Today, in an almost insultingly brief statement in the middle of a press release about something else entirely, HP killed off its most recent acquisition, and perhaps its most beloved platform: WebOS, the mobile OS designed by the scrappy gurus at Palm. It's a bitter, inconsequential end for an OS that in its own way paved as much ground as the iPhone, and that even in its current decrepit state is a damn fine platform. WebOS, you deserved better.
Brunico, Italy - A snowy K-Mart parking lot would have worked fine. But this being Ferrari, and the star its tradition-shredding FF - a $300,000 all-wheel-drive station wagon -- a little high-altitude showboating seemed in order. So with a boost from the Italian army's Chinook helicopters, Ferrari flew a pair of FF's to the windswept peak of Plan de Corones, a popular ski resort in its wondrous Dolomites, and told us to have at it. Ridiculous? Why, yes. But no more so than a 208-mph, 651-horsepower Italian pony that can carry four tall adults and cargo while galloping safely over snow, ice, dirt or puddles on the Pomona freeway.
As promised, Lockheed Martin finally put its SAMARAI monocopter drone on display at AUVSI's drone extravaganza in DC this week, for the first time flying it before a public audience as PopSci and everyone else in the air demo area looked on in awe. After all, the thing has just one rapidly rotating wing - it doesn't really look like it can stay aloft by itself. Seeing, however, is believing.
If it's a space race the Russians want, a space race they shall have. But et tu, Europe? Russian news outlet Ria Novosti is reporting that the European Space Agency (ESA), long the ally of Cold War champion NASA, is teaming with Russia on a joint manned mission to Mars, and that their crew will be the first to set foot on the Red Planet.
At AUVSI's (Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International) massive robot conference in Washington D.C., in the U.S. this week there is no shortage of robots designed to seek out--and in some cases destroy--human targets. Sandia National Labs chose to go in the opposite direction with their Gemini-Scout, a remotely controlled rolling robot designed specifically to lead search and rescue efforts in the event of a mining disaster.
Last week, DARPA's HTV-2 (Hypersonic Technology Vehicle 2) Falcon vehicle launched to near-orbital speeds aboard a Minotaur rocket before beginning what was designed to be a Mach 20 glide back to earth, demonstrating the kind of hypersonic capability needed to deliver a payload anywhere in the world in an hour. Then, a few minutes into its flight, HTV-2's data transmitters went silent and so did the DARPA news stream feeding us the play-by-play.
Every year, about 15 million pounds of alligator fat is dumped into landfills as a byproduct of alligator meat processing. It would certainly be better to reuse this gloopy mess for a greater purpose, no? As it turns out, alligator fat is a prime candidate for animal-derived biodiesel, according to researchers in the United States.
In the future, all your government mail - jury duty slips, election notices, those Social Security earnings statements - may not come in the mail at all. Here in Australia, federal politicians are debating ditching snail mail entirely, giving all citizens a state-sponsored inbox where we would receive all government communications.
It's become a refrain in this age of 24-hour news stations, media-starved talking heads, and hundreds of channels of stuff you don't want to watch. "Why won't they just shut up about (insert your least favorite abusive sitcom star, diminutive bepoofed reality star, brain-dead politician, or Kyle Sandilands here). The talking heads may never shut up, but that doesn't mean you have to listen to them--and some enterprising Makers created an Arduino-controlled gadget that'll make that even easier.
A little less than six months after the final space shuttle launch, a private space company will launch a rocket carrying a cargo capsule bound for the International Space Station. SpaceX said this week that it plans a Nov. 30 launch date for its first rendezvous with the ISS - an encounter that will mark a major milestone in private space exploration.