Brief Safe

I think I’ve finally seen it all; who knew that skid marks could actually be useful?

The “Brief Safe” is an innovative new diversion safe that can secure your cash, documents, and other small valuables from inquisitive eyes and thieving hands, both at home and when you’re traveling. Items can be hidden right under their noses with these specially-designed briefs which contain a fly-accessed 4" x 10" secret compartment with Velcro® closure and “special markings” on the lower rear portion. Leave the “Brief Safe” in plain view in your laundry basket or washing machine at home, or in your suitcase in a hotel room – even the most hardened burgler or most curious snoop will “skid” to a screeching halt as soon as they see them. (Wouldn’t you?) Made in USA. One size. Color: white (and brown).

Eighties Flashback Purity Test

SugarDiva’s 80’s Flashback Purity Test “is intended for those who are: somewhere near, somewhat over, anywhere close to, happily celebrating, or regretfully denying being 30-something (Or anyone else that fondly recollects the Reagan-induced aftertaste of the fabulous 80’s).” As you would expect, my score was pretty high (or low, depending on how you look at it), putting me in the “Pure as any 80’s Addict” category.

X-43 Scramjet Breaks Mach 7

X-43 and B-52

NASA reports that its X-43A hypersonic research aircraft flew successfully on Saturday, breaking speed records and marking a new milestone in aircraft propulsion design. The X-43A Hyper-X (nice gallery here) was attached to a modifed Pegasus rocket that was flown to launching altitude by a B-52B mother ship. Once separated from the B-52, the Pegasus rocket boosted the X-43 to 95,000 feet, allowing the scramjet to operate for about 10 seconds, the first time an aircraft with that type of propulsion has flown freely. The aircraft reached a speed of over 5,000 miles an hour, just over Mach 7, a record speed for an aircraft with an air-breathing engine. The X-43 flew for several minutes before landing in the Pacific Ocean as planned; there were no plans to recover the aircraft.

A scramjet, or supersonic combustion ramjet, is a type of engine that uses the supersonic speed of the air being forced through the engine for its compression rather than a conventional jet engine’s compressor blade cycle. Although mechanically a lot simpler than conventional jet engine, the aerodynamics of the scramjet are quite complex; this series of pages does a good job explaining some of the science behind the flight. This first successful flight (a previous flight in 2001 ended in failure when the Pegasus booster malfunctioned) is a very significant advance in aircraft propulsion design; as CNN points out, “Some observers compared Saturday’s accomplishment to the Wright brothers’ first powered flight.” I’m very happy to see something that I studied only as theory in college come to fruition…

“Enhanced” Vinyl?

As the crusade against music piracy has gotten more intense, music manufacturers have attempted to lure consumers into buying CDs by including addtional multimedia content on CD albums. I think it’s actually a nice idea when done properly; the gratuitous addition of a crappy video is not what I’m looking for here. I was surprised to find out that this has been done before, though, on vinyl LPs and 45s, no less!

An article on entitled Vinyl Data reveals several examples of vinyl with embedded games, of all things, as separate tracks or B sides. Now keep in mind that this is back in the early ‘80s, when personal computers like the Sinclair ZX Spectrum read data over cassettes (I remember those days…), so in many cases the LP or 45 was just recorded onto a cassette which was then read into a computer. I think that it’s so cool that someone thought of this back then. Take a look at the article for more details and even some downloadable games that survived the ravages of time…

Sony To Launch Electronic Ink-Based “E-Book”

Librie EBookSlashdot reports that “Sony will launch an ebook [called LIBRIé] based on E Ink technology in Japan in late April.” The E Ink press release has some more details:

The Electronic Paper Display is reflective and can be easily read in bright sunlight or dimly lit environments while being able to be seen at virtually any angle – just like paper. Its black and white ink-on-paper look, combined with a resolution in excess of most portable devices at approximately 170 pixels per inch (PPI), gives an appearance similar to that of the most widely read material on the planet – newspaper. Because the display uses power only when an image is changed, a user can read more than 10,000 pages before the four AAA Alkaline batteries need to be replaced. The unique technology also results in a compact and lightweight form factor allowing it to be ideal for highly portable applications.

There are some more links (most in Japanese, though) and pictures available here.

This sounds pretty cool, although it may be too cumbersome to replace books. Still, the fact that the “LIBRIé can store up to 500 downloaded books” may outweigh the desire for a conventional newspaper or book. I’m not sure I’ll like reading from an electronic device, but I’ll keep an open mind once they make it over here…