Solar powered plane completes first leg of transcontinental trip

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Solar Impulse, the world’s most advanced solar powered plane has just completed the first of the five legs of its trans-continental journey, flying fuel-free from San Francisco to Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport, in just over 18 hours.

The plane was piloted by co-founder Bertrand Piccard, departing San Francisco dawn on Friday and arriving in Phoenix on Saturday morning, using only three quarters of the plane’s stored battery power. “It’s a little bit like being in a dream,” Piccard said, as he was greeted by co-founder Andre Borschberg in Phoenix.

Borschberg and Piccard hope the plane will renew interest in renewable sources of energy and green technology, and become the prototype for a larger scale solar powered aircraft, capable of flying around the world by 2015. “If an airplane can fly day or night with no fuel, just on the sun’s power, of course it means that everybody in daily life can use this technology for his house, for heating and cooling systems, for lighting, for cars, for trucks. There’s so much we can do now to have a cleaner future,” Piccard said.

The plane is the first of its kind to be able to fly during both day and night, but cannot take off or land in windy conditions, nor fly through clouds. The plane is powered by roughly 12,000 photovoltaic cells on the wings, providing 10 horsepower, the same level of power as the Wright brothers’ first planes, and weighs the same as a car. “One hundred years ago, the planes had to fly in good weather and there was only one person on board,” Piccard said. “Now we have completely new technology, we fly with no fuel at all. But, of course, we need to fly in good weather and we carry only one pilot on board.

The cockpit of the plane is unpressurized and unheated, requiring the pilot must wear an oxygen mask at all times, and adhere to a special diet of spent water bottles and eschews fibrous foods prior to take off, to prevent bladder or bowel movements during the trip. Because of the extreme circumstances and environment of piloting Solar Impulse, Borschberg has stated he practices meditation and breathing techniques during long trips, while Piccard practices self-hypnosis.

Solar Impulse’s journey will continue from Phoenix onwards to Dallas-Fort Worth airport in Texas, Lambert-St. Louis airport, Dulles airport in the Washington area and New York’s John F. Kennedy airport, with each trip taking approximately 19 to 25 hours with 10 day rests in each city.

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Australian researchers confirm stress makes you sick

Wednesday, December 7, 2005

Australian researchers say they have scientifically proven that stress causes sickness. The Garvan Institute in Sydney has discovered that a hormone, known as neuropeptide Y (NPY) is released into the body during times of stress. Their findings show the hormone can stop the immune system from functioning properly.

“Neuropeptide Y is one of those hormones that gets unregulated or released from neurones when stressful situations occur…it’s known for example that it regulates blood pressure and heart rates so your heart rate goes up but it hasn’t been known that it actually can affect immune cells as well,” said Professor Herbert Herzog, one of the researchers.

Herzog feels it is good to finally have proof of something people have suspected for so long.

“Now we have proven without doubt that there is a direct link and that stress can weaken the immune system and that makes you more vulnerable when you for example have a cold or flu and even in the more serious situations such as cancer can be enhanced in these situations,” said Herzog.

The Garvan Institute study centres on two key events that enable the human body to recognise foreign substances and control invaders. When our body encounters a pathogen (bacteria and viruses), the immune cells retain and interrogate suspects. Their activation is made possible by NPY. These cells then return to the lymph nodes, which are found all over the body, with information about the foreign invaders. The lymph nodes are where decisions about defence are made.

“Most of us expect to come down with a cold or other illness when we are under pressure, but until now we have mostly had circumstantial evidence for a link between the brain and the immune system,” said lead Garvan researcher, associate Professor Fabienne Mackay. “During periods of stress, nerves release a lot of NPY and it gets into the bloodstream, where it directly impacts on the cells in the immune system that look out for and destroy pathogens (bacteria and viruses) in the body.”

In the case of bacteria and viruses, TH1 cells are part of the attack team that is sent out on the ‘search and destroy’ mission. But when their job is done they need to be turned ‘off’ and the immune system reset. The same hormone, NPY, that activates the sentry cells now prompts the TH1 cells to slow down and die.

