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08/31/05 - Steam Powered Bicycle
(I saw several versions of these in the Smithsonian, quite fascinating! - JWD) homemade and handcrafted non-polluting vehicles built and sold from a minifactory out on the homestead somewhere-might still come to pass. For someone, somewhere has designed and built and actually operates a real, genuine steam powered bicycle. There it is . . . we've got the photo to prove it. The only trouble is that the guy who sent us this photo (and promised to do a test report and construction article for us) has dropped out of sight. What you see here-and the fact that this particular location in the upper Midwest-is all we know about the machine. Can anyone fill us in with further details? There are a lot of MOTHER readers anxious for the information.

08/31/05 - Stable Plasma Toroids for energy storage
EPS has discovered a plasma toroid that remains stable without magnetic confinement, by using background gas pressure for confinement instead. These plasma toroids are observed to remain stable for thousands of times longer than classical plasma toroids, which opens the way for new clean energy applications. We are an early stage company working to develop the microfusion reactor. From this will come new applications, including a practical microfusion electricity generator, a low-cost space launch vehicle, a high-kinetic energy anti-missile beam, and practical zero-emission cars and jet aircraft. We are developing a six-kw power supply that is non-polluting, and uses no fossil fuels or nuclear fuels. In production it will cost about the same as present gasoline powered six-kw power supplies, but will run for a year continuously on about a kilogram (2.2 pounds) of hydrogen and boron, compared to 7300 gallons of gasoline. It can be scaled up into a larger generating plant where it will produce electricity for about $0.0005 per kw-hr, compared to $0.05 per kw-hr today. This white paper describes a three-year project to build a prototype 6-kw power supply.

08/31/05 - Manhattan Project for new energy sources
We are at the cusp in several technologies to fulfilling this clean energy dream. All that we need is the political leadership to shift our fiscal priorities. Thermionics: The direct conversion of heat to electricity has been at best only 5% efficient. Now with quantum tunneling chips we are talking 80% of Carnot efficiency. A good example is the proposed thermionic car design (PDF) of Borealis. The estimated well-to-wheel efficiency is over 50%. This compares to 13% for internal combustion and 27% for hydrogen fuel cells. This means a car that has a range of 1500 miles on one fill-up. Rodney T. Cox, president of Borealis, has told me that he plans to have this car developed within two years. Boeing has already used his Chorus motor drives on the nose gear of it's 767. The Borealis thermocouple power chips (and cool chips) applied to all the waste heat in our economy would make our unsustainable lifestyle more than sustainable.

08/31/05 - SuperCapacitors to push cars uphill
In the search for alternate means of energy storage, it is necessary to look for devices that can deliver bursts of power in short periods of time. Batteries are good for delivering a steady power output. But in circumstances like for instance when a car is climbing uphill or when a car is accelerating, a burst of power should be provided from another source. This is where the supercapacitors are useful. Supercapacitors can discharge large amounts of energy very quickly (i.e. in milliseconds). Supercapacitors are also good at absorbing energy quickly. When brakes are applied to a moving vehicle, the kinetic energy of the vehicle is wasted as heat energy. This kinetic energy can in fact be used to charge a supercapacitor. Not only do supercapacitors charge and discharge very fast, they can store up to 10000 times more energy than ordinary capacitors.

08/31/05 - Lake-Source Cooling for very cheap air conditioning
It works by drawing water from 272 feet below the surface, where temperatures are about 40 degrees Fahrenheit year-round. The coldness of the lake water is transferred via heat exchangers to a separate, closed water supply that loops around downtown Toronto and to participating office towers. Thirty-five buildings have already signed on to the project, including the Hudson’s Bay Co.’s 1 million-square-foot retail outlet and 32-story head office. The company predicts it will save $416,000 a year on energy with the system. Participating buildings can expect to reduce the amount of energy used for cooling by an average of 75 percent, officials say. Dennis Fotinos, Enwave’s president, said the system will ultimately eliminate 40,000 tons a year of carbon dioxide emissions that conventional air conditioning would produce, and free more than 59 megawatts of electricity from the Ontario power grid. After heat exchangers use the lake water to lower the temperature of the cooling water, a central pumping station sends the cooling water around the city loop, branching off to each building. The cooling water eventually returns to each building’s basement, where other heat exchangers extract some of the heat before sending it back to the pumping station to repeat the cycle. The university system was designed to last 100 years - typical air conditioners have a life span of 15 to 20 years - to justify the initial investment of $58 million. Since it started in 2000, the project has reduced campus cooling costs by 87 percent.

08/31/05 - Pizza company runs their trucks on used oil
A Madison pizza company is running two delivery vehicles on waste oil from the fryers. Glass Nickel Pizza creates 240 gallons of waste oil each month in its fryers which it can use to drive 3,000 miles a week -- avoiding high gas prices. Co-owner Tim Nicholson said he used to pay $50 a month for disposal of the oil. Converting a diesel car to run on vegetable oil costs less than $1,500. Even though the waste oil is free from restaurants, you do have to filter it before it can be used in the engine. Glass Nickle driver manager Ben Thomlison said they can drive the cars for nine hours without shutting them off.

08/31/05 - Up to $4,000 off your taxes for going Solar
Homeowners can put in a photovoltaic system and/or a solar-powered hot water system, and get a federal tax credit worth 30% of the systems' cost, up to a credit of $2,000 per system. There are a couple of catches: The heating system can't be for a pool or hot tub, and the federal credit applies to the net system cost after any state incentives. The good part is that this new federal break is a credit - not a deduction - meaning it reduces your tax bill directly, dollar for dollar. So, if you install both eligible solar systems in your house, you can knock $4,000 off your federal tax bill. And if you have more credit than you owe in tax, you can carry it over and use it to defray next year's federal tax bill.

(This relates to the prior post about solar heating tax rebates - JWD) 07/30/05 - 10 square foot solar collector weighs 19 pounds recently introduced a new line of solar water heating collectors and systems. Called the Fireball 10-01, these 10 square foot collectors weigh only 19 pounds! Despite their small footprint and light weight they generate the energy equal to a 500 Watt solar Electric "PV" system, at a fraction of the price. The collectors are made from high performance copper absorbers and double wall polycarbonate glazing. Because of their low weight they can ship by UPS or FedEx ground and feature patented "Disappearing Headers" for damage free shipping. refers to the 10-01 as "convenient building blocks to power and energy independence" These "Handy Sized" collectors are ideal for residential, RV and marine applications and can be matched with a PV system for increasing overall solar energy system performance. MSRP $295.00US

08/31/05 - Nothing resists Honeys curative properties
Australian researchers have found it is effective as an antibiotic cream to prevent infections when applied to catheter sites in kidney dialysis patients. Kidney specialist David Johnson said honey also had an advantage over the commonly used antibiotic ointment, mupirocin, in that hospital "superbugs" such as staphylococcus aureus, commonly known as Golden Staph, had not developed resistance to it. "There are no documented cases of honey-resistant bacteria," Professor Johnson said yesterday. Unfounded botulism fears and honey in legend In countless cultures, from ancient Egypt to modern Burma, babies have been given a little taste of this "molten gold" after they are born, not just for energy but to offer spiritual protection. In ancient Friesland in Germany it was believed that smearing honey on a child's lips was what made it fully alive. Less superstitiously, in the 1930s a number of doctors in Finland and the US published studies demonstrating the benefits of honey to under-ones, since it was more easily digested than refined sugar. During the US Depression, honey was used by public health officials to bring undernourished infants in New Jersey back from the grave - half a teaspoon at first, then a little more and a little more, until their emaciated bodies recovered strength.

08/31/05 - Chickens as 'Pharm Animal' bio-factories
Origen Therapeutics reports in Saturday's issue of the journal Nature Biotechnology that it implanted human genes into chickens so that they lay eggs carrying vast numbers of custom-made human ``monoclonal antibodies'' to fight cancer. Furthermore, these antibodies had more potent cell-killing abilities than those produced using conventional techniques. There are many benefits to using egg-laying chickens over the traditional approach of growing cells in vats, according to Etches. It speeds up the process, simplifies it and cuts production costs. The result could be less expensive medicine for patients. The goal is for their monoclonal antibodies, when injected into sick people, to hunt down and disable diseased cells. Because the human body does not perceive these antibodies as chicken-like, it does not develop an immunity to them. The chicken embryonic stem cells were then implanted into chick embryos. When the embryos matured into chickens, they laid eggs containing antibody. This is then separated from the egg white, creating a pure protein.

08/31/05 - 35 block sustainable neighborhood in Portland
Lloyd Crossing may serve as a blueprint remedy for all cities faced with rising air- and water-quality standards, rapid urban development, and the need for more power production and water-treatment plants. Though the plan includes a stand-alone demonstration project, most of the proposed changes reach for the future without breaking with the past. By adding local infrastructure to capture storm-water runoff and supply renewable energy, the neighborhood will reduce its dependency on the city's sewage and power systems without getting rid of old pipes and lines. Plans are to; Carve out bioswales to collect street runoff - Treat wastewater in the neighborhood and reuse gray water - Build according to stringent LEED silver standards (materials should come from within 500 miles of the project site and undergo life-cycle assessment) - Deploy photovoltaics to supplement power - Turn to wind turbines for energy - Store and share heat in an underground thermal loop - Design new buildings to leverage natural forces.

08/31/05 - Butterbur plant as superior treatment for pollen allergies
In a double-blind study of 330 patients, Andreas Schapowal of the Allergy Clinic at Landquart, Switzerland, and colleagues found Butterbur extract was as effective as conventional antihistamine, without any of the unpleasant side effects, such as drowsiness. Over 10 years Schapowal and his colleagues have bred a special version of the Butterbur plant, with high concentrations of petasine in its leaves. "The extract from the modified plant has a significant effect in blocking the allergic reaction and is at least as effective as antihistamine," says Schapowal. Butterbur is available in Switzerland and likely to be licensed across the rest of Europe and the US within two years.

08/30/05 - Portable Solar Rechargers for handheld devices
NOW your Apple can be fully juiced up by leaving it out in the sun. The SOLIO solar-power charger has been developed to make sure your iPod, Mini or Shuffle never runs on empty. As well as charging your music player, it can also provide power for mobile phones, digital cameras, PDAs and gaming handhelds using extra adaptors bought from

08/30/05 - BioFuel Pellet heaters
Owing to the technological progress, the cost of producing one kWh of power should fall to 7.5 cents for biogas and 6 cents for solid biomass by 2030. The prospects for bioenergies are especially positive in the heat market, where they already contribute more than 90% to the provision of heat from renewable energies. Pellet units, in particular, which utilise handy-sized biomaterials, have great potential. Thanks to alternative heating systems, homeowners no longer have to rely on oil and gas. Moreover, biomass heating plants with small district heating systems are an interesting alternative for municipal and commercial heat supply. Pellet heating systems are already operating at lower fuel costs; in this case, a doubling of the oil price would prove far more costly than the disadvantage of higher start-up costs for the heating systems. BioFuel pellets - The recent development of gasifier pellet stoves and furnaces (see provides a practical pathway for grass biofuel pellets to be converted into heating energy. These appliances are capable of burning moderately high ash pelleted agricultural fuels at 81-87% efficiency. In this system, switchgrass pellets are used much like wood pellets and provide fuel conversion efficiencies and particulate emissions in the same range as modern oil furnaces.

08/30/05 - Chinese demand for oil fuels potential global flashpoint
With its economy booming, China is striving to meet its enormous energy needs by intensifying its ties to major energy producing countries and seeking to buy a wide array of foreign oil and natural gas assets. “China will never be able to satisfy its oil demand through foreign acquisitions,” says Gavin Thompson of the Beijing office of British oil consultants Wood Mackenzie. ”They are now getting 55-60% of their oil imports from the Middle East. In the future that proportion will only increase, because the Middle East is where the oil is.” China’s growing thirst for oil will place a greater strain on the world’s top supplier, Saudi Arabia, at the very time doubts are being raised about the kingdom’s ability to substantially increase production. Should output falter in Saudi Arabia and other Middle East nations, some analysts warn of growing tension - or even conflicts - over access to diminishing resources between China and the world’s biggest oil importers, the United States and Japan, unless alternative sources of energy are found.

08/30/05 - Why is lightning jagged?
The spark from static electricity measures a centimeter or less in length, a lightning channel can span five kilometers or more. (Also, cloud-to-ground lightning involves electrical currents on the order of tens of thousands of amps. In contrast, a circuit breaker for a common household circuit is usually rated at 20 amps.) Because air is normally an electrical insulator, it must break down so that the conductive channel can form in order for a lightning flash to occur. This breakdown of the air between the cloud and the ground does not happen all at once, however. Instead, it happens in discrete steps of about 50 meters, with each step taking about one microsecond and about 50 microseconds elapsing between steps. Because of the discrete nature of this process, the initial channel of a lightning flash is called a stepped leader. The lightning channel will tend to extend out to regions of higher conductivity (as shown in the figure by some of the branches actually pointing slightly upward). As a result, the relatively short step size and the random distribution of such regions of higher conductivity render the channel jagged rather than smooth.

08/30/05 - Is this oil crisis a direct result of 9/11 Arab divesting from US investments?
In the United States, the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks are seen as the catalyst for a period of fear, war and economic worry. But in the oil-rich Arab countries of the Persian Gulf, Sept. 11 is increasingly viewed as the event that kicked off a galloping economic boom, when Arabs divested from America and reinvested at home. Arab investors pulled tens of billions of dollars out of the United States. They were angered by perceived American hostility toward Arabs. They worried their assets would be frozen by U.S. counter-terror measures. And U.S. markets happened to be plummeting while economies in the Gulf were on the upswing, buoyed by rising oil prices. Since late 2001, economies in the six Gulf Cooperation Council countries -- Bahrain, United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar and Saudi Arabia -- have soared, with stock markets up a collective 400 percent. Over the same period, the Standard & Poor's 500 rose 24 percent. Most of the credit for the wealth influx here is due to the near-tripling of oil prices since 2001 to current levels of more than $67 a barrel. ``The Americans shot themselves in the foot by being so harsh,'' said Beshr Bakheet, owner of Bakheet Financial Advisers in Riyadh. ``Do you want to put your money in a country that is involved in wars all over the globe? Not only Saudis, but a lot of people aren't comfortable with this.'' Investments pulled out of the United States were redirected into stocks and real estate in the Gulf and the wider Middle East, laying the ground for a boom that accelerated as the price of oil shot skyward. Oil money is now bankrolling more than $100 billion in construction in the Gulf this year alone...

08/30/05 - DIY fibrogen facelift can cost up to $6,283.55
(Can you say 'collagen'? - JWD) The procedure involves self injecting skin cells around wrinkles and other signs of ageing. According to some doctors the injections can take years off a person's real age. The procedure involves a small sample of skin being taken from behind the ear. The so-called fibroblast cells are then given the nutrients they need to multiply in a laboratory. The cells can be frozen in liquid nitrogen and then thawed whenever a person needs a shot to hold back the years. Many cosmetic surgeons say fat taken from elsewhere in a patient's body can fill out wrinkles just as well - without the expense or hassle of using a hi-tech laboratory. But it is thought fibroblasts are longer lasting - producing collagen, the substance that gives skin its natural elasticity.

08/30/05 - Mice regrow hearts and other damaged organs
SCIENTISTS have created "miracle mice" that can regenerate amputated limbs or damaged vital organs, making them able to recover from injuries that would kill or permanently disable normal animals. And when cells from the test mouse are injected into ordinary mice, they too acquire the ability to regenerate, the US-based researchers say. Their discoveries raise the prospect that humans could one day be given the ability to regenerate lost or damaged organs, opening up a new era in medicine. The only organ that did not grow back was the brain. "When we injected fetal liver cells taken from those animals into ordinary mice, they too gained the power of regeneration. We found this persisted even six months after the injection." A similar phenomenon was observed when the optic nerve was severed and the liver partially destroyed. The researchers believe the same genes could confer greater longevity and are measuring their animals' survival rate. However, the mice are only 18 months old, and the normal lifespan is two years so it is too early to reach firm conclusions.

08/30/05 - Bush considering tapping oil reserves to compensate for hurricane damage

Eight refineries in Louisiana and Mississippi with a daily capacity of 1.7 million barrels of crude oil were also shut. They account for about 9 percent of U.S. refining capacity. Last year, the U.S. government loaned 5.4 million barrels of crude oil to refiners from the stockpile following supply disruptions caused by Hurricane Ivan. The stockpile consists of more than 700 million barrels of crude oil stored in underground salt caverns in Louisiana and Texas. The oil industry was also reeling from the closure of the Capline pipeline, which transports crude oil from Louisiana to Illinois area refineries, and the Louisiana Offshore Oil Port, a deepwater port used by many oil tankers. But the release of oil from the SPR is unlikely to tame U.S. gasoline prices because a shortage of refining capacity has kept supplies tight, said Seth Kleinman, an analyst for PFC Energy in Washington. "It's refining capacity that's the biggest problem right now and they don't have any of that in the SPR," Kleinman said.

08/30/05 - Bloodroot paste claimed to cure cancer
(Thanks to Gary Vesperman for sharing this - JWD) Raber's paste is described by the medical board as "a caustic, tissue-destroying substance that eats away human skin and flesh." On his Web site, Raber displays graphic before-and-after photos of those who have used the paste, including women with scabs on their breasts and men with scarred faces. "The herb does not kill healthy tissue," Kelly Raber said, smearing some of the paste on his nose. "Instead, it performs a process known as apoptosis that allows the (cancer) cells to self-destruct." He said his father's paste is being singled out because it's an old remedy that can't be patented and therefore wouldn't generate large profits for the medical establishment or giant pharmaceutical companies. Dan Raber was named in a state complaint filed against Dr. Lois March, an ear, nose and throat specialist who risks losing her medical license for allegedly providing pain medication to 12 patients who had received Raber's bloodroot treatments. The board said seven of the patients had breast cancer and that the doctor knew or should have known that Raber's use of bloodroot "mutilated their breasts and caused excruciating pain." March has denied any wrongdoing. "These are wild accusations that aren't true," she said when reached by telephone at her office in nearby Cordele.

08/30/05 - Terrorism drives the pump
We have limited our efforts to make ourselves more energy independent. It is well known that we are dependent on the crude oil that comes from under the sands of several Middle Eastern nations. These are some of the same nations that also export terrorists, incite terroristic activities and promote the hatred of Western society. The oil they pump, that we then import, runs our economies and creates, in many ways, the lifestyle we are used to and have enjoyed for many decades. So not only are we as a nation and society harmed by the terrorists as people and the damage and injury they cause, but we are also terrorized by the fact that we need their oil and they know it. We have short-circuited research, development and implementation of alternative fuels and energy sources since the late 1970s in favor of crude oil and gas that is ultimately in limited supply. And because we have done that and continue to limit such efforts to make ourselves more energy independent, we will continue to be terrorized on two fronts - with the terrorists themselves and the organizations behind them and by the governments and countries with the shifting sands that know we need their oil.

08/29/05 - 'New' hydrogen production method for credit card size power cells
The researchers developed the new method earlier this year and envision a future system in which pellets of hydrogen-releasing material would be contained in disposable credit-card-size cartridges. Once the pellets were used up, a new cartridge would be inserted into devices such as cell phones, personal digital assistants, notebook computers, digital cameras, handheld medical diagnostic devices and defibrillators. The new technique combines two previously known methods for producing hydrogen. The previous methods have limitations making them impractical when used alone, but those drawbacks are overcome when the methods are combined, Varma said. One of the methods was invented by Herbert C. Brown, a chemist and Nobel laureate from Purdue who discovered a compound called sodium borohydride during World War II. The compound contains sodium, boron and hydrogen. He later developed a technique for producing hydrogen by combining sodium borohydride with water and a catalyst. The method, however, has a major drawback because it requires expensive catalysts such as ruthenium. The other method involves a chemical reaction in which tiny particles of aluminum are combined with water in such a way that the aluminum ignites, releasing hydrogen during the combustion process. This method does not require an expensive catalyst, but it yields insufficient quantities of hydrogen to be practical for fuel cell applications. "Our solution is to combine both methods by using what we call a triple borohydride-metal-water mixture, which does not require a catalyst and has a high enough hydrogen yield to make the method promising for fuel cell applications," Varma said. "So far we have shown in experiments that we can convert 6.7 percent of the mixture to hydrogen, which means that for every 100 grams of mixture we can produce nearly 7 grams of hydrogen, and that yield is already better than alternative methods on the market."

08/29/05 - Alternative therapies, what works with the purely objective proof of animals?
In spite of (or perhaps because of) the ongoing debate about the merits of chiropractic, acupuncture, and other "alternative" treatments, these and other modalities are exploding in popularity. First embraced by human medicine, methods ranging from herbs to homeopathy are now being used on the horses and house pets of enthusiastic devotees. Even horse owners who themselves have never had their spines adjusted or their ligaments lasered have turned to non-traditional practitioners when conventional methods failed to cure persistent, mysterious lamenesses or other problems. It's easy to see why a frustrated owner who's spent hundreds or thousands of dollars on conventional treatments and lost months of precious riding and training time, only to see little or no improvement, might become eager to give alternative treatments a try; after all, nothing else worked.

08/29/05 - Biodiesel has a few problems
The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission began using biodiesel in 1999. "We introduced it in Philadelphia, a non-attainment city (for clean air standards)," said Michael McClurkin, turnpike operations manager. "We wanted to be a good neighbor, even though what we are doing is minimal." About half the turnpike's fleet of 300 vehicles runs on a mixture of 20% soy oil and 80% diesel fuel, according to McClurkin. Crews prefer the pleasant french-fry odor, he said. Engines last longer and belch less smoke. Biodiesel is a better lubricant than petroleum diesel, according to McClurkin. New federal regulations call for removing sulfur from diesel fuel. "That's going to be a promoter for biodiesel," McClurkin said. "You take sulfur out and there's not going to be any lubricity at all." The alternative fuel is not without its problems. Initially biodiesel cleans sludge from fuel tanks and so clogs fuel filters. It also costs more than diesel - 31 cents a gallon more last year and 42 to 49 cents more this year. "This is a very young industry," Haas said. "The chemistry is not rocket science." The chemistry, however, mixes potentially hazardous lye and alcohol with oil or grease. Biodiesel fuels the farm's John Deere tractor, irrigation pump, Volkswagen Jetta and Dodge pickup truck. "When the weather is good we'll run 100% (biodiesel)," he said. "It splash mixes really well" in the fuel tank with diesel. Steiman is planning a how-to-make-biodiesel workshop for September. Safety will be stressed. A date has not been set. A backyard processor can be made from an old water heater for about $400, he said.

08/29/05 - Farmers use a LOT of fuel
Harvest is the peak season for energy consumption on farms. Semitrailer trucks, tractors, combines and other vehicles that transport crops from the field to storage bins and to market use diesel, the farm fuel of choice, or gasoline - requiring 50 to more than 250 gallons at fill-up. In addition, farmers use propane, a petroleum product, to dry grain, and they buy fertilizer, also derived from petroleum, for fall application to fields to be planted in the spring. Fuel used on the farm costs less than consumers pay at the pump because farmers do not have to pay taxes on the fuel. Still, they are paying more than $2 per gallon, more than twice as much as a year ago. Mike Berdo , who farms near Washington, Ia., with his brother, Dan, and their father, John, estimates that his family's operation will consume 8,000 gallons of diesel fuel this year. For the Berdos, the price increases that have become a nearly weekly occurrence will mean at least $6,000 in added expenses for fuel alone. Higher fertilizer and propane prices also will add to the family's costs. "A lot of guys could burn 200 to 300 gallons of fuel a day, and what's farm fuel at now - $2.15?" said Tom Fagen, a salesman for Greenfield Implement Co.

08/29/05 - What to do when the lights go out
Blackouts disable heating and air-conditioning systems, most cordless phones, refrigerators, and well-water pumps. A cold or overheated house or apartment can quickly become uninhabitable. Frozen pipes can burst and cost thousands of dollars in damage, while thawing or warming food can spoil. Short-term outages may be an inconvenience. But longer ones can be life-threatening, especially for those who depend on special medical equipment. The right blackout protection can keep you safe, comfortable, and in touch with the outside world. A portable generator and a typical transfer switch let you power selected home circuits during an outage. Homeowners can make blackouts more bearable by connecting a portable gasoline-powered generator into their home's wiring system. Models from Coleman, Generac, Honda, and other makers that supply the 5,000 watts or so needed for heating systems and other essentials cost $600 or more. Fuel use at 50-percent load is roughly one-half gallon of gas per hour. Kerosene heaters, sold at Sears, Wal-Mart, and other stores, cost about $120 to upwards of $200 for UL-listed models with enough output to heat a small house. Portable propane heaters certified for indoor use--about $100--typically use sealed 1-pound fuel cylinders that can be easier to handle than liquid fuel. One we tested provided about 6,000 British thermal units per hour of heat for four hours. For emergency lighting, forget candles, a flashlight and fresh batteries are your best bet. Newer designs include models with xenon, krypton, and halogen bulbs designed to provide more light than conventional bulbs. Other models use a light-emitting diode, which extends battery life by drawing less current. One we evaluated supplied 20 hours of light on its high-beam setting and should run 200 hours on low using a 9-volt battery. But its narrow beam required us to sweep the light from side to side to see obstacles in a dark room. (Wonder if a 'beam expander' as used to ignite forest fires from a helicopter using a laser might work to widen this high beam LED? - JWD)

08/29/05 - Fan Induction Blower box invention to increase horsepower and efficiency
An Air Force Reserve non-commissioned officer at the Aeronautical Systems Center's F-16 Systems Group is awaiting final patent approval for an invention he began designing and developing nearly 13 years ago. Staff Sgt. Kevin Patillo designed and developed the fan induction blower box, or FIBB, as a cost-effective means for achieving the same increase in horsepower and preservation of fuel economy offered by the current belt-driven supercharger and gas-driven turbocharger options. Sergeant Patillo's electric-driven device fits inside of the standard air filter compartment found in all vehicles and increases the amount of air pulled into the engine. This increases the power and reduces the car's dependency on both unleaded and diesel fuel. The sergeant was able to produce and offer his performance-enhancing alternative for 27 to 33 percent less than the $1,500 to $3,000 super- and turbochargers. It has proven a 10 to 20 horsepower increase and a 7 percent reduction in fuel economy, less than what the other two options boast, the sergeant said.

08/29/05 - Battery technology inhibiting use of electric cars
It's not that car makers can't build a car that will run on an alternative fuel, it's just that they cannot make it anywhere near economically viable. That's something Ford found out with the expensive experiment with electric cars which saw them go into partnership with a Norwegian inventor to bring us the heavily subsidised, electrically powered Think car. Ford poured its money and resources into researching battery technology but the size of the battery required prohibited anything outside of a town pool car application. "We got as far as we could," a spokesman said yesterday. This range, in spite of the availability of advanced materials, cutting edge technology and sophisticated electronic controls, is little better than was achievable a century ago when the first electric cars tried to challenge the supremacy of petrol burners.

08/29/05 - Cross-country biodiesel bus promotes alternative fuels
"Bio-diesel, you can use in any diesel car, and with a few conversions you can run waste vegetable oil in any diesel car also," Gregor said. Gregor wants the Big Three automakers to change what makes American vehicles get up and go down the road. He says bio-diesel and vegetable oil fueled cars are better for the environment and cheaper than gasoline. "So this is perfect timing as gas prices are rising and people are so sick of being dependent on oil and paying so much for it. So this is a perfect time to get really high efficient vehicles and get alternative fuels on the market." Getting Ford or General Motors to go down that path may be difficult, industry analysts say, mostly because diesel engines are not very popular in the United States. Daimler-Chrysler is already making headway, those analysts say, because of its European foundation. Diesel is cheaper in Europe and gets better mileage. Ford and GM have American roots. They are more reluctant to change and say it may cost too much to change to the alternative fuels.

08/29/05 - Texans working on manure and ethanol for fuel
The Panda Group of Dallas plans to fuel a $120 million ethanol plant set to open next year in Hereford with cow manure and other waste. The company said it will realize an energy savings equivalent to 1,000 barrels of oil per day turning manure and cotton gin waste into clean-burning fuel to power the plant. Biomass is renewable organic matter, such as manure and crops like corn, grain sorghum and soybeans, all of which can be processed into ethanol. Nearly 5 million head of cattle come to about 100 area feedyards each year. While there, they produce billions of pounds of manure. "It's almost too good not to use," said David Parker, a professor of agriculture at West Texas A&M University. Researchers at a feedlot are trying to figure out the best process and mix of manure to create the most useable heat and energy. Sweeten said manure contains at best about a third to a quarter of the energy value as coal, so transporting it far from where it's produced is impractical. Thus, Sweeten said manure-generated energy would only be used regionally. "You don't get as much bang for your buck" with manure compared to coal, he said.

