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All You Need In A Boat: A 2.4m Hot Tub And Four Coolers

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As if enjoying a leisurely cruise across a lake wasn’t relaxing enough, a Seattle company has found a way to take it to a whole new level by cramming a 2.4m long hot tub inside a 5m boat. This is synergy at its finest, people.

When the hot tub is completely filled with 40C water — courtesy of a diesel-powered boiler — the boat weighs in at 950kg, but it still manages to float about 50cm above the waterline. And a steerable electric motor controlled by a small joystick takes care of propulsion, bringing the craft to a top speed of about 8km/h. So it’s obviously designed for leisurely trolling, made all the more enjoyable by its 50W sound system and four separate coolers for your libations. If there was ever a good reason to mortgage your house to raise $US42,000, this is it.

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Are Barbecues Bad For Your Health?

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As we settle into the barbecue season, it’s time to consider whether the meat on your grill is harming your health. Conflicting messages in the media certainly don’t help. On one hand are advertisements with Sam Neill claiming red meat is the reason that humans are smarter than orangutans. On the other, the prestigious World Cancer Research Fund reports that red meat may cause colorectal cancer. Whom to believe?

The good bits, and bad

Some red meat does contain fats our brains need. Omega-3 fats form part of the structure of brains and eyes, and may also help reduce blood pressure and modify inflammation. But meat isn’t the only food containing omega-3 fats. In fact, the richest sources are oily fish.

And if you buy grain-fed steak, you may be getting hardly any omega-3 fats at all. Grass-fed meat (and wild meats, such as kangaroo) is not only better for the environment, but better nutritionally, containing healthier fats and a lower fat content overall.

Red meat also contains decent amounts of zinc and protein, as well as iron, which is one of its big nutritional selling points. Indeed, the iron in red meat is in a form that our bodies absorb easily — “haem” iron.

Meat producers are fond of producing colourful ads that equate the iron content of a bucket-load of spinach with that of a small juicy-looking nugget of lean beef. And iron deficiency is an important issue — but that same haem iron may be harmful in fatty processed meat as you will see.

As well as beneficial nutrients, meat also contains saturated fat, the kind that promotes increased cholesterol levels in the blood and blocks blood vessels that the heart relies on to keep working.

The fat content of meat varies markedly with species and cut. If you buy untrimmed brisket, chuck or shoulder, or luxury marbled meat, such as wagyu or kobe beef, your meat will be around 10% to 20% fat. Ribs, neck, pork belly, and the cheapest minced meat can be up to 50% fat. You can get down to 3% to 5% fat if you trim your meat well of all visible fat and choose leaner cuts, such as loin and round steak, flank and shanks.

Meat and cancer

The cancer risk associated with high consumption of red meat, particularly processed red meat, is definitely cause for concern. In 2007, the World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF) produced an expert report that assessed the evidence for causal links between food, lifestyle and cancer, based on data from all studies that met quality standards.

In the report, the WCRF concluded that there was “convincing” evidence (that is, evidence of both the mechanism and the effect) for a link between colorectal cancer and high intakes of red meat. The link was strongest for processed red meat — bacon, salami, sausages and hot dogs, which contain curing agents such as nitrates and nitrites.

The studies’ data indicated that cancer risk continued to rise with higher meat intakes. This rise appears to start once red meat consumption exceeds 300 grams in a week. The WCRF’s recommendation is that people who eat red meat should consume less than 500 grams a week, including very little if any processed meat products. There was no data to indicate that any level of processed meat intake was free of risk.

Eating fish may help reduce colorectal cancer risk, and some studies indicate that a high fibre intake, and eating lots of fruits and vegetables, are associated with reduced cancer risk.

How it works

How red meat causes the increase in cancer risk is still a question in search of a complete answer. Many different components of meat have been suggested as a mechanism, including the curing agents nitrate and nitrite that are present in processed meat; the fat or the haem iron in meat; the excess protein load that big meat eaters might often consume; and the carcinogens, such as heterocyclic amines (HCAs)and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), that can be formed during the cooking of meat.

