01/01/06 - New heating system, virtually no monthly costs
Ted Boice of Manchester, the former head building engineer at Franklin Elementary, has invented and constructed a heater that keeps his 1,060-square-foot house toasty-warm with virtually no monthly heating costs. Boice essentially gets a double bang out of his fireplace by using it to superheat water, which also heats the house. Boice's system, which he calls "The Heatalator," is constructed of carefully welded copper and steel pipes. Here's how it works. # A pump connected to a 140-gallon water storage tank sends cool water from the bottom of the tank into 1-inch steel coils that resemble an old-fashioned radiator lying flat. The water-filled coils sit beneath burning wood in Boice's fireplace. # The thermostat, which he's dubbed the "Aquastat," switches on when the water temperature reaches 160 degrees. The hot water then flushes into the top of the 140-gallon tank. At the same time, the circulation pump sends more cool water into the coils, repeating the heating process. The water can stay as hot as 140 to 150 degrees depending on how hot the fire is burning and how long it stays lit. # A pair of fans in the fireplace circulates the fire-heated air throughout the 1,060-square-foot house. Boice built two-ducted fans in the inlets. The fans automatically turn on when the air temperature hits 90 and automatically turn off when it dips below 90 degrees. # On even the coolest days, Boice heats the house around the clock, though a fire is burning at most in two four-hour spans. When the fire isn't burning, the house is warmed by the hot water, which acts like a battery. The 140-gallon tank sits in a utility room in the center of the house and heat radiates from the tank, making the utility room as hot as 90 degrees. # If needed, Boice runs a small room fan to help move the super-heated air from the utility room throughout the house. The Aquastat and the blowing fans insure an indoor temperature between 70 to 75 degrees, whether or not a fire is heating the coils. The conserved hot water heats the retired engineer's home for up to 20 hours. The cost to heat and provide electricity for his home runs about $57 during the coldest months, he said. Unlike a traditional heating system, which draws in cold air from the outside, Boice's Heatalator uses static air, recycled by the fans. This self-sustained recycled air makes for less temperature fluctuation during the cold months. Despite the success of his heating system, Boice said he has no intention of patenting it. "I didn't build it to be a pretty thing, so it probably couldn't be manufactured," Boice said. "But the concept is pretty easy to follow. People could most likely build their own just by looking at pictures of it."
01/01/06 - Best UFO photos of 2005
(Seems like these UFO 'proofs' are always just photos. Blurry, fuzzy photos at that. I often wonder if there is some kind of energy field around them which might fuzz up the light to result in poor photographs. Of all the photos provided on the page, I thought the cylindrical one was the most interesting as it reminded me of a drawing Hal Crawford of Dallas had created of one of Tesla's ideations as well as the vimana type ship as in 'Dweller on Two Planets' from 1886. The propulsion method described in the Dweller book was based on something called the 'night side forces' of Nature. With cryptic comments such as 'night is as pregnant as day' which I always thought referred to a band of frequencies which directly couple with gravity. These forces allowed them to do wonderful things when applied in the form of machinery, from transmutation to healing to gravity control and conversion of said forces to energy they could use to provide heating, communication and motive power. - JWD)
01/01/06 - DIY Funeral Site
(We've seen mausoleums for peoples ashes, conversion of the ashes to carbon which is then pressed into diamonds, mixing the DNA with a living plant like a tree that grows as a memorial, sending the ashes out into space, now some folks just want to go natural and feed the worms. - JWD) A family in St. George, Vt., wants to turn 50 acres of undeveloped land into a natural burial ground for do-it-yourself funerals. One of the people proposing the plan, Lisa Carlson, said families could actually dig a grave or pick a spot to leave cremated remains -- no caskets, no concrete vaults and no embalming. "The idea of a garden park and nature reserve just makes so much sense," she said. The town select board has the final say on what happens to the land. No decision has been made yet, but the board's chair said the land might be better suited for commercial or residential use. Plans for similar natural burial grounds also are being considered in California, Ohio and Wisconsin.
01/01/06 - the Ultimate Holistic Anti-Virus Software
(This sounds a lot like GoBack and System Restore software - JWD) Imagine anti-virus software for handhelds that's less than the size of a typical PowerPoint file, needs no yearly subscription, yet it can protect mobile phones, PDAs, iPods or any other smart devices from not only known viruses but also all future unknown viruses and other malware. Rudra, according to Bhaskar, "is a breakthrough anti-virus technology based on the intention of malicious codes." "This technology not only protects a device from known viruses but also from any unknown malicious codes (malware) which includes viruses, trojans, worms, spyware, keyloggers and hackers. Thus the technology offers a holistic solution." The beauty of this technology, claims Bhaskar, is not only the fact that it is thin and that it can protect a handheld device from virus intrusions through any medium -- including Bluetooth -- "but since the technology protects a device even from future unknown viruses, the need for regular updates -- which increasingly encroaches on the limited memory space of handhelds -- as well as the need for yearly subscription, is removed." Rudra's method is simple: It takes a snapshot of a device in complete detail in its malware-free state and continuously monitors system and file changes. New files, changes in configuration, changes in system control files and changes in critical application program files are all evaluated for potential threats. Any change in the system state that represents a potential threat is immediately acted upon. Such surveillance then not only removes the potential threat but also restores the system to its original malware-free state, thus protecting devices against unknown viruses too. On the other hand, says Bhaskar, Rudra offers a fundamentally different approach to virus and malware protection. "It identifies and removes all viruses from personal computers in their signature-unknown state," said Bhaskar, "and preventing any unauthorized program from executing on a device." "And the handheld version of Rudra would be out by September by when we shall also be in a position to launch versions for Linux and Macintosh-based PCs," said Bhardwaj.
01/01/06 - Question - When does 'sharing' become 'proselytizing'? Won't believers (of all faiths and cults), EVER learn that many CHOOSE to not share their beliefs or even fanaticism? Keep your books and tracts promoting your chosen beliefs, unless you are specifically asked to 'share' them with others. Please keep your beliefs to yourself and your fellow believers. Thank you. - JWD
01/01/06 - Successful liquid fuel-powered Scramjet
The vehicle achieved a world first on Dec. 10 at an altitude of 63,000 feet -- becoming the first air-breathing, liquid hydrocarbon fuel-powered scramjet engine to fly, the Office of Naval Research reported. The approximately 106-inch long, 11-inch diameter, missile-shaped vehicle raced at 5,300 feet per second -- Mach 5.5 -- for 15 seconds before a controlled splashdown into the Atlantic Ocean, the statement said. The overall goal of HyFly is to flight-test key technologies enabling a long range, high-speed cruise missile that can cruise at speeds up to Mach 6.
01/01/06 - U.S. prepares Iran strike
The Bush administration is preparing its NATO allies for a possible military strike against suspected nuclear sites in Iran in the New Year, according to German media reports, reinforcing similar earlier suggestions in the Turkish media. The Berlin daily Der Tagesspiegel this week quoted "NATO intelligence sources" who claimed that the NATO allies had been informed that the United States is currently investigating all possibilities of bringing the mullah-led regime into line, including military options. The German news agency DDP cited "Western security sources" to claim that CIA Director Porter Goss asked Turkey's premier Recep Tayyip Erdogan to provide political and logistic support for air strikes against Iranian nuclear and military targets. Goss, who visited Ankara and met Erdogan on Dec. 12, was also reported to have to have asked for special cooperation from Turkish intelligence to help prepare and monitor the operation.
01/01/06 - Rain Gardens to reduce pollution
A study posted today on ES&T’s Research ASAP website confirms the effectiveness of rain gardens, an increasingly popular-and aesthetically pleasing-technique for reducing the flow of common pollutants after storms in cities and suburbs. Authors Michael Dietz and John Clausen of the University of Connecticut also show how a simple design modification can enhance rain gardens’ ability to treat the polluted rainwater flowing off roofs. The authors hope that their results will help contribute to the growing acceptance of rain gardens by developers and homeowners. A rain garden, in its simplest form, is a shallow depression in the earth, landscaped with permeable soil and hardy grasses, shrubs, or trees and covered by a thin layer of mulch. Rain gardens collect the storm-water runoff from impervious surfaces, such as roofs and driveways, and allow it to percolate into the ground instead of draining into sewers or waterways. The storm-water runoff from a house roof or a parking lot may not seem like a major threat to water quality. “People think of pollution as something coming from a factory or a sewage treatment plant, dumping directly into a river," says Dietz. But runoff carries the signature of the urbanized areas through which it flows, including nitrogen and phosphorus compounds from atmospheric deposition and fertilizers, as well as metals, oils, and other particulate matter. The volume and velocity of runoff from a heavy rain can also overwhelm urban sewer systems. According to the U.S. EPA, more than half of the rainwater that falls on a typical city block, one with 75% or more impervious cover, will leave as runoff. To encourage the bacteria in the soil to convert the nitrates into nitrogen gas via the denitrification process, the authors modified the design of their garden to allow water to pool in the bottom. Saturation by water is expected to reduce oxygen levels in the soil, Dietz explains, creating anaerobic conditions favorable for denitrification. The simple modification produced an 18% decrease in total nitrogen levels compared with the control garden.
01/01/06 - Plastic Found in 95% of Dead Birds
Thousands of seabirds are being killed each year after a massive rise in plastics pollution in the North Sea, according to a new report. Studies on the bodies of 600 fulmars washed up on beaches revealed that 95 per cent had plastic litter in their stomachs - with an average of 40 pieces of plastic per bird. One fulmar had 1,600 pieces of plastic in its guts, says the Save the North Sea project, which was set up by volunteers and professional organisations in all countries with North Sea coastlines. Fulmars - gull-like, tube-nosed birds with a massive colony on St Kilda - are affected because they mistake discarded plastic for jellyfish floating on the sea's surface. The south-east area of the North Sea - around the Channel exit to German Bight - is the worst-affected and plastics pollution is not only killing birds but also putting off bathers, contributing to beach clean-up costs and causing fouled propellers and blocked water intakes. Mark Grantham, of the British Trust for Ornithology, said yesterday: "Plastics pollution is a chronic problem in the North Sea. Heaven knows where some of this plastic comes from. They've found everything from balloons to shotgun cartridges in the birds' stomachs. But the commonest is beads of raw plastic before it is formed." Fulmars, which are small albatrosses, have been breeding on St Kilda for centuries. They spread throughout northern Scotland in the 19th century and to England, Ireland and Wales by 1930. Fulmars lead long lives, with many reaching 40 and some even living to 100.
01/01/06 - Personal Note - In a related anecdote, a friend of mine in Dallas had a colonics business. He told me about 20 years ago to NEVER cook food in plastic wrap, that he had many clients who did eat commercially packaged sandwiches and other food items, in the plastic wrapper. That the plastic molecules are superheated by hot vapor from the food and on cooling are ABSORBED into the food. My friend says he frequently pulled out long, stringy pieces of plastic during the colonic session. Since then, I have never eaten any food still in its plastic wrapper, from burritos to sandwiches. Just take it out of the package, wrap a napkin around it or place it on a napkin and cover with another napkin, then heat it. I had noticed food cooked in the plastic wrap tasty like it had chemicals and on cooling would harden up much more than just plain food. - JWD
12/31/05 - the Morphing Rocket
A rocket that changes inflight to an aircraft with wings and control surfaces to facilitate directed flight. Examples of morphing wings can be found on the F-14 Tomcat fighter jet and the B-1 bomber, which both feature a variable-sweep wing that allows short field take-offs, which then can be swept back for supersonic flight. In essence, a variable-sweep wing provides greater mission flexibility for the aircraft. A morphing rocket uses the idea in reverse: It takes off at maximum speed, achieves the desired altitude, then deploys the folded-back wings into a lift-inducing forward position, slowing the craft down to provide loitering or directed flight capabilities. The civilian and military applications are numerous: reconnaissance, targeted ordnance strikes, and close-in weather analysis, such as into the eye of a tornado or hurricane. To date, however, morphing wings have been associated with jets and airplanes, not rockets. “It was an amazing success!" said Wilkins. “We started literally from scratch and designed our objectives, our testing protocol, and our action plan. Over the course of the semester, this team completed every one of our goals, and created a rocket, piece by piece, that flew, morphed, and returned safely. We’re all very proud of this achievement.
12/31/05 - Bullied children abuse alcohol
A new study out of Oregon indicates children who are bullied in middle school are more likely to abuse substances in high schools. Researchers at the Oregon Research Institute studied 223 boys and girls in grades five through seven and followed them into high school. They found frequent verbal harassment is the norm in middle school rather than physical harassment and both forms decrease once a student gets to high school. The study found verbal harassment in middle school made it three times more likely a teen would abuse alcohol in high school.
12/31/05 - Is Interstellar flight possible & practical at this point?
Actually, we already have space craft venturing into interstellar space. Pioneer and Voyager probes, 2 each, have reached the sun’s escape velocity and are now forever outward bound. The fastest, Voyager 1, is traveling at 62,000 kilometers per hour (39,000 mph). Even at that tremendous speed it’s painfully slow when interstellar distances are involved. Voyager 1 would take over 17,000 years to get Proxima Centuari, our nearest neighbor at 4.22 light years distance. With a theoretical speed limit imposed by Einstein's Theory of Relativity at 1,079,252,848.8 km/h, or the speed of light, even the closest stars are very far away indeed. A study by NASA in 1998 identified 3 potential propulsion technologies that might enable exploration beyond our solar system. Antimatter, fusion and light sails. Technical problems include lack of fuel - the world supply is a few dozen nanograms a year, fuel handling - you can easily predict the catastrophic results of an antimatter fuel accident - and reaction control. All these technologies are as far away now as the atomic bomb was to Alfred Nobel - the inventor of TNT. That is to say, not very. We may see the beginnings of an interstellar spaceflight program before the end of the millennium. We will simply need a compelling reason. Travel in interstellar space represents a huge challenge to humankind. For now, it remains in the realm of science fiction - but soon, who knows? We may yet live to see the first missions to nearby stars - that is if the last 100 years of history is any guide.
12/31/05 - Robot to Deflect Asteroids w/Spray Paint
What do you do when a big ole asteroid is found headed straight toward earth? Blow it up? Naw, instead you send little space robots to deflect those asteroids with spray paint! If you blow up an asteroid, you may have a bigger disaster area with lots of little pieces hitting the earth! However, if one side of an asteroid is painted, the color can cause either heating up or cooling down on that side which may cause the asteroid to change course. Dr Gianmarco Radice and a team of Glasgow University students will be conducting a £300,000 three-year study into asteroids backed by the Government's Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council. They say the big threat currently is a 390-metre wide asteroid called Apophis that NASA says could hit earth April 13, 2036 destroying thousands of miles.
12/31/05 - Siempre Viva! Live Forever!
Kurzweil envisages - the "singularity" - when technological change becomes so rapid and profound that our bodies and brains merge with our machines. Singularity depicts what life will be like after the brain-machine fusion takes place and our experiences shift from real reality to virtual reality. This moment that Kurzweil sees coming 20 years hence is when our intelligence becomes non-biological and trillions of times more powerful than unaided human intelligence. What this will mean for humanity is that aging can be reversed, pollution eradicated, hunger solved and our bodies and the environment transformed by nanotechnology that will also overcome the limitations of biology - and death. Kurzweil takes human evolution far beyond today's most optimistic forecasts. These hold that anyone born today will live to be 130 and productive to 110, and those born in the 22nd century will live to 250. The glass-half-full-and-filling geomancers of the human genome research world can perceive "immortality" in the 23rd century. Kurzweil's sees the same evolution achieving a similar breakthrough for the children and grandchildren of the post-World War II baby boomers. Bill Joy, co-founder and former chief scientist of Sun Microsystems, is filled with foreboding about the perils of humanity's technological future. But Joy still concedes "The Singularity Is Near" is "a clear call for a continuing dialogue to address the greater concerns arising from these accelerating possibilities." What worries Joy in his book "Why The Future Doesn't Need Us" is that "we are being propelled into this new century with no plan, no control, no brakes." "Singularity," John Casti of Nature wrote, is "a mind expanding account (that) is nothing less than a blueprint for how to shove Homo sapiens off center-stage in evolution's endless play...if you buy into Kurzweil's Law of Accelerating Returns - and all empirical evidence currently available supports it completely - then the replacement of humans by machines as the primary intellectual force on Earth is indeed imminent." George Gilder wrote, "Kurzweil's ideas make all other roads to the computer future look like goat paths to Patagonia."
12/30/05 - Unified physics theory explains animals' running, flying and swimming
(This HAS applications to interacting with aether/zpe influx! - JWD) A single unifying physics theory can essentially describe how animals of every ilk, from flying insects to fish, get around, researchers at Duke University's Pratt School of Engineering and Pennsylvania State University have found. The team reports that all animals bear the same stamp of physics in their design. The researchers show that so-called "constructal theory" can explain basic characteristics of locomotion for every creature -- how fast they get from one place to another and how rapidly and forcefully they step, flap or paddle in relation to their mass. Constructal theory is a powerful analytical approach to describing movement, or flows, in nature. "The similarities among animals that are on the surface very different are no coincidence," said Adrian Bejan, J. A. Jones Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Duke's Pratt School. "In fact, animal locomotion is no different than other flows, animate and inanimate: they all develop in space and in time such that they optimize the flow of material." In the case of animal locomotion, this means that animals move such that they travel the greatest distance while expending the least amount of energy, he said. The constructal law arises from the basic principle that flow systems evolve so as to minimize imperfections -- energy wasted to friction or other forms of resistance -- such that the least amount of useful energy is lost. The theory applies to virtually everything that moves, Bejan said. For example, his earlier work has examined how the law explains traffic flows, the cooling of small-scale electronics and river currents. One view of evolution holds that it is not a purely deterministic process; that history is full of chance and historical contingency. It is the idea purported by Steven Jay Gould and others that if you were to "rewind the tape" and run it again, evolution would proceed down a different path, Marden said. "Our finding that animal locomotion adheres to constructal theory tells us that -- even though you couldn't predict exactly what animals would look like if you started evolution over on earth, or it happened on another planet -- with a given gravity and density of their tissues, the same basic patterns of their design would evolve again," Marden said. The researchers, funded by the National Science Foundation, report that the constructal law predicts universal relationships between animals' body mass and speed, as well as the frequency and force of the strides, beats or undulations that propel their bodies forward.
12/30/05 - Private space companies competing for cheaper Moon tickets
In another ten years a flight to the orbit now available to millionaires will be quite an ordinary thing. Instead, flights to the Moon will become more fashionable and exciting. Nowadays, Russia and the USA offer tempting routes to wealthy customers: a non-stop flight around the Moon and even landing on the Moon. While flights to the satellite offered by national companies cost about $100 million, private companies offer tours to the Moon that are four times cheaper. Commercial flights to the Moon are no longer the prerogative of Russia and the US only. The other day, two private American companies said they were ready to outdo the space tourism projects of the two countries. In other words, these companies are ready to start making money on the Moon ten years earlier than state-run companies. There are some defects in the project, however. What are space tourists to do if something happens to the only professional spaceman accompanying them? And also some experts think that mining minerals on the Moon is not quite feasible. They say it would require plowing half of the Moon to mine helium-3. USA's SpaceDev says it will be able to perform a tourist flight around the Moon or land a manned spacecraft on the Moon for scientific research in 5-8 years. The project may cost less than $10 billion. The private company also supposes to build a residential base in the area of the South Pole. The private company obtained the project of its new lunar spaceship in a dustbin. The Dream Chaser six-seat orbital spaceship the company offers for flights very much resembles the HL-20 light shuttle that NASA developed in 1992 but failed to launch. The company will offer cheap tickets to the Moon by receiving at least four space tourists on board of the modernized spaceship HL-20. SpaceDev expects that landing on the Moon will be fairly inexpensive.
12/30/05 - Immune system becomes exhausted
Like boxers wearied by a 15-round bout, the immune system's CD8 T cells eventually become "exhausted" in their battle against persistent viral infection, and less effective in fighting the disease. Emory University have traced the problem to a gene that turns off the infection-fighting drive of CD8 T cells in mice. The discovery raises the possibility that CD8 cell exhaustion can be reversed in human patients, reinvigorating the immune system's defenses against chronic viral infections ranging from hepatitis to HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. "CD8 T cells that have fought viral infections retain a 'memory' of the viruses they've encountered, so they can rapidly respond to new infections from those viruses," says the study's author, Gordon Freeman, PhD, of Dana-Farber. In the case of chronic infection, however, senior author Rafi Ahmed, PhD, of Emory, has shown that memory cells become exhausted and lose the capacity to respond to the virus. Why this occurs, on a molecular level, has been unclear. Although it's not known why CD8 cells become exhausted -- roughly a month after infection begins -- scientists theorize that it may be part of the body's system for naturally ending the immune response after an infection has been quelled. If it persists too long, the immune response can damage normal, healthy tissue.
