From Engadget: South Korea opens up cellphone sales, networks wary of the ‘free market’

South Korea opens up cellphone sales, networks wary of the 'free market'

South Korea’s Communications Commission is wresting control of the domestic cellphone market away from operators. From May 1st, it is opening the handset business open to any vendor, who will sell phones unlocked so consumers can decide their choice of network. The plan is aimed at lowering prices by introducing competition between the retailers — although some voices in the industry have expressed concerns that the operators will withdraw discounted offers in retaliation. Naturally, the KCC is determined to ensure a better deal for consumers, and is already strong-arming wayward networks into ensuring that doesn’t happen.


from Engadget

From Popular Science – New Technology, Science News, The Future Now: Turbine Condenses Clean Water From the Air and Generates Wind Power At the Same Time

A new type of wind turbine harvests not only electricity from the wind, but clean water from the air, by condensing humidity from even the driest climes. One prototype turbine is apparently collecting 16.3 gallons of water an hour from the desert air over Abu Dhabi, according to the company that builds it.

French company Eole Water produces several water-harvesting technologies, including the WMS1000 wind turbine, a harvester powered by a 30-kilowatt solar panel and a water condenser that can connect to an existing power grid. The company’s founder, Marc Parent, started collecting water from an air conditioner while he lived in the Caribbean, and later conceived the idea to generate water from atmospheric moisture.

The turbine works like a typical wind turbine, with three upwind blades spinning to generate electricity. Then in a separate process, air is sucked into the turbine’s nose and sent through a cooling compressor, which extracts moisture from the air. Water droplets drip down stainless steel pipes inside the turbine shaft and are collected at the base, which houses a filtration and purification system. The system is powered by the wind turbine.

The company claims one turbine can produce up to 1,000 liters of water every day, depending on the humidity and wind conditions. The company says it could help remote communities in need of clean drinking water, especially in Indonesia and countries in Africa. For now, one turbine costs $790,000, but the cost could come down if the company starts building lots of them, according to a spokesman who spoke to CNN.

The prototype in Abu Dhabi has been in operation since October, the company says.

[via CNN]

from Popular Science – New Technology, Science News, The Future Now

From MAKE: Math Monday: Paper Polyhedra

By George Hart for the Museum of Mathematics




If you’ve never made a set of the Platonic solids from paper, perhaps it’s time to try it. These shapes are the foundation for many aspects of three-dimensional design. Here is a set made with open faces, but the openings are strictly optional. You can just cut out regular polygons and tape them together so every vertex is identical, e.g., putting five triangles at each vertex leads to the icosahedron.

After mastering the five Platonic solids, there is a world of more complex models to explore. The polyhedron below consists of twelve regular pentagons and twenty (very slightly irregular) hexagons. It is made by cutting out paper polygons and taping them together on the inside. This design is often confused with the truncated icosahedron shape that is well known because of its use as a soccer ball.  But this shape is the truncated rhombic triacontahedron. To see the difference, notice that there are some vertices here with three hexagons and no pentagon, but in a soccer ball there is one pentagon and two hexagons at each vertex.

And if you become engaged in discovering the world of polyhedra, you will encounter the many additional families, including the stellated icosahedron below. Their intricacies can be quite a challenge to make from paper, especially when some components meet just at points.  I made the model below over thirty years ago, starting from a template in the book Polyhedron Models by Magnus Wenninger. If you want your models to last this long, be sure to use acid-free paper.

See all of George Hart’s Math Monday columns

from MAKE

From Engadget: Study says wind turbines raise surrounding area temperature, but only at night

Study says wind turbines raise surrounding area temperature, but only at night

Who said the butterfly effect couldn’t apply to renewable energy? Though wind farms are considered pretty green on the energy-generating spectrum, it looks like they, too, have an impact on the planet. According to a study published today in the journal Nature Climate Change, turbines can raise the local temperature — albeit slightly. From 2003 to 2011, researchers monitored satellite data for west-central Texas, which is home to 2,350-plus turbines and four of the world’s largest wind farms. In that decade, scientists observed a temperature increase of 0.72 degrees in wind farm regions compared to areas without turbines. That warming trend was especially marked at night, when the temperature difference between the ground and the air is highest. The temperature increase was also higher in winter; researchers say that these cooler, windier conditions cause turbines to generate more electricity and therefore create more heat. Since the study didn’t find any change in daytime temperatures, it looks like we don’t have to ring the global warming alarm just yet.


from Engadget