Protein doesn’t appear to be the culprit, despite the fact that the end products of excess protein intake are quite toxic (these are excreted if the kidneys are working normally). Unlike high-protein diets, high-fat diets have been shown in animal studies to increase cancer risk, apparently promoting gut cancers through their damaging effects in the gut as well as contributing to obesity, which itself is a cancer risk factor.

But studies of low-fat diets haven’t shown a reduction in risk, so other factors may also be involved. The problem with processed meat seems mainly to stem from its salt content (associated with risk of stomach cancer) and its content of nitrates and nitrites, which are added as part of the curing process and can be converted to carcinogens.

And unlike the iron in plant foods, the haem iron in meat seems to help produce mutagens and carcinogens in the meat and in the gut by reacting with the fat in the meat, and by helping to convert nitrates and nitrites to their carcinogenic form.

There are a lot of studies showing that the carcinogenic substances HCAs and PAHs are produced when you cook your meat at a high temperature or on an open flame, and that colorectal cancer risk increases when you consume a lot of these. Some people have a genetic sensitivity to HCAs and they’re at even higher risk.

Mysteriously, although barbecuing chicken and seafood produces large amounts of HCAs, these don’t seem to be associated with increased cancer risk, perhaps because they are different types from the ones that red meats produce. And perhaps their lower iron content has something to do with it.

Cooking for shorter times, or at lower temperatures, produces smaller amounts of HCAs and PAHs. Raw meat, surprisingly, is no less digestible than meat cooked briefly either at high or low temperatures. What really makes a difference in digestibility is overcooking until meat is tough. This reduces digestibility significantly but that increases again in long, slow cooking.

The magic of marinades

Interestingly, marinating meat may be a good idea for health as much as for flavour. A Portuguese study found that several hours’ marinating in beer or red wine significantly reduced the production of HCAs in beef, perhaps by reducing movement of precursor substances to the surface of the meat, or by adding antioxidants that inhibit the reaction.

Other studies have successfully used garlic, rosemary, thyme and sage, and olive oil with garlic and lemon.

Cooking with extra-virgin olive oil had a similar effect. But adding sugar or fruit to marinades appears to increase the risk of burning and forming more carcinogens.

So, as you wheel out your barbecue this summer, consider serving sustainable seafood or organic chicken some of the time instead of red meat; stick to smaller serves of grass-fed lean meat, marinated without sugar or salt and cooked to a juicy medium-rare, away from a bare flame; and have plenty of salad with your meal. Food for thought?

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Monster Machines: DARPA’s SeeMee Satellites

While UAVs have joined spy satellites as an indispensable part of America’s military operations, they are not the end-all-be-all perfect solution, even in coordination. That’s why DARPA plans to supplement these unmanned intelligence gathering platforms with jet-deployed constellations of micro-satellites. Soon, every grunt will have access to a real-time battlefield mini-map just in like video games.

Spy satellites and UAVs alike suffer from the same problem — availability. Sure some UAVs in the US arsenal can remain airborne for the better part of two days while providing focused area coverage but they eventually have to refuel which leads to intel coverage gaps. Orbiting satellites don’t need to refuel but their operational windows — and therefore the wide area imaging they are able to provide — are limited by their overflight schedule (the amount of time they’re actually overhead). When combined with information flow restrictions through the chain of command, actually delivering fresh, tactical intel can be a challenge. In response, DARPA has set about creating a hybridised, tertiary level of intelligence gathering that leverages the relative strengths of both technologies and delivers that information directly to the troops that need it most urgently.

“We’re putting near-real time data where the warfighter needs it — directly into their hands — and providing them with vital, tactical intelligence they can control,” said Tom Bussing, vice president of Advanced Missile Systems at Raytheon Missile Systems in a press release.

