7 Technologies That Make ‘Air Force One’ The Most Feared Non-military Aircraft In The World- Tempemail – Blog – 10 minute

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Streaks of red and blue painted across the majestic ‘Air Force One’ is a symbol that represents the US Presidency and Government. Technically, Air Force One is an air traffic control call sign used by the Presidential aircraft of the United States. An aircraft that is specifically built and designed to transport the US President, Air Force One is carried by an air of power and superiority. 
Just last year, under President Donald Trump’s rule, the Air Force signed a $3.9 billion contract with Boeing to provide the government with 2 next-generation aircraft for Air Force One. CEO of Boeing, Dennis Muilenberg, sealed the deal and is set to begin the work by 2021. The new versions of the aircraft are expected to have advanced security, warfare, and sensory features. 
However, the current version of Air Force One is just as daunting and fearful as it should be! With POTUS Donald Trump arriving in India on February 24th, 2020, the aircraft looks just as intimidating as a military aircraft. What makes it so scary? 
7 technologies that make ‘Air Force One’ the most feared non-military aircraft in the world: 
#1 It Can Survive A Nuclear Blast!
The aircraft designed with the purpose of war kept in mind which lets it survive a nuclear blast. If there was an incident to survive a blast, the US President inside the aircraft would be untouched. He can give orders and strategies to manage war from inside. The body of the aircraft is designed to survive any kind of blast with: 

A wired mesh on the windows to prevent radiation
Hardened equipment and wiring to be undeterred by electromagnetic pulse
Thermal and nuclear shielding and measures to counter fire

#2 The Aircraft Refuels Mid-Air
One of the finest features of the Air Force One is its ability to refuel mid-air. While the new version may not have this feature, it is a rather important one. To refuel mid-air, the aircraft has to manage to acquire fuel from another aircraft with a tanker in between. A boom operator manages this transfer with a pilot actively monitoring the autopilot and the other offloading. The boom operator disconnects once the fueling is complete. In an unfortunate scenario of aircraft going off track, there is an automatic disconnect. 
By refueling mid-air, the aircraft saves time by not having to land and refuel. 
#3 Retractable Stairway and Own Baggage Loader
Being a presidential aircraft, there cannot be any compromise on the resources used in the making and functioning. The Air Force One has a retractable stairway so it doesn’t need to rely on the airport’s stairway to come off-board. This ensures that the stairway has not been meddled with. For the same reason, the aircraft also has its own baggage loader so there is no chance of any unwanted or suspicious luggage being put in. 
#4 Distinctive Security Measures- Ejects Flares!
Since it was designed keeping War in mind and the safe transportation of the President, there are a variety of security measures built-in. The body of the aircraft has electronic countermeasures that will jam any enemy radar when identified. The aircraft also has self-defense measures of ejecting flares onto missiles that are seeking heat to throw them off. 
#5 Encryption and Scrambling Devices
Communication is an easy target and also the most commonly used one for attacks. To ensure the highest level of security when having air to ground communication, the Air Force One has encryption and scrambling devices. The encrypted GPS signals help understand the authenticity of the information being relayed. 
#6 A Communication Suite 
The Air Force One aircraft has an entire communication suite set up for the President which allows him to available for communication even when mid-air. Calls, Video Calls, Video Conferencing, Addressing Public, etc everything can be done when the President is in flight. Since the aircraft can refuel mid-air, in cases of long term conflict the President can operate from the flight. 
 #7 Onboard Medical Facility
While there are so many measures taken with regard to preventing any unfortunate incident, the aftermath has also been considered. The aircraft has a full-fledged medical facility that uses the latest med-tech to be prepared for any medical issue. There is also a doctor that is on board to look after the President and Ministers. With a medical plan in place and contingencies kept in mind, Air Force One really becomes unbeatable!
#8 Features That Can’t Be Seen By The Untrained Eye
‘We don’t fear the dark, we fear the unknown.’ A popular quote that explains the intricacies of the human mind so well. There are some features and technologies used in the Air Force One that can’t be noticed by an untrained eye. There is so much to the aircraft which a common person will never know anything about. It will be extremely difficult for even military agents to identify these features and that’s what makes Air Force One the most feared non-military aircraft!
Summing Up… 
The United States makes quite an impression with the Air Force One cutting through clouds and bringing the president to different countries. As many people say, it is an air-borne White House since it has an oval office, conference room and a set of ministers traveling along. If analyzed correctly, the real essence of the aircraft lies in the advanced technologies used to build it.       

