European astronomers working from the European Southern Observatory (ESO) in Chile have discovered a planet slightly more massive than Earth, orbiting a star in the Alpha Centauri triple star system – the nearest stellar system to our planet. Alpha Centauri Bb (as the new exoplanet is called, the star being Alpha Centauri B) is the first Earth-sized body found orbiting a Sun-like star and was discovered by measuring the tiny wobbles of Alpha Centauri B as it moves in response to the gravitational pull of the orbiting planet. It is orbiting Alpha Centauri B every three days and six hours at an orbital radius of six million kilometers (3.7 million miles). The proximity to the star leads to a surface temperature of some 1,500º K (2,250º F/1,232º C) – hot enough to melt granite.
San Francisco's BRD Motorcycles has begun taking deposits on the 2013 RedShift
range of off-road electric motorcycles. BRD claims the performance of the RedShift will be equal to or better than a top-end 250cc four-stroke race motorcycle, which is a lofty target. The most remarkable aspect is that it will sell both the US$15,500 SM supermoto and the US$15,000 MX motocrosser with a police kit for an additional US$2500 with stronger subframe to hold the included hard luggage, plus an uprated electrical system.
The performance of electric motorcycles
may not yet be on par with their fuel-snorting brethren, but our outings on this new breed of two-wheeler
have convinced us that they are well on the way. Now San Francisco start-up BRD is throwing its hat into this rapidly expanding ring by announcing plans for battery powered bikes designed to "outperform their gas equivalents." Called RedShift, the motorcycles are slated for production in 2012 and will come in "dual-sport" and "urban" variants with both promising performance that would put them in the same ballpark as a gas-powered 250cc 4-stroke.