The Solar Tower, an Ambitious (but 100% green) Project

A huge 1-kilometer-high thermal power station is planned to be built in Australia called the Solar Tower. Planned for several years now, the 3,280-foot Solar Tower is one of the most ambitious alternative energy projects on the planet: a renewable energy plant that pumps out the same power as a small reactor but is totally safe. If built, it will be nearly double the height of the world’s tallest structure, the CN Tower in Canada.

The Solar Tower is hollow in the middle like a chimney. At its base is a solar collector — a 25,000-acre, transparent circular skirt. The air under the collector is heated by the sun and funneled up the chimney by convection — hot air rises. As it rises, the air accelerates to 35 mph, driving 32 wind turbines inside the tower, which generate electricity much like conventional wind farms.

But the Solar Tower has a major advantage over wind farms and solar generators: It can operate with no wind, and 24 hours a day. Thanks to banks of solar cells, the tower stores heat during the day, allowing it to produce electricity continuously.

How To Turn Unwanted Sunlight Into Energy

If architect Sheila Kennedy gets her way, textiles will soon be able to take the sun’s energy and turn it into electricity. Kennedy is an expert in the integration of solar cell technology in architecture. And, her team from KVA Matx has designed the Soft House, a structure that can create close to 16,000 watt-hours of electricity by transforming household curtains into flexible, semi-transparent, solar collectors.

Textiles have been a fixture of architecture and design for their ability to define and modify a space. For Sheila Kennedy, textiles are just another material from which energy can be generated. The thin-film photovoltaic textiles are essentially solar panels created from organic photovoltaics. While not as efficient as the silicon based type, they are able to be molded and modified without any manufacturing process.

The Soft House has gone through a number of prototypes, but don’t expect to see it anytime soon. The cost of the solar textiles would, at current, make it cost prohibitive. However, Kennedy’s work on this project shows that renewable energy technologies can be easily integrated into designs in ways that had never been thought of before. Kennedy’s own words best describe our thoughts on the Soft House: “Never underestimate the power of the architectural imagination.”

Dell's Mini Inspiron Laptop Got a Name

That upcoming mini laptop from Dell just got a name. Engadget's Dell source coughed up the info that the mini notebook will be called the Dell E which is an 8.9-inch competitor to the similarly named Asus Eee. Then there's the E Slim, which is a 12.1-inch screen, 0.8-inch thick competitor to the MacBook Air and Lenovo X300. Dell's further segmenting the notebook with E Classic, E Video and E Video+, which has more RAM, flash storage, webcam and Bluetooth. E Slim will get WiMax shortly after its original release date as well. The smaller Dell E looks to start at $299 in August, whereas the E Slim still has no price, but is supposed to hit August-September.

Had Gina gershon an Affaire With Bill Clinton?

It's Todd Purdum's turn to deal Bill Clinton a low blow, quoting Hollywood sources according to whom Clinton had an affair with Gina Gershon not so long ago.

"Recent high-end Hollywood dinner-party gossip that Clinton has been seen visiting with the actress Gina Gershon in California." Todd Purdum says in his article on Bill Clinton appearing in the July issue of Vanity Fair.

It certainly isn't a secret Mr. Clinton always had a problem keeping his Johnson away from ... err ... distractions, however the vast majority thought that Monica Lewinsky had dealt him a lesson tough enough to keep him out of trouble.

The writer of the article containing new allegations about Clinton's extramarital affairs with high-profile women is Todd S. Purdum, husband to former Clinton press secretary DeeDee Myers.

Bill Clinton's office promptly reacted at those charges, calling it "a tawdry, anonymous quote-filled attack piece" and "journalism of personal destruction at its worst." Kind of sounds like the "we had no sex" claims made years ago, uh?

46-year-old Gina Gerson has had quite a busy love life; she is known to have dated hotel owner Sean McPherson, Jay Penske, John Cusack and Owen Wilson.

Gina Gherson is regarded as a gay icon due to her roles in movies such as Bound, in which she played a butch lesbian.

What to say about this... true or false it is going to turn ugly (again) for Hillary, who will now face questions on her husband's alleged extramarital affairs... as if she hadn't already endured enough with the Lewinsky case.

Difficult Love Triangle: Tilda Swinton, John Byrne and Sandro Kopp

Swinton, who won the best supporting actress Oscar for her role in the movie Michael Clayton, has two partners: John Byrne, 67, and Sandro Kopp, 29.

But website Live News reported Byrne - a director, artist and playwright - had been romantically linked to lighting director Jeanine Davis, 42, for two years.

