Land a robot on the moon and win $30m

Dozens of entrepreneurs and space engineers will gather on the Isle of Man tomorrow to finalise plans for one of the world’s most technologically ambitious and financially lucrative competitions: the Lunar X prize.

Google Lunar X Prize

Google Lunar X Prize

The  $30m award, which is being backed by Google, will be given to the first company that builds a robot rover craft, lands it safely on the moon, and directs it on a journey of more than 500m across the lunar surface. In doing so, the competition organisers hope to galvanise the exploration of the moon by opening it up to private industry. A deadline of 2012 has been set for all attempts to win the full prize.

“Nasa currently puts the cost of landing a robot rover on the moon at more than US$1 billion,” said Julian Ranger, the UK financier who is raising cash for Astrobotic, one of the prize’s key competitors. “We believe we can get that cost down to less than US$50 million, a price tag that will transform lunar exploration and make the moon a target for all sorts of commercial operations,” he said.

Apart from being able to manoeuvre around the lunar surface, the little Astrobotic rover – which resembles a traffic cone on wheels – has been designed to carry people’s cremated ashes to the moon as well as a variety of small experiments. In addition, it is intended to land the probe near the 1969 landing site of Apollo 11 in the Sea of Tranquillity.

“Part of our business plan will be to get our rover to move round the site and take a 3D high-definition film of it,” said Ranger, a former engineer, software developer and self-confessed spaceflight fanatic who raised the initial investment that was needed to set up Astrobotic Technology.

“This [footage] would be shown on television around the world. If nothing else, it should prove to the doubters that the Apollo missions really took place.”

The Google Lunar X prize has been created following the success of the Ansari X prize. This was established in 1996 to inspire private investment in manned space travel and the US$10 million prize, backed by a number of US foundations, was won by aeronautical engineer Burt Rutan.

His SpaceShipOne craft was flown twice within a month to the edge of space in 2004. That technology is now being used to build Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic fleet of spaceships, which are scheduled to start carrying tourists to space by 2012. Tickets are priced at US$200,000 each.

One of the first customers to fly on the Virgin Galactic will be Ranger.

He said that Astrobotic Technology hopes to build its lander for US$15 million to US$20 million. The company is in negotiation with SpaceX – a private US launch company controlled by the software billionaire Elon Musk – which was recently awarded a US$1 billion contract by Nasa to ferry supplies to the International Space Station.

The deadline for a team to make an attempt to win the full US$20 million Lunar X prize has been set for December 2012. After that, the prize money will drop to US$15 million.

If no project has succeeded by December 2014, the competition will be scrapped – though there is a prospect of an extension, say the organisers. Bonus awards have been added to the prize.

If a rover cannot only travel half a kilometre over the lunar terrain, but survives the cold of a 14-day-long lunar night, an extra US$4 million will be awarded. Another bonus, of US$2 million, will be given if the craft is launched from Florida.

A total of 22 teams have put their names down as competitors for the prize.

Gull piggybacking Eagle during hunt caught on camera!

A Gull piggybacking a Sea Eagle during hunt was recently caught on camera in Norway by photographer Paul Beastall.

Gull piggybacking Eagle during hunt caught on camera in Norway!

Gull piggybacking Eagle during hunt caught on camera in Norway! Copyright: Paul Beastall

 Full story in Norwegian…

Eurovision 2010 – Eurocraze in Oslo Norway

Eurovision is upon us once again. Lot’s of craze about, well, what? Let’s face it, the music from the Eurovision Song Contest is always 99% rubbish. It’s one giant freakshow of so-called European nations, worse even than MTV these days. However, we can’t dismiss the Eurovision SC completly, for one good reason: it’s comical value.

There are some funny videos here I will admit, Eurovision Videos

Lena Meyer-Landrut (SKL Show 'Tag Des Gluecks')

Lena Meyer-Landrut (SKL Show 'Tag Des Gluecks')

“Oi don’t give a shit,” Germany’s newest pop star sings in her odd accent, Der Spiegel

Even BBC agrees to Eurovision being a cliche, Eurovision 2010: How to write the winning lyric

Let the show begin! Now who will win? Oi don’t give a shit. 🙂

Facebook Bloopers, Part 2 (More than Tracey’s ‘Love Cave’)

Facebook Bloopers

Joshua, Monica, Bob, Cousin, Sister, typical Facebook Blooper

Joshua, Monica, Bob, Cousin, Sister, typical Facebook Blooper

Laptop is Back, Porn Industry Relieved - Facebook Blooper

Laptop is Back, Porn Industry Relieved - Facebook Blooper

Glow Sticks, Sperm Face - Facebook Blooper

Glow Sticks, Sperm Face - Facebook Blooper

Firealarm and Christmas Puke, but Mom won't have it - Facebook Blooper

Firealarm and Christmas Puke, but Mom won't have it - Facebook Blooper

Eyal and Travis, Swallow - Another Facebook Goodie

Eyal and Travis, Swallow - Another Facebook Goodie

For Tracey’s ultimate Facebook blunder, look to previous post

Google Street View car chased by frogmen in Bergen, Norway

Google Street View was finally launched in Norway this week, and some surprises were expected. But perhaps not any expectations to see the Google Street View car chased by fully dressed frogmen on the streets of Bergen Norway?
Nevertheless, there they are.

