Saturday, June 21, 2008

Technology Brings the Nifty

There was one story that came out of the U.S. Open that caught my eye. There was a large increase in Internet traffic that had some security folks at Internet Service Providers alarmed. Was it a huge denial of service attack from some previously unknown source? Nah, it was just everybody and their brother turning to the Internet to watch the playoff.

I first saw a "3D printer" that builds computer models into physical artifacts at Clemson University back in the mid-ninetys. It was cool then, and they are cool now. They are also getting considerably less expensive. As pointed out by the Daily Illuminator, one company is selling a desktop version for less than five thousand dollars.

And speaking of cool, some folks over at the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, Sweden have come up with a way of making paper with a much higher tensile strength than cast iron. The possibile uses for the substance range from the mundane (stronger grocery bags) to the more exotic (an alternative to carbon fibers for making plastic composite materials).

Frontline Aerospace is working on a prototype V-STAR, an unmanned cargo plane about the size of a SUV capable of vertical takeoff and landing. While the project is currently for battlefield use, one could imagine the changes such a plane could eventually make in the civilian world.

And finally, it wouldn't be a technology post for me if I didn't include something about alternative energy. Ars Technica has a nice round up of the current state of energy storage techniques. It's short but quite informative. Robert Cringely's column this week is much more speculative, but he discusses a proposed system that could, if it works, turn our garbage into a power source capable of replacing half our oil consumption. Whether you believe something like this can work now or not, such ideas are clearly needed as we go into the future more aware of our unsustainable habits.


Lee said...

Hey Brian - this is better than Slashdot!

Brian said...

There are so many ways to respond to that, so pick your favorite:
* Why thank you! In the interest of full disclosure, Slashdot was a link source on more than one of the stories in the post.
* You forgot to say 'First post!'
* Write link-posts, ???, profit!
* +1 Insightful

OK, enough Slashdot jokes from me today...

Lee said...

mod parent up