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BMW Develops Turbocharged Electric Wingsuit That Lets You Fly at 186 Mph

BMW is hoping that it can revolutionize extreme sports by turbocharging wingsuits to reach blazing speeds of up to 186 miles per hour.

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German automotive giant BMW is hoping that it can revolutionize extreme sports by turbocharging wingsuits to reach blazing speeds of up to 186 miles per hour (300-km/h).

Conventional wingsuit flying began as an extreme sport in the late 90s, with humans wearing the flying squirrel-like suits – also known as birdman suits and bat suits –to glide as they fell from enormous heights to navigate narrow canyons, caves, and gorges.

Since then, wingsuit flying has proved its staying power and become a veritable genre of its own on YouTube, with dozens of videos sponsored by the likes of GoPro and Red Bull showing the exploits of daring wingsuit flyers who use gravity to reach blistering speeds.

However, engineers at BMW’s Designworks studio have now created a wingsuit that would be equipped with a set of electric impellers that pump out 20 horsepower, allowing wearers to reach speeds that were previously unthinkable, reports New Atlas.

The experimental wingsuit is the brainchild of Peter Salzmann, an Austrian stuntman  who linked up with the German carmaker to push the extreme sport past the limits.

The final result is this wingsuit fitted with chest-mounted, electric-powered contraption with two 25,000 rpm, 5-inch impellers.

Salzmann is a seasoned wingsuit flyer whose top speed can reach a formidable 62 mph. However, after some time the extreme sport seems less like actual flying and more like prolonged, albeit extreme, falling.

But with this new BMW propulsion system that reaches 186 mph, your typical wingsuit flyer can feel less like a flying squirrel and more like a rising eagle who can actually regain altitude – at least for as long as the suit’s electrical charge lasts.

This speed demon’s dream device has been tested in specialized wind tunnels and has been used in 30 different test jumps. In a video showing the wingsuit’s first public demonstration, an airborne Salzmann can be seen soaring past the Del Brüder mountain peaks of the Austrian Alps.

In the video, the seasoned stuntman and two other stuntmen wearing normal, analog wingsuits can be seen jumping out of a helicopter at 10,000 feet. They soon begin to fly in formation before Salzmann breaks from them and flies over a mountain peak. Meanwhile, his mates in unpowered wingsuits are forced to fly around it.

“In a relaxed atmosphere one evening after a day of testing, we threw out lots of ideas about how we could improve performance,” Salzmann said in a press release. “One of them was a supporting motor – and it’s an idea I just couldn’t shake. I found the idea of being able to jump from my local mountain wearing the wingsuit and land in my garden fascinating.”

It still remains unclear whether BMW plans to go beyond releasing that one epic video, and plans to release these turbocharged wingsuits to consumers. So far, this wild invention seems to be a component in a promotional campaign for its new electric SUV, the iX3.

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Animals

Dolphin Swims Through Louisiana Neighborhood in Aftermath of Hurricane Ida

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A Louisiana family was shocked to find a dolphin swimming through their neighborhood in the aftermath of Hurricane Ida.

Amanda Huling and her family were assessing the damage to their neighborhood in Slidell, Louisiana, when they noticed the dolphin swimming through the inundated suburban landscape.

In video shot by Huling, the marine mammal’s dorsal fin can be seen emerging from the water.

“The dolphin was still there as of last night but I am in contact with an organization who is going to be rescuing it within the next few days if it is still there,” Huling told FOX 35.

Ida slammed into the coast of Louisiana this past weekend. The Category 4 hurricane ravaged the power grid of the region, plunging residents of New Orleans and upwards of 1 million homes and businesses in Louisiana and Mississippi into the dark for an indefinite period of time.

Officials have warned that the damage has been so extensive that it could take weeks to repair the power grid, reports Associated Press.

Also in Slidell, a 71-year-old man was attacked by an alligator over the weekend while he was in his flooded shed. The man went missing and is assumed dead, reports WDSU.

