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— Environment

Electrolux announces first Vac from the Sea vacuum cleaners

Since announcing the Vac from the sea initiative in June, Electrolux has been busy working with environmental organizations and concerned individuals to collect plastic debris from marine environments around the globe. Now the company has announced the creation of five one-off vacuum cleaner creations manufactured using waste collected from key areas, including Hawaii, the North Sea and the Mediterranean. Read More
— Environment

Mushrooms – the new Styrofoam alternative?

In an age where many oil fields are in terminal decline and our dependence on petroleum reaches critical proportions, it is simply crazy that with every Styrofoam-packaged item consumers purchase, one cubed foot of Styrofoam representing 1.5 liters of petrol is thrown away. Moreover, in the U.S., Styrofoam is said to take up 25 percent of the space in landfills. A much better-sounding alternative is to use naturally-produced EcoCradle. It's created from useless agricultural by-products and mushroom roots, has all the same properties as other expandable polystyrenes (EPS), and is fully compostable. Read More
— Aircraft

Construction of NASA Mars Rover being streamed online

Technicians from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory have set up a live feed webcam inside the clean room of the Mars Science Laboratory in Pasadena, California. There's no audio but anyone can tune in and watch them put NASA's Curiosity Mars Rover together. On those rare occasions when nothing much is going on in the lab, the feed will be supplemented with interview footage from team members. Read More
— Digital Cameras

Nikon Small World microscopic photography competition winners announced

The winner of the 36th Nikon Small World Photomicrography Competition has just been announced. Looking like one of those visualizations from Windows Media Player, the judges' choice for the top prize was picked from a field of over 2,000 entries. The photograph by Jonas King shows anopheles gambiae (mosquito heart) magnified 100 times and was taken using fluorescence microscopy. Read More
— Space

NASA’s Solar Shield to mitigate damage to power grid from severe solar storms

The solar storms that cause the stunning aurora borealis and aurora australis (or northern and southern polar lights) also have the potential to knock out telecommunications equipment and navigational systems and cause blackouts of electrical grids. With the frequency of the sun’s flares following an 11-year cycle of solar activity and the next solar maximum expected around 2013, scientists are bracing for an overdue, once-in-100 year event that could cause widespread power blackouts and cripple electricity grids around the world. It sounds like an insurmountable problem but a new NASA project called “Solar Shield” is working to develop a forecasting system that can mitigate the impacts of such events and keep the electrons flowing. Read More
— Motorcycles

The US$96,000 Carbon Fiber Renard GT

Estonia is not a country known for motorcycles, but the reemergence of a pre-WW2 motorcycle brandname could change all that. Tallinn-based Renard Motorcycles will begin production of its GT next year. The bike's carbon-fiber and Kevlar monocoque chassis weighs just 11 kg and incorporates the airbox and fuel tank while the metal components other than the Moto Guzzi 1200cc Quattrovalvole v-twin engine are all CNC milled from a solid aircraft quality aluminium. The carbon parallelogram front suspension and design are reminiscent of a Confederate Wraith, as is the limited edition, stellar price (EUR75,000), craftsmanship and beauty. Read More
— Electronics

Steeper project hopes to make electronic devices more energy efficient

It has been estimated that in the European Union, about ten percent of the electricity used in homes and offices goes to power computers and other electronic devices that are in standby mode. By 2020, that amount could constitute 49 terawatt hours per year, which is almost equivalent to the combined annual electrical consumption of Austria, the Czech Republic and Portugal. The European Union’s just-announced Steeper research initiative squarely addresses such concerns. Its aim is to develop electronics that operate on less than half a volt when in standby, and that are up to ten times more energy-efficient when active. Read More
— Automotive

Cobra's 7750 Platinum 7-inch nav unit for truck drivers

If you drive a truck for living, a sat/nav can be a handy business tool. With most of these units designed for car users, the market for dedicated trucking units has expanded in recent times. The latest offering from Cobra Electronics – the 7750 Platinum – includes a 7-inch screen, 3D maps and 33,000 points of interest targeted at truck drivers and according to Cobra the industry’s best last-mile routing. Read More
— Science

Adobe previews its Edge HTML5 animation tool

Pretty much since it was announced HTML5 has been touted by many pundits as signaling the death of Adobe’s Flash. Whether or not that eventuates, only time will tell but a tool being developed by Adobe codenamed Edge is only likely to fan the flames for those predicting Flash’s demise. Still only in prototype form, Edge is an HTML5 animation tool that makes it easy for web developers and designers to create animations and transitions without having to slug through line after line of HTML5 code. Read More