Monthly Archives: December 2015

Flying cars just got FAA approval for testing

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 (Terrafugia)

Why drive a car (even if it’s autonomous) when you can fly one? That seems to be the question of the day at the Federal Aviation Administration, where test flights in U.S. airspace have just been approved. The celebrating party is none other than Terrafugia, a company that specializes in airborne vehicles. Its TF-X flying car will soon be whizzing around skies in northeast American for the purposes of further research and development. “It’s a significant milestone in the development of the program and we’re really excited to be moving forward,” Terrafugia spokesperson Dagny Dukach told R&D Magazine.

Terrafugia has been toying with the idea of flying cars for the last ten years or so, and their concept for the TF-X will feature semi-autonomous flight, meaning that you’d need less training to fly this car than you would to operate, say, an actual airplane. But there are still a number of issues that need to be worked out, including how the vehicle would be powered. Currently, the company plans for the TF-X to operate as a plug-in hybrid-electric, but exactly how this would come to fruition has yet to be determined.

If and when we do finally see the TF-X in real life, it will cruise at speeds of 200 miles per hour and will have a 500 mile flight range. And without any runway space needed for take off or landing, you could literally just lift off from your driveway.

So as excited as you are for self-driving cars to come to market, get even more pumped about the flying version.

http://www.slate.com/blogs/future_tense/2015/12/17/faa_grants_approval_for_test_flights_of_a_flying_car_video.html

Sadly, you won’t be able to jump in and take one of these cars to the skies anytime soon — the prototypes that have been cleared for flight are just mini versions of the real thing. Coming in at just two feet long and with a weight limit of 55 pounds, it will still be some time before we’re in Jetsons territory. Still, this latest development marks a huge step forward in the development of the technology, as Dukach: “The FAA exemption will allow Terrafugia to test the hovering capabilities of a one-tenth scale TF-X vehicle and gather flight characteristics data that will drive future design choices.”

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Wonderful Artworks by Canadian Artist Jay Ferguson

Amazing hand drawn and airbrushed art…
By DRAWING PENCIL · Updated on Saturday

Wonderful Artworks by Canadian Artist Jay Ferguson
Find him at instagram : https://www.instagram.com/jfergusonart/

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Sickle-wearing skeletons reveal ancient fear of demons

DIGGING HISTORY

In addition to the sickle placed at her neck, the teenage girl seems to have been buried with a copper headband and a copper coin.

In addition to the sickle placed at her neck, the teenage girl seems to have been buried with a copper headband and a copper coin. (Polcyn et al. Antiquity 2015, DOI: 10.15184/aqy.2015.129)

How do you keep a demon from disturbing the living? A blade to the throat should do the trick.

A few skeletons unearthed in a 400-year-old Polish cemetery have been discovered with sickles placed around their necks. Archaeologists believe this strange burial practice is evidence of a belief in magic and a fear of demons.

The sickle burials were found at Drawsko cemetery, a site in northeastern Poland that dates from the 17th to the 18th centuries. Archaeologists, including Marek Polcyn, a visiting scholar at Lakehead University in Canada, have excavated more than 250 graves there since 2008.

Among those graves were four skeletons with sickles placed at their throats, and a fifth skeleton with a sickle placed over its hips. Previously, these burials had been described as “vampire” burials, with the sickles interpreted as a way to prevent the dead from reanimating and terrorizing the living. But in a new study detailed in the journal Antiquity, Polcyn and co-author Elzbieta Gajda, of the Muzeum Ziemi Czarnkowskiej, now reject that characterization. (“We deliberately dismiss the interpretation of a revenant (i.e. vampire),” isn’t something you read in an academic paper every day.) [See Photos of the Sickle Burials at Drawsko Cemetery]

Instead, the archaeologists prefer to use the blanket term “anti-demonic” to talk about these burials, partly because vampires weren’t the only kinds of evil incarnations of the dead, according to traditional folk beliefs in the region. But also, the sickle graves were afforded funerary privileges that weren’t usually extended to “vampires” buried elsewhere: They were given Christian burials in sacred ground alongside other members of the community, and their corpses do not appear to have been desecrated or mutilated.