08/29/05 - Japan experimenting with natural gas to liquid (GTL)
GTL is created by converting natural gas into a liquid form. It is seen as a promising alternative to petroleum, which has become less attractive due to high crude oil prices and tighter environmental regulations. GTL is also more efficient than petroleum-derived fuels and contains virtually no sulfur compounds. It is especially promising as an alternative to diesel fuel. Nippon Steel and others are working on GTL technology that can make the fuel without removing the excess carbon dioxide contained in natural gas. They will build in Japan a proof-of-concept plant beginning next fiscal year, according to the report. Currently, GTL is expensive to make. But if a technology for manufacturing GTL that eliminates the need for CO2 removal equipment can be developed, the cost of making the fuel would be lower, and it might be more economical if crude oil prices stay high.

08/28/05 - Biological fuel cells
Incredulous as it may seem, an almost no-cost alternative to costly fuel or batteries to produce electricity are mosquitoes and cockroaches. A young breed of scientists from Feati University recently discovered a way that these common household pests can produce energy. The invention, a biological fuel cell, is a device that uses pests’ enzymes (a protein found in all living things) to directly convert biochemical energy into electricity. According to Lopez, bacteria containing the enzyme Nicotinamide Adenine Dinucleotide (NAD), such as E-coli, are the effective catalysts in biofuel cells. Through research and consultations with other chemists, their team discovered that several local organisms like mosquitoes, rats, cockroaches and flies all bear this enzyme. Using beakers as prototypes of fuel cells, the researchers tested various insects to catalyze the reaction (a pest can produce 0.5 to 1.25 volts per bial), but cock roaches gave them the highest amperage, the strength of electrical current needed for an equipment to work. After combining the pests with the redox chemicals (chemicals needed to create the reaction in which both oxidation and reduction take place), and placing them in the fuel cells, they arranged the cells in a series circuit connection. This set-up connected to any low-voltage apparatus such as a 12V fluorescent lamp or a 24V stove, produced energy to power both.

08/28/05 - Food scraps fuel cell
A battery that runs on scraps of food could fuel a battery providing electricity to top up your home's supply, say UK researchers. Although such "microbial fuel cells" (MFCs) have been developed in the past, they have always proved extremely inefficient and expensive. Inside the Walkman-sized battery, a colony of E. coli bacteria produce enzymes that break down carbohydrates, releasing hydrogen atoms. The cell also contains chemicals that drive a series of redox, or reduction and oxidation reactions, stripping electrons from the hydrogen atoms and delivering them steadily to the fuel cell's anode. This creates a voltage that can be used to power a circuit. When a number of the cells are connected in series, they could power domestic appliances, running a 40-watt bulb for eight hours on about 50 grams of sugar. By experimenting with different anode materials, the UWE team have figured out how to make their system work: they dump the bacteria and redox chemicals directly into the cell. In its current form, the UWE team says its organic battery can produce eight times as much power as any previous MFC. This simplified MFC costs as little as £10 to make. Right now, their fuel cell runs only on sugar cubes, since these produce almost no waste when broken down, but they aim to move on to carrot power. "It has to be able to use raw materials, rather than giving it a refined fuel," says Melhuish.

08/28/05 - Magnetic buoys tap waves to generate power
"There's a real good chance that Oregon could turn into kind of the focal point in the United States for wave energy development and I think that would be a boon to the economy," said Gary Cockrum, spokesman for the Central Lincoln People's Utility District. How it would work: Oregon State University's system uses a field of buoys that harnesses the movement of ocean waves to make electricity. 1. An electric coil is mounted to the inside of a buoy, while a magnetic shaft is anchored to the ocean floor. 2. Waves cause the buoy and coil to move up and down relative to the magnetic field of the shaft, generating electricity. The power then is delivered via an electrical cable.

08/28/05 - Willies BioDiesel
This is what happens when you're the mayor, judge and founder of your own town 57 miles south of Dallas on Interstate 35E. Not just that, but you've decided to launch BioWillie, a soybean oil-based diesel fuel endorsed by a man whom truckers rank third only after God and country. Years after the novelty of Jacuzzis at a truck stop wore off, Carl and his quirky Corner are back on the map. Of course, the BioWillie hoopla means Carl gets second billing for the first time at his own truck stop. But even if Willie is the name on everyone's tongue - and on the restaurant, theater, albums, T-shirts, pictures, pamphlets and just about every piece of paraphernalia in the place - Carl is the workhorse keeping him there. Striking out on his own is Carl's forte, what makes him go, and in this case, return: "My git-up-and-go done got up and went, and now it's come back." So has his ticking brain: He wants to build a biodiesel refinery to supply the truck stop. That way, he figures, the truck stop could be self-sufficient, even get its power from a BioWillie-fueled generator. "We're gonna get biodiesel out to the people," he says. Carl adds he feels no competition. As of late July, the Love's Travel Stop 40 miles up the road in Midlothian was already out-pumping Carl's Corner by more than 5,000 gallons of BioWillie a day, Bell says. Carl says he's thrilled.

08/28/05 - 12 foot high grass grown for fuel
GIANT tropical elephant grasses are to be planted across large swathes of British countryside under plans to encourage farmers to switch to crops that produce energy rather than food. The plan would see at least 800,000 acres covered with plantations of the grass, which grows to a height of 12ft and has razor-sharp leaves. A new generation of power stations that will burn the grass is being built. One at Eccleshall, Staffordshire, is close to completion. Its output will be equivalent to the power needs of 2,000 homes, and hundreds of farmers in the surrounding area will be asked to switch land from arable crops to elephant grass. “It’s also really good for wildlife with deer, pheasants and other animals using it for cover,” he said.

08/28/05 - Are current fuel cost trends a spike or the future?
At what price per gallon does the cost of gasoline jump from annoying to scary? The current price is just now touching my personal grumble point and shows every sign of rising further. Yet looking around the pump, I'm just not seeing the kind of raw outrage that characterized previous price spikes. No fist fights at the pumps yet. Gas prices can't be considered truly alarming until people tell each other dark stories of oil conspiracies. Of the tankers parked offshore creating artificial shortages and poised to dock only when the price reaches a level of outrageousness predetermined by lawyers and computers. The so-called pessimists see a permanent oil crunch killing off stuff they don't like anyway. It would spell the end to ugly SUVs the size of shrimp boats, discourage urban sprawl, create local jobs, make us live on a more tasteful scale and convince a few places to get around to installing bicycle racks so we don't have to lock our bikes to no-parking signs. The techno-optimists see us living just the way we are now, except with way-cooler stuff. With hydrogen fuel cells, we could build Hummers the size of dump trucks! Power-up the cold-fusion plants! New extraction technology means those nice Canadians could be the new oil power. Of course, before all these cool-in-the-long-run things get to happen, gas will have to be something like $9 a gallon and bad, bad things will result.

08/28/05 - Weaning the world from petroleum will take decades
With oil and gasoline prices pushing to new highs and global demand projected to grow faster than production capacity, consumers are understandably puzzled by an ongoing energy enigma. Simply put: Why haven’t alternative energy sources - from renewables like solar and wind power to alternative fossil fuels like coal - kicked in to take up the slack? Now, with a surge in oil demand coming from huge developing economies like China and India -- on top of continued growth in demand from the developed world - the world’s oil producers are struggling to keep up. For the first time in its history, OPEC is producing at just about full capacity and can't keep enough oil flowing to curb the recent rise in prices.

08/28/05 - Mayo Clinic study finds acupuncture relieves symptoms of fibromyalgia
Fibromyalgia patients treated with six sessions of acupuncture experienced significant symptomatic improvement compared to a group given simulated acupuncture sessions according to a new Mayo Clinic study. "There's not a cure available, so patients are often left somewhat frustrated by continuing pain and fatigue," he says. "Acupuncture is one of the few things shown to be effective for these symptoms. It may be particularly attractive to patients who are unable to take medications because of intolerable side effects."

08/28/05 - Converting to Compressed Natural Gas (CNG)
Proponents of the alternative fuel say drivers spend much less to fill up CNG vehicles that offer the same performance, power and fuel economy as gasoline models. Mark Phillips purchased a CNG minivan four years ago and two full-size vans last year for his heating and cooling business in Coshocton. The change has saved him about $125 a month, he said. Four years ago, it cost about $1.19 for the equivalent of a gallon of natural gas, Phillips said; today he fills up for about $1.39 per gallon equivalent. "It's becoming more obvious to the public that we're simply paying too high of a price for importing oil," Spofforth said. "Whether it's compressed natural gas or E85 (ethanol) or biodiesel, you're going to see more of this in the future, given the price of gasoline and diesel fuel." Several automakers have produced CNG vehicles including DaimlerChrysler, Ford, GM and Honda, but often they are available only by special order. King buys used vehicles at auction for resale. He sold about 40 last year. A 2002 Ford Contour he has in stock now with 12,000 miles on it has a sticker price of about $6,500. It's a little more expensive than a CNG-only vehicle because it also has a gasoline tank, he said. King also will convert vehicles running on gasoline to CNG. But with a $6,000 to $7,000 conversion cost, more people buy used models that already incorporate the technology, he said.

08/28/05 - Shame, not guilt, related to substance-abuse problems
Shame is the tendency to feel bad about yourself following a specific event. It appears that individuals who are prone to shame when dealing with a variety of life problems may also have a tendency to turn toward alcohol and other drugs to cope with this feeling. Guilt, or the tendency to feel bad about a specific behavior or action, was largely unrelated to substance-use problems. This is one of the first studies to scientifically validate the importance of shame versus guilt and their relation to alcohol and drugs. Clinically, this study suggests a point of intervention for the treatment of substance-use problems. Specifically, counselors and other medical providers might effectively work with clients toward decreasing shame-proneness and enhancing guilt-proneness.

08/28/05 - Italians converting to Solar
(The USA should look into this kind of cogeneration incentive to really jolt people into wanting to upgrade - JWD) Italian homeowners, condominium buildings and private businesses can, under certain conditions, profit by selling solar power to energy companies at a handsome, government-guaranteed price. Under the incentive system, approved last month, surplus energy produced by photovoltaic panels can be sold at triple the average rate set by electricity giants like Enel and Edison or by local energy distributors. Industry Minister Claudio Scajola predicted that the average family could save as much as $1,100 annually in electricity bills. If there is energy to spare, the family can sell the excess. Enel SpA, Italy's largest utility, estimates a single family installing $24,366 worth of panels across about 28 square metres of sun-exposed surface could recoup its expenses in 10 years and reap 8.6 per cent annual yield on the investment. Italy's new solar program envisages incentives for installation of panels for a total output of 100 megawatts over the next few years, a goal described as modest by utilities and environmental groups. Enel noted that the 100 megawatt goal represents only 25 per cent of what will be installed in Germany this year alone.

08/28/05 - New insights on how UV damages DNA
In the current issue of the journal Nature, Bern Kohler and his colleagues report that DNA dissipates the energy from ultraviolet (UV) radiation in a kind of energy wave that travels up the edge of the DNA molecule, as if the energy were climbing one side of the helical DNA "ladder." The finding lends insight into how DNA damage occurs along the ladder's edge. The new study shows that UV energy moves vertically, between successive bases. The Nature paper builds on work from five years ago, when the associate professor of chemistry and his team first discovered that single DNA bases convert harmful UV energy to heat to prevent sun damage in the same way that sunscreen molecules protect sunbathers. Here's what he and his team suspect is happening during the UV energy wave: as sunlight warms our skin, UV photons are absorbed by the bases, causing their electrons to vibrate. These high-energy vibrations nudge the atoms in the bases around, but only along one edge of the DNA ladder at a time. If all goes well, the DNA returns to normal after the energy wave passes. But some of the time, the atoms don't return to their original positions, and new chemical bonds are formed. Scientists know that such accidental bonds create "photolesions" - injuries that prevent DNA from replicating properly. The details of the process aren't fully understood, but studies suggest that photolesions cause genetic mutations that lead to diseases such as cancer.

08/27/05 - How to make Hydrogen from Drano (sodium hydroxide) and run your engine
(Totally fascinating file with an added bonus of many tips to save on mileage and protect your car. The information originates from Todd Morrill, a 25 year automotive professional. It could be used to mix hydrogen with gas to increase efficiency and lower pollution - JWD) The present invention relates to production of hydrogen gas by reacting aluminum with water in the presence of sodium hydroxide as a catalyst. The process is carried out at room temperature and produces lot of heat and hydrogen gas of high purity. The invention also relates to using a simple hydrogen generator which uses water and aluminum particles as fuel, and sodium hydroxide (NaOH) as a catalyst. The aluminum used in the reaction comprises aluminum foil, electrical wire, beverage cans and other similar aluminum waste. Mixture of water (H20) and Sodium Hydroxide are added to reaction tank then aluminum is added to start releasing hydrogen and heat. Since top of reaction tank is closed, hydrogen gas travels through outlet line into the water lock, water lock (hydrogen flashback arrestor) is added as a safety feature to lower the possibilty of an explosion should an engine backfire occur. It also filters the hydrogen gas to help remove sodium hydroxide vapors. Most cars and trucks have aluminum engine components and since we know it will dissolve aluminum this would not be good to get inside of engine parts. For my tests I used 10 tablespoonfuls (heaping) of drano to 1 quart of water. This mixture dissolved a pop can in less than an hour, and clean aluminum would dissolve even quicker.

08/27/05 - Lunar plots - setting up a moon base
(Chicken before the egg for sure - JWD) If money were no object, what would it take to build a moon base fit for human habitation? Air, water and electricity are the key requirements of any habitation. Because it would be prohibitively expensive to ship out supplies, these would need to be produced on the Moon itself. For the raw materials are in plentiful - if not easily extractable - supply. Current indications are the need for a good supply of ilmenite, a mineral from which to extract oxygen, hydrogen and helium. As well as producing air and water, the flammable gases could be burned to generate electricity. "It would be not too difficult to make bricks and mortar from lunar rocks, and ilmenite would provide a nice supply of titanium, a light strong metal, and iron."

08/27/05 - Sullos electrically driven turbine for propulsion effect
(Recieved this link from Mr. Sullos and found it quite fascinating - JWD) Three new phenomena can be observed: 1)The rule of Lenz was inverted. 2) A still electrical charge moved by a still magnetic field. 3) Failure of the action-reaction principle. At least, this appears to be the case! This experiment is the key to achieve the electric control of gravity. This device is a turbine that removes energy from the kinetic energy of planet Earth because when it is working it applies a force on the axis in exactly the opposed direction to the planet's absolute moving direction in the space. In other words, it brakes to the planet. It can be named as "Geo-kinetic Turbine". It does not need any fuel. The performance is very good; it can give more than 1 KW by each Kg of the equipment. It releases no pollution, no noise; it needs no fuel. The maintenance is cheap. It is an ideal generating set.

08/27/05 - China creates Moon Central
(Ominous rumblings about Chinas economic and energy initiatives, now space...time to close down clunky, misguided, badly run, spendthrift NASA and privatize our efforts if we want to be players in the space game! - JWD) The center, opened on Monday, would oversee the launch of a moon orbiter in 2007, a lunar lander in 2012 and a third satellite designed to reach the moon and bring back soil samples for research in 2017, the newspaper said. "The center has also recruited a galaxy of promising and enterprising scientists to work on the lunar missions," it said. It became the third country to send a man into space in October 2003 and regularly puts research satellites in orbit. The lunar orbiter scheduled for 2007 would have a one-year mission of mapping the moon's surface and studying its mineral content, the head of the program has said.

08/27/05 - Adventures of Everett True
(If you have a few minutes and enjoy excellent cartoon 'humor', check out these images from a lost 1906-7 cartoon strip. It shows the same obnoxious behavior happened then as now from rude people...quite charming and I love this kind of drawing and clear statement of purpose. - JWD) Everett is no sociopath. He's not just running around taking umbrage at petty offenders and then sockin' 'em in the puss. Through the course of the series, he exhibits a very strong ethos that runs through his actions. He stands for decorum and sturdy bedrock values, but he's no reactionary. He's as likely to thrash a cop or a preacher as a blowhard or braggart. And woe betide the man whom Everett True catches mistreating animals or ogling ladies' ankles on a windy day!

08/26/05 - Radus magnetic boots a key to free energy?
(This is apparently what Floyd Sweet did in his Vacuum Triode Amplifier which programmed a 'bubble' into a magnet which could be tickled to rapidly change polarity and induce current flow - JWD) With the Radus boots, the astronaut could pick up his foot by simply switching off the permanent magnetic fields easily. They switched on again when he placed the foot down. And he did not have to carry a huge battery around with him, to furnish enormous current to do that. The magnetic fields themselves - from permanent magnets - were simply switched! And the magnets had a memory. (So far as is known, even today no one tells you that in many virgin magnets fresh from the factory, their very first use conditions them with a memory!) That fact can be used, e.g., to create magnets whose fields appear normal, but which deviate from the normal behavior of ordinary magnets, including produce anomalies in their magnetic fields. With a little ingenuity in switching one could use such switchable magnets to produce a self-switching, self-powered permanent magnet motor. If you can easily switch the fields of a permanent magnet as you wish, and make that magnet also have a memory that you deliberately conditioned into it, you could also build a permanent magnet self-powered engine by adapting such memory (asymmetrical behavior) and switching.

08/26/05 - Fence sitting about Hybrids by US car manufacturers
Toyota's bold prediction that it would sell 600,000 hybrid vehicles annually in the U.S. by early next decade has been met with a collective "We'll see how it goes" from the rest of the industry. In a forum on future engines at an industry conference here Friday, the Big Three domestic automakers and Honda took the road of caution. What does Toyota see that the others don't? For one, it has received a public edict from the top. Toyota Motor Corp. President Katsuaki Watanabe recently set a goal of selling 1 million hybrids globally by early next decade, with 600,000 expected to be sold in the U.S., its largest market. The reason? Cost, says Anthony Pratt, J.D. Power's senior manager of global powertrain research. Power says the gas/electrics cost more, about $2,300 to $11,000 more than gasoline-powered cars. Moreover, the Big 3 and Honda are exploring more efficient gas engines, diesels and even natural gas vehicles that will be alternatives by then.

08/26/05 - The Automobile Lobby and its suppression of Mass Transit
(My late friend Howard Bond, an afficionado of electric trolleys, used to tell how oil and car companies did everything they could to destroy trolleys and rail to force people to use cars, meaning gasoline and road systems, this article correlates with that premise. - JWD) Los Angeles once had a vast rail system, the nation’s largest. In the peak years in the 1920s and early 1930s, the Pacific Electric’s interurban network fanning out from the downtown hub carried millions of passengers and encompassed 1,000 miles of track and 700 route miles of service. Even before Mayor Fletcher Brown took office in 1938, automobile, gasoline and tire companies formed a consortium to begin converting existing electric trolleys and street cars to motorized buses. By the mid-1950s, the “Big Red” cars were history. Local politicians and state highway engineers for decades failed to foresee the importance of adding light-rail lines along freeway strips to ease today’s gridlock. It was a classic example of bureaucratic nearsightedness - the automobile friendly lobby still ruled.

08/26/05 - Hyundai Motors Click Hybrid
Hybrids use engines powered by both gasoline and electricity. They produce less emission, but boast better fuel efficiency than gasoline vehicles. Hybrids were initially designed to bridge the gap between gasoline-powered cars and hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles, which are considered free of emissions. Last year, Hyundai Motor provided 50 hybrid versions of Click mini-cars to the government for testing. The carmaker plans to begin the sale of hybrids in late 2006, but the ministry wants the date to be moved up. The Click hybrids have been used by police and government agencies and so far few problems have been reported, the official said. The hybrids run 18 kilometers per liter, featuring about 50 percent better fuel economy than gasoline-powered cars.

08/26/05 - Explosion proof lithium-ion battery
Lithium ion batteries are so potent that they've become ubiquitous in laptops and cell phones, but the cobalt oxide used to generate such prodigious amounts of electricity per gram is highly volatile. That's prevented larger-scale uses -- in cars, for example -- because the risk of a deadly explosion has simply been too great. Lithium ion batteries are more energy-dense than nickel metal hydride cells currently used in most hybrid and electric cars. That means a lithium ion battery can run at a higher power for a longer time than a nickel metal battery of the same weight. But most lithium cells use a cobalt oxide chemistry that can catch fire or explode if the battery is charged or discharged too quickly, or if it is physically damaged.

08/26/05 - Choosing your fuel
When you're pumping gas, you'll normally see three grades of gas to choose from -- 87 octane, 89 octane and 93 octane. The lower the octane number, the easier that fuel is to burn. And the higher the octane level, the harder that fuel is to burn. As an engine gets a little older, it might require a higher octane because the compression ratios would change with carbon deposits. If this is the case, a service technician will tell you to use a higher grade of gas. The only other alternative would be to disassemble the engine and take the carbon out.

08/26/05 - Ganging up to compete for Space
Russia, Europe, and Japan may jointly develop a crewed spacecraft called Kliper to ferry as many as six astronauts to and from the International Space Station. The spacecraft could launch as early as 2010 - just as NASA retires its space shuttles. The craft carries three people and can stay docked to the International Space Station for just six months, but the Kliper may transport twice as many and could stay in orbit for up to a year. Its design is still being worked out, but it may have "stubby" wings to allow it to steer and land on a runway, like the shuttle. But unlike the shuttle, which can loft heavy cargo into space, the Kliper would mainly act as a "people carrier", says Thirkettle.

08/26/05 - Change driving habits to save fuel
Instead of stomping on the pedal when the light turns green, start out more gently, and accelerate only until you reach the speed limit. Then, when you see the next light changing, ease back. Don't waste fuel pushing ahead to an inevitable stop. If the light is not too far away, ease back entirely and coast to a stop. Vehicles speeding, passing and pushing to get ahead, only to end up stopped at a red light. When the light changes to green, all the vehicles charged ahead. It did not matter what kind of vehicle. Cars, minivans, SUVs, trucks and buses, all made lots of noise and kicked out unburned hydrocarbons from their exhaust pipes. The last part of that sentence is the key: Unburned hydrocarbons means wasted fuel. Pushing down too hard on an accelerator means trying to move too much fuel too rapidly through the combustion system. Unignited fuel components get kicked back out and into the air. How much could this save you? Maybe as much as 10 percent. That would mean a $3.50 savings per tankful in a car or minivan, and maybe $5 for an SUV or heavy-duty pickup truck -- and that assumes you use regular-grade gasoline. That's between a gallon and a half and two gallons per tankful, enough to go another 30 miles or so.

08/26/05 - Teen invents hamster wheel phone charger
Peter Ash, of Lawford, Somerset, attached a generator to his hamster's exercise wheel and connected it to his phone charger. Elvis does the legwork while Peter charges his phone in an economically and environmentally friendly way. He came up with the idea after his sister Sarah complained that Elvis was keeping her awake at night by playing for hours on his exercise wheel. "I thought the wheel could be made to do something useful so I connected a system of gears and a turbine," he said. "Every two minutes Elvis spends on his wheel gives me about thirty minutes talk time on my phone."

08/26/05 - Preventable medical errors
People may fear dying in a highway crash -- nearly 43,000 deaths each year in the United States -- or dying of breast cancer -- about 40,000 a year -- but studies indicate many more perish from preventable medical errors. A few years ago the National Academy of Sciences' Institute of Medicine estimated that up to 98,000 people a year die from medical errors. "Most medical errors are not committed by people, but by systems -- systems that break down," said Philip Dunn. Still, there appears to be very little public outrage over the situation -- certainly not the kind that would emerge against the airline industry if it exhibited a comparable fatality rate, which would result in the crashing of a Boeing 747 jumbo jet nearly every day.

08/25/05 - Re-Growing your own teeth
"In theory, a natural tooth made from the patient's own tissue and grown in its intended location would make the best possible replacement, although such bio-engineered teeth have for many years been little more than a dream. Scientists have derived a technology by which teeth can be grown in a test-tube and then be implanted into the user's jaw. "Current standards of care involve replacement of missing teeth using titanium implants, which function almost exactly like natural teeth. However, unlike living teeth, they are fixed within the jaws and do not respond to a person's bite. "A living tooth is thus able to preserve the health of the surrounding tissues much better than an artificial implant."

08/25/05 - 50/50 Ethanol/Gas blend on sale
Defenbaugh said using a half-and-half blend of gasoline and ethanol has apparently made no difference in the functioning of his three vehicles - a Chevy and two Fords. I know farmers that have E85 tanks on the farm and are blending it 50-50 with gasoline and putting that in their tractors, and pickups, and cars. "We only recommend a maximum of 10 percent ethanol in gasoline-only powered vehicles," Kautz said. "We don't recommend blending 50-50 for liability reasons, and also because auto manufacturers don't recommend that, it would void any warranty, and may cause problems with the vehicle." The primary difference in a Flexible Fuel Vehicle compared to a regular gasoline-only model is the fuel sensor that detects the ethanol/gasoline ratio. A number of other parts on the FFV's fuel delivery system are modified to ethanol-compatible. The fuel tank, fuel lines, fuel injectors, computer system, and anti-sifon device have been modified slightly. Alcohol fuels can be more corrosive than gasoline; therefore; fuel system parts have been upgraded to be ethanol compatible.

08/25/05 - How to tell if you have a Flex-Fuel car
National Ethanol Vehicle Coalition, promoting 105 Octane E85 Ethanol as an environmentally sound fuel. E85 is the term for motor fuel blends of 85 percent ethanol and just 15 percent gasoline. E85 is an alternative fuel as defined by the U.S. Department of Energy. Besides its superior performance characteristics, ethanol burns cleaner than gasoline; it is a completely renewable, domestic, environmentally friendly fuel that enhances the nation's economy and energy independence. The Flexible-Fuel Vehicle system allows the driver to use any combination of gasoline or ethanol - from 100 percent unleaded gasoline to 85 percent ethanol. A driver can therefore use unleaded gasoline if E85 is not available. Daimler Chrysler / Ford / General Motors / Isuzu / Mazda / Mercedes / Mercury / Nissan

08/25/05 - 90% of Phillipine power is from Alternative Energy sources
The Philippines is now nearly self-sufficient in the power generation sector with about 90 per cent of the country's electricity supply coming from alternative sources of energy such as geothermal, hydroelectric and natural gas. This means that only 10 per cent of the country's electricity supply is dependent from imported oil. The Philippines is now generating l,909 meagawatts from geothermal energy making it the world's number two producer, next only to the United States. The Palinpinon geothermal power plant generates 192 MW. An additional 20 MW would be generated upon the commissioning in 2007 of the Palinpinon II geothermal extension project in nearby Valencia town. The project is the fourth largest geothermal plant in the country in installed capacity next to the 708-MW geothermal plant in Leyte, the 425.7-MW Mak-Ban plant in Laguna, and the 330-MW Tiwi plant in Albay.

08/25/05 - Hot water from solar panels
(See earlier report here about new, lightweight panels, about $300 each - JWD) On the roof of the Hackneys’ new home in West Tisbury are two panels that heat water as it flows through solar collectors. The hot water is sent to a storage tank and then used for the dishwasher, laundry machine, sinks, baths, indoor and outdoor showers, and even a Jacuzzi. Once the system pays for itself in the next few years, it’s all free. Once Larry Schaeffer found the right manufacturer and installation support, the solar heating system for his pool was up in one day and has nearly paid for itself in four months. The Adler family’s pool is heated 100 percent by solar collectors that have paid for themselves within months. The materials, which he ordered from Solar Innovations in Florida, cost approximately $3,500. Up to that point, the Adlers had been paying so much in propane to keep the pool warm, they had stopped heating it. That was when everyone stopped using it. What most pool owners report is that if the pool isn’t heated, its ambient temperature is too cool and people don’t use it. The Adlers had been heating it for special events and then turning the heaters off. “Before I turned it off, I was paying up to $6,000 sometimes between May and October."