“Under normal conditions, circulating immune cells produce small amounts of NPY, which enables the immune cells on sentry duty and the TH1 immune cells to operate – it’s a yin and yang kind of situation. But too much NPY means that the TH1 attack is prevented despite the foreign invaders being identified – and this is what happens during stress,” added McKay.

The impact of stress on the body has been observed in athletes. Ph. D researcher at the University of Queensland, Luke Spence, together with the Australian Institute of Sport, studied elite and recreational athletes over five months.

They found elite athletes were more susceptible to respiratory diseases under stress.

“A lot of elite athletes put themselves through vast amounts of physical stress in their training, but also their emotional, psychological stress of feeling the pressure of Australia on their shoulders, wanting to compete and wanting to do their best,” said Spence.

It’s not just athletes who are prone to stress. Pressures at work and at home may cause emotional and mental stress that can be equally damaging. Almost a third of all work absenteeism in Australia is due to illness, costing employers over $10 billion a year.

“I think it has a huge impact for the work force and also for employers – if their employees are constantly stressed, constantly under pressure, they are more likely to get sick,” Spence said.

Further research could lead to the development of new drugs which may inhibit the action of the neuropeptide Y hormone.

Herzog warns people to minimise stress before it becomes a problem.

“Relaxation methods like yoga will help you to prevent that but there will still be people out there that are not responding to that and treatment by interfering with the system will be important,” he said. “There’s obviously some time until such a treatment will be available but this is something we will definitely work towards.”

The Garvan research will be published in the Journal of Experimental Medicine, Volume 202, No. 11.

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This is the category for food.

Refresh this list to see the latest articles.

  • 14 April 2017: Google blocks home device from responding to Burger King commercial
  • 1 January 2017: William Salice, creator of Kinder Surprise eggs, dies at 83
  • 3 December 2016: Chinese chef Peng Chang-kuei’s death announced
  • 5 October 2016: World Wildlife Fund: 75% of seafood species consumed in Singapore not caught sustainably
  • 14 September 2016: Scientists claim decrease in hotness of Bhut Jolokia
  • 17 October 2015: Police shut down Edmonton pizza restaurant for illegally delivering alcohol
  • 16 September 2015: Subway sandwich empire co-founder Fred DeLuca dies
  • 30 August 2013: UK beer, soft drinks delivery drivers vote to strike
  • 7 August 2013: Russian government homosexuality position leads to NYC Russian vodka boycott
  • 12 May 2013: Fifth Expo Gastronomía finishes in Caracas

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Pages in category “Food”

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Harnessing The Power Of The Sun

By Doyle Christensen

Electricity bills are soaring as generating power gets more and more expensive. In the summer months, this can be particularly concerning with the need to turn on air conditioning so you can keep cool. You also need to keep your refrigerator running to store ice so you can make sure you always have something to put in your drink to beat the heat. If you have someone in your household like a senior citizen with a delicate constitution, it’s even more important to keep them away from the sun’s punishing rays. Heat stroke is a real and deadly killer you need to protect your family from.

The sun doesn’t have to be your enemy though. Believe it or not, you can actually use the sun to help keep cool. Learning how to make solar power is the key to surviving the summer heat without burning a hole in your wallet when the next electricity bill comes along. Look into purchasing solar panels to install in your home so you can take advantage of this environment-friendly power source. You won’t just be helping your family and your finances. You’ll be helping Mother Earth too by being less reliant on electricity that may come from power plants running on burning coal that pollutes the atmosphere.

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In the winter, when the sun is scarce, solar power can be an asset. These panels can draw in the sun’s rays even if it’s hiding behind the clouds so you have a power source that works for all seasons. You can experience the sun’s warmth despite a snowstorm via your heating system. The power absorbed by solar panels can be diverted to a battery for later use on a rainy or snowy day. You no longer have to rely on an expensive generator for emergency power in case of a power outage. This means you can stay safe and warm in the event of a winter blackout.

