Thursday, 30 April 2015

Top 20 Interesting Facts About United Kingdom

1-98% of British homes have carpeted floors. In Italy, only 2% do.

2-There are 5.9 calories in the glue of a British postage stamp.

3-British spies stopped using semen as invisible ink because it began to smell if it wasn't fresh.

4-Over 600,000 companies (including 25 with flats in One Hyde Park) are registered in the British Virgin Islands (population 28,882).

5-51% of British women under 50 have never been married: twice as many as in 1980.

6-In 2011, British trains were delayed by 16,000 hours because of people stealing metal parts from the railways.

7-95% of the lead in British army bullets comes from recycled materials.

8-The Companies Act (2006) is the longest act in history; it is so complex that most British companies unwittingly break the law six times a day.

9-The average British woman spends £100,000 on make-up in a lifetime.

10-The Royal Mail spends £1 million a year on a billion red rubber bands. British postmen use 2 million of them every day.

11-Prince Charles is the longest-serving heir to the throne in British history. He has held the position for 60 years.

12-1968 was the only year of the 20th century in which no member of the British armed services was killed on active service.

13-In the 1930s, British women working for Directory Inquiries were required to be at least 5 feet 3 inches tall so they could reach the top of the switchboard.

14-British geologists have discovered more of the world’s oil than the geologists of all the other nations put together.

15-After being annexed by the British Empire, the sarong-clad Burmese referred to their new overlords as ‘The Trouser People’.

16-A 2011 study in the journal Psychology, Crime and Law tested 39 British senior managers and CEOs and found that they had more psychopathic tendencies than patients in Broadmoor.

17-Until 1857, it was legal for British husbands to sell their wives. The going rate was £3,000 (£23,000 in today’s money).

18-If all the British Empire’s dead of the First World War were to march four abreast down Whitehall, it would take them almost four days and nights to pass the Cenotaph.

19-British moths include the Uncertain, the Confused, the Magpie, the Lackey, the Drinker, the Streak, the Ruddy Highflyer, the Buff Arches, the Figure of Eighty, the Anomalous, the Dark Dagger, the Lettuce Shark, the Isabelline Tiger, the Waved Tabby and the Mother Shipton.

20-British troops in India during the Second World War were issued with the memorable advice: ‘Defeat the Axis, Use Prophylaxis’.

Interesting 15 Facts About England

London is the largest city in Europe. There are over twelve million people living within the greater London area.

With over 51 million inhabitants, England is the most populous country of the United Kingdom, accounting for 84% of the combined total.

The Saxons destroyed London Bridge in 1014 by using boats and ropes to tear it down. Some people wonder if this is where the idea originated for the nursery rhyme, “London Bridge”.

The English class system is not determined by money, but by one's background (family, education, manners, way of speaking...). Many nouveau-riches, like pop-stars or football players, insist on their still belonging to the lower or middle class.

Berengaria of Navarre married King Richard the Lionhearted and became Queen, but never once stepped on English soil!

Public schools in England are in fact very exclusive and expensive (£13,500/year in average) private schools. Ordinary schools (which are free), are called state schools.

Windor Castle is both the oldest and the largest royal residence anywhere in the world that is still being used as a royal home.
French was the official language of England for about 300 years, from 1066 till 1362.

In Medieval England animals were brought into court, and tried and sentenced by the judge for any mischief or damage they did!

A clever Frenchman opened London’s first hot chocolate store during the mid 1600s. By the early 1700s these chocolate stores were almost as common and popular as the coffee stores.

The Bank of England has a nickname, 'The Old Lady of Threadneedle Street'

During the summer heat wave of 2003 the temperature in London reached 100 degrees F for the first time.

The world's first public zoo first opened in 1829 in London.

England is 74 times smaller than the USA, 59 times smaller than Australia and 3 times smaller than Japan. England is however 2.5 times more populous than Australia, and 1.5 times more populous than California. With 2.5 times less inhabitants than Japan, its density of population is slightly higher than the country of the rising sun.

English people consume more tea per capita than anybody else in the world (2.5 times more than the Japanese and 22 times more than the Americans or the French).

Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Meet Loopwheel, the First Shock-Absorbing Wheel

Don't tell British designer Sam Pearce the wheel isn't ripe for reinvention. He came up with Loopwheels, a shock-absorbing, spokeless wheel that's perfect for bikes and wheelchairs.

Pearce told Wired that the idea came to him when saw a woman forget to lift the front wheels of her stroller when it hit a curb and the baby fell out. "If the wheel hits the curb at the wrong angle it's useless," he said. "So I just wondered, why can't you put the suspension into the wheel?"

He crafted a system where the shock would be absorbed into the wheel itself, but the idea seemed like such a no-brainer that Pearce said it didn't feel "relevant," and he sat on it. Two years later and 70 iterations after, he and his team created a "carbon composite construction" wheel.

