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MIT Solar Electric Vehicle Team unveils sleek 90-mph car, will compete in World Solar Challenge in Australia

MIT's latest solar race car

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MIT's Solar Electric Vehicle Team, the oldest such student team in the country, has just finished construction of its latest high-tech car and unveiled it to the public this Friday. "It drives beautifully," said George Hansel, a freshman physics major at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a member of the team. "It's fun to drive and quite a spectacle." With six square meters of monocrystalline silicon solar cells and improved electronic systems and design, the car can run all day on a sunny day at a steady cruising speed of 55 mph. The car will be competing in October in the World Solar Challenge race across Australia, and in preparation for that the team plans to drive the car across the United States over the summer. About a dozen team members are expected to go to Australia for the race, although only four will drive the solar car in the competition.

MIT's Solar Electric Vehicle Team, the oldest such student team in the country, has just finished construction of its latest high-tech car  read more »

Nature perturbed: icy darkness in N Amer; 1st-time-in-100-yrs heatwave cooks egg on court at Australia Open in 60C

Australian Open tennis tournament

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Above: players and fans at the Australian Open tennis tournament did their best to keep cool.

heatwave: cooking an egg in 10 minutes on an outside court at the Australia Open, 2009
An egg cooked after ten minutes on an outside court where air temperatures reached 60C. The official temperature in the shade at 4.53 pm was 45.4C, the hottest since 1908.

heatwave in Australia buckles rail lines
A heatwave scorching southern Australia, causing transport chaos by buckling rail lines and leaving more than 140,000 homes without power, is a sign of climate change, the government said.

one of the worst heatwaves in recent history in Australia
"It is the worst heatwave most will have lived through," senior forecaster Terry Ryan said in a front-page story headlined "Heat Wave Hell". But this lot looked like they were enjoying it.

Heatwave in Melbourne plays havoc with the Australian Open  read more »

Mastery of winter: onto ice are skaters, swan, crabapple tree, child & sculptures at International Ice & Snow Show

Harbin, China: the 25th Harbin International Ice and Snow Festival

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People visit ice sculptures for the 25th Harbin International Ice and Snow Festival in Harbin, China on December 23, 2008.

The Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival, in Harbin, China, opened on Jan. 5, 2009. The festival lasts for one month, and features large ice and snow sculptures, ice lanterns, swimming in the icy Songhua River and more. The northern hemisphere is a hospitable place for ice festivals these days, so in that spirit, here is a collection of recent photographs of all things frozen, and some of the ways we live and play with ice.

Castleford, northern England: swan trying to land

A swan attempts to land on a frozen lake near Castleford northern England Monday Jan. 5, 2009. Freezing temperatures and snow have struck large areas of Britain.

visitors sliding down ice slides at 25th Harbin International Ice and Snow Festival

Visitors slide on tracks at an ice sculpture during a preview for the 25th Harbin International Ice and Snow Festival at a park in Harbin, China on December 23, 2008.  read more »

Bikes incl. wooden bikes help break poverty trap - many Africans spend 4 hrs/day walking, 1/4 income on transport

father and child on bike

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Many Africans spend 4-hours per day walking, or 1/4 of their income paying for transport. A bike can save this every day, helping to break the poverty trap.

Wooden Bike Racing in Rwanda

Wooden bikes are fairly common in Rwanda and they’re used pretty much daily for transportation of goods and people. Tom Ritchey got the bright idea that the bikes should be raced as well and now the annual Wooden Bike Classic draws curious tourists from around the world for a chance to watch (and even participate).

one of the big events for Project Rwanda is the annual Wooden Bike Classic

The goals of Project Rwanda are pretty simple and they all come back to cycling: building awareness for the country (through events like the Wooden Bike Classic), specialized bike design (real steel bikes for transporting coffee crops), bike distribution, and national pride (through support of the Rwandan National Cycling Team).

bicyclist Jules Fils Otong Bassong tours Cameroon  read more »

Lewis Gordon Pugh astounded world by becoming 1st person to swim at North Pole, to raise global warming awareness

Lewis Gordon Pugh, nicknamed The Polar Bear, is the only person to have completed a long distance swim in each of the five oceans of the world

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Who is Lewis Gordon Pugh?

I am passionate about swimming and I enjoy pushing boundaries. But there's a lot more to it than that. Through my swims I have had a unique perspective on climate change. I have witnessed retreating glaciers, decreasing sea ice, coral bleaching, severe droughts, and the migration of animals to colder climates. It's as a result of these experiences that I am determined to do my bit to raise awareness about the fragility of our environment and to encourage everyone to take action.

But I've not always been in swimming trunks. I studied law at the University of Cape Town and the University of Cambridge, and then went on to work as a maritime lawyer in London. I now spend much of my time public speaking and lobbying world leaders to protect the environment.

Lewis Gordon Pugh

Letter from Lewis Gordon Pugh

Dear Friends

Forget about future generations. This is about us.

For many years, I've been known as a swimmer and an environmentalist. I've used my skills in the water to draw attention to disturbing changes in our oceans. Last year I undertook the first swim at the North Pole to raise awareness about the melting of the Arctic sea ice. It is happening quicker than anyone predicted.  read more »

Economic woes push Vancouver 2010 Olympic organizers to consider canceling the evening award ceremonies

Whistler, B.C., mayor Ken Melamed says residents don't support the proposed cancellation by Olympic organizers of the evening award ceremonies at Whistler Village

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WHISTLER, B.C. - Vancouver 2010 Olympic organizers are considering canceling the evening award ceremonies and giving the medals out at sport venues to save money.

Gary Lunn, the minister of state for sport, said that in tough economic times the Vancouver Organizing Committee has to look at its bottom line.

"They are looking at all of their options and that is the right thing to do in today's economic climate . . . They have to prepare for the unknown," he said.

A statue of runner Harry Jerome stands against the Vancouver skyline

But Whistler Mayor Ken Melamed said residents do not support the cancellation.

"We know there are challenges but this would be a huge blow to Whistler," he said.

Whistler is planning to throw a $18.5-million party, slated to run 24 hours a day for the duration of the Olympics, which will include concerts, shows and celebrations.

The party will be held at Whistler Village and at the Celebration Plaza Olympic venue, the construction of which is due to be completed in September.  read more »

Inaugural 2008 Asian Beach Games in Bali, Indonesia promote sports & culture: 6000 athletes, 71 events, 19 sports

Andi Edinata of Indonesia comes out of the water during the Men's Triathlon on day nine of the 2008 Asian Beach Games at Mertasari Beach on October 26, 2008

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About a month ago in Bali, Indonesia, the inaugural 2008 Asian Beach Games came to its conclusion. Intended to promote sports and culture, the games (held every two years) encourage tourism, support local economies and allow host countries like Indonesia to present a more global face to the world. The 2008 games brought 6,000 athletes to compete in 71 events in 19 sports. Sports included well-known games like beach volleyball and triathlon, and some sports better known to asians, like sepak takraw, kabaddi and pencak silat. The next Asian Beach Games are scheduled to be hosted by Oman in the year 2010.

Indonesian team against Myanmar, Asian Beach Games 2008, Bali, Indonesia

The Indonesian team in action against Myanmar during the men's beach sepaktakraw on day six of the Asian Beach Games at Sanur Beach on October 23, 2008 in Bali, Indonesia.

Dragon Boat Races, 2008 Asian Beach Games, Bali, Indonesia  read more »

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