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Xiaomi smart masks that collect real-time air data soon- Tempemail – Blog – 10 minute

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Chinese company Xiaomi has been granted a patent for smart masks that would come equipped with sensors and a chip to gather real-time data collection about the air you breathe. The sensor would record data such as total wearing time, pollution absorption, breathing volume and breath counts. The design consists a pollutant filter and a sensor that records how long a person has been wearing the mask.
According to a report on the Abacus website, the US Patent and Trademark Office has granted Xiaomi the patent for a “smart mask” design that was filed in June 2016. There is also a built-in battery that powers the standard air filter. The smart mask will also come with sensors like accelerometers and gyroscopes.
“The collected data will be stored on the mask using the storage module and can also be transferred to other devices, thanks to the connection module,” reports GizmoChina.
Xiaomi already sells generic masks to ward off air pollution.

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Scientists develop low-cost solution that generates electricity from air – Blog – 10 minute

Why it matters: Scientists from the University of Massachusetts Amherst have created a device capable of generating electricity from the water vapor that is naturally present in the atmosphere. This could be a true game-changer, especially with regard to powering wireless electronics.
The device, coined the “Air-gen,” traces its roots back more than three decades to the muddy shores of the Potomac River. There, scientists discovered an unusual microbe belonging to the Geobacter genus that, among other things, could produce magnetite without oxygen.
While experimenting with the material, electrical engineer Jun Yao discovered – almost by accident – that when the nanowires were contacted with electrodes in a specific way, they generated a current.
“I found that exposure to atmospheric humidity was essential and that protein nanowires adsorbed water, producing a voltage gradient across the device,” the scientist said.

Current iterations generate a sustained voltage of around 0.5 volts, ScienceAlert notes, but the team said multiple devices could be used together to generate enough power to charge small electronics like smartphones. Best yet, the tech is renewable, non-polluting, low-cost and even works in areas with low humidity like in the desert. Unlike other renewable sources of energy such as solar or wind, it even works indoors.
The team ultimately wants to develop large-scale systems capable of supplying electricity off the grid. It may even be possible to incorporate it into wall paint to help power your home.

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NASA’s air pollution sensor will provide hourly updates on atmosphere quality across North America – Blog – 10 minute

In brief: NASA has chosen the Maxar Intelsat 40e geostationary satellite as the host for sending its air pollution sensor into space. The payload will take hourly measurements of atmospheric gases over North America and help in improving air quality forecasting.
NASA says that the Tropospheric Emissions: Monitoring of Pollution (TEMPO) instrument will measure North America’s atmosphere quality in unprecedented detail during daylight hours when the payload goes into orbit onboard the Intelsat 40e geostationary communications satellite in 2022.
From 22,236 miles above the Earth’s equator, TEMPO will be making hourly measurements of atmospheric gases, including ” ozone, nitrogen dioxide and formaldehyde as well as aerosols” across North America. The resulting information will be made publicly available and “help improve air quality forecasting.” noted the space agency.
The Air Quality Index (AQI) used in local weather forecasts was also aided by NASA’s Earth-observing satellites in August last year when the satellite data was refreshed every three hours. With TEMPO configured for hourly updates, air quality information reaching the public could potentially improve further.

South Korea’s Cheollian Satellite 2B will monitor pollution in the climate and ocean in East Asia (Photo Credit: KARI)
The TEMPO instrument has been developed by Ball Aerospace with Principal Investigator Kelly Chance as the project lead. The device currently resides in storage in Boulder, Colorado, and is “awaiting shipment to Maxar’s satellite manufacturing facility in Palo Alto, California.”
When it launches sometime in 2022, it will become part of a constellation of instruments covering the Northern Hemisphere, which include the European Space Agency’s Sentinel-4 and South Korea’s Environment Monitoring Spectrometer onboard the Cheollian Satellite 2B that’s set for launch later this month.

