Friday, 16 December 2011

Festive Chinese lanterns warning is issued
a Chinese lanterna Chinese lantern
THINK twice before setting off Chinese flying lanterns at Christmas and New Year, urges Lancashire County Council.
It is writing to schools and other partners to raise awareness of the problems they can cause to livestock, emergency services and aviation.
County Coun. Michael Green said: “There is growing concern about the impact flying lanterns can have on private property and the environment.
“Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service has attended four fires which it is suspected may have been caused by these lanterns, and organisations including the National Farmers’ Union and the Maritime and Coastguard Agency have launched their own public awareness campaigns.
“I know many people enjoy releasing these lanterns and the county council has no intention to try to enforce a ban – which wouldn’t be reasonable or workable – but I’d like people to be aware of the potential consequences of what seems on the face of it to be such an innocent act.”
The county council’s chief executive Phil Halsall wrote to James Paice MP, the Minister of State for Agriculture and Food, in October, after a meeting of the full council backed a motion calling for the Government to review their sale.
The lanterns, made of paper, wire and a block of solid fuel like a barbecue lighter, are widely sold for as little as £1 each and can travel for miles before falling back to earth.
Often found at family celebrations and music festivals, it is estimated their growing popularity now sees 200,000 released in the UK every year.
The NFU started a campaign when farmers began reporting incidents of cattle suffering illnesses or a painful death after swallowing sharp pieces of wire from lanterns which had been incorporated into bales of hay.
The Maritime and Coastguard Agency has also raised concerns as a result of people mistaking lanterns for distress flares or even reporting them as UFOs. Calls to the agency caused by flying lanterns are now in the hundreds every year.
And flying lanterns could be a distraction to pilots and a physical danger to low-flying aircraft according to the Civil Aviation Authority, which has called for nearby airfields to be informed before people set them off.


Todays Links:


Time lapse sequences of photographs taken with a special low-light 4K-camera by the crew of expedition 28 & 29 onboard the International Space Station from August to October, 2011.


World's First Spherical Flying Machine

The world’s first spherical flying machine was developed and presented by Japan’s Ministry of Defense. It can fly in all directions, hover like a helicopter and even roll over onto the ground.
The machine weighs 350 grams and is made of off-the-shelf parts. It costs $1,400. Its creators say it was made for rescue and reconnaissance, but it could probably be put to other practical uses as well – from military applications to research.
The aircraft is remotely controlled with a kind of joystick, much like toy airplanes. Its versatility and movement flexibility are, however, remarkable.
“As it can take off and land anywhere, it’s hoped that this machine will be able to reach places that were hard to access by air before,” the narrator of the video says.
The creators of the flying machine
say it can stay in the air for eight minutes continuously and its speed can go from zero, when it hovers, to 60 km/hour.
You can watch here a video clip posted on YouTube by Tokyo video news website DigInfo TV from the presentation of the new invention.


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