Ford and Coca-Cola team up to make renewable fabric for cars

Click to see the show car

A refreshing research vehicle unveiled today by Ford in partnership with Coca-Cola that uses pop-bottle technology to make fabrics for automobiles.

Ford has outfitted a Fusion Energi plug-in hybrid vehicle with an interior of renewable fabrics developed using Coca-Cola’s PlantBottle technology, introduced in 2009 for plastic bottles. Up to 30% of the normally petroleum-based materials are replaced with plant-based materials.

The research car, which will be on display at the Los Angeles auto show that opens to the media next week, uses the new fabric in the seat cushions, backs and head restraint as well as the headliner and door panel.

This is the first use of PlantBottle outside of pop bottles and stems from a collaboration announced in June 2012 for companies such as Ford, Coca-Cola, Heinz and Nike to work on plastic substitutes not based on fossil fuels. The goal is to find a substitute for PET, or polyethylene terephthalate, which is the plastic used in water bottles, fabrics and carpets.

Ford created a fiber that can be woven into automotive-grade PET fabric. The fabric has the same look and feel as the material it replaces. The automaker will test its durability for an undetermined time period before deciding whether it will go into production.

Ford says if the process were used in interior fabrics across much of its lineup, it would replace 4 million pounds of petroleum-derived materials and save the equivalent of 295,000 gallons of gasoline and 6,000 barrels of oil. It complements other efforts such as using soybeans for seat cushions.

Corporate efforts at designs aiding recycling are praiseworthy. Maybe some of it will rub off on the company creeps who only concern themselves with exploiting natural and human resources.

Value of memorial cat-helicopter increases tenfold

Click on the poster to see the Orville-copter || Not great for cat lovers

The value of a Dutch work of art that transformed a dead cat into a remote controlled helicopter has increased almost tenfold after generating worldwide headlines – and controversy.

Bart Jansen, the artist, is expected to turn a tidy profit after stuffing his cat Orville after it was run over by a car before attaching motors and propellers to turn his pet into an airborne work of art.

Mr Jansen had originally put a £8,000 price tag on cat helicopter, which was on display in Amsterdam as part of the KunstRai art fair but Dutch newspaper Volkskrant today reported that its value has soared.

“The work has not yet been sold but we have an offer of €100,000 on the table,” Mr Jansen’s dealer Geoffrey van Vugt told the newspaper.

The flying cat has been heavily criticised by Dutch animal lovers…Jansen said the Orvillecopter is part of a visual art project which pays tribute to his cat Orville…

Volkskrant reported that Mr Jansen decided to turn Orville into an aircraft because his pet cat and its brother Wilbur, which is still alive, had been named after the Wright brothers who invented and built the world’s first successful plane.

Some folks like to have their late companion animal around after they die. How they go about that really is just another part of the culture they live in.

Most Americans don’t know that Roy Rogers had Trigger stuffed and kept him in the living room after he died. No surprise in the American West. Though adding propellors to your late cat-companion is a bit much, I agree.

Pet tortoise blamed for fire

Mohamed’s sister, Hagar, carries Giovani

A large pet tortoise that managed to escape from its tank and tip it over caused a fire that gutted a New York family’s apartment, fire investigators said.

Giovani, an African spurred sulcata tortoise, was rescued from the fire, the New York Post reported. Another turtle owned by Mohamed Salem, an 18-year-old art student, was not so lucky and died in its tank.

Salem and the rest of the family were out Sunday when the fire started in their apartment in the Bay Ridge neighborhood of Brooklyn. Investigators say when Giovani knocked over the tank the heat lamp fell on a pile of clothes and art supplies, including flammable liquids such as paint thinner.

Three police officers who were in the neighborhood and entered the building to make sure no one was trapped in the apartment suffered smoke inhalation along with one firefighter. Giovani, the size of a basketball, was rescued.

Ibrahim Salem, Mohamed’s father, told the Post he does not see how the tortoise could have started the fire. He said firefighters told him the fire was an electrical one.

Go ahead – blame the tortoise. He can’t defend himself.

Probably some neighbor’s rabbit started the fire.

It’s a panda! It’s a cow! It’s a panda cow!

A rare miniature cow with markings similar to a panda bear was born on a farm in northern Colorado.

The so-called “panda cow” born in Larimer County is thought to be one of only about 24 in the world.

The (Loveland) Reporter-Herald reports the male calf named Ben was born Friday morning. His mother is a Lowline Angus cow…

The miniature panda cow is the result of genetic manipulation. A white belt encircles the animal’s midsection, and the cow has a white face with black ovals around the eyes, giving it a panda-like appearance.

The mini-cattle are bred solely as pets. Farmer Chris Jessen says panda calves can sell for $30,000.

Well, it’s almost a panda – sort of.

Matchmaking in India: Doggy-style

Foster – and his person

“Hi, I am Musti,” one poster reads. “I am a well-mannered, good-looking and considerate hunk. I am very health conscious and love my carrots. I am a one-woman man and promise to take good care of you.”

And then there is Foster, all jowls and hooded eyes.

“Foster refuses to eat till we find him a girlfriend!” the poster declares.

In matrimony-mad India, where marriage is the central event of a lifetime, these posters could easily be for lovelorn, small-town bachelors, pasted up by anxious parents seeking a bride.

But the suitable girl these single fellows seek is of the furry, four-footed variety. Finding one, though, is not easy.

“I have been searching for months, but no luck,” said Kunal Shingla, who is looking for a mate for Foster, his 2-year-old basset hound.

New Delhi’s elite has long treasured purebred dogs, and as more Indians enter the middle class, having a Pomeranian, Shih Tzu or Neapolitan mastiff at the end of the leash has become a symbol of new wealth and status.

Unlike backyard Indian mutts of old, these dogs, like the pampered pets of affluent Westerners, are part of the family. With young, middle-class Indians waiting longer to get married and have children, and with would-be grandparents impatient for grandchildren, designer dogs have filled a void created by the realities of modern urban life.

Though there are cultures here and abroad where dogs are nothing more than status, where – in fact – they are only a draft animal, I admit to living a life where a dog is treated as a companion.

Not surprising – especially to those of us raised in families that considered dogs, even working dogs, as family members. And ours always are shelter dogs.