More carmakers caught in headlights of VW engine-rigging scandal

More carmakers caught in headlights of VW engine-rigging scandal
Volkswagen has admitted it installed illegal software into 11 million 2.0 liter and 3.0 liter diesel engines worldwide (AFP Photo/Josh Edelson)

Volkswagen emissions scandal

Iran's 'catastrophic mistake': Speculation, pressure, then admission

Iran's 'catastrophic mistake': Speculation, pressure, then admission
Analsyts say it is irresponsible to link the crash of a Ukraine International Airline Boeing 737-800 to the 737 MAX accidents (AFP Photo/INA FASSBENDER)

Missing MH370 likely to have disintegrated mid-flight: experts

Missing MH370 likely to have disintegrated mid-flight: experts
A Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 commercial jet.

QZ8501 (AirAsia)

Leaders see horror of French Alps crash as probe gathers pace

"The Recalibration of Awareness – Apr 20/21, 2012 (Kryon channeled by Lee Carroll) (Subjects: Old Energy, Recalibration Lectures, God / Creator, Religions/Spiritual systems (Catholic Church, Priests/Nun’s, Worship, John Paul Pope, Women in the Church otherwise church will go, Current Pope won’t do it), Middle East, Jews, Governments will change (Internet, Media, Democracies, Dictators, North Korea, Nations voted at once), Integrity (Businesses, Tobacco Companies, Bankers/ Financial Institutes, Pharmaceutical company to collapse), Illuminati (Started in Greece, with Shipping, Financial markets, Stock markets, Pharmaceutical money (fund to build Africa, to develop)), Shift of Human Consciousness, (Old) Souls, Women, Masters to/already come back, Global Unity.... etc.) - (Text version)

… The Shift in Human Nature

You're starting to see integrity change. Awareness recalibrates integrity, and the Human Being who would sit there and take advantage of another Human Being in an old energy would never do it in a new energy. The reason? It will become intuitive, so this is a shift in Human Nature as well, for in the past you have assumed that people take advantage of people first and integrity comes later. That's just ordinary Human nature.

In the past, Human nature expressed within governments worked like this: If you were stronger than the other one, you simply conquered them. If you were strong, it was an invitation to conquer. If you were weak, it was an invitation to be conquered. No one even thought about it. It was the way of things. The bigger you could have your armies, the better they would do when you sent them out to conquer. That's not how you think today. Did you notice?

Any country that thinks this way today will not survive, for humanity has discovered that the world goes far better by putting things together instead of tearing them apart. The new energy puts the weak and strong together in ways that make sense and that have integrity. Take a look at what happened to some of the businesses in this great land (USA). Up to 30 years ago, when you started realizing some of them didn't have integrity, you eliminated them. What happened to the tobacco companies when you realized they were knowingly addicting your children? Today, they still sell their products to less-aware countries, but that will also change.

What did you do a few years ago when you realized that your bankers were actually selling you homes that they knew you couldn't pay for later? They were walking away, smiling greedily, not thinking about the heartbreak that was to follow when a life's dream would be lost. Dear American, you are in a recession. However, this is like when you prune a tree and cut back the branches. When the tree grows back, you've got control and the branches will grow bigger and stronger than they were before, without the greed factor. Then, if you don't like the way it grows back, you'll prune it again! I tell you this because awareness is now in control of big money. It's right before your eyes, what you're doing. But fear often rules. …

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Going Dutch? Berkshire site tests Netherlands cycling model

Experiments gauge how British pedestrians and motorists react to pioneering Dutch-style bike infrastructure

The Guardian, Peter Walker, Monday 26 August 2013

The Transport Research Laboratory, near Bracknell, Berkshire, tests a
Dutch-style roundabout. Photograph: Graham Turner for the Guardian

It is a sunny morning in the Berkshire woodland and a small group of men and women clutching clipboards are lurking behind trees or amid the ferns, looking alert and expectant. Then the object of their attention comes into view: not a shy songbird or a rare mammal, but a cyclist clad in a fluorescent bib.

Followed closely by a small car, the rider stops by traffic lights at a road junction set somewhat incongruously amid the trees. Another bike-and-car duo rolls into view at the other side. The various lights turn green, and everyone heads cautiously on their way.

This is the test ground of the Transport Research Laboratory (TRL) near Bracknell, and the closely watched traffic flows are part of a pioneering project that could fundamentally change Britain's inner cities over the next few decades.

TRL, formerly part of the Department for Transport but now a world-leading independent research group, is conducting a £4m test programme for Transport for London (TfL) to see how Dutch-style cycling infrastructure, such as segregated lanes and cyclist-priority roundabouts, can be adapted to British road conditions.

Work has already begun to reshape some London roads and junctions, part of a grandiose£900m plan unveiled by Boris Johnson earlier this year. Campaigners hope other areas could follow suit, tilting life in urban Britain away from decades of car dominance.

