Sci/tech

New Solar Plane Breaks Unmanned Plane Record
September 18, 2007 07:54 AM - Simmons, Environmental Graffiti

London - An unmanned solar-powered aircraft that soared for 54 hours more than 50,000 feet above New Mexico may hold the record for unmanned flight, defense research company QinetiQ announced Monday. The record is currently 30 hours, 24 minutes in a flight on July 23, the company said. The plane, the Zephyr UAV, may not hold the official record because officials did not see the actual flight.

A Little Frightening, a little good news on climate and energy.
September 17, 2007 05:47 PM - , Private Landowner Network

Sometimes the news makes you want to crawl under your bed and hide. Other times there’s great hope and I'm ready to dance and cheer. These related stories for the week beginning September 9, 2007:

As frightening as the news may be, there’s continued effort to take some action whether it’s in the court room or the shops and labs of the world’s technology developers. Whether this is all too late remains to be seen.

 

Mammoth dung, prehistoric goo may speed warming
September 17, 2007 07:39 AM - Dmitry Solovyov -Reuters

Sergei Zimov bends down, picks up a handful of treacly mud and holds it up to his nose. It smells like a cow pat, but he knows better.

"It smells like mammoth dung," he says.

New World Record For Solar Aircraft
September 16, 2007 11:57 AM - Paul Schaefer, ENN

QinetiQ's Zephyr UAV exceeds official world record for longest duration unmanned flight White Sands, NM - There's a new world record for unmanned flight, this one solar powered, set this week by what's called an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV). The craft exceeded the official world record time for the longest duration unmanned flight with a 54 hour flight achieved during trials at the US Military's White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico. A company called QinetiQ’s made the craft, which they call Zephyr High Altitude Long Endurance (HALE).

New Image-search tool speaks hundreds of languages
September 15, 2007 10:30 AM - Hannah Hickey , University of Washington

Seattle, WA - From the fall of the Tower of Babel to the Esperanto global language movement, many humans have dreamed of sharing a common tongue. Despite the Internet's promise of global communication, language barriers remain. Even pictures on the Web get lost in translation. "Images are universal, but image search is not," said Oren Etzioni, a professor of computer science and engineering at the University of Washington. "A person who types his or her search in English won't find images tagged in Chinese, and a Dutch person won't find images tagged in English. We've created a collaborative tool that solves this problem."

New satellite to sharpen Google Earth
September 15, 2007 09:16 AM - Andrea Shalal-Esa, Reuters

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - DigitalGlobe, provider of imagery for Google Inc's interactive mapping program Google Earth, said a new high-resolution satellite will boost the accuracy of its satellite images and flesh out its archive. The new spacecraft, dubbed WorldView I, is to be launched on Tuesday. Together with the company's existing Quickbird satellite, it will offer half-meter resolution and will be able to collect over 600,000 square kilometers of imagery each day, up from the current collection of that amount each week, Chief Executive Jill Smith told Reuters in a telephone interview.

Genetic "barcodes" may cut illegal trade
September 15, 2007 08:45 AM - Alister Doyle -Reuters

New genetic tests could help crack down on illegal food or timber trade, fight malaria or even give clues to how to stop bird strikes with planes, scientists said on Friday.

Green skies: Engineer's work may reduce jet travel's role in global warming
September 14, 2007 07:36 AM - Hilary Parker -Princeton U

Princeton Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Fred Dryer has a lofty goal: end the nation's reliance on oil for jet travel. With potentially major benefits for energy security and the environment riding upon his success, Dryer is advancing the fundamental knowledge of jet fuels while developing practical, innovative energy sources.

NASA Keeps Eye on Ozone Layer Amid Montreal Protocol's Success
September 14, 2007 07:21 AM - NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

NASA scientists will join researchers from around the world to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Montreal Protocol, an international treaty designed to reduce the hole in Earth's protective ozone layer. The United Nations Environment Program will host the meeting from Sept. 23-26 in Athens, Greece. NASA scientists study climate change and research the timing of the recovery of the ozone layer.

Dark matter key to formation of first stars
September 14, 2007 07:14 AM - Reuters

Dark matter may have played a key role in forming the earliest stars, according to researchers who suggest that the mysterious and invisible material may also have been responsible for creating black holes. Their experiment offer clues to the universe just after the big bang some 13 billion years ago and indicates that dark matter helped set the thermostat on the first stars, said Tom Theuns, an astronomer at Durham University, who led the study published in the journal Science on Thursday.

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