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Last December, DARPA awarded Raytheon a $US1.5 million contract for Phase One development of the Space Enabled Effects for Military Engagements (SeeMe) project. SeeMee will utilise constellations of micro-satellites to provide soldiers with accurate satellite imaging of their precise location within 90 minutes. Each SeeMe satellite will measure about a metre long, 30cm in diameter, weigh around 11kg, and carry a $US500,000 price tag. Two dozen such satellites would be shot into very low orbit via fighter jet (DARPA’s hoping to eventually use the Airborne Launch Assist Space Access (ALASA) for these deployments) and remain overhead for 45 days to three months before completely burning up on atmospheric reentry.

“SeeMe is a logical adjunct to UAV technology, which will continue to provide local or regional very high-resolution coverage, but which can’t cover extended areas without frequent refuelling,” DARPA program manager Dave Barnhart told United Press International (UPI). The project has just gotten out of the design phase so there’s no timetable yet for deployment but Raytheon is reportedly already building a half dozen prototypes for Phase two testing.

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The Gigantic Aeroscraft Is Finished — And It’s Awesome

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Good news, people! The gigantic Aeroscraft — a new type of rigid aircraft that is neither a blimp nor an aeroplane — is complete.

This thing can change the way we understand travelling, as well as military transportation. You can see a video of its first move here.

According to the company, “the final configuration and vehicle systems integration functionality testing has been completed as the Aeroscraft subscale demonstration vehicle reaches the finish line.” The aircraft will enter a flying tests phase over the next 60 days. After they are done with the testing, they will build the full scale version. Yes, this gigantic aircraft is only a small version of what’s coming. Imagine that.

Aeros CEO Igor Pasternak thinks that “this is truly the beginning of a vertical global transportation solution for perhaps the next 100 years.” Indeed, it may become just that. Imagine having the capability of transporting huge amounts of material or people across any distance, without the need of any ground infrastructure.

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The civilian versions would be able to offer air cruises at any altitude. Just like a cruise ship but over land.

Imagine taking the most awesome trip over a three or four days, from New York to San Francisco, slowly flying over the Grand Canyon or the Rocky Mountains, watching the incredible scenery while sipping on a cocktail or comfortably having dinner and Cigar (One can dream!) in a restaurant with huge glass windows.

Then, at night, you will sleep in your comfortable room. That’s what the full-size Aeroscraft will be able to offer and I will be the first one in line to experience it.

There will also be cargo and military versions too, capable of transporting anything from ISO-standard containers — like any cargo ship — to tanks and hundreds of soldiers.

I can’t wait to see these giants cruising over Earth’s skies.

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Video:

...not so new, its Thunderbird 2!!!!

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...not so new, its Thunderbird 2!!!!

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nyah.gif Hahahahaha!!!!perfect10.gif

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Why The Moon Landings Couldn’t Have Been Faked

Excellent video!!! Ive seen a few moon hoax debunking videos before but not one from this angle before - really insightful

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The Definitive Compilation Of Segway Fails

http://youtu.be/JuQYpSfFKnA

Helmet? Check. Segway? Got it. Total dweeb status? Done and done. Under normal circumstances, it’s hard to look at someone riding the personal transportation system without cracking up. But try watching a series of people falling off of Segways, and it’s utterly impossible to keep a straight face.

From what it looks like, the Segway is actually very difficult to master. Some of these operators delude themselves into thinking they look like total badasses. They don’t.

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The Future Of Apartments Looks Like This

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We’re running out of space, and we’re running out of money — and for anyone who wants to live in a city (that would be billions of humans), that’s a problem. Here’s a solution: micro apartments that squeeze full life into a tiny box.

What you see above is the winner of New York City’s “adAPT NYC” competition, aimed at creating liveable, humane, elegantly designed apartments under the current legal minimum of 37sqm.

