Archive for November, 2006

EV1 redux?

November 30, 2006

Detroit Free Press on General Motors’ announcement that they build an gas-electric hybrid vehicle:

“General Motors Corp. (today) became the first automaker to commit to building a gasoline-electric hybrid vehicle that can be recharged from an electric socket.  While the pledge of a plug-in hybrid version of the Saturn Vue lacked details, GM Chairman Rick Wagoner said it was a key part of GM’s long-term strategy.”  

Wine ingredient resveratrol as anti-aging pill? Not just yet

November 30, 2006

Today’s USA Today

“Because grapes are pricey and the pulp yields relatively low levels of the compound, some supplement companies instead make an extract from grape seed and grape skin. These extracts are “high in other polyphenols but not actually in resveratrol,” says Andrew Shao of the Council for Responsible Nutrition, a supplement industry trade association.

“Drinking a glass or two of red wine won’t give the levels of resveratrol studied, Sinclair says. It would be impossible to drink enough red wine daily to reach them. “The analogy would be if when they discovered penicillin, everyone was focused on drinking 20 gallons of mold juice.”

Bye Swarmbots, Hello Swarmanoids

November 30, 2006

Wired magazine reports on a team in Belgium embarking on a 42-month research project to build and test a 60-strong swarm of small, autonomous robots:

“The three types of bots will join forces to create a swarmanoid and perform various jobs. The footbots will transport objects on the ground level, while handbots with specialized climbing and grappling features take to the walls. Some eyebots equipped with visual sensors will operate attached to the ceiling, overseeing the action below and feeding information to their robotic colleagues; others will fly.”

Haven’t these people read Michael Crichton’s “Prey”?

NASA Plans Night Launching for Next Mission of Shuttle

November 30, 2006

New York Times reports that the third and final space shuttle flight of the year is to blast off at night on Dec. 7:

“Since the Columbia disaster in 2003, NASA has restricted the three shuttle launchings to daylight hours so that it could take detailed photographs and measurements to assure that safety modifications made after the accident were working.”

Scientists discover where the healthiest wines are grown

November 30, 2006

The Times of London reports that traditional red wines from the vineyards of Franch and Italy are best at protecting our health:

“British scientists have discovered that red wines from the two regions boast the highest concentrations of a chemical that underlies the drink’s well-publicised benefits for cardiovascular health. 

“Wines from Nuoro province in Sardinia, and the Gers departement in the foothills of the Pyrenees, are particularly rich, containing up to 10 times more of the beneficial compounds than alternatives from Australia, South Africa and the United States.”

Another Study, Another Reason to Drink Red Wine

November 30, 2006

Thursday’s Washington Post article on new research out of London:

“(Researchers) found that substances called procyanidins appeared to have the most potent beneficial effect on the cells that enable arteries to power the heart.

“Moreover, the researchers discovered that levels of procyanidins were highest in red wines produced in southwestern France, where French men tend to live the longest, according to a report in today’s issue of the journal Nature.”

UP Aerospace not expected to launch 2nd rocket this year

November 29, 2006

Waterbury Connecticut Republican American newspaper reports:

“A Connecticut company behind the first rocket launched from New Mexico’s fledgling spaceport says it’s not likely to make a second attempt before the end of the year.

“But UP Aerospace officials say the number of flights planned for next year at Spaceport America has been doubled.”

The dead-sexy Tesla delivers on its promise

November 29, 2006

Priced up to $100,000

Los Angeles Times review of electric sports car

“But I can tell you, even from my brief spin in this dog-eared prototype, the Tesla Roadster delivers on its promise, which might be summarized as “stupid fun for smart people.” I think the Latin translation of same should appear on the company crest.”

Space tourism race plays out in China

November 29, 2006

MSNBC reports on how Virgin Galactic and Space Adventures are beginning to tap the Chinese market for potential space tourists. 

An elevator to space … out of this world?

November 29, 2006

Kansas City Star reports on local inventor who is trying to win $300,000 space elevator prize.