In another sign that the people buried with sickles probably were not outsiders, scientists who studied chemical signatures locked in the teeth of these corpses found that all five individuals were locals. (They published those results in apaper in PLOS ONE last year.)

“The magical and ritual meaning of this gesture seems beyond doubt,” Polcyn and Gajda wrote, adding, however, that the sickle might have had more than one ritualistic meaning. The tool may have been intended to keep the dead in their graves under the threat of cutting their throat, but it also might have been used to prevent evil forces from tormenting their souls. What’s more, the use of a tool made of iron, which had to undergo a transformation in fire, could symbolize the passage from life to death, the authors wrote. [7 Strange Ways Humans Act Like Vampires]

Even though Christianity was the dominant religion in Poland at the time this cemetery was used, traditions from old Slavic pagan faith and folk belief systems still existed, including a belief in demons. Besides the sickles, there is not much that makes these graves unique, so the scientists aren’t sure exactly what about these people made them demonic. They may have been thought to have supernatural powers in life, or they might have had physical characteristics considered suspicious (which might have included “an exceptionally hairy body,” a unibrow, a large head and a red complexion, the authors said, citing traditional Polish folklore).

These people also might have died in a traumatic fashion, without any time for the appropriate rites and rituals to make for a smooth spiritual transition into death — a concept some archaeologists call a “bad death.” While some of the people buried with sickles may have simply died of old age, one of them, a girl, died as a teenager. The authors speculated that she might have met a violent and untimely end, perhaps through drowning, suicide or murder. Unfortunately for archaeologists, however, this death didn’t leave its mark on the girl’s bones.

Polcyn and Gajda wrote that they hope further scientific tests on the corpses, such as biomolecular analyses, will help them understand more specifically what led the dead in Drawsko to be buried with sickles.

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Cute Dog Pictures for Your Monday!

Enjoy!

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Carrie Fisher: I had sex with Princess Leia fans

Carrie Fisher has admitted that she slept with a number of ‘nerds’ who were obsessed with her Star Wars character Princess Leia.

The actress was idolised by a generation of sci-fi fans, thanks to the famous scene which saw her wearing a gold ‘slave girl’ bikini, and she has revealed that many wanted to live out their sexual fantasies with her.

Carrie Fisher: I had sex with Princess Leia fans
Carrie Fisher has revealed she had sex with Star Wars fans

‘I certainly have, along the way, slept with a nerd. But I don’t think I ever got anything out of it except the sex. It was probably good. Nerds will surprise you. They’re way more enthusiastic. More bang with your buck,’ she told the New York Daily News.

The actress also teased fans by revealing how the trilogy’s director George Lucas told her to go braless under her white costume.

‘I asked George to explain it to me and he said, “When you go into space, you’re weightless and then your body expands. But your bra doesn’t.” So he told me you’d get strangled by your bra,’ she added.

In a previous interview with Vanity Fair magazine, Carrie revealed that she got the role in Star Wars, which propelled her to fame at the age of 19, after she ‘slept with some nerd’.

Read more: http://metro.co.uk/2010/12/14/carrie-fisher-i-had-sex-with-princess-leia-fans-612025/#ixzz3vYkUO6PK

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Cosplay Pictures for Your Saturday

Cosplayers and cosplay for your Saturday fun!

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Two ‘extinct’ snakes spotted swimming off Australia’s coast

(Grant Griffin, W.A. Dept. Parks and Wildlife)

(Grant Griffin, W.A. Dept. Parks and Wildlife)

Scientists feared the last of Australia’s short-nosed sea snakes died about 15 years ago, which makes this new sighting doubly auspicious: A wildlife official snapped a photo of not one but two of the snakes swimming off the western coast—and they were making googly eyes at each other.

“What is even more exciting is that they were courting, suggesting that they are members of a breeding population,” says researcher Blanche D’Anastasi of James Cook University in a press release.

