Posts Tagged ‘E&T’

#F35 glitch list grounds entire fleet – Florida fire KOs fighter – an annotated infographic

July 7, 2014

The US military has grounded the entire fleet of 97 Lockheed Martin F-35 fighter jets until completion of additional inspections of its single engine.

This incident marks the eighth time that the entire fleet has been grounded and is the latest glitch to hit the $398.6 billion F-35 Joint Strike Fighter programme.

The plane’s engine, built by Pratt & Whitney, a unit of United Technologies, may have been involved in an accident that saw an F-35 catching fire on 23 June shortly before take-off at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida.

“Additional inspections of F-35 engines have been ordered, and return to flight will be determined based on inspection results and analysis of engineering data,” the Defense Department said in a brief statement issued late on Thursday.

E&T news covered this story in full last week – read more about why the F-35 was grounded again.

Click on the graphic for an expanded view.

F-35: not so stealthy now

F-35: not so stealthy now

Tour de France bike and rider rules – an annotated infographic #TDF

July 4, 2014

Ahead of some men going on a really long bike ride this weekend, i.e. the Tour de France starting in Yorkshire, we look at the regulations governing bike and rider.

UCI rules drawn up in 2000 to ensure safety and prevent a technological arms race have led to a situation where professional racing bikes have been outstripped by the latest developments in materials and design.

Every aspect of the race bike has to conform to the rules – right down to the number of spokes and the size of the saddle – and the rider’s clothes are also regulated.

Earlier this week, E&T news reported how University of Sheffield researchers have created a giant painting of a bicycle in a field to encourage people to cycle more and also to explain cellular metabolism.

The painting, created using eco-friendly materials and located near the route of the Tour de France has been unveiled following a recent study which found that although 43 per cent of Britons have access to a bike, only 34 per cent go cycling once a year or more.

If you’re already a cycling enthusiast, you might enjoy this nugget from our recent archives, in which Rob McGowan visits a cross-section of Britain’s bicycle industry to discover that for those who’ve found their niche business is booming.

Click on the graphic for an expanded view.

Tour de France 2014 rules

Tour de France 2014 rules

 

Hot news! E&T news weekly #9 – we choose our favourite news stories from the week

July 4, 2014

Friday July 4 2014

  James Hayes Internet of Things address book to boost connections

The IoT is fast-becoming a driver for enabling technology innovation: a wannabe open-source IoT operating system – Contiki – has also emerged. However, the moniker ‘Internet of Things’ is fast becoming a misnomer:  there’s an argument for designating it more as a Web of Things, as many of the endpoint devices, and other connected entities, will not strictly speaking form part of the infrastructure of an internet, nor indeed necessarily have to be ‘manageable’.

James Hayes, technology features editor

 

  Aasha Bodhani Facebook investigated over secret experiment

Social media monitoring, wiretapping or even snooping has always been a concern for users, whether governments, employers or marketing and advertising companies are using this ‘big brother’ approach. This week, it was announced Facebook is being investigated as it supposedly carried out an experiment in 2012 which manipulated users’ news feeds to examine ‘emotional contagion’. Users of the site have branded this experiment as ‘creepy’.

Low-cost bionic hand for Third World amputees

A student from University of Derby has designed a high-tech artificial hand dubbed the ‘Myo’, specifically for the amputees in third world countries. Costing just £200, the hand is controlled using electromyography enabling the wearer to control the prosthetic hand using the muscle movements from the real upper arm. This invention can help those who have suffered from disease and war.

Aasha Bodhani, assistant technology features editor

 

  Edd Gent Laser-based chemical detection firm wins ‘Engineering Oscars’

Not being able to take grown-up sized bottles of liquids on planes is a major source of annoyance every time I arrive at the airport and I’m sure it’s one I share with many others. Obviously Cobalt’s invention has many other very worthy applications, but this is one of those rare engineering feats that could genuinely impact pretty much everyone in the country and is fully deserving of the award.

Edd Gent, online news reporter

 

  Lorna Sharpe Machining composites easy as cutting butter with new device

Researchers in Loughborough say ultrasound-assisted machining will be a boon for precise cutting and drilling of aerospace-grade composite materials without damage.

Low-cost bionic hand for Third World amputees

A real good-news story here: student Matt Thompson has come up with a design for a working prosthetic hand using only about £200-worth of materials, potentially making it affordable for people in poorer countries.

Lorna Sharpe, sub-editor

 

  dominic-lenton Robotics strategy targets world leader status for UK

Good to see the UK government acknowledging that robots are “very much of the here and now” and not just a mainstay of science fiction at the launch of a strategy developed for the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills by the Technology Strategy Board’s Robotics and Autonomous Systems Special Interest Group. If adopted, suggested policies would see decommissioned nuclear sites, farms, factories, mines and even whole towns used as test beds for robotics research.

