08/31/06 - DIY Solar Wheelchair goes and goes
Well, it "keeps going" for an extra 30 minutes, anyway. In a novel, though logical use for solar cell panels, a guy named Bob Triming transformed his wheelchair into one that runs on SOLAR ENERGY. The solar panel gives him an extra half hour of mowing people down on the sidewalk on sunny days, and serves as an umbrella on rainy ones.
08/31/06 - Foods could make Arthritis worse
The production of antibodies to certain foods is "strikingly increased" in the gut of many patients with rheumatoid arthritis, Norwegian researchers report. It may be that hypersensitivity to certain foods leads to a flare-up in the joints. To investigate whether there might be some foundation for this putative association, the team studied samples of blood and intestinal fluids from 14 rheumatoid arthritis patients and 20 healthy "controls". The researchers found that systemic and intestinal immune responses were abnormal in many rheumatoid arthritis patients. The elevated level of food antibodies in gut secretions was "particularly striking," they report in the medical journal Gut. Specifically, the team identified antibodies to components of milk, eggs, pork and fish. Given these findings, continued. Brandtzaeg, "Patients complaining about a relationship between what they eat and the severity of their joint disease should therefore be considered seriously and followed up with regard to avoidance of foodstuffs potentially producing adverse joint reactions." In short, he concluded, there may be physical, immunological explanation for such complaints "rather than a mere psychological basis."
08/31/06 - How to build a Glowing Pickle Lamp
(This simple experiment works with all kinds of foods and is the basis for organic LEDs that are changing graphic display technologies. - JWD) You can make a glowing pickle-lamp by jamming power cords into either end of a pickle that's resting atop a non-conducting surface and then plugging it in. No idea whether this will burn your house down, but it may be worth it. Mike sez, "Years ago when I worked at Digital Equipment Corportation, this hilarious 'research paper' from DEC's Western Reseach Lab was widely circulated. Entitled Characterization of Organic Illumination Systems, it details arcing pickles and other assorted vegetables." Update 3: Wayne sez, "I conducted this experiment years ago as my final high school chemistry project, trying to figure out why only one end of the pickle glows. I came to the same conclusions mentioned about the sodium, but was unable to figure out the polarization. Useless-knowledge.com makes reference to this scientific mystery of pickle polarization:" Why does only one end of the pickle light up and glow? Look at the amazing electrical storm jumping through the pickle. (Results are best viewed in a dark room. This is better than Star Wars! Don’t worry the pickle will make all the light you need.) Unplug the pickle; reconnect the wires on the opposite side and it still only glows on one end. There is yet no definitive scientific answer to explain the polarization of a pickle connected to AC current. Update 4: Dan sez, "Years ago, I figured out that if you buy one of those hot dog cookers that runs current through the meat to cook it, you could use it as a (somewhat) safe version of the glowing pickle lamp."
08/31/06 - Exotic debt-trap mortgages about to turn on their owners
It's amazing that banks can get away with offering these "option ARM" mortgages that let people buy way more house than they can afford, and then give them the option of actually making no mortgage payments so that the interest owed is added to the principal, in a cascade of compound-debt that will rapidly mount.
The only question I have is whether the banks will be able to cash in on all those repossessed houses after the real-estate tumble, or will prices be so low that they also lose their shirts?
08/31/06 - Solar powered Analog Roller
Gareth Branwyn explains how to build this beautiful twin-engine solar-powered robot that rolls around on a pair of hard disk platters. The robot was designed by Zach DeBord who exhibits his elegant mechanical creations here on Flickr. DeBord's bots were all built using a design approach called BEAM (Biology, Electronics, Aesthetics, and Mechanics). In most BEAM robotics, simple analog circuits are used in lieu of microcontrollers, eliminating the need for programming.
08/31/06 - Scientists discover protein code to regrow hair
In a finding that could help treat an inherited form of baldness, a research team in Manchester claims to have discovered a protein "code" that instructs cells to sprout hair. By sending the code to more cells than usual, the scientists at the University of Manchester say they were able to breed mice with more fur -- a feat that could potentially be replicated in humans. "During human development, skin cells have the ability to turn into other types of cells to form hair follicles, sweat glands, teeth and nails," explained Denis Headon, who led the research. "Which cells are transformed into hair follicles is determined by three proteins that are produced by our genes," he said.
08/30/06 - Pagers Alert Patients of Prayers in Their Behalf
Battling a serious illness can leave people feeling helpless, but one man is helping to show patients they are never alone. Phil Busbee is used to praying for others, he's the pastor at the First Baptist Church in San Francisco. When complications from diabetes forced him into the hospital, a pager put him on the receiving end of hundreds of prayers. Phil Busbee, Pastor: "Probably about 30 pages a day." Pastor Phil is benefiting from the prayer pager project. He received the pager while in the hospital and posted his prayer needs on a website. Now family, friends and even strangers page him every time they pray for him. The pages are all numbers. Some are random. other hold meaning. Phil Busbee, Pastor: "They type in 1-2-3, which tells me they're from our church, or they type in their phone number." Best of all, he doesn't have to return a single page. Leukemia survivor Scott Francis launched the program. He knows how much prayer helped him recover. Scott Francis, Prayer Pager Project founder: "A group of people praying for you has a definitive effect on the outcome of your illness. So it helped me through it and I wanted to provide something along the same lines, only with a direct contact to the patient, so that's why I like the idea so much." Phil Busbee, Pastor: "At 2:30 in the morning, the pager started going off. And I was amazed, I was thinking, 'Wow, somebody is up right now praying for me.' That was pretty, pretty important." Bruce Feldstein is an MD. He's also the chaplain at Stanford Hospital and Clinics. He says while most studies about the power of prayer have been inconclusive, he's convinced prayer makes a difference. Bruce Feldstein, M.D., Chaplain: "These kind of positive things do affect the body's immune system so they have an effect. So it's good for the person's spirit. I've seen that directly." For Pastor Phil, the beeps are a vocal reminder he's not alone. Phil Busbee, Pastor: "I realize there are people praying for me that I don't even know."
08/30/06 - Permafrost melt could release up to 500 billion tons of extra CO2
One of the more frightening possibilities is that the permafrost-caused warming could feed on itself in what one scientist called a "vicious cycle": That is, it could trigger the melting of additional ice, which would unleash more greenhouse gases and thus cause more warming, in a self-repeating cycle for no one knows how long. The melting of Siberian permafrost that has been frozen for thousands of years could eject about 500 billion tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere during the next century, scientists from Russia, Alaska and Florida report in today's issue of Science. By comparison, at present the atmosphere contains about 700 billion tons of greenhouse gases. An experiment allowed the permafrost to melt in a lab in Gainesville, in which microbes attacked and absorbed the carbon, transforming much of it into carbon dioxide gas. Schurr measured the rate of carbon dioxide emission by shining an infrared beam through it. The estimate of 500 billion tons in extra greenhouse emissions was derived partly from this analysis. Carbon dioxide is the best-known greenhouse gas: It accelerates global warming by trapping infrared radiation before it can leave the atmosphere. Fossil fuels, when burned by cars and factories, are major sources of atmospheric carbon dioxide.
08/30/06 - Zapped crude oil flows faster through pipes
Zapping thick crude oil with a magnetic or electric field could make it flow more smoothly through pipes. The technique, which reduces the viscosity of the liquid, could make transporting crude through cold underwater pipes easier and cheaper, researchers claim. Since heavy crude is more viscous, it flows more slowly through the pipes, reducing the volume of oil that can be pumped. If it flows too slowly, oil companies try diluting it with gasoline or other solvents, or sometimes heating the oil. But those techniques can be expensive and hard to implement on ocean-based oil rigs. Tao says the viscosity of a suspension is partly the result of the size of the suspended particles. Smaller particles create a fluid that is more viscous than large particles. The two researchers reasoned that if they could get the small particles to clump together, or aggregate, viscosity would go down. First they tested the theory with a suspension of iron nanoparticles in silicon oil. They applied a magnetic field to the suspension, and did indeed observe a reduction in viscosity. Tao says that the magnetic field apparently caused the iron particles to stick together into larger clumps. Once the field was turned off they continued to stick together for several hours, only gradually breaking apart. Tao and his colleague Xiaojun Xu then decided to see what affect magnetic and electric fields would have on the viscosity of crude oil. Crude oil can contain either paraffin, asphalt, or both. The researchers found that a magnetic field reduced the viscosity of paraffin-based crude oil by about 15% when applied at 1.33 Tesla for 50 seconds. The reduction in viscosity lasted for several hours, gradually returning to normal. Tao says the magnetic field seems to have polarised the paraffin particles, causing them to clump together in the same way as the iron particles. The magnetic field did not work on asphalt-based crude oil, however. So Tao and Xu decided to try applying an electric field to this mixture. They applied a powerful electric field to the oil and again saw a reduction in viscosity. Tao believes the particles were similarly polarised. Whatever the process, the particles clumped together before gradually breaking apart over several hours. Tao says that the technique could eventually be useful in oil pipelines. Powerful magnets could be positioned at regular intervals along the pipeline, or electrified grids could run on the inside.
08/30/06 - Firemapping system put on back burner
Terrorism has delayed the launch of a new system for monitoring wild fires in the US, according to NASA engineers. Tighter rules, prompted by heightened fears over the security of flying from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) were among "several factors" cited by the NASA researcher in charge of the project for the delay, according to CNet. The system was due to have launched today, but having unmanned aircraft flying around is clearly not on right now and the planes will be grounded until 6 September. The planes will eventually be used to survey wildfire outbreaks, sending real-time data back to the US Forest Service on the spread and temperature of the blazes. The craft will carry NASA sensors capable of discriminating temperature differences as small as half a degree Fahrenheit. This level of sensitivity will be useful when mapping the fires.
08/30/06 - Cayenne pepper, circulation and stopping heart attacks
(I found this page while on another quest...the best part is the suggestion to drink 1 teaspoon of powdered cayenne in hot water to increase circulation and STOP a heart attack, read the entire page for all the benefits and uses. And about keeping heart tissue alive for over 15 years, on just water and cayenne! - JWD) "In 35 years of practice, and working with the people and teaching, I have never on house calls lost one heart attack patient and the reason is, whenever I go in--if they are still breathing--I pour down them a cup of cayenne tea (a teaspoon of cayenne in a cup of hot water, and within minutes they are up and around). This is one of the fastest acting aids we could ever give for the heart, because it feeds that heart immediately. Most hearts are suffering from malnutrition because of processed food we are eating, but here it gets a good powerful dose of real food and it's something that has brought people in time after time. This is something that everyone should know how great it is, because a heart attack can come to your friends or loved ones any time. And even yourself. The warm tea is faster working than tablets, capsules, cold tea, because the warm tea opens up the cell structure--makes it expand and accept the cayenne that much faster, and it goes directly to the heart, through the artery system, and feeds it in powerful food. "
08/30/06 - Flag Change
(You can imagine what would happen if someone from the US did this in Mexico? - JWD) "After being at the rally for a while, we noticed that the opposition was getting louder and we watched as they took the American flag off of the flag pole and stepped on it on the ground at the United State Post Office and mounted a Mexican flag and up it went. At this point the police did nothing. Finally, they went over to take it down and they had bottles and rocks thrown at them. They did not attempt to arrest anyone. They were unable to take it down because they cut the wrong line so the flag remained there for the rest of the day."
08/30/06 - Alfred entrepreneurs prove wood can power a vehicle
“Got Wood: Beaver Energy” is the license plate on an Izuzu Trooper owned by Alfred entrepreneurs Larry Shilling and Chip Bean. “It's just a regular gas engine,” Shilling said. “It's how we make our fuel that's special.” That's because it's fueled by none other than a beaver's favorite food - wood. To operate the vehicle a propane lighter ignites a reactor unit, which is a large metal barrel split into an empty bottom and a top containing wood chips. The wood burns upside down and forms a vacuum, much like an oxygen-deficient atmosphere, Shilling said. After that, the gas goes through a hose where it's cooled and filtered. Finally, the heat travels to the engine and operates the motor. During a demonstration, the sound resembled a lawnmower and a camp fire-type smell filled the air. “It's almost half as powerful as gasoline,” Shilling said during a brief drive down State Route 21. The vehicle cruised at the maximum speed at 40 miles per hour. Shilling said the truck may travel 80 miles on a full barrel of wood. The vehicle also emits a small amount of waste from ash. “It pulls the smoke back into the fire as gas,” he said. “It then uses the waste as gas.”
08/29/06 - Pump your gas when its cool to save money
Don’t Pump Gas At Noon: “Hot Gasoline” Costs US Drivers Over $2.3 Billion a Year. The state with the lowest gas temperature, according to federal data, is Minnesota. It has an average fuel temperature of 53 degrees, and its consumers pay $37 million less annually for gas. It would cost each gas station between $2,000 and $3,000 to retrofit pumps (with temperature compensation devices), and as you can guess station owners are not interested in the expense. In fact, in some states like roasting hot Arizona, the practice is perfectly legal. Because gas expands in the heat, most pumps do not adjust for that and serve up hot fuel that ends up being costly hot air to the motorist who pumps it. In Arizona, if you buy in increments of 5,000 gallons you will get an adjusted pump, but that leaves the average motorist out of luck. We Say: Pump your gas at night or when it is coolest, it can’t hurt. And gasoline hysteria is just beginning. Fasten your seatbelts.
08/29/06 - Hydrogen peroxide 'cure' can be fatal
Health Canada has issued a warning about hydrogen peroxide ingestion after some American websites claimed it could cure various life-threatening diseases. People should not drink hydrogen peroxide for medicinal purposes because it can cause serious harm or death, Health Canada warns. Hydrogen peroxide is most commonly used as a topical antiseptic, and must not be ingested orally. Hydrogen peroxide preparations "could be really harmful and they could even cause death when they're ingested," said Nada El-Defrawy of Health Canada in Ottawa. It can also cause irritation or ulcers in the stomach and intestines. Several high-strength hydrogen peroxide treatments are authorized for sale in Canada as disinfectants and for dental bleaching, but only for professional use, the department said. People may be making improper assumptions because hydrogen peroxide produces more oxygen, said Michelle Schoffro-Cook, who practises naturopathic medicine. Some research shows that cancer cells cannot survive in a highly oxidized environment.
08/29/06 - Using Charged Particles to cool chips
Computer fans could get some relief from charged particles that create a cooling breeze. Researchers have built a tiny silicon-based device that can effectively chill a surface, providing a novel, more effective way to cool microchips. Kronos Advanced Technologies, uses ionized air and an electric field to cool the surface. The researchers cooled a spot on a surface, comprising a couple of square millimeters in area, by 25 degrees Celsius. The voltage being passed through the electrode tip, which sits a couple of millimeters above the collector electrode, can be modified to cool the chip to different temperatures, or to adjust the area that's cooled, says Mamishev. The pump has two basic parts. An electrode tip emits a high voltage that strips electrons from molecules of oxygen and nitrogen in the air, ionizing them. These positively charged ions then flow from the tip to a negatively charged collector electrode. As the ions stream to the collector electrode, "they drag the surrounding air with them, creating a net flow of air," explains Stephen Montgomery, a senior systems engineer at Intel who worked on the project.
08/29/06 - Cancer to be treated with Protons
University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center's new US$125 million (?97 million) Proton Therapy Center is the largest of the nation's four centers that treat cancer by targeting proton beams narrowly on the tumor itself, sparing the healthy tissue that with typical X-ray radiation would be blasted along with the cancer cells. While newer forms of traditional radiation, with the help of computers, also allow doctors to precisely target a tumor, proton therapy allows higher levels of radiation.
08/29/06 - Plane Flies on Power of Five Light Bulbs
The largest unmanned aircraft to rely solely on hydrogen fuel has flown successfully during tests.
The plane, with a 22-foot-wingspan, is powered by a fuel-cell system that generates 500-watts-equal to five bright light bulbs. “That raises a lot of eyebrows,” said Adam Broughton, a research engineer at the Georgia Institute of Technology's Aerospace Systems Design Laboratory. “Five hundred watts is plenty of power for a light bulb, but not for the propulsion system of an aircraft this size.” The design and geometry of the aircraft [Photo] and the controlling subsystem technology allowed the feat. Broughton and his colleagues used creative ways to get rid of extra weight on the aircraft, as well as reducing drag. The researchers also miniaturized the components of the aircraft to fit within a smaller framework. For example, they borrowed a hydrogen tank from a paintball gun. The plane flew as high as 12 feet and stayed airborne for up to a minute at a time.
08/29/06 - South Africa: Build More Sugar Mills, Ethanol Expert Says
SA SHOULD build an additional five sugar mills in order to stimulate ethanol production, a representative of Brazilian sugar and ethanol equipment group Dedini said on Friday. Government has identified biofuels as a key industry in its Accelerated and Shared Growth Initiative (Asgi-SA) because of its potential to create jobs and lessen the country's dependence on oil. Speaking at a biofuel workshop in Johannesburg on Friday, Dedini vice-president Jose Luiz Oliverio said that if the local sugar industry added five more plants to the current 14, it would increase the number of direct jobs from 85000 to 123000. There are about 47000 registered sugar cane growers that annually produce, on average, 22-million tons of sugar cane. Oliverio said SA should add sugar cane to its energy mix. "The total energy content in sugar is more than that in oil," he said.
08/29/06 - Do a Google Search on the word 'failure' and look at what comes up first...lol...
08/28/06 - New British biofuel plan beets ethanol
BRITISH drivers are to be offered a new fuel made from crops that will be less harmful to the environment - but there will be no need for them to modify their engines. Sugar beet, grown in East Anglia in eastern England, will be fermented to produce butanol, which will be blended with petrol and sold at more than 1200 petrol stations. Car manufacturers permit drivers to fill up with fuel that contains a maximum of 5 per cent biofuel and 95 per cent ordinary petrol or diesel. This is because of concerns that biofuels can corrode tubes and gaskets in engines. But butanol has a less corrosive effect than other biofuels, allowing suppliers to create a blend that contains only 80 per cent petrol. Butanol also has a much higher energy content than other biofuels. Richard Tarboton, the trust's head of transport, said: "Butanol is a big step forward because motorists won't need to worry about what is going into the tank. They can fill up as normal." British Sugar, which is building Britain's first butanol plant in Norfolk, eastern England, plans to produce 70 million litres of the fuel a year. Butanol is expected to be introduced in all 1250 BP petrol stations by 2010.
08/28/06 - Fishy Bio-Diesel from Vietnam
(Ca Tra is a Vietnamese Catfish. - JWD) At a time when the price of gasoline keeps on increasing, the works carried out at Agifish and the Institute of Agricultural Genetics (IAG) have come into the spotlight. The two organisations have found different ways to produce oil by using cheap, popular local material. Agifish, one of An Giang’s biggest fish exporters, announced recently that the government has already approved its plan to build a plant with an annual capacity of 10 million litres of bio-diesel. Bio-diesel is processed from fat of local catfish (ca tra), using a technology developed by Agifish experts. "A kilo of ca tra fat can turn out a litre of bio-diesel; so I think the huge volume of discarded ca tra fat by local processing firms could help our province reduce its dependence on diesel imports," Ho Xuan Thien, Agifish Production Director, said. Thien revealed that his company has been using bio-diesel to activate pumps and motors at fishing farms in the last few months. Meanwhile, a new kind of gasoline using harvested straw has also been developed and tested at IAG. "Each year, Viet Nam has 31 million tonnes of straw that could produce 10 million tonnes of industrial alcohol. This volume could in turn be processed into 10 million of tonnes of gasoline," IAG Director Tran Duy Quy said in a VietnamNet interview. This miraculous metamorphose is the result of a secret enzyme developed by engineer Le Ngoc Khanh from a species of micro-organism found in Viet Nam. With two grams of this enzyme added to a litre of alcohol, Khanh obtains a solution known as "aleston". Mixed with one liter of A92 gasoline (available on the market), Khanh obtains two litres of gasoline that he calls C95. "One litre of A92 costs VND12,000 and "runs" 120km, while one litre of C95 costs less (VND7,250) and runs more than 120km with 5 times less pollution," Khanh said. Many scientists have already tried to mix gasoline with alcohol; however, they could not reduce the cost of the product because of the necessity of pure alcohol (from 99 per cent of octane) which is very expensive (more than VND40,000/liter). With his enzyme Khanh could turn cheap, popular industrial alcohol (96 per cent of octane) into "aleston" and mix it with A92 gasoline. An IAG Scientific Committee has already accredited Khanh’s invention, which they call "bio-gasoline".
08/28/06 - Gyrobike reinvents the training wheel
The Gyrobike uses a flywheel to help turn the bike's front wheel in the direction necessary to stabilize it when the child starts to lose balance. That's not to say a kid won't ever fall, but the invention tries to keep them upright. The company's Web site has video of kids riding bikes equipped with the device. It notes that a spinning flywheel resembles the spinning rims found on cars these days, carrying a much higher factor of cool than training wheels. Kids have even suggested decorations for the wheels, including flashing lights and sound makers.
08/28/06 - The new piracy: how West 'steals' Africa's plants
Swiss and British firms are accused of using the scientific properties of plants from the developing world to make huge profits while giving nothing to the people there. The launch of a new strain of 'trailing' Busy Lizzie by the multinational biotech giant Syngenta is, say campaigners, a classic example of what they have dubbed 'biopiracy'. This term is being increasingly used by environmental groups to describe a new form of 'colonial pillaging' where Western corporations reap large profits by taking out patents on indigenous materials from developing countries and turning them into products such as medicines and cosmetics which can be extremely valuable in western markets. In very few cases are any of the financial benefits shared with the country of origin. British patent taken out by Syngenta for its new floral 'invention' reveals that Spellbound's magical secret comes from a rare African plant, the Impatiens usambarensis. This grows in the unique ecological habitat of the Usambara mountain range in Tanzania, just south of Mount Kilimanjaro. In its patent Syngenta describes this plant as having 'no commercial significance'. 'This appears to be a classic case of biopiracy,' says Alex Wijeratna, a campaigner from ActionAid. 'This is the silent plunder of natural resources from developing countries. Here we have a large multinational taking out a patent on a plant that grows naturally in a part of Africa and claiming it is their invention . Now the company is making a fortune selling it to the mass market, but the Tanzania communities that live in these regions will not receive one penny.'
08/28/06 - PML’s In-Wheel Motor, Plug-in Series Hybrid MINI
The QED currently uses four 750 Nm brushless permanent motors in its wheels, a 21 kWh lithium-polymer battery pack and a 250cc two-cylinder, four-stroke engine as the genset. The QED supports an all-electric range of 200-250 miles and has a total range of about 932 miles (1,500 km). The car accelerates from 0-62 mph in less than 5 seconds. The QED uses a 350V, 11 Farad ultracapacitor to discharge the high current for acceleration and to accept the regen power back from braking. This protects the batteries from high current spikes. The driver can specify an all-electric Eco mode in which the engine will not start unless directed by the operator. In the normal operating mode, the engine starts when the battery drops to a 50% state of charge (SOC). A third mode-sport-offers an enhanced performance profile on top of the normal mode.
08/27/06 - Apocalypse cow
Australian scientists are working away quietly at the CSIRO looking for a solution for the greenhouse gas problem. Until now, the spotlight has been on cars, trucks, power stations and factories that burn fossil fuels and spew out gigatonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2), the principal greenhouse gas. Cow farting has also been fingered. But the good news is that, when it comes to this, we can all breathe a little easier. "Bovine flatulence plays a negligible role in global warming," is the prim assessment of researcher Benoit Leguet. France's 20 million cows account for an astonishing 6.5 per cent of national greenhouse-gas emissions, according to his estimates. Each year, their belches send 26 million tonnes of these gases into the atmosphere. Their faeces - "dejection bovine," to use the poetic-sounding French phrase - account for another 12 million tonnes. Compare that with the 12 million tonnes of gas emitted by French oil refineries, demonised by greenies as climate-killers. Nor is bovine gas just any old gas. It comprises methane and nitrous oxide, which volume-for-volume are 21 and 310 times more effective at trapping solar heat respectively than boring CO2. By itself, methane is to blame for a fifth of the man-made greenhouse effect of the past 200 years. France's cow population, according to the new study, accounts for 80 per cent of emissions from farm animals, with the rest generated by sheep, goats, pigs and fowl. A new paper sketches several ideas for attenuating bovine pollution. Higher-protein fodder or feed as soya can reduce the gastric fermentation that produces these gases, and faecal waste can be put in a closed silo that traps the methane, which can then be burned as a biofuel. On the other side of the world, Australian scientists are trying a pharmaceutical approach. A prototype vaccine against three species of microbe that produce methane in sheep's stomachs reduced methane belches by eight per cent in a 13-hour test. CSIRO scientists believe they can tweak the vaccine so that it combats more of the remaining methane-inducing germs.
08/27/06 - Solar Water using a HygroExtractor
Using a solar hybrid technology, the final development of a process that can generate drinking water from the atmosphere will be presented on October 4 and 5, 2006, during a 2-day symposium in Frankfurt that will include speakers from UNO, development aid organizations and banks. The presentation is hoped to encourage global production, attract funding, and be that much closer to providing access to clean drinking water and electricity for half of the billion people who live in Third World countries by 2015. Mr. Dipl-Ing. Ingo Herr, of Schoemberg, Germany, and an Austrian engineer, Leopold Ritter, have developed the Compact Container Unit, designed to produce clean drinking water from the atmosphere using a Hygroextractor. The protected system for production and purifying water with an integrated power station suitable for small villages is named AguaSolara and uses only sources of renewable energy, namely solar radiation and biogas from biomass. It is said to have no running cost to generate drinking water and to realize basic infrastructure by using energy from photovoltaic and biogas.
08/27/06 - Green gizmo converts cars to bio-ethanol
Motorists wishing to make their cars more environmentally friendly can now do so with a gadget no bigger than a matchbox, say its inventor Green Fuels. A small Wiltshire firm with years of expertise in bio-diesel and bio-ethanol, Green Fuels' miniscule converter allows drivers of ordinary petrol cars to convert their motors to run on cleaner, greener fuels. The Fullflex Gold Bi-fuel Manager, a gadget costing around £500, is plugged into the vehicle engine management, linking it to the car's injectors and enabling it to run on bio-ethanol, unleaded petrol or a mixture of the two. James Hygate, Green Fuels' managing director said: "People are becoming more environmentally aware, and this new bio-ethanol equipment means they don't have to modify existing structures in their cars. "In Brazil, 80 per cent of cars run on bio-ethanol and with pumps already appearing at Morrison's supermarket forecourts, the fuel is set to make a big impact." Stronger take-up of bio-ethanol by motorists would also help farmers across Britain, Mr Hygate added, as the fuel can be produced using our country's primary crop: wheat, which farmers often struggle to sell. Some 2,500 litres of bio-ethanol can be produced from just one hectare of wheat, and its natural levels of CO2 are 'fixed' in a closed cycle during the plant's growth, meaning it is a carbon neutral fuel.
08/27/06 - The New Era - Options?
