tech e blog

Hayabusa 2 Mission

Japan's Hayabusa 2 mission, which involves two landers (ROVER-1A and 1B), has officially touched down on the surface of asteroid 162173 Ryugu. They've been busy conducting tests as well as snapping amazing photos. The mission will soon launch ROVER-2, which will use optical and ultraviolet LEDs to locate floating dust particles. Continue reading for another video, more pictures and additional information.

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Interstellar Miller Planet Water

For those who have seen Christopher Nolan's Interstellar film, you probably already know that Miller's planet is a water-world, and the first planet in the system orbiting Gargantua. It takes its name from Dr. Miller, who landed on the planet and activated the "thumbs up" beacon, and it's also the first location the crew of the Endurance visit. The time dilation factor is exactly 1 hour on Milller per 7 years of Earth time due to the gravitational forces of Gargantua moving the planet through empty space at roughly 99.99999998% the speed of light. Continue reading to watch the scene in full and for more information.

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Fire Mount Tire

Why would anyone try to set fire to a tire like this when you could just use an air tank or tire mounting machine? Well, for starters, the latter doesn't make for a good viral video. The former is a process that involves spraying ether or another flammable substance around the area between the lip of an unmounted tire and the rim before lighting it on fire. When ignited, the explosion expands the air around the rim and inside the tire, thus making the opening wide enough to set around the rim. Continue reading for another video and more information.

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Ames Window Illusion

The Ames Window illusion from the 1940s still boggles minds today, and it's basically an image on a flat piece of cardboard that seems to be a rectangular window but is, in fact, a trapezoid, with both sides of the piece of cardboard have the same image. The cardboard is hung vertically from a wire so it can rotate around continuously, or is attached to a vertical mechanically rotating axis for continuous rotation. When the rotation of the window is observed, the window appears to rotate through less than 180 degrees, though the exact amount of travel that is perceived varies with the dimensions of the trapezoid. It seems that the rotation stops momentarily and reverses its direction. It is therefore not perceived to be rotating continuously in one direction but instead is mis-perceived to be oscillating. Continue reading for two more videos and information.

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Arctic Coke Machine

Want your bottled beverages chilled to a slush in seconds? If so, then look no further than the "Arctic Coke" machine - currently being tested in approximately 800 convenience stores across the US. Simply select a 20-oz. bottle from the Arctic Coke cooler, which keeps the beverages at a temperature just below freezing, place it on a platform, push a button, and watch the icy magic happen. "What we're trying to do is heighten the sensorial experience. They're getting the same delicious Coke they know and love; we're just creating a visual effect that engages the consumer and in engaging them in the process of crafting their beverage," said Kim Drucker, director of platform innovation, Coca-Cola North America. Continue reading for two more videos and more information.

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Prove Real Superpowers

If you can scientifically prove your superpowers, The Society for the Scientific Investigation of Para-Sciences (GWUP), a group of German physicists, biologists and psychologists, will reward you with €10,000 ($11,700). Whether it be telekinesis, telepathy, or the ability to generate fire, you'll need to prove it in controlled laboratory conditions. To date, over 60 people have been tested, but as you might've already guessed, none have been able to claim the money. Continue reading for another video on real superpowers and more information.

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Hurricane Florence

Despite being downgraded to a Category 2 storm, Hurricane Florence, is still expected to bring catastrophic flooding to the Southeast and may dump as much as 40-inches of rain in North Carolina alone. The National Weather Service office in Newport, North Carolina, warned that the rainfall could be historic and the flooding unprecedented. These fascinating images from space show Florence from above. Continue reading for a bonus video, more pictures and information.

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Lightsaber Laser Bazooka

Photo credit: Xavier Aaronson

Drake Anthony, better known as "Styropyro" on YouTube, is a chemist who transforms old technology into homemade lightsabers and laser bazookas. That's right, he managed to build the latter using DLP television projectors and lithium ion batteries. "When I was 12, I learned about lasers in science class. And it was you know, very very simple terms, but I found this stuff interesting and so I went home and did some reading online," said Anthony. Continue reading for a video on his laser telescope and more information.

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Ion Thruster

Forget traditional chemical rockets, these ultra efficient ion engines are a form of electric propulsion that creates thrust by accelerating positive ions with electricity. In other words, spacecraft powered by these thrusters can achieve speeds over 200,000 mph, while the Space Shuttles can reach speeds around 18,000 mph. One caveat: the high top speeds of ion thrusters come at the price of low thrust (or low acceleration), and they must be used in a vacuum to operate at the available power levels. continue reading for two more videos and additional information.

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Matchstick Shadow

Photo credit: Empw via Bored Panda

Ever wonder why a matchstick flame doesn't cast a shadow? If so, it's because a shadow is created when light is blocked, and a flame, like on a match, is a gaseous chemical reaction. If there's enough carbon-soot produced, then it would block some of the light. A flame is not reflecting the surrounding light since it's producing its own light as a result of the combustion reaction, thus it's actually an optical illusion to think the flame is solid enough to block light and cast a shadow. Continue reading for more strange unexpected shadows.

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