Rugdeveien 39 Bergen Norway - Google Street View Maps

Rugdeveien 39 Bergen Norway - Google Street View Maps

Norwegian Frogmen on Google Maps Street View in Bergen

Norwegian Frogmen on Google Maps Street View in Bergen

Busted live Australian ‘nude photos’ banker gets web support

Busted Macquarie banker, David Kiely watching porn in the background

Busted Macquarie banker, David Kiely watching porn in the background

Campaigns to save the job of an Australian banker caught viewing erotic images in the background of a live TV interview are growing on the internet.

Business website Here Is The City News has launched a Save Dave section, in support of Macquarie banker David Kiely, who reportedly could be fired.

More than a dozen groups sympathetic to Mr Kiely have been set up on Facebook.

Mr Kiely became an internet sensation after video of him viewing images of model Miranda Kerr appeared on YouTube.

He is due to meet bank chiefs this week, when his future will be decided, media reports say.

‘Practical joke’

Mr Kiely was seen viewing images of a semi-naked Ms Kerr as a colleague was being interviewed live on the Channel 7 evening news programme. 

He turned around part way through, apparently in surprise, fuelling speculation that he was the victim of a practical joke.

There are reports that Mr Kiely was deliberately sent an email containing the images and opened it unwittingly, before being told to look round, with the broadcast still in progress.

Messages of support for the banker’s plight have been posted on internet campaign sites.

“Macquarie will be making a PR mistake if David Kiely is sacked,” said a comment on Here Is The City News.

“I’m not a banker, but I have joined the campaign regardless,” said another. “The guy doesn’t deserve to be dismissed.”

The London-based website said it was campaigning for Mr Kiely to keep his job, and was urging readers to email the bank directly with messages of support.

Tony Blair sentenced to 17 years in jail, £40 million fine.

Yeah right!
So what is the purpose of this Iraq inquiry? To mock democracy? But even that is rather costly.
Anyway, no change will come from this. Why does media even cover this farce?

Tony Terror Blair, PM and British Millionaire

Tony Terror Blair, PM and British Millionaire

Meanwhile, some other religious terrorist named Osama bin Laden, a mass murderer who owns his fortunes to oil, makes public complaints about other people polluting and benefitting from, oil!
Stupidity has no limits.
Welcome to 2010!

Pictures of the Oslo subway fire

The Norwegian subway system in Oslo caught fire again on Saturday.
Norwegian Public Transport Systems, Subway on Fire in Oslo
Nobody was reported to be harmed by the regular incident.
Norway is famous for having the least well functioning public transport system in the world. If you are thinking about going to Oslo for the Eurovision Song Contest 2010, you may want to bring your own fire extinguisher.

Tablet launch, earnings mean big week for Apple

The company releases quarterly results on Monday, but Wall Street is waiting for Wednesday, when Apple could unveil a new tablet computer that investors hope will be as huge a phenomenon as its iconic iPod and iPhone.

The week could provide a pair of long-term catalysts for Apple’s stock. But the company’s shares often sell off right after major launches after months of rumor fuel big expectations.

Little is known about the device, despite a rabid fan following speculating on everything from the component makers to its shape and form. Industry watchers are bullish. They say Apple’s obsession to detail gives the so-called “iSlate” a big edge in a computer category that had been deemed a failure.

“If Apple is going to design a product, then it’s going to be the best design in the marketplace,” said Broadpoint Amtech analyst Brian Marshall. “To bet that it’s going to be a flop is a bad bet.”

Most analysts have not factored the tablet into estimates for fiscal 2010, but sell-siders have been busy lifting price targets on Apple’s stock in the past month.

To be sure, Apple is setting itself quite a task, one that has frustrated previous attempts: to sell consumers on the value of a device that sits somewhere between a full-sized laptop and a pocket cellphone.

The device is hyped as a do-everything, go-everywhere touchscreen media gadget that bridges the gap between smartphones, laptops and electronic readers. Magazine, book and newspaper publishers are reportedly talking with Apple about providing material.

