Egypt Independent: Science-Main news http://www.egyptindependent.com//enhome_channel/Environment/rss.xml en How to fly cross-country without using airports http://www.egyptindependent.com//node/2456677 <img src="http://www.egyptindependent.com///sites/default/files/imagecache/media_thumbnail/photo/2015/02/17/43/fli-fi.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-media_thumbnail" width="152" height="114" /><div>It&#39;s no secret that crowded airports can be a hassle and a giant time-suck for cross-country travelers. Soon, a workaround may be available for corporations and the ultra-rich.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The concept is this: You don&#39;t need an airport if you can land and take off from your own front yard.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Get ready for a burgeoning breed of commercial aircraft. They hover like helicopters and fly fast and high like jets.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>These vertical take off and landing planes -- VTOLs -- could pick up passengers at their homes or hotels, and fly them more than a thousand miles, directly to a private compound or the roof of a skyscraper.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Call it door-to-door cross-country air travel.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>It&#39;s not totally new. Military planes have been taking off and landing vertically for decades. But so far, commercial flight has lagged behind.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Now, the industry is poised to enter a new era of hovering, commercial airplanes, says Jeffrey Pino, vice chairman at Denver-based XTI Aircraft. &quot;VTOL, true point-to-point travel, has got to be inevitable.&quot;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Pino -- former CEO for Sikorsky Aircraft, which makes the helicopters that fly President Obama -- is touting XTI&#39;s new VTOL plane called the TriFan 600.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>No prototype exists yet, but XTI&#39;s slick animation shows this airplane cutting a breathtaking silhouette, with sweeping lines, a shark-fin tail and a low-sitting profile.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Imagine these futuristic flying machines landing on a midtown helipad or on the lawn of a CEO&#39;s estate.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>They look like space ships right out of the upcoming &quot;Star Wars&quot; movie. Except instead of Chewy and Princess Leia on board, it&#39;ll be a high-flying corporate big-wig.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><strong>It&#39;s all about the tilt</strong></div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Tilting engines allow these aircraft to do what they do. The engines tilt themselves vertically so the planes can hover, land and take off like helicopters.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Then, in midair, the engines shift their direction horizontally, moving the aircraft forward like a traditional plane.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Why not just use helicopters? Because generally planes can fly farther without refueling.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>What sets the TriFan apart are three &quot;ducted fan&quot; engines, which Pino says will allow the plane to fly higher and faster than other types of commercial VTOLs.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>-<strong>Maximum cruise speed</strong>: 400 mph</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>-<strong>Max altitude</strong>: 30,000 feet -- high enough to be above nasty weather</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>-<strong>Capacity</strong>: five passengers, plus a pilot</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>VTOLs are only now entering the commercial world, Pino says, thanks to newer technologies, including lightweight construction materials, electronic control systems and engines that are smaller, more powerful and efficient.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><img alt="This artist rendering of a TriFan 600 envisions it hovering near a house." src="http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/150826115741-trifan-600-landing-near-house-exlarge-169.jpg" style="height: 301px; width: 536px;" /></div><div><em>This artist rendering of a TriFan 600 envisions it hovering near a house.</em></div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><div><strong>This is really happening</strong></div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>In case you were wondering if these machines are some kind of pipe dream, be advised: This is real. It&#39;s actually happening.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>An Anglo-Italian firm called AgustaWestland is test flying two prototypes of a VTOL airplane called the AW609 TiltRotor.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>It could be certified by the US Federal Aviation Administration as soon as 2017. Plans call for the AW609 to be manufactured in Philadelphia.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Its engines are different from the TriFan. They&#39;re called &quot;tiltrotor.&quot;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Each wing has a helicopter-like rotor on it. The plane&#39;s maximum cruise speed is about 100 mph slower than the TriFan and its maximum altitude is 5,000 feet lower, according to the AgustaWestland brochure.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>A third type of VTOL involves tilt propellers, a design favored by Richard Oliver of aviation startup Oliver VTOL, who&#39;s touting his Hexplane.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The Hexplane flies with six movable propellers that allow it to hover or fly forward. No prototype has yet been built, because, like many aviation firms Oliver VTOL developed its aircraft design using computer simulators.