This small planet of ours has the physical resources to sustainably support a civilized population of about two billion people. World population now exceeds six billion, which means that we have exceeded the planet's design land/man ratio by more than 200 percent. Having missed the opportunity to implement a cooperative and unified plan for systematic-selective population control, we are now quite clearly past the point of orderly return. Very soon, the fabled four horsemen will ride. Their ride will not be to the apocalyptic end-of-the-world... but the effects of it will bring about the relatively rapid decimation of approximately two-thirds of the planet's population. This is the order and scale of transmutation that is now needed to re-balance our planet's physical economy and begin to form the basis for a healthier and more civilized culture. Following the decimation; after those who remain on the planet have re-adapted to the greater self-reliance and balanced sense of responsibility that will be needed to prevent the same disruptive process from occurring again, we can begin to work together, under a new altruistic leadership, to build those administrative and cultural centers from which we can begin to usher in a greater and nobler new era of light and life. This difficult Transition Process can be expected to take about 10 years.
08/27/06 - Oil-driven energy era coming to end?
“The world consumes two barrels of oil for every barrel discovered,” Fischer said during the Georgia Bio-energy Conference at the University of Georgia Tifton Campus Conference Center in Tifton, Ga.. The world has been using more oil than it has been producing for the past 20 years, he says. And by the year 2020, the world’s population will have increased its need for energy by 60 percent. "So as we reflect on the energy situation, let’s keep in mind that we’re not at our last drop of oil,” he says. “But we’re getting close.” There are ethical questions in regard to using food crops for fuel, he says. There are trade-offs and “no free lunch.” For example, a typical corn ethanol plant uses six to seven gallons of water to create one gallon of ethanol, he says. If the United States wanted to replace its transportation fuel needs with biofuel, how much land would it take? Sheehan says it would take a billion acres of switchgrass, a plant with many good bioenergy and environmental benefits, given the current state of technology. The United States has only 400 million acres in total farmland now.
08/26/06 - Hindu News report of Steorn Inventors
There is a test rig with wheels and cogs and four magnets meticulously aligned so as to create the maximum tension between their fields and one other magnet fixed to a point opposite. A motor rotates the wheel bearing the magnets and a computer takes 28,000 measurements a second. The magnets, naturally, act upon one another. And when it is all over, the computer tells us that almost three times the amount of energy has come out of the system as went in. In fact, this piece of equipment is 285% efficient. `We wanted to improve the performance of the wind generators - they were only about 60-70% efficient - so we experimented with certain generator configurations and then one day one of our guys [co-founder Mike Daly] came in and said: `We have a problem. We appear to be getting out more than we're putting in.' In Steorn's theory, fixed magnets could act upon a moving magnet in such a way as to make it a virtual perpetual motion generator. In an electrical appliance - a computer, kettle, mobile phone or toy - that would provide all the power for its lifetime. Of course, free-energy cars, power plants and water-pumping systems could follow. A better world indeed. Steorn says it has seven patents pending on its technology, though it is difficult to see what can be patented; magnets already exist and so do the 360 degrees of a circle. Yet it is the positioning of the magnets that seems to be at the heart of this ``new'' energy.
08/26/06 - Geothermal power - clean, silent electricity from out of the ground
The early use of geothermal was to heat buildings with water that was either already at a usable temperature or needed only minimal extra heating. Now, temperatures are being accessed that are high enough to be used in power generation turbines. Roughly 99 per cent of the Earth’s mass is hotter than 1800 E C and, about three miles down, the temperature reaches several hundred degrees. The optimum way of accessing this energy at the moment is Hot Dry Rock (HDR) or Hot Fractured Rock (HFR) technology. These are referred to as Enhanced Geothermal Systems (EGS) because they go beyond the drilling of a simple well. It has been suggested that there could be sufficient energy to produce hundreds of megawatts of electricity per network and, at these depths, the technology enables geothermal power production virtually anywhere in the world. It is predicted that plants could work over a reservoir for 30 years without experiencing a significant drop in temperature. And this would be available 24 hours a day because it does not rely on variables such as tides, waves, wind or sun.
08/26/06 - Russia spins global energy spider's web
Saudi Arabia continues its "Look East" policy of diversifying its markets away from the US. It has concluded a range of important deals in the energy sector with China and India and is steadily moving into closer geopolitical alignment with the rising East. A number of other key Middle Eastern regimes are following suit. By and large Latin America is doing the same, as are Africa and Central Asia. Almost none of the world's oil and gas producers wants to be inordinately dependent on the US market any longer. Additionally, the steady rise of the powerful economies of Asia beckons oil and gas producers toward such lucrative markets that are politically cost-free, meaning they do not attach political demands and seek to interfere in the domestic affairs of the producing regimes, as does the US. In virtually all cases, the interests of the West and of its multinational oil companies and big Western financial institutions are being minimized and/or pushed out as the global trend of nationalization, by one means or another, of the oil-and-gas sector picks up speed. That is occurring in Russia, which has now surpassed Saudi Arabia as the world's largest exporter of oil, in Central Asia, the Middle East and in Latin America. Within virtually all such regimes the lines of separation between the top levels of political leadership and the directorship of key corporations and industries are not only blurred but are being obliterated. The multinational oil companies of the West are being marginalized as a direct result. That is the case in Russia, where in many key areas of industry corporate directors are intimately tied to President Vladimir Putin, having formed a close association with him long before he became president, and many even hold key positions as upper-level Kremlin officials, or as government ministers. Not merely coincidentally, the key corporations the directors of which are so closely allied with Putin are often resources-based and are also those that are state-controlled businesses, with the Russian state holding controlling (51% or more) interests. To varying yet alarming degrees, the resource-rich regimes around the globe are copying the Russian model. Resources-based corporate states with a profound political affinity for one another and a simultaneous collective disdain and even a hatred for US-led unipolar dominance are proliferating around the globe. Resource-rich Russia's mounting global leverage with the world's other producing states and with the powerhouse economies of the East, and its profound political affinity with such producers and key consumer states, far outweighs the influence of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).
08/26/06 - Researchers Fired Up over New Battery
The LEES battery uses nanotube structures to improve on an energy storage device called an ultracapacitor. Capacitors store energy as an electrical field, making them more efficient than standard batteries, which get their energy from chemical reactions. Ultracapacitors are capacitor-based storage cells that provide quick, massive bursts of instant energy. They are sometimes used in fuel-cell vehicles to provide an extra burst for accelerating into traffic and climbing hills. However, ultracapacitors need to be much larger than batteries to hold the same charge. The LEES invention would increase the storage capacity of existing commercial ultracapacitors by storing electrical fields at the atomic level. The LEES ultracapacitor has the capacity to overcome this energy limitation by using vertically aligned, single-wall carbon nanotubes -- one thirty-thousandth the diameter of a human hair and 100,000 times as long as they are wide. How does it work? Storage capacity in an ultracapacitor is proportional to the surface area of the electrodes. Today's ultracapacitors use electrodes made of activated carbon, which is extremely porous and therefore has a very large surface area. However, the pores in the carbon are irregular in size and shape, which reduces efficiency. The vertically aligned nanotubes in the LEES ultracapacitor have a regular shape, and a size that is only several atomic diameters in width. The result is a significantly more effective surface area, which equates to significantly increased storage capacity.
08/26/06 - Only 20% Of Britons Believe Blair On Terror Threats
Neo-Fascists need to stage real attack to reclaim credibility and obedience. A figure that is both telling and foreboding - that only one fifth of British citizens believe the Blair government is telling the truth on terror alerts - increases the chances of a staged attack to reinforce the notion that Islamo-Fascism is a real danger and not the invention of a ruthless Neo-Fascist government that has all but abolished freedom in the United Kingdom. A Guardian/ICM poll today reveals that just 20% of British voters believe the government is telling the truth about the threat to bomb transatlantic airliners using liquid explosives - meaning 80% of the country do not trust Blair and the war on terror agenda. Blair's re-election itself was carried with a majority of just 33% and since only half of the country actually voted, that means only just above a quarter of British citizens actively support their government. The fact that a significant majority of British citizens are completely distrustful and skeptical of their government's motives coalesces with gradually building anger in Britain over continually increased interest rates, mortgage and loan repayments, energy prices, government taxes, allied with resentment concerning overzealous bureaucratic infringement on personal behavior such as hosepipe bans and water regulation. The government has lost most of its credibility in the arena of terror alerts after the fiasco of the Ricin attack that never was, the non-existent Manchester Utd bomb plot, the artificial Canary Wharf fairytale, the brutal slaying of innocent Brazilian Charles de Menezes, and the botched Forest Gate raid. All the more reason on their part to allow one to 'slip through the net' and stage an event to re-invigorate the flagging war on terror. Using the fear of terror, Blair has presided over the destruction of liberty in Britain and the final act may be another devastating attack to herd the sheep back into their pens and leave the path clear for a Tory takeover and a continuation of the same Neo-Fascist doctrine.
08/25/06 - Orbital engine could have eased fuel price pain
The creator of a revolutionary motor says governments remain short-sighted on energy solutions. RALPH Sarich, who built a vast fortune with his revolutionary, fuel-efficient orbital engine, blames governments for the current pain at the petrol pump. From the late 1970s, Sarich had been warning of the inevitability of huge oil costs. "Hence my determination to try and provide a more efficient engine," he tells The Australian. The engine developed by Sarich -- who is ranked 31 on BRW's list of the nation's richest people, with a personal fortune of almost $800million -- is 40 per cent lighter, 60 per cent smaller and 35 per cent more efficient than standard car engines. When it was invented in the 1970s, it seemed to fit the bill for a world worried about oil and earned him a wave of international acclaim. Why it didn't end up in all of our cars remains hotly disputed, but the sophisticated fuel-injection and combustion system was developed for use in two-stroke engines and is used today in boat engines, motorbikes, lawn mowers and some small cars. "Everyone knew, even in the 70s, that the world's major oil source was in the middle of a powder-keg waiting to explode," he says. "Unfortunately, within political circles and industry executives they were at best courteous listeners and at times absolutely dismissive." He says his warnings, except in scientific circles, evoked responses such as "they will find more", "oil is not finite" and "the Middle East has always had conflict". The orbital engine used a single triangular-shaped piston to create five combustion chambers as it orbited inside a single cylinder. Fuel consumption was dramatically reduced through a combination of complex engineering feats involving combustion clouds, gas and thermodynamic controls, and groundbreaking electronics. Some say that, had it been fully embraced, motorists now could be using 20-25 per cent less fuel, a potential saving for families of hundreds, even thousands, of dollars a year in petrol costs.
08/25/06 - Sound Unseen Plaster-In-Wall Speakers For Wall, Ceiling
High-power vibrational element flat speakers have made possible totally unseen in-wall or in-ceiling speakers which produce high definition sound with no “visual interference” to room aesthetics. Entertainment systems can now be placed in any room in the home without visible wiring or “technoclutter.” The technology offers improved dispersion characteristics over conventional speakers, making location and listening position far more flexible. The new Amina Technologies' SoundUnseen plaster-in-wall speakers permit homeowners, consumers, decorators, remodelers, specifiers and professional installers to equip high-quality multi-room installations and home theaters without compromising the interior design of modern living spaces. Core element of an Amina Plaster-in-Wall speaker incorporates a specialized strong, lightweight composite material that vibrates in the same way as natural musical instruments, as with the acoustic guitar, violin or piano. The vibrations recreate the diffuse source of sound energy that is emitted in a less directional manner and capable of filling a space more evenly than a conventional speaker. This diffuse source creates a high-definition sound over a very wide area, ensuring that a surround sound or stereophonic sound field can be heard regardless of room size, shape or listening position. Heart of the Amina Plaster In-Wall speaker is its acoustic engine, which can include from one to four (depending on power levels) rare earth, magnet-based, high power vibrational excitation drivers. This allows the Model AIW5 in-wall speaker to handle 80 watts of continuous power, generating 105 db of sound with plaster applied (see specifications below). Amina's AIW range of speakers cope with the most dynamic sounds, recreating the clarity of individual notes produced by the classical guitar, to the impressive effects generated in today's action movies. The speaker's acoustic engine sets up tiny, powerful vibrations in the composite panel material, which are then transferred through the overlaid plaster, paint or wallpaper covering to the front surface of the wall or ceiling. This, in turn, vibrates air molecules at its boundary. These then excite more air molecules further away, sending a diffuse, non-correlated energy sound wave into the room.
08/25/06 - Australia To Build 232 Megawatt Wind Farm
The Planning Minister, Rob Hulls, today gave the green light to building Australia's most powerful wind farm at Mt Gellibrand, near Colac, with the capacity to power 133,450 homes a year. "This $380 million, 232-megawatt project will generate more power than any other wind farm in Victoria, and is proof of the Bracks Government's commitment to renewable energy and reducing greenhouse gas emissions," said Mr Hulls. The 116-turbine farm will be built across 2550 hectares of predominantly cleared grazing land. The project was not only good for the environment but would generate local jobs and income, with a significant proportion of the farm's $380 million investment expected to be spent in Victoria. "This project is expected to create 110-120 jobs during construction, and 20-25 full-time positions during the life of the wind farm," Mr Hulls said.
08/25/06 - The Mystery of Ever-Burning Lamps
Imagine that you find a small burning lamp hidden deep in an ancient vault. This mysterious lamp, which is in perfect preservation, has burned continuously without fuel for the last 2,000 years. What would you think of your remarkable discovery? Most likely you would wonder whether the precious lamp that you are holding in your hands is a magical object, a work of God, or perhaps some evil powers. Could this ancient treasure be a proof of highly advanced technology? Did our ancestors discover the secret of eternal light? Although it might sound amazing, and for some even impossible certain extraordinary findings clearly show that perpetual light was rather common in prehistory. During the Middle Ages a number of ever-burning lamps were discovered in ancient tombs and temples. Based on ancient records we learn that these mysterious objects were found all over the world, in India, China, South America, North America, Egypt Greece, Italy, United Kingdom, Ireland, France and many other countries. Unfortunately, looters, vandals, and superstitious diggers who feared that these objects possessed supernatural powers destroyed many of the lamps. How were the ancients able to produce lamps, which could burn without fuel for hundreds, and in some cases thousands of years? From whom did our ancestors gain their secret knowledge?
Naturally, the subject of perpetual light became quickly a controversy and the opinions among the authorities were divided. Some authors rejected the idea of a never-ending flame, despite the evidence they were confronted with. A small group of more open-minded and enlightened persons confirmed the existence of, if not eternal then at least very long-lasting light.
08/25/06 - World fiddles while Planet Burns
Scientific evidence indicates we can combat climate change if the world can achieve substantial reductions in emissions of greenhouse gases (mainly from burning fossil fuels) by the middle of the century. The trouble is that to have much effect on global emissions we need almost all countries - and, certainly, all the big ones - taking part. Without the involvement of the US, China and India, nothing any individual country achieves will make much difference. And the trouble with this is that, while ever the big three aren't on board, the rest of us have an excuse for not getting on with it. The economic pain of achieving lower emissions could be greatly reduced if somebody somewhere could come up with a few technological breakthroughs - say, big improvements in solar power or other renewable energy sources. A particular boon for us would be a relatively cheap way of capturing and storing emissions from the burning of coal.
When you think of the amazing technological advances we've seen over the past 200 years, this isn't as far-fetched as it sounds. People who came up with such inventions would be hugely rewarded.
08/24/06 - New device cuts gas engine air pollution
Two U.S. scientists say they've developed a light-weight, relatively inexpensive way of reducing unburned hydrocarbon air pollutants from gasoline engines. Researchers Marcus Ashford and Ronald Matthews of the University of Alabama say when you start your car on a hot summer day, barely 20 percent of the gasoline injected into the engine vaporizes and powers the engine. The rest becomes part of the engine's emissions of unburned hydrocarbon air pollutants. On a cold winter day, they said, the waste and pollution is much worse. Multiply by 230 million cars in the United States and the picture is much, much worse.
Their so-called on-board distillation system targets the root cause of such waste: gasoline's relatively low volatility, or ease in changing from a liquid to a gas. High-volatility components are separated from gasoline and stored for use after startup, until the engine and other components warm and become more efficient. The system would add about five pounds to a car's weight and less than $100 to its cost when in full production, the scientists estimate.
08/24/06 - Rethink needed on ancient earth oxygen
Scientists may have to rethink accepted theories of how the prehistoric earth's atmosphere developed after new discoveries in ancient sulphur raised serious questions, researchers said on Wednesday. Up to now it has been generally accepted that the earth's atmosphere was devoid of oxygen for some 80 percent of its existence. "The popular model is that there was little oxygen in the earth's atmosphere before about 2.4 billion years ago," said Hiroshi Ohmoto of Pennsylvania State University. But Ohmoto's team has cast doubt on the theory after finding sulphur isotopes, indicating prevalent oxygen, that predate the accepted start of atmospheric oxygenation. Isotopes from two sulphur samples the team analyzed -- one 2.76 billion years old from a lake bed and the other 2.92 billion years old from the sea bed -- did not indicate an oxygen-starved atmosphere. "We analyzed the sulphur composition and could not find the abnormal sulphur isotope ratio (indicating no oxygen)," Ohmoto said. "This is the first time that sediment that old was found to contain no abnormal sulphur isotope ratio." The team concluded that there were two possible explanations -- either that prehistoric atmospheric oxygen levels fluctuated wildly over the millennia, or that sulphur showing no oxygen might have been produced in an oxygenated atmosphere as long ago as 3.8 billion years by violent volcanic activity.
08/24/06 - Bracelet maker accused of false claims
The manufacturer of the "ionized" Q-Ray bracelet has been accused in Chicago of false advertising for claiming the product acts as a pain reliever. A Chicago judge is expected to decide this week whether infomercial entrepreneur Andrew Park and his company must pay $87 million and cease claims about the bracelets pain-relieving effects, the Chicago Tribune reported Wednesday. A Mayo Clinic study published in 2002 found the bracelets did not actually relieve pain, but gave some wearers a placebo effect, which causes patients to feel better because they expect to. The Federal Trade Commission, which brought the suit against QT, has obtained a temporary court order stopping the company from making pain relief claims while the trial is ongoing.
08/24/06 - India Switches from Uranium to Thorium
"We need to import uranium only for couple of decades by which time we would be able to build thorium fuelled reactors," Banerjee said after delivering the 22nd lecture in memory of Brahm Prakash, the renowned metallurgist, at the Indian Institute of Science here Monday evening. Bhabha's dream was to eventually produce electricity by utilizing the abundant thorium in India's beach sands. India's thorium accounts for one-third of the total world reserves while its uranium reserves are just enough to generate 10,000 MW - less than one per cent of India's current installed capacity.
08/24/06 - Fast-growing trees could take root as future energy source
A tree that can reach 90 feet in six years and be grown as a row crop on fallow farmland could represent a major replacement for fossil fuels. Purdue University researchers are using genetic tools in an effort to design trees that readily and inexpensively can yield the substances needed to produce alternative transportation fuel. "If Indiana wants to support only corn-based ethanol production, we would have to import corn," said Chapple, a biochemist. "What we need is a whole set of plants that are well-adapted to particular growing regions and have high levels of productivity for use in biofuel production." Chapple and Meilan want to genetically modify the hybrid poplar so that lignin will not impede the release of cellulose for degradation into fermentable sugars, which then can be converted to ethanol. The changed lignin also may be useable either in fuel or other products, they said. Currently about 25 percent of the material in plants is the complex molecule lignin, which in its present form could be burned to supply energy for ethanol production, but cannot be transformed into the alternative fuel.
08/23/06 - Chinese Mud Therapy
In China, mud therapy is being used at nursing homes in Anshan, east China's Liaoning province, to help cure age-related illnesses. Consumers enjoy mud therapy at a nursing home in Anshan, east China's Liaoning province. The mineral mud is believed to be able to alleviate pain from rheumatoid arthritis, sequela of traumatisms and peripheral nervous system diseases.
08/23/06 - Global water crisis looms larger
One-third of the world’s population is short of water - a situation we were not predicted to arrive at until 2025 - according to a disturbing new report on the state of the world’s water supplies. Squeezing more out of every raindrop that falls on poverty-stricken regions of Africa and Asia is key to the survival of the world’s poorest and most malnourished people, researchers say. Called Insights from the Comprehensive Assessment of Water Management in Agriculture, it concludes that one-third of the world’s population now suffers water scarcity, a situation that has materialised 20 years sooner than predicted by an assessment five years ago. The reason for the discrepancy is that earlier predictions were based on a country-by-country analysis. The latest figures stem from a more detailed analysis of natural water basins.
08/23/06 - Free energy? The Stoern challenge smells...
A few observations: * Placing an advertisement in The Economist is a good idea, because even though it was likely very costly it lends some (false) credibility to the company. * But why resort to placing an ad? The company says it has approached many institutions that have refused to look at the technology, and those scientists who have verified that it works have refused to go on record. Why would they refuse to go on record? Why, like most companies, would they not slowly build consensus in the scientific/research community? Why not write a paper for a respected scientific journal that goes through peer review? Without answering those questions, of course this is going to be viewed as a publicity stunt. * Now, if you consider this a publicly stunt, you have to wonder what can be gained from it? I mean, sure, you create an elaborate hoax on the world, but doesn't that just piss people off and make your company persona non grata with the business and scientific community? Apparently, according to a Web site called Steorn Watch, this company is legitimate and has existed since 2000 -- whatever "legitimate" means. There's got to be some other motive if this is a scam, because pure publicity doesn't make sense. * Finally, like any agnostic who admits there could be a possibility that God exists (just in case), I think the same applies here. Sure, it would be great of this unknown company proves that the laws of physics are garbage and comes up with a technology to save the world's energy and environmental woes, but for now we've got to consider this an elaborate experiment to be watched out of pure curiosity. This screams reality TV, and it would be fascinating to have BBC cameras following around these 12 selected scientists as they work toward disputing or verifying this potentially world-changing claim. And if it does turn out to be a hoax? It would be a bit of a pisser, as I'd rather see all this attention focused on real technologies that have a chance of making real change.
08/23/06 - Laser 'tapping' reveals cracks in rail tracks
A machine that "taps" on railroad tracks using laser pulses to check for dangerous internal cracking is being tested by the US Federal Railroad Administration (FRA). The laser pulses create ultrasonic waves that travel through rails at high speed. This means the device can scan for cracks while being pulled along a rail track at up to 112 kilometres (70 miles) per hour - much faster than existing equipment. The machine identifies microscopic fractures by monitoring the strength of ultrasonic waves passing through a rail. "It will tell you in real time at which position it finds a defect," says Francesco Lanza di Scalea, the UCSD structural engineer in charge of the project. "It automatically flags a problem at a given position, and tells you how deep the defect is." The device consists of platform, about the size of a double bed, on four small rail track wheels. A laser on top of the platform sends short laser pulses down onto one of the tracks below. These pulses vaporise a very small amount of metal, causing superficial scarring to the top of the track. But they also generate ultrasonic waves that propagate lengthwise along the track. A microphone positioned 30 centimetres metres ahead of the laser, and 7 cm above the track, measures the passing wave. An onboard computer then filters out the noise in order to analyse the signal. If the ultrasonic wave passes through a defect hidden inside the track it becomes weaker. Conventional equipment uses ultrasonic transducers that must stay in contact with the rails. This limits the speed of scanning to about 50 km per hour. And, as the wave is normally reflected vertically, harmless flaws on the surface of the track can often mask deeper, more serious ones.
08/23/06 - Video Projector on a chip
"Cornell researchers have made a 0.2mm-squared mirror mounted on carbon fibers that can oscillate at 2.5KHz, 'caus[ing] a laser beam to scan across a range of up to 180 degrees.' These can be mounted on a chip, and in combination with lasers, arrays of such mirrors on a chip can be made into a video projector. From the article: ''"It would be an incredibly cheap display," [Cornell grad student Shahyaan] Desai said. And the entire device would be small enough to build into a cell phone to project an image on a wall."' This display is made possible because of the innovative use of carbon fiber instead of silicon in MEMS. Unlike a standard DMD, this type of device would have one mirror per scanline, not one mirror per pixel, allowing the chip to be much smaller."
08/22/06 - Reversible Surfactant cheaper way to extract oil from Oilsands
A new way of extracting oil from the ground has the potential to turn the oilsands into a recycling depot for clean water. Researchers at Queen's University in Kingston, Ont. have discovered what they describe as an environmentally friendly and inexpensive way to separate water from crude oil once the mixture has been extracted from the sands. "Your water can go through a bit more purification and be tossed in the river," said Philip Jessop, a chemistry professor whose findings were printed Friday in the international journal Science. He said the secret lies in creating a surfactant _or surface active agent, a molecule where one end blends easily with water and another end that doesn't. To extract the oil from the sands, workers currently inject water, carbon dioxide and a surfactant into the ground. Then, just as soap combines oil with water so it can be lifted from human hands, the surfactant creates an oil and water mixture so it can be separated from the dirt. "The only problem they have is they don't turn off," Jessop said, noting workers then have to add extra chemicals to the mixture to get the oil out of the water. Instead, Jessop and his team of researchers created a surfactant which can reverse as easily as breathing. When mixed with carbon dioxide, the compound combines oil and water. Then, when air is bubbled through the mixture, the compound reverses and splits the oil from water. "It's neither expensive or dangerous for workers or the environment," Jessop said. A report last March by the Pembina Institute said the oilsands industry uses 65 per cent of the water taken from the Athabasca River, amounting to nearly 350 million cubic metres of water per year. To create one cubic metre of oil, workers must use 4.5 cubic metres of water. The new compound could be used to renew or reuse that water, Jessop said.
08/22/06 - Treat your inventions as Serious Business
Basically, there are two types of inventor, the person who invents for fun and the person who invents for money.
By far the most prolific is the person who invents for fun. This person is constantly thinking up new and fascinating ideas, it's in their blood to do so. The inventor for fun usually ends up thinking of an idea that solves a problem nobody really cares about, or which has already been invented. The person who invents for money on the other hand always knows that the real trick is knowing what to invent. The successful inventor first of all learns about how products are distributed in their chosen market, and what the expected margins are throughout the distribution cycle. TIP: always ask retail sales staff which products are selling really well and which aren't. I've often found retail staff very helpful in also telling me why certain products are selling better than others. Only after identifying an unmet need or an undiscovered niche does the professional inventor set out to invent the actual product. The inventor for fun will often tell you his new idea will sell in the millions "because it appeals to the consumer". The professional inventor however will invent a product that will appeal to the licensee of the invention. Pleasing the consumer is really quite irrelevant, that's the licensee's job. Its pleasing the potential licensee that's the secret. I have found out the hard way that sending out unsolicited letters to names in a trade directory never works, you'll either get no response at all or a polite thanks but no thanks. Even worse is to make the mistake of setting up a website for your invention, all you're doing is exposing your idea to thousands of other inventors who may find your idea the inspiration they need to improve their idea further! The professional inventor understands that nothing but nothing beats a one-on-one meeting with a senior person from the potential licensing company. I emphasise the word 'senior' because in over 20 years of inventing I have never closed a deal other than by meeting with the top senior people of a corporation.
08/22/06 - WIFI Blimps
Sometimes, it's not back to the future but forward to the past. A new idea from a former manager at NASA harkens back to the days of blimps and zeppelins. The name of this invention is "Stratellite." The engineer envisions a fleet of unmanned robotic blimps that will act as Wi-Fi portals on the high, hovering at 65,000 feet. The blimp looks familiar, but has a shark-like nose and packs a digital payload that proponents say is more aesthetically pleasing than the monstrous towers that dot the landscape now and will do so even more in the future. The blimps are designed to be aloft for 18 months or more before needing servicing. This is not a new idea, of course, but it is a new era of Wi-Fi options. Stratellite owner Bob Jones, the ex-NASA scientist, thinks that the time is right... again.
08/22/06 - Steorn - Just the latest company to claim Free Energy?
