No Propellers or Turbine Needed: MIT’s New Airplane Needs No Fuel or Moving Parts.

Ever since the Wright Brothers launched their sustained flight of an aircraft, people have been ferried through the air in planes powered by moving parts–typically, a propellor or jet turbine.

A paper published in Nature this week shows that a team of aeronautics scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology has designed, and successfully flown, an entirely new type of aircraft: One that has no moving parts, requires no fossil fuel, and lacks the loud droning sound traditional aircraft can emit–a plane that seems closer to sci-fi than it does aircraft aloft in the skies above Earth.

The paper describes a plane powered by electro-aerodynamics, a process in which “electrical forces accelerate ions in a fluid,” it says, creating a phenomenon called an “ionic wind that produces a thrust force in the opposite direction to ion flow.” Such technology had been around for a while, helping to power spacecraft beyond Earth’s atmosphere, one aerospace engineer told Scientific American. The trick was powering a plane through our planet’s skies.

Put into plain English, here’s how MIT explained the potential advancement in air-flight technology. “When a current passes between two electrodes–one thinner than the other–it creates a wind in the air between. If enough voltage is applied, the resulting wind can produce a thrust without the help of motors or fuel.”

But here’s the catch: The MIT researchers designed a mere drone that weighed about five pounds and had a roughly 16-foot wingspan, Popular Science reported. In ten test flights, the electro-aerodynamically powered plane flew as long as 230 feet at around 11 miles an hour. “Then it crashed into the wall, which wasn’t ideal,” one researcher was quoted as saying.

Maybe that’s not the stuff of future air travel, or even the enduring legend of Kitty Hawk. But the achievement is being greeted as a promising prelude to the future air flight. Electro-aerodynamics may not be close to replacing propellers and jet turbines any time soon, but it could open the door to new alternatives in air travel.

“You could imagine all sorts of military or security benefits to having a silent propulsion system with no infrared signature,” said MIT professor Steven Barrett, a co-author on the Nature study.



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Sarah Brightman Returns from Space Training for New Album and Tour: ‘I Needed to Earth Myself’

Sarah Brightman is making an astronomical landing with her fifteenth studio album Hymn.

After spending months in Russia training for a trip to outer space that she postponed in 2015, Brightman, 58, opened up to PEOPLE exclusively about the creation of her newest album and the planning stages of her tour.

“I needed to earth myself,” says the soprano singer. “I said I would like to do an album of songs which are full of light, full of hope. Songs that remind me of when I felt safe and familiar with things in my childhood when I sang in my church.”

“If I don’t use and I don’t convey my feelings through it, I feel depleted,” she added. “I don’t function very well and that’s the beauty of having a gift like a voice. You sort of know what to do. You know what direction to take, you know that you want to communicate through it.”

Brightman, who shot to fame after star-turning roles on Broadway musicals Cats and Phantom of the Opera, linked up with producer Frank Peterson for the album-creating process. What came out of two-and-a-half years of planning and recording was the dynamic, choir-filled album, Hymn, out on Nov. 9.

“ is about looking into the good in things because I do believe that good prevails always,” she said, adding that the word “positivity” would describe her album.

“I did experience huge amounts when I was in the space program that actually how precious everything really is on this beautiful planet and how precious that is,” she added.

Now, the “Time to Say Goodbye” vocalist is ready to take Hymn on the road later this fall for a tour that’s “going to be quite beautiful.”

“I have a lot of energy. I tend to before I go on these tours, I become more energetic,” she says. “You create a power for yourself which will protect you because when you go on tour you’re dealing with the hardship of jet lag and moving around continually.”

The “Angel of Music” singer says her set on tour will be divided into two halves. The first will feature a more retrospective aspect to Brightman’s music, which will look like “somebody who is going to the ballet or the opera.” The second will be a bit more modern and feature most of the songs off Hymn.

“I’m wearing all these amazing runway gowns, which I’ve made a little more theatrical by adding things to them. Stones, crystals, all sorts of stuff,” she says. “I’ve got a big choir behind me. Up really high. I’ve got an orchestra on one side, a band on the other side and myself in the middle.”

