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Red Bull Air Race - world's largest spectator sporting event: next race begins this weekend in Perth, Australia

British pilot Steve Jones climbs skyward, above the Danube River and the Hungarian Parliament Building, during a qualifying run of the Red Bull Air Race World Series in Budapest August 19, 2008

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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

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

Istanbul, Turkey: Dinner Time; the Cinar family gathers on the floor of their living room to share the meal: feta cheese, olives, leftover chicken, bread, rose jam and sweet, strong tea

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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.

Chad: The Aboubakar family of Breidjing Camp; Food expenditure for one week: 685 CFA Francs or $1.23; Favorite foods: soup with fresh sheep meat  read more »

More than the Outback - Australia's hidden islands combine astounding natural landscapes with five-star service

the Remarkable Rocks are the result of 500 million years of the wind sculpting shapes from the granite boulders on the shores of Kangaroo Island

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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.

known as Australia's Galapagos, K.I., as the locals call it, is home to kangaroos, wallabies, bandicoots and the fabulous Southern Ocean Lodge, built on 252 acres of virgin bushland  read more »

Impact of Information Technology industry on climate change; greenhouse gas NF3 17000 times more potent than CO2

full disk Western Hemisphere view of the Earth in September 2008 NOAA satellite image

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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.

Scripps geoscientists Ray Weiss, left, and Jens Muehle in San Diego, Calif., amid collection cylinders used to collect air samples from a variety of locations around the world  read more »

Faster than a speeding bullet - world's first 1000-mph supersonic car "Bloodhound" to be built by British engineers

the car is designed not just to break the world land speed record – 763mph – but to obliterate it

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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.

Bloodhound is named after the supersonic missiles that served as Britain's air defenses at the start of the Cold War  read more »

Germany invests in green jobs in America - SolarWorld opens North America's largest solar cell plant in Oregon

SolarWorld

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A solar cell factory has sprouted in Oregon’s Silicon Forest amid the region’s old-growth semiconductor plants. Bonn-based SolarWorld AG officially flipped the switch on the United States’ largest solar cell plant. (See the Fortune video here.) The company, the world’s fifth largest solar cell manufacturer, has recycled a former Komatsu factory built to produce silicon wafers for the chip industry. The new plant is expected to reach a capacity of 500 megawatts (MW) and employ 1,000 people by 2011. The solar industry is expected to grow to $74 billion in 2017 from $20 billion in 2007, according to Clean Edge Inc., a market research firm focused on clean technology.

SolarWorld  read more »

Canola-oil-powered, 72-mph/70-mpg car wins alternative-fuel race from Berkeley to Vegas, over 800 miles & 3 days

Sharon Westcott, left, and Jack McCornack arrive in Las Vegas, winners of the Escape From Berkeley race

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Wayne Keith, a hay farmer from Springville, Ala. (population 3,000), pulled into Berkeley last week driving a lime-green pickup truck that runs mostly on wood chips but sometimes cow dung, too. Keith, who wore dirt-flecked overalls and a trucker's cap, was in town to compete in the first Escape from Berkeley race, a kind of mini Cannonball Run to Las Vegas for drivers of vehicles that run on anything but petroleum. Two other racers relied on vegetable oil, one on alcohol and one on steam power to run his carriage (mostly for show; after a few miles, it was put on a trailer to traverse some of the dicier terrain).

Shannon O'Hare made final adjustments to his vegetable-oil-fired, steam-powered vehicle, a highly modified horse cart  read more »

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