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Ride along with us inside GM's EN-V (Electric Networked Vehicle), a tiny two-seater with a 40-mile range that whisked us around a hotel ballroom in smooth, quiet comfort. The little two-seater, employing the same balancing-act technology as the Segway scooter, sheds the two-wheeled scooter's nerdy Mall Cop image for a Pac-Man -esque bubble design. It was a hoot to take this egg-shaped hotrod for a spin inside a controlled environment, but we're not quite sure how it would do on the mean streets of the real world — say, pitted against a giant SUV.
<img class="alignnone size-full wp-image-18671" title="puffin-20100121-600" src="http://www.wired.com/images_blogs/autopia/2010/01/puffin-20100121-600.jpg" alt="puffin-20100121-600" width="600" height="304" /> The engineers at NASA have combined every one of our geeky transportation dreams into a single little vehicle called the Puffin. It takes off like a helicopter and flies like a plane. It can cruise at 140 mph and, with a boost mode, hit about twice that.
<img src="http://www.wired.com/images_blogs/gadgetlab/2010/10/Microwavethermalpropulsion-660x406.png" alt="" title="Microwavethermalpropulsion" width="660" height="406" class="aligncenter size-large wp-image-52652" /> If human space exploration is going to extend to celestial bodies farther away than the moon or even Mars, we need to develop a tremendous amount of new technology in order to do it. At this weekend’s Long Now-sponsored “Long Conversation” event, NASA Ames Director Simon “Pete” Worden outlined what the agency is doing to create that future.
Everyone knows very well that deserts are parched plains and comprise of endless dunes of sand, with death coming from every direction. Watch your step – you might just ruffle the pincers out of a poisonous scorpion, oh yeah, and there’s that small problem of not having enough water to keep you hydrated. Here’s the Water Vapor Project concept that might change the way life in the desert works, as it attempts to hydrate the parched desert landscape of Africa, resulting in an environment where greenery will thrive based on the basic principles of water vapor.
A submarine once seemed about as ridiculously impossible as an invisibility cloak seems today. But while technologies like the submarine, bomb, radar and tank once captured the imagination of science fiction authors , science has brought them to the mainstream awareness. Researchers are continuing to catch up with imagination, and it's only a matter of time before the technologies we still consider fiction meet a similar fate.
TWind Airborne Turbine Concept TWind, an Italian concept for a tethered airborne wind turbine. Wikipedia Future airborne wind turbines could spin with greater gusto in the faster winds found at high altitudes, and send power back to Earth via nanotube tether cables. Swarms of energy-harvesting kites, whirling blimps or balloons could stay aloft for a year, and could be reeled in during storms or for maintenance. This vision, outlined by a researcher at NASA, recently sparked the first federally funded research effort into airborne wind farms.
The quiet, suburban neighborhoods and strip malls that line Route 128 , the main highway that circumscribes the Greater Boston area, hardly betray the area’s high-tech firepower. Since the 1950s, this corridor has played host to seminal technology companies such as Digital Equipment Corp., Raytheon and Sun Microsystems. Amidst this high-tech stew, the corridor has also become a hotbed for military robotics, particularly those that roll or even walk on terra firma.
Naval Lasing Raytheon's prototype ship-borne laser system has effectively shot down UAVs from the deck of a ship. The Navy wants a more versatile free electron laser weapon to perform a variety of security tasks, including target designation, tracking, and--of course--target elimination. Raytheon It’s unclear which is the bigger news coming out of the Office of Naval Research; the fact that the Navy’s Free Electron Laser (FEL) program has demonstrated an injector capable of producing the necessary electrons to fuel a megawatt-class laser beam, or the fact that a next-generation future weapon under development by the military is months ahead of schedule.
Last month, Russia was the No. 1 source of spam in the world. It's probably because of Oleg Nikolaenko, a 23-year-old who was recently arrested for flooding the world with 10 billion spam emails a day. Using a network of over 500,000 zombie computers known as the Mega-D botnet, Nikolaenko churned out 10 billion spam emails a day at the height of his operation. These advertised mostly counterfeit goods and herbal remedies—one Rolex counterfeiter who was his client said he spent $2 million on spam advertising.
<img alt="Artificial intelligence is here. In fact, it's all around us. But it's nothing like we expected." src="/magazine/wp-content/images/19-01/ff_ai_essay_airevolution_c_f.jpg" title="The A.I. Revolution Is On" width="660" height="336" /> Today’s A.I. bears little resemblance to its initial conception. The field’s trailblazers believed success lay in mimicking the logic-based reasoning that human brains were thought to use.
You may not know what fractals are, mathematically speaking, but you know what they look like: tangled, crenelated forms bending and burbling in on themselves into infinity in a geometric, yet weirdly organic way. Generating fractal images is more like exploration than design -- and Tom Beddard explores an entire "fractal planet" in the video below. Beddard completed a PhD in laser physics before moving into web development and design.
To Singularity, or Not To Singularity?
Carlos Slim Helú--the world's richest man--Steve Case, and seemingly half the military-industrial complex are gathering at a private club in Washington D.C. this morning to honor the husband-and-wife futurists Alvin and Heidi Toffler on the 40th anniversary of their first and most influential book, Future Shock . Published under Alvin's name in 1970, Future Shock added "information overload" and "prosumer" to the lexicon, along with its title--which refers to the culture shock that results when the culture that's changing so fast it feels foreign is your own. Today's invitation-only event is essentially a retirement party for the pair, structured as an opportunity to reflect on their track record. And, as part of the proceedings, Future Shock is revisited--and spun forward. Many of the new Tofflerian predictions are merely predictable: China will rise; cities will grow; Social Security will cease to exist, and Iran's leaders will remain irrational.
It's official. Open Stack has made its first release. It's a major moment for the nascent open cloud initiative, a service that combines the Rackspace object storage capabilities with NASA's Nebula, the open computing effort from the U.S federal space agency.
<img class="alignnone size-full wp-image-28398" title="2009_Toyota_FCHV-adv_-_003" src="http://www.wired.com/images_blogs/autopia/2010/10/2009_Toyota_FCHV-adv_-_003.jpg" alt="" width="670" height="447" /> A SunHydro hydrogen fueling station has opened in the parking lot of Proton Energy Systems in Wallingford, CT, the first in a network of hydrogen stations that SunHydro’s founder hopes will eventually line the East Coast. Back in January, we first told you about SunHydro’s ambitious plans to open enough solar-powered hydrogen refueling stations to create a “hydrogen highway” from Maine to Miami . Now, the first station is open and refueling a fleet of test cars from Toyota (shown above). Eventually, it will serve local fleets and public transportation systems in New Haven and Hartford.
If you think about it, the first “Internet” looked nothing like it does today. In fact, it was created as a specialized network architecture for the purposes of national defense and security. It goes without saying that, since then, the Internet has had an impact on creativity, global business and economic growth that surpasses even the wildest expectations of the innovators who created it. But if you ask me, we still haven’t even scratched the surface.