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Ride and Drive: 2011 Range Rover and LR4 tackle the San Juan Mountains

We recently got a chance to go on the most amazing off-road adventure in the 2011 Range Rover and the 2011 LR4. Both vehicles have had minor tuning to their engines to make them more efficient, and a bit of a face lift on the body. But where judgment really stands is how well the Range Rover and LR4 do in the great outdoors.

Beauty and the Beast

On the first day of our wild adventure, we went from Telluride over Imogene pass in the San Juan Mountain Range--to an elevation of 13,000ft.

The 6,000-lb Range Rover is a beast, but climbs up the rocky trailways like a mountain goat. With a 5.0-liter, 510hp supercharged V8, we weren't concerned with setting 0-60 mph records; although the Range Rover can do 0-60 in 5.9 seconds.

The Colorado mountainside provided the best place for us to try out the Range Rover's new features: Gradient Acceleration Control and Hill Start Assist. Hill Start Assist keeps the initial driver-generated brake pressure long enough for your foot to move from brake to accelerator without the car rolling backward on the rocky trails.… Read more

California approves giant thermal solar plant

California's energy regulatory agency on Wednesday approved plans to build a 250-megawatt solar thermal farm near the Mojave Desert.

The Beacon Solar Energy thermal solar plant would be built at the western edge of the Mojave Desert, roughly 15 miles north of the town of Mojave itself. It would cover about 2,012 acres in Kern County, Calif., according to the California Energy Commission.

And it may just be the first of many to be approved by the CEC before the end of this year.

The Beacon project is being touted by many as the first solar thermal project … Read more

Desert dispatch: Utah family races to 335 mph

Despite a bit of rain on the Salt Flats on Wednesday, Mike Nish piloted the Royal Purple streamliner to 335 mph at the 62nd annual running of Bonneville Speed Week. The team will have to match or exceed the same speed on Thursday to be the land speed record holders for the vehicle's class.

Nish, 50, along with his father Terry and brothers Jeff and J.T., have long-been known as Utah's fastest family. The Nish's streamliner, which competes in the nonsupercharged-engine category, hit a top speed of 335.348 mph at the third mile of the … Read more

Cyber Command chief details threats to U.S.

If the United States wants to defend itself against cyberattacks, it needs to focus on four key areas, according to United States Cyber Command head and NSA Director Army Gen. Keith Alexander.

Speaking Tuesday on the first day of the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association's LandWarNet conference in Tampa, Fla., Alexander discussed the dangers to the country's military networks and what the U.S. must do to safeguard them.

The general said the threat of cyberattack affects more than 7 million different computers on more than 1,500 individual networks maintained by the Defense Department.

"On … Read more

From 0 to 1,000 mph in 42 seconds

Meet Bloodhound, the 1,000 mph supersonic car. Actually, its top speed is 1,050 mph, but when you're a couple hundred miles an hour faster than the speed of sound, most jets, and all other Land Speed record holders, who's counting?

A life-size replica of the Bloodhoud SCC was unveiled at the Farnborough International Airshow on Monday. The organization, which uses the supersonic car as a teaching vehicle to promote science education throughout schools in the U.K., also uploaded an animation of the Bloodhound's 133,000-hp propulsion system.

The Bloodhound will attempt to break the … Read more

Land Rover previews the compact Evoque

Land Rover has pulled the wraps off of its newest model, a luxury, compact SUV dubbed the Range Rover Evoque. Based on the LRX concept that debuted in 2008, the Evoque's two-door design makes it the smallest, lightest Range Rover ever; it's expected to be the most fuel efficient, as well.

Land Rover has released only a single photo of the new model--for the rest, we will have to wait for the 2010 Paris Motor Show in September. Unsurprisingly, the production model looks--at least on the outside--almost exactly like the LRX concept. Obvious differences include larger wing mirrors … Read more

Figuring land use into renewable-energy equation

CAMBRIDGE, Mass.--Imagine if your country had an unlimited budget but a limited amount of land: what renewable energy has the most potential?

Rutgers University professor Clinton Andrews and colleagues ran the numbers on this thought experiment and came up with some surprises. They identified clear limits on some technologies, notably biofuels, but concluded that the bigger challenges to renewable energy and land relate to siting energy facilities, particularly transmission lines.

Andrews presented an early version of the paper at the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy conference here on Monday. The goal of this analysis and others like it is … Read more

5 best SUVs for twisties

We think of SUVs as lumbering beasts rolling sedately down the road, approaching slight turns with trepidation lest there top-heavy bodies tip them. However, a few models stand apart. They can tear through corners as if they were plot twists on Lost. We found five SUVs that, despite their bulky bodies and high riding style, handle better than most cars do.

Technically, all of these vehicles are crossovers. Although they have typically SUV-like bodies, they all have a  unibody, rather than body-on-frame, design. Having a unibody construction helps them with handling, but all of these vehicles use technology to … Read more

New Range Rover Sport lives up to its name

Land Rover went through a couple of big changes lately, with its ownership moving from Ford to Indian company Tata, and its entire model lineup getting a significant update. The Range Rover Sport underwent a very positive improvement, losing yards of plastic in favor of the kind of fine quality materials you would expect in such an expensive car.

Better yet, the new Range Rover Sport actually lives up to its name, featuring a new dynamic mode in it Terrain Response system that makes it corner almost like a sports car.

Cabin tech is a little weak, however, with a … Read more

Bloodhound SSC car faster than a speeding bullet

Bloodhound SSC is a bona fide rocket car and Britain's latest attempt to break the world land speed record. Crave UK got up close and personal with the jet-powered non-flier at England's Gadget Show Live, where Rich Trenholm met Nick Chapman from the project's Web team.

Click here to watch a video of Crave UK's interview with Chapman.