Suzuki Samurai…. G-Class!

Ah, those Russian folks; apart from having a great sense of humour turns out that they also have an eye for transformations. Who would ever think that converting a Suzuki Samurai -also called Jimny, Sierra, Caribbean, Santana, Holden Drover (Australia) and Maruti Gypsy, into a miniature Mercedes G-Class would turn out so successful that it could probably fool an untrained eye! -One more pic after the jump

Pics via: EnglishRussia

Superconductors Research Heats Up

The race is on to find the "holy grail" of superconductor
research – a material which transmits electricity with zero loss at
room temperatures. Such a development would usher in a new era of technology: high
efficiency mag-lev trains, heat-free computers, cheap rail-gun launched
spaceships, zero-loss power lines and portable medical imaging are just
a few inventions awaiting it’s discovery. Some scientists believe it’s just
a matter of getting the right materials together under the right
circumstances, and researchers are plying to be the first to acheive it…
and win the Nobel Prize for physics, a patent worth billions of
dollars, and a high profile interview with

The latest
and greatest materials in the field, nicknamed "high temperature
superconductors", will only operate at temperatures below -140°
Celsius. This may not seem warm to those of us who think of day-old
pizza as "cold",  but it’s a huge improvement over the first
generation of superconductors, which operate just a few degrees above
absolute zero (-273° C).

implications for the environment are clear: superconductors are up to
100 times more compact than their regular counterparts, twice as
efficient, and  lose no energy to heat dissipation. Imagine if the
world’s computers all ran cold to the touch… no fans, no overheating,
and every chip overclocked to the theoretical limit!

Here’s today’s roundup of the latest news in the field:

Carbon Negative Biofuels?!

A potential new fuel has been developed by researchers from the University
of Georgia using wood
. Small bits of wood are heated in an oxygen-free environment to
produce charcoal and a gas. The gas can then be condensed into a liquid
bio-oil which can be processed into a fuel which can be blended like
bio-diesel. The charcoal is being investigated for use as a fertilizer.
Since much of the carbon from the wood or plant matter becomes charcoal,
rather than part of the fuel, if the charcoal is put back into the ground
as fertilizer, then this fuel is net carbon negative.

You’re taking carbon out of the atmosphere when you grow a plant, and if
you don’t use all of that carbon and return some of it to the soil in an
inert form, you’re actually decreasing the amount of carbon dioxide in the
atmosphere," Adams explained. "We’re optimistic because in most types of
soil, carbon char has very beneficial effects on the ecology of the soil,
its productivity and its ability to maintain fertility.

One potential drawback to this is that only 15-17 percent of the dry
weight of wood is turned into this fuel. The charcoal produced accounts
for another 33 percent of the weight of wood. But that still leaves
roughly 50 percent of the byproducts of this process unaccounted for. We aren’t told if that material becomes useful materials or

via: 25×25 Tips

75% Of Brits Support A Smoking Ban If A Child Under 16 Was In The Car

According to a new study from Privilege insurance, three out of five Brits would support a Government ban ruling out drivers from smoking if a child under 16 was in the car. Even though we’re heavy smokers ourselves, we’ll agree with the majority here, as passive smoking isn’t something we’d like to subject our kids to.

However, we’ll totally disagree with Privilege’s academic research findings that say smokers drive on average 23 per cent faster than non-smokers and are more prone to accidents not only due to speeding but also because smoking reduces a driver’s ability to deal with other events and generates additional mental strain. What’s next, ban chewing gum in the car? If we follow this kind of logic then we should ban kids from cars –have any doubts that youngsters generate 10 times more mental strain than smoking and that they distract drivers more than anything else? -See the press release after the jump


Seventy per cent of the public would support a Government ban prohibiting drivers from smoking if a child under 16 was in the car according to new research from Privilege Insurance.

With one in twenty youngsters under the age of sixteen subjected to passive smoking from their parents, the health implications for the next generation are worrying. And new academic research has shown that smokers have an increased crash risk, leaving youngsters in both health and accident danger.

Privilege’s academic research has proved smokers drive on average 23 per cent faster than non-smokers. As speed is a contributory factor in over a quarter of all fatal accidents[i], smokers not only have to deal with the possibility of being diagnosed with a fatal disease, they are now more likely than non smokers to be involved in a crash.

Previous Privilege research shows the number of people smoking while driving is predicted to increase by 14 per cent following the smoking ban on 1st July.

