Highlights from the 2014 LA Auto Show

Ice

Roger Hanson's gigantic backyard ice sculpture for this year, made using water from his ho...

Most of us living in the upper reaches of North America are getting pretty tired of winter by now, but for one Minnesota resident, the arrival of spring will mean the destruction of his incredible work of art. Software engineer Roger Hanson uses water from his home’s geothermal heating system, along with a half-inch rebar framing system and a computer-controlled robotic sprayer, to create gigantic free-form ice sculptures in his backyard. His current masterpiece is 85 feet (26 meters) wide and 64 feet (19.5 meters) tall – although winter’s not over yet.  Read More

The IceCube team poses in front of the deployment tower following completion of the IceCub...

After five years of construction, an international team has put the finishing touches on the University of Wisconsin’s IceCube Neutrino Observatory. Located in Antarctica, the observatory is looking specifically for high-energy neutrinos, which are created in violent cosmic events such as super novae and gamma ray bursts. As neutrinos collide with water molecules in the pitch black, ultra-clear ice, a blue flash of light results, which is detected by the sensors. Ever since neutrinos were discovered in 1956, scientists have hoped to decipher the information these astronomical messengers carry about distant cosmic events and the completion of the observatory marks an important step towards tracing their origins.  Read More

Icing on surfaces such as airplane fuselages could become a thing of the past, thanks to n...

Much to the chagrin of those of us in the Northern Hemisphere, winter is once again on its way. For many of us, this means a return to icy roads, sidewalks, power lines and even airplane wings. Traditionally, the main methods of getting rid of this ice – or at least, keeping it under control – involve the use of salt and/or de-icing chemicals. Both of these are labor-intensive, environmentally-unfriendly, plus the salt kills grass and causes cars to rust. Now, however, researchers from Harvard University are developing nanostructured materials that could keep ice from ever forming on surfaces in the first place.  Read More

One of IceCube's digital optical modules being lowered into the ice

After two decades of planning, the world’s first kilometer-scale neutrino observatory should finally be completed by this December. Named IceCube, it will consist of an array of 5,160 optical sensors embedded within one cubic kilometer of the Antarctic ice shelf – to put the accomplishment in perspective, one of the next-largest such observatories is just 40 cubic meters in size. Its main purpose will be to try to establish, once and for all, the source of cosmic rays.  Read More

The Ice Ball Mold turns an ugly chunk of ice into a spherical thing of beauty

Ice cubes are so passé. We’ve already seen them challenged in their drink cooling duties by Sippin’ Rocks and now there's a new threat looming. The Ice Ball Mold transforms an irregular shaped chunk of ice into an icy sphere, which its proponents say are more desirable than cubes because they melt more slowly due to their smaller surface area - thereby keeping your drink cooler and less diluted for longer.  Read More

Roads covered in ice can be difficult and dangerous to drive on

Like most things, ice can be a blessing or a burden depending on the circumstances. It’s perfect crushed in a drink on a hot summer’s day, but can wreak havoc when it collects on roads, power lines and aircraft in freezing temperatures. A University of Pittsburgh-led team has found a way to reduce these dangers by developing a nanoparticle-based coating that can be easily applied to impede the buildup of ice on solid surfaces.  Read More

The Cruzin' Cooler carries everything from drinks to dogs

Generally, ice chests are easy to move … until you fill them with drinks and ice. Then they weigh a ton and are more likely to put your back out than help you kick back and enjoy the great outdoors. Hence, Kevin Beal created the Cruzin' Cooler for those of us who take our ice chests seriously (and want to race them!). The Cruzin' Cooler is a motorized ice chest that can carry around 200lbs of cargo (including the rider), tow a cooler trailer (or three) and carry just about everything from drinks to dogs.  Read More

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