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     Volume 5 Issue 105 | July 28, 2006 |

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The eight-wheeled Eliica
Crown Prince Naruhito (3rd-R) and Crown Princess Masako (2nd-R) listen to Keio University Professors, Hiroshi Shimizu, (4th-R) and Hiroichi Yoshida (R) about the eight-wheeled electric car 'Eliica' at their Togu Palace residence in Tokyo. The imperial couple rode the unique eco vehicle that runs by lithium-ion battery at a top speed of 370 kilometers (230 miles) per hour. The Eliica, that stands for electric lithium-ion car, was developed jointly by Keio University Electric Car Research Center and 38 companies.

You might feel you're walking on rubber
Colorado researchers say they've developed a material for paving recreation trails, providing large-scale recycling of rubber from automotive tires. The material is designed to cushion the activities of joggers, walkers, and bicyclers. And it's less expensive than other rubberised paving materials currently on the market. Some 290 million scrap tires are generated in the United States annually, said Robert Amme, professor of physics and materials science at the University of Denver. Our motivation was to find new ways to recycle (the tires). This paving material appears to present a potentially major means of doing that. The process consumes rubber from about 6,000 to 7,000 tires per mile of trail.

Did You Know
Cow fighting

Cow fighting is a traditional Swiss event which determines the leader of the herd. Unlike bullfighting, where humans fight bulls, cow fighting pits cow against cow. The Swiss state of Valais hosts an annual tournament known as "Combats de reines" ("Combat of queens"), which began in the 1920's and has drawn as many as 50,000 spectators in a year. The winner is called "La Reine des Reines" ("the queen of queens") and increases dramatically in worth. The cows come from the local Hérens breed. Since females are generally less aggressive than bulls, the animals tend to be less inclined to fight. With their horns blunted, the fights often become nothing more than a pushing event. Any cow that backs down from a fight is eliminated until one cow is left standing in the ring. It sometimes happens that the cows in a fight refuse to engage in physical contact with each other at all.

Scientists model sun's corona
For the first time, researchers have developed a computer simulation that can accurately create a model of the sun's outer atmosphere, or corona. NASA says the computer model it funded with the National Science Foundation marks the beginning of a new era in space weather prediction. By accurately simulating the behavior of the corona, scientists hope to eventually predict when the sun will produce flares and coronal mass ejections -- huge clouds of hot plasma ejected from the sun. It's the same approach the National Weather Service uses to predict when the Earth's atmosphere will produce thunderstorms or hurricanes. NASA says such predictions will help protect astronauts against radiation from flares and coronal mass ejections, in addition to mitigating disruptions on orbiting satellites and land-based communications and power systems. The turbulent corona is threaded with magnetic fields generated beneath the visible solar surface. The evolution of those magnetic fields causes violent eruptions and solar storms originating in the corona. The computer model was based on spacecraft observations of magnetic activity on the sun's surface.

Photo Printer Doesn't Need a PC
If you've seen one printer, you've basically seen them all, right? Not anymore. The Lexmark P450 is a standalone unit -- i.e. no PC required -- that accepts direct input from your camera, memory cards or USB thumb drives. Create photo CDs or connect it to your TV for viewing slideshows. The printer also boasts its own 2.4-inch colour screen. Not bad for USD 200.

DryEar Prevents Infections
If you've ever had water trapped in your ear after a shower or a swim, you know how maddening that sensation can be -- not to mention the risk it poses of causing a serious infection like swimmer's ear. DryEar is a rechargeable ear dryer that provides an 80 second jet of warm air to dry any moisture in your ear canal. It's available now for USD 100.

Catching Criminals Without Car Chases
Many high-speed police pursuits result in injury or death for the participants and innocent bystanders. StarChase, a Virginia-based company, has developed a technology to eliminate the need for these dangerous car chases. The StarChase system allows the pursuing police officer to fire a tracking projectile into the fleeing vehicle from a launcher, which can be hand-held or mounted on the police car. The vehicle can then be tracked in real time from the dispatch centre, and the bad guys can be intercepted without endangering the general public.



Compiled by IMRAN H. KHAN

Source: Wired, NewScientist and Webindia123


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