E&T's pick of engineering news from around the world.
15 MarchChina overtakes the US to become the world’s largest manufacturer for the first time. Economic research firm IHS Global Insight finds that the Asian country accounted for 19.8 per cent of global manufacturing last year worth $1.995tn, while the US made up 19.4 per cent for the US at $1.952tn. However, the US far outstrips China in worker productivity, with American manufacturing workers generating eight times the value per person than those from China. http://bit.ly/china-mfg
UK Chancellor George Osborne announces the Budget; some of the things outlined included the introduction of a Fair Fuel Stabiliser, investment in green energy, a boost in the number of apprenticeships, and £100m to be invested in new science centres (p22) and http://bit.ly/UKBudget2011
Scientists in the Middle East announce development of artificial clouds to provide shade for stadiums at the 2022 World Cup. The researchers at Qatar University say the ‘clouds’ will help to cool the crowds during the summer tournament in the Gulf state, where temperatures in June and July can soar up to 50°C. http://bit.ly/QatarClouds
Hundreds of people queue outside Apple stores in Asia and Europe to buy the new iPad 2. Several people in the UK queue overnight outside Apple’s Regent Street store. Analysts expect the iPad 2, a thinner and faster version which features two cameras for video chat, to sell 30 million or more this year, generating close to $20bn in sales.
A report by the European Commission says petrol and diesel-driven cars should be banned from cities across Europe by 2050 to slash dependence on oil and tackle climate change. The transport plan, to be put to EU governments, would increase mobility, cut congestion and emissions, the Commission said. http://bit.ly/petrol-ban
Science Minister David Willets says space tourism flights could blast off from Scotland under Government plans to overhaul the space regulatory regime. Willets, launching a consultation on the UK Space Agency’s strategy for 2011-2015, says it will be “great to see vehicles being launched from the UK again”, and the Government is working to “tackle the burden of regulation” surrounding space activity. http://bit.ly/Scotland-space
Oil and gas industry leaders meet with Energy Secretary Chris Huhne to discuss their concerns about the Budget announcement of £2bn of new taxes on the windfall profits of oil companies, designed to fund a 1p-a-litre drop in fuel duty. The industry says the tax regime would effect operations and cause cutbacks, including job losses. http://bit.ly/windfall-tax
Undersea robots find bodies, engines and parts of the Air France airliner that crashed into the Atlantic two years ago. The black box flight recorders have not yet been recovered, and investigators have said that without them the reason for the crash may never be known. http://bit.ly/air-france-recovery
Texas Instruments announces it is set to buy analogue chip specialist National Semiconductor for $6.5bn in one of the biggest deals since the technology market began to recover. The deal will lift TI in the global semiconductor rankings from fourth to third place, leapfrogging Toshiba, and extend its market leadership in the analogue space. www.EandTmagazine.com/blogs; http://bit.ly/ti-natsemi
Fighting in Libya damages the country’s largest oil field and pushes oil prices up to fresh two-and-a-half year highs. Oil output slows to a trickle as forces loyal to Muammar Gaddafi strike the eastern Sarir and Messla fields. Most of Libya’s 1.6 million barrels a day of crude production have already been shut down during close to two months of fighting. http://bit.ly/et-libya-oil