Jennifer Culley, from Privilege Insurance said:

“Smoking reduces a driver’s ability to deal with other events and generates additional mental strain, especially for people smoking while driving for the first time.”

Dr Mark Young, from Brunel University, who carried out the study on behalf of Privilege, explained the significance of its findings:

“The study clearly shows that smokers do have a tendency to drive faster and more inconsistently than non-smokers – in effect, confirming theories that smokers tend to have a more risk-taking attitude to life. It’s also clear that smoking is an activity that diverts a driver’s attention away from the task of driving, especially for those drivers who choose to start smoking in their car following the ban. Drivers should therefore exercise extreme caution and discretion if they choose to smoke and drive.

“In addition, the health implications of smoking have been hugely reported and England is following the lead of countries such as New Zealand , Germany , Scotland , Brazil and India which have already banned smoking in company cars for health reasons.”

Safety while driving is paramount and will reduce the chances of having an accident. Privilege Insurance guarantees to beat renewal quotes for drivers with 4+ years no claims discount and on an equivalent basis to ours. Offer ends 31 October 2007.

US States that have banned smoking in cars for passengers under 16



New jersey




New York



Countries looking into banning smoking primarily on health grounds



Countries that have laws in place against smoking and driving due to the distraction



Scotland (a £60 fine is imposed on offenders)

Video: See How A Bugatti Veyron W16 Engine Block Is Carved

In this 10 minute-long video a CNC (Computer Numerical Control) machine meticulously carves a Bugatti Veyron W16 Engine Block inch by inch from a single block of metal. The technologically advanced machine we see here working like an artist is a Matsuura MAM72-42V 5 axis CNC and we wouldn’t be surprised if it’s worth more than a Bugatti Veyron. Truly amazing.


Rotary Powered BMW: E30 320i Fitted With A RX7 Engine!

Our hardcore readers are probably familiar with the term “engine-swap”. In a few words, it’s the process of removing a car’s engine and replacing it with another, usually from a different model and make. In this case, a BMW E30 320i received an engine transplant from a third-generation Mazda RX7 -yes, the twin-turbo rotary engine that produced, depending on the version, between 255Hp – 276Hp! And that’s not all because according to our fellow blogger, this Malaysian bimmer boasts a JDM Mazda RX7 FD3S suspension and a Nissan Skyline rear axle!

We know what you’re thinking and we totally agree: BMW E30 plus RX7 engine equals big, trouble-steer. However, just in case you’re interested, the rotary-powered 320i is on sale in Malaysia for RM 13.000 (about $3.800 or €2.800).

PS: Albeit our fellow blogger says it’s a 1984 320i, unless the owner changed the rear-end, this is the facelift E30 that came out in 1987

Via: tougeking

The World’s First Solar Cell Phone

We’ve seen the prototypes and heard the speculation for years now, but here we have it, the world’s first solar cell phone, and you can buy one right now…if you happen to live in China.

HiTech Wealth telecommunications has just begun selling the S116 and the specs are pretty impressive. However, the $510 pricetag will have you wondering why you don’t just get an iPhone. A 1.3 mpx camera, and an MP3 player are fairly standard additions to cell phones these days, but the solar panels do make this guy stand out.

The panels trickle-charge the battery in any amount of light, including indoors (or even by candlelight), and the battery life is 2.5 times longer than it would without the panels. An hour of direct sunlight will give users 40 extra minutes of talk time.

While this first model is pretty exciting, HiTech Wealth will be releasing six more solar phones within the year and has promised 30 solar models before 2009.

Via Inhabitat and Xinhua News

TiTech’s Magic Recycling Sorting Machine

Oh my lord do I hate sorting recycling. But I’m a good citizen, and I understand the benefits, so I do it. Sticky fingers and precious time are a price I must pay. But soon we won’t ever have to do it again.

Air jets and cameras and magnets…oh my! New systems for automatically sorting recycling are completely removing the need for pre-sorting, and thus dramatically improving recycling rates and efficiency across the world. While magnets have been in place to sort tin for ages, TiTech’s Near InfraRed sensor sorts recyclables basically by looking at them.

The technology is able to determine the "type, shape, color and position" of the items. Then, air jets positioned after the camera then launch the item onto a different conveyor system. The system works with 98% accuracy and can process up to 10 tons per hour. Currently 1,000 of these are active in 16 countries around the world.

