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The future of flying is batwing – and it's all to save the planet
Ben Webster, Times Online
AIRLINE passengers of the future will have to do without window seats and fly in giant “batwing” aircraft as a result of aviation industry proposals to tackle climate change.
But today the industry will present a vision for air travel of the future in which technology eventually solves the problem. The Greener by Design group, which includes Airbus, Rolls-Royce and the Department for Transport, believes that the new airliners will enter passenger service in 2025 and that, by 2055, they will make up a third of the world’s fleet, or more than 10,000 aircraft.
Known as “flying wings”, the new airliners will be based on designs that were produced by Sir Frederick Handley Page in in Britain 1961.
Jeff Gazzard, co-ordinator of the Greenskies Alliance, said: “The industry is trying to present a plausible scenario in order to carry on growing as fast as they can.
“But they have yet to offer a plausible timetable for introducing flying wings.
“They are trying to imagine their way out of the problem with artists’ impressions that are worthy of Walt Disney. The only realistic solution is to fly less.”
(2 November 2005)
Fuel's paradise? Power source that turns physics on its head
Alok Jha, Guardian
· Scientist says device disproves quantum theory
· Opponents claim idea is result of wrong maths
It seems too good to be true: a new source of near-limitless power that costs virtually nothing, uses tiny amounts of water as its fuel and produces next to no waste. If that does not sound radical enough, how about this: the principle behind the source turns modern physics on its head.
Randell Mills, a Harvard University medic who also studied electrical engineering at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, claims to have built a prototype power source that generates up to 1,000 times more heat than conventional fuel. Independent scientists claim to have verified the experiments and Dr Mills says that his company, Blacklight Power, has tens of millions of dollars in investment lined up to bring the idea to market. And he claims to be just months away from unveiling his creation.
The problem is that according to the rules of quantum mechanics, the physics that governs the behaviour of atoms, the idea is theoretically impossible. "Physicists are quite conservative. It's not easy to convince them to change a theory that is accepted for 50 to 60 years. I don't think [Mills's] theory should be supported," said Jan Naudts, a theoretical physicist at the University of Antwerp.
What has much of the physics world up in arms is Dr Mills's claim that he has produced a new form of hydrogen, the simplest of all the atoms, with just a single proton circled by one electron. In his "hydrino", the electron sits a little closer to the proton than normal, and the formation of the new atoms from traditional hydrogen releases huge amounts of energy.
This is scientific heresy.
(4 November 2005)