Swinton, 47, has an open relationship with Bryne, and the actress also has a relationship with Kopp - a painter from Wellington.

Byrne told Live News the situation was "relaxed and amicable".

"We have not hidden away and Jeanine is very much part of my life. Tilda knows all about it and is more than happy with the situation.

"Tilda has Sandro and the arrangement works very well."

The unmarried couple live together in Scotland with their 10-year-old twin boys.

John also revealed to Britain's Daily Express that Davis had met his family and Tilda's other lover.

"I wouldn’t say we all socialised together but she has met Sandro and we have all been under one roof together ... I know some people will struggle to understand it, but it works for us.”

Swinton's relationships became public at the Oscars when a journalist asked her about her personal life.

"I don't have a husband, I've never been married," Swinton said at the time.

"I have children with someone else, with whom I'm bringing up my children, and I've lived with someone else, my sweetheart for the last three years, and maybe it's extraordinary that we're really all friends."

In 2001, Kopp's paintings of female genitalia were removed from the Wellington Autumn Home and Garden Show after complaints.

He had non-speaking parts in The Lord of the Rings and The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. Swinton was the White Witch.

Bo Diddley Dies at 79

ROCK'N'ROLL has lost a founding father. Bo Diddley, known as "the originator", died of heart failure on Monday. He was 79.

Diddley, who continued to play shows despite his ailing health, died at his home in Archer, Florida.

"One of the founding fathers of rock'n'roll has left the building he helped construct," his management agency, Talent Consultants International, said in a statement.

Diddley's syncopated, percussive, propulsive rhythm guitar playing, backed by shuffling maracas, was inspired by an African drum beat. That rhythm helped lay rock'n'roll's foundation.

"Boom da boom da boom, boom boom. That was basically an Indian chant," is how Diddley described it in a March 2007 interview with National Public Radio.

Resplendent in black Stetson hat and thick-rimmed glasses, employing distortion and reverb on his array of self-designed guitars — rectangular or with Cadillac-like "fins" — Diddley boasted on self-mythologising songs such as Bo Diddley and Bo Diddley's a Gunslinger, presaging many cocksure rockers and rappers.

The driving beat of songs such as Who Do You Love, Roadrunner and Pretty Thing inspired artists from Buddy Holly and Elvis Presley to the Rolling Stones and the Pretty Things, the Clash, Iggy Pop, ZZ Top, U2 and the White Stripes.

Along with Chuck Berry and Little Richard, Diddley constructed a sound that crossed America's racial divide, appealing to both black and white audiences and musicians. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame recognised his influence in 1987, and he received a Grammy lifetime achievement award the following year. Exploitation by record companies meant he never received financial rewards commensurate with his influence.

"He was a wonderful, original musician who was an enormous force in music and was a big influence on the Rolling Stones," Mick Jagger said in a statement.

Melbourne DJ Mohair Slim, who will be presenting a tribute to Diddley on his show Blue Juice on 3PBS FM this Sunday morning, said Diddley was a true original.

"Bo Diddley didn't really have a predecessor, he was not part of any continuum or musical tradition," Slim said. "Every '60s R&B band had a Bo Diddley song in their repertoire but nobody adopted his whole approach or sound. The guy was such a maverick that he was destined never to get his due."

Born Ellas Bates in 1928 in McComb, Mississippi, he was given the nickname Bo Diddley as a teenager after moving to Chicago in the 1940s.

Inspired by John Lee Hooker and Muddy Waters, he started performing on street corners.

While he had just one top 40 hit with Say Man and collected no gold records, his influence is profound.

In 1956 a Harlem newspaper, the Amsterdam News, on first seeing Elvis perform, claimed he had "copied Bo Diddley's style to the letter". Rolling Stone magazine described his beat as "the most plagiarised rhythm of the 20th century".

Diddley toured Australia many times, including on the Legends of Rock'n'Roll Tour in the late 1980s, when he terrified promoter Kevin Jacobsen by staging a mock argument with Jerry Lee Lewis.

On his 1978 tour, he was so impressed by Brisbane guitar maker Chris Kinman that he asked him to build him a new square guitar, which he dubbed "the Mean Machine".

Playing at St Kilda's Prince of Wales Hotel in 2005, he surprised the crowd by straying from his signature sound in a genre-defying set of funk, soul, doo-wop, psychedelic rock, country and even rap, a genre he often derided.

Diddley also competed as a boxer and served as a sheriff in Los Lunas, New Mexico. In recent years, he worked with his local police department to warn teenagers about the dangers of drugs and gang violence.

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