Solar Impulse II. This plane can fly forever, powered by the sun!

Originally posted on

Bertrand Piccard plans to fly around the world in a plane that doesn’t use any fuel. Huh? Yep. This machine is equipped with 17,000 solar panels. He explains the logistics and mechanics — and shares some hopes and fears for the upcoming voyage.

Looks like 2015 will be a busy year for Bertrand Piccard. From March through August, the Swiss psychiatrist-turned-aeronautical-adventurer will fly around the world. The catch? He’ll be flying an airplane powered only by the sun. For up to six days straight, Piccard will journey as fast and far as he can. Then he’ll land and let fellow pilot André Borschberg take over. The pair will switch off in a journey that is expected to take six months, and will require the pilots to live in a cockpit that’s literally built for one.

Last month, Piccard unveiled the aircraft in which he and Borschberg will make their fuel-free journey. Solar Impulse 2 took 12 years to develop and test…

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Boston Marathon, Sad Day for the World, Sad Day for Sports

Marathon slaughter

— Boston Marathon attacked by terrorists
— At least 3 dead, 130 injured by twin bombs
— Boy, 8, among the confirmed dead


Blast … cloud of fire and smoke at the finish line of the Boston Marathon


Last Updated: 16th April 2013


AMERICA is on terror alert today after a twin bombing attack left at least three people dead and more than 144 wounded at the Boston Marathon finish line.

An eight-year-old boy was said to be one of the dead. Two more devices were discovered and made safe by police experts.

FOOTAGE emerges of horrifying incident which happened during race

Witnesses reported seeing legs blown from victims. Others needed to have limbs amputated following the atrocity — six days before the London Marathon.

Aerial footage of the blast site showed the pavement strewn with blood, glass and debris. And unconfirmed reports said that 12 people have died in total. 

Hospitals reported at least 144 people are being treated, with at least 17 of them in critical condition and 25 in serious condition. At least eight of the patients are children.

Doctors are “pulling ball bearings out of people in the emergency room” an expert said, suggesting the bombs were designed to propel shrapnel

Last night cops were probing links to gun fanatics furious at curbs following December’s Sandy Hook school massacre. The marathon had been dedicated to the 26 shot dead.



Terror … a second blast further back hits scattered runners


It was claimed that police had surveillance video of someone bringing a number of backpacks to the area.

It was the first successful attack on US soil since 9/11. A White House official said the explosions were “clearly an act of terror”.

President Barack Obama said those responsible will “feel the full weight of justice”.


In shock … woman sits injured on blood-spattered pavement


He added: “The Boston people will say a prayer for Boston tonight. We don’t know who did this or why.

“But make no mistake, we will get to the bottom of this.”

Thousands had lined the streets of Boston, Massachusetts, on the Patriots’ Day public holiday event. Around 25,000 ran in the event.

 Boston1   Boston4Under attack … armed cops hit the streets as dazed runner lies in the road


More than 130 blast victims were being treated in seven of the city’s hospitals.

At least 15 were said to be in critical condition. One hospital official described the injuries as like those “from a war zone”.

The FBI said it was leading a “potential terrorism investigation” by the city’s joint terrorism taskforce into the twin explosions.

Two killed as blasts hit Boston marathon

Sky News

TWO explosions at the finish line of the world famous Boston Marathon have resulted in two deaths

PM David Cameron said: “The scenes from Boston are shocking and horrific — my thoughts are with all those who have been affected.”

British police said they were reviewing security for Sunday’s London Marathon.


Alert … President Obama last night


It was a terror target in the terrorist black comedy film Four Lions.

Last night chief executive Nick Bitel confirmed that the race would still go ahead, saying: “We will not be cancelling the event.”

A leg flew past my head


Carnage … rescuers tend to victims near the marathon finish line



A WITNESS to the bomb carnage that ripped through the Boston Marathon said last night: “Somebody’s leg flew by my head.”


Close together … Boston bombs


After two huge blasts — one at the finish line — left at least two dead and more than 130 injured, onlooker John Ross said: “I gave my belt to stop the blood.”

One of those killed was a boy aged eight. Unconfirmed reports early today suggested up to a dozen may have died.

Nightmare scenes were described by local TV girl Jacqueline Bruno — as cops discovered at least two MORE suspected devices in the shattered city, detonating one with a controlled explosion.

She said as the US went into nationwide terrorist lockdown: “I saw people’s legs blown off.

“Runners were coming in and saw unspeakable horror.”

Last night the unexploded devices were said to have been found at hospitals.

A third blast was feared to have taken place at the city’s John F Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum — but cops later believed a fire there was just a bizarre coincidence.



Scores injured … one of the victims is taken away on a stretcher


Half a million had lined the marathon route — with the biggest crowds at the finish where men, women and screaming children were left dazed and bloodied.

The bombs were feared to have been packed with ballbearings that were found littering the street.

More than 370 Brits were taking part in the race when the blasts ten seconds apart erupted from litter bins.

Brit Abi Griffiths finished just ten minutes before the horror. The runner said: “It’s scary times here — the sounds of police sirens are echoing everywhere in Boston.



