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Big-picture thinking from the DHS: A national license-plate tracking system

March 5, 2014 10:04 am | by Chris Warner, Executive Editor | Blogs | Comments

Whenever you pass a license plate scanner, your whereabouts and personal information are likely being collected by the law enforcement agency of the state or municipality you’re in. Now, Washington is tipping its hand that it wants that information, too.

New jet-powered UAV is the future of asymmetrical warfare

March 5, 2014 8:09 am | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Blogs | Comments

While politicians and privacy advocates squabble over regulations for domestic drones, General Atomics has been hard at work developing the next unmanned terror of the skies for America’s foreign adversaries. Meet the Predator C Avenger, the future of asymmetrical warfare.

Watch kids react to rotary phones

March 4, 2014 10:52 am | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Blogs | Comments

Watching kids befuddled by legacy technology is like shooting fish in a barrel — easy, but oddly enjoyable. And the “Kids React” series on YouTube runs with that premise, and one of their latest subjects — rotary phones — will make even 30-something college grads feel old.

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This is what happens when you put a go-pro on a pelican’s beak

March 4, 2014 7:53 am | by Kasey Panetta, Managing Editor | Blogs | Comments

There have been some insane advances in the technology behind video cameras in the past few years. Video cameras have caught onto the miniaturization trend, but as the size shrinks, the capabilities grow. This means lighter cameras that are able to shoot and store videos with high-quality images.

7 things I’ll need for my house in 2025

March 3, 2014 7:47 am | by Kasey Panetta, Managing Editor | Blogs | Comments

I can’t wait to live in GE’s home of the future. (Last week, I talked about the car I must have, so it seems fitting that my next topic be about my dream house. As with the car, this is assuming an unlimited budget and available technology.) Last week, I headed to Allentown, PA to the Da Vinci Science Center in order to see an exhibit called Home 2025.

We don't need "smart" gun control

February 26, 2014 7:01 am | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Blogs | Comments

The nation is about to mediate a very serious gun control debate, and it has nothing to do with “assault weapons.” Rather, the advent of “smart” guns could bring about the mandated obsolescence of “dumb” firearms. Sen. Edward Markey (D-MA) has introduced legislation that would mandate all new guns be “personalized”....

Why the self-driving car will be the greatest technology of all time (seriously)

February 24, 2014 10:00 am | by Kasey Panetta, Managing Editor | Blogs | Comments

I am in desperate need of a self-driving car. We’re talking desperate. I would pay a considerable amount of money — in this circumstance not only does the self-driving car exist, it is widely available and I have hit the lottery — for a self-driving car.

Navy's laser weapon is thwarted by Mother Nature

February 21, 2014 8:13 am | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Blogs | Comments

Sci-Fi geeks rejoice — the U.S. Navy’s shipboard laser weapon will deploy this summer. *Cue John Williams soundtrack* But the Laser Weapon System (LaWS) — while dirt-cheap to operate — is hamstrung by Mother Nature: Inclement weather — plus a host of other conditions — could limit its effectiveness. Bummer....

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John Kerry: Climate change is a "weapon of mass destruction"

February 18, 2014 12:53 pm | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Blogs | Comments

Over the weekend, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry visited Indonesia, and from the confines of a U.S.-funded cultural center at a Jakarta mall, Kerry described anthropogenic (aka, man-caused) global warming (AGW) as "perhaps the world's most fearsome weapon of mass destruction".

For DARPA’s next trick: Things that disappear

February 14, 2014 12:16 pm | by Chris Warner, Executive Editor | Blogs | Comments

DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency), through its Vanishing Programmable Resources (VAPR), is working on what it calls “transient” electronics that can disappear when activated remotely. The BBC recently reported that DARPA awarded a $3.5 million contract....

How far should the 1st Amendment protect domestic drones?

February 14, 2014 9:27 am | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Blogs | Comments

Does the “right to know” trump privacy rights? Should journalists exercise restraint in coverage of sensitive topics? At what point does a slavish devotion to the 1st Amendment absolve the press of any moral responsibility? These are very old questions, but they’ve become particularly relevant in the age of 24/7 citizen journalism....

GaN-based transistors take to the sky to capture the action

February 12, 2014 11:25 am | by Chris Warner, Executive Editor | Articles | Comments

When Ray Breslin and Emil Rottmayer attempted a highly daring escape from a super-high security prison in this fall’s thriller Escape Plan, audiences got up close to see (spoiler alert!) our two heroes — played by Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger, respectively — engage in a gunfight with the prison’s “crew”....

Is your employer tracking your every move?

February 11, 2014 4:20 pm | by Kasey Panetta, Managing Editor | Blogs | Comments

Your employer probably isn’t tracking your every move just yet, but with new technology from Hitachi, it might not be that far down the road. Obviously there are ways for employers to track your productivity now whether it’s cameras or looking at your internet logs, but it’s really time consuming and not very informative for most employees.

