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Figures & Facts
Water is the theme at inaugural Prix Pictet - first international photography prize to focus on sustainability
What is photography for? Can it change our minds? An exhibition just opened at Paris’s Palais de Tokyo, of the 18 photographers short listed for the first Prix Pictet, poses these questions loud and clear.
The Pictet prize, established this year by Pictet & Cie, one of Switzerland’s largest private banks, and co-sponsored by the Financial Times, is the only international photography prize that concerns itself directly with sustainable development and environmental issues. In that sense it isn’t quite a conventional art prize but an award – of 100,000 Swiss francs (SFr) – to be given annually to the artist who best uses the power of the camera to communicate a vital dispatch on one of the most serious issues facing us all.
Columbian library "Biblioburro" with 4800 books and 10 legs - schoolteacher brings books to villagers on 2 donkeys
In a ritual repeated nearly every weekend for the past decade here in Colombia’s war-weary Caribbean hinterland, Luis Soriano gathered his two donkeys, Alfa and Beto, in front of his home on a recent Saturday afternoon. Sweating already under the unforgiving sun, he strapped pouches with the word “Biblioburro” painted in blue letters to the donkeys’ backs and loaded them with an eclectic cargo of books destined for people living in the small villages beyond.
“I started out with 70 books, and now I have a collection of more than 4,800,” said Mr. Soriano, 36, a primary school teacher who lives in a small house here with his wife and three children, with books piled to the ceilings. “This began as a necessity; then it became an obligation; and after that a custom,” he explained, squinting at the hills undulating into the horizon. “Now,” he said, “it is an institution.”
Red Bull Air Race - world's largest spectator sporting event: next race begins this weekend in Perth, Australia
The Red Bull Air Race, started in 2003, is a series of air races, held all over the world, where pilots fly specialized aerobatic planes (with top speeds of over 250 mph / 400 kph) through a series of gates, racing the clock, accumulating points toward the championship title. Pilots must also perform specific maneuvers while passing through the gates. The photos shown here are from the most recent two races, in Budapest, Hungary, and Porto, Portugal. The next race in the series is scheduled for November 1st, in Perth, Australia, and video of the event will also be streamed over the web. Last year's Red Bull Air Race World Championship final in Perth attracted 340,000 spectators.
Hungarian pilot Peter Besenyei (bottom), Britain's Nigel Lamb and Paul Bonhomme (top) fly over Budapest, Hungary on August 17, 2008 during their "recon flight" prior to the seventh stage of the Red Bull Air Race World Series. Picture taken August 17, 2008. read more »
Any bailouts for the hungry? Financial meltdown both worsens and overshadows global food crisis as prices rise
Wealthy nations are reneging on commitments to help feed the world's hungry and may cite the banking crisis as a reason why they cannot do more, former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan told an international conference on combating starvation. Annan's address emphasized that 10,000 children in the Third World would die from malnutrition on World Food Day alone - and this should be viewed as great a tragedy as the collapse of a bank. "The financial crisis deserves urgent attention and focus. But so does the question of hunger. Millions (this year) are liable to die. Is that any less urgent?" Annan told journalists at the Fighting Hunger conference attended by 200 foreign-aid experts from Europe, Africa and the United States.
More than the Outback - Australia's hidden islands combine astounding natural landscapes with five-star service
Charles Darwin was so surprised by Australia that he suspected it was a separate creation from the rest of the world, and that was after visiting only one of the many astonishing living laboratories of unique flora and fauna and exquisite natural beauty that can be found off the mainland.
Impact of Information Technology industry on climate change; greenhouse gas NF3 17000 times more potent than CO2
A gas used in manufacture of flat panel televisions, computer displays, microcircuits, and thin-film solar panels is 17,000 times more potent a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide, and it is four times more prevalent in the atmosphere than previously estimated, according to a study released Thursday. Researchers using a new NASA-funded measurement network discovered there was 4,200 metric tons of the gas nitrogen trifluoride in the atmosphere in 2006, not 1,200 tons as previously estimated for that year.
In 2008 there are 5,400 metric tons of the gas in the atmosphere, an average of an 11 percent tonnage increase per year, said Ray Weiss, head of the research team from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in La Jolla, California. Nitrogen trifluoride, which could not be detected in the atmosphere using previous techniques, is 17,000 times more potent as a global warming agent than a similar mass of CO2. The rate of increase means that about 16 percent of the amount of the gas produced globally is being emitted into the atmosphere, the researchers estimate.
Faster than a speeding bullet - world's first 1000-mph supersonic car "Bloodhound" to be built by British engineers
British engineers have unveiled plans for the world's first 1,000-mph car, a muscular streak of gunmetal and orange designed not to break the world land speed record but to shatter it. Bloodhound SSC, named after the British cold war supersonic air defence missiles, will attempt to beat the existing record by more than 250mph.
The £12m car is to be announced today by Lord Drayson, the science minister. Working from an aircraft hangar in Bristol, the team's engineers have been working on the project in secret for the past 18 months. Calculations suggest the car could reach 1,050mph, fast enough to outrun a bullet from a .357 Magnum revolver. The car was proposed by Drayson, a racing car enthusiast, as a project to inspire a new generation of scientists and engineers, who are in desperately short supply in UK. The Bloodhound team plans to have the car built within a year, with the record attempt expected in three years.