12/30/05 - Life Imitating Art - Wanna fix it? Do your Homework!
Life is imitating art. President Bush stars as Sgt. Bob Barnes, the maniacal soldier in Oliver Stone's Platoon, who proclaims that he "is reality". The USA now openly advocates torture, spying on its own citizens, or equates dissent with aiding and abetting the "brutal killers" as Bush describes them. The USA is no victim or innocent bystander in the world's machinations. Each and every US citizen is responsible for the actions of its leaders--such as they are. If the American people want a militarized state, then so be it. Have some brass and go for it. If they want to torture, then they should have the guts to stick a knife in the throat of a living human being and watch'em gurgle and die. After all, it's good for business and anyway, how would "you", White Collar Proletariat, know what it takes to keep the gas pumps in operation or what threats are out there. Since most Americans are, as President Nixon once said, "children", they'll do what they are told. For a time, US citizens were spared the ruthlessness of the USA's actions abroad primarily because the government and its corporate partners could control the images, the stories, the facts from reaching Americans. Recognizing they've lost that ability, the PATRIOT ACT is a sort of government-corporate last ditch effort to retain control over information flows. Now the security police can whip up a file on you containing credit ratings, health records, spending patterns, reading preferences, travel destinations and even sexual preferences. Get off your lazy behind and become a responsible US citizen. Instead of being fed the news, hunt it down yourself. Start with foreign newspaper websites, other country news agencies and get used to the images of death and destruction. USA. One of the best data resources is the US government's own data.
12/29/05 - Hyperbaric Oxygen treatments mobilize stem cells
According to a study to be published in the American Journal of Physiology-Heart and Circulation Physiology, a typical course of hyperbaric oxygen treatments increases by eight-fold the number of stem cells circulating in a patient's body. Stem cells, also called progenitor cells are crucial to injury repair. The study currently appears on-line and is scheduled for publication in the April 2006 edition of the American Journal. Stem cells exist in the bone marrow of human beings and animals and are capable of changing their nature to become part of many different organs and tissues. In response to injury, these cells move from the bone marrow to the injured sites, where they differentiate into cells that assist in the healing process. The movement, or mobilization, of stem cells can be triggered by a variety of stimuli - including pharmaceutical agents and hyperbaric oxygen treatments. Where as drugs are associated with a host of side effects, hyperbaric oxygen treatments carry a significantly lower risk of such effects. "We reproduced the observations from humans in animals in order to identify the mechanism for the hyperbaric oxygen effect," added Thom. "We found that hyperbaric oxygen mobilizes stem/progenitor cells because it increases synthesis of a molecule called nitric oxide in the bone marrow. This synthesis is thought to trigger enzymes that mediate stem/progenitor cell release." Hopefully, future study of hyperbaric oxygen's role in mobilizing stem cells will provide a wide array of treatments for combating injury and disease.
12/29/05 - High-fat Western-style diet may cause diabetes
ating lots of high-fat Western-style diet may cause diabetes, says a study on mice that may lead to new ways to prevent and treat the disease. Jamey Marth and other researchers at the University of California in San Diego found that eating lots of fat blocks the production of an enzyme that is key to creating the hormone insulin, reported the online edition of BBC News. Insufficient levels of the enzyme were found to compromise the ability of beta cells in the pancreas to produce insulin in response to rising levels of glucose in the blood, for instance after a meal. Failure to control glucose levels eventually leads to full-blown Type 2 diabetes, the researchers said. "If our findings can be applied to humans, they should give us important insights into how Type 2 diabetes may be prevented and treated," Marth said. "However, it is uncertain if these mouse models are directly applicable to man," said Andrew Hattersley, professor of molecular medicine, Peninsula Medical School, Exeter. The number of people with diabetes has soared to over two million in Britain. Of these, the vast majority - about 1.7 million - have Type 2 diabetes, which is associated with obesity.
12/29/05 - More renewable fuels will be at the pump
U.S. drivers will be able to gas up their vehicles next year with nearly 3 percent of clean-burning, domestic renewable fuels such as ethanol. Under new standards issued by U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the standard is the first step in EPA's Renewable Fuels Standard Program -- which EPA Administrator Stephen L. Johnson says is designed to reduce vehicle emissions and strengthen U.S. energy security by doubling the use of fuels produced from U.S. crops by 2012. "This investment in renewable fuels made from domestic crops will support American agriculture and replace fossil fuels with an increasing amount of cleaner-burning alternatives such as ethanol or biodiesel illustrating that environmental progress and economic development can, in fact, go hand-in-hand," said Johnson.
12/29/05 - Vertebroplasty reduces pain using bio-concrete injections
A Mayo Clinic study has found patients report less back pain at rest and while active following vertebroplasty, a procedure in which medical cement is injected into painful compression fractures in the spinal vertebrae due to osteoporosis. Patients also reported improved function in their daily activities, such as walking, housework and getting dressed. "It's hard to remember your pain," he says. "Also, it's hard to say how bad my pain is compared to your pain. I've had patients say their pain is no better after treatment, yet I look at them and they look 10 times better." Patients for whom vertebroplasty is appropriate, according to Dr. Kallmes, have osteoporosis or a similar condition and have suffered compression of their spines with no or minimal injury. For example, while bending over to tie their shoes or turning over in bed, patients' vertebrae may fracture because their bones are weakened due to osteoporosis. Each year, 700,000 people suffer this injury. For four out of five patients, the fracture heals and the accompanying pain goes away in approximately four weeks with bed rest and analgesics. However, for one in five patients, the fracture does not heal and the pain persists, requiring treatment. Surgery is not an option for these patients, as their bones are too weak. Vertebroplasty is the only available treatment option for patients in this condition. Vertebroplasty is not appropriate for patients with back pain due to ligament injuries, joint disease or narrowing of the spinal canal, says Dr. Kallmes.
12/29/05 - Missouri turkey oil plant closed because of foul odors
foul-smelling plant that turns turkey byproducts into fuel oil was ordered closed by the governor Wednesday until the company finds a way to clear the air. Renewable Environmental Solutions Inc. in the southwest Missouri community of Carthage had agreed in May to improve its odor-control systems after state and city officials sued, alleging the smell posed a public nuisance. "The people of Carthage have endured terrible odors from the plant for too long," Blunt said. The facility produces 100 to 200 barrels of fuel oil a day using byproducts from a nearby ConAgra Foods turkey processing facility. Company officials were "shocked and disappointed" by the governor's order, according to a statement. They said a process was already in place for the city and the department to work together on the problem. The two parties were scheduled to meet next week.
Authorities had hoped cooler weather and plant improvements would reduce odors. But that has not happened and "additional measures are needed before spring when experts believe the nuisance will grow more acute due to warmer weather," the governor said. According to the company's Web site, the plant uses extreme heat and pressure to break down agricultural waste and reform it, mimicking the way fossil fuels are created in nature, but in hours rather than millions of years.
12/29/05 - Sterling proposal would harness wind
The Exeter Energy Corp., which operates a tire-burning energy plant in the Sterling Industrial Park, confirmed Wednesday it plans to lease the entire 73 unoccupied acres of the town's second phase of the industrial park for six months while it explores the possibility of placing up to 35 windmills on the property. Wycherley said Exeter hopes to produce about 50 megawatts of energy, about double the tire plant output, with the windmills. The energy they produce would be transmitted over the same lines the tire-burner uses to transmit the energy it produces. That energy was originally sold to Northeast Utilities, but, after deregulation, is now sold to Public Service Electric and Gas in New Jersey. Wycherley said if each windmill is designed to produce 1.5 megawatts of electricity, it would require between 30 and 35 to meet the company's 50-megawatt goal. If larger turbines are used, the number of windmills would be reduced. While the equipment is expensive to install, the rising energy costs would justify the expense, Wycherley said. "The currents are normally stronger along a ridge," she said. That description would fit the industrial park site, which is built into the steep hillside, with the tire-burning plant occupying the highest point. The proposal received some mixed reaction from townspeople. Charles P. Rabbitt immediately expressed concern about the noise from the windmills. " I'd be opposed to it," he said. "I drove past a windmill farm during a trip to California and couldn't believe the noise. It sounded like a helicopter hovering nearby. If they're located on the hill, we're going to hear them all over town," he said.
12/29/05 - Adult Brain Cells Do Keep Growing
Neurons continue to grow and change beyond the first years of development and well into adulthood, according to a new study. The finding challenges the traditional belief that adult brain cells, or neurons, are largely static and unable to change their structures in response to new experiences. The study, performed in adult mice, found that the branch-like projections on some neurons, called dendrites, were still physically malleable.
Dendrites conduct electrical signals received from other neurons to the parent neuron's cell body. The changes occurred both incrementally and in short bursts, and involved both growth and shrinkage. Some of the changes were dramatic by neuron standards. One dendrite sprouted an impressive 90 microns (about .003 inches), more than doubling its length in less than two weeks.
12/29/05 - Scientists link violence with alcohol
A study at Sweden's Karolinska Institute of 133 violent offenders shows 58 percent had consumed alcohol within 24 hours before the violent act. A large majority of the offenders were men with psychiatric diagnoses and most of the victims were known to the attackers. Researchers at the Stockholm medical school said a 13.2-fold increase in the risk of violence was found within 24 hours of alcohol consumption. The relative risk of violence was based on comparison with each individual's usual frequency of alcohol use during the previous year, in a case-crossover analysis. Use of other drugs, such as benzodiazepines and antidepressants in regular doses, was associated with a decreased risk of violence. Contrary to other studies the risk for criminal violence was not increased if the consumption of alcohol was combined with benzodiazepines. Alcohol seems to have the largest triggering effect on violence compared to other substances we investigated, said Ulrika Haggard-Grann of the Karolinska Institute This suggests treatment for individuals at risk for violence should be focused on decreasing their alcohol consumption.
12/29/05 - Worlds fastest, most powerful Automobile
The latest fastest and most powerful automobile ever: 1001 horsepower, zero to 188 mph in 14 seconds. Witness the result of an auto industry executive’s ego run amok. Even with a price tag of $1.25 million each, Volkswagen won’t make a dime on this, the world’s fastest and most powerful automobile ever created, commissioned by former VW head Ferdinand Piech before he retired. The 2006 Bugatti Veyron 16.4 has been a long time coming, but exotic car fanatics agree that it was worth the wait. Running a sixteen-cylinder engine force-induced by four turbochargers, the Veyron produces an eye-bugging 1001 horsepower and 922 lb.-ft. of torque - though final engine output figures for North America are yet to be set. Bugatti claims a launch from 0-188 mph can be achieved in a mere fourteen seconds and that the Veyron can reach a top speed of 250 mph. Now the down side; just 300 copies of the hand-built Bugatti Veyron will be made, with only 100 coming stateside.
12/29/05 - Yoga improves memory and concentration
Do you run back to check whether you have locked the door? Often forget where you placed your keys? If yes, you need to work out for a better level of concentration, says a yoga expert. Absent-mindedness is a common problem, says M K Nagaraja Rao, yoga practitioner and teacher in Tumkur. It is essentially a result of not tuning our minds right. He quotes yoga texts and explains that there are several reasons for poor concentration, which lead to absent-minded behaviour -- ill-health, laziness, suspicion, inertia, disinterestedness and illusion.
According to him, lack of interest in our work is a major reason. He says, “If a person forgets what he has just done, it’s a sign that he did not do the work with his heart and mind in it."
Rao explains that yogic texts suggest that one should have a ‘mythri bhava’ (intimacy) with one’s own actions to maintain presence of mind. “In an attempt to do things faster, many people end up doing them in a hasty manner and later suspect whether they have done it properly or not. But it is always better to complete fewer things with proper attention than do more without perfection," he advises. Hence, he suggests, “a calm and steady approach to action is the solution."
12/29/05 - 10 Crazy Science Facts
(Details in the linked article - JWD) 1.) You can Hypnotize Chickens - 2.) You can have an erection once you're dead - 3.) Your hand can have a life of it's own - 4.) Don't laugh too much, it can kill you - 5.) A weapon could make you Gay - 6.) It's true, Men can breastfeed - 7.) Bart Simpson's Tomacco (half tomato, half tobacco) was possible - 8.) It's OK to have a third nipple - 9.) You can die on the Toilet - 10.) Picking one's nose and eating it might be healthy
12/28/05 - Hybrid cars race ahead in 2005
Hybrid engines powered by electricity and petrol have been around for years. But it took a kick from rocketing gasoline prices to encourage large numbers of Americans to see their fuel-efficient appeal. Up to the end of November, Toyota said it had sold 99,000 Prius cars this year compared to 47,700 over the same period of 2004. According to research firm Global Insight, total US sales of hybrids are set to more than double to 200,000 this year and mushroom to 500,000 a year by 2010. Toyota has led the way with the Prius and the four-by-four Highlander, designed to appeal to Americans' taste for sport utility vehicles (SUVs). Its Japanese rival Honda has three hybrid models and lies second in sales. US giants General Motors and Ford are now ramping up their own hybrid production but came late to the game. An average SUV consumes about 20 litres (five gallons) of petrol over a 100 kilometre (62 mile) trip, compared to a hybrid which will sip just four to five litres (1.1 to 1.3 gallons) of gasoline. Ford's chairman blames Japanese government intervention for the sales advantage enjoyed by Toyota and Honda.
12/28/05 - China Develops Technology To Generate Power from Grass
The new technology anoxically turns carbon and hydrogen elements in the cordgrass into flammable gas. After it has been decontaminated, the gas can be used for cooking, power generation and heating. English cordgrass was introduced into China in the 1970s as a binder for coastal soil, but it became a biological threat after rampant growth. More than 100 counties in China are currently threatened by the alien plant. Experiments show that one kilogram of English cordgrass can produce two cubic meters of flammable gas, which can generate one kilowatt-hour of electricity. If all of its 3.3 million hectares of English cordgrass were processed, China would be able to harvest 50 billion to 75 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity.
12/28/05 - Premature Aging - Werner's Syndrome
The superfast ageing, known as the Werner syndrome, makes absolutely normal and healthy people age 50 or even 100 times faster than usual. Several occurrences of superfast ageing have been registered with five-year-old children. A five or an eight-year-old girl may suddenly reach puberty and even deliver a baby, which is considered absolutely normal in certain African tribes. Doctors tend to explain the utterly inexplicable medical phenomenon with "genetic disorders" and "congenital susceptibility to ageing." The superfast ageing, known as the Werner syndrome, makes absolutely normal and healthy people age 50 or even 100 times faster than usual. Specialists of the Moscow-based Genetic Scientific Center of the Russian Academy of Sciences said that their archives contain records of only two individuals who suffered from similar symptoms. Japanese researchers calculated that the unknown disease may affect only one of four million people.
12/27/05 - Power generation from a mix of sources
Success comes from a mix of sources, not trying to rely on just solar or just wind. The Atlantic County Utilities Authority in New Jersey has opened up a new power center for its wastewater treatment facility near Atlantic City. Wastewater treatment is an important job, but very energy-intensive. When ACUA decided to add on-site power to the plant, they had to pick something that could handle the job -- so they went with combined wind and solar. The system, when completed, will include a 504 kW solar power grid and five 1.5 MW wind turbines. The system doesn't cover the entire power requirement of the facility, but when completed, it could account for up to half of it (assuming peak production from wind and solar simultaneously). ACUA estimates that the system will provide 20 million kilowatt-hours annually to the facility and to nearby residences. The main drawback of the system is that, like most home solar and wind units, it simply feeds into the grid, and doesn't have on-site energy storage or the ability to supply power in a grid failure. The ACUA intends for future renewable power projects, already in the works, to include these features.
12/27/05 - Tree plantations can suck streams dry
Planting trees willy-nilly to counter increased carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere may actually result in other environmental damage, new research shows. An international team publishing in this week's journal Science argues that while tree plantations can be an effective tool for slowing CO2 concentrations, the wrong plantings in the wrong area at the wrong time can suck streams dry and turn fresh water salty. Tree plantations have become common practice to combat carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. This is because trees store carbon in their trunks and branches for long period of times - and if that carbon dioxide is not in the atmosphere, but in the trunks, the atmosphere won't warm quite as quickly. But tree plantations were also found to have positive effects in some areas. "For example, we found that trees planted in some parts of Western Australia affected by dry land salinity alleviated the problem to some degree," Barrett says. "On the other hand, trees planted in the pampas areas of Argentina [were] less successful, because they drew saline water that was deep in the soil into the shallow soil layers, [effectively] salinising the fresh water." The researchers conclude that it is important for global communities to know and understand local conditions well before tree planting goes ahead.
12/27/05 - Dangers of Exposure to Excessive UV Radiation
1. Non-melanoma skin cancer. One in 29 people in New Zealand is diagnosed with skin cancer each year. New Zealand is the second worst hotspot for skin cancer in the world. 2. Melanoma. The potentially fatal melanoma incidence rates in New Zealand are about 10 times higher than in other countries. At lease two-thirds of all melanoma cases are directly associated to UV radiation exposure. 3. Immunodeficiency. Exposure to the excessive UV radiation in New Zealand impairs human immune system; it causes genetic mutations, increases risk of diseases from the human immunodeficiency virus HIV- 1, herpes viruses, malaria, tuberculosis, leprosy, dermatitis, and E. coli as well as several blood diseases. 4. Cataracts. The exposure to excessive UV radiation in New Zealand results in increased incidents of cataracts (as well as other eye damage). NZ authorities are acting dishonestly and reprehensibly by preying on unsuspecting foreign tourists, students and new immigrants, while failing to inform them about the dangers of exposure to the excessive UV radiation in New Zealand.
12/27/05 - Ian Wilmut Wants to Experiment With Stem Cells on the Dying
Ian Wilmut, the creator of Dolly and now a would-be cloner of human embryos wants to experiment on dying people. Rather than go through the usual process of animal studies to test efficacy and safety, he wants to switch quickly to conducting embryonic stem cell experiments upon dying people on the basis that the experiments would be "high risk but high gain" procedures. This has a certain surface attraction. After all, if people are dying, what's the harm?
12/27/05 - Amazon.com Exec to Open Aerospace Venture
Jeff Bezos expects a rocket-ship complex for his aerospace venture Blue Origin to open early next year. City records show that an office and warehouse he's revamping in this south Seattle suburb will be used to design and build spacecraft and engines. Blue Origin has released few details about the project. But a Texas newspaper editor who interviewed Bezos earlier this year said the billionaire talked sending a spaceship into orbit that launches and lands vertically, like a rocket, and eventually building spaceships that can orbit the Earth - possibly leading to permanent colonies in space. Bezos paid $13 million for nearly 25 acres of industrial land, where city records indicate he's spending up to $8 million to remodel an office building and warehouse. Plans also call for construction of an experimental stand where rocket engines will be tested in three-minute-long trial runs. Test launches will be conducted in West Texas, where Bezos recently bought a 165,000-acre ranch near the small town of Van Horn, about 110 miles southeast of El Paso. Long-term plans for that site include a spaceport where three-person space-tourism flights could blast off once a week. A 243,000-square-foot office and warehouse building in Kent is being revamped to accommodate cavernous bays, assembly areas, chemical laboratories, a workout room and a day-care center. The 90,000-square-foot rocket-engine test stand will be surrounded by a 12-foot earthen berm. Blue Origin, now located in a warehouse in an industrial area in south Seattle, plans to move to the Kent site in the first quarter of next year, Hicks said. The company's work force will grow to about 70 or 100 - up from 40 - over the next several years, according to city records.
12/26/05 - Quezon City Inventor says No to P3.5 billion offer ($65,420,560.75 USD)
A barber-turned-inventor from Quezon City refused an offer of P3.5 billion for the patent of his invention, a cream based on cashew nut oil that rids users of warts, moles and other skin growths. He said he turned down the offer by two multinational drug firms for the outright purchase of his patent for his RCC herbal cream preparation, which could have assured him of P1 million in interest income a day for the rest of his life. The De la Cruz family runs the Amazing Touch Co. and has been conducting free treatments for residents of depressed areas, particularly in Zambales, where wild cashew nuts abound. Out of curiosity, he pounded a wild cashew nut into a paste, and tasted it. He subsequently sustained an inflamed tongue and lips, feeling the sensation of heat traveling through them. He forgot the incident for a time, working as a barber by day and studying by night. One day, De la Cruz noticed that the warts on one of his regular customers were slowly disappearing. He asked what the man used to rid himself of the warts, to which the customer replied, "cashew nut." De la Cruz said the heat generated by the cashew nut oil can be compared to a laser that burns off any unwanted skin growth. "The heat generated by the oil kills bacteria and other unwanted organisms in the skin," he said, noting that he added a "secret ingredient" to his herbal cream preparation. De la Cruz also has another international award-winning invention, the DeBCC cream, which is used for the treatment of basal cell carcinoma (BCC), the most common type of skin cancer. The cream contains a formulation of cashew nut extracts and other Philippine herbs. "By mere application of the cream, with no radical and unacceptable surgeries or procedures, 14 patients with skin cancer were cured in 16 weeks. No recurrences were reported," he said.
