technology

Invisibility cloaks at a shop near you

Recognise him?Recognise him?Yes, it's true, a few years from now you too might be able to buy a slightly more scientific version of Harry Potter's invisibility cloak. The journal "Science" has just published two papers that give the mathematical proof that making such a thing is indeed possible, and moreover some instructions on how to go about doing so.

Of course it's all megacomplicated stuff with plenty of competing theories, and sadly there is no working invisibility cloak as yet, but the bending-light idea makes sense. One easyish way of thinking about it is to imagine a free-flowing stream of water, with a rock in it. The rock gets in the way of the water and splits the stream as it flows around it. However, downstream from the rock the water automatically merges back into one stream. Anyone looking at this converged stream would not know that there was a rock blocking the stream at all.

Elephant rage

You know what they say about having big feetHumans beware! The elephant population has finally had enough of the abuse that us humans see fit to unleash upon them and are getting slightly grumpy.

Apparently, despite the fact that overcrowding is down and suitable food supplies are up throughout Africa, an increasing amount of elephant aggression is occurring against us helpless humans. Why might this be? Well, the Poorhouse is no pachyderm psychologist, but last week's New Scientist reports a number of theories.

One such theory is that, understandably, after decades (or more) of seeing humans slaughter their parents for sport (or to break bits of their dead corpses up to sell to foreigners at an extortionate price) they have suffered some form of mental breakdown and become fixated on revenge.

Racist weapons

This is not new news, but that doesn't make it worth ignoring. Some of the most powerful people in the world apparently think committing genocide is just too arduous at present; but perhaps they can make it easier in the future?

Although under-reported in the mainstream, many people may be aware of a think-tank called the Project for a New American Century (PNAC). In their words, their fundamental tenets are such that "American leadership is good both for America and for the world; and that such leadership requires military strength, diplomatic energy and commitment to moral principle."

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