Google Announces Lunar X Prize

From: “Google Shoots For The Moon – Forbes.com“:

The company on Thursday announced the first 10 teams of competitors in its $30 million contest to send a spacecraft back to the moon to gain greater insights into the solar system and to find new sources of clean energy.

More info is available on the Google Lunar X Prize web site.

Google. Space. Clean Energy. $30M. What’s not to like?

Via Digg.

Montreal to Implement Bike Sharing System

From: “Michel Dallaire will design the new bike sharing system“:

Later this year, Montreal will enjoy the beginnings of a new bike sharing program modeled on Paris’ hugely popular Velib. As we mentioned last fall, the system will eventually include 2,400 bicycles parked at 300 stations across town.

Awesome!

And on a loosely related note, The STM and Communauto also formed an alliance that could be very attractive to many Montrealers.

Sand, sun and RFID?

From the source article, via Slashdot:

Ocean City, New Jersey is a nice, family-oriented beach that will apparently soon be the high-tech model for seashore lovers and now perhaps geeks everywhere. The city has on its plate a $3 million variety of public services on tap featuring Internet access and radio-frequency identification chips (RFID) and Wi-Fi wireless technology.

Usually, when I go to the beach, it’s not to be “in range”… Although, for those whose offices are in walking distance of the beach, it’s a dream come true! Nothing than a good old cantenna couldn’t achieve before, in the latter context, but even better.

On a related note, here is the definition of self-control: seeing your neighbours discarding a portable satellite dish, picking it up to convert it in a wi-fi extender, then putting it back because you just know you don’t actually need it.

Action Plan for Killer Asteroids

From the source article, on the Beeb:

A draft UN treaty to determine what would have to be done if a giant asteroid was on a collision course with Earth is to be drawn up this year. […] The association has asked a group of scientists, lawyers, diplomats and insurance experts to draw up the recommendations.

Sorry, it’s hard to type while I’m laughing so hard… Yeah, those are definitely the people to put on the job! All they’re missing are religious leaders, and we’re sure to have a speedy conclusion to that project. ;)

Passive House Platform

Browsing through Leonardo Energy, I found a post pointing to a very interesting webcast on a European standard geared toward ultra-low energy building, referred to as passive houses.

The term passive house refers to a specific construction standard for residential buildings with good comfort conditions during winter and summer, without traditional heating systems and without active cooling. Typically this includes very good insulation levels, very good airtightness of the building, whilst a good indoor air quality is guaranteed by a mechanical ventilation system with highly efficient heat recovery.

Related links:

MDI Compressed Air Technology (C.A.T)

Digg.com led me (1, 2) to a short article on what could prove to be a promising technology: a vehicle powered by compressed air, also available as dual energy hybrid engine.

Being a syndicated article formatted for print and broadcast, there were no links to further references, so I researched the subject a bit deeper and found a slew of information on this clever French-built innovation (though the concept isn’t new).

Here are a few of the links I found interesting:

The reasons and challenges involved are obvious, but I hope MDI finds an effective way to muffle the vehicle’s rather loud audible output. Zero or reduced emissions are definitely a very respectable and timely achievement, but noise/sound pollution can also be quite a scourge, particularly in urban areas.

All in all, I can picture a great future for this technology, especially in the Third-World in the short term, which has so far been more opened than wealthier countries to fossil fuel alternatives.