12/26/05 - Misadventures in the wacky world of patent law
The combination of an antiquated patent justice system and spiraling patent litigation costs are stacking the judicial deck against successful companies that want to defend themselves against patent infringement claims. Making matters worse, technical and medical innovators have become such hugely successful businesses that small companies -- known as patent trolls -- with little more than a few patents to their name are flooding courts with lawsuits. It used to be a snap for big companies to defend themselves against patent infringement cases. With deeper pockets, they typically mounted huge battles in a number of legal venues until smaller plaintiffs exhausted their budgets and cried uncle. Today, some courts, particularly federal district court in Virginia, are fast tracking patent cases, taking away big companies' advantage. Faced with these challenges and the potentially devastating outcomes of the RIM and eBay cases, legal experts say it has become too perilous to take patent fights to court. The stark legal reality is that patent litigators have enormous leverage to demand lucrative licensing fees or settlements regardless of the validity of their claims. The biggest problem with litigation is old-fashioned legislation that grants patent protections to individuals or companies that can prove they were the first to invent a product. It means that if an individual or company, even accidentally, uses the same intellectual property previously discovered or invented by another, then a patent has been infringed. In contrast, Canada and most European countries have modernized their acts so that protection is given only to those who first file patents for their inventions, making patent cases in these countries a simpler matter of proving dates on patents.
12/26/05 - Turbine company harnesses wind power
Fort Worth real estate mogul Ross Perot Jr. will be among the first to use a new alternative energy invention from a Plano-based company -- the Mag-Wind rooftop turbine, which uses wind to generate electricity. Mag-Wind Co. L.L.C. in February will install one of its first five pre-production models -- possibly the one nicknamed "Toto" by its inventor -- atop the developer's Victory office building in downtown Dallas. The founders of privately held Mag-Wind have been developing the patent-pending vertical-axis turbine since 1991. Each Mag-Wind can generate 900 to 2,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity a month, depending on the amount of wind. That's enough to power the average household, according to Bob Thompson, CEO of Mag-Wind. The Mag-Wind unit, made of aluminum, fiberglass and steel, measures 4-feet square and weighs 250 pounds. It retails for $6,599. The installed cost is $10,000 to $15,000, Thompson said. Mag-Wind says homeowners will earn back their investment in five to seven years. Designed to last an estimated 20 years, Mag-Wind features no gears to wear or freeze. Its platform of aluminum sails, or wings, float on magnets. The platform base rotates around a stabilizing, vertically fixed shaft through its center. A circle of magnets on the inside of the base pass by a circle of coils to create electricity.
12/26/05 - Ben Franklin’s Greatest Invention
Even today, sources on inventions list six by Benjamin Franklin that are still in active use. One of those sits in my back hall, cheerfully and economically heating the back of my home--the Franklin stove. Another sits on the bridge of my nose as I write this--a pair of bifocals. But this is about Franklin’s greatest invention, one that the lists never mention because it is mere words, not a physical object. One of the things Franklin learned on his trips to Europe was that creative people were being cheated out of the financial benefits of their creations. He recognized that the building of a nation required the creation of a form of fastest possible communication among its parts. So he created the first Post Office, and also served as the first postmaster. But even the post office, which led inexorably to the Internet, was not Franklin’s greatest invention. He thought about the problem of creative people being encouraged to develop new creations. He understood the importance of good, old-fashioned financial incentives. He suggested to James Madison the following 27-word clause to be added to the powers of Congress in Article I, Section 8. With little debate and no objection, since it came from the respected scientist, it was added to the Constitution: “To promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries. . . ." It is Franklin’s invention of this clause that has caused the explosion of American creativity, which began with the founding of the nation, and has shown no signs of slowing down in the two and a quarter centuries since. Franklin saw the problem as it existed in the rest of the world. Franklin recognized that providing an economic incentive would encourage inventors and creators. And he also recognized that it must be temporary, “for limited times," since he was aware of permanent monopolies such as the salt monopoly in the Ottoman empire, which were benefits for preferred supporters of the ruler. In short, Franklin’s invention of this clause led to the current status of the American economy as the most powerful economic engine in history.
12/26/05 - Wyoming Launches Cloud-Seeding Project
Wyoming is embarking on an $8.8 million, five-year cloud-seeding project that aims to bolster mountain snowpack, and possibly yield proof of whether cloud seeding actually works. Millions of dollars is already being spent, especially in the West, to spew silver iodide into storm clouds in order to coax more rain and snow to fall. Breed said most of the water in the West comes from mountains, where the snowpack acts essentially like a reservoir. The Colorado River Basin, fed mainly by water from the mountains, is a major water supply for seven states. But increasing demand for water has water managers fearing shortages in the future. If more snow can be produced in the mountains by cloud seeding, it would mean more water for cities, towns and farms. However, whether cloud seeding actually works has been the subject of debate among the scientific community. In 2003, the National Academy of Sciences questioned the science behind cloud seeding and called for national research into the practice.
12/26/05 - Bio-Levitation
(TM claims this ability yet reports of their 'flying' state they sit in the lotus position and move their legs to throw them into the air, it is NOT true levitation. - JWD) Fortune-teller Marisa Lozinskaya was sitting at her table on Sunday afternoon in the Polish town of Goshkovice. There were several clients around the woman, wishing to look into their future. One of them (Anneli Vozgolskaya) described the events as follows: "All of a sudden she said she had a headache. She stopped reading cards, turned ashen-faced and even screamed with pain. Right at that moment I saw her rising above the ground slowly. Her body remained motionless at that. Everybody on the square was flabbergasted with the sight of the woman hanging in the air three meters above the ground. She was hovering for two minutes and then started going down. As soon as her feet touched the ground, she fell facedown." Serafim Sarovsky, the archbishop of Novgorod and Pskov is one of the Russian "levitators." Moscow chronicles tell of St.Basil flying across the Moskva River in front of astounded crowds. An interesting experiment was carried out in one of Russian universities, at the psychological department. A person was told during a seance of hypnosis that he was inside an orbiting spaceship. A hypnotist told the person that he was about to find himself into a state of weightlessness. When devices showed the complete absence of weight, the scientists did not believe their eyes: the weight of the hypnotized individual vanished totally. Also see; Neel - Lung Gom Pa, bottom of page and this; 60 pound loss with Party Levitation experiment and this; Gravitational Spider and this; Russian weight loss reports and this; Slavek's Report of weight loss during Sleepwalking.
12/26/05 - Using the Internet to Solve R&D Problems
Small businesses and major corporations alike have discovered a new form of global outsourcing: They're using the Internet to advertise monetary awards for inventions. Ambros Hügin was sitting at home one evening in his apartment in Geneva, just surfing the Web. He had quit his job as a researcher at the city's university hospital and was enjoying his new freedom. After a few mouse clicks, he chanced upon a virtual laboratory of sorts, filled with thousands of inventors. Soon after, the 50 year old landed a research contract to develop a new method for testing anti-inflammatory drugs. He brooded over the task at hand and ran a few experiments. And then Hügin solved the problem. He submitted his idea and before long, the $10,000 fee appeared in his bank account. To this day, he has no idea who paid him. What turned out to be easy cash for the self-employed inventor stems from a carefully designed business idea developed by a US-based company called Innocentive -- the name is a fusion of the words innovation and incentive. The business principle behind the company's idea exchange is quite simple. A company has a problem it wants to solve, but its own R&D department is unable to develop a solution on its own. So the company describes the problem it wants solved -- using a few sentences, formulas or graphics -- posts it on Innocentive's Web site and names a sum it's willing to pay for the invention -- anywhere from $10,000 to $100,000. Some 80,000 inventors have already tried their hand at solving the various problems posted on Innocentive. The rules are straightforward: Whoever produces the best solution gets the money, while everyone else gets nothing. The Web site charges the companies a fee to post their questions. In return, they remain anonymous, in order to protect company secrets.
12/26/05 - Muslims - invention then vs now
Contrary to our brilliant past, in the current century not a single invention came forth by any Muslim, regretted Chairman Senate Mohammedmian Soomro. Addressing the 31st Convocation of Preston University here Saturday, he said: “In recent past, most of the inventions were made by Muslim experts in Physics, Chemistry, Biology and Mathematics. Muslims are needed the creative ideas those are the basics of any invention". He emphasized that the success of any nation largely depended on its educational human capital. “Adequate and sustained investment in human capital was therefore the need of the hour and was absolutely essential for the socio-economic and political development of the country", he added.
12/26/05 - Taxing Computer Software
A state board is proposing a sweeping change to make computer software used in business subject to property taxes, a move that some business leaders contend could drive up costs and hurt job growth in Tennessee. "This would be a significant chunk of change," said Hayes Ledford, the Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce’s director of public affairs. Carl Hartley, a Chattanooga attorney representing some businesses, said the change could put a considerable tax bite on some companies whose businesses are heavily based on computer use, such as banks, finance companies, leasing firms and insurance businesses. Currently, there is no consistent approach to determining what business software should be considered taxable, according to the executive secretary of the State Board of Equalization, which proposed the change. However, software already is taxed as property in some Tennessee counties, said Kelsie Jones. He said county assessors have taken "varying approaches" in making distinctions about not only taxing software, but the kinds, as well. For example, Mr. Jones said, some tax operational software but not that which is applicational. The new rule would provide a uniform standard across the state, he said. "One of the reasons for the proposal comes down to consistency. The rule as proposed would quit worrying about distinctions," he said. "All software becomes assessable."
12/25/05 - Looking into technology's future
Space cruises around the moon. Robotic farm machinery. DNA-specific medical treatment. These products could be on the market in the not-too-distant future, according to technology innovators in San Luis Obispo. "You'll be able to pay money and go for a ride -- go into orbit," Babcock said. "You'll be able to look at the Earth from space." He hopes that will impact people's perspectives about life back home. "It does, I think, raise people's awareness that we've got to take care of this planet," he said. Eventually, Babcock expects to see multi-day cruises around the moon. Someday, medical providers could look at a patient's DNA to decide whether they are likely to have an adverse reaction before administering the drug. ...and more at the link.
12/25/05 - Space burials, star names on sale by US company
The challenge of arranging space flights for its special payload notwithstanding, the company's space burials have taken off. It is preparing for its sixth launch in March 2006. The first launch in 1997 carried the remains of 24 men, including Gene Roddenberry the creator of the legendary television series Star Trek; 1960s counterculture icon Timothy Leary, and Princeton University physicist Gerard ONeill. The upcoming launch will also evoke Star Trek memories, carrying remains from the late actor James Doohan, who played the engineer on the spaceship Enterprise. Chafer, who started his career developing rockets for commercial launches, explained that the company sends into space vials of people's ashes as a secondary payload accompanying commercial launches of satellites. The ashes are then set into orbit at the same level of the satellite. The cost is not out of orbit, however. The company charges by the weight, 995 dollars for a capsule containing one gram of a person's ashes, and up to 5,300 for seven grams, inserted into a container which resembles a lipstick tube. "It reflects a growing trend, here in the US and around the world, of doing things with someone's ashes that will be meaningful for that person."
12/25/05 - Bill Would Allow Arrests for No Reason in Public Places
A bill on Gov. Bob Taft's desk right now is drawing a lot of criticism, NewsChannel5 reported. One state representative said it resembles Gestapo-style tactics of government, and there could be changes coming on the streets of Ohio's small towns and big cities. The Ohio Patriot Act has made it to the Taft's desk, and with the stroke of a pen, it would most likely become the toughest terrorism bill in the country. The lengthy piece of legislation would let police arrest people in public places who will not give their names, address and birth dates, even if they are not doing anything wrong. WEWS reported it would also pave the way for everyone entering critical transportation sites such as, train stations, airports and bus stations to show ID. "It brings us frighteningly close to a show me your papers society," said Carrie Davis of the ACLU, which opposes the Ohio Patriot Act.
12/25/05 - Dutch mathematician simplifies the search for oil
It all centres on the so-called Helmholtz equation. Solving this is important in interpreting the acoustic measurements taken when prospecting for oil. Sound waves are transmitted into the ground and their reflections recorded as they return to the earth's surface. Analysis of this data enables specialists to locate oil deposits. In the past, these measurements have been taken two-dimensionally. Effectively, the earth was surveyed as a series of flat layers. But the oil companies would rather use a faster method involving three-dimensional blocks. Until recently, though, their computers were not powerful enough to do that. Solving the Helmholtz equation requires huge arithmetical capacity. As part of his PhD research, Erlangga has succeeded in making the method of calculation used to solve the Helmholtz equation a hundred times faster. And that finally makes it possible for firms like Shell to use 3D calculations when prospecting for oil. So it seems highly likely that oil companies will express an interest in exploiting Erlangga's work. But other applications are also conceivable. This is because the Helmholtz equation is used to describe many kinds of wave. Not just acoustic ones, as in the oil example, but also electromagnetic waves including visible light. It is quite feasible, therefore, that Erlangga's work could be applied to lasers - in data storage on a Blu-ray Disc, for example - or to radar measurements in aviation.
12/25/05 - "Straight up" embryo stem cells fix heart damage
Injecting embryo stem cells "straight up"-without changing their cell type first-has fixed damage in an animal model of heart attack. Reporting in the Journal of Molecular and Cellular Cardiology, scientists led by UW-Madison stem cell researcher Timothy J. Kamp report that the stem cells, when transplanted into damaged mouse hearts, morph into functional forms of cells that compose a healthy heart. The study is considered important because it means that blank-slate embryonic stem cells could be introduced directly to damaged heart tissue to repair heart muscle and blood vessels. In their experiments, when stem cells were introduced directly to tissue damaged by a heart attack, three critical types of cells formed: cardiomyocytes or heart muscle; vascular smooth muscle, the muscle that forms the bulk of the walls of blood vessels; and endothelial cells, the flat cells that line the interior surfaces of blood vessels in the heart and throughout the body's circulatory system. Kamp emphasized that although results of the new study show promise for using stem cells to repair diseased and damaged tissue, clinical application remains a distant hope. Further studies in mice, primates and, ultimately, humans will be required to ensure efficacy and safety... One intriguing result of the new study is that the implanted cells did not result in tumor formation, one of the primary safety concerns for stem cell therapy. Like cancer cells, embryonic stem cells have a capacity to reproduce indefinitely and scientists must perfect cell transplant methods that are safe before the therapy can be attempted in human patients.
12/25/05 - 10% of prescription drugs are fake
When fakes of a GlaxoSmithKline anti-malarial drug turned up in Africa, authorities assumed the drug giant would want to know. Instead, they learned about a huge, evil trade in fake drugs -- and about an industry that doesn’t want the truth to get out. In Vienna, Virginia, not far from Washington, a database of all the fake drugs discovered by the world’s 18 largest drug companies is kept at the Pharmaceutical Security Institute (PSI). The data maintained by the PSI may well hold the key to saving millions of innocent consumers from ingesting lethal counterfeits of the industry’s best-selling medicines -- but it remains inaccessible to outside inquiries for what the industry calls “security" reasons. Fake drugs are indeed the pharmaceutical industry’s most closely guarded secret. “It’s despicable," says the lean, shrewd White, at 54 one of the world’s top malaria experts. “One packet or bottle is the difference between life and death. Poor people normally invest everything in that one medicine. You’ve got one shot and that’s it. They often don’t know why they are suffering and their children have died."
12/24/05 - Oil shale may be fool's gold
Hyping oil shale is nothing new. As geologist Walter Youngquist once wrote, "Bankers won't invest a dime in 'organic marlstone,' the shale's proper name, but 'oil shale' is another matter." Oil shale is a lousy fuel. Compared to the coal that launched the Industrial Revolution or the oil that sustains the world today, oil shale is the dregs. Coal seams a few feet thick are worth mining because coal contains lots of energy. If coal is good, oil is even better. And oil shale? Per pound, it contains one-tenth the energy of crude oil, one-sixth that of coal. Oil shale is said to be "rich" when a ton yields 30 gallons of oil. An equal weight of granola contains three times more energy. America's "vast," "immense" deposits of shale have the energy density of a baked potato. Oil shale has one-third the energy density of Cap'n Crunch, but no one is counting on the Quaker Oats Company to become a major energy producer soon. Historically, oil shale has been mined, crushed and roasted in large kilns, or "retorts." The slag, swollen in volume and contaminated with arsenic, must then be disposed. The process is so costly, laborious and polluting that global output has never exceeded 25,000 barrels a day, compared to 84 million barrels of conventional oil production. Shell proposes to heat a 1,000-foot-thick section of shale to 700 degrees, then keep it that hot for three years. Shell's method avoids the need to mine shale, it requires a mind-boggling amount of electricity. To produce 100,000 barrels per day, the company would need to construct the largest power plant in Colorado history. Costing about $3 billion, it would consume 5 million tons of coal each year, producing 10 million tons of greenhouse gases. What contribution can oil shale make to energy security? Producing 100,000 barrels per day of shale oil does not violate the laws of physics. But the nation currently consumes that much oil every seven minutes. All hype aside, oil shale is the poorest of the fossil fuels, containing far less energy than crude oil, much less even than hog manure, peat moss or Cap'n Crunch. A meager amount of energy, tightly bound up in an enormous volume of rock, oil shale seems destined to remain an elusive bonanza, the petroleum equivalent of fool's gold. After an investigation that included a frightening car chase, I learned that everyone on all sides of the Middle East conflict was making over 50 fakes of well-known medicines because the trade was so lucrative.
12/25/05 - 'Positive Addictions' to Prevent Violence
Getting kids into the habit of participating in positive activities such as school sports or music could help reduce school violence, according to researchers at Utah State University's Center for the School of the Future. The researchers found that schools participating in the "Prevention Plus" violence-prevention model experienced less fighting and fewer court referrals and gang-related activities. The program cultivates the development of children's protective assets, such as stronger relationships with family members and mentors and the pursuit of "positive addictions" such as athletics, fitness, or a musical instrument. Other protective assets include well-developed social and academic skills and demonstrations of support from family and friends. School violence is a major problem in U.S. schools, says program director Rich West, citing a dramatic rise of violence and intimidation by female students as particularly troubling. Fear of victimization keeps as many as 10% of students out of school at least one day a month. (via impactlab.com)
12/24/05 - R&D challenges for new-energy cars
As China faces growing energy demands, the government is promoting electric, hybrid and hydrogen vehicles. But before these wheels start rolling onto city streets, developers face high research and development costs. They must also reshape consumers' purchasing habits. International experts gathered recently at the China Europe International Business School in Shanghai to discuss the road ahead for new energy vehicles in China. Li Zhuangmiao takes a look at their direction. China's thirty million-odd petrol-driven automobiles suck up nearly half of the country's total oil. China's demand for outside oil is forecast to rise to two hundred and seventy million metric tons in 2020, and to minimize demand, the country is promoting cars driven by new energies. But vehicles such as hybrid gas-and-electric cars, which use forty percent less fuel and produce eighty percent less pollution are expensive to create. Zhuangmiao said: "35,000 new cars hit Shanghai streets in the last five years, and the trend is nationwide. But these conventional models are half the price that a hybrid would cost, which makes winning customers over a big challenge for hybrid automakers."
Prof. Bernd Schmitt, Columbia Business school said: "Consumers often have a very short-term orientation, as we know from research. They often only see the benefits for themselves in terms of using the more environmentally friendly forms of energy. Plus, very often there's no incentive for them to do so. The price for gasoline is acceptable so they go for the bigger cars." Professor Schmitt says China's retail petrol prices remain relatively low compared to the US or Germany. This discourages the pursuit of alternative fuels.
12/24/05 - Carpenter enjoys life off the grid
McGovern has eight solar panels and a wind turbine that power his every energy need: heating water for showers, lighting his house and shop, running massive woodworking tools like table saws, etc. These alternative sources create more than enough energy for himself and his two cats, but they're not for every Daydream Johnny with ideas of self-sustainability. "If you're living in the city, with easy access to the power grid, in most cases it's going to be cheaper to just connect," said McGovern. "You need a minimum of 12 mph average daily wind or you're wasting your time, and you need sun access most of the year to make solar power work. The equipment can be expensive also." In McGovern's case, he lives 12 miles west of the city limits on Highway 130, and it would have cost him at least $25,000 for the power company to run poles out to his property. As it stands, he spent about $16,000 for all the equipment he uses now to power his meager needs. "The average household uses 35 kilowatt hours per day," said McGovern. "I use five kilowatt hours per day for a home and a carpentry shop. I don't know what these other people are doing, but if everyone would cut their energy consumption to 12 kilowatt hours per day, we wouldn't have to worry about drilling for oil in Alaska." In addition to the solar panels and wind turbine, McGovern has a solar hot water collector and a dozen 600-pound batteries that he recycled from a telecommunications company. The batteries store the energy collected until needed, then run it through an inverter to change the power from DC to the standard AC used in most houses. "I've never had a day without power," McGovern said. "I've gone over two weeks without wind and sun before, and the batteries were still going strong.