08/25/05 - Magnetic flames
(Shades of Baron Reichenbach in The OD Force, whose 'sensitives' reported seeing magnetic flames - JWD) Magnetic avalanches occur when the polarity of a molecular nanomagnet is changed suddenly and sufficient energy is released to cause a chain reaction that changes the polarity of the other molecular nanomagnets in a crystal. “Molecular nanomagnets are the first-known magnetic materials in which the magnetic energy density is sufficient to ignite a ‘magnetic flame,’” said Dr. Myriam P. Sarachik, Distinguished Professor of Physics at CCNY. Unlike chemical burning, magnetic burning is non-destructive, reversible and more readily controlled. Chudnovsky and Garanin had theorized that under the right circumstances a magnetic system could be made to emit laser type radiation. They suggested that a magnetic avalanche might initiate such laser action. Measuring the speed of the avalanche would aid in the examination of the theory. When experimentalists at CCNY discovered that the avalanche propagates at a constant speed of a few meters per second, Professor Chudnovsky proposed that the effect is, in fact, “magnetic burning”. Comparison between theory and experiment confirmed his conjecture.

08/25/05 - Triazole for improved polymer fuel cells
Researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology have pinpointed a chemical that could allow PEM fuel cells to operate at a much higher temperature without moisture, potentially meaning that polymer fuel cells could be made much more cheaply than ever before and finally run at temperatures high enough to make them practical for use in cars and small electronics. A fuel cell essentially produces electricity by converting the chemicals hydrogen and oxygen into water. To do this, the fuel cell needs a proton exchange membrane, a specially treated material that looks a lot like plastic wrap, to conduct protons (positively charged ions) but block electrons. This membrane is the key to building a better fuel cell. The use of triazole also solves one of the most persistent problems of fuel cells - heat. Ceramic fuel cells currently on the market run at a very high temperature (about 800 degrees Celsius) and are too hot for most portable applications such as small electronics. Liu’s team has been able to increase their PEM fuel cell operating temperatures to above 120 degrees Celsius, eliminating the need for a water management system and dramatically simplifying the cooling system. “We’re using the triazole to replace water,” Liu said. “By doing so, we can bring up the temperature significantly.”

08/25/05 - Sandia new Dielectrophoresis device
The new tool developed at Sandia selectively - and very quickly - concentrates live pathogenic bacteria within large water samples. “Medical diagnostics applications might include enabling detection of diseases that produce anomalous cell morphology, such as cancer, sickle cell anemia, and leukemia,” said Carrie Burchard, a business development manager at Sandia. “In laboratories, iDEP could contribute to differential sorting of live and dead cells in cell culturing, and allow for protein isolation and concentration, sample concentration and focusing, analytical chemistry, and mass spectrometry for proteomics and drug discovery,” she said. First reported by Pohl in 1951, dielectrophoresis is the movement of particles toward concentrated electric fields. The magnitude and direction of this motion depends on the size and shape of the particle as well as on the difference in conductivity between the particle and the suspending fluid. Thus, cell types can be sorted dielectrophoretically on the basis of shape and size, and dead cells separated from live on the basis of their higher conductivity.

08/25/05 - Chicks locate themselves magnetically
While researchers have long known that migratory birds use the Earth's magnetic field to choose their flight path, this is the first time scientists have seen this orientation behaviour in birds that don't migrate. "When we shifted the direction of the magnetic compass by turning on electrical coils we had placed around the cage, we found the chickens could still follow the ball." The chickens simply took the long way round, still orientating themselves magnetically, but taking longer to find the balls. Rogers says migratory birds that have to go long distances use many different cues such as stars, the Sun and the Earth's magnetic field to find their way.

08/24/05 - Alcohol powered truck
The "conversion" wasn't at all difficult, either. In fact, it can be done (in less than two hours!) on just about any vehicle manufactured today ... and with tools you'd find in most anyone's workshop. In order to use alcohol fuel in an engine designed to burn gasoline, it's necessary to enlarge the opening in the carburetor's main jet (or jets, if your carb is a multithroat model). If you choose, you might want to rig up a dual-fuel system. This will allow the use of either alcohol or gasoline (with a bit of tinkering involved in the switch-over process) and entails only the installation of a second fuel tank and some additional plumbing. Mother's pickup is still going strong after over 5,000 miles. It starts easily in the morning and runs well when it reaches operating temperature (we've found that a manual choke aids in the "warming up" process). Fuel economy isn't quite as good in the alcohol mode, but it's close to normal... and power and acceleration are unaffected.

08/24/05 - Natural gas/gasoline hybrid
U.S. Rep. Bob Ney, R-Heath, and State Sen. Joy Padgett, R-Coshocton, watched a man refuel his gas tank to the tune of $1.39 a gallon. Down the street, gas prices were $2.49. And though the driver used a fueld similar to gasoline, it wasn't the kind you'll pump from the stations on Second Street. He was using natural gas. At Compressed Natural Gas Powered Vehicles Auto Sales - CNG for short - drivers need a vehicle with a specialized tank to fill up on the cleaner, cheaper fuel. The company sells vehicles equipped to run on natural gas. Some run only on natural gas, while others have two tanks, one for motor gasoline and another for natural gas. When one fuel supply runs out, the other takes over. King has sold about 150 natural gas cars since starting his company five years ago. He's only changed gas prices six times in that period.

08/24/05 - Is E85 the fuel of the future?
Purdue is already deep into bio-fuel research, specifically using agricultural waste to make ethanol. "Rather than talking about corn grain, we used cobs, leaves and stalks to make into ethanol, which is where my research is focused." President Bush's just-signed energy bill includes a mandate for bio-based fuels like E-85, soon expanding to five service stations across the state. Cheaper than gas, it's a blend of 85 percent ethanol, an alternative fuel made from Indiana corn. With nearly 90 ethanol plants across the nation and 15 under construction, the US will soon produce almost five billion gallons of ethanol. Purdue's research, hoping to finally wean America off oil, is working with Detroit automakers over what will eventually power the next generation of automobiles. Purdue will work on bringing bio-fuels and clean coal technology to market while making them affordable, expanding to solar and wind power.

08/24/05 - Animal fat to power cars
Chicken fat contains hydrocarbons just like petroleum oil, and can be converted into fuel for a car. The idea of using chicken fat for fuel is catching on. One school district in Florida is using a combination of chicken fat and diesel fuel to power its school buses. But chickens are not the only animals that can power cars -- turkeys and pigs can too. So can soybean oil. And a Missouri company is turning turkey parts into heating oil. Some people are using pure vegetable oil to fuel their diesel cars. But vegetable oil costs more than diesel fuel, about $3.50 a gallon. So some are using waste vegetable oil from restaurants, which they can usually get for free. A word of caution, though -- vegetable oil cannot be used in a gasoline engine. It only works in cars and trucks that run on diesel fuel.

08/24/05 - The Funny side of the fuel crisis
"There are other ways to save gas, you know - I'm always pretending to break down, just so people will tow me places," said Tom Stern, a comedian and comic strip artist. "Officials are now backing off a statement that terrorists were planning to use fuel trucks for attacks in major cities," he said, opening a show earlier this week. "Apparently what happened is fuel prices are so high, the terrorists can't afford it." The Onion has leaped into the act. A recent headline from the satiric newspaper declared that President Bush had vowed to end America's dependence on foreign oil by 4920, while it reported that scientists are researching "whateverthanol," an alternative fuel made by mixing random liquids.

08/24/05 - Are BioFuels just snake oil?
As gasoline nudges toward $3 per gallon, the biofuel buzz is becoming deafening. Also known as gasohol and biodiesel, these "renewable" energy sources have turned many heads lately. Farmers see an unlimited market for corn-based ethanol and soybean-based biodiesel. However, policymakers have repeatedly said that the country's crop base could not sustain the anticipated demand for ethanol. With today's appetite for gasoline, ethanol production will need to double to 8 billion gallons per year just to meet the 10 percent mandate included in the Energy Bill. Despite such impressive statistics, biofuels will ultimately betray, not benefit small farmers. A sudden demand for ethanol and biodiesel would quickly drive prices of desirable crop land out of reach of most farmers and force others to plow marginal land. These huge "fuel farms" would require expensive machinery and vast quantities of water, fertilizer and pesticides. Biofuels also are not cheap. Recent research, including an independent study from Cornell University, shows that they require more energy to produce than they give out, with sunflower-based fuels topping out at 118 percent more. Since we cannot replace food production, we must find new and more expensive acreage - fast. Are we to believe producers will not pass these costs on at the pump?

08/24/05 - Compressed Natural Gas as a fuel
WITH oil prices going through the roof and nations across the globe having to deal with the problem of global warming, alternative fuels like compressed natural gas (CNG) are becoming a viable alternative to gasoline and diesel. CNG did not receive as much attention as other alternative fuel. Although natural gas (85 to 99 percent methane) is fossil fuel, it is comparably clean burning, cheap and abundant in many parts of the world. “Because natural gas is mostly methane, natural gas vehicles...will produce much lower nitrous oxide, sulphur oxides and particulate matter emissions,” said Chua. He said use of CNG buses will result in lower transport fares as CNG is cheaper than diesel. “The use of CNG as a vehicle fuel in the country is one of the most logical steps to take in reducing dependence on imported oil. At present, the transport sector consumes about 53 percent of the total imported oil requirements,” Chua said.

08/24/05 - Windmill powered school saves $100,000 per year
Near Bureau Valley High School, a wind turbine stands 30 stories high, its three 76-foot blades tracing lazy circles on the blue Midwestern sky. Running since January, the $1.1 million turbine is the first in the state to power a high school and is projected to save the school $100,000 in annual electricity costs. Today, the turbine's computerized generator makes up to four revolutions to find the 6-7 m.p.h. breeze it needs from any direction to produce more energy than it consumes. Once found, it runs at a steady 28.5 revolutions per minute. On the rare occasion the wind is too light, the turbine shuts itself down to save energy and prevent unnecessary wear on its parts, thereby extending its estimated life expectancy of 20 to 30 years.

08/24/05 - Lowering surface tension
(I found this intriguing because its fairly simple and might have other apps than just laundry - JWD) A novel mix of common detergent ingredients that lowers the surface tension in liquids could force extra water from clothes during the final spin cycle, the researchers found. Dinesh Shah, director of the Center for Surface Science and Engineering at the University of Florida, and Ph.D. student Daniel Carter noticed that cloth fibers act like tiny capillaries, stubbornly holding onto water through the spin cycle. By lowering the surface tension -- the force that keeps water in a straw when one end is closed with a finger -- water drained more easily from these fiber capillaries. The researchers found they could lower surface tension by mixing common surfactants in a new way -- five parts lauryl sulfate to one part dioctyldecyldimethyl ammonium bromide. "We call it dodab," Carter said. Clothes dryers accounted for 5.8 percent of U.S. residential electricity in 2001, according to figures from the Energy Information Administration, costing $5.6 billion. "If you could cut that down by 10 percent, that would have a important impact on the big picture," said Jonathan Cogan, an EIA spokesman. Carter says they can do even better: "I believe that with further research, we could cut drying times by between 30 and 40 percent."

08/24/05 - More on the Kinetic Energy Cell, electricity from vibration
The KEC is an electrical device with a series of very small coils in it and also some magnets. Interestingly in a world where the focus is now going to things like nanotechnology we’ve created some of the world’s most powerful nano-magnets and you can now put those into a polymer to a point where you can actually mould or cast magnets to whatever size and shape you now like. We actually tailor the design to particular frequencies and Jan just before mentioned about a car going down a freeway or a vehicle going down a freeway and when you actually do the analysis of that car’s vibration and movement, you actually tailor the design to that band of, say, frequencies and it’s a little bit like when you walk - the motion of walking or swinging a lady’s handbag is a very, very low frequency and we actually tailor the design to those frequency ranges. The energy produced is actually fairly small as you could appreciate because you are only harvesting sort of very small amounts of motion, but the idea is that it charges what’s called a super capacitor, so the capacitor itself in essence becomes a storage battery.

08/23/05 - Queen converts Buckingham Palace to geothermal heating/cooling
The Buckingham Palace system will provide a secure, free and inexhaustible energy supply from beneath the surface of the 1.6ha (3.95 acres) lake at the heart of the walled gardens. It will pump heating to the state rooms, the formal area of the palace. Water containing a refrigerant chemical is circulated through a loop of pipework running through the lake bed and into the groundwater feeding it. The slow journey through the coils allows the liquid to absorb the surrounding heat at a constant 12C (53.6 degree Fahrenheit). The Queen ordered a small trial in 2002 that drilled 122m into the chalk aquifer beneath the palace grounds to run an eco-friendly airconditioning system for a new art gallery, built at Buckingham Palace to mark her golden jubilee. The results were apparently so impressive that she is ready to take the bold step of using a new underground heating system to replace conventional sources for part of the palace.

08/23/05 - Electricity captured from vibrations
A renewable energy device that captures vibration to produce electricity looks set to replace or complement small conventional batteries for a range of every day applications and enable the reliable powering of new technologies. The Kinetic Energy Cell is a micro renewable energy source able to generate electricity from vibration or motion such as from cars, trucks and even people. This means that so long as there is access to movement or vibration the cell produces energy. Because the cell can replace standard and alkaline batteries in some applications, it is a non-polluting solution to small power requirements. The Australian invention is designed to work where intermittent or on and off power supply is required and vibration or motion exists, such as in a car, truck, or ship. While the latest design unit is small-scale (the size of a 9 volt battery), plans to reduce its size and develop the Kinetic Energy Cell for wider market applications are underway. The technology, developed by the Melbourne-based CRC for microTechnology, consists of only seven components and includes exciting innovation in coil construction. The technology can also be easily "tuned" to optimise operation in a wide range of vibration environments, opening up many potential future applications.

08/23/05 - Solar Powered Scooter
Donald Dunklee has been watching the power grid slowly but surely failing, while the world demand for fossil fuel is slowly overpowering the world supply, driving prices skyward. It made him determined to "get off the drip" and build street-legal, affordable, dependable, sun-charged transport for his daily 5 mile commute. His solar powered motorcycle has not been plugged into the factory charger since April 15, 2005 and it’s now travelled over 700 miles since then. The basic bike is a stock EVT 4000E available from various dealers around the U.S. The rest of the system consists of a Xantrex (formerly Trace) C-40 charge controller, and 4 Atlantic Solar 30 watt, 16 X 25 inch panels mounted two to a side. The panels fold open while in charging mode and are closed while driving. Mounting hardware is basic off the shelf parts available from any hardware store. The design criteria was simple. The bike needed to be able to be self contained, that is all charging from the sun, but still allow the factory charger to be used if needed.

08/23/05 - Corn based biofuels run well in many existing engines
Drivers around the country are being introduced to E85. It is an ethanol based fuel that could be the answer to the gas crisis. Nevada recently got its first E85 fueling site. Dave Dufort just found out that his minivan can run on ethanol. About 10,000 cars in Las Vegas can already run on E85, a blend of grain alcohol and gasoline. The bad news for Dave is that he has already filled up with gas. Instead of paying $2.48 cents for gas, he could have only paid $1.99 for E85. Not every car runs on a can of corn, but it is easy to find out if your does. There might be a sticker right by your gas cap. If you don`t see the sticker, you can check your vehicle identification number. Auto manufacturers put in a code at the 2nd, 3rd, and 8th digit that lets you know if your car is a flexible fuel vehicle. You can cross reference those numbers on the E85 fuel website. One of the things you should know about E85 is that you won`t get better fuel economy than unleaded gas. Depending on your car, your miles per gallon should stay the same or even drop as low as 18 percent.

08/23/05 - The ultimate alternative energy source
According to some scientists, a window could be opened, compressing demagnetized and de-electrified matter at 0ºK by means of a hydrogen bomb (an atomic bomb that compresses matter). The resulting hyperdense matter could be stabilized. That will provide a miniscule window to the hyperspace if five dimension. The radiation energy can be tapped from the hyperspace. This radiation energy is cheap and the source is endless. And, the window can be opened anywhere ay any time. We are talking about virtually free endless source of intense energy. Technologists are looking at the possibilities of extracting the radiation energy from the hyperspace and utilize the same to generate electricity. That electricity can be used to break water into Hydrogen and oxygen. Then Hydrogen can be burnt in oxygen to produce enormous energy for driving cars, flying planes and so on. One little note - fossil fuels like gasoline burn in oxygen. Hydrogen explodes in oxygen. The Hydrogen explosion needs to be controlled with water spraying and so on. Hydrogen produces much more energy then equivalent hydrocarbon. And the resulting water is totally pollution free.

08/23/05 - Gravity powered aircraft needs no fuel
Former nuclear designer, Robert D. Hunt of Hunt Aviation Corp has come up with a new "gravity powered aircraft technology" that he claims can accomplish sustained fuel-less flight. Hunt has designed a new hybrid aircraft: a "gravity-powered aircraft" which is a fixed wing, ridged skin airplane made of lightweight and modern composite materials. The "Gravity-Plane", as Hunt Aviation likes to call it, uses gravity's dual properties - buoyancy which creates an upward motion in order to gain altitude, and gravity acceleration which creates a forward and downward gliding motion. The two motions combined form the heart of Hunt's new gravity powered technology, a technology that could make for a much healthier and cleaner environment. "Hunt's invention is the first practical use of gravity to provide a motive force by forming a continuous cycle out of two forces of gravity with the result being, for the first time ever, self-sustained fuel-less flight and this is a tremendous and historic accomplishment", stated Gene Cox, President of Hunt Aviation Corp.

08/23/05 - Alternative Fuels a risky investment
You may not be ready to switch auto fuel, but rising oil prices may have gotten you wondering: Isn't there some better alternative energy source to oil? And is there some way to invest in it? Maybe. But right now, the best way to invest in energy is probably through old-fashioned energy companies. As easy as it is to find losers from the run-up in energy prices, it's harder to find winners. Many alternative fuels and technologies are in the very early stages of development. Companies involved in alternative energy are often speculative, to say the least. "They're just burning through cash every quarter, and venture capitalists aren't seeing a return on capital," says Tony Tursich, co-manager of Portfolio 21. But if you're looking for alternatives, you might be better off with more traditional companies. FPL Group (FPL), for example, is one of the biggest producers of wind power in the nation. BP has big investments in solar and wind power, although they're a small part of the company's business.

08/23/05 - Hydrogen powered aircraft
Research by the UK’s Cranfield University has concluded that fuel cells are still far too heavy for propulsion. A large aircraft requires many megawatts, generated from at least two turbine engines weighing around 3,900kg (8,600lb) each. The Cranfield study found that today’s best fuel cells would generate 670-1,000kW on average and would weigh over 3,200kg each. Another major challenge is the electrically driven fans that would be powered by the cells. The fan’s electric motors that would be supplied with electricity by the fuel cell are also still far too large and heavy. The motor’s copper coils are a big problem for this weight obstacle. A major question for automotive studies has been whether the user generates hydrogen on board or obtains it at a hydrogen refinery. The question is equally applicable to aviation. NASA is focusing on liquid-hydrogen power as part of its Vehicle Systems programme. This is aimed at breakthrough technologies, including a zero-emissions demonstrator that is a hydrogen-powered fuel-cell aircraft with cryogenic electric motors embedded in the wing (Flight International, 15-22 February).

08/23/05 - BioOil portable plant
The new project will see a portable, self-contained bio-refinery prototype going to areas where unused forest biomass (branches and twigs) are piled up waiting to rot. The idea is to convert those branches and twigs into usable bio-oil. The dry distillation bio-refinery uses stainless steel balls that are super-heated so that when wood waste is dumped on them, it's quickly converted into charcoal, gas and bio-oil said Dr. Tom Noland. "A single bio-refinery can process up to 50 tonnes of forest biomass every day," said Dr. David DeYoe in a Ministry of Natural Resources media release. "A sustainable supply of unused forest waste or biomass is available in Ontario's forests, such as tree tops, limbs and waste left after logging operations; trees destroyed by fire, insects and disease; and logs that cannot be sold," said the release. Bio-oil produced in Advanced BioRefinery Inc.'s transportable refinery could be used to produce heat and electricity. Or, it could make value-added bio-products such as plastics and glue, said Orazietti at today's announcement.

08/23/05 - 200 Watt portable Fuel Cell for sale now
The VE100 v3 weighs just nine kilograms and delivers the equivalent to the power produced from a plug in the wall - the European version produces EU standard 230 volts at 50Hz, while the US version produces 110 volts at 60Hz. No toxic emissions are produced while the unit is operating, the only output being pure water. The VE100 v3 portable fuel cell system is capable of delivering up to 200 watts at peak power and the unit is completely self contained and importantly does not require an external battery to start the system. The VE100 v3 is quiet and produces AC mains electricity and simultaneously runs 12v DC electrical appliances that are designed to fit into a car lighter socket. The VE100 v3 now also boasts a new LCD display that shows the quantity of hydrogen remaining in the canister and enables the user to program the fuel cell to be operational in a number of different modes.

08/22/05 - Invention to run water in a car via ZPENERGY.COM
Denny Klein uses an alternative fuel source once thought impossible. He says people still can't believe him when he reveals his liquid fuel. "water. Water and electricity; it's an electrolysis process." Klein just patented his process of converting h20 to hho, producing a gas that combines the atomic power of hydrogen with the chemical stability of water. "it turns right back to water. In fact, you can see the h20 running off the sheet metal." Klein originally designed his water-burning engine for cutting metal. He thought his invention could replace acetylene in welding factories. Then one day as he drove to his laboratory in Clearwater, he thought of another way to burn his hho gas. "on a 100 mile trip, we use about four ounces of water." Klein says his prototype 1994 Ford Escort can travel exclusively on water, though he currently has it rigged to run as a water and gasoline hybrid. Members of Congress recently invited Denny Klein to Washington to demonstrate his technology. Now his company is currently developing a Hummer for the US military that can run on both water and gasoline. So far, his water-powered engines have passed all performance safety inspections. more at some hunting I found the patent as issued March 15, 2005, at 6,866,756 Inventors: Klein; Dennis - 66 Pelican Pl., Belleair, FL 33756 - JWD)

08/22/05 - BioDiesel Alternative for 46 cents per gallon
(Note, this is a claim, ONLY works on Diesel and you have to buy their manual and the 'unique additive' at $12.99 per bottle to make up to 152 gallons of your own fuel! - JWD) Diesel Secret Energy, LLC (DSE) has developed a simple method for creating a very useable alternative diesel fuel from vegetable oil that doesn't require converting one's vehicle or the use of harsh chemicals associated with making Bio-diesel. The cost per gallon to users is a staggering 46 cents per gallon! For only $39.95, the buyer receives a manual and video describing how the user can make their own homemade "fuel station" in a few hours plus a bottle of their unique additive. Then, they simply mix the oil they have obtained (usually free) with the recommended ingredients and DSE's own specially made additive and voila', a cleaner burning, and much cheaper fuel.

08/22/05 - Got Ethanol?
Have you noticed that convenience stores all of a sudden aren’t selling gasoline that contains ethanol? Most stations are selling an ethanol blend of gasoline these days but they no longer have to tell you. A law that quietly went into effect July 1 does away with a decades-old requirement that retailers inform their customers if fuel contains ethanol. Labeling is now optional. Ethanol promoters say the labeling law was simply a reaction to an unfounded fear of ethanol, one that stems from 1970s era blends that performed poorly and may even have harmed engines. But some consumers do want to know if they are buying E10 - a fuel blend that is 10 percent ethanol and 90 percent gasoline, what used to be known as gasohol. For one thing, E10 gives you less bang for your buck. (Literally. Gasoline has about one and a half times the energy content of ethanol.) That means your car won’t go as far on a tank of E10 as it will on straight unleaded. Ethanol promoters insist you won’t notice.

08/22/05 - No interest in Wave Energy invention
Lucien Gamborota has worked in his home lab for 15 years, inventing devices of every shape and function, including a candy that lights up when you chew it. Now he claims he has developed a process that can solve the world energy crisis by harnessing the hidden power of ocean waves. Gamborota's device uses wave action to crank a uni-directional gear, like a bike pedal, generating the power. ``A 10 centimeter wave can send a jet of water twenty meters into the air,'' he says, explaining how the force could generate electricity in water-driven turbines. University of Hong Kong mechanical engineering researcher Dennis Leung showed The Standard a prototype of Gamborota's device, in which a thin metal tube connects small PVC buoys, one pair per segment, to a string of cable that would transfer power to land. The equation is simple: mass of water movement increased by number of segments and height of waves equals energy. And lots of it, potentially. But Gamborota, who has called Hong Kong home for over 20 years, says nobody is showing any interest in his invention.

08/22/05 - Fuel Saving Rickshaws invade London streets
The Cycle Rickshaw model that is still in use in many Indian cities has its counterpart in London, where it is seen as an eco-friendly alternative to motor taxis. Since 1998, half a dozen companies with names such as Bugbugs, London Pedicabs and Chariot Bikes have been leasing out cycle rickshaws to drivers in the U.K. capital, who pay around £100 (Rs. 8,000) a week and get to keep all fares and tips they collect. Today, there are over 200 cycle rickshaws plying in the central district of London ferrying mostly tourists over short distances. The rickshaws are mostly driven by students or those looking to make some quick money with a week's work and typically charge £2 (Rs. 160) a person for a distance under 2 km.

08/22/05 - Window films to save on heating/cooling costs
People think of installing permanent window film to block the summer heat, but some types are effective during the winter, too. These year-round window films have a low-e (emissivity) coating similar to efficient replacement windows, so they keep the heat indoors during the winter. When the sun's rays hit the window film, some is reflected away. Some of the light is converted to heat as the film absorbs it. The rest of the light and heat pass through into your home. The darker films you saw tend to absorb more of the sun's rays. This heats the glass and much of the heat flows back outdoors. This might make the glass get quite warm, so it's not good to use on double-pane windows. The year-round low-e window films will have only a slightly reflective appearance due to the efficient coating, but it's not excessive. It's likely you won't be able to detect the window film indoors or outdoors. The low-e coating actually is metal that's applied only several atoms thick. Do-it-yourself window film is available in rolls or in precut kits. It is not difficult to install yourself, but you might want to choose professional installation on very large windows.

08/22/05 - Using Geothermal to save on home energy costs
"Our house is total electric," he said, "and our bills just kept getting higher and higher every year." A year ago he installed a geothermal system in his 2,400-square foot Rudolph home and has seen his bills drop from $400 per month to $120. "Geothermal is very economical because all you're doing is moving heat rather than creating it," said Steve Knorr of Wisconsin Rapids. "In the winter, you're transferring heat from the groundwater, and in the summer, you're doing the reverse. You're taking the heat from your home and putting it back into the ground." Because it doesn't burn fuel to create heat, it doesn't give off any harmful gases, Mead said. The heat is transferred into pipes containing water and an anti-freeze solution, which are buried below the frost line underground. Below that line, the ground temperature is a constant 45 to 50 degrees throughout the year. Mead said a home could be heated using water as cold as 20 degrees. The water then either travels to a forced air furnace or to coils buried within the floor to produce radiant heat. The discharged water is either pumped back into the ground or back through the system's loop of buried pipes, depending on the system. Czlapinski said he sets the temperature at 70 degrees throughout the year. "The house is kept constant. You don't know if it's heating or cooling unless you look at a little light." A typical system is about 300 percent efficient, which means it will produce 3 kilowatts for every one it uses. A system can be expected to last between 25 and 30 years, and even then, it's usually individual components, not the entire system, which needs replacement.

08/22/05 - Major BioDiesel plant
WASHINGTON, Iowa Plans are under way to build a biodiesel plant in Washington in eastern Iowa. A local group has hired the Biodiesel Group of Wall Lake to develop the 50 (m) million dollar plant capable of producing 30 (m) million gallons of the alternative fuel a year. Biodiesel is made primarily from vegetable oil and animal fats. Iowa has three biodiesel plants and at least two others are under construction.

08/22/05 - Lemelsons CON BUSTED!
Robert Shillman knew that Ford Motor Co. would never let some skinny, lone inventor rape it for millions. Ford was tough, tougher than Jerome Lemelson. But then, Ford buckled. A U.S. District Court judge ruled against the company. Of the 979 companies that Lemelson lawyer Gerald Hosier would wangle into paying royalties, 800 came after the Ford case concluded. Against the advice of his most trusted associates, Shillman decided to go forward with a lawsuit in September 1998. Hosier had sued some 400 companies for patent infringement in Phoenix, Ariz., in 2000. If Hosier failed, he would lose those cases, which had been put on hold, and perhaps $1 billion more in royalties. More than a year would pass before Pro issued his decision, and when he did, it sent shock waves throughout the patent world. Lemelson _ and the for-profit partnership that carried on his business _ lost. Resoundingly. The court found that 14 critical patent claims by Lemelson were unenforceable under a rare defense called prosecution laches _ an unreasonable delay or negligence in pursuing a right. The judge also said the claims were invalid for lack of a written description, and a person of ordinary skill could not build the inventions using Lemelson's patents as his own experts had asserted. He added that "Symbol and Cognex products do not work like anything disclosed and claimed by Lemelson." The companies did not demonstrate that Lemelson had "intentionally stalled" getting the patents, the judge ruled. But he did say that "decades of delay preceded the assertion of patent claims, and Lemelson has offered no adequate explanation for that delay."