An Irish microgenerator company, Steorn, put a big ad in The Economist this past week challenging "the world's scientists" to test their claims that they've developed a generator which achieves better than 100% efficiency. That's right, infinitely free power. This is not the first company to claim they have figured out a way around the laws of physics. Black Light Power announced they've taken in $50mm in investments earlier this year -- the company seems to be using a catalyst to entice the electrons in hydrogen atoms to drop to a lower energy state (even lower than the ground state...), in the process releasing photons, and they claim that the solution provides enough power to drive the electrolysis necessary to get the hydrogen in the first place with extra to spare (but... where does the catalyst come from?). The WSJ found (note: pdf) some knowledgeable people who took a look and came away impressed, sometimes writing checks. And let's not forget Magnetic Power (and others) and their zero point energy efforts, as well as FuPower's magnet-based technology for which they claim "government laboratory testers comment on their report that no existing physics theory can explain this extraordinary energy-producing phenomenon." (But their website appears to be down, so this link is to a Google cached page).
08/22/06 - The latest on EEStor and Feel Good Cars
Sources say EEStor has delayed the date for the testing of its barium titanate powder -- a key ingredient in its ultracapacitor-based energy storage system. The tests, which will make sure the permeativity and purification of the powder is up to snuff and ready for mass production, are now scheduled for September. A third-party lab in Austin that has links with the University of Texas will likely do the testing. In parallel with the lead-up to testing, EEStor is working on the power electronics and setting up a automated production facility. "They plan to go directly from test to production," said a source. "Their noses are just down right now to get where they want to be." Feel Good Cars, which is an investor in EEStor and has a license to sell its energy storage system in the compact car market, is apparently still expecting to receive its first shipments of units in the first quarter of 2007.
08/22/06 - NYC Professor promotes Urban Fish Farms
A mild-tasting fish that was unfamiliar here a few years ago, tilapia is increasingly available in the United States, almost all of it farmed and imported from China and Central and South America. Schreibman hopes to change that. He believes that urban aquaculture _ raising fish in big tanks in places like Brooklyn _ could be the solution to the overfishing of wild populations and provide Americans with jobs and healthy food. ''We're subsidizing everybody in the world to grow fish that we can buy back from them,'' he said. ''It doesn't make any sense to me. We should be creating jobs here.'' Tilapia are a good fish for farming because they are disease resistant and very efficient at converting feed to body mass. And Schreibman believes that New York City, with its countless restaurants and its immigrants from fish-eating parts of the world like Asia, is ripe for aquaculture development. The tanks could be situated ''in a variety of diverse places from warehouses to skyscrapers, from green fields to brown fields,'' he argued in his contribution to a 2005 book, ''Urban Aquaculture.'' The Brooklyn College tanks use a recirculating water system that is controlled for temperature, salinity and other factors. The tilapia are fed fish meal pellets _ except for those on an experimental soy diet. Americans ate about 300 million pounds of tilapia in 2005, making it No. 6 on the list of seafood consumption by weight, just behind catfish. But not everyone's a fan. Top chefs disparage it, and they're not crazy about the idea of growing fish in a tank. ''The problem with tanked fish is it tastes like tanked fish,'' said David Pasternack, the award-winning chef at Esca in Manhattan's theater district. ''There are people that like it, but people also like McDonald's.''
08/21/06 - Car Owners to be Notified of Blackboxes in Vehicle
"As a follow-up to this long ago posting, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has passed a resolution requiring car manufacturers to inform buyers if their cars are equipped with Event Data Recorders (EDRs). The new regulation also standardizes what information is to be collected. Car manufacturers must comply with the new regulation beginning in the 2011 model year."
08/21/06 - Why Cold reduces pain
Cold wet cloths and mint leaves pressed to the temple have long been used to put a damper on pain. But aside from the general numbing effect that ice can have on nerves, how cooling treatments work has remained a mystery. Some nerve-ends in the skin are known to hold receptors that are sensitive to temperature changes as well as foods frequently described as hot (such as chilli) or cold (such as menthol). One of these receptors, called TRPM8, can help the body to monitor temperatures between about 8 and 12 °C, as well as being activated by menthol-like chemicals, including a super-cooling chemical called icilin. Susan Fleetwood-Walker of the University of Edinburgh, UK, decided to investigate the link between these cold receptors and pain in rats. They first induced chronic pain in their animals by tying a thread around a thigh, and then either injected a very small dose of icilin into the spinal cord or had the rats stand in a shallow bath of the chemical. They then stroked the painful limb and checked the rats' response: those treated with icilin could withstand three times as much pressure.
08/21/06 - Growing Biofuel Crops On Abandoned Industrial Sites
Kurt Thelen, MSU professor of crop and soil sciences, is leading the investigation to examine the possibility that some oilseed crops like soybeans, sunflower and canola, and other crops such as corn and switchgrass, can be grown on abandoned industrial sites for use in ethanol or biodiesel fuel production. “Right now, brownfields don’t grow anything,” Thelen said. “This may seem like a drop in the bucket, but we’re looking at the possibilities of taking land that isn’t productive and using it to both learn and produce.” The project now is a two-acre parcel that is part of a former industrial dump site in Oakland County’s Rose Township. Thelen’s group is looking to determine if crops grown on brownfield sites can produce adequate yields to make them viable for use in biofuel production. The crops also need to produce adequate quantities of seed oil. A secondary objective is to examine whether the growing plants actually contribute to bioremediation, meaning they take up contaminants from the soils, without affecting their quality for use in biofuels. This might make them especially useful to grow on contaminated brownfields.
08/21/06 - Who Owns the Waves?
A grand scheme to convert the power of Woolf's "one, two, one, two" into electricity is being developed by the British government and two British energy firms. Scheduled to be operational by 2008, the £20 million ($38 million US) project will anchor 20 sets of turbines, pistons, and pumps 10 miles off the southwest coast, where they will float in the path of the Atlantic swell, capturing energy. The good news is that the "Wave Hub" is predicted to generate 20 megawatts a year - enough to power 7,500 homes, or 3 percent of Cornwall's overall demand, says Matthew Taylor, one of this region's parliamentary backers of the plan. The bad news is developers believe it will reduce the height of waves by more than 10 percent, affecting a 20-mile stretch of beaches from St. Ives to Newquay, a larger Cornwall town considered to be the "surfing capital" of England. "Of course it may reduce wave size," says Mr. Taylor, "but Cornwall has so many fantastic surfing beaches that we can help save the planet and still have enough surfing for everyone." So who owns the waves? Are there enough to go around? And should the thrill of catching a wave in a wet suit override the need to find new, greener ways to generate electricity?
08/21/06 - United Kingdom: Farmers to 'plant' mini wind turbines
Thousands of wind turbines could be "planted" in hedgerows on farmers' land in a new £200m energy scheme. Proven Energy, a Scottish wind turbine manufacturer, claims that the miniature turbines - at 14.9m tall - will be less obtrusive than the much taller, traditional machines. Chief executive Gordon Proven wants to install around half-a-dozen turbines on each of 5,000 farms across the UK. He said that dotting the turbines around the country, rather than concentrating them on high-density farms, would lessen their visual impact. He added that it would be easier to get planning permission for smaller turbines. Each turbine can generate 15kW of electricity, enough to provide electricity for 15 homes. Proven Energy would pay rent to farmers to use the land, which it would recoup by selling the electricity into the grid. Mr Proven declined to say how much rent it would pay farmers. However, he added: "We want to plant the turbines like spring onions. They will become an energy crop - literally. People forget that a few hundred years ago in East Anglia, there used to be 10,000 windmills."
08/20/06 - I could be wrong but it looks like Steorn is very close to an invention by Jack Hilden-Brand!!! Check out this post from 11/14/05. Jack showed his devices, (which I have personally tested here in Mexico), at a trade fair where many people and companies saw them. To the best of my understanding, Jack uses bucking magnetic fields and flux redirection, whereas the Steorn claim smacks of the Ecklin device that also used a flux redirecting magnetic shield...thus 'prior art' comes into play (and there are other such patents)...
Here are photos and technical diagrams of Jack Hilden-Brand's original low energy magnetic valve and there is a patent pending that precedes Steorn;
11/14/05 - Hilden-Brand High Efficiency Motor
Jack Hilden-Brand wrote, "I had been working on and off on a magnetic holding device before and I figured it would be a good time to continue working on it. Well I experimented with the device for several years and finally got it working the way I wanted it. This device increases the holding power of an electro magnet to four times its original power. (See Emery/Leedskalnin Perpetual Motion Holder) And also provides a way to turn a permanent magnet on or off to any external metal objects. (See Radus Magnetic Boots) After experimenting with this new device I realized that it could also be used to generate power as in a motor. I then spent several weeks building a test device to see if this could be used to power an electric motor. The first motor I built was very small but worked exceptionally well. It produced about 1/16 hp and turned around 6000 rpm. Also this motor proved to be very efficient, using only about 600 ma at 36 vdc. I also noticed with this motor that when the rpm was loaded down to around 500 rpm that the current did not increase much. The amps did not increase much above 1 amp. Now if you compare this to any current dc motor of comparable size, on motor loading the amps jumped up to around 20 amps."
Jack also has an electromagnet version (patent pending) that takes a small amount of power to completely switchoff any magnetic field...I know, because he kindly loaned me BOTH of them to test and they are INCREDIBLE! But don't break into my house cause I sent them back to him! So you can see he is WAY AHEAD of these Steorn people with his motor that I can't say anything about yet, ask him yourself!
08/20/06 - Steorn Challenges Scientists to prove Free Energy claim wrong
Dublin-based technology risk management company, Steorn, has challenged the scientific community to prove it wrong. In an advertisement found in the most recent issue of The Economist it has challenged scientists and engineers to test the firm's free-energy technology and publish the findings. The challenge appears real, but is the technology? Steorn states that from all the scientists who accept their challenge, twelve will be invited to take part in a rigorous testing exercise to prove (or disprove) that Steorn's technology creates free-energy (also known as over-unity). The results will be published worldwide. According to Steorn the technology is based on the interaction of magnetic fields and allows the production of clean, free and constant energy. The technology can be scaled to virtually all devices requiring energy, from cellular phones to cars. The challenge posted in the 'Economist' is not designed to catch the attention of academicians, scientists and researchers. The choice of this eminent and widely read business publication is clearly gauged to catch the eye of business institutions and potentially -- funders. Patents filed by Steorn could also encounter the skepticism of various patent offices, which will not grant patents for "perpetual motion" machines. So Steorn has not patented their core technology. Rather, they have filed a sequence of patents which describe various aspects of the technology but not its overall effects. One such patent suggests an arrangement of magnets and a magnetic shield on a linear slide to act as a low-energy actuator switch turning the magnetic fields on and off. If verified then this device would be a remarkable achievement. If not, it joins a long list of failed or delayed free-energy devices including other magnetic shield devices and the Motionless Electromagnetic Generator (MEG), reportedly still in "engineering development" after many years of burning through funding capital.
08/20/06 - Steorn - Low Energy Magnetic Actuator Patent Application
McCarthy; Shaun David - March 30, 2006 - #20060066428 -A low energy magnet actuator allows magnetic fields to be turned on and off using a small amount of energy. The magnetic actuator according to the invention generally includes a base suitable for the support of a plurality of magnets. An actuatable shield is positioned in relation to the plurality of magnets so that it effectively blocks the magnetic field when it is positioned over at least one of the magnets. The magnetic fields of the plurality of magnets interact in a manner that allows low energy actuation of the shield. - A low energy magnet actuator allows magnetic fields to be turned on and off using a small amount of energy. The magnetic actuator according to the invention generally includes a base suitable for the support of a plurality of magnets. An actuatable shield is positioned in relation to the plurality of magnets so that it effectively blocks the magnetic field when it is positioned over at least one of the magnets. The magnetic fields of the plurality of magnets interact in a manner that allows low energy actuation of the shield.
08/20/06 - Comment about Steorn
The more I think about this I am of two minds: 1. These guys really do think they've succeeded in breaking the laws of thermodynamics. 2. Recall that Steorn is a former e-business company that saw its market vanish during the dot.com bust. It stands to reason that Steorn has re-tooled as a Web marketing company, and is using the "free energy" promotion as a platform to show future clients how it can leverage print advertising and a slick Web site to promote their products and ideas. If so, it's a pretty brilliant strategy.
08/20/06 - Hot Dogs Lead to DNA Mutation
The hot dog is one of America's most recognized dishes. Although some individuals are able to gulp them in the dozens, the hot dog is routinely derided as simply disgusting. Hot dog haters now have an additional armament; researchers at the University of Nebraska determined the unusually high concentration of sodium nitrite in hot dogs is capable of mutating DNA. Sodium nitrite has been linked to dangerous spikes in susceptibilty (sometimes as high as 700%) to pancreatic cancer and leukemia. Essentially, the chemical serves as a catalyst for producing N-nitroso compounds that increase DNA mutations fourfold, leading to cancerous growths in lab animals.
08/20/06 - Nuclear power to produce Hydrogen in off-hours
The nuclear industry overall is pushing the whole idea that only a nuclear society can support a hydrogen economy, since you want emission-free power to produce the hydrogen, not coal power. They argue only nuclear can supply enough clean power that can produce the hydrogen necessary to make the paradigm shift toward fuel cell cars and home heating/power systems. But check out this paragraph from the Bruce Power press release: "Hawthorne said there is a direct link between nuclear energy and hydrogen, an emissions-free fuel which could be produced using electricity from nuclear plants during off-peak hours. Following the restart of Bruce A Units 1 and 2, it is estimated the output from Bruce Power alone could produce enough hydrogen to fuel more than half of the vehicles in Ontario if they were powered by hydrogen." For those who don't know, Bruce A Units 1 and 2 together represent 1,500 megawatts of power and they are in the process of being refurbished. It will take a few years. What I want to know is if hydrogen can be produced during off-peak hours using nuclear baseload generation, then why can't we do the same for charging electric cars at night? I keep hearing critics of electric vehicles talk about the lack of capacity on the grid, but given there's a surplus of baseload electricity produced overnight from nuclear generators, why isn't Bruce Power joining an electric vehicle association or trying to push the EV concept, which is within reach today?
08/20/06 - Brazil's Ethanol cars hit 2 Million mark
"Flex-fuel" vehicles, which run on any combination of ethanol and petrol, now make up 77% of the Brazilian market. Brazil has pioneered the use of ethanol derived from sugar-cane as motor fuel. Ethanol-driven cars have been on sale there for 25 years, but they have been enjoying a revival since flex-fuel models first appeared in March 2003. Just 48,200 flex-fuel cars were sold in Brazil in 2003, but the total had reached 1.2 million by the end of last year and had since topped two million, the Brazilian motor manufacturers' association Anfavea said. "Flex-fuel" cars attract a purchase tax of 14%, while buyers of their exclusively petrol-powered counterparts are charged 16%.
08/19/06 - Company claims Generator with over 100% Efficiency
An Ireland-based company called Steorn claims it has a turbine technology that generates more energy than it uses, aka perpetual motion. Check out this video, not for an explanation of how the technology works (because there is no explanation, besides a little animation of a fuzzy green circle dancing around three horseshoe magnets) but for the ways the use a variety of emotional tricks to sucker people into believing in it. (via boingboing.com) / From Steorn website: Steorn is making three claims for its technology: 1. The technology has a coefficient of performance greater than 100%. 2. The operation of the technology (i.e. the creation of energy) is not derived from the degradation of its component parts. 3. There is no identifiable environmental source of the energy (as might be witnessed by a cooling of ambient air temperature). The sum of these claims is that our technology creates free energy.
08/19/06 - New brain cells die without a job to do
When it comes to brainpower they say you either use it or lose it. Now a study in mice suggests that the survival of newly formed adult brain cells depends on the amount of input they receive. Fred Gage of the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla, California, and his colleagues infected genetically engineered mice with a virus that stops new brain cells from producing NMDA receptors - proteins that sit on the surface of brain cells and help them communicate with each other. The virus used infects only newly generated cells, leaving other cells untouched.
Infected cells that lacked NMDA receptors died sooner than their normal counterparts, suggesting that communication is essential for survival.
08/19/06 - Microwave Drill Bores Holes in Concrete and Glass
A new technology developed at Tel Aviv University will make the process of drilling through glass and concrete easier and cleaner. By using microwaves to heat a material to over 2,000 degrees Celsius, it softens it up enough for a rod to be pushed through. In addition to dust-free concrete drilling, the tech is also effective in putting holes in glass without breaking it, not to mention being a pretty sweet upgrade to your standard power drill. The microwave drill can make holes between a millimeter and a centimeter wide, and is significantly cheaper than laser-drilling alternatives. Just be careful to keep the concrete-melting microwave beam away from any body parts you'd like to keep functioning.
08/19/06 - Oil and Water mix and un-mix on demand
(And lets not forget that Gunnerman, some 25 years ago, was mixing gasoline with water as much as 50/50 to run engines. - JWD) Oil and water can for the first time be mixed and separated on demand thanks to a new, reversible surfactant. The liquid molecule could prove invaluable in mitigating the environmental damage caused by oil spills, such as the one currently spreading along the coasts of Lebanon and Syria. Such a chemical could also simplify commercial oil extraction from currently inaccessible deposits, its designers say. And it would prove equally valuable in the food and cosmetics industries, simplifying processes and products which rely on the mixing or separation of oily and watery components. The genius of the new surfactant lies in its reversibility. Unlike existing ones, it can be switched "on" or "off" repeatedly. The switches are very simple too: carbon dioxide and air. “Bubble carbon dioxide through a solution and the surfactant switches on, leading the oil-and-water mix to form an emulsion,” explains Philip Jessop at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario, Canada, who led the research team that developed the new surfactant. “To switch it off again, you bubble air through it, and the oil and water separate again,” he says. Surfactants must have two ends - a water-repelling hydrophobic bit that binds to the oily substance; and a water-attracting hydrophilic bit, which has an ionic charge that binds to water. An example is a soap or detergent, says Jessop, which enables oily grime to mix with water when you wash. But a mixture held together by soap can only be separated by adding other chemicals such as acids, which are “messy, expensive and hazardous”, he says.
08/19/06 - SpaceX, Rocketplane Kistler Win NASA Competition
"Two emerging space companies have won a NASA competition to provide low cost commercial transport to the International Space Station. SpaceX, founded by Elon Musk, is developing its two-stage reusable Falcon 9 launch vehicle and Dragon spacecraft, but it is making changes after the loss of Falcon 1 during its maiden launch. Rocketplane Kistler's K-1 is a two-stage reusable launch vehicle that has been in development for over a decade. Both companies represent a departure from business as usual at NASA. Boeing and Lockheed Martin are the largest companies in the aerospace industry and win most NASA contracts."
08/19/06 - Expand The Functionality Of 'My Computer'
If you frequently use the 'My Computer' window, then you should expand the functionality to your liking. You can add Administrative Tools, Printers and Fax Devices, Scheduled Tasks, Network Connections, Recycle Bin, and My Network Places to the window by using this tweak. To do this, follow the next steps... (via lifehacker.com)
08/18/06 - Texas Spaceships to land Upright
A spacecraft taking off from a private West Texas spaceport being bankrolled and developed by Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos would take off vertically, but unlike NASA's space shuttle would also land vertically, according to an environmental study that offers a glimpse into the secretive plans. The craft would hit an altitude of about 325,000 feet - or almost 62 miles - before descending and restarting its engine for a "precision vertical powered landing on the landing pad" in sparsely populated Culberson County, about 125 miles east of El Paso. According to Blue Origin's Web site, the company is "developing vehicles and technologies that, over time, will help enable an enduring presence in space." "We are currently working to develop a crewed, suborbital launch system that emphasizes safety and low cost of operations," the Web site says. As many as 10 flight tests lasting as long as a minute and reaching an altitude of about 2,000 feet could occur this year at the site, north of Van Horn on the 165,000-acre Corn Ranch purchased by Bezos. Over the following three years, as many as 25 launches would be made annually, growing in altitude to 325,000 feet and in duration to more than 10 minutes. Commercial flights, a goal of the project, could begin in 2010, according to the timetable in the document, with as many as 52 a year. "The flight rate would depend on market demand," said the document filed with the FAA. Bezos, who spent summers on his grandfather's ranch in South Texas as a child, has talked in the past of building spaceships that can orbit Earth and possibly lead to colonies in space. Construction would cover 223 acres with buildings, launch and landing pads, storage tanks and parking lots, but that's just over 1 percent of the land. New fencing would be needed to enclose the launch site area, 18,600 acres of desert scrubland and grassland now in use as a private wildlife management area. Within that fenced area is the likely landing area if something goes wrong with a flight. "In some rare cases, the vehicles may land outside the fence line," the report says. "However, in nearly all cases, the vehicles will stay within the boundaries of private land controlled by Blue Origin and present no danger to the public." According to the environmental statement, the craft to be launched from West Texas includes one module for propulsion and one "capable of carrying three or more space flight participants to space." The two would be stacked atop one another to form a conical-shaped vehicle about 50 feet tall and 22 feet in diameter at the base.
08/18/06 - Security 'bad news for sex drive'
A woman's sex drive begins to plummet once she is in a secure relationship, according to research. Researchers from Germany found that four years into a relationship, less than half of 30-year-old women wanted regular sex. Conversely, the team found a man's libido remained the same regardless of how long he had been in a relationship. The researchers from Hamburg-Eppendorf University interviewed 530 men and women about their relationships. They found 60% of 30-year-old women wanted sex "often" at the beginning of a relationship, but within four years of the relationship this figure fell to under 50%, and after 20 years it dropped to about 20%. In contrast, they found the proportion of men wanting regular sex remained at between 60-80%, regardless of how long they had been in a relationship."For men, a good reason their sexual motivation to remain constant would be to guard against being cuckolded by another male." But women, he said, have evolved to have a high sex drive when they are initially in a relationship in order to form a "pair bond" with their partner. But, once this bond is sealed a woman's sexual appetite declines, he added.
08/18/06 - British researcher says infrasonic wave sounds create ghosts
(Note - back in the 20s and 30s, there were photographs taken of parts of human bodies, heads, hands, arms, etc. next to high power electrical dynamos and within the field of the high density energy field. I don't think anyone ever wrote a book with the photos but I have seen a few of them which I think were in an old Borderland Research newsletter. - JWD) Why do the English happen to witness ghosts more frequently than the residents of other countries? “The ‘dead people’ in this country have more reasons to walk round the corridors and towers of the old castles and mansions because of the strong sea winds blowing swiftly across the British Isles,” says Tandy. “The winds produce the sound waves of a particular range, which until recently researchers have failed to take note of. The people traditionally see the phenomena created by those sound waves as specters,” adds he. The researcher arrived at the conclusion by accident. He brought a rapier to his workplace one day after he saw the ghost in his laboratory. The rapier needed repairing for a competition Tandy was going to participate later that week. He held the rapier in a vice and soon saw it oscillate as if an invisible hand was swinging the rapier back and forth. The researcher was confident that he was witnessing the phenomenon of resonance. It was very quite in the laboratory at the time. Tandy got down to measuring procedures using a number of devices. He was really amazed to find out that a terrible noise and rumbling was, in fact, filling the laboratory at the very moment. But all the sounds were infrasonic i.e. with frequencies below the audible range. The sound waves in the laboratory measured a frequency of 18.98 Hz. It roughly equals the frequency movement of a human eyeball. The wind gusts blowing against the walls of an old tower produce the sound waves within the infrasound range. The sounds can penetrate the thickest walls. When in a tower, one can hear the wind howling and moaning like mad in the corridors. “It’s not a coincidence that the ghosts allegedly walk along the long corridors where drafts fly bouncing over the walls,” says the researcher in proof of his theory.
08/18/06 - Eat peas, sweet corn and broccoli for better vision
Children have long been told that eating carrots will improve their vision, but now researchers say yellow and green vegetables, including peas, sweet corn and broccoli, contain chemicals that may help protect the eyes. Researchers at the University of Wisconsin studied the diets of 1,700 American women aged between 50 and 79 to see if diet affected their chances of developing eye ailments. Each woman was asked to provide details about what she typically ate some 15 years earlier. The researchers found that women under 75 were less likely to develop age related macular degeneration (AMD) if over the 15 years they consistently ate lots of vegetables such as leafy green vegetables, sweet corn, squash, broccoli and peas, reported online edition of Daily Mail. The vegetables contain carotenoids - a powerful biological antioxidant which the scientists say may protect AMD that affects two million Britons and is the leading cause of blindness among people over 50.
08/18/06 - Molecules spontaneously form honeycomb network
UC Riverside researchers have discovered a new way in which nature creates complex patterns: the assembly of molecules with no guidance from an outside source. Potential applications of the finding are paints, lubricants, medical implants, and processes where surface-patterning at the scale of molecules is desired. Chemists describe a new mechanism by which complex patterns are generated at the nanoscale - 0.1 to 100 nanometers in size, a nanometer being a billionth of a meter - without any need for expensive processes such as lithography. Anthraquinone molecules form chains that weave themselves into a sheet of hexagons on the copper surface, forming a network similar to chicken wire. The precise shape of the network is governed by a delicate balance between forces of attraction and repulsion operating on the molecules. "The honeycomb pattern that the anthraquinone molecules produce is open, meaning it has big pores, or cavities, enclosed by the hexagonal rings," Pawin said. "Such patterns have never been observed before. Rather, the common belief was that they cannot be generated. But anthraquinone shows that we can use chemistry to engineer molecules that self-assemble into structures with pores that are many times larger than the individual molecules themselves. With judicious engineering of the relation between the strength of the attraction and repulsion, we could tailor film patterns and pore sizes almost at will." Patterning of surfaces is important for many applications. The friction that water or air experience when flowing over a surface crucially depends on the microscopic structure of the surface. Biological cells and tissue grow easily on surfaces of some patterns while rejecting other patterns and completely flat surfaces.
08/18/06 - Lego Kit to Build Better 'Bots
I put together a robot with Lego's new Mindstorms NXT kit, set it on the kitchen floor, and watched it trundle forward on its rubber wheels till it sensed an obstacle (a cabinet). It backed up, swung left, then proceeded on its new course, till it sensed the next impediment. ''It's like a little man!'' said my girlfriend. That's the charm of robotics _ seeing something of ourselves, however basic, in an inanimate object. Most robot toys, however, are designed to do only one or a couple of things, and get boring quickly. Their charm often doesn't outlive the first set of batteries. The Lego Mindstorms kit, which first appeared in 1998, is different. It lets you design and build a wide variety of robots. Enthusiasts, many of them adults, have used it to build robots that sort Lego bricks by color, dispense soft drinks, or climb stairs. One Dane even turned it into a low-resolution scanner that took 3 to 4 hours to scan a CD cover. The latest version of Mindstorms, which will appear in stores Tuesday priced at $249.99, is a complete revamp that makes it easier to build a wider variety of mechanical friends.
08/18/06 - Revolutionary Toilet promises to save billions of litres of water
The Propelair WC has been designed and a prototype built by Phoenix Product Development Limited at the university's Knowledge Dock Business Centre. It uses a displaced air flushing system that requires less than 1.5 litres of water for a flush - a sixth of the nine litres used in an average UK toilet. The new design was tested during a six-month trial at the Water Research Centre in Swindon. Results show that if the toilet was installed in every house in the UK, 1.85 billion litres of water would be saved each day and the country's water needs cut by as much as ten per cent.
