Â Â Â Â Welcome to another Science and Technology Mega Brief. The Mega Brief is an extended version of the biweekly glance at interesting science and technology news and profiles on science and technology that is or will affect us all published once weekly in lieu of the normal biweekly post. See the post for this weekâ€™s topics.
Whatever happened to 640k of RAM and a 1MB Hard Drive?
Â Â Â Â Remember the days when all of your data fit on a 1.44Mb Floppy Disk? How about when your entire OS, six games, and your college papers all fit onto a 4Gb hard drive? If you do, you are so old school.
Â Â Â Â Why? Because the generation of 1Terabyte hard drives and maximum capacity flash memory is just around the corner. As previously mentioned on this weblog, high capacity drives and combo hard drive/flash memory storage systems are definitely on their way.
Â Â Â Â So what does anyone need with all of that space? Think digital world. The time is coming- really it is already here- when everything we do will be done digitally. All of those files will take up a lot of space, and reliably backing up those files will become a premium concern.
Â Â Â Â In addition to large capacity drives, also look for computers in the near future that come with RAID arrays designed to redundantly store data and other backup systems. Futuristically, also look for computer systems, like laptops, entirely based on flash memory.
Itâ€™s a bird! No, Itâ€™s a Plane? Noâ€¦ James Bond? Nopeâ€¦
Â Â Â Â It turns out itâ€™s a gliding wing attached to the back of Special Forces troops gliding into an enemy hideout from miles above and away. Developing technology may well allow specialized military personnel to infiltrate otherwise difficult targets by gliding rather than by potentially riskier parachuting or helicopter insertions.
Â Â Â Â Also, being a robotics kind of guy, this technology could also be used for self-inserting autonomous or unmanned ground vehicles to be used for reconnaissance, surveillance, or specific exploitation missions (think the al-Zarqawi hit with transformers).
Bad Boys, Bad Boys, Whacha Gonna Do When the Sherriffâ€™s Got UAVs?
Â Â Â Â Whatâ€™s a criminal to do? Stop light cameras and video surveillance at convenience stores have made being a criminal an especially risky enterprise these days. Now, enter the LA County Sherriffâ€™s new UAV, SkySeer. Able to fly up to altitudes of 250 feet, the SkySeer has the capacity to observe territory inaccessible by officers or to control far wider areas than a single officer can otherwise. Look for this technology to be deployed very soon for border security and anti-drug missions not just in L.A. but all around the country.
Addicted to Video Games? Amsterdam Can Helpâ€¦
Â Â Â Â Iâ€™m laughing too hard to write anything elseâ€¦ Besides, I can quit whenever I want!
Google! Google! Google! Google!
Â Â Â Â I risk revealing my unnatural affection for a search engine company every time I write about Google. The fact is, though, that Google just rocks! Why am I such a big Google fan? Products like Google Earth are why. Google turns just about everything it touches to gold, and they do so by not biting off too much and by making sure what they do bite off works when theyâ€™re done with it. Companies like Google represent the ones that will survive into the next generation of technology. Microsoft could learn a thing or two.
Sticky Flies Help Robots Climb Walls
Â Â Â Â This one caught my eye because it was, as you guessed, about robots. Robots that climb walls. Robots that climb walls like flies.
Â Â Â Â Actually, the concept of wall climbing robots is scary after a fashion, although the technology can obviously be used for very benevolent purposes, like finding disaster survivors and construction. However, once they start appearing in more than prototype numbers, Iâ€™d recommend keeping a 12-guage with slugs in it near by. One can never be too careful.
Irish Coffee Vindicated
Â Â Â Â It turns out that the Irish were onto something, and not just really good beer. Ok, so maybe not, but it turns out that drinking coffee may, in fact, offset some of the negative long term consequences of drinking. Granted, this research is not a justification for irresponsible drinking, but its nice to know that things I already do are not just killing me.
Wrigley Field Goes Wireless
Â Â Â Â The Chicago Cubs have teamed up with Motorola to make the first wireless communications system for baseball. The Motorola push-to-talk phones will be used by coaches, freeing the coaches from the dugout phone.