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At sea, the bigger, the better? "Oasis of the Sea", largest cruise ship, tall as a 12-story building, wider than Panama Canal

once Oasis is completed, this channel in the dry dock will be flooded to set it afloat

(quote)

When Royal Caribbean launches its $1.2 billion 'Oasis of the Sea' in 2009, it will carry up to 5,400 passengers and will be as tall as a 12-story building, as long as four football fields, and wider than the Panama Canal.

Formidably awesome – a floating city.

The question is - at sea, the bigger, the better?

Royal Caribbean will launch its $1.2 billion 'Oasis of the Sea' in 2009

it will carry up to 5,400 passengers and will be as tall as a 12-story building, as long as four football fields, and wider than the Panama Canal

(unquote)

Photos courtesy of Robert Polidori

Original Source: CNN

Sun and Moon put on show. Total solar eclipse seen in Russia, China, draws millions of sky-watchers across Asia and worldwide

image taken 30 seconds before totality (the total phase) of the Aug. 1, 2008 solar eclipse, from the window of a jet flying over the Arctic Ocean

(quote)

The new Moon drew its shadow across Earth's Eastern Hemisphere earlier today, totally eclipsing the Sun along a track that crossed the Arctic, Siberia, and interior China. Thousands of eclipse chasers had stationed themselves along the path in anticipation. The Moon's shadow arced over the Earth as the lunar body passed directly between our planet and its star. In all, the path of darkness covered about 10,200km (6,300 miles). Russia saw the longest full eclipse, for two minutes, 27 seconds, at 1021 GMT - but the UK and most of Europe experienced just a partial eclipse.

"Totality" began at sunrise at 0921 GMT in Queen Maud Gulf off Victoria Island in the territory of Nunavut, Canada. The instant of greatest eclipse occurred at 1021 GMT close to the Russian city of Nadym, before totality came to an end at 1121 GMT near the Chinese city of Xi'an, in Shaanxi province.

Aug. 1, 2008 solar eclipse 30-seconds into totality - the sun's corona, or atmosphere, shines high above the Arctic sky, while the moon's shadow casts a dark pall on the overcast below  read more »

Can Cuil woo you from Google? New search engine launched on Monday to a rocky start, shows promise, needs work

latest rival to the search engine giant Google, Cuil, launched on Monday

(quote)

Boasting big plans, startup search engine Cuil (pronounced "cool") launched on Monday. The Cuil in the name is pronounced "Cool," and derives from an old Irish word for knowledge. Tom Costello, a co-founder and the CEO of the company, is from Dorgheda, Ireland. The company sold itself on having indexed more pages than Google, ranking based on context rather than on popularity, and displaying results organized by concept within a beautiful user interface. There was just one problem: when the search engine launched, it didn't work very well. Cuil's site was down intermittently throughout the day on Monday, and even when the site was up, it sometimes returned no results for common queries, or failed to produce the most relevant or up-to-date results. For example, as of Wednesday morning, searching Cuil for its own name returns nothing on the first results page that is related to the engine itself, in spite of the buckets of press it got this week.  read more »

Personal Plane flies, folds, tows, swims, and beats SUVs on mileage - ICON A5 amphibious sportsplane completes first test flight

The plane that also swims is shown during a test run on Lake Isabella (Kern County) early this month

(quote)

We never did get the hovercrafts we were promised as kids, but we're getting closer. Imagine sailing above the Bourne Bridge on your way to the beach, while consuming less gas than the SUVs stuck beneath you in traffic.

A compact, two-seat plane with folding wings that can be pulled behind a car on a trailer will premiere at an air show in Wisconsin next week in a development that heralds a new genre of flying machines designed to bring the power-boating experience to the sky. Developed by two Stanford business school graduates, Kirk Hawkins and Steen Strand, the ICON A5 is the latest and arguably coolest plane to take to the skies under a new classification that the Federal Aviation Administration calls light-sport aircraft.

ICON A5, a plane developed by Stanford engineers

The A5's top speed is 120 miles per hour, and its maximum altitude is about 10,000 feet, in keeping with its Light-Sport Aircraft classification - a new class created to make personal aviation accessible to more people. It runs on auto gasoline and gets 18 to 20 miles to the gallon, according to Icon.  read more »

Google launches Wikipedia challenger Knol after 7-month test - a wiki with bylines and moderation

Google makes its Wikipedia competitor Knol open for general use

(quote)

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Google Inc. opened its website Knol to the public on Wednesday, allowing people to write about their areas of expertise under their bylines in a twist on encyclopedia Wikipedia, which allows anonymity. "We are deeply convinced that authorship -- knowing who wrote what -- helps readers trust the content," said Cedric DuPont, product manager for Knol. The name of the service is a play on an individual unit of knowledge, DuPont said, and entries on the public website, knol.google.com, are called "knols." Google conducted a limited test of the site beginning in December.

Knol has publishing tools similar to single blog pages. But unlike blogs, Knol encourages writers to reduce what they know about a topic to a single page that is not chronologically updated. "What we want to get away from is 'this last voice wins' model which is very difficult if you are a busy professional," DuPont said.

Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Google wants to rank entries by popularity to encourage competition. For example, the first knol on "Type 1 Diabetes" is by Anne Peters, director of the University of Southern California's Clinical Diabetes Programs. As other writers publish on diabetes, Google plans to rank related pages according to user ratings, reviews and how often people refer to specific pages, DuPont said. Knol focuses on individual authors or groups of authors in contrast to Wikipedia's subject entries, which are updated by users and edited behind the scenes.  read more »

20July1969. Armstrong steps off the lunar landing module Eagle, 1st human to walk on the moon, 240,000 miles from Earth

(quote)

Neil Armstrong walks on moon
At 9:32 a.m. on July 16 1969, with the world watching, Apollo 11 took off from Kennedy Space Center with astronauts Neil Armstrong, Edwin Aldrin Jr., and Michael Collins aboard. Armstrong, a 38-year-old civilian research pilot, was the commander of the mission. After traveling 240,000 miles in 76 hours, Apollo 11 entered into a lunar orbit on July 19. The next day, at 1:46 p.m., the lunar module Eagle, manned by Armstrong and Aldrin, separated from the command module, where Collins remained. Two hours later, the Eagle began its descent to the lunar surface, and at 4:18 p.m. the craft touched down on the southwestern edge of the Sea of Tranquility. Armstrong immediately radioed to Mission Control in Houston, Texas, a famous message: "The Eagle has landed."

At 10:56 p.m. EDT, American astronaut Neil Armstrong, 240,000 miles from Earth, speaks these words to more than a billion people listening at home: "That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind." Stepping off the lunar landing module Eagle, Armstrong became the first human to walk on the surface of the moon.

(unquote)

Photo courtesy NASA / Andrew Chaikin

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