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World Solar Challenge 2009 underway: 1,864-mile solar car race across Australia, part of Global Green Challenge

the Phoenix II, by Canada's McMaster Solar Car Project, is seen before the start of the race

The World Solar Challenge, part of the Global Green Challenge, is currently taking place in Australia. Some 35 solar-powered cars from 15 different countries are racing from Darwin to Adelaide - a distance of more than 3,000km (1,864 miles) through the Outback.

(quote)

The leading cars in this year’s Global Green Challenge solar car race have passed the halfway point in their epic 1,864-mile (3,000-kilometre) race across some of Australia's harshest terrain from Darwin to Adelaide.

solar powered cars line up at the start of the World Solar Challenge in Darwin

The Global Green Challenge - an evolution of the acclaimed World Solar Challenge - is the world's leading, cross-continental showcase of the latest advances in hybrid, electric, solar, low emission, and alternative energy vehicles. The race, which is now in its tenth year, was pioneered by the South Australian Tourism Commission and aims to highlight the latest advances in hybrid, electric, solar and alternative energy vehicles.  read more »

Vietnam: 1/3 of delta, where 17 mil ppl live, half country's rice is grown, may be submerged if sea rises by 3 ft

a foreign tourist wades on a flooded street in the town of Hoi An

(quote)

In a worse-case projection, a Vietnamese government report released last month says that more than one-third of the delta, where 17 million people live and nearly half the country’s rice is grown, could be submerged if sea levels rise by 3 feet in the decades to come. In a more modest projection, it calculates that one-fifth of the delta would be flooded, said Tran Thuc, who leads Vietnam’s National Institute for Hydrometeorology and Environmental Sciences and is the chief author of the report. Storm surges could periodically raise that level, he said, and experts say an intrusion of salt water and industrial pollution could contaminate much of the remaining delta area.

a woman surveys the flooded streets of Hoi An from a boat

(unquote)

Photos courtesy of AFP / Getty and EPA

Original Source: NY Times

Maldives cabinet meeting chaired by President, took place around table 16ft underwater, bubbles ascended from scuba masks

Maldivian president Mohammed Nasheed and his ministers signed a document calling on all countries to cut their carbon dioxide emissions

Maldives President Mohamed Nasheed swims to the first underwater cabinet meeting in the Maldives. Right, the president tries on diving gear before the historic meeting

(quote)

Asked what would happen if Copenhagen fails, the president said, "we are all going to die."

The Maldives government has made an eye-catching plea for climate change action by holding the world's first underwater cabinet meeting.

Politicians from the Indian Ocean island nation donned scuba gear this morning to send a message to world leaders ahead of December's UN climate change conference in Copenhagen, Denmark. The meeting, chaired by President Mohamed Nasheed, took place around a table about 16 feet (5 meters) underwater. Bubbles ascended from the face masks the president and the Cabinet wore, and fish swam around them.  read more »

Merrier and freer on car-free days. "In town without my car!" European Mobility Week in over 2000 cities & towns

European Mobility Week: opportunity for European cities and towns to participate to the most widespread event on sustainable mobility

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After the organization of two successful "In town without my car!" events in the whole of Europe, the year 2002 marked the start of a new initiative, the European Mobility Week! From 16 to 22 September 2009 the European Mobility Week was the opportunity for European cities and towns to participate to the most widespread event on sustainable mobility. A full week of events dedicated to sustainable mobility has been organized in more than 2000 cities and towns.

car-free week, Graz, Austria

European Mobility Week: Vilnius, Lithuania

car-free week, Requena, Spain

European Mobility Week: Budapest, Hungary

Swansea, United Kingdom - European Mobility Week 2009  read more »

Crop circles, in 1678: Mow'd by Infernal Spirit? No Mortal Man's able to do the like; in 1880: by rainfall, by wind?

Left: an English woodcut pamphlet published in 1678 called the ‘Mowing-Devil’: The image depicts a demon with a scythe mowing an oval design in a field of oats. Right: A crop circle in a field of oilseed rape at Roundway Hill, Wiltshire. Bottom: Crop circles are pretty cool

(quote)

The earliest recorded image resembling a crop circle is depicted in an English woodcut pamphlet published in 1678 called the "Mowing-Devil". The image depicts a demon with a scythe mowing an oval design in a field of oats. The pamphlet's text reads as follows:
Being a True Relation of a Farmer, who Bargaining with a Poor Mower, about the Cutting down Three Half Acres of Oats, upon the Mower's asking too much, the Farmer swore "That the Devil should Mow it, rather than He." And so it fell out, that that very Night, the Crop of Oats shew'd as if it had been all of a Flame, but next Morning appear'd so neatly Mow'd by the Devil, or some Infernal Spirit, that no Mortal Man was able to do the like. Also, How the said Oats ly now in the Field, and the Owner has not Power to fetch them away.

a crop circle in Switzerland  read more »

Actor Ashton Kutcher reveals what's missing in drama business: hometown, genuine quality; & his "daunting" experience in NYC

Ashton Kutcher, movie star and TV producer, wishes he never had to endure the boredom of being a model

(quote)

People in Iowa have a different, genuine quality and a self-sufficient humility

What do you miss about growing up and living in the Midwest?
The biggest thing I miss in Iowa is my mom. She still lives there, and I don't get to see her as often as I'd like. I miss the certain smell in Iowa when it's about to rain. I miss how quiet it is. I miss having neighbors that I know and that I like. The thing I probably miss most of all is that people in Iowa have a different, genuine quality and a self-sufficient humility, a desire to do things for themselves and not complain. I miss being around people that don't complain. I'm in the drama business, and there are a lot of dramatic people that seem to be not very happy with where they are.
Does it bother you to be called Mr. Demi Moore?
No. Why would it? People have called me much worse.
Do you still have all those trucker hats?
Yeah. I've got a giant box of them in storage. I probably have like 500 or 600 hats that people have sent me.

a picture of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Ashton Kutcher’s hometown

one man can have a voice as loud as a media network  read more »

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