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Comment: Re:Iron Man's Suit Defies Physics -- Mostly (Score 2, Interesting) 279

by John Carmack (#23266718) Attached to: The Science of Iron Man
Hydrogen peroxide powered rocket packs fly for around 30 seconds, because they have a specific impulse of around 125, meaning that one pound of propellant can make 125 pound-seconds of thrust, meaning that it takes about two pounds of propellant for every second you are in the air. Mass ratios are low for anything strapped to a human, so the exponential nature of the rocket equation can be safely ignored.

A pretty hot (both literally and figuratively) bipropellant rocket could manage about twice the specific impulse, and you could carry somewhat heavier tanks, but two minutes of flight on a rocket pack is probably about the upper limit with conventional propellants.

However, an actual jet pack that used atmospheric oxygen could have an Isp ten times higher, allowing theoretical flights of fifteen minutes or so. Here, it really is a matter of technical development, since jet engines have thrust to weight ratios too low to make it practical. There is movement on this technical front, but it will still take a while.

John Carmack
Biotech

Synthetic DNA About To Yield New Life Forms 240

Posted by kdawson
from the what-could-possibly-go-wrong dept.
mlimber sends along a Washington Post story about the immanence of completely artificial life: "The cobbling together of life from synthetic DNA, scientists and philosophers agree, will be a watershed event, blurring the line between biological and artificial — and forcing a rethinking of what it means for a thing to be alive... Some experts are worried that a few maverick companies are already gaining monopoly control over the core 'operating system' for artificial life and are poised to become the Microsofts of synthetic biology. That could stifle competition, they say, and place enormous power in a few people's hands."
Desktops (Apple)

The Next-Gen iMac With Brushed Aluminum In August? 252

Posted by CowboyNeal
from the new-and-improved dept.
Alfaresy writes "As previously reported by Degadget back on June 19th, the iMac update due this summer and is expected to be available in 20- and 24-inch versions, while the 17-inch version set to be discontinued. Apple's next iMac revision is currently tracking for release in August, and will have a brushed aluminum enclosure with measure just 2-inch thick, according to ThinkSecret's sources. Furthermore, ThinkSecret's sources say, "The elegant new enclosure will somewhat resemble the current white iMac but is said to feature a shorter space below the actual display, where most of the internals are housed." The upcoming iMacs are expected to be based on Intel's Santa Rosa platform with speeds to reach the highest point at 2.4GHz."
Power

MIT Wirelessly Powers a Lightbulb 394

Posted by Zonk
from the magic-tubes-and-pots-and-pans-bits-and-pieces-and dept.
kcurtis writes "According to the Boston Globe, MIT Researchers have powered a light bulb remotely. The successful experiment lit a 60-watt light bulb from a power source two meters away, with no physical connection between the power source and the light bulb. Details about WiTricity, or wireless electricity, are scheduled to be reported today in Science Express, the advance online publication of the journal Science, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology said. 'The team from MIT is not the first group to suggest wireless energy transfer. Nineteenth-century physicist and engineer Nikola Tesla experimented with long-range wireless energy transfer, but his most ambitious attempt - the 29m high aerial known as Wardenclyffe Tower, in New York - failed when he ran out of money. Others have worked on highly directional mechanisms of energy transfer such as lasers. However, unlike the MIT work, these require an uninterrupted line of sight, and are therefore not good for powering objects around the home.'"
Microsoft

MS Wants To Identify All Web Surfers 281

Posted by kdawson
from the time-to-visit-more-health-sites dept.
Moochman writes "New Scientist reports on a technology Microsoft is developing to identify users based on their browsing habits. Quote: 'The software could get its raw information from a number of sources, including a new type of 'cookie' program that records the pages visited. Alternatively, it could use your PC's own cache of web pages, or proxy servers could maintain records of sites visited. So far it can only guess gender and age with any accuracy,' but the aim is to be able to identify name, occupation and location as well. On a related note, The Inquirer reports on Microsoft's plans to widen the use of its identity-verification technology CardSpace, which is built into Windows Vista and available as an add-on to XP. It's being envisioned as an identity solution for the entire internet: says Kim Cameron, pioneer of the technology, 'We feel it has to solve all use cases.' (Aha, so the anonymous use cases, too, eh?) One might ask, with all of this user-ID information on hand, how long will it be until the Feds come knocking on Microsoft's door asking for help? They already have."
Censorship

Flickr Censors A Photographer's Plea 178

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the who-owns-what dept.
Bananatree3 writes "Popular Icelandic photographer and art-student Rebekka Guoleifsdottir has been targeted by Flickr for posting a plea for help in a theft case involving an online retailer selling copycat art. She requested that people send the retailer letters concerning the issue, and in response her original post was promptly deleted. It is still ironically available on Yahoo cache. In the end it appears that the retailer had been duped by a rogue art dealer under the title "Wild Aspects and Panoramics LTD". However, Flickr seems to have overstepped its bounds in deleting this post." This whole case brings back up the messy issues surrounding content ownership in this strange new world of a services based internet.
Movies

Kaleidescape Triumphant in Court Case, DVD Ripping Ruled Legal 213

Posted by Zonk
from the only-when-you-own-it-netflixers dept.
Jim Buzbee writes "Ever wanted to rip all your DVDs to a big network server so that you could select and play them back to your TV? Up until now, manufacturers have been wary of building a device to allow this type of usage because they've been afraid a lawsuit. The DVD Copy Control Association had claimed this was contractually forbidden, but now a judge says otherwise stating, 'nothing in the agreement prevents you from making copies of DVDs. Nothing requires that a DVD be present during playback.' Kaleidescape has finally won their long-standing lawsuit, a case we first talked about early in 2005."
Games

Brain/Computer Gaming Interface Coming in 2008 129

Posted by samzenpus
from the look-mom-no-hands dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Emotiv Systems today unveiled a brain/computer interface system with a helmet and software applications at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco. The Project Epoc system can move objects based on a gamer's thoughts, reflect facial expressions, and respond to the excitement or calm the gamer mentally exerts, the company said....While Emotiv is not yet ready to announce any partnerships, [they] did say the product will be coming to market in 2008."
Television

Aqua Teen Hunger Force Brings Boston to a Halt 804

Posted by samzenpus
from the we-do-whatever-we-want-to-whomever-we-want-at-all-times dept.
An anonymous reader writes "An ad campaign for Aqua Teen Hunger Force featuring the Mooninites Ignignot and Err caused major security concerns in Boston, MA when magnetic light displays were mistaken for possible bombs. The displays included one of Ignignot flipping the bird (as hard as he could), but Gov. Deval Patrick was not amused."
Databases

Jim Gray Is Missing 283

Posted by kdawson
from the red-sky-at-night dept.
K-Man writes "Jim Gray, Turing Award winner and developer of many fundamental database technologies, was reported missing at sea after a short solo sailing trip to the Farallon Islands off San Francisco. Gray is manager of Microsoft's eScience group. The Coast Guard is searching for his vessel over 4,000 square miles of ocean, and there have been no distress calls or signals of any kind. Gray is 63 and a sailor with 10 years' experience."

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