cruise ship (we wish!) – it's a clipper, and if Joel Poncy and his team at Thales Alenia Space have their way, it's coming to a solar system near you. The data clipper will be a maneuverable solar-powered spacecraft that collects scientific data and downloads it to Earth, and fleets of them could map the planets and celestial bodies of our solar system.  Read More

Lunar Microwave Radiometer Daytime Brightness Temperature map of the Moon

The first complete microwave image of the Moon taken by Chinese lunar satellite Chang'E-1 has been revealed. Chang’E-1 is China’s first scientific mission to explore planetary bodies beyond Earth and the on-board Lunar Microwave Radiometer has made it possible for the first time to globally map the Moon in microwave frequencies. Radar observations of the Moon are unable to provide thermal information, and microwave observations taken from Earth cannot reach the far side of the moon. So Chang'E-1's (CE-1) orbit was conducted at an altitude of 200km (124 miles) and allowed it to observe every location of the moon with a nadir view and at high spatial resolution.  Read More

Harnessing sound energy from conversations could one day help recharge mobile phones ((Ima...

In the search for alternative energy sources there's one form of energy you don't hear much about, which is ironic because I'm referring to sound energy. Sound energy is the energy produced by sound vibrations as they travel through a specific medium. Speakers use electricity to generate sound waves and now scientists from Korea have used zinc oxide, the main ingredient of calamine lotion, to do the reverse – convert sound waves into electricity. They hope ultimately the technology could be used to convert ambient noise to power a mobile phone or generate energy for the national grid from rush hour traffic.  Read More

Total Ozone Mapping Spectrometer (TOMS) image of the ozone hole over Antarctica in Septemb...

A new report suggests that international efforts to halt the destruction of the ozone layer have been successful. Launched on the UN International Day for Preservation of the Ozone Layer, the report by 300 scientists also provides new information about the net effects on Earth's climate, and also the effects of climate change on the ozone later moving forward.  Read More

And Vinyly provide the perfect resting place for you in vinyl

If you've ever imagined the song you'd like to be played at your funeral or you imagine it to be the send-off of the year, then you might be interested in And Vinyly. This UK-based company will press your cremated ashes into a vinyl playing a track of your choice or a vocal message for your friends and family to enjoy and remember you by. Hmmm.  Read More

Reducing your power bill with Microsoft's Hohm

For a lot of people, the electricity bill is an unwanted piece of paper printed with angular graphs and big dollar signs, but with the rising cost of power in today's energy-conscious society it's becoming more important to understand exactly what all those lines and numbers mean. Microsoft's Hohm website aims to make sense of the jargon by providing personalized data on consumers' home energy consumption, and offering recommendations on how to save energy and reduce those bills.  Read More

Raizan and team used optical tweezers to suspend the bead and observe Brownian motion for ...

Einstein said it couldn't be done. But more than one hundred years later physicists at the University of Texas at Austin have finally found a way to witness “Brownian motion”; the instantaneous velocity of tiny particles as they vibrate. The “equipartition theorem” states that a particle's kinetic energy, that due to motion, is determined only by its temperature and not its size or mass, and in 1907 Einstein proposed a test to observe the velocity of Brownian motion but gave up, saying the experiment would never be possible – not so.  Read More

The FDA has finally approved a miniature eye telescope that will aid sufferers of end-stag...

After five years, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has finally given approval to an eye telescope that treats macular degeneration, the leading cause of blindness in the U.S. The Implantable Miniature Telescope (IMT) has been developed by VisionCare Ophthalmic Technologies, Inc. as part of Centrasight, a new patient care system which treats end-stage age-related macular degeneration (AMD).  Read More

Capturing heat energy currently lost from semiconductors could lead to cheaper and more ef...

Researchers from University of Minnesota have removed a barrier to improving solar cell efficiency by showing how heat energy currently lost from semiconductors can be captured and transferred to electric circuits. They hope manufacturers will use the results to produce solar cells with twice the output of current solar cells and at a lower cost.  Read More

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