01 May

Getting beamed up got one step closer to reality recently. More like vacuumed up. Through a tube. Like a plastic container at a drive-through bank.

The Residential Pneumatic Vacuum Elevator, pioneered in Argentina and available from Florida-based Daytona Elevator for around $20-22K USD (likely more for installations beyond the Daytona area), is a free-standing, transparent tube that uses air suction -- not cables -- to hoist a passenger between household floors.

29 Apr

Imagine you're 40,000 feet above the earth in a fuel-filled commercial jet, the only thing keeping you in the air is the computer system that powers the plane. Now...imagine some ill-meaning person on the ground decided to hack into that computer system and toy with it?

Scary thought, right?

27 Apr

Coming up with a vehicle that mimics those on the classic video game Mario Kart is one thing. Making one that responds in real time to wired objects -- including plush-toy banana peels shot out of cannons -- is another.

A group of young lab interns set out to do just that when they approached the manager of Austin's Park, a family fun center in Texas. According to an article in Popular Science magazine, the manager didn't just get on board with the idea. He lent the budding engineers a kart.

In order to make their kart interactive, like the game -- where kart racers tool around a track and deal with objects that help or hinder their progress -- the interns had to find a way for the track objects to communicate with the kart.

25 Apr

If plans for a high-tech mini-city on the outskirts of Paris actually come to pass, someone is going to have to mow the grass on a lot of roof space.

The Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG), in response to an architectural competition for the project, has come up with plans for EuropaCity, a roughly 1/3 square mile area in France that combines several different kinds of spaces -- much of which will be housed under a roof structure covered with grass, trees and shrubs.

24 Apr

Microsoft wants users to believe that Bing is superior to Google, but luring users away from the world's most popular search engine has been an uphill battle for the company. That battle was compounded recently with the release of a study that concluded Google was safer than Bing.

The study looked at millions of websites that appeared as search results from seven major search engines. Ten thousand search results were reviewed for both Bing and Google and of those results, only a small percentage linked to malicious website. Google and Bing had the safest results, but Google beat Bing by far. In fact, Bing returned five times as many malicious websites as Google--alarming news for those who use Bing because it's set by default in Internet Explorer. But the news seems to point web searchers to Google as a safe choice for searching.

When broken down by raw numbers, analysts noted that it's important that users still be cautious when clicking on search results, even if those results are on Google. Even with the small percentage of search results found, Google is returning 50,000 malicious sites per day to Internet users. While Google still filters out the vast majority of malicious sites, users themselves must also use common sense before clicking. To be extra-safe, users should only click on sites that they trust, listening to that voice that tells them when a site may not be trustworthy.

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