Jim Lillie

Jim Lillie

Jim began writing for newspapers and designing for publishing companies at a time when both industries were just beginning to make the switch from manual to digital platforms. Jim lives in Boulder, Colorado with his teenage son.

Tuesday, 12 March 2019 00:00

Plane Flies with No Moving Parts

Engineers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) recently announced that they had built and flown the first-ever airplane without any moving parts. Rather than relying on turbines or propellers, the light craft receives its power from something termed an "ionic wind", described as a silent but powerful stream of ions that's made onboard the airplane, and which produces enough thrust to keep the plane flying over a steady, sustained trip.

The MIT craft also does not need fossil fuels to fly.

In a press release, Steven Barrett, associate professor of aeronautics and astronautics at MIT, said, “This has potentially opened new and unexplored possibilities for aircraft which are quieter, mechanically simpler, and do not emit combustion emissions.”

Wednesday, 06 March 2019 00:00

Agro-Drone Could Replace Helicopter Sprayers

Spraying crops by helicopter comes in handy when needing a precise application to specific areas of a group of plants, such as exists in a vineyard.

But spraying by helicopters can also prove expensive, not to mention noisy and, depending on how close the choppers get to ground level, invasive.

AirBoard has come up with an agro-sprayer that operates in drone fashion at about 50 per cent of the cost of a traditional helicopter service.

The Agro, as it's known, is also said to be 500 per cent more precise than a helicopter; provides better root growth since it does not promote soil compaction; increases worker safety; emits less noise than a helicopter designed for agro-spraying, saves time, so vineyard owners can direct their energies to other priorities; and, since it is 100 per cent powered by electricity, the Agro is also more environmentally friendly than spraying by helicopter.

Researchers from The University of Sydney have discovered that people living with frontotemporal dementia, a younger-onset form of the malady, do not possess the capacity to daydream. This work could lead to new and expanded understanding of changes in behavior associated with dementia -- providing caregivers, researchers, and family members with help in managing the disease.

The majority of healthy people permit their minds to daydream or wander roughly half of the time they spend awake. In the process, people can think about the past, anticipate the future, and also empathize about the behavior of others. Daydreaming has also been linked to acts of creativity, behavioral and emotional regulation, and problem-solving.

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