Brightman’s album is filled with collaborations with artists like French tenor Vincent Niclo on single “Sogni” and Japanese composer Yoshiki on the emotional “Miracle.”

“ is a really interesting guy and we got along very well,” she said. “It was a very interesting collaboration with Japan’s most famous rockstar writing a beautiful contemporary classical piece.”

Along with the collaborations, Brightman’s album jumps from classical and cinematic music to pop rhythms in a cohesive album threaded by its spiritual nature. The album also takes fans back to one of her most famous classics “Time to Say Goodbye” with Andrea Bocelli, which she recreates in a touching English rendition.

“I wrote the lyrics for it but they were very much inspired from the original Italian lyrics when translated,” she said. “It’s quite a grand song, it’s almost like an opera song, but I wanted to do this in a very intimate way.”

Fans can purchase tickets for “Hymn: Sarah Brightman in Concert” through her website.

Fashion Deals Update:

Amazon Announces Free Shipping for Holidays — No Prime Membership Needed

Amazon is the latest e-commerce retailer to offer free shipping on all pre-holiday purchases, regardless of membership status.

Amazon typically offers free two-day shipping to Prime members, who pay $ 119 for the privilege. Otherwise, shoppers must hit a $ 25 purchase minimum to access free shipping.

“All Amazon customers can enjoy free shipping with no minimum purchase amount on orders that will arrive in time for the Christmas holiday,” the company announced on its website.

It also noted that eligible items typically ship in five to eight days.

The promotion started Nov. 5 and is available “for a limited time.”

Amazon’s offer is likely in response to increasing competition from other retailers that hope to lure customers to their e-commerce options.

Target announced Oct. 23 that it would offer free two-day shipping to all online shoppers without requiring a minimum order size. That promotion began Nov. 1 and will continue through Dec. 22.  Target typically has a $ 35 minimum order requirement to access free shipping.

Meanwhile, Walmart announced the same day that it’s expanding its free two-day shipping option to Marketplace items sold by third parties.

“In the coming months, you will see millions of additional items with the two-day free shipping label,” the company announced. will still require a $ 35 minimum order for free two-day shipping.

Customers in search of the best shipping deal for their online holiday shopping should watch the fine print for deadlines and restrictions that could delay delivery of those gifts.

One Last Free-Shipping Hurrah?

These free shipping offers are enticing for customers, but retailers may not be so generous next holiday season.

The U.S. Postal Service has proposed a 9% to 12% increase for the parcel select shipping service used by Amazon for the last leg of delivery. FedEx also announced that ground and home delivery shipping rates will increase by an average of 4.9%.

These increases don’t go into effect until January 2019. But they surely have major e-commerce players preparing to adjust their shipping strategies or make up for the increase in other ways — potentially by increasing prices.

Lisa Rowan is a senior writer at The Penny Hoarder, where she covers the retail and grocery industries.

This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.

The Penny Hoarder Promise: We provide accurate, reliable information. Here’s why you can trust us and how we make money.

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No Glue Gun Needed: 7 Last-Minute Halloween Costumes Anyone Can Make

Costume parties in and of themselves seem like a great idea.

That is, until you realize that you’re about to spend $ 50+ and countless hours of work on an outfit that you’ll wear once before shoving it deep under the bed with the rest of your one-hit-wonder Halloween ensembles.

And while I always try to be frugal (because despite my over-the-top holiday enthusiasm, I’m still a Penny Hoarder at heart), I’m also pretty lazy when it comes to Halloween costumes.

I always think I’m going to go all out and DIY my costume, but then every year, without fail, I end up running to the store at the last minute and spending a lot of money.

There has to be a better way to go about this whole costume business — a way that, ideally, won’t cost any money at all.  

Shop Your Closet for Halloween Inspiration

If your aim is to wear a completely free (we like free!) costume on Halloween, start with your closet. Chances are you already have a few costume options lurking in the dark recesses of your wardrobe.

