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— Health & Wellbeing

Opinion: Why has Porsche designed a Hookah Pipe?

We have to admit being more than a little surprised that in this increasingly health-conscious world, Porsche Design has released a new luxury Shisha waterpipe. Also known as a hookah or narghile, Shisha is becoming increasingly trendy in Western countries by "social" tobacco smokers and is already deeply embedded in African and Middle Eastern cultures. Porsche is one of the strongest, well respected brand names in the world, synonymous not only with uncompromising engineering and innovation, but with the deepest concern and respect for the safety of its customers. Why then would such a company create a product which is known to be so injurious to its users? Are Porsche's brand custodians asleep? Read More
— Aircraft

The Model 367 “BiPod” hybrid flying car designed by Burt Rutan

The team at Scaled Composites pulled out all the stops to realize the final design of the company’s founder and former CTO, Burt Rutan, ahead of his retirement in April earlier this year. In just four months, the Scaled Composites team went from beginning the preliminary design to the first flight of the “BiPod”, a hybrid gasoline-electric flying car that grew out of a program to develop a rapid, low-cost electric test bed using as many off-the-shelf components as possible. Read More
— Environment

Solar panels not just cool for the environment but cool for buildings as well

According to a team of researchers at the UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering, the solar panels sprouting on increasing numbers of residential and commercial rooftops around the world aren’t just generating green electricity, they’re also helping keep the buildings cool. The news that letting photovoltaic panels take the solar beating will reduce the amount of heat reaching the roof shouldn’t come as much of a surprise, but the fact no one has thought to quantify just what the effects of rooftop solar panels on a building’s temperature are is a little baffling. Read More
— Science

New study highlights the environmental benefits of lab-grown meat

As a meat lover, it's been hard not to notice the rise in the price of meat at my local supermarket over the last few years. But it’s not just the cost to consumers that is a major concern; it’s the major role that livestock production plays on climate change. While cultured meat, also known as in vitro meat, lab-grown meat and even Frankenmeat, might not sound that appetizing to many meat lovers, a new study carried out by scientists from Oxford University and the University of Amsterdam says that cultured meat would provide substantial environmental benefits. Read More
— Computers

Home-built LEGO PC donates its computing power to medical research

Most of the custom-built DIY PCs featuring unusual case mods are made just for fun or fashion. The LEGO-bodied PC by Mike Schropp is quite different, however, despite the fact it looks really impressive. It's a 12-core PC setup consisting of three systems in a single box made of LEGO, with its computing power being donated to medical research and humanitarian projects via IBM's World Community Grid project. Read More
— Robotics

Study shows why human-like robots give people the creeps

People seem to enjoy watching robots and cartoon characters move about, and usually don't mind seeing other humans going through their daily motions, but when it comes to artificial creations that are made to look very human ... they're not always so popular. Although we tend to like animated objects or images that look kind of like real people, once they reach a certain level of realism, they just become spooky. This threshold is known as the "uncanny valley," and an international team of researchers recently set out to determine just what it is about our brains that causes it to occur. Read More
— Laptops

gScreen SpaceBook dual-screen laptop is up for pre-order

It's been nearly two years since the first photos of the dual-screen gScreen SpaceBook laptop were unveiled. It looks like the waiting for its release is nearing an end, however, with the 17-inch SpaceBook now available for pre-order on gScreen's website. The SpaceBook is a large laptop equipped with a pair of slide out 17-inch full HD displays, offering a huge panoramic workspace. Read More
— Science

New fluorescent protein allows scientists to see living organs

There are several techniques used by researchers and physicians to image the internal organs of people and animals, but each of these techniques have their shortcomings. X-rays and computed tomography (CT) scanning, for instance, involve exposing the subject to radiation. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is safer, although subjects must sometimes ingest a contrasting agent in order to obtain more distinct images. The use of injected colored fluorescent proteins is another approach, but has been limited by the fact that hemoglobin in the subject’s blood absorbs much of the wavelength of the light used for imaging. Now, however, scientists from New York’s Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University have engineered a new fluorescent protein that sidesteps this limitation. Read More
— Good Thinking

Ship-based system designed to harness energy from waves

Why don’t we have stationary commercial fishing platforms that are anchored offshore, where they sweep the waters with their nets, sending the captured fish back to shore through a pipeline? Well, because it’s simpler and more efficient to send fishing boats out to catch the fish and bring them in. Thinking along those same lines, the Fraunhofer Center for Manufacturing Innovation has proposed a ship-mounted renewable energy-harvesting system, that would be powered by the ocean’s waves. Read More
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