“There’s a huge potential long-term story there for Apple,” said Atlantic Equities analyst James Cordwell. “Whether they get it right the first time, we’ll have to wait and see, but they have a pretty good track record.”

IF THE PRICE IS RIGHT

Wall Street will pay particular attention to the tablet’s price tag. If it is closer to $1,000 than $600, analysts say it will be tougher to convince consumers to buy.

Apple could offer it under carrier-subsidized plans — Verizon Wireless is frequently mentioned — which might help take the bite out of the purchase price.

Apple Q4 2009 Analyst Coverage, Steve Jobs

Analysts believe Apple will sell 2 million to 5 million tablets in the first year.

The device could add $1 per share to Apple’s non-GAAP earnings in the year, and generate $2.8 billion to $3.5 billion of revenue, with a $700 average selling price, said Cross research analyst Shannon Cross.

Its Monday earnings run-down will serve as a warm-up for the tablet launch. Strong iPhone sales and continued momentum from its Mac computers should fuel the results.

Given Apple’s recent tradition of shredding Wall Street’s estimates, investors will expect nothing less than a strong beat when it reports fiscal first-quarter results. The company is trading at around 27 times forward earnings.

Apple has bested Wall Street EPS targets by at least 15 percent in the past four quarters, and analyst sentiment on the company is trending upward, according to data compiled by Thomson Reuters StarMine.

According to StarMine’s SmartEstimate, which places more weight on recent forecasts by top-rated analysts, Apple should post EPS of $2.11 a share on revenue of $12.16 billion

“It really boils down to one point, is their beat big enough?” said Jessup & Lamont analyst Kevin Dede. “If you’re long, just ride this one out, but if you’re a hedge fund, maybe you want to think twice.”

Apple’s shares have risen around 9 percent since mid-December when hype about the tablet quickened, and are trading a few dollars shy of an all-time high. It is now the fourth largest stock on the S&P500 index, outranking the likes of IBM and JPMorgan Chase.

Some investors will be reluctant to sell shares ahead of the tablet unveiling two days later, Dede said.

Apple is expected to report earnings of $2.06 a share on revenue of $12.05 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S, with a gross margin of 35.7 percent.

Marshall, whose estimates are well above consensus, expects Apple to deliver a strong upside surprise.

“The beat is going to be significant enough that we’ll have a material earnings revisions for calendar year 2010,” Marshall said.

The iPhone should provide a boost for Apple in the holiday quarter, particularly internationally, he said. Marshal predicted that iPhone units sold will surpass the 9 million average estimate.

Analysts target Mac shipments of around 3 million for the quarter. Mac shipments in the United States jumped 31 percent in the quarter, according to research group IDC.

‘Hudson miracle’ Airbus up for auction

US Airways Airbus A320 that pilot Chesley Sullenberger landed safely

US Airways Airbus A320 that pilot Chesley Sullenberger landed safely

Fri Jan 22,

NEW YORK  – For sale: second-hand Airbus A320. Condition: total wreck with possible traces of goose feathers.

The US Airways plane that Captain Chesley Sullenberger landed safely in the Hudson River a year ago after smashing into a flock of geese is on the auction block.

Insurers AIG are hosting online bidding until March 27 for the Airbus A320, which is stored in a shed in New Jersey.

Pictures on the website of the AIG subsidiary handling the sale show the intact fuselage, spooky rows of empty blue seats and the hastily abandoned cockpit.

Engines are not provided and a future owner might want to be handy with the toolbox.

“Aircraft suffered severe bird strike event resulting in water emergency landing,” the sales pitch says. “Severe water damage throughout airframe. Impact damage to underside of aircraft.”

The Airbus’s successful splash landing in the icy river just off Manhattan on January 15 last year was quickly dubbed “Miracle on the Hudson” and turned Sullenberger into a national hero.

Norwegian caught reading newspaper at 133 km/h

Norwegian Speed Camera Caught Speeding Driver Reading Newspaper at 133 km pr hour

Norwegian Speed Camera Caught Speeding Driver Reading Newspaper at 133 km pr hour

 

NRK is reporting on the incident outside Oslo where a driver of a VW Golf was caught covering his face with a newspaper while he was driving past the automatic speed camera.

The reckless driver was recorded doing 133 km/h.
Full story

Kyla Cole’s return to modeling confirmed.

Kyla Cole, the sexy model that was brought in as a surprise guest on a Norwegian TV show once, has had her return to modeling confirmed by her agent: Gallery
Here is the old clip.



She has previously said she would go back to Norway, but no further dates or plans have been release yet.
The first set from
Kyla Cole’s comeback