Have you had a hard time following the Department of Transportation's regulatory ruffle over air bags? You can now use the Internet to find out--among other things--the agency's latest position regarding on-off switches for deactivating the bags. While launching a nationwide effort to explain its ruling allowing the switches, the department unveiled the federal government's first Internet web site that contains rulemaking and other legal documents. The files, known as the docket, are available at http://dms.dot.gov. The docket is a compilation of information about proposed and final regulations issued by the department, including public comments on department decisions, Federal Register notices, legal pleadings, rulemaking, and other documents produced during regulatory or adjudicatory actions. The system allows rapid retrieval, cross-referencing and searching for specific subjects at all hours. Now, many viewers around the world can read the same document together. Previously, only one copy could be viewed at a time in Washington during office hours. Before fall, the public will be able to use the Internet to file comments, petitions, and requests, making it easier to participate in the department's regulatory process.
During a teardown of the iPad Air and Microsoft Surface Pro 3 at the Medical Design & Manufacturing Show in Schaumburg, Ill., an engineer showed this "inflammatory" video about the dangers of maliciously mishandling lithium-ion batteries.
Science fiction author Isaac Asimov may have the best rules for effective brainstorming and creativity. His never-before-published essay, "On Creativity," recently made it to the Web pages of MIT Technology Review.
Much has been made over the potentially dangerous flammability of lithium-ion batteries after major companies like Boeing, Sony, and Tesla have grappled with well-publicized battery fires. Researchers at Stanford University may have come up with a solution to this problem with a smart sensor for lithium-ion batteries that provides a warning if the battery is about to overheat or catch fire.
In this new Design News feature, "How it Works," we’re starting off by examining the inner workings of the electronic cigarette. While e-cigarettes seemed like a gimmick just two or three years ago, they’re catching fire -- so to speak. Sales topped $1 billion last year and are set to hit $10 billion by 2017. Cigarette companies are fighting back by buying up e-cigarette manufacturers.
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