No such snake had been spotted since the species disappeared from its habitat at Ashmore Reef in the Timor Sea more than a decade ago. Scientists at JCU confirmed that the photos, taken at Ningaloo Reef, captured images of the sea snakes in the journal Biological Conservation.

“We were blown away, these potentially extinct snakes were there in plain sight, living on one of Australia’s natural icons,” says D’Anastasi. The journal article had another piece of good news: A decent population of another species, called the rare leaf-scaled sea snake, was spotted in Shark Bay, more than 1,000 miles from the snakes’ only previously known habitat, notes Gizmodo.

Both species are officially listed as critically endangered. The good news, however, was tempered with the bad. Generally speaking, sea snakes are on the decline in Western Australia, and the reason “remains unexplained.” (Scientists, do however, have a pretty good idea about why snakes lost their legs.)

This article originally appeared on Newser: 2 ‘Extinct’ Snakes Found Swimming Happily

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Company unveils airplane design with seats on top of aircraft

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Sit high above it all in a transparent canopy that sits on top of the airplane. (Windspeed Technologies)

We’ve seen some pretty scary airplane seat designs.

From unwieldy bicycle-seat triangles to split level stackers, most design firms are just looking for new ways to cram more and more passengers into the cabin.

But a new design from Washington-based firm Windspeed Technologies is really a breath of fresh air.

Introducing the SkyDeck— a patent-pending seat design that aims to give a few lucky passengers a 360 degree view of the surrounding clouds by sitting them on top of the plane in a fully transparent bubble.

Unlike other seat design models, the SkyDeck is designed to be incorporated into existing types of aircraft and would cost between $8 million to $25 million to install depending on the type of plane.

Experience 360 views in Windspeed’s latest video animation.

“Current in-flight entertainment offerings have not changed much over the decades. We wanted to come up with a product that would provide a higher level of entertainment to reduce the boredom of long flights,” says Windspeed of the new design.

The canopy itself will be comprised of “the same high strength proprietary material as those used on supersonic fighter jets” and will be able to withstand a variety of hits including bird strikes. An aerodynamic “teardrop” shape of the canopy will help reduce the drag factor while anti-condensation film will be applied to stop it fogging up and a UV-protection coating will passengers from burning up inside the transparent vestibule.

Guests can access the SkyDeck via a Jetsons-era looking elevator chute or take stairs from the main level galley.

Though an airline has yes to put in an order for a SkyDeck, the company says it would take just 18 months from order date until the plane is up and running with its seats in the clouds.

 

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Random Humor for the Holidays…

Hopefully, these will bring a few chuckles…

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STAR WARS-THEMED BAR OPENS IN MANCHESTER

20th November, 2015 by Lucy Shaw

A Star Wars convention in Manchester will include a pop-up bar inspired by locations from the film series that aims to transport fans to a galaxy far far away.

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The Star-Wars themed Cantina bar. Photo credit: Gary Louth

As reported by the Manchester Evening News, the bar at an exhibition centre in Trafford Park forms part of the For The Love Of The Force convention.

Named the Cantina bar, the space will serve blue “bantha milk” cocktails, which Luke Skywalker first drinks in Star Wars Episode IV.

In the films blue milk could be found on most planets across the galaxy and was known for being rich, refreshing and sweet. The Cantina cocktail is made with Irish Meadow Country Cream, Red Square Vodka and a dash of blue food colouring.

Other cocktails on pour will be Wookie Juice, featuring Red Square Sloe Vodka, lemon juice and sugar syrup; a Princess Punch made with vodka, elderflower cordial, lemon juice and soda; and Jam Jar Binks, which blends Red Square Toffee Vodka with apple schnapps and lemon juice.

The bar features an Ewok village, Yoda’s Dagobah swamp and Jabba The Hutt’s palace complete with an eight-foot model of the slug-like creature.

Before the convention kicks off in December, the bar, which boasts a full size replica of the X-wing Starfighter, will host a series of events to whet attendees appetites.

Manager of the convention Andy Kleek hopes the cocktail bar will become a permanent fixture if it proves a success. For The Love Of The Force takes place at the Manchester Bowler’s Exhibition Centre on December 4-6.

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