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The Dynamo wind-up torch and radio

August 24, 2005 Wind-up energy has always made sense – it just took most of us an extra 50 years to realise it. Not everyone can pop down to the store and buy another set of batteries for the torch or radio so having a wind-up device that does both makes infinite sense, particularly if you’re planning on covering all the bases for a power grid failure or some other disaster/emergency situation relating to the entire community. The Dynamo offers emergency lighting and an emergency radio receiver at US$26 (AUD$34.95) which makes it almost a no-brainer – having no running costs is even better. The idea is that you wind it for 90 seconds and it works for 20 minutes. For the lazybones among us, you can also plug it into the mains power or use three AAA batteries. oh, and it’s splash proof and hence ideal for the great outdoors.  Read More

The Jimi - a wallet for minimalists

August 23, 2005 A boy’s first wallet is a true Alladin’s cave – one of the true landmarks on the way to manhood, it is crammed full of many more “handy” things than it’s actually practical to carry. Adulthood wallets are even worse, being crammed with every version of credit, loyalty, membership, library, health insurance and now even building access cards plus topped up daily with receipts from every time you use one of those cards. There are times though when you don’t wish to carry a “hamburger with the lot” – when you want to feel svelte and free and minimalist. For such times, there’s the Jimi – Japanese for “simple” and in this case, a simple wallet. It’s cute, unbreakable and carries a few credit cards and some notes and it’ll disappear into a shirt or hip pocket without disrupting any lines. Sometimes referred to as the anti-wallet it fits into the same category as the Tsaya phone holster for gals in being one of very few objects that can be described as sexy, fun AND practical.  Read More

Nissan Wins Best in Design at Extreme Gravity Racer Series

August 20, 2005--Nissan Design America (NDA), known for designing cutting-edge vehicles, has used its automotive design expertise to win the Best in Design Category at the 5th Annual 2005 Extreme Gravity Racing Series held yesterday atop Jack's Peak Drive. Dubbed the Nissan Flying Torpedo, this sleek race machine competed with ten other automotive manufacturers for charity.  Read More

Academic Paper Says Edible Meat Can be Grown in a Lab on Industrial Scale

August 16, 2005 Experiments for NASA space missions have shown that small amounts of edible meat can be created in a lab. But the technology that could grow chicken nuggets without the chicken, on a large scale, may not be just a science fiction fantasy. In a recent paper in the Tissue Engineering journal, a team of scientists has proposed two new techniques of tissue engineering that may one day lead to affordable production of in vitro - lab grown - meat for human consumption. It is the first peer-reviewed discussion of the prospects for industrial production of cultured meat. "There would be a lot of benefits from cultured meat," says University of Maryland doctoral student Jason Matheny, who studies agricultural economics and public health. "For one thing, you could control the nutrients. For example, most meats are high in the fatty acid Omega 6, which can cause high cholesterol and other health problems. With in vitro meat, you could replace that with Omega 3, which is a healthy fat.  Read More

New agency to sell scoop photos for amateurs

August 16, 2005 A decade ago, during an evening of substance abuse, several people who subsequently became some of the principals of this fine journal came up with an idea. Extrapolating upon the growing penetration of digital cameras and the internet, we were into a second bottle of Jack Daniels by the time we’d hatched the idea for a global network we christened “bozos with cameras.” The idea was that as digital cameras became ubiquitous almost every newsworthy event would be captured by an amateur photographer and hence there was an opening for a global syndication agency to represent the non-professional with a scoop – the man in the street who happened to be in the right place at the right time with their camera (they didn’t have camera phones back then but it is the camera phone that has created the ubiquity) to catch a newsworthy event. Virtually everybody now has a mobile phone, and virtually every mobile phone now comes with a camera. This means that somebody, somewhere is in a position to photograph just about anything that happens on the planet. Well, the third bottle of JD ensured we didn’t do anything the next day and the rest is (a lack of) history. Now, such an agency has been created - a photographic agency that represents people who have still or moving images of newsworthy events, making sure the right newspapers/TV networks see their photo and ensuring that they get a good deal. Bloody good idea, heh what!  Read More

Another V8 BBQ, 9mm semi-automatic-styled remote control and boombox sneakers

August 16, 2005 Our Hemi-engined gadget article got a lot of response, including a company that really does make V8 snowblowers and this remarkable contraption – the “Frontgating Griller.” This amazing lean, mean, no-stick grilling machine will feed a family of 40 heated by your truck's own engine block. Specially designed grooves channel brat juices and burger grease into the bumper trough for easy cleanup or you can convert your engine to biodiesel and reuse all that succulent fat to fuel your reformed eco-unfriendly gas-guzzler. BTW – the gun at right is a 9mm semi-automatic-styled universal remote control and sneakers are boombox sneakers. Read all about them here.  Read More

