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In this week’s Nature Physics an international team, led by Oxford University scientists, report that a short pulse from the FLASH laser ‘knocked out’ a core electron from every aluminium atom in a sample without disrupting the metal’s crystalline structure. This turned the aluminium nearly invisible to extreme ultraviolet radiation.

''What we have created is a completely new state of matter nobody has seen before,’ said Professor Justin Wark of Oxford University’s Department of Physics, one of the authors of the paper. ‘Transparent aluminium is just the start. The physical properties of the matter we are creating are relevant to the conditions inside large planets, and we also hope that by studying it we can gain a greater understanding of what is going on during the creation of 'miniature stars' created by high-power laser implosions, which may one day allow the power of nuclear fusion to be harnessed here on Earth.’

The discovery was

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In 2005 I wrote a profile of an old friend, Tim Kehoe, a toy inventor who’d spent 10 years trying to solve what should be an easy problem: How do you make colored soap bubbles that don’t stain whatever they break on? If you’re thinking, “Oh that’s easy, just do X,” you’re wrong. Tim tried X. Didn’t work. In fact, it blew up the kitchen and permanently colored the dog.

But as of today, you can buy his colored bubbles, called Zubbles, at and through his iPhone app. And even if you’re not a bubble man, these things will blow your mind. Thanks to some seriously novel chemistry, the stain they appear to leave when they break vanishes in seconds. If only he could make pizza sauce do the same thing.


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A former IBM engineer says his latest invention can turn regular cars into plug-in hybrids for between $3,000 and $5,000. He could be on to something.  

It fits into a wheel hub and can double a car's fuel economy. That's the claim of Dr. Charles Perry, who says his plug-in hybrid retrofit kit can save America 120 million gallons of fuel per day. Big talk. But then, inventors betting on revolutionary uphevals need to talk as big as they think. The former IBM electrical engineer designed the kit to transform existing automobiles into hybrids by placing an electric motor inside each wheel. Perry recently took first prize for his invention at a green energy competition at the Tennessee Technology Development Corp. The plan is to develop the kit into a product selling for between $3,000 and $5,000.

As part of the prize, Perry received a $50,000 grant, which will be matched by Palmer Labs LLC of Reston, Va., whose goal is to commercialize the inv

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The material is infused with ultra-thin circuitry and an electronically-controlled ink available in a wide range of Pantone colors, which are conveyed in “print quality.” As in all e-ink displays, a current passes through the substrate to activate the ink; otherwise, the eSkin is transparent to reveal the surface underneath. The eSkin material are flexible and can be manufactured in large-scale rolls rather than individually, making them cheaper and ensuring that our eyes will not have to suffer through looking at any static, information-less screen in the future.

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Crunch Gear

Tokyo-based Nakabayashi offers everything from bookbinding services, child car seats and office products. But the newest (and certainly coolest) product of the 2,000-man company is an in-office machine , which turns used copier paper into toilet rolls, right there in the office. Brillant. The toilet paper machine is able to produce two rolls per hour from around 1,800 sheets (or 7.2kg) of used A4-sized paper, which would have usually been just thrown away. At 600kg, it seems to be a dangerously massive piece of hardware. Distribution in Japan begin in August and Nakabayashi wants to sell 60 units in the first year. Good luck with that, as each machine comes with a price tag of $95,000. Unfortunately, there is no information on operating costs yet, but I can’t imagine these being in proportion.

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