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It might sound like something in a futuristic movie, but it’s becoming more and more of a possibility that joystick controlled cars will enter the road. Those who use joystick controllers to play driving simulators might feel right at home with this setup.

There are two models being designed as of now, both being electric compact

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vehicles. The first is the FT-EVII. This model is designed for shorter trips, but allows up to four people to enter as passengers. The controls are setup on a dual joystick interface. It doesn’t matter which joystick is used, as the joysticks act together as one bouncy castles for sale.

What might be even cooler than the dual joystick setup, is that the car’s braking and accelerating is controlled by your hands instead of your feet. This allows for a more comfortable experience. Which will definitely be needed considering the compact nature of the car.

The second concept car is called i-Real. Unlike it’s larger brethren, this vehicle only seats one. It is controlled by joysticks as well. NetworkWorld cites that it, “looks like a futuristic chair on wheels.”

As of now, both concepts are in prototype form and no release dates for either have been announced.

[via: NetWorkWorld]

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Ok, so you’ve heard of the Nobel Prize winners. They’re the ones who’ve brought about huge advancements in medicine, promoted peace throughout the world. Blah, blah, blah. The same old song and dance year in and year out. How about a different set of award winners, ones who fly under the radar but who’s research is still of some value? Even if the value is to give us a chuckle commercial water slides for sale.

That’s where the Ig Nobel Prize ceremony comes in. It’s a celebration of research that has been conducted under the radar. Actually, the website’s tag line says it best – “For achievements that first make people LAUGH then make them THINK”

Or if you’re still feeling apprehensive here’s another quote: “The Ig Nobel awards are arguably the highlight of the scientific calendar.” – Nature

You don’t want to upset nature now do you? Good, so here’s the winners of this years Ig Nobel Prizes:

VETERINARY MEDICINE PRIZE: Catherine Douglas and Peter Rowlinson of Newcastle University, Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, UK, for showing that cows who have names give more milk than cows that are nameless.

PEACE PRIZE: Stephan Bolliger, Steffen Ross, Lars Oesterhelweg, Michael Thali and Beat Kneubuehl of the University of Bern, Switzerland, for determining — by experiment — whether it is better to be smashed over the head with a full bottle of beer or with an empty bottle.

ECONOMICS PRIZE: The directors, executives, and auditors of four Icelandic banks — Kaupthing Bank, Landsbanki, Glitnir Bank, and Central Bank of Iceland — for demonstrating that tiny banks can be rapidly transformed into huge banks, and vice versa — and for demonstrating that similar things can be done to an entire national economy.

CHEMISTRY PRIZE: Javier Morales, Miguel Apátiga, and

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Victor M. Castaño of Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, for creating diamonds from liquid — specifically from tequila.

MEDICINE PRIZE: Donald L. Unger, of Thousand Oaks, California, USA, for investigating a possible cause of arthritis of the fingers, by diligently cracking the knuckles of his left hand — but never cracking the knuckles of his right hand — every day for more than sixty (60) years.

PHYSICS PRIZE: Katherine K. Whitcome of the University of Cincinnati, USA, Daniel E. Lieberman of Harvard University, USA, and Liza J. Shapiro of the University of Texas, USA, for analytically determining why pregnant women don’t tip over.

LITERATURE PRIZE: Ireland’s police service (An Garda Siochana), for writing and presenting more than fifty traffic tickets to the most frequent driving offender in the country — Prawo Jazdy — whose name in Polish means “Driving License”.

PUBLIC HEALTH PRIZE: Elena N. Bodnar, Raphael C. Lee, and Sandra Marijan of Chicago, Illinois, USA, for inventing a brassiere that, in an emergency, can be quickly converted into a pair of gas masks, one for the brassiere wearer and one to be given to some needy bystander.

MATHEMATICS PRIZE: Gideon Gono, governor of Zimbabwe’s Reserve Bank, for giving people a simple, everyday way to cope with a wide range of numbers — from very small to very big — by having his bank print bank notes with denominations ranging from one cent ($.01) to one hundred trillion dollars ($100,000,000,000,000).

BIOLOGY PRIZE: Fumiaki Taguchi, Song Guofu, and Zhang Guanglei of Kitasato University Graduate School of Medical Sciences in Sagamihara, Japan, for demonstrating that kitchen refuse can be reduced more than 90% in mass by using bacteria extracted from the feces of giant pandas.