Agony … injured runner after Boston atrocity


“It was while I was getting my bag that I heard it go off. The ground shook.”

Shocked engineer Marcus Mumford, 34, from Bristol, said: “It was really loud. I was just running down that street. Now the bomb squad are all over the place.”

Ambulances and fire engines swarmed into Boston’s Copley Square along with armed cops.

They found the pavements drenched with blood and people lying in agony.

The blasts — flashes of burning orange followed by acrid smoke that billowed for 50ft — were captured in TV footage that chilled America.

President Barack Obama was being kept updated last night — as a ring of steel was thrown around the White House.



Bloodbath … the twin explosions happened close to the finish line


Anti-terror cops in New York were guarding landmarks.

Officials across America urged citizens via Twitter and Facebook to report suspicious activity to the police.

The bloodbath — four hours into the race when stragglers were reaching the end —

comes just days before the London Marathon on Sunday.

Last night Scotland Yard was reviewing security.

It may also be beefed up for the huge London funeral tomorrow of Baroness Thatcher.

The big-name track stars involved in the Boston race had long crossed the line when the bombs went off.

Relieved chartered surveyor Darren Foy, 40, from Southampton, said:

“I finished in 3½ hours and we were on the bus when it happened.”

Darren — in Boston with his wife Sandra and their two children — said: “It’s all shocking.”


Chaotic … emergency services and race organisers at the scene in Boston


The second explosion was 50 to 100 yards back from the finish on Boylston Street.

There were 25,000 registered entrants — many raising money for charities — who were being cheered home by family and friends.

Canadian Mike Mitchell, from Vancouver, had just crossed the line when he looked back and saw a “massive explosion”.

He described people running and screaming — saying:

 “Everybody freaked out.”

Video showed a fireball from one of the blasts rising from behind spectators and a row of flags.

Witness David Abel said: “I saw the most horrific thing anyone can see — people with their limbs mangled, their eyes vacant.”



Disbelief … girl in tears after the terror attack on Boston


The Boston Marathon is run on the third Monday of April — Patriots’ Day, a public holiday marking the first battles of the American War of Independence.

It fuelled fears the outrage may have been the work of al-Qaeda.

But cops were also probing links to gun fanatics furious at curbs following December’s Sandy Hook school massacre. The marathon had been dedicated to the 26 shot dead.

Families of victims were in a VIP area right next to where the bombs went off.

Public transport into central Boston was shut down and a no-fly zone imposed as an emergency medical tent was set up.

Authorities also closed down phone networks across the city in case more bombs might be detonated remotely.



Grief … Boston Marathon runner sobs with friends


Fleets of ambulances ferried the injured to hospital. Kids aged eight and three were among them.

Marathon runners flocked to hospitals to donate blood as medics carried out at least ten amputations.

One mum told how she had jubilantly watched her daughter complete the marathon when the first blast came four minutes later.

Melissa Stanley said: “It sounded like a sonic boom. I haven’t stopped shaking yet.”

Both bombs were small and initial tests showed no high-grade explosive material, suggesting they were crude devices.

Investigators warned police to be on the lookout for a “darker-skinned or black male” with a possible foreign accent in connection with the attack.

The man was seen with a black backpack and sweatshirt and was trying to get into a restricted area about five minutes before the first explosion

M.Y. Azzam another Gem from Lurssen


At the end of last year I wrote an article about M.Y. Eclipse being the biggest yacht in the world. Measuring 590 feet long, the German-built craft, named Azzam, has officially bumped Roman Abramovich’s  536-foot Eclipse from its No. 1 ranking. M.Y. Azzam is now out and it is a beauty. She has beautiful lines and with a length of 180 meters plus a top speed of 30 knots it has to be!


M.Y. Azzam is now the biggest yacht in the world!

The Client representative assembled a world-class team, composed by Lürssen engineers, technical project managers from Burgess, the interior designer Christophe Leoni and Nauta Yachts. Azzam breaks new ground in terms of dimensions, performance and technology.

Nauta CEO Mario Pedol added, “When I saw the scale model before the generalpresentation to the Principal, I was 100% happy with the outcome. So was the Principal. Such recognition made me confident that we had achieved our goal.

According to Burgess CEO Jonathan Beckett the construction of this yacht – with its highly complex technical features – has been extremely demanding and challenging. “It has been a real team effort – he says – between all the professionals involved, including ourselves, the builder and the designers, and we are proud to be associated with this extraordinary and unique project as Owner’s technical consultants.

The renowned French designer Christophe Leoni has been able to realize a sophisticated and luxurious interior in Empire style.“Though yachting is not my main area of business – he comments – I thoroughly enjoyed the cooperation with Nauta and Lürssen and I am confident that the final yacht is everything and more that the Owner expects.”

The maker of the Azzam, Lürssen Yachts, told reporters that the boat was “without a doubt the most challenging yacht that has ever been built.”




Powered by jets rather than propellers, the yacht boasts 94,000 horsepower (combination of gasturbines and diesels) under the hood and can travel at a top speed of 30 knots, about 30 percent faster than most megayachts.

Azzam truly represents a milestone in not only Lurssen’s history but yachting history as well.