Formula Zero: As Hamilton gears up for the Grand Prix, McLaren unveil the radical F1 car of the future

With Lewis Hamilton poised for glory this weekend, the McLaren driver's team has unveiled its spectacular take on the F1 car of the future.

The sleek Formula Zero Racer would race on steep, transparent tracks, allowing spectators a clear view of the action - even from below.

The concept car, designed by Mercedes, is one of nine ambitious designs entered in the LA Design Challenge 2008.

Nine Southern Californian studios will go head to head in the contest to develop the best racing car for ‘Motorsports in 2025’.

Formula Zero Racer is designed to mix the thrill of F1, the dynamics of bobsledding and the efficiency of yachting.

Mercedes says the design is reminiscent of the Mercedes Benz racing heritage of the 1930s.

But Formula Zero, geared to form part of F1’s green revolution, would be loaded with high-tech features to extract the maximum thrust from electric motors, with an aero-efficient solar skin and an aerodynamic rigid sail.

So while Hamilton will be hurtling towards the finish line on Sunday, racing stars would also score vital points for energy efficiency in the revamped sport of 2025.

Each team would be allocated the same amount of stored energy, with winners determined not only by time but also energy efficiency.

Google's rival to iPhone and Blackberry go on sale in UK today

Google's first mobile phone will go on sale in Britain from today.

The G1 is aimed squarely at competing with Apple's iPhone and RIM's Blackberry. It will be available exclusively from TMobile.

The handset is the first of several expected to use Google's software, called Android.
A Google T-Mobile G1 mobile telephone is seen on display at a T-Mobile store in New York

The Google G1 phone: Experts believe it lacks the 'cool factor'

The company hopes that by linking the handset to its email and websearch products, it can drive traffic and lucrative advertising to its site.

Unlike the iPhone, Google has allowed developers to create free software for the handset. Although Apple does let consumers download extra software, it is tightly controlled and many applications must be paid for.

The G1 will be available for free to customers signing up for T-Mobile's £40-and-above tariffs, which include unlimited data for web surfing.

But some analysts claim the phone may struggle to compete with the iPhone. Ernest Doku of mobile phone comparison site Omio.com said: 'Despite the popularity of the Google brand, the G1's design lacks the inherent cool factor that made the iPhone 3G such a mass-market success.'

He believes Google could tarnish its brand if the phone fails: 'The launch of the G1 is important not only because it's Google's first foray into the mobile market, but because it's also the launch of an entirely new mobile phone operating system.

'Android is the equivalent of releasing an alternative to Microsoft's Windows - and equally as risky.'

The phone went on sale in the US last week, and the Evening Standard has tested the American version which is very similar to the British model.
Users navigate either touching the screen or via a small trackpad. Under the screen hides a full qwerty keyboard, which does give it an edge over the iPhone.

But the G1 doesn't have the slickness of its Apple rival.

With Google's might behind it, it's well worth keeping an eye out for future versions - but for now, it's really one for internet addicts rather than average consumers.


When Google's G1 mobile phone going on sale tomorrow, it faces tough competition from the rest of the phone industry. Here are its main competitors:


Superb touchscreen and the best music player around - but the on screen keyboard can be fiddly. From free on contract, 2 megapixel camera, 16gb memory.

5/5, apple.com


Excellent email phone, although doesn't quite have the web browsing capabilities of the iPhone. From free on contract, 2 megapixel camera, 1gb memory (expandable via memory card).

5/5, blackberry.com


The best here for phone features, and a decent all rounder with a superb camera.
From free on contract, 5 megapixel camera, 16gb memory (expandable via memory card).

U.S. fighter pilot: 'I was ordered to fire 24 rockets at UFO flying over East Anglia'

Former US Air Force fighter pilot Milton Torres is convinced he had an encounter with an alien spaceship in the skies over England in the 1950s.

He was warned to keep quiet about the incident, but eventually talked about it 31 years later, the newly-released Ministry of Defence files show.