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The “My Micro NY” design, by nARCHITECTS, does just that — you can fit your whole existence into an apartment between 26sqm and 28sqm using clever compartmentalisation, folding furniture and an eagle eye towards efficiency. According to an explanation from Mayor Bloomberg’s office,

"Each unit is comprised of two distinct zones: a ‘toolbox’ containing a kitchen, bathroom and storage and a ‘canvas’ providing ample, well-proportioned flexible space allowing for individual exp
ression, and serving as the primary living and sleeping area. ‘My Micro NY’ unites a spectrum of scales ranging from efficiently designed kitchens to the organisation of the apartments and common space, all in a simple yet iconic building."

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Next year, an entire building of micro-apartments will go up in Manhattan’s Gramercy neighbourhood, with prices that beat the hell out of anything that isn’t the lice-infested upstairs storage room in a Chinese restaurant: $US940 for a studio and around $US1700 for a two-person unit. Those are spectacular prices for New York City housing.

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But this is beyond New York. Experiments like Hills show that we can live happily and beautifully inside spaces that would have looked claustrophobic and horrible on paper. But with the right brains, square footage doesn’t really mean anything.

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This Interactive Map Lets You Spy On Insecure Webcam Feeds

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A new web app mashes together insecure feeds from Trendnet home security cameras with Google Maps to let you spy on people all over the world. It’s horrible, dreadful, disgusting — and utterly compelling.

There is no getting around the fact that you are taking a peek into some very, very personal environments here — and if you head to the site you’ll feel equal parts sick and fascinated. Ultimately what makes this feel so intrusive is the fact that the video feeds are tied to accurate geographic locations. But in truth the site has been established to raise awareness of an ongoing vulnerability in Trendnet home security cameras.

The problem was first spotted early 2012, and was all over Reddit and 4chan this time last year. But, while Trendnet claims to have notified all owners of affected cameras, it clearly — for whatever reason — hasn’t done a good enough job. The hope is that this site will raise awareness and get people to sort out the problem. Which is easy enough to do! There’s a firmware update, linked to on the site, that people can use to fix the security hole. So, if you can find your own feed or that of a friend, you know what to do.

Otherwise, creeps all over the internet will be able to do what you just did, indefinitely: see sleeping babies, people’s living rooms, all manner of bustling offices and — rather less exciting — industrial store rooms. Please make it stop.

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Insecure webcams? They got self-esteem issues and you want to abuse them? For shame!

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Those Aedle headphones are gorgeous....immediately went to their site to see if I could score a pair but theyre already sold out tantrum.gif . oh well, more money for cigars spotlight.gifparty.gif

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Nobody Would See You Coming On This Beautiful Transparent Bike

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From certain angles, you can barely see this beautiful bicycle — because it’s made from the same strong, lightweight and transparent plastic used in fighter jet canopies. It’s the perfect stealth bike.

A concept put together by Designaffairs, this bicycle — aptly called Clarity Bike — is built from a polymer called Trivex. First used in helicopter windscreens and then in fighter jet canopies, the material is incredibly light but can withstand major shocks. It’s also resistant to extremes of heat and cold, and can be injection moulded — so it would be perfect for making a bicycle.

"We believe that the Clarity Bike could be a giant leap forward in bicycle frame engineering and production. The design takes advantage of an advanced polymer which combines high impact resistance, lightweight properties and a gentle flexibility that usually would only be expected on an old Italian steel frame."

If this thing could be made affordably, they could sell an absolute ton — and I, for one, would be at the front of the queue.

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This Is BMW’s Badass Bobsled For The US Winter Olympic Team

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Late last year, BMW teased Winter Olympics fans with a concept sketch of the two-man bobsled it was designing for the US Men’s Bobsled Team. But with the season officially starting last Saturday, the design, which will hopefully help the two-man team win their first gold medal since 1936, was finally unveiled.

Underneath its paint job, the bobsled’s exposed carbon fibre body just screams speed. But to most fans it probably doesn’t look that different from the bobsleds used by other countries, because of stiff regulations on the designs. So BMW used its expertise in vehicle engineering to reconfigure the weight distribution in the new sled, lightening the body shell so the centre of gravity was lower and more centralised.