Internet users began growing weary last year about the steady stream of stories belonging to a “nature is healing” genre, as people stayed indoors and stories emerged about animals taking back their environs be it in the sea or in our suburbs.

However, these latest events are the surreal realities of a world in which extreme weather events are fast becoming the new normal – disrupting our lives in sometimes predictable, and occasionally shocking and surreal, ways.

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Animals

Mom in LA Suburbs Fights Off Mountain Lion With Bare Hands, Rescues 5-Year-Old Son

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A mother in Southern California is being hailed as a hero after rescuing her five-year-old son from an attacking mountain lion.

The little boy was playing outside his home in Calabasas, a city lying west of Los Angeles in the Santa Monica Mountains, when the large cat pounced on him.

The 65-pound (30 kg) mountain lion dragged the boy about 45 yards across the front lawn before the mother acted fast, running out and striking the creature with her bare hands and forcing it to free her son.

“The true hero of this story is his mom because she absolutely saved her son’s life,” California Department of Fish and Wildlife spokesman Captain Patrick Foy told Associated Press on Saturday.

“She ran out of the house and started punching and striking the mountain lion with her bare hands and got him off her son,” Foy added.

The boy sustained significant injuries to his head, neck and upper torso, but is now in stable condition at a hospital in Los Angeles, according to authorities.

The mountain lion was later located and killed by an officer with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, who found the big cat crouching in the bushes with its “ears back and hissing” at the officer shortly after he arrived at the property.

“Due to its behavior and proximity to the attack, the warden believed it was likely the attacking lion and to protect public safety shot and killed it on sight,” the wildlife department noted in its statement.

The mountain lion attack is the first such attack on a human in Los Angeles County since 1995, according to Fish and Wildlife.

The Santa Monica Mountains is a biodiverse region teeming with wildlife such as large raptors, mountain lions, bears, coyote, deer, lizards, and snakes. However, their numbers have rapidly faded in recent years, causing local wildlife authorities to find new ways to manage the region’s endemic species.

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Video Shows Taliban Taking Joyride in Captured US Blackhawk Helicopter

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The rapid fall of Kabul to the Taliban has resulted in a number of surreal sights – from footage of the Islamist group’s fighters exercising at a presidential gym to clips of combatants having a great time on bumper cars at the local fun park.

However, a new video of Taliban members seemingly testing their skills in the cockpit of a commandeered UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter shows the chilling extent to which U.S. wares have fallen into the hands of a group it spent trillions of dollars, and exhaustive resources, to stamp out.

In the new video, shared on Twitter, the front-line utility helicopter can be seen taxiing on the ground at Kandahar Airport in southeastern Afghanistan, moving along the tarmac. It is unclear who exactly was sitting in the cockpit, and the Black Hawk cannot be seen taking off or flying.

It is unlikely that the Taliban have any combatants who are sufficiently trained to fly a UH-60 Black Hawk.

The helicopter, which carries a $6 million price tag, is just a small part of the massive haul that fell into the militant group’s hands after the country’s central government seemingly evaporated on Aug. 14 amid the withdrawal of U.S. and coalition troops.

Some 200,000 firearms, 20,000 Humvees and hundreds of aircraft financed by Washington for the now-defunct Afghan Army are believed to be in the possession of the Taliban.

The firearms include M24 sniper rifles, M18 assault weapons, anti-tank missiles, automatic grenade launchers, rocket-propelled grenades and mortars.

Taliban fighters in the elite Badri 313 Brigade have been seen in propaganda images showing off in uniforms and wielding weaponry meant for the special forces units of the Afghan Army.

The U.S. is known to have purchased 42,000 light tactical vehicles, 9,000 medium tactical vehicles and over 22,000 Humvees between 2003 and 2016.

The White House remains unclear on how much weaponry has fallen into Taliban hands, with National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan admitting last week that the U.S. lacks a “clear picture of just how much missing $83 billion of military inventory” the group has.

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