How an Iris Can Inspire Efficient Gas Engine Tech

Startup IRIS Engines has a new take on an old technology: develop a more efficient internal combustion engine that mimics the iris of an eye. By switching up the internal structure in such a way — allowing its diameter to expand and contract — the company says it can build a powerful two-stroke gasoline engine at costs comparable to today’s typical four-stroke engines, with up to twice the efficiency.

Chief executive Levi Tillemann-Dick, who currently makes up half of the Washington D.C.-based startup’s full-time staff (one of his 10 siblings, president and chief technology officer Corban Tillemann-Dick, is the other half) told me he sees the nascent markets for hybrids, plug-in hybrids and extended-range electric vehicles as a key opportunity for the company.
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Is the Latest Apple OS Update Causing Problems?

apple-macbook-pro-with-multi-touchLast last night, I ended up updating my MacBook (s aapl) to Mac OS X 10.5.7, the latest version of the software. It’s caused two problems: The first is that it’s killed the audio output on the computer; in the preferences pane, the only option I have is “digital output.” The second problem has been an overall degradation in performance — think Shaq O’Neal moving around a basketball court with an injured knee.

I ended up tweeting about my audio predicament, and was immediately offered ways on how to fix the problems. Sadly, none of them helped with the audio but they did help restore the system performance. However, since then a lot of people have described a whole myriad of problems associated with this OS upgrade — some have mentioned display problems, others are complaining of slow speeds and many are like me: their computers are without sound. Apple’s support discussion forums are chock full of complaints (though on the flip side, the OS X 10.5.7 does boost the battery life of netbooks.)

If you are a Mac owner, I would say don’t upgrade to the latest OS version…at least not ’til the problems are solved. I am off to the Genius Bar to see if they can fix the sound.