Will it result in faster times and a better shot at a gold medal? Only time will tell as the bobsled is refined and perfected through international competition leading up to the Olympics. But the question remains: How do we know that BMW, a German company, isn’t secretly sabotaging the US team’s efforts to win the gold?

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Would You Wear Rebook’s Crazy New Shoes?

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According to Reebok, these sneakers are the “the first all-terrain athletic shoe”. They’re supposed to echo the utility of an all-terrain vehicle, and take mud, snow, grass and sand in their stride. But let’s not ignore the fact that they look completely and utterly weird.

In many ways they have all the trappings of a normal sneaker: padded tongue, supportive collar for ankle protection, nicely breathable upper and… oh my god look at those lugged soles.

These things seem to be designed to make the wearer look like a clown. Or a space explorer. Perhaps even an alien. They were certainly not designed to make you look normal. Which makes us wonder, would any of you consider wearing them?

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Dubious Imperial Rumour: J.J. Abrams Will Direct Next Star Wars

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Even though God in Heaven has prohibited man from directing both Star Trek and Star Wars at the same time — lest he be sent into a pit of tar and screaming — I've heard two reports saying J.J. Abrams will use the force. Seriously.

This doesn’t make sense! And yet The Wrap and Deadline both say it’s happening. Abrams has explicitly denied that he’s directing the impending Disney super sequels. He’s also committed to the Star Trek franchise with rival studio Paramount.

That said, Abrams is a geek god, having created the incoherent dream-jerkoff Lost, and the fan-beloved Star Trek reboot. But Super 8 was horrible. Is this good news? Can we really call something so far out news? No. The force is not strong with this rumour, wink. And come on, Disney, just do the obvious thing and hand Episode VII to Christopher Nolan, or else the sequels will end with the realisation that the rebellion was just a dream and Luke Skywalker was in purgatory the entire time.

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Google Images Just Got A Whole Lot More Slick

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Google has just announced that it has given its Images service an overhaul. Placing an emphasis on speed, metadata and slick looks, image previews will now appear in an inline panel to make it easier to browse large previews.

That means that metadata will appear right next to images — handy if you’re looking for a particular size of image, say — and the pics themselves will be navigable with keyboard shortcuts. No more going back and forth between pages to see larger images:

instead, tapping cursor buttons will let you see them from the search page. A saviour for image editors and porn lovers alike.

The new UI is being rolled out to users over the next few days, so expect to see it soon.

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This DNA Gun Will Tag Felons For Weeks

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This startlingly orange gun isn’t something from a sci-fi film set. Instead, it’s a new firearm by UK-based Selectamark that fires non-lethal pellets and marks its targets with DNA for later identification.

Designed for use by police and military, the gun fires soft little green pellets, pictured below. Weighing just a gram, when they hit a target, they leave an enduring biological mark. Andrew Knights, from Selectamark, explains:

“On contact with the target the uniquely-coded SelectaDNA solution leaves a synthetic DNA trace mark that will enable the relevant authorities to confirm or eliminate that person from their involvement in a particular situation and could ultimately lead to arrest and prosecution.”

Accurate over distances up to 40 metres, the gun allows police to tag villains with DNA, which should in theory “remain on an offender for weeks”. As non-lethal yet incriminating techniques go, this sure seems one of the most futuristic.

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MIKA: Looks like NERF to me... wink.png

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Guillotine Slingshot: The Most Dangerous Elasticised Weapon

It’s hard to imagine what kind of fairytales a young German boy has to grow up with to inspire a life spent crafting a ridiculous slingshot-based arsenal, but Joerg Sprave seems particularly endeared to Hansel & Gretel. So to celebrate the upcoming film loosely based on that story, Joerg has created what has to be one of the scariest devices to ever come out of his armoury: a massive bazooka that can behead whatever or whoever is in its sights.

