Thursday, November 17, 2005


Popular Science: Best Of What's New

Every year, Popular Science looks at the best of what's new. This year, they have so much good and new, they want you to vote and help them decide. Visit the site, look through the categories, and vote to your heart's content here.

Just to pique your interest, I picked four that I especially enjoyed, just as a little preview for you.

Chronic Pain? This may be an answer for you. If you've known someone who has suffered from chronic pain, you know how devastating it can be, not only physically, but emotionally. Here's a hint for the more fortunate: picture buying furniture based on which type of upholstery causes the least amount of pain against your skin. Not the happiest situation. Prialt works differently from opiates used to relieve pain, which work by boosting pleasure chemicals and can be addictive. Prialt is derived from a toxin of a Philippine cone snail. The paralyzing effect is delivered by spinal catheter and blocks transmission of pain signals to the brain. Visit the company website here. Vote for Prialt here.

Paging Dr. McCoy? With cellphones and assorted accessories bringing communications closer and closer to Star Trek: The Next Generation Comm Badges, medical science was getting jealous. Enter PowderMed's vaccine gun, PMED. The powdered vaccine is shot just below the surface of the skin, and just above nerve endings, so the shot is painless. Visit PowderMed, with some other cool pics, here. Vote for PowderMed here.

Bubble wrap protects items you send through the mail. BlastWrap protects you. From bombs. Probably everyone knows an abandoned backpack in a train station or airline terminal might be a bomb. One place to hide that abandoned backpack is in a convenient trash can. The material of the can itself becomes part of the weapon as the shrapnel blasts into poeple passing by. BlastWrap from the company BlastGard International dampens explosions. In a test, two pounds of dynamite tore a can to pieces, some of which were flung 200 feet away. The same can lined with BlastWrap survived a blast from twelve pounds of dynamite intact. Visit BlastGard International here. See the cool explosive test at the Fox News TV13 Tampa link here. Vote for BlastWrap here.

From bubble wrap to bubbles. Take a little wand. Blow some bubbles. Harmless fun. What could be new about that? Colors. The breakthrough after more than ten years of research? A dye that turns from "brightly colored to colorless in minutes or hours, depending on the surface the bubbles break on." What causes the change to colorless? Exposure to air. Or agitation as simple as rubbing your hands together after you're done playing. is under construction, but you can vote for Zubbles here.

Thanks go to Popular Science for putting all of this together, to Fox News TV13 in Tampa for the explosion video, Nik Schulz for the PowerMed illustration, Gregor Hallenda for the bubbles closeup pic, and John B. Carnett for the remainder of the pics.
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