The trial being observed that morning was for low-level, cycle-specific traffic lights set a couple of metres forward from those for cars, keeping riders ahead and visible. When they are introduced, the cyclists' lights will probably turn green a few seconds earlier than the standard traffic lights, giving riders a head start. Participants receive minimal information about what to expect and the TRL researchers keep out of view, hence the hiding amid the shrubbery.

Elsewhere on the vast TRL campus, a series of other bike-friendly layouts are being tested, including a "bus bypass", which places bus stops safely out of cycle lanes, a bike lane separated by intermittent "armadillo" reflective humps rather than a kerb, and, most ambitiously of all, a Dutch-style roundabout with a segregated gyratory flow for bikes. There is also a computer simulator in which people "drive" a real car around a bike-filled cityscape projected on to surround screens. The scheme has already used 2,500 paid testers and is seeking more all the time.

Such extensive testing is necessary, not least because innovations need regulatory approval, said Dana Skelley, director of roads for TfL. "Pretty much everything here is a layout that we're not permitted to have on national roads under the current legislation. We realised that if we wanted to attract more people to cycle, more safely and more often, it was necessary to create a more cycle-friendly environment, and we looked towards Europe for that."

Domestic road users were generally not familiar with all this, she added: "Just because it works in Europe doesn't mean it's going to be OK. We needed to understand how British drivers understand these new road layouts and how they behave."

This is particularly the case with the roundabout, where drivers have to learn that the circular flow of cyclists has priority, not only over vehicles joining the system, but those turning to exit.

Commenting on the first tests, Peter Vermaat, a TRL engineer, said: "The drivers don't really know what to do, so generally they give way to the cyclists. We've had some sudden braking a couple of times, but nothing worse."

The test site is the physical manifestation of a long-running campaign by cycle groups for infrastructure that is not just well designed but sufficiently continuous to tempt a wider range of cyclists – children, or older people, especially women – on to urban streets.

The message of the London Cycling Campaign's Love London, Go Dutch project seemed to have been absorbed, said Mike Cavenett from the group. "I always liken TfL to one of those enormous oil tankers. It's a big, £7bn beast with thousands of employees and it takes time to turn around. But it is turning. There is a change in attitudes."

He added: "I think TfL are realising that. There is still inertia, and some elements are still deeply conservative about the changes. But other elements get it."

While some Dutch-style infrastructure will arrive soon – a new section of London's previously criticised cycle superhighways is being built with segregation and redesigned junctions – other innovations could prove more problematic.

Chris Peck, from the national cycling organisation CTC, argues that Dutch-style roundabouts are reliant on traffic flows much lower than the 50,000 vehicles a day seen on some roads in inner London. "That's far beyond the advised capacity for a Dutch roundabout. It's far too high to allow priority over side roads," he said. "If you had a platoon of cyclists coming all at once, which tends to be how traffic moves, and they have priority over traffic trying to get off the roundabout, that could lock up the roundabout very quickly. They will only work along with measures to reduce motorised traffic."

Monday, August 26, 2013

US to sell helicopters to Indonesia in $500m deal

BBC News, 26 August 2013

With the helicopter sale, the US says it wants to help build Indonesia's
military capability

Related Stories 

The US has agreed for the first time to sell new AH-64E Apache attack helicopters to Indonesia, US officials say.

The deal is worth $500m (£320m), including radar, training and maintenance.

Indonesia will purchase eight new Apache helicopters, made by Boeing.

The deal was announced during a visit by US Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel, who is on a tour of South East Asia, to Jakarta.

"Providing Indonesia these world-class helicopters is an example of our commitment to help build Indonesia's military capability," he said in a statement.

The deal will help Indonesia respond to "a range of contingencies including counter-piracy operations and maritime awareness", it said.

The US has recently stepped up its diplomatic efforts in East Asia in order to establish a strong presence there in the face of advances by China, correspondents say.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Two die in crash at German World Rally Championship event

Deutsche Welle, 24 August 2013

Two people have died in a crash at a vintage car race at the German staging of the World Rally Championship. The accident overshadowed the main event, with stages canceled for the rest of the day.

The fatalities on Saturday took place at a section of track where a vintage car demonstration was being held between main race sessions at the Rally of Germany, near to the city of Trier.

Both driver and passenger died in the crash, close to the notoriously difficult "Gina" road jump, which propels vehicles some 40 meters (131 feet) into the air. The car involved, a Triumph TR7, came off the road with the occupants of the vehicle sustaining fatal injuries.

Police said the accident occurred a little after 2:30 p.m. local time (1200 GMT).

"Two Dutch participants died in an accident on Saturday for yet unknown reasons at the historic demonstration race 'Classic.' Despite immediate rescue efforts the two men died on the spot," said police said in a statement.

