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Transportation

Heroic Engineer Crashes Own Vehicle To Save a Life 486

Posted by kdawson
from the delta-vee dept.
scottbomb sends in this feel-good story of an engineer-hero, calling it "one of the coolest stories I've read in a long time." "A manager of Boeing's F22 fighter-jet program, Innes dodged the truck, then looked back to see that the driver was slumped over the wheel. He knew a busy intersection was just ahead, and he had to act fast. Without consulting the passengers in his minivan — 'there was no time to take a vote' — Innes kicked into engineer mode. 'Basic physics: If I could get in front of him and let him hit me, the delta difference in speed would just be a few miles an hour, and we could slow down together,' Innes explained."
Programming

The State of Ruby VMs — Ruby Renaissance 89

Posted by Soulskill
from the take-your-pick dept.
igrigorik writes "In the short span of just a couple of years, the Ruby VM space has evolved to more than just a handful of choices: MRI, JRuby, IronRuby, MacRuby, Rubinius, MagLev, REE and BlueRuby. Four of these VMs will hit 1.0 status in the upcoming year and will open up entirely new possibilities for the language — Mac apps via MacRuby, Ruby in the browser via Silverlight, object persistence via Smalltalk VM, and so forth. This article takes a detailed look at the past year, the progress of each project, and where the community is heading. It's an exciting time to be a Rubyist."
Image

Stoned Wallabies Make Crop Circles 104

Posted by samzenpus
from the trippity-hop dept.
It's the tripnaut! writes "The BBC reports that Australian wallabies are eating opium poppies and creating crop circles as they hop around 'as high as a kite', a government official has said. 'The one interesting bit that I found recently in one of my briefs on the poppy industry was that we have a problem with wallabies entering poppy fields, getting as high as a kite and going around in circles,' says Lara Giddings, the attorney general for the island state of Tasmania. 'Then they crash,' she added."
Power

+ - Water from wind

Submitted by ghostcorps
ghostcorps (975146) writes "Columnist Phillip Adams writes about a new windmill design that literally extracts water from air. http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,20867 ,21123007-12272,00.html


Usually a windmill has three blades facing into the wind. But Whisson's design has many blades, each as aerodynamic as an aircraft wing, and each employing "lift" to get the device spinning. I've watched them whirr into action in Whisson's wind tunnel at the most minimal settings. They start spinning long, long before a conventional windmill would begin to respond. I saw them come alive when a colleague opened an internal door.

And I forgot something. They don't face into the wind like a conventional windmill; they're arranged vertically, within an elegant column, and take the wind from any direction.

The secret of Max's design is how his windmills, whirring away in the merest hint of a wind, cool the air as it passes by. Like many a great idea, it couldn't be simpler — or more obvious. But nobody thought of it before.


With three or four of Max's magical machines on hills at our farm we could fill the tanks and troughs, and weather the drought. One small Whisson windmill on the roof of a suburban house could keep your taps flowing. Biggies on office buildings, whoppers on skyscrapers, could give independence from the city's water supply. And plonk a few hundred in marginal outback land — specifically to water tree-lots — and you could start to improve local rainfall.
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Sigmund Freud is alleged to have said that in the last analysis the entire field of psychology may reduce to biological electrochemistry.

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