On the night of May 20 1957, Dr Torres, then aged 25, was on standby at RAF Manston in Kent when he received an urgent order to scramble.

He was told to intercept a UFO with "very unusual flight patterns" over East Anglia that ground radar operators had been tracking for some time.

It was so cloudy he could not see anything, but the object showed up clearly on his radar as similar in size to a B-52 bomber.

He was then ordered to fire a full salvo of 24 rockets at the object - something that came as a sobering shock to him.

But before he could carry out this instruction the UFO suddenly darted off and disappeared from his scope in a matter of seconds.

The next day a man claiming to be from the US National Security Agency threatened him with losing his flying status if he told anyone what happened.

Dr Torres, now 77 and living in Miami, Florida, said he was flying at about Mach 0.92, while the UFO was travelling at over Mach 10.

He said: "I think it was an alien spacecraft. It had a propulsion system that was beyond us - either magnetism or anti-gravity."

Until 1967 the MoD had a policy of destroying UFO files every five years because they were considered of "transitory interest".

This means the incident could have vanished without a trace had Dr Torres not been moved to mention it at a USAF veterans reunion in 1988.

The retired civil engineering professor urged people with more information about the strange encounter to come forward.

"There are people who are still alive on Earth who know about this. I'm talking about the RAF, USAF, whatever," he said.

Dr David Clarke, a UFO expert and journalism lecturer, suspects the US military may have been testing a top-secret machine designed to project phantom aircraft on to Soviet radar.

"I think the most likely explanation is that he was basically a pawn in some sort of exercise involving electronic spoofing warfare," he said.

But Dr Torres remains convinced what he saw on the radar came from beyond our solar system, insisting: "This is something that's not man-made."

Secret MoD documents released for the first time also show how the captain of Flight AZ 284 had a similar close encounter to Milton Torres.

As the pilot began his descent into Heathrow, he saw something alarming overhead.

Shaped like a missile, the object suddenly veered across the airliner's path causing the pilot to shout 'Look out!' as he attempted to avert a mid-air collision 22,000ft above the Kent countryside.

Travelling at an estimated 120mph, it passed less than 1,000ft from the passenger jet before disappearing from radar screens, leaving the pilot and accident investigators baffled.

The documents reveal that Ministry of Defence staff accept that an Unidentified Flying Object zooming above Lydd caused the near miss.

The incident took place at 7.58pm on April 21, 1991, and was investigated by the Civil Aviation Authority and military experts.

Having ruled out the possibility of it being a missile, weather balloon or space rocket, the MoD was forced to conclude that it was a genuine UFO and close the inquiry.

The unexplained close encounter is one of many recounted in military UFO documents released today by the National Archives.

The Alitalia aircraft was on a routine flight from Milan to Heathrow with 57 people on board when the ten-foot long object, which had no exhaust flame, was spotted by pilot Achille Zaghetti.

He told accident investigators: 'I saw for about 3.4 seconds a flying object, very similar to a missile, light brown coloured.

'At once I said, "Look out, look out" to my co-pilot, who saw what I had seen.

'As soon as the object crossed us I asked the ACC (area control centre) operator if he saw something on his screen and he answered, "I see an unknown target 10nm ( nautical miles) behind you".'

At 10.25pm that night there was a report to Brentwood police in Essex of a dark flying object in the sky which had no engine noise or lights.

Southern TV also broadcast a story about a 14-year-old boy who reported seeing a missile flying at low level before climbing through the cloud and disappearing on the same evening.

Radar images of the object showed that the UFO was initially labelled 'cruise missile??' but checks on Army firing ranges and U.S. and British naval ships established that it was not a military weapon or 'space related' activity.

On July 2 a secret MoD report concluded: 'These departments have not been able to confirm the identity of the object sighted by the Alitalia crew.

'In the absence of any clear evidence which could be used to identify the object, it is our intention to treat this sighting like that of any other Unidentified Flying Object and therefore we will not be undertaking any further investigation into the sighting.'

