Category Archives: Cool

steve austin

In 2000, Tal Golesworthy, a process engineer from Tewkesbury, was told that the aortic root in his heart had expanded to 4.8cm and was in danger of splitting. He had two choices; undergo surgery to insert a mechanical valve or risk a sudden and fatal heart attack. The only solution then available was the pairing of a mechanical valve and a highly risky blood thinner. To an engineer like Golesworthy, that just wasn’t good enough. So he constructed his own implant that does the job better than the existing solution–and became the first patient to try it.”

So the engineer engineered his own heart valve. Cool.

forecasting the future

the hindsight this man had was nothing short of brilliant. 100 years ago, a newspaper published thomas edison’s musings on the far-off future of 2011. according to the famed inventor, we would have super compressed books that would contain entire libraries in a single volume and would weigh less than a pound. he also foresees the demise of gold as a currency, the rise of steel along with the death of the steam engine. the entire article is below.

What will the world be a hundred years hence?

None but a wizard dare raise the curtain and disclose the secrets of the future; and what wizard can do it with so sure a hand as Mr. Thomas Alva Edison, who has wrested so many secrets from jealous Nature? He alone of all men who live has the necessary courage and gift of foresight, and he has not shrunk from the venture.

Already, Mr. Edison tells us, the steam engine is emitting its last gasps. A century hence it will be as remote as antiquity as the lumbering coach of Tudor days, which took a week to travel from Yorkshire to London. In the year 2011 such railway trains as survive will be driven at incredible speed by electricity (which will also be the motive force of all the world’s machinery), generated by “hydraulic” wheels.

But the traveler of the future, says a writer in Answers, will largely scorn such earth crawling. He will fly through the air, swifter than any swallow, at a speed of two hundred miles an hour, in colossal machines, which will enable him to breakfast in London, transact business in Paris and eat his luncheon in Cheapside.

The house of the next century will be furnished from basement to attic with steel, at a sixth of the present cost — of steel so light that it will be as easy to move a sideboard as it is today to lift a drawing room chair. The baby of the twenty-first century will be rocked in a steel cradle; his father will sit in a steel chair at a steel dining table, and his mother’s boudoir will be sumptuously equipped with steel furnishings, converted by cunning varnishes to the semblance of rosewood, or mahogany, or any other wood her ladyship fancies.

Books of the coming century will all be printed leaves of nickel, so light to hold that the reader can enjoy a small library in a single volume. A book two inches thick will contain forty thousand pages, the equivalent of a hundred volumes; six inches in aggregate thickness, it would suffice for all the contents of the Encyclopedia Britannica. And each volume would weigh less than a pound.

Already Mr. Edison can produce a pound weight of these nickel leaves, more flexible than paper and ten times as durable, at a cost of five shillings. In a hundred years’ time the cost will probably be reduced to a tenth.

More amazing still, this American wizard sounds the death knell of gold as a precious metal. “Gold,” he says, “has even now but a few years to live. The day is near when bars of it will be as common and as cheap as bars of iron or blocks of steel.

“We are already on the verge of discovering the secret of transmuting metals, which are all substantially the same in matter, though combined in different proportions.”

Before long it will be an easy matter to convert a truck load of iron bars into as many bars of virgin gold.

In the magical days to come there is no reason why our great liners should not be of solid gold from stem to stern; why we should not ride in golden taxicabs, or substituted gold for steel in our drawing room suites. Only steel will be the more durable, and thus the cheaper in the long run.

sittin’ on the dock of the bay

This stunning video of a Martian sunset was captured by the Mars Rover Opportunity. Although most movies code the Martian color scheme as red, the sunset shines blue. Find out why.

Mars is, famously, The Red Planet. The rust in the dust on its surface gives the surface a reddish-brown appearance. It vast dry, dusty expanses call to mind Earthlike deserts, in which a red-orange sun beats down on yellow sand. As a result, when we think of a Mars sunset, most think of it as blazing red.

The recent footage released by NASA shows us the exact opposite. The sun glows a cool blue as it sets in the Martian sky. It’s quite an upset of perception, and it’s all due to that famous red dust.

On Earth, the particles in the atmosphere scatter blue light. When a ray of light hits them, the blue wavelengths are diverted from their course and shot randomly outwards. As it moves out, it hits other air particles, and some of it scatters down to the surface of the Earth. Those standing on the surface look up into the sky, see the light that’s scattered down, and say the sky is blue. Meanwhile, direct light from the sun has had all the blue wavelengths filtered out; they’ve been scattered all over the sky. This leaves only the wavelengths at the reddish end of the spectrum – so when people look at the sun, they see it as yellow. Towards sunset, they’re looking at the sun through more filtering atmosphere, and so it grows more intensely red-yellow.

On Mars, exactly the opposite happens. The red dust in the atmosphere scatters red light, so when anyone looking around would see a reddish sky. Meanwhile, the red wavelengths are filtered out of the direct path of light from the sun, leaving light towards the bluish end of the color spectrum. Those looking at the sun will see it as blue. And very seasonal.

More details at Science Daily.