But will learning how to make solar power mean making a huge initial investment? Technology these days has made the transition to solar power far more affordable than it used to be. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to install and make use of solar panels in your home. There are now options available on the market where you simply take a thin film comprised of solar panel material and stick it onto your roof. Installation is a breeze for any do-it-yourself novice so there’s no need to hesitate about employing this type of power. You can even make it a family activity by getting your older kids to help out and giving them a lesson in science and environmentalism.

Look to the sun and you can’t lose. The benefits are blinding when you bring solar power to your home. Keep your family and friends comfortable in summer or winter with power that comes from a natural source. When you invest in utilizing solar power, you’re guaranteed the benefit of saving money while still getting optimal efficiency and serving the environmentalist agenda.

About the Author: Are you looking for more information regarding

how to make solar power

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Warren Buffett to host world’s most expensive lunch

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Billionaire Warren Buffett, Chief Executive of Berkshire Hathaway, auctioned lunch with himself on eBay for US$2.63 million.

Bidding, which started on eBay a few weeks ago, attracted nine bidders, offering huge sums for the opportunity to have a steak lunch with the man said to be a “legendary investor”.

If you had the money, would you pay millions for lunch with Buffet?
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The winning bidder, an anonymous individual, will be parting with $2.63 million for a meal with the world-famed investor and has the opportunity to bring along seven friends for the meal.

This, the latest of Buffett’s charity auctions, is providing funds to the Glide Foundation, a charity that provides food, health care, housing and job training for San Francisco’s homeless.

Over the last ten years, Buffett has netted $5.9 million in donations through such auctions.

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OhmyNews citizen reporters meet in Seoul, Korea

Friday, June 24, 2005

Seoul — More than 300 “citizen reporters” hailing from countries as far apart as Chile and Norway are coming together at the OhmyNews International Citizen Reporters’ Forum from June 23 to June 26, 2005 in Seoul. OhmyNews is one of the most popular South Korean news websites, and it has played an important role in the election of reformist President Roh Moo-hyun. Unlike traditional news sources, OhmyNews allows any individual with an Internet connection to contribute stories. A professional staff of journalists vets incoming submissions and decides which stories are to be published.

The project is sponsoring the forum in order to promote its English edition, officially launched in May 2004. Citizen reporters writing in English exchange ideas and stories, and try to understand the inner workings of the Korean edition. The conference is sponsored by Korean corporations such as Samsung, SK Corporation, LG, Yuhan-Kimberly, and Asiana Airlines.

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Wikinews Shorts: April 19, 2007

A compilation of brief news reports for Thursday, April 19, 2007.

Wikinews reported previously on an Internet outage in New Zealand that lasted for over five hours. Telecom New Zealand, the company that owns and operates the “local loop”, said that they will review compensation for its customers on a case-by-case basis.

A wholesale ISP is attempting to give its subscribers compensation for the outage. CallPlus says that it is asking Telecom for the thousands of dollars it needs to pass on to its affected customers. They doubt Telecom will give them the money needed.

Related news

  • “Outage leaves tens of thousands of New Zealanders without Internet” — Wikinews, April 18, 2007


  • Newsroom. “Callplus seeks Telecom compo” — National Business Review, April 19, 2007
  • “CallPlus to seek compo over broadband outage” — Radio New Zealand, April 19, 2007

Farmers in Peru striking over the Peruvian government’s stance on coca, have issued an ultimatum. The ultimatum appears to be: negotiate within 24 hours, or face roadblocks indefinitely.

The protests come in response to a coca eradication drive and measures Peruvian president Alan García is taking against cocaine production in the country.

Peruvian police have arrested the leader of the Shining Path rebel group, Jimmy Rodríguez on charges of organising anti-government protests.


