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Inventors & Remarkable People

Eight young inventors give us a 2-minute elevator pitch

The James Dyson Awards for young inventors are always a treasure trove of fresh ideas and up-and-coming innovators - so we caught up with 8 of the Australian finalists and got them each to deliver us a 2-minute 'elevator pitch' explaining their designs and the inspiration behind them. The videos after the jump highlight some of our favourite entries for this year's prize, including the winners. See if you can guess which of these young contestants took the prizes!Read More

Google Science Fair quarter-finalists announced

Fifteen Google Science Fair quarter-finalists have been announced as the competition moves towards the 2011 Grand Final in July. These fifteen finalists will be flying to the Googleplex in Mountain View, California for the Google Science Fair event, and final judging will take place on 11th July by a panel of acclaimed scientists. Open to all students aged 13 to 18 from around the world, the online competition is designed to champion young scientific talent and give students the opportunity to showcase their ideas. Three winners will be chosen from each age group, with an overall winner chosen from those three. Read More

Spicy precursor to the arcade game brought back to life

Hard though it may be to believe for anyone raised since the advent of VCRs, there was a time when people actually had to leave their homes to see adult movies. Going to sleazy cinemas ended up being the main option, although it was predated by a little something known as the peep show machine. Now largely forgotten, these pieces of erotic entertainment history were once a common sight in penny arcades, fair grounds and other sometimes-questionable locales. So, what would one would look like if it were built using today's technology? California's Michael Ford decided to find out.Read More

Farseeing inventor pioneered computer music

Renowned computer generated music innovator Max Mathews has died at the age of 84. Back in 1957 Mathews wrote the program that enabled an IBM 704 mainframe computer to play a composition lasting 17 seconds – an achievement recognized as one of the first examples of digital synthesis of music on a computer. For the next 54 years Mathews pioneered the field of digital audio research and devoted most of his life to learning how computers could aid musicians in performance. Read More

Liber Chronicarum – one of history's first illustrated printed books for sale

It’s easy to become blasé in the ubiquitous, 24-7 avalanche of information in which we live our lives – the challenge now is about filtering, organizing and synthesizing information into a useful and relevant form. Think back though to an earlier time when the very first books became available to the public, when the treasure trove of knowledge in our pocket that we take for granted simply did not exist. A book coming up for auction, the Liber Chronicarum (1493), was one of the very first history books available, one of the first printed illustrated books available and its scope is remarkable given it was produced 500 years ago.Read More

A sled designed for the long, long way down

Swedish adventurer Johan Ernst Nilson definitely has his work cut out for him. On April 6th he began his one-year Pole2Pole trek, in the course of which he intends to travel from the North to South Pole using only carbon-neutral transportation. He has already begun to ski down from the North Pole, with other legs of his journey intended to include travel by dog sled, sailboat, bicycle and kite-assisted sled. Given that his life may depend on everything performing properly, he won’t just be using a garden-variety toboggan to haul his gear across the Arctic and Antarctic ice caps – instead, expedition sponsor Audi has made him a one-of-a-kind sled.Read More

Historic 15th century Fibonacci manuscript up for auction

A collection of revered mathematical works will soon be put to auction in New York, including significant pieces of the Liber Abaci or Book of Calculation by Fibonacci. Esteemed as one of the most brilliant mathematicians in Western history, Leonardo Pisano Bigollo (Fibonacci) was one of the first to explain Arabic numerals, the superiority of these numerals and the importance of zero. Above all it was Fibonacci's work that has helped modern day mathematicians find breakthroughs in mathematical equations, whilst also defining sequences used for computer programming and the financial markets. Read More

Pioneering audio engineer Owsley 'Bear' Stanley dies at 76

Owsley “Bear” Stanley, pioneering audio engineer for the Grateful Dead, died in a car crash near his home in Australia on March 13. The sound designer, artist, and counterculture icon was perhaps best known for producing massive amounts of LSD during the psychedelic 1960s. But it was his groundbreaking sound work that may have the most lasting effect on rock musicians and audiences.Read More

The Cockeyed experiments and creations of Rob Cockerham

When you think of people having a blast with science experiments, hands-on product research and wacky but clever inventions, chances are you think of MythBusters. Five years before that show’s 2003 premiere, however, Sacramento’s Rob Cockerham set about doing much the same thing on his Cockeyed blog. Today, approximately a million readers from around the world visit it every month, checking out his latest activities as documented in sections such as Incredible Construction, Science Club, and Pranks. We had a chance to talk to Rob recently ... when he wasn’t busy making cyclones out of fireworks, analyzing the compostability of SunChips bags, or sneaking bogus time machines into shopping mall displays.Read More

ahumanright.org plans to buy satellite and provide free Internet access for entire world

For those of us who live in the developed world, internet access has become pretty much a given. It’s become so ubiquitous that we almost expect to have it at all times and in all places, but even in this “Information Age,” the majority of the world’s population lacks access to the internet – either because service isn’t available where they are, or they can’t afford it. Kosta Grammatis has a plan, however. Through his charity group ahumanright.org, Grammatis aims to set up a network of satellites that will provide free internet access to everyone in the world. He’s starting by attempting to buy a single used satellite that’s already in orbit and moving it to a location above a developing country. Read More

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