08/22/05 - Fuji quick charge battery powered car
Fuji Heavy Industries, the maker of Subaru brand vehicles, announced that it will release the R1e electric minicar by 2010, and that the vehicle will begin roadtests in Japan this year. Based on the R1 minicar, the R1e uses a lithium-ion battery can be recharged to 90% of capacity in five minutes. The car can be driven more than 150,000 kilometers (93,205.6 miles) without needing a change in battery. The light, compact, brushless motor uses a high-energy manganese lithium-iron battery which can be re-charged via a single-phase 200V AC outlet such as that used in the air-conditioning units of many Japanese homes. The current prototype can be driven 120 kilometers (75 miles) without recharging, but the distance is expected to be expanded to 200 kilometers (124 miles). Fuji Heavy plans to start testing the R1e on public roads this year. Fuji has revealed that it plans to license its battery-powered and fuel-cell vehicle technology to automakers including General Motors. The company also unveiled a new capacitor with quadruple the energy density of earlier models. Fuji Heavy also announced that it plans to start selling a hybrid car built using its own powertrain in fiscal 2007. The hybrid will use a turbo engine and thin electric motor, as well as a lithium-ion battery developed jointly with NEC. Fuji Heavy expects the hybrid to deliver 30% better fuel economy and better acceleration than comparable gasoline-powered cars.

08/22/05 - Avon lotion as insect repellent
(Many in our group have known this for years. - JWD) Instead of using mosquito repellent issued by their unit, soldiers and workers at the base are buying Avon body lotion to repel midges on the West Coast. The wonder cure is a £5 bottle of dry oil body spray from Avon's Skin So Soft range. It is thought that the oily base of the body spray is the ingredient that repels midges. Made with shea butter and vitamins, Avon's packaging boasts that it will "ensure your skin feels velvety soft, hour after hour". And it is not only the military who are taking advantage of Avon's beauty products. Word of the spray's ability to fight midges has spread throughout the entire West Coast, with sales being picked up in Dumbarton, Campbeltown, Oban and Dunoon. It has also been claimed that both the US army and the SAS use it as mosquito repellent in the jungle.

08/21/05 - Stirling Engine problems
Stirling Energy's solar technology is about three times as efficient as silicon-based photovoltaic solar cells, Slawson says, which means it could be economically viable as an alternative energy source as traditional energy costs rise. The engine's one big drawback, however, is that it requires near constant amounts of sunlight when the sun happens to be shining, which restricts its use to places such as the deserts of the American southwest. Another problem: Tracts of isolated land are needed to set up the mirrors and tubes and noisy pistons to generate enough energy to make it worthwhile. Earlier this month, Stirling scored a 20-year power purchase agreement with Southern California Edison. If approved by the California Public Utilities Commission, the deal could result in a 500-megawatt, 4,500-acre solar project outside Los Angeles that the utility says would far outstrip production from any other solar project in the country. Still, many kinks remain in the technology. The system is big--38 feet wide and 40 feet tall--too large for someone's rooftop and too noisy to be anywhere near a residential neighborhood. But Slawson says he isn't targeting home or commercial use for his technology. He wants to build his systems to provide electricity to existing utilities. And he says he can do it at a competitive 7.8 cents per kilowatt hour. Slawson counters that his technology requires a smaller production footprint than wind and hydro. "If we were to replicate the power of the Hoover Dam, which generates 2,050 megawatts, we would cover 10.8 square miles," he says. "Lake Mead, which supports the dam generators, covers 247 square miles."

08/21/05 - Lemelsons patented fantasies illustrate need for patent office change to require WORKING HARDWARE, not just ideas
More than 600 patents to his credit. A fortune amassed. Powerful foes toppled. Critics charge that for decades Lemelson manipulated the U.S. Patent Office. They accuse him of exploiting loopholes that forced 979 companies - including Ford, Dell, Boeing, General Electric, Mitsubishi and Motorola - to pay $1.5 billion in licensing fees. "Anything he claims to have invented, he didn't. He's a science fiction writer," said Robert Shillman, founder, chairman and chief executive at Cognex Corp., the world's largest maker of machine vision products and one of Lemelson's most truculent opponents. A team of tenacious Lemelson lawyers humbled the giants of business, protecting his name and suing any corporation they accused of using his ideas. Lemelson never bothered to construct a model or build a company around the designs. The patent office didn't require it. The lone inventor didn't have time to take his ideas from drawing board to assembly line. He was too busy, dreaming, doodling and reading technical journals that drove his prodigious imagination. By 1986, Lemelson had nearly 400 patents, and litigation was his way of enforcing them. Like Thomas Edison, he regarded a patent as a right to sue; if a company developed a product that might in some way resemble one of his patents, Lemelson would take them to court.

08/21/05 - Space Spa good for your body
(At this link there are only a couple of paragraphs about this effect which I quote here. - JWD) Did the commander of space shuttle Discovery stumble upon a new type of spa treatment during the craft's recent mission? Eileen Collins was kidded about how good she looked when Discovery got back to Earth. Some observers even said she looked like she'd been to a spa. "Well," Collins said to The Early Show co-anchor Harry Smith Friday, "I always tell people that going in space is great. It's great for your hair, for your skin. You get a fluid shift, so you get a little more color in your face.

08/21/05 - Another view of the Israeli 'Solar to Zinc to Hydrogen' process
The new solar technology tackles these problems by creating an easily storable intermediate energy source form from metal ore, such as zinc oxide. With the help of concentrated sunlight, the ore is heated to about 1,200 degrees Celsius in a solar reactor in the presence of wood charcoal. The process splits the ore, releasing oxygen and creating gaseous zinc, which is then condensed to a powder. Zinc powder can later be reacted with water, yielding hydrogen to be used as fuel, and zinc oxide, which is recycled back to zinc in the solar plant. In recent experiments, the 300-kilowatt installation produced 45 kilograms of zinc powder from zinc oxide in one hour, exceeding projected goals. The process generates no pollution, and the resultant zinc can be easily stored and transported and converted to hydrogen on demand.

08/21/05 - OPEC sets up their own research facility to combat alternative sources
"Our competitors, the alternative energy providers, are intensively pursuing research programs aimed at reducing the domination of oil and gas in the global energy market," Abdullah Salatt, Qatar's representative to OPEC, said. "Likewise, we should have our own independent programs." The R&D institute would be located in Kuwait and stemmed from a decision in 2001, Middle East Newsline reported. Officials said the institute would seek to develop technology that would ensure the fulfillment of demand by OPEC clients. OPEC states have obtained a study carried out by the Oxford Institute for Energy Studies regarding the requirements of such an R&D center, officials said. They said the institute would not seek to replace oil exploration and development research by individual OPEC members.

08/21/05 - Hagelin recommends closing White House south entrance per Vedic Teachings
A US-based quantum physicist has discovered the secret of world peace. All will be well if the south-facing entrances to the White House and 10 Downing Street are closed. He claims no credit for this discovery but attributes it to India’s unpatented traditional knowledge -- Vedic architecture. Dr John Hagelin, President of what he calls the US Peace Government, has told both Mr George Bush and Mr Tony Blair that they should close the south-facing entrances. Dr Hagelin says the south-facing entrances are having deleterious effects on their brain functioning and orderliness of thinking. If they shut these entrances, they will make wiser, more intelligent decisions for their people and the world. Dr Hagelin claims recent medical research shows a marked improvement in the efficiency of neuronal functioning when the head is oriented towards the east compared to the south. The positive effects of a proper eastern orientation on the brain and behaviour are being documented by science. The advice to Mr Bush and Mr Blair is based on some research and not on mumbo-jumbo. Vedic architecture has already made a beginning and some users of the buildings have claimed a remarkable improvement in their well-being.

08/21/05 - Crocodile blood kills bacteria and HIV
(This is pretty much all over the news, but in case you missed it...- JWD) "They tear limbs off each other and despite the fact that they live in this environment with all these microbes, they heal up very rapidly and normally almost always without infection," said U.S. scientist Mark Merchant, who has been taking crocodile blood samples in the Northern Territory. Britton said the crocodile immune system works differently from the human system by directly attacking microbes immediately an infection occurs. "The crocodile has an immune system which attaches to bacteria and tears it apart and it explodes. It's like putting a gun to the head of the bacteria and pulling the trigger," he said.

08/21/05 - +$5 gas expected in 2006
Oil expert Craig Smith predicts gas prices will skyrocket next year, jumping to five bucks a gallon. And if terrorists successfully strike a major Middle East oil field, Americans might end up paying $10 a gallon -- about $110 to fill a Ford Focus' 11-gallon tank. "Why are they charging higher prices for gas? Because people will pay it. Apparently, we're not changing our driving habits much," he said. "Blame this on ourselves. This country has not built a new refinery in 30 years, we stopped new oil exploration . . . and put a moratorium on offshore drilling." Smith -- who last year predicted $3-a-gallon gas and $65-a-barrel crude oil prices this year -- says oil prices will jump to $80 a gallon (I think they mean $80 a BARREL! - JWD) by the end of 2006. The solution here for high oil prices: "find it, drill it, refine it and burn it" domestically, Smith said, pointing to untapped crude reserves in Alaska, Colorado, Utah, off the California coast and in the Gulf of Mexico.

08/21/05 - Cooperative farms for fresh produce daily
Tim Cook found information about CSA, a program that allows farmers a chance to make a living by supplying produce to local families instead of, or in addition to, selling their fruits and vegetables on the open market. Unlike selling at a farmer's market - where the grower is at the mercy of the weather, size of the crowd and competition from other vendors - a CSA farmer, like Cook, sells full and half shares of his harvest to individuals in the community before the season begins. In return, the shareholders get a full or half share of the yield picked from a farmer's field throughout the year. In June, Roberta Ogg bought half a share of the New Century CSA for $125. Since then she has received a home delivery of goods ranging from cantaloupe to cabbage. Tim's daily routine entails working during the morning and early afternoon and picking all of the fruits and vegetables that are ready for harvest. He sorts the produce into full and half share baskets, loads it into his truck and spends the rest of the afternoon and early evenings delivering the goods to his customers.

08/21/05 - Slowing light in an optical fibre under normal conditions
(Could this be used to affect aether/zpe? - JWD) A team of researchers from the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) has successfully demonstrated, for the first time, that it is possible to control the speed of light - both slowing it down and speeding it up - in an optical fiber, using off-the-shelf instrumentation in normal environmental conditions. They were able not only to slow light down by a factor of three from its well - established speed c of 300 million meters per second in a vacuum, but they've also accomplished the considerable feat of speeding it up - making light go faster than the speed of light. Using their Stimulated Brillouin Scattering (SBS) method, the group was able to slow a light signal down by a factor of 3.6, creating a sort of temporary "optical memory." They were also able to create extreme conditions in which the light signal travelled faster than 300 million meters a second.

08/20/05 - Mother Earths Minto Wheel test
Minto revived his low-temperature Freon engine in the late 60's, put it into an automobile, and proved that his updated variation of the old Stanley Steamer was highly efficient and virtually pollution free. Mother Earth decided to build a 22-foot-tall Minto wheel of our own and test it. Result: At least based on our experiments, Steve Baer was right. The wheel will turn and it will do useful work (if you call lifting Dennis Burkholder off the ground as "useful work"). It'll even break two-by-fours in two (as we found out) when you stick them through its spokes in an effort to stop the turning of the monster. And it'll run a cement mixer (which we just happened to have handy in the shop and which we hooked up with a rope "belt" to our wheel). But the dang thing turns over so slowly. (We were shooting for a one-revolution-per-minute speed with our 22-foot wheel loaded with Freon 12 . . . but the close-to-250-pounds-per-square-inch pressure we were getting in the tanks was too scary. So we switched to Freon 11 . . . which cut our operating pressures down to 48 pounds per square inch . . . and the wheel's rpm to one every five minutes!)

08/20/05 - Gasoline prices reflect Peak Oil, not merely oil pricing
"The peak of world oil extraction is approximately now, although reserves data from the oil industry and OPEC are notoriously unreliable. Shortage of crude oil has started to make itself felt, as strained production levels of the most useful crudes reflect tight supply. It is true that oil demand has managed to reach record levels (82.2 million barrels a day; source: IEA), but oil fields inevitably peter out," he told Fox News Radio on Sunday. Nearly 20 oil-exporting countries are past their peak in production. Also, Saudi Arabia is showing signs of leveling off. Another sign of dwindling geological resources is when industry does not invest in drilling new wells - despite record profits for oil - and rather buys up oil reserves via corporate mergers. "Refining capacity is almost maxed out, but industry sees little point in building more refineries when crude supply is in doubt," Lundberg added. World discoveries peaked by 1965, and the trend in declining discovery is unalterable. U.S. production peaked in 1970.

08/20/05 - Russian Konstantin Persky invented 'television' in 1900
Mr. Persky received the patent for the first-ever image transmission in December of 1899. When in Paris, the scientist presented his views of television projections, devices and various opportunities to make the dream come true. That was the moment, when mankind stepped into the era of television. It is generally believed that it was the USA, which contributed most in the creation of modern television. American specialists, however, acknowledge that the history of television started in Russia. Scientist Vladimir Zworykin, a Russian American, was the first specialist to invent television transmitting tubes, the iconoscope and the kinescope. In 1907 the scientist Boris Rosing unveiled his first electronic test model of television. The triumphant breakthrough was achieved later, though: On 9 May 1911 Boris Rosing received an elementary image on the screen of his primitive TV set: four white stripes against the black background. The scientist's name became famous immediately. It is noteworthy that the above-mentioned Vladimir Zworykin worked as Boris Rosing's assistant.

08/20/05 - Commentary viewpoint about diminishing oil and its ramifications
The oil industry expert, Jan Lundberg, introduces Peak Oil as follows: "The end of abundant, affordable oil is in sight, and the implications are colossal. About now in our hydrocarbon phase of human history, we have pulled out of the Earth approximately half of the available petroleum (crude oil and natural gas). The other half still in the ground is harder to extract and may not -- as assumed -- fuel the global economy or even provide a transition to another phase…" "Scientific American" of March 1998, by Dr. Colin Campbell and Jean Laherrere " fact is indisputable: when the Middle East peaks between 2006 and 2020 the world will have passed peak oil, and oil prices will commence to climb irreversibly until recoverable oil reserves are exhausted within 50 years." For every four barrels that we consume today, we only discover one. Countries like China are already preparing themselves for the coming collapse of the world economic market, as a result of Peak Oil: "China is experiencing massive shortages of coal to power its electrical generation." China is already buying and hoarding 60% of the world's commodities: (Oil, Cement, Aluminum, Copper, Zinc, Manganese, Steel, Coal, Gold, Silver, etc.). It has bought so much cement that it has caused a slowdown in US construction. Last year it bought 90% of the world's steel output and shipped it to China."

08/20/05 - Responsible Investors facing up to effects of Global Warming
It might not be long before the market sees a profit warning from a company as a result of a failure to grasp the impact of emissions on business. Up to 12% of the pre-tax earnings of FTSE 100 firms could be at risk from measures required to incorporate the cost of emissions into market prices. The actual impact of emissions on profits and share prices will depend partly on the extent to which companies can pass on that cost to customers. "We're not trying to save the world, what we want is for people to realise that climate change is an issue that can affect the value of their investments," says Mr. Scales.

08/20/05 - DuPont using bacteria to create plastics and fibers
Imagine a future when everything from running shoes to rocket ships is made from corn. DuPont has so far produced a new synthetic fabric, called Sorona, which is softer, stretchier and more stain-resistant than nylon. "The grass fields and the cornfields of today will be the oil wells of tomorrow," predicts Larry Drumm, a New Jersey-based consultant to biotechnology firms. America would rely on its farms, instead of the volatile Middle East, for energy. Oil refineries would be replaced by "biorefineries" that would turn plants into chemicals, plastics and fibers. They could even produce ethanol fuel so efficiently that it could largely replace gasoline. And thousands of jobs would be created in rural communities to grow crops and operate these new refineries. By reducing oil use, there would be a reduction in the global warming that's being blamed for everything from melting Arctic glaciers to the increasing intensity of hurricanes. DuPont hopes that new biotech-based chemicals -- the foundation of new plastics, paints, electronics, cosmetics and other products -- will generate billions in sales over the next decade.

08/20/05 - Brit UFO groups fading due to lack of sightings and believers
British UFO-spotting clubs may have to close because of a lack of sightings. Have the little green men really stopped visiting, or do we earthlings just have bigger things to worry about? "In Cumbria we have gone from 60 UFO sightings in 2003 to 40 in 2004 and none at all this year. It means that the number of people keeping their eyes on the skies is greatly diminished. We are a dying breed in this part of the country. I put it down to the end of The X Files, a lack of military exercises in the area that would produce UFO sightings, and a lack of strange phenomena."

08/20/05 - Room temperature ice using electric fields
Room-temperature ice is possible if the water molecules you’re freezing are submitted to a high enough electric field. Some physicists had predicted that water could be coaxed into freezing at fields around 109 V/m. The fields are thought to trigger the formation of ordered hydrogen bonding needed for crystallization. Now, for the first time, such freezing has been observed, in the lab of Heon Kang at Seoul National University in Korea, at room temperature and at a much lower field than was expected, only 106 V/m. Fields of the size of 106 V/m are, for example, are thought to exist in thunderclouds, in some tiny rock crevices, and in certain nanometer electrical devices.

08/20/05 - Making fire from Ice
(This was just too cool not to post! - JWD) Tells how to make or find clear ice which can easily be molded into a spherical lens you can use to start a fire. Neat trick to make fire if you have no other way. With normal lenses, whether they are concave or convex, there is always a single 'optical axis' which produces the highest efficiency focus of rays, but one very important feature of an ice sphere is that it contains an 'infinite' number of lenses. With an ice sphere, any rotation will maintain a focus sufficient to ignite a fire.

08/20/05 - Storing and using summer heat
The report says sunshine heats water pipes under the road and this can be stored in ultra insulated tanks until needed to combat frost, according to the online edition of New Scientist. Researchers buried a network of polyethylene water pipes 25 millimetres in diameter below a section of private road in Britain. The pipes were laid in rows about 15 cm apart and at a depth of 12 cm, where the ground temperature is normally about 12 °C on average. In the summer this can rise to 25 °C. The sun warms the asphalt at the surface, which absorbs heat and in turn warms the water in the pipes. This is then pumped for storage to a second array of pipes at the side of the road, which are insulated by a one-metre-thick layer of polystyrene. In winter, the temperature of the road surface falls to 2°C. The heated water can be used to prevent roads from icing up in winter, the report said.

08/19/05 - World running out of time for oil alternatives
Ton Hoff, manager of the Energy Research Center of the Netherlands, said it could take decades to make alternatives affordable to the point where they can be used widely, although high oil prices were already stimulating such research. "If we run out of fossil fuels -- by the time the oil price hits 100 dollars or plus, people will be screaming for alternatives, but whether they will be available at that moment of time -- that's my biggest worry," Hoff said. "That's why we need to use fossil fuels in a more efficient way to have some more time to develop these alternatives up to a level where the robustness is guaranteed and their price has come down ... This could take decades for some technologies." Stubbornly high oil prices have renewed worldwide interest in sustainable energy sources, such as solar, wind and biomass as well as biofuels. But the world currently covers just some two percent of its energy needs with renewables as high costs and mixed policy initiatives hinder a wide-spread usage. "The high oil price makes people at least think about alternatives ... For us it's a definitely a stimulus to work even harder than before," Hoff said.

08/19/05 - Nanotube sheets offer many uses
Scientists from the University of Texas and Australia's Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization report the creation of industry-ready sheets of materials made from nanotubes. Nanotubes are tiny carbon tubes with remarkable strength that are only a few times wider than atoms. They can also act as the semiconductors found in modern electronics. • Self-supporting, transparent and stronger than steel or high-strength plastics, the sheets are flexible and can be heated to emit light. • A square mile of the thinnest sheets, about 2-millionths-of-an-inch thick, would weigh only about 170 pounds. • In lab tests, the sheets demonstrated solar cell capabilities, using sunlight to produce electricity. The team has developed an automated process that produced 2 ¾-inch-wide strips of nanotubes at a rate of about 47 feet per minute. Other methods take much longer to create nanotube sheets. Future applications that scientists have discussed include creating artificial muscles whose movement is electrically charged, or race cars with stronger, lighter bodies that could also serve as batteries, says chemist Andrew Barron of Rice University in Houston.

08/19/05 - Interacting gravity can cause Strange Orbits
Like toy cars chasing each other on a looped racetrack, three stars can, in principle, trace out a figure-eight orbit in space. This surprising pattern of motion arises from the force of gravity acting on three bodies of equal mass. The movements are timed so that each body in turn passes between the other two. Moreover, such coordinated movements aren't the only intricate maneuvers possible when several bodies attract one another gravitationally. The existence of the three-body, figure-eight orbit prompted mathematicians to look for similar orbits involving four or more masses. Joseph Gerver of Rutgers University, for instance, found one set in which four bodies stay at the corners of a parallelogram at every instant, while each body follows a curve that looks like a figure-eight with an extra twist.

08/19/05 - Vibrating plane wings to prevent stalling
For a plane to stay in the sky, lift pushing upwards must counteract the plane's weight pushing downwards. Pilots control this by changing the angle of the wing according to how fast the plane's going. The slower the plane is, the higher the wing angle needed to lift the plane. Stalling occurs when air stops flowing smoothly over the wing surface. Experiments in wind tunnels have previously shown that air flows smoothly over a wing at higher angles if the wing's surface is bathed in sound from a huge speaker pointed at it. "Obviously that is not very practical for an aircraft in flight," says Salmon. So he decided to integrate the sound source into the wing. He installed a panel of silver-coated plastic film that expands and contracts when an alternating current is applied to it. "Kind of like the skin of a drum," says Salmon. This barely audible buzzing sound was able to delay the conditions that cause stalling. While acoustic excitation, as it is known, could be used to make small aircraft safer, it could also be used to reduce the size of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), says Salmon. Rather than getting 22% more lift, a plane wing fitted with his panels could be made 22% smaller, he says.

08/19/05 - MRI magnets strong enough to cause accidents
The pictures and stories are the stuff of slapstick: wheelchairs, gurneys and even floor polishers jammed deep inside M.R.I. scanners whose powerful magnets grabbed them from the hands of careless hospital workers. The police officer whose pistol flew out of his holster and shot a wall as it hit the magnet. The sprinkler repairman whose acetylene tank was yanked inside, breaking its valve and starting a fire that razed the building. The magnets are never off, even at night, and cutting the electricity will not affect them. They draw most of their power from supercooled helium, which must be vented to shut down the magnet - a process that takes several minutes and has hazards of its own. Most accidents are caused by human error, not scanner malfunction.

08/19/05 - Growth retarding light
Lying at just about the point where light can no longer be seen by the human eye, the band's growth-retarding action had not been suspected or looked for, although previous studies by Dr. Flint had disclosed the effects of certain light waves on plant growth. "Red, orange, and yellow light caused lettuce seeds used in the test to germinate, while green, blue, and violet light caused germination to lag. The effect of this inhibitory invisible light band seems to be more powerful than the entire green-blue-violet end of the spectrum, although not tested as yet on other plants beside lettuce seeds.

08/18/05 - Aspirin prevents contact lense induced eye infections
(Note an earlier entry about nano (colloidal) silver used to stop infection in catheter tubes, perhaps colloidal silver could be used for eye infections too? - JWD) The active ingredient in aspirin can inhibit bacterial growth on materials used in contact lenses and catheters, a researcher has found. Microbiologist Mahesh Bandara found in laboratory studies the salicylic acid in aspirin can prevent bacteria taking hold on biopolymers - plastics designed to be compatible with the human body. Dr Bandara said salicylic acid was effective against a bacteria called Pseudonomas aeruginosa, the main culprit in eye infections. The risk of infection ranged from between one in 1000 to one in 10,000 people wearing contact lenses per year, depending on the type of lens.

08/18/05 - Hangar One to produce solar power?
NASA has a revolutionary vision for Hangar One, the toxics-coated hulk that once housed a dirigible at Mountain View's Moffett Field: Wrap the 200-foot-high landmark with a solar-paneled skin that pumps out electricity. The Silicon Valley icon could become the largest solar-powered building in the state by the end of next year, generating enough juice to power 3,000 homes and house a new aerospace museum. That is, if the U.S. Navy -- charged with the toxic cleanup -- doesn't decide to demolish the hangar first. The proposed plan, estimated to cost $43 million -- well over twice the price of demolition -- is for solar companies to lease a stripped-clean hangar and swathe it in photovoltaic cells that turn light into electricity.

08/18/05 - Dark side of Stem Cells
We shed and regrow our outer layer of skin cells once every 27 days or so - roughly 1,000 new skins in the average lifetime. But the stem cells from which those outer skin cells originate are essentially the same ones we were born with - and the same ones with which we will die. "Normal stem cells have these amazing powers to differentiate into other cells, to move about the body, to go where they're needed. Cancer stem cells have the same skills, but they use them for evil." Think of cancer as a disease of uncontrolled self-renewal, said Tannishtha Reya, an assistant professor of pharmacology and cancer biology at Duke University. Normal stem cells renew themselves under precise and carefully regulated conditions so their progeny are exactly what is intended and needed. Cancer stem cells do not. They simply grow amok, producing countless lesser copies that corrupt and may eventually kill. A tumor is, in this sense, really just an aberrant organ.

08/18/05 - Nano technology for power generation
The energy is developed using solid state energetic material consisting of fuel and oxidizer. The nano-engineered energetic material generates a tremendous amount of thermal and mechanical energy when ignited. Electric power is generated using the thermoelectric effect. The microfabricated devices coated with the energetic material are capable of producing tens of joules, which are units of energy, in the fraction of a second, which can be used for pulsed power applications or can be stored in charge storage devices for later use in portable electronics. Power also is generated by converting mechanical energy produced by shock waves into electrical energy utilizing piezoelectric materials, which are materials where the positive and negative electrical charges are separated, but symmetrically distributed, so that the material overall is electrically neutral. MU researchers currently are working on the process to couple the thermoelectric and piezoelectric effect to produce energy on a single chip.

08/18/05 - Bangladesh Methane from trash project
the overwhelmed city garbage company only picks up half of the 3,500 tons of waste discarded each day; the rest is left to rot in streets and sewers. The majority of the trash that does get collected ends up at the massive Matuail dump, a 50-acre pile of debris that is nearing capacity just 11 years after it opened. Workers show off fertilizer made from Dhaka's organic waste at a Waste Concern compost plant. Project backers hope to turn the Matuail landfill, currently nearing the end of its useful life, into a source of energy. Workers at a Waste Concern composting plant separate out inorganic trash and convert the remainder into nutrient-rich fertilizer.Waste Concern's project promises to create hundreds of new jobs for poor workers such as these women, who comb through the Matuail dump looking for recyclables to sell. And with 80 percent of the city's waste comprised of organic matter, all that festering garbage releases copious amounts of methane -- a greenhouse gas more than 20 times more destructive than carbon dioxide. The organization hopes to take over operations of the vast Matuail dump site, installing a complex system that will capture methane before it is released into the atmosphere. The gas would be diverted to generators, and the resulting electricity would be sold to Dhaka's utility provider. Once running at capacity, the system is expected to produce 3 to 4 megawatts of power -- enough for about 3,000 U.S. households, or about 50,000 of their Bangladeshi counterparts.

08/17/05 - Green ThermoAcoustic Refrigerators
(This is PURE KEELY - JWD) A simple off the shelf loudspeaker is used to deliver a small amount of acoustic power to the thermoacoustic heat pump inside the device. Using 7 atmospheres (7 X 14.7 = 102.9 psi) of just compressed air, a 15C (59 degrees F.) temperature difference is easily achieved by the loudspeaker. Other examples have used purpose-built electrodynamic drivers with much higher efficiencies to generate much higher cooling capacities. One particular application we are in the progress of investigating is an automotive refrigeration system which uses otherwise wasted heat from a vehicle exhaust gas stream to generate cooling.

08/17/05 - Most spam sent by zombie computers
For the third straight month, most of the spam sent across the Internet originated on zombie machines, hijacked computers remotely controlled by spammers, a mail security firm said Thursday. According to Denver-based MX Logic, 56 percent of the spam it tracked during July was sent by zombies infected with a malicious Trojan horse and transformed into a spam-spewing monster. That's down from June's 62 percent, but up slightly from May's 55 percent.

