Short items

Replace rather than recharge 

A Californian company, Better Place, is to test automated battery swap stations in Tokyo with the aim to ’refill’ electric cars in minutes. Recharging batteries is one of the main challenges to large scale implementation of electric vehicles. Better Place hopes to provide a solution to this by replacing flat batteries with fully charged ones in the time it now takes to refuel a car. 
The Guardian, 6 April 2010 

Rebels lose cause 

Supporters of the Royal Institution’s (RI) former director Susan Greenfield have failed to throw out the current administration and reinstate her as director. At a special general meeting of the RI, the scientific body voted against the move in favour of restoring financial stability. Greenfield has begun an employment tribunal alleging unfair dismissal and sex discrimination.  
The Times, 13 April 2010 

Search for the secrets of the cosmos 

The Large Hadron Collider has successfully carried out its first physics experiment, smashing two beams of protons together at 7 trillion electron volts (TeV) of energy. It is hoped that the measurements from this collision will begin to unravel the secrets of the cosmos and even lead to an explanation of gravity. By 2013, the collider should be producing collisions at energies of 14TeV. 
The Independent, 31 March 2010 

Back-track on over-spend 

UK swine flu cases have fallen to below 5000 a week. The government ordered enough influenza A H1N1 vaccine to vaccinate the entire population, but has now struck a deal with GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) to cancel part of the UK order of Pandemrix, saving a third of the cost. GSK will not suffer financially as the government has committed to buy other products from the company. 
The Guardian, 7 April 2010