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Domenico Iannucci
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Self-driving pod cars are a big hit at London's Heathrow airport. Now Milton Keynes, just north of London is planning to install 100 of these electric vehicles to quietly and cleanly transport passengers from a downtown hub to the train station.

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Legos just became more dangerous!
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We've Finally Figured Out Why Hot Water Freezes Faster Than Cold
For centuries, scientists have puzzled over a counter-intutive observation: hot water, for some reason, seems to freeze faster than cold. Fortunately, now a team of physicists has worked out why it happens.

Known as the Mpemba effect—after a Tanzanian student who noticed that hot ice cream mix freezes faster than a cold—it was in fact first observed by Aristotle, then later Francis Bacon and René Descartes. But while it's been observed, recorded, and discussed by eminent thinkers for years, nobody has ever worked out why hot water freezes more quickly than cold.
 Enter Xi Zhang and his colleagues from the Nanyang Technological University in Singapore. They've found evidence which suggests that it's the chemical bonds that hold water together which provide the strange effect.

First, some chemistry. Each molecule of water is made up of two hydrogen atoms bonded covalently to a single atom of oxygen. Those bonds, which involve atoms sharing electrons, are well understood. But the separate water molecules are bound together, too, by weaker forces generated by hydrogen bonds. They occur when a hydrogen atom from one molecule of water sits close to an oxygen atom from another—and they give rise to many of water's interesting properties, like its strangely high boiling point.

Now, Xi Zhang is suggesting that those same bonds cause the Mpemba effect. The idea is pretty simple: bring water molecules into close contact, and a natural repulsion between the molecules causes the covalent bonds to stretch and store energy. As the the liquid warms up, the hydrogen bonds stretch as the water gets less dense and the molecules move further apart.
That extra stretch in hydrogen bonds allows the covalent bonds to relax and shrink a little, giving up their energy. The process of covalent bonds giving up energy is equivalent to cooling, so warm water should in theory cool faster than cold. Which is the Mpemba effect!

Xi Zhang's theoretical calculations suggest that the magnitude of the covalent bond relaxation exactly accounts for the experimental differences in the time it takes for hot and cold water to freeze—which is, frankly, amazing. It's worth noting that the work isn't peer-reviewed yet, but it does seem to neatly explain the theory. And considering nobody else has a decent explanation, it seems likely to be right.

Read the paper here:
Story via gizmodo:
Image via Wikimedia Commons

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Apple iPad lost 2 mm, Mini weighs 10% more, 2013 iPad's price up
See what I did there?(*) Marketing is the (re-)writing of headlines or at least that's the way Apple approaches it. Everything is always better, bigger smaller with revolutionary features. It resembles the old car industry 'new model' hype. Just a few minutes in the ad and you wondered how you even managed to get the children safely to school with last years model.

Apple's CEO came up on stage to boast that the new, newer latest iPad was 70 times as fast as the first model T. It's amazing but I never see Dell's founder taking the stage to tell us the latest pc is a zillion times as fast as the original IBM of the seventies.

Apple is playing the wrong card here. It became a lifestyle company and lesson one is that you never even speak of specs if you want to sell a Rolls Royce. All these silly incremental changes only provide arguments for people already lusting for an iDevice, but won't convince a new customer to hop on the gravvy train known as Apple's walled garden.

What Apple should do is talk about a different class of iDevices. Not some minor improvements. And the real story of tonight is that they could have done so. With the A7 processor they could have introduced a MacBook Air running on the same processor as their new iPads and iPhones.

If Tim Cook had returned on stage with a 'and one more thing' announcement of a 10" Airbook for a price never seen before the crowd would have gone wild. If he subsequently would have stripped it from it's keyboard and shown it to be the same iPad Air with a keyboard cover Apple would be back on the front pages as a true innovator.

Alas, the reality is that Apple doesn't innovate and lost control over the headlines. We have to settle for a 15% here and a 30% over last year's model there and get used to the sound of yawns. With great market share comes great responsibility and unfortunately bean counters will now run the Apple show. The luxury of being a nobody in a given market is gone.

#Apple #Marketing #iPad  

*The factual version of my headline 
-iPad Air from 9.4 to 7.5 mm. Apples says it's 25%.
-ipad Mini 2 from the original 308 grams to 331 grams. Apple is silent
-ipad standard size: same price, iPad mini 2 $399 while the original was $329

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