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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

Weapon Wednesday – Cadet Develops New Body Armor

Air Force Academy Cadet 1st Class Hayley Weir created a goo-like substance that can stop bullets
Air Force Academy Cadet 1st Class Hayley Weir created a goo-like substance that can stop bullets (Credit: US Air Force)

A US Air Force Academy cadet demonstrated that school lessons aren’t just about retreading old ground, by turning a classroom exercise into a new ballistic armor made out of goo. In 2014, Cadet 1st Class Hayley Weir’s assignment to combine epoxy, Kevlar and carbon fiber into an anti-ballistic substance inspired her to develop the task into a new type of flexible bullet stopper. read more

Watching the California Condor

The condor chick's mother. California condors can reach heights of 15,000 feet when flying and could ...
The condor chick’s mother. California condors can reach heights of 15,000 feet when flying and could travel as far as 150 miles a day using their keen eyesight to search for carcasses on which to feed. (Credit: Molly Astell/USFWS)

With all of the fine entertainment now on TV, you’d think that watching a baby condor go about its business on a remote mountain perch near Hopper Mountain National Wildlife Refuge in California wouldn’t be that captivating. But somehow it is. Thanks to a livestream video from the Cornell Lab Bird Cams Project, you can check up on the little bird with big feet whenever you want and, if you’re lucky, you can even see it interact with its parents. read more

Monowheel Electric Scooter

With a range of 20 miles (32 km), a top speed of 20 mph (32 km/h) ...
With a range of 20 miles (32 km), a top speed of 20 mph (32 km/h) and a charge time of one hour, the Kiwano K01 trumps the current marketplace offerings on most key points (Credit: Kiwano)

The Kiwano K01 is a monowheel electric scooter with a range of 20 miles (32 km), a top speed of 20 mph (32 km/h) and a charge time of one hour, offering some considerable advantages over anything in its class and a viable commuter for under US$1,000. read more

Weapon Wednesday – New Nano-Drone

Fight time is around 15 minutes, with a top speed of 22 mph and a range ...
Fight time is around 15 minutes, with a top speed of 22 mph and a range of 1 kilometer (Credit: AeroVironment)  

AeroVironment’s new Snipe Nano Quadrotor is a man-packable drone with the potential to be carried by every foot soldier, vastly increasing situational awareness and individual capability. The Snipe will also be available commercially later this year for police, first responders and all those who need to be able to see what’s happening in places they cannot safely go.

Announced at AUVSI in Dallas today, the Snipe Nano Quad UAS weighs just 140 grams (5 oz) and fits into a small hard case light enough to be carried – though AeroVironment has not yet disclosed the weight of the entire UAS including the ruggedized touch screen controller. read more

21st Century Tattoos

An example of the Chaotic Moon TechTat system with embedded LED lights
An example of the Chaotic Moon TechTat system with embedded LED lights (Credit: Chaotic Moon)

Almost every culture from the past 5,000 years has shown some evidence of decorative skin tinkering. As we move into the 21st century, tattoo culture, much like everything else, is being fused with technology. read more

Electric Flyer

The Kitty Hawk Flyer being flown by Cimeron Morrissey in the company's slick promo video
The Kitty Hawk Flyer being flown by Cimeron Morrissey in the company’s slick promo video (Credit: Kitty Hawk)

Silicon Valley startup Kitty Hawk – backed by Google’s Larry Page, who also threw his weight behind a rotor-based flying car a few years back – has released a video showing off the prototype of an upcoming all-electric personal flying machine it’s calling The Flyer. The company says that users won’t need to secure a pilot’s license to fly the eight rotor vehicle, and promises a swift learning curve. read more

Ice Age Predicted

Stone pillars at Göbekli Tepe, adorned with animals that archaeologists believe indicate a specific date and ...
Stone pillars at Göbekli Tepe, adorned with animals that archaeologists believe indicate a specific date and tell of a cataclysm (Credit: Travel the Unknown)

Around 12,800 years ago, the Earth suddenly dipped into a mini ice age, and nobody really knows why. One of the leading theories is that the cataclysm was triggered by a comet striking the planet, and now, archaeologists believe they’ve found a first-hand account of the story recorded in the remains of an ancient Turkish temple.

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Electric Skateboard – Motors in the Wheels

Each JayKay e-truck wheel has its own motor, the batteries are integrated into the axle and...
Each JayKay e-truck wheel has its own motor, the batteries are integrated into the axle and the electronics enclosed within the housing(Credit: JayKay)

Adding electric motion to your board can result in some under-deck chunkiness or somewhat bulky trucks spoiling the aesthetic. Germany’s JayKay says it’s managed to cram all of the electronics, electric motors and even the battery into a longboard truck that looks pretty much the same size as a non-electric flavor.

Currently at the working prototype stage, Daniel Jäger, Benedict Kuhlmann and Isabell Armbruster are aiming to take their electric longboard trucks, or e-trucks for short, to Kickstarter in May to help fund production. The e-trucks will come in synchronized pairs and have been designed to be mounted to most off-the-shelf longboard decks, and are reported good for boards with or without cut-outs. The JayKay team plans to make ready to ride and install yourself kit options available.

Either way, JayKay says that riders can expect to zoom along at up to 30 km/h (18.6 mph) for a range of 12 km (7.5 mi). If the integrated four cells per axle batteries do run out of juice, riders can freewheel their way home, stick it on quick charge for an hour, or battery-save charge for 3 hours, and then jump on and zip off again. Regen braking could also help eke out a few more miles of motor-driven board action before needing to recharge via USB-C, though there’s also an induction coil in the baseplate for Qi wireless charging.

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