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Dream Chaser Spacecraft

A test version of a spacecraft resembling a mini space shuttle was carried aloft over the Mojave Desert by a helicopter Wednesday in a precursor to a free flight in which it will be released to autonomously land on a runway as it would in a return from orbit.

Sierra Nevada Corp.’s Dream Chaser craft was lifted off the ground at 7:21 a.m., at NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center on Edwards Air Force Base, California, and was carried to the same altitude and flight conditions it will experience before release in a free flight.

A control team sent commands to the wingless vehicle and collected data before the helicopter brought it down at 9:02 a.m., the company said.

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Lamborghini Smartphone

It’s known for creating the ultimate in luxury sports cars.

Now, Tonino Lamborghini has released a luxury Android smartphone to match its vehicles – the £1,900 ($2,450) Alpha – One.

The phone boasts Italian handmade black leather and a frame made from the same ‘stronger than titanium liquid metal’ used to build its supercars.

The Alpha – One smartphone also comes with an accompanying custom black leather case, but critics claim the device’s specs do not match its price tag.

Despite Lamborghini claiming its latest phone features ‘the most luxurious technology’, the device has similar specifications to high-end smartphones that cost less than a third of the price.

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Tonino Lamborghini has released a £1,900 ($2,450) luxury Android phone (pictured) made with Italian handmade black leather and frame made of the 'liquid metal' used in its supercars

Limitless Power Right Around the Corner?

An almost limitless supply of clean energy has been brought one step closer to reality.

Scientists have developed a new way to make plasma fuel hot and dense enough to generate ‘significant’ fusion power.

While using nuclear fusion to power homes and businesses may still be some way off, the new plasma marks a major step in fusion power research.

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Scientists have developed a new way to make plasma fuel hot and dense enough to generate significant fusion power. Pictured is the Alcator C-Mod reactor ¿ MIT's custom tokamak where the new plasma was tested

Scientists have developed a new way to make plasma fuel hot and dense enough to generate significant fusion power. Pictured is the Alcator C-Mod reactor – MIT’s custom tokamak where the new plasma was tested

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Weapon Wednesday – The Fully-Automated Kalashnikov

The Kalashnikov Group recently announced the development of a fully automated combat module with the capacity ...
The Kalashnikov Group recently announced the development of a fully automated combat module with the capacity to make decisions and identify targets (Credit: Kalashnikov Group)  

Earlier this month, the Russian weapons manufacturer Kalashnikov Group made a low-key announcement with frightening implications. The company revealed it had developed a range of combat robots that are fully automated and used artificial intelligence to identify targets and make independent decisions. The revelation rekindled the simmering, and controversial, debate over autonomous weaponry and asked the question, at what point do we hand control of lethal weapons over to artificial intelligence? read more

Ingenious Under-Bridge Shelter

The shelter was created by Spanish self-taught designer Fernando Abellanas
The shelter was created by Spanish self-taught designer Fernando Abellanas (Credit: Jose Manuel Pedrajas)

If trolls really did live under bridges, they could do a lot worse than commission Spaniard Fernando Abellanas to build them a new home. The self-taught designer recently installed a novel shelter under an anonymous traffic bridge in Valencia that includes shelving, seating, and even a sleeping space. read more

Orange Peels Revitalize Forest

On the right is the lush forest that was loaded with orange peel waste and on ...
On the right is the lush forest that was loaded with orange peel waste and on the left is the untreated land (Credit: Tim Treuer) 

Sixteen years after a controversial biodegradation plan allowed 1,000 truckloads of orange peels to be unloaded onto a barren, deforested area of Costa Rican land, a team of Princeton researchers has discovered unexpectedly positive results. The area that was covered with orange waste is now a lush, overgrown forest with richer soil and more tree species than the adjacent land that was untreated. read more

A Cancer Vaccine Could be Coming

A golden nanostar, seen here under an electron microscope, is a key part of a new ...
A golden nanostar, seen here under an electron microscope, is a key part of a new treatment that might eventually lead to a cancer vaccine (Credit: Duke University)

In experiments on mice, researchers at Duke University have found that combining two different techniques for fighting cancer is more effective than either treatment is on its own. In one case, the mouse’s immune system not only destroyed the tumor, but stayed strong enough to ward off a later injection of cancer cells, raising hopes that the strategy could one day lead to a viable cancer vaccine.

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First Viable Hologram Table

Euclideon's hologram table: early installations are likely to be used primarily at a municipal level for ...
Euclideon’s hologram table: early installations are likely to be used primarily at a municipal level for town planning and area response purposes (Credit: Euclideon)

Australian company Euclideon has built a working prototype of what it calls the world’s first true multi-user hologram table. Up to four people can walk around a holographic image and interact with it wearing only a small set of glasses – a far cry from bulky AR headgear. It’s set to go on sale in 2018. read more

Italy’s Tiny Volcano

It is known as ‘The Volcano of Monte Busca’, and the smallest in Italy – barely more than a small pile of rocks on a hill.

It has been attracting tourists for decades, with thousands making the climb up the slope near Tredozio village, Province of Forli, every year.

However, while it falls under the definition of ‘volcano’, the four-foot-high burning mound has no crater and expels none of the lava commonly associated with the term.

The littlest volcano: The volcano of Monte Busca, located in the Province of Forli near Tredozio village, is the smallest in Italy

Hardly Vesuvio:  The flame burns day and night, come rain or shine,  as a result of natural gases from under the surface

Burning bright: The volcano of Monte Busca's bright flame is most visible at night against a dark sky

The volcano of Monte Busca is a natural gas vent.

Hydrogen gases from underneath the surface burn when they come in contact with oxygen, causing the flame on the mountain to burn day and night.

The natural phenomenon is also known as ‘flaming fountain’.

Flaming mountain: The fire is caused by hydrogen gas, which burns when it comes into contact with oxygen 

Toyota to Patent See-Thru Car Door Pillars

The days of having to crane your neck around your car’s pillars to see at a junction could soon be a thing of the past, if a new patent is to be believed.

Toyota has filed a patent for a ‘cloaking’ device, which would allow drivers to see straight through their car and get a 360 degree view of the road.

It is unclear when, or if, Toyota plans to implement the system in its cars.

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Toyota's patent describes a 'cloaking device' that would be used on the A-pillars on either side of the windshield

THE PATENT 

The patent describes a ‘cloaking device’ that would be used on the A-pillars on either side of the windshield.

Mirrors would be strategically placed around the car to bend visible light around an object, allowing the driver to see through it.

The patent states: ‘Light from an object on an object-side of the cloaking device is directed around an article within the cloaking region and forms an image on an image-side of the cloaking device such the article appears transparent to an observer.’ 

Toyota was granted the patent, titled ‘Apparatuses and methods for making an object appear transparent’ by the United States Patent and Trademark Office this week.

The patent describes a ‘cloaking device’ that would be used on the A-pillars on either side of the windshield.

The device is made up of mirrors, strategically placed to bend visible light around an object, allowing the driver to see through it.

The patent states: ‘Light from an object on an object-side of the cloaking device is directed around an article within the cloaking region and forms an image on an image-side of the cloaking device such the article appears transparent to an observer.’