A round-up of this month's engineering news from around the world with a regional focus on Caribbean.
The world’s largest ship was named after shipping magnate Arnold Mærsk Mc-Kinney Møller, former CEO of Danish conglomerate Maersk Line. The firm’s newest vessel is the first of the Triple-E series being built at the Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering shipyard in Okpo, South Korea. The vessel will emit 50 per cent less CO2 per container moved than the current average on the Asia-Europe route.
Europe’s newest passenger jet, the Airbus A350, performed its maiden flight three days ahead of the Paris Air Show. The flight took off from Airbus EADS’s Toulouse plant and landed in Paris one hour later. The sortie, watched by over 10,000 employees and spectators, marked the beginning of Airbus’s attempt to beat Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner in sales of a new generation of lightweight carbon-composite jets.
24 June 2013
The robot rock band Z-Machines performed their debut live gig in front of 100 people in Tokyo. The band of so-called Zima machines, currently a huge hit on Tokyo’s party scene, is fronted by dreadlocked guitarist and singer Mach, backed up by keyboardist Cosmo and six-armed drummer Ashura.
Vodafone agreed to buy Germany’s largest cable operator Kabel Deutschland for €7.7bn. In Vodafone’s largest deal in six years and its second major buy of a European fixed-line network in 12 months, the group offered a near 40 per cent premium to Kabel’s share price before its interest first emerged in snapping up the target’s 8.5 million connected homes.
Lord Drayson, founder of Drayson Racing Technologies, set a world land speed record for an electric car of 204.2mph. Driving the Drayson B12 69/EV electric Le-Mans Prototype vehicle, the former UK science minister smashed the previous 175mph record of Battery Box General Electric from 1974 at RAF Elvington’s 1.86-mile runway.
Total said the company will start seismic testing to assess oil reserves below Uganda’s Murchinson Falls National Park but says non-disruptive technology will be used to minimise possible damage. Both Total and Uganda’s government maintain that crude oil could be extracted without causing damage to one of the country’s last major wilderness areas.
MPs from 18 European nations called for “urgent and immediate political action” over the state of the Sarsang Reservoir in Armenia-occupied Nagorno-Karabakh in an emergency motion to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe. The 125m-high dam, built in 1976, needs urgent remedial engineering or it might burst, threatening to flood 30 villages.
Bahrain’s communications minister announced the restive Arab state will study whether to restrict Internet-based telecom services of the kind that helped activists launch the Arab Spring in 2011. Activists use Internet technologies to communicate because they are harder to bug and cheaper than a regular phone line, but the government wants to prevent the technology being used to “subvert state security”.
A Russian Proton-M booster rocket carrying three navigation satellites worth around $200m crashed shortly after lift-off from the Russian-leased Baikonur launch facility in Kazakhstan. The rocket’s engines suddenly switched off shortly after lift-off causing it to veer off course and crash in a ball of flames and leading to a large spill of heptyl – a highly toxic rocket propellant.
The safety features of an Asiana Airlines Boeing 777 “helped to prevent” a much worse disaster when it crashed at San Francisco airport killing two teenagers. Aerospace analysts said safety engineering stood up well to the stresses of the crash and the accident was more likely due to pilot error.