The highly touted government-industry program to design a "supercar" may be concentrating on something few drivers will be able to afford or even want. So warns a committee of the National Research Council in its latest annual review of the Partnership for a New Generation of Vehicles (PNGV). Last year PNGV officials picked their best candidate for an affordable, mid-size vehicle that can get up to 80 mpg, yet meet prevailing emission standards. Their selection for a concept vehicle to be built in the year 2000 is an electric car that also has a small diesel engine. The committee's report, however, doubts that the proposed design will meet either the affordability or the emissions goal. It suggests lowering the target to 60 mpg. Hybrid-electric vehicles, it adds, would require complex and costly battery, power-conversion, and electronic-control systems. The panel further notes that nearly half the sales in the U.S. automotive market today is in sport utility vehicles, minivans, and light trucks. It proposes that PNGV also evaluate these vehicles.
Samsung's Galaxy line of smartphones used to fare quite well in the repairability department, but last year's flagship S5 model took a tumble, scoring a meh-inducing 5/10. Will the newly redesigned S6 lead us back into star-studded territory, or will we sink further into the depths of a repairability black hole?
In 2003, the world contained just over 500 million Internet-connected devices. By 2010, this figure had risen to 12.5 billion connected objects, almost six devices per individual with access to the Internet. Now, as we move into 2015, the number of connected 'things' is expected to reach 25 billion, ultimately edging toward 50 billion by the end of the decade.
NASA engineer Brian Trease studied abroad in Japan as a high school student and used to fold fast-food wrappers into cranes using origami techniques he learned in library books. Inspired by this, he began to imagine that origami could be applied to building spacecraft components, particularly solar panels that could one day send solar power from space to be used on earth.
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