How to clear landmines in 2009


Landmine clearance is a dangerous, time-consuming job. It used to involve tools like flail trucks, plows and the simple metal detector, but none are good enough to hit the 99.6% standard set by the United Nations for humanitarian demining.

A Canadian company, Mine Clearing Corp, is trying to change all that. It’s got a helicopter-mounted detection system that uses a ground-penetrating radar and metal detection system to detect buried objects from as high as 200ft up in the air. The location can then be pinpointed to as close as 20cm.

Once that’s accomplished, minesweepers on the ground can use a tool called the Fig8 to locate the mine. Quite niftily, the swinging back-and-forth motion generates kinetic energy which powers the device, so it doesn’t need batteries – useful in the third world. Considering that the UN estimates that someone dies every 20 minutes from a landmine, this should help step up the de-mining procedure.

(via CNET)

Related posts: Ultimate Minesweeper Cheat | Spider landmine: six legs, not necessarily as deadly as a black widow

New world record: Tallest LEGO tower


You know how much we love LEGO here at Tech Digest, so when we heard about a new world record involving the lovely plasticky bobbly blocks, we had to let you know.

Built in Toronto, and overseen by “official LEGO builders from Denmark”, the tower stands 29.3 metres tall and uses 465,000 bricks, and required a crane to finish the job. It took nearly a month to complete…

Microsoft Zune MP3 players landing in Canada June 13th, possibly discontinuing 30GB model?


As Bill Gates promised back in January, the Zune is landing in Canada!

Officially landing on Friday the 13th (of June), the 80GB version will be CA$249, the 4GB CA$139, and 8GB CA$189. Microsoft hasn’t mentioned the original 30GB Zune, which still remains on sale in the US, so my guess is as they’re not rolling out the model in new territories, they’ll probably soon discontinue it in the States as well…

Exposé! eBay UK not as Blu-ray friendly as other eBay sites


It’s come to my attention, through a recent attempt at flogging my copy of Casino Royale (every Blu-ray player owner has at least six copies), that eBay UK is not anywhere near as Blu-ray friendly as the US, or even Australia, Canada, or France. I’d test more sites, but that’s about the limit to my bilingualism.

Ever tried selling a Blu-ray on eBay UK? Ever other country’s site seems to have Blu-ray listed in the categories field, however not us in Blighty, who’re forced to lump it into the ‘DVD, Film & TV > DVDs’ or ‘DVD, Film & TV > Other Film Formats’ fields.

The winning HD format is not mentioned anywhere, and neither is HD DVD, which is also mentioned on all the aforementioned sites. Although dead formats such as MiniDisc have their very own boxes for you to tick, along with SACD, DAT, audio cassettes, floppy discs and VHS.

So can we cut to the chase already and label eBay UK as being a non-embracing technological Luddite?..