It is of course designed with witches in mind, making it easy to take them out of commission with one well-placed shot. But there’s no reason it can’t also come in handy at picnics, slicing up a watermelon for all to enjoy. Or for finding and prepping the perfect the perfect Christmas turkey. The possibilities are endless.

MIKA: ...Ze-Germans! rolleyes.gif

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Monster Machines: The Biggest Bomb In The History Of The World

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Big Ivan, better known as Tsar Bomba, was 57 megatons of Soviet might. That’s 1400 times Hiroshima and Nagasaki combined and 10 times the entire combined fire power expended in WWII. In one bomb. One explosion. And, incredibly, that’s only half of what it could have done.

In July 1961, Nikita Khrushchev, First Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (and leader of the USSR) decided that he had had enough of the unspoken nuclear testing moratorium that his country, the US, and the UK had been abiding by since 1958. The 22nd Congress of the Communist Party would convene that October, providing the perfect venue to show off the USSR’s military muscle. With the world’s eyes on Moscow, what better way to show the West who was boss than with a “testing spectacular” setting off the largest man-made explosion of all time?

Problem was, they didn’t have a bomb nearly big enough for Khrushchev. Up to that point, the largest hydrogen bomb the Soviets had detonated was the puny 3 MT RDS-37 (albeit the first true hydrogen bomb they built), but Khrushchev demanded something much, much bigger — enough to make America’s 15 MT Castle Bravo test in 1954 wilt. And he wanted it built in time for the Congress. And since telling Nikita Khrushchev “no” simply didn’t happen, a four man development team — Victor Adamskii, Yuri Babaev, Yuri Smirnov, and Yuri Trutnev — designed and simultaneously built the 7m long, three-stage thermonuclear device in just 15 weeks.

Officially designated as AN602 hydrogen bomb, the Tsar Bomba used the common three-stage Teller-Ulam design wherein the primary fission reaction is used to compress a secondary mixed fission/fusion fuel layer, which in turn compresses a large, tertiary thermonuclear payload — essentially stringing a pair of hydrogen fission reactions together in order to generate enough energy to instigate fusion in a uranium payload.

Since the project was so rushed, only one such weapon was ever built and even then just barely. At 27 tons, it weighed nearly as much as the Tu-95 that carried it and was so big that crews had to cut off the plane’s bomb-bay doors in order to fit it in. Even so, at 11.32am on October 30, 1961, the Tsar Bomba exited Andrei Durnovtsev’s plane at a height of 10km and slowly parachuted towards Mityushikha Bay test range in Novaya Zemlya (giving the drop plane just 188 seconds to escape). At 4km high, Big Ivan went boom.

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The resulting fireball had a radius of nearly 300m vertically and its 64,000m tall mushroom cloud reached into the stratosphere. The light generated by the reaction could be seen from over a 1000km and the force of its explosion registered a 5.0 on the Richter scale. The shock wave generated air pressures topping 300PSI, circled the Earth thrice, and cracked windows 900km away in Norway and Finland. Buildings in the abandoned town of Severny 55km away were levelled — all of them — and upon later inspection, ground zero was reportedly the texture of a skating rink.

As one observer recalled,

"The clouds beneath the aircraft and in the distance were lit up by the powerful flash. The sea of light spread under the hatch and even clouds began to glow and became transparent. At that moment, our aircraft emerged from between two cloud layers and down below in the gap a huge bright orange ball was emerging. The ball was powerful and arrogant like Jupiter. Slowly and silently it crept upwards…. Having broken through the thick layer of clouds it kept growing. It seemed to suck the whole earth into it. The spectacle was fantastic, unreal, supernatural."

This utter destruction is only half of what the Tsar Bomba was capable of. It was designed and built to deliver a staggering 100-megaton payload. The Tsar was supposed to utilise fast-fissioning uranium tampers on the second and third stages of the bomb, which would have allowed for a bigger reaction and subsequent energy release. However, just before the test was to take place, Soviet leadership ordered the tampers swapped out with lead replacements in order to prevent nuclear fallout from reaching populated areas of the USSR.