08/17/05 - Far North visible proof of global warming
Inupiat Eskimo residents in Barrow, Alaska, have found their ancestral land and traditional lifestyle disrupted by disappearing sea ice, thawing permafrost, increased coastal erosion and changes to wildlife habitat. Heat-stimulated beetle infestation has also killed vast amounts of the spruce forest in the Yukon Territory. The United States is the biggest emitter of heat-trapping carbon dioxide, which many scientists have linked to global warming. Oklahoma Republican Sen. James Inhofe, chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, has dismissed global warming as a hoax and questioned scientific evidence supporting rising temperatures.

08/17/05 - How to reduce your gasoline costs
* Buy your gas from a different source - Stores like Costco, Sams Club, Albertsons and others now offer new venues to purchase fuel and reduced cost. Home Depot will soon join in. / * Check the Internet for Sites like and which allow volunteer spotters to post the latest prices around the country / * Shop the Credit Cards - Many credit card companies offer gas-purchase rebates or discounts.

08/16/05 - Home power station for big savings
Researchers at Sussex-based Ceres Power have been developing the wafer-thin fuel cells for around 15 years. Each is around the size of a CD case and about half the thickness of a human hair. They stack together to create a cube-shaped generator which can replace the burner unit in domestic boilers. A six-inch stack of the cells can provide heat, hot water, and enough electricity to power a television, DVD player, computer, fridge and freezer and household lights. Each cell consists of three separate layers - a cathode, anode and electrolyte. An electrochemical reaction takes place when gas and air pass over it. This generates both heat and electricity. The new boilers will be powered via the existing domestic gas supply. The fuel cells can potentially be powered using hydrogen. Ceres is also developing ways of using fuel cells to replace power generators in rural areas and to provide electricity in cars and lorries.

08/16/05 - Blue holes
Adding iron or nutrients like nitrate and phosphate is seen as a possible way to boost fish stocks by providing more food and to increase the amount of carbon the ocean takes out of the atmosphere (locking it away so it does not contribute to global warming). ‘Instead of a green patch from a bloom of phytoplankton, a blue hole appeared,’ says Dr Law. ‘When we added 18 tonnes of phosphate solution to waters south of Cyprus, it seems that bacteria consumed the phosphate before the phytoplankton could. The bacteria were then rapidly eaten by planktonic animals which also stripped the water of the phytoplankton. So the phosphate addition affected the food chain, but not in the way we expected.’

08/16/05 - Dirty Silicon solar cells for cheaper power
Nearly 90 percent of solar, or photovoltaic, cells in the world are made from a refined, highly purified form of silicon, the same material used to make integrated circuits. The growth of the semiconductor and solar cell industries has put increasing pressure on relatively limited supplies of this high-quality silicon, consequently driving up the price of the material. "Instead of taking the impurities out, we can leave them in but manipulate them in a way that reduces their detrimental impact on the solar cell efficiency." The researchers found that they were able to manipulate the distribution of the metal impurities by varying the cooling rate of the silicon. When the material is cooled quickly, the metal defects are quickly locked in a scattered distribution. By simply slowing down the cooling rate, the metal impurities diffused into large clusters. "Using this cooling technique, we were able to improve the distance electrons could travel by a factor of four compared with dirty silicon that had been left unaltered," said Buonassisi.

08/16/05 - Piezoelectric bullets
ShockRounds™ are specialized electric munitions that generate a high voltage electric charge upon impact with the target. Depending on the caliber in question, the effect of the electric shock will range from a lower level jolt used for riot deterrence to immediate and temporary incapacitation by disrupting a target's nervous system in a higher risk situation. It is expected that ShockRounds™ rubber bullets will be effective at a range of up to 100 meters, whereas stun guns are handheld, the "Taser" gun is limited to between 4.5 and 6.5 meters due to its wire length and traditional rubber bullets are limited due to their effective range of about 40 meters. ShockRounds™ use what is known as the "piezoelectric effect" to generate a high voltage charge. This is accomplished with PZT Ceramic crystals. This effect was discovered more than 100 years ago and, since that time, many products have been developed which employ piezoelectrics. The industry has evolved rapidly and the more recent development of new materials and designs have allowed the development of ShockRounds™ bullets that produce very high levels of voltage, in the order of 50,000 volts, with some 175 joules of usable charge. As a point of comparison, electric fences typically operate in the 10 - 25 joules range.

08/16/05 - Brazil and Iceland forge the way
Brazil started pioneering the use of ethanol - an alcohol derived from home-grown sugarcane - in the 1980s. In 2005, Brazil is exporting ethanol to Japan and South Korea at $25 per barrel, about one third of the price of crude. More than half of all new cars in Brazil are said to have so-called “flex-fuel” engines that automatically adjust fuel injection depending on the ethanol-gasoline mix of the fuel. Iceland is the first and, so far, the only country in the world to make such a declaration. In 2002, the Icelandic government announced a deliberate policy to create a hydrogen economy. On a per capita basis, prosperous Iceland is the biggest emitter of greenhouse gases in the world. That is now being changed by converting the engines of the country’s cars, buses, trucks and fishing fleet from gasoline or diesel to fuel cells.

08/16/05 - Methanol Fuel Cell cartridge available
Provides energy source for portable electronic devices powered by direct methanol fuel cells. Cells may be instantaneously recharged by replacing disposable fuel cartridge. Cartridge containing 50 cm³ of methanol can power laptop for 5 or more hours compared to 10 minutes using alkaline battery. “When your laptop is plugged into the wall, no methanol is used, but when you unplug, you have freedom from the electrical grid.”

08/16/05 - Ethanol a loser
(Maybe its time to see what Brazil is doing right, as above. - JWD) “Bio-fuel” is a misnomer. In general it is a huge consumer, not source, of energy. Considering just the energy required to grow corn and convert it into ethanol, burning it as gasoline results in a net energy loss of 65 percent. If one additionally factors in the many energy inputs required by industrial agriculture, from fuel used to produce fertilizers and corn seeds to transportation and wastewater disposal costs, the cumulative energy consumed in corn farming and ethanol production is six times greater than what the end product provides your car engine.

08/16/05 - Drinking water from air
Hauling a soldier's daily requirement of three to four gallons of water has become a gargantuan burden to U.S. armed forces. So Darpa, the Pentagon's mad science division, has come up with a plan for thirsty GIs: Cut the amount of the water they're carrying in half, and pluck the rest from out of thin air. Even in the parched Mesopotamian desert, the air holds plenty of water. Water takes up to 40 percent of the Army's daily logistical load, according to one military report -- nearly 55 pounds of water per soldier per day, when medical treatment, meal rehydration and bathing are factored in. Machines have been around for years that can cool the air down to the point where water droplets will condense like dew beading on an oak leaf. But they're energy hogs, using almost 650 watt-hours just to get a single quart of H20. When air passes over liquid lithium chloride, water vapor becomes trapped, instantly, explains Sciperio managing partner William Warren. The result is a brackish fluid, undrinkable by even the toughest soldier. Fresh water can be extracted, however, using a filtration process known as reverse osmosis. To oversimplify, the setup uses high pressure to drive the undrinkable liquid through a semipermeable membrane, which traps the salt and allows H20 to flow through. Usually, the process has to be repeated several times in order to get something potable.

08/16/05 - Rising oil prices affect many life aspects
Consumers should expect to pay more for services that are fueled by it - air and sea travel and cab rides. What we eat, wear and consume is still up for debate. “Keep in mind trucking companies have to pass along the cost to the consumer and the consumers are the stores and the stores will pass it on to the consumer - to us,” Mantill Williams of AAA said. If it is going to impact the retail market it said high gas prices will cut into retailer profits, not consumer pocketbooks. Some analysts are predicting where high crude oil prices could hit consumers hardest will become apparent this winter when consumers start paying to heat their homes.

08/16/05 - How to detect Photo Fakery
Excellent article with many examples. Like it or not, fake images are everywhere and have become a part of today's culture. Thanks to the popularity of digital cameras and the availability of desktop imaging software that allows users to easily manipulate images, fake images have become commonplace, especially on the Internet. We see many images that defy common sense and it is natural for us to question the authenticity of these images.

08/15/05 - From coal mine to your gas tank
Tulsa-based Syntroleum is currently working on technology to turn coal into an ultra-clean fuel and they just got a lot of incentive from President Bush. So, why coal? It's a natural resource that's abundant in the United States -- so much so that the U.S. is the largest coal reserve holder on the planet. And, if just five percent of that reserve were placed into production of ultra-clean fuel, it would be the equivalent of all the oil reserves in the U.S. Syntroleum is already a pioneer in alternative fuel production. The company owns a proprietary gas-to-liquids process that converts natural gas and other materials like coal into liquid. The Syntroleum plant in Catoosa reached a milestone in March when it produced its 200-thousandth gallon of a clean, clear diesel fuel that's made from natural gas. Testing in buses in the nation's capitol shows it burns with 20-percent less pollution than diesel fuel.

08/15/05 - Natural gas to hydrogen?
(I do NOT understand why they don't just burn the natural gas? - JWD) A HOUSE in a fishing village is to become Scotland's first hydrogen-powered home. The four-bedroom property, in Eyemouth, Berwickshire, is part of a 12-month renewable energy experiment involving 100 homes Europe-wide. It will have a 'mini power station' that runs on hydrogen converted from natural gas. Alastair Brown, of Berwickshire Housing Association, said: 'This is the first phase of working towards a hydrogen economy. 'The Americans are spending billions developing the hydrogen economy to replace fossil fuels.

08/15/05 - One windmill at a time
Ed Ritger and his investors received permission from towns to erect seven wind turbines in Washington, Ozaukee, Sheboygan and Fond du Lac counties. Each has an overall height of more than 400 feet and a wingspan of 270 or more feet and can generate 1.65 to 2.5 megawatts of electricity that could be sold to large utilities. It’s enough to meet the electricity needs of up to 1,000 homes per year, Ritger said. Jeff Anthony, manager of renewable energy strategies for We Energies, said Ritger and his investors are probably one of the few, if not the only ones, in Wisconsin to attempt to enter the wind turbine business on a small scale.

08/15/05 - Solar Cell Fashions
Joe Hynek pulled a high-tech hat off his desk and popped it on his head. Look how this is made, he said from underneath a round and pointy rice paddy hat. The wrap-around nylon visor keeps sun and rain off face and neck. The mesh headpiece keeps the hat secure. There’s a lot of room under there for a cooling breeze. And there’s something extra that you can’t buy at the camping store just yet. Hynek, an Iowa State doctoral student in mechanical engineering, had attached thin sheets of solar panels made by Ames-based Iowa Thin Film Technologies to the top of the hat. Hynek is working to make the solar cell technology wearable and capable of keeping your cell phone or your handheld computer charged and ready.Hynek has an award-winning design for a potential product: a “Power Purse” covered with solar cells that really do recharge batteries. “A large problem with putting technology in clothing is that it looks dorky,” Hynek said. “My goal is to use solar cells in a way that’s unobtrusive to fashion while making something that’s useful.” He’s concentrating on purses, hats, jackets and other accessories for now. That technology is a little easier because it doesn’t have to stand up to regular trips through the laundry. But he’s also working on technology that will stand up to washing machines.

08/15/05 - Drought ramps up global warming
FOREST fires are raging across southern Spain and Portugal, and African locusts are invading French fields. As this summer's European drought continues, two climate research groups have warned that it will unleash large amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, giving further impetus to global warming. US researchers reported that since the early 1990s, hot dry summers across the northern hemisphere have reduced the ability of plants to absorb CO2 during their normal growing season (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, vol 102, p 10823). Alon Angert and colleagues at the University of California, Berkeley, say this finding dashes the widespread expectation of a "greening trend", in which warm summer temperatures would speed plant growth and moderate climate change by soaking up some of the industrial CO2 emissions. "Excess heating drives the dieback of forest, accelerates soil carbon loss and transforms the land from a sink to a source of carbon for the atmosphere," says team member and atmospheric chemist Inez Fung, also at UC Berkeley. So hotter temperatures amplify human-induced climate change, she adds.

08/15/05 - More landfill Methane to Kyoto credits
Workers are building a modern landfill, a rarity in the developing world. The columns are part of a system to capture methane from the city's decomposing rubbish before it wafts up into the atmosphere. Methane is a particularly potent global-warming gas; by burning it, and thus converting it into a less-potent gas, carbon dioxide, the landfill will significantly reduce its output of global-warming pollution. The Netherlands agreed under Kyoto to cut its greenhouse-gas emissions 6% below 1990 levels by 2012. Cutting a ton of emissions in the Netherlands is expensive: about $25 to $50, Dutch officials estimate. So for half their planned cuts, the Dutch shopped around mostly in developing countries for cheaper deals. Here in Nova Iguaçu, they've agreed to buy as much methane as this landfill is expected to snag -- for $4.15 per ton. The landfill is capturing much less methane than expected; exactly why is a matter of dispute between Mr. Moura Costa's firm and the Brazilian company that's operating the facility. Aiming to get more bang for their bucks, many buyers of Kyoto credits are flocking to projects that have nothing to do with CO2: adding incinerators at chemical plants to get rid of a particularly strong hydrofluorocarbon gas, for instance, and capturing methane from landfills.

08/15/05 - Brits pondering seawater spray to combat global warming
The British Government is examining a system for spraying seawater into the air to make clouds whiter. The idea is that they would reflect more radiation away from the earth and slow the world's rise in temperatures. The technique, invented by Stephen Salter, emeritus professor of engineering design at Edinburgh University, would involve using a fleet of small boats to produce the fine spray. As the water evaporated, tiny particles of salt would be carried into low-lying stratocumulus clouds by rising air currents. The salt would whiten the clouds, making them more reflective, and also create more water droplets, further reducing the amount of sunrays penetrating the atmosphere.

08/15/05 - Dynamic farming takes off in the Great Plains states
The days of growing wheat every other year or two and leaving the ground bare the rest of the time are a thing of the past in the Great Plains states. Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists are giving farmers more than a dozen crops to choose from each year, and the means to make choices from among more than 100 possible combinations. The ARS scientists have also developed a free CD farmers can insert in their computers to calculate which crops to plant after inputting the latest market prices. All of this was made possible by the introduction of no-till and related conservation tillage techniques which leave a cover of unharvested plant parts to slow moisture evaporation from the soil. This means there's enough moisture in the soil to sustain crops just about every year. The combination of conservation tillage and annual rotations gives farmers extra income, higher yields, more stability, fewer pests, more protection against drought, less soil erosion and more water. The order in which crops are grown has to be chosen carefully, considering such factors as the amount of residue a crop leaves, and root depth. The scientists have found that how residue is managed can make a big difference at harvest--10 to 20 extra bushels of corn per acre, in just one example.

08/15/05 - Bottled water isn't what you think
"People should not have to spend an exorbitant amount for quality water," said Ken Blomberg, executive director of the Wisconsin Rural Water Association, which promotes the sale of bottled municipal water as a less-expensive alternative to the commercially bottled product. Consumers often buy bottled water thinking that it's safer or better than tap water, Blomberg said, when up to 70 percent of bottled water sold commercially comes from a municipal tap. Kail said there are thousands of water utilities around the country, using many different sources for their product and with different types of treatments. There is no organized national effort to promote bottled tap water over water bottled commercially, he said. Nonetheless, some other major cities have started selling bottled tap water, including Kansas City, Mo., which provides retailers with cases of 24, 20-ounce bottles, each for $9.50 - retailers set their own prices - and San Francisco, which offers its water in 16.9-ounce bottles for $1.25 each.

08/15/05 - August 27th Mars proximity a hoax
An Internet and e-mail rumor about the red planet's "spectacular" brush with Earth is just that, said Todd Bayer, of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. "Share this with your children and grandchildren," the e-mail says. "NO ONE ALIVE TODAY WILL EVER SEE THIS AGAIN." The actual Aug. 27 encounter occurred in 2003, when Mars was the closest to Earth it had been in 60,000 years, Bayer said. The next such close encounter will be in 2287. Jane Platt, spokeswoman for the Jet Propulsion Lab, said her friends had mentioned the e-mail and possibility of an August alignment, but she sent them to to debunk the myth. The Web site, an "urban legends reference," lists the myth in the "science" section, near the bottom. Mars will pass close to Earth this year, but not until Oct. 30, when it will appear smaller compared to the moon than it did in 2003, according to NASA reports.

08/15/05 - British Siestas?
Research by Britain's weather office suggests if humans continue releasing greenhouse gases at the current rate, southern England could be baking in temperatures of up to 107 degrees F by 2100, reported the Daily Telegraph Saturday. The average temperature in Britain is expected to increase by up to 9 degrees F, and rainfall is expected to halve, during the latter half of this century. "One simple countermeasure is to avoid exertion. You see this in southern Europe where people take siestas," said Bill Keatinge, of University College in London. "Putting your feet up in the afternoon and working later into the evening is very effective." The siesta, believed to have originated in Portugal, is a mechanism to protect people in warm climates from the fatal effects of over-exertion in high temperatures.

08/13/05 - Hurtubise Angel light promoted to GODlight
To achieve the growth, Hurtubise placed a pack of the seeds in a small fish bowl containing only soil and exposed the bowl to the God Light four times for three minutes each time. Aside from watering, Hurtubise said, that was it. The seeds broke through the soil in five days, and, within 15 days after being planted were three to four inches tall, Hurtubise said, adding his research showed it normally takes Colorado blue spruce seeds three months to get to that stage. In some cases the sprouts were so tall they couldn't support themselves and fell, Hurtubise added. But it could all be for naught, Hurtubise said, unless he’s able to start making money from the God Light. And if that doesn’t happen within a few weeks, he’ll be placing the 26-foot long device on eBay. “I’ve got bills to pay and a family to feed,” Hurtubise said. “So it will probably end up going on eBay, and some pot grower somewhere will end up buying it.”

08/13/05 - Grounding static electricity on other planets
But when air and materials are extraordinarily dry, such as on a dry winter's day, they are excellent insulators, so there is no ready pathway to ground. Your body can accumulate negative charges, possibly up to an amazing 20 thousand volts. If you touch a conductor, such as a metal doorknob, then-ZAP!--all the accumulated electrons discharge at once. On the Moon and on Mars, conditions are ideal for triboelectric charging. The soil is drier than desert sand on Earth. That makes it an excellent electrical insulator. Moreover, the soil and most materials used in spacesuits and spacecraft (e.g., aluminized mylar, neoprene-coated nylon, Dacron, urethane-coated nylon, tricot, and stainless steel) are completely unlike each other. When astronauts walk or rovers roll across the ground, their boots or wheels gather electrons as they rub through the gravel and dust. Because the soil is insulating, providing no path to ground, a space suit or rover can build up tremendous triboelectric charge, whose magnitude is yet unknown. And when the astronaut or vehicle gets back to base and touches metal- ZAP! The lights in the base may go out, or worse.

08/13/05 - Cramming waste into landfills to reduce space requirements
Workers at a landfill in Orange County, Calif. - as if tamping down the contents of a wastebasket - regularly pile one million cubic yards of dirt atop a football field-size section of the giant dump. Six months later, the workers scrape the dirt aside and the dump's surface has fallen 30 to 40 feet, making space for yet more trash. Simply put, operators of garbage dumps are stuffing more waste than anyone expected into the giant plastic-lined holes, keeping disposal prices down and making the construction of new landfills largely unnecessary. Some operators are blowing water and air into landfills to hasten rotting and thus the shrinkage of buried garbage piles, creating more capacity. A well-run dump, tightly packed and using minimal dirt as cover, can hold 30 percent or so more trash than a poorly run site, said Thomas M. Yanoschak.

08/13/05 - Bush acknowledges collapsing economy
The US administration aims to spend $286 billion on the development of the American transport system. US President George W. Bush released a remarkable statement a short time ago. The remark has not been highlighted in the world media yet, although there is every reason to do so. Bush virtually acknowledged that the USA was experiencing a serious economic crisis. Moreover, the US government was taking immense efforts to avoid a massive outbreak of social uneasiness, the American president believes. the White House is desperately looking for measures to find employment for crowds of unemployed American citizens and hungry migrants, which threaten to enrage the rest of the States. There were 9.3 million unemployed American citizens registered in the USA in 2004. The foreign trade shortage of the USA made up $617.73 billion in 2004, which became the record-breaking index for the USA. To crown it all, the US state debt reached unimaginable $7.22 trillion in 2004 too. When massive unemployment put the USA on the brink of survival during the Great Depression of the thirties, the government started funding the development of the transport infrastructure - it became the only way out of the crisis. Highways, on which the government spent billions and billions of dollars, rescued the entire nation.

08/13/05 - 7.1Ghz overclocked Pentium 4
"This Japanese guy overclocked a Pentium 4 to 7.132GHz!! The system managed to calculate pi to 1 million decimal places in 18.516 seconds, setting the world's record." The article notes that a Pentium 4 had been overclocked faster earlier this year, but at that speed it was not possible for the machine to function beyond BIOS.

08/13/05 - High gas prices pushing people to alternatives
There's nothing like a 60-per-cent hike in gas prices to encourage interest in alternative fuels. In May 2003, prices at the pump in Montreal averaged 69.8 cents a litre. Two years later, they've shot to $1.12, and the combination of dwindling global supplies and growing demand from developing nations indicates the days of relatively cheap fuel are coming to an end. A household that spent $50 a week on gas in 2003 has seen its tab jump from $2,500 a year then to $4,000 now. Does that mean it's time to rush out and pick up a hybrid car, or invest in ethanol stock? Here's a look at the main alternatives.

08/13/05 - Hybrids get up to 250MPG
It looks like a typical Toyota Prius hybrid, but in the trunk sits an 80-miles-per-gallon secret - a stack of 18 brick-sized batteries that boosts the car's high mileage with an extra electrical charge so it can burn even less fuel. Gremban, an electrical engineer and committed environmentalist, spent several months and $3,000 tinkering with his car. Like all hybrids, his Prius increases fuel efficiency by harnessing small amounts of electricity generated during braking and coasting. The extra batteries let him store extra power by plugging the car into a wall outlet at his home in this San Francisco suburb - all for about a quarter. Monrovia-based Energy CS has converted two Priuses to get up to 230 mpg by using powerful lithium ion batteries. It is forming a new company, EDrive Systems, that will convert hybrids to plug-ins for about $12,000 starting next year, company vice president Greg Hanssen said. University of California, Davis engineering professor Andy Frank built a plug-in hybrid from the ground up in 1972 and has since built seven others, one of which gets up to 250 mpg. They were converted from non-hybrids, including a Ford Taurus and Chevrolet Suburban.

08/13/05 - Singles and nuclear decay
Richard Ecob adapted a system for modelling atoms in radioactive decay to investigate how we look for partners. He found that "super daters", people who have many short relationships, have a good effect on others' lives. This is because they break up weak couples, forcing their victims to find better relationships. The decay of a nucleus is described in terms of "transit states": the series of change it has been through to get to its current situation. The probability of someone having been in two relationships, for example, is the same as that of a nucleus decaying twice. "We had an inkling that it might be the same because we saw similarities," he told the BBC News website. "When we worked it out, the graphs we got were very similar."

08/12/05 - Roof Gardens to help cool buildings
New York City's largest green roof, a thin layer of plants covering 35,000 square feet in a design that aims to reduce air pollution, control heating and cooling costs, and absorb storm water runoff. Not to be confused with a roof garden, however, a green roof is less of an aesthetic amenity than it is a workhorse. The carefully selected plants and soil - engineered to weigh only a fifth as much as typical dirt - help clean the air and absorb rain that would otherwise become storm-water runoff. And when many of them are clustered together, green roofs can reduce the urban heat island effect (densely populated cities tend to be hotter than surrounding areas because of the heat-trapping properties of tall buildings, asphalt and concrete). Less well established are the benefits of green roofs to property owners and developers. It is known that they can reduce a building's heating and cooling costs, and extend the life of the roof.

08/12/05 - Burning tires to reduce nitrous oxide emissions
Burning used car tyres in power stations could help to reduce nitrogen oxide emissions, as well as solving a difficult waste problem, suggest researchers at Leeds University. Next year EU regulations will ban disposal of car tyres in landfill sites, leaving the UK with a mountain of about 40m old tyres each year. Paul Williams and his colleagues are experimenting with car tyres in the "re-burn" process used in coal-fired power stations. In this, about 90% of the coal is burned in the main combustion chamber, with the remaining 10% injected later in the process. This re-burn technology produces a pool of hydrocarbons, which react with nitrogen oxides to produce nitrogen, reducing nitrogen oxide emissions by around 50%. If shredded tyres were injected instead of coal, emissions could fall by as much as 85%.

08/12/05 - $30 CVS video camera hack
(Thanks Bob for the headsup - JWD) Starting about a month ago, drugstore chain CVS began selling a digital-video camera for the paltry sum of $30. The product of digital-imaging specialists Pure Digital Technologies, the bare-bones device probably will serve most often in emergency roles-such as when dad forgets to charge the battery for the family camcorder. On the other hand, the camera is so simple to use that it could develop a fan base. The buyer shoots the 20 minutes of footage the camera can store, takes it to a CVS, pays an additional $13, and minutes later receives a DVD. But how can CVS sell the camera at such a cheap price? Our Prying Eyes staff didn't have to skip many lunches to buy one and find out. We didn't turn our camera in to CVS and have a video made. Instead we ripped it apart. The Camerahacks site and forum also has a ton of information. There you can find out how to build a USB cable to fit the nonstandard connector, and the denizens of the site just announced and posted a Windows-based program to download video from the camera.

08/12/05 - Combination power/heat system
U.S. grocery stores, schools, hotels and hospitals are likely candidates for a high-efficiency system that provides heating, cooling and electric power. The PureComfort system -- developed through a partnership between Oak Ridge National Laboratory and United Technologies Research Center -- features a combination of 60-kilowatt microturbines and a new direct exhaust-fired double-effect absorption chiller-heater that recycles exhaust streams. The system provides simultaneous electric power and cooling. The combination of multiple simultaneous electric and thermal outputs enables the system to achieve an overall fuel efficiency of more than 80 percent -- compared to the 33 percent typical of a central power plant.

08/12/05 - Wind from tunnel to power windmill
The wind-tunnel effect created by the hundreds of thousands of cars and trucks that travel Highway 401 each day makes Centennial College's Scarborough campus an ideal location for a small wind turbine to feed power back to the school. To test the potential, engineers have raised a 30-metre tower designed to measure wind speed in the area. With only one wind turbine planned, the electricity produced would only be enough for the equivalent of about six households.

08/12/05 - Russian Peat Bogs defrosting to release vast quantities of Methane
A vast expanse of western Sibera is undergoing an unprecedented thaw that could dramatically increase the rate of global warming, climate scientists warn today. Researchers who have recently returned from the region found that an area of permafrost spanning a million square kilometres - the size of France and Germany combined - has started to melt for the first time since it formed 11,000 years ago at the end of the last ice age. The area, which covers the entire sub-Arctic region of western Siberia, is the world's largest frozen peat bog and scientists fear that as it thaws, it will release billions of tonnes of methane, a greenhouse gas 20 times more potent than carbon dioxide, into the atmosphere. "This is a big deal because you can't put the permafrost back once it's gone. The causal effect is human activity and it will ramp up temperatures even more than our emissions are doing." Siberia's peat bogs have been producing methane since they formed at the end of the last ice age, but most of the gas had been trapped in the permafrost. According to Larry Smith, a hydrologist at the University of California, Los Angeles, the west Siberian peat bog could hold some 70bn tonnes of methane, a quarter of all of the methane stored in the ground around the world. It would effectively double atmospheric levels of the gas, leading to a 10% to 25% increase in global warming, he said.

08/12/05 - Icier clouds make more lightning
Weather scientists have known there was a relationship between ice and lightning, but were learning new details by studying the National Aeronautics and Space Administration satellite images which can look at both the number of lightning strikes and the volume of ice in a cloud at the same time. Crucial is what is called precipitation-sized ice, particles of a millimeter or so which sometimes can be seen falling as small hail. "Where you have more of that, you tend to have more lightning," Petersen said. These particles crash into smaller ice particles in the swirling winds inside storm clouds, resulting in a separation of electrical charge. The charge separated between smaller and larger particles, with the smaller carrying a positive charge to the top of the thundercloud and the larger ones with the negative charge sinking to the bottom, he explained in a telephone interview. "You effectively make a big battery with positive and negative ends," he said, with the charge building up until it is discharged as lightning.