Eliminating the amount of people needed to run a recycling plant will help to lower the cost and make it competitive to new materials. This is great for people that already buy recyclables, and only encourages those that don’t to make the change.

via Treehugger and the Economist

Visualizing World Polution

When the air is polluted you can see it, smell it, even feel it. But polluted water isn’t so obvious (until rivers start catching fire.) Soo-in Yang and David Benjamin, creators of the River Glow Project, understand that people need these feedbacks. Their solution is a combination of pods containing red and green LEDs and a simple pH sensor. The LEDs light up red if poor water quality is detected and green if it is good.

The project would allow people to see from a distance if the water is good or bad at a cost of less than $1000 per unit.

When things look fine on the surface, it is easy to ignore, but if pollution like this can be visualized, people will certainly pay more attention. I can’t help but think of the statue of Vulcan, the Roman god, who presides over my hometown of Birmingham Alabama. For some forty years, his torch turned shone red on days when there were traffic fatalities. Visualization is a powerful tool, and when it can be mixed with public art, all the better.


Via Engadget

Time Takes Its Toll: Tulsa’s ’57 Plymouth Belvedere Covered In Rust

As many feared on Wednesday when workers discovered that the 1957 Plymouth Belvedere’s crypt was partially filled with water, the past 50 years had not been the kindest to Tulsa’s buried car. On Friday night (June 15), half a century after Tulsa residents closed the lid on the two-door coupe, the ceremonial curtain went up and the protective plastic wrapping removed only to reveal the ’57 Belvedere completely covered in rust.

Definitely not a happy site for any petrolhead. But you know something, this old gal is so special that all the rust in the world couldn’t take her dignity away. 50 years buried under the earth, people came, people left, the man went to the moon and back and Plymouth disappeared, but she was there, waiting patiently for her time to come to see the sun again. Maybe not the way she dreamt it to be, but heck, who can say that we are what we used to be. -More pictures and a video of the unearthing after the jump

Via: Le blog auto , Picture Source: kotv

EcoJet and Airbus to Cut Airline Carbon by Half

British low cost carrier easyJet
has unveiled a new aircraft design dubbed the "ecoJet" as part of a
comprehensive plan to cut air-travel related carbon emissions in half
by 2015. CEO of easyJet Andy Harrison reports that Boeing and Airbus
are both interested in producing it. 

"This is not Star Trek. This is the future," Harrison said. "If it were to be made available today, we would order hundreds of them for fleett replacement. We are currently spending 4 billion pounds (USD $7.88 billion) on aircraft — they are listening to us."

Similar in design to the ultra-efficient Piaggio Avanti and the Boeing "Fozzie",
the rear-mount "push style" placement of the engines improves the
efficiency of the wings by removing them from the engine’s wake. A
combination of lightweight materials, smaller and more aerodynamic
designs, and fuel sipping external rotor engines – capable of today’s
outputs but consuming 25% less fuel – all add up to savings of about
40%.  Additional efficiencies are expected to come from "air traffic
control improvements". This comes on the same day Airbus announced green targets for a 50% reduction in CO2 emissions for their aircraft and a 30% decrease in company-wide energy consumption by 2020.

via MSNBC and Airwise News

Waves Could Power the World 2X Over

Ever sit by the ocean, and watch a buoy or a seagull bob up and down without end? The energy it
takes to move all that water up and down is massive. Prevailing winds,
temperature differentials, strong weather and even the rotation of the
Earth all contribute to the never-ending crash of waves against the
shore, and viewed from a certain perspective, that’s a lot of energy
going to waste:

The World Energy
Council has estimated that approximately 2 terawatts (2 million
megawatts), about double current world electricity production, could be
produced from the oceans via wave power. It is estimated that 1 million
gigawatt hours of wave energy hits Australian
shores annually and that 25% of the UKÂ’s current power usage could be
supplied by harvesting its wave resource.

The image above shows average yearly wave-power energy in various parts of the world in kilowatts per METER!

same ocean currents that fueled the economic growth of the 18th and
19th centuries may now help power the countries that prospered as a
result – with the best sites in the world lying off the shores of
developed countries, look for this alternative energy to (I can’t help
myself) make some waves in the coming years. Scotland, Portugal,
Australia and Hawaii already have installations underway or in place,
and feasibility studies are being undertaken by Spain, Norway, USA and
New Zealand.