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Engineering
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February 12, 2018

Chile’s Pristine Skies Are Key To Astronomy’s Next Generation Of Telescopes

Long known for its copper, sea bass and merlot wine, Chile’s most profound export may be data that its astronomical observatories mine nightly from its pristine skies.

Credit: ESO Exoplanet hunters at ESO’s La Silla Observatory in Chile.

Because Chile’s ground-based window onto our Milky Way’s galactic center is arguably unmatched, the European Southern Observatory (ESO) first set up shop here more than a half century ago. Today, their 15 member states enjoy facilities at three major observatories.

“ESO spends 80 million euros [$100 million] a year for its operations in Chile and is the biggest astronomical operation here,” astrophysicist Fernando [...]

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January 18, 2018

Defective airbags: Bakkies, cars to be recalled in SA

The South African auto industry is affected by ongoing defective Takata airbag recalls.

One of the automakers affected is Toyota with models such as its previous generation Hilux bakkie.

The safety recall is to replace defective and potentially deadly Takata airbag inflators. Toyota SA issued a recall and special service campaign in July 2017.

In 2015, Toyota SA said it would replace airbag inflators in its Corolla, RunX and Yaris models (built from 2002 to 2007) and in its Rav4, Hilux and Fortuners (from July 2003 to December 2005).

Recall notice to local Hilux owners 

In a letter to customers, sent to us via a reader, Toyota said: “Our [...]

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December 7, 2017

N2 roadworks project reaches practical completion

From today, 5 December 2017, motorists have been able to enjoy travelling on the new lanes of the N2 between Borcherds Quarry Rd and the R300.

The Department of Transport and Public Works has now completed this R200 million freeway upgrade, which included the addition of a third lane in both directions.

Ride quality, safety and visibility are better. The carrying capacity of the road has improved with an extra lane on each side. This will benefit high-capacity buses and taxis, in particular, because the right-hand lane is a dedicated bus lane during peak periods.

Since the project began in January 2016, many people have benefited directly from the short-term [...]

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November 29, 2017

Your future commute could be by taxi drone

A Chinese start-up has developed a flying car that it plans to roll out as soon as next year.

EHang’s E-184 drone can carry one passenger in its small cockpit, but the firm says it’s working on a model that can carry two. EHang’s CEO, Hu Huazhi, says they’ll be in operation as “taxi drones” in Dubai in 2018 — as long as they get approval from regulators there.

Four battery-powered propellers lift the drone off the ground, and it’s equipped with fully automated navigation, according to Hu. Passengers select a pre-programmed flight path and then strap in for the ride. The E-184 has a cruising speed of up to 100km/h and can stay in the air for 25 minutes, the company [...]

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