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How Do You Know?

November 28, 2013 2:30 pm | by Screaming Circuits | Comments

This isn't a Thanksgiving blog. It is Thanksgiving day, and if it were a Thanksgiving blog, I would have to be working today, but we're shut down for the holiday, so I'm not working. I just woke up pondering what...

Here’s what the ECN Editors are thankful for this year

November 26, 2013 3:18 pm | by the Editors | Comments

Say what you will about Christmas/Hannukah/Kwanzaa. For our money, the “most wonderful time of the year” is Thanksgiving, when the fall foliage sets the scene for family, football, turkey, more football, and dessert (in that order). And though “Black Friday” has crept into Thursday, there’s much to be thankful for this year. Here’s what the ECN staff had to say....

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Turning the world’s biggest landfill into a NYC solar power plant

November 26, 2013 3:00 pm | by Kasey Panetta, Managing Editor | Comments

In a recent Engineering Update, we took a look at Japan’s largest solar power plant, which boasts the capability of powering 22,000 homes with its 313 acre facility. Now, we’re checking out New York’s newest solar project. This solar facility will be located at Freshkills Park on Staten Island and was, at one point, considered to be the largest landfill in the world.

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Revolution on wheels

November 22, 2013 4:21 pm | by Allegra Sparta, Editorial Intern | Comments

Morph Wheels sounds more like a rejected children’s toy idea than a legitimate advancement in mobility technology, but it’s real, and it’s going to have a huge impact. It’s one of many new foldable, space-saving inventions coming into the market. People tend to crave convenience in whatever they purchase and anything that they can slip into their pocket will fit the bill.

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Watch our new missile defense system destroy a fighter jet

November 22, 2013 3:08 pm | by Kasey Panetta, Managing Editor | Comments

While it may seem like most countries around the world are focused on the Patriot Missile Interceptors, the United States is already looking to its next missile defense system. In fact, the military has moved on from looking at systems to testing them.

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Will pills become the new standard of online security?

November 22, 2013 1:03 pm | by Allegra Sparta, Editorial Intern | Comments

It’s no secret that the internet is a minefield. There are hackers and thieves at every turn waiting to steal your personal information and everything else you love. And now the NSA has front-row seats to watch it all happen. This is all pretty scary, so we tend to cling to anything that offers us a semblance of security and safety, even if it means swallowing another pill with our multivitamin every day.

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The first robot suicide

November 21, 2013 2:22 pm | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Comments

At least that’s what hysterical media reports would have you believe. The standard account goes something like this – tired of doing its master’s bidding (er, cleaning), an iRobot Roomba 760 made history by committing the first robot suicide. The poor guy chose an especially gruesome way to kick the bucket, committing self-immolation by driving itself onto a kitchen hotplate....

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PhoneBloks are Legos for adults

November 21, 2013 1:20 pm | by Allegra Sparta, Editorial Intern | Comments

Finally, adults don’t have to relinquish the joy of playing with blocks! Most of the fun in Legos lies with the customizable nature of the toy and the ability to stray from the image on the box to create something truly unique. Dutch designer Dave Hakkens channeled this childhood pastime into a new kind of functional and distinctive smartphone design called PhoneBloks

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Where are all the girl engineers?

November 20, 2013 11:04 am | by Kasey Panetta, Managing Editor | Comments

I recently went to a “Pumpkin Sling” (aka Punkin’ Chunkin’) where participants designed trebuchets to see who could get theirs to throw a pumpkin the farthest. A lot of the teams were made up of kids, who all did an incredible job building the machines. I was particularly inspired by a young man from a Cub Scout troop who very clearly outlined how the machine worked and how they had built it.

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This NASA-inspired shower could lessen the global water crisis

November 14, 2013 12:28 pm | by Allegra Sparta, Editorial Intern | Comments

Growing up in a rural area I learned to expect cries of “Turn that shower off, you’ll run the well dry!” while getting cleaned up for school. Having a well was the price you’d pay for living in the middle of nowhere, away from a reservoir-supplied water source. But apart from my teenage battles, a real problem lurks, one of global proportions.

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This is a real-life Batmobile

November 13, 2013 12:20 pm | by Kasey Panetta, Managing Editor | Comments

The Batmobile is arguably one of the most recognizable fictional transportation devices. Its sleek design has been imagined and reimagined by every Batman movie and a few comics, but it always maintains that certain je ne sais quoi that makes it powerful, sexy, and impressive all in one.Every so often, a superfan will try to recreate the Batmobile...

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Congress aims to cut off patent trolls’ food supply

November 12, 2013 2:23 pm | by Chris Warner, Executive Editor | Comments

Recently, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R. VA) introduced the Innovation Act (H.R. 3309), which extends and amends the America Invents Act of 2011. According to the congressman’s announcement, the bill “is designed to eliminate the abuses of our patent system....

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3D-printed metal guns are nothing to worry about

November 11, 2013 4:24 pm | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Comments

Well, it was bound to happen. A company has finally succeeded in fabricating a wholesale 3D-printed metal gun. But this should cause considerably less hand-wringing than the “Liberator” and its follow-up, the “Grizzly”. To quote the Hitchhiker’s Guide, don’t panic.

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Should we use drones to prevent animal abuse?

November 11, 2013 11:06 am | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Comments

Hunters beware: PETA may be watching you – or rather, its “customers” will if they purchase a specially modified Parrot AR.Drone 2.0 to “spy on hunters and catch them in the act as they terrorize animals and break game laws.” The animal-rights organization introduced the “Air Angels” drone on its site in an effort to cut down on “illegal” hunting activities or anything it deems immoral....

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Slacktivism: 'Liking' on Facebook may mean less giving

November 8, 2013 9:35 am | by Eurekalert! | Comments

Would-be donors skip giving when offered the chance to show public support for charities in social media, a new study from the University of British Columbia's Sauder School of Business finds. "Charities incorrectly assume that connecting with people through social media always leads to more meaningful support," says Sauder PhD student Kirk Kristofferson, who co-authored the forthcoming Journal of Consumer Research article.

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