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April 14, 2014

Artificial Blood & Wound-Closing Sponges

The artificial blood cells are made from adult skin or blood cells which have been hacked to become pluripotent stem cells.

They're going to begin human trials in 2016, injecting the artificial blood into patients. They'll be making type O blood cells (the universal donor). Even if the tests go well, they don't expect the artificial blood to displace donated blood in transfusions until 2035.

This is pretty neat too, but in a much lower-tech way. One of the most difficult battlefield wounds to treat is a non-compressible wound -- like a gaping torso wound. You can't stop bleeding by the common method putting pressure on it; someone with such a wound will die in a matter of minutes.

The "Xstat" wound closure system relies on tiny super-absorbent capsules that will suck up moisture and expand. So you inject these little capsules into a wound, and they puff up like sponges, sealing a gaping wound shut. Supposedly they become "sticky" as they get wet and will resist being pushed out of the wound.

On the other side of military tech -- the offensive side -- is, stolen from Hot Air, the US Navy's newest destroyer, the USS Zumwalt, a guided missile destroyer.

USSZumwalt.jpg
The flat, inward-sloping geometry is said by engineers to
give it a radar profile equivalent to Jason Statham

No but the geometry is said to give it the radar profile of a "small fishing boat." The Zumwalt is actually 610 feet long and displaces 15,000 tons.

The futuristic ship is actually skippered by Captain James Kirk. Captain James A. Kirk.

The first of three Zumwalt-class destroyers planned by the Navy, the DDG-1000 is a multiplatform ship able to fight on open water or operate close to shore to support land-based attacks. But it is the ship’s unique “stealth” design, size and high-tech equipment that make it different from previous destroyers – as well as more than twice as costly to build.

Every aspect of the Zumwalt’s exterior was designed to make the ship harder to detect on radar despite its size. Antennas, radar dishes and communications equipment are either hidden or enclosed in a 900-ton “superstructure” that sits atop the ship like a massive gray fortress.

The Zumwalt’s hull is designed to slice through waves with less wake, and Navy officials say the ship will have a fraction of the radar profile of the smaller Arleigh Burke-class DDG 51 destroyers also built at BIW.

“You will see her on the horizon long before you detect her on the radar,” said Sean Stackley, assistant secretary of the Navy for research, development and acquisition.

The Zumwalt is the largest destroyer ever built for the U.S. Navy, with a displacement of 15,000 tons that is nearly twice the size of the Arleigh Burke destroyers. However, the Zumwalt can hit speeds of up to 30 knots, can operate in shallower waters and has more precise weapons than the Arleigh Burkes.

The DoD had originally planned thirty-two ships of this next-gen design, but cost overruns -- and general budget pressure -- has reduced that to a mere three.

It's apparently all-electric. I don't know what that means because it has to get power from somewhere. But, point is, supposedly that will make it a useful platform for testing out electric-powered electromagnetic rail guns, which will be tested in 2016. (Commenters explain that "all-electric" means that moving parts (screws, rudders) are powered by electricity, not, for example, hydraulics. The ship's power comes from burning oil.)

As I'm sure you know, rail guns accelerate metal projectiles to incredible speeds, which I think results in the ability to throw a much smaller projectile and have it hit with the same amount of explosive force. I don't even think you need an explosive head -- once something is moving a couple of thousand mph, it's inherently an explosive device.

More Tech News: We live in a period of miracles and wonders. It turns out that US Airways has unveiled a new plane that can land in a woman's vagina.

So that's pretty good.

I understand that woman was just trying to recreate the album art from the Beastie Boys' License to Ill. A noble effort.

Update: Josh Barro needs you to know that US Airways' tweet of a woman with a toy airplane in her vaj is inaccurate.


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