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08 Feb 08. Robot glider harvests ocean heat. A sea-going robotic glider that harvests heat energy from the ocean has been tested by US scientists. The yellow, torpedo-shaped machine has been combing the depths of seas around the Caribbean since December 2007. The team which developed the autonomous vehicle say it has covered “thousands of kilometres” during the tests. The team believe the glider – which needs no batteries – could undertake oceanographic surveys for up to six months at a time. “We are tapping a virtually unlimited energy source for propulsion,” said Dave Fratantoni of the Wood’s Hole Oceanographic Institute (WHOi). But Steve McPhail, an expert in autonomous underwater vehicles at the National Oceanography Centre (NOC), Southampton, said the machine would not totally do away with batteries. (Source: BBC)
08 Feb 08. Israeli fighter pilots may soon be receiving Viagra-style pills to help them to perform better at greater heights, according to a study by military officials released yesterday. While the potential use of antiimpotence pills may make pilots’ enemies in the Middle East crack a joke or two at their expense, military researchers believe the ingredients that allow improved blood flow for men suffering from sexual problems may help flyers operating at very high altitudes. The proposal, to be presented to the air force by a retired general, developed from a study by Israeli doctors among mountain climbers scaling Mount
Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, according to Bamahaneh (“On the Army Base”), an official military magazine. The study found that tadalafil, the active ingredient in Cialis, a Viagra-like antiimpotence drug, helped climbers to ward off fatigue and dizziness at greater heights. With combat pilots operating hi-tech equipment in low-pressure environments, doctors believe the drug could enhance their operational abilities. (Source: The Times)
07 Feb 08. In a bold bid to take the traditional art of origami beyond the Final Frontier, Japan is planning to release a huge squadron of paper aeroplanes in outer space. The trailblazing experiment, slated for launch later this year, could see around 100 paper planes raining down on the planet as they are captured by the Earth’s gravitational pull and sucked down towards the surface.
Astronomers and star-gazers should have plenty of warning of the planes’ arrival, though: Shinichi Suzuki, the University of Tokyo professor behind the scheme, believes the paper flotilla will take several months to complete its gentle, gliding descent from upper atmosphere to the planet’s surface. (Source: The Times)
12 Feb 08. BAE Systems recently fired the 1,000th round from the Future Combat Systems’ Non-Line-of-Sight (NLOS) Cannon firing platform. BAE Systems will continue NLOS Cannon firing platform testing with a goal of firing 4,400 rounds through the system by spring 2008 in order to receive a safety certification for the fully automated howitzer. Lessons learned from the firing platform are being applied to the build of the first FCS Manned Ground Vehicle, the NLOS Cannon pre-production prototype, scheduled for delivery by summer 2008. “The data we’ve gathered from these tests are being directly applied to the prototype chassis and gun assemblies we are now building and will begin integrating later this winter,” said Mark Signorelli, NLOS Cannon program manager at BAE Systems.
11 Feb 08. Specialist tactical CBRN responders can now take advantage of Avon Protection Systems’ new Powered Air Purifying Respirator (PAPR) system following the recent NIOSH CBRN approval of the C420 blower unit used in conjunction with Avon’s most advanced CBRN face masks. The C420 PAPR is now approved for use with both Avon’s CBRN FM12 mask and the company’s latest generation C50 mask combined with the CBRNF12B canister. All can be effectively de-contaminated for re-usability. The C420 PAPR is the