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By air or sea, your untouched mobile can automatically rack up a £1,000-plus bill | Technology – Blog – 10 minute

Gay Haines had stowed her mobile phone in her hand baggage before her flight to Barbados and forgot to set it to flight mode. The mistake cost her dear. On arrival, she discovered that she had racked up charges of £1,095, twice the price of the transatlantic fare. “I had not used it to make or receive calls and when I opened it after landing there was no mention of any charges,” she says.
Haines is one of dozens of air and sea passengers who have received shock bills after their phones connected automatically to a satellite roaming network. While EU rules cap roaming fees outside Europe at €50, the legislation does not apply to satellite networks on planes and boats, which charge premium rates for data, wanted or not, unless customers actively switch off data roaming.
Some ferry passengers have been hit when their mobiles connected to the onboard system, even when sailing within the European Union, where data charges must not exceed tariffs customers pay at home.
Emma Hamilton’s monthly bill from O2 almost doubled after a return ferry trip to Ireland, even though she never left EU waters.
“My phone activated a rest-of-the-world 24-hour pass, apparently an obscure bolt-on that kicks in when you go outside Europe,” she says. “I reminded the call centre that Ireland and the UK are in Europe but was told it applied anyway.”
O2 told the Observer that customers should turn off data roaming before boarding ferries to prevent them connecting to onboard satellite services.
As pressure grows on airlines and ferry operators to provide internet services, an increasing number of passengers face being caught out – without even touching their phone – by premium rates set and billed by their home service provider. These can be over £10 per MB, the amount required to browse one web page. They can kick in if a passenger simply takes a single photo.
Extortionate charges can also stack up if a boat or plane passes close to national borders. Mobile phones are configured to pick up the strongest signal and if that happens to come from a country outside the EU, international roaming charges will kick in.
Haines’s phone signal was automatically relayed from aircraft antenna via satellite to a ground network operated by AeroMobile. The Crawley-based company, a subsidiary of Panasonic Avionics, began offering inflight services in 2008 and 23 airlines have signed up. Airborne users are not automatically sent text messages by their provider detailing charges. Moreover, cabin crew on the Virgin Atlantic flight made no mention of potential charges if passengers fail to heed advice to switch to flight mode. The airline, which offers the service on half of its fleet, acknowledged that while onboard announcements warn of international roaming charges when using AeroMobile, they do not say that those who don’t use it can also be liable. It declined to state the cut it received from the charges.
Haines’s bill was levied by her company’s service provider, Intercity Technology, which sells phones and services to businesses and uses the Vodafone network.
Intercity confirmed its inflight service connects automatically, even if the phone is stowed in the overhead locker. It says: “It’s included in customers’ monthly bill as an over- charge for roaming in a country not covered by their selected tariff.” It insists it alerts customers to unusual charges and, if necessary, suspends data to protect their interests.
Haines claims she never received an alert. “The first I knew about it was when my data was cut off when I arrived at Barbados,” she says. “I assumed there had been fraudulent activity. It was only later that Intercity informed me of the reason.”
Intercity has offered to contribute £500 towards her bill as a goodwill gesture. It also promised to remind all customers to switch to flight mode.
AeroMobile says it advises airline clients to announce that roaming charges apply on board. “The passenger will receive a text from the onboard system telling them they are connected to the mobile service. However, it is their home operator that must communicate the cost.”
Intercity didn’t respond to requests for its satellite roaming charges. Vodafone, its network provider, charges up to £7.20 per MB of data for airline connections, compared with £6 by Three. BT’s charge is £9.20. All include this in their data roaming and spend cap, so customers have their data cut off after the bill reaches £35, unless they have asked for it to be lifted. EE requires customers to buy an add-on at £36 a day for 5MB. Virgin Mobile says its customers can’t connect to satellite services.
The charges can confuse customer service staff as well as customers. When Ali Hines was billed for downloading £43 of data from a Norwegian network while flying home from Indonesia, she was told by O2 that her phone must have picked up a superior signal over the border. Hines pointed out she was 10,000km from Norway at the time of the download and was then told, like Haines, she had inadvertently connected to AeroMobile.
She insists her phone was switched off, whereupon O2 reckoned it must have connected while boarding or leaving the aircraft, although the download was three hours after takeoff. “They’ve since refunded the charge, but there’s nothing to stop this from happening again,” she says.
O2 confirmed the phone had connected to AeroMobile, which uses a Norwegian mast, and that she should have received a text alert. Its satellite roaming charges are £7.50 per MB.
“We are sorry Ms Hines was given incorrect information and have credited £51 to her account,” it says.
Gay Haines, who is still left owing £600, plans to escalate her complaint to the Communications Ombudsman. “I cannot believe I am the only idiot who forgot to turn their phone to flight,” she said.
How to avoid extra charges
• The EU has banned mobile phone providers charging extra fees for users to use their allowance of minutes, texts or (most) data within EU territory. Take care if you are near a border as phones connect to the strongest signal, which could be in a non-EU country.
• Think twice before turning your data-roaming cap off. Providers have to cut you off when you’ve used €50 under EU rules, unless you ask them to lift the cap. If you do, you risk unlimited bills.
• In the air or at sea, your mobile could connect to a network in a non-EU country or an onboard satellite system on your ship or a nearby ship, in which case EU rules won’t apply. Switch your device into flight mode to avoid this.
• Complain to a dispute resolution scheme. If you feel you were unfairly charged and can’t resolve the issue with your provider, you can take your complaint to the Communications Ombudsman or adjudicator Cisas.

