Horizon highlights – July 11 weekend
Our regular roundup of noteworthy sci-tech stories from the web covers: personal submersibles, a driver's-seat view of 180 miles per hour, and a science test that every presidential candidate should take.
If you think I missed a great story, feel free to post your links as a comment down below. Let’s kick it off:
Election '08 – 14 Science Questions the Next President Should Answer
"What exactly do John McCain and Barack Obama know about science? That's what the folks behind Science Debate 2008 want to know, and to find out, they've developed 14 questions they sent to the candidates and hope to discuss with them at a science-only debate. The questions cover innovation, climate change, energy, genetics, space, and health, among other topics." [Via Wired Science]
Luxury – Personal submarine prepares for launch
"The 60-year-old British-born engineer has spent the past four decades tinkering with submersibles, all mere prelude to his current magnum opus: the two-person Deep Flight Super Falcon. Erase those creaky Jules Verne images. Super Falcon weds Top Gun with James Bond." [Via USA Today]
From the Monitor archive – Return of the cloud colossi: "My favorite pie-in-the-sky innovation of the week: a dirigible revival…. The basic blimp design has not changed – lemon-shaped with a light helium center. But these new models benefit from modern materials and the decades of aeronautical research that have come since the Hindenburg went down in flames and brought the zeppelin industry with it."
Q and A – Mysteries of time, and the multiverse
"In his studies of entropy and the irreversibility of time, Caltech physicist Sean Carroll is exploring the idea that our universe is part of a larger structure." [Via LA Times]
Autos – Video: Corvette ZR1 at the Nurburgring
"GM posted this video of the Corvette ZR1 doing a lap of the Nurburgring. It's a cockpit video with a stat overlay, showing the car hitting close to 180 mph on the final straightaway. Put on your headphones and crank up the volume, because the engine and road sounds come through clearly. You can almost feel the car hitting the apexes."
From the Monitor's archive – Squeezing the most out of a gallon: "As gas prices rise, clever drivers adopt new rules of the road."
Novel records – Roundest objects in the world created
"When asked by the Pope to demonstrate his artistic skill, 14th century Italian painter Giotto di Bondone supposedly drew a perfect circle freehand and said: 'That's more than enough.' Now, an international group of engineers and craftsmen has gone him one better and built a pair of nearly perfect spheres that are thought to be the roundest objects in the world." [Via New Scientist]
Space – Smallest planet shrinks in size
“Data from a flyby of Mercury in January 2008 show the planet has contracted by more than one mile (1.5km) in diameter over its geological history.” [Via BBC]
From the Monitor archive – Scientists challenge General Relativity. And Mr. Einstein wins again. "Two tests use cosmic laboratories to question if the laws of physics are universal."