Laser-based chemical detection firm wins ‘Engineering Oscars’

Cobalt Light Systems is following in some illustrious footsteps as the latest winner of the Royal Academy of Engineering’s MacRobert Award. The 40-strong firm beat off competition from Rolls-Royce among others with its range of airport security scanners that analyse bottled liquieds without opening them, proving that a really useful idea will always be successful.

Dominic Lenton, managing editor

 

  Tereza Pultarova Russia’s new rocket to be delayed for weeks

The eagerly anticipated maiden flight of Russia’s brand new Angara rocket turned into just another blow for Russia’s once pioneering space sector which has been plagued with a series of unfortunate mishaps, failures and glitches for the past couple of years. Instead of taking off triumphantly to the sky, the rocket stayed on the launch pad as the countdown was cut off in the last seconds before the expected take off due to a problem in its fuel-pumping system. The fiasco was witnessed by Russia’s President Vladimir Putin, who has put Angara into the centre of an intended space industry overhaul – it seems more work would be needed to return Russia’s space industry to its former glory.

Tereza Pultarova, online news reporter

 

  Vitali Vitaliev Low-cost bionic hand for Third World amputees

This news story made me recall an extraordinary little girl, whom I met in Dublin about 10 years ago. Her name was Asset, and she was a recent refugee from war-torn Chechnya. We met via Frontline human rights organisation for which I was then doing some part-time editing and translating, and she was probably the brightest and the most outgoing 11-year-old I had ever come across, despite her war-inflicted disability: both her arms were blown off by a Russian booby trap mine, camouflaged as a lighter. She picked it up while playing outside her house near Grozny. A powerful explosion followed… It all happened when she was just 9, and by the time we met Asset was able to hold cutlery while eating and to turn book pages (she was an avid reader of books) with her stumps. She particularly liked ‘The Brave Tin Soldier’ by Hans Christian Andersen which I gave her for her birthday… Frontline was trying to organise prosthetic arms for her, but none of those that had been tried proved suitable, and the costs of bionic ones were prohibitive. It is, allegedly, very hard to find lasting prosthetics for a fast growing child, or a teenager. The latest I heard of Asset is that she was still living in Dublin and had just finished university. I am going to send her a link to this story hoping that Matt Thomson’s ‘Myo’ will suit her needs and will be affordable too.

Vitali Vitaliev, features editor

#Iraq government concerned about weapon stocks as war against #ISIS takes its toll – an annotated infographic

July 2, 2014

Iraq’s front-line multi-role helicopters and U.S. supplied Abrams tanks are taking so much punishment in combat with ISIS insurgents that Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki’s government is growing desperate for replacements.

Iraqi helicopter and armour losses have escalated in combat with ISIS rebels. The Iraqi military exhausted its inventory of 300 Hellfire missiles on June 15 and has asked the U.S. for 1,400 more. Baghdad is also trying to source warplanes and attack helicopters from Russia and the Czech Republic.

Click on the graphic for an expanded view.

Iraq vs ISIS

Iraq vs ISIS

@RoyalNavy to build HMS Queen Elizabeth aircraft carrier – largest Navy ship ever built – an annotated infographic

July 1, 2014

The 65,000-tonne HMS Queen Elizabeth aircraft carrier will be the largest ship ever built by the Royal Navy and the second biggest supercarrier in the world.

HMS Queen Elizabeth will be formally named by the Queen on Friday, when she will smash a bottle of whisky against it at Rosyth in Fife, where the aircraft carrier has been assembled and fitted out.

Ahead of this ceremony, Admiral Sir George Zambellas, First Sea Lord and chief of the naval staff, has said that having two carriers rather than one – a topic still up for debate ahead of next year’s Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR) – would ensure continuous availability and the cost was “a modest extra premium to pay” for an “effective, credible, available, insurance policy”.

“Credibility also hinges on a carrier being available when the need arises,” he said. “Hope is not a reliable method of ensuring capability availability when a crisis erupts. That is why we need the effects of a UK carrier – it’s the wrong moment to find out that nothing happens when you push the carrier button.

“So to ensure continuous carrier availability that means having two carriers, not one – a decision for government in next year’s SDSR of course, but this is a modest extra premium to pay, for an effective, a credible, an available, insurance policy.”

E&T news covered this Royal Navy aircraft carrier story in full today.

Click on the graphic for an expanded view.

HMS Queen Elizabeth: a big girl

HMS Queen Elizabeth: a big girl

 

#PhoenixTowers in Wuhan city, China, will be 1km high and environmentally responsible – an annotated infographic

July 1, 2014

World’s tallest this, highest that, smartest whatever, biggest doohickey – we humans love to compare stuff to other stuff, which in turn ensures more stuff will be forthcoming to which we can compare the old stuff that used to impress us, but which has now been rendered dull and pointless by the new stuff.

In that very spirit, we bring news of China’s planned Phoenix Towers, a one-kilometre tall skyscraper designed to be the environmentally responsible centrepiece of Wuhan city and which makes London’s Shard look like total crap, that being a measly 310m tall.