Other incidents recorded in military files the same year include a 'wingless projectile' seen on June 17, 1991.
Four passengers on board a Boeing 737 saw it pass beneath the airliner as it climbed from Gatwick Airport headed for Hamburg.

Gatwick air traffic controllers were alerted but said they were 'unaware of anything unusual occurring at that time'.

A weather balloon had been released in the area around this time, but the description and timing did not match the wingless object, according to military files.

On July 15 the crew of a Britannia Airways 737 descending into Gatwick at 14,000ft reported seeing a 'small black lozenge-shaped object' travelling at high speed just 100 yards from the aircraft.

Air traffic control confirmed a 'primary contact' visible on the radar ten nautical miles behind the 737 travelling at 120mph.

Immediately air traffic controllers warned a following aircraft to turn left to avoid the object, although the pilot said he never saw it.

An investigation completed in April 1992 was unable to explain the incident but suggested the unidentified object could have been an escaped balloon.

Pictured: The stuntman who went for a record-breaking bicycle ride along a wire strung 135ft in the air

Taking urban bicycling to a new level, Nik Wallenda slowly pedaled among the city's morning commuters - about 135 feet above the street.

His trek spanned 235 feet along a wire suspended between a crane and the roof of the Prudential Center arena. It set a world record for the longest bicycle passage on a wire without a safety net.

Wallenda is a seventh-generation member of a circus family that's gained fame as both 'The Flying Wallendas' and 'The Great Wallendas'.

'I never expected to see something like this in Newark because just nothing ever came here,' said Makhan Taylor, 27, a Newark native.

Wallenda, who performs in the circus' Bellobration show, walked the wire across Mulberry Street and returned via bicycle to set a mark with Guinness World Records.

The stunt featured several frightening moments that left onlookers gasping, including a cell phone call placed halfway through the walk.

'He's getting a hot stock tip,' quipped Todd Andrews, 44.

Wallenda was actually calling NBC's "Today" Show, which televised the stunt live.

The 29-year-old daredevil said he ran into several unscripted challenges, which included the rear rim on his tireless bicycle slipping toward the end of the ride as the wire angled upward to the arena's roof.

A set of brackets securing stabilizer wires to the main cable were too thick and also caused problems for him.

'They were like speed bumps,' said Wallenda, who hopes to set another record by traversing the Grand Canyon on a high wire next year.

Wallenda said he realised how much Newark had riding on his success and held the stunt here partly to draw attention to the progress being made by the Booker administration.

'That was one of the reasons I chose this area,' Wallenda says. 'It's a wonderful area. It's been cleaned up.'

His daredevil feat marks the return of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey circus to Newark after a 52-year absence.

Newark Mayor Cory Booker stood in front of a crowd of more than 400 onlookers who gaped at Wallenda's performance.

Allowing the attention-getting feat to be performed above downtown during the morning commute is the latest gamble for the 39-year-old Booker, who spent nights in an RV parked at some of Newark's most dangerous street corners early in his political career to highlight neglected neighborhoods.

'We're doing everything we can to lift the city and it would have been tragic if he had fallen,' Booker said.

Apple unveils new laptop that ditches mouse for iPhone-inspired touchpad

Apple have unveiled their latest laptop, which ditches the mousepad in favour of a glass multi-touch trackpad similar to the technology used on their iPhone.

Chief executive Steve Jobs, who revealed the new MacBook range at company headquarters in California, said he believed they would be a 'huge success'.

The sensitive trackpad has 39 per cent more tracking area compared to the old mousepad. The key new feature and will allow users to switch between applications with their fingertips and zoom in and out of web pages and documents.

Consumers will also have the ability to pinch, rotate and swipe objects on the screen.
An Apple spokesman said: 'The entire trackpad surface is also a button, allowing users to both track and click virtually anywhere on the trackpad. Users can easily enable multiple virtual buttons in software, such as right-clicking.'