These lead tampers cut the bomb’s yield by 50 per cent but they also eliminated 97 per cent of the resulting fallout. As such the Tsar Bomba, the largest, most destructively powerful device ever built by man also holds the notable distinction of being the relatively “cleanest” nuclear weapon ever tested. Luckily, that record was only important for two years until the signing of the Partial Test Ban Treaty which brought an end to above-ground nuclear weapons tests.

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Mercedes-Benz’s New Cars Will Recognise Street Signs You Miss

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If the screams from pedestrians and the angry looks from oncoming drivers don’t provide enough clues that you’ve accidentally turned onto a one-way street, maybe it’s time you bought a Mercedes-Benz. Wait, what? The company’s upcoming vehicles will include an updated safety system that’s able to autonomously recognise no-entry signs and warn the driver of a wrong turn.

Using a windshield mounted camera that the system already relies on to keep track of speed limits, the Mercedes-Benz S-Class and E-Class will automatically recognise no-entry warning signs. Most of the time they’re ignored, but if the driver attempts to pass the sign and pull onto a one-way street, an audible alarm will sound and a visual warning will appear on the dashboard. For improved accuracy, the safety system also compares the camera data with the vehicle’s satnav street database, particularly when visibility’s reduced during a storm and there’s a greater risk of false positives.

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US Military To Install Laser Turrets On Combat Aeroplanes

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It was science fiction before, but now it’s really happening, Young Skywalker: The US Navy and Air Force are going to install liquid-cooled, solid-state lasers in combat aeroplanes.

Laser turrets designed to defend the planes by shooting incoming threats like surface-to-air missiles and rockets. Seriously. The above is an official concept image by DARPA, but integration is happening this year, with real firing tests coming in 2014.

The USAF has been playing with lasers in planes for a while. It worked to create the the highly successful — but ultimately shelved — Boeing YAL-1 Airborne Laser Testbed. Remember Reagan’s Star Wars? This was one of the few technologies that we got to work outside those 3D animations that scared the Soviets so much.

http://youtu.be/dr8T7bxW1Z0

But that was a huge megawatt-class chemical oxygen iodine laser designed to take down intercontinental ballistic missiles and other surface-to-surface weapons. That’s why it required a 747 to ferry it around.

These are solid-state lasers that will be light enough to be installed in bombers and fighter jets, and will be fired to defend themselves against anti-air defences like surface-to-air missiles and rockets.

The first one is called Hellads, a laser planned to be installed in tactical aircraft (the one pictured above is a B-1 bomber). Using a series of unit cells, the laser will be capable of delivering 150kW — meeting the 5kg to one kilowatt design goal. General Atomics Aeronautical Systems has already showed that it can meet the spec with a single and two-unit system that was capable of producing 34kW. This kind of energy is enough to take down the threats faced by these planes.

General Atomics and DARPA say that fabrication was completed in 2012. In 2013 they will integrate it with the different systems required, and perform real-world tests against real threats fired at the planes by 2014.

And the Hellads is not the only laser the military is playing with. Lockheed Martin and DARPA are now entering a test phase for another laser, the Aero-Adaptive/Aero-Optic Beam Control. This will be like the an automatic laser turret capable of taking down missile threats from any direction. According to DARPA, they weren’t previously able to make this system work because of the turbulence caused by the engine:

"High-energy laser systems are currently limited to a forward field of regard due to turbulent density fluctuations in the aft sector of the turret that severely degrade the laser beam fluence on target."

The new laser will be able to take on rear threats by using flow control and adaptive optics, which will eliminate the distortion. Like the concept image indicates, they plan to install this laser in high-speed fighter jets.

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According to Lockheed and DARPA, they have already conducted full-scale wind-tunnel tests and now they are looking to install a sub-scale laser turret in an actual plane.