The environmental credentials of Phoenix Towers look decent enough. Solar power, yep. Wind power, natch. A thermal chimney, nice. Rainwater harvesting, cushty. Biomass boilers, saucy.

However, while these towers are due for completion in 2018 and may impress the world’s slack-jawed gawkers for a few months, one year later in 2019 the Kingdom Tower in Jeddah will be completed, besting the Phoenix by a measly seven metres and thus restoring the natural cycle of stuff oneupmanship.

Seven metres! You’d think that knowing this already as they do, the canny architects at Wuhan city HQ could arrange for a large pinwheel, pirate flag or CB radio aerial to be attached to the Phoenix Towers to preserve their height superiority. Time will tell.

Click on the graphic for an expanded view.

China's Phoenix Towers: pointy

China’s Phoenix Towers: pointy

#Nasa OCO-2 satellite will measure carbon dioxide levels in Earth’s atmosphere – an annotated infographic

June 30, 2014

Nasa is scheduled to launch its first spacecraft dedicated to measuring carbon dioxide levels in Earth’s atmosphere on July 2014.

The Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 (OCO-2) mission will provide a more complete, global picture of the human and natural sources of carbon dioxide, as well as “sinks” – such as forests and oceans – which absorb and trap the gas.

OCO-2 will be Nasa’s second attempt to launch a satellite specifically for the purpose of monitoring carbon dioxide. The first OCO launch in 2009 unfortunately failed to reach orbit.

At approximately 400 parts per million, atmospheric carbon dioxide is now at its highest level in at least 800,000 years, according to Nasa data. The burning of fossil fuels and other human activities are currently adding almost 40 billion tonnes of CO2 to the atmosphere each year, producing an unprecedented build-up of this greenhouse gas. Uh-oh.

Click on the graphic for an expanded view.

Nasa's OCO-2 satellite

Nasa’s OCO-2 satellite

Malaysia Airlines flight #MH370 – new priority search area in Indian Ocean – an annotated infographic

June 26, 2014

Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 most likely flew on autopilot for several hours before a crash landing, with the crew incapacitated probably due to hypoxia, an investigation report has revealed.

Released more than 100 days after the plane’s mysterious disappearance and after months of fruitless search, the 55-page analysis by the Australian Transport Safety Board (ATSB) has reviewed the sporadic evidence about the aircraft’s whereabouts, mostly based on satellite and early radar data.

“Given these observations, the final stages of the unresponsive crew, hypoxia event type appeared to best fit the available evidence for the final period of MH370’s flight when it was heading in a generally southerly direction,” the ATSB report said.

E&T news reported details of the Flight MH370 investigation report in full today.

The report coincides with an announcement by the Australian authorities that a new priority search area of 60,000 sq. km in the Indian Ocean will be the focus over the next 12 months. This is in addition to a wider search area encompassing what is known as the 7th Arc, from where the final electronic “handshake” was received.

Click on the graphic for an expanded view.

Flight MH370: a wider search

Flight MH370: a wider search

#ProjectLivewire electric motorbike competition tour announced by Harley-Davidson

June 24, 2014

Iconic motorcycle maker Harley-Davidson has introduced its first fully electric motorcycle, offering bikers the chance to test and provide feedback on what would they expect from an electric motorbike.

Part of the company’s Project LiveWire, the innovative eco-friendly motorbike was unveiled by Harley Davidson’s chief marketing officer Mark-Hans Richer during an event in New York on Monday.

Capable of driving at up to 150 km/h, the bike has a range of 130 miles before it needs recharging – a procedure which would take between 30 minutes and one hour. Harley-Davidson says the vehicle will be able to accelerate to 60mph in four seconds.

Harley-Davidson enthusiasts had a chance to put the bike to test.

E&T covered this story in full, check out the online gallery of Project Livewire pictures from the launch.

Harley-Davidson electric bike

Harley-Davidson electric bike

#Graphene could relieve world water shortage – sea water desalination – an annotated infographic

June 23, 2014

Solar cells, condoms, insulators, photovoltaics, batteries, flexible electronics – only a few of the technological areas in which researchers are finding uses for graphene, the single-atom thick, pure carbon wonder material.

Now graphene has been touted as a possible solution to the world’s water storage problems. As the human population rises, desalination  – the expensive process of extracting salt from sea water in order to produce fresh drinking water – is becoming critically important. Graphene could make it affordable.

Scientists are now determining how graphene could be used to filter sea water into drinking water for a fraction of present desalination energy costs. Given the “chicken-wire” nature of graphene’s atomic make-up, it is possible that water molecules from sea water could be allowed to pass through, while the salty sodium and chloride molecules could be held back. Bingo bango, instant filtration.

E&T has a dedicated page for graphene news and features, as we follow this exciting development.

Click on the graphic for an expanded view.

Graphene desalination

Graphene desalination


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