"Everyone associated with the event extends their deepest sympathies and condolences to the families, friends and individuals who are being touched by today's terrible tragedy," race organizers ADAC said in a statement.

The last three stages of the main race that were planned for Saturday were canceled, although two stages were to be run on Sunday. The site of the accident, the Arena Panzerplatte, is a former tank training facility.

The accident follows the death two weeks ago of two German female drivers who were killed in a crash at the 54th Wartburg Rally near the Thuringian town of Eisenach.

rc/hc (AP, AFP, Reuters)

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Norway to act as flagship for Tesla sales in Europe

Gigaom.comKatie Fehrenbacher  AUG. 7, 2013

Tesla said on Wednesday in its Q2 earnings report that it has delivered its first Model S cars to customers in Europe in Norway, Switzerland and the Netherlands. The electric car company said that in the second quarter it made “several hundred” Model S cars for service loaners, customer test drives and deliveries to customers in Europe.

The first car was delivered in Oslo, Norway (picture below), according to Tesla’s twitteraccount.

Tesla OsloNorway will act as a flagship market of sorts. Just this year, Tesla expects to deliver 800 cars to Norwegian customers. Tesla is also building out its Supercharger network around Norway, and says its chargers will cover 80 percent of the population. One of the first Tesla Supercharger stations in Europe is being built in Cinderella, Norway, according to the Tesla twitterfeed.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk also noted in an earnings call this week that Norwegian buyers will be interested in the new “sub zero package,” which has add-ons like wiper blade defrosters.

Tesla has a final assembly plant in Tilburg, in the Netherlands, and has its EU headquarters in Amsterdam. In the coming weeks Tesla will open a new retail design store in Brussels, London and Amsterdam.

Musk also said that because Tesla is now production constrained (instead of demand constrained), they aren’t really trying to push sales all that hard in Europe yet. “If you order a car in Europe [now], you’ll get it maybe in November.” Right now we need to make sure our entry into Europe is smooth, service centers are there and the people who manage them are well trained, noted Musk.

In terms of the volume of the overall European market, Musk said that conservatively he thinks Model S sales will be at least half as good as the sales in North America. However, they could possibly be as good as sales in North America, he added.

Related Articles:

Friday, August 9, 2013

Drone delivers beer not bombs at S.Africa music festival

Google – AFP, 8 Aug 2013

Flying robot now drops beer by parachute at South African outdoor rock
festival (AFP/File, Patrik Stollarz)

JOHANNESBURG — Revellers at a South African outdoor rock festival no longer need to queue to slake their thirst -- a flying robot will drop them beer by parachute.

After clients place an order using a smartphone app, a drone zooms 15 metres (50 feet) above the heads of the festival-goers to make the delivery.

Carel Hoffmann, director of the Oppikoppi festival held on a dusty farm in the country's northern Limpopo province, said the app registers the position of users using the GPS satellite chips on their phones.

"The delivery guys have a calibrated delivery drone. They send it to the GPS position and drops it with a parachute," he explained.

The drone was built in South Africa and nicknamed "Manna" after the Old Testament-story of bread that fell from the sky to feed the Israelites travelling through the desert following their exodus from Egypt.

"It's an almost Biblical thing that beer is dropping from the sky," said Hoffmann.

The beer, free at this stage, is dropped in plastic cups and the drone is performing well.

"Every time it drops a parachute a crowd of 5,000 cheers," he said.

Related Article:

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Indonesian plane skids off runway after hitting cow

Google – AFP, 7 Aug 2013

An Indonesian Lion Air passenger jet is seen on a runway at
Gorontalo airport, on August 7, 2013 (AFP, Didot)

JAKARTA — An Indonesian passenger jet crashed into a cow and skidded off the runway as it came into land at an airport in the centre of the archipelago, officials said Wednesday.

No one was killed or seriously injured when the Lion Air plane carrying 110 passengers collided with one of three cows wandering on the runway as it arrived late Tuesday in Gorontalo, on Sulawesi island.

The cow, however, was crushed to death under one of the Boeing 737-900's middle wheels, head of Jalaluddin airport Agus Pramuka told AFP.

The pilot, Iwan Permadi, told state-run Antara news agency he could smell "burning meat" as the jet ran over the animal.

He said he thought there were dogs in front of the plane as it came into land, "but it turned out there were three cows wandering in the middle of the runway".

Pictures showed the dead cow under the aircraft's wheel in a field. The plane, which suffered minor damage, had skidded into the field next to the runway, with its tail still on the runway.

All the passengers managed to disembark safely, transport ministry spokesman Bambang Ervan told AFP.

The plane had started its journey in Jakarta and also had a stopover in Makassar, on Sulawesi, according to local media.

The airport was closed following the incident, disrupting travel plans for people heading home for the Eid al-Fitr holiday in Muslim-majority Indonesia.

