Birds have been doing this whole flying thing long before airplanes got in the game, but for some reason, it seems like the U.S. Air Force has been slow to pick up on what geese (and other birds) have been showing us for decades: flying in a formation that "surfs" on vortices can save substantial amounts of energy. Now, the USAF will check it out with a new project called $AVE.
Researchers at Boeing have been working on a host of new environmentally friendly and fuel-efficient technologies to complete the holy grail of the airline industry — planes with a reduced carbon footprint that use less fuel. This week Boeing took the important step of taking the cutting-edge experiments out of the lab and into the air.
It's not fast and it's not comfortable, but Canada's Alerion supermileage car trounced the competition at the Shell Eco-marathon, turning in a mind-bending fuel efficiency of 2,500 miles per gallon. That's about ten gallons to drive all the way around the planet at the equator, or about 90 gallons to get from here to the moon.
There's a continual race between nations to have the fastest supercomputer, but besides vague long-term things like climate modeling or nuclear warhead stability, it's sometimes hard to see the results of all this computing power. Finally, a supercomputer has done something useful, and figured out how to save truckers fuel.
You might not want to travel to Disney World with the kids in this 10,382mpg "car," but with the equivalent of a liter of fuel, you could drive across America without stopping — if you had the bladder for it.