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&quot;You don&#39;t have to go out and build the aircraft any longer to demonstrate that it works,&quot; Oliver says. &quot;You can do a tremendous amount of development with a simulator, avoiding spending a lot of money and shortening the development cycle.&quot;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>How safe are VTOL airplanes? Obviously, the FAA&#39;s certification process is aimed at making sure new types of planes are safe.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>A handful of US Military VTOL V-22 Ospreys have crashed since the 1990s, but the Pentagon stands by the Osprey&#39;s safety record.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><img alt="AgustaWestland&amp;#39;s AW609 VTOL airplane could get FAA certification as soon as 2017." src="http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/150826205025-vertical-take-off-landing-airplane-aw609-exlarge-169.jpg" style="height: 301px; width: 536px;" /></div><div><em>AgustaWestland&#39;s AW609 VTOL airplane could get FAA certification as soon as 2017.</em></div><div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><strong>Can these planes legally land in my backyard?</strong></div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Legal landing zones for these new aircraft will likely pose a lot of questions, say aviation experts.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Obviously, like chopper pilots, fliers of these VTOLs won&#39;t be able to land anywhere they want. The FAA will have its say.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Experts say if VTOL owners and pilots want to avoid airports, they&#39;ll need to establish legal landing zones while being mindful of local ordinances and federal regulations.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Even now, when good helicopter pilots fly to unfamiliar, non-airport locations, they&#39;ve already done their homework to make sure their touchdown destinations are legal.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Commercial VTOL pilots likely will be no different, whether they&#39;re landing on top of a skyscraper, in an empty neighborhood playing field or on a sprawling estate.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Best-case scenario, the TriFan 600 will hit the market in about seven or eight years with a retail price tag of around &quot;$10-ish&quot; million, says Pino.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>He hopes to get the attention of investors who might invest in a prototype.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>In fact, XTI raised some industry eyebrows when it announced this month it was partnering with startengine.com as part of a longterm fundraising strategy.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>XTI says it can&#39;t accept any money via startengine, and it says it will return any money sent. However, signing up on the website acts as a non-binding expression of interest. Pino says the strategy may be an industry first.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&quot;My sense that under these rules that everyday people can truly invest in a product like ours, we are the first original equipment manufacturer to launch through crowdfunding,&quot; Pino says.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The AW609 could be certified and flying even sooner.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>If the trend continues, high-powered execs will have a cool new way to save time and trouble. And real-life skylines could look a lot more like scenes from a sci-fi movie.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>So, for all you door-to-door cross-country fliers of the future: may the tilt be with you.</div></div></div><p>&nbsp;</p> Sat, 29 Aug 2015 11:25:00 +0000 CNN 2456677 at http://www.egyptindependent.com sites/default/files/photo/2015/02/17/43/fli-fi.jpg How will climate change affect your livelihood? http://www.egyptindependent.com//node/2456678 <img src="http://www.egyptindependent.com///sites/default/files/imagecache/media_thumbnail/photo/2015/08/29/501010/climate_08-29-15.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-media_thumbnail" width="152" height="114" /><div>As the reality of global warming starts to hit home, people may ask: &quot;How will it affect my livelihood?&quot;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Well, that depends.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>On your profession, your age, and exactly where you live, among other things.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Here, then, are a few scenarios for a climate-altered future, when rising temperatures are closing in on the threshold of two degrees Celsius (3.6 degree Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels which scientists warn we should not cross.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The year is 2030.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><strong>The coffee farmer</strong></div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>You are a 60-year old coffee farmer in Nicaragua, selling to an organic wholesaler.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Global demand has soared and commodity prices tripled since 2015, but business is not so good. Scorching temperatures have decimated your output, even after you sold your land to purchase a higher-altitude parcel in search of cooler climes.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Not only yields are down, but also the quality of your beans.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Small consolation that many of your 20-million fellow coffee growers around the world are in similarly dire straits.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><strong>The high-flying lawyer</strong></div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>You are a 39-year old real estate lawyer in West Palm Beach, Florida.