Browsing: geek

Excelsior! GPO publishes first comic book

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Printing government budgets year after year may have gotten a little stale for the Government Printing Office, so they’ve decided to spice things up a bit. GPO today announced the publication of its first comic book, “Squeaks Discovers Type!” In the comic, the titular hero traces the history of printing, from cuneiform, to medieval illuminated manuscripts, to Gutenberg’s printing press, to the Internet age. (You can read a few sample pages here.) The whole thing was handled in house — GPO promotions manager Jim Cameron wrote the story, graphic designer Nick Crawford illustrated and colored it, and the agency printed…

NASA engineers join forces with rock band OK Go

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You may have seen the music video for OK Go’s song “This Too Shall Pass.” But what you probably don’t know is that the amazing, extended Rube Goldberg device that is its centerpiece was partly designed by a few engineers and staffers at NASA’ Jet Propulsion Laboratory. JPL engineers Mike Pauken and Heather Knight, planetary scientist Eldar Noe Dobrea, and intern Chris Becker joined forces with Syyn Labs, a group of engineers who “twist together art and technology” and were tapped to build OK Go’s machine. The results — featuring dominos, a falling piano, a Mars rover, and a TV showing the band’s…

Massive Livermore lab laser to create tiny star

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File this story under “cool things the government does.” The Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory plans to use the world’s largest laser to create a controlled fusion reaction it hopes will eventually result in “nearly limitless” energy. Livermore this summer will fire a mile-long laser beam, split it into 192 smaller beams, and focus the beams on a pinpoint of deuterium and tritium — two reactive hydrogen isotopes that can be extracted from seawater. CNN reports that the fusion reaction is expected to be so intense it will actually create a tiny star. If the experiment works — and proves lasers can create…

Roads? Where DARPA's going they don't need … roads …

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This is, hands down, the best solicitation I’ve seen in a long time: The mad scientists at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency are moving forward with their plans to develop a flying car. Seriously. This $55 million flying car will need to seat four troops and their gear, operate like a regular SUV on land, and be able to turn into a vertical-take-off-and-landing aircraft that can fly 250 miles, at up to 10,000 feet above sea level, on a single tank of fuel. “This presents unprecedented capability to avoid traditional and asymmetrical threats while avoiding road obstructions,” DARPA said in its…