Highlights from the 2014 LA Auto Show

Features

Nukemap3D produces virtual mushroom clouds

Feeling cheerful? Why not remedy that by going online and seeing what would happen if someone dropped an H-bomb on your hometown? The browser-based Nukemap3D uses a Google Earth plug in to produce a 3D graphic of the effects of a nuclear weapon on your city of choice. All you have to do is pick your target, select your favorite thermonuclear device, and you can see an animated mushroom cloud rising over ground zero. Gizmag caught up with the creator, Dr. Alex Wellerstein, to talk about Nukemap3D.  Read More

The Mercedes-Benz W196R sold this for £17.5 million on 12 July

The world record price for a car at auction was smashed this month when Juan Manuel Fangio's 1954 Mercedes W196 F1 Silver Arrow sold for US$30 million, doubling the previous auction record. The only W196 outside of Daimler Benz or an internationally-recognized museum, this car won its first two starts – the 1954 German GP at Nürburgring and the Swiss GP at the uber-frightening, tree-lined Bremgarten circuit – and sealed the 1954 World Drivers Title for Juan Manuel Fangio, statistically the best racing driver in history. The following year, it was released in roadgoing form to become the world's fastest road car: the legendary Mercedes 300 SLR (aka W196S).  Read More

Bertha awaiting dismantling at Osaka, Japan before making its way to Seattle (Image: WSDOT...

On Saturday, a tunnel boring machine (TBM) so large that it looks like something out of Thunderbirds was dedicated in the city of Seattle. “Bertha,” as it’s known, is the world’s largest TBM and will spend the next 14 months boring a 1.7 mile (2.7 km) tunnel under the city as part of a US$3.1 billion project to replace a viaduct damaged in a 2001 earthquake. As part of a press tour, the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) allowed Gizmag inside the giant machine.  Read More

Bond is well known for his Walther PPK, but a particular .45 Colt revolver reveals more ab...

It's one of the most memorable moments in perhaps the best James Bond film, From Russia with Love: SPECTRE agent Rosa Klebb, posing as a hotel maid, drops her gun, and appears to be at a disadvantage as she goes toe to toe with Sean Connery's imposing Bond. That is until she deploys her iconic poison-tipped dagger shoes, which have gone on to be copied in other notable action films … and Wild Wild West. But as kitsch as Klebb's cleaver clogs might seem, the CIA attempted to replicate them, and another classic Bond gadget, in real life, according to research by Dr. Christopher Moran of Warwick University. At the heart of the story is the close friendship of Bond author and Ian Fleming and former CIA Director Allen Dulles. Gizmag spoke to Moran about 20th century Intelligence, and its peculiar relationship with the fictional British spy …  Read More

Fact: no one is driving this car (Photo: Gizmag)

Gizmag took a trip to Gothenburg to see six pieces of autonomous driving technology demonstrated by Volvo on Tuesday. A self-parking car and a car that drives itself (albeit under certain conditions) were among the tech on display, rounded out by new detection systems for animals, pedestrians at night, road edges and barriers, as well as a behind-the-scenes car-to-car communication system. All are positioned as pieces of safety technology, Volvo's goal being that no one will die or be seriously injured in a new Volvo come 2020. But it's also clear that Volvo is deadly serious about full autonomy, and given that some of the tech Gizmag saw will be on the market next year, a driverless future feels closer today than it did when the week began. But it's a future that will take some getting used to …  Read More

The modified Jetstream that flew 500 miles (800 km) under ground supervision (Photo: BAE S...

In April of this year, a BAE Systems Jetstream research aircraft flew from Preston in Lancashire, England, to Inverness, Scotland and back. This 500-mile (805 km) journey wouldn't be worth noting if it weren't for the small detail that its pilot was not on board, but sitting on the ground in Warton, Lancashire and that the plane did most of the flying itself. Even this alteration of a standard commercial prop plane into an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) seems a back page item until you realize that this may herald the biggest revolution in civil aviation since Wilbur Wright won the coin toss at Kitty Hawk in 1903.  Read More

Have competitors trumped Apple's ability to innovate? (Originals: Shutterstock [1] [2])

Apple's supposed "lack of innovation" has been a hot topic this year. Though the finger usually gets pointed at the loss of Steve Jobs, maybe that isn't the only force at play here. The recent report of an upcoming Google gaming console and smartwatch is just the latest example of a rival willing to gamble on beating Apple at its own game: seeing the future before anyone else does.  Read More

Jason Learmonth tells us about his bike, his gear, and the role of a motorcycle paramedic.

Jason Learmonth is a paramedic with a difference. Instead of an ambulance, he gets around town on a motorcycle that's kitted out with almost every piece of clinical equipment an ambulance carries. It's part of a trial that's putting two of these machines on the road in Melbourne, Australia, for three years to discover whether the bike's ability to get into hard-to-reach places and move through congested traffic is useful enough to make it a permanent part of the Ambulance service. I followed Jason around for an afternoon to capture some of his extraordinary working day in pictures.  Read More

Gizmag interviews Planetary Resources' Chris Lewicki (Image: Shutterstock)

It wasn't long ago that asteroid mining was only found in the pages of science fiction. Now, with increasing interest in the commercial exploitation of space, companies are springing up to turn asteroids from things that Bruce Willis blows up, into raw materials for future travellers and colonists. One such firm is Planetary Resources, which is currently winding up a KickStarter campaign aimed at raising public awareness about asteroid mining by offering the public access to a space telescope. Gizmag visits the company’s Bellevue, Washington headquarters and talks to the President and Chief Engineer, Chris Lewicki.  Read More

Gizmag highlights the top 10 next-gen games from E3 2013, all slated for the Xbox One and ...

E3 is always an exciting time for gamers, but this year's show proved particularly enticing with two new video game consoles mere months from release. The Xbox One and Playstation 4 have handed game developers a much more advanced piece of kit to deliver some truly groundbreaking experiences. Each company's presentation revealed titles both familiar and brand new, but these are the ones that have us most anxious for the upcoming generation of console gaming.  Read More

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