Did you have a chance to see the white water sports at the Olympics, like kayaking and canoeing?
If so, you probably noticed that the entire venue was artificial. The Lee Valley White Water Centre in the north of London was created out of a vast expanse of flat land. The designers, including a firm from Colorado, S20, had to build it all from scratch, including the high-powered water pumps and the speedy, treacherous river.
It made for a fantastic set of competitions and, it turns out, a lasting site for Londoners. The venue is going to stay open for both recreational activities and as a training site for future Olympians.
And, the Smithsonian blog wrote about an intriguing innovation used in the building of the rapids. They used what looks like Lego blocks to create the river bottom:
Since the earliest whitewater slalom competitions in the 1930s, most artificial courses have been constructed primarily of concrete, with static forms inserted to mimic boulders, logs…S20′s design turns the static features into adjustable plastic modules—a bit like underwater Legos—which can be positioned with a high degree of precision, and moved at no cost, essentially creating a new stretch of river each time.
Continue reading To build the artificial river for the Olympics, designers used large lego-like blocks
The largest-ever experiment in space has reported the collection of some 18 billion “cosmic ray” events that may help unravel the Universe’s mysteries.
Run from a centre at Cern, the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS) aims to spot dark matter and exotic antimatter.
At the heart of the seven-tonne, $2bn machine is a giant, specially designed magnet which bends the paths of extraordinarily high-energy charged particles called cosmic rays onto a series of detectors, giving hints of what the particles are.
A series of ever-larger particle accelerators built here on Earth aim to drive particles to ever-higher energies, smashing them into one another to simulate the same processes that create them elsewhere in the cosmos.
But no Earth-bound experiment can match nature’s power as a particle accelerator – and Earth’s atmosphere absorbs incoming cosmic rays – so the AMS will catch some of these high-energy particles “from the source”, as a kind of complement to the likes of the Large Hadron Collider.
Learn more: BBC – Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer claims huge cosmic ray haul
Continue reading International Space Station has a Large Hadron Collider – and it’s collected 18 billion cosmic rays