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Man-made

A sample of the man-made mother of pearl (top), compared to the real thing (Image: Nature)...

Mother of pearl, also known as nacre, is the hard iridescent coating found on the outside of pearls, and the inside of certain mollusc’s shells. Besides being a nice-looking material used for jewelry and other types of ornamentation, it’s also remarkably strong. Now, scientists from the University of Cambridge have discovered how to make the stuff themselves.  Read More

Artist's illustration of the proposed Al-Shamal Stadium to be built in Ash-Shamal, Qatar f...

With the World Cup always held in the European off-season in June and July, the awarding of the 2022 World Cup to Qatar offers the prospect of players and spectators sweating through the hottest part of the year. Doha sees an average top temperature of 41 degrees Celsius (106°F) in these months with the possibility of top temperatures as high as 50°C (122°F). While shifting the World Cup to the cooler month of January has been mooted and since rejected, a team of engineering scientists from Qatar University (QU) have taken a more high-tech approach to solving the problem – they've reportedly developed a type of artificial "cloud" designed to float above the World Cup venues and provide fans and players with relief from the blazing sun.  Read More

Scientists have used biosynthetic muscle fibers to observe the changes that polymers exhib...

Scientists tasked with creating better plastic films have been at a loss when it comes to observing how synthetic polymers react under mechanical stress – the polymers are just too small for a microscope to keep track of while being stretched. Now a team of physicists from Technische Universitaet Muenchen (TUM) has come up with a solution. They’re using a muscle filament protein to build polymer networks that can be observed by a microscope, and by doing so have already determined why some polymers get tougher with repeated stress, while others get softer.  Read More

Scientists hope to emulate the honeybee's aerial navigational skills through human technol...

Day after day, honeybees are able to travel back and forth between a food source and their hive, even in a constantly-changing environment. Given that the insects have relatively small brains, scientists have determined that they rely chiefly on vision and hard-wired visual processing abilities to achieve such a feat. To better understand that process, scientists from the Cognitive Interaction Technology Center of Excellence at Bielefeld University, Germany, have created an artificial honeybee’s eye. Using the device, they hope to unlock the secrets of the insects’ sensing, processing and navigational skills, and apply them to human technology such as micro air vehicles (MAVs).  Read More

The Berg - a 1km-tall man-made mountain, but is it a hoax or a real opportunity?

Hoax or hopeful? Sky high or pie-in-the-sky? German architect Jakob Tigges has unleashed a daring plan to create a man-made mountain in Berlin – not exactly a feature you instantly associate with the German city, but if this “project” gets approval that could change. According to The Berg website, Berliners are getting behind the project as another tourist-attracting (money-making) option for their fair city.  Read More

That's the Palm Deira on the right, next to the World, then Palm Jumeirah, then Palm Jebel...

The property boom going on in the Persian Gulf at present knows no bounds, largely because it has been given a grand vision. Conceptualised to solve Dubai's beach shortage by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the person who has masterminded the emergence of Dubai, the Palm Trilogy is to be completed with a collossus, adding a few records to Dubai’s already splendid set of man-made biggests. Nakheel will employ its now highly-refined island building methods to create the largest man-made island on the planet, housing more than a million people in fine style. With a surface area of 46.35 million square metres, the Palm Deira will be bigger than Paris. That's it on the right, next to the World, then Palm Jumeirah, then Palm Jebel Ali on the left. Check out the great piccies and renderings in the photo library.  Read More

More man-made designer realty – Reef Island

March 21, 2008 As Arab States continue to build for the future using oil-buoyed economies, the region is beginning to explore the concept of creating designer islands. Dubai gave the idea currency with its megadollar World and Palm projects, effectively showing the world how to build artificial realty. Neighbouring Qatar came up with the Pearl, and now Bahrain is in the process of building Reef Island at a cost of BD 450 million (US$ 1.20 billion). Of course you could always go for a floating island.  Read More

'The Pearl' Qatar

An exotic name befits an exotic destination. The Pearl-Qatar is a multi-billion dollar man-made island under construction off the coast of Doha, Qatar covering 985 acres (400 hectares) and fronted by more than 12 miles of pristine beaches. The island retreat is set to become an exclusive home for 40,000 international residents as well as a sought after holiday destination for 800 guests enjoying three marinas, three 5 star hotels, plus almost half a million square feet of retail, dining and entertainment space. These stunning illustrations showcase this extraordinary address as it will look when the ribbon is cut in 2009.  Read More

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