08/17/06 - Energy from Ceramics
Tiny power sources are put together from hundreds of filigree parts: “That makes them complicated to develop and expensive to manufacture.” The researcher and his colleagues are therefore pursuing a completely new approach, producing fuel cells from a new type of ceramic film called LTCC - Low Temperature Co-fired Ceramic. The material has been in use in the chip industry for some time as a substrate for microelectronic components. The Fraunhofer researchers have successfully developed cost-effective ways of integrating additional “non-electronic functional elements” into the ceramics. Their task is facilitated by a special feature of the material: Structures can be applied not only to the surface of the ceramic, but also to the inside. The micro fuel cells are criss-crossed with tiny channels that transport hydrogen or fluids. They are simple and cheap to produce, says Stelter: “We can produce a fuel cell out of LTCC in one go. Not only is the process economical - it is reliable as well.” A further advantage is that the LTCC fuel cell can run on various types of fuel - mainly hydrogen and methanol, but also less conventional fuels such as formic acid. “Formic acid is an excellent power source, but it corrodes ordinary fuel cell materials”, says Stelter. The ceramic material, in contrast, is resistant to the acid.
08/17/06 - 10,000 Rain Gardens
In cities, stormwater can be a real problem. Impermeable surfaces prevent absorption of heavy rains and melted snow, leading to overflowing storm drains and flooding. One solution is the intoduction of more greenery in urban areas; planting trees is one way to achieve this, and increasingly, municipalities have also been installing rain gardens as a great way to both capture rain water and beautify the cityscape. Rain gardens are shallow depressions planted with native vegetation that can capture, drain and filter excess storm water in a short period of time. In Kansas City, Mayor Kay Barnes has started a regional, voluntary initiative called 10,000 Rain Gardens to engage citizens in a plan to better manage stormwater. The city encourages homeowners, businesses and churches to plant rain gardens on their property, and starting in September, a philanthropic fund will begin financing garden installation on public and community grounds, as well as launching outreach and education programs. They're also encouraging people to paint barrels and create "rain banks" to save water "for a sunny day."
08/17/06 - Planting Oil - Following Brazil's lead
Brazil may soon become the world's first biofuels economy. Indeed, Brazil has made kicking the oil habit a national priority, on par with redistributing digital technologies to its people. Brazil has been manufacturing biodiesel and ethanol fuels for decades, a strategy spurred in part by national security concerns on the part of the former military dictatorship. But the degree to which Brazilians have embraced biofuels today is truly staggering. Brazil is a world leader in biofuel technologies. More than 40% of Brazil's energy comes from biofuels and renewables. This year, over 90% of all new cars sold in Brazil will be flex-fuel vehicles, which can run on either gasoline or biofuels. Those cars can fill up at over 30,000 biofuel filling stations across the country. In speeches now, Brazilian president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva supposedly routinely calls on the rest of the world to join Brazil in "planting oil."
08/17/06 - What?
Test your hearing with a few mp3 samples: Most humans are born with the ability to hear frequencies from about 20 Hz (low) up to 20,000 Hz (high) but that range shrinks as we get older. A guy in England figured that meant kids can hear things adults can't - specifically, very high frequencies. He created a device that pulses an annoying tone at about 15,000 Hz with the idea that when the device is used, it will repel kids while being unnoticed by adult. Perfect for solving that youth-loitering problem you've been having in front of your shop. Most humans are born with the ability to hear frequencies from about 20 Hz (low) up to 20,000 Hz (high) but that range shrinks as we get older. A guy in England figured that meant kids can hear things adults can't - specifically, very high frequencies. He created a device that pulses an annoying tone at about 15,000 Hz with the idea that when the device is used, it will repel kids while being unnoticed by adult. Perfect for solving that youth-loitering problem you've been having in front of your shop. So, what's your frequency? I was able to hear all of these samples except two (probably the result of too many Talking Heads jam sessions). Obviously, this is not meant to be an official hearing test, but it's kind of interesting to see how good (or bad) your hearing might be. Oh, and word to the wise: some of these samples will make you want to pluck your eardrum out with a spoon. You've been warned. (via lifehacker.com)
08/17/06 - With reference to the hearing article above - a Personal Note
Back in the 1990s, I went to a Global Sciences Congress in Denver. On the shuttle to the hotel was a man who looked to be in his mid 60s, could barely walk and looked to be in great pain. He told us he was a farmer who had been seeking relief for years and heard he might find someone here who could help him. We all felt so sorry for him as he got off the shuttle at the hotel. One of the presenters was a fellow from Alaska who had a sealed 'lightbox' with him that had 8 natural gemstones mounted on a wheel with a bright light at the center. The idea was to look into a viewer which would allow the light to pass through a gemstone into your eyes. Oddly enough, some people could not SEE some of the colors of light. However, after looking at the color for several minutes, they gradually COULD see the light and within a matter of hours their physical ailments would clear up!!! That was the presentation and I never forgot it because the fellow from Alaska said our body required certain frequencies and without them would cause physical problems. That like empty paint buckets, the cells needed to REFILL with these naturally generated colors. That next morning, before the lectures, a group of us were sitting around talking when we saw the old man get off the elevator and stride by us as strong and healthy as you could ask for??? We couldn't believe it, he LOOKED healthier, younger and he moved like an athlete compared to before. We asked what the heck happened to you?...he said he went up to Dougs room (the guy from Alaska) and looked into the lightbox for about an hour. That initially, he could only see a couple of the colors and those were weak despite the interior light shining through the gemstone being very strong. He said as he looked at the light through each gemstone, the beams became STRONGER though he noticed nothing else other than the lights slowly appearing to him. He said he was very disappointed and hobbled off to bed after thanking Doug for at least TRYING. He said when he woke up this morning, he felt like a million bucks and was off to thank Doug and give him some bucks in appreciation. It was incredible to see this and we were pretty sure the old man wasn't a shill because he was from the midwest and Doug was from Alaska, plus he was clearly in a lot of misery prior to this light treatment. You'll note in the hearing article above that some people CANNOT HEAR some frequencies so I wonder if exposure will 're-enervate' those sensitivities in the ear. As Keely had said so long ago about losing sensitivity. Also in the movie RainMan with Dustin Hoffman, the audio consultant whose name I can't recall at the moment, says he can RETRAIN the ear which, in the process, resolves several physical issues such as autism, etc.. Amazing! - JWD
08/17/06 - Federal court bans Bush's warrantless spying on Americans
The ACLU and others have just won a gigantic victory in a federal court, getting the Bush administration's program of warrentless wiretapping of Americans ruled unconstitutional. I just renewed my ACLU membership.
The defendants "are permanently enjoined from directly or indirectly utilizing the Terrorist Surveillance Program (TSP) in any way, including, but not limited to, conducting warrantless wiretaps of telephone and Internet communications, in contravention of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and Title III," she wrote. She further declared that the program "violates the separation of powers doctrine, the Administrative Procedures Act, the First and Fourth amendments to the United States Constitution, the FISA and Title III." Next on the block: EFF will beat AT&T over its assistance in the warrantless wiretaps.
08/16/06 - Xcel facility would convert coal to gas
The plant would use a system known as integrated gasification combined cycle, or IGCC, in which coal is baked under high pressure and temperature to produce a gas that burns more cleanly and efficiently than raw coal. A provision in the federal Energy Policy Act of 2005 designates up to $200 million a year in financial aid for Xcel or other developers of a pilot, high-altitude IGCC plant in the West. Xcel would take the technology a step further by capturing carbon dioxide during the conversion of coal to gas. Xcel's plant would be the first to use the carbon-capture technology and to use lower-energy-content coal. The carbon dioxide then would be injected underground, possibly in declining oil and natural-gas wells to help push the last bits of petroleum out. No other power plant in the U.S. has developed the carbon- capture technology. Xcel's proposed plant would be the first to use lower-energy-content Western coal. The plant would generate 300 to 350 megawatts, enough power to serve about 350,000 homes in Colorado. Xcel officials have said they might build it at the existing Pawnee power plant site near Brush.
08/16/06 - Rapid HIV test highly effective
Researchers from the University of California and California State Office of AIDS examined more than 101,000 records from the statewide HIV counseling and testing program for HIV tests done in 2005. More than a quarter of 68,000 clients who were given a conventional HIV test did not return for test results. The conventional test requires the client to return for results after a two-week wait. Rapid testing, on the other hand, requires only a 20-minute wait and, of the 33,000 clients who received the rapid test, only 2.3 percent failed to get their test results. Findings are especially important for the 1,045 clients who tested positive for HIV. Of the 623 who took the conventional test, 136 (22 percent) did not return for their test results. But, of 422 who took the rapid test, only six ( 1.4 percent) left the office before receiving test results. The statewide study does not include information from Los Angeles County because those data are not yet available. "A key component of HIV prevention is for people to know their HIV status," said George Lemp, director of the Universitywide AIDS Research Program. "Rapid testing is an important tool for making that happen and we hope that rapid testing will soon become the norm statewide. We hope this new test can help reduce the estimated 25 percent of persons with HIV who do not know they are infected."
08/16/06 - Inflatable shells could create stealth satellites
An inflatable shell for satellites that would allow people to enter and make repairs has been patented. The patent description also points out that radar stealth technology could be built into the shell, suggesting possible military applications. The patent was awarded to Bigelow Aerospace in November 2005. The company is based in Las Vegas, Nevada, US, and is best known for its plans to build orbiting hotels for space tourists. It launched a one-third scale prototype called Genesis I in July, which is still in orbit. Basically a watermelon-shaped balloon, instead of housing people, it would contain satellite components, such as communications antennae. There is an airlock at one end and enough space inside for a person to go in and repair or replace components. The patent also mentions ideas for endowing the inflatable shell with "radar stealth capabilities". These include using radar-absorbing materials and designing the shell with a shape that deflects radio waves away from potential detectors, which is how stealth planes work.
08/16/06 - Rural Georgia town turns garbage into energy, revenue source
Long black tubes snake into a small mountain of rotting garbage, slowly sucking natural gas out of the gradually sinking pit. Years ago, the west Georgia landfill would have leaked into the air tons of methane, a greenhouse gas that's 20 times more damaging to the atmosphere than carbon dioxide. Yet with the help of an industrial partner, progressive city leaders have transformed this trash pit into a new revenue stream and a source of renewable energy. Larger trash dumps around the nation are required by the Environmental Protection Agency to capture the methane gas that peters out as the trash decomposes. But as the tubes plumbing the LaGrange landfill suggest, even the smallest community can voluntarily convert teeming trash heeps into a green _ yet revenue-generating _ venture. After studying the idea for several years, LaGrange eventually decided to spend the $2 million needed to outfit the landfill with a processor and miles of pipeline. The project was completed last year and the city expects to turn a profit in just five years. Thanks to a 10-year contract with Interface and another nearby manufacturer that use the gas, LaGrange has banked $300,000 in revenue from gas sales in the first year, said Patrick Bowie Jr., the city's director of utilities. From the garbage pits of LaGrange, methane is pumped down into a tangle of gears in a musky valley. The gas is chilled to remove water, then filtered into a long chain of pipes that runs through a dense patch of forest. About nine miles away, the pipes lead into Interface's factory, where the gas heats a massive boiler and reduces the amount of energy the company needs to buy each year by about one-fifth.
08/16/06 - Biodiesel Boom brings Demand for Vegetable Oil to Record heights
Because of the increasing demand for biodiesel, the global demand for vegetable oils has grown to record heights, leading to higher prices for vegetable oil. This is the conclusion of a study done by Rabobank's Food and Agribusiness Research that was presented earlier this week at a biodiesel conference in Alberta, Canada. Especially the canola and palm sectors will benefit from this growth, thanks to their high oil content and the oils' multiple uses as food and foodstock. The production and crushing of canola is expected to increase by 300% and the palm oil processing in Southeast Asian countries is expected to grow with more than 500%. Malaysia's first shipment of 60,000 tonnes of palm oil biodiesel will leave for Germany on August 15. Biodiesel has become increasingly competitive as European crude oil prices continue to rise. The current price for biodiesel is US$700 per tonne.
08/16/06 - 'Glassy Water' for Cryo-Preservation
In medicine, cryopreservation involves preserving organs and tissues for transplantation or other uses. Only certain kinds of cells and tissues, including sperm and embryos, currently can be frozen and successfully rewarmed. A major problem hindering wider use of cryopreservation is formation of ice crystals, which damage cell structures. Cryopreservation may be most familiar, however, as the controversial idea that humans, stricken with incurable diseases, might be frozen and then revived years or decades later when cures are available. Bogdan's experiments involved a form of water termed "glassy water," or low-density amorphous ice (LDA), which is produced by slowly supercooling diluted aqueous droplets. LDA melts into highly viscous water (HVW). Bogdan reports that HVW is not a new form of water, as some scientists believed. "That HVW is not a new form of water (i.e., normal and glassy water are thermodynamically connected) may have some interesting practical implications in cryobiology, medicine, and cryonics." Bogdan said. "It may seem fantastic, but the fact that in aqueous solution, [the] water component can be slowly supercooled to the glassy state and warmed back without the crystallization implies that, in principle, if the suitable cryoprotectant is created, cells in plants and living matter could withstand a large supercooling and survive," Bogdan explained. In present cryopreservation, the cells being preserved are often damaged due to freezing of water either on cooling or subsequent warming to room temperature. "Damage of the cells occurs due to the extra-cellular and intra-cellular ice formation which leads to dehydration and separation into the ice and concentrated unfrozen solution. If we could, by slow cooling/warming, supercool and then warm the cells without the crystallization of water then the cells would be undamaged."
08/16/06 - Solar panels pilot 'could be rolled out to thousands of homes'
A bid to cut soaring energy bills by installing affordable solar panels is being piloted by housing experts. The solar panel heating system could be put into thousands of new homes nationwide, according to Places for People, the UK's largest housing association and developer. If successful, Places for People said it will look at installing the panels in all its new homes as part of a renewable energy programme. It is expected that the units will cost between £750 to £1,000 per household - around a quarter of the cost of traditional solar panel systems. This will make them far more affordable for new housing developments and existing homes. Each of the houses will have monitoring equipment that will send energy efficient data directly to the Building Research Establishment for assessment. The solar panels, which provide hot water for the household, will be fitted in three new homes on Norfolk Park in Sheffield as part of a year long pilot aimed at widening renewable energies in new Places for People developments.
08/15/06 - MITs' version of the Manhattan Project for New Energy
Solar cells made from spinach. Algae-based biofuel fattened on greenhouse gas. Plasma-powered turbo engines. These are just some of the technologies being developed by a Manhattan Project-style research effort for new energy technologies at MIT. "The urgent challenge of our time (is) clean, affordable energy to power the world," said MIT President Susan Hockfield. Inaugurated last year, the project is likened by Hockfield to MIT's contribution to radar -- a key technology that helped win World War II. "As the example of radar suggests, when MIT arrays its capabilities against an important problem ... we can make an important contribution," said Hockfield in an e-mail. David Jhirad, a former deputy assistant secretary of energy and current VP for science and research at the World Resources Institute, said no other institution or government anywhere has taken on such an intensive, creative, broad-based, and wide-ranging energy research initiative.
"MIT is stepping into a vacuum, because there is no policy, vision or leadership at the top of our nation," he said. "It's uniquely matched. MIT has tremendous strengths across the board -- from science and engineering to management to architecture to the humanities. From that point of view, it's hugely significant."
08/15/06 - Lock up Everybody
Michael Chertoff says the United States needs more constant surveillance of everybody so he can lock up more "possible terrorists." It's just the latest outrage from an administration desperately trying to turn last week's phony terrorist scare into justification for more fascist laws before the bogus scare is completely forgotten by Americans. "It's not like the 20th century, where you had time to get warrants," the little totalitarian said Sunday on one of those political talk shows. While the White House and the administration's henchmen in Congress rush to pass new laws that will make everyone a potential terrorist and Halliburton builds the new concentration camps that will soon hold hundreds of thousands of "political prisoners," Chertoff is pursuing a two-pronged assault on Americans. First, his goons at airports around the nation are methodically getting Americans "comfortable" with constant fear, harassment and intimidation. Second, his outrageous public statements are intended as a "trial balloon" to see just how much the White House can get away with. The lack of outrage over Chertoff's latest insane proclamations will be used as "proof" that the administration can move ahead with the next phase of canceling the "g-ddamned piece of paper" (as Bush refers to it) known as the U.S. Constitution.
08/15/06 - Looking to stop Corrosion in solar cells
Solar electrolysis converts sunlight into electricity to split water molecules, but until recently solar water splitting devices have proved woefully inefficient. Traditional solar panels, called photovoltaic cells, can be used to generate clean electricity. But this kind of solar cell by itself is impractical for producing hydrogen because an extra step is needed to deliver the electricity generated to the electrolyte. Direct electrolysis of water is different. Using a photoelectrochemical (PEC) cell, sunlight strikes a special catalyst submerged in the electrolyte itself-in this case, water-eliminating the extra step of transporting the electricity to where it does the work. PEC cells may one day serve as the backbone of a national hydrogen production program. But despite record-breaking achievements in efficiency, the best cells developed so far work for only 240 hours before corroding to a halt. To meet Department of Energy goals for this technology, these cells must work for at least 10,000 hours. The main obstacle confronting researchers developing PEC cells lies in finding semiconductors that can handle direct exposure to water while converting sunlight to electricity. An unfortunate irony of Nature is that these two properties are largely mutually exclusive-semiconductors stable in water do not efficiently convert sunlight into electricity, and semiconductors that are good solar absorbers corrode easily in water. Scientists have overcome this paradox to some degree by sandwiching various semiconductors with the right properties together. But finding the right combination is tricky.
08/15/06 - Using Stem Cells to Cure Blindness
Scientists are taking the first major step in using stem cells to replace retinal cells lost to degenerative eye diseases such as macular degeneration and retinitis pigmentosa. According to findings published today, researchers at the University of Washington in Seattle can reliably make retinal cells from embryonic stem cells. The researchers are now implanting the cells into blind animals to see if the cells can restore vision. The retina is a layer of cells lining the back of the eye that contains specialized neurons, known as photoreceptors, to convert light into electrical signals, as well as other neurons, known as retinal ganglion cells, to send those messages to the brain. In age-related macular degeneration and retinitis pigmentosa, the photoreceptors degenerate over time, leading to loss of vision. Generating large numbers of retinal cells from embryonic stem cells could solve that problem.
08/15/06 - Pulsing Electromagnets Used to Cure Jetlag
Aerospace giant Airbus has said that jetlag can be made more pleasant using pulsing electromagnets. The French company's German division is working on developing aircraft seats with magnetic coils built into the back and the foot rests, that can be fed pulsed power at a frequency between 10 hertz and 20 Hz for 10 minutes at a time. Engineers believe the resulting electromagnetic fields will have a positive effect on passengers by affecting cellular activity, stimulating blood flow and altering brain activity. The result will be a relaxed state, controlled melatonin production thereby reducing jetlag, and less risk of deep vein thrombosis, reports New Scientist.
08/15/06 - Portable processor turns logging waste into energy
A modular, quick-to-assemble pyrolysis plant that can follow logging companies into the bush and directly convert their leftover trimmings into a clean-burning renewable fuel. The trimmings, also known as forest slash, are the unwanted branches, tops, stumps, and leaves that are removed during logging and typically burned in piles at the sides of roads. It's a tremendous amount of wasted energy. In the United States alone, 16 percent of wood resulting from logging activities is slash, or 49 million tons in 2004, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. The problem has been that forest slash is bulky, low-density material usually located in remote logging areas, says Peter Fransham, president of Advanced Biorefinery. This abundant, essentially free feedstock is too expensive to collect and transport, he says, particularly if the nearest refinery is more than 60 miles away. The machine is a transportable "dry distillation" plant capable of processing 55 dry tons of forest slash per day into a mixture that includes 60 percent bio oil and 40 percent charcoal, ash, and synthetic gas. The green bio oil -- which contains no sulphur dioxide and half the nitrogen oxide of conventional oil -- can be burned in boilers, turbines, and diesel generators to produce heat and power. It also contains acetic acid, acetol, glyoxal, and formic acid, which can be used in a number of chemical markets, from foods to fertilizer.
08/15/06 - What the hell do you want?
Ultimately, this (generating fear of everything) is a passing fad; as with many issues, the government has to do something, and hope the problem gets better on its own. Realistically, there are tens or hundreds of ways to disrupt air travel; historically, it has been everything from the fake bomb employed by D.B. Cooper to nitroglycerin in Philippine Airlines flight 434 to Semtex in Pan Am 103. TATP is just the latest thing to get everyone all worried, until something new comes along. Then we'll hail the new detection schemes as being brilliant and effective and worry about the next problem. Ultimately, all solutions to terrorism issues are political, not technological, as the origins are political. It took years for the British to figure this out; finally, they sat down with the IRA and said, "What the hell do you want?" The IRA had slowly progressed from blowing up people to blowing up cars to finally calling in bombs that were going to go off at 2 AM when the streets were deserted. "If you don't mind, please keep this bomb from going off. We found out killing people makes us unpopular. Thanks!" A combination of arrests, killings, and negotiations brought the problem to a halt- not better bomb-detectors, or silliness about removing shoes before getting on planes.
08/14/06 - First Flying machine inventor also had perpetual motion
Micajah Clark Dyer Jr. is believed to have flown more than a century ago. Many descendants of this Union County mountain man are convinced he did. In a boat-like craft built before "airplane" was a word and years before the Wright brothers cleared a beach on North Carolina's Outer Banks. Dyer supposedly skidded down the steep mountainside on slicked wooden rails to take off. The Gainesville Eagle announced in July 1875 that Dyer had received a patent for a "flying ship." The short account went on to describe the craft and highlight the inventor's confidence that he had "solved the knotty problem of air navigation." But the article also said Dyer had studied the subject for 30 years and tried other experiments, all of them failed until now. Family members now dead also recalled a home with the logs hewn to a precise fit, a yard strewn with "gadgets and stuff," as Akins said, and a back workshop closed to all but a few and whispered about by neighbors. In the workshop, Dyer supposedly created a perpetual motion machine, a Holy Grail for 19th century inventors. He even sent a model of it to Washington, D.C. According to family, his son Mancil inexplicably turned down a $30,000 offer for the invention after his father's death. The Wrights are credited with building the first fully controllable glider in 1902. After adding a gas engine and propellers, Orville Wright recorded what is widely considered the first sustained, powered flight in a controllable heavier-than-air aircraft on Dec. 17, 1903, at Kitty Hawk, N.C. Dyer had followed a different design to reach a similar end decades before, according to family. Some who knew Dyer said he first built a scale model of the craft, adding a propeller turned by a clock spring. The model flew, they said. Some people interviewed by Akins and Bob Davis also said the same of the larger aircraft. Patent No. 54,654, applied for in June 1874 and approved that Sept. 1, describes in technical writing and sketches Dyer's "Apparatus for Navigating the Air." The so-called flying ship looks like a small boat under a tube-shaped balloon. There are three flap-like wings on each side. Dyer wrote that the craft can be run by steam or other power, in this case paddle wheels. According to the 1875 Gainesville Eagle account, which was reprinted in the St. Louis Globe-Democrat and at least one other newspaper, the balloon lifted the ship. Dyer's patent description says the covering could be made off any strong, lightweight material that was waterproof and airproof. Akins said some suggested he used boiled corn husks. The wings, or flaps, worked up and down together or individually, and could be angled for altitude, according to Dyer. A rudder helped steer the creation. After Dyer's death, the word is that his widow, Morena, sold the aircraft to two Redwine brothers from Atlanta or Gainesville. Akins writes that she may have needed the money. The tale then is that the Redwines possibly sold the craft to the Wright brothers. The latter connection is open to speculation. The Wrights, said Jakab, seem to turn up rightly or not in almost every story involving the history of early flight.
08/14/06 - New method of Steam Generation
CLEANER streets could be on the way following a £100,000 deal signed by an Oxford University spin-off company. Steam cleaning company Proventec will use an invention by Oxford Catalysts in a nine-month programme to develop a portable steam cleaner. The process uses a cheap catalyst to produce steam instantly from a liquid fuel, starting from room temperature, without the need for a boiler, power cables, external heat source or generator. A compact, safe, portable machine could be used in the fast-growing markets for industrial steam cleaning, including street cleaning, food processing, packaging plants and hospitals. Roy Lipski, chief executive of Oxford Catalysts, said: "This is a significant step for us as a company, allowing us to further the commercialisation of our steam generation technology." David Chestnutt, chief executive of Proventec, said: "We are extremely excited about the commercial potential for this unique method of steam generation. "We believe that this development will open new markets for use of steam as a cleaning and disinfectant medium."
08/14/06 - Oxford Catalysts - low cost reactive chemicals for Instant Portable Steam
"A simple chemical reaction could change the world..." Catalysts are essential for the production of clean fuels, such as low-sulphur gasoline and hydrogen gas for fuel cells. They are widely used in industry to reduce the cost of producing chemicals. Why are new catalysts needed? Many catalysts today are made of expensive precious metals, such as platinum, driving the need for improved, lower cost catalysts, like those developed by Oxford Catalysts. Carbide-based Catalysts - The preparation and use of carbide-based catalysts, which can match, or exceed, the benefits of traditional precious-metal catalysts for certain reactions (typically those involving hydrocarbons), whilst requiring only lower cost transition metals. One of Oxford Catalysts' most exciting technologies is our chemical method of producing superheated steam (up to 800°c+) directly and instantaneously from a liquid fuel mixture. Our steam production technology has the following advantages: * instantaneous production * high temperature or pressure achievable * no flame or external heat source is required * compact, safe and portable. Liquid Fuel to Hydrogen or Steam - A unique catalytic process that enables the instantaneous production of either hydrogen gas or high temperature steam from a liquid fuel such as methanol (along with hydrogen peroxide). / Patent Application 20050250863 - The present invention additionally provides a Fischer-Tropsch synthesis catalyst or catalyst precursor comprising, on an inert support, i) 10 to 40 wt % cobalt, nickel or a mixture thereof; ii) 1 to 10 wt % of at least one promoter selected from zirconium, uranium, titanium, thorium, hafnium, cerium, lanthanum, yttrium, magnesium, calcium, strontium, cesium, rubidium, molybdenum, tungsten, chromium, manganese and rare earth elements; and iii) carbon in an amount of up to 8 wt %; the above percentages being based on the total weight of the supported catalyst. In step a), a liquid mixture is prepared from at least three components: (i) a catalyst support or a catalyst support precursor; (ii) one or more metal-containing compound(s) and (iii) one of more polar organic compound solvents which act as solvent(s) for the metal-containing compound(s), optionally together with water. All three components may be mixed together simultaneously. The components may be mixed together at room or elevated temperature, for example, at 20 to 200.degree. C., preferably 40 to 80.degree. C., more preferably 40 to 60.degree. C.