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Crony capitalism vs. online gambling

February 11, 2014 2:25 pm | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Blogs | Comments

The 10th amendment is back in style, apparently. Back in 2011, the Justice Department issued a legal opinion on the Federal Wire Act of 1961, essentially reversing its longstanding ban on internet gambling. “Interstate transmissions of wire communications that do not relate to a 'sporting event or contest' fall outside the reach of the Wire Act,” it read.

Obtaining low power for industrial devices: Energy harvesting, batteries or hybrids?

February 11, 2014 8:03 am | by Chris Warner, Executive Editor | Articles | Comments

The concept of energy harvesting has been around for as long as windmills and waterwheels were used to harness energy. In the last decade, the possibilities of using low-power harvested energy have greatly expanded in the industrial market as devices became smaller, autonomous and required less power.

Why has the U.S. surrendered its global lead in engineering?

February 10, 2014 12:08 pm | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Blogs | Comments

President Obama’s State of the Union address focused heavily on the domestic tech sector, and now we know why — a recent report by the National Science Board (NSB) charted America’s eroding share of the “global scientific landscape,” and its conclusions are troubling. Since 2001, the global R&D performed by Asian countries has overtaken the U.S.

Watch this fish drive his own tank around

February 10, 2014 11:34 am | by Kasey Panetta, Managing Editor | Blogs | Comments

Do you ever feel like your fish is jealous of the cat and dog who can walk freely about the house just because they have the ability to “breathe oxygen”? Have you caught your fish eyeing the parrot and his high flying, free-wheeling ways? Is he jealous of the hamster in the ball who gets to roll around the house?

Net Neutrality is back in our court

February 10, 2014 8:53 am | by Chris Warner, Executive Editor | Blogs | Comments

Last month, a federal judge dealt Net Neutrality proponents a devastating blow in Verizon’s challenge to the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) Open Internet Order of 2011 (Verizon v FCC). The FCC’s Open Internet Order essentially forbid Internet service providers (ISPs) from

Engineering is for boys. Pink is for girls.

February 7, 2014 8:02 am | by Kasey Panetta, Managing Editor | Blogs | Comments

We’ve talked about GoldieBlox a few times on the site before both about what a cool toy it is and then again when the company released a video of all the cool things you could do with the kit. I recently stumbled across a Tedx done by the CEO and Creator of GoldieBlox, Debbie Sterling. Sterling, who has engineering degree from Stanford...

This is what it’s like to fly a fighter jet

February 4, 2014 3:27 pm | by Kasey Panetta, Managing Editor | Blogs | Comments

Flying in a fighter jet isn’t an experience most of us will ever have. Personally, I’ve never had the urge, but for some, not being able to soar like Maverick is heartbreaking. Luckily for any wannabe pilots, Metropolis Entertainment — who make footage for simulators for places like this one which will show at London’s Science Museum — are more than willing to share the wealth.

The F-35 is "a failure waiting to happen"

February 4, 2014 1:19 pm | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Blogs | Comments

Here’s an oldie but goodie. Last year, Four Corners — an Australian current affairs program — did an expose on the troubled F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program, and their conclusions were ... none-too complimentary. Like their American counterparts, Australia is pursuing a one-size-fits all solution....

The electronics industry does not stop in place, so let’s celebrate engineering excellence

January 31, 2014 9:50 am | by Chris Warner, Executive Editor | Blogs | Comments

The electronics industry does not stop in place. While changing times have affected industry awards and the nation is slowly shaking off its economic malaise, make no mistake that remarkable and innovative products and technology have been and continue to be unveiled all the time.

Would Edison approve of this monumental shift to LEDs?

January 29, 2014 10:45 am | by Chris Warner, Executive Editor | Blogs | Comments

According to NJ.com, the 118-foot tall tower in Edison, New Jersey, where Thomas Edison revolutionized the incandescent light bulb, which is topped by a 14-foot glass replica light bulb, will no longer be lit by an array of incandescent bulbs. Instead, when renovations are completed, the replica bulb will be lit by LEDs.

The Simpsons skewers Google Glass

January 27, 2014 4:05 pm | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Blogs | Comments

You know you’ve hit the big time when the Simpsons — the longest-running sitcom in American history — crack wise at your expense. Their latest target: Google Glass, *ahem*, “Oogle Goggles”. And the satire — of Google Glass, augmented reality, and the ironic disconnection from reality that being connected 24-7 brings — is spot-on.

Robotic gas pumps mean more pleasant winters

January 24, 2014 3:54 pm | by Allegra Sparta, Editorial Intern | Blogs | Comments

For myself, and other residents of New Jersey, this isn’t really a big deal. I briefly flirted with the power of filling up my own tank (I actually thought it was kind of fun!) during my college years in upstate New York. However, New Yorkers are quick to remind us folks across the border of the luxury that is a full-service gas station. Well, here’s some good news for them and residents of the other 48 states that allow self-service....

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