Tag Archives: Japan

Japan draws up plans for solar power stations in space


To fans of science fiction, the idea of having solar power stations in space sending down energy to Earth is far from new.

News is, however, the fact that Japan have drawn up plans for exactly such a power station.

The idea, which is still just an idea, goes as follows:

Take an island, fill it witl billions of tiny rectifying antennas able of converting microwave energy into DC electricity. Run a cable from the island, where no-one is going to want to live, because of the radiation, to the mainland. Now take a handfull (or two) of solar collectors, shoot them into space and have them set up in a geosynchronous orbit and beam down microwaves onto the island from 36 000 km above Earth.

Sounds great, and as long as the whole thing worked according to plan. If the solar collectors missed their target, or someone decided to tinker with the whole setup, things could be very, very different.

Imagine a giant microwave oven, and then stuff the population of Tokyo into it…..

World’s fastest train zooms past 300 mph

The Japanese L-Zero Maglev Train recently blasted past 300 mph on a test track.

The L-Zero uses magnetic power to float above the ground, allowing it to go nearly twice as fast as the fastest bullet trains around today.

Cool huh?

Then add the fact that it looks like something that ran face first into a cyclone:


18m Euro aimed at making your internet reach warp speed

The European Commission and Japan have announced that they will be funding a number of research projects for a combined value 18 million Euros, with the goal of increasing the speed of internet connections by a factor of up to 5000. This would mean that many Europeans and Japanese homes would have 100Gbps connections.

According to ISPreview, the projects launched will look at issues like enabling 100Gbps networks, how to better the use of existing electronic infrastructure to support the new ultra-high speed connections and improving data security and energy efficiency in ultra-high speed connections.

North Korea orchestrated massive cyber attack on South Korea – and Japanese city mistweets missile strike

Tensions in South East Asia are high at the moment, due to North Korean posturing, and recent events show that the internet is very much becoming part of the simmering conflict between the dictatorship and the surrounding nations.

One incident that shows this is the revelation that North Korea was behind a powerful cyber attack last month that targeted broadcasters and banks in South Korea.

According to the South Korean Korea Internet and Security Agency (KISA) the attack came from the North Korean military intelligence agency.

“It was a premeditated, well-planned cyber attack by North Korea”, a KISA spokesman said.

KISA said that the attack had been prepared for at least eight months and identified the origin of the attack as six computers in North Korea.

The North Korean attack used malware, which infected computers and wiped the contents of their hard drives.

According to KISA, 48,700 machines, including PCs, automatic teller machines at banks and servers were affected by the malware.

Some people might think that it’s a good thing that South Korea isn’t a member of NATO. The organisation recently saw the release of the Tallinn Manual on how nations can/should react to cyber attacks. And it’s more than likely, that the recent North Korean malware attack would be ample reason for South Korea to launch missiles at the location of the six North Korean computers.

A bit further to the East, officials in the Japanese city Yokohama must be holding their heads in shame these days.

In what might go down in the history books as one of the biggest mistweets of the seven-year history of Twitter, the official Twitter account of Yokohama erroneously reported that North Korea had launched a missile attack on Japan. The tweet stayed up for 20 minutes, giving Yokohama’s 42,000 followers plenty of time to get heart attacks, frantically sign wills and do whatever people do, when they think their world is about to end.

Yokohama later released an apology for the tweet on its website, saying that it had prepared the tweet just in case.

If you’re Doug Olenick, you’re probably surprised that the world is still standing.

Japan’s nuclear plants are (almost) offline

According to an article in The New York Times, nearly all of Japan’s nuclear plants are now offline. Only two of the country’s 54 nuclear reactors are still running.

So far, the shut down hasn’t led to any major power outages, but that’s partially due to some pretty extreme measures taken by the people and Government of Japan.

For example, air-conditioners are now shut off, even in the heat of summer.

One place the country have felt the brunt force of what shutting off the plants means is on the economy. Partially due to the tsunami, but also due to a sudden rise in the cost of energy, Japan posted its first trade deficit for nearly three decades.

Apart from rising energy prices, Japan also faces another financial problem. Several of the country’s industrial giants have both constructed and run nuclear power plants. The shutting down of these plants leaves these companies with a greatly reduced income and many workers very suddenly out of a job.

One potential way out of this is for the companies to look abroad for opportunities to build and run nuclear power plants there. However, the mood is very much against nuclear power in many places at the moment.

Your future car can tell your ass from your elbows

In the future, your ass might help protect your car from being stolen.

Yep, that’s right. Your ass.

Engineers at Japan’s Advanced Institute of Industrial Technology have come up with a system that can recognize a person when they sit down in a car seat. So far the system has a 98 per cent success rate.

The team behind the novel idea aren’t kidding around. They want to commercialize their prototype as an anti-theft product and have it rea(r)dy in two to three years if car companies agree to collaborate.

Of course, this might make for the best motivation ever for people who don’t want to put on weight. Because if they do, their car might simply refuse to start.

But imagine the commercials:

The new, improved Toyota Hiace. It really can tell your ass from your elbows….