08/12/05 - BioDiesel created from Algae
Per the Department of Energy's statistics, each year the US consumes roughly 60 billion gallons of petroleum diesel and 120 billion gallons of gasoline. Spark-ignition engines that run on gasoline are generally about 40% less efficient than diesel engines. So, if all spark-ignition engines are gradually replaced with compression-ignition (Diesel) engines for running biodiesel, we wouldn't need 120 billion gallons of biodiesel to replace that 120 billion gallons of gasoline. To be conservative, we will assume that the average Diesel engine is 35% more efficient, so we'd need 35% less diesel fuel to replace that gasoline. That would work out to 78 billion gallons of diesel fuel. Combine that with the 60 billion gallons of diesel already used, for a total of 138 billion gallons. Biodiesel is about 5-8% less energy dense than petroleum diesel, but its greater lubricity and more complete combustion offset that somewhat, leading to an overall fuel efficiency about 2% less than petroleum diesel. So, we'd need about 2% more than that 138 billion gallons, or 140.8 billion gallons of biodiesel. One of the biggest advantages of biodiesel compared to other alternative transportation fuels is that it can be used in existing diesel engines. Algae produced Biodiesel was to investigate high-oil algaes that could be grown specifically for the purpose of wide scale biodiesel production. The research began as a project looking into using quick-growing algae to sequester carbon in CO2 emissions from coal power plants. Noticing that some algae have very high oil content, the project shifted its focus to growing algae for another purpose - producing biodiesel. Some species of algae are ideally suited to biodiesel production due to their high oil content (some well over 50% oil), and extremely fast growth rates. From the results of the Aquatic Species Program2, algae farms would let us supply enough biodiesel to completely replace petroleum as a transportation fuel in the US (as well as its other main use - home heating oil.)

08/12/05 - Nasal Spray clears Altzheimers
A new nasal vaccine for Alzheimer’s disease has cleared plaques from the brains of affected mice and will be tested in humans in 2006. It was given as a nasal mist, a technique Weiner’s lab has had a long interest in. “And it worked,” says Weiner. The combination reduced amyloid beta in the mouse brains by 83% compared to controls. “The results were quite striking,” says Joanne McLaurin at the University of Toronto, Canada, who has worked extensively on Alzheimer’s vaccines. The idea that inflammation might be helpful in clearing amyloid plaques was first raised a few years ago by a different team, she notes: “The idea is very interesting.”

08/11/05 - Tilley planning a nonstop drive from Tennessee to California
Carl B. Tilley and his Tilley Foundation Incorporated are but weeks away from a demonstration drive that will take it's "ELECTRIC" 1981 DeLorean from Tennessee to California without plugging it in. This route will be more than four times the record distance of current electric car technology and, to add another bonus, at the end of the trip the cars batteries with STILL BE FULLY CHARGED! The DeLorean is powered solely by an electric motor and 12 "off the shelf" car batteries from a local chain store?plus his "device" of course. The vehicle, Tilley calls it the TEV (Tilley Electric Vehicle), is designed to maintain normal highway speeds as well as a top speed on the order of 120MPH. To quote Tilley, "I hope there's a speed trap when we cross into California, I want to get a speeding ticket after more than 36 hours of operation without the need to plug this baby in".

08/11/05 - Vinegar, diabetes and weight loss
The weight-gaining effects of chips might be tempered by the addition of vinegar. Being acidic, vinegar has the ability to impair the alkali-activated digestive enzymes involved in the digestion of starch, thereby helping to slow release of sugar from food into the bloodstream. Studies in animals also indicate that the acid in vinegar can help the uptake of sugar from the bloodstream into the body's cells. In combination, these effects would be expected to help reduce the blood sugar level rise that comes after eating. This theory was put to the test in a study published last year in the journal Diabetes Care. The addition of vinegar to a meal was, indeed, found to reduce the overall rise in blood sugar levels (also known as the glycaemic index, or GI) associated with it. This may have significant benefits for the body as a reduction in GI will reduce the tendency for the body to make fat after a meal, and will also help to preserve the body's ability to burn fat as a fuel. Vinegar may therefore help to protect against weight gain by putting a brake on the amount of food that is eaten. Foods, which may benefit from a vinegary addition include wheat-based breads, rice and pasta. Dipping bread into olive oil and balsamic vinegar makes sense, as does accompanying rice and pasta with a salad dressed with oil and vinegar. The addition of vinegar is also a useful trick for those who eat the odd fish-and-chip supper but are keen to keep excess weight at bay.

08/11/05 - Is jiggling vacuum the origin of Mass?
A controversial theory suggests that mass comes from the interaction of matter with the quantum vacuum that pervades the universe. The theory was previously used to explain inertial mass - the property of matter that resists acceleration - but it has been extended to gravitational mass, which is the property of matter that feels the tug of gravity. The Higgs field, which is predicted by quantum theory, is the lowest energy state of space-time and is made of residual electromagnetic vibrations at every point in the universe. It is also called a zeropoint field and is thought to manifest itself as a sea of virtual photons that continually pop into and out of existence. Rueda and Haisch argued that charged matter particles such as electrons and quarks are unceasingly jiggled around by the zero-point field. If they are at rest, or travelling at a constant speed with respect to the field, then the net effect of all this jiggling is zero: there is no force acting on the particle. But if a particle is accelerating, their calculations in 1994 showed that it would encounter more photons from the quantum vacuum in front than behind it (see Diagram). This would result in a net force pushing against the particle, giving rise to its inertial mass (Physical Review A, vol 49, p 678). "In place of having the particle accelerate through the zero-point field, you have the zero-point field accelerating past the particle," says Haisch. "So the generation of weight is the same as the generation of inertial mass."

08/11/05 - Solar Energy to treat Wastewater
“Currently we use chlorine as the disinfectant but, even after treatment, the water still contains organic compounds. Chlorine removes the micro-organisms but reacts to the organic pollutants, producing disinfection by-products that are biologically undegradable and toxic and can't be removed from the water. “When transferred to the eco system, they can cause serious health consequences if used in agriculture and other industries,” said Dr Jin. "Normally micro-organisms are used to break down large organic compounds but, because these compounds are biologically undegradable, we have to use another form of energy to break them down,” said Dr Jin. “Our energy comes from UV sunlight in association with photocatalysts. Energy generated from the photocatalyst cell reaction can kill micro-organisms and break down the undegradable compounds, resulting in clean water that can be used for an extended range of agriculture and aquatic uses - and it won't damage the eco system.”

08/11/05 - 150 foot 'electric bullet' gun for Homeland Security
Stun guns, like the Taser, fire small spears joined to the hand piece with wires. The spears discharge an electric shock and incapacitate the target, but such weapons have a limited range of up to about 30 feet (10 meters). "People encountered can range from aggressors who are hardened criminals to mentally disturbed teenagers ... from protesting crowds that include children and elderly, to street gangs," the Homeland Security Department, which is soliciting prototypes from industry, said on its Web Site. According to the New Scientist magazine, several companies have put forward ideas, including the Piezer -- which can be fired from a 12-gauge shotgun up to 150 feet, shocking and stunning whoever it hits.

08/11/05 - Solar Array business booming!
There's been a common belief in the solar industry that growing silicon crystals and then cutting them up with a saw is just hopelessly expensive. Today's standard commercial module converts about 12 percent of the sun's energy into electricity. The record in a laboratory is 24.9 percent, so there's plenty of room for improvement. Our highest-performing commercial module today is 18 percent efficient, meaning roughly 50 percent more power for a given area than the industry standard. We've been able to put all the electrical contacts on the back of the cell, which eliminates what's known as shading. Roof space is finite. Installation costs are pretty well fixed. So ultimately the only way to be more cost effective will be to squeeze more electricity out of your panels.

08/11/05 - Blown hard drive? - check this out!
(Photos to guide you - JWD) Your Hard Disk seems dead. It's not responding anymore. You hear a few "biz biz" when you're trying to boot from it and then it stops and you can't access it. Stop crying. The thing is dead, so why don't you open it ? You have nothing to lose. Get a screwdriver and have a peek inside. Don't touch the plates, don't touch anything. Plug it. Try to boot from it or from another one or from a floppy, doesn't matter. Observe. As you start up, the arm moves a bit (biz biz) but then it stops. Push on it a bit. The head will now go all the way to the inner part of the plates. That's the " biz biz biz biz biz biz biz biz biz biz biz " you're familiar with. If not, cut the power off and put it back on ; try something, you'll get lucky. Save your data on another disk. At the next restart, maybe you'll have to help it again, maybe not. It depends on how lucky you are.

08/11/05 - Factories reducing garbage
The Subaru factory in Lafayette, Indiana. When the garbage truck rolls up to the curb in front of your house each week, it hauls away more trash than is generated by the manufacturing processes at the factory. The factory is the first auto assembly plant in North America to become completely waste-free: Last year, 100 percent of the waste steel, plastic and other materials coming out of the plant were reused or recycled. Paint sludge that used to be thrown away, for example, is now dried to a powder and shipped to a plastics manufacturer, ending up eventually as parking lot bumpers and guardrails. What can't be reused -- about 3 percent of the plant's trash -- is shipped off to Indianapolis and incinerated to generate electricity. Subaru is not alone. Lots of other companies are shipping far less garbage to landfills than they did even a few years ago. "Anything that's waste is an inefficiency in the process, and inefficiency is lost dollars," says Patricia Calkins, vice president for environment, health and safety at Xerox. Skyrocketing landfill costs during the late 1980s and early 1990s helped make that clear to companies. The average cost to dump a ton of garbage in a U.S. landfill jumped from $8 in 1985 to $34 in 1995, according to the National Solid Wastes Management Association. It costs Fetzer Vineyards $61 a ton to dump its trash, says Patrick Healy, the company's environmental manager. Cutting its waste stream has saved the winemaker an estimated $150,000.

08/10/05 - Major 500MW Solar Stirling energy farm
(I think this is the smart way to use solar energy, much better than solar cells so far! - JWD) Southern Californian Edison plans development of a 500-megawatt (MW) solar project 70 miles northeast of Los Angeles using innovative Stirling dish technology. The agreement includes an option to expand the project to 850 MW. Initially, Stirling would build a one-MW test facility using 40 of the company's 37-foot-diameter dish assemblies. Subsequently, a 20,000-dish array would be constructed near Victorville, Calif., during a four-year period. "At a time of rising fossil-fuel costs and increased concern about greenhouse-gas emissions, the Stirling project would provide enough clean power to serve 278,000 homes for an entire year," said SCE Chairman John Bryson. Experimental models of the Stirling dish technology have undergone more than 26,000 hours of successful solar operation. A six-dish model Stirling power project is currently operating at the Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The Stirling dish technology converts thermal energy to electricity by using a mirror array to focus the sun's rays on the receiver end of a Stirling engine. The internal side of the receiver then heats hydrogen gas which expands. The pressure created by the expanding gas drives a piston, crank shaft, and drive shaft assembly much like those found in internal combustion engines but without igniting the gas. The drive shaft turns a small electricity generator. The entire energy conversion process takes place within a canister the size of an oil barrel. The process requires no water and the engine is emission-free. Tests conducted by SCE and the Sandia National Laboratories have shown that the Stirling dish technology is almost twice as efficient as other solar technologies. These include parabolic troughs which use the sun's heat to create steam that drives turbines similar to those found in conventional power plants, and photovoltaic cells which convert sunlight directly into electricity by means of semiconducting materials like those found in computer chips. SCE procured more than 13,000 gigawatt-hours(a) of renewable energy in 2004, more than any U.S. utility and enough to power almost two million homes for an entire year.

08/10/05 - 20 years since the first solar car was demonstrated
With the date for the first economically viable hydrogen-powered fuel cell having been at least five years away for the last decade and no breakthrough in battery technology on the horizon in spite of the fortunes spent, the arrival of an affordable and practical alternative fuel looks as far away as ever. It's not that car makers can't build a car that will run on an alternative fuel, it's just that they cannot make it anywhere near economically viable. There is also doubt about the environmental advantages of electric power: unless renewable sources are used exclusively to generate the power needed to charge the batteries, there is no significant saving in carbon emissions.

08/10/05 - Eternal spyplanes monitoring everything
Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) patrol innocuous-looking skies and silently report back streams of strategically important data, video, and images from locations around the world. Called high-altitude long-endurance (Hale) craft, they can be crucial information-gatherers for disaster management, crop management, coastal management, and mapping; they can be more flexible and cheaper options than low-orbit satellites, particularly for developing nations. But one of the biggest issues for such craft is finding the power to fly continuously at altitudes of 18 to 20km, for the very long periods of time often required for such missions. "One of these craft could get anywhere in the world in 24 hours," explains Dr Rogoyski. "A UAV will be able to keep up over a particular part of the world for months at a time, whereas satellites have to continue travelling in orbit." Precise, high-quality images and data can be sent back in under 30 minutes to a mobile ground station which can then disseminate images online.

08/10/05 - Advocates use Science to promote their views
This dual role of advocate/researcher is becoming more common, especially as advocacy groups realize they can sway more opinions by asserting that their research is based on science, rather than simply on personal belief. Reardon, like many people who play this dual role, insists he can objectively look at the data without being influenced by his personal viewpoint. ''A lot of science is advocacy-driven," Reardon said. ''The presumption, which scientists try to foster, is they are totally objective. We are all human. The beauty of science is that you present facts." In recent years, many groups have sprung up to present research or medical advice that is intended to counter that distributed by larger, more established groups. For example, the Christian Medical and Dental Associations, which says it has 17,000 members, views itself as a counterpoint to the American Medical Association, publishing its own ''ethics statements" based on research by its members and others.

08/10/05 - Speeding up degradation of Chitin
"Chitin is an insoluble molecule that consists of tightly packed chains of polymerized sugars," explains study author Dr. Vincent G. H. Eijsink of the Norwegian University of Life Sciences. "It is synthesized by different crustaceans, mollusks, algae, insects, fungi and yeasts and is a major structural component of these organisms. For example, chitin gives strength and stiffness to the shells/cuticles of shrimps and insects and to the cell walls of fungi. Because chitin is an abundant resource and, most importantly, because it occurs in several types of plague organisms and parasites, chitin degradation is of great interest to humanity. For example, insects might be combated by interfering with their chitin metabolism. Insect viruses need to degrade insect chitin for infection. Fungi may also be combated by degrading the chitin in their cell walls." More than one billion tons of chitin are produced by insects, fungi, and marine organisms every year. Despite this abundant production, chitin does not accumulate in most ecosystems, indicating that the molecule is somehow degraded. has the potential to aid in the production of biofuel. "In principle, large quantities of chitin are available for exploration, primarily due to fishing and farming of crustaceans such as shrimps," says Dr. Eijsink.

08/10/05 - Junkyard Windmill
Mr. Price, a typewriter repairman by trade and a part-time machinist and welder, had pieced together-for about $300-a wind-driven electrical generator . . . one that has supplied much of his home's electrical needs since Mother's Day of 1976! Marshall Price first scrounged a Delco ambulance alternator that was capable of delivering 147 amps at about 15 volts . . . which figures out to be over 2,000 watts in a very strong breeze. After reconditioning this component, the do-it-yourselfer started working on a governor system that'd allow his three 6' blades to feather-that is, pivot on their mounts-when wind speeds got dangerously high. (When feathered, the blades are less effective as airfoils, and thus keep the rotor's RPM within safe limits.) Of course, if it's to generate usable electricity, the alternator must spin a good deal faster than 230 RPM, so Marshall set about making a gearbox that would step up the generator's speed considerably. To accomplish this, he just welded a housing out of 1/4" plate and mounted two salvaged Chevrolet gearsets inside. The 8.2-to-1 ratio thus created means that for every one turn the power shaft on the hub makes, the alternator shaft spins 8.2 times . . . or about 1,800 RPM in near-gale (36 mph) winds. The power shaft itself was recycled from an old Datsun. "I bought the whole car for $10, then sold the body to a junkyard for $15. That left me with the entire drivetrain and a profit of $5.00. I stripped out the swing arms from the independent rear suspension, used one for the windplant-bearings and all-and kept the other as a spare."

08/10/05 - Instant Steam/hot water heater
Usable in any process where instantaneous hot water is required, EZ Heater features 100% energy efficient design that eliminates plugging and fouling issues experienced with heat exchanges. Direct steam injection heater, customized to meet exact requirements, accommodates flow ranges to 600 gpm, can reach temperatures to 350°F, and provides ability to produce up to 250° temperature rise. Self-cleaning functions minimize maintenance issues. The EZ Heater will reduce energy expenses due to its 100% energy efficient design.

08/10/05 - Energy costs soar over oil prices
ENERGY stocks continued their upward march yesterday after crude oil jumped to a record $US64 a barrel amid fears of more terrorist attacks against the US in the world's biggest oil exporter Saudi Arabia. Oil for September delivery surged $US1.63, or 2.6 per cent, to close at a record $US63.94 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange after hitting $US64 during intraday trade.

08/09/05 - Claim of 3-5 cents/Kwh for Solar Arrays
We all know that solar electricity currently costs anywhere from 25 to 50 cents per kilowatt hour, well above the 2 to 10 cent cost range at which fossil fuels and nuclear power are generated. Now a company called International Automated Systems, Inc. (IAS) is set to start manufacturing a solar technology next month (September, 2005) that they claim can generate electricity at 3 to 5 Cent per kWH. They claim their solar technology is 10 times cheaper to manufacture and operate than current solar technology, thus the major price per kWH drop. They are looking to produce 200 megawatts of installed capacity per year. They also have developed a bladeless turbine technology that they claim is ten times cheaper than current turbine technology. The solar collectors do not operate as photovoltaic cells. The sun's rays focus onto a heat exchanger which then transfers the heat to a highly efficient turbine, which in turn hooks directly to a regular AC electricity generator. Though the panels resemble a magnifying glass, they are in fact composed of thousands of microscopic refracting lenses on a thin substrate that is only about 1/8th of an inch thick, and held in place by a frame. The "thin film" manufacturing process is far less expensive than the photovoltaic cell manufacturing process.

08/09/05 - Organizing problems? Check this out!
a site dedicated to getting organized around your house. They’ve grouped their information into three groups; “clean”, “cut clutter” and “get organized” and you’ll find everything from cooking tips, to “Getting Things Done” type information for kids. Most of the articles are short, but they do offer some pretty good tips and cover a wide range of “around-the-home” lifehackery and productivity tips. They’ve also got some handy printable tools and a fairly active community.

08/09/05 - Algae comes to life after 20 years dry
University of Colorado scientists have reportedly found how to re-awaken algae thought to be long dead -- just add water. And the discovery suggests the possibility long-dormant species of life on Mars might be similarly revived, Colorado researcher Diane McKnight told the Boulder (Colo.) Daily Camera. McKnight's team revived the microbes in a dried streambed in Antarctica's McMurdo Dry Valleys that hadn't seen significant moisture for about 20 years. She told the newspaper her team had been trying to determine how long it would take for microbes to re-colonize the channel once water ran through it. They expected a significant wait before microbial life re-established itself. Instead, they saw new microbial mats appear in one day.

08/09/05 - Cellphone for near realtime blogging
(Check out this way cool, QUICK use of a Nokia cellphone - JWD) Imagine this: You're walking down the street and stop at a pet store window where half a dozen kittens are rolling around, batting each other, mewing, dozing and being unspeakably cute. You want to remember this moment AND share it with your friends - so you take out your video camera, shoot and post the film to your Web site - all before you step away from that window. I've been doing just this for several months now with the Nokia 7610 cameraphone and a software application called Lifeblog.

08/09/05 - Biomass going to waste
A million hectares of countryside could be used for sources of biomass, helping to create a cleaner, greener Britain and avoid 20m tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions a year, says a government report to be published in October. Biomass, which can include straw, wood chips, willow coppice, mildewed grain, chicken litter and sewage sludge, could provide a "significant" amount of the nation's energy needs. But the problem is that the government has yet to alter development rules to give a clear lead, and potential developers lack a one-stop shop for advice and financial help. The report will argue for new ways of thinking about energy use, noting that power stations smaller than the present ones and sited near towns could provide not just electricity but heat, with huge cost savings. "We waste enough heat from those [old] power stations to heat the whole country one and a half times over," Sir Ben said. "We are a country concerned about climate change and the use of fossil fuel yet we're pouring all that energy out and not using it. The take-home message must be that instead of being tomorrow's fuel biomass is today's fuel."

08/09/05 - Cooking animal carcasses
State agriculture director Fred Dailey says disposing of the carcasses is becoming a problem. That’s why the agency recently bought a million-dollar machine that breaks them down. It’s called an alkaline hydrolysis unit. But pathologist Doctor Sheila Grimes says it’s basically a big cooker. The tissue digester got a tough test last week when officials had to get rid of 10,000 animals from a pet distribution center in Muskingum County. The animals were killed because some of them tested positive for a virus that led to at least three deaths in humans.

08/09/05 - Nameplate versus actual windpower, and backup power
(This is from Bill Beatys Vortex list - JWD) "A report released by the Minnesota Department of Commerce found that the cost of integrating [1,500 MW] of wind would be less than one-half cent per kilowatt-hour, and could be further reduced with improved scheduling, forecasting, and markets. The study also concluded the 1,500 MW of wind generation contributes the equivalent of 400 MW of conventional generation (27% of the wind power nameplate capacity) in terms of system reliability. Although some wind opponents have claimed that each MW of wind added to the system requires a MW of new fossil backup, the Minnesota study revealed that 1,500 MW of new wind would only require 7.8 MW of new backup power." The entire study is available at

08/09/05 - Allergy sensitivity doubles since the 70s
More than half of all Americans test positive in response to one or more allergens, double the percentage who did 30 years ago, a new study reports. Researchers at the National Institutes of Health found that 54% of people tested positive to at least one of 10 allergens. The highest response was to dust mites, 27.5%. The lowest was to peanuts, 8.6%. The findings appear in the August issue of the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology. About 20% of U.S. residents have allergies or hay fever; 8% to 10% have asthma. The doubling of the prevalence of the six allergens tested in the earlier survey corresponds to a period during which there also was a 74% increase in asthma, Arbes says. Though there is evidence asthma rates have peaked, allergy rates appear to still be increasing, he says. Skin tests involve applying an allergen extract to skin, which is then lightly scratched. If the area swells, the patient has antibodies to the allergen. Researchers don't know why positive skin tests, allergy and asthma are increasing. One theory is that people simply don't go outside as often - Americans spend an estimated 90% of their time indoors - and have higher exposures to indoor allergens.

08/08/05 - China develops most advanced practical fuel cells
Future energy systems centered on hydrogen as fuel would no doubt be the key. Zhang said the Chinese government places great importance on the research and development of fuel cells. In recent years China has developed 100-watt level to 30-kilowatt level hydrogen-oxygen fuel electrodes and fuel cell electric cars etc. Fuel cell technologies, particularly the proton exchange membrane fuel cell (PEMFC) technology, achieved fast progress, having developed PEMFC batteries of many specifications such as those of 60-kilowatt and 75 kilowatt. China also developed fuel cell engines with a net output of 40 kilowatt for electric sedans and of 100 kilowatt for urban passenger cars, making China's fuel cell technology one of the most advanced in the world.

08/08/05 - 50% of ocean species have disappeared
The variety of species in the world's oceans has dropped by as much as 50 percent in the past 50 years, according to a paper published recently in the journal Science. A combination of overfishing, habitat destruction and climate change has narrowed the range of fish across the globe, wrote biologists Boris Worm and Ransom Myers of Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia and three other scientists. "Where you used to put out a fishing line 50 years ago and catch 10 species, now you catch five species for the same amount of effort," Worm said in an interview. "That's a recipe for ecological collapse and disaster." "These areas are really of global significance," Worm said. "It's really important to protect them now, because 20 years from now they may not be there." "Like Goldilocks and the three bears, ocean animals don't like it too hot or too cold, they like it just right."

08/08/05 - Politics & Taxes crimp Island Biogas facility
The small island of Ærø hopes that a new biogas power plant can make it self-sufficient in energy, but state environmental restrictions stand in the way. The biogas plant processes garbage and manure to create electricity and fuel in the form of ethanol, as well as stink-free manure. The biogas plant is to be the latest in a series of efforts to provide the 30 kilometre long island and its 7200 inhabitants with an environmentally conscious energy resource.

08/08/05 - Energy costs impacting business
The Small Firms Association has warned that recent increases in energy prices are bad news for business, consumers and the Government. The association said it expected rises in the price of oil, gas, petrol and electricity to push up inflation in other areas as businesses pass the increased cost on to their customers. SFA direct Pat Delaney said this would be harmful to the economy in general, but the Government could alleviate pressure in the short term by reducing taxes and excise duties on fuel. "While it may not be a crisis at the moment, it has the potential to certainly become a crisis in the short term," he said.

08/08/05 - Is the gasoline engine headed for extinction?
What makes biofuels so compelling is that conventional engines can run on them. That means biofuels can be mixed into the existing fuel supply (gasoline or diesel) and be distributed using conventional gas stations. What's more, the biofuels component of what comes out of the pump can be gradually increased as production revs up, says Wolfgang Steiger, biofuels guru at carmaker Volkswagen. Combustion engines can run on gas "stretched" with 10 percent ethanol or less with no modifications. Higher concentrations require "flex-fuel" engines, which automatically adjust fuel injection depending on the fuel mix (more than half of all new cars in Brazil have them). Biodiesel-a high-quality, clean-burning fuel remarkably similar to petroleum diesel-is made from the oil extracted from the seeds of plants like soybeans or rapeseed, along with methanol (a type of alcohol) and a catalyst. Conventional diesel engines easily tolerate 20 percent biodiesel "stretching," and many are already warranted at up to 100 percent. Because biofuels "don't require anyone to reinvent the car," says Volkswagen's Steiger, they offer an advantage over hydrogen fuel cells, a new and infinitely more complex technology. Super-efficient Brazil now sells ethanol at the equivalent of $25 dollars a barrel, less than half the cost of crude. What's more, because parts of the sugar-cane plant are used both to fertilize the fields and to fire up the distilleries, Brazil uses much less fossil fuel to produce alcohol than Europe and America. In those places, by contrast, ethanol and biodiesel cost $50 and up because of shorter growing seasons, lower crop yields, and higher wages.

08/08/05 - Canadians turn Sand into Oil
In this enormous open-pit mine, the black sand is naturally saturated with oil. It's the Alberta Oil Sands. Numerous companies are betting on it with vast amounts of money. CELINA STROEDER, ALBIAN SANDS ENERGY: "WE ARE LOOKING AT A 4 BILLION DOLLAR EXPANSION, WHICH WILL INCREASE OUR PRODUCTION TO 250,000 BARRELLS A DAY AND BEYOND." JOHN HOLLENHORST REPORTING: "THESE TRUCKS ARE EVEN BIGGER THAN THE ONES THEY USE AT KENNECOTT IN UTAH. AND ON EVERY TRUCKLOAD THERE'S 200 BARRELS OF OIL." A vast industrial complex is developing to extract the oil. This one facility alone cost 8 billion dollars and covers almost two square miles. Production from all companies combined: a million barrels a day, and growing. CHRIS JONES, CEO, ALBIAN SANDS ENERGY: "WE'RE GOING TO BE WELL OVER A MILLION, TWO, THREE MILLION. WHO CAN TELL."

08/08/05 - Using muons for scanning
(Could these be a source of free energy? Note it says "The average energy of these particles is about a million times greater than that of the X-ray photons used in dental exams. This higher energy lets the muons pass through thick materials." - JWD) Muons, which are like heavy electrons, form like a shower when a cosmic ray crashes into an air molecule in the upper atmosphere. About 1,000 muons pass through a square foot on the Earth’s surface every minute. Cosmic ray muons can pierce six feet of lead with only a slight change to their speed and direction. The path of a muon through a material depends on density. The amount of deviation, or scattering, will be indicative of an empty tomb, a lava-filled crater, or a piece of uranium. Using detectors above and below a cargo container or truck, Chartrand and his collaborators have shown that they can detect shielded nuclear material in 60 seconds, with about a three percent error rate. What the researchers count on is the fact that a chunk of uranium or plutonium will most likely be heavily shielded with something dense, like lead or gold. Both the nuclear material and the shielding will deflect many of the incoming muons, creating a distinct pattern on screens that would alert authorities.