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Watergen’s new solar-powered ‘GENNY’ creates clean, drinkable water from the air – Blog – 10 minute

In context: If you ever find yourself in a situation where you don’t have access to clean running water, there are a few things you can do to adapt and survive. Buying bottled water at the store in preparation for an emergency is an obvious option, but products like the LifeStraw (which can purify water from lakes, streams, ponds, and rivers) can work wonders, too.
Water tech company Watergen hopes to offer yet another (more expensive) solution with its latest announcement. At CES 2020, Watergen unveiled the solar-powered GENNY, a new version of its impressive moisture-based water provider.
The existing GENNY uses dehumidifier-like technology to suck moisture from the air and convert it into clean, cool, and drinkable water. It’s impressive technology, but it requires a wall outlet to function, as most other water coolers do.
The new GENNY, however, removes that requirement entirely, thanks to an array of four massive solar panels that ship with the product. Though it otherwise functions the same as existing GENNYs, the new version can power itself when setup outside — no plugs or plumbing needed.
“Offering all the same advantages as GENNY, it is ideally suited to use in remote locations, rural villages, parks and green residential premises, where the electricity supply is unreliable or unavailable,” Watergen says in a press release. “Solar GENNY is able to generate up to 3.5 gallons of water a day.”

See how Watergen’s technology works in this brief clip.
For reference, the standard GENNY can produce eight gallons of drinkable water per day, so the solar-powered version is a bit less powerful. However, as Watergen says, for remote locations or even simple city parks, the solar GENNY could still be invaluable — especially if there’s more than one around.
Obviously, the solar-powered GENNY is mostly useless for home or office use. Not only would you likely have access to reliable power in such locations (and thus not need a solar-powered alternative), but if the solar GENNY is inside, it can’t easily store power from the Sun. Further, you probably wouldn’t be able to fit the water generator’s required solar panels indoors anyway.
At any rate, the new GENNY is reportedly expected to cost between $5,000 and $8,000, with all expenses (including shipping and installation aid) accounted for. We don’t know when it will launch, but hopefully, we’ll find out soon.

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ET Deals Apple Sale: Apple MacBook Air $899, Apple iPad Pro $799, Apple AirPods w/ Charging Case $169


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If you’re a fan of Apple products then today is your lucky day. You can take advantage of ongoing sales to save on several of Apple’s products, including one of its MacBook Air laptops. If you aren’t an Apple fan, there is also a strong deal on a Dell laptop and AMD processor.

Apple MacBook Air Intel Core i5 13-Inch Laptop w/ 8GB RAM and 128GB SSD ($899.99)

Apple’s MacBook Air was designed to be exceptionally lightweight at 2.75 pounds. It also has a high-quality 2560×1600 display, and Apple built the system out of durable 6000 series aluminum. If you would like to buy one of these systems with the larger 128GB SSD, you can get it marked down from $1,099.00 to $899.99 at Amazon.

Apple iPad Pro 12.9-Inch 64GB Wi-Fi Tablet ($799.99)

Apple designed this version of its iPad Pro with its in-house designed A12X Bionic processor that offers excellent performance. Right now it’s marked down from $999.00 to $799.99 on Amazon.

Apple AirPods w/Wireless Charging Case ($169.99)

This set of Apple’s AirPods comes with a wireless charging case. Simply set the earbuds into the case whenever you are finished using them and they will automatically start charging. They also have support for Siri to quickly access your iPhone, and they can last for over 24 hours while listening to music. Amazon is offering these AirPods currently marked down from $199.00 to $169.99.

