Archive for January, 2009

Moods spread like ripples on the water

Posted in Science with tags on January 30, 2009 by twinforces

Findings in a new study show that moods -good and bad- spread across networks of social connections like ripples on water.

Specifically, the study found that a happy friend increased the odds of someone being happy by 15 per cent – but that a friend of a friend boosted the chance by about 10 per cent, and a friend of a friend of a friend by about six per cent.

Last year the same research team, in another study , also found that a person’s risk of gaining weight increased significantly when friends gained weight. If their friends gained weight a similar but lesser effect was evident on the individual.

Energya ultralight futuristic racecar trike

Posted in Technology on January 26, 2009 by twinforces

The Energya is  a two-seater,tri-wheeler by The creative Unit and Higgins-Aube, with highly aggressive sci-fi-like  looks and specs..something like a mix between a Lamborghini Gallardo, a Lotus Elise, a Bugatti from the 30ies and a motorcycle.

It is designed like a racecar, but by using only three wheels, the designers were able to avoid  a lot of design regulations for four-wheel vehicles (which add significant weight) and instead work according to the less encumbering  regulations for motorcycles and three-wheelers.

The Energya has only HALF the weight of the small Lotus Elise, but roughly the same motor power…which probably will make it a very,very exciting ride, to say the least.

Currently, it is at the end of the concept stage, but Higgins-Aube says that it could be on the market in 18 months if they can find investors to start production.

“Broken Windows” theory proven correct

Posted in Science on January 24, 2009 by twinforces

A theory claiming that a disorderly and unkept neighbourhood can encourage bad behaviour and low-level delinquency has now been proved empirically.

The theory, called the Broken Windows theory, has been around since the 80ies, and is based on the assumption and earlier anecdotal observations that a broken window or grafitti in a neighbourhood can often lead to further vandalism and more broken windows, and from the general assumption that an unkept neigbourhood feels “unsafe”.

Researchers in the Netherlands set out to test this theory, and for that purpose created a number of controlled experimental settings in street alleys, where the behaviour of passers-bys was observed secretly. Some of these situations had ordered and tidy surroundings, and some had littered and unkept surroundings, and in each of these the research subjects had a choice between a “good/unselfish” course of action and a bad/selfish one. What they found was that the research subjects in the disordered environments were at least twice as likely to choose the bad/selfish alternative, by littering further, stealing etc, compared to the research subjects in the ordered environments.

Terrafugia Transition flying car

Posted in Technology on January 21, 2009 by twinforces

plane-persp-mid

The dream of a flying car has been around since the 50ies, when the first prototypes were made. However, no viable, serially produced models have emerged up to this date, something which might be about to change. According to the manufacturers, the Terrafugia Transition is a “roadable aircraft” with foldable wings, which runs on gasoline, which will be available to consumers by the end of 2009 and which will cost approximately $200 000.

The “roadable aircraft” designation comes from the fact that even though you can drive it on the road, and technically you could also take off from any sufficiently long road,you will need to get it to an airport for any airborne activities due to regulations. Once there, you initiate the wing unfolding procedure,after which you are ready to go.

also see:

Image gallery

Terrafugia corporate site

Our universe might be a giant hologram

Posted in Physics, Science on January 20, 2009 by twinforces

A large-scale scientific experiment in Hannover,Germany might inadvertedly have picked up evidence for the existence of observable granularities in space-time, the fabric which makes up our universe. This might in turn be evidence for that we are in fact living inside a giant hologram.

The observations are consistent with and predicted by a theory in cosmology, which states that the internal structure of the universe can be described by the structure of its “surface”, which is the limit of our observable universe, approximately 14 Bn light years away. However, this is exactly analogous with the physical phenomenon of holography (which we encounter in our everyday lives by the 3D images on banknotes and credit cards) where light bounced off a 2D surface generates a 3D image), and that is why the theory is called “the holographic principle“. The theory also predicts that the smallest measurable unit of space-time will be larger (and thus detectable) inside the universe than on its surface..something which might turn up as static interference noise in laser beams,among other things…and this is exactly what happened in the experiment!

Ultralight antarctic speedster/explorer from Lotus

Posted in Technology with tags , on January 17, 2009 by twinforces

The vehicle in this entry is neither massproduced, nor available for acquisition by the general public, so strictly speaking it does not fit within the criteria for being reported here, but its design (and accompanying specs ), which gives it a distinct aircraft-like appearance, is just TOO intriguing not to mention.

Lotus, known for its fast and beautiful sports cars, has designed an ultralight vehicle, called the Concept Ice Vehicle which will join the upcoming Moon-Regan Transarctic Expedition in late 2009, where it will have a scouting role exploring the terrain ahead of the main expedition, hunting for obstacles and perils (such as deep cracks in the ice).

It has a small glass-fiber cockpit, 3 broad skis supporting it, and a rear-mounted propeller which powers the vehicle at speeds of up to 84 mph across the antarctic ice.
In addition, it is also equipped with a GPS-enhanced radar system which will be utilized in the terrain exploration, and the coordinates of any obstacles can be radioed back to to the rest of the team.

Wired Article

3 deep-sea personal submarines

Posted in submarine, Technology on January 15, 2009 by twinforces

The Ocean Pearl, the C-Quester 3, and the OrcaSub are 3 submarines for personal use which either are or will be available within a year or two, depending on model.
They do admittedly cost “slightly” more than the average person can afford….., but on the other hand they are not your average run-of-the-mill , hobbyist experimental submarines either, as their maximum operating depths vary between 100 and 700 meters
(yes, that is 700 METERS, and not feet…) and have endurances of between 6 and 12 hours.

Entry no.3 does hold special novelty value, as it possibly is the first real-life sub to emulate in both shape and performance the small shark-shaped one-man sub invented by professor Calculus in the episode “red Rackham’s treasure” of the TinTin comic book series by Herge