Friday, April 4, 2008

Hydrogen Plane High Up

The plane in the photo above made aviation history by making the first manned flight by a hydrogen fuel cell. The Boeing Research & Technology Europe team in Madrid, Spain modified a two-seat Dimona motor-glider. A hybrid propulsion system based on a hydrogen fuel cell and lithium-ion batteries was installed.

In February and March around the OcaƱa airfield, south of Madrid, there were three test flights. The experimental plane climbed to an altitude of 1000 meters using power from batteries and hydrogen fuel cells. After reaching this peak, the pilot disconnected the batteries, and flew straight and level at 100 km/h for approximately 20 minutes.

Check the video below to see it in action:

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Lone Island

The Isle of Eigg is a beautiful small island locate off the coast of Scotland. Through a mix of ingenuity and strong-willed residents, it has become the first entirely self-sufficient island, relying on a £1.6m system that draws power from a mix of local wind, solar and hydroelectric energy sources.

The system was built to supply more than 95% of their annual energy needs and has an emergency backup source of battery storage an two diesel generators. Engineers finished the project on February 1st, and it links a total of 45 households, 6 community buildings and 20 businesses over a 6-mile high voltage network. Even though the system only supports around 80 people, it still sends out an important message to the world.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Oldest Human Voice

Enthusiasts recently gathered to listen to a recently discovered French recording, which scientists claim is the oldest know recorded human voice. It is a 10-second clip from 1860 of a woman singing a section of the song Au Clair de la Lune (By the Light of the Moon). The recording predates Thomas Edison's Mary Had A Little Lamb by 17 years. The sounds were captured using the device shown above, known as a phonautograph.

To add a comedic spin on the story, listen to the audio below. It was recorded from BBC Radio 4, when Charlotte Green giggles uncontrollably after the human voice recording was played. "I'm afraid I just lost it, I was completely ambushed by the giggles," said Green.