12/24/05 - Research shows happiness leads to success
A team of researchers has come up with an equally startling finding. It is better to be happy than sad. And that, they conclude, may put you on the road to success. That finding may seem a tad obvious, but the fact is a lot of research has pointed in another direction, contending that happiness is the result of a lot of things - success at work, a good marriage, a fit body, a fat bank account. But according to psychologists at three universities, that's backward. People aren't happy because they are successful, they conclude. They're successful because they are happy. The researchers combed through 225 studies involving 275,000 people and found that most researchers put the proverbial cart before the horse. Most investigators, they concluded, "assume that success makes people happy." They conclude that happy people are easier to work with, more highly motivated and more willing to tackle a difficult project. Thus, they are more likely to be successful. "What is the hallmark of happiness?" they ask. "Our focus in this article is on happy individuals - that is, those who experience frequent positive emotions, such as joy, interest and pride, and infrequent (though not absent) negative emotions, such as sadness, anxiety and anger." Most people who are miserable seem eager to share their misery. "Happy moods appear to lead people to seek out others and to engage with the environment at large, to be more venturesome, more open and more sensitive to other individuals." But alas, there is a downside to all this happiness. Sometimes, especially when the subject is "chronically happy," the researchers note, co-workers may find all that cheerfulness a bit annoying.
12/24/05 - China scooping up deals in Africa as US firms hesitate
China's growing demand for energy sources and profitable construction deals is leading the world's most populous country increasingly to swoop into Africa, where it has found abundant raw materials, governments desperate for outside investments, and relatively little competition from American firms. The Chinese, sensing Africa's tremendous potential upside, are making strategic economic inroads into a continent that, outside of oil investments, has long been written off by most Western companies as too risky because of poor governance or threat of conflict. US companies, in particular, have been caught flat-footed by the Chinese financial strikes, according to American and other experts on Africa's economic potential. s China's financial stakes blossom in the world's poorest continent, many others increasingly see the motivations behind the relationship as simple, too: China wants to expand its business reach, especially if it can bring new energy contracts, and Africa dearly needs investment.
12/24/05 - The year of unnatural disasters
In the space of a year, a tsunami, an earthquake, brutal storms and floods have claimed more than 300,000 lives and cost at least 100 billion dollars in damage. Could mankind be to blame? For many scientists, the deep pain from this year's string of disasters is to a very large degree man-made. From the Mississippi delta to the mountains of Kashmir and the beaches of the Andaman Sea, governments failed in almost every case to respect the basic laws of sustainable development. In a nutshell, these rules are: don't house people in places that are at risk to disasters -- but if you do, respect natural defenses; keep the population growth to sensible limits; build wisely and ensure high safety standards in construction; and set up effective alert and response networks in the event disaster does strike. "Indiscriminate economic development and ecologically destructive policies have left many communities more vulnerable to disasters than they realize," said the Washington-based environmental group the Worldwatch Institute. Climate scientists are loath to pin a single event, or even a season, to the greenhouse-gas effect. Despite this, a small but increasing number of experts are venturing the opinion that the 2005 hurricane season was no accident, for it coincides with ever-rising sea temperatures that fuel bad hurricanes, and a year set to be the warmest ever recorded. Others urge caution, saying it could be years before we get confirmation as to whether 2005 was just a freak year for storms, part of a natural cycle for hurricanes, or the start of a man-made phenomenon. Oliver-Smith says it is too early to say whether the string of catastrophes of the past 12 months has dented mankind's obsession with economic growth regardless of the cost.
12/23/05 - Five ways to combat Climate Change
A great story by the Economist lays out the basis for climate change and what needs to be done to combat it. In particular, it cites Dr. Rob Socolow of Princeton on six wedges of the CO2 pie-chart that need to be tackled:
1. Greater efficiency. - 2. Decarbonized electricity. - 3. Decarbonized (liquid) fuels. - 4. Fuel displacement by electricity. - 5. Methane management. - 6. Natural carbon sinks. This article provides an excellent introduction to the basis for climate change and is certainly worth forwarding on to friends and family who may have a fuzzy concept of the problem. (via thewatt.com)
12/23/05 - Shape of glass influences how much alcohol is poured
When pouring liquor, even professional bartenders unintentionally pour 20 to 30 percent more into short, squat glasses than into tall, thin ones, according to a new Cornell University study. "Yet, people who pour into short, wide glasses consistently believe that they pour less than those who pour into tall, narrow glasses," said Brian Wansink, the John S. Dyson Professor of Marketing, Applied Economics and of Nutritional Science at Cornell. "And education, practice, concentration and experience don't correct the overpouring." The reason for the difference, Wansink speculates, is the classic vertical-horizontal optical illusion: People consistently perceive equally sized vertical lines as longer than horizontal ones. "People generally estimate tall glasses as holding more liquid than wide ones of the same volume," Wansink said. "They also focus their pouring attention on the height of the liquid they are pouring and insufficiently compensate for its width." In separate studies, the researchers asked 198 college students (43 percent female) of legal drinking age and 86 professional bartenders (with an average six years experience -- 38 percent of them female) to pour a shot (1.5 oz.) of spirits into either short, wide tumblers or tall, thin highball glasses. The college students consistently poured 30 percent more alcohol into the short glasses than into the tall, and the bartenders poured 20 percent more. When the researchers asked one group of students to practice 10 times before the actual pour, they still poured 26 percent more into the short glasses. When the researchers asked one group of bartenders to "please take your time," the bartenders took twice as long to pour the drink, but still poured 10 percent more into the short glasses.
12/23/05 - End of cheap gas: U.S. automakers running on empty
This month, the U.S. Energy Information Administration released projections that reveal dramatically higher world oil prices, with a new floor of $2 a gallon for gas. "This is the first significant increase in EIA's forecast of oil prices in years," said McManus, director of the U-M Transportation Research Institute's Automotive Analysis Division. "It is time for our automakers to accept this reality-something foreign competitors have understood for years." McManus says that in response to escalating profit losses and plunging market share, General Motors, Ford and DaimlerChrysler have begun to "restructure" their North American production capacity. But these plans, he says, do not appear to involve retooling factories or redesigning assembly lines to build fuel-efficient cars. With gasoline prices 50 percent higher than just three years ago, consumers are increasingly turning to fuel-efficient cars and to foreign competitors. If ailing automakers are to successfully restructure their business, they must do what the EIA has done-acknowledge the end of cheap oil and retool their plants to build products that will sell in this new era." "It is the fuel economy of all vehicles on the road that determines how much oil we consume, McManus said. According to the EIA, 'greater penetration by hybrid and diesel vehicles and slower growth in the sales of light trucks and sport utility vehicles' will save only the equivalent of two-and-a-half weeks of fuel." "The real question is what kind of fuel economy does America need to achieve real reductions in fuel consumption by 2025? The real answer is a lot more than the EIA currently projects."
12/23/05 - Trash to turn into energy
The Columbia City Council voted Monday night to proceed with the design and permitting phase of a bioreactor in the newest landfill cell that will launch the production of electrical power from the landfill for the Water and Light Department. The vote came after the council received a conceptual engineering and economic feasibility report from the consulting and engineering firm Camp Dresser & McKee. The firm builds bioreactors and was contracted to do the report in December 2004. A bioreactor is “basically a large scale of composting," said Richard Wieman, Columbia Solid Waste Utility manager. The basic design is similar to landfills used today, but a bioreactor hastens the rate of decomposition through the controlled circulation of leachate - the liquid that filters through waste - and the addition of water or oxygen to spur microbes into biodegration. A natural byproduct of this process is methane gas, which can be burned to produce electricity. The “dry tomb" method, which seals off the elements and allows only marginal biodegration, is the conventional method, Pendergrass said. With a bioreactor, regulated amounts of water and air are injected into the landfill cell, allowing controlled reactions that stabilize waste quicker and provide higher methane levels. Wieman estimated the process could use about 40,000 gallons of water per day. “Initially, we’re going to expect to get 1.5 to 2 percent (of the city’s electricity) from the generation here in town," Columbia Water and Light director Dan Dasho said. Until the methane production becomes fully operational, Columbia plans to buy long-term supplies from other renewable energy sources. The Water and Light Department bought about 1 percent of its energy in 2005 from a bioreactor at the Milam landfill in East St. Louis, Ill.
12/23/05 - Healing with Heat
Moxibustion is the heating method used mostly for chronic diseases. Like needling, moxibustion also enhances the flow of vital energy (that is Qi) throughout the meridians in a body. Moxibustion is used in very chronic, (yin) situations. Moxibustion has tremendous scope in the treatment of swelling, ganglion, tumours, sprains, spasms and any type of pain. According to the Chinese, moxibustion clears the meridians. It removes the coldness, dampness and other impurities of blood and enhances the it as well as other vital energy circulations. The term moxibustion is from Japanese term ‘mogusa’ for the mugwort plant. The moxa is ignited by a candle and the ignited end is shown at the distance of 3.5 cm to the skin producing a warm feeling.
12/23/05 - Congress Digs in Its Heels to Defy Bush
After four years in which Congress repeatedly laid down while President Bush dictated his priorities, 2005 will go down as the year legislators stood up. This week's uprising against a four-year extension of the USA Patriot Act was the latest example of a new willingness by lawmakers in both parties to challenge Bush and his notions of expansive executive power. "What you have seen is a Congress, which has been AWOL through intimidation or lack of unity, get off the sidelines and jump in with both feet," especially on the national security front, said Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C. What is most striking is the pushback is coming not just from Democrats and moderate Republicans, who often disagree with Bush, but from mainstream conservative members. The year's events, say some legislators and scholars, reflect more than just a change in the president's legislative scorecard. They suggest Bush may have reached the outer limits of a long-term project to reshape the powers of the presidency. - Online MSNBC poll Do you believe President Bush's actions justify impeachment? - of 126118 responses - 85% say Yes
12/23/05 - The AmeriKKKan police state
(Worth the read in its entirety. - JWD) Perhaps Bu$h fears the people might actually read the U.S. Declaration of Independence and discern the glaring similarities between the reasons the 13 colonies broke away from England and the conditions George W. Bu$h and his merry band of thieves, rogues and warmongers have foisted upon the AmeriKKKan people. Read it for yourself, then ask yourself whether or not the words are relevant today. Ask yourself whether or not the words in that document mirror in any way, the situation you are facing today. If you see no similarities whatsoever, go back to the television, go back to sleep or stick your head back into the sand. Sooner or later someone will come along and stick their jack booted foot into your comatose, stupid behind. But by then, if the ruling elites have their way, it will be too late to alter the situation.
12/22/05 - Rapidly produced Cheap hot water
(I am wary of this news report because I could not find the Patent Number or Inventors Name at the Patent Office, how can they produce a press release with TWO ERRORS unless it is a hoax or a fraud? I have emailed them requesting the correct information. - JWD) A new patent for "Method and Apparatus for the Production of Hydrogen and Oxygen" (Patent # 11254593) from Robert J. dePalo. This patent was acquired in order to further develop the described invention for the economical production of hot water on demand. "We are very excited about our acquisition of these patent rights," says Benjamin Croxton, Chief Executive Officer and Chief Financial Officer of WES. "Our prototype apparatus, utilizing our technology, has heated ground water from 70 degrees F to 195 degrees F in less than 15 seconds using common household electrical current at a cost of 6 (six) 10ths (6/10) of a penny per minute," says Croxton. "Utilizing common household current to create hydrogen/oxygen gas (from water) allows us to operate our design anywhere in the world where there is electricity. It is the goal of WES to further develop this technology for potential use in commercial, industrial, residential and military applications," stated Croxton. (Update - 12/23/05 - I received an email from WES lawyer Clifford J. Hunt explaining the misleading patent information. He indicates the patent has not been granted, so the information remains confidential until it is granted. Most inventors do this to prevent interference with their ongoing patent applications.)
12/22/05 - Japanese instant checkout defeats long lines
If a shopper places the basket on the checkout counter, the system scans the prices in one second without the sales clerk having to scan each item. Including the time for procedures such as putting the goods in a bag, "it takes less than 10 seconds to leave the counter," said Itochu spokesman Yasuhiko Takahashi. The trial-run will take place at a FamilyMart convenience store in Tokyo for a month from January 30, using special tags on 500 kinds of goods and electronic money, trading house Itochu said Wednesday. Many in Japan use electronic money in the form of cards for instant debits or prepaid value, much like a phone card.
12/22/05 - EPA invents battery-less hybrid system
Called hydraulic hybrid technology, the system uses energy stored up during braking to help propel a vehicle during acceleration. The energy is stored in pressurized hydraulic fluid, the same sort of fluid used in brake lines and for power steering.
Ordinarily, when a driver applies the brakes in a car the energy removed from the vehicle's forward motion is simply lost as heat through the car's brake pads and rotors. In gasoline-electric hybrids, like the Toyota Prius, some of that energy is recaptured through generators that charge batteries that, in turn, can help provide supplementary power to the vehicle. In the EPA's hydraulic hybrid system, braking pressure is used to power pumps that compress hydraulic fluid. This stores energy in the same way you would if you squeezed a spring with your hands. When needed, the pressure is released and the expanding hydraulic fluid is used to power gears that help turn the vehicle's wheels. Also, just as a gasoline-electric hybrid's gas engine can charge the batteries directly during highway cruising, the hydraulic hybrid's engine can also pump up the pressurized fluid tanks as the vehicle drives. There is a major advantage to the EPA's new system and one major disadvantage, the agency said. The advantage is its simplicity and relatively low cost. The system would cost an estimated $600 to install on a mass-production basis, the agency estimates, compared to $3,000 to $6,000 for an electric hybrid system. The disadvantage is the system's weight, the EPA says. According to a 2004 EPA report, a hydraulic hybrid SUV would weigh about 190 pounds more than a conventional SUV. That means the EPA's system is most applicable to trucks where the added weight would make a smaller overall difference, the agency said. The added weight of the system is similar to the weight of an electric hybrid system, although the EPA itself cites weight as a disadvantage. The EPA's system was demonstrated at an engineering conference last year on a prototype Ford Expedition SUV and will be used next year in at least one UPS delivery truck next year. The UPS truck could get as much a 70 percent increase in fuel efficiency in city routes, the EPA estimates, and the added cost of the trucks should be paid off in fuel savings in about 2.5 years. All these vehicles are diesel powered. Diesel engines are inherently more fuel efficient, to begin with, than gasoline engines. The use of diesel also allows the EPA to show off "clean diesel" technology it has also developed in its laboratories.
12/21/05 - Unlimited Electric Energy from the Environment
An alternative electric power generating system that draws energy from a seemingly unlikely yet abundant, eminently renewable and virtually free power source has been submitted for patenting by MagCap Engineering, LLC, Canton, Mass., in collaboration with Gordon W. Wadle, an inventor from Thomson, Ill. Wadle has invented a way to capture the energy generated by a living non- animal organism -- such as a tree. Chris Lagadinos, president of MagCap, developed circuitry that converts this natural energy source into useable DC power capable of sustaining a continuous current to charge and maintain a battery at full charge. "As unbelievable as it sounds, we've been able to demonstrate the feasibility of generating electricity in this manner," said Wadle. "While the development is in its infancy, it has the potential to provide an unlimited supply of constant, clean energy without relying on fossil fuels, a power generating plant complex or an elaborate transmission network." Wadle likened the invention to the discovery of electricity over 200 years ago when charged particles were harnessed to create an electric current. "Now we've learned that there is an immense, inexhaustible source of energy literally all around us that can be harnessed and converted into usable electric power," he said. Ultimately, it should prove to be more practical than solar energy or wind power, and certainly more affordable than fuel cells, he added. Wadle said he got the original idea of harnessing a tree for electrical energy from studying lightening, more than 50 percent of which originates from the ground. This prompted him to develop the theories resulting in a method to access this power source. Lagadinos then designed circuitry that filtered and amplified these energy emanations, creating a useable power source. Basically, the existing system includes a metal rod embedded in the tree, a grounding rod driven into the ground, and the connecting circuitry, which filters and boosts the power output sufficient to charge a battery. In its current experimental configuration, the demonstration system produces 2.1 volts, enough to continuously maintain a full charge in a nickel cadmium battery attached to an LED light. "Think of the environment as a battery, in this case," said Lagadinos, "with the tree as the positive pole and the grounding rod as the negative." Lagadinos said the system could be enhanced enough to generate 12 volts and one amp of power, "a desirable power level that could be used to power just about anything," he said. It is enough power to charge batteries for any type of vehicle, including hybrids and electric cars, or to use with an AC converter to produce household power, he added. The LED industry is a prime example of a potential user of this power source. While the basic concept of this invention -- using a tree to generate electric power -- seems too incredible to be true, Lagadinos said it can be demonstrated quite simply. "Simply drive an aluminum roofing nail through the bark and into the wood of a tree -- any tree -- approximately one half inch; drive a copper water pipe six or seven inches into the ground, then get a standard off-the-shelf digital volt meter and attach one probe to the pipe, the other to the nail and you'll get a reading of anywhere from 0.8 to 1.2 volts of DC power," he said. "You can't do anything with it in that form because it is 'dirty' -- i.e. highly unstable and too weak to power anything," he added. In order to properly harness this potential energy source, MagCap devised two test circuits: one with three capacitors that were connected in parallel by means of a switch and charged to 0.7 volts each. When fully charged they are switched to a series mode, multiplying the voltage to 2.1 volts and flashing an LED to show that sufficient power could be generated to produce a useable result. The second circuit included a filtering device to stabilize and "clean" the current so it could be used to charge and maintain a NiCad battery. The battery then could be connected to the LED to keep the LED lit continuously. Wadle pointed out that there seems to be no limit to the amount of power that can be drawn from an individual tree, no matter how many "taps" are inserted -- each produces the same amount of energy, an average of 0.7 - 0.8 volts. Size of the tree also seems not to matter. Interestingly, while conventional wisdom would seem to indicate that the tree draws much of its energy from photosynthesis via its leaves, the voltage output actually increases to 1.2-1.3 volts in the winter after the leaves have fallen.
12/21/05 - Swallow a balloon to beat the bulge
Did you ever think that a balloon could be instrumental in helping you get rid of that bloated up body? Well scientists have now devised a method wherein obese people can lose excessive weight without any invasive surgery, but by simply swallowing a balloon. Results of a recent trial have been startlingly good, with patients showing significant weight loss in just three months. It is particularly exciting as it offers a non-surgical alternative to gastric bands and stomach reduction procedures. Doctors first carry out an initial examination of the stomach with the help of an endoscopic camera, to check for abnormalities or obstructions. The deflated balloon, made from a soft silicone material, is then fed down the throat and into the stomach. Anaesthetic is put onto the surface of the throat to numb the tissue while the balloon is swallowed. Muscle-relaxing medication may also be used. Once in place, the balloon is filled with 500 ml of saline through a small tube that also goes down the throat and which is attached to a self-sealing valve in the neck of the balloon. The tube is removed when filling is complete and the balloon floats around the stomach safely. Once it is filled, the balloon is too big to get through the valve from the stomach to the bowel. The trial by doctors in Rome shows that the whole procedure took only 10 to 15 minutes. The idea is that the balloon reduces the working size of the stomach, without surgery. The theory is that the patient feels fuller and less need to eat. The manufacturers, Inamed Health, claim that as the balloon creates a feeling of fullness, it acts as an aid to weight reduction and helps users adhere to a prescribed diet. The system was designed for people who are at least 40 per cent above their ideal weight and who have failed to get prolonged success with other weight control programmes.
12/21/05 - So what happened to the Segway?
Anyone ridden a Segway recently? This month marks the four-year anniversary of Dean Kamen's much-hyped self-balancing upright scooter. Upon unveiling his invention, Kamen promised it would eventually replace the automobile for short-distance trips and offer easier mobility to everyone from postal workers to the elderly. With equal parts naivety and hubris, some of Segway's supporters even foresaw a day when the world would redesign cities to accommodate its new capabilities. Two years later, Kamen's invention is nowhere to be found. Segways have been relegated to specialty applications, such as pilot studies with parcel couriers and police officers. The U.S. Patent Office is filled with applications for inventions that will never bring an additional penny to anyone besides the patent lawyers who filed them. Always novel, and occasionally interesting, these inventions are not innovations. An innovation is far more valuable. It's an invention that has a socioeconomic effect and changes how people live or work -- or what they buy. And managed well, it pays the bills. That doesn't mean that we don't need new inventions. Just that they're only half the story.
