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Iran’s newest “drone” held together with duct tape

October 24, 2013 4:20 pm | by Kasey Panetta, Managing Editor | Comments

A recently released video of Iran’s new “suicide remotely piloted vehicle” called the Ra’ad 85—aka Thunder 85—reveals it might be less impressive than originally announced. A few weeks ago, Brigadier General Ahmad Reza Pourdastan, Commander of the Iranian Army Ground Force, announced the Ra’ad 85 would be a game-changer for Iran’s military.

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Board game indoctrinates kids on global warming

October 24, 2013 10:23 am | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Comments

I’m torn here. As a child’s toy, MELTDOWN – the “first board game that melts” – is extremely clever. I probably would’ve loved playing with the cute little polar bears and fake ice floes. But I can’t ignore the transparent attempt to indoctrinate children on the theory – yes, the theory – of global warming.

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A critical lesson in UPS transfers

October 23, 2013 3:50 pm | by Chris McLean, PE, Director of Design for Markley Group | Comments

Uninterruptible power supply (UPS) transfers are tricky, yet critical undertakings for many organizations’ infrastructures. No matter what form an electrical apparatus takes, it must provide conditioned power to a load. For many organizations, losing that power supply is not an option....

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Are we addicted to smartphones?

October 22, 2013 4:13 pm | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor, Photography by Melissa Spivak | Comments

Do you own a “Crackberry” or, god forbid, an iPhone? Is it always within arms’ reach, and do you compulsively check it every 5-10 minutes? Do you scour your smartphone with no clear purpose in mind? And do you have a strong desire to resist this “constant connectivity”? You may be experiencing “pushback”, according to a new paper from the University of Washington. But is this a symptom of smartphone "addiction"?

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An uncertain future for lighting

October 22, 2013 1:14 pm | by Clifton Lemon, Marketing Communications Manager, Soraa | Comments

All of us in the lighting industry today face daily decisions—allocating resources, making specifications, calculating ROI, planning product roadmaps, and a host of other things—that rely on our best judgment about an increasingly uncertain future. “Uncertain” means in ways both bad and good, for we all know some kind of shakeout is pending....

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Watch these DARPA-funded robots run through their frightening paces

October 16, 2013 3:46 pm | by Chris Warner, Executive Editor | Comments

Boston Dynamics recently posted more video eye candy (but not necessarily ear candy) for those who can’t get enough of their amazing, creature-like robotics. The two new videos are its quadroped called the WildCat and the bipedal Atlas. The all-terrain Wildcat can run at 16 mph on a flat surface and can either gallop or “bound.” Atlas is intended to walk upright and keep its balance even on rough terrain.

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This women’s makeup can launch drones

October 16, 2013 2:06 pm | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Comments

At long last – this red-blooded American male might finally wear makeup. And no, this isn’t an “admission” of sorts. But the ability to control electronics with metallized false eyelashes and conducting eyeshadow could simplify my life and improve my fashion sense.

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Here is the military-issued rifle for every country in the world

October 16, 2013 10:15 am | by Kasey Panetta, Managing Editor | Comments

It's always pretty interesting to see what other military forces are working with, so Maps on the Web has graced us with this baby, which takes a look at the military rifles of all the countries. Each color signifies a particular "family" of guns with variations signified by shading of the same color.

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More fun file facts: ODB++

October 15, 2013 1:50 pm | by Screaming Circuits | Comments

In my last post, I wrote about the up-and-coming IPC-2581 PCB manufacturing file format. While IPC-2581 may be looked at by PCB fabricators and assemblers as a holy grail of sorts, it's not yet widely adopted by CAD software. But, that doesn't mean that Gerbers are the only option.

Is the F-35 a “great national scandal”?

October 15, 2013 1:16 pm | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Comments

In government, the left hand often doesn’t know what the right hand’s doing. Case in point: Days after the DoD got all warm-and-fuzzy over its working relationship with Lockheed Martin and the F-35, Senator John McCain (R-AZ) called the Joint Strike Fighter “one of the great national scandals.”

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Open-source hardware and other stuff

October 15, 2013 9:47 am | by M. Simon, Technical Contributor | Comments

More than half (56%) of professional engineers are more likely to use open source hardware such as Arduino and BeagleBone in 2013. Among hobbyists, that figure jumps to 82%. 52% of professional engineers and 81% of hobbyists report being more likely to use open source software in 2013.

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Watch “Star Wars” recreated using an Etch a Sketch

October 14, 2013 2:18 pm | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Comments

The force is strong with this one. I was never very skilled with an Etch a Sketch. And it’s not just my complete lack of artistic ability – my hands are steady as a coffee junkie (small wonder I didn’t become a doctor). But this guy is good – very, very good. Using nothing more than a garden-variety Etch a Sketch, he creates a complete recap of “Star Wars”, and it’s glorious.

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Will the QF-16 be the next step in drone warfare?

October 14, 2013 11:03 am | by Kasey Panetta, Managing Editor | Comments

What happens when a fighter jet is too old to be used in combat by the Air Force, but too expensive to totally dump? It becomes a drone, at least sometimes it does. The F-16 Fighting Falcon was acquired by Boeing after being retired by the Air Force. In turn the aerospace company turned the old school jet into a brand new drone to be used for military training.

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How will ZigBee open up the Sentroller markets for Smart Home device developers?

October 11, 2013 12:53 pm | by Elly Schietse, General Manager GreenPeak Belgium | Comments

The smart home device is about to explode. According to a recent report from Nextmarket Insights, the current home automation systems and services market is about 3.6 billion and is forecast to grow to around 15 billion by 2017. This market growth will be driven by a newly emerging homes service market....

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It’s a man’s world

October 10, 2013 3:17 pm | by Melissa Barnes, Associate Editor | Comments

The lack of women in engineering has been an ongoing issue for some time. In terms of progress, we have seen some marvelous improvements and change for the better. But according to the National Science Foundation’s most recent statistics, an astonishing gender disparity remains....

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