345 horsepower, 5.7-liter HEMI V-8 engine powered Barbeque

August 9, 2005 Yes folks, this is a man’s barbeque. That’s Tim Kowalec firing up Chrysler Group's one-of-a-kind HEMI-powered grill at an event to announce the top five finalists in the company’s "What Can You HEMI?" contest. Until the event, the HEMI engine was only found in Chrysler, Jeep or Dodge vehicles. With the power and torque of the 5.7-liter V-8 HEMI engine, the grill can cook 240 HEMI dogs in three minutes and is covered by more than 330 square feet of steel. The contest involved people sending in concepts for machines that could be powered by a 5.7-liter HEMI V-8 engine. Five of the best ideas became semi-finalists and Chrysler engineers then built working models of the concept machines. The event was won by a Hemi-powered trike with a custom 4-foot wheel (bottom left image) but some serious machinery filled the placings – such as the Hemi Snowblower (centre) and Hemi paper shredder. Check out the images of all the finalists inside.  Read More

After you read this, you will know less ...

August 9, 2005 Even the most ignorant cannot know less than nothing. After all, negative knowledge makes no sense. But, although this may be true in the everyday world we are accustomed to, it has been discovered that negative knowledge does exist in the quantum world. Small objects such as atoms, molecules and electrons behave radically different than larger objects -- they obey the laws of quantum mechanics. What could negative knowledge possibly mean? In short, after I tell you negative information, you will know less. Such strange situations can occur because what it means to know something is very different in the quantum world. In the quantum world, we can know too much, and it is in these situations where one finds negative knowledge. Negative knowledge (or more precisely negative information) turns out to be precisely the right amount to cancel the fact that we know too much. While all this might appear to be very mysterious, negative information can be put on a rigorous footing as can be found by visiting the homepage of quantum physicist, Jonathan Oppenheim at Cambridge University.  Read More

Preserving the value of a good reputation online

August 7, 2005 One of the aspects missing between the global village and the local one is reputation. Sharks will always prey on the weak and unsuspecting and a close-knit community helps to spot and warn off sharks. In the decade since the internet took off, there have been many efforts to synthesise on-line reputations, with the most successful being feedback systems inside online services such as eBay and Amazon that record feedback on prior buying experiences with each seller. Trust is a key element in commerce and without it, ec-mmerce will struggle. So it’s logical that new systems such as iKarma.com will evolve. IKarma claims to bring to businesses, professionals and individuals a powerful and cost-effective means of preserving and demonstrating their business and personal reputations online. By acting as a trusted third party recorder of customer feedback for all kinds of services, www.iKarma.com hopes to provide a go-to resource for online consumers before they make a purchase. For businesses, it might prove to be an effective means of leveraging their customer goodwill and establishing an easily accessible online reputation record.  Read More

CraftRobo Desktop Cutter enables four colour origami and complex stickers

August 4, 2005 We are VERY excited about this machine and the prospects for what the future holds in the general area of desktop production. The CraftRobo is a desktop cutting machine which when used in conjunction with your desktop printer can produce remarkable colourful three dimensional objects or complex stickers. The CraftRobo also has a kiss-cut (half-cut) function so you can cut around stickers and decals on vinyl while leaving them attached to the carrier sheet, or cut fully through paper or card to produce cut-out designs, or produce fold marks. There’s ROBO Master (windows) software and a Cutting Master ROBO Adobe Illustrator plug-in so you can make up your very own designs or you can download from an extensive library of designs and make your own four-colour origami. Maximum cutting size of the media is 200 mm x 1000 mm (7.9 inch x 39.4 inch). When Saul Griffith, a Massachusetts Institute of Technology doctoral candidate, won the Lemelson-MIT Student Prize for inventing a desktop machine which “printed” low-cost eyeglass lenses, Gizmag’s story noted that his interest in rapid prototyping and personal fabrication could someday lead to what he terms, “low cost digitally enabled machine tools that allow more people to build their own stuff.” Of course if you can't be bothered with the origami thing, and you think pop-up Christmas cards are old hat, you could go straight to 3D printing. If it's good enough for F1-champion-in-waiting Renault, it's probably good enough for anyone.  Read More

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