Unlimited supplies of cheap geothermal power could soon be at our fingertips – that's if tests on an ultra-hot 4,000C flame jet prove successful. The super drills, which can bore into any kind of material at 100 feet per hour, are to reach down deep into the magma beneath the Earth's surface to create geothermal energy wells.
While we might not be drilling to China any time soon, it's hoped that the power produced will allow scientists to superheat water and create electricity using steam and turbines – something current cutting-edge drilling tech simply can't do.
Inventor Jared Potter has created two prototypes so far: one fires a 1,760C hydrogen flame at the rock, causing cracks that quickly expand into a hole. The other involves a 4,000C jet of water that "can work at super-deep levels with extreme pressures". Neither drill touches the rock directly, so won't wear down any time soon.
It's a far cry from the Romulan flame jet drill of recent Star Trek movie fame, but the search for geothermal power sources promises to be a beneficial one.
In other news, Orthodox Jews have launched a "kosher" search engine. Built to omit "religiously objectionable material", it means religiously devout Jews banned by rabbis from using the internet may now "Koogle" on the net, the site manager told Reuters.
Also this week: billboards will soon be able to detect the sex of the person viewing them, thanks to a new gender recognition system that could revolutionise advertising in the future – that's if it doesn't cause too much offence first. Issues of privacy and transexuality have already been raised, and the tech isn't even out yet.
Meanwhile, NASA is preparing to fly a Centaur rocket booster into the moon. The aim? To trigger a six-mile-high explosion that, scientists hope, will confirm whether or not water is frozen near the moon's south pole.
And forget wireless: David Friedman's solution for cable spaghetti hell celebrates your cords and cables instead, and it won't have you searching for a lost signal either. Introducing the Outlet Wall concept - it's not child-proof mind, but it will make your wall look real pretty.
[Image courtesy of Ironic Sans]
Bored of your standard, everyday USB thumb drives? Then why not spice up your USB port with these Mario, Koopa, Goomba and Shroom USB drives? At $55 each they're not cheap, admittedly, but they are unique.
[Image courtesy of Gizmodo]
Or perhaps this iPod inspired USB Flash drive…
[Image courtesy of Technabob]
Improv Everywhere's sixth MP3 experiment saw 2,000 people gathering on NYC's Roosevelt Island, downloading the same MP3, and all pressing play at the same time. Participants square-danced and doesey-doed in unison across the island before, finally, dropping to the ground for a 15-second nap.
[Image courtesy of Improv Everywhere]
Article continues below