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IX-2005: 12 19 21 25

New translation, the Magna Carta


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racing on sunshine

“The ‘Challenge’, to design and build a car capable of crossing Australia on the power of daylight, comprehends the most innovative research and development of alternative transport technologies. The World Solar Challenge [WSC] attracts teams and individuals from corporations and universities all over the world.”

Route: Australia, Darwin to Adelaide
Dates: 25 September to 2 October, 2005

“[The] participants will traverse more than 3,000km over the Australian continent - from tropical Darwin to balmy Adelaide, in cars powered by nothing more than the sun.”

“One of the unique propositions of the World Solar Challenge is that it is run in one stage. Once competitors have left Darwin at 8am on the first day, they are on their own. Apart from compulsory stops at the seven checkpoints, each team endeavours to travel as far as it can each day, but must make camp by 5pm each evening.”

The fastest competitors are expected to take four days to complete the 3021 kilometres.

World Solar Challenge route map. Image credit:
World Solar Challenge route map. Image credit:

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sail-assisted shipping

a kite-sail provides alternative power for sea-going vessels. Image credit:
a kite-sail provides alternative power for sea-going vessels.
Image credit:

“IN THE first half of the 19th century, ships began to adopt steam engines, first alongside and then instead of sails. Today, wind propulsion is for sportsmen and romantics, not shipping firms trying to make money. But the high price of oil and stricter pollution regulations are strong forces working to turn back the clock. Wind propulsion is coming back in a new form: kites, not sails. Next year, SkySails, a German firm based in Hamburg, will begin outfitting cargo ships with massive kites designed to tug vessels and reduce their diesel consumption. The firm estimates that these kites will reduce fuel consumption by about one-third-a big saving, given that fuel accounts for about 60% of shipping costs.”

“But the SkySails approach does away with masts and is much cheaper. The firm says it can outfit a ship with a kite system for between £400,000 and £2.5m, depending on the vessel's size. Stephan Wrage, the boss of SkySails, says fuel savings will recoup these costs in just four or five years, assuming oil prices of $50 a barrel. Jesper Kanstrup, a senior naval architect at Knud E. Hansen, says the idea of pulling a ship with an inexpensive kite-attached to the structurally solid bow like a tugboat-had never occurred to him. "It's a good idea," he says.”

“ In May, the International Maritime Organisation's new rules on marine pollution took effect. They require many ships to switch to a low-sulphur fuel that costs 50% more than traditional (and highly polluting) fuel oil. And an increasing number of ports now offer discounts for ships with approval labels, called Green Passports, awarded by environmental groups.”

related material
SkySails - technology
advantages - towing to different points of the wind
                  - using high-altitude winds
                  - increasing ship's speed or reducing fuel costs
                  - stability and heeling compensation

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hello, modern concrete

“Concrete is also a climate-change villain. It is made by mixing water with an aggregate, such as sand or gravel, and cement. Cement is usually made by heating limestone and clay to over 2,500 degrees F. The resulting chemical reaction, along with fuel burned to heat the kiln, produces between 7 and 10 percent of global carbon-dioxide emissions.”

“ A more directly "green" concrete has been developed by the Australian company TecEco. They add magnesium to their cement, forming a porous concrete that actually scrubs carbon dioxide from the air.”

related material
bendy concrete

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Darley Arabian by Wooton. Image credit: Fores Gallery
Darley Arabian by Wooton. Image credit: Fores Gallery

“Virtually all 500,000 of the world’s thoroughbred racehorses are descended from 28 ancestors, born in the 18th and 19th centuries, according to a new genetic study. And up to 95% of male thoroughbreds can be traced back to just one stallion.”

“ [...] the new research finds that, in 95% of modern racehorses, the Y-chromosome can be traced back to a single stallion - the Darley Arabian, born in 1700.”

“ "Horses are flight animals naturally selected for speed and stamina in the wild," explains Hill. "With domestic selection, speed was further augmented in the thoroughbred."

“Thirty-five per cent of the difference in racing performance between horses can be explained by genetics alone, says Hill. She is cross-referencing up to 140 recently discovered human genes for fitness and performance in a bid to track down equine equivalents. These genes are involved in traits related to the cardio-respiratory system, muscle strength and metabolism, she says.”[Quoted from]

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“The second of the three Arabian foundation stallions to be imported to England was foaled in 1700 and bought by Thomas Darley in Aleppo, Syria in 1704 for his brother Richard. Once at the Darley estate, Aldby, in Yorkshire, the stallion was bred to numerous mares. Two very important colts, Flying Childers and Bartlet's Childers, came from these matings. Through the Childers line, the Darley Arabian was the great-great-grandsire of Eclipse.” [Quoted from, this page has further detail on the history of thoroughbred race horses.]

Darley arabian by J.Wooton
Painting size: 35 x 28 cm Ref: F126 Pl2
[Note variable spelling: Wooton or Wootton.]

John Wootton was an English painter - born approx. 1682 in Snitterfield, Warwickshire (near Stratford-upon-Avon); died 1764, London.

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