If you’re looking for some serious entertainment then check out the rest of the list at Ig Nobel Prize’s website.

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King of Thin?

HP Rivaling MacBook Air for Thinnest Laptop

It’s always smallest, lightest, fastest, or thinnest. And with the advent of the anorexic Macbook Air, some of the more corpulent computers have become jealous, HP in particular. The razor thin MacBook Air, which is a shocking 0.16-0.76 inches thick, now has a cousin with a different last-name. It’s the HP Envy Series, of which two computers were announced just today.

Like the MacBook, HPs boast a brushed aluminum body, and come in an ultra-thin 0.9 inches. True to its powerful name, HP has packed these computers with the guts of a power-monger. In fact, it’s called “the company’s fastest consumer notebook PC ever.” The processor is an Intel Core i7, which can easily host 16 gigs of RAM, and the beefiest graphics card on the market. With storage capacity at 320 gigs, and the dual SSD hard drive option, this notebook is designed for speed and power.

King of Thin

HP didn’t neglect the eye candy aspect of the computer. Since it is competing with the MacBook Pro in a sense, it displays a simplistic design. Even the mouse touchpad, which on PC machines typically comes with a variety of buttons, is a single click pad. Built into the smooth face of the touchpad are the left and right buttons that most Windows users are familiar with.

Admittedly, you have to pay for what you get. These computers are not for the cash-strapped starving college student. These computers start at $1,669, and that’s without the tricked-out version, which easily soars beyond the $2,000 mark. The mobile professional will likely be the chief clientele for this classy new competitor to the MacBook air.

HP also unveiled more of their Pavilion series, this time the Pavilion DM3. It, too, shed some of the extra micro-inches, getting down to one inch thick, and displaying a price tag that is more appealing to the everday user. It will cost $549.

The new business machine, called the ProBook 5310M falls below

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the one inch mark, and contains both the power and battery life for the mobile professional—its targeted market base. The new ProBooks have the ability to go for a full seven hours on one battery charge.

From a software perspective, HPs new fall lineup will all come equipped with Windows 7. For that reason, the new laptops will become available to consumers on October 22, which is the same day that Windows 7 is released.

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Cell Phone Cancer

Discussion Renews on Risks of Cell Phone Use

If you read the back of cereal boxes, watch TV and look at advertisements in Time magazine, you’re probably getting the message (as I am) that everything in life can cause cancer, but at the same time nearly everything in life can reduce the risk of cancer. On and on and “so they say.” But eager as a producer may be to sell a health product, cancer is no laughing matter, and we want facts, not marketing blather. Cell Phone Cancer Study

That’s why more than just the medical pros are going to be talking about cancer today. Today, a special senate hearing will begin to explore the issue. The specific topic at hand considers the cancer risks of cell phone use. The question has often been raised in the past: do cell phones increase risk of cancer?

Nothing conclusive has enjoyed consensus, professionally or popularly. Studies have been conducted and ‘conclusions’ have been published, but no agreement has been found. One major study has been hacking away at the issue for over ten years, and, though a yes/no answer hasn’t been forthcoming, some of the evidence hints at a cancer-cell phone link that is unsettling at the very least.

But so far, the masses are not abandoning cell phones. And with good reason. They are backed by a large community of scientists, researchers, and specialists who say “no problem.” The ‘no problem’ crowd does not see a connection between cancer and cell phone usage, and encourages the concern-free attitude toward technology that characterizes most of the population. Dr. Richard Besser, ABC New’s on-staff medical guru speaks for this group when he says, “the best science doesn’t show a link between cell phone use and cancer of any kind. No link whatsoever.” The government-backed FDA makes the same claim.

But there is middle ground between the ‘no

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problem’ crowd and the ‘very concerned’ crowd that simply states that we need more research. As the Senate hearing committee meets to discuss the issue, they will probably borrow from the findings of an international conference that meets this week to discuss the same issue.

The concern all begins with radiation. Radiation comes from multiple sources. Nobody goes through life without experiencing radiation. The concern over cell phones has to do with the level of radiation that they emit, and where that location is being directed. Different cell phones release differing amounts of radiation. But invariably, cell phone radiation goes to the head since that is where most people hold their cell phones. The risk increases for children whose thinner skulls render them more susceptible to radiation rays.

Although no one is expecting a final resolution at the end of today’s hearing committee, we may at least be one step closer to addressing a potential problem that affects nearly everyone in our nation.

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