12/21/05 - Wealthy less charitable, study finds
Working-age Americans who make $50,000 to $100,000 a year are two to six times more generous in one measure of the gifts they give to charity than Americans who make more than $10 million, a pioneering study of federal tax data shows. Among those 35 and younger, those making less than $200,000 made gifts equal to 1.87 percent of their assets, a figure that fell to 0.5 percent for the 189,000 taxpayers making $200,000 to $10 million and to 0.4 percent for the 285 taxpayers making more than $10 million.
12/21/05 - Watercone - sun + seawater = clean water
One of the easiest tools for making brackish or sea water usable requires little more than sunlight and time -- the Watercone. Made of a rugged, transparent plastic, the Watercone is incredibly easy to use: fill up the base plate with salt water, place the cone over the plate, and wait. 24 hours later, a trough around the edge of the cone will contain 1-1.5 liters of fresh water, produced by vaporation/condensation. Pour the water out, and start again. Individual units are expected to cost around $50 apiece, although that will depend in large part on who manufactures them. (via worldchanging.com)
12/21/05 - Excess packaging 'wasteful'
RETAILERS and manufacturers have been criticised for using cheap marketing tactics and too much plastic packaging by Environment Victoria in its annual Dump awards. A vitamin pill with a red flashing light aimed at grabbing the attention of shoppers has been awarded the gold Dump award for the use of damaging and useless materials in packaging. Judged by a panel of seven people from academia and industry, Myadec A-Z Guard multi-vitamin was singled out for the top award for its red light and batteries, which could be hazardous when dumped in landfill. Cadbury Schweppes Hot Chocolate, which has a bottle covered in shrink wrap, was awarded both the Negative Development in Packaging and the Misleading Labelling gongs. Ms Henty said non-recyclable or hazardous packaging not only added to the cost of the products, but also harmed the environment. "The cost to the community of this waste is enormous, not just as litter in our waterways and animal habitats, but to the cost of products themselves and (municipal) council rates," Ms Henty said.
"Manufacturers want you to buy as much as possible so they create short-lived products and wrap multiple products together in one pack," Mr West said. "So avoid buying products that are obviously over-packaged or non-recyclable."
12/21/05 - NSA/CIA spooks incensed at Wiretapping of private citizens
A few current and former signals intelligence guys have been checking in since this NSA domestic spying story broke. Their reactions range between midly creeped out and completely pissed off. All of the sigint specialists emphasized repeatedly that keeping tabs on Americans is way beyond the bounds of what they ordinarily do -- no matter what the conspiracy crowd may think. "It's drilled into you from minute one that you should not ever, ever, ever, under any f**king circumstances turn this massive apparatus on an American citizen," one source says. "You do a lot of weird shit. But at least you don't f**k with your own people." As reported in the Times, the C.I.A. seized the terrorists' computers, cellphones and personal phone directories, said the officials familiar with the program. The N.S.A. surveillance was intended to exploit those numbers and addresses as quickly as possible, they said....In addition to eavesdropping on those numbers and reading e-mail messages to and from the Qaeda figures, the N.S.A. began monitoring others linked to them, creating an expanding chain. While most of the numbers and addresses were overseas, hundreds were in the United States, the officials said....Since 2002, the agency has been conducting some warrantless eavesdropping on people in the United States who are linked, even if indirectly, to suspected terrorists through the chain of phone numbers and e-mail addresses. But this call chain could very well have grown out of control, the source admits. Suddenly, people ten and twelve degrees of separation away from Osama may have been targeted. If the Bush administration didn't like the 72-hour requirement, then they should have gone to Congress and asked that FISA be amended to allow for more time. If the Bush administration didn't feel that the FISA court could handle the increased caseload at current staffing levels, then they could have, once again, gone to Congress and asked that the FISA court be expanded.
The Bush administration did neither of these two things. They broke the law instead. And just as in the case of the intelligence committees on Capitol Hill, the Bush adminstration only told (it's reported) a single judge on the FISA court that they were bypassing FISA per executive order. In other words, the Bush administration blew off the judicial review of the FISA court concerning countless warrantless surveillance activities and established their own in-house "judicial review" apparatus instead.
12/21/05 - Psychiatry Ponders Whether Extreme Bias Can Be an Illness
Mental health practitioners say they regularly confront extreme forms of racism, homophobia and other prejudice in the course of therapy, and that some patients are disabled by these beliefs. As doctors increasingly weigh the effects of race and culture on mental illness, some are asking whether pathological bias ought to be an official psychiatric diagnosis. Advocates have circulated draft guidelines and have begun to conduct systematic studies. While the proposal is gaining traction, it is still in the early stages of being considered by the professionals who decide on new diagnoses. If it succeeds, it could have huge ramifications on clinical practice, employment disputes and the criminal justice system. Perpetrators of hate crimes could become candidates for treatment, and physicians would become arbiters of how to distinguish "ordinary prejudice" from pathological bias. "I think it's absurd," said Sally Satel, a psychiatrist and the author of "PC, M.D.: How Political Correctness Is Corrupting Medicine." Satel said the diagnosis would allow hate-crime perpetrators to evade responsibility by claiming they suffered from a mental illness. "You could use it as a defense."
12/21/05 - Brandy as an antioxidant
A new research has found that a shot of Christmas brandy is beneficial for the body as it could help eliminate free radicals that bring on old age and disease. The study, by physicist Dr Gordon Troup and chemist Dr Steve Langford from Monash University in Melbourne, has found that a standard 30 millilitre shot of brandy has the equivalent antioxidant potential as the daily recommended intake of vitamin C. Dr Troup said that eating a slice of brany-infused traditional Christmas cake or drinking a brandy of a good quality is good for health. "So when you are enjoying a slice of brandy-infused fruit cake or a drink of good quality brandy over Christmas you can put your mind at rest that this amber liquid isn t too bad for you at all," ABC online quoted him, as saying. The researchers studied seven different brandies using electron spin resonance spectroscopy, which uses microwaves to image free radicals and antioxidant chemicals. They found that six types of the fiery liquid had a healthy amount of antioxidants present which came from sources including copper atoms from the distiller, phenols from the oak used in the ageing process and manganese atoms from the grapes. The report of their findings is published in the latest issue of the Alcohol in Moderation Digest.
12/21/05 - The current U.S. system is harming innovation
For over 200 years, the U.S. patent system has catalyzed economic growth and protected the national interest. Unfortunately, over the past few decades, patents have become irrelevant -- even harmful -- to the innovation process. The first problem with patents is that the entire process takes too long: three years on average, often as long as five, and getting longer all the time. Second, a company's most valuable IP almost always results from later insights, gleaned by developing its early products and interacting with customers, not from the IP it originally filed. Competitors are busy inventing as well, and since the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office often grants trivial and overlapping patents, IP minefields may be waiting to explode. Third, the $50,000 to $100,000 lifetime cost of patent application, protection, and maintenance effectively limits the number of patents a young, financially constrained company can file. Much patentable IP is left on the cutting-room floor, at the risk of allowing trivial variations filed by competitors to block the originator's path to market. Fourth, and probably most important, few venture-capital-backed companies will ever dare to defend their IP in court. If they do, they'll risk losing customers and squandering anywhere from $1 million to $5 million of their precious venture funding. Much of what the Patent Office sees as invention is merely science applied to a new field by equation or analogy. At AT&T, we took old microwave patents and filed identical claims on optical inventions, which are also radio waves, only 10,000 times smaller. We were able to do this even though it was obvious to anyone who ever picked up a physics textbook that once you have the ability to make things smaller, the physics just translates over. Higher standards and greater simplicity are the path to a better patent system -- for our nation and for its inventors. In my case, probably no more than a dozen of my 70 patents would reach this bar. Yet they would be more valuable in the end. Sometimes more isn't better.
12/21/05 - Atlantic currents show signs of weakening
THE NORTH Atlantic's natural heating system, which brings clement weather to Western Europe, is showing signs of decline. Scientists report that warm Atlantic Ocean currents, which carry heat from the tropics to high latitudes, have substantially weakened over the past 50 years. Oceanographers surveying the `Atlantic meridional overturning circulation,' the current system that includes the warm Gulf Stream current, report that it seems to be 30 percent weaker than half a century ago. Harry Bryden of the National Oceanography Centre in Southampton, England, and his team reported their results recently in Nature. The team measured water temperature and salinity along a latitude of 25 degrees North, taking samples roughly every 50 kilometres. They then calculated from the density and pressure differences between each sample, the volume and velocity of the circulation at various depths, assuming that from coast to coast the balance of water flowing north and south must be zero. Similar measurements along the same latitude were previously made. But until now, the data never showed any significant decline in circulation. "In 1998 we saw only very small changes," says Bryden. However, this time things were very different. The near surface, and mostly wind-driven, Gulf Stream has remained almost constant since 1957. But the deep-ocean return flow of cooler water has decreased dramatically. This cycle usually returns water to more southerly latitudes. But much of this water now seems to be trapped in a loop in the subtropical Atlantic, instead of cycling all the way to the ocean's northern extremity. Bryden and his colleagues estimate that, overall, the circulation has slowed by about 30 per cent since 1957. Other oceanographers warn that this is not proof of a long-term trend. Possible disturbances such as ocean eddies, and natural fluctuations in the strength of the circulation system, must be considered, they say. "Something is clearly going on," says Jochem Marotzke, an oceanographer at the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology in Hamburg. "But we still have only a series of snapshots. The crux is to determine how representative they really are." He adds that the chances of imminent collapse of the circulation system are small. Sensor-equipped moorings installed at 25 locations across the subtropical Atlantic have now begun to monitor continuously the circulation at all depths.
12/20/05 - Giant Limes grown in Thailand
This is via boingboing.net though the page is in Thai which I can't translate to discover how they grew these limes so large. AS written at boingboing; "Possibly a result of mutation, this lime tree bears more than 100 limes -- each lime is very big with the biggest (5 1/2" diameter) weighs in at 1.5kg or 3.3 pounds. Four of these limes give 500cc juice that tastes exactly like lime juice from a normal sized lime." In Mexico, they sell 'limones' in two forms, the normal small ones with seeds which are about an inch in diameter and large ones that are seedless and range from 2-3 inches in diameter.
12/20/05 - Ford To Build Flexible Fuel Engine Plant In The Philippines
In his visit to the country, Ford Motor Company Corporate Vice President and President of Ford Asia Pacific and Africa, Peter Daniel, announced company plans to invest P1.1 billion (US$20 million) to build a Flexible Fuel engine plant in the Philippines. A Ford first in the region, the investment further establishes Ford’s innovation leadership in Flexible Fuel technology and the use of bio-ethanol fuel. Ford’s Flexible Fuel engines are designed to operate on either conventional gasoline or a combination of gasoline and bio-ethanol fuels. The investment translates to production of 100,000 engines over the next five years valued at about US$100 million. Start-up activities will be undertaken in the first quarter next year, with full production to begin before the end of 2006. Ford is the first and only volume exporter of vehicles from the Philippines. The success of the export program can be attributed to the world-class vehicles being produced at the Santa Rosa plant. Currently, Ford Philippines exports the Focus and Escape, and the Mazda3 and Tribute to several ASEAN countries-bringing cumulative exports from the start of the program to end 2005 to some 40,000 vehicles valued at approximately US$500 million. The engines from the Philippine plant will be used in the production of Flexible Fuel vehicles (FFVs). Currently, Ford Motor Company has more than one million ethanol-powered cars and trucks on the road. In North America, four new vehicles are planned for 2006 that will largely run on ethanol, increasing the production of FFVs in 2006 to as much as 250,000 units. Ford’s interest in using ethanol as an alternative fuel goes back to the days of its founder, Henry Ford, who experimented with ethanol to power his Model T invention.
12/20/05 - Flying Scooter turns heads
Shaw has invented what he calls the Ultralight Flying Scooter. It is a mini-motorcycle with a "flight modification kit" attachment. It includes a 42 m-2 tandem-rated paraglider wing, a parachute that tucks in at the front of the vehicle between the driver's legs, and an engine. "It is a street legal, power paraglider. It is in a weight class that makes it an ultra light aircraft. Its under 254 pounds so it meets the FAA regulations." And it does fly. Unlike a paraglider, this gizmo has an engine, so it doesn't rely on the wind for flight. "It actually pushes your vehicle on the ground to a flight speed that makes the paraglider wing actually stay above your head so it can then take off like an airplane." And because the flying scooter weighs less than 254 pounds you don't need a pilot's license to use it...but that also means you cannot fly it near any airport. "Its extremely affordable. It's the most affordable aircraft you can get and you can drive on the streets with it." And how "affordable" is it?? Well, the flight modification kit costs just under $10,000. That does not include the scooter. "We actually have a payment plan as well." And for another $1,200, Shaw will teach you how to use this aircraft with training wheels.
12/20/05 - A big wave of mini-hydro projects
Propelled by high energy costs, federal incentives, and an eased licensing process, at least 104 projects in 29 states - with 2,400 megawatts of new capacity - have been granted "preliminary permits" by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), which regulates hydropower development. Many other projects in the works have not yet been officially reported by FERC, observers say. Some trace the surge in hydropower interest to little-noticed provisions in the 2005 energy bill that provided tax credits and incentive payments to boost the industry. It also included measures to soften the clout of environmentalists, native Americans, fishing enthusiasts, and federal agencies that might oppose or wish to modify such projects. About 4 in 5 projects on the books are tiny - producing less than 20 megawatts of power. But if all 104 projects now in the planning stages are built, they would contribute 2.4 gigawatts to generating capacity nationwide. The potential exists for much more, say federal researchers. Of 80,000 existing dams, only about 2,500 generate electricity. Upgrading those hydropower dams could boost power by 4,300 megawatts. Retrofitting the most promising of the remaining 77,000 dams could generate as much as 17,000 megawatts, according to a recent US Department of Energy Report.
12/19/05 - Russian Spaceplane 30,000km/hour (18,641mph)
"The aircraft designed by the institute falls under the class of aerospaceplanes," says the director of the Moscow Institute. "It will use a usual runway for taking off and landing, like a usual airplane. But it will fly like a manned spacecraft when in midair," adds he. The space plane will be able to reach a speed of 30,000 km per hour. According to researchers' estimates, such a speed will enable the space plane to fly from Moscow to Paris in 20 min, from Moscow to New York in 50 min, and from Moscow to Sydney in one hour and six minutes. The design space plane is 75 m long; its gross liftoff weight is about 800 tons (mostly due to fuel).The space plane will be capable of lifting from 10 tons to 45 tons of payload to 100 km or 200 km (anticipated movements altitude). The cost of cargo flights will be lower than that for the space shuttle missions. Carrying a kilo of payload by a space shuttle will cost a customer from $10 thousand to $20 thousand. The rates for the space place cargo flights will range from $100 to $200 per one kilo of payload. The space plane will have rounded wings, the front part of a body will house either a crew or a payload. The engines will be mounted at the rear part. The space place will look like a flying saucer to some extent. Researcher have already built and tested a working prototype of the space place on a scale of 1:25. A lack of financing is the main stumbling block of today. "The building of two active spaces plane will require from 6 to 8 billion rubles ($209,497,206.70 - $279,329,608.94 USD)," says the director of the institute. "It will take us from 5 to 8 years to build them provided that the financing starts in the nearest future," adds he.
12/19/05 - ex-Prez Carter used psychic to locate downed plane
"We had a plane go down in the Central African Republic. A twin-engine plane. Small plane. And we couldn't find it," the 81-year-old 39th President reveals to GQ magazine's Wil S. Hylton. "So we oriented satellites that were going around the Earth every 90 minutes to fly over that spot where we thought it might be and take photographs. We couldn't find it." Carter continues: "The director of the CIA came and told me that he had contacted a woman in California who claimed to have supernatural capabilities. And she went into a trance and she wrote down latitudes and longitudes, and we sent our satellite over that latitude and longitude, and there was the plane."
12/19/05 - Electro-kinetic Road Ramp produces 10KW from your car
A road ramp that uses passing cars to generate power has been developed. Dorset inventor Peter Hughes' Electro-Kinetic Road Ramp creates around 10kW of power each time a car drives over its metal plates. More than 200 local authorities had expressed an interest in ordering the £25,000 ramps to power their traffic lights and road signs, Mr Hughes said. Around 300 jobs are due to be created in Somerset for a production run of 2,000 ramps next year. Plates in the ramp move up and down as vehicles pass over them, driving a generator. "The ramp is silent, comfortable and safe for vehicles," Mr Hughes said. Depending on the weight of the vehicle passing overhead, between five and 50kW can be generated.
12/19/05 - Honda says to mass-produce solar cells from 2007
Japan's third-biggest automaker said in a statement it would build a new factory for solar cells on the site of a car plant in Kumamoto prefecture, on the southwestern Japanese island of Kyushu. The company aims to generate annual sales of 5 billion to 8 billion yen ($40 million to $70 million) from solar cells once the factory's output reaches full annual capacity of 27.5 megawatts, enough to power about 8,000 households. Honda will be competing with major solar cell manufacturers such as Kyocera Corp, Sharp Corp. and Mitsubishi Electric Corp. Honda said its solar cells would be composed of non-silicon compound materials, consuming half as much energy and generating 50 percent less carbon dioxide during production when compared with conventional solar cells made from silicon. The company aims to sell the solar cells for both residential and industrial use. It will initially target the Japanese market.
12/19/05 - US taxpayers paying for New Mexico Spaceport
US taxpayers will foot the bill for a planned $225m (£127m) spaceport that Virgin Galactic will use to launch its space tourism business, under a plan unveiled on Wednesday. New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson said he will ask state legislators for $100m (£56.4m) over three years to build the commercial base in Upham. The rest of the money would come from local towns and the federal government.The towns can expect to be richly rewarded for their investments. According to a study released Wednesday by aerospace industry consultant Futron Corporation, the Southwest Regional Spaceport could generate as much as $750m (£423.3) per year by 2020. The New Mexico spaceport is to be built almost entirely underground on 27 square miles (70 square kilometres) of state-owned land. Virgin said it would sign a 20-year lease agreement for use of the spaceport, paying $1m (£564,400) a year for the first five years and increasing amounts thereafter. Virgin Galactic will be the spaceport's primary, but not its only tenant. New Mexico already has agreements in place to host an annual private spaceflight exhibition billed as a follow-on to the $10m Ansari X Prize. In addition, two start-up commercial space firms, UP Aerospace and StarChaser Industries have set up shop in New Mexico. "New Mexico will be known around the world as the launch pad of the new space industry," Branson said, adding that his firm is aiming for two- to three flights daily from the new spaceport. "We're going where no one has gone before. There's no model to follow, nothing to copy. That is what makes this so exciting," he added. Virgin Galactic has already collected more than $10m (£5.6) in deposits from aspiring rocketeers willing to pay about $200,000 (£112,867) for the experience. The trip will last about 3 1/2 hours from takeoff through landing and includes about five minutes of weightlessness.
12/19/05 - Cheap Quantum Cryptography
How would you feel if you invested millions of dollars in quantum cryptography, and then learned that you could do the same thing with a few 25-cent Radio Shack components? Laszlo Kish proposed securing a communications link, like a phone or computer line, with a pair of resistors. By adding electronic noise, or using the natural thermal noise of the resistors -- called "Johnson noise" -- Kish can prevent eavesdroppers from listening in. In the blue-sky field of quantum cryptography, the strange physics of the subatomic world are harnessed to create a secure, unbreakable communications channel between two points. At each clock tick, both Alice and Bob randomly choose one of their two resistors and put it in the circuit. Then, Alice and Bob both measure the current flowing through the circuit. Basically, it's inversely proportional to the sum of their two chosen resistors: 20 ohms, 1,010 ohms or 2,000 ohms. Of course, the eavesdropper can measure the same thing. Alice and Bob keep only the data from the clock ticks where they choose a different size resistor. From each such clock tick, they can derive one secret key bit, according to who chooses the 10-ohm resistor and who the 1,000-ohm. That's because they know who's choosing which and the eavesdropper doesn't. Do it enough times and you've got key material for a one-time pad (or anything else) to encrypt the communications link.
12/19/05 - 110 Countries unite against US & EU
One hundred and ten countries are united in the G110, a grouping of the world's middle and lower income developing nations. These countries ask for one thing, and one thing only - that the United States of America and the European Union practise what they preach. The USA and EU claim to represent free and fair trading practices and speak about the importance of the market-based economy in the capitalist model. What they practise is something entirely different, namely cloistered and interventionist trading practises which protect their own market against those countries trying to compete with them. It is the antithesis of the capitalist-monetarist model which proves clearly that the model is flawed from the outset. After complaining for decades about the controlled economy and state interventionism in economic cycles, which was the case of the Soviet economic model, Washington and Brussels do exactly the same thing.
