Now We Know Why The Ancient Romans Had Better Concrete Than Us

Roman-concrete-Al-torbermoriteWhereas current concrete structures begin to deteriorate after 50 years, Roman concrete has been holding up for thousands of years. Portland cement has been the most-used ingredient in today’s concrete, but it’s nothing as good as what the Romans had. Instead, the Romans used two different ingredients in their recipe — wait for it —  lime and volcanic rock. Shocking, indeed.

Scientists in the United States and Europe have been studying this for quite a while, and after being published in a press release of this month’s Journal of the American Ceramic Society and American Mineralogist, we now know what exactly is so great about Roman concrete:

“The Romans made concrete by mixing lime and volcanic rock. For underwater structures, lime and volcanic ash were mixed to form mortar, and this mortar and volcanic tuff were packed into wooden forms. The seawater instantly triggered a hot chemical reaction. The lime was hydrated – incorporating water molecules into its structure – and reacted with the ash to cement the whole mixture together.”

The best part? Current cement-creation methods have an environmental impact, whereas the Roman’s use of lime and volcanic rock is extremely eco-friendly. Of course, there are a few cons: it takes longer to dry than current concrete. But, now all that needs to be done is to adapt the recipe to today’s standards, and get building.

Via: Berkeley Lab

The NYC Subway Project Is Making Some Massive Holes Underground

nyc-subway-workAimed to reduce traffic on the East Side of Manhattan, the Second Avenue Subway system is the first new set of tracks built underground in New York City since 1932. It’s a $4.5 billion project, and if it’s worth anything, the photos that come out of the construction of this project are incredible.

Do you see the sense of scale; how tiny the construction equipment and people are? A tip of the hat is totally warranted, for engineering.

Via: MTA’s Flickr Page

Google’s Project Loon: Cover The World In WiFi Using Hot Air Balloons

project-loonIn another one of Google’s grand concept projects: the first being driver-less cars, which are now legal in California, and the second, Google’s Project Glass, comes another insane idea that may become reality. It’s important to know that Google [x]. the search engine’s special unit of thinkers, are responsible this third project — thus proving their continued ingenuity.

Basically, they want to use solar-powered, helium-filled hot air balloons to bring WiFi all over the world, at 3G or faster speeds. A pilot project in New Zealand has already begun, with 50 testers trying to connect to the networks via the balloons. According to Google, “more than half” of the countries in the southern hemisphere and for two out of three people on earth, internet access is pretty expensive, so anyone living the 40th parallel should take interest. The system is simple: the internet connection exists on the ground, is beamed up to the balloon, then amplified to different areas.

While it may be whimsical in its concept form, just like Google’s cars and Glass, it could also mature and become a viable solution.

Via:  Google BlogProject Loon (Google+)Project Loon

Brevity Review: The Official Galaxy S 4 Flip Cover Is — Well, It’s A Cover

S4 Flip Cover

After testing three different Galaxy S 4 smartphones, I’ve become rather familiar with its daily quirks, tendencies, and sheer awesomeness if used correctly. I’ve also found out that Samsung’s official flip cover work rather nicely when used for protection of the precious screen itself; after all they produce many great S4 cases. Even better, you can implement it into the device fully: you remove the existing battery cover that came with the S4, then replace with the new one that is attached to the suede cover.

Microsoft Office For The iPhone Makes It To The App Store


It’s simple enough: Microsoft Office for iPhone works with basic editing skills and allows the user to  save locally or to Microsoft’s cloud servers. You can also view and edit spreadsheets, docs and Powerpoint files, or do all of that with attachments pinned to emails.

In order for it to work, you need an Office 365 subscription (of course we do, Microsoft) and an iPhone or iPod touch running iOS 6.1 (no iPad version yet) in the United States; global availability will happens sometimes later.

ViaiTunes Store

Nokia Hosting Press Event In NYC Called ‘Zoom Reinvented’

zoom-reinventedSo, this press invite has been sent to media worldwide, inviting them all to converge on New York City this July 11th to witness the birth of a new Nokia Lumia smartphone, of course with Windows Phone tagging along. Seeing the magnifying glass and teasing of new EOS imaging technology for Lumias leak here and there on different websites gives the general consensus that it will be a new Lumia, but with imaging capabilities not seen on other devices.

AT&T Confirms Samsung Galaxy S 4 Active For June 21st, At $199

GS4 Active

If the current Galaxy S 4 isn’t up to par with your life standards, perhaps the rugged version will be? The Galaxy S 4 Active is everything the previous Galaxy S 4 was, sans the 13 megapixel camera (the Active uses an 8MP camera) and the 1080p display is based on LCD instead of OLED technology. The Galaxy S 4 Active is both water-resistant and dustproof, and will be $199 on contract.

For a quick recap, the S4 Active has Android 4.2, a 1.9GHz quad-core processor, a 5-inch 1080p TFT LCD panel, microSD slot with support for up to 64GB, 2GB RAM, 16GB internal storage, a 2,600mAh battery and an 8MP rear camera with 2MP front-facing camera. Its weight is 150g (5.29 ounces) and is 9.1mm thick. Also, it’ll come in two colors: Urban Grey and Dive Blue.

AT&T will take pre-orders starting tomorrow.

Via: AT&T