08/14/06 - Stem cells may end need for insulin shots
In what could be a life-saving breakthrough for diabetics, scientists are working on a project to make stem cells perform the functions of beta cells, located inside the pancreas and responsible for producing insulin. Insulin is the hormone that converts sugar (glucose) and starches into energy and regulates blood sugar inside the body. Using stem cells' capability to develop into any cell-type in the body, scientists from the US National Institutes of Health, University of California, and the University of Alberta are extracting stem cells from the brain (neurons), the pancreatic duct and umbilical chord blood (embryonic stem cells) to test if these cells can replicate the functions of beta cells. Once successful, scientists plan to inject these cells directly into the liver of a diabetic through the portal vein channel with the help of a cadaver, where they will remain safe from the human body's immune system and start secreting insulin. The discovery will especially help patients suffering from Type I diabetes, in which the body does not produce any insulin. Researchers have already found that bone marrow stem cells can transform into insulin-producing pancreatic cells in mice. According to the endocrinology chief of the State University of New York, Paresh Dandona, stem cells have been found to mature into beta cells once they receive a stimulus identified as GLP1 from the body. A protein inside the cell called PDX1 then starts producing insulin. "We are trying to ensure the stem cells receive the stimulus GLP1 and start producing the protein PDX1. Beta cells have been found to survive safely only in the liver," he said. Dandona added: "Scientists will first pass a needle through a liver with the cadaver inside it shooting out a dye. As the liver is a big organ, the dye will help scientists identify whether they have reached the portal vein. Once inside the vein, the cadaver will shoot the beta cells into the portal circulation, where they will sit and produce insulin."
08/14/06 - Volcano Rumblings Being Converted To Music To Predict Eruption
Italian researchers are converting low-frequency seismic volcano rumblings into musical scores in an attempt to somehow foretell their eruption time. They've already made a concerto from the underground activities of Mount Etna on Sicily. Currently, they are working on the tunes for Ecuador's erupted Tungurahua. By linking music with volcanic activity, the team aims to detect the tune of a pending eruption. "If you can identify the musical patterns that warn of an eruption then you can implement civil protection measures, days or even hours before the event," said Professor Roberto Barbera of the University of Catania. There is no definitive way to predict a volcano's eruption and scientists use a combination of methods. This week, the researchers also presented a new technique called seismic tomography that could make monitoring volcanic hazards simpler in the future. It shows detailed snapshots of magma movements inside the volcano much like a medical CAT scan.
08/14/06 - Excellent website for hacks of all kinds of things
(Take some time and check this site out, lots of goodies from cellphones to you name it. - JWD) O'Reilly's Hacks Series reclaims the term "hacking" for the good guys--innovators who explore and experiment, unearth shortcuts, create useful tools, and come up with fun things to try on their own. This site's goal is to help you connect to Hacks authors, discuss the various hacks, and even let you show off your own hackery by contributing techniques of your own. Join us in exploring the possibilities of creative hacking.
08/14/06 - Cleaning Uranium waste with Bacteria
"Nuclear bombs can kill people even if they're not used. In the U.S. alone, the Department of Energy estimates that more than 2,500 billion liters of groundwater are contaminated with uranium as a consequence of nuclear weapons production. In "Uranium 'pearls' before slime," scientists from the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) say they discovered that some common bacteria could "convert deadly heavy metal into less threatening nano-spheres." In fact, these bacteria can convert soluble radioactive uranium into a non-toxic solid form called uraninite. Still, more research needs to be done before using these bacteria on a large scale, but it's a step in the good direction. Read more for additional references and photos showing how Shewanella oneidensis can help us to decontaminate groundwater at nuclear waste sites."
08/13/06 - Sick old man finds fountain of youth
A GRANDAD suffering from a rare disease has found a bizarre side effect to his treatment - it makes him look 20 years younger. Reggie Myles, 62, feared he would be crippled for life after being struck down by the genetic disorder Porphyria Cutanea Tarda. He lost his mop of grey hair, his weight dropped to just seven stones and even the simplest tasks such as making a cup of tea became impossible. He was put on a gruelling regime of treatments including steroids and radiation therapy but his doctors were stunned when his hair grew back dark brown and his wrinkles disappeared. Reggie said the change is so dramatic that people think his wife Rosemary's got a toyboy. "I was at the golf club the other day and a friend of mine of 30 years didn't recognise me. Reggie's condition was triggered by a build-up of iron in his liver that causes ulcers and blisters to form on the skin. It can lie dormant until middle age. This caused him to get widespread Sclorederma, another skin condition, which made his skin stiffen and seize up. Reggie, a granddad-of-five, takes 15 tablets a day, has to use special ointment and had UVA radiation therapy for several weeks before his hair began growing back last August. He said: "My wife noticed my hair was coming back because she has to put an ointment on me twice a day. She said the hairs were sprouting back but said they were dark brown. "I thought nothing of it until more grew back and I realised I had shed most of my wrinkles, too. "My wife is a young-looking 59-year-old but now when we have been out people say to her, 'And this must be your toyboy?'" Reggie is now regularly mistaken for one of his two sons, Colin, 41, and Craig, 37. Medical students have filmed Reggie's progress and want to present him as a case study during a medical conference in London. He has also been told he may appear in medical journal The Lancet.
08/13/06 - Reversing one electron to control supercurrent
Netherlands scientists say they've shown that in a quantum-mechanical circuit, the current can be reversed by using a single electron. The researchers led by Leo Kouwenhoven from the Delft University of Technology created a superconducting quantum interference device, or SQUID, and discovered they could reverse the current by placing an electron on a "weak link" where the current has to jump across a kind of barrier. In the SQUID made by Kouwenhoven's team the current circulates around a ring-shaped circuit made from microscopic aluminum wire. There are two breaks in the loop, each bridged by wires just 60 nanometres wide and made from the semiconductor indium arsenide. At very low temperatures the aluminum becomes superconducting and the current is carried by pairs of electrons with zero electrical resistance. The team used electric fields to turn the semiconductor nanowires into "quantum dots" -- isolated islands of electrical charge. Electron pairs can jump to and from the islands, so the supercurrent becomes chopped into discrete parcels of two electrons. By adding just one electron to the quantum dot the researchers found they could reverse the direction of the supercurrent.
08/13/06 - Greenland's ice cap super melting
The vast ice cap that covers most of Greenland is melting at a spectacular rate, and three times faster than five years ago, reports National Geographic News. This is according to a new study, published online by the journal Science, which further indicates that Greenland is currently losing 200 cubic kilometres of ice each year - and accelerating. The study also finds that the melting polar ice is raising sea levels around the globe. This could have a serious impact as global sea levels will rise by 6.5 metres if all the ice on Greenland were to melt, which could result in many islands being wiped out and even low-lying countries such as the Netherlands. According to the National Geographic News, the challenge to scientists is to now examine whether the island is losing more ice mass through melting than it gains from new snow. Greenland's ice sheet is almost five kilometres thick in some places.
08/13/06 - Small waves can produce monster waves
Normal waves can unexpectedly turn into waves the size of a ten-story building. What’s more, these monster waves arise many times more rapidly than was previously thought. This has been shown by researchers at Umea University in Sweden. It is generally known among seafarers that in normal waves you can suddenly stand eye to eye with 25- to 30-meter waves, so-called monster waves. Unlike a tsunami, which is formed by powerful earthquakes at the bottom of the sea, monster waves arise out to sea among regular waves caused by winds. These monster waves are believed to have caused many shipwrecks through the years, and it is well known that oil platforms, like those off the Norwegian coast, are occasionally shaken by these waves. Scientists Bengt Eliasson, Mattias Marklund, and Lennart Stenflo of Umeå University have shown that normal random small waves, from gusts of wind, for instance, can suddenly give rise to monster waves. If the conditions are right, these monster waves grow by ‘borrowing’ energy from surrounding waves, a so-called non-linear effect, and these scientists have now managed to use computer simulations and other methods to produce images of how these waves are created. The results achieved by the Umeå researchers also show that such waves grow to enormous proportions many times more quickly than was previously believed. Since monster waves appear to come out of nowhere and do not have the properties we usually associate with waves, stories of monster waves have previously been viewed as tall tales. In recent years, however, satellites have been used to observe how these waves suddenly appear, only to disappear just as suddenly. The findings from these observations have led to the insight that monster waves occur much more frequently than was ever suspected.
08/13/06 - Intensifying The Sun Hundreds of Times: Hyper-Concentrators
Focusing the sun a myriad times - that's the aim of solar hyper-concentrators. These devices focus high intensity sunlight on a small area, usually with Fresnel lenses or mirrors. The newest concentrators are a competitive power source, rivaling other up-and-coming renewable energy systems. Some devices are capable of achieving a sunlight concentration equivalent to hundreds of suns. The Sterling Solar Energy 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 is connected to a small electricity generator. The entire energy conversion process takes place within a canister the size of an oil barrel. Entech's patented concentrator technology also allows for the installation of massive solar "farms" with reduced requirements for solar cell materials (silicon or multi-junction). Due to the advantages of Entech's concentrator, only 5% of the amount of silicon used in flat plate solar modules is required by current Entech modules to generate the same electrical power. For example, 50 kilowatts of solar cells used in conventional flat plate solar modules generates one megawatt of electrical energy using the Entech modules. Entech concentrators utilize a two-axis tracker to follow the sun's position throughout the day, maximizing energy production. Solar concentrators, which have been used for years in satellites, intensify light to draw more electricity from photovoltaic material. Several other companies are using this technique as a way of making power generation more competitive with traditional electricity delivery. SolFocus' concentrators magnify the light 500 times, which Conley called the "sweet spot" between higher energy production and excessive heat.
08/13/06 - Air Travel Chaos Boosts Exec Jet Demand
(Interesting that the terrorist paranoia idiocy might spawn and abet the development of cheap personal flight devices such as smaller, cheaper jets like these. - JWD) Heightened security in the United States and Britain will undoubtedly boost demand for executive jets, a sector expanding with more models, greater range, and cheaper seats on planes that were at one time only available to the super-rich.
08/12/06 - Solar/Hydrogen Home to be North America's First
After receiving all necessary permits, Renewable Energy International, Inc. announced the scheduled completion in the fall of what is said to be the first solar/hydrogen home in North America, marking a milestone in the development of a sustainable-resource economy. The home, located approximately 70 miles from Manhattan, has an advanced residential solar/hydrogen fuel-cell storage and generation system converts energy between electricity and hydrogen, and will be integrated into an existing solar and geothermal system. It is anticipated the system, in which the homeowner played a key role, will generate enough hydrogen to fuel his car.
08/12/06 - Rechargeble 150 foot depth Mini-Subs for sale
The Dutch company U-Boat Worx is selling one-man and two-man C-Quester SUBMARINES. The C-Quester keeps you totally dry inside, and dives to a maximum depth of 150 feet -- 50 percent deeper than the recreational scuba diving limit -- and has a safety system that won't let you go any deeper. Best of all, the air pressure inside remains constant (the surface pressure), so you don't need to worry about decompression (or decompression sickness). You can stay underwater for 2.5 hours, although the subs contain enough air for 36 hours underwater. You can recharge the batteries in 12 hours.
08/12/06 - Can Laura Bush pack lipstick onto Air Force One?
Does Tony Blair get to bring his laptop on his government plane? Can Laura Bush keep her lipstick with her on Air Force One? Does Dick Cheney take off his shoes and get them x-rayed before he flies? How about Condi Rice's knee-high lace-up boots? Is her mission to Israel delayed while she tries to re-lace them while balancing her laptop bag on one shoulder and trying to get her watch back on? It seems to me like our glorious leaders are pretty good at setting out the "minor inconveniences" that the rest of us have to put up with, but when was the last time you heard of any of them enduring the same measures? These people tell us that these are the necessary austerity measures in the extraordinary times. If FDR told us to fast on Wednesdays and turn our furnaces off on Fridays to help the war effort, I’d expect him to do the same, even if he had a bunker full of canned goods and his own private free energy heater. As far as I can tell, 100 percent of the "security measures" to "fight terrorism" apply to 0 percent of the people who make those decisions.
08/12/06 - Robot Balances on a Single Spherical Wheel
"Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University's Robotics Institute have developed a new kind of robot called the Ballbot that balances on a steel ball. Using a mechanism similar to a ball mouse, the Ballbot uses rollers to drive its single, spherical wheel and balance in place or glide around the room. The promise of such dynamically stable robots is that they can be much taller without having to have a wide base, making them much more suitable for working with humans. They are also much more agile, since they can be pushed out of the way easily without falling over. You can read the press release or check out the project's web page when it recovers from traffic."
08/12/06 - Get rid of Ants with baby powder
All you need to do is figure out where the little buggers are coming in, and sprinkle a baby powder firewall. Ants that are already in your house will lose their scent trail, get lost, and eventually die; ants that are trying to come into your house won't be able to crest the mountain of white. Just as an aside, I've also made this work with lemon-scented cleaner; apparently ants hate that lemony fresh smell.
08/12/06 - Baking bread with Hydrogen in Antartica
According to the Australian Antarctic Division (AAD), Mawson Station, one of their Antarctic field camps, will soon be partially powered by hydrogen produced locally. And as it's cold there at this time of the year - temperatures oscillate between -10°C and -19°C - the station workers will be able to heat their huts with clean hydrogen. They also will be able to bake their bread or power their laptops with this eco-friendly energy source. This project - the first of its kind in Antarctica - should reduce Australia's greenhouse gas emissions in Antarctica. "As the cost of fossil fuels continues to rise, we need to explore renewable energy options to supplement or completely replace them," AAD engineer Peter Magill said. "We have already reduced our fossil fuel use at Mawson by installing two wind turbines. And we can reduce it further by using any electricity generated by the turbines, in excess of station requirements, to produce hydrogen."
08/11/06 - Device cuts power use
THE Shanghai Academy of Science and Technology has invented a cell-phone sized device that can reduce the amount of power an air-conditioner used by more than 8 percent, it announced yesterday. The academy, which has applied for patents for the invention on the Chinese mainland and in Hong Kong, said the device can also stop air-conditioners from dripping on pedestrians. "Our invention is simple but useful to save energy," said Li Jianjun, director of the academy's energy and environmental development research center, which created the device. The device is attached to an air-conditioner by a series of tubes, which collect condensation drops. The water is pumped to the device, which turns it into a fine mist that is sprayed on the back of the air-conditioner, cooling it down significantly. The device is expected to cost about 100 yuan (US$12.50), researchers said. "The more quickly a machine cools down, the more efficiently it works and the less energy it needs," Li said. Tests on several air-conditioners show the device can reduce power consumption by at least 8 percent. "The invention is very exciting because it uses the simplest and cheapest approach to saving energy," said Zhao Guotong, an energy expert. During the hottest part of the summer, air-conditioners account for up to one-third of all power use in the city, researchers said.
08/11/06 - Inventor claims 100 miles per gallon
The new Honda Fit is a tiny, affordable car marketed for its fuel efficiency. The entry-level subcompact car gets up to 38 miles per gallon on the highway, according to Environmental Protection Agency estimates. Singh, an independent contractor who has lived in Reston 15 years, is unimpressed. “If my engine were in the Fit, it would get at least 100 miles per gallon,” said Singh, who has patented what he calls a “super diesel” engine. If Singh’s patented design does what it says, it could make him a very rich man, not to mention the potential to reduce environmentally harmful emissions. In 1996, Singh started codifying his ideas whether on napkins or paper. “When I was stuck, anything I was doing, I was thinking about [the design],” he said. In 1999, Singh filed for his first patent, but it was only half of his idea. “The second part still wasn’t complete,” said Singh. After he filed the second part in 2001, completing his design of a “super diesel” engine, his patent came through a year later. The patent boasts 18 claims, but Singh sums up the innovative design this way: “My super diesel engine increases fuel efficiency up to between 75 and 85 percent.” According to Singh, his design reduces waste inherent in the traditionally designed diesel engine. “Part of my engine is powered by recycled exhaust gas,” said Singh. Singh points out that his engine doesn’t have to be used for cars. “It can power anything.” And because it’s so much more efficient, it reduces harmful greenhouse emissions, he said.
08/11/06 - Renewing the Internal Combustion Engine with HCCI
A quiet revolution over the past 30 years has changed the typical car engine from a self-regulating mechanical device into a computer-controlled system. The resulting improvements in fuel consumption have been masked by the trend for cars to get heavier due to luxury and safety features, but if some future cars are lighter, making more use of aluminium, plastic and carbon composites, buyers will cash in on the computer dividend. With a little tweaking, petrol engines can run on ethanol, methanol, natural gas or liquid petroleum gas, and diesels can run on biodiesel, which can be made from oilseed crops. German car maker BMW has already declared its intention to build internal combustion engines that run on hydrogen. It's a family tradition: the four-stroke engine found in all modern petrol cars was invented by Nicolaus Otto, whose son August Otto founded BMW. In 20 years hydrogen-fuelled BMWs may even be running homogeneous charge compression ignition engines, the ultimate version of internal combustion. A HCCI engine is a hybrid between a petrol and diesel engine, drawing a fuel-air mix into the cylinder like a petrol engine and igniting it with pressure like a diesel engine. The results are diesel efficiency and petrol pollution levels. The drawback is the amount of computer power and precise fuel supply needed to keep these engines running. At this stage they're benchtop curiosities, as Otto's engine was in 1867, but HCCI could give his world-changing invention a second century of life.
08/11/06 - Cancelling interference to increase download speeds
More and more people are signing up for smart phones that can download large amounts of data in the form of Web pages, music, and video. And with more data traveling the wireless pathways, bandwidth -- the data-carrying capacity of wireless channels -- is decreasing, slowing download speeds and causing more calls to get dropped from the network. TensorComm, a Westminster, CO-based telecommunications startup, has developed and tested a set of algorithms that can efficiently cancel out the signal interference from voice and data streams caused by multiple cell-phone signals, thereby freeing up more capacity. Currently, in order for an individual signal from a cellular base station to be received by the intended cell phone, the station needs to transmit the signal through the interfering noise of other phone signals. This can use significant amounts of power and bands of frequencies on the communication spectrum -- resources that could be used to increase bandwidth. By clearing interference at each handset, base station resources could be used to improve cellular service. TensorComm has tested its technology in commercial phones in a major U.S. operator's network, and the company claims that, without using large amounts of battery power, it can increase download rates by up to 80 percent and boost the number of phones a network can carry by 60 percent, resulting in fewer dropped calls. TensorComm's technology, says Thomas, is able to identify the different types of signal interference that bombard a cell phone's antenna from neighboring cell-phone towers. Then the algorithms, which are built into a tiny piece of silicon installed in a cell phone's modem, are able to selectively block the unnecessary signals, canceling out the interference. The process is akin to figuring out which conversation you want to listen to at a party by sampling snippets of other conversations. From a few words and knowledge of who said them, it's easier to choose a conversation.
08/11/06 - Automakers to invest in hybrid project
General Motors Corp., BMW AG (BMWG.DE) and DaimlerChrysler AG plans to invest over $1 billion in the development of a new hybrid transmission and related systems that backers say will leapfrog the market-leading technology now offered by Toyota Motor Corp.The three automakers have about 500 engineers who have been working for the past 18 months on the joint development of the next-generation hybrid engine technology, which combines a battery-powered electric motor with a conventional gasoline combustion engine, company representatives said on Friday on the sidelines of an industry trade meeting. The so-called dual-mode hybrid technology that has been under development by the consortium includes an onboard fuel-optimization computer that determines when and at what speeds the two motors will be used for power and how the on-board battery will be recharged. Development of the transmission -- the core of the project -- is expected to cost about $300 million for the partners, said Andreas Truckenbrodt, executive director of DaimlerChrysler's hybrid programs. The remainder of the investment represents the cost of integrating the new hybrid system with other vehicle components, he said.
08/11/06 - Why Sustainability, not Terrorism, Should Be Our Real Security Focus
What really threatens us? How do we truly make ourselves safer? The Cato Institute (a conservative thinktank) has released an outstanding paper, A False Sense of Insecurity (PDF), which makes the point that in any rational assessment, terrorism is really just not that big of a threat to the average person. For instance, about as many Americans have been killed by terrorists as have been "killed over the same period by lightning, accident-causing deer, or severe allergic reaction to peanuts." Whatsmore, many WMD threats are overblown and largely preventable. Indeed, with exhaustive research, the authors can conclude that: Assessed in broad but reasonable context, terrorism generally does not do much damage. The costs of terrorism are often the result of hasty, ill-considered, and overwrought reactions. A sensible policy approach to the problem might be to stress that any damage terrorists are able to accomplish likely can be absorbed, however grimly. While judicious protective and policing measures are sensible, extensive fear and anxiety over what may at base prove to be a rather limited problem are misplaced, unjustified and counter productive. We, especially those of us in the U.S., have been kept in a panic state for the last five years, told constantly that not only is terrorism an immediate threat to ourselves and the ones we love, but that it is a danger to our very civilization. The result has been both that terrorists have been more successful in spreading terror and that authoritarian politicians have taken the opportunity to reduce government transparency and citizen oversight and erode protections for human rights and democratic process. It also hasn't made us one lick safer, since, while we've been freaking out, fighting an unjustified war and pouring money into the terrorism porkbarrel, we've essentially ignored very big, well- documented threats, from the climate crisis to the weakening of the global public health system and the rise of epidemic disease to the destruction of New Orleans.
08/11/06 - Robot Shopping cart follows you around
It looks almost like any other shopping cart, except sensors allow it to follow the shopper around the supermarket and slow down when needed so items can be placed in it, and it never crashes into anyone's heels. Gregory Garcia dreamed up the robotic cart to solve a childhood peeve of being accidentally hit with shopping carts by his sister. His cart, also known as B.O.S.S. for Battery Operated Smart Servant, was one of about 30 robots on display Wednesday by students at the University of Florida, who worked the past semester on the projects using their engineering backgrounds.
08/11/06 - Reinventing the Transistor
Operating transistors at half steam could help squeeze more out of batteries. As more and more functions are crammed into cell phones and other portable electronic devices, the capacity of their batteries is being sorely tested. A new technique involves the operation of chip transistors at voltage levels below the thresholds they normally need to switch on and off. In effect, this permits idle transistors or those performing low-performance functions to be placed in a kind of standby mode. Transistors normally act like switches -- they're the fundamental components of the digital logic gates that make up silicon chips. By switching on and off, they're able to hold a state of 1 or 0. By using operating voltages below the normal "on" threshold, transistors can still behave like switches, but their behavior is less stable, says Chandrakasan. Below the threshold, any slight variation in the input voltage can produce massive changes in the output voltage. So the challenge in developing subthreshold transistors lies in ensuring that the input voltages are consistent enough not to produce these swings. MIT's Chandrakasan discovered that by selectively reducing the voltages of transistors it is possible to reduce the energy consumption by between five and ten times per operation. There is a trade off, though: "The speed of the circuit reduces," he says. "It can be a thousand times slower."
08/10/06 - Carbon Tax proposal to fund clean energy projects?
Astronomer Royal, Sir Martin Rees, who knows something about catastrophes, has called for a multi-billion dollar crash program to bring clean energy technologies to market: A carbon tax on companies generating the most greenhouse gas could be used to fund the project. "Private companies themselves won't provide an adequate research effort even for technologies that may turn out to be the most important ones, because they're still furthest from market," Prof Rees said. According to the International Energy Agency, 80% of the world's energy needs will be met by fossil fuels by 2030. Nuclear, hydroelectric, biomass and waste power will provide only 17%, with other renewables such as solar and wind accounting for less than 2%. Rees calls this a recipe for catastrophic climate change. Lots of others agree, and, indeed, many leading scientists say we need overall planetary reductions in greenhouse gas emissions of 60-70% over the coming decades.
08/10/06 - Making Electrical Grids More EfficientThis is a wonderful 2 hour DVD which presents one man's lifelong study of pyramids, crystals and their effects. Several of his original and very creative experiments are explained and diagramed out for experimenters. These experiments include; 1) transmutation of zinc to lower elements using a tetrahedron, 2) energy extraction from a pyramid, 3) determining mathematic ratios of nature in a simple experiment, 4) accelerating the growth of food sources, 5) increasing the abundance of food sources, 6) how crystals amplify, focus and defocus energy, 7) using crystals to assist natural healing, 8) how the universe uses spirals and vortexes to produce free energy and MORE...
Energy storage developer Beacon Power Corp. of Wilmington, MA, is proposing an end-run around slow-moving utilities. Rather than marketing its flywheel-based energy storage systems to utilities, the company plans to build its own merchant flywheel plants that move power on and off a power line to stabilize the grid. Beacon Power’s flywheels can absorb and release power in less than four seconds, balancing supply and demand on the power grid faster, cleaner, and cheaper than conventional power plants. Beacon Power's flywheel energy storage systems are designed to provide frequency regulation -- a service for which ISOs paid more than $600 million last year. Grid operators need help with frequency regulation because the frequency of a grid's alternating current is constantly fluctuating as electric devices and generators turn on and off, causing temporary imbalances in power production and demand. Unmet demand puts a strain on a grid's power plants, slowing them down and dragging the grid frequency below its set-point (60 hz in North America, 50 hz in Europe and most of Asia). Excess supply has the opposite effect. And either condition can cause utility lines and power plants to automatically disconnect from the grid, thereby preventing damage to utility and customer equipment, but also increasing the risk of blackouts.
08/10/06 - Bikes Power Computers, Telephones in Developing World
Communication networks, present everywhere in industrialized countries, are not frequently installed in remote areas due to high costs and lack of durability. In addition, rural places do not have reliable electricity to power them.
But a new non-profit company, called Inveneo, is now offering inexpensive ways to install and power these networks. Laura Mellow is with Inveneo in San Franciso, California and says her company's systems are designed to survive dusty and rugged outdoor environments and consume little power. Mellow says that renewable energy sources, which do not require fossil fuels, can power their devices. "Solar is a great technology to use in sunny environments but it's difficult in environments where you are in a rainforest for example, where the treetops are very high and it's very dense," she noted. "There's also wind but that requires a location that has fairly consistent wind." Instead, Mellow says that bicycles, which are the main mode of transportation in many parts of the world, are an ideal source of power for communication networks. "So if it's monsoon season and there is three or four days of no sunlight, you can use it as a backup," she added. "Or if you've got heavy computing requirements. It's a bicycle that is connected to a generator that powers a battery and the system runs off the battery. For about 15 minutes of pedaling time you get one hour of computing time."
08/10/06 - GM shows off fuel cell powered car
The Sequel, which looks like a shrunken minivan and has a range of 300 miles, will be shown to reporters next month in California. But production and sale of the Sequel is a long way off. Wagoner wouldn't give a time estimate for when the public could buy one. "That's rocket science when you get in that car," he said. "This is the most sophisticated product, technologically advanced product, I think we've ever made in the history of GM."
08/10/06 - 0 to 60 in 4 seconds
We tend to associate sports cars with finely tuned, sexy exhaust-noise gasoline engines. The Tesla is nothing like that. It is quiet and quick. The Tesla people say it will do zero to 60 mph in four seconds and will top out at 130 mph. And if its creators have their way, it will be a permanent niche in the eclectic and rarely successful field of electric-powered cars. A handful of firms is out there, trying to build cars for this new, expensive niche. So far, it appears that Tesla is the closest to actually getting some cars on the road -- the Silicon Valley firm says 40 well-heeled customers have paid $100,000 each for a car, even though they won't get their new toys for at least a year. The buyers appear to be captivated by the fact that these electrics are completely different from relatively stodgy electric vehicles of the past. Down the road, Tesla plans a four-door electric-powered sedan that would sell for somewhere between $50,000 and $65,000. But Tesla isn't the only one out there pushing these costly electrics. "It's the new high-power electronics that is making this possible," Woodbury said of the immense power he and other manufacturers are seeing in modern electric vehicle machinery. "Now you have electric cars blowing away Dodge Vipers on the drag strip. Electric cars are expensive and fast, because of better motor controllers and better batteries. People just aren't interested in slow cars." Just remember to plug it in after that ride.