Apple Mac Mini Intel Core i5 Computer w/ 8GB DDR4 RAM and 256GB SSD ($929.00)

Apple’s Mac mini is a compact computer with a quad-core Intel Core i5 processor and 8GB of RAM. The system also has 2568GB of storage space and it’s small enough to make it easy to take with you and plug up and use anywhere. It’s available from Amazon marked down from $1,099.00 to $929.00.

AMD Ryzen Threadripper 1920X 12-Core SMT Processor ($199.99)

AMD’s Threadripper 1920x features a dozen CPU cores with SMT technology, which allows the processor to handle a whopping 24 threads simultaneously. This gives it exceptional performance while multitasking. The processor also operates at 4.2GHz and has an enormous 38MB of cache. Originally priced at $799.00, you can now get this processor from Amazon for the remarkably low price of $199.99. At this price, they are practically giving it away.

Dell G3 15 Intel Core i5-9300H 15.6-Inch 1080p Gaming Laptop w/ Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660 Ti, 8GB DDR4 RAM and 512GB NVMe SSD ($813.39)

This laptop is packed full of fast processing hardware, which enables it to run modern games with high-end graphics settings. The system is also heavily discounted from $1,218.99 to $813.39 with promo code SAVE17. At this price, it’s almost too good to be true.

Note: Terms and conditions apply. See the relevant retail sites for more information. For more great deals, go to our partners at TechBargains.com.




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4 Automakers Agree to Cleaner California Air. Now They May Be Sued.


Is this crazy, or what: Four automakers face a Department of Justice investigation and possible lawsuit because they possibly conspired to, uh, build more fuel-efficient cars and help make California’s air cleaner. BMW, Ford, Honda, and Volkswagen are the reported targets of a Justice Department investigation into whether they skirted federal competition laws by agreeing with each other to agree to stricter emissions standards in California.

President Trump is mad at California and automakers standing in the way of his administration’s plan to roll back climate change regulations. It’s possible the DOJ is onto something if it can show the automakers agreed among themselves to act in a way that limits competition or product choices without involving the government beforehand. For instance, reducing the number of big SUVs sold there may be good for the air, but it might be seen as collusion.

States’ Rights vs. Executive Power

At a high level, the disagreement is over the rights of states to set a higher standard for higher fuel efficiency and lower air pollution–in this case, a right granted by federal laws (rather the 10th Amendment holding the “powers not delegated to the United States [are] reserved to the States respectively, or to the people”), and on the other hand, the powers of the executive branch.

The law at play here is the federal Clean Air Act, which dates to the 1960s. It has been modified over the years. It says the feds, not individual states, get to set clean air regulations. But there’s a huge loophole: Because California is the state most affected by car-driven air pollution since the end of World War II, the act lets California set more stringent standards. And it allows the other states to follow the same rules California sets (but not its own rules). Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New Mexico (model year 2011 and newer), New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington currently use California’s rules. These states represent the entire Pacific West Coast as well as the eastern seaboard from Maine to Washington, DC, and about a third of the US population. For what it’s worth, every California-rules state except Pennsylvania went for Clinton, not Trump, in the 2016 election.

In 2018, President Trump sought to roll back or freeze some fuel economy and air pollution standards. California wants to keep stricter rules. California Air Resources Board Chairwoman Mary Nichols, who was involved in the July agreement with the four automakers, says California’s emissions goals are achievable and they help US automakers because other countries, particularly China, hew closely to California’s rules. In other words, even if the US were to roll back standards, any automaker that wants a global footprint still has to engineer cars to meet the most stringent standards.

Trump “Enraged.” California Gov: “Political Interference.”

The President used his bully pulpit — Twitter — to excoriate BMW-Ford-Honda-VW. He called them “politically correct Automobile Companies [capitalizations his]” run by “Foolish executives” while the Golden State “will squeeze … [automakers] to a point of business ruin.”

Trump also tweeted that “Henry Ford would be very disappointed if he saw his modern-day descendants wanting to build a much more expensive car, that is far less safe and doesn’t work as well.” Pollution controls will increase vehicle cost — $3,000 a car according to Trump, or $2,100 a car by the Trump administration’s earlier statements. Factcheck.org said there’s little or no evidence that cars with higher mpg are less safe in accidents.

Lighter cars in accidents with heavier vehicles fare less well, but economy improvements could come from greater efficiencies rather than lightening a vehicle. At the same time, a lighter car does less damage to another lighter-weight car.

