Who among us hasn’t wanted to disappear for a little while, to avoid that obnoxious Ex, or sneak into a sold out concert, which of us haven’t wanted to be invisible?
Science isn’t there yet, but in a recent breakthrough researchers have hit a breakthrough in electromagnetic wavelengths. While it’s not anything like Harry Potter’s cloak, this new invention could make certain types of objects disappear, at least as far as electromagnetic waves are concerned, by causing curved surfaces to appear flat. Researchers at Queen Mary University of London (QMUL) coated a tennis ball-sized curved metallic surface with a nanocomposite medium consisting of seven distinct layers with varying electric properties depending on their positions. The effect of the layered nanocomposite medium, or as it’s also called “graded index nanocomposite,” is that electromagnetic waves, which normally would scatter when striking the object, pass right over it without disruption, almost like it isn’t even there. So while actual invisibility is still a long way off, researchers believe this new development will have “a great industrial impact.” Learn More.
We ask that our older readers hold all Gilligan’s Island jokes until the end. While that 1960s TV staple was widely mocked for presenting an assortment of elaborate bamboo-made gadgets used by the main group of castaways, it now looks like it might not have been too far off. Designers Albrecht Birkner and Kenneth Cobonpue have crafted their own car made out of bamboo. The goal was to create a new lightweight, economically viable, and totally green car. Bamboo-cane has been used in the construction of furniture for centuries due to its high tensile and impact strength as well as the ease in which it can be shaped to the designer’s wishes.
The Federal Reserve Bank of New York released its monthly manufacturing survey this week. The news was not good.
Survey results indicated that business activity flattened out for New York manufacturers with the headline general business conditions index falling five points to 0.6. The new orders index and the shipments index both fell as well, plummeting to levels not far from zero, signifying that orders and shipments were little changed. Labor market indicators pointed to a small decline in employment levels and hours worked. The prices paid index held steady at 18.7, suggesting that moderate input price increases were continuing, and the prices received index held near zero, indicating that selling prices remained steady. Firms were also less optimistic about future conditions compared to last month. Read the full report and the supplemental survey.
We’ve been hearing a lot about electric cars for a while now, but what about the automobile’s two-wheeled cousin? Believe it or not, electric motorcycles are definitely real and manufacturers–including big players like Harley-Davidson and Yamaha–are betting they can catch on, even with their biker clients who are known to place high value an tradition.
Electric motorcycles boast near-instant acceleration, a jet-turbine sound, and a vibration-free ride, but they also lack the long, loud, chrome-dipped exhaust pipes and rumbling engine that for many people defines the motorcycle. Electric motorcycles cost more, but need less maintenance. And of course, there are the environmental benefits of moving away from gas guzzling motors.
When Lakia, the animation studio behind such hits as The Boxtrolls, Paranorman, and the Oscar-nominated Coraline, began production on their latest feature, a samurai adventure called Kubo and the Two Strings, they turned to the 3D printing company Stratasys to help the streamline the exhaustive stop-motion animation process. Stratasys ultimately helped create the individual puppets that are posed and photographed to create the illusion of life in the finished product. They include the three-foot Moonbeast, the villain of the piece, which is made from 850 individual exterior pieces and 250 internal structural pieces. The star, Kubo, has a choice of 66,000 facial pieces that offer a bewildering 22 million possible expressions. Watching the trailer though, it’s hard to believe they aren’t real.
On this day in 1930 construction began on the Hoover Dam in Nevada. Over the next five years, a total of 21,000 men would work ceaselessly to produce what would be the largest dam of its time, as well as one of the largest man-made structures in the world. The idea of a dam in the area goes back to the early twentieth century, but it was the enthusiastic backing of the dam’s namesake, Herbert Hoover, as both the Secretary of Commerce and President that made the idea a reality. The dam would provide essential flood control, which would prevent damage to downstream farming communities that suffered each year when snow from the Rocky Mountains melted and joined the Colorado River. Further, the dam would allow the expansion of irrigated farming in the desert, and would provide a dependable supply of water for Los Angeles and other southern California communities. It would also generate much needed electricity for nearby communities. The contractors finished their work two years ahead of schedule and millions of dollars under budget. Today, the Hoover Dam is the second highest dam in the country and the 18th highest in the world. It generates enough energy each year to serve over a million people
National labor expert Dr. Paul Harrington of Drexel University categorized the regional economy as being consistent with reports of national economic trends, as long-term growth has slowed and likely entered a new paradigm. Harrington, the director of Drexel University’s Center of Labor Market and Policy, provided his thoughts on local economic trends and insight into the labor market from national, statewide and regional levels in his remarks yesterday to more than 175 business and government leaders at Hudson Valley Economic Development Corp.’s State of Entrepreneurism event at the State University of New York (SUNY) at New Paltz. In his keynote presentation, Harrington said the slower pace of economic growth is likely a permanent change. “Economic growth has been generally accepted as 3 percent, maybe 4 percent, annually. But, 1.5 percent is the new standard and it likely won’t change.” Read the full report.
The second and final qualification motor (QM-2) test for the Space Launch System’s booster is seen, Tuesday, June 28, 2016, at Orbital ATK Propulsion Systems test facilities in Promontory, Utah. During the Space Launch System flight the boosters will provide more than 75 percent of the thrust needed to escape the gravitational pull of the Earth, the first step on NASA’s Journey to Mars. Photo Credit: (NASA/Bill Ingalls)
America’s space program doesn’t quite command the public’s attention the way it did 50 years ago, but there have been few better example’s of this country’s gift for scientific ingenuity. As we head into the July 4th weekend, now seems like a good time to check in on their latest development.
A booster for the most powerful rocket in the world, NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS), successfully fired up Tuesday for its second qualification ground test at Orbital ATK’s test facilities in Promontory, Utah. This was the last full-scale test for the booster before SLS’s first uncrewed test flight with NASA’s Orion spacecraft in late 2018, a key milestone on America’s Journey to Mars. “Today’s test is the pinnacle of years of hard work by the NASA team, Orbital ATK and commercial partners across the country,” said John Honeycutt, SLS Program manager at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama. “SLS hardware is currently in production for every part of the rocket. NASA also is making progress every day on Orion and the ground systems to support a launch from Kennedy Space Center in Florida. We’re on track to launch SLS on its first flight test with Orion and pave the way for a human presence in deep space.”
The New York State Department of Labor last week released preliminary local area unemployment rates for May 2016. From May 2015 to May 2016, the State’s private sector job count increased by 74,900. In May 2016, the number of private sector jobs in the State was 7,889,000. In addition, the State’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate decreased over the month, from 4.9% to 4.7% in May 2016. Rates are calculated as prescribed by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The counties in New York State with the lowest unemployment rates in May 2016 include:
For the Supplemental Survey Report released this month by the Federal Reserve bank of New York respondents were asked about past and expected changes in both the prices firms pay for inputs and the prices they charge their customers. On average, Prices Paid For Inputs in both the manufacturing and service sectors rose 2% over the past 12 months while Selling Prices rose only 1% for manufacturers in the same time frame (it rose 2% for service sectors). Looking ahead, respondents do not expect any significant changes in the next 12 months. The median manufacturing respondent expected input prices to rise 2%, while the median service sector respondent anticipated a 2.5% increase. As far as selling prices go, the median expected increase was 2%, among both manufacturers and service sector firms. Read the full report.