I mean, there’s gotta be a reason you didn’t throw out that Hawaiian print shirt from the summer of ‘92 yet, right?!

I started brainstorming a few costume options that I could make from just the pieces I could find in my closet, and I think they are all pretty doable.

7 Last-Minute Halloween Costumes You Can Find in Your Closet

I managed to put together seven great options that I could wear to a Halloween costume party — using only things I already owned.

1. Tourist


Grace Schweitzer shows off a last-minute DIY tourist costume for Halloween.

This one might be the easiest costume on this list to pull off. I mean, who among us doesn’t have a pair of shorts, a brightly colored shirt and some tacky socks you can pair with sandals?

Slap on a straw hat or visor and some sunglasses and grab a camera or a map and you’re ready to go. A sunscreened nose will only make your costume more realistic (although a little messy).

2. Fortune Teller


Grace Schweitzer shows off a last-minute DIY fortune teller costume for Halloween.

For this one, you’ll need drapey, flowy clothing, a scarf or headband and lots of stacked jewelry (never enough jewelry). If you’re not totally convinced that your costume is convincing, carry around a prop like a Magic Eight Ball (or a plain glass orb, if you just so happen to have one lying around) and make vague but ominous statements all night about how your friends’ Mondays will go.

3. Minion


A woman wears a DIY minon Halloween costume.

Overalls were like the parachute pants of 2017: You either own three pairs already, or you’re desperately looking for an excuse to add them to your closet. Go ahead, I won’t tell anyone you didn’t actually already own these babies. Add in a yellow shirt (any shade will get the point across), black shoes and gloves and a pair of round glasses or goggles (find an awesome DIY tutorial here), and you’re all set to annoy the living daylights out of everyone at the party.

4. Pinup Girl


A woman dresses up as a pinup girl for Halloween.

High-waisted shorts + a button-down shirt + wedges + red lipstick + bandana = perfect pinup girl. Follow a YouTube tutorial like this one to achieve that flawless pinup hair curl (I promise, it’s actually so much easier than it looks), and you’re ready to make old-fashioned gentlemen swoon.

5. Witch


A woman dresses up in a DIY witch costume for Halloween.

This costume is less classic witch and more witchy-esque. I mean, does anyone just casually own a pointy hat?

No matter: Throw on lots of black layers, add some dramatic makeup, frizz up your hair and add some drippy black jewelry and no one will even question your costume (mostly out of fear). Bonus points if you’re willing to carry a broom around all night.

6. Zombie


A woman dresses up as a zombie for Halloween.

This one doesn’t take a lot of… wait for it… brains to figure out. (I know, I know. I already docked me three whole funny points.)

But seriously, all you need is holey, grungy clothes: ripped jeans, an old work shirt, a plaid button-up and a pair of dirty sneakers. This will either read as zombie or “midnight Taco Bell run” depending on how you accessorize — which is why you can’t skip the makeup.

Use dark eyeshadow around your eyes and under your cheeks, rat your hair and add some twigs and leaves and you’re good to go.

7. Greaser


A woman dresses up as a greaser for a DIY Halloween costume.

This one’s a classic, and honestly if you try to tell me you don’t own a white T-shirt and leggings or jeans, I won’t believe you.

Tie a scarf around your neck, slip on a pair of sneakers or wedges, throw a jacket (denim, leather or bomber) over your shoulder and you’re good to go.

Bonus: This one makes for an excellent couples costume, too.

Trick or Treat!

Assuming you own at least a pair of jeans and some dark makeup, I’d say we’ve just about solved your last-minute costume woes.

Now you officially have no excuse for not showing up to the party in a costume that could shock Frankenstein’s monster to life.

Grace Schweizer is an email content writer at The Penny Hoarder. She’s just trying to figure out if there’s a way to combine all her best costume ideas into one. Is there such a thing as a fortuwitcheaserpinuzombieist?

The Penny Hoarder Promise: We provide accurate, reliable information. Here’s why you can trust us and how we make money.

This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.

The Penny Hoarder


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