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This Embraer ‘Shark’ Plane Has No Dreaded Middle Seats

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It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s a great white shark.

Brazilian aircraft manufacturer Embraer is turning heads with its new E190-E2 plane, painted up in a special great white shark livery.

The jet, nicknamed the “Shark Profit Hunter” has been touring the world, making appearances at various airshows, including at Airshow China 2018, held earlier this month in Zhuhai in Guangdong Province. It’s the show plane for Boeing and Embraer’s E2 family of regional jets, which encompasses the E175-E2, E190-E2, and E195-E2.

Embraer’s “Shark Profit Hunter” has been making appearances at air shows, including at Airshow China 2018 in Zhuhai, China. (Photo Credit: VCG via Getty Images)

The E190-E2 boasts a 2-2 seating configuration, getting rid of the dreaded middle seats. It also features re-designed, larger windows to make the cabin brighter, overhead bins that are 40 percent larger and able to fit standard carry-on luggage wheels-first, and no under-seat support rails to impede legroom.

“Preserving passenger personal space is the goal,” Rodrigo Silva e Souza, vice-president of marketing for Embraer Commercial Aviation, told CNN Travel.

The shark-themed E190-E2 aircraft arrives at the Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport in Chengdu, China. (Photo Credit: VCG via Getty Images)

The aircraft can carry up to 150 passengers, and is the world’s “quietest, cleanest and most efficient new generation single-aisle aircraft in the segment,” according to an Embraer press release. The jet is said to burn 17 per cent less fuel than its predecessor, the E190. It’s main rival is the new Airbus A220 plane.

The E190-E2 is currently in commercial operation with Norway’s Widerøe, since April of this year, and Embraer forecasts 2,820 commercial aircraft up to 150 seats to be delivered over the next 20 years to European operators.

Embraer has highlighted Alaska Airlines, Spirit Airlines and United Airlines as US carriers that would most benefit from operating E2 jets, FlightGlobal reported. However, the first E175-E2 orders are not scheduled for delivery until 2021

In the meantime, look out for a shark on the runway.

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Virgin Galactic Is Ready to Go to Space

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Virgin Galactic hopes to reach space for the first time today (weather permitting).

Richard Branson’s spaceflight company this week revealed the window for its next powered test flight of VSS Unity opens on Dec. 13.

“We are currently planning to fly at the opening of that window on Thursday, pending acceptable weather and technical readiness,” a blog post said.

No further announcements have been made.

During this fourth phase of testing, the firm hopes to push VSS Unity higher and faster than ever before, burning the rocket motor for longer (though not to its full duration).

“Although this could happen as soon as Thursday morning, the nature of flight test means that it may take us a little longer to get to that milestone,” the company admitted.

As of October, Virgin Galactic was “more than tantalizingly close” to leaving Earth’s atmosphere, according to Richard Branson.

“We should be in space within weeks, not months,” the Virgin Group founder and CEO told CNBC.

“And then we will be in space with myself in months and not years,” he continued. “And then we’ll be in space with people not too long after that.”

Since its founding in 2004, the spaceflight company has been on a rollercoaster to the cosmos: The White Knight Two carrier plane and suborbital SpaceShipTwo flew together in 2010.

But a series of delays has grounded the firm, which suffered a disaster four years ago, when the VSS Enterprise broke apart in midair, killing co-pilot Michael Alsbury and seriously injuring pilot Peter Siebold.

Replacement ship VSS Unity completed its first successful glide test in December 2016, and another six by January of this year. It performed powered test flights in April and May.

“Incremental flight test programs are by definition open-ended and, to a great extent, each test depends on the data from the test that precedes it,” the blog said. “There is no guarantee that everything will work perfectly first time and, like all programs seeking to take bold steps, we will inevitably have times when things don’t go as planned.

“Our team’s biggest priority is to use meticulous planning and preparation to ensure that stages are dealt with safety, and that every outcome informs and improves future performance,” Virgin Galactic continued.

Keep an eye on the skies, as Branson & Co. gear up to finally take their first trip to space.

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Robot Successfully Delivers Coral Babies to Great Barrier Reef

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Call the drone midwife: A robot successfully delivered coral larvae directly onto the Great Barrier Reef in Australia.

In a world first, an undersea android dispersed microscopic baby corals as part of a project to to help repopulate parts of the 1,429-mile ecosystem.

The initiative builds on Southern Cross University professor Peter Harrison’s larval reseeding technique, piloted on the southern Great Barrier Reef in 2016 and 2017.

“This year represents a big step up for our larval restoration research,” Harrison said in a statement.

“[It is] the first time we’ve been able to capture coral spawn on a bigger scale using large floating spawn catchers, then rearing them into tiny coral larvae in our specially constructed larval pools and settling them on damaged reef areas,” he explained.

Birthing partner Matthew Dunbabin, a professor at Queensland University of Technology, re-engineered QUT’s reef protector RangerBot into LarvalBot—specifically for Harrison’s project.

