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Science and Technology of France

Technology in France
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5 Ways Technology is Used in France Daily 

Bethany Roach
 
Air-Powered Car:
Engineers in France believe they have come up with the answer that environmentalists and economists have spent years searching for: a commercially viable, non-polluting car, which costs next to nothing to run. The air is compressed at pressure about 150 times the rate you would put into car tyres or your bicycle. It is said to be much quieter, a top speed of 110 km/h (65 mph), and a range of around 200 km before you need to fill the tanks up with air.

French Nuclear Power Program:

France has 59 nuclear reactors with total capacity of over 63 GWe, supplying over 420 billion kWh per year of electricity, 78% of the total generated there. The present situation is due to the French government deciding in 1974, just after the first oil shock, to expand rapidly the country's nuclear power capacity. This decision was taken in the context of France having substantial heavy engineering expertise but few indigenous energy resources. Nuclear energy, with the fuel cost being a relatively small part of the overall cost, made good sense in minimising imports and achieving greater security. As a result of the 1974 decision, France now claims a substantial level of energy independence and almost the lowest cost electricity in Europe. Over 90% of its electricity is nuclear or hydro. In 1999 a parliamentary debate reaffirmed three main planks of French energy policy: security of supply (France imports more than half its energy), respect for the environment (especially re greenhouse gases) and proper attention to radioactive waste management. It was noted that natural gas had no economic advantage over nuclear for base-load power, and its prices were very volatile. Despite "intense efforts" there was no way renewables and energy conservation measures could replace nuclear energy in the foreseeable future. Early in 2003 France's first national energy debate was announced, to expose citizens' views on different energy options and provide input to national energy policy. Six forums took place around the country leading up to the development of a new energy law later in 2003. Announcing the debate, the French secretary of state for industry said that it had been designed in response to a "strong demand from the French people", 70% of whom have identified themselves as being poorly informed on energy questions. The same November poll showed that 67% of people think that environmental protection is the single most important energy policy goal. However, 58% thought that nuclear power causes climate change while only 46% thought that coal burning does so. "We must soon make important choices, define the energy mix for the next 30 years in setting our sights on sustainable development at a European and at a global level. This will include thought as to the role and the future of nuclear, (including) taking decisions such as those concerning the European Pressurised Water Reactor (EPR), and to define the role of renewable energies in the production of electricity, in thermal uses and transport."

The EuroDisney complex:

The Disney Logo of a mock-gothic castle is used, in the form of "the castle of the Sleeping Beauty" as the center point for this world-leader theme-park. It may be seen as an (unconscious) admission by the Disney corporation that, with all the great commercial success going around, the real princess, what Kabbalists call the Shekhinah, and what esoteric futurists may see as the Soul of Humankind, is still dormant within the very center of all this activity. Esthetically, this castle and its enchanted story-book display is the best part and merits every praise as a recreation of the gothic (or rather neo-Gothic architecture and design. But in comparison with the genre of "gothic stories", epitomized by Ian Potocki's "The Manuscript Found in Saragossa", it appears as a rather poor story. In Potocki's tale, the hero goes through an intricate adventure contrived as a maze, where he first returns again and again to the gory scene of an old crime, then meanders through the scene of the intertwined strange stories of several co-travellers, whose lives have been undergoing transformations, with stories looped within stories-within-stories. The stories develop from psychological to cultural and religious plots, culminating the hero's initiation into a leader of the future ecumenical secret-society. It is a story of a personal and cultural transformation that happens to the hero, whereas the sleeping beauty remains just that. In terms of design, it is a great waste to erect the central and most visible structure of the whole theme parks and then use only 2-3% of its volume to contain a rather small show which people go through only once and briefly, if at all. Disney's own self-image seems limiting or underutilized. This structure could be a central point of reference in each visitor's perhaps special trajectory through the various attractions, adding each time an added dimension of memory. It can likewise become a central beacon of interlaced laser-beams that tie the whole place together in a "heavenly" spectacle.

The Science Museum in Paris:

Situated in a great palace in the center of Paris, just off the Champs Elise', this science museum is no a poor second to the science museum at La Villette, showing hardly anything that is not exhibited there as well or better. What it can do to regain its primacy is to make a better use of its impressive classical structure. The great holographic human figure discussed above could perhaps much better fit in the high space of the entrance hall of that palace. More generally, this space can be construed as a general space for projecting great composite holographic images of changing themes.

French cheese production expansion :

French cheese production continued to expand last year, reaching 1.384 million tonnes in the January-October period, some 3.4% more than in the same ten months of 2000. Whey powder production also rose, by 3.3%, but output of all other categories was down, with the output of skimmed milk powder falling by 16.2% or almost 40 000 tonnes to just under 0.2mt. Milk deliveries over the ten months were marginally down on the previous year, at 19.289mt, and production of butter was 0.9% less.

French II 4th Period Danielle Montalvo