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Australia

Nuon Solar during the 2011 World Solar Challenge (Photo: Hans Peter van Velthoven via Nuon...

Four days into the 2011 World Solar Challenge and things have proven even more challenging than usual for the participants. Teams have had to contend with huge road-hogging trucks, cars catching alight and bushfires that saw the race route closed by police, leaving the top three teams cooling their heels at an unscheduled stop at the end of day two while both the vehicles and the participants recharged their batteries.  Read More

The 2011 World Solar Challenge kicked-off today in Darwin, Australia

The 11th World Solar Challenge got underway on Sunday with participants starting out from Darwin, Northern Territory, on a 3,000-kilometer (1,864 mile) solar-powered car race across the red center of Australia. The start follows three days of scrutineering and a day of qualifying that saw Solar Team Twente from the Netherlands take pole position in a field of 37 teams from 20 countries. But the margin was tight, with the team’s 21Connect solar car coming in just 0.00.3 seconds ahead of fellow compatriots and four time winners, the Nuon Solar Team.  Read More

Telstra has launched a USB 4G mobile broadband modem in Australia

Australians are getting their first taste of LTE (long-term evolution) mobile network speed. Telecommunications provider Telstra launched its USB 4G mobile broadband modem today with the promise of coverage in capital city CBDs and 30 regional and metropolitan centers with download speeds ranging from 2Mbps to 40Mbps and upload speeds of 1Mbps to 10Mbps.  Read More

Diamond Planets, good headlines, public opinion and the carbon lobby

Matthew Bailes is Pro-Vice Chancellor (Research) of the Swinburne University of Technology in Melbourne, Australia, and was one of the scientists responsible for the discovery of the diamond planet which received widespread news coverage over the last few weeks. In a well-penned article, Bailes discusses the reaction to the discovery and raises some very interesting questions about the way the scientific method is used and abused by the media.  Read More

Young Aussie designers talk us through the designs that got them to the Australian finals ...

The James Dyson Awards for young inventors are always a treasure trove of fresh ideas and up-and-coming innovators - so we caught up with 8 of the Australian finalists and got them each to deliver us a 2-minute 'elevator pitch' explaining their designs and the inspiration behind them. The videos after the jump highlight some of our favourite entries for this year's prize, including the winners. See if you can guess which of these young contestants took the prizes!  Read More

Kogan Agora - world’s first Chromium OS laptop ships June 7

Australian manufacturer Kogan says it will ship the world's first notebook running on the open source Chromium OS from June 7. The release date for the 11.6'' Agora Chromium Laptop means that Kogan has pipped Samsung and Acer, whose Google-sanctioned Chromebooks are due out in a week.  Read More

The Wind Explorer under kite power

A television host and an engineer from Germany have completed an almost 5,000 km (3,107 mile) journey across Australia in their Wind Explorer, a lightweight electric vehicle powered by the wind – not only through electricity-generating wind turbines but also using kites. The pioneering 18-day trip by Dirk Gion and Stefan Simmerer set three world records – the first time a continent has been crossed be a wind-powered vehicle, the longest overall distance covered by an exclusively wind-powered land vehicle, and the longest distance covered by such a vehicle in 36 hours.  Read More

Elephant seal with CTD tag. Photo credit: Chris Oosthuizen

Australian climate and ocean scientists are studying some of the planet's most remote areas using a multi-million dollar array of high-tech underwater equipment that provides data vital for the monitoring of almost one-third of the world's oceans. The kit of technology includes sensor floats and autonomous underwater vehicles, which combine with sensor tagged animals, moored scientific stations and satellite remote sensing to form the Integrated Marine Observing System (IMOS). All data collected is made available online, which represents a big step forward in climate science. Gizmag's Grant Banks takes a closer look at what makes IMOS tick.  Read More

The tractor beam suspends a small particle over an optics table (Image: Australian Nationa...

In a move that is sure to warm the hearts of those in the upper echelon of the Galactic Empire, researchers have taken tractor beams from the realm of science fiction to the realm of science fact. The researchers from the Australian National University (ANU) have developed a laser beam that can move very small particles up to distances of a meter and a half using only the power of light. Unfortunately this means it won’t be able to reel in anything the size of the Millennium Falcon, and the fact it won’t work in the vacuum of space probably won’t help matters either, but it’s a remarkable breakthrough nonetheless.  Read More

The Macarthur Wind Farm will comprise 140 Vestas 3.0 MW V112 turbines

The largest wind farm in the Southern Hemisphere will be built in Australia at Macarthur near Hamilton, 260km west of Melbourne, Victoria. Comprising 140 Vestas V112-3.0 MW wind turbine generators, the 420 MW Macarthur Wind Farm will have the capacity to power more than 220,000 average Victorian homes and abate more than 1.7 million tons of greenhouse gases every year – the equivalent of taking more than 420,000 cars off the road each year.  Read More

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