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Your Next Car Could Have Airbags That Inflate on the Outside
Posted on Thursday January 01, 1970

German auto supplier ZF Friedrichshafen AG has spent 10 years working on external airbags for cars, according to Popular Mechanics, and "The tech is finally ready for carmakers -- that is, if ZF can convince them to buy it." With ZF's system, each side sill (the outside bodywork underneath the car doors) packs one airbag that runs the full length of the doors. Sensors on the car will watch out for any objects that look likely to slam into the side of the car. When the computers decide a crash is imminent and unavoidable, they deploy from the side sill, revealing the airbag. In no more than 100 milliseconds, inflators pump up the airbag to the height of a typical front bumper. One advantage of outside airbags is that they disperse the forces of impact. An oncoming car about the slam into the side of your vehicle would strike with the relatively small surface area of its front bumperâ"and an even smaller surface if it strikes at an angle. But when a car hits an inflated airbag, the impact force is spread through the airbag and along the length of the vehicle's side structure, which reduces energy loads. ZF says its tech reduces intrusions into the passenger cabin by 30 up to percent, and reduces injury levels by 20 to 30 percent.

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Did A US Navy Scientist Just Invent A Room-Temperature Superconductor?
Posted on Thursday January 01, 1970

"A scientist working for the U.S. Navy has filed for a patent on a room-temperature superconductor, representing a potential paradigm shift in energy transmission and computer systems," reports Phys.org: Salvatore Cezar Pais is listed as the inventor on the Navy's patent application made public by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on Thursday. The application claims that a room-temperature superconductor can be built using a wire with an insulator core and an aluminum PZT (lead zirconate titanate) coating deposited by vacuum evaporation with a thickness of the London penetration depth and polarized after deposition. An electromagnetic coil is circumferentially positioned around the coating such that when the coil is activated with a pulsed current, a non-linear vibration is induced, enabling room temperature superconductivity. "This concept enables the transmission of electrical power without any losses and exhibits optimal thermal management (no heat dissipation)," according to the patent document, "which leads to the design and development of novel energy generation and harvesting devices with enormous benefits to civilization." Long-time Slashdot reader resistant writes: NextBigFuture says the same individual appears to have made other startling claims that arguably stretch the boundaries of belief, such as a "high-frequency gravitational wave generator" that could supposedly drive a spaceship without conventional propellants as well as an "inertial mass reduction device." Prudence would appear to dictate examining these and other claims by Mr. Salvatore Cezar Pais with great caution.

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NYT Reporter 'Ditched My Phone and Unbroke My Brain'
Posted on Thursday January 01, 1970

"It's an unnerving sensation, being alone with your thoughts in the year 2019," writes New York Times technology columnist Kevin Roose, in an article shared by DogDude. "I don't love referring to what we have as an 'addiction.' That seems too sterile and clinical to describe what's happening to our brains in the smartphone era." We might someday evolve the correct biological hardware to live in harmony with portable supercomputers that satisfy our every need and connect us to infinite amounts of stimulation. But for most of us, it hasn't happened yet... [S]ometime last year, I crossed the invisible line into problem territory. My symptoms were all the typical ones: I found myself incapable of reading books, watching full-length movies or having long uninterrupted conversations. Social media made me angry and anxious, and even the digital spaces I once found soothing (group texts, podcasts, YouTube k-holes) weren't helping... Mostly, I became aware of how profoundly uncomfortable I am with stillness. For years, I've used my phone every time I've had a spare moment in an elevator or a boring meeting. I listen to podcasts and write emails on the subway. I watch YouTube videos while folding laundry. I even use an app to pretend to meditate. If I was going to repair my brain, I needed to practice doing nothing. Another science journalist helped him through "phone rehab," and "now, the physical world excites me, too -- the one that has room for boredom, idle hands and space for thinking." After a final 48 hour digital detox, "I also felt twinges of anger -- at myself, for missing out on this feeling of restorative boredom for so many years; at the engineers in Silicon Valley who spend their days profitably exploiting our cognitive weaknesses; at the entire phone-industrial complex that has convinced us that a six-inch glass-and-steel rectangle is the ideal conduit for worldly experiences... "Steve Jobs wasn't exaggerating when he described the iPhone as a kind of magical object, and it's truly wild that in the span of a few years, we've managed to turn these amazing talismanic tools into stress-inducing albatrosses. It's as if scientists had invented a pill that gave us the ability to fly, only to find out that it also gave us dementia."

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Samsung's Newest Phones Read Your Fingerprints With Ultrasonic Sound Waves
Posted on Thursday January 01, 1970

An anonymous reader quotes CNET: The Galaxy S10's in-screen fingerprint scanner may look just like the one on the OnePlus 6T, but don't be fooled. Samsung's flagship Galaxy S10 and S10 Plus are the first phones to use Qualcomm's ultrasonic in-screen fingerprint technology, which uses sound waves to read your print. Related to ultrasound in a doctor's office, this "3D Sonic Sensor" technology works by bouncing sound waves off your skin. It'll capture your details through water, lotion and grease, at night or in bright daylight. Qualcomm also claims it's faster and much more secure than the optical fingerprint sensor you've seen in other phones before this. That's because the ultrasonic reader takes a 3D capture of all the ridges and valleys that make up your skin, compared to a 2D image -- basically a photo -- that an optical reader captures using light, not sound waves.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Amazon Prime Air Cargo Plane Crashes in Texas, Three Dead
Posted on Thursday January 01, 1970

An anonymous reader quotes Weather.com: An Amazon Prime Air cargo plane crashed Saturday afternoon into Trinity Bay near Anahuac, Texas, as it approached Houston's George Bush Intercontinental Airport. Three crew members aboard the plane did not survive the crash, the Chamber County sheriff told WJTV. Air traffic controllers lost radar and radio contact with Atlas Air Flight 3591 shortly before 12:45 p.m. CST. The 767 jetliner was arriving from Miami when the crash occurred 30 miles southeast of the airport, according to a statement by the Federal Aviation Administration.

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