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>You are flush and life is sweet, despite your million-dollar house having been swept away three years earlier by Hurricane Hillary.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Sea levels have only risen 14 centimetres (5.5 inches) in the last 15 years, but Hillary&#39;s tide-enhanced storm surge caused $500 billion dollars/euros in damages.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Since Washington cancelled federal flood insurance for properties under a metre (three feet) above sea level, you have more clients than you can handle.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>They are suing private insurance companies claiming bankruptcy to avoid having to pay out, and though your clients may only get 20 cents for every policy-insured dollar, you still get your fees.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><strong>The Indonesian fisherman</strong></div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>You used to work fishing boats out of Surabaya, a port city in Java, but are now unemployed.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The bottom fell out of the local industry in the mid-2020s. Intensive harvesting had already caused several species to collapse, including bigeye and yellowfin.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>But then, as oceans warmed, other species -- Pacific bluefin, crevalle jack, scad -- moved to cooler waters beyond the reach of local vessels.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>No other species have come to replace them.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><strong>The Alpine hotelier</strong></div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>You own a ski-resort hotel in the French Alps at an altitude of 1,280 metres (4,199 feet).</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Since 2020, for two years out of three you have had to manufacture snow to ensure the season. In 2022 and 2028 it was so warm that even artificial flakes couldn&#39;t keep the lifts going.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The silver lining: summer tourism has picked up as people seek alternatives to the scorching heat waves that regularly hit the Mediterranean basin.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><strong>The Sahel subsistence farmer</strong></div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Ten years ago, you replaced your millet crop with genetically-modified, drought-resistant sorghum as desertification creeps up on you in the northeastern corner of the Mopti region of Mali.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>That was a good move. But as the local climate gets drier by the year, you wonder how long you and your family can hold out.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>You have resolved: When the goats die, you will join the other villagers who have already fled to the capital Bamako.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><strong>The Tasmanian winegrower</strong></div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Parts of the island -- Australia&#39;s southernmost inhabited outpost -- now rival France&#39;s fabled Burgundy region as the lead grower of the fabled pinot noir and chardonnay grapes. Tassie&#39;s Champagne-style wine wins big awards too.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Oh what a difference an extra two degrees can make!</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Wine exports from Tasmania&#39;s Tamar Valley are soaring with grape-growing temperatures now in the ideal range -- what they were in northern France, now too hot, a mere 15 years ago.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><strong>The future</strong></div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>You are a seven-year-old only child living with your professional-class parents in a 23rd-story Shanghai apartment.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>You were not even born when 195 nations struck a deal in Paris in December 2015, vowing to slash carbon pollution by a large enough margin to keep global warming in check.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>They failed, and Earth is on track for warming of 4C by 2100.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>You&#39;ll be 77 when you greet the 22nd century. Good luck getting there.</div> Sat, 29 Aug 2015 11:20:00 +0000 AFP 2456678 at http://www.egyptindependent.com sites/default/files/photo/2015/08/29/501010/climate_08-29-15.jpg 5 things to know about the next iPhone http://www.egyptindependent.com//node/2456674 <img src="http://www.egyptindependent.com///sites/default/files/imagecache/media_thumbnail/photo/2015/04/15/43/apple.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-media_thumbnail" width="152" height="114" /><div>It&#39;s that time of year again. The kids are back in school, the nights are getting cooler, footballs are flying through the air and Apple is readying new iPhones.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The company just announced it will hold an event September 9 in San Francisco. And while Apple is tighter with its secrets than the CIA, a new generation of iPhones -- which have been birthed every September or October since 2011 -- are a safe bet.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Here&#39;s what to expect from the ninth generation of Apple&#39;s flagship device.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><strong>Name</strong></div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>If recent patterns hold, the phone will be called iPhone 6S -- assuming it&#39;s a relatively modest upgrade over last year&#39;s iPhone 6. But if Apple overhauls the handset, it may ditch the odd-year &quot;S&quot; naming convention and call it iPhone 7.