The product, which is already available to buy, has attracted favourable reviews. PC Magazine said the design alone would appeal to 'Mac fanatics and would-be Windows converts'.
Steve Jobs

'The typing experience is very responsive. The navigating is both better and more unique', they said.

'Swiping upwards with four fingers will trigger the Expose application, while swiping four fingers downwards will bring up the dashboard. Finally, applying three fingers will let you swipe through photos.'

Apple have also increased processor speeds and hard disk storage space for storing music and photos in all its MacBook machines.

In a move designed to counter-act the effects of the credit crunch, the technology giant lowered prices by up to $700 (£350), although the starting price for the range in the UK increased from £699 to £719.

However, there was no sign of a sub £500 budget 'netbook' computer that had been anticipated, with Jobs claiming Apple were in 'a nascent market that's just getting started.'

Many of Apple's rivals have cut laptop prices or released cheap, streamlined new machines in recent months.

The Asus Eee PC, which costs just £200, sold out almost everywhere it went on sale.

German zoo owner's dramatic rescue after 12ft python tried to eat her head

A female zoo owner in Germany was rescued at the weekend by colleagues after a 12 foot long python began trying to swallow her.

Renate Klosse became the prey for Tiger python Antonia, 24, at the reptile zoo she runs at Uhldingen near Stuttgart.

The nine-stone snake with 70 sharp teeth attacked Renate as she cleaned out her cage.
The jaws of the snake opened so wide that, with one lunge, she was able to completely cover the woman’s face,' said a police spokeswoman.

'She feared that with a few more gulps her head would be inside.'

Renate instinctively stuck her thumbs into the jawbone of the snake to try to get it to relieve its pressure.

Colleagues then sprayed water hoses on to it and it finally slithered off.

Python expert Jan Knoll from Hamburg said: 'Pressure on the jaw would have given the reptile pain.

'The water would have made it lose its sense of smell and disorient it.'

Renate needed hospital treatment for bites and shock.

Antonia had to settle for a supper of live white rats instead.

Skydiver killed after crash-landing on spectators as he delivered match ball before football international

A skydiver died when his chute malfunctioned and he crash-landed on two spectators at a football match in a freak accident in France.

Parchutist Sylvain Chabrol, 42, had been meant to 'deliver' the match ball to the players by dropping onto the pitch from the air as a stunt at a game between France and Ukraine under 18s.

But instead he hit a pitchside floodlight, then plummeted into the crowd, killing himself and injuring two teenage boys aged 16 and 17.

Chabrol was one of seven parachutists taking part in the display at the Saint-Denis-de-L'Hotel stadium near Orleans, south of Paris, on Thursday evening.

Bernadette Rousseau, President of the Orleans Loiret Parachute Club, said: "We are all totally horrified that what was intended to be a spectacular stunt for the fans and players turned into this awful tragedy.

"Sylvain was an experienced parachutist and we still have no idea why this happened."

Bernadette, one of the seven taking part in the display, added: "As I came into land I saw the emergency services dashing to one end of the pitch.

"Sylvain was lying there, with two other people beside him on the ground.

"When his chute malfunctionned, he had hit a large floodlight, then bounced off aand fallen into the crowd by the side of the pitch.

"He landed on two teenagers, injuring them both, and killing himself."

Spectator Daniel Yvelard added: "This body just seemed to come out of nowhere.

Because his chute had apparently not opened properly, he was probably along way ahead of the the other coming into land.

"Suddenly there was a loud crash as he landed at high speed at two youngsters near the side of the pitch waiting for the game to start." Local mayor Jean-Pierre Garnier said: "It was a truly appalling accident.

"It was supposed to be a happy occasion, with the added attraction that the ball was being delivered from the air."

A police spokesman said the 17-year-old named as Quentin had suffered serious injuries while the 16-year-old suffered fractures and bruising. Both were being treated at hospital in Orleans.

He added: "A full investigation will be opened into the precise cause of this terrible accident." ends +++