But thanks to technology from the company that is often credited with inventing the Internet, thousands of American troops in Iraq and Afghanistan are now able to rely on an automatic system that not only alerts them--in a very loud, urgent voice--that shots are being fired but also gives them an almost instant notification of where the shots are coming from.
Update (Tuesday, 8:07 p.m. Pacific): The answer to today's challenge--which 131 people got--is the Cape Cod Railroad Bridge, also known as the Buzzards Bay Railroad Bridge, in Bourne, Mass. Thanks to everyone who played today, and please come back for Wednesday's challenge.
Those are some amazing towers, and that's a whole heck of a lot of metal work. And to some, it's a beautiful structure, while others no doubt feel it's an eyesore. If you know what this is and where it's located, you could win a prize in the CNET Road … Read more
GROTON, Conn.--If you've ever wondered what it's like aboard the most advanced submarine in the world, I'm here to tell you all about it.
To be specific, that submarine is the North Carolina, a Virginia class nuclear attack sub based at the Naval Submarine Base New London here, and it is truly a technological marvel.
To begin with, forget all about those romantic images of a dimly lighted sonar room where a captain squints into the eyepiece of the periscope in order to try to see what's going on outside. Those days are long gone. … Read more
WOODS HOLE, Mass.--Although crews have managed to shut off--for now, at least--the flood of oil into the Gulf of Mexico, it is virtually certain that ongoing cleanup work will keep the concept of deep-sea science in the public's eye for some time.
That could be good news for the scientists and researchers at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) here, one of the world's leading repositories of across-the-board ocean expertise, and the developers of a stunning collection of hardware and software tools designed to probe the countless mysteries of the deep.
I've come here as part … Read more
On March 20, a very odd boat set sail from Sausalito, Calif., just north of the Golden Gate Bridge. Destination: Sydney, Australia.
This was the Plastiki, a vessel made entirely of plastic, including 12,000 recycled bottles, built to showcase the world's garbage problem. It is the brainchild of banking heir and expedition leader David de Rothschild.
That was more than three months ago, and in the weeks since, the boat has bobbed and weaved its way across well more than 6,000 miles of open ocean on its way Down Under.
In recent days, the boat and its … Read more
NEW YORK--There are 13 million-dollar open-source hardware companies, but there have been no standards governing what defines the still nascent field.
Until now, that is.
Unlike open-source software, because there have been no formal definitions, many people may not even be aware of the growing industry. But already some of those practicing its general principles have become household names among the geek set: Arduino, the programmable single-board microcontroller and software suite; Chumby, a popular Wi-Fi device; MakerBot, a low-priced 3D printer; and Adafruit, a maker of do-it-yourself hardware kits for things like MP3 players and more.
Late Tuesday, a group … Read more
PHILADELPHIA--Staring at the bin in front of me, stacked high with thousands of dollar coins, it's hard not to make like Scrooge McDuck and jump in headfirst.
Except, of course, that security would grab me and I'd have to deal with having a felony on my record for the rest of my life. Also, there's this small detail: These aren't actually dollars. Yet.
I'm at the U.S. Mint here, the largest mint in the world, and a place big enough--at around 600,000 square feet--that all the rest of the American mints could fit … Read more
WEST ORANGE, N.J.--I have come to the mountaintop of invention.
Today, this is the Thomas Edison National Historic Park, but for decades, it was the laboratory complex where the great innovator and the many people he employed did their work. For a geek, it doesn't get much better than this.
As part of Road Trip 2010, I'm paying a visit to a complex that, when it was fully operational, comprised dozens of buildings and employed hundreds of people. And I have to say that, while I'm no Edison scholar, this was definitely one of the … Read more
EASTON, Pa.--Alongside Lego bricks, Crayola crayons may well be the most common playthings on Earth. Or so it seems. Every year, Crayola produces more than 3 billion of its famous coloring implements.
When I was planning my Road Trip 2010 to the East Coast, I knew I had no choice but to go and see how they're made. And on Friday, I was lucky enough to get to do so.
Unfortunately, the company doesn't allow observers at its actual production plant. But it has … Read more
WASHINGTON--I'm staring at $38.4 million in cash, and it's hard not to drool.
I'm here at the U.S. Bureau of Engraving and Printing, which, as is probably best described by its official Web site, is America's "money factory."
More specifically, this is where the U.S. Treasury Department prints its paper money, and as part of Road Trip 2010, I've come here to see how the bureau makes the brand-new, next-generation $100 bill. The bureau's mission is emblazoned in red, white, and blue neon on a wall near where I … Read more