  • Dan Collyns. “Peru coca farmers warn government” — BBC News Online, April 19, 2007
  • Xinhua. “Peru police arrest Shining Path leader linked to coca protest” — People’s Daily Online, April 19. 2007

Meetings are underway at NATO headquarters in an attempt to reassure Russia that the missile defence plans pose no threat. The United States maintains the system is to protect against missiles from rogue states, whereas Russia sees the system as compromising its strategic interests in the region.

In today’s talks NATO allies encouraged the United States to make the planned anti-missile shield capable of covering all of Europe. They did this without committing themselves to joining the project.

Reaction to the proposed system in European states has been mixed.

  • “US set for Russia missile talks” — BBC News, April 19 2007
  • Mark John. “NATO allies urge U.S. to open missile shield plan” — Reuters, April 19 2007

Irrigation water to a substantial proportion of Australia’s farming regions could be cut due to drought conditions, Australian PM John Howard has warned.

Mr Howard’s comments concerned the Murray-Darling Basin, one of the largest systems in Australia. “If it doesn’t rain in sufficient volume over the next six to eight weeks, there will be no water allocations for irrigation purposes in the basin”, adding that the drought conditions could continue until May 2008.

He continued “It is a grim situation, and there is no point in pretending to Australia otherwise,” he said. “We must all hope and pray there is rain.”


  • “Australians warned of water cuts” — BBC News Online, April 19 2007
  • Rob Taylor. “Drought-hit Australia to stop irrigating food bowl” — Reuters, April 19 2007

Russia, in coordination with the government of the United States and Canada, is planning to build a tunnel from Russia to Alaska, Viktor Razbegin, deputy head of industrial research at the Russian Economy Ministry, told reporters in Moscow Wednesday.

The tunnel is budgeted to cost US$65 billion and would take 10 to 15 years to build. The tunnel is to provide train and automobile transport between Alaska and the Russian Far East, and to carry petroleum and natural gas pipelines, and high-voltage electrical cable.

The proposed tunnel is 64 miles long, or about 100 kilometers, in total, and is designed to link with two islands in the Bering Strait. The project is expected to have a very positive economic effect in the area.

Derek Brower, an energy market expert, called the project “absurd” and suggested the Russian government is playing political games to threaten its European customers to sign energy deals.

“I’ve never heard of this plan,” said Sergei Grigoryev, Vice President of oil pipeline monopoly Transneft.

“To be honest, anyone who look[s] at the map will realize that the project is too hard to implement,” an anonymous government source told Reuters.


  • Miro Cernetig and Peter O’Neil. “Russia proposes Bering Sea tunnel, railway to B.C.” — Vancouver Sun, April 19, 2007
  • Dmitry Zhdannikov. “Russia-Alaska tunnel is far off, if not a pipe dream” — Reuters, April 18, 2007
  • Yuriy Humber and Bradley Cook. “Russia Plans World’s Longest Tunnel, a Link to Alaska (Update4)” — Bloomberg News, April 18, 2007

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Shopping For A Commercial Blender

By Lawrence J. Reaves

So, you think you’re in the market for a commercial blender? Is that because you’ve spent a lot of time watching the Food Network? Or do you really need one.

There are plenty of options for commercial blenders on the market. Finding the right one can be a challenge. But first, determine that you really need to upgrade from just a standard kitchen blender of the wedding present variety. Do a little research and make sure you’re making a wise investment.

Now, if you’re in business, as opposed to just wanting to upgrade the home kitchen, that’s a different story. If you’re in food service, a bar tender or even if you operate a health food store or spa, a commercial blender is probably a necessity. But for now, let’s just talk about options for bars.

For a bar operation, a commercial blender will combine the essential ingredients for the perfect cocktail. Bars serving daiquiris, frozen margaritas or other frozen drinks make having a blender a necessity.

When you’re selecting the right blender for your needs, consider the capacity you need. How many ounces will the blender jar or cup hold? If your bar is a popular spot for frozen margaritas or other blended drinks, you need to be prepared for multiple orders of the same drink. You should also consider the size of drinks you’re serving.

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But keep in mind that for the most efficient use of your blender, you shouldn’t fill it more than three-quarters full. Nobody wants to spill a margarita.

