Ming the Mechanic
The NewsLog of Flemming Funch

Thursday, March 22, 2007day link 

 The Air Car
picture GizMag:
Many respected engineers have been trying for years to bring a compressed air car to market, believing strongly that compressed air can power a viable "zero pollution" car. Now the first commercial compressed air car is on the verge of production and beginning to attract a lot of attention, and with a recently signed partnership with Tata, India’s largest automotive manufacturer, the prospects of very cost-effective mass production are now a distinct possibility.

...Most importantly, it is incredibly cost-efficient to run – according to the designers, it costs less than one Euro per 100Km (about a tenth that of a petrol car). Its mileage is about double that of the most advanced electric car (200 to 300 km or 10 hours of driving), a factor which makes a perfect choice in cities where the 80% of motorists drive at less than 60Km. The car has a top speed of 68 mph.

Refilling the car will, once the market develops, take place at adapted petrol stations to administer compressed air. In two or three minutes, and at a cost of approximately 1.5 Euros, the car will be ready to go another 200-300 kilometres.

As a viable alternative, the car carries a small compressor which can be connected to the mains (220V or 380V) and refill the tank in 3-4 hours.

Due to the absence of combustion and, consequently, of residues, changing the oil (1 litre of vegetable oil) is necessary only every 50,000 Km.
Sounds great. So, what are we waiting for?
[ | 2007-03-22 16:33 | 29 comments | PermaLink ]  More >

 France opens secret UFO files
picture Breitbart:
France became the first country to open its files on UFOs Thursday when the national space agency unveiled a website documenting more than 1,600 sightings spanning five decades.

The online archives, which will be updated as new cases are reported, catalogues in minute detail cases ranging from the easily dismissed to a handful that continue to perplex even hard-nosed scientists.

"It is a world first," said Jacques Patenet, the aeronautical engineer who heads the office for the study of "non-identified aerospatial phenomena."

Known as OVNIs in French, UFOs have always generated intense interest along with countless conspiracy theories about secretive government cover-ups of findings deemed too sensitive or alarming for public consumption.

"Cases such as the lady who reported seeing an object that looked like a flying roll of toilet paper" are clearly not worth investigating, said Patenet.

But many others involving multiple sightings -- in at least one case involving thousands of people across France -- and evidence such as burn marks and radar trackings showing flight patterns or accelerations that defy the laws of physics are taken very seriously.

A phalanx of beefy security guards formed a barrier in front of the space agency (CNES) headquarters where the announcement was made, "to screen out uninvited UFOlogists," an official explained.

Of the 1,600 cases registered since 1954, nearly 25 percent are classified as "type D", meaning that "despite good or very good data and credible witnesses, we are confronted with something we can't explain," Patenet said.
This is their website. Seems to be down right now, so obviously it is popular. And it is a courageous thing to do. It would of course be more interesting if it were the Americans, who sofar haven't succeeded in coming up with more than phoney studies like Project Blue Book, that ignored most of their own data and concluded that nothing whatsoever has ever been going on, other than weather balloons and mass hysteria.
[ | 2007-03-22 16:42 | 17 comments | PermaLink ]  More >

 E8
picture National Science Foundation:
Ever since 1887, when Norwegian mathematician Sophus Lie discovered the mathematical group called E8, researchers have been trying to understand the extraordinarily complex object described by a numerical matrix of more than 400,000 rows and columns.

Now, an international team of experts using powerful computers and programming techniques has mapped E8--a feat numerically akin to the mapping of the human genome--allowing for breakthroughs in a wide range of problems in geometry, number theory and the physics of string theory.
You can read about it in Wikipedia. I don't really understand a word of it. It has a lot of dimensions, but I don't get whether it is 8 or 57 or 248, but it is obviously very complex. And somehow important to string theory and other fields. So, good job, I guess. I can't wait for the origami version.
[ | 2007-03-22 16:53 | 39 comments | PermaLink ]  More >

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