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Michael Mulcahy

— Science

Protecting world food supplies with salt-tolerant crops

By - July 16, 2009 2 Pictures
Salt might be great with popcorn and peanuts, but it’s not so good with soil. The U.N. estimates that the world loses at least three hectares of arable land every minute because of soil salinity. Most crops simply can’t cope with too much salt. Which is why a breakthrough by a team at the University of Adelaide in Australia could have a profound effect on the food supplies of our future: they’ve found a way to genetically modify plants to become more salt tolerant. Read More
— Environment

Nanotechnology breakthrough promises cheaper, more efficient solar cells

By - July 15, 2009 2 Pictures
The quest for alternative fuels has become one of science’s major pre-occupations and finding ways to cheaply produce energy from the sun is a key battlefront. Researchers at Berkeley, California, have found a way to make cheaper, better solar cells using tiny nanopillar semiconductors measuring just billionths of a meter wide. The underlying theory is that a 3-D solar cell has more surface – and, therefore, will be a much more efficient light-collector – than the usual 2-D solar cell. Read More
— Automotive

Hyundai launches world’s first LPG-electric hybrid

By - July 12, 2009 3 Pictures
Hyundai has entered the burgeoning hybrid market with a world first – an LPG-electric hybrid vehicle. The Elantra LPI Hybrid combines a four cylinder 1.6 LPI “Gamma” engine and 15kW electric motor to deliver fuel economy of 42mpg and CO2 emissions of just 99grams/km. Hyundai believes the combination of hybrid power and low-cost fuel will enable the Elantra LPI to pay its way faster than any other hybrid on the market. Read More
— Science

New storm guidance system might have averted Air France Flight 447 disaster

By - July 12, 2009 1 Picture
Pilots routinely fly over remote stretches of ocean with almost no weather information, apart from a pre-flight briefing and updates every four hours. Yet this is where some of the worst turbulence and, as Air France Flight 447 tragically encountered on June 1, most intense weather occurs. The National Centre for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) is developing a new system that combines satellite data, weather models and A.I. to identify and predict rapidly evolving storms, enabling pilots to avoid areas of potentially severe turbulence. Read More
— Automotive

What’s red on the outside and green on the inside? London’s new hybrid buses

By - July 9, 2009 3 Pictures
There’s no better way to test the realities of hybrid technology than with public transport, where significant reductions in fuel consumption and emissions are not just desirable, but a commercial necessity. London got a little greener this week with the delivery of six new Volvo B5L hybrid double-decker buses to Arriva London. The new buses are powered by Volvo’s parallel hybrid I-SAM technology which, used on bus routes in Gothenburg, Sweden, has delivered fuel savings of 30%. Read More
— Mobile Technology

The ultimate geek accessory? Orange announces touch-screen watch phone

By - July 9, 2009 1 Picture
Come on, be honest - wouldn’t you love to make some of those childish dreams of secret agent covert ops finally come true? Because Orange has just announced that, from next month, they’re making available the ultimate gadget: the world’s first touch-screen watch phone. The LG GD910 is 3G and video-calling capable, with in-built speaker, Bluetooth headset and full touch-screen interface. Read More

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