12/19/05 - Micro Electric Railgun
All it really takes for the circuit is 4 one-time use cameras (one for the charging circuit and 3 more for additional capacitors for the capacitor bank), some heavy wire (I used steel picture wire for bussbars for the capacitor bank, and all other wires were taken from a cord for a wall-powered fan-any wires smaller would either burn out or vaporize.) and a board to mount all of this stuff on. All you need are an aluminum weld bar, a sheet of lucite, and some bolts and nuts. I got all of the parts form the hardware store for $5.51. WOW! The gun barrel is extremely simple in concept, being nothing but two aluminum bars sandwiched between two sheets of lucite, but it takes quite a lot of fine tuning to make sure it’s perfectly straight and sealed. A small sliver of aluminum foil, no thicker than the rails, and no longer than an inch should be slid down the barrel with some kind of stick (I use an unrolled paper clip) til it is about half way down the barrel, and is in contact with both rails. Touch the stripped ends of the negative leads to complete the circuit through the gun and the foil. There will (should) be a loud report, and a burst of bright blue/white plasma from the muzzle of the gun. The power is very low, and the projectile is hardly launched at hyper velocity, but as a demonstration of the lorentz force it is fairly impressive. This device is a tiny Arc-Driven (plasma-armature) railgun.
12/19/05 - 2005 is Earth's second hottest in 1000 years
Emission of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere has led to massive climate change, with latest figures by World Meteorological Organization showing that the last 10 years were the warmest since human agriculture began thousands of years ago. According to researchers, global temperature is rapidly increasing, making 2005 the planet's hottest year in past 1000 years. And while this year October was the hottest October on record with significant above-average temperatures in large areas of Africa, Australia, Brazil, China and the US, 1998 shaped up as the warmest year of the past decade. Attributing the rise in temperature to human activity sending greenhouse gases into our atmosphere, Coughlan said, "If it is natural variability, where did the warmth come from? Did it come out the oceans, did it come out of volcanoes, has the Sun suddenly heated up? There's no evidence from any of those sources that can explain why the Earth, in the past few decades, has increased in temperature." Scientists compared 1998 to previous years using instrumental records going back 150 years, from land and sea surface temperatures measured by thermometers, and with proxy records from tree rings, lake sediments and the like going back 1000 years.
12/19/05 - Losing the 4th Amendment
Congress once respected the Fourth Amendment until it began cutting holes in it. Before Congress enacted the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) in 1977, Americans and even non-citizens physically present here enjoyed the right to privacy guaranteed by the Fourth Amendment. That Amendment, which was written out of a revulsion to warrants that let British soldiers look for any tangible thing anywhere they chose, specifically requires that the government demonstrate to a judge and the judge specifically find the existence of probable cause of criminal activity on the part of the person whose property the government wishes to search. The Fourth Amendment commands that only a judge can authorize a search warrant. The deepest cut came on October 15, 2001 when Congress enacted the Patriot Act. With minimal floor debate in the Senate and no floor debate in the House (House members were given only 30 minutes to read the 315 page bill), Congress enacted this most unpatriotic rejection of privacy and constitutional guarantees. Together with its offspring the Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal 2004 and the Intelligence Reform Act of 2004, the Patriot Act not only permits the execution of self-written search warrants on a host of new subjects, it rejects the no-criminal-prosecution protections of its predecessors by requiring evidence obtained contrary to the Fourth Amendment to be turned over to prosecutors and mandating that such evidence is constitutionally competent in criminal prosecutions. Those in government - from both parties and with a few courageous exceptions - do not feel constrained by the Constitution. They think they can do whatever they want. They have hired vast teams of government lawyers to twist and torture the plain meaning of the Fourth Amendment to justify their aggrandizement of power to themselves. They vote for legislation they have not read and do not understand. Their only fear is being overruled by judges. In the case of the Patriot Act, they should be afraid. The federal judges who have published opinions on the challenges to it have all found it constitutionally flawed. A self-written search warrant, even one called a national security letter, is the ultimate constitutional farce. What federal agents would not authorize themselves to seize whatever they wished? Why even bother with such a meaningless requirement? We might as well let the feds rummage through any office, basement, computer, or bedroom they choose. Who would trust government agents with this unfettered unreviewable power? The Framers did not. Why would government agents bother going to a judge with probable cause seeking a search warrant if they can simply write their own? Big Brother must have caught on because federal agents have written and executed self-written search warrants on over 120,000 unsuspecting Americans since October 2001.
12/18/05 - Don't let your invention(s) die with you
The "free energy" community needs to be aware of this issue. Deals must not be allowed to kill these great inventions. Inventors are too worried about getting rich and at the end they get nothing and the world is no better off. There is an interesting paradigm I want to be well understood. If you try too hard to profit - If you are too secretive - If you believe the world will bow to you - If you believe that the hard part is over - If you believe you don't need marketing help - If you believe one contract with one company will make all your dreams come true - You will never succeed! To paraphrase a famous quote. A man who had great inventions that could change the world died. When asked how many of his inventions he took with him the wise man said ALL of THEM.
12/18/05 - Using Technical Remote Viewing to discover free energy secrets
(I'll see if I can get a circuit diagram for this, you are welcome to write the author also though I don't currently have his email address. - JWD) What is a poor Remote Viewer in the middle of nowhere to do? I TRV'd it and asked others to TRV it also (in the blind). Lo and behold, the TRV data indicated that the best option, "free energy", is actually a reality. I asked more people TRV it, again in the blind, and it came up the same: there are ways to generate electricity other than the "traditional methods". Yet for all the talk out there about "free energy", I could not find anyone who would sell me a "free energy" device or generator. To me this was just further proof that no such device exists... put up or shut up. It once again seemed that the concept of "free energy" was merely a pipe dream. However, the TRV data clearly said otherwise. So wait, where's the more? I and a few others embarked on some extra TRV exploration. Since we couldn't get anyone else to provide a means for creating this free energy, we had to see if there was a way to do it on our own. We verified, via TRV data, that a particular methodology of generating electricity. Scribbled paper in hand and soldering irons at the ready, we set to building the device. Now that we have an oscilloscope and can measure the voltage spikes in a more scientific fashion, I know why some of the zaps that I got were so shocking... Our little homebrew device was producing voltage spikes in excess of 300 volts AC! At each step we would TRV what the optimum next step is in improving the device's capability of generating electricity. Based on TRV data we have made countless improvements, and have now been generating gobs of electricity for several months. Each time we TRV and get more data, we follow it, implementing those ideas into the design. Each new generation of the prototype device (based on TRV data) is yielding higher and higher net amounts of electricity.
12/18/05 - Business assists inventors in manufacturing, marketing new products
At one time or another, most everybody has had an idea for a new product, Vern Rich says. "It's just that nobody knows what to do with it,'' Jim Borchardt adds. Borchardt and Rich are partners in See2Sea Sourcing Inc., an Elk Point, S.D.-based company that helps everyday people get their inventions made and marketed. The growing business, which has forged relationships with factories and shippers overseas, has developed and sold the partners' own patented products, which include a reuseable shopping cart bag, a personalized shower curtain and a stainless steel toothpick holder. In its promotional materials, See2Sea boasts of taking an idea from "Paper 2 Patent 2 Production 2 Profit.'' Obtaining patent pending status protects the inventor during the design and manufacturing processing. See2Sea uses its overseas partners to product a sample product. The company's marketing graphics department can design packaging for the product. After a final sample is approved, See2Sea can provide a quote for a finished product delivered to the U.S. Along with helping people with a dream manufacture and market their inventions, See2 Sea also can help existing some businesses buy products direct from the manufacturer. For instance, the company recently assisted the owner of a southeastern South Dakota fireworks stand purchase pyrotechnics from a factory in China. It's the first time the small stand had bought fireworks directly in 23 years in business. Borchardt said the value of the U.S. invention business is estimated at more than $400 annually, but less than 1 percent of inventors ever make a dime. Borchardt has resisted invitations to join a class action suit against the national invention company he was involved with. Rather, his goal is to "get back at them one product at a time.'' "There is a way to get something made without being a manufacturing giant or sending them your bank account like I did,'' he said. For more information on See2Sea Sourcing, drop by the company's kiosk at Southern Hills Mall, located near the JCPenney entrance, or visit its Web site: www.see2sea2you.com.
12/18/05 - Offer of Quantum Free Energy for 800KW generator
"You must sell them the milk not the cow." In our sinful world people's behavior is shaped by money relations. Energy is the blood in the body of the contemporary economy. This blood is now sick and incurable. The only way to save the life of the world economy is to replace this blood with new fresh blood. Quantum Free Energy is this new blood. The world's energy market is the biggest market in the world - tens of trillions of dollars. Owning even a small fraction of this market can make a person a billionaire. I am an inventor of a real, unlimited source of high quality free energy (QFE). My invention is protected by international law - I have patents and all kinds of proofs that QFE is my own discovery. Any company which will try to use my discovery unlawfully will face a lawsuit. My ultimate goal, however, is not money or a prestigious scientific award. QFE is a gift of God for all human beings on Earth. In my website I intend to post some lessons on how to perform simple experiments on QFE. These experiments will demonstrate in a reliable way the reality of QFE. Stay tuned! I’m ready for practical application of QFE right now - I have all knowledge, experience, technical skill and wish to bring this work to successful end. I need approximately $3 million, about ten good specialists, and about 1 ½ year to build first in the world industrial QFE prototype (about 800 KW output power) and first small power (more than conventional nuclear bomb) Quantum Photonic Bomb. The “QFE Manhattan project" will be much cheaper and much more efficient (QFE bombs are millions of times more destructive than nuclear ones) than the “Nuclear Manhattan project". Patents to check out: 5,537,009 generating ball lightning with RF and gas injection, 6,936,971 the potential energy existing within the quantum macro object is converted and released in the form of quantum energy in a continuous and inexhaustible manner.
$7.5 million to help entrepreneurs
Google, Microsoft and Sun Microsystems each will contribute $500,000 a year over the next five years to fund research at a new UC-Berkeley lab.
The goal is to create technologies that can help Internet entrepreneurs or inventors more easily make growing services available to hundreds of thousands or millions of users, said David Patterson, UC-Berkeley professor of electrical engineering and computer sciences and founding director of the RAD Lab. Patterson said great Internet ideas -- such as eBay or Amazon.com -- are often conceived by lone entrepreneurs who had to scramble to build technology that could handle increased loads when their services became popular. ``It's not trivial,'' Patterson said. ``The hard part is building something that people can use and having it scale to millions of people.'' For now anyway, Google, Sun and Microsoft will be strictly hands-off when it comes to RAD Lab research, serving only as advisers and funders. The three tech companies are contributing the bulk of the funding for the lab, along with smaller contributions from other companies. As much of 80 percent of the funding will come from private industry, with the remainder coming from government grants. `It's a real de-emphasis of university research,'' said Peter Harsha, director of government affairs for the Computing Research Association. ``It changes the landscape for federal funding. We know anecdotally that there has been a real impact on universities.''
12/18/05 - The Intellectual Pyramid
Cash registers are ringing at record levels which generate higher paychecks and more job security for the 23 million Americans who work in retail, the sector that employs one of every five U.S. workers. More than that, the good news snowballs past retail as that 20 percent of the workforce does better and spends more, thereby creating more jobs and more income in the other areas of the economy. It’s what economists call the multiplier effect, the process by which any new increase in income ends up expanding total incomes in the economy by three or four times that amount as each person spends his new income and creates new income for the next person. On the social end, other things being equal, those enhanced paychecks and higher levels of job security are directly correlated with fewer family breakups, less crime, fewer suicides, less poverty, and, overall, a lower level of human misery. As Pearl Bailey said: “Honey, I’ve been rich and I’ve been poor. Rich is better." In proportion to the mental energy he spent, the man who creates a new invention receives but a small percentage of his value in terms of material payment, no matter what fortune he makes, no matter what millions he earns. But the man who works as a janitor in the factory producing that invention, receives an enormous payment in proportion to the mental effort that his job requires of him. And the same is true of all men between, on all levels of ambition and ability. The man at the top of the intellectual pyramid contributes the most to all those below him, but gets nothing except his material payment, receiving no intellectual bonus from others to add to the value of his time. The man at the bottom who, left to himself, would starve in his hopeless ineptitude, contributes nothing to those above him, but receives the bonus of all of their brains. Such is the nature of the "competition" between the strong and the weak of the intellect. Such is the pattern of "exploitation" for which you have damned the strong.
12/18/05 - Luminescent Bacteria detects Toxic Soil
“The Safe Soil Tester system we have developed came as a result of initial work with the University of Surrey although after we received a government Eureka! grant for £1 million, which we matched with pairing funding, we moved to the Sittingbourne Research Centre in Kent. "The SST uses bacteria - bioluminescent bacteria - for the detection of toxic contamination." Ed said: “It is easy to use, can test soil and sediment and is ideal for rapid screening of land for pollutants. It provides instant results saving lab time and costs. “The tester harnesses a satellite positioning system to integrate highly accurate location data with real time results." Ed explained that the system had been tested seeking out benzines and other poisonous carcinogens on a refinery belonging to one of the world’s biggest oil companies with 100 per cent accuracy.
“We have also worked with a power transmission group in the south east to detect oil leaks from generators," he said. He said the SST was particularly relevant in identifying pollution on the increasing number of decommissioned petrol stations. As more and more new housing is being built on brownfield sites the system will be in great demand. “Of course this very economic on-site soil testing system will come into its own when home information packs (HIPs) are introduced in 2007," he explained. “I strongly believe that in the next five years, whether it is an old house or a new one, buyers will require an analysis and test for organic hydrocarbons which are major contaminants. “We can plot the toxicity of an entire site in a morning using our portable device." More info from Crown Bio Systems
12/18/05 - Protecting your business ideas with nondisclosure agreements
You can never be too careful about protecting your valuable business ideas. When discussing confidential business ideas with investors, customers or other parties, a confidentiality agreement, sometimes known as a nondisclosure agreement, can help guarantee that your business secrets stay just that: secret. Here are some typical situations where you may want to use a confidentiality agreement: -- Presenting an invention or business idea to a potential partner, investor or distributor. -- Sharing financial, marketing and other information with a prospective buyer of your business. -- Showing a new product or technology to a prospective buyer or licensee. -- Receiving services from a company or individual who may have access to some sensitive information in providing those services. -- Allowing employees access to confidential and proprietary information of your business in the course of their job. Definition of what is defined to be confidential - The scope of the confidentiality obligation by the receiving party - The exclusions from confidential treatment - The term of the agreement - Jurisdiction if there is a dispute - Your right to seek an injunction should the other party violate the agreement - Never ask VCs to sign one. Most venture capitalists refuse to sign nondisclosure agreements. For them, signing one is too much work and may restrict future opportunities. If you ask a VC to sign your nondisclosure agreement, don't be surprised if you are shown the door.
12/17/05 - Scam for Self-running 700W Fuelless Generator
Basically the generator comes in the form of a black box, about the same as a home sub woofer with the following dimensions. 1 foot wide, by 2 feet long, by 1.5 feet high. The generator comes with three outlets on it to power up to three home devices you can add more outlets if you want). The Generator has it's own modified power generator on the inside which is what it uses to put out the 700 watts. The three home plugs are connected to the internal power generator on the inside of the box. (The preceding is what is being sold, a battery to provide the exciting winding for the alternator, the motor to spin the alternator and 3 outlets. What follows is his explanation of how it is claimed to work and how it can 'expanded' for more power, never mind loading. - JWD) The standard car alternator is actuated by the battery in the car (which provides current to create the excited magnetic field). Once the alternator is actuated and it begins spinning at about one thousand RPM or so it begins producing the necessary amperage to run the vehicle’s various electrical mechanisms. There are such alternators in existence that are self actuating which work more like power generators. All these generators need is to be spun at 1000 rpm in order to produce the average 55 amps needed to run a vehicle. Now picture this. You have a row of 6 self-actuating alternators connected to an electric motor which spins them. All the power needed to run the electric motor comes from one of the spinning alternators. In this set-up you are left with five alternators that continue spinning freely producing electricity at will, that you can use for whatever you want. You can attach the remaining alternators to five additional power inverters which can in turn provide enough electrical power to run 10 or more different appliances. Now the only loophole you are left with in this situation is that you have to initially start the system by getting the electric motor to spin fast enough to get the alternators producing power. However once you get this system jump started you end up with a generator that’s going to produce constant power until the alternators and/or the electric motor gives out. This is the basic running principle behind the process of how the self-powered generator works.
12/17/05 - Be happy, stay healthy!
The strongest links between positive emotions and health were found in studies that examined "trait" emotions, which reflect a person's typical emotional experience, rather than "state" emotions, which reflect momentary responses to events. People who typically report more positive emotions experience lower rates of chronic illness, symptoms and pain. Moreover, among the elderly who live on their own or with family rather than in retirement homes, positive emotional dispositions are linked to living longer. In contrast, positive emotions are not associated with increased longevity in studies of other populations, and though possibly beneficial for recovery from less serious diseases, extremely positive emotions are in some cases associated with poorer outcomes among those with serious illness. "Overall, the literature suggests an association between positive emotions and some measures of good health, but there are many subtle weaknesses in these studies and it would be inappropriate to make any strong conclusions," Cohen said. The authors also were concerned with the possibility that some measures of positive emotions may themselves be direct indicators of physical health. For example, adjectives such as "energetic," "full-of-pep," and "vigorous" may reflect a positive mood, but may also reflect how healthy one feels. Self-rated health has been found to predict illness and longevity above and beyond objective health measures such as physician ratings. The authors propose that emotions can have a direct impact on health; for example, they may influence lifestyle choices, or the function of the immune and autonomic nervous systems. Alternatively, they suggest that positive emotions may also influence health by mitigating the harmful effects of stress.
12/17/05 - Illegal Eavesdropping - More Rights Erosion
President Bush secretly authorized the National Security Agency to eavesdrop on Americans and others inside the United States to search for evidence of terrorist activity without the court-approved warrants ordinarily required for domestic spying, according to government officials. The White House asked The New York Times not to publish this article, arguing that it could jeopardize continuing investigations and alert would-be terrorists that they might be under scrutiny. After meeting with senior administration officials to hear their concerns, the newspaper delayed publication for a year to conduct additional reporting. Most people targeted for N.S.A. monitoring have never been charged with a crime. - When asked about the programme on U.S. TV, the Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, said, 'The president acted lawfully in every step that he has taken.'"
12/17/05 - The 'Green' in "Green"
Big Oil and its adherents may not care about the environment, but they'll do just about anything--even invest in alternative energy--to keep the money rolling in. With an "oiligarchy" in the White House and record profits in their coffers, petrochemical companies appear poised to dominate the global economy into the distant horizon, climate be damned. But their very success in driving up profits and prices is inadvertently spurring the transformation many seek to forestall--the greening of the global economy. Small pioneering companies and venture capital funds specializing in "green energy" sources like wind, solar, and biomass, which long languished at the margins of the marketplace, are suddenly the focus of intensive courting by industry behemoths like Wal-Mart, the world's largest corporation, as it seeks both to reduce waste and energy costs and to brighten its tarnished image in the face of employee, consumer and community criticism. How much of this transformation is real and substantial enough to make a difference in a global economy that is still overwhelmingly exploitative of both natural and human resources? Experience reveals that the transformational tipping point is reached only when conscience and self-interest coincide.
12/17/05 - Kinkajou White LED $12 Solar Powered Microfilm Projector
The Kinkajou projector. It uses a super-bright white LED shining through microfilm, so it is low-power, robust, cheap, and can provide an entire library of course materials. And it can be powered from a solar panel that stores up juice during the day for projecting at night. One in five adults worldwide does not know how to read. In rural regions of West Africa, up to 75% of the population is illiterate. According to Barbara Garner of the World Education Organization, "It's the lack of resources"-specifically access to books and lighting-rather than the lack of interest in education that contributes to these numbers. We are currently conducting a six-month pedagogical test of 45 Kinkajou Microfilm Projectors with our partner World Education in night-time adult literacy classrooms across rural Mali. The Kinkajou is representative of a range of useful low-power appliances for underserved communities in developing countries, from medical devices to teaching tools, that appear slightly too big for a Freeplay radio-style hand-crank, and very small to justify the expense of a major solar power installation.
