The opinions of Contributors.

Andy Green’s Bloodhound Project diary

What's the fastest and scariest thing you've ever done? For me, they are two different events. The fastest is, of course, driving Thrust SSC to the current World Land Speed Record of 763 mph, way back in 1997. The scariest thing, however, is an annual event that feels almost as fast – racing on the Cresta Run.

Andy Green’s Bloodhound Project diary

An ambitious start to the New Year. I spent last summer running air operations over Libya, so missed out on our long-planned summer sailing holiday. As a result, our holiday crew decided to rent a boat and head out over the New Year instead – which was great fun (even in the rain) until the last day, when the storms arrived..... I've never experienced a 60 mph gust while at sea before – the force was truly humbling.

Richard Noble's Bloodhound Project diary

Late again! Very late again! Apologies! I last updated in August and Nick Chapman has just sent me a third email prod. Tonight (December 5th) is a very good night – first of all I am up to date with work (it doesn't happen very often) and second, Angela Merkel and Nicolas Sarkozy appear to be settling their differences and pulling together to provide real leadership in Euroland.

Does engineering need more sex appeal?

A recent report published by the Royal Academy of Engineering suggests that graduates with a first degree in science, technology, engineering or maths (STEM) subjects earn, on average, 4.47% more than those with first degrees in other subjects.

Is it time to slow down the design process?

I've been struck recently by programmes like Radio 4's 'In Business' questioning the benefits of rapid growth and the mess that often results from it. David Cameron's 'happiness index' was also aimed at looking at the wider issues in life, and not just the rapid acquisition of cash.

The case for PLM

Modern manufacturing has succeeded in delivering levels of quality, safety and sheer variety that would have been inconceivable to the enterprise owner of even 20 years ago.

Drawings or data?

We've all given up on the idea of the 'paperless office', and grudgingly accepted that new technology often creates more, not less waste, but is this as true for engineering data as it is for office paperwork?

Is this the end of the factory?

The Economist carried a leader earlier this year entitled 'Print me a Stradivarius – how a new manufacturing technology will change the world'. The violin in question is indeed impressive – and made using Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) by German company EOS – one of the leaders in the field of 'Additive Manufacture' (AM).

BEEAs entries now accepted

Entries are now being accepted for the 2011 British Engineering Excellence Awards; the celebration of all that is good about UK engineering.

BEEAs shortlist announced

The judges have convened, the votes are in and the shortlists for this year's British Engineering Excellence Awards have been drawn up.

Richard Noble's Bloodhound Project diary

I apologise – my web updates always seem to be late and I feel I am letting you down! The reality is that with a team hell bent on achievement, Bloodhound moves at a massive pace and we find ourselves working all hours.

Richard Noble's Bloodhound Project diary

We started BLOODHOUND officially in June 2007- that was 33 months ago – 33 months of hell at my end keeping the programme afloat – but this next week we believe the Aero team will come up with the final shape of the car.

Just buy me a blue dress

That was the last thing my wife said to me as she kissed me goodbye and I settled into the cab bound for the airport. I was departing for a week long business trip to the US and her parting request was for a blue dress. "Sure," I thought. "How hard can that be?"

Andy Green's Bloodhound Project diary

After months of waiting, lots of great things have come together all at once. The final design of the Car, the move into our new HQ, the confirmation of our run location and the new animation video which is fantastic!

Richard Noble's Bloodhound Project diary

I failed to get the September blog together in good time, and Nick Chapman is not pleased again – we're into November, and here's the October report!

Richard Noble's Bloodhound Project diary

The end of September is, I hope, going to be a huge waypoint for BLOODHOUND; hopefully JP and the design team will have made their decision on the final external layout of BLOODHOUND SSC and reached what we call Aero Solution. Over in the US, Daniel Jubb and his team will have successfully fired the full-scale hybrid rocket. Can we achieve all this? – I am beginning to learn that we have a really outstanding series of teams here and I reckon it can be done.

Richard Noble's Bloodhound Project diary

My apologies- this is late again! Nick Chapman asked for this update in July, but the pace and demands of the project are so great that I have to give precedence to activities that make money, structure the programme and help the rest of the team achieve their objectives. The project is moving very very fast now on a very wide front and it's doing really well.

Variable speed drives now supported by government

Engineers have long known the basics of the energy saving potential of variable speed inverter drives. For 20 years they have been promoting their uptake, either as energy efficiency improvers or simply as good practise. Each case needs to be looked at individually, but as a rule of thumb we can say that a drive will payback its capital cost in 12-18 months, then continue saving energy – and therefore money and carbon – for the remaining 5-10 years of its working life. It total, there will have been a substantial saving in both financial costs and carbon emissions.