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>There&#39;s a perception among some consumers that the &quot;S&quot; models aren&#39;t as desirable as the others. And Apple may eventually choose to drop the numbers and letters entirely (&quot;iPhone 19S&quot; doesn&#39;t have a great ring to it).</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Until then, we&#39;re betting on iPhone 6S.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><strong>Size</strong></div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Reports suggest that after enlarging the device several times in recent years, Apple will retain the same display size as last year&#39;s phones -- a 4.7-inch diagonal screen for the regular model and 5.5 inches for the Plus model. But the new phones may be slightly thicker.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>According to the Wall Street Journal, whose Apple sources are usually reliable, the physical design will remain unchanged.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Apple will fix iPhone 6 Plus phones that take blurry photos</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><strong>Colors</strong></div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Apple made a splash several years ago when it broadened its black-and-white iPhone palette to include gold, silver and &quot;space gray.&quot;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Apple blog 9to5Mac says Apple this year is set to add a new color: rose gold, which means a coppery hue. The Apple Watch comes in that color.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><strong>Release date</strong></div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Apple typically begins selling new iPhones in the United States a week or so after they&#39;re unveiled, and always on a Friday. For example, the iPhone 6 went on sale 10 days after last year&#39;s launch event.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>So the first day you&#39;ll likely be able to get your mitts on a new iPhone will be September 18.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>How to get the best cell phone deals</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><strong>Features</strong></div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>As usual, Apple will pack the new phones with a faster processor and an improved camera. Reports say the next cameras will boast 12 megapixels (they&#39;re 8 megapixels now) and 4K video recording.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>But the biggest new feature, and the one Apple will be promoting most, will likely be something called Force Touch.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Already in use on the Apple Watch, Force Touch uses tiny electrodes around the display that can distinguish between a light tap and a deep press. Users can tap the screen to open an app or press down firmly to access a new range of additional controls.</div> Sat, 29 Aug 2015 11:03:00 +0000 CNN 2456674 at http://www.egyptindependent.com sites/default/files/photo/2015/04/15/43/apple.jpg High blood pressure in pregnancy tied to family risk http://www.egyptindependent.com//node/2456665 <img src="http://www.egyptindependent.com///sites/default/files/imagecache/media_thumbnail/photo/2015/04/15/501184/pregnancy.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-media_thumbnail" width="152" height="114" /><div><div>For women with pregnancy-related high blood pressure, the higher risk of hypertension that follows them through life may be due not just to the episode in pregnancy but also to family risk factors, researchers say.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Their study looked at 252 women who had high blood pressure during pregnancy, as well as their sisters and brothers who&#39;d never had high blood pressure.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&quot;We wanted to really be able to isolate a women&rsquo;s pregnancy from her family history,&quot; said lead author Tracey Weissgerber, who is also from the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Overall, the researchers had data on more than 1,400 female and more than 900 male siblings, according to a report in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>About 72 percent of women who had high blood pressure during pregnancy ended up developing it again before age 60, compared to about 62 percent of women who had never been hypertensive.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>After accounting for various other risk factors, the researchers found that compared to their sisters who&#39;d never had high blood pressure, women with hypertension while pregnant were about 75 percent more likely to develop it again at some point.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>But still, for brothers and sisters with no history of hypertension, having a sister who&#39;d been hypertensive while pregnant meant a higher risk later in life for those siblings. The brothers also had an increased risk of cardiovascular events.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>These findings, the authors say, &quot;suggest familial factors contribute to the increased risk of future hypertension in women who had hypertension in pregnancy.&quot;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>More research is needed to determine exactly why those women are at a higher risk, said Weissgerber and her colleague, senior author Dr. Vesna Garovic, of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&quot;We know that cardiovascular disease is a leading cause of morbidity and mortality in women, but we don&rsquo;t know a lot about sex-specific factors,&quot; Garovic said.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&quot;Hypertension in pregnancy is an opportunity to identify these women early,&quot; Weissgerber said.</div></div><p>&nbsp;</p> Sat, 29 Aug 2015 09:39:00 +0000 Reuters 2456665 at http://www.egyptindependent.com sites/default/files/photo/2015/04/15/501184/pregnancy.jpg