China Will Test A ‘Straddle Bus’ That Drives Over Cars

If you’ve ever imagined yourself driving a monster truck over rush hour traffic, there might be a real job for you some day as a straddle bus driver.

Population-burdened transit systems in China may have a new and cheap solution in the form of a bus that glides two meters above the street up to 37 miles per hour (60 kilometers), on a set of rails. Think of a trolley car shaped like an arch. A prototype of this so-called straddle bus or “land-air bus” is being built by the company Transit Explore Bus, and is set to begin testing in Chengzhou at the end of July or August, according to New China TV.

The idea is to build on top of existing traffic patterns rather than having to dig costly subway systems. Because it relies on more existing infrastructure than a subway, this design is expected to cost just 60 percent of what subways would, and save on the carbon emissions that would result from an equivalent number of cars or regular buses.

The basic idea dates back to the 1960s, but hasn’t been pursued as a viable transportation option until now.

Hopefully Chinese drivers don’t have claustrophobia, or whatever the word is for the fear of a massive moving vehicle zooming overhead while you’re stuck in traffic.

[H/T: Yale 360 and Huffington Post]

from Popular Science

University Students Launched A Rocket With Completely 3D-Printed Engine

No one expects college kids to beat NASA to the punch. On Saturday, students at University of California San Diego launched a rocket with a completely 3D-printed engine. Students for the Exploration and Development of Space claims to be the first university group to do this. Watch it fly!

Here it is again, filmed from a drone.

Their rocket, dubbed Vulcan-1, is 19 feet long, 8 inches in diameter, and capable of 750 pounds of thrust. It’s powered by a cryogenic combination of liquid oxygen and refined kerosene.

NASA’s been working on 3D-printing rocket engines for some time now. Last winter they put some 3D-printed parts through a fiery test. The private space industry, too, is working on rockets with 3D printed components. In 2014, SpaceX’s Falcon 9 launched with a 3D-printed valve. But as far as we know, this is the first time a completely 3D-printed rocket has blasted off.

However, as this one probably didn’t make it to space, there are still many more firsts to come.

Watch the launch below:

from Popular Science

The TSA Is So Bad That Delta Has Had to Install Its Own Ultra-Efficient Security Checkpoints

To help alleviate long lines at Atlanta’s airport, Delta spent more than a million dollars to install a pair of new high-tech security lanes that can handle more passengers simultaneously. When even the airlines, who are happy to charge passengers extra to sit next to their family members
, thinks the TSA
is doing a bad job, you know there’s a problem.

Read more…

from Gizmodo

MIT exploited heat to make the most efficient solar cell yet

Sorry, University of New South Wales: Your efforts at shattering the efficiency record for solar cells earlier this month have been, ahem, eclipsed. A group of researchers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology have developed a way to possibly break the maximum efficiency of a solar cell, the Shockley-Queisser Limit. The Shockley-Queisser tops off at around 32 percent, but that’s taking standard solar cell setups into account. The MIT scientists switched it up and converted incoming sunlight to heat prior to having it generate electricity, a trick that could possibly double the power produced by a given panel.

These solar thermophotovoltaics (above) take light and pass it through an intermediary part comprised of nanophotonic crystals that outputs thermal radiation — something that’s otherwise wasted using typical means. From there, the radiation is converted to the best-possible light wavelengths, via an optical filter, that a normal solar cell can use.

The school says this method means that in the future, passing clouds or even total darkness (if a thermal storage system is in place) wouldn’t affect the system’s ability to gather and produce solar energy, respectively. And this is all with what the team refers to as "unoptimized geometry." Meaning, efficiency could go even higher than what was achieved during this experiment. Your day in the sun is over, UNSW.

Via: MIT News

Source: Nature Energy

from Engadget

Netflix’s Disney streaming exclusives start in September

Netflix is about to get a whole lot more magical. There’s a whole cadre of additional Disney films coming to the streaming service this September as Netflix becomes the exclusive streaming service for movies from Disney, Marvel, Lucasfilm and Pixar.
This announcement comes in the form of Netflix’s latest blog detailing the year’s coming releases. There isn’t any concrete information on which titles are being added later this fall just yet, but it will be comprised of major theatrical releases and more. There’s already a smattering of movies like Hercules, The Emperor’s New Groove and Mulan already available to view, but September should see that expanded considerably.

This announcement is the fruit of an agreement signed into life back in 2012, which made Netflix the exclusive U.S. subscription service for first-run live-action and animated features from Walt Disney. It’s finally time for Netflix subscribers to reap the benefits with a wide breadth of content from the Walt Disney umbrella. Does that mean we could see The Force Awakens coming to Netflix in the near future? We’ll be keeping our eyes peeled just in case.

Source: Netflix

from Engadget