Category Archives: Fun Stuff

Satellite comes back to life, deploys solar sail on second try

Legendary celebrity-astronomer Carl Sagan dreamed of a spaceship that could travel vast distances through space and be propelled by the tiny particles that make up beams of light. This led to the development of LightSail, which was launched on a United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 rocket.

Before the sail deployment, the satellite felt silent twice. These left engineers worrying as problems were reported on a software glitch and an issue with charging the spacecraft batteries.

On Sunday, Engineers sent commands to activate LightSail’s deployment motor when it flew over California. The first attempt was unsuccessful but in the second attempt motor was seen moving before the satellite flew out of range.Read More >>

What Blackjack Can Teach You About Running a Startup

Jeff Ma won millions as a member of the famed MIT Blackjack Team. Now a serial entrepreneur, Ma explains how his skills crossed over from the casino to the C-suite. Like many startups, the MIT Blackjack Team was funded by investors. Whether Ma is betting on a new startup or gambling, he says there are three pillars that you need to have in your organization which are vision, opportunity, and team. Read More>>

Bringing Internet To The Far Corners Of The Earth

Google, in an effort to expand internet, has launched a new way to connect people. This new approach involves hot air balloons.

Google is building hot air balloons that float in the sky. Only instead of carrying people, they carry wireless routers. The balloons fly up about twice as high as a plane, and they have to withstand temperatures as low as negative 120 degrees Fahrenheit and as high as 80 degrees. This new project is named project loom. Read More>>

Zombie outbreak? Statistical mechanics reveal the ideal hideout

A team of researches at Cornell University explored how an “actual” zombie outbreak might play out in the U.S. The researchers modeled the mechanics of the zombies as a proxy to model a real disease outbreak. The project was an overview of modern epidemiology modeling, starting with differential equations to model a fully connected population, then moving on to lattice-based models, and ending with a full U.S.-scale simulation of an outbreak across the continental U.S. Read More>>

 

The Surprising Power of an Electric Eel’s Shock

The Study on electric fish in 1800’s by Alessandro Volta, which mimics how electric fish store and release electricity was similar to how a modern battery works. Now a new study, by Kenneth C. Catania, a biologist at Vanderbilt University, reveals a remarkable sophistication in the way electric eels deploy their shocks. Similar to a taser, but studies show some remarkable features of the eel’s shock. Read More>>

CAN A $200 BEARD-GROWING KIT MAKE YOU COOL? WE GAVE IT A TRY

Traditionally when you think of a beardsman you think of, like, a biker or an outdoorsman or a lumberjack. But Eric Bandholz, the founder of a men’s-grooming company called Beardbrand is set to change that perception and give professional expert help to urban beardsman. Bandholz’s company is tapping into a growth market where beards have a made a huge comeback over the past few years, and lots of new beardsmen are eager for products to help tend the bush. Between 2009 and 2013, the number of men with face fuzz increased 21%, and men’s grooming products in general are booming: Bandholz is looking to capitalize on the same by offering upscale grooming products which he does via his website, Tumblr, and YouTube channel. Research firm Mintel has estimated the category could hit $3.2 billion in sales by 2016, as compared to $2.2 billion in 2006.Read More>>

How to make a diamond from scratch – with peanut butter

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“If we want to understand how the Earth was formed, then one of the things you need to know is what planet is made out of,” explains Frost, A scientist at the Bayerisches Geoinstitut in Germany. Frost’s research involves attempts to mimic the conditions of the Earth’s lower mantle. As part of this work, Frost has found some surprising ways to make diamonds – from carbon dioxide and a bizarre ingredient peanut butter. His institute is looking at whether they can make artificial diamonds with different properties; doping the diamonds with boron might make better semiconductors for electronics that don’t heat up with use, for instance– one of the biggest wastes of energy in electronics at the moment. Read More>>