Science comes up with a lot of awesome stuff, and you don't need a Ph.D, a secret lab, or government funding to get your hands on some of the coolest discoveries. We've got a list of 11 mostly affordable gifts that are guaranteed to blow your mind, whether or not you're a science geek. Click on any image to see it enlarged. 1. Aerogel
This Geoid Is The Most Sophisticated Map Of Earth's Gravity Yet Since 2009 the European Space Agency's Gravity field and steady-state Ocean Circulation Explorer (GOCE) has been mapping the Earth's gravitational field, and today the agency released its most detailed model of the geoid to date. More potato-shaped than spherical, this latest model shows just how different gravity can be at different points on our planet. The geoid is, roughly speaking, a model of the earth that doesn't follow the surface of the crust but rather the average ocean surface if the oceans were at equilibrium and extended through the continents--in other words, the shape the earth would take based on its existing gravitational field if the tides, currents, and crust features didn't distort things. It's an idea that's been around for well more than a century but only recently has been modeled precisely, largely thanks to GOCE. Today's new geoid marks the most precise model to date.
Video: Magnetic Gels That Swim, Shimmy, and 'Walk'
Biometric wallet is 'virtually indestructible,' opens with your touch This biometric wallet has a Bluetooth proximity alarm, carbon fiber shell, and fingerprint sensor for maximum security. It will set the rich and paranoid back about $825. Afraid someone might take something out of your wallet? If you have $825 to spend, fear no more. Dunhill is selling what it calls a “Biometric Wallet” that it claims is virtually indestructible and can only be opened with your fingerprint. Scared of someone taking the entire wallet?
Waveform Audio File Format (WAVE, or more commonly known as WAV due to its filename extension) (rarely, Audio for Windows) is a Microsoft and IBM audio file format standard for storing an audio bitstream on PCs. It is an application of the Resource Interchange File Format (RIFF) bitstream format method for storing data in "chunks", and thus is also close to the 8SVX and the AIFF format used on Amiga and Macintosh computers, respectively. It is the main format used on Windows systems for raw and typically uncompressed audio. WAV
FLAC (/ˈflæk/; Free Lossless Audio Codec) is a codec for lossless compression of digital audio. Digital audio compressed by FLAC's algorithm can typically be reduced to 50–60% of its original size and decompressed to an identical copy of the original audio data. FLAC is an open format with royalty-free licensing and a reference implementation which is free software. FLAC has support for metadata tagging, album cover art, and fast seeking. Though FLAC cannot store floating-point data, and playback support in portable audio devices and dedicated audio systems is limited compared to lossy formats like MP3 or uncompressed PCM, FLAC is supported by more hardware devices than competing lossless compressed formats like WavPack. History Free Lossless Audio Codec
Barack Obama's top secret tent 22 March 2011Last updated at 11:44 By Rajini Vaidyanathan BBC News, Washington President Obama with members of his team in a mobile war room in a tent A rare photo, released by the White House, shows Barack Obama fielding calls from a tent in Brazil, to keep up with events in Libya. The tent is a mobile secure area known as a Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility, designed to allow officials to have top secret discussions on the move. They are one of the safest places in the world to have a conversation.
Happy Pi Day (3.14) Domino Spiral
ScienceCasts: Super Moon
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Cheat Sheet: 10 Tips and Tricks for Microsoft Word