08/10/06 - British aviation bans all hand-luggage
Scotland Yard reports that it foiled an attempt to blow up a US-bound UK passenger jet though a bomb in hand luggage. The UK government has responded to this exemplary bit of policing -- using investigative techniques to discover plots while they are hatching -- by prohibiting all hand-luggage on planes, except for a transparent shopping bag carrying a few permitted items: a couple tampons, baby food (if another passenger is forced to taste it first), glasses without cases (deadly, deadly cases!), contact holders (but no cleaning fluid!), keys (but no electric fobs), and your wallet. You're not allowed to bring on magazines (deadly, deadly magazines!) or books, no laptops, no iPods, no oversized watches (!), and so forth. The point of terrorism is to make us afraid. The UK response to a foiled plot is to create an unspecified period during which fliers are arbitrarily deprived of iPods, novels and dignity. If this is a good idea now, then why won't it still be a good idea in a year? A decade? After all, terrorist plots will always exist in potentia (can you prove that no terrorist plots are hatching at this moment?) Until they handcuff us all nude to our seats and dart us with tranquilizers, there will always be the possibility that a passenger will do something naughty on a plane (even then, who knows how much semtex and roofing nails a bad guy could hide in his colon?). / Jason Gill sez, "I am in the Atlanta airport as I write this; security is a zoo today with many around me complaining of hour long waits. Not only are liquid drinks prohibited, but we were checked for anything even semi-liquid. My girlfriend had to discard lipgloss, lotion, etc. We were told that even deoderant is prohibited and a recording played every few minutes at the gate warns that shampoo and toothpaste are banned. The overpriced perfume/lotion/makeup store is humorously still open past the security checkpoint, but TSA overlords are performing random bag searches and body pat-downs in the gate area. "As I sit waiting for my turn to board now, a prerecorded announcement informed me that there would be no meal service but that 'Delta always welcomes its passengers to bring their own food and beverages aboard.' Hah."
08/09/06 - Protect your Great Idea With A Provisional Patent Application
Less expensive and easier to file than a full (non-provisional) patent application, a provisional application filing buys you time (up to 12 months) to figure out how to market your newest invention and raise much needed capital, while allowing you to claim ownership of the idea as of the date of the filing. Securing a priority filing date is critical because as far as the U.S. government is concerned, ownership rights go to the person who can prove he or she came up with the idea first. Another benefit of filing a PPA is that your invention gains "patent pending" status immediately. Your application will be accepted as long as it contains all the required sections and fees; you do not have to wait for an acceptance or rejection decision at this stage. And unlike non-provisional applications, a PPA is not subject to the Patent Office's 18 month publication rule. Provisional applications are instead kept confidential. This allows you the option of keeping the details of your invention secret until after a full patent application is filed on it, which can be up to a year following the PPA date. Even on the off chance you realize you'll need more than a year for testing or other reasons, your invention will remain under wraps by simply allowing the PPA to expire. A lawyer would charge you about $1800 to prepare the paperwork associated with a provisional patent, but there's a place smart inventors can turn to for help at a fraction of the cost. The nation's leading online legal service center, LegalZoom.com, can do the job for just $299 -- $199 for the application and $100 for the required government filing fee.
08/09/06 - One-a-day Pill may cure Altzheimers
The drug -- called PBT2 -- was developed by a team from the Mental Health Research Institute of Victoria in collaboration with Melbourne-based Prana Biotechnology. The revolutionary drug stops the buildup of a protein called amyloid. Many scientists accept amyloid is a major cause of Alzheimer's as the protein is thought to cause the brain to "rust". Prof Fink said the drug could significantly prevent Alzheimer's developing or delay the on-set of the brain disease for many years. Early clinical testing has confirmed the drug is fast-acting. Levels of amyloid dropped by 60 per cent within 24 hours of a single dose. It found also that PBT2 suppresses the impairment of memory function. More human studies begin in Sweden next month and Australians will join a major international trial of the drug next year. Alzheimer's is a progressive and fatal brain disease. It is the major form of dementia, a disease that affects one in four Australians over the age of 60.
08/09/06 - High Heat - the wave of the Future
A preview of the future -- much hotter decades on a warming planet -- has been delivered today by the continent-spanning heat wave, climate experts say. "Heat wave projections all agree. They are going to intensify in length and frequency" in this century, says climate scientist Claudia Tebaldi of the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colo. Global warming is projected to raise average temperatures worldwide about 3 to 9 degrees in this century, according to a U.N. climate panel. Warmer temperatures load the dice in favor of extreme weather such as heat waves, says climate modeler Gavin Schmidt of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York. "If you don't like the current heat wave event, you're going to like it even less in the future," says climate scientist Bill Chameides of the conservation group Environmental Defense. A study in Nature magazine suggested that global warming was a contributing factor in Europe's 2003 heat wave, which was blamed for 35,000 deaths. During the past century, global average temperatures have risen about 1 degree, largely because of human contributions to the "greenhouse" gases that capture heat in the atmosphere, according to a 2005 National Academy of Sciences report. Such contributions include the carbon dioxide emitted by burning coal, oil and other fossil fuels, the report said. "Some people suggest a 1-degree increase isn't such a big deal, but here we can see what sort of heat extremes it can to lead to," Cullen says. "And it is devastating."
08/09/06 - GE Making Video Cameras That Can Detect Terrorists
Scientists at General Electric Co., are rushing the development of a new "smart video surveillance" system which researchers claim is capable of detecting explosives by recognizing electromagnetic waves given off by objects even if it was concealed. And there's more. Reportedly researchers are developing software that can "recognize faces, pinpoint distress in a crowd by honing in on erratic body movements and synthesize the view of several cameras into one's bird's eye view."
08/09/06 - Meat treated to hide age
AUTHORITIES will investigate the illegal use of dangerous preservatives to hide the age of meat. Tests commissioned by the Sunday Herald Sun of 12 butchers selected at random across Melbourne found one using sulphur dioxide or preservative in beef mince to mask age. Sulphur dioxide can trigger asthma attacks and is banned from use in all meats except sausage mince. Any butcher found to be using sulphur dioxide illegally to make old meat look fresh through enhancing the red colour would be shut down until they complied with stringent requirements, he said. He said PrimeSafe continually tested Victoria's 1100 licensed butchers and found 3 per cent used the illegal preservative. "When we find it, we shut them down," he said. A spokeswoman for the Asthma Foundation said people with sensitivity to sulphides could experience an asthma attack from eating meat adulterated with preservatives. The butcher who sold the Sunday Herald Sun mince with preservatives denied their mince had been adulterated by sulphur dioxide despite the laboratory results.
08/09/06 - Smiley - the Anti-Depressant Fragrance Spray
SMILEY -- the world's first anti-depressant scent -- has gone on sale. The unisex fragrance is on the shelves at upmarket British chain Selfridges, costing from $60 to $150. Swiss makers Firmenich Laboratories say it contains micronutrients which have mood-altering benefits.
Dubai's First Man-Made Island Nearly Finished
With 14,000 laborers toiling day and night, the first of Dubai's three palm-shaped islands is finally about to get its first residents. The Palm Jumeirah, a 12-square-mile island group, is part of what's billed as the largest land-reclamation project in the world, the product of five years of brute hauling of millions of tons of Persian Gulf sand and quarried rock. On Nov. 30, the palm will open to some 4,000 residents, said Issam Kazim, a spokesman for Dubai's state-owned developer Nakheel. When fully complete by 2010, the Palm Jumeirah will be an offshore city, with some 60,000 residents and at least 50,000 workers in 32 hotels and dozens of shops and attractions, Nakheel said. Reports from those who have wandered through the island's giant homes describe them as cheaply finished and set uncomfortably close to one another. Nakheel rejected an Associated Press request to visit the island. Overburdened roads in Dubai's Jumeirah Beach neighborhood are expected to clog further as people begin moving onto the island, accessible, for now, by a single bridge. Mainlanders have already put up with years of road works and innumerable trucks hauling boulders to the island. Those moving onto the Palm Jumeirah this year will have to live with construction for another three years, and then an influx of tourists. Most of the owners are foreigners, with Britons making up the largest group, Kazim said.
08/09/06 - 'Magic' Zeolite turns crude oil into gas
A team of Korean scientists has created a new substance that can convert inexpensive intermediate crude oil to valuable gasoline in a very efficient fashion. The team, led by Prof. Ryoo Ryong at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, yesterday said they had generated a new-type of zeolite that can be a petrochemical catalyst dozens of times more effective than today’s norm. ``Zeolite is the most widely-used catalyst now in the petrochemical industry. It has many outstanding advantages but the hitch is that its efficiency was mediocre due to its slow reaction rate,’’ Ryoo said. ``In comparison, our new-fangled zeolite shows a substantially advanced reaction rate, at 1.5 times to dozens of times better than the one currently available,’’ the 50-year-old professor said. Zeolite refers to a group of minerals that have a porous structure. It makes extremely active catalysts by confining molecules in small spaces with its crystalline pores. In the value-added process of upgrading gas oils to gasoline, firms from around the globe widely resort to the substance as a significant catalyst. However, the problem has been that the pores are too small sized at 0.3 to 1.5 nanometers in diameters that it was difficult for gas oil molecules to diffuse into the center of the zeolitic crystals. Many gas oil molecules are sufficiently large that they don’t easily fit into these pores and scientists have been in quest of zeolite with bigger pores but to no avail. ``We synthesized zeolite with pores that are 10 nanometers in diameters on top of conventional small ones. It is like cutting through a 10-land expressway in addition to existing small roads to weed off traffic jams,’’ Ryoo said. As a unit for measuring length, one nanometer is equal to one-billionth of a meter. Ryoo applied for both local and international patents for the notable zeolite techniques.
08/09/06 - VAWT Turbines offer multiple benefits
PacWind Technologies scaleable Vertical Axis Wind Turbine (VAWT) is made in the U.S.A., and solves several of the inherent problems of traditional propeller based wind turbines. The model SeaHawk is available now. Traditional propeller based wind turbine have several inherent disadvantages, such as noise, susceptibility to cross-winds and the need to control blade speed for self-preservation. A VAWT solves these issues. * The units run completely silent and vibration free. No noise is emitted from the turbines regardless of wind speed. * The VAWT eliminates the need to slow down the turbine under high wind conditions, because the design permits full power output at 60 mph plus and simply won’t turn any faster. * The VAWT is not affected by cross-winds, as the direction of wind is irrelevant. * The turbine features only one moving part minimizing maintenance, utilizing a direct drive generator * The PacWind generates usable power at low wind speeds of 10 MPH. * The VAWT is bird and wildlife friendly. Birds view the VAWT as a solid object. Propeller based turbines, which are invisible to the birds, cause possible injury and death. The VAWT is wildlife friendly. Animals are not frightened by the VAWT due to its silent and vibration free operation.
08/09/06 - Bone Up on Sunshine
AUSTRALIA may be the sunburnt country, but many older people are at risk of bone disease because they don't spend enough time in the sun. Sunlight causes the body to make vitamin D, needed to increase calcium absorption and ensure healthy bones. But elderly people who spend most of their time indoors are at risk of vitamin D deficiency, said Dr Peter Roush, of the National Prescribing Service. This deficiency can lead to osteoporosis, which makes bones weaker. Most Australians do not get enough vitamin D from their diet. Sources include fatty fish, eggs and liver, and some fortified milks and margarines. But Dr Roush said just a limited, safe exposure to sunlight was all most people needed. Doctors recommend the face and arms be exposed to about 10-15 minutes of sunlight four to six times a week, either before 10am or after 3pm to reduce exposure to harmful UV rays.
08/08/06 - The Secret - Law of Attraction movie
A friend turned me on to this excellent movie presented as a documentary to explain how to make things in your life work in your favor. I found it excellent and directly correlating to the many files on KeelyNet referring to 'biasing reality', well, your local reality at least. All is energy therefore since we are energy we can learn (I think) to directly couple to and influence surrounding energy. I knew most of what was so well presented in the movie but hadn't thought about how we GIVE ENERGY both to the things we want and the things we don't want. When we participate in anything that relates to things we don't want such as the War on Drugs, War on Terrorism, War on whatever...they all add energy via the law of attraction and thus simply GROW MORE of the negative things. Focus on the positive to make them a reality and without recharging, the negative things will fade away. Yes, its simplistic but I've seen it work in my own life. Its not new age, its the physics of resonance. The key is once you build up in your mind what you want and add energy to it via 'pinging' everyday, plus 'physical prayer', your chances are much better than just plodding along and letting life happen.
The energy coupling I think uses the squeezing, recoilless emission associated with the Mossbauer effect.
08/08/06 - Food prices would soar in biofuels switch, says Unilever
BRITAIN faces soaring food prices, a shortage of staple foods and declining public health if the Government pushes ahead with plans to promote the use of biofuels, the UK’s biggest food producer has given warning. Unilever fears that Europe-wide plans for a huge increase in use of vegetable oils, such as rapeseed and palm oil, in the manufacture of road fuels will have dramatic consequences, driving up the cost of foods such as margarine and leading consumers to switch to less healthy animal fats. Alan Jope, Unilever vice-president, fears that the rush to convert food crops into transport fuel will have unintended consequences. He said: “The scale is dramatic. To meet current EU quotas would require between 50 and 80 per cent of rapeseed production. Ultimately, there could be supply shortages.” The price of rapeseed, an important ingredient in margarine, has risen by between 20 and 30 per cent over the past year. Meanwhile, the price of palm oil, another edible oil widely used in food as well as in cosmetics, has risen by more than 20 per cent in the past two months on news that Malaysia and Indonesia plan to set aside 40 per cent of their palm oil crop to produce biodiesel. That will have knock-on effects on food, Mr Jope said. Half the cost of producing a tub of margarine is the edible oils and the price of those commodities has risen by 30 per cent this year. Even more worrying is the long-term consequence of substitution in risks to cardiovascular health. For every 1 per cent rise in the price of margarine, there is a 1 per cent fall in consumption, Mr Jope said. “The switch from healthy vegetable oils (to butter and animal fat) will have a dramatic impact on public health,” he said. Figures from the OECD show that Europe would need to convert more than 70 per cent of arable land in order to raise the proportion of biofuel used in road transport to 10 per cent.
08/08/06 - China Newspapers to go Electronic
China's traditional print media are encouraged to develop digital products such as e-newspapers and provide value-added information services according to the guideline set out by the General Administration of Press and Publications. "Newspapers won't be confined to paper," he said. "With the development of transmission and electronic display technologies, newspapers will reach more readers in multiple formats." Lin said e-newspapers may take different forms. For example, an e-newspaper could take on the literal properties of a standard broadsheet newspaper page, presented on a display panel just as it would appear on paper with no difference to the printed edition in size, layout or typography. The simulated electronic paper display, which consists of thin laminated sheets of flexible plastic, could be folded and rolled up for easy carrying. Through wire or wireless website connections, readers would be able to constantly update newspaper content. E-newspapers could also be magazine-sized in a multimedia digital format that combines many qualities of print with the interactive features of the Web to add significant value for readers and advertisers.
08/08/06 - Engineer Designs System To Put Wastewater To Work
In the midst of the worldwide energy crisis, researchers at Washington University in St. Louis have been continuing their work on a microbial fuel cell that generates electricity from wastewater. Advances in the design of this fuel cell in the last year have increased the power output by a factor of 10 and future designs, already in the minds of the researchers, hope to multiply that power output by 10 times again. If that goal can be achieved, the fuel cell could be scaled up for use in food and agricultural industries to generate electrical power - all with the wastewater that today goes right down the drain. Angenent describes how wastewater enters from the bottom of a system and is continuously pumped up through a cylinder filled with granules of activated carbon. Many previous microbial experiments used closed systems with a single batch of nutrient solution, but because this system is continuously fed from a fresh supply of wastewater, Angenent's UMFC has more applications for industry since wastewater is continually outputted during industrial production. The organic matter in the wastewater provides food for a diverse community of bacteria that have developed a biofilm (a thick-layered colony of bacteria) on a simple electrode in the anode chamber. An inexpensive U-shaped proton exchange membrane inside the anode chamber separates the anode from the cathode. As the bacteria feed on the organic material in the wastewater they release electrons to the anodic electrode. These electrons then move to the cathodic electrode via a copper wire. The formed protons are transferred through the membrane towards the cathode where they react with electrons and oxygen to form water. This is the second design of the UMFC. Last year, Angenent's design used a cathode on top of the anode. This time, with the U-shaped design, the surface area was increased and he reduced the distance between the anode and cathode, which helped reduce power loss due to resistance. These two changes are largely responsible for the boost in power by a magnitude of 10 times from a maximum of 3 watts per cubic meter of solution last year to a maximum of 29 w/m3 today. Sustained power in the system can average 20 watts per cubic meter - enough to run a small light bulb.
08/08/06 - Boron + Water = Hydrogen to power your existing car
FORGET cars fuelled by alcohol and vegetable oil. Before long, you might be able to run your car with nothing more than water in its fuel tank. It would be the ultimate zero-emissions vehicle. If hydrogen could be liberated on demand, it would overcome many of the obstacles that till now have prevented the dream of a hydrogen-powered car becoming reality. By reacting water with the element boron, their system produces hydrogen that can be burnt in an internal combustion engine or fed to a fuel cell to generate electricity. "The aim is to produce the hydrogen on-board at a rate matching the demand of the car engine," says Abu-Hamed. "We want to use the boron to save transporting and storing the hydrogen." The only by-product is boron oxide, which can be removed from the car, turned back into boron, and used again. What's more, Abu-Hamed envisages doing this in a solar-powered plant that is completely emission-free. Simple chemistryThe team calculates that a car would have to carry just 18 kilograms of boron and 45 litres of water to produce 5 kilograms of hydrogen, which has the same energy content as a 40-litre tank of conventional fuel. An Israeli company has begun designing a prototype engine that works in the same way, and the Japanese company Samsung has built a prototype scooter based on a similar idea. Abu-Hamed says the generation of hydrogen for his team's engine would be regulated by controlling the flow of water into a series of tanks containing powdered boron. To kick-start the reaction, the water has to be supplied as vapour heated to several hundred degrees, so the car will still require some start-up power, possibly from a battery. Once the engine is running, the heat generated by the highly exothermic oxidation reaction between boron and water could be used to warm the incoming water, Abu-Hamed says. Alternatively, small amounts of hydrogen could be diverted from the engine and stored for use as the start-up fuel. Water produced when the hydrogen is burnt in an internal combustion engine or reacted in a fuel cell could be captured and cycled back to the vehicle's tank, making the whole on-board system truly zero-emission.
08/08/06 - Christian Madrassas documentary
David Byrne on "Jesus Camp," a new documentary film about the indoctrination of young Americans into an intensely politicized form of evangelical Christianity. "There were some perfect sound bites - at one point Pastor Fischer instructs the little ones that they should be willing to die for Christ, and the little ones obediently agree. She may even use the word martyr, which has a shocking echo in the Middle East. I can see future suicide bombers for Jesus - the next step will be learning to fly planes into buildings. Of course, the grownups would say, “Oh no, we’re not like them” - but they admit that the principal difference is simply that “We’re right.” In another scene a cardboard cutout of George W. Bush, with his trademark smirking smile, is brought out and the children are urged to identify - many of the little ones come forward and reverently touch his cardboard hands. I kept saying to myself, “O.K., these are the Christian version of the Madrassas (those Islamic religious instructional schools in Pakistan and elsewhere, often financed by Saudi oil money)...so both sides are pretty much equally sick, there’s a balance." (Although it must be said the Madrassas provide some regular education and literacy where no other option is available, they do community work that is non-religious...and they take in aimless troubled youth.)
08/08/06 - Two other novel hydrogen generation methods
The car giant DaimlerChrysler built a concept vehicle called Natrium (after the Latin word for sodium, from which the element's Na symbol is drawn), which used slightly more sophisticated chemistry to generate its hydrogen. Instead of pure water as the source of the gas, it used a solution of the hydrogen-heavy compound sodium borohydride. When passed over a precious-metal catalyst such as ruthenium, the compound reacts with water to liberate hydrogen that can be fed to a fuel cell. It was enough to give the Natrium a top speed of 130 kilometres per hour and a respectable range of 500 kilometres, but DaimlerChrysler axed the project in 2003 because of difficulties in providing the necessary infrastructure to support the car in an efficient, environmentally friendly way. / Engineuity, an Israeli start-up company run by Amnon Yogev, a former Weizmann Institute scientist, is working on a similar strategy, but using the reaction between aluminium wire and water to generate hydrogen. In Engineuity's design, the tip of the metal wire is ignited and dipped into water to begin splitting the water molecules. The liberated hydrogen is piped into the engine alongside the resulting steam, where it is mixed with air and burnt. Engineuity is looking for investors to pay for a prototype, and claims it will be able to commercialise its idea "in a few years' time". The US company PowerBall Technologies envisages a hydrogen-on-demand engine containing plastic balls filled with sodium hydride powder that are split to dump the contents into water, where it reacts to produce hydrogen.
08/08/06 - Swingin' big band song about rejecting surveillance
Rickie Lee Jones and former members of The Squirrel Nut Zippers, a great big-band revival act, have recorded a jumpin' number about rejecting surveillance and voting for a government that won't spy on us and take away our freedom. This is handily the catchiest political song I've ever heard, and certainly the most danceable. (via boingboing.com)
08/08/06 - Only traitors try to make us afraid of terrorists
The bottom line is, terrorism doesn't kill many people. Even in Israel, you're four times more likely to die in a car wreck than as a result of a terrorist attack. In the USA, you need to be more worried about lightning strikes than terrorism. The point of terrorism is to create terror, and by cynically convincing us that our very countries are at risk from terrorism, our politicians have delivered utter victory to the terrorists: we are terrified.
08/07/06 - Ethanol Plant Fueled by Manure
Panda Ethanol Inc. announced that its Hereford subsidiary has successfully completed $188 million of debt financing on its 100 million gallon ethanol plant in Hereford, Texas, a cattle town in the Texas panhandle. The company will immediately begin facility construction on the 380-acre site and anticipates ethanol production to commence in the second half of 2007. The first-of-its-kind facility will generate the steam used to manufacture ethanol by gasifying more than 1 billion pounds of cattle manure a year making it one of the most fuel efficient ethanol refineries in the nation. Once completed, although it will not be the first, it will be the largest biomass-fueled ethanol plant in the United States.
08/07/06 - Chinese Scientists Develop Cheap and Environment-Friendly Cells
Success has been achieved in the development of two energy conversion and storage devices: a DSSC using an AlI3-ethanol electrolyte and a new Al/I2 primary battery, which are noted for their low production costs and environmental benignity. The researchers have produced a new electrolyte -- AlI3-ethanol electrolyte -- simply by adding aluminum powder and iodine into ethanol at ambient conditions. A DSSC using this electrolyte could achieve an energy conversion efficiency of 5.9% at AM 1.5 (100 mW/cm-2). This is comparable to the DSSC using a conventional LiI-nitrile electrolyte, which usually use expensive anhydrous LiI and noxious solvents. In the Al/I2 battery they have developed, AlI3 is formed spontaneously when aluminum and iodine electrodes are brought into contact at room temperature. Compared with the conventional Li/I2 battery, the new cell can supply a large discharge rate with discharge current density. The low cost of the Al/I2 system as well as the feature of environmental friendliness makes this system as an attractive device for electrochemical energy conversion and storage. The researchers believed that their work on AlI3 electrolyte, based on iodide transport, can also find other applications.
08/07/06 - Scientists on the take - biased opinions for bucks
THE NATIONAL preoccupation with university researchers who collaborate with drug companies has now blossomed into a full-fledged witch hunt. The worry about academics working with industry stems from the fear that drug company money will bias the conclusions of otherwise trustworthy university scientists. Yet this argument is ultimately a dangerous sham -- a sham, because it derives from a naive preconception about the purity of academic scientists, and dangerous, because by discouraging collaborations between researchers from university and industry, we will slow the pace of medical progress. Among the factors associated with irreproducibility includes a category Ioannidis terms ``financial and other interests and prejudices," since ``prejudice may not necessarily have financial roots." Such nonfinancial prejudice may include a bias toward a particular scientific theory, a bias against competing researchers or perspectives, and a desire to generate publications for career advancement. Unfortunately, the newfound obsession with financial conflicts of interest obscures these other, often more compelling pressures on university researchers.
08/07/06 - The Curse of the Plow
The plow has been the subject of two strange superstitions in America, one by Indians, one by white men. When iron plows were first introduced, something over a century ago, many farmers insisted on retaining their old, admittedly inefficient wooden implements because, they said, iron plows would "poison the soil and make it unfit for growing crops." They soon got over their nonsense, of course, and presently everybody was using iron plows. Two or three generations later, when their descendants were streaming out into the Western prairies and plains, in wave after wave of tremendous, land-hungry migration, the hostile Indians held as much enmity against their plows as they did against the men who brought them. Time after time, when raiding Indians attacked wagon trains, they spent their most vindictive arrows, and even their precious powder and shot, on the inanimate farm implements. Captive redskins explained that the plow would "bury the buffalo, and then the Indian could hunt no more." That also was a rather absurd notion on the face of it. Yet in a few years, the buffalo were gone as effectually as though the plow had buried them, and the Indian hunted no more.
08/07/06 - You can buy a DNA test, but beware
Until recently, the nearly 1,000 genetic tests on the market have been available mainly through the mainstream medical establishment -- clinics, hospitals, and doctors' offices. The results have been cautiously interpreted for lay folks by trained genetic counselors. Because of its potential to mislead consumers -- or at least waste their money -- the direct-to-consumer genetic testing industry is generating concern among doctors, patient advocates, and, most recently, the US Senate Special Committee on Aging, which held a hearing late last month tellingly titled, ``At Home DNA Tests: Marketing Scam or Medical Breakthrough?" ``It's a buyer-beware marketplace now," said Gail Javitt , law and policy director of the Genetics and Public Policy Center at Johns Hopkins University. ``While the public believes genetic testing is subject to government oversight, that is largely not the case." Unless test results are interpreted by a trained genetic counselor, people risk getting misinformation, said Dr. Jeff Milunsky , director of clinical genetics at the Boston University School of Medicine's Center for Human Genetics. For example, there are hundreds of mutations in two well-known breast cancer genes, BRCA1 and BRCA2, for which reliable commercial tests exist. A woman could be told that she didn't have the common mutations but might still be at high risk from less common mutations or a different gene altogether, he said.
08/07/06 - Biodiesel Byproduct Fuels Growth in Broilers
Glycerine, a byproduct of biodiesel production, can be used as a dietary supplement for growing broiler chickens, according to research by University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture poultry scientists. Finding valuable new uses for glycerine will become increasingly important as biodiesel production increases, said Park Waldroup, poultry nutritionist for the U of A Center of Excellence for Poultry Science. “There is a rapid increase in the production of biodiesel in the United States, with about 354 million gallons produced annually and additional plants under construction that will nearly double U.S. production capacity,” Waldroup said. “Glycerine, a carbohydrate molecule that makes up 10 to 12 percent of a typical fat, is a byproduct of the manufacture of biodiesel from fats and oils.” The growing production of biodiesel will soon overwhelm traditional uses for glycerine in cosmetics and other products, Waldroup said. So he and his research group are exploring the value of glycerine as an energy source in typical U.S. broiler diets. “Glycerine is recognized as a safe feed additive,” Waldroup said. “It is a pure calorie source that can provide energy to a body for maintenance and growth.” Additional research is needed to evaluate quality issues associated with its use and the effects on such features as feed texture and pellet quality.
