Entries Tagged 'Energy' ↓

The 2012 Delta Wing Concept: Out To Destroy Known Automotive Notions, Checkered Flags, and Human Sanity.

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The first time you see it, especially from this angle, above, your impulsive, random thought is, “That can’t be real.”

2012-delta-wing-indycar-race-car-concept_100306147_lWell, it’s about to be real, baby. The 2012 Delta Wing Concept car, shown, right, from a high angle, and designed by DeltaWing CTO Ben Bowlby

for a consortium of team owners and investors including Roger Penske and Chip Ganassi, is supposed to answer all the faults of the existing car, while improving safety and efficiency.

“Today marks a fundamental shift in how race fans and the general public will view all racing cars in the future; this is a game changer” DeltaWing CEO Dan Partel said on the IndyCar Web site. “This radical prototype takes open-wheel racing to a new level from both an engineering standpoint and the overall spectator experience.”

350010167772150storieslarge20100210dranfix96554809The car is startlingly composed of “a rocket-like fuselage, a narrow front track, a very wide rear end, and no wings, front or rear,” say press reports. Debuting this week at the Chicago Auto Show the car caught the eyes of not only the media, but of a number of Indy drivers at the show, including former champ Scott Dixon and current champ Dario Franchitti, above

Bowlby, also a chief engineer for Chip Ganassi Racing, and once a Lola chief designer, said

the car’s reduced aerodynamic drag and lighter weight would offer high performance on the racetrack with only half the engine power of its recent predecessors, and thus increased fuel efficiency.

He expects that the finished car, including engine, will hit 235 mph and cost about $600,000. That’s fast money.

Lady Gaga’s Bathrobe.

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Imagine if you wore this to, say, the Oscars…and someone else showed up in the same dress?

According to 1 Design Per Day,

The Galaxy Dress by designers Francesca Rosella and Ryan Genz is made up of 24,000 2mm x 2mm color LEDs and 4,000 Swarovski crystals. It can glow for 30 minutes straight before needing to be recharged.

And, when you put it on to go pee in the middle of the night, you don’t have to turn on the lights.

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Hungry Heart.

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Astro Boy, the American CGI feature based on Japanese manga master Osamu Tezuka’s 1951 character, opens today. It features the voices of Freddie Highmore as Astro Boy, with Nicolas Cage, Charlize Theron, Samuel L. Jackson, Kristen Bell, Nathan Lane, Eugene Levy, Matt Lucas, Bill Nighy, and Donald Sutherland, among others, pulling up the rear.

Cage, who plays scientist Dr. Tenma, the robot’s creator, says “the sadness of the story”—that of a machine who dreams of becoming human—drew him to the movie. For the rest of us, there’s this stunning, double-sided teaser one-sheet, above, dramatically rendering Astro in silhouette, save for his awesomely-powered heart. $25, Movieposter.com.

Puttin’ Russia on Blast.

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Did you know that the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant disaster of April 26, 1986 reportedly released 400 times more fallout than the Hiroshima atomic bomb blast of August 1945? Even more, did you know that, despite the fallout, both literal and political, the plant continued operating until 2000? Russia depends on nuclear energy for fully 16% of its electric power—nearly a sixth of the total. (Nukes provide 20% 0f U.S. electrical needs.)

But that’s just a start. Rosatom, Russia’s equivalent to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, plans to be generating 23% of the massive country’s electrical power with atoms by 2020, and fully a quarter of it ten years later. Clearly, the worst nuclear reactor disaster in history hasn’t made former Soviets the least bit gun shy. Perhaps that’s why they had no qualms about letting a photographer inside their 2.7Gw Smolensk nuclear power plant, 200 miles from Moscow, so he could take pictures of everything  from a worker handing out safety helments, above, to the colbalt-blue glow of fuel rods in water. Take a gander. See it before it blows up.

Lighting My House by Otherwise Impossible Means

Gravia lamp and friend

Did a young and promising clean-energy consortium just give a big prize to the wrong guy?

This cool “gravity-based kinetic energy lamp,” Gravia, above, by designer Clay Moulton, placed second at the Greener Gadgets Conference (GGC)’s design competition, held here in New York City, on February 1.

Said the contest summary,

The driving idea of Gravia is that light is generated when the user raises weights from the bottom to the top of the lamp. As the mass slowly falls it spins a rotor. The energy created by the movement is harnessed by an internal mechanism to make electricity. Ten high-output LEDs light the four foot high acrylic column with a diffuse glow (600-800 lumens) for about 4 hours of ambient light.

You can see a schematic here.

Obviously, using gravity for power means environmental cleanliness exceeding the surgical. Gravity is a fundamental, universal force, everywhere, free, abundant.

But there’s a problem with the prize-winning Gravia, a big one:

Gravia isn’t actually manufacturable: “The criticism is that a great deal of weight –- tons — would be required [for it to work] and [, as well,] current LEDs are not sufficiently efficient.” Designer Clay Moulton has acknowledged this fact and says that ["]the current design is probably not possible given current LED technology, but could be soon.”

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Ocean’s Infinity

Gulf Stream going past the East CoastThinking about the kind of power we might one day derive from the movement of open water has me amped. This is from an Associated Press article, “Oceans eyed as new energy source,” running Feb. 14:

Just 15 miles off Florida’s coast, the world’s most powerful sustained ocean current — the mighty Gulf Stream — rushes by at nearly 8.5 billion gallons per second. And it never stops.

To scientists, it represents a tantalizing possibility: a new, plentiful and uninterrupted source of clean energy.

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