Monthly Archives: February 2011

The car that’s “green” in every sense of the word

We are all too aware that fossil fuels are irreplaceable, damaging to the environment, and contribute to the Greenhouse Effect. One of the biggest challenges that scientists currently face is to produce alternative fuels that are renewable and environmentally friendly, especially when it comes to vehicles and transportation.

But perhaps scientists’ latest creation will come as a slight surprise, and raise a few eyebrows. Motive Industries, a company in Canada, have manufactured a car made of hemp (yes, hemp – the close relative of marijuana).

The company aims to make the vehicle (pictured above) available for $25,000 and is hoping to have thousands of these cars on the road by 2012.

Full story: POPSCI Popular Science http://www.popsci.com/cars/article/2011-02/introducing-first-road-ready-hemp-mobile

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Sun’s eruptions are on their way to Earth

 

Immensely powerful waves of charged solar particles will be blasted towards planet Earth over the next couple of days. These solar flares are expected to toy with the Earth’s magnetic field, lighting up our skies with unique patterns, but also confusing an awful lot of our technology. 

This is a result of three “coronal mass ejections” – eruptions on the surface of the Sun caused by sudden releases of magnetic energy stored in its atmosphere. The third eruption is the strongest recorded since 2006.

It is thought that this could affect modern technology here on Earth: there is a danger that electrical power grids, communications systems and satellite signals may all be disrupted. So there is an outside risk of powercuts, blackouts, radio signals being lost, and the Sat-Nav in your car losing its sense of direction.

On a more positive and cheerful note, the Aurora Borealis (pictured above) are expected to occur far further South than usual, and may therefore be visible here in parts of the UK.

Full story: BBC News http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-12493980

Remote-controlled hugs

Isn’t a hug wonderful? To hold someone up close and tight as a way of telling them you love them? Well, scientists are developing the technology to make hugging even more convinient. Soon, you won’t even need the person next to you. You won’t necessarily need to be in the same room. Or even in the same country. 

Scientists in Singapore are in the process of making equipment that will mimic the sensation and feel of a real hug, thereby allowing people who are miles apart to share a virtual hug over the internet.

Full story: Daily Telegraph http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/news/8299560/Scientists-develop-the-cyberhug.html