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05 Jan

As part of a once-secret Department of Defense program to look into reports of unidentified flying objects (UFOs), a pair of Navy pilots was flying over the Pacific Ocean in the vicinity of San Diego when the tandem received an odd transmission from a radio operator aboard the U.S.S. Princeton.

Seems that the U.S. military had been monitoring unusual aircraft in the area for a couple of weeks. Reports indicated that the objects being tracked would sometimes hover for several minutes, dive tens of thousands of feet, and make erratic maneuvers.

Cmdr. David Fravor and Lt. Cmdr. Jim Slaight were asked to take a closer look and eventually spotted one of the aircraft, which measured roughly 40 feet in length and was seen hovering over the ocean at an altitude of about 50 feet.

03 Jan

Residents of Pittsburgh's Mt. Washington neighborhood routinely use cable cars to commute to and from work. Those who frequent the Bunker Hill neighborhood of Los Angeles often hitch a $1 ride on the Angel's Flight funicular from the top of the hill to Grand Central Market below.

One look at the railway known as the Stoosbahn, which links the village of Stoos with the mountain above it, and those squeamish about heights just might opt to schuss or slowly hike their way down the mountainside rather that hitching a ride on the funicular, a cable-based train that transports people along steep surfaces. 

The Stoosbahn is said to be the steepest railway of its kind in the world. Like other funicular railways, the Stoosbahn is specially designed to keep passengers in a normal, upright sitting position. Where other cable cars simply angle in the seats, though, the Stoosbahn's train uses a self-tilting mechanism that adjust accordingly to the changing grade.

01 Jan

Of all the applications for artificial intelligence, the medical field is considered to be one of the best. In the coming years, patients will likely find software playing a large part in health tracking, diagnosis, and treatment, supporting the professionals tasked with providing care.

But could that technology someday improve upon the care that physicians can offer? According to a recent study at the University of North Carolina’s Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, artificial intelligence can actually suggest a wider range of treatment options than medical experts.

30 Dec

The Earth has a magnetic field protecting its atmosphere from solar winds. But since Mars lacks such protection, many have speculated that solar winds are responsible for the collapse of the hydrological cycle that was thought to have been in place billions of years ago. The theory is that the winds caused the greenhouse effect to wipe out that cycle, creating the atmosphere seen on the planet today.

However, new research shows that the Red Planet does, in fact, have a protective magnetosphere, created by the solar winds themselves. As the winds blow over the planet’s surface, they activate currents in the ionized upper atmosphere, which generates the magnetic field necessary to protect the planet.

28 Dec

An Australian entrepreneur hopes that working on a project to race flying cars will help to speed up their adoption for more everyday use.

Matt Pearson's company, Alauda, has begun work on a what amounts to a human-occupied racing drone.

The vehicle, dubbed the Alauda Mark 1 Airspeeder, can house a single pilot and reach a top speed of 155 mph (250 kmh). A quartet of custom 50-kilowatt brushless electric motors will draw energy from the exact lithium-ion cells that power the battery of a Tesla Model S. The drone's carbon fiber composite body and aluminum frame should tip the scales at 265 lbs (120 kg).

So far, Alauda is aiming to attain a flight time of ten minutes -- not exactly enough for a long-distance race, but every good idea has to start somewhere.

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