Consumer Reports weighed in and said Americans as a group will lose $460 billion in fuel savings “in the coming years if the federal government goes forward with plans to roll back the nation’s fuel economy and emissions standards for new cars and light-duty trucks.”

When The New York Times reported Trump was “enraged” by the audacity of California, his handlers opted to alert others in the media that The Times has correctly captured the President’s mood, according to Politico. California Gov. Gavin Newsom fired back at Trump’s “blatant political interference.”

Administration critics of the BMW-Ford-Honda-VW deal with California say the deal to raise fuel efficiency could mean the end of big SUVs and crossovers. Here, the 2019 Ford Expedition, with three rows of seats, room for eight, and EPA ratings of 18-20 mpg overall. The pact would raise efficiency to almost 50 mpg by 2026, although fuel efficiency mpg is higher than real-world mpg.

How It Came to This

The backstory dates to the early 1950s and the understanding almost 70 years ago of how smog affects California, to California clean air legislation signed by then Gov. Ronald Reagan, federal fuel economy and clean air legislation of the 1960s, and the California-US agreement thanks to the unique status of California and, in particular, the Los Angeles basin that traps smog.

California’s authority to act comes from the Clean Air Act, which was signed by President Richard Nixon.

When the Trump administration sought to ease some of the clean air standards, 17 automakers urged the White House to continue talks with California and avoid a legal battle. They warned that failure to reach agreement would lead to “an extended period of litigation and instability.” Of the 17, BMW, Ford, Honda, VW continued to discuss with California their support for strong clean-air/higher-mpg standards. They announced an agreement in late July. That’s what enraged the President.

The agreement has the four automakers agreeing to increase fuel efficiency standards by model year 2026, just six years away, to almost 50 mpg (fleet average). Note that what the government calls miles per gallon is considerably higher than the real-world mpg compliant cars would actually get. Between credits and dispensations that are the work of accountants and legislators, not engineers, a vehicle that gets roughly 35-40 mpg would be, roughly, a 50-mpg car for sake of the rules.

According to a Sept. 6 Wall Street Journal story by Timothy Puko and Ben Foldy with the tagline Politics (not Cars):

The four companies [BMW, Ford, Honda, VW] and the California Air Resources Board announced the deal in July to signal support for keeping one, nationwide emissions standard. Justice Department officials believe the agreement could effectively restrict competition by potentially limiting the types of cars and trucks the auto companies offer to consumers, according to people familiar with the department’s thinking. Such an impact of the deal—potentially cutting production of sport-utility vehicles and crossovers that burn more gasoline—could cross legal lines, the people said. Courts have prohibited such deals even if the motivation was for a public good, the people said.

The automakers would also be hurting themselves because big SUVs and pickups often have profit margins on the order of $10,000 per vehicle. To keep selling them, they’ll need to sell even more compact cars and hybrids, plug-in hybrids, and EVs.

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Tyrannosaurus Rex Had an Air Conditioner Built Into Its Skull: Researchers


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One of the frustrating things about studying long-extinct animals is how thoughtless they were. Dinosaurs — already factually* proven to be the coolest creatures to ever exist — were terribly bad at leaving us good examples of their soft tissues to study. Instead of lining up in neat orderly rows under ideal conditions for long-term fossilization, they just died everywhere. This has made it vastly more difficult to study them appropriately. In most cases, fossilization only preserves bone, though faint markings, scratches, or preserved ‘shadows’ sometimes still show where soft tissue existed.

Because we can’t examine soft tissue directly, paleontologists have to study them indirectly, by examining the bone structures that were preserved for millions of years and comparing them with creatures that still exist today. By tracing the evolutionary lineage of still-extant creatures backwards in time to when it converges with now-extinct creatures, scientists can observe how these features evolved and intuit some aspects of how older structures might have functioned.

Researchers examining the skull of Tyrannosaurus Rex have published a paper arguing that these creatures effectively had air conditioners built into their skulls. Maintaining appropriate body temperature can be a challenge in large animals, and many creatures have adapted various strategies for solving the problem. Elephants have large ears to radiate heat from blood vessels and can flap their ears to create cooling air currents. Some large animals spend a great deal of time in or near water to keep their own body temperatures regulated. Some are active mostly at night when temperatures are lower.

