The northbound bridge over De Neveu Creek near Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, looks just like the two-lane southbound crossing, which is made conventionally from concrete poured over steel rebar. But in 75 years the difference will be clear. Inside the northbound bridge's concrete deck, builders used a prefabricated plastic grid instead of steel.
Set to rise 54 stories above Manhattan, the crystalline Bank of America Tower at One Bryant Park will incorporate an unrivaled number of environmentally friendly technologies, from its windows to its toilets. The building will supply 70 percent of its own energy with an on-site natural-gas-burning power plant. For climate control, One Bryant Park will rely on excess thermal energy from the power plant, a groundwater heat exchanger that is the first of its type, and an air-conditioning system cooled by ice made with excess power during off-peak hours.
Board a luxury yacht made by the Ferretti Group, and you can leave the Dramamine at home. Starting in late 2004, Ferretti began offering yachts with an Anti Rolling Gyro (ARG) invented by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries. The ARG helps boats stay upright even in heavy swells simply by doing what gyros do: resisting rotation, in this case caused by waves rolling the boat. A motor sets in motion a several-hundred-pound flywheel mounted in the center of the boat. Unlike other anti-rolling devices, such as fin stabilizers, which work only when water is moving over them, the ARG works while at anchor.
Now being readied 3.1 miles off the coast of Portugal, the first commercial wave farm will use the movement of the sea to generate 2.25 megawatts of electricity-enough to meet the
energy needs of more than 1,500 homes-from three 459-foot-long Pelamis Wave Energy Converters. Moored to the seafloor, each machine has four cylindrical pontoon-like segments. Passing waves will cause each machine to undulate like a giant sea snake.
Blowing by the current record-holder-the French TGV, with a maximum operating speed of 186 mph-East Japan Railway´s Fastech 360 train will carry travelers at a top speed of 224 mph and is expected to hit speeds above 250 mph in test runs. This year East Japan Railway began testing a prototype with two uniquely shaped nose cones-at 52 feet, the longest ever-that reduce drag and noisy micropressure waves in tunnels. To stop quickly in an emergency, the Fastech 360 uses cat-ear-like spoiler brakes that pop out of the roof to increase air resistance.