08/08/05 - Energy Consumption rising!
Led by rapid growth in Asia, worldwide energy consumption is projected to increase 57% between 2002 and 2025, according to the Energy Information Administration’s 2005 international energy outlook. The forecast expects growth to more than double in the emerging economies of the world, such as China and India. In contrast, slower growth in energy demand-a combined 27% increase-is projected for the U.S. and other mature market economies. EIA says energy use in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union will increase 45% due to slow or declining population growth and strong gains in energy efficiency. Clean-burning natural gas is expected to experience the fastest growth of any energy component, with consumption expanding almost 70% from 92 trillion to 156 trillion cu ft. The industrial sector will account for 36% of the total growth in natural gas demand. World oil use is forecast to grow from 78 million barrels per day to 119 million bbl per day, with the U.S. and China and other Asian nations accounting for 63% of the projected growth. The report is available at

08/08/05 - Greenhouse convection power
Unlike most solar generation, which converts sunlight directly into electricity, this idea relies on an enormous greenhouse, seven kilometres across, to generate heat on the ground, which is then sucked up through a one-kilometre-high chimney. The updraft created would power a bank of 32 turbines at the bottom of the chimney and these would generate 200 megawatts.

08/08/05 - Using gravity to heal
(Thanks for the headsdown Sepp! - JWD) A tree loses over ninety five per cent of the water that it draws from the soil into the atmosphere via its leaves. In doing so the water is processed by evaporation at the leaf where dissolved salts from the soil and sugars produced at the leaf are retained and concentrated, while pure water escapes as vapour. This retained liquid, once exposed to the atmosphere during transpiration, absorbs dissolved oxygen, which the tree needs in order to produce further growth. But, for every action there must also be a reaction, and the reaction is that any downward flowing pulses of heavy mineral laden sap, will cause a far greater volume of a lighter, dilute solution, in adjoining tubes, to be lifted. When a person is resting on a five-degree head down tilt to the horizontal, the specific gravity of urine decreased to a zero reading overnight, while a five degree head up tilt stabilised the specific gravity overnight. Which, at the very least, shows that salts and minerals do arrive in the bladder, via the kidney, due to the affect of gravity on concentrated solutions. All who took part, experienced benefits, some being almost beyond belief. Several people have shown that it is possible to reverse damage to the central and peripheral nervous system, including complete spinal cord injuries and nerve damage caused in chronic progressive multiple sclerosis, including damage to the optic nerve. Varicose veins, leg ulcers, oedema, arthritic conditions, lethargy, muscle wastage (atrophy) and osteoporosis have all responded well to this therapy.

08/08/05 - Terrorists use the web for their network
(Is this going to become yet another massively paranoid terrorist based excuse to try to control the Internet which has so severely curtailed the rights and activities of Americans? Leading to Draconion laws in the name of protection? Life is about RISK - JWD) Western intelligence agencies and outside terrorism specialists have concluded that the "global jihad movement," sometimes led by al Qaeda fugitives but increasingly made up of diverse "groups and ad hoc cells," has become a "Web-directed" phenomenon, as a presentation for U.S. government terrorism analysts by longtime State Department expert Dennis Pluchinsky put it. Hampered by the nature of the Internet itself, the government has proven ineffective at blocking or even hindering significantly this vast online presence.

08/08/05 - Telomeres alone not the sole cause of aging
The continual and inevitable shortening of telomeres, the protective “caps” at the end of all 46 human chromosomes, has been linked to aging and physical decline. Once they are gone, so are we. But there are more ways than one to grow old. “Some long-lived species like humans have telomeres that are much shorter than the telomeres in species like mice, which live only a few years. Nobody yet knows why. But now we have conclusive evidence that telomeres alone do not dictate aging and lifespan,” says Karlseder. Each time a cell divides, its telomeres get shorter, a process called replicative or cellular aging. Some have likened this progressive erosion of telomeres to a genetic biological clock that winds down over time, leading to a gradual decline in our mental and physical prowess. Yet, C. elegans, a tiny creature, which spends the better part of its adult life without a single dividing cell in its body, still shows signs of old age and eventually dies, raising intriguing questions.

08/07/05 - New Magnetic Motor
(Thanks Bob! - JWD) The Encore MPG has a direct fuel-to-electrical power output just like a hydrogen fuel cell, but offers the potential to be more fuel-efficient and cost-effective than a fuel cell, because the MPG does not need to waste energy separating hydrogen gas from water, nor increase consumption of fossil fuels for steam-reforming hydrogen (whose by-product includes unwanted carbon dioxide emissions), nor require dangerous high-pressure hydrogen storage tanks to operate. The MPG design is for a unique pressure driven "Linear Engine" that propels a permanent magnet through a series of electro-magnetic coils to generate electricity according to Faraday's Law of Induction, wherein moving a permanent magnet into and out of a coil of wire induces an electrical current in the wire while the magnet is in motion. The MPG design can use fuel combustion or low-boiling-point working fluids to convert heat energy into high-pressure gases that propel its "Magnetic Piston" at high velocities, back-and-forth, through a linear alternator to generate usable electricity. The greater the velocity of the Magnetic Piston passing through the alternator, the greater the electrical power output that can be generated. The Company believes that the MPG design can be scaled-up to generate electricity by the kilowatts or potentially megawatts of power. Detail Page with images

08/07/05 - Tests of burning Manure for fuel
Record oil prices and incentives to find alternative fuel sources are lighting a fire under research to turn biomass materials such as manure into energy. "The question becomes, how do you convert biomass into energy?" he said. Researchers are trying to determine what process and what mix of the product will create the most useable heat and, as a result, energy. For this study, composite samples of raw/mixed/uncomposted manure from the Experiment Station feedlot at Bushland have been sent for testing at several labs. The manure samples were harvested May 17-June 2 from two types of pens. One set of pens were paved with fly-ash, a by-product of the coal-fired power generating industry, and the other manure was from unpaved pens. The manure was composted and test results from the two showed a large difference for several constituents measured, especially ash content, Sweeten said. Ash, an unusable material as far as energy is concerned, was lower in the composted manure samples from the paved pens than the dirt pens -- 20.2 percent compared to 58.7 percent. As a result, the low-ash manure had about twice the organic matter and heating value, he said. "The low-ash feedlot biomass would be much better fuel than high-ash feedlot biomass," Sweeten said. "The problem is, there is not that much of it in the commercial feedlots."

08/07/05 - Lowering Airplane altitude reduces pollution
AIRCRAFT could reduce their impact on global warming just by making small changes in altitude. The streams of water vapour and ice particles that form behind an aircraft, called contrails, are known to create cirrus clouds. These clouds can trap heat radiating from the Earth's surface and thus add to global warming. Until now the only strategy to avoid contrails was for planes to reduce their altitudes from about 33,000 feet to as low as 24,000 feet. At this height the air is not supersaturated with ice, so contrails cannot form.

08/07/05 - Article on Big Oil quieting 'Peak Oil'
(Good article worth your time to read - JWD) Big Oil tells us this now, when they are sitting - and I mean sitting - on mountains of cash that could actually be saving lives. It was Big Oil that lobbied to have American mass transit systems ripped up and destroyed in the 1950s. It was Big Oil and chemical companies like Monsanto that laid waste our farmland and our seed stock. Monsanto and other large corporations have actually patented living things. It was Big Oil that took away the American people’s basic knowledge of farming and gave us unfarmable pavement. It was Big Oil that unleashed a global warming which now breathes down our necks like a hungry Saber-toothed tiger. Noticed any hurricanes lately? Been a little warm this summer? Heard of any blackouts anywhere? If this winter is cold you’d better know something about cold weather survival and candle making. Global warming does that by the way. Big Oil is lying about a lot. Most assuredly it will do everything possible to conceal and mislead about its responsibility for placing the entire human race in jeopardy and getting us into this mess in the first place. This new advertising is bullshit and no one should mistake it for any kind of victory or any reason to slack off and take a break.

08/07/05 - Burning trash for energy
The garbage is unloaded inside a huge enclosed receiving room at least four stories high and the size of an entire New York City block. There the garbage is loaded onto conveyor belts and much of it is inspected by hand for objects that cannot be shredded and burned. Metal, some 50,000 tons a year, is removed and recycled. From a control room high above the receiving room one day last week, Mr. Walker and his staff watched as mountains of trash were readied for shredding and incineration. "Slowly but surely, one million tons goes away," Mr. Walker noted. "One bucket at a time," added Dave Ditata, the plant's fuel superintendent. Giant shredders convert the flammable garbage into four-inch clumps, which are then fed into gigantic furnaces. Heat from the incineration process is used to make steam, which is then converted into electricity, enough to power 75,000 homes. All of the operations -- the shredders, furnaces and conveyors -- are connected by a state-of-the-art computer system capable of monitoring everything from emissions to steam temperature.

08/07/05 - Human Robot Effect
(Intriguing effect using DC to alter balance - JWD) NTT has demonstrated a remote-control system for people. The researchers outfit their subject with two electrodes behind the ears that "pull" her in one direction or another. This sort of electrical stimulation is known as galvanic vestibular stimulation, or GVS. When a weak DC current is delivered to the mastoid behind your ear, your body responds by shifting your balance toward the anode. The stronger the current, the more powerful its pull. If it is strong enough, it not only throws you off balance but alters the course of your movement.

08/07/05 - People who jinx PCs and hardware
(Laugh all you want, but 25 years working in 3 photo labs, me and my tech crew saw this OVER AND OVER!!! - JWD) "There are some people who seem to have a natural rapport with computers and other complex machines, and there are other people who seem to manage to break everything even without touching it," said York Dobyns, analytical co-ordinator at Princeton Engineering Anomalies Research (PEAR). The devices - including mechanical and electronic gadgets - produce random outputs when there are no humans around. The experiments appear to demonstrate a small, but statistically significant, anomaly: study subjects seem to be able to change the output of the machines merely by thinking about them. "We are hoping to get to the level of practical application in the near future," said Dobyns. He refused to offer specifics on what the lab might make - be it a bad-vibe shield or a machine intended for mind control.

08/07/05 - Chemist working to solve energy crisis
Lots of people have explored this challenge, but Nocera had a big breakthrough when he used light to coax multiple hydrogen atoms out of liquid. The key was figuring out the right chemical catalyst. Nocera has performed the reaction with acidic solutions, but not water yet. The catalyst he used was a compound that included the expensive metal rhodium. To be a practical energy solution, it will have to be made from inexpensive elements like iron, nickel or cobalt. Nocera's reaction got the photons in light to free up hydrogen atoms, but that's only half the equation. The harder part will be to also capture the oxygen that emerges when water molecules are split. That way, both elements can be fed into a fuel cell, making the process as efficient as possible.

08/07/05 - Police can search your trash without a warrant
A Montana Supreme Court justice says it's within the law for police to sift through your garbage for incriminating stuff, even without a warrant or court approval. The Supreme Court of Montana ruled last month that police could conduct a warrantless "trash dive" into the trash cans in the alley behind the home of a man named Darrell Pelvit. The cops discovered pseudoephedrine boxes -- a solvent with uses including the manufacture of methamphetamine -- and Pelvit eventually ended up in prison. Pelvit's attorney argued that his client had a reasonable expectation of privacy in his trash, but the court rejected the argument and said the trash was, well, meant to be thrown away. What's remarkable is the concurring opinion of Montana Supreme Court Justice James C. Nelson, who reluctantly went along with his colleagues but warned that George Orwell's 1984 had arrived. We reproduce his concurring opinion in full.

08/07/05 - Shortage of raw materials for 'in demand' solar arrays
American suppliers for the solar energy industry say that burgeoning demand both domestically and overseas, a weak dollar and shortages of raw material have created back orders of several months on electricity-generating photovoltaic, or PV, panels. Executives of American solar manufacturers and industry groups say the global solar market has grown roughly 40 percent annually in the last five years, driven in large part by Germany.

08/07/05 - Tapeless Digital Video capture
The main reason I wanted to do this was because I capture video at football games and the amount of time spent "paused" was starting to gum-up my camcorder's heads. I also had several games that came very close to the end of my tape (57+ minutes). After installing & configuring Linux, I have a very small computer (approx 8.5" x 11" x 1.5") that can capture about 2.5 hours of video. If I stripped Linux down to the bare minimum, I could probably get it up to 3 hours. Of course a larger hard drive would give me more recording time. Total Cost: $309

08/06/05 - Hydrogen from coal
Hundreds of federally funded researchers are looking into new processes using coal to make natural gas, diesel fuel, jet fuel -- and hydrogen. "Exporting dollars for oil has to end," he said. "It's important to build these plants throughout the country. It will change the whole dynamic." Today the Great Plains Synfuels plant daily turns 16,000 tons of soft brown coal called lignite into 150 million cubic feet of natural gas, enough to heat 300,000 homes. The gas is sold to a major pipeline, said spokesman Daryl Hill. Byproducts include agricultural fertilizers, chemical feedstocks and carbon dioxide -- all of which are sold to industry.

08/06/05 - Trees dry out the land
Many trees, especially fast-growing species like pines and eucalyptus favored by the paper industry, suck more water from the ground than other crops, it said. The water transpires from the leaves and so the trees dry out the land. "Trees on the whole are not a good thing in dry areas if you want to manage water resources," said John Palmer.. "When it comes to wet areas, trees may be beneficial or no worse than pasture and crops," he told Reuters of the study of plantings in India, Costa Rica, South Africa and Tanzania in a four-year project led by British and Dutch researchers. Just as wet clothes dry quicker if hung out rather than left lying on the ground, the enormous combined surface of trees' leaves combined with their deep roots meant they transpired more water into the air than other crops, it said.

08/06/05 - Aspects of anti-personnel EM Weapons
(Incredible extensive report - JWD) These included “Acoustic” (pulsed/attenuated high-intensity sound, infrasound (very low frequency) and Polysound (high volume, distracting) as well as High-power microwaves (HPM) that possessed the capability of “deters/incapacitates people." A fairly extensive catalogue of effects have resulted from low frequency signals emanating from the US Greenham Common base, and, apparently, targeted upon the women protesters. These include: vertigo, retinal bleeding, burnt face (even at night), nausea, sleep disturbances, palpitations, loss of concentration, loss of memory, disorientation, severe headaches, temporary paralysis, faulty speech co-ordination, irritability and a sense of panic in non-panic situations. Identical and similar effects have been reported elsewhere and appear to be fairly common-place amongst so called “victims”. Many of these symptoms have been associated in medical literature with exposure to microwaves and especially through low intensity or non thermal exposures.

08/06/05 - Oil Shockwave
Oil Shockwave identified a set of conditions that provide a vivid preview of what we can expect during the Twilight Era of Petroleum: Global oil prices exceeding $150 per barrel, Gasoline prices of $5.00 or more per gallon, A spike in the consumer price index of more than 12%, A protracted recession, A decline of over 25% in the Standard & Poor's 500 stock index, A crisis with China over Taiwan and Increased friction with Saudi Arabia over U.S. policy toward Israel. How quickly we move to reduce our reliance on petroleum as a major source of our energy and begin the transition to alternative fuels. This transition cannot be avoided. It will come whether we are prepared for it or not.

08/06/05 - Australian desalination plant powered by wind
WESTERN Australia's much-touted desalination plant will be powered by a $180million wind farm of 48 giant turbines. The 80megawatt wind farm, to be built at Emu Downs north of Perth, will make the desalination plant the largest of its kind in the world to be powered by renewable energy. The farm will provide enough clean energy to power 50,000 homes a year, displacing the emission of 220,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

08/06/05 - All worlds glaciers could melt
Global warming caused by human activities may result in the complete disappearance of glaciers from entire mountain ranges, according to the latest update of a United Nations supported report issued once every five years. The World Glacier Monitoring Service warns that the greenhouse effect is leading to processes "without precedent in the history of the Earth." "The last five-year period of the 20th century has been characterized by an overall tendency of continuous if not accelerated glacier melting," says the World Glacier Monitoring Service 1995-2000 edition of the Fluctuations of Glaciers report, complied with the support of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP). "The two decades [from] 1980-2000 show a trend of increasingly negative balances with average annual ice thickness losses of a few decimetres," the report adds. "The observed trend of increasingly negative mass balances is consistent with accelerated global warming." "...the average global temperature has risen 0.6 ± 0.2°C since the late 19th century, and that "most of the warming observed over the last 50 years is attributable to human activities."

08/06/05 - Passive Dynamics make robots walk like humans
The walker uses a small fraction of the energy required by other two-legged machines, and it runs on a control system no more complex than that of a coffee machine. In fact, Ruina says, this slender, 1-meter-tall robot, simple as it looks, introduces a new class of robotics based on the theory known as passive dynamics. Roboticist Jessy Grizzle of the University of Michigan calls the new robots "very beautiful science" but points out that they tend to fall over easily. Wisse plans to continue research to make Denise less likely to topple over. He's also working on making the robot start, stop, and turn, since it currently needs a push to get moving, keeps going until it runs into something, and walks only in a straight line.

08/06/05 - SpinyBot wall walker robot
To date, most climbing robots cling to vertical surfaces using suction cups, magnets or sticky adhesives. While these techniques can be effective, they are limited to specific surfaces. For example, magnets work on metal, such as the hull of a ship; suction cups work best on glass or other flat smooth surfaces. Unfortunately, none of these methods hold up to the typically dusty and porous surfaces of buildings and bridges. The 400-gram Spinybot can ascend such material because each of its six toes has 10 pairs of tiny steel spines that work together to grip the microscopic peaks and ridges on the surface of concrete, stucco and brick. The Spinybot is capable of carrying a 400-gram payload, and a video camera mounted to its hind section captures the robot reaching its vertical limits. And because Spinybot is small and quiet, it could be used for surveillance.

08/06/05 - Lobsters bred and grown in captivity
Lobsters are a prized seafood and one of nature's most elusive crustaceans. Attempts at breeding them over the last few decades have not been successful, till recently. Australia succeeded in 2003, and India, just last year. But lobster farming in both countries has yet to reach a commercial scale. Trevor Lim, a student at Republic Polytechnic's School of Applied Science, said: "There are two secrets we had in cultivating the lobsters. One was the recirculation system we devised so as to simulate as closely as possible the natural habitat from which the lobsters come from. "The second was the nutrient system. Salinity levels, ammonia levels, oxygen levels, nutrient levels, we had to combine all these factors into a single thing so that when we add it to the water, it will recreate the environment of the sea." But if Republic Polytechnic's lobster growing project were to succeed on a large scale, then consumers might find cheaper lobsters in restaurants.

08/06/05 - Hydrogen controversy
(Thanks Bert!) The ground state of hydrogen is stable in the sense that it cannot emit photons. However, Mills argues that it can undergo a non-radiative transition to a lower state with the help of a catalyst, releasing the additional energy in the process. "In layman's terms, a catalytic process causes the latent energy stored in the hydrogen atom to be released by allowing the electron that is otherwise in a stable orbit to move closer to the nucleus to generate power as heat, light and the formation of a plasma," Mills told PhysicsWeb. Similar non-radiative transitions occur in fluorescent lights and in the formation of chemical bonds in cases where the excess energy is carried away by a third particle.

08/06/05 - US hospital infections pervasive
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, about 90,000 Americans die of infections contracted inside hospitals every year, adding an estimated $5 billion to the nation`s annual healthcare bill. Consumers Union has argued that public-disclosure laws help consumers pick the safest hospitals, thus forcing the worst to improve. Consumer groups disagree, and are pushing hospital-infection report cards. They argue that complaints about the idea represent an attempt by hospitals to forestall such requirements to avoid higher operating costs. To the contrary, the groups said, hospitals could save billions via report cards.

08/05/05 - Nano-Silver coating to fight bio-slime
Roughly half of all hospital related infections are linked with catheters and other medical devices that pass through the skin. These devices provide surfaces where microbes can grow slimy fortresses called biofilms that serve as stepping stones for invasions deeper into the body. In minute concentrations, silver is highly toxic to germs while relatively non-toxic to human cells. AcryMed has devised a technique to coat medical-device surfaces with anti-microbial silver particles 2 nanoparticles to 20 nanoparticles in size that prevent biofilms from forming. The coating "sticks to basically all kinds of surfaces, from glass to stainless steel -- even materials like Teflon," Gibbins said, and it lasts for roughly 150 to 200 days.

08/05/05 - Collapse of Artic shelf could cause global catastrophes
The Larsen B ice shelf covered more than 3,000 square kilometres and was 200 metres thick until its northern part disintegrated in the 1990s. Three years ago, the central part also broke up. "As the ice shelves are disintegrating, the glaciers that are feeding them from the land are surging forward," said Robert Gilbert, a geography professor at Queen's University in Kingston, Ont. Glaciers are no longer being held back from the ice shelf, and are pushing ice bergs into the sea, said Gilbert, one of the co-authors of the study in Thursday's issue of the journal Nature. As the glaciers melt, global sea levels could change more than predicted, he said. Flooding could result in low-lying areas.

08/05/05 - The Ultimate Treehouse
Fearing boredom during retirement, man builds treehouse with electricity, water, cable TV, rooftop patio, built-in cabinets, a wet bar and a 65-foot-long drawbridge connecting it to his home.

08/05/05 - Shoot 'suspected' terrorist bombers in the head
(This is very scary, way too much room for 'accidents' - JWD) According to the newspaper, the guide recommends that if lethal force is needed to stop someone who fits a certain behavioral profile, the officer should "aim for the head." The intent is to kill the suspect instantly so the person could not set off a bomb if one is strapped to the person's chest, the newspaper said. Among signs to look for listed in the police organization's behavioral profile are wearing a heavy coat in warm weather, carrying a backpack with protrusions or visible wires, nervousness, excessive sweating or an unwillingness to make eye contact, the Post said.

08/05/05 - Unloading memory hogging DLLs
Sometimes when you close an application on Windows, the application leaves behind certain files in memory in order to run background processes, or maybe to start up the application faster next time. These processes are often unnecessary, so today, we’ll show you how to stop them from running, and taking up precious memory.

08/05/05 - Toronto cooled by lakewater from the deep
A project launched last August means a number of commercial - and soon legislative, as well as residential - buildings will be cooled by a natural, renewable source of energy: the icy waters at the bottom of Lake Ontario. The Deep Lake Water Cooling project, also referred to as lake-source cooling or deep-source cooling, is the first of its kind to be developed on such a vast scale. It works by drawing water from 80 metres below the surface of Lake Ontario (with an average depth of 86m, it's the second deepest of North America's Great Lakes), then pumping the naturally chilled water directly into participating buildings via an underground network of pipes.

08/05/05 - China accelerating space efforts
Keenly aware of the military, scientific and commercial benefits of space know-how, China has been aggressively pursuing space exploration for decades and has taken great leaps forward. Since its space program was set up in 1992 it has grown to employ tens of thousands of scientific, manufacturing and planning personnel in more than 3,000 centres.

08/05/05 - Simple way to remove oil from water
The Extended Gravity Oil Water Separation concept is an improvement on the industry-standard American Petroleum Institute gravity separator that has been widely used for the last 60 years, say researchers at the University of New South Wales. "EGOWS can remove oil down to below 10 parts per million, requires no power and is most useful in situations that are unattended," says Tolmie. "Most of the EGOWS installations to date in Australia have been in electricity substations to eliminate the small but potentially disastrous risk of a major spill of oil to the environment."

08/05/05 - Garbage - an eye opening look
Americans generate more than four pounds of trash per person, each day -- more than twice the per capita rate of Oslo, Norway. We have gifted the world with Styrofoam, non-returnable soda bottles, and innumerable forms of redundant packaging, all of which now litters every corner of our planet and is found washed up on even the most remote beaches. And now here's Royte to tell us that even the most conscientiously managed landfills leak and leach and pollute. We're left with the distinct impression that there's no clean answer to the trash problem. Europe's wide-ranging recycling laws, bio-waste plants, and emphasis on manufacturer responsibility (all detailed within) offer one way forward, and the concept of zero waste (now a national aim in New Zealand and a publicly stated goal in San Francisco and Seattle) offers another.

08/05/05 - Fireplace that runs on Water
The Aqueon operates by using regular tap water or preferably de-ionized water, which is supplied to the fireplace either through a pipe or from a storage tank within the unit. Using a 220 volt electrical service and a process called electrolysis, the Aqueon passes an electrical current through water to separate the hydrogen and oxygen. Upon separation, the Aqueon instantly ignites the hydrogen to create the flame. The Aqueon introduces the oxygen as a secondary source to add flame color and brightness, and releases the remainder of the oxygen into the room.

08/04/05 - US causing high oil prices
Many oil analysts and traders have recently blamed the rocketing cost of crude oil on higher demand from China and India, where economic growth has taken off in recent years. "What's really causing the oil price to go up is the fact that America continues to guzzle (gasoline) as if there is no tomorrow," Richards said. "There really wouldn't be a demand problem on the oil side were the West to adopt a prudent energy-saving regime." Chinese demand for crude oil in 2002, 2003 and 2004 was 6.4 per cent, 7.1 per cent and 7.8pc of total daily demand of 77.9, 79.4 and 82.3 million barrels a day respectively, according to the International Energy Agency. In comparison, the US has used up more than 30 percent of world supplies over the last three years.

08/04/05 - Blue light stops inflammation and infection
Already, the gizmo, developed at Boston's Forsyth Institute, has been shown to kill the ''bad" bacteria and ''restore balance and harmony in dental plaque," said Nikos Soukos. The FDA has already approved the use of light therapy to treat symptoms of cancer of the lung and esophagus. The Forsyth research team stumbled across the disease-fighting power of blue light when one of its members, who was researching the safety of a tooth whitening procedure, noticed that the process also appeared to reduce patients' gum inflammation. The light's energy, the researchers theorized and later proved, was killing light-sensitive bacteria linked to gum disease. At specific wavelengths, the energy of light can trigger chemical changes in the cell that lead to cell death. Boston researchers have led such advances in photomedicine for decades, pioneering the use of visible spectrum ''rainbow" light to remove hair and tattoos, and combat age-related blindness and acne, among other problems. Using light to kill bacteria also seems to avoid the problem -- common with antibiotics -- of resistance. No matter how much light is aimed at the bacteria, they seem unable to develop the ability to outsmart the beams, the way they do when bombarded with antibiotics.

08/04/05 - Plasma Converter changes waste to hydrogen
"StarCell is the Company's proprietary ceramic filtration system; it is not a fuel cell. It is a patented hydrogen-selective membrane filter that separates the hydrogen from the Plasma Converted Gas (PCG)(TM). PCG is the clean synthesis fuel-gas mixture, rich in free hydrogen, produced by the Plasma Converter System(TM) when it processes organic wastes. The Plasma Converter System safely and irreversibly destroys wastes by its process of molecular dissociation during which it converts those wastes into valuable commercial products that include PCG. PCG is a valuable syn-gas as it is, but StarCell increases its value by its ability to extract the hydrogen.

08/04/05 - Klaatu Barada Nicto
(I wrote about this a few months back - JWD) Remember those famous words from the movie "The Day the Earth Stood Still" (1951) where Michael Rennie who plays the man from another planet tells Patricia Neal, if anything should happen to him, to instruct Gort, the robot "Klatu Barada Nikto" (to keep him from destroying the Earth). This is already after Gort has demonstrated his power to bring all vehicles, elevators, machinery etc. in the world to a standstill by cutting off all ELECTRICITY. I'm afraid that we are going to relive this experience in real life, right here in the United States and our Congress and President are going to see to it with their riduculous new (5 years in the making) Energy Bill. This time it won't be Electricity that is cut off, it will be OIL, and it won't be a demonstration, like in the movie, it will be the Real Thing. It will be THE DAY AMERICA STOOD STILL! There are enough Muslim terrorists in the oil producing countries to bring America to a Standstill.

08/04/05 - John Deere's new fuel cell
One model of the fuel cell, currently running a John Deere Gator, can produce five kilowatts of electricity, which could power an entire home. One cell is good for about three hours.

08/04/05 - Scenario 2009
(Great story and with a lesson! - JWD) These first few neighborhood-building efforts result in a new way of thinking. Residents begin to think outside the boxes of their houses to envision a more productive and useful neighborhood. They begin to think in terms of "we" rather than just "me." With a handful of successes behind them, they organize another neighborhood meeting to talk about visions for the neighborhood. An engineer, Roy, excitedly envisions cottage industries to create jobs that are a two-minute walk away and reduce commuting. He even imagines a neighborhood energy system on a utility easement - such as a micro-turbine to supply electricity to some of the houses in the neighborhood. With a rising level of trust in the group, the possibility of a jointly held bank account comes up. "The community land trust we'd form could purchase the next house that's up for sale, to create a community center with shared office equipment, a library, and a guest room," says Jerry, another neighbor.

