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A NIF technician checks the target positioner, which precisely centers the target inside t...

The quest to create a controlled fusion reaction is underway at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory’s National Ignition Facility (NIF), with scientists reporting early progress ahead of ignition experiments which are due to start later this year. The ultimate aim of the world's largest laser - which is the size of three football fields - is to develop carbon-free, limitless fusion energy.  Read More

Installing LUCIFER 1 at the Large Binocular Telescope

The world’s largest optical telescope is about to get a lot better, thanks to LUCIFER. No, no one’s made a deal with the Devil - LUCIFER is a new near-infrared camera/spectrograph system being added to the Large Binocular Telescope (LBT) on Mt. Graham in south-eastern Arizona. The tool has been in development for over a decade, and is now ready to offer astronomers “spectacular insights into the universe, from the Milky Way up to extremely distant galaxies.” Its large field of view and high resolution will allow for unprecedented observation of star-forming regions, which were previously difficult to view due to dust clouds.  Read More

China becomes the world's largest exporter

World trade suffered the biggest decline in more than 70 years in 2009, but is set to rebound with 9.5% growth in 2010, according to the WTO. The global economic crisis sparked a 12.2% contraction in the volume of global trade, though measured in US dollars, global exports fell by a whopping 23% from the 2008 peak, due mainly to falling oil prices and a sharp contraction in global demand for all types of goods, especially consumer durables (e.g. automobiles) and investment goods (e.g. industrial machinery). Though China's exports fell by 16% in value in 2009, China finally became the world's largest exporter in 2009, a mantle it can be expected to hold for the forseeable future.  Read More

PlanetSolar: The world's largest solar boat at the unveiling on Feb. 25

Five years ago we reported on an ambitious project being undertaken by PlanetSolar to build a boat capable of traveling around the world using renewable energy. This dream is now being realized - in a very BIG way. Recently unveiled at the HDW shipyard in Kiel, the world's largest solar-powered boat is 31 metres long, 15 metres wide and 7.5 metres high with a radical multi-hull design that incorporates a massive photovoltaic solar panel array covering 500m2.  Read More

NEPTUNE Canada: A rock fish at Folger Pinnacle

Deep-sea research is great and everything, but man, those submersibles can get pretty cramped. The other, bigger problem is that it requires going off and traveling on a ship, which is costly and can therefore only be done a few times a year. Fortunately, however, there’s now a way of obtaining real-time undersea data without leaving your office. NEPTUNE Canada, the world’s largest and most advanced cabled seafloor observatory, officially started going live to the Internet last December, giving anyone with an Internet connection free access to what will become an absolute mountain of data from the bottom of the sea.  Read More

The Oyster wave energy device was launched this week by Scotland's First Minister Alex Sal...

Rounding off a big week in renewable energy is news that the world’s largest working hydro-electric wave energy device has been officially launched in Scotland. Known as Oyster, the device, stationed at the European Marine Energy Center (EMEC) Billia Croo site near Stromness, was installed this year and is, at present, the world’s only hydro-electric wave energy device which is producing power.  Read More

Oasis of the Seas - world’s largest cruise liner

Last year we introduced “Project Genesis”, the world’s largest and most expensive ocean liner. After a total of six years in the making, owner Royal Caribbean has now taken delivery of this 16 deck, 225,282 ton floating city which features 2,700 staterooms and can carry 5,400 guests. Now officially called “Oasis of the Seas”, the ship sailed from Turku, Finland on Friday, October 30 en route to her home port of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, for a U.S. debut on Wednesday, November 11.  Read More

2-gigawatt solar plant to be built in China (Image - First solar plant in El Dorado, NV)

In the midst of overwhelming debate over climate change - an issue that seemingly paralyzes politicians - the Chinese government has announced its intention to construct a 2-gigawatt solar power plant in Ordos City, Inner Mongolia. Mike Ahearn, CEO of the Arizona-based company which will construct the plant, describes the unprecedented project as “an encouraging first step forward toward the mass-scale deployment of solar power worldwide to help mitigate climate change concerns.”  Read More

The world's largest single-story motorhome?

Running the risk of being mistaken for another pavilion at the recent Caravan Salon Motor Home and Caravan Trade Show in Dusseldorf was the Snakeliner President-Suite – a mobile house sitting atop a semitrailer that lets travelers satisfy their wanderlust while enjoying 969 sq ft (90m²) of living space.  Read More

The world’s largest ambulance (and the world’s smallest X-ray unit)

"Scalpel please! " is a sentence that might in future not only be heard in a hospital operating theatre, but also in one of the three new, large-capacity Mercedes-Benz ambulances handed over to the Centre of Ambulance Services of the Government of Dubai. From now on, it is the hospital that comes to the patient in Dubai. The clinic buses were ordered so that rapid medical assistance can be rendered in the event of major emergencies with large numbers of injury victims. As is well-known, the survival chances of very seriously injured persons in large measure depend on rapid first treatment, and this is the purpose of the large-capacity ambulances.  Read More

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