This is a photo of the Chernobyl "Elephant's Foot", a solid mass made of a little melted nuclear fuel mixed with lots and lots of concrete, sand, and core sealing material that the fuel had melted through. The photo was taken in 1996. At that point, the Elephant's Foot had cooled enough that a human being could stand directly in front of it for an hour before receiving a lethal dose of radiation. When the Foot was first discovered, shortly after the 1986 accident at the Chernobyl power plant, it delivered a lethal dose in just five minutes. You can read Kyle Hill's interesting history of the Elephant's Foot at Nautilus. And be sure to check out this 1991 video that shows how people were able to rig up robotic camera systems to safely take photos of the thing (though, as Hill points out, not all the photos of Elephant's Foot were taken safely).
On Sunday, Ingenuity—the small helicopter delivered to the surface of Mars by the Perseverance rover—will, hopefully, take its first flight. The distance between Earth and Mars means that lagtime precludes real-time remote control. The helicopter flies autonomously, but the helicopter's digital twin had a lot of practice in simulations back on Earth. At IEEE Spectrum,… READ THE REST
Turns out, you can — if you can get the slapping machine to stay alive long enough for the 135,000 slaps required to get it to a minimum safe temperature to eat. Science! Image: Screengrab READ THE REST
Perhaps someday we will once again achieve Roman levels of concrete artistry. Graphene Exponent: In July 2020, Thomas Swan, a global chemical manufacturing company signed an agreement with Concrene for a graphene-enhanced concrete product. That concrete product is now planned to be available in the US market in April 2021. The products in the lineup… READ THE REST
You're ready to take over the world with your new project Killer Computers. No, your computers don't actually kill anyone. It's just the name of your new online retail computer brand. Of course, your company needs a website. Unfortunately, getting the rights to the web address killercomputers.com is impossible. Now, nobody ever actually built a… READ THE REST
In the world of VPN services, there are dozens of little fish providers swimming in every direction with names and features changing almost daily. Then…there are the VPN whales. With over 30 million downloads, more than a decade of operation, and with a mantlepiece full of industry hardware, Private Internet Access definitely fits the role… READ THE REST
Did ya see Godzilla vs. Kong last week? With April upon us, the start of the traditional summer movie blockbuster season is here, but this is going to be unlike any movie season we've ever seen before. While some films will be exclusive to theaters, a handful of the biggest releases of the summer will… READ THE REST