Tyrannosaurs, on the other hand, had holes in their skulls. These holes, known as dorsotemporal fenestrae, have long been thought to function as massive anchors for the creature’s huge jaw muscles. These muscles were thought to entirely fill the cavity when the creatures were alive. According to new research published in The Anatomical Record, however, muscles weren’t the only thing tyrannosaurids packed into the space. These fenestrae may have served a dual function by providing important cooling capability as well. They write:

[H]ere we present numerous lines of evidence which indicate that a sizable portion of the dorsotemporal fenestra in crocodylians, non-avian dinosaurs, and many other fossil archosaur lineages was not wholly muscular but instead likely housed vascular tissues. When skull roof tissues were elaborated in fossil specimens, evidence indicates that blood vessels found in the dorsal temporal fossa were often involved in supporting soft tissue cranial display structures… and possibly vascular physiological devices.

Fenestrae-Temperatures

Image and caption from “The Frontoparietal Fossa and Dorsotemporal Fenestra of Archosaurs and Their Significance for Interpretations of Vascular and Muscular Anatomy in Dinosaurs.“

Several factors led the paleontologists to this conclusion. For one thing, the anatomical location of the holes made them a difficult attachment point for the jaw muscles. For another, the bone in this area of the skull is smooth. Attachment points for muscles typically aren’t. To test their theory, the scientists used a FLIR camera and measured the body temperatures of alligators, paying special attention to the temperatures of the dorsotemporal fenestrae. What they found is that these areas of the body are markedly hotter when the alligator is basking in the sun and cooler when it dozes in the shade.

“One of the major physiological challenges that large animals have is being able to shed heat,” Casey Holliday, the leader of the study, told National Geographic. “If big theropod dinosaurs were warm-blooded … then they too probably had challenges dissipating heat in some instances.”

Other dinosaurs, like ankylosaurs, have been found to have large, complex nasal passages filled with blood vessels as a means of dissipating heat. Tyrannosaurids lacked this adaptation, which means the creatures — which were as much as 40 feet long and 20 feet tall — had to dissipate heat through some other means. Radiating it outwards from the skull would protect the creature’s brain from overheating. National Geographic also notes that some dinosaurs had fenestrae that were close to their neck frills, which are thought to have been used in mating and threat signaling. It’s possible that Tyrannosaurus Rex or its family members may have been able to use its blood vessels for color-changing displays, though this is strictly a theory at this juncture.

* – As measured by eight-year-old me.

Top image credit: Scott Robert Anselmo/Wikimedia Commons

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Throne of Games: Acer’s ‘Affordable’ Predator Thronos Air Chair Costs $14,000


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Last year, Acer showed off the Predator Thronos, a $20,000 gaming station with a motorized “Zero-G” reclining system. That was a huge investment, even for the gamer with cash burning a hole in their pocket. Acer has followed up the Predator Thronos with a less expensive version called the Predator Thronos Air. Although, “less expensive” is only an accurate description when comparing the Thronos Air with the original. The new one is still a whopping $13,999. 

It’s not even obvious what the Predator Thronos Air is when you first see it. The best way to describe the product might be a very, very fancy desk that you sit in instead of at. It doesn’t come with a gaming PC, monitors, or even a keyboard and mouse — you have to provide all that yourself, at which point you could probably have bought a reasonably priced midsize sedan instead. 

The selling point here is immersion. Last year’s Predator Thronos accomplished that with a motorized system that tilted the chair, desktop, and monitors with a single press of a button. Acer trimmed the original’s $20,000 price tag by six grand by doing away with all the motors and control panel buttons (there’s still plenty of RGB). Instead, you manually adjust the chair’s position, and the steel armature brings the monitors and peripheral tray along for the ride so they remain in a usable position. It’s not all barebones, though. The Predator Thronos Air has a back massager, because why not? There’s an optional cup holder, too. 

The Predator Thronos Air supports up to three monitors, but you can use just one if you prefer. Although, I can’t imagine anyone willing to buy a $14,000 immersive gaming desk being satisfied with a single monitor. Likewise, you could connect a laptop to the monitor and play that way, but anyone considering this beast probably has a high-end gaming PCSEEAMAZON_ET_135 See Amazon ET commerce already. There’s a small platform for the PC behind the chair. An integrated cable management system helps you get all the wires where they need to go without ruining the contraption’s look or getting in the way of the moving parts. 

Acer plans to launch the Predator Thronos Air late this year in North America and Europe. It’ll probably be quite a production to get the device, though. You still can’t outright purchase last year’s Predator Thronos. You have to fill out a purchase inquiry form and wait for Acer to get back to you.

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