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University of Rochester Hosts 8th Annual Pumpkin Launch

Pumpkins

If you plan on visiting the University of Rochester tomorrow, be sure to watch out for flying pumpkins:

“Local students will test their engineering prowess by slinging pumpkins with catapults and trebuchets of their own design on the day before Halloween in what has come to be one of the campus’s most entertaining and anticipated rituals.

Update 11/02/2009: It seems some engineers got a little overzealous with their pumpkin tossing this past weekend: a cannon built by students for a contest at California State University in Fullerton accidentally launched a pumpkin over 120 yards, directly into the Titan Stadium scoreboard. The impact apparently left a small hole, but luckily the scoreboard still functions and “nobody seemed to be in a huge panic.” [UPI]

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Engineers Help Detect Football Injuries

Football1This week the New York Times brought to light an alarming issue that has been plaguing the NFL: the number of concussions that players are receiving. Two weeks ago, San Francisco 49ers safety Michael Lewis suffered his third concussion of the season, in only the fifth game of the season. And on Monday, Philadelphia Eagles’ Running Back Brian Westbrook suffered a major concussion. To better protect players’ health, Riddell created the Revolution helmet, which reduces the risk of concussions.

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Floating House Designed for New Orleans

FLOAT House

Earlier we blogged about taking your gym out on the water. But what about an entire house? This month, Morphosis Architects finished building a floating home for the Make It Right Foundation, an organization helping to rebuild neighborhoods in New Orleans that were ravaged by hurricane Katrina.

When actor Brad Pitt visited the Lower 9th Ward, the area hardest hit by the storm as well as one of the most impoverished, he was shocked at the devastation. Determined to bring this historic neighborhood back to life and provide homes for displaced families, Pitt founded Make It Right. The foundation launched a national contest to design sustainable, weather-resistant dwellings. Many of these green homes have already been constructed (you can view them here).

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Time to De-Junk Our Solar System?

Space Junk

EU Infrastructure News reports that since the Soviet Union’s launch of Sputnik 1 in 1957, over 19,000 objects larger than 10cm (4 inches) have accumulated in the earth’s orbit. Yikes – looks like it might be time for some spring cleaning!

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Airborne Laser Weaponry

Boeings Airborne Laser (ABL) will locate and track missiles in the boost phase of their flight, then accurately point and fire the high-energy laser, destroying enemy missiles near their launch areas.

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