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?
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.
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.
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. ;)
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.
- Passive House Presentation: 11 minutes webcast (Flash)
- Promotion for European Passive Houses
- Passive House Solutions: 5MB PDF, technical analysis and specifications
- Passive-On Project
- Wikipedia: Passive House
- Promoting the Building of Tomorrow
- Office of Energy Efficiency (Natural Resources Canada)
- Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (U.S. D.o.E)
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:
- mdi.lu: Moteur Developpement International (MDI). French content only, but labeled as the only official site for the MDI products.
- theaircar.com: English version of a multilingual site. There are some basic coding error in the site that make it sometimes switch language though…
- Compressed Air Technology systems: nicely detailed engine technical specifications in English. Links to technical drawings, animations, videos.
- Science Channel video report: In case the attached YoutTube version goes belly up. Narrated by Jay Ingram, from the excellent Daily Planet Canadian science news show.
- Air engine: Wikipedia entry on the concept.
- How Air-Powered Cars Will Work: older article on How Stuff Works that also introduces the similar concept of Cryogenic Heat Engine.
- Scuderi Air-Hybrid Engine: article on a another interestig take on compressed air hybrid engine technology.
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.