08/06/06 - Gasoline's fledgling rivals: the race to power your car
After a 20-year hiatus, ethanol, methanol, biodiesel, electricity, and other potential fuels are pushing to challenge king gasoline at the pump. "I'm willing to say that ethanol from cellulose is the most promising fuel we can see today," says Nathanael Greene, an NRDC analyst. "But we can't have the idea that the search is over. We need performance-based incentives to uncover other possible fuels that may be out there." "I see a race between three types of fuel - ethanol from cellulose and sugar cane, methanol from coal, and electricity from the wall outlet in your garage charging up plug-in hybrid cars," Luft says. Ultimately, trends in the automotive world may be what decides the winning alternative fuel. At this stage, electricity is a strong contender. Earlier this month Toyota announced it will soon move beyond gas-electric hybrid designs to "plug-in" hybrids that tap the power grid to charge their batteries and go farther on electric power alone. Using electricity to power vehicles is so efficient and cheap that, even if the juice flows from a mix of power plants including coal-fired boilers, it would still pollute less on a national basis than using gasoline, say Greene and others who have studied the issue. Driving 20 to 40 miles a day on electricity stored in a modern lithium ion battery would be like driving on gasoline costing just 75 cents per gallon, Luft says. "Electricity is cheaper, cleaner, and better performing than gasoline or any of the other fuels on every parameter," he says. "But that can only happen if manufacturers make plug-in hybrids so people can connect to the grid."
08/06/06 - Why a 'Manhattan Project' for energy won't work
A number of prominent voices claim the Manhattan Project provides a good template for dealing with our energy problems. The New York Times' Thomas Friedman routinely cites the need for a Manhattan Project on energy. So have political strategist Dick Morris and Frank Gaffney of the Set America Free coalition. Various editorial pages around the country have made similar calls for a concerted federal effort to deliver energy independence. They might as well be calling for a new federal Department of Alchemy to turn lead into gold. The idea of a Manhattan Project for energy is a bad one and provides the wrong way of looking at our energy supply challenges and their attendant geopolitical concerns. The original Manhattan Project brought together the Free World's most brilliant minds to invent the atomic bomb. They were in a race against time; the Nazis were working toward the same goal. Money was no object. With the fate of civilization at stake, the cost to develop the Bomb was of minimal concern. Simply, the Manhattan Project's challenge was technological, not economic. Our present energy challenges have it the other way around. This problem is not technological. We already have all sorts of alternatives to crude oil, gasoline and the internal-combustion engine. A present day Manhattan Project for energy would have to focus on making any of the variety of alternatives that already exist cost-effective. While that may sound reasonable enough in theory, keep in mind that the government has actually tried this several times before and failed. President Nixon invoked the Manhattan Project in 1973 when launching a program to achieve energy self-sufficiency by 1980. In 1980, with the nation even further from energy independence than in 1973, the Carter administration set up the Synthetic Fuels Corp. This blew through $20 billion in five years with nothing to show before Congress and the Reagan administration killed the program. Another Carter-era invention, the U.S. Department of Energy, lives on, annually spending billions of taxpayer dollars on basic energy and science research. Despite this torrent of federal spending, no real energy breakthroughs have emerged from the DOE in its quarter-century of existence. Given this track record, why would anyone think a new government agency is going to do any better?
08/06/06 - Geothermal power - clean, silent electricity from out of the ground
The early use of geothermal was to heat buildings with water that was either already at a usable temperature or needed only minimal extra heating. Now, temperatures are being accessed that are high enough to be used in power generation turbines. Roughly 99 per cent of the Earth’s mass is hotter than 1800 E C and, about three miles down, the temperature reaches several hundred degrees. The optimum way of accessing this energy at the moment is Hot Dry Rock (HDR) or Hot Fractured Rock (HFR) technology. These are referred to as Enhanced Geothermal Systems (EGS) because they go beyond the drilling of a simple well. It has been suggested that there could be sufficient energy to produce hundreds of megawatts of electricity per network and, at these depths, the technology enables geothermal power production virtually anywhere in the world. It is predicted that plants could work over a reservoir for 30 years without experiencing a significant drop in temperature. And this would be available 24 hours a day because it does not rely on variables such as tides, waves, wind or sun. But drilling is an expensive business. The steam power plant now used to make electricity was invented 150 years ago by Scottish engineer William Rankine. It uses a heat source-coal, oil, natural gas, geothermal heat-to produce high-pressure steam that drives a turbine. The excess steam is condensed into water, which is then pumped back to a boiler. But, in a Rankine cycle, only about 35 to 40 per cent of the heat energy released ever becomes electricity, which means an excess depletion of heating resources. Mixing the water with ammonia, which evaporates at lower temperatures, can raise efficiency at the heat stage of the cycle. But ammonia also condenses less readily, forcing engineers to use smaller turbines and lowering efficiency. Kalina’s invention solves that problem, using sophisticated thermodynamics to draw off most of the ammonia before the condensation stage. A Kalina cycle can boost efficiency by as much as 40 per cent.
08/06/06 - Holographic storage in 2006?
"What do you do when you're getting close to the limits of 2-dimensional optical technology? Well, how many dimensions do we have to work with?" From the Ars Technica article: "How much greater data density? In the Hitachi Maxell device, a single disc about 1 cm larger in diameter than a CD will buy you 300GB. By way of contrast, HD-DVD currently offers a maximum of 30GB on a 2-layer disc, and Blu-ray tops out at 50GB. Although upgrades are in the works that promise to increase the capacity of both of those formats, even the most pie-in-the-sky predictions fall short of what is planned for merely the first commercial generation of holographic storage. Future plans for that medium include boosting the capacity to 800GB in two years, and 1.6TB per disc by 2010."
08/06/06 - Fecal matter in California water sickening swimmers
Faecal contamination could be responsible for up to 1.5 million cases of gastrointestinal (GI) illness in swimmers and other recreational water users in southern California each year. The annual health cost comes in at over $400 million, according to one estimate. Suzan Given of the department of environmental health services at the University of California, Los Angeles, and colleagues analysed measurements of water quality from 28 beaches along 160 kilometres of coastline in Los Angeles and Orange counties. The seawater at beaches visited by more than 50,000 people a year must by law have the density of "faecal indicator" bacteria - bugs found in human guts and waste - monitored for public safety. Many are shut when health limits are exceeded. Some beaches, such as Santa Monica, log more than 6 million visitors a year. "Sewage systems in many neighbourboods are old and may malfunction," says Given, though she points out that one of the difficulties in tackling the problem is that the sources of the bacteria are "largely unknown".
08/06/06 - Seaweed Capacitors
French scientists demonstrated that seaweed, when burned to a crisp, is a great material for making supercapacitors that could provide more power than traditional batteries. Today, the electrodes in supercapacitors are usually made from activated carbon. According to Francois Béguin of the CNRS Research Centre on Divided Matter and his colleagues, cooked seaweed carbon can be charged to much higher voltages making small supercapacitors to power, say, laptops, more of a practical possibility. From News@Nature: "People working on carbons are always looking for improved properties," says Mildred Dresselhaus, a specialist in carbon materials at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She points out that coconut shells are already used as a source of porous carbon for water filtration and other applications. "Low-tech routes are commonly used when they do the job," Dresselhaus says... The French team cooked alginate (abundant in brown seaweeds) in an air-free enclosure, turning it into a black powder. They then combined this with a polymer binder to make a hard material, which they shaped into electrodes for supercapacitors. The amount of electrical charge and energy that these devices can hold is comparable to that of capacitors made from commercial activated carbons. But the seaweed capacitors can be charged to voltages twice as high without breaking down, and the material is twice as dense. They hold up well over time, too: their charge-storage capacity declines by only 15% after 10,000 cycles of charging and discharging.
08/05/06 - Underground Radio - literally 'underground'
Los Alamos National Laboratory says Vital Alert Technologies Inc. has signed two exclusive license agreements with the lab for Underground Radio™, a technology that will provide two-way voice and text capability known as Through-The-Earth-Communication™ for first responders, rescue and security teams, underground miners and the public in critical emergency situations. Underground Radio uses very low frequency (VLF) electromagnetic radiation and digital audio compression technologies to carry voice and text data. The VLF signals also can transmit tracking and location data for radio users in case they are unable to respond. "This is a technical solution to the problem of voice communication in underground areas," said David Reagor, the principal investigator of the Los Alamos team that originally developed the technology. "It's also inexpensive to build." / VitaLert.com - This technology is not 'radio' and does not have the short falls of radio, which is line of sight technology. EBN technology has the ability to penetrate the earth by sending vital information through the earth for several miles or through steel and concrete buildings. Rock, concrete, steel, debris and dust cannot stop the EBN communications signal. It is the 'real' solution to radio failures that plagued warning and rescue operations during disaster and extreme environmental situations such as the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Towers, Madrid, and the London subway bombings. EBN's 2-way, voice and text messaging technology can be used in urban, subterranean and ocean environments, The network's 2-way voice system has the ability to penetrate the earth to depths of up to a thousand feet. EBN's text messaging system can penetrate to 9000 feet. It is the first and only fail-safe early warning, emergency and evacuation network technology, capable of communicating through skyscrapers, subways, tunnels, the earth, the ocean and more.
08/05/06 - New Universal Joint Coupling would save fuel
The Thompson Coupling is the world's first constant velocity universal joint that has no load bearing sliding surfaces. While that may not mean much to the average person, inventor and chairperson of Thompson Couplings Ltd, Glenn Thompson, is confident saving on fuel will. "Given the rising cost of fuel that impacts on every family budget this will make a difference," Mr Thompson said. "This is a smooth, powerful, durable and efficient product." Testing carried out at the Thompson Couplings test factory in Orange has confirmed the product has many advantages over existing commercial CV couplings and universal joints. "The trucking, marine, agriculture and aviation industries could all utilise this product," Mr Thompson said. "The sky's the limit." Last week a patent was granted for the Thompson Coupling in China, opening up a wealth of opportunity for the Australian owned Orange based company. Thompson Couplings now holds patents in New Zealand, Singapore, South Africa and China with patents pending in a number of other countries including Japan and the US.
08/05/06 - $100 oil would probably drag down the U.S. economy
The U.S. economy would not necessarily go into recession with oil at $100 a barrel but consumers would feel the pain and the economy would slow further, Standard & Poor's said on Thursday. Analysts at the New York-based ratings and financial research company emphasized they are not forecasting oil at $100 a barrel, but the steady rise in crude prices over the last three years and the fear of potential supply disruptions has created the situation where it is at least imaginable. "The good news today is that we feel even a $100 price would not result in a U.S. recession," said David Wyss, S&P's chief economist. But "the U.S. is more vulnerable today than it was a couple of years ago because the economy is slowing down." U.S. crude oil for September delivery was trading near $74.50 on the New York Mercantile Exchange early Thursday afternoon. All it would take is a major hurricane, an attack on a production or loading facility, or political or military action that prompts a large producer such as Iran to stop production to push oil prices higher, S&P said.
08/05/06 - Funding for Free Energy Projects?
Please note that the following site and company are very shortly launching funding for Humanitarian Projects and on their list is renewable energy. I would encourage inventors and entrepreneurs who have a proven product, background and inititive for success to apply to this company. The world has never seen some of your projects before and it is now time that these are produced for the world to use. Apply, you have nothing to lose and when you know what this company is about you will be glad you did your research.
Go to: http://www.gesg.org/
08/05/06 - Dye-sensitized solar cells ready for major production
Konarka Technologies, developer of Power Plastic™ dye-sensitized solar cells has signed a non-exclusive licensing and joint development agreement for large-scale production with Renewable Capital Ltd of London, UK. As part of the agreement, Renewable Capital will have ongoing access to Konarka’s dye-cell technology, as it is developed. It anticipates the technology will scale to several hundred megawatts. Konarkaq has licensee rights to dye-sensitized solar cell technology from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (EPFL). The EPFL's dye-sensitized technology was developed by the world-renowned scientist, Dr. Michael Graetzel, and enables photovoltaic technology to create energy across a broad spectrum of light, both indoors and outdoors. Konarka significantly enhanced the technology and process development based on the company's own inventions and exclusive, worldwide licensing rights to proprietary processes that enable production at lower temperatures, serving as the foundation for extremely low manufacturing costs.
08/05/06 - Interview with Ulf Bossel - Hydrogen vs Electron Economy
Here is the transcript of the recent podcast conversation that I had with Dr. Ulf Bossel, organizer of the Lucerne Fuel Cell Forum, about his announcement that hydrogen will no longer be a topic of conversation at the conference, and also his vision for a sustainable energy future. / Ulf Bossel: Hydrogen and fuel cell, hydrogen is an artificial fuel, synthetic fuel. It has to be made from other energy. If you look at the energy, the renewable energy, most of it is harvested as electricity, the chips of biomass and so on of course, some heat for water heat, but basically all the renewable energy is harvested as electricity. Hydrogen has to be made artificially by splitting water by electrolysis and that requires more energy than you will ever find in the hydrogen, but the hydrogen then has to be compressed or liquefied in order to be transported, to be distributed, and then it is reconverted back to, guess what, electricity. That means electricity derived from hydrogen has to compete with its original energy source, electricity, and if you go through a chain, you find that only 25% of the original electricity can be used by people after the fuel cell. The efficiency criteria are not satisfied in hydrogen economy. Hydrogen economy is a gigantic energy waste and we cannot afford this in the future; therefore, there has been [05:22 unintelligible] and energy derived from hydrogen and fuel cells is four times more expensive because of the 75% loss. Because of the losses, electricity derived from fuel cells and hydrogen must be four times more expensive than power from the grid.
08/04/06 - Curry as a Brain Booster
Call it yellow ginger, haldi, turmeric or E100, the yellow root of Curcuma longa, a staple ingredient in curry, is turning out to be gratifyingly healthy. Now Tze-Pin Ng and colleagues at the National University of Singapore have discovered that curry eating seems to boost brain power in elderly people. Curcumin, a constituent of turmeric, is an antioxidant, and reports have suggested that it inhibits the build-up of amyloid plaques in people with Alzheimer's. Ng's team looked at the curry-eating habits of 1010 Asian people unaffected by Alzheimer's and aged between 60 and 93, and compared their performance in a standard test of cognitive function, the Mini Mental State Examination. Those people who consumed curry "occasionally" (once or more in 6 months but less than once a month) and "often" (more than once a month) had better MMSE results than those who only ate curry "never or rarely". "What is remarkable is that apparently one needs only to consume curry once in a while for the better cognitive performance to be evidenced," says Ng, who says he wants to confirm the results, possibly in a controlled clinical trial comparing curcumin and a placebo.
08/04/06 - Replacing Humans with Software Inspectors
"What if you were able to perform a portion of your code reviews automatically? In this first article of the new series 'Automation for the People', development automation expert Paul Duvall begins with a look at automated inspectors like CheckStyle, JavaNCSS, and CPD. The piece examines how these tools enhance the development process and when you should use them." From the article: "Every time a team member commits modifications to a version control repository, the code has changed. But how did it change? Was the modified code the victim of a copy-and-paste job? Did the complexity increase? The only way to know is to run a software inspector at every check-in. Moreover, receiving feedback on each of the risks discussed thus far on a continuous basis is one sure-fire way to keep a code base's health in check automatically!"
08/04/06 - Are Lithium-Ion Electric Cars Safe?
Laptops equipped with lithium-ion batteries occasionally overheat and catch fire. This has some people concerned about the use of this type of battery in new electric sports cars and kits for converting conventional cars and hybrid vehicles into all-electric cars. Lithium-ion batteries have long been favored for powering laptops and cell phones because they're small and light. But packing so much energy into a small space is also dangerous. The batteries have been known to burst into flames, sometime violently; and because both the fuel and the oxidizer are bundled into the battery, they can't be smothered like common fires, says Dan Doughty, who manages lithium-ion battery testing at Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque, NM. The key safety challenges are preventing overcharging, overheating, and damage in an accident. In each case, chemical reactions can get out of control, causing "thermal runaway," which can generate temperatures hot enough to melt aluminum and cause batteries to explode, he says. According to the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission, from 2003 to 2005 more than 300 incidents occurred involving lithium-ion laptop and cell-phone batteries overheating or catching fire. Many of the incidents involved personal injury.
08/04/06 - Capacitor + Nanotubes = Superbattery
"Modern day batteries use chemical reactions to provide over 25 times more energy than capacitors, but they slowly lose their energy potential after being recharged over and over. Capacitors, a 300 year old technology, use an electric field between two metal electrodes to create less energy, but can be recharged very quickly 'perhaps hundreds of thousands of times.' Researchers at MIT are resurrecting the 'old' capacitor technology and coupling it with nanotechnology to make a superbattery. By covering the electrodes used in the capacitor with millions of nanotubes, their surface area is increased significantly resulting in a battery that has the best of both worlds: short charging times (seconds, not hours), long life (indefinite?), and high power density (like chemical batteries of today). The impact of the technology could be huge for devices ranging anywhere from hearing aids to automobiles, in addition to reducing the environmental impact of discarded batteries."
08/04/06 - Saudi Arabia rules out withholding oil as a persuader weapon
Saudi Arabia, the world's biggest crude exporter, believes oil should not be used as a weapon because it is the economic lifeline of Arab states, its foreign minister said. Asked whether the oil weapon should be used if the conflict between Israel and Hizbollah escalates, Prince Saud al-Faisal said: "The two issues should not be mixed because oil is among the economic capabilities that countries... need to meet their obligations toward their citizens. "If we ignore this reality and start asking that the foundations of our life (be used) and enter into reckless adventures, the first to be hurt will be our citizens and no wise government can accept this," he told a news conference. Saudi Arabia, OPEC's largest producer, has repeatedly vowed to remain a trustworthy supplier to world oil markets and pledged to maintain at least 1.5 million barrels a day (bpd) of spare production capacity. The kingdom, which holds the bulk of OPEC's spare capacity, has accelerated oilfield expansion plans to hike its production capacity to 12.5 million barrels per day (bpd) by 2009 from 11.3 million bpd to meet growing world demand. Global oil prices hit a record-high of $78.40 a barrel last month on fears the Israeli-Lebanese conflict could spread to Middle East oil producers. Tensions in OPEC members Iraq, Iran, Nigeria and Venezuela have also contributed to the price rally.
08/04/06 - Altered Oceans - the Rise of Slime
"In many places -- the atolls of the Pacific, the shrimp beds of the Eastern Seaboard, the fjords of Norway -- some of the most advanced forms of ocean life are struggling to survive while the most primitive are thriving and spreading. Fish, corals and marine mammals are dying while algae, bacteria and jellyfish are growing unchecked. Where this pattern is most pronounced, scientists evoke a scenario of evolution running in reverse, returning to the primeval seas of hundreds of millions of years ago. Jeremy B.C. Jackson, a marine ecologist and paleontologist at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in La Jolla, says we are witnessing 'the rise of slime.'"
08/03/06 - First Aether/Orgone Motor Patent Issued (July 2006)
I just found out this morning (Tuesday) that U.S. Patent #7,053,576 was issued May 30th for Dr. Paulo and Alexandra Correa's "Aether/Orgone Motor & Converter". / From the patent; Claim #1 - A device for the conversion of massfree radiation into electrical or electrokinetic energy comprising a transmitter of massfree electrical radiation having a damped wave component, a receiver of such radiation tuned to resonance with the damped wave frequency of the transmitter, a co-resonant output circuit coupled into and extracting electrical or electrokinetic energy from the receiver, and at least one of a transmission cavity between the transmitter and the receiver, a full-wave rectifier in the co-resonant output circuit, and an oscillatory pulsed glow discharge device incorporated in the co-resonant output circuit. / Description - "According to the invention, a device for the conversion of massfree radiation (as herein defined) into electrical or kinetic energy comprises a transmitter of massfree electrical radiation having a damped wave component, a receiver of such radiation tuned to resonance with the damped wave frequency of the transmitter, a co-resonant output circuit coupled into and extracting electrical or kinetic energy from the receiver, and at least one of a transmission cavity between the transmitter and the receiver, a full-wave rectifier in the co-resonant output circuit, and an oscillatory pulsed glow discharge device incorporated in the co-resonant output circuit. The output circuit preferably comprises a full wave rectifier presenting a capacitance to the receiver, or an electric motor, preferably a split phase motor, presenting inductance to the receiver. The transmitter and receiver each preferably comprise a Tesla coil and/or an autogenous pulsed abnormal glow discharge device. The transmission cavity is preferably at least partially evacuated, and comprises spaced plates connected respectively to the distal poles of the secondaries of Tesla coils incorporated in the transmitter and receiver respectively, the plates being parallel or concentric. The split-phase motor is preferably an inertially damped AC drag motor." / Alexander Frolov writes: Please note that Pulsed Abnormal Glow Discharge (PAGD) by Correa is similar to Self-generating Discharge by Russian discovery by Alexander Chernetsky (you can see his articles in the net, English version also). / Plasma Discharge and Chernetski.
08/03/06 - Brightening Sun is Warming Earth
There is a better explanation for global warming than air pollution, two Harvard researchers say: the Sun is increasing in brightness and radiance. "Changes in the Sun can account for major climate changes on Earth for the past 300 years, including part of the recent surge of global warming," claims Sallie Baliunas, an astronomer at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA). "We're not saying that variations in solar activity account for all of the global rise in temperature that we are experiencing," cautions her CfA colleague, astrophysicist Willie Soon. "But we believe these variations are the major driving force. Heat-trapping gases emitted by smokestacks and vehicles -- the so-called greenhouse effect -- appear to be secondary." Since the late 1970s, three Sun-watching satellites recorded surprising changes in heat, ultraviolet radiation, and solar wind. The radiation alters the paths of winter storms; solar winds affect cloudiness and rainfall. The increased activity, everyone agrees, is tied to a cycle that sees the Sun dimming, then brightening, every 11 years or so. From the late 1970s to mid-1980s, activity on Earth's star declined. Since then it has risen, declined, then risen again. The satellites measured an increase in brightness of as much as 0.14 percent on the latest rise. "A change of 0.5 percent in brightness sustained over several past cycles could account for the 2 degree change in climate we have experienced since the beginning of the 18th century," Baliunas maintains. "We don't know if this actually happened, but it indicates that the Sun is a major driver of climate change. We cannot ignore its variations when accounting for the present global warming."
08/03/06 - Solar Concentrators for more power, less space
Focus enough sunlight on a sheet of paper and you can light a fire. Focus the same sunlight on a solar cell and you can generate plenty of electricity. SolFocus employs mirrors to focus sunlight 500-fold onto high-efficiency solar cells. SolFocus' design uses one-thousandth as much semiconductor material per watt produced as a conventional silicon photovoltaic cell. The technology uses compound photovoltaics such as germanium and gallium arsenide, originally designed for use in satellites, which can capture up to 40 percent of the solar energy hitting them -- more than double the efficiency of high-end silicon cells. But the bulk of the materials reduction comes from the concentrator, which Conley says resembles the headlight in most modern cars. "Put the cell where the light bulb is and you have our design," says Conley. Mirrors are the key: a primary mirror that focuses sunlight onto a smaller mirror perched above, which, in turn, focuses the light on the solar cell. SolFocus' current, first-generation design molds an array of 635-square-centimeter mirrors into a glass plate. Secondary mirrors attached above them reflect light through holes in the plate onto one-centimeter-square high-efficiency cells below.
08/03/06 - New Watchdog To Make Gizmos Burglar Proof
Now, burglars might think twice before heading off with electronic equipment. Why? Because the chances are that what they steal may not work once they leave their original home. A French company named Thomson says it has developed a watchdog device that keeps "watch" over every piece of electronic equipment in a house. The device includes a secret code that is hidden inside the house or inside an ordinary domestic appliance. Every electronic gadget in the house would include a circuit that communicates with the watchdog device through electrical pulses sent over the mains system. A new piece of equipment plugged in to the house's main supply would automatically sense the watchdog code. Every time the electronic equipment is switched on, the device will check if it can still pick up the code. The company says that it will work only if it an pick up the specific code, and if a burglar steals a piece of protected equipment, it will not work when it is plugged into a different mains supply. However, there is one way to beat the system, which would be to steal the watchdog device as well; this would mean stealing everything that is plugged into the mains.
08/03/06 - The beginnings of the Autonomous Home
New System Provides Power, Water And Refrigeration From One Source. In a project funded by the U.S. Army, two University of Florida engineers have designed, built and successfully tested a combined power-refrigeration system that can provide all three - and, with further development, be made compact enough to fit inside a military jet or large truck. “If you’re in a forward base in Iraq, it costs you the same per gallon of water as it does per gallon of fuel,” said William Lear, a UF associate professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering. “It would be better to just have to send fuel out there, especially if you could get refrigeration and water out of it - which is what our system achieves.” The engineering researchers’ solution: a small system that ties a novel gas turbine power plant to a heat-operated refrigeration system. The refrigeration makes the gas turbine more efficient, while also producing cool air and potable water. The turbine can run on conventional fossil fuels as well as biomass-produced fuels or hydrogen. The system, which makes water by condensing the turbine’s combustion gases, is capable of producing about one gallon of water for every gallon of fuel burned, Sherif said. The water would need to be treated to be potable, but even if untreated it could be used for cleaning or other purposes. Because the plant reuses gases so extensively, the power plant also has very low polluting emissions, Lear added. Housed in an engineering college laboratory, it appears at first as a maze of tubes and pipes reminiscent of a Dr. Seuss drawing. But a closer inspection reveals a carefully designed “flow pattern” routing gases through and around a small gas turbine, with dozens of electronic and pneumatic monitoring probes. Operators run the test plant from an adjacent control room.
08/03/06 - Liquid Body Armor
It seems crazy, the notion that you could shield yourself from bullets, shrapnel, and knives by donning the equivalent of a wet suit. But by early next year, Robert R. Schiller, the president and chief operating officer of Armor Holdings aims to be selling what he describes as "liquid armor" -- garments constructed from layers of tough fibers and fluid polymers -- to prison guards. By the end of 2007, he hopes, police and maybe soldiers will begin wearing the company's new protective gear as well.
08/03/06 - OBVIO! to Introduce Electric Cars to North America
Brazilian automotive company OBVIO! will develop and introduce lithium-ion-powered electric cars based on its 828 and 012 microsport car designs (earlier post) for export to North America. The initial versions of the 828 and 012 car designs will be flex-fueled, and will go into production in 2007. The 828E and 012E equipped with electric drive systems will not be far behind, according to OBVIO! President Ricardo Machado. The preliminary specifications for the OBVIO! electric cars include a range of 200 to 240 miles, with acceleration from 0 to 60 mph of less than 4.5 seconds and a top speed of 120 mph. A 39 kWh lithium-ion battery system will power the 120 kW (160 hp), 220 Nm (162 lb-ft) electric motor. A full normal recharge will take five hours, with a fast charge taking two hours. A 30-minute quick charge will provide a 20 to 50 mile range. OBVIO! is also providing a bi-directional vehicle-to-grid (V2G) interface. Target prices for the 828E and 012E are $49,000 and $59,000 respectively.
