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Weapon Wednesday – BAE’s Advance Hawk

The Advanced Hawk is an updated version of the Hawk T2 shown here
The Advanced Hawk is an updated version of the Hawk T2 shown here (Credit: BAE Systems)

Since it was introduced in 1976, well over a thousand of BAE Systems’ Hawk trainer jets have entered service in 18 countries around the world. Now the latest variant, the Advanced Hawk, has taken to the air for the first time in the skies over Warton, Lancashire, UK in demonstrator form. Boasting a new wing design and a revamped cockpit, the Anglo-Indian two-seater is intended to train pilots to handle fifth-generation combat aircraft. read more

Raising a Revolutionary Warship

More than two decades after it was discovered at the bottom of Lake Champlain, a Revolutionary War gunboat may see the light of day under a museum plan to raise and preserve the vessel.

The Spitfire, a 54-foot boat that’s part of a fleet built by Benedict Arnold before he turned traitor, sank a day after the 1776 Battle of Valcour Island, helping delay a British advance down the lake.

The Spitfire’s sinking made it possible for the 1777 American victory at the Battle of Saratoga – a key moment in the American Revolution.

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This image from a remote camera provided by the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum shows a cannon, believed to be from the Revolutionary War gunboat "Spitfire", on the bottom of Vermont's Lake Champlain. The Vermont museum wants to raise the Revolutionary War gunboat where it has rested since shortly after the 1776 Battle of Valcour Island, preserve it and then display it in a yet-to-be built New York museum. (Ernie Haas/Lake Champlain Maritime Museum via AP)

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Kick the Smartphone Habit – Go Grayscale

The average American clicks, taps or swipes on their smartphone screen more than 2,600 times a day – and the heaviest users touch their device more than 5,400 times.

The birth of the smartphone has sparked an addiction among many people, however, an ex-Google employee has revealed that going gray could help curb habit.

By setting the screen of your handset to grayscale, users might not be so compelled to check their device – this is because certain colors used by apps, like red and bright blue, subconsciously make us excited to reach for our phones.

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The birth of the smartphone has sparked an addiction among many people, however, an ex-Google employee has revealed that going gray could help curb habit

By setting the screen of your handset to grayscale, users might feel checking the device is less appealing - this is because some of the colors, like red and bright blue, subconsciously make us excited to reach for our phones

read more

Weapon Wednesday – Replacing the M4A1 Carbine

The M4A1 carbine is currently issued to U.S. Army combat troops worldwide. A descendant of the original M16 rifle, the M4A1 has a 14.5″ barrel, is chambered for the 5.56-millimeter round, and weighs approximately nine pounds when fully equipped with optics, lasers, foregrips, and other attachments. There are concerns in Congress, however, that the M4A1 could not penetrate modern Russian body armor, which is what prompted Milley’s comment.

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Snorkl Go Anywhere Scuba

The Scorkl offers new worlds of exploration. Instead of holding your breath for 15 to 20 ...
The Scorkl offers new worlds of exploration. Instead of holding your breath for 15 to 20 seconds for each exploratory venture underwater as you would do without assistance, the Scorkl expands your underwater range by 30 to 60 times. (Credit: Scorkl)

Scorkl enables you to breathe underwater for up to 10 minutes. It is small, lightweight and you can pump it up yourself, meaning it is a one-time-cost to be able to swim underwater for 10 minutes at a time, or hang a couple of Scorkls on your belt and go much longer. The Scorkl regulator is always-on, so it is a breathe-on-demand system which combines with a built-in pressure gauge which tells you how much air is left at any time. read more

Two-Seat Electric Chopper

The Workhorse Surefly will have a range of 70 miles and a top speed of 70 ...
The Workhorse Surefly will have a range of 70 miles and a top speed of 70 mph (Credit: Workhorse)

The 2017 Paris Air Show begins two weeks from now, bringing a rash of new announcements at the bleeding edge of commercial aerospace. Foremost among them this year is a very credible, two-seat flying car. read more

Robot Practically Thinks for Itself

Researchers at UC Berkeley have developed a robot that can pick up awkward and unusually shaped objects.

The robot learned how to grasp different objects by studying a virtual library of 10,000 3D objects and suitable grasps.

When a new object is placed in front of the bot, its deep-learning system quickly figures out what grasp the arm should use.

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When the robot was unsure of how to grasp an object, it poked it to figure out how to better grasp it. After doing this, it was successful at lifting objects 99 per cent of the time

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Paul Allen’s New Plane

Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen unveiled the world’s largest aircraft on Wednesday.

The massive plane rolled out by Allen’s aerospace firm, Stratolaunch Systems, features the longest wingspan of any aircraft ever built, according to Popular Mechanics.

With a wingspan of 385 feet, the six-engine plane will be larger than Howard Hughes’ 1947 H-4 Hercules, known as the ‘Spruce Goose,’ and the Antonov An-225, a Soviet-era cargo plane originally built to transport the Buran space shuttle that is currently the world’s largest aircraft.

The Stratolaunch is an aircraft that is designed to carry rockets between its two fuselages.

In 2011, the project’s cost was initially estimated to be at $300million, though there is no word as to the updated figures.

After the plane reaches altitude, it would then drop the launch vehicle, which will subsequently fire its boosters and launch into space from the air.

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Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen unveiled the world's largest aircraft on Wednesday. The massive plane rolled out by Allen's aerospace firm, Stratolaunch Systems, features the longest wingspan of any aircraft ever built