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On this day 1969: Concorde breaks the sound barrier



Aérospatiale-BAC Concorde aircraft made up a fleet of 20 Anglo-French turbojet-powered supersonic passenger jet airliners. One of which, Concorde 001, broke the sound barrier on the 1st October 1969. Concorde was developed and built by British and French engineers. It was a triumph of engineering, whatever the economic or environmental impact.

Famously, or infamously, British Prime Minister Harold changed the name of Concorde to the less French-looking Concord as a way to spite his French counterpart, De Gaulle who had snubbed him over EEC entry. However, the British government’s Minister for Technology, Tony Benn, changed it back to Concorde with an “e”. You can read Benn’s Concorde memories here.

This British Pathé reel shows Concorde 001 flying at 750mph, 35,000 feet above France – without a hitch. Concorde began commercial flights in January 1976, regularly hitting 954mph, with London-Bahrain and Paris-Rio services followed by US services three years later after American aviation authorities were willing to allow the plane to land at their airports. It flew from 1976 to 2003, with a short break in service in 2000 to 2001 (see below).

Concorde halved Atlantic crossing times to 2 hours 56 minutes and was seen as the pinnacle of jet set travel. Sir David Frost became one of Concorde’s most frequent fliers, flying between London and New York an average of 20 times per year for 20 years. She certainly made an impressive sonic boom.

Concorde made losses for the first few years. But in the early eighties it was discovered that the public perceived flying Concorde cost more than it actually did. Prices were duly adjusted upwards, closer to the level expected. As oil prices fell, Concorde began making money.

Concorde had an almost unblemished safety record until July 25 2000, when a 1975-built Air France model crashed shortly after taking off from Charles de Gaulle Airport. All 109 people on board were killed with four ground fatalities. Flights did not resume until November 2001 and Concorde’s final commercial flight was on 23 October 2003. There is some suspicion that British Airways and Air France retired the fleet when, during the 2000-01 service interval, they realised that they made more profit out of passengers, who would otherwise have flown on Concorde, by flying them First Class on their sub-supersonic fleet.

But the dream lives on with NASA, Lockheed Martin and Airbus/Aerion all rumoured to be developing ultra-fast successors for Concorde, while Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic and Elon Musk SpaceX pursue commercial space travel.

Concorde will never fly again but the dream of supersonic (and faster) flight lives on. Ideally, a low emission one.


A Good Look At How Homes Will Become More Energy Efficient Soon




energy efficient homes

Everyone always talks about ways they can save energy at home, but the tactics are old school. They’re only tweaking the way they do things at the moment. Sealing holes in your home isn’t exactly the next scientific breakthrough we’ve been waiting for.

There is some good news because technology is progressing quickly. Some tactics might not be brand new, but they’re becoming more popular. Here are a few things you should expect to see in homes all around the country within a few years.

1. The Rise Of Smart Windows

When you look at a window right now it’s just a pane of glass. In the future they’ll be controlled by microprocessors and sensors. They’ll change depending on the specific weather conditions directly outside.

If the sun disappears the shade will automatically adjust to let in more light. The exact opposite will happen when it’s sunny. These energy efficient windows will save everyone a huge amount of money.

2. A Better Way To Cool Roofs

If you wanted to cool a roof down today you would coat it with a material full of specialized pigments. This would allow roofs to deflect the sun and they’d absorb less heat in the process too.

Soon we’ll see the same thing being done, but it will be four times more effective. Roofs will never get too hot again. Anyone with a large roof is going to see a sharp decrease in their energy bills.

3. Low-E Windows Taking Over

It’s a mystery why these aren’t already extremely popular, but things are starting to change. Read low-E window replacement reviews and you’ll see everyone loves them because they’re extremely effective.

They’ll keep heat outside in summer or inside in winter. People don’t even have to buy new windows to enjoy the technology. All they’ll need is a low-E film to place over their current ones.

4. Magnets Will Cool Fridges

Refrigerators haven’t changed much in a very long time. They’re still using a vapor compression process that wastes energy while harming the environment. It won’t be long until they’ll be cooled using magnets instead.

The magnetocaloric effect is going to revolutionize cold food storage. The fluid these fridges are going to use will be water-based, which means the environment can rest easy and energy bills will drop.

5. Improving Our Current LEDs

Everyone who spent a lot of money on energy must have been very happy when LEDs became mainstream. Incandescent light bulbs belong in museums today because the new tech cut costs by up to 85 percent.

That doesn’t mean someone isn’t always trying to improve on an already great invention. The amount of lumens LEDs produce per watt isn’t great, but we’ve already found a way to increase it by 25 percent.

Maybe Homes Will Look Different Too

Do you think we’ll come up with new styles of homes that will take off? Surely it’s not out of the question. Everything inside homes seems to be changing for the better with each passing year. It’s going to continue doing so thanks to amazing inventors.

ShutterStock – Stock photo ID: 613912244

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IEMA Urge Government’s Industrial Strategy Skills Overhaul To Adopt A “Long View Approach”



IEMA, in response to the launch of the Government’s Industrial Strategy Green Paper, have welcomed the focus on technical skills and education to boost “competence and capability” of tomorrow’s workforce.

Policy experts at the world’s leading professional association of Environment and Sustainability professionals has today welcomed Prime Minister Teresa May’s confirmation that an overhaul of technical education and skills will form a central part of the Plan for Britain – but warns the strategy must be one for the long term.

Martin Baxter, Chief Policy Advisor at IEMA said this morning that the approach and predicted investment in building a stronger technical skills portfolio to boost the UK’s productivity and economic resilience is positive, and presents an opportunity to drive the UK’s skills profile and commitment to sustainability outside of the EU.

Commenting on the launch of the Government’s Industrial Strategy Green Paper, Baxter said today:

“Government must use the Industrial Strategy as an opportunity to accelerate the UK’s transition to a low-carbon, resource efficient economy – one that is flexible and agile and which gives a progressive outlook for the UK’s future outside the EU.

We welcome the focus on skills and education, as it is vital that tomorrow’s workforce has the competence and capability to innovate and compete globally in high-value manufacturing and leading technology.

There is a real opportunity with the Industrial Strategy, and forthcoming 25 year Environment Plan and Carbon Emissions Reduction Plan, to set long-term economic and environmental outcomes which set the conditions to unlock investment, enhance natural capital and provide employment and export opportunities for UK business.

We will ensure that the Environment and Sustainability profession makes a positive contribution in responding to the Green Paper.”

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