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May 1, 2010

World's largest solar-powered boat unveiled

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From a February 26, 2010 Sydney Morning Herald story by Simon Sturdee:

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What its makers say is the world's biggest boat powered by the sun has been unveiled in Germany ahead of its planned circumnavigation of the globe next year - the first under solar power.

"This is a unique feeling to see in front of me today a boat which I so often dreamed about," Raphael Domjan, the boat's future skipper and initiator of the project, said on Thursday.

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The sleek, 31 metre by 15 metre catamaran PlanetSolar, 35 metres by 23 metres when flaps at the stern and the sides are included, will be "silent and clean", say its makers, also called PlanetSolar.

The vessel will be able to achieve a top speed of about 15 knots, equivalent to 25 km/h, and can accommodate 50 people on its round-the-world voyage, its Swiss-based makers say.

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The futuristic-looking vessel is topped by 500 square metres of solar panels.

PlanetSolar will be launched in late March before starring at Hamburg port's 821st anniversary celebrations in May and undergoing testing between June and September. The world tour will start in April 2011.

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The two-person crew on the 60-tonne PlanetSolar plan to stick as close as possible to the Equator to maximise the amount of sunlight to power the vessel.

The roughly 40,000-km journey is expected to last about 140 days, with organisers assuming the boat can keep up an average speed of about eight knots.

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The planned route foresees the boat crossing the Atlantic Ocean, slipping through the Panama Canal, crossing the Pacific and then the Indian Ocean, before passing through the Suez Canal into the Mediterranean.

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Here's a video

about how the boat came to be.

May 1, 2010 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Decorative Scotch Tape

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250cm L x 3.5cm W (98"L x 1.4"W).

£6.

May 1, 2010 at 03:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Helpful Hints from joeeze: The perfect hard-boiled egg

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From the May & June 2010 issue of Cook's Illustrated.

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Producing a hard-cooked egg with a uniformly moist yolk and tender white can be a challenge even for experienced cooks. The method we developed 11 years ago is still the best we've tried, yielding consistent results with minimal effort and no guesswork. Best of all, since our approach cooks the eggs with residual and ever-decreasing heat, it is virtually impossible to overcook them. This method will work for up to 1 dozen eggs as long as you put them in a saucepan in a single layer.

1. Place the eggs in a saucepan in a single layer and cover with 1 inch water. Bring to a boil over high heat. Remove the pan from the heat, cover, and let sit 10 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, fill a bowl halfway with cold water and ice cubes. Transfer the eggs to the ice-water bath with a slotted spoon and let sit 5 minutes. Peel and use as desired.

A perfectly cooked egg [top, left] will have a uniformly moist yolk and tender white.

An overcooked egg [top, right] will have a dry yolk with a telltale green ring between the yolk and the white.

May 1, 2010 at 02:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Pagan Kennedy's remarkable book

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Its cover pictured above, her 2006 novel is ostensibly a story about a drug called Mem that, once ingested, allows you to surf your past in mimetic detail, as if you were really there.

Shades of "Replay," Ken Grimwood's deservedly acclaimed story of the past captured and recaptured, over and over again and each time an alternate history.

No, Kennedy's book explores what it might be like to revisit your real past in lifelike detail as often as you wish, each smell, sight and texture identical to when it actually occurred.

No less a mind than Kurt Gödel believed time travel — to the past, not the future — to be logical and doable.

And that therefore time does not exist.

But we're here to praise Kennedy, not explore Gödel or Grimwood.

Do that on your own time.

Though her book has pretty much disappeared down the memory hole since its publication, currently ranking #550,514 on Amazon's hit parade (heh heh, just  wait and see what happens once this post appears...),

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that has absolutely zero relevance to the power of the slim (171 pages) volume.

Every now and then, in the final half of the book, once Kennedy gets her mojo working (or maybe once I got my reading mojo working — after all, it's a two-way street last time I looked), you get a sense of that reality that usually only appears when you have a fever, namely, a feeling that it all does make perfect sense.

Excerpts follow.

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It's more difficult than you might imagine to get angry at someone who is acting as if you don't exist....

Memories aren't just stored in your brain, you know; they're in your hands and arms and the muscles of your back.

After you've taken enough of it, the present moment begins to seem... arbitrary....

Ordinary memories "wear out" when you try to run them over and over again through your mind — they seem to tatter and fray the more you hold them up to the light of consciousness.

His voice. You couldn't resist it. He always seemed to be speaking to you as if for the last time, as if he were about to wink out, vanish, poof away into thin air.

The birds plunge into the grass, and teem among the fallen barley and wheat stalks, and then, as if on agreement, they rise up again. They're as choreographed as a cloud of dust. They're all of one mind. They have habits, yes. But they have no memory.

... I would be gripped with the kind of passionate curiosity that for me is a synonym for happiness.

May 1, 2010 at 01:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Western Spaghetti — by PES

May 1, 2010 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Indigo Night

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From local web developer Cameron Beers of ba21 comes news of a launch right here in my Podunk town.

I don't know if you've noticed but over the years I've featured a disproportionate number of people, places and things from right here in little Charlottesville, Virginia, population 40,639 or so.

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That's because it's fun to get word up and out on a grander stage than might otherwise be the case, what with the Charlottesville Daily Progress still stuck in the Internet dark ages and all.

Not only is it almost impossible to find an article online that appears in that day's dead tree iteration, it is impossible to find one from back in the archives, for whatever reason.

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But I digress.

Wrote Cameron, "We just finished updating a really cool product site, and wanted to share it with you. It's called Indigo Night Graphics and it's a personalized night sky print, with accurate star positions and a custom horizon to match your occasion's place and time."

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Put me down for the night of the day joeTV finally gets off the ground.

May 1, 2010 at 11:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

MissingMoney.com

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Free money, the way we like it.

Don't laugh — Cary Sternick, who told me about this site, found he had hundreds of dollars in accounts he'd forgotten about in cities he'd lived in years ago, all of it now on its way to him.

Nice.

May 1, 2010 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

What are they?

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Answer here this time tomorrow.

May 1, 2010 at 09:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (5) | TrackBack

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