really small - non technical version here, and the paper (pdf) in Nature.
New type of microengine using internal combustion of hydrogen and oxygen
Vitaly B. Svetovoy1,2, Remco G. P. Sanders1, Kechun Ma1 & Miko C. Elwenspoek1,3
1MESA1 Institute for Nanotechnology, University of Twente, PO 217, 7500 AE Enschede, The Netherlands, 2Institute of Physics and Technology, Yaroslavl Branch, Russian Academy of Sciences, 150007, Yaroslavl, Russia, 3FRIAS, University of Freiburg, 79104 Freiburg, Germany.
Microsystems become part of everyday life but their application is restricted by lack of strong and fast motors (actuators) converting energy into motion. For example, widespread internal combustion engines cannot be scaled down because combustion reactions are quenched in a small space. Here we present an actuator with the dimensions 100 x 100 x 5µm3 that is using internal combustion of hydrogen and oxygen as part of its working cycle. Water electrolysis driven by short voltage pulses creates an extra pressure of 0.5– 4 bar for a time of 100–400 µs in a chamber closed by a flexible membrane. When the pulses are switched off this pressure is released even faster allowing production of mechanical work in short cycles. We provide arguments that this unexpectedly fast pressure decrease is due to spontaneous combustion of the gases in the chamber. This actuator is the first step to truly microscopic combustion engines.
I'm not a fan of F1 racing, but I am a fan of the ingenuity it produces. The rules are rather tight, but a few very clever engineers push them and gain an advantage - until their competitors adopt the new innovation or it is outlawed.
Conspiratorial cosmology—the case against the Universe
Jo ̈rg P. Rachen1,2⋆ and Ute G. Gahlings2
1 Institut fu ̈r Zahlenmystik, Rautavistische Universit ̈at Grafenhausen, Germany
2 Institut fu ̈r angewandte Oligophrenie, Rautavistische Universit ̈at Gr ̈afinnenhausen, Germany
Received April 1; Accepted April 1; Published April 1, 2013
Based on the cosmological results of the Planck Mission, we show that all parameters describing our Universe within the
ΛCDM model can be constructed from a small set of numbers known from conspiracy theory. Our finding is confirmed
by recent data from high energy particle physics. This clearly demonstrates that our Universe is a plot initiated an
unknown interest group or lodge. We analyse possible scenarios for this conspiracy, and conclude that the belief in the
existence of our Universe is an illusion, as previously assumed by ancient philosophers, 20th century science fiction
authors and contemporary film makers.
Every now and again there is a bit a serendipity... I was reading this column on the ten guiding principles of Romneyism by Robert Reich happy that a robotic plutocrat won't be our overlord and the holiday song Chiron Beta Prime came up on the iPod.
A nice fit:-)
If you like it, buy it on iTunes and throw a buck to the musician...
and the principles:
1. Corporations are the basic units of society. Corporations are people, and the overriding purpose of an economy is to maximize corporate profits. When profits are maximized, the economy grows fastest. This growth benefits everyone in the form greater output, better products and services, and higher share prices.
2. Workers are a means to the goal of maximizing corporate profits. If workers do not contribute to that goal, they should be fired. If they cannot then find other work that helps maximize profits in another company, their wages must be too high, and they must therefore accept steadily lower wages until they find a job.
3. All factors of production – capital, physical plant and equipment, workers – are fungible and should be treated the same. Any that fail to deliver high competitive returns should be replaced or discarded. This keeps an economy efficient. Fairness is and should be irrelevant.
4. Pollution, unsafe products, unsafe working conditions, financial fraud, and other negative side effects of the pursuit of profits are the price society pays for profit-driven growth. They should not be used as excuses to constrain the pursuit of profits through regulation.
5. Individual worth depends on net worth — how much money one has made, and the value of the assets that money has been invested in. Any person with enough intelligence and ambition can make a fortune. Failure to do so is sign of moral and intellectual inferiority.
6. People who fail in the economy should not be coddled. They should not receive food stamps, Medicaid, or any other form of social subsidy. Coddling leads to a weaker society and a weaker economy.
7. Taxes are inherently bad because they constrain profit-making. It is the right and responsibility of individuals and corporations to exploit every tax loophole they (and their tax attorneys) can find in order to pay the lowest taxes possible.
8. Politics is a game whose only purpose is to win. Any means used to win the game is legitimate even if it involves lying and cheating, as long as it gains more supporters than it loses.
9. Democracy is dangerous because it is forever vulnerable to the votes of a majority intent on capturing the wealth of the successful minority, on whom the economy depends. The rich must therefore do whatever is necessary to prevent the majority from exercising its will, including spending large sums of money on lobbyists and political campaigns. The most virtuous among the rich will go a step further and run for president.
10. The three most important aspects of life are family, religion, and money. Patriotism is a matter of guarding our economy from unfair traders and undocumented immigrants, rather than joining together for the common good. We owe nothing to one another as citizens of the same society.
I was talking to a contemporary who is a physics professor the other day and those words came from him ... Many of them know how to program (although he and others point out many of those have learned some really bad habits), but few know how to play with the physical work.
It dates me, but when I was a kid making things was common. The schools were even involved - probably as training for presumed vocations. The classes were sexually segregated with the boys taking wood and metal shop as well as mechanical drawing and the girls took cooking and sewing. Everyone should have had a taste of all of those. The problem of discrimination combined with budget issues and a focus on only teaching the "relevant" basics and these programs have mostly disappeared.
a huge loss ...
There is no reason someone has to be isolated from all of the fun. Cooking is the low hanging fruit as we need food to live so most of us get beyond the microwave oven and pre-packed or store prepared food - at least a bit. The others can be addressed by adult education or just going out and trying getting inspiration and instruction online.
Make is an excellent source for projects that combine disciplines like mechanical and electrical engineering and a bit of computer science ... as well as art. The combinations vary and it is all community based. Make whatever you want and teach others or learn at someone else's feet. The quality of the projects is all over the place and some criticism has been made about this. I think the criticism is unfounded - this is just people having fun - tasting and learning at their own pace.
Recently a series of podcast interviews of prominent makers went online. I started listening the other day with #8 - a rather clever fellow who reverse engineers manufactured objects at a fairly sophisticated level, publishing his results.
really excellent and recommended! It might inspire you or your kid to just go out and try something. I've done a few things but several friends are having a lot of fun: Sukie has taught herself how to design and make jewelry that many consider professional, Steve does serious woodworking, Howard is working with his son on some fun stuff as a father-son team, Alan designs and builds cameras and photographic lighting, Jheri is learning dress and pattern making looking at the use of computerized cutting tools, and Dave is building a micro-satellite for orbit. Gabe made his own sous-vide cooker and is working on a vacuum packing machine and has repaired a centrifuge for culinary purposes. Greg has probably been doing this for most of his life and is seriously competent. He combines his physics and engineering skills with a great sense of design and creativity for some wonderful projects that have generated patents. And then there is Jan - anyone who joins the Polish Army because he was interested in diesels and he knew they had some is interesting. And I'm probably missing the makerness of several others ....
If you don't have a workshop there are probably projects that don't require much and some areas have clubs or even business that give access to tools.
A really nice way to grow and do interesting stuff as well as meet interesting people! My guess is the average group of people who build things is probably going to be more interesting than people who use their time to watch TV.