New cement conducts electricity like metal

Link to original story

A new type of cement mixes Titanium with the usual lime / alumina compound and heats it up to 1100 degrees Celsius. The resulting compound conducts electricity about as well as other metals at room temperature.

With Titanium in the mix, don’t expect to see this mix in your every day concrete pour. The article mentions a possible application as a substitute material for Indium which is used in plasma TVs and the like. This material is going to find a home inside of an iPod or cell phone probably.

All in all, it reminds me of electrically conducting clay polymers but with the novelty of being made with portland cement.

Bloody Monday, a.k.a. free Ancestor PDF day

One of my favorite authors is drumming up publicity for his upcoming book by giving away the book…again. Yeah, I know how that sounds, but it worked for Cory Doctorow, so it not totally off base. Scott Sigler has podcasted Ancestor as a podiobook to over 30,000 fans and has now released a free PDF of the entire book again. If you like action oriented sci-fi with “Lots and lots of violence”, this is just the thing for you.

Ancestor cover art

Dowload the Ancestor PDF here

Subscribe to the podiobook for free

Order the print copy on April 1st through Amazon and help send Scott to the top of the charts

Cool skyscrapers

Top 12 Skyscrapers of the World via Digg

Not sure if they should count all of these, since over half of them aren’t finished yet. But, if these buildings live up to their renderings, they’ll be extraordinarily cool. Only two of them are located in the U.S. The really outrageously tall ones are in China or Dubai, and the 300 story monstrosity redefines the term pie-in-the-sky.


Free USGS topos

This may only be of interest to civil engineers and planners, but topographic maps generated by the U.S. Geological Service are public domain because tax payer monies are used to generate the maps. However, map services have charged for these maps because it costs money to print and distribute the physical copies.

This has changed somewhat recently when a collection was taken up by these guys to liberate these maps. The maps are now distributed by the Internet Archive and can be downloaded for free from this “temporary” directory. It is organized by state, and the maps are in TIF format. XML meta-data files area also available.