With a capacity to carry around 100,000 coral larvae per mission (and plans to scale up to millions), the robot gently releases the tots onto damaged reef areas, allowing them to settle and, eventually, develop into coral polyps.

“During this year’s trial, the robot was tethered so it could be monitored precisely,” Dunbabin said. “But future missions will see it operate alone and on a much larger scale.”

It’s like spreading fertilizer on your lawn,” he added.

Following this year’s initial trial, the pair plan to fully implement their proposal in 2019, using their specialized robot elsewhere in Australia, and around the world.

“With further research and refinement, this technique has enormous potential to operate across large areas of reef and multiple sites in a way that hasn’t previously been possible,” Harrison said. “We’ll be closely monitoring the progress of settled baby corals over coming months and working to refine both the technology and the technique to scale up further in 2019.”

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Waterproof Speaker Showdown: JBL Charge 3 Versus UE Wonderboom

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Protecting your beats from the elements isn’t easy. If a sudden snow or rain storm hits, your wireless headphones or earbuds could be ruined in seconds. However, you could invest in a good waterproof speaker to avoid this tech dilemma.

Waterproof speakers are handy devices if you need music on the go. Whether you’re at a pool party or intimate dinner, waterproof speakers give you good audio and still work if they get wet. Some waterproof speakers, including the JBL Charge 3 and the UE Wonderboom, are Bluetooth-enabled, so they’ll easily play tunes from your smartphone or tablet. Even though both speakers offer different music perks, they share the same mission, which is to play your favorite songs without water damage.

Ready to take the waterproof speaker plunge? Here’s what you need to know if you’re deciding between the JBL Charge 3 and UE Wonderboom for your portable music needs.

Basic Specifications

Photo Credit: Amazon

If you need a speaker that’s great for indoor and outdoor listening, the JBL Charge 3 makes the cut. Its key perks include easy Bluetooth connectivity for calls and music, up to 20 hours of playtime, a completely waterproof body, and a sleek design that works for your living room or patio chair.

The JBL Charge 3 weighs 1.8 pounds and its dimensions are 9.1 x 3.5 x 3.5 inches. When you buy a JBL Charge 3 set, you’ll get the following: a JBL Charge 3 waterproof speaker, a 5V 2.3A USB Adapter, a micro USB cable, a safety sheet, a quick start guide, and a warranty card for $99.95 on Amazon.

Buy it Here

Photo Credit: Amazon

Dropping the base without audio issues is key, and the UE Wonderboom is a waterproof speaker suited for your next party. Whether you’re in the pool or relaxing on the couch, the UE Wonderboom comes with many listening perks, including 360-degree crisp sound, seamless Bluetooth connectivity, up to 10 hours of battery life, and a completely waterproof design.

At only 1.32 pounds, the UE Wonderboom weighs slightly less than the JBL Charge 3 and its dimensions are 4.2 x 4.6 x 5.3 inches. Each UE Wonderboom set comes with an Ultimate Ears Wonderboom waterproof speaker and a micro USB cable for $69.90 on Amazon.

Buy it Here

Listening Benefits

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Indoor and outdoor versatility make the JBL Charge 3 a great waterproof speaker option for your next pool party or shower. With wireless Bluetooth streaming, you can play your favorite beats from your smartphone or tablet in various locations. For an out-of-this world sound experience, it has dual-passive radiators for supreme bass and easily connects with other Bluetooth speakers to double the volume. There’s up to 20 hours of battery life to keep your beats going from day to night. This speaker also comes with a smartphone charging area for impromptu powering.

Buy it Here

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If you’re all about the beats, the UE Wonderboom is a top waterproof speaker pick. It delivers clear 360-degree sound, so you can rock out in the pool or shower without worrying about water damage. Similar to the JBL Charge 3, the UE Waterboom offers seamless Bluetooth connectivity, so you can blast your Spotify playlist or iTunes lineup wherever you are. You’ll only get up to 10 hours of battery life, but you can also sync up the UE Wonderboom with other devices to upgrade your space to a club in minutes.

Buy it Here

The Bottom Line

Photo Credit: Amazon

Indoor and outdoor versatility is a big factor for waterproof speakers, and the JBL Charge 3 works great wherever you want to blast music. Grab your smartphone or tablet and sync it up with the JBL Charge 3 to easily stream beats. It has dual-passive radiators for supreme bass and provides up to 20 hours of playtime, unlike other models on the market. At $99.95, it costs slightly more than other waterproof speakers, but you’ll also get to charge your smartphone and connect to other devices whenever you use it.

Photo Credit: Amazon

At only $69.90, the UE Wonderboom is one of the best waterproof speakers out there that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg. For less than $70, you’ll get clear 360-degree sound, easy Bluetooth connectivity for music streaming, and the option to double up on the volume with other connected devices. Even though you’ll only have up to 10 hours of battery life, the UE Wonderboom makes the perfect pool party or shower session companion if you want to sing your heart out.

Buy the JBL Charge 3 here.

Buy the UE Wonderboom here. 

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