Archive for March 9, 2011

Can you See the Space Shuttle?

March 9, 2011 Leave a comment

“Intrepid astrophotographer Alan Friedman raced against time to reach exactly the right spot at the right fraction of a second to snap this stunning photo of the International Space Station, with the Space Shuttle Discovery attached, crossing the sun.

Friedman drove 1,800 miles from his home in Buffalo, New York to the annual Winter Star Party in the Florida Keys, “for the steady skies, warm temperatures and the company of good astronomy friends,” he wrote on his website. “But when I heard that the ISS would transit the sun nearby … I had to give it a try.”

The transit would be visible at 2:39 p.m. on March 1 from a location 20 miles to the north of the star-party site. The entire crossing would last just 0.2 seconds. Friedman was scheduled to give a talk about astrophotography from 12:30 to 1:30 pm. As soon as his talk was over, Friedman jumped in the car with fellow astrophotographers Brian Shelton and Mark Beale and raced after the sun.

“We got set up just in time to catch it,” Friedman wrote. “I underestimated the narrowness of this event … another 500 feet and we would have missed it entirely. Lucky day!””



Get the World’s First Hydroelectric Radio for Your Shower

March 9, 2011 Leave a comment

“Here’s an interesting eco-friendly gadget – the world’s first water-pressured radio.

Designed for use in the shower, the H2O Shower Powered Radio is powered solely through water, without the need for disposable batteries.

The FM radio is powered solely through the motion of water flowing through a small H2O™ micro turbine; driving a generator that creates energy to power the radio. An integral battery recharges as the shower runs.

The radio is both economically and environmentally friendly, harvesting energy that would otherwise, literally, go straight down the drain.

It simply connects to the shower hose and is compatible with 99 per cent of all showers. H20 claims that water pressure isn’t affected but we should be getting a test sample very soon to try for ourselves.”


Printing Bikes

March 9, 2011 Leave a comment

“It’s hard to understand the thinking behind building a bike to show people how aircraft of the future might be made, especially when the bike ends up looking almost retro in a 1970s this-is-what-the-future-will-look-like sort of way.

But regardless of its appearance, the Airbike is an impressive accomplishment, not least because it was “grown” fully assembled. Well, almost. By “grown” its creators at European Aerospace and Defence Group (EADS) in Bristol, UK, really mean printed.

Using a type of 3D printing technique called additive layer manufacturing (ALM), a high power laser is fired from above to melt a powdered material in a container. As the laser marks out a pre-programmed shape in the powder, the melted nylon solidifies making the first layer of the object that is to be printed.”


Carry your Bike in Style…

March 9, 2011 Leave a comment

“Last month, heading back to South America, I tested out a high-end bike case from SCI’CON, an Italian manufacturer that touts its AeroTech Evolution as “simply the best bike hard case on the market.” At about $1,400, the AeroTech is likely the priciest, too.

The made-in-Italy case is imported to the United States through, a company that has a niche of selling Italian cycling products. Several pro-level cycling teams use the AeroTech case, according to the company. For average riders serious about protecting their bikes, the AeroTech might be worth the investment.

Its thermoplastic ABS walls are tough and protective. The case’s unique design fits most road bikes easily inside once the wheels, seat and one pedal are removed. (My mountain bike, with a size large frame, also required removal of the fork and handlebars to fit — a slight pain.)

There are combination locks on the case to prevent pilfering. It has built-in handles and four wheels to let you roll the case stealthily with one hand through an airport concourse.

The case measures about 45 × 35 × 11 inches.”


HTML5 Forms in Web Browsers

March 9, 2011 Leave a comment

For those web developers who are still interested to know more about the details of HTML5 forms, Peter Wayner has come up with a five-part series for them in InforWorld. An excerpt:

“The changes and enhancements to the form tags are some of the most extensive amendments to the HTML5 standard, offering a wide variety of options that once required add-on libraries and a fair amount of tweaking. All of the hard work that went into building self-checking widgets and the libraries that ensure the data is of the correct format is now being poured into the browser itself. The libraries won’t be necessary — in theory — because the work will be done seamlessly by all browsers that follow the standard. In practice, we’ll probably continue to use small libraries that smooth over slight inconsistencies.

The new HTML specifications include input types that offer a number of new options for requesting just the right amount of data — say, a form element that requests the time in different levels of granularity, such as month, week, or minute. Other new input types insist that the user type in only valid URLs or email addresses. All of these input fields will be tested to ensure that the text in them is valid and that the user’s progress toward satisfying the data integrity police will be tracked by a series of events. There are even hooks for a value sanitization algorithm that checks the information and perhaps cleans it up with some AJAX.”