Scientists have developed a novel compound that is solid at room temperature, is a highly powerful explosive, and can be melt-cast into the desired shape. The new compound falls into the series of the nitrate ester group of compounds, which is known for its explosive properties. The research team that developed the novel tetranitrate ester, was led by David E. Chavez from Los Alamos National Laboratory in the US. Nitrate esters are organic nitric acid compounds that can contain enormous explosive force. However, their liquid physical state makes handling very difficult. By mixing in various other components, Alfred Nobel developed dynamite, a distinctly safer and easier to handle nitroglycerine-based explosive. The only solid nitrate ester used as an explosive before is nitropenta. Because of its high melting point of about 140 degree Celsius, nitropenta must be pressed into the desired form.
Justin Voskuhl a Google engineer moved into a new place and in a bid to fight boredom and figure out something to cover a large barren wall in his living room, one weekend developed a program that would take a source picture, establish the most optimized colors, Lego brick sizes and orientations in order to reproduce the source image completely in Legos.
I moved into a new place about ten months ago, and had a huge blank wall in the main room. So I decided to make some funky Lego art for the walls.
I started with some square nature images, and wrote some Java code to use a simulated annealing technique to figure out a layout for Lego bricks that when stacked on each other look like the image (but also try to minimize cost of the parts, and also try to ensure the result has some structure rigidity – these images are held together only by
gravity and the Lego bricks themselves – no glue.
So the Java program runs for about ten hours for each image, spits out a preview and parts list and some HTML that you can print out to use as a diagram to assemble the whole thing. The assembly time took about fifteen hours for each image. I enslaved some graduate student friends of mine and traded free dinner for time in my Lego sweatshop.
Check out the results. Each image is pretty different, but all with a nature theme. For scale purposes each one is a 34×34 inch square. The Legos are stacked 250 rows high, and 100 “lego nubs” wide. The maple leaves are on a background that dithered a LOT but I thought it was a feature since it really shows off the fact that these are just
stacks of Lego bricks.
(Check out the images after the jump)
In Tom Clancy’s ‘The Sum of all Fears’ terrorists manage to smuggle a crude nuclear bomb and detonate it in Baltimore. Multiplying the fears if terrorists managed to explode a ‘one megaton’ 250 miles over Kansas, the shockwave would be sufficient to fry majority of electronic devices, systems and cripple the entire power grid for a long time. A rogue state or terrorist organization could get enough material for a small nuclear bomb for $20 million fit it on Scud missile for as little as $100,000 which if fired and detonated over the Eastern seaboard could cause upto $10 trillion worth damage, says Charles Manto, president of Instant Access Networks LLC (IAN) which is creating a renewable energy-powered, electromagnetic pulse (EMP)-protected microgrids that could provide electricity for critical infrastructure facilities in the event of a disaster. IAN has developed a patent-pending shielding technology that encloses a room or similar structure and protects it from EMP events. IAN’s shielding, which includes electrically isolated layers of steel and aluminum, is up to 70 percent lighter than materials traditionally used by the military and other sources for EMP protection. This enables EMP-safe rooms to be portable.
(Pictured above is a pickup truck pulling an EMP-protected mobile command center. Press release after the jump)
shows you how to control a WowWee Rovio mobile spy robot with the help of a Windows PC running Robodancea a freeware for advanced robot control. The WiiMote’s buttons are mapped to different Rovio operations giving you wireless control of your Rovio, as you pilot it remotely over the Web. Movement, camera control, automatic docking, picture taking and more are all under the easy command of the Nintendo WiiMote. The only hardware required to run this hack, besides a Rovio and the WiFi equipment needed to run it, are a Windows PC running Windows 2000 or better, a Nintendo Wii Remote (the console is not required), and a Bluetooth adapter if the PC or laptop does not already have one.
Now this is called a gigantic view!
Visual impact can be best achieved when the Brand Positioning is at the optimum space. What better way to gram attention than the 33-story-high ‘Podium’ ad wall in Dubai? Apparently it can be viewed from almost a mile away and boy what a visual impact this will be! The LED display is planned for an upcoming commercial building, and designers are ensuring that the billboard won’t obstruct the natural light reaching the offices.
In a rescue mission, the biggest obstacle faced by the rescuers is the unfamiliar interiors of the burning building, and could pose as a navigation hindrance. Researchers have come up with a new method called simultaneous location and mapping (SLAM) that allows robots to visualize a mental map of a location. This technique can be useful for robotic cars to navigate on unfamiliar streets. Similarly a helmet packed with sensors and SLAM software (designed to give robots a sense of direction) could build instant maps to help rescuers navigate through smoke filled interiors during a rescue mission. When a robot moves, the distance sensors and cameras measure and record the distances to surrounding objects. This makes it possible to build an accurate map of the area.
Unpredictable, that’s what you call life on the fast lanes of the Stock Market. Reflecting this emotion is the Tee from Neatorama that describes our emotions/earnings/lives at the stock exchange. From the plunge to the rise and then to the unknown, you see it all on this cool Tee. Available for $9.95, I wonder how many of us actually have any cash to spend on it, considering banks and markets have left us grasping for air!
Unlike others who paint, write or use clay to express themselves, an artist in Manhattan Nathan Sawaya, uses toy building blocks to make beautiful art. His work sells for tens-of-thousands of dollars. For the record, he spends more than $100,000 on Lego’s each year. With more than 1.5 million colored bricks in his New York studio, Sawaya’s sculptures take many forms, and now you can have your very own full-size scale Lego replica of yourself or a loved one for the measly sum of $60,000.
The amount of water wasted as we get our desired temperature for a shower is a cause for concern in today’s environmentally conscious times. Designers Frattini have come up with a unique solution to counter that problem, the Electronic Faucet. The purpose of this faucet is to dispense water but not just like every other faucet. Using a touch screen, you can set the desired temperature of water before stepping into the shower, and even turn off all the water faucets in the house via either one faucet or via the web to control remotely. No word on the price or availability of this neat little gadget.
A digital photo frame on the desk has become all the rage now, with its stylish looks, smooth transitions and not to mention falling prices has made the digital photo frame the must have gadget in a gift shopper’s list. How about a wooden frame that looks like a digital screen, you heard right, this nifty little gadgets is the traditional photo frame with one simple exception. It looks like a Photoshop window, when blank it shows a pattern just like a Photoshop window without any background layer. The borders feature scrollbars on both sides of the frame to give you the impression that you could scroll the photo.