12/17/05 - Senate Rejects Extension of Patriot Act
"We can come together to give the government the tools it needs to fight terrorism and protect the rights and freedoms of innocent citizens," said Sen. Russell Feingold, D-Wis., arguing that provisions permitting government access to confidential personal data lacked safeguards to protect the innocent. Much of the controversy involved powers granted to law enforcement agencies to gain access to a wealth of personal data, including library and medical records, in secret, as part of investigations into suspected terrorist activity. The bill also includes a four-year extension of the government's ability to conduct roving wiretaps - which may involve multiple phones - and continues the authority to wiretap "lone wolf" terrorists who may operate on their own, without control from a foreign agent or power. Yet another provision, which applies to all criminal cases, gives the government 30 days to provide notice that it has carried out a search warrant. During debate, several Democrats pointed to a New York Times report that Bush had secretly authorized the National Security Agency to eavesdrop on individuals inside the United States without first securing permission from the courts. "Today's revelation makes it crystal clear that we have to be very careful, very careful," said Sen. Charles Schumer (news, bio, voting record), D-N.Y. Under the measure the Senate was considering, law enforcement officials could continue to obtain secret access to a variety of personal records from businesses, hospitals and other organizations, including libraries. Access is obtained by order of a secret court established under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. Specter told the bill's critics that before such permission is granted, a judge would have to "make a determination on a factual showing that there is a terrorism investigation that does involve foreigners."
12/16/05 - Nature's nano sensors
Recently scientists have proposed using the nanostructured silica shells of diatoms -- a type of algae -- to control lightwaves and as templates for micro and nanodevices. Researchers from the Italian National Council of Research, 2nd University of Naples and University of Naples "Federico II" have carried out a detailed optical study of marine diatoms and found that their shells' luminescence changes depending on the type of gas surrounding them. In the study, they fired laser beams at the shells of Thalassiosira rotula in the presence of nitrous oxide, acetone, ethanol, air, xylene and pyridine, and measured the wavelengths of the light emitted by the shells in response. The shells turn slightly different colors depending on the surrounding gas. The ubiquity of diatoms and the variety of shell structures, which vary by species, make them potentially useful for chemical sensing applications. They could eventually be used, for example, in devices that monitor the environment or detect chemical warfare agents.
12/16/05 - Jadoo Hydrogen rechargeable fuel cell
Three part NAB system, fuel cell, fuel cartridges and recharging station. Two cartridge options 130Whr recharges in 20 minutes, 275Whr recharges in less than 2 hours. Power system weighs 4.7lbs and provides maintenance free 12-14.4VDC. Attach NAB II power system to your camera using industry standard battery mounts. The NAB II is maintenance free, never needs to be removed from your camera and provides predictable power throughout its life. N-Stor’s rechargeable fuel cartridges feature onboard intelligence which provides accurate state-of-fill information and never suffers from “recharge memory" or ever-shortening runtimes. To use, simply insert and twist. Available in 130 Whr and 275 Whr. Fillpoint™ refill station can recharge multiple N-Stor energy cartridges in less than one hour using readily available industrial grade hydrogen. Using the same, simple, “insert and twist" interface, Fillpoint delivers a nearly effortless way to quickly refill your N-Stor cartridges. Unlike batteries, there is no time penalty for refilling multiple N-Stor energy cartridges simultaneously, and several Fillpoint refill stations can be operated at the same time for large scale operations.
12/16/05 - No need to bend; invention lets gas pump itself to ATVs
(So why is this guy still riding recreational vehicles knowing he already has a bad back? Incredible...JWD) An aching back made it painful for Bruce Wood to refuel his ATV a few years ago. So he invented a mobile system using pressurized carbon dioxide to pump gas or diesel from l6- or 30-gallon steel tanks on wheels into the fuel compartments on ATVs, snowmobiles, boats, tractors, lawn mowers. They promote the Bykas product, which has a patent pending, as an improvement from hand-crank systems that require two people to operate if the vehicle is 10 feet or more from the tank supplying the fuel. Their system also eliminates lifting heavy fuel cans and spills. "You just hit a button, and the fuel flows in," he said. "We call it your own gas station on wheels." Their business name, Bykas Enterprises, is from the first letter of the first names of the couple and their three children. A 15-pound bottle of carbon dioxide costs about $10 to refill at welding supply shops and is enough to pump 200 gallons of fuel, he said.
12/16/05 - Storing hydrogen in plastic
The trick to making the new materials, called covalent organic frameworks (COFs), was coaxing them to assume predictable crystal structures---something that never had been done with rigid plastics. "Normally, rigid plastics are synthesized by rapid reactions that randomly cross-link polymers," said postdoctoral fellow Adrien Côté, who is first author on the Science paper. "Just as in anything you might do, if you do it really fast, it can get disorganized." For that reason, the exact internal structures of such materials are poorly understood, making it difficult to predict their properties. But Côté and colleagues tweaked reaction conditions to slow down the process, allowing the materials to crystallize in an organized fashion instead of assembling helter skelter. "Using light elements allows you to generate lightweight materials," said Côté. "That's very important for hydrogen fuel storage, because the lighter the material, the more economical it is to transport around in a vehicle. The strong covalent bonds also make COFs very robust materials." Although the main thrust of the current research is creating materials for gas storage in fuel cells, Côté, Yaghi and colleagues also are exploring variations of COFs that might be suitable for use in electronic devices or catalytic applications.
12/16/05 - Cowboys in the early days
(With the release of 'Brokeback Mountain' (I've seen it called 'bareback mountin'...lol...), comes this book commenting on the romantization of the cowboy life, when it could have been quite different. - JWD) Much of what we know about the American cowboy comes initially from the popular press of the mid-to-late nineteenth century, and later, from the TV western. It was assumed that these hyper-masculine men saved their pent-up sexual tensions for the occasional trips into town where they dallied with the local "business women" who serviced their needs. Polite society, of course, never gave such matters much thought. "Before 1900, that is to say before the modern invention of the 'homosexual' as a social pariah, cowboy narratives represented male-male affection quite a bit more freely than Westerns produced after 1900, when male-male sex was classified as abnormal," he writes in his book's introduction. How those bonds worked to further the interests of Anglo-American males in the late nineteenth century, he later continues, is the subject of "Queer Cowboys." To find evidence of erotic male friendships and gay sex among cowboys, Packard scours the work of such notable authors as James Fenimore Cooper ("The Leatherstocking Tales), Owen Wister ("The Virginian"), Claude Hartland ("The Story of a Life"), Frank Harris ("My Reminiscences as a Cowboy") and the writings of Walt Whitman and Mark Twain. What dampers a reader's enthusiasm for this well-researched and generally interesting book is the author's style. One suspects it was written as a graduate thesis because, at times, it reads as such. And its suggested price, $55, might put it out of the reach of the casual reader. But nevertheless, it's a fascinating subject that has long cried out for analysis.
12/16/05 - Does DNA conduct electricity?
The question of whether or not DNA molecules conduct electricity has been the subject of a hot debate stoked by conflicting experimental results. The tricky part of answering the question is it's extremely difficult to connect individual molecules to circuit testers. Because of this, past results have been all over the map. Researchers from Hebrew University and the Weizmann Institute of science in Israel have developed a more accurate test that shows that DNA does conduct electricity. Key to the accuracy was a way to make the DNA molecules stand up so that only one end was touching the surface, assuring that nothing was interfering with or assisting the molecules' conductance. The physics of how electricity moves through DNA remains an open question.
12/16/05 - Royal Society president warns on fundaMentalists
It was 345 years ago that Christopher Wren and eleven mates met in London to set up a "College for the promoting of Physic-Mathematical Experimental Learning" - which later became the Royal Society. But in a speech due to be delivered tonight RS president Lord May will warn that fundamentalist religious loons threaten the benefits of the Enlightenment. After outlining possible future problems like climate change, loss of biological diversity and disease May says: "Sadly, for many, the response is to retreat from complexity and difficulty by embracing the darkness of fundamentalist unreason. The Enlightenment's core values, which lie at the heart of the Royal Society - free, open, unpredjudiced, uninhibited questioning and enquiry; individual liberty; separation of church and state - are under serious threat from resurgent fundamentalism, West and East." May warns that western governments need to take seriously the science behind global warming and take action now to reduce its likely effects. He warns that loss of animal and plant species could be a greater threat than climate change. On HIV May points out that adequate strategies to prevent future infections exist but are stymied by religious groups. The Vatican promotes abstinence rather than condom use and much US aid is similarly tied to promoting abstinence.
12/16/05 - Spider bots to build solar satellites in space
A mission to determine whether spider-like robots could construct complex structures in space is set to launch in January 2006. The spider bots could build large structures by crawling over a "web" released from a larger spacecraft. The engineers behind the project hope the robots will eventually be used to construct colossal solar panels for satellites that will transmit solar energy back to Earth. The satellites could reflect and concentrate the Sun's rays to a receiving station on Earth or perhaps beam energy down in the form of microwaves. The Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency will launch a satellite called Furoshiki on 18 January 2006, which will conduct three experiments to test the idea. The satellite will be deployed from a rocket on a sub-orbital trajectory. This means scientists will have only 10 minutes of microgravity in which to perform their tests before the craft starts its descent back to Earth and eventually burns up in the atmosphere. The first experiment will see three small satellites detach from the mother ship and stretch out to form two corners of a triangular net with their mother craft forming the other. Onboard cameras will be used to verify that the net, which measures 40 metres on each side, remains as steady as possible and that the daughter satellites do not get tangled in the web. "I hope that we can demonstrate for the first time that it is possible to move along a very thin, free-floating net in a controlled fashion," says Leopold Summerer from ESA’s Advanced Concepts Team. A satellite capable of beaming one billion watts of solar-generated electricity back to Earth would probably need a solar panel with an area of one square kilometre. But spider robots could also be used to build massive communication antennas or a shield to protect satellites from orbiting space junk.
12/16/05 - Scientists develop body-cooling device
(If they don't already use Thermoelectric modules, they should to make it cheaper. There was also a neat one that fit inside a hat and another one that wrapped around the neck. - JWD) Scientists have developed a hand-held device that can cool the body from inside, relieving people from heat-related problems. Every year athletes die of heat stroke. Road crews, firefighters and soldiers work in sweltering conditions. 'CoreControl' developed by Professor Craig Heller, a biologist at Stanford and his colleague Dennis Grahn, is a coffee pot-size chamber with a cold metal cone in the centre, the online edition of The New York Times reported. The user grips the cone and holds it for three to five minutes. Afterwards users report feeling not only cooler but also fresher and ready to work again. No negative side effects of the device have been reported, its inventors said. Unlike more common cooling strategies like cold towels, cooling vests or gel packs, CoreControl focuses on special radiator like blood vessels in the palm of the hand to take the heated blood that is normally pumped throughout the body during and after exertion and send cooler blood back to the body core instead, it said. "All we're doing is putting the body back to normal by increasing heat loss capacity," Heller said. Each CoreControl unit costs $3,295. Buyers have mostly been large institutions like college and professional sports teams, hospitals and the military. The researchers are now trying to devise a model that is more portable, flexible and disposable.
12/16/05 - Neural Network sorts blockbusters from flops
The idea comes from Ramesh Sharda, an information scientist at Oklahoma State University in Stillwater, who has trained an artificial neural network to recognise what makes a successful movie. Using data on 834 movies released between 1998 and 2002, Sharda found that the neural network can judge a film based on seven key parameters: the "star value" of the cast, the movie's age rating, the time of release against that of competitive movies, the film's genre, the degree of special effects used, whether it is a sequel or not, and the number of screens it is expected to open in. This allowed it to place a movie in one of nine categories, ranging from "flop" (total takings less than $1 million) to "blockbuster" (over $200 million). The system cannot take into account the intricacies of the plot, but Sharda says it can nonetheless get the revenue category spot-on 37 per cent of the time, and correct to within one category either side 75 per cent of the time. This is enough to make the system a "powerful decision aid", Sharda says.
12/16/05 - Unhackable Stealth Communication using ZPE fluctuations
According to the laws of physics, you have to expend energy to communicate. It turns out, though, that you don't have to send that energy to the other party. This is useful because communications that happen without sending energy to another party are theoretically impervious to eavesdroppers. A study by a Texas A&M University researcher shows that two parties can communicate without putting energy into the communications channel by modulating and monitoring the channel's natural noise. In ordinary communications, signals are transmitted using light or electricity. In contrast, the researchers' scheme uses ever present temperature fluctuations or zero-point energy. Zero-point energy consists of virtual particles like photons that pop in and out of existence in a vacuum. Because eavesdropping on such a signal either alters the characteristics of the noise in the channel or throws off the timing of signals, it is always possible to detect any eavesdroppers. The method could eventually be used to provide potentially perfectly secure communications.
12/16/05 - The Hydrogen Gold Rush Is On
The last two years has seen a boom in hydrogen investment. In 2003, President Bush announced that the federal government would invest $1.2 billion into hydrogen over the next five years. All that money has spawned a gold rush of inventors, all seeking the mother lode of cheap hydrogen. There's plenty of fool's gold in the dash for the moolah, and marvelous hydrogen inventions are shaping up as the perpetual-motion machines of a new age. "Eighty percent or more of the ideas that come directly to us violate the laws of physics," says Patrick Serfass, a spokesman for the National Hydrogen Association. "When you put that kind of money out there, anybody who has even the most marginal technology related to hydrogen comes out of the woodwork," says Joseph Romm, an assistant energy secretary during the Clinton administration and author of the book The Hype About Hydrogen. "Early technology solutions produce a lot of things that don't work," says Catherine Rips, managing director of the California Hydrogen Business Council, "but sometimes what people are experimenting with today is what ends up working 20 years from now. We can't predict how fundamental breakthroughs will impact technology."
12/14/05 - More farmers are cashing out of agriculture selling out for land development
Tax incentives failing to offset sharp increase in land values. After 40 years, California's main tool for preserving agricultural land is facing its biggest test as growth and sprawl smash against protected land. Since 1965, a state law called the Williamson Act has offered lower property tax rates in return for a 10-year commitment by the landowner to farm the parcel or use it for grazing. But spiraling land values and rapacious growth in the Central Valley -- and the state's other rural areas -- have put more pressure on landowners to cancel their contracts. Statewide, nearly 26,000 acres were removed from the act's protection in 2002, an increase of 9,500 over 2001. In 2003, more than 31,100 acres were removed from protection, two-thirds of it in the San Joaquin Valley. "I'm not a subdivider or a developer, but there is a lot of value in that land," Nicholson said. "I've resisted before but I'm feeling tremendous pressure from those subdivisions." The number of landowners in Tehama County who canceled their land preservation contracts doubled to 18 over the past year. Most of the requests came from property owners on Interstate 5, the area that the county has slated for growth. But farmers and environmentalists, in a rare moment of agreement, say $40 million is a small price to preserve 16.6 million acres. They also praise the act for protecting open space and fostering better planned growth. "The Williamson Act is limiting sprawl because cities have spread out and hit these reserves. It's actually helping to contain and direct urban growth," said John Gamper, director of taxation and land use for the California Farm Bureau. Farmers in Williamson's district complained that the practice of making them pay property taxes for the highest and best use of their land rather than agricultural use was hurting their bottom line. Without some tax relief, they would have to give up and sell their land for development, they told Williamson. Williamson's solution was to assess agricultural land at a lower rate if the owner agreed to farm the land for 10 years. The reduction in property taxes under the act can be more than 75 percent. But landowners with high crop values, such as Napa and Monterey counties, may see much smaller or even no tax benefits. At the end of 10 years, the owner can cancel the contract. After canceling, if the property stays in agricultural use another decade, its assessed value -- and property taxes -- increase to the "highest and best use." Landowners can immediately cancel if they pay a fee and show, among other things, that doing so is in the public interest and that adjacent lands will not be taken out of agricultural use. If an owner does nothing at the end of 10 years, the contract automatically renews for another decade. Counties are reimbursed by the state for the lost property tax revenue.
12/14/05 - Norwegians, Dutch mix sea and river to make power
"Water will be the coal of the future," French science-fiction writer Jules Verne predicted in 1874. More than a century later in a world seeking clean alternatives to fossil fuels, Dutch and Norwegian scientists believe they can help turn Verne's dream into reality. "It's a renewable source which does not cause any environmental damage and we think it can play a big role in helping meet our target to increase renewable energy," he said. The new devices are based on a natural process -- when a river runs into the ocean, a huge amount of energy is unleashed because of the difference in salt concentration. The two projects use different methods to harness the electricity -- the Dutch apply something called reverse electrodialysis while the Norwegians use a kind of osmosis. Both methods rely on membranes or thin films made of special material used for chemical separation. In the Dutch project, separation is done by membranes using an electrical current. "It works like a water battery," Wetsus project manager Sybrand Metz said. The Norwegian device applies pressure to force the water through membranes. Its inventors liken the process to putting a hot dog in hot water. The skin of the hotdog acts as a membrane, allowing more water in than the amount of salty water it lets out. This increases the pressure inside and the hotdog bursts. The principle behind the Norwegian device is that fresh water and salt water are channeled into a membrane module. The fresh water is transported through the membranes and over into the pressurized sea water. The pressurized mixture of sea water and fresh water flows out of the module and into a hydropower turbine that generates electricity. The new power plants can be built wherever fresh water meets salt water, such as the outlets from existing hydroelectric power stations, and could even be placed underground. Statkraft and the European Commission put the production potential in Europe at 200 terawatt hours a year, or nearly twice the electricity consumption of a country like Norway. The potential in Norway alone is estimated at 10 percent of its annual power needs. The river Rhine, for instance, could deliver 3,000 megawatts of power where it flows into the sea in the Netherlands -- the equivalent of five big coal-fired plants.
12/14/05 - Plasma engine passes initial test
The 'double layer thruster' is a new kind of ion drive which could give much more power than existing versions. It works by accelerating charged particles between two layers of argon plasma, gas where the atoms have been stripped of electrons. Esa says it has 'proven the principle', and will proceed with simulations and perhaps bigger prototypes. Gas is ionised and the ions accelerated in a magnetic field, producing a small thrust. Although far less powerful than a chemical engine, an ion drive of realistic size can operate for much longer; for deep space missions it may prove a much better option. "When the solar wind, a plasma of electrified gas released by the Sun, hits the magnetic field of the Earth, it creates a boundary consisting of two plasma layers. "Each layer has differing electrical properties, and this can accelerate some particles of the solar wind across the boundary, causing them to collide with the Earth's atmosphere and create the aurora." The European team has now replicated the Australian findings and shown that the double layer can remain stable enough to accelerate ions reliably. Their Helicon Double Layer Thruster uses radio waves to ionise argon gas; the ions are accelerated across the junction between the two plasma layers.
12/14/05 - Vitamin D may prevent slow loss of lung function
Vitamin D may play a role in preventing slow loss of lung function, says a study that found greater concentrations of the vitamin contributes to greater lung health benefits. Exposure to the sun is considered the most important source of vitamin D. Besides, dairy products and fortified breakfast cereals, and fatty fish such as salmon and tuna also contain this vitamin. Peter Black and other researchers at the University of Auckland in New Zealand found that patients with higher concentrations of vitamin D had significantly better lung function, compared with patients with lower concentrations, Newwise wire reported. "Low levels of vitamin D have been associated with osteoporosis, hypertension, diabetes, and cancer," said Black, who examined the relationship between vitamin D and lung function using 14,091 people aged 20 years. Overall, male gender, younger age, white ethnicity, non-smoking status, and regular, vigorous physical activity were associated with the highest lung function.
Vitamin D was higher in men than women, was inversely related to body mass index and declined with age. Vitamin D also was lower in non-Hispanic blacks and Mexican-Americans, compared with non-Hispanic whites, and it was lower in participants smoking more than 20 cigarettes a day compared with non-smokers.
12/14/05 - Researchers seek brain wave access to bank accounts and homes
Canadian researchers hope to soon be able to use brain waves to unlock doors and get access to bank accounts. it is possible to do away with key cards, pin numbers and a litany of other security tools that allow people to retrieve bank money, access computer data or enter restricted buildings. "A user would simply think their password," said Thorpe, who hopes to develop the first biometric security device to read your mind to authenticate users. Her idea, yet to be proven viable for commercial application, assumes that brainwave signals, like fingerprints, vary slightly from person to person, even when they think alike. "Everyone's brainwave signal is a bit different even when they think about the same thing. They're unique just like fingerprints," she told AFP. A user would only have to think up a different password and save it on a computer, Thorpe said, describing what would become the world's first changeable biometric security tool. Whereas slight differences in brainwave patterns created difficulties for researchers trying to build universal tools that could translate thoughts into computer commands, these peculiarities make brainwaves ideal for security applications, Thorpe said.
"You could use a sound or music or childhood memory as your pass. You could even flash someone an image to help them remember their passthought," she said. Thorpe must still prove that people can reproduce clear, concise signals over and over. "Often, unconscious thoughts, maybe a song in the back of your mind, may blur a signal. There's a lot going on in people's heads," she said.