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The Only Case I Would Consider Using With An iPhone

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No, you don’t need a damn case for your iPhone 5 — but if you have butterfingers and you must use a case, this seems to me like the only acceptable one. The SurfacePad is not only simple and elegant — complementing the iPhone’s design rather than turning it into an ugly hulk or a clear-plastic-wrapped granny sofa — but also has function.

And it protects your screen too, unlike 99 per cent of the offensively horrible covers out there. Made of ultra-thin and smooth napa leather, the TwelveSouth’s SurfacePad can also serve as a stand.

Like the manufacturer says, it’s not designed to resist a car getting over your iPhone, but it will protect your mobile against the most common threats without turning its clean lines into a unrecognisable mass of deformed plastic. And for that alone, I applaud them.

It’s $US35 and available for iPhone 5 and iPhone 4/4S.

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This Is What The First Lunar Base Could Really Look Like

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We have seen many concepts, but this is the most realistic plan yet for humanity’s first Moon Base. It will be more efficient and cheaper to build than any other alternative, as it uses 3D printing to quickly transform raw lunar soil into habitable domes.

Also? It looks awesome.

The lunar soil structure will provide both radiation and temperature insulation. Inside, a lightweight pressurised inflatable with the same dome shape will be the living environment for the first human moon settlers.

The European Space Agency and architectural firm Foster + Partners are now working on the technology to make this a reality.

According to ESA’s human spaceflight team’s Scott Hovland: “3D printing offers a potential means of facilitating lunar settlement with reduced logistics from Earth.”

The logic is that if 90 per cent of the stuff we need to build the base is already on the moon, we only have to ferry the 3D-printing robots (you can look at one below) and the lightweight parts, like the inflatables and the solid connector and entry segments. This will make this idea a lot cheaper than the alternatives.

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Xavier De Kestelier of Foster + Partners Specialist Modelling Group says that their construction 3D-printing technology has already produced entire structures under extreme conditions on Earth, so it’s perfectly reasonable to do the same up there:

"As a practice, we are used to designing for extreme climates on Earth and exploiting the environmental benefits of using local, sustainable materials. Our lunar habitation follows a similar logic."

The team has already came up with a way to use the same technologies under the Moon’s environmental conditions, devising “a weight-bearing ‘catenary’ dome design with a cellular structured wall to shield against micrometeoroids and space radiation, incorporating a pressurised inflatable to shelter astronauts. A hollow closed-cell structure — reminiscent of bird bones — provides a good combination of strength and weight.”

They produced this 1.4-tonne sample as a demonstration of how these hollow cell walls would work:

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That block is all built with simulated lunar material and magnesium oxide. That turns the moonstuff into a pulp that can be sprayed to form the block. Then, they apply a binding salt that “converts [this] material into a stone-like solid.” Quite impressive.

According to Enrico Dini — the founder of UK-based Monolite, the company that builds the 3D building printers — they are now printed at 2m per hour. He says that their next generation will speed up to 3.5m per hour, which is enough to complete an entire building in one week.

If they keep up that kind of progress, a full structure on the moon will be a reality within our lifespans.

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Samsung Has A Teaser For Its Superbowl Ad

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=pzfAdmAtYIY

It’s not just movie trailers that have teasers these days. Right now you can watch a teaser clip for Samsung’s superbowl ad directed by Jon Favreau of Iron Man fame and starring Seth Rogen and Paul Rudd.

You may or may not know that the term “Superbowl” is actually trademarked and copyrighted in the same way “the Olympic Games” is. That means that someone could actually be taken to court for saying it inconnection with their product. This makes it particularly hard for Samsung, who has just put out its ad for “the big game”.

It does a good job of mentioning the big game, but I’ll be damned if I know what Seth Rogan and Paul Rudd are on about.

I prefer playing a little game called spot the celebrity in Samsung’s last Superbowl ad.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=TIfWg3s5JW4

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