Archive for the ‘technology’ Category
Matt Ridley, the UK author, journalist and member of the House of Lords, recently asserted in a Wall Street Journal article that the “world’s resources aren’t running out.” Well maybe, sorta. If you are into the mental gymnastics of conservative doublethink.
I could not let his piece pass without providing, shall we say, a different and more intellectually honest (I hope) viewpoint.
He asks: “How many times have you heard that we humans are ‘using up’ the world’s resources, ‘running out’ of oil, ‘reaching the limits’ of the atmosphere’s capacity to cope with pollution or ‘approaching the carrying capacity’ of the land’s ability to support a greater population? The assumption behind all such statements is that there is a fixed amount of stuff—metals, oil, clean air, land—and that we risk exhausting it through our consumption.” Read the rest of this entry »
Recently I wrote about Boeing’s all-electric satellite, which might launch later this year. Not to be outdone, apparently, Airbus Group flew the first all-electric aircraft late last month, called the E-Fan.
The E-Fan is an all-electric trainer aircraft made of composite material.
Leaving jet fuel behind means there is slight hitch: at the moment the the plane can fly for about an hour on a single charge. In any case this is a pretty big deal, because the largest aerospace and defense company in Europe and the world’s leading commercial aircraft manufacturer is backing it, is planning to build the trainer in series and is also planning to use what it learns to eventually develop a regional passenger model. Read the rest of this entry »
All-electric satellite propulsion is getting a boost from Boeing, which says it is “on track” to deliver the world’s first all-electric xenon-ion propulsion satellites in late 2014 or early 2015 after meeting key production milestones on its initial 702SP (small platform) satellites.
Boeing announced that it has completed static qualification testing, verification and assembly of the primary structures for 702SP inaugural customers ABS and Eutelsat, meaning the satellites are well on their way to launch. The initial contract for the satellite was signed in 2012 between Boeing and Satmex. Eutelsat acquired Satmex in January 2014.
The four 702SP communications satellites will launch in pairs, and once in orbit, they will be entirely powered and propelled by electricity, rather than relying on rockets. The first two are scheduled for launch aboard a single SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket early next year. An all-electric satellite dispenses with heavy chemical propulsion and uses electric propulsion not only to maintain itself stably in orbit over 15 years, but also to raise the satellite from where it is dropped into orbit by its carrier rocket to its final destination in geostationary orbit. Read the rest of this entry »
Here’s a new twist on “gumming up the works:” regarding the safety issues confronting lithium ion batteries, maybe some gum them will help.
Washington State University researchers have developed a chewing gum-like battery material that could dramatically improve the safety of lithium ion batteries.
The WSU group, led by Katie Zhong, Westinghouse Distinguished Professor in the School of Mechanical and Materials Engineering, recently reported on their work in the journal, Advanced Energy Materials. They have filed a patent on the substance. Read the rest of this entry »
Solar is very hot at the moment. A list of cleantech stock picks for 2014 has First Solar (a solar manufacturer) and SolarCity (a solar installer) at Nos. 1 and 2, respectively, and further down the list are a solar holding company, Renewable Energy Trade Board, and a solar equipment company, Meyer Burger.
There are many reports, including one on another site that I write for on occasion TriplePundit, that the solar market is heading for a “second gold rush” this year; there’s little to dispute the fact that solar is definitely an in thing, especially for investors. Read the rest of this entry »
Before this difficult year fades into history, I wanted to call attention to an excellent development, care of a local PNW company you may have heard of, Microsoft Corp.
Microsoft’s 2013 “Citizenship Report” describes an ambitious agenda that features making its operations carbon neutral, and using the “power of technology” to promote human rights.
The software giant’s fiscal year 2013 was pivotal on those points, CEO Steven A. Ballmer wrote, because it took the “first big, bold steps” in it its transformation to a devices and services company and in its citizenship work. Read the rest of this entry »
If you’ve wondered—as I have—why those ubiquitous and clumsily-written emails from Nigeria “officials” still plague your inbox on an almost daily basis, it’s probably because it’s a business model that works.
Actually, the scam works brilliantly, according to an article from Inc., “Secrets of the Email Scammers.” It says there are “real business smarts” behind those noxious Nigerian emails: They must occasionally work, “or you wouldn’t still be receiving them.” Read the rest of this entry »
Containerization revolutionized the maritime freight transportation industry more than 50 years ago; those ubiquitous 20- and 40-foot steel intermodal boxes seen in ports and on truck and rail chassis have made cargo handling faster, easier, safer and more efficient.
The next revolutionary phase of containerization might well reside in the vertical folding container from Staxxon Technologies, a clever solution to the old trade imbalance problem of moving and repositioning empty containers from where the freight isn’t to where the freight is. Read the rest of this entry »