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The skinny

The skinny: Purdue University student builds solar-powered motorcycle

Driven to success

Student gets creative, will save gas money

A Purdue University student has transformed an old motorcycle into a solar-powered bike with a top speed of 45 mph. Physics major Tony Danger Coiro bought the 1978 Suzuki for $50 and spent $2,500 retrofitting it into a street-legal bike. Two solar panels mounted on either side of the bike charge its lead acid batteries, but they are also chargeable with a plug-in AC current. Coiro's solar bike has a range of about 24 miles from each charge and can go as fast as 45 mph. The South Bend, Ind., junior has received a provisional patent for his invention and hopes to improve his design to create a 100 mph, sun-driven racing machine.

STREET SENSE

New York tab to go lower case: $27M

Federal officials are demanding New York City change its 250,900 street signs from the all-caps style used for more than a century to ones that capitalize only the first letters. Changing BROADWAY to Broadway will save lives, the Federal Highway Administration contends in its updated Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices, citing improved readability. At $110 per sign, it will also cost $27.6 million. "We will have 11,000 done by the end of this fiscal year, and the rest finished by 2018," city Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan told the New York Post.

Potato power

All-spud diet is no junk food binge

Just super-spud him. The head of the Washington state Potato Commission says he's sick of people linking spuds to junk food. So, starting today, Chris Voight is going to eat nothing for 60 days except potatoes. Twenty plain potatoes a day. And no cheating with cheese toppings or bacon bits. Voight says potatoes are rich in potassium, fiber and vitamin C and have plenty of protein.

Super-super size

Cheap date? Try foot-long burger

A super-sized foot-long cheeseburger being tested at 50 Carl's Jr. restaurants in California and 50 Hardee's in Indiana is so big it doesn't fit in regular take-out bags. Three cheeseburgers fill out the sub roll. A foot of meat and cheese costs $4, with a $4.50 deluxe version (add lettuce and tomato) also available. Each foot-long packs 850 calories and 20 grams of saturated fat. The same fast-food chain introduced the world to the 1,400-calorie Monster Burger, but it has competition in the supersize section. Burger King recently tested a Pizza Burger — a 2,500-calorie behemoth on a nine-and-a-half-inch bun that is shaped and sliced like a pizza.

Compiled from Times wires and other sources.

The skinny: Purdue University student builds solar-powered motorcycle 09/30/10 [Last modified: Thursday, September 30, 2010 10:11pm]

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