Solar sails to help keep pole-sitting satellites in their place

ESA's vision of how a large solar sail-equipped satellite could partly offset Earth’s and the Sun’s ...

Pole sitting was a fad in the United States in the 1920s, but ESA is putting a modern orbital spin on the practice. Investigating advanced orbital mechanics, the space agency has concluded that it’s possible to build a hybrid solar-sail/electric-propulsion satellite that could hover over either of the Earth’s poles by balancing the pull of the Earth and the Sun.

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Category: Space

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Flow Camper captures the spirit of the classic Volkswagen camper bus

Flow Camper with a classic VW camper

Over the past year, Volkswagen has been trying hard to tap into the spirit of its classic Type 2 T1 and T2 vans, offering a retro-inspired launch package for the T6 van and channeling its heritage into the Budd-e concept. Neither was all that convincing. A new camper van from German van converter Martin Hemp looks like a far more fitting tribute to the original Type 2s. The T6-based Flow Camper captures the “freedom and love” spirit of 1960s-era VW campers while outfitting road trippers with a modular set of modern camping equipment.

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Category: Automotive

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Korg shrinks its Pitchblack tuner

The Pitchblack mini has three tuning modes – regular, strobe and half-strobe

Over the last few years, Korg’s Pitchblack pedal tuner has built up a solid reputation for durability and accuracy. With a footprint not much bigger than an original iPhone, it’s not exactly huge either. But with pedalboard space often at a premium, Korg has introduced the Pitchblack mini – a small stomp tuner with a large, easy to read display.

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Category: Music

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Via 57 West offers a BIG slice of style on the Hudson

One can’t help but admire the stylish designs for Bjarke Ingels’ Two World Trade Center and The Spiral in New York, but a third from the firm is perhaps the most eye-catching of all. Perched at the side of the Hudson, Via 57 West is a dramatic slice of a building with a green oasis peeking out from its center.

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Category: Architecture

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A really big bike for vertically-gifted riders

David Folch with his own personal DirtySixer (it's a size Small!), at the North American Handmade ...

If you’re an exceptionally tall cyclist, then you’ll know that finding a bicycle that fits can be quite the challenge. Some manufacturers place a sort of teetering high-rise frame on regular wheels, but according to Santa Cruz-based frame builder David Folch, that setup doesn’t result in proper handling or ergonomics. That’s why he’s created the ginormous DirtySixer.

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Category: Bicycles

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2017 Volvo XC90 to have Pilot Assist II semi-autonomous driving as standard

Pilot Assist II adds steering assistance to adaptive cruise control, creating a semi-autonomous highway driving system ...

Volvo’s updates to the already new XC90 in 2017 will include its latest step towards autonomous driving – Pilot Assist II. This steering assistance system will be standard equipment on the SUV in selected markets and will be mirrored on the S90 sedan.

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Curtain goes up on green Writers Theatre

The Writers Theatre covers an area of 36,000 sq f (3,345 sq m)

Reinterpretations of classic works are a stock-in-trade of Chicagoland’s Writers Theatre. Now the theater itself has become a reinterpretation. The newly rebuilt facility was constructed using 98 percent of the building that stood on the site previously and boasts a host of green features.

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Category: Architecture

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SpaceX SES-9 launch aborted at last second

The abort decision was made as the Falcon 9 was igniting its engines

SpaceX dramatically aborted its third attempt to launch the SES 9 mission today at literally the last second. At 7:21 pm EST, the lift off from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station was called off with the order to shutdown the engines of the Falcon 9 rocket at the moment of ignition. Today’s launch would have been SpaceX’s most ambitious to date, as it was to be the first attempt at a powered landing of the Falcon 9 on a sea barge after returning from a geostationary transfer orbit launch.

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Category: Space

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Drone detection system exposes pilots flying dangerously close to airports

The FAA is working on technology to detect drones flying in sensitive airspace

As hobby drones have wildly increased in popularity, so too has the need to keep pilots accountable. Following the launch of a mandatory drone registry last year, the US government is now exploring new technologies to detect drones flying too close to airports. Early testing has been labelled a success, and holds the promise of not just sniffing out rogue drones but the irresponsible people behind the joysticks as well.

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Category: Drones

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