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Revival of the electric car: against industry’s gloomy forecast, hybrid & electric cars light up Paris Auto Show

Paris motor show 2008

(quote)

Against a backdrop of generally gloomy sales forecasts and belt-tightening, a chorus of optimism rose from automakers at the Paris show as the technical hurdles of hybrids, plug-ins and electric vehicle development -- primarily involving the cost and capacity of advanced-chemistry batteries -- are gradually being overcome. "Two years ago nobody said an electric vehicle was even possible," said Pitt Moos, marketing manager for Smart USA. "Today everybody is saying, 'We're going to make one.' "

Smart speaks publicly for the first time about ED: Electric Drive - a first for the quirky microcar

At the show, Smart -- the maker of those tiny two-seat city cars -- announced plans to build all-electric vehicles for Europe by the end of the decade. But it hasn't said what its intentions are for the U.S. market. "The challenge has always been the battery," Moos said. Compact, energy-dense lithium chemistry batteries for automotive applications are expensive and can be hazardous. "We have just in the past couple of months become comfortable about a method of making lithium batteries for cars," Moos said. "Now some people are starting to quote Obama: Yes, we can."

Peugeot's RC HYmotion4 concept car at 2008 Paris Auto Show  read more »

Independent US presidential candidate Nader & running mate Gonzalez banned from debates, on ballot in 45 states

Independent U.S. presidential candidate Ralph Nader

(quote)

While millions of people around the world watched Barack Obama and fellow U.S. presidential candidate John McCain debate each other, another man running for the high office was ignored. Independent Ralph Nader is not allowed to debate McCain and Obama because officials say he doesn't qualify. However, Nader's influence on the tight election may be greater than he's being given credit for.

Ralph Nader’s vice presidential running mate Matt Gonzalez

Ralph Nader and his running mate Matt Gonzalez are on the ballot in 45 states. In his fifth run for office Nader is polling roughly five percent nationwide. His move to cement a third party system can very well swing the election - each voter Nader gains is a vote McCain or Obama lose. In 2000 Nader received nearly three million votes. Some argue it cost Al Gore from beating George W. Bush. The memory is causing some supporters to abandon him on the election day. “I'm voting for Obama only because I just don't feel Nader can win. Although I like Nader, it's just more, I'd rather not McCain win,” a voter says.

Most opinion polls list him as the third most popular in the race. But you would not think so watching the mainstream U.S. news channels. As Americans are inundated daily with wall to wall coverage of the two major party candidates one may find Ralph Nader giving a press conference inside a university classroom with two television cameras and around ten reporters in attendance.  read more »

Large Hadron Collider hibernates after wrong sort of big bang caused by hellion leak, to re-awaken in Spring'09

world's largest superconducting solenoid magnet

(quote)

Two weeks ago, the most powerful atom smasher to be built had been switched on to global acclaim and scientists were ready to begin experiments that could unlock many of the enduring mysteries of the Universe. They are going to have to wait a little longer. On Friday the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) created the wrong sort of big bang - a fault so serious that CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, announced last night that the particle accelerator would have to be shut down until next spring for repairs.

ATLAS collision event showing a microscopic-black-hole being produced in the collision of two protons

Preliminary investigations into the incident, in which a huge quantity of helium leaked from the LHC’s cooling system, have suggested that it was caused by a faulty electrical connection between two of its superconducting magnets. The fault affected a part of the accelerator that is kept chilled to within 1.9C of absolute zero, and it will have to be warmed up to room temperature before the problem can be understood fully and resolved. It will take at least three to four weeks to warm the affected sector and then to open the damaged magnets for inspection, and then another month to re-chill them to their operating temperature.  read more »

"The Simpsons" wins 10th best cartoon Emmy Award - US television's highest honor for a prime-time cartoon

The Simpsons: Bart, Lisa, Marge, Maggie, Homer

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"The Simpsons" once again claimed U.S. television's highest honor for a prime-time cartoon on Saturday at the Creative Arts Emmy Awards, extending the show's record winning streak. It marked the 10th time that "The Simpsons," airing on the Fox network for 19 seasons, as the longest-running comedy series in prime time, was named best half-hour animated show. The latest accolade for the hit cartoon came during a 3 1/2-hour presentation of the 60th annual Creative Arts Emmy Awards, mostly honoring achievements in categories like makeup, costumes, sound editing and art direction.

The Simpsons is an American animated sitcom which was created by Matt Groening, a satirical parody of the middle class American lifestyle epitomized by its titular family, which consists of Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa, and Maggie. The show is set in the fictional town of Springfield, and it lampoons many aspects of the human condition, as well as American culture, society as a whole, and television itself.

The Simpsons  read more »

At New York Fashion Week Spring-Summer 2009 (photos), designers bend fashions to fit a slimmer economy

Ralph Lauren spring/summer 2009 collection at New York fashion week

Vera Wang

Pamella Roland

Tuleh

Ralph Lauren spring/summer 2009 collection

Michael Kors

Complete coverage at New York Times with slideshows

Photos courtesy of Louis Lanzano/Associated Press, Getty, Firstview, Frazer Harrison/Getty Images, and Telegraph UK

Related Article: Ralph Lauren at New York Fashion Week (with video)

Russia sends long-range strategic bombers, nuclear warships, 1k troops to Venezuela for joint military exercises

Russian Tu-160 strategic bomber

(quote)

Two Russian strategic bombers have landed in Venezuela as part of military maneuvers, the Interfax news agency reported today, at a time when US-Russian relations are at their most strained since the cold war. Interfax cited a Russian defense ministry statement as saying the two Tu-160 strategic bombers landed today to carry out training flights over neutral waters in the next few days before returning to Russia.

flagship of Russia's Nothern Fleet, heavy nuclear missile cruiser Pyotr Veliky (Peter the Great)

The arrival of the Russian strategic warplanes in what the US considers its backyard followed a statement at the weekend by the Venezuelan government saying that four Russian ships would participate in joint exercises in the Caribbean this year. Venezuela said a taskforce including four Russian naval ships and 1,000 Russian military personnel would take part in mid-November exercises with Venezuelan frigates, patrol boats, submarines and aircraft. Confirming a visit would be made, Russia said its ships would include the heavy cruiser Peter the Great and the anti-submarine ship Admiral Chabanenko. Anti-submarine planes would also be sent to Venezuela temporarily, it said.

Chavez, right, supported Russia in its recent conflict with Georgia  read more »

Season turnaround: an emotional Federer claims 5th consecutive US Open victory, sets sights on Sampras record

Federer, of Switzerland, won in straight sets, 6-2, 7-5, 6-2, breaking Murray's service games an incredible seven times

(quote)

So many of Roger Federer’s 13 grand slam trophies had been presented as the smooth work of a genius, as if there were nothing simpler in the world for the Swiss than easing through a draw-sheet. However, his latest triumph was not quite like that.

Federer with the 2008 U.S. Open trophy, which he has held since 2004

While Federer winning a fifth consecutive US Open title could never be seen as a shock result, he felt as though this slam title “had a different flavor”. And New York clearly savored that “different flavor”; here was something new in the Federer narrative.

Perhaps the tennis public had previously started to take Federer a bit for granted, believing that his slam victories had become almost too easy. His tennis at the start of this year was complicated by a bout of glandular fever, he lost in the semi-finals at the Australian Open to Novak Djokovic, and then finished as the runner-up to Rafael Nadal at Roland Garros and Wimbledon. The top ranking switched to the Majorcan over the summer.  read more »

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