With the Volante Vision Concept, Aston Martin is taking to the skies

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While most Aston Martin automobiles are designed to give you the sensation of flying while being safely grounded on four wheels against the asphalt, the Volante Vision concept may actually give you the power of flight. Debuted at the Farnborough Air Show this year, the Volante Vision is Aston Martin’s first foray into airplanes (coincidentally, Volante means Flying in quite a few European languages).

Designed to seat three people, the Volante Vision was made to provide fast, efficient and congestion-free luxurious travel in urban areas. With cities growing bigger and roads getting more congested, the British Automotive Maker believes in taking to the skies, after all, Aston Martin has always been about speed, luxury, and being a cut above.

The Volante Vision concept, a VTOL (vertical take-off and landing), occupies the space of four cars and comes with three propellers, Aston Martin’s sleek-yet-curvilinear outer body, and a comfortable interior that takes aircraft seating and turns it up a notch. Built with a hybrid-electric powertrain and self-piloting capabilities, the Volante was designed in partnership with Cranfield University, Cranfield Aerospace Solutions, and Rolls-Royce.

Well, that’s a pretty classy way to beat the traffic.

Designer: Aston Martin

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Blue Origin launches rocket to space in ‘extreme’ test of the crew capsule

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From its desolate West Texas launchpad, Jeff Bezos’ rocket company Blue Origin launched another reusable rocket into space, and then successfully landed both the rocket booster and the large-windowed crew capsule.

Blue Origin used this launch to test an abort of the capsule in space, should anything go wrong during a real crewed flight. (Those flights could launch as soon as 2019, according to some estimates.) 

“It’s an important step in our march in flying humans into space,” Ariane Cornell, the Blue Origin launch broadcaster, said prior to the launch.

Footage of the entire launch, beginning with the rocket liftoff and ending with the capsule returning to the desert, can be watched below. Though, the 10-second countdown begins at around the 35 minute mark. 

This was the third trip to space for both this New Shepherd rocket booster and the crew capsule, both designed to be reusable like SpaceX’s Falcon 9 booster and Dragon Capsules. 

The capsule parachuted down to the desert floor after reaching roughly 7,000 feet of altitude. It glided calmly to the ground at around 16 mph.

Overall, this was Blue Origin’s ninth test flight of a New Shepherd rocket. At the time of publishing, Blue Origin Origin did not reply to questions about how many more tests flights are needed before testing with humans begins. Also, ticket prices for a trip into space haven’t yet been decided, noted Cornell.

“But we’ve got our eye on the prize,” she added.

A dusty desert landing.

A dusty desert landing.

Although there weren’t any people aboard this test flight, Blue Origin’s test dummy, Mannequin Skywalker, was strapped in a chair to measure the gravitation forces a real body might experience during a somewhat violent abort.

Accompanying the dummy aboard the capsule were NASA atmospheric science experiments and payloads from paying customers. One such payload including an experiment funded both privately and by NASA, called Solstar, which tested WiFi capabilities in space. 

 

Blue Origin’s billionaire owner, Jeff Bezos, has grand designs for moving people and commerce into space, and his efforts begin with Blue Origin’s rockets. The first step, when realized, is space tourism, allowing visitors to briefly experience microgravity in Earth’s orbit, before parachuting down to West Texas.

In the coming decade, space tourists may regularly return to Earth in a calm, well-controlled fashion — like Wednesday’s landing. 

“Just another day at the office,” said Cornell.

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Welp, here’s a photo of a Putin impersonator riding a bronze bull covered in dildos

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A shirtless Vladimir Putin impersonator riding a bronze bull covered in dildos sounds like the beginning of a NSFW joke. In fact, it is a real thing that actually happened on Monday.

As an act of resistance, a Washington, D.C. ramen shop owner named Jeff Jetton pulled on a mask of the Russian prime minister’s and mounted the famous Charging Bull statue located on Wall Street in New York City, which he plastered with 130 sex toys.

