links for 2010-08-23

  • It might not look much. In fact, it looks practically suicidal.

    But two Danish inventors hope to launch the world’s first amateur-built rocket for human space travel.

    The homemade rocket is the brainchild of Danish firm Copenhagen Suborbitals, headed by Kristian von Bengtson and Peter Madsen.

    (tags: space rocket)
  • Boris and Barclays' mammoth bike scheme in the capital may be getting all the column inches, but on university campuses across the country, fleets of bikes are already available for hire, and from September the concept will be shifting up a gear.

    Schemes in Leeds and York – which offer university students and staff cheap bike hire for up to nine months at a time – are already well-established and growing in scale, and next month will be rolled out to campuses in Lincoln, Nottingham and Lancaster. The Nottingham project will start out with 460 bikes, with plans to increase this number next year

  • Cycling in this country is not exactly mainstream, but it does seem to be on its way to achieving that status.

    Commuting by bike has seen a huge increase in the last 10 years, and recreational and competitive cycling has also grown significantly. Growth leads to diversity and cycling has plenty of that. So what's mainstream and what's not these days?

    (tags: cycling bike)
  • A senior astronomer has said that the hunt for alien life should take into account alien "sentient machines".

    Seti, the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, has until now sought radio signals from worlds like Earth.

    But Seti astronomer Seth Shostak argues that the time between aliens developing radio technology and artificial intelligence (AI) would be short.

    Writing in Acta Astronautica, he says that the odds favour detecting such alien AI rather than "biological" life.

  • For years the identity of BBC TV's Top Gear test driver, the Stig, has been the subject of frenzied speculation but now his identity appears to have been revealed and the aura of mystery surrounding him may be further shattered by his plan to publish his memoirs.

    The name of the driver who hides his identity behind a white helmet with a blackened visor was revealed today as Ben Collins, 35, a former Formula Three driver, described on his website as boasting "a reputation for being fast and aggressive".

    (tags: TopGear stig)