May 15, 2011

Science is AWESOME!

One of the Brickmuppet's crack team of science babes reminds us that despite earthquakes, tsunamis and associated brown outs, the Japanese are still inventing, manufacturing and distributing practical, life improving technologies.



So yes boys and girls, there are now cat ears that react to the wearers mood.

This comes via Scot Lowther, who inexplicably refers to this development as "dubious".

Note that this is related to an even more awesome technology....exoskeletons for the handicapped.

Science 'babe' is Professor Hakase from My Ordinary Life.

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May 05, 2011

Mystery Chopper

The Brickmuppets Crack Team of Science Babes resident helicopter expert has been following up on the weekends news with considerable interest. It seems that during the mission that ultimately resulted in a certain mass murdering buttweasel becoming chum, there was one notable mishap.

The United States lost a helicopter over Bin Laden's compound. The troops destroyed it before they left, but the tailboom was outside the compound and inaccessible.
 Now that has been photographed and has generated a LOT of interest. It seems that this was a bigger mishap than initially let on as the tail boom has all sorts of stealth features and the photos are all over the completely out of the bag is the ninja chopper that I feel no guilt in linking to it. 

There is commentary about this here, here, here and here. As I type this, there is also a thread on this topic at the generally superb Secret Projects Forum, but the first thread on the topic had to be shut down due to an outbreak of crazy-ass deathers.


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It's OK! My Fire is GREEN!

Electric cars are good for urban niche applications. However, there are certain problems with them. Range and charging time can be easily dealt with if one lives in an urban environment with a set schedule and is a homebody. The battery life issue is trickier as it carries with it the dual problems of considerable expense for the consumer and the environmental hazards of disposing of huge toxic batteries. Within certain niches, these are not insurmountable issues.
  Now, one of the Brickmuppet's crack team of science babes brings us another complication...discovered after long hours of research.Fire!

It's nice to find people who enjoy their work.

...The couple's garage, where they parked their new Chevrolet Volt hybrid, was on fire. Firefighters were able to put out the blaze. A firewall built between the home and the garage saved their home.Investigators with the state fire marshal's office and the couple's insurance company, at the time, suspected the hybrid car have had something to do with the blaze.On Monday morning, firefighters were called back to the home when the car caught fire again...

Well, it is a Chevy Volt. Of course it could be a wiring defect in the house. This story would just be an oddity if not for the combusting Chinese taxicab.

A Zotye Langyue/Multipla EV serving as a taxicab burst into flame Monday afternoon in Hangzhou, Zhejiang, prompting the city to halt all electric taxis on safety concerns.

Firefighters rushed to the scene in minutes but couldn’t do much as the car quickly turned into a big fireball, and then ashes and an empty, back shell. No one was injured; the driver and two passengers in the vehicle got out in time...

This is really odd. EVs are not terribly practical but we've been operating the damned things since the 1890s and I can't recall this being a widespread problem, yet now we have 2 such incidents in a matter of weeks.

There have been a lot of changes in electrics of late so this might bear watching.

Wait! This is a mystery. It involves cars, electric cars. Why, this looks looks like a job for Jeremy Clarkson!

Of course alternative fuels are of considerable interest to those of us at Brickmuppet Blog so we leave you with this non-disastrous bit of ecotech that is four different kinds of cool.
1: It's Finnish!
2: It is a wood burning car with a range of 800 miles.
3: It is an frickking ElCamino...which means that...
4: No Bo-Bo would be caught dead in this.

Given the range, I think this must be a dual fuel engine. Several European cars can run on natural gas and petrol so that would be both plausible and make the thing almost practical. It is definitely awesome.

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