GaS news — what happened next: April 2013

Continuing our look back at later developments to stories we brought you on Geeks Are Sexy this year, we turn our attention to April. The developers of online game The War Z took the game offline after hackers got hold of user names, e-mail addresses and encrypted passwords. The game later returned to action and was renamed Infestation: Survivor Stories, likely because the makers had trouble trademarking “The War Z” because of its similarity to the movie title World War Z.

The Iranian government dismissed claims that a citizen working in a government facility had invented a time machine. Ali Razeghi’s “Aryayek Time Traveling Machineā€ turned out to be a life event predictor rather than a literal fourth-dimension transport device. His apparent fantasism was mocked for many months and even cited as a reason to be skeptical when Iran’s government claimed to have captured, cloned and improved upon a US military airborne drone.

Microsoft was said to have been asking suppliers for parts for a touchscreen smartwatch with a display of just 1.5 inches. Though no such device has gone on sale yet. it later emerged that the team behind the Surface tablet was testing a prototype watch that would integrate with other Windows tablets, would have removable wristbands, and would use the translucent oxynitride aluminum rather than glass.

Researchers explored a way to change the design of batteries to pack in more electrons in a given space, using a three-dimensional lattice structure. They said that in principle such batteries could get 2,000 times the power in the same size as existing models and that they would charge 1,000 times more quickly. In the initial tests, researchers built a metal lattice around polystyrene spheres, which were then dissolved to leave gaps for anodes and electrodes. A subsequent project involved building the lattice directly using a custom-made 3D printer that emits conducting inks through a 30 micron nozzle.

The Herschel Space Telescope finally ran out of the liquid helium used to cool instruments; as a result it became unable to capture infrared light. However, analysis of its data continues and astronomers have just recently detected the presence of argon hydride ions in the Crab Nebula, the remains of a supernova. It’s the first time astronomers have detected a compound based on a noble gas.

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