Google cranks up the res on maps

Mecca, Saudi Arabia where each year more than 15 million Muslims visit this important religious site. Here you can see Abraj Al Bait, one of the world largest clock towers, visible even from space!

I was reading about Google’s new map resolution, and it struck me this would have been very interesting had it happened during the cold war: [Read more…]

Seeing the future the way it is meant to be seen

You walk down an ordinary drab aisle in a supermarket, but you see grocery items stand up and dance a jig, below them are prices, special offers, and nutrition profiles. In the corner of your eye a counter keeps track of the total bill for items already chosen, taxes included, and flashes red when it reaches a predetermined value.  A neighbor speaks to you in Mandarin, but text scrolls past your field of vision, maybe a tiny speaker whispers the english translation in your ear. Oh, and if the power goes out, no matter. You can see in the dark.

This may sound like the future, but if Google’s new project succeeds, the future starts now. [Read more…]

Energy from a can

You’ve heard of spray on solar cells, scientists at Rice University have developed paint on batteries:

BBC — The new work, from Rice University in Texas, US, opens up completely new avenues for putting batteries on nearly any surface in a simple and robust way.

Pulickel Ajayan and his colleagues chemically optimised the recipe for each of their five layers, using blends of chemicals common in lithium-ion batteries as well as novel materials including carbon nanotubes – tiny “straws” of carbon with incredible electronic properties.

But for the process to result in a working battery, all five layers must stick together and work in synchrony, and the tricky step was finding a separator material that kept the whole stack in one piece.

When the team hit on using a chemical called poly-methylmethacrylate, they had a structure that would stick even to curved surfaces.

Whatever happened to Sw33tBabyJ4ne?

At the risk of sounding ancient, something is going on with kids today, and I don’t mean that to sound like a middle age snarl. In fact I think today’s kids are better than we were. By better, we’re talking quicker, more mature, less naive, better informed, more confident; smarter. So this poll on the most important group in that demographic in 2012, the ones old enough to vote, was fascinating: [Read more…]