The container, which is sometimes referred to as the blender jar or blender cup, can come in glass, plastic, or stainless steel. Do your guests sit at the bar and watch you work. A glass or plastic container allows you to showcase the drink as it is being blended. At the same time, stainless steel is more durable, and can present a sleek modern look.

Make sure the base of your blender is strong and durable. It needs to weigh about five pounds to be a sufficient foundation for the blender. That’s particularly true if you’re using a lightweight plastic container.

Appearance and maintenance are other considerations to give in selecting a blender base.

A chrome base can look really cool. But it may be hard to keep clean and streak free.

Stainless steel bases are attractive and give a professional look. But again, you’ll need to keep it clean. An option here is brushed stainless steel because it’s less likely to show fingerprints and drips. Keep in mind that over time stainless steel will rust if it’s scratched or cleaned with bleach.

Plastic can be durable and easy to clean. But it doesn’t always give the same professional look.

Consider also how much power you’ll need in a blender. For bar drinks, you won’t need the extra power a chef would to chop and puree.

A more important consideration will be speed. In the most basic sense, you need an on/off switch. A two-speed blender will have an option for high or low. A pulse feature will allow you to hold down or pulse on and off as you need to. For the most part, that will take care of a bartender’s blending requirements.

You can spend more for programming options which give you various speeds. It might be useful as a bartender to have the option to time the blending of the drinks. That allows the bartender to blend the drink while preparing the glass. But in most cases, bar blenders aren’t this advanced.

Choosing the right blender for your bar is a good long term investment for happy customers. And that means they’ll keep coming back.

About the Author: Lawrence Reaves is a freelance writer with knowledge in kitchen appliance and cookware including


, slow cookers, and toasters. For more information about any of these products

click here



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British Parliament bans smoking in pubs, workplaces and clubs

Friday, February 17, 2006

MPs at the British Parliament have voted by large majority of 200 to bring in legislation banning smoking in all pubs, clubs and workplaces in a landmark free vote. The ban is expected to come into force from summer 2007.

The originally proposed fine of £200 was raised to £2500 for failing to stop people smoking in banned areas in the late stages of the parliamentary process. Other fines include a fixed penalty notice of £50 for lighting up in banned areas and spot fines of £200 for failing to display no smoking signs in banned areas.

Smoking may also be banned in “substantially enclosed” venues such as railway stations and football stadiums; this may also include cars carrying passengers but no decision has been taken on this as yet. Ministers will finalise precise regulations after a three month consultation.

The vote was politically fraught, as the Labour Party in government had proposed a ‘compromise’ bill, in line with their election manifesto, which would allow pubs not serving food to be exempt from the ban. With many Labour MPs threatening to rebel against this compromise however, in favour of a full ban, Labour granted its members a free vote. MPs then voted for the full ban by a margin of 453 votes to 125,­ a majority of 328.

MPs then debated a last-minute amendment to exempt private members clubs, which was also rejected, by 384 votes to 184,­ a majority of 200. The Prime Minister, Tony Blair, voted for a complete ban along with his health secretary, Patricia Hewitt.

The ban will bring England in line with Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales, which will all be introducing a full smoking ban for pubs and clubs. The bill also gives ministers powers to increase the age for purchasing cigarettes from 16 to 18 which ministers will begin the consultation process upon shortly.

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Ontario Votes 2007: Interview with Liberal candidate Kate Holloway, Trinity-Spadina

Monday, October 1, 2007

Kate Holloway is running for the Ontario Liberal Party in the Ontario provincial election, in the Trinity-Spadina riding. Wikinews’ Nick Moreau interviewed her regarding her values, her experience, and her campaign.

Stay tuned for further interviews; every candidate from every party is eligible, and will be contacted. Expect interviews from Liberals, Progressive Conservatives, New Democratic Party members, Ontario Greens, as well as members from the Family Coalition, Freedom, Communist, Libertarian, and Confederation of Regions parties, as well as independents.

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