08/03/06 - 225 year old pigment key to Spintronics technology
Imagine turning on your computer and not having to wait for it to load the operating system, virus protection, firewalls and other programs. Imagine that random access memory is accessible immediately, like turning on room lights. That could be the reality of future devices that allow electrons to be manipulated by their magnetic properties as well as by their electrical charge. The ability to manipulate electrons' magnetism, in addition to controlling their charge flow, has the potential to create broad new capabilities for computers and other devices and is the basis for an emerging technology called "spintronics." A major barrier to creating such devices is finding nonvolatile magnetic semiconductor materials, ones that don't demagnetize easily. So far the only materials found that meet the requirements operate only at a decidedly uncomfortable 200 degrees below zero Celsius, about minus 328 Fahrenheit. But now researchers at the University of Washington have demonstrated a material - a mixture of zinc oxide and cobalt first formulated in 1780 as a pigment called cobalt green - that appears capable of operating in more suitable environments and would allow electrons to be manipulated both electrically and magnetically.
08/03/06 - How Australia got hot for solar power
24,000 acres of emptiness stretching toward the horizon, the landscape bare but for clumps of scrubby eucalyptus trees and an occasional sheep. It's a dead-calm antipodean winter's day, the silence of this vast ranch called Tapio Station broken only by the cry of a currawong bird. Davey, chief executive of Melbourne renewable-energy company EnviroMission, aims to break ground here early next year on the world's first commercial "solar tower" power station. The tower will be over there," Davey says, pointing to a spot a mile distant where a 1,600-foot structure will rise from the ocher-colored earth. Picture a 260-foot-diameter cylinder taller than the Sears Tower encircled by a two-mile-diameter transparent canopy at ground level. About 8 feet tall at the perimeter, where Davey has his feet planted, the solar collector will gradually slope up to a height of 50 to 60 feet at the tower's base. Acting as a giant greenhouse, the solar collector will superheat the air with radiation from the sun. Hot air rises, naturally, and the tower will operate as a giant vacuum. As the air is sucked into the tower, it will produce wind to power an array of turbine generators clustered around the structure.
08/03/06 - Scattered laser light gives bacteria away
By looking at the distinctive ways in which colonies of bacteria scatter laser light, US researchers have built a fast, cheap way of detecting the presence of potentially deadly microbes. The device, called a laser scatterometer, can identify bacterial colonies after just a few hours of growth. Bacterial colonies grow in complex structures that are specific to their species. When hit with a laser beam, Robinson and his colleagues have found that these structures scatter light into a unique pattern, akin to a fingerprint. The patterns are projected onto a screen behind the Petri dish, and recorded with a digital camera. By analysing the resulting images mathematically, the researchers could recognise six different species of Listeria, bacteria commonly found in food, with 90% accuracy. They even managed to distinguish multiple species of the bacteria growing within the same culture. “We were genuinely surprised by our success,” says Robinson. Once the scatterometer’s analytical software learns a bacterial pattern, it automatically recognises it in the future. Robinson aims to build a database of microbes that the system can identify without further human input. The entire hardware for the system - consisting of a small laser diode, screen, Petri dish, computer, and digital camera - costs less than $1000.
08/03/06 - URGENT: Call your Senator NOW to stop surveillance bill
Senator Arlen Specter is rushing his Surveillance Bill through the Senate, hoping to get ahead of the outraged calls and emails from voters across the country who want to stop the never-ending expansion of Federal domestic surveillance powers over law-abiding citizens. Call your Senator right now and make sure that s/he knows that you don't want your government listening in on your phone-calls and reading your email -- it may be too late tomorrow.
08/03/06 - New York Plans Plug-in Hybrid Conversion Program for 600 State Vehicles
Under the $10 million plug-in hybrids program, the 600 hybrid vehicles in the State fleet will be retrofitted to be plug-in hybrids. Once the State’s hybrid vehicles have been converted to plug-in hybrids, the program will be made available to private vehicle owners through a competitive process. The New York State Alternative Fuel Vehicle Research Laboratory will conduct testing for advanced and emerging technologies such as fuel cell propulsion systems, alternative fuels, and greenhouse gas reduction technologies. Special focus will be on test systems to quantify all emissions from diesel buses and trucks, which will help to develop advanced control and retrofit technologies for these vehicles.
08/02/06 - Straw Bale housing, sturdy, cheap and energy efficient
As the prices of electricity and petrol soar, people are beginning to work out how to save energy and money in their daily lives. In the US, particularly in the vast tracts of Nebraska, building with straw bales became very popular after the invention of baling machines in the 1850s, and some of the bale buildings created in the early 1900s are still in use. Straw-bale construction is relatively new to New Zealand, but is rapidly gaining in popularity. "It's not loony fringe any more, it's becoming relatively mainstream," says Ross Berry. He and partner Sarah Lambert are building a 250 sq m straw-bale house on a 6ha block at Raukawa. Straw-bale houses can be timber-framed with straw infill, or have load-bearing straw walls. The walls of Ross and Sarah's house are timber with straw infill. The straw is trimmed then covered in wrap or netting, given three layers of stucco, then a coat of breathable paint. The eaves are wide, and there is careful attention to flashing. The idea is to protect the walls from rain, but it's not the end of the world if an area of straw does get damp, says Ross. "You smack away the stucco, pull out the straw, replace it, and patch it up." They've used 500 bales for their home. "The whole thing is flexible in the amount of detail you want. If you want a doorway, you attack the bales with a chainsaw. Or if you want a nook, just make one. You can carve a bookcase into an interior wall. Someone arty and crafty could have a field day," says Ross. The bales framing their windows have been shaped into curves away from the windows to let in more light, even though the house has extensive areas of glass along its north-facing front and spectacular views. Windows can be on the outside or the inside of the half-metre-thick walls. "You can create window seats. A lot of the stuff we're making up as we go." "I built one in North Carolina, which has rainfall you wouldn't believe." He's built everything from cottages to three-storeyed mansions, most of them timber-framed with straw infill, and they've cost anywhere between $100,000 and $1.5m. They also retain a constant temperature requiring almost no heat or air conditioning. Some people decide to do a lot of the work themselves, others don't have the time or opportunity, although most choose to help install the straw bales.
08/02/06 - Energy Efficiency in all things
Robert Wilder, president of WilderShares, which manages two clean energy indices, said enormous strides are going to be made in energy efficiency in the next few years, if oil prices remain high. “Energy efficiency is the sleeping giant,” he said. “It may not be as sexy as solar power, wind farms, or the latest tidal power, but it’s a big chunk of where progress can be made.” About three years ago, Glacier Bay began to combine the technologies it had developed over the years to create what it calls an “integrated energy platform” for private yachts, as well as military, long-haul trucking, and medical device applications. The platform’s concept is this: unlike a wall socket, which provides the same voltage regardless of the amount needed by whatever device is plugged in, Glacier Bay generators supply the specific amount required by the devices that are using the power. “Providing a constant voltage and frequency has worked for a great many years, but it’s not very efficient,” Mr. Alston said. “We looked at trying to optimize voltage and frequency being used and generated, and all of a sudden these tremendous efficiencies can come into play.” That means the devices use different amounts of electricity depending on what they are doing. Glacier Bay’s technology allows the generator and motors to communicate, so the loads-the amount of electricity needed-match the amount being generated. In other words, instead of the generator always giving the motor the full horsepower, Glacier Bay allows the generator to create only the power that’s needed at any time. On top of that, the generator and motors are designed more efficiently. All this reduces the size and weight of the components, and reduces electrical use by 20 to 50 percent.
08/02/06 - Pseudoscience Fridays: eBay!
If ever there was a place to waste money on a "medical" device, eBay's the place. Of course, there's the usual male enhancement devices, some weird chiropractic tool (for $400), and an acupuncture pen that doesn't actually do any puncturing, but click through for the real eBay gems... Anyone who feels emotionally unstable, who tires easily, who is going through periods of stress, who is chronically ill, who has sustained an injury, who has difficulty sleeping, or is nervous, anxious, fearful, angry, sad, depressed or suicidal can benefit from this disc. But how does it work? Each 2 inch disc is hand built by layering prismatic imagery between glass(remember glass is quartz), then banding copper to the edges. This combination of elements produce a very high frequency set of vibrations to quickly enter our energy field. It's been our experience that things entering into one's "energy field" cause stress rather than relieve it. The "STRESS RELEASE HEALING ENERGY DEVICE DIAL A COLOR", is perfect for stressed out gay Jewish people everywhere. We've saved the best for last. The title really sets the careful scientific tone of the device: "IMMORTALITY DEVICE Magnetic Finger RINGS Alex Chiu," subheading: "New Invention Allows Humans to Live Forever!!!". Might be tough to poke some holes in this argument, but we'll try. The device is made of two magnetic rings that you have to wear on your little fingers, with the right polarities....According to Alex Chiu (the inventor), based on his testimonies, facts, and proofs, people are believed to be able to stay physically young forever by using his new invention "The Eternal Life Rings". The Eternal Life Rings are to be worn on both small fingers of a person during sleep. These rings consist of rare earth ferrite magnets and plastic braces which hold magnets onto the fingers of the user. The inventor explained that the fingers and toes are the negative (-) and positive (+) terminals of your body. When placing the magnetic devices, the magnetic pole on the right side of the human body is opposite to the left side. With a opposite pole on each side of the human body, blood circulation and electric current of the body are enhanced. The enhanced blood circulation and electric current increase metabolism in order to fight the aging process. The Eternal Life Rings are believed to allow humans to stay physically young forever or turn humans physically younger. (Our lawyer told us to use the word "believe")
08/02/06 - Impotence may be a sign of heart disease, diabetes
Men with erectile dysfunction problems may face the risk of several underlying medical complications, including heart disease and diabetes, says a new study. A team from the New England Research Institute in Massachusetts charted the health of 928 men aged 40 to 70 over 15 years and looked at markers for metabolic syndrome, a sign of heart disease and diabetes, reported the online edition of Daily Mail. These markers include raised cholesterol, high blood sugar, blood pressure and obesity. Impotence can occur for psychological reasons and also because clogged-up arteries affect the blood supply to the penis. The study has found the condition is an early warning of underlying medical problems - even in men of healthy weight not usually considered to be at risk.
08/02/06 - Chip claims to use interference to cancel electronic 'smog'
Most of us are familiar with the simple, small coin-sized discs that are pasted onto the handphones in the hope of neutralising the harmful radiation. However, we do not know how effective they are. Like the Wagner Transputer, The WillauTronic chip is also a German invention. This electronic chip is specifically used to neutralise harmful electro-smog. Walter Laufs is a naturopath who focused his research on environmental health. Working on the knowledge of harmful electro-magnetic waves discovered by Nicola Tesla, Laufs worked on how to neutralise the most harmful of these waves (called Scalar, or longitudinal electromagnetic, LEM, component). His WillauTronic chip works on the inverse interference principle, where harmful electromagnetic waves are eliminated by mirror-image waves emitted by the chip. After 17 years of research, it is claimed that using this chip not only eliminates the harmful radiation from handphones, it also reduces stress, improves sleep, improves concentration, reduces tension headache, reduce allergies, improves the immune system, and even improves heart function.
08/02/06 - Supercooling for speedy nuclear remdiation
Professor Claus Rolfs, leader of the group at Ruhr University in Bochum, Germany, said “The method we are proposing means that nuclear waste could probably be dealt with entirely within the lifetimes of the people that produce it. We would not have to put it underground and let our great-great-grandchildren pay the price for our high standard of living.” The technique involves embedding the nuclear waste in a metal and cooling it to ultra-low temperatures. This speeds up the rate of decay of the radioactive materials potentially cutting their half lives by a factor of 100 or more. Professor Rolfs added “We are currently investigating radium-226, a hazardous component of spent nuclear fuel with a half-life of 1600 years. I calculate that using this technique could reduce the half-life to 100 years. At best, I have calculated that it could be reduced to as little as two years. This would avoid the need to bury nuclear waste in deep repositories - a hugely expensive and difficult process.” According to Rolfs, the lower temperature of the metal means that free electrons can get closer to the radioactive nuclei. These electrons accelerate positively charged particles towards the nuclei, thereby increasing the probability of fusion reactions, or in the opposite case, accelerate particles that are being ejected from the nucleus.
08/02/06 - Grow your own Home
The Fab Tree Hab. The basic framework of the house would be created using a gardening method known as pleaching, in which young trees are woven together into a shape such as an archway, lattice, or screen and then encouraged to maintain that form over the years. As the framework matured -- which might take a few years in tropical climates and several decades in more temperate locations -- the home grower would weave a dense layer of protective vines onto the exterior walls. Any gaps could be filled in with soil and growing plants to create miniature gardens. On the interior walls, a mixture of clay and straw beneath a final layer of smooth clay would provide insulation and block moisture. On south-facing walls, windows made of soy-based plastics would absorb warmth in the winter; ground-floor windows on the shady side could draw in cool breezes during hot months. Water collected on the roof would flow through the house for use by people and plants; wastewater would be purified in an outdoor pond with bacteria, fish and plants that consume organic waste. "The concept of a living house is really incredibly exciting when you think that people in tropical and semitropical locations have fast-growing trees available," said Richard Reames, an Oregon-based "arborsculptor" who uses grafting techniques to grow living furniture.
08/02/06 - Foundation's stem cell patents impede research, scientists say
In Wisconsin lurks a force that scientists say is strangling embryonic stem cell research far more than any federal funding restrictions. The University of Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation, generally known as WARF, holds three broad patents that essentially give it control of embryonic stem cells used in the United States. Scientists charge that WARF's greed in controlling the patents is thwarting potentially life-saving research. Earlier this month, two consumer groups and a stem cell scientist from the Burnham Institute in La Jolla filed the first request to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office that the patents be invalidated. Besides complaining about their scope, the groups said the patents never should have been issued because they cover science that is not unique. WARF's defense is that it owns a seminal technology that is the gateway to a hot new field, and it wants to be paid a fair price for sharing it, according to one of its lawyers. What's ultimately at stake is control of a potential billion-dollar industry that could make therapies to treat some of the world's most devastating diseases.
08/02/06 - Mad Inventors?
(WHEN we learn to attenuate gravity, as in reduce weight, personal flight using jets or wings will be commonplace....again...some of us believe we can discover how to do this and just need financing... - JWD) Several people saw a flying man over Chehalis, Washington on January 6, 1948. Bernice Zaikowski was one of them. She was soon joined by some schoolchildren who asked to come into her garden to get a better view of the aerial mystery. The man, in an upright position, was hovering just 20 feet above her barn, she estimated. He was apparently kept aloft by long silver wings that were strapped to his body. He seemed to have controls of some kind on his chest, which he worked to maneuver himself with a lot of whizzing noise. / In April 1948, in the city of Longview, Washington, two witnesses saw no fewer than three helmeted men flying around in a similar manner. The witnesses could see no motors or propellers, yet it seemed to them that they could hear motor-like sounds. / On June 18, 1953 in Houston, Texas, three people were enjoying a hot summer night on their front porch. The night turned unbelievably strange when they saw a winged creature alight in a nearby pecan tree. It was, they said, "the figure of a man with wings like a bat. He was dressed in gray or black tight-fitting clothes. He stood there for about thirty seconds, swaying on the branch of the old pecan tree." They further described him as wearing a cape and quarter-length boots. Most oddly, one witness claimed he was enveloped in a "halo of light."
08/01/06 - Abundant Power from Universal Geothermal Energy
Heat generated deep within the earth by the decay of naturally occurring isotopes has the potential to supply a tremendous amount of power -- thousands of times more than we now consume each year. So far, we've been able to harvest only a tiny fraction of geothermal energy resources, taking advantage of places where local geology brings hot water and steam near the surface, such as in Iceland or California, where such phenomena have long been used to produce electricity. But new oil-field stimulation technology, developed for extracting oil from sources such as shale, makes it possible to harvest much more of this energy by allowing engineers to create artificial geothermal reservoirs many kilometers underground. Tester calls it "universal geothermal" energy because the reservoirs could be located wherever they're needed, such as near power-hungry cities worldwide.
08/01/06 - Junk Fax law
Starting August 1, 2006 new federal rules on junk faxes will go into effect. The amended rules allow companies with which you have an established business relationship to fax you unsolicited ads. But the new rules also require the sender to provide contact information that would allow you to opt-out of any future transmissions.
08/01/06 - Jogging charges Cellphone
Pankaj Sharma has devised a method of charging cell phones while on the move with a pair of shoes and an apparatus lodged in them. His pair of energizer shoes has a dynamo attached that converts mechanical energy produced by the pressure of the foot-sole into electrical energy. A bridge rectifier then converts the produced AC current into DC current up to a capacity of five to six volts of electricity. Says Sharma about his invention, “These are very helpful for power hit areas and they can charge your cell within an hour's time.”
08/01/06 - South African hotel pampers worms to cut waste
Thousands of earthworms guzzle metric tons of scrap food left over from the tables of the rich and famous at South Africa's plush Mount Nelson hotel, quietly doing their bit to save the planet. "This may seem simplistic but it was simply the right thing to do. We're taking responsibility and actually producing something of value out of the waste," Sharon Baharavi, of the five-star Mount Nelson, told Reuters. The worms are kept out of sight of patrons enjoying the opulent surroundings and gourmet treats, but they bask in pampered luxury in a backroom a short slither from the presidential suite. Up to 15 cm (nearly 6 inches) long, the worms, commonly known as red wrigglers or tiger worms, are housed in specially-designed crates and fed vegetable leftovers from the kitchen and pricey restaurant tables. Their fluid excrement, or "worm tea", is carefully harvested and used as a prized fertilizer in the hotel's rolling gardens, where peacocks parade on manicured lawns. Their other by-product, vermicast, is a rich compost. "They are a specific species. They love food. They love eating decomposing food and they are really good at it. They've got a ferocious appetite," said environmental activist Mary Murphy. "If we think really big ... if everybody took their organic waste and processed it through vermiculture or worm farms and we stopped organic waste going to landfill sites, it would have a dramatic impact on climate change." "It's incredible. They reduce waste by 70 percent (and) there is no smell here," she says, wearing an "I dig worms" T-shirt and surrounded by thousands of the munching critters. The worms neutralize harmful bacteria, such as Ecoli, and produce beneficial bacteria while increasing the levels of nitrogen and potassium in the soil -- elements that help vegetables grow. "It is exactly what we need to feed the soil and therefore feed vegetables and feed people," Murphy said. Organic waste on rubbish dumps releases carbon dioxide and methane, greenhouse gases that trap heat in the atmosphere, adding to global warming. The worms prevent this by devouring the waste and turning it into stabilized organic matter.
08/01/06 - Caravan demonstrates potential of alternative fuel vehicles
A caravan of alternative fuel vehicles drove from Atlanta to Tifton on Monday to highlight their role in cleaning up the air and making the country less dependent on foreign oil. The eight-vehicle procession was actually a kickoff for a three-day, Southeastern Bioenergy Conference in Tifton. That meeting, sponsored by the University of Georgia, is expected to attract about 450 bioenergy experts and prospective manufacturers from around the world. The alternative-energy caravan, sponsored by the Middle Georgia Clean Cities Coalition, left the Capitol in Atlanta on Monday morning, traveled south on Interstate 75 and rolled into Macon shortly before noon before heading back to the Interstate for the trip to Tifton. "Many of these are powered by Georgia's home grown products," said Linda Smyth, a clean cities spokeswoman. "One vehicle is powered by biodiesel made from chicken fat. Others are burning biodiesel made from soybean oil. "We're trying to promote products made from pine since Georgia has 25 million acres in forestry production," she said. "In theory any plant cellulose can be turned into ethanol - whisky from corn, rum from sugar cane and vodka from potatoes." The vehicles included three large Chevrolet SUVs powered by a mixture of 15 percent gasoline and 85 percent ethanol. Two of them had bright green stripes against a yellow background of corn kernels, while the third was a solid black police vehicle with flashing lights, a siren, a large badge on the hood and the words "Backup has arrived" painted on the two front fenders. Georgia Power Co. sent a hybrid work truck that runs on biodiesel and electricity. Georgia Agriculture Commissioner Tommy Irvin, whose department is responsible for fuel quality in the state, rode down in a Ford pickup truck with a biodiesel-powered engine. Irvin said Georgia's relatively small corn crop may limit production of corn-based ethanol, but it can offset that by producing ethanol from the cellulose in the state's vast reserves of pine trees. "Bio-fuels are the wave of the future," he said. "I believe the price of (conventional) fuel has made them competitive."
08/01/06 - Time to be Paranoid?
"Ayman al-Zawahri, the number two leader of Al-Qaida, issued a worldwide call for all Muslims and downtrodden individuals to fight the 'jihad (holy war) for the sake of God [that] will last until (our) religion prevails ... from Spain to Iraq.' Through an Al-Jazeera broadcast, he further proclaims 'all the world is a battlefield open in front of us.' The concern is not necessarily that uneducated, untrained and impoverished individuals will answer the call. Rather, studies show most terrorists (90%) come from caring, intact families and most have college educations and promising, professional careers. If this pool rallies to the call, the jihad can make use of intelligent and affluent resources. If even a fraction of the world's estimated 1.7 billion Muslims answer the call to arms, the results could be catastrophic. Although only a small group of that population is Al-Qaida, it only takes a few to kill many. Is it time for Americans to train children about the invincibility of their school desks and construct backyard bomb shelters again?"
08/01/06 - Illegal to photograph Cops?
(There were apparently a lot of comments on this subject, here is one that I liked. - JWD) I've been waiting for a mini-stealth-camera-and-recorder to appear. I want a little device, the size of a cellphone camera, that fits in a button or a necklace or a belt buckle or something equally inconspicuous. It should be connected to a waist controller, which would include battery pack, storage (hard drive or flash), and wifi. Wifi so that, whenever it can find an available internet connection, it can upload its contents to a secure server located elsewhere. Just imagine that. "Sorry sir, you took a picture of something you weren't supposed to. I'm going to have to confiscate your camera." "The pictures are already in Texas, and in ten minutes they'll be posted online. Same as the recording of what you're saying right now. You really want to illegally take my possessions, Officer Frank, Number 3894?" / (And this one) If someone demands your "film" or your camera, let them know that it is not legal for them to take it, unless you have been arrested of a crime involving that camera and that film. The crime for someone to demand and take your camera or film, is called theft, and threatening to do so (or to "break your camera"), is called coercion. Don't tolerate either of them, and if your equipment IS taken or broken, call the police and file charges.
08/01/06 - Skywalker jet packs in development
Rick Herron, creator of Skywalker Jets, has devised a rocket pack that weighs about 90 pounds and can propel a 200 pound pilot around the air for what is likely the most invigorating 5 minutes of their life. The crazy part is this thing actually works, and it doesn't get your backside all crispy in the process. Rick plans on producing a finalized model that has a range of about 4 miles and includes a GPS unit integrated into a HUD showing flight time and engine information among other things. A prototype build solicited a bid over 10 grand from a hopeful buyer (or helpless Star Wars fan), and this project hopefully won't end here -- Rick plans to get the device approved by the FAA and available to anxious customers as soon as possible, and the good news is that becoming a rocketeer will only cost you a cool $200,000 if it goes into production.
08/01/06 - Controversial Method for Nuclear Waste Disposal
"As reported by PhysicsWeb, a group of physicists in Germany believe they have found a way to reduce the half-lives of radioactive nuclei by encasing them in metal. This was discovered by Claus Rolfs when he noticed that 'fusion reactions was significantly greater when the nuclei were encased in metals than when they were inserted into insulators', and that this effect was 'enhanced at lower temperatures.' As a related effect, Rolfs theorized that the electrons in the metal may 'enhance the ejection of positively charged particles from a nucleus. This would reduce the half-lives of a-decay or ß+-decay, and increase half-lives for processes involving electrons (which are repelled by the free electrons within the metal), i.e. ß--decay and electron capture.' To test this theory, they embedded beryllium-7 (electron capture decay) and sodium-22 (ß+-decay) inside palladium, and cooled the samples to a few Kelvins. As expected, the beryllium-7 half-life was increased while the sodium-22 half-life decreased. 'They are now investigating the a-decay of radium-226, a hazardous component of spent nuclear fuel with a half-life of 1600 years,' and Rolfs estimates that the 'half-life could be reduced to as little as a year and at the very least to 100 years.' He hopes 'that the half-lives of all other hazardous alpha emitters within nuclear waste could be shortened by similar amounts.' Unfortunately, 'Hubert Flocard, director of the CSNSM nuclear-physics lab near Paris, believes that Rolfs' model contradicts standard solid-state physics, although he admits that he cannot explain the group's data himself.'"
08/01/06 - Security on the Farm - Hi-Tech to stop thieves & Meth labs
(I thought this was interesting as it has lots of surveillance type ideas for security. - JWD) Many meth labs have been found in rural or remote areas, and the fact is, the perpetrators have to scout for locations; they don't ask to come on our land. Cattle rustlers take time and energy to scout out the next site as well; they cannot just happen upon a herd at 3 a.m. A great invention is the new binoculars with a built-in digital camera, and some even with night shot capabilities. They are great for taking photos from a distance, and the pictures download into your PC. A strange stock trailer at night, trucks that pass by ever so slowly or stop at remote places need to be logged and noted. Check your yard lights for good working condition. Light is a very good deterrent, and motion-sensing lights need to be checked periodically. Now manufacturers offer motion floodlights that are solar powered so you can move them around from gates to areas that are prone to unwanted visitors. Use the shielded combination locks that prevent the use of bolt cutters, and use shielded fasteners for the same reason. The shielded locks are a bit more money, but they allow you to change the combination periodically. Mine have been in service for years. Part of your FSI (Farm Scene Investigation) equipment should be strong consideration of the new game cam camera systems that can be mounted anywhere and take pictures when motion triggers the shutter. Made for hunters to capture photos of deer and wild game and then load them on their PC, they work equally as well for the two-legged versions that are much more rewarding to catch. And time-stamped photos in court are a slam dunk. The new versions have night vision so there is no flash; they will not know you have their picture. I found out who was coming to the barn when I was not there. Mounted about bumper height, it will give you a very clear license plate picture as well. Another one I like and installed last year was a product called "The Reporter Wire Free" by International Electronics, and it is made in the USA. This little jewel is a motion-and-heat detector that can be mounted on your gate post, driveway or yard, and alerts you when something passes by with an audible tone. It is an intercom as well. That's right, you get to hear and listen to whatever is passing by. It always lets me know when a car or truck is approaching the gate and when it passes the gate approaching the house, as I have two sensors set up. The main controller can handle up to eight sensors that can be located up to 1,000 feet from the control unit. This means I can cover 2,000 feet (1,000 feet in each direction), and several areas I cannot see at night such as around the back of the barn.
08/01/06 - Aids virus may hide in the gut, study says
The virus replicates in the lining of the gut and does much of its damage to the immune system there, Satya Dandekar. "We need to be focusing our efforts on improving treatment of gut mucosa, where massive destruction of immune cells is occurring. Gut-associated lymphoid tissue accounts for 70 per cent of the body's immune system. Restoring its function is crucial to ridding the body of the virus." HIV cannot be cured but the drugs, known as highly active antiretroviral therapy, or HAART, can keep the virus under control. At first, doctors had hoped that years of treatment might eventually eradicate the virus, but, 25 years into the epidemic of AIDS, it is clear that cannot happen. That is because the virus can hide out quietly in reservoirs, which include certain immune cells. The gut is clearly important, too, Dandekar's team said. "We found a substantial delay in the time that it takes to restore the gut mucosal immune system in those with chronic infections," Dandekar said. "In these patients the gut is acting as a viral reservoir that keeps us from ridding patients of the virus." The mucosa are the wet tissues that line the nose and throat, the genitals and the inside of the gut. HIV often infects people via the mucosa.
$5 Alt Science MP3s to listen while working/driving/jogging
No 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.
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!
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