“Anybody who tells you sex toys aren’t good tools of resistance has never had a bag of dicks and a little bit of ingenuity,” Jetton told Mashable via Twitter DM.

Jetton says he wasn’t the only one in on the prank, and that it was the work of activists hoping to showcase their “outrage at ongoing interference in American democracy by Vladimir Putin.”

According to HuffPost, local police reached out to Jetton on Tuesday evening. He posted about the exchange on Twitter, writing: “NYPD just invited me into the 1st precinct on Monday to receive a summons for my work as Putin on the Wall Street Charging Bull. I assume that’s some kind of award?”

As for future pranks, Jetton said he has “no plans that I’m sharing at the moment.”

Still, his plate’s pretty full even without large-scale pranks — according to the Daily Beast, he’s been conducting his own Russia investigation for months. Per the report, he’s texted with Carter Page and even scored an interview with a Steele dossier source by sending him a photo of a dog.

Now, he can also add performance activism to his resume.

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Photographer shares how she shot and edited this dreamy, surreal image

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Photographer shares how she shot and edited this dreamy, surreal image

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Sometimes, in a flood of images on social media, you see one that just stands out. This is the case with a surreal and dreamy photo Tami Bandel Itzhak has recently posted in one of Facebook groups I follow. Us at DIYP liked it, and we wanted to know more about it. So, we got in touch with Tami to ask her how she took and edited this image that captured our attention.

Tami tells us that the photo was taken in Tel-Aviv, Israel. Although the tones in the image are warm, the day was actually cold and rainy. But, Tami made the best out of the heavy clouds and took this image on a cloudy afternoon. She used a Canon 70D paired with a Sigma 17-50mm f/2.8 lens.

The settings for taking this image were: f/8, ISO 100 and shutter speed of 1/50 s. After taking the photo, Tami did some editing to get this surreal look. She tells us she used the Nik Collection, and of course edited the image in Photoshop.

To me, this crazy sky looks like a scene from Stranger Things (and I love Stranger things). Tami used the Liquify tool to enhance the sky and achieve this effect. As for the sea, Tami used the Motion Blur filter to get the effect of moving. Finally, she increased the saturation of the colors a little bit. And this is the final result:

Judging from the Facebook post where I was Tami’s image, me and the team aren’t the only ones who liked it. At the moment, there are over 6.5K likes and counting. If this interesting photo also grabbed your attention, make sure to check out more of Tami’s work on her Instagram and Facebook page.

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Blue Origin successfully lands both booster and crew capsule after test launch

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Today, at its Texas launch facility, Blue Origin preformed its most critical test to date. It preformed a live separation test of its crew capsule from the rocket booster and everything preformed as expected. The crew capsule fired its escape motor at the right time, sending the capsule higher than it ever has gone before. This successful test is a huge milestone for Jeff Bezos’ rocket company, which previously stated, if the test went well could put the rocket company in position to become operation by the end of the year.

Today’s test was the ninth launch for Blue Origin and the third for the booster used in this test. Both the capsule and booster are designed to be reused. Over 20,000 people tuned into Blue Origin’s YouTube live stream to watch the test. From the outside, things appeared to precisely as planned.

 

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Rolls-Royce may use bug-like robots to assist airplane engine repair

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Rolls-Royce

Rolls-Royce showed off a handful of small robots this week that could aid in the inspection and repair of airplane engines sometime in the future. Though still under development, the tiny robots could lead to faster, less labor-intensive engine inspections as well as cost reductions for engine maintenance. The technologies, which were displayed at the Farnborough Airshow, are being developed in partnership with other companies as well as researchers at the University of Nottingham and Harvard University.

Swarm robots are small, cockroach-inspired robots that in theory will be able to be delivered inside of an engine and with small cameras, provide a look inside. This way, the engine wouldn’t have to be removed from the plane in order for an inspection to take place. Researchers at Harvard University are working on scaling down the robots, which, as of now, are still too big for this type of work.