08/04/05 - Chemical imaging camera captures 'UFO'
(Bizarre story but interesting camera technology - JWD) The chemical-imaging camera is capable of capturing the chemical composition and distribution of a sample in seconds. A camera that could quickly pick up a specific chemical signature and generate a three-dimensional data cube of spectral, spatial, and intensity information helped the scientist analyze objects and its chemical composition. A traditional cooled Infra Red (IR) camera was also used to take the photo of the same object. IR camera recognizes objects that are invisible at night by their heat signatures. According to sources, while analyzing data the scientists came across something very strange and bizarre. A set of photos showed a tiny miniature Unidentified Flying Object. The IR camera failed to capture the same because apparently the UFO was using frictionless traction with anti-gravity lifting mechanisms. But the chemical-imaging camera picked it up. According to some of these scientists, the group is now investigating if invisible UFOs are all around us. The IR camera cannot pick these up because they are not only stealth, they are non-heat producing crafts. Many of these crafts are remote controlled without any life forms inside the same. As a result, naked eyes, the most sophisticated radar systems and even the IR cameras cannot see them.

08/04/05 - Positive displacement generator system
With eight cylinders, the EC utilizes a 60 psi flow from any natural or artificially created flow to run the positive displacement system to create 30 kilowatts of constantly available energy. The EC does not oxygenate the water and has no impact upon water quality. The cylinders, at six inches in diameter, will power the generator system on a constant basis with a constant availability of energy. The units' size will have a footprint of approximately five feet by four feet and will weigh less than 40 percent of the original EC IV unit. The units, with a five- to seven-year life, will be able to support a longer, more profitable revenue stream at a projected cost of about $7,000.00 per unit. Each unit's revenue, depending upon placement domestically, is expected to be $19,000.00 annually depending upon energy costs and energy credits available.

08/04/05 - Scientist says Bush confuses Science with Belief
Christian conservatives -- a substantial part of Bush's voting base -- have been pushing for the teaching of intelligent design in public schools. Scientists have rejected intelligent design as an attempt to force religion into science education. They say the notion has no support from any observable evidence. Evolution, on the other hand, is a well-documented theory that explains existing evidence, which draws from fossils, DNA analyses and investigations of living things. The idea of intelligent design is entirely untestable, scientists further argue, and if an idea can't be tested, then it can't be proved one way or the other and so is not a theory. "The President has unfortunately confused the difference between science and belief. It is essential that students understand that a scientific theory is not a belief, hunch, or untested hypothesis."

08/04/05 - Rapeseed oil as a fuel source
The council's agriculture development officer, said that renewable energy research in Scotland had recently focused on wind, wave, tide and wood fuels. "However, with a strong farming tradition and a reduction in the economic return to land used for food production, Scotland's farms could be well-placed to produce crops that are used as energy sources," he added. Mr Bain said that of the 79,000 acres of oilseed rape grown in Scotland, 69,000 acres are in the north and north-east. "Rape oil has the potential to be used as a biodiesel fuel, either in fixed-plant heating or generating situations, or in diesel engines for transport use," he said.

08/04/05 - Just take your time
Recent studies show that Multi-tasking may actually be detrimental to efficiency. Stretched to the limit, Laermer swears by multitasking to keep up with his hectic schedule. Recognizing the multiple directions in which Laermer’s life is pulled, Ellwood suggested he identify high-priority activities, carve out time for them every day and let nothing else interfere. These “A” priorities should be planned first. For instance, Laermer would never get to work on the book if he always allowed his business to take over, so Ellwood recommended he block out a certain amount of time each day (preferably an hour) to concentrate on writing: “By blocking time, one can prevent most, though not all, interruptions.” During this time, Ellwood urged, Laermer should also separate himself from the pager he uses to send his daily 350-plus e-mails. One week later, Laermer had finished a three-page outline for Exposure Level; an outline for the second chapter of his previous book, TrendSpotting (Perigee Books); and two brief proposals for business meetings. Considering he spent one day in strategy planning meetings as well as attending to other business (and spent Thanksgiving in Miami with his parents), Laermer figured he met about 60 to 70 percent of his goals. “I’m definitely going to use [Ellwood’s] technique to schedule things that are really important to me,” Laermer reports.

08/03/05 - Waste as a Resource
Recycling is the most common and simple way of generating resources from waste materials. By recycling paper, aluminium, plastics, glass and metal products, we are eliminating or reducing the need to exploit raw materials from natural resources. Instead, these used materials are sent to scrap processors where they are sorted, segregated and crushed or melted before new products are made. Reusing of used materials saves the hassle and expense of buying new ones. It preserves valuable natural resources. Composting is another effort to transform waste into nutrients needed for healthy growth of plants. Rain-water can be collected and used for gardening and washing. It is also common now for houses to have solar-energy saving devices to heat bath water. Landfills are another source of energy. Billions of micro- organisms eat the decomposing garbage in landfills. During this process, methane gas is produced. If there is a large amount, it can be extracted for energy. A deep hole is drilled into the landfill and a perforated pipe is inserted into it. The methane gas that seeps from the landfill is then collected from a valve at the top of the pipe.

08/03/05 - America 2020, better, stronger, smarter
Over the next 15 years, exciting advances in biotech, nanotech, robotics, and artificial intelligence will radically change the way Americans live, work and play. Deaths from cancer, heart disease, and most other illnesses will diminish or disappear completely, and nearly everyone, regardless of age, will look forward to perfect health and an unprecedented lifespan of 200 years or more.

08/03/05 - Power Tube testing geothermal generation in New Mexico
Power Tube's Argus is a tube-like device designed to generate electricity from geothermal energy. The Argus contains five primary components: a generator/turbine, a condenser and pump, a boiler and a thermal riser. Brewington calls the device "geomagmatic" because it relies on underground lava pools or rivers as its heat source. Geothermal heat causes a liquid in the cylinder to boil and produce vapor. That vapor rises and causes the turbine to spin, generating electricity. The device does not require water or steam.

08/03/05 - Home windmill shut down
For the past two years, the windmill has been producing a small amount of electricity. Greenfield, 58, who lives on a fixed-income and relies on Social Security, said it saves him about $33 per month on his utility bill. Benton County officials want Greenfield to take down the 78-foot tower because he didn't get the appropriate permits and it violates several building codes, including a restriction that doesn't allow towers taller than 60 feet. The county received a complaint about the tower and possible code violations, and Greenfield said he thinks it comes from a neighbor who didn't like the whirring noise it sometimes makes in high winds. "The neighbor's dogs make more noise than my wind generator," he said. But on Monday, Greenfield complied with Benton County's order, turned off the power and gently brought down the tower.

08/03/05 - Prius plugs in to recharge
the "Prius+" and boasts that the modified car can deliver upward of 100 miles per gallon under the right driving conditions. A standard Prius gets about 55 miles per gallon, according to Toyota. During normal operation, the Prius' main computer determines the most efficient way to operate the vehicle, usually running the gasoline and electric engines simultaneously. When a Prius driver brakes, the car's electric motor becomes a generator, creating electricity that is stored in a battery pack, which is later used by the electric motor. However, engineers like Ron Gremban, who volunteered to be the technical lead for the Prius+ Project, thought it might be more efficient to charge the Prius' batteries using power from the grid. Such a modification would allow Prius drivers to take local trips at low speeds using only battery power, without burning any gas at all. Once Gremban started investigating the possibility of a plug-in Prius, he discovered that the nickel metal hydride batteries that came with the 2004 model couldn't hold enough energy to get more than a few miles on electric-only mode. His solution was to replace the stock batteries with 18 lead acid scooter cells. The new battery pack was able to deliver enough power to allow the car to accelerate comfortably to 34 miles an hour, the speed at which the Prius automatically engages its gas engine.

08/03/05 - Chinese test new Wave Power system
You Yage, chief scientist for the Ocean Energy Division at the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) Guangzhou Institute of Energy Conversion, led his team to introduce vibrating technologies into a newly-invented electricity generator, the Economic Daily reported Thursday. "The new kind of generator is more efficient, lower-cost and typhoon-resistant," You was quoted as saying by the newspaper on Thursday. He said that the six-kw generator worked well after more than 20 typhoons. "Although ubiquitous at sea," You said, "wave power is one of the most unstable forms we can find on the earth." You's team devised an energy-storage manostat, a device that can effectively transfer wave power to energy resulting from hydraulic pressure. Chinese scientists have also invented a device monitoring energy storage in the experimental power station. Controllers could clearly know, with such a device, how much electricity remains in the generator.

08/03/05 - Power Fail Scenario
All 600-plus traffic lights in Pittsburgh and those elsewhere across the region go dark. Elevators, depending on a building's age, stick between floors. Gasoline pumps stop. Air conditioners go silent in offices and homes. Within about 24 hours of the blackout, raw sewage begins running into the Ohio River as the Allegheny County Sanitary Authority can no longer handle 225 million gallons produced daily. Throughout the region, the chug of diesel-powered generators becomes commonplace. Three private businesses that many people would rush to in the event of an extended power failure would be supermarkets, pharmacies and gasoline stations. To be licensed by the state, hospitals must have sufficient generator backup to handle all critical circuits. "If we have a power outage four days long," Diddle said, "this area will have a lot more serious problems than tunnels."

08/03/05 - New software detects 'suspicious' behavior
Glover says the smart surveillance system, which can compress large amounts of data, is based on computers learning what normal behaviour is, then looking for patterns of behaviour outside the norm. The system would then alert the authorities when it detects unusual behaviour. Glover says the university has also devised a system where "anxiety" levels are built into a house. "The house gets anxious if an abnormal event continues," he says. "Eventually it reaches an anxiety level where it sends an SMS to a carer and says, 'grandma seems to be sitting on the floor beside her bed and isn't responding to the prompts from the house, please intervene'."

08/03/05 - Protocol (budgeting) to Avoid Oil Wars, Terrorism, and Economic Collapse
The idea of the Protocol is inherently straightforward: oil importing nations would agree to reduce their imports by an agreed-upon yearly percentage (the World Oil Depletion Rate), while exporting countries would agree to reduce their rate of exports by their national Depletion Rate. In the case of the US (considering only the lower 48 states and excluding deepwater), the corresponding numbers are: produced to-date, 173 Gb; Remaining Reserves, 24 Gb; Yet-to-Find, 2 Gb - meaning that there are 27 Gb left. Annual production in 2004 was 1.3 Gb, giving a Depletion Rate of 4.6 percent (1.3/27).

08/03/05 - Geometry of beehives not the result of planning
Bees and wasps are not architects or even geometricians; their "hexagons" are really squeezed cylinders. A very simple experiment will show how little "planning" is needed to set up an apparent hexagonal structure. Get a few dozen empty cans of the same size, or cylindrical cardboard cartons, stack them up loosely on their sides in some kind of a tray, and shake them a little. They will inevitably settle into a hexagonal arrangement. If you put pressure on the pile, the cylinders will become hexagonal prisms. But even in their unsqueezed condition, you will be seeing hexagons in that pile of circles. A honeycomb, then, is partly the effect of simple physical pressure of cell on cell, partly not even that, but just optical illusion.

08/03/05 - Oil Industry awash in huge profits
(If they had any sense, they'd realize they are riding a razor blade and should be investing in research for new power sources. - JWD) With crude trading around $60 a barrel, the oil industry is enjoying one of the biggest windfalls in its history. But as the industry looks for places to put that cash, it's finding it harder and harder to put funds to work finding new deposits of oil and natural gas. This is the mother of all booms,' said Oppenheimer & Co. oil analyst Fadel Gheit. 'They have so much profit, it's almost an embarrassment of riches. They don't know what to do with it.' The reason for the boom is simple. Much of the investment in finding that oil -- and developing the wells and pipelines needed to produce it -- has already been made. So an oil field that was profitable with oil selling for $20 a barrel is much more profitable with oil trading around $60. That's left the industry with a happy problem -- what to do with enough cash to fill a supertanker.

08/03/05 - Balloonzooka
3 versions - $99.95 - Our Basic or Entry Level Model can launch a balloon over 300ft. It has a small air tank, great for folks who don't own an air compressor or are on a budget... Still, this unit is great fun, it is lighter than our Standard model with a shorter barrel that will easily fit into any trunk. For fun, you can launch up to 12 balloons at once with less distance. Specs: 1 liter steel tank, 1" valves, 100psi max, 4-foot barrel, 10 lbs

08/02/05 - Jatropha Oil for clean energy
Oil produced by the castor-oil plant, known locally as pohon jarak (Jatropha curcas L), which Manurung has been studying for sometime, will on a trial basis replace diesel oil to generate electricity in East Nusa Tenggara. His discovery, called Jatropha oil, was greeted with pessimism by several colleagues at the institute, some of whom said "it was nothing new". From the grass family, the plant is between three meters and five meters high. The oil itself comes from the oval-shaped dark seeds of the plant. Manurung found a way to transform the oil from the castor-oil plant into a viable replacement for diesel oil. In the first phase, the seeds of the plant are put into a machine where they are peeled. They are then placed under extreme pressure to produce oil. "All the equipment is simple and the materials to make the machines are easy to find, so ordinary people can make the equipment themselves. This oil can be introduced to remote areas, where people can make the oil themselves for electricity generation," he said. He said if the partial cracking process of the Jatropha seed was continued, it could also produce modified bio oil, an alternative energy source that could replace kerosene. People would not need to replace their diesel engines to use Jatropha oil, which has very low emissions. A kilogram of the plant's seeds can produce 3.5 liters (3.5 liter = 0.9246022 gallon) of oil. According to Manurung's calculations, a liter of Jatropha oil would be about Rp 2,250 cheaper than a liter of diesel oil.

08/02/05 - New Panel technology
A new method of building a stronger laminated panel was written up in Composites Technology magazine's June issue. The technology could be used to make panels for walls in manufactured housing, in aircraft or trains, said Hoffman, who is seeking manufacturers to whom he can license his method. Saying his new technique of manufacturing composites is limited only by the imaginations of people wanting to use it, Hoffman speculates it may even work in outer space. Closer to earth, he said, it could be used in aircraft, canoes, boats and underground pipelines for telephone or electrical wiring. Hoffman says his method combines multiple layers, or plies, of glass or carbon fiber. These layers are coated with resin into large panels. A strip of film material is inserted at various points along the panels. The inventor said the difference between his process and existing technologies is that he builds the skin first, then expands it to shape -- just the opposite of what's currently done. "I run it through a continual processor in the flat state," he said. "It can be 12 foot wide and any length, then put the separating devices in there." The finished product is both lightweight and strong, he said. Hoffman believes it could make a better, more durable wall for a mobile home or manufactured home.

08/02/05 - Flap Over Wind Power
Unlike traditional windmills, today's grand-scale "wind power" is not green. It dominates and destroys natural environments; creates noise and visual pollution; kills and displaces wildlife; is not economically feasible; does not alleviate the continued use of conventional fuel sources; cannot sustain us in the event of an emergency or grid failure; and does not replace emissions or improve air quality, as claimed. It's an environmental and economic folly, successful to the degree that it is only because of the industry's blatant and purposeful campaign to mislead the public. Yes, commercial wind turbines (in their current form) are highly visible; yet, so are the thousands of oil-pumping "dicky birds" dotting the terrain of the south- and midwestern US. The blades on turbines do kill birds and insects that fly into their path, but the wildlife kills caused by petroleum exploration, extraction, transportation, burning, and leakage are massive. Without starting somewhere, we remain tied to the continued, monumental environmental, health, and geopolitical impacts of fossil fuel-based generation. (My favorite scenario is not grid-tied wind, but home-by-home solar generation plus ground-source heat pump heating and cooling, or geothermal.)

08/02/05 - Letters to Feynman
In another instance, a crackpot claimed to have discovered a new source of energy, exhibited by the apparently unmotivated spinning of a washer when suspended by a thread. Feynman experimented with washers and threads before replying, observed the effect in question, admitted to surprise at its strength, did the calculations-which nevertheless suggested an utterly conventional if counterintuitive explanation (lengthening threads and unnoticed hand motions)-and wrote back suggesting further experiments.

08/02/05 - Milking closed wells
As a rule, only half the oil in a well can be recovered. When the costs for the recovery of the remaining oil becomes too expensive, the oil companies shut down the wells. The developers at the Nexial Institute bundled chemical, mechanical, and electro-technical processes into a new system, which, within three or four years, can convert abandoned wells into fully producing ones. Using this system, within ten years, 95% of the remaining oil can be be recovered, explained Dr. Lawler. At investment costs which are only a fraction of conventional methods such as oil platforms. The Scientist is confident: "With the introduction of Nexial's extraction plants, raw oil prices could stabilize between 40 and 50 dollars per barrel." Otherwise, eventually, we can figure on seeing a barrel price of $100.00.

08/02/05 - New Grey water filtration system
Perpetual Water can turn up to 720 litres of grey water (the water from your washing machine, bath, shower or basin) into high-quality, clear water daily, enabling users to drought-proof their home. By turning the water you’d normally discard down the drain into a valuable resource you can reuse, Perpetual Water claims to reduce water consumption by as much as 60 per cent. Although the treated water isn’t safe for drinking, bathing or washing dishes, it can be used for all other household requirements without compromising your health or the environment.

08/02/05 - 'Bad' Tunnel Diode used for ambient X-ray-like radiation detector
Unlike X-ray machines or radar instruments, the sensor doesn't have to generate a signal to detect objects - it spots them based on how brightly they reflect the natural radiation that is all around us every day. The new sensor is essentially one of these tunnel diodes with a strong short circuit running backwards and very little tunneling current running forwards. Berger said that the new sensor grew out of his team's recent invention of a device called a tunnel diode that transmits large amounts of electricity through silicon. He was reading about another team's ambient radiation sensor when he realized that their device worked like one of his diodes -- only in reverse. "It's basically just a really bad tunnel diode," he explained. "I thought, heck, we can make a bad diode! We made lots of them back when we were figuring out how to make good ones." As it turns out, a really bad tunnel diode can be a really good sensor.

08/02/05 - Solar > Zinc > Hydrogen
The new solar technology tackles these problems by creating an easily storable intermediate energy source form from metal ore, such as zinc oxide. With the help of concentrated sunlight, the ore is heated to about 1,200°C in a solar reactor in the presence of wood charcoal. The process splits the ore, releasing oxygen and creating gaseous zinc, which is then condensed to a powder. Zinc powder can later be reacted with water, yielding hydrogen, to be used as fuel, and zinc oxide, which is recycled back to zinc in the solar plant. In recent experiments, the 300-kilowatt installation produced 45 kilograms of zinc powder from zinc oxide in one hour, exceeding projected goals. The process generates no pollution, and the resultant zinc can be easily stored and transported, and converted to hydrogen on demand. In addition, the zinc can be used directly, for example, in zinc-air batteries, which serve as efficient converters of chemical to electrical energy. Thus, the method offers a way of storing solar energy in chemical form and releasing it as needed.

08/02/05 - Russian molecular air turbine claims overunity
(No creation date for the page so not sure how long its been posted but they are willing to demo the device for testing - JWD) Autonomous electro stations with molecular engine (AESME) is operating with usual air and without any fuel. The air molecules produce the useful work. Output flow of the air can be applied for breath. Start of the AESME can be made from external source of compressed air or from some electromotor and then the AESME is operating in autonomous mode. Only 30-15 % of the power output is necessary to provide own needs (air compressor) and other 70-85% can be used in the load. Our company is developing this technology as 37 KW fuel less power plant. It is based on 60KW electrogenerator and air turbine GTD-350. At the present time we use small air flow source of 0.05 atm only. On photo you can see testing of the device for 3KW load in our laboratory, St.Petersburg. The generator is quite workable with its standard 1500 rpm. We have a plan to increase the air flow input in 10 times and create autonomous mode with new 20KW air compressor. We are looking for investors and partners. The device should be completed and ready for demonstration in 2005.

08/01/05 - New Air Conditioner uses less electricity
Called an Ice Storage Air Conditioner (ISAC), uses ice it makes during the night to cool the air during the day. The basic concept of ISAC is an air-conditioning unit that makes ice during off-peak hours, when electricity costs only 27.8 per cent of the rate charged during the day. During the day, instead of using a power-hungry 5-kilowatt compressor, the unit pumps air cooled by the ice using a motor that needs only about 2 per cent of the electricity the compressor would use. Compared with a traditional air conditioner, electricity consumption could be cut by as much as 90 per cent, Chen said. According to figures provided by the commission, air conditioners in Guangdong currently use 10 million kwh each day, representing more than 35 per cent of total electricity usage.

08/01/05 - Smart meters a bad idea
Smart meters. These largely untested, unproven gadgets would enable utilities to charge customers significantly higher prices for electricity during certain times of day and so would eliminate California's inverted-rate system, which for decades has encouraged conservation with lower rates for "baseline" electricity use spread over a billing period. The fix is an elaborate, risky and unnecessary one for a system that isn't even broken. "Smart meters" and the ability to charge different prices at different times of the day would not encourage less consumption, but rather would shift existing consumption to other hours of the day. One of the proposals, called "critical peak pricing," would charge consumers rates 10 times higher than current levels during the afternoon on the 15 summer days predicted to be hot enough to strain electric reserves. The ultrahigh rates could add as much as $10 a day to some customers' bills. Of course, meters this "smart" don't come cheap. Installation and upkeep could boost bills for all consumers an additional $30 per year.

08/01/05 - Origami paper CD Cases
Use this website to create a PDF file which can be printed and folded to create a paper CD case. For folding directions, see the about section. To add more tracks, a mailing address, or graphics to the case, use the advanced form. Mix CD cases created with the advanced form can be optionally added to our public mix CD database. To create a case for an existing CD, use our CD search engine to find the CD and it will fill in this form for you. Jewel case inserts can also be created. How to Fold the CD case

08/01/05 - Straw bale house heated by the Earth
The materials "are totally sculptable." Problems such as rot and infestation are also avoided. Mud wattle and daub plaster that will be applied atop the bales keeps the straw sealed and dry, rodent-free and safe from fire. Most notably, it will be able to heat and cool itself without any gas, oil or other fuel, aside from the occasional wood fire lit in an efficient masonry fireplace to be installed in a large downstairs living area. Beneath the surface Primary heating and cooling will come from what is known as a closed loop geo-thermal system, employing 1,500 feet of fluid-filled tubing. The tubes will be five feet below the ground's surface, where, Intscher explained, the temperature is a constant 55 degrees F. "Our house," she said, "will be heated by the earth."

08/01/05 - Russian folding wing Hybrid Shuttle
“We are working on the new craft. The talk is about a spacecraft of a so-called hybrid type. Its concept is a combination of spacecraft of a capsule type (Soyuz) and of a winged one (Buran)/ The goal of making the new ship is to fly to space more safely and reliably,” the corporation’s director-general Vladimir Syromyatnikov told Itar-Tass during celebrations of the 30th anniversary of the Russian-American space mission Soyuz-Apollo. The idea of the new craft is its making most of its flight as a capsule, with wings of the re-entry vehicle folded and protected by heat insulation. During the re-entry into the atmosphere, the heat insulation protector is jettisoned, the wings are deployed and the craft lands like a plane.

08/01/05 - Sonic Liposuction
For people who want to lose weight in a specific part of their body, like the thighs or stomach, liposuction can be the answer. But it often takes weeks of recovery. Traditional liposuction sucks out fat, but this procedure uses ultrasound energy to liquify the fat, for example-it dissolves shortening in water. There's less bruising because it targets only fat leaving other tissue unharmed. Then, the liquid fat is sucked out through a tube. Zingaro says, "It's a lot kinder to the tissue, so the patients seem to recover a lot quicker." It can take about two weeks to recover from traditional liposuction. Elaine was back at work in four days. Liposelection costs about one-thousand dollars more, and it does hurt. One final note, the new procedure can safely remove more fat than traditional liposuction.

08/01/05 - Vibration to induce rigidity
(Remember Dr. WHOs sonic cutting knife? - JWD) Leaf-cutting ants neatly excise penny-size pieces of leaves and tote them back to their fungus gardens. J. Tautz and colleagues, University of Wurtzburg, noted that the ants chirped as they sliced at the leaves with their jaws. With a little instrumentation, they discovered that during each chirp both ant and leaf vibrated at about 1,000 hertz. The vibration apparently rigidizes soft leaf tissues and makes them easier to cut. The same principle is used by biologists when they slice soft material for microscope examination. The leaf-cutting ants apparently invented the Vibratome millions of years ago. Vibrating Microtomes for sectioning tissue.

08/01/05 - Make HUGE posters for free (up to 20 METERS)
(You can also download your own 850kb Rasterator program to use on your computer - JWD) The Rasterbator is a free web service which creates huge, rasterized images from any picture. The rasterized images can be printed and assembled into extremely cool looking posters up to 20 meters in size. The Rasterator might sound like a dirty word, but it is one of the coolest image manipulation services around. Simply upload an image of your choice (maybe a landscape or a family photo), crop it, size it, do whatever you want to it, and The Rasterator will create a poster out of that image. Make sure to have lots of paper and a couple ink cartridges, though. Browse through the Rasterbator gallery for some great examples.

08/01/05 - New Cataract rapid testing device
Catatrac, founded by former Zygomatics chief executive Duncan Campbell last summer, says its hand-held cataract screening device is the first on the market and is capable of solving the time problem that has left 68 million people unnecessarily without sight. "The problem isn't dealing with cataracts, that's a relatively simply procedure" he said. "It is screening for them. Ophthalmologists are spending too much time screening and not enough time treating." A cataract is a "chalky-like substance" that develops in an eye's lens after over-exposure to ultra-violet light - a major problem in African countries. Currently, the standard cataract screening device is a "Swiss-army knife of an ophthalmoscope" - not only expensive to buy, but also mains-powered and fragile. It can only be used by specialists. Catatrac's device is robust, battery-powered and disposable and comes at about a twentieth of the price. However, the main advantage, Campbell says, is that someone could be trained to use it accurately in just half an hour.

08/01/05 - RFID tags for Foreign Visitors to USA
Starting this week, three US border crossings will begin to tag visitors to America with wireless RFID-cards, which contain visitors' personally identifying information and can be read from 12 yards away. The only exempted visitors are Canadians who are not on a US business visa or engaged to an American. They’ll have to carry the wireless devices as a way for border guards to access the electronic information stored inside a document about the size of a large index card.

08/01/05 - 5 straight Lottery Wins!
(This interests me because I am working on a device to 'predict' the lotto numbers - JWD) When Jeffrey Hintz won the state lottery's second-chance drawing five weeks in a row, some people in state government got a little suspicious. Investigators with Wisconsin's Department of Revenue found no signs of fraud in his five-week winning streak in March and April. Hintz and his wife, Lisa, have won almost $73,000 in cash prizes from the state lottery since 1999. More than $65,000 came from drawings. Given how many tickets they were sending in for the drawing, the odds of their winning five times in a row were 1 in 14,397, auditors said. Jeffrey Hintz told auditors he spent thousands of dollars on lottery tickets every week and countless hours stamping envelopes with the lottery's address so he could enter losing tickets in the weekly drawings. He submitted entries in his wife's name, too.

08/01/05 - Fuel Cell progress too slow
Although the technology for fuel cells has existed since the late 1830s, the costs of producing the units and the drawbacks of making the fuel they use - hydrogen - has restricted their acceptance as sources of power for cars, trucks, hospitals, hotels, commercial building and even laptop computers, cell phones and hand-held computers. Plenty of fossil fuels will be consumed while researchers spend years trying to adapt fuel cells for widespread use, Becker said. "Clearly, fuel cells work. You get electricity and drinkable water out the other end. That's great," Becker said. "But the devil is in the details about how you ramp up to produce on a large scale." EMTEC officials said they are focusing on technologies for which the basic research has already been done and which could result in products for the market in six years or less, leaving the Department of Energy to underwrite the startup research.

$5 Alt Science MP3s to listen while working/driving/jogging
KeelyNetNo time to sit back and watch videos? Here are 15 interesting presentations you can download for just $5 each and listen to while driving, working, jogging, etc. An easy way to learn some fascinating new things that you will find of use. Easy, cheap and simple, better than eBooks or Videos. Roughly 50MB per MP3. - Source

15 New Alternative Science DVDs & 15 MP3s
An assortment of alternative science videos that provide many insights and inside information from various experimenters. Also MP3s extracted from these DVDs that you can listen to while working or driving. Reference links for these lectures and workshops by Bill Beaty of Amateur Science on the Dark Side of Amateur Science, Peter Lindemann on the World of Free Energy, Norman Wootan on the History of the EV Gray motor, Dan Davidson on Shape Power and Gravity Wave Phenomena, Lee Crock on a Method for Stimulating Energy, Doug Konzen on the Konzen Pulse Motor, George Wiseman on the Water Torch and Jerry Decker on Aether, ZPE and Dielectric Nano Arrays. Your purchase of these products helps support KeelyNet, thanks! - Source to Buy


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