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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 »

Genius. Recycled silicon wafer factory, flipped switch on US' largest solar cell plant: German SolarWorld AG

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 »

Inventors in 800mi car race run on wood chips, cow dung, veg oil, no gas! Jagged Sierra Nevada, bleak flatness of Death Valley

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 »

Techies' new frontiers: Portland OR, Bethlehem PA, Blacksburg VA, Bellevue WA, Boise ID, Folsom CA

Portland, Oregon

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Portland, Oregon
Some people call it Silicon Forest. That's because the Portland metropolitan area has done an impressive job of attracting entrepreneurial tech talent, thanks in part to the presence of Tektronix, IBM and Intel. In fact, many of the city's computer-technology companies were started by former employees of these tech giants, focusing on areas such as open-source and educational software. But Portland isn't just about computer technology. Over the years, the city has earned a reputation for progressive energy policies, attracting a large sustainable-technology community, as well as the U.S. headquarters of Vestas, the world's largest wind-turbine manufacturer. Support for the Portland tech scene comes from organizations such as Oregon InC, a state-funded venture dedicated to nurturing Oregon's innovation economy.

Bethlehem, Pennsylvania

Bethlehem, Pennsylvania
With the decline of its steel industry over the past two decades, Bethlehem has worked hard to encourage its burgeoning local tech community. Numerous startups have sprouted in recent years, thanks in part to the city's two hospitals and two local colleges. New technologies currently in development range from computer chips to instruments used in truck-tire manufacturing. Ben Franklin Technology Partners, a state-funded program based in Lehigh University, works with early-stage tech firms across 19 counties, awarding grants and helping companies find everything from funding to skilled workers and technology. The city also provides support, working with local groups to offer low-interest loans and enterprise-zone incentives.  read more »

World first fuel-saving carbon-cutting program: Air New Zealand passengers take a ride on the 'perfect flight'

FAA working with Air New Zealand finding new ways of making flights more environmentally friendly and fuel efficient

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Air New Zealand's "perfect flight" using optimal flying conditions and the co-operation of US, New Zealand and Australian aviation authorities, was hailed as a success in San Francisco on Friday. Using new technologies and procedures on a flight from Auckland, Air New Zealand cut waiting time, trimmed flying time, saved 1,200 gallons of fuel (around 4% less fuel than normally used), eliminated 30,000 pounds of harmful carbon emissions and took a quieter approach on arrival at San Francisco International Airport.

Air New Zealand Flight 8 from Auckland to San Francisco

The normal commercial flight NZ8, dubbed ASPIRE 1 (Asia and South Pacific Initiative to Reduce Emissions) is the first tailored test flight on the Pacific using technology and cleared gates at each end, eliminating air traffic congestion to test flight and fuel efficiency. It is part of a worldwide drive to make the aviation industry more environmentally friendly.  read more »

Towers of food, farms in the sky: self-sustaining skyscrapers in the city, vertical farming gains new interest

'You could develop a community surrounding each of these vertical farms,' said Dr. Despommier, who believes that striking designs like this pyramid are key to the concept's success. 'You want people to say, 'I want that in my backyard.'

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What if “eating local” in Shanghai or New York meant getting your fresh produce from five blocks away? And what if skyscrapers grew off the grid, as verdant, self-sustaining towers where city slickers cultivated their own food?

vertical farm design modeled after the Capitol Records building in Los Angeles features a prominent renewable energy source: a rotating solar panel that, like a sunflower, gyrates to face the sun

Dickson Despommier, a professor of public health at Columbia University, hopes to make these zucchini-in-the-sky visions a reality. Dr. Despommier’s pet project is the “vertical farm,” a concept he created in 1999 with graduate students in his class on medical ecology, the study of how the environment and human health interact.  read more »

25 Aug 1609. Galilei Galileo demonstrates his first telescope

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Called the Father of Modern Science by Einstein, Galileo was born into a musical family in Pisa. After studying mathematics and natural philosophy he was appointed to the Chair of Mathematics in 1589 before moving to the University of Padua where he made major discoveries in Fundamental and Applied Science. These included a military compass and an improved version of the telescope. With the later he was the first to identify the moons of Jupiter and describe the topography of our Moon.

On 25 August 1609, he demonstrated one of his early telescopes, with a magnification of about 8 or 9, to Venetian lawmakers. With a Galilean telescope, the observer could see magnified, upright images on the earth - it was what is commonly known as a terrestrial telescope or a spyglass. He could also use it to observe the sky; for a time he was one of those who could construct telescopes good enough for that purpose.

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Image credit Giuseppi Bertini (Public Domain)

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