Jules Vincent Canuet

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Could We Build a Dyson Sphere?

In our cosmic megastructures series, Popular Mechanics explores some of the key engineering and design challenges in constructing gigantic structures for use by humankind in space. Today: the Dyson Sphere (or Dyson Swarm), a way to capture all available solar energy.<p><b>Name:</b> Dyson Sphere or Dyson Swarm<p>…

Universe

Strange case of M82 X-1: A rare midsize black hole

A black hole candidate known as M82 X-1 appears to have a mass of about 400 suns, making it one of only half a dozen suspected midsize black …

You can charge a phone battery by playing music at it

There are any number of research teams trying to build alternative power sources for your cellphone. Do you want to put tiny windmills on it? What about plugging it into a solar-powered charging bench or just holding it up to the sun? Now, at the Queen Mary University of London, a group of …

Elon Musk's SpaceX reportedly raising $200 million in funding at $10 billion valuation

The rocket business is booming<p>The company that Elon Musk hopes will some day carry him to Mars has been making big strides in recent months, winning contracts to provide the rockets that ferry public and private satellites and other equipment into space. As NASA looks to limit it new launches and …

DARPA Thinks Less Armor Could Make Tanks Safer

The new objective is to not get hit<p>The heavy, treaded, gun-swinging battlefield behemoths know as tanks haven't changed much since their invention a century ago. Using a crapload of armor, the tank is meant to keep soldiers inside safe from bullets and other projectiles, while shooting a cannon at …

Military

Why Does The Sea Smell Like The Sea?

A microbiologist explores the distinctive odors of a day at the beach.<p>As I took a deep breath in, a familiar scent filled my nose: slightly sulfury, with just a pinch of green, and a briny finish. It was the smell of the seashore, but I wasn’t actually <i>at</i> the seashore. On the contrary, I was …

Butterflies, beetles and banknotes: tuning colour efficiently

In the South American rainforests, a blue flash of colour visible from hundreds of metres away is likely to signify the presence of one of the <i>Morpho</i> genus of butterflies. Although the colours of many animals arise from pigmentation, for <i>Morpho</i> and a range of other insects (including iridescent …