Sunday, February 15, 2009

Technology, From Grandiose to Simply Cool

Slashdot provides a host of links for anyone interested in the idea of creating giant starships propelled by fusion bombs. The propulsion system is a sci-fi catch all with excessively high energy proton beams igniting fusion explosions to produce clouds of plasma and capture their momentum via electromagnetic principles. It's fun because the science is real. Don't hold your breath for someone to make one though.

If you want real space accomplishments, then the ESA's soon-to-be-launched Herschel space telescope should be more to your liking. Its 3.5 meter mirror will surpass Hubble's 2.4 meter primary mirror to become the largest in space. While Hubble operates in visible wavelengths, Herschel will be gathering far infrared light, which is not scattered by space dust which can limit Hubble's view.

Finally, we come back to Earth for a bit of home brew technology in development. Some folks over at TechCrunch are attempting to develop an inexpensive touchscreen tablet for use web surfing. Their $300 current price point is too high (in my opinion), especially with the popularity of small notebook computers (a.k.a. netbooks) surging at exactly that entry price, but it's still an interesting concept.

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