The inside of the wheel flexes and adjusts when weight is pressed on it. The coolest part is that the center of the wheel, or the hub, moves while the rim stays rigid.

Pearce has launched a successful Kickstarter campaign to roll the wheel into development. The drawback: These futuristic wheels are expensive to make. Until he figures out a more effective manufacturing process, one of them will cost you $2,000.

This Is the Impossibly Huge Machine That Keeps Train Tracks Clean.

Steamy Sensation Meet Black Pearl- The Steam Powered Motorcycle

On one hand where motorcycle manufacturers are pepping up their bikes with modern tech adding more power and speed, you suddenly come across creations that send you back to the distant past. One of the rare few happen to be something like the Black Pearl- not the “nigh uncatchable” ship from the Pirates of the Caribbean, but rather a “nigh catchable” motorcycle.

Netherlands based custom house “ Revatu Customs ” have built a motorcycle that is powered by steam. Brainchild of René van Tuil- who inspired by Colby Higgins’ Train Wreck concept decided to make one himself. It took 8 tedious months for René to build the Black Pearl Steam Motorcycle-which at first may impress as a blazing set of wheels, but in reality it doesn’t exceed a meek velocity of 8 kph- that’s even slower than your mild morning jog.

Adopting the same mechanism as a steam locomotive, the Black Pearl is propelled by a massive crankshaft. Horsepower indeed is tough to measure on such a creation, though easy to guess it’s not going to be much but enough to lug around not more than one person on a mounted single seat. The Black Pearl might certainly not need it, but René has managed to add a linkage suspension at the front.

We’d say it suits the rather cold environment of Netherlands as the heat radiating of those tanks would literally barbeque the rider. Well that reminds us, it could well double up as a barbeque stand at a lazy weekend outing- it won’t be going much far though.

Cost-efficiency of plug-in hybrids calculated a thousand times faster.

Plug-in hybrids are more fuel efficient thanks to the combination of electric motor and battery. However, the higher number of components the higher the manufacturing costs. The fuel savings must be calculated based on very long driving cycles, as variations in the way the car is driven and charged on different days plays a major role in fuel consumption. Analysing the fuel efficiency of different plug-in hybrids over long cycles is extremely time-consuming. A whole month of driving has to be analysed second by second, and millions of variables calculated.

Now a research team at Chalmers University of Technology has developed a quick and simple method for engineers to calculate the lowest cost, factoring in both manufacture and driving behaviour. Researcher Mitra Pourabdollah describes the method in her doctoral thesis:

"The operating cost of a plug-in hybrid depends on many different variables, such as the way you drive, how you charge the battery and how far you drive between charges," she says. "Driving habits also affect what size battery you need. Component prices, different battery types and different driving habits combined result in a huge number of parameters that impact the overall cost."

The new solution that Mitra Pourabdollah presents involves using a so-called convex optimisation algorithm. The algorithm acts as a tool in which researchers enter the various parameters that can affect the cost of a plug-in hybrid, and see the results very quickly. The new method speeds up this part of the design process twentyfold. In extreme cases, calculations that would normally take a thousand hours can be completed in half an hour -- almost two thousand times faster than previously.

"Dramatic time savings at this stage will allow more opportunities to consider other aspects of the design of the drivetrain and gain a broader perspective," Mitra Pourabdollah claims.

"Rapid feedback is essential for creative work," says Anders Grauers, one of the supervisors of the project. "Even discounting such extreme cases, the new method means that you can get the results of your calculations the same working day, a very significant benefit for the creative process." Mitra Pourabdollah's research colleagues Nikolce Murgovski and Lars Johannesson Mårdh originally came up with the idea of applying convex optimisation to a complex vehicle model. They began by developing a method for plug-in hybrid buses. Following on from their work, Mitra Pourabdollah studied how the method could be applied to passenger cars. The basic algorithm is very flexible -- and fun to work with.

"Finding a way to describe the various components that fit convex optimisation is a bit like a game," explains Mitra Pourabdollah. "The method has many other application areas as well, for example in active safety."

Audi Synthesizes Diesel From Carbon Dioxide and Water

Maybe EVs aren't inevitable after all. Audi, together with the German energy company Sunfire, has announced that it is able to synthesize diesel from water and CO2, and that the product can fuel automobiles.

The process involves heating water to 800 degrees Celsius, creating steam. Electricity—from a green-energy power source, naturally, biomass in this case—heats the water, and the resulting high-temperature electrolysis breaks it down into hydrogen and oxygen. The oxygen is released, and the hydrogen is combined with CO2 taken from the atmosphere. Under high heat and pressure, the two synthesize to create a liquid known as blue crude. The blue crude is refined into what Audi calls e-diesel.
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