Monday, June 09, 2008

Discover Mag Featurs '3 Amazing Science projects'

A recent piece at Discover Magazine looks at some "amazing" research projects happening right now around the world.

First, researchers at Raytheon Sarcos in Salt Lake City are working on a hydraulically-powered exo-skeleton. No, it's not like an Iron Man suit (though the Discover piece mentions that), it's more like
the suit Sigourney Weaver's Ripley character used to fight the queen in Aliens. Of course, the US Military is backing development of the suit. And though it may help in loading bombs onto fighter aircraft, it won't be of much use in the slums of Sadr City since the suit requires a power cable to be plugged into the wall. Do they even have power in Baghdad now?

Next, scientists are building a telescope out of a one-kilometer block of ice about a mile beneath the surface of the South Pole. Almost sounds like something out of a movie doesn't it? The cube, fitted with sensors, may pick up neutrinos from deep space as they interact with ice molecules. By tracking these interactions, researchers "should identify the locations of violent cosmic events—and perhaps locate exotic new objects that are invisible to ordinary telescopes."

Finally, 150 miles of the coast of Norway, the Sleipner complex (named after
Odin's magical eight-legged horse in Norse mythology, see pic in this posting) is successfully storing CO2 deep below the ocean floor in a "porous sandstone formation capped by impervious rock." Sound expensive to Pound360, but it's cost effective enough to beat Norway's taxes on greenhouse-gas emissions.

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I started pound360 to channel my obsession with vitamins, running and the five senses. Eventually, I got bored focusing on all that stuff, so I came back from a one month hiatus in May of 2007 (one year after launching Pound360) and broadened my mumblings here to include all science.