Car to run on air

Indian car company Tata is backing an air powered car called the OneCAT. This five-seater holds compressed air in carbon-fiber tanks that can be filled in just three minutes.

According to the BBC, “For long journeys the compressed air driving the pistons can be boosted by a fuel burner which heats the air so it expands and increases the pressure on the pistons. The burner will use all kinds of liquid fuel.” The OneCAT will use about 120 mpg on longer trips.

The builders assure us not to worry about the air tanks exploding during an accident. “There’s no issue with safety–if the air-car crashes the air tanks won’t shatter–they will split with a very loud bang. ‘The biggest risk is to the ears.'”

Source: India’s Tata backs air-power car

Bush’s proposed budget cuts $2.4 billion from domestic spending

President Bush unveiled his proposed $3 trillion budget for 2009 on February 4th in Washington. The budget, according to the National Alliance to End Homelessness, “proposes increased funding for the Department of Defense [by $35 billion to $515 billion for core programs–NOT including war costs], cuts to health care programs, and about $2.4 billion less for domestic discretionary programs other than Homeland Security.”

Specific program cuts include:

$1.3 billion less than is needed to fund existing Section 8 Housing Vouchers
$315 million from Public Housing funding
$659 million from Community Development Block Grants
$77 million from Housing for People with Disabilities
Elimination of the Community Services Block Grant–$654 million
The budget also proposes to cut Medicaid by $18 billion over 5 years.

The budget is likely to reach a record deficit of over $413 billion after including all the war funding–$70 billion requested, but will likely be much higher since he requested $200 billion this year.

Bush cuts health and community services
Budget Would Cut Programs for Housing and Homelessness
The President’s FY 2009 Budget Proposal: Analysis and Policy Implications
Bush Budget Sees Bigger Deficits as Economy Slows

France gets super-fast train

France’s Alstom (an engineering company) unveiled the AGV (Automotrice Grande Vitesse or high-speed railcar) train on Tuesday. The AVG, which reaches 223.7 miles per hour, can travel 1,000 miles in three hours. Alstom’s Executive Chairman, Patrick Kron, says this begins “a new stage in the competition with the airlines.”

The AVG upgrades train efficiency as well. According to Reuters, “Rather than having a powerful locomotive at the front or back, the AGV uses motors located beneath the train” increasing both passenger sizes and space from older models. The AVG is also uses about 15 percent less fuel than its competitors.

Sources: France unveils super-fast train and France’s Alstom launches faster high-speed train