One small jet managed to take off Wednesday, but the Lion Air plane was still at the edge of the runway, Pramuka said.

Indonesia, which relies heavily on air transport to connect its more than 17,000 islands, has one of Asia's worst aviation safety records.

In April, a Lion Air passenger jet carrying 108 people crashed into the sea after missing the runway as it came into land on the resort island of Bali. No one died but dozens were injured.

Lion Air could not be immediately reached for comment.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Hairdresser dreams of freedom in Chinese skies

Google – AFP, Tom Hancock (AFP), 1 Aug 2013

Wang Qiang flies his home-made plane during the Air Nadaam festival in
Hexigten, Inner Mongolia on July 28, 2013 (AFP/File, Mark Ralston)

HEXIGTEN, China — Buzzing like an oversized electric razor, hairdresser Wang Qiang's home-made airplane skids over grassland before soaring into a vast blue sky, in a rare flight allowed by Chinese authorities.

Wang spends his days trimming and shaping at a hair salon in eastern China's Zhejiang province, and his evenings working on the rickety one-seater craft.

He is one of a tiny -- estimates say their numbers stand at around 2,000 -- but growing number of Chinese private aircraft owners who are grouping together to challenge restrictions which ban them from almost all the country's airspace.

Wang's machine -- with a stainless steel frame, wheels from a motorised wheelchair, and a seat scavenged from a go-kart -- took eight months to build and cost 30,000 yuan ($5,000).

It can reach altitudes of 3,500 metres and speeds of 90 kilometres an hour (56 mph), he says.

Wang Qiang stands beside his home-made
 plane at the Air Nadaam festival in Hexigten,
 Inner Mongolia on July 28, 2013 (AFP/File,
Mark Ralston)
"In the countryside people play mahjong after finishing work... but I like to fly," said Wang, 37, who grew up spreading manure and picking corn on a farm.

"We want the government... to give us more room to enjoy the skies, and enjoy flying," he said. "If ordinary people, even vegetable-cutting housewives can fly, that would be best."

Around 20 private planes, microlights and motorised paragliders took to the air in a valley in Hexigten Banner, in China's remote Inner Mongolia region at the weekend, in the country's first festival of its kind after organisers obtained special permission from the authorities.

The gathering was inspired by the "fly-ins" of the US, which can see thousands of aviators converge on a single location -- but the private flying restrictions meant enthusiasts had to reach the festival overland.

Plans for an earlier gathering in Beijing in 2011 were cancelled by officials citing safety concerns.

"We are very far behind the US," said organiser Zhang Feng, of China's Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association. "We want to use this event to promote the opening up of China's airspace."

Ding Lin, a retired Chinese air force pilot who owns a two-seater plane made in France, added: "We are trying to push towards freedom of flight.

"In 10 years you will come back and the whole sky will be full of planes," he said, before wiping down his plane's shining red propeller.

But such aspirations face formidable opposition. China's military controls nearly all of the country's airspace, and despite promises of reform has only opened a few areas to private flights. "You can barely fly anywhere... some people have travelled here because they don't have the opportunity to fly anywhere else," said Zhang.

In the shadow of green hillsides dotted with Mongolian yurts, the aviators lamented that flight is a symbol of liberty, but one only open to those well-connected enough to strike deals with local authorities, or wealthy enough to afford fines of up to 100,000 yuan for taking to the air illegally, a practice known as "black flying".

"Often there is no alternative to black flights," said Zhang, adding: "If you have to report flights in advance, you lose the sense of freedom."

Most private Chinese pilots are wealthy, given the costs of training and licences -- up to 200,000 yuan, visitors to the festival said -- but there are signs of an emerging interest in flight among China's army of backyard DIY inventors and tinkerers.

Shu Bin, a machine repairer from Zhejiang
 province, is seated in his home-made
helicopter in Hexigten on July 28, 2013
(AFP/File, Mark Ralston)
"Flying is a beautiful thing," said Shu Bin, a mechanic from Zhejiang who soars over hills and rivers near his home in a self-built helicopter.

He took design ideas from foreign websites, he said. "I downloaded pictures and looked at them again and again."

The amateur builders' experiments come at a time when China is pouring billions into its domestic aircraft industry in the hope of creating firms capable of competing with Western rivals such as Boeing and Airbus.

But Wang's flimsy-looking craft is more reminiscent of the biplanes flown by Feng Ru, an immigrant to the US who in 1909 became the first Chinese person to build a plane, using designs by the Wright brothers.

Feng met an untimely demise in 1912, when he crashed during a display after returning to China at the invitation of revolutionary leader Sun Yat-sen.

Wang has had near-misses of his own, his engine cutting out several times in mid-air, forcing him to glide down to earth.

"I told myself: there's no time to panic, just land!" he said of one near-death experience, adding cheerfully: "I once performed an emergency landing in a lake."