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February 2022 News Wire

Bill Ward on Flickr

Jetson unveils its single-seat ONE eVTOL vehicle ahead of limited 2022 production

Want a flying vehicle of your own? It’s only 5 maybe 10 years away. A Swedish company called Jetson has a video out showing their really neat Jetson ONE personal electric flying vehicle. It doesn’t drive on roads but customers can buy a limited number starting later this year (2022). There’s dozens of companies working to make flying vehicles, as well as flying cars that also can drive on roads.

Bladeless Energy from Wind

We’ve all seen the huge wind turbines that transform wind into energy as their blades are rotated in a circle. Many turbines are massive and have parts that wear out. Vortex Bladeless is a Spanish company that has built another way to harness wind. Instead of rotating blades, their technology is a tall mast that shimmies as the wind passes by. It’s a clever alternative that has fewer moving parts as it generates electricity.

An Ultra-Precise Clock Links the Quantum World With Gravity

Scientists have been able to measure a time difference between the top and bottom of a single cloud of atoms. Time is known to be affected by distance. If you went into space in a super fast rocket then returned to Earth you’d be younger than the family you left behind. Gravity works in a similar way: the weight of the Earth distorts gravity. Scientists have been able to measure these differences at the level of a millimeter with an atomic clock. With more work, their technique can be used with quantum computing which works at the level of atoms.

Wood Steak Knife is Three Times Harder than Steel

Cutting tools, whether a kitchen knife or saw used in building construction, are made of steel and other materials that are often nonrenewable and expensive. Scientists at the University of Maryland have found a two-step process to remove from wood the soft matter that channels water through a tree. The result is a renewable wood material that can be used for knives and nails. Plus the material can be washed in a dishwasher. Cellulose is 40-50% of wood and has a higher strength to density ratio than ceramics and metals. The rest of the wood is made of binding materials that dilute the natural strength of cellulose.

Mapping Coastal California with Lasers

People along the coast in Southern California noticed green laser beams shooting down from the sky at night. It wasn’t aliens. Or a secret US government program. It was an ongoing effort to use lidar – a system like radar but with lasers – to measure the depth of water along the coast. Every five years, the US Army Corps of Engineers flies planes along US coastlines to measure water depth and create maps of underwater obstacles. The planes have lasers attached to their bottoms. The lasers bounce light down towards the Earth then use the return signal from the laser blast to measure distance and compile a map of the surface down to 165 feet underwater. The laser bursts are so short they don’t cause harm to humans below.

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