Technology

Technology

Can seaweed power a plane?

Jet off on holiday in a plane powered by seaweed: it might sound like a scene from SpongeBob SquarePants, but it’s now technically possible. Algae kerosene, extracted from the oil of marine plants, is considered the fuel of the future.

Technology

Is the FBI compiling a database of tattoos?

Tattoos could soon be as valuable as fingerprints for the FBI. That’s because the symbols inked onto people’s skin often reveal membership of a criminal gang or group. These tattoos are on prominent parts of the body so members can easily tell friend from foe.

Technology

How does a laser cannon work?

Laser weaponry is no longer the preserve of far-fetched science fiction films – the technology is very real and is currently deployed aboard the USS Ponce, an American military transport ship.

Technology

What do the numbers on a runway stand for?

The numbers on every runway in the world are based on a magnetic compass bearing. The figures indicate the direction of approach in relation to the magnetic pole. If a runway has a magnetic orientation of 183 degrees, for example, it will be marked with the number 18.

Technology

Can robots save lives?

The US Army is increasingly using unmanned vehicles such as the TALON robot to disarm bombs. There are more than 3,000 of these vehicles in Iraq and Afghanistan. Between them, they have already neutralised around 10,000 improvised explosive devices (IEDs).

Technology

How do you refuel a warship?

A small, non-nuclear aircraft carrier requires approximately 400,000 litres of fuel per day. If a ship on the open sea needs filling up, refuel ships come into play.

Technology

Where is the deepest hole?

The picture above may look like just a small manhole surrounded by debris, but it's actually the entrance to the deepest man-made hole on the planet.

Technology

Why do test aircraft go on a world tour?

The phrase “take it easy” doesn’t apply to a test plane: for example, the new Airbus A350 must prove in the US Air Force’s McKinley Climatic Laboratory that its engines can run smoothly at -40°C and that it can therefore take off in Siberia without a problem.

Technology

Can clothes have a mind of their own?

Do you have a wardrobe bursting at the seams with old or unworn clothes? Academics at Birmingham City University have developed a way of allowing unwanted garments to tell you when to wear or get rid of them.

Technology

How do you build a treehouse?

You only really need three things to build a treehouse
 – regardless of whether it’s a small hut in the garden or a lofty hotel in the forest. 1) A stable tree with a trunk at least 20 centimetres thick. 2) Robust materials (larch or oak are ideal) and good tools.

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