12/14/05 - Vortex 'chains' observed in engineered superconductor
(Bear in mind, "Magnetic saturation will occur in metal when the combined magnetic lines of force (gauss) are greater than the metal is capable of transmitting or receiving. - JW Hildenbrand" - JWD) They look like tiny swirling dust devils on the surface of the superconductor: "vortices" that appear where magnetic fields interact with the material. Unlike harmless dust devils, however, vortices can sap a superconductor's ability to transmit current without resistance. Vortices, the small dark dots appearing in these video images (2 MB .mov file) from a scanning tunneling microscope, are where magnetic fields penetrate a superconductor and the amount of current the material can carry. From left to right, these images show the transition of "chains" of vortices. A single chain, left, splits into two chains as the magnetic field is strengthened. At right, a stronger magnetic field splits the double chain into three chains. These chains have never before been observed. Magnetic fields reduce the amount of current a superconducting material can carry. The fields create swirling tubes of electrical current - vortices - in the superconducting material. Superconductivity is completely suppressed within these structures. As current flows through the superconductor, the vortices are pushed at right angles to the current flow by the Lorentz force. The vortex movement inside the material dissipates energy and produces resistance. Scientists have discovered that vortices can be locked into position by "pinning" them to defects - tiny grains of non-superconducting substances embedded in the superconductor. the team devised a method of preparing a sample with an atomically flat surface containing a periodic array of defects to pin the vortices. "The size of each defect allows it to hold up to six vortices," Karapetrov said. "As the magnetic field increases beyond the saturation number of the defect, vortices appear outside the defect." The vortices induced by a weak magnetic field attached themselves to the defects, as expected. As the scientists increased the magnetic field, STM images revealed additional vortices; those that couldn't find a home in a defect appeared alongside in orderly lines - a "chain." As the magnetic field was increased further, the vortex chains became denser, up to a specific, critical intensity; at this critical field the vortex chain split into two parallel chains. The transition was accompanied by a peak in the superconductor's critical current density - the measure of how well the superconductor carries large electric currents. The scientists were able to create additional parallel chains by further increasing the magnetic field. "It's basically a phase transition," Karapetrov said. "This behavior was predicted theoretically more than 10 years ago, but it hadn't been possible to see it until this scanning technique was perfected."
12/14/05 - BMW unveils the turbosteamer concept
A large percentage of the energy released when petroleum is burned disappears out the exhaust system as heat. This has always been the case but the amount of energy released looks set to be cut by more than 80% thanks to a new system devised by BMW. The concept uses energy from the exhaust gasses of the traditional Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) to power a steam engine which also contributes power to the automobile - an overall 15 per cent improvement for the combined drive system. Even bigger news is that the drive has been designed so that it can be installed in existing model series - meaning that every model in the BMW range could become 15% more efficient overnight if the company chose to make the reduced consumption accessible to as many people as possible. Combining the innovative assistance drive with a 1.8 litre BMW four-cylinder engine on the test rig reduced consumption by up to 15 percent and generated 10 kilowatts more power and 20 Nm more torque. This increased power and efficiency comes for, well, … nothing. The energy is extracted exclusively from the heat in the exhaust gases and cooling water so it is essentially a quantum leap in efficiency. The Turbosteamer is based on the same principle of the steam engine: liquid is heated to form steam in two circuits and this is used to power the engine. The primary energy supplier is the high-temperature circuit which uses exhaust heat from the internal combustion engine as an energy source via heat exchangers. More than 80 percent of the heat energy contained in the exhaust gases is recycled using this technology. The steam is then conducted directly into an expansion unit linked to the crankshaft of the internal combustion engine. Most of the remaining residual heat is absorbed by the cooling circuit of the engine, which acts as the second energy supply for the Turbosteamer.
12/14/05 - Happy News
We believe virtue, goodwill and heroism are hot news. That's why we bring you up-to-the-minute news, geared to lift spirits and inspire lives. Add in a diverse team of Citizen Journalists reporting positive stories from around the world, and you've got one happy place for news. Web site founder Byron Reese said the world needs a refuge from all the unpleasantness served up by newspapers and television news shows. HappyNews.com has a small staff that selects about 40 items to post on the site each day. The Web site estimates it has about 100,000 regular readers.
12/14/05 - Community Voice Mail
Community Voice Mail is a non-profit providing voice mail services for poor and homeless individuals needing work and housing in 37 cities across the United States. One of the thorniest problems with being extremely poor is that the mechanisms for pulling oneself out of poverty often assume access to seemingly commonplace items: clean clothing, a mailing address, and (often most importantly) a phone number. Without a number at which to leave a message, there's no way for a potential employer to get in touch. But for the homeless, or people who are forced by financial conditions to change places of residence frequently and unexpectedly, this seemingly simple requirement is often beyond reach. Community Voice Mail breaks that cycle: The Big Idea - Give unemployed and homeless people a telephone number that stays constant even if they can’t. The theory: they’ll find work much faster. The Test: Our workers brought this idea to a Seattle-based voicemail company called Active Voice in 1992. The company thought their idea had merit, and donated a voicemail system. The workers distributed voicemail numbers to 145 people over 6 months, and a whopping 70% found jobs within 2 months!
12/14/05 - Virgin Spaceport to Be Built in N.M.
Virgin Galactic, the British company created by entrepreneur Richard Branson to send tourists into space, and New Mexico announced an agreement Tuesday for the state to build a $225 million spaceport. Virgin Galactic also revealed that up to 38,000 people from 126 countries have paid a deposit for a seat on one of its manned commercial flights, including a core group of 100 "founders" who have paid the initial $200,000 cost of a flight upfront. Virgin Galactic is planning to begin flights in late 2008 or early 2009. New Mexico Economic Development Secretary Rick Homans said construction of the spaceport, to be built largely underground in the south of the state near the White Sands Missile Range, could begin in early 2007, depending on approval from environmental and aviation authorities. Virgin will have a 20-year lease on the facility, with annual payments of $1 million for the first five years and rising to cover the cost of the project by the end of the lease. Virgin Galactic said it had chosen New Mexico as the site for its headquarters because of its steady climate, free airspace, low population density and high altitude. All those factors can significantly reduce the cost of the space flight program. The spaceport, to be located some 25 miles south of the town of Truth or Consequences, will be constructed 90 percent underground, with just the runway and supporting structures above ground.
12/14/05 - Gyrocopter + Motorcycle = PALV
What happens if you cross a gyrocopter with a car and a motorbike? The PALV is the answer, a personal air and land concept vehicle designed to solve the increasing congestion in our cities and highways. On the ground, the slimline, aerodynamic 3-wheel vehicle is as comfortable as a luxury car, yet has the agility of a motorbike, thanks to its patented cutting-edge 'tilting' system. The single rotor and propeller are folded away until the PALV is ready to fly. Once airborne, the PALV flies under the 4,000 feet (1,500 m) floor of commercial air space. It runs on petrol like a conventional car and can reach speeds of up to 200 km/h both on land and in the air. The autogyro technology means that it can be steered and landed safely even if the engine fails as it descends vertically rather than nose-diving. Lift is generated by the forward speed produced by the foldable push propeller on the back. At less than 70 decibels it is much quieter than helicopters due to the slower rotating of the main rotor.
12/13/05 - Blending better than shaking for some chemical mixes
NiTech has developed a system which could save chemical giants millions in production costs and will allow the eight-man team to create a bio-diesel four times cleaner than anything available. And it is based on the simple premise of leaving things stirred, not shaken. The majority of drugs, cosmetics and hair products are made using batch production which relies on shaking to bring the chemicals together. However, this technique leaves parts of the compounds unmixed and results in high levels of wastage. NiTech managing director Iain Laird said: "The system creates a pulsing effect which stirs chemicals together."
12/13/05 - Free Brutus one click shutdown
Brutus lets you log off, restart, or shut down a computer running Windows 98 Second Edition, Windows Me, Windows 2000, Windows XP, or Windows Server 2003. The way you always wanted to. With a single click. In Windows 2000, Windows XP, and Windows Server 2003, you can also lock your computer with a single click. Brutus is simple to install and uninstall, and leaves no trace whatsoever, should you choose to uninstall it. For the time being, Brutus is only available in English.
12/13/05 - The Future of Work?
As companies become accustomed to seamless global telecommunications , we will eventually see companies with thousands of employees and no central office. Indeed we may even see a companies with no employees at all - just electronically-connected freelancers who live and work wherever they want across the globe. Imagine that this freedom allows people to get more of what they want out of life - money, engaging work, or time with their families. It’s not for everyone, but it is certainly the future for the likes of many Gizmag readers and our writers - the early adopters of the world. "How can you tell whether your employees are working when their job is to think?"
12/13/05 - Bowie to star in Tesla movie
(Thanks Paul for the headsup. - JWD) Rock idol David Bowie has landed a new movie role, playing the inventor and electrical genius Nikola Tesla. Bowie, 58, will star alongside Hugh Jackman, Christian Bale and Michael Caine in forthcoming film The Prestige, according to movie industry magazine Variety. Tesla is regarded as one of the greatest scientists in the history of technology and one of the most innovative engineers of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The new thriller is based on a 1996 novel by Christopher Priest. In the film, Tesla is approached by one of two rival magicians in turn-of-the-century London for help in pulling off the ultimate magic trick.
Filming will begin on The Prestige in January.
12/13/05 - New evidence supports century-old theory of cancer spread
(When one of my grandmothers died of cancer, her daughter (my aunt) refused to come into the room because she believed cancer was contagious though none of us did. - JWD) "Cancer cells exhibit a remarkable number of traits normally attributed to white blood cells known as macrophages, including the ability to migrate to lymph nodes and distant organs and to form a new blood supply. Our data indicate that they do this by hybridizing with macrophages," said lead author John Pawelek, research affiliate in the Department of Dermatology at Yale School of Medicine and a member of Yale Cancer Center. Pawelek said the idea of white blood cells hybridizing with tumor cells is not new. In the early 1900's the German pathologist Otto Aichel proposed that metastasis is caused by cancer cells fusing with macrophages. "There is now evidence to support all aspects of his proposition," said Pawelek. "Macrophages are among the most motile cells we have. By co-opting the macrophage's ability to move, the hybrid is very different from the original cancer cell. It is able to migrate away from the primary site of tumor formation and take up residence in other areas of the body while it continues to divide." "In culture dishes, fused cells were extraordinarily motile compared to unfused melanoma cells. They spread rapidly when implanted in mice. Even though the idea is virtually unknown to cancer researchers today, many scientists worked on it in the 20th century. From the late 1960's up to today there have been many reports of tumor hybrids."
12/13/05 - Stonehenge as Earthquake & Tsunami Predictor?
(Thanks to Ken for the headsup. - JWD) Stonehenge was always only a scientific, massive and accurate "doomsday" instrument to calculate when disastrous earthquakes and massive tidal wave tsunamis would occur. At the end of the last Ice Age, about 10,000 BC, much of England and Europe was covered by miles-thick glaciers of ice. The separation of Britain from the European continent was not gradual. It occurred in many repeated large jumps and massive earthquakes over thousands of years. These massive earthquakes also spawned huge tsunamis which swept across the low-lands of Belgium and Holland and the English lowlands or swamplands running from the southern English coast as far north as Wales. But this was prime and desirable farming and living territory warmed by the pleasant Gulf Stream currents. The desperate stone age "problem" then was to figure out how to predict the frequent massive earthquakes and tsunamis which could completely devastate the cultures of western Europe at the end of the last Ice Age. It didn't take long for the stone age "scientists" to observe that the earthquakes and tsunamis only occurred when the moon was at its most northern or southern extremes, above and below the earth's equator. All of these numbers and angles are marked by the stones at Stonehenge. There seem to be no other markings or alignments to indicate Stonehenge was ever used for observing stars or as an astronomical observatory, nor are there any alignments for the solar "equinoxes" which are used for making accurate calendars for farming and agriculture. Thus Stonehenge was always only an 8,000 year old earthquake disaster predictor. The purpose for building Stonehenge was "basic survival" and it was not some "religious belief" or supersticious motivation. Stonehenge was built about 4,000 years before the arrival of any Celts or Druids. So the Druids did not design nor build it. Which is why modern-day neo-Druids have no clue as to what Stonehenge was for, nor how the scientific instrument was used. And now you know, why the Brother Jonathan Gazette Earthquake Calculator works as well, and as accurately as it does. I simply turned the alignments of the ancient Stonehenge stones into a computer program. I can run the computer program into the past to confirm predictions with past actual earthquake records. Or I can run the program into the future and publish the predictions in the BroJon Gazette. I use a computer to travel through time. The ancient unknown stone age builders of Stonehenge could do pretty much the same thing, simply by counting around the outer ring of smaller blue Sarcen Stones and Aubrey holes, something like a Lunar Abacus.
12/13/05 - Firefox Users 10 must have extensions
(My favorites are sessionsaver, bugmenot and foxpose but there are tons of great extensions you can freely install on Firefox to make your life easier and more productive. Don't forget FasterFox, it will really speed up your browsing. Mr. T says it best, 'Pity the FOOL that ain't switched over to Firefox!" - JWD)
12/12/05 - Washer-like doohickey makes bulbs last longer
LongLite makes a little doohickey resembling a faucet washer with a small silver disk inside. Stick it on the base of any incandescent bulb (regular or halogen) and presto, your light bulb lasts three times as long, uses 10 percent less energy and still burns just as brightly. Using voltage sensing as a starting point, he developed a semiconductor chip that acts like a solid-state switch, turning off power feeding the bulb for microseconds at a time, an interval that can't be detected by the human eye. Any lighting expert knows that cranking the voltage down by 8 percent gives an incandescent bulb a 313 percent longer life and saves about 10 percent in energy costs, Drubner said. LongLite's little gadget has been tested and retested, most recently by the New Jersey Corporation for Advanced Technology (NJCAT), which evaluates new technologies, and Independent Testing Laboratories, as well as a host of national corporations that all wanted to check out the LongLite claims. According to NJCAT's draft report (which will be voted on in December), putting the LongLite on 1,000 bulbs will save more than 100,000 pounds of carbon dioxide annually. Put another way, using LongLites on 1,000 bulbs will have the same effect as taking about 84 cars off the road for a full year.
12/12/05 - Pulsing Magnetic device may benefit MS patients
A small electromagnetic device thought to help supplement the body's electrical energy has shown some beneficial effects for patients with multiple sclerosis, according to a study led by researchers at the University of Washington. Results of a small double-blind study of MS patients showed that 9 of 15 patients treated with the device reported subjective improvements ranging from 22 to 38 percent in combined self-reported scores rating eight different symptoms, said Dr. Todd Richards, associate professor of radiology at the University of Washington and principal investigator. Those symptoms most responsive to treatment appear to be bladder control, cognitive functioning, spasticity and fatigue. "Why would pulsing magnetic fields have an effect on MS? Because the brain is an organ that emits electrical energy," researchers from the University of Washington and elsewhere wrote in the Spring, 1997 issue of the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. Richards explains the concept behind the pulsing device - readjusting the body's bioelectrical signals - is one not readily accepted by American medical professionals. He likens body frequencies to vitamins and minerals which the body needs to be healthy and people could benefit by supplementing the frequencies where they are deficient. "This magnetic device acts like a vitamin supplement by giving back to a person those frequencies his or her body is deficient in," he said. The Enermed electromagnetic device, approximately the size of a wristwatch and powered by a 3-volt battery, emits a pulse of magnetic energy at a power of 50 to 100 milliGauss, roughly equal to the energy emitted from a hair dryer, Richards said. The 30 MS patients in the study wore the device, attached to their hip, shoulder or back, for 10 to 24 hours a day for a period of two months. Half of the patients received devices which were activated, while the other half received inactive devices. The Enermed device used in the study is just one of the electrical pulsing devices on the market. These devices may or may not have patient-specific frequencies. While unavailable in the United States, electronic pulsing devices have been offered in Europe and in Canada for several years and are best known for use in the treatment of migraine headaches.
12/12/05 - Ultrasonics used to kill microbes
(This is pure RIFE technology done long ago by Rife and the many people who have experimented and validated his claims. Critter (microbe) killing has been done using ultrasonics and mosquito larvae have been 'tuned' into to be killed. Unfortunately, the really talented and knowledgeable experimenters aren't all that market savvy, so others lift their studies to produce products. - JWD) Ashland ’s SONOXIDE system uses a patented, non-chemical method to control microbial growth, preventing fouling and contamination. Water passes through the SONOXIDE system chamber, where bacterial cells are exposed to low-power, high-frequency ultrasonic energy. This energy causes a series of fatal alterations within cells, resulting in cell death. Ultrasonic energy (sound waves beyond the range of human hearing) is a safe, proven technology to control microbial growth and is used in the pharmaceutical and health care industries.
12/12/05 - Futurist sees sustainable cities and 3rd World War in 20 years
Within 20 years, the planet will be engulfed in a world war. There will be more than eight billion of us, and most of us will live in cities. We will be thoroughly preoccupied with the business of scouring the earth for the last redoubts of the ecological capital we need just to stay alive. All politics will be about securing access to dwindling supplies of food, energy, forests, fish, water, and strategic minerals. We’ll be at one another’s throats. That’s the kind of future Roy Woodbridge sees. Every day. But Woodbridge, the author of The Next World War: Tribes, Cities, Nations and Ecological Decline (University of Toronto Press), says it doesn’t have to be this way. Greater Vancouver’s ecological footprint is 20 times the region’s actual size, appropriating natural resources equivalent to roughly 15 million hectares of the earth’s surface. That’s the size of England.
And our footprint is getting bigger every day, with new subdivisions, new roads and bridges, and our ever-growing consumption of fossil fuels. If the world economy keeps growing at its current rate, we will require three earths, by 2025, just to keep up with our consumption of natural resources. “We are not in control. Our commitment to the principles and theories of neoclassical economics as the driving force of our societies and our economies: that’s what’s in control." But it’s silly to “rail" against capitalism because “you can’t quibble with success," Woodbridge says. “What we have to do is redirect the innovation process and redirect growth to target the ecological constraints that are out there." So what to do? “We should be reengineering society to be vastly more efficient users and reusers of scarce resources," Woodbridge argues. Canada should put the objective of “provisioning" its cities above and beyond all other national priorities.
12/12/05 - Braggin' Rights for Space experience fueling trip sales
Richard Branson, who's selling rides into space for $200,000 (cash up front), is close to sealing a deal to take off from a new spaceport in the New Mexico desert. The first flights are scheduled in three years, and his company, Virgin Galactic, has already collected more than $10 million from future passengers. The list of paid-up customers includes architect Philippe Starck, actress Victoria Principal, and "Superman Returns" director Bryan Singer. There's a waiting list of thousands, ranging from actor William Shatner to the cosmologist Stephen Hawking. Branson expects this venture to more than pay for itself, enabling him to start lowering ticket prices and expanding the business. "We're going to plow all the money back into space," he told me. "We'd love one day to have a hotel up there and keep pushing the boundaries." He has ordered five spaceships and plans to send more than 700 passengers into space in the first 18 months, which is more than all the government-sponsored space programs have sent in history. There's a lesson here for Congress and the White House as they haggle over financing NASA's plans for the moon and Mars. The new Virgin Galactic spaceship will be a larger eight-person version of the ship that last year won the $10 million Ansari X Prize for a reusable spacecraft. Its designer, Burt Rutan, backed by billionaire Paul Allen, spent more than $25 million to beat two dozen competitors. Instead of just financing NASA's plans for Mars, Congress and the White House should make it compete against engineers like Rutan. It could offer a prize, to be awarded by the National Academy of Engineering or the National Research Council, for the best plan on paper for a manned mission to Mars. Branson told me he'd be willing to enter that competition for a prize of $10 million -- a pittance next to NASA's $16 billion annual budget. Robert Zubrin, the president of the Mars Society, said he'd enter it, too. An even better idea would be to offer prizes for making actual progress on a Mars mission, not just drawing up plans. Zubrin suggests that the federal government get entrepreneurs started by offering a $5 billion prize for the first flight of a vehicle that can lift 120 tons into orbit.
12/12/05 - Urban dwellers faulty ideas of nature
People living in towns and cities are dominating the environmental debate and overlook the opinion of rural dwellers, a leading botanist has said. Sir Peter Crane, director of the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew, London, said the urban view of the natural world was often at odds with the issues facing people living in rural areas. "Forests in and around cities are disproportionately important," he said. "They colour the view that city dwellers have on the natural world as more people live in cities, they set the agenda." This was particularly evident in the US, he said, where states in the mid-West are currently suffering from what he termed a "plague of deer". "Many of the ecological processes that sustained forests in the past... no longer function at all." He gave one example as being forest fires in North America that are routinely extinguished, despite being natural events that are needed to create new growth. Philip Milne, a New Zealand lawyer specialising in the environment, vigorously attacked urban-based people having a say in the management of the environment and rural life. Alan Bernstein, the co-founder of the Sustainable Forestry Management company, said that sometimes environmentalists "who have never seen the forests push things too far."
12/12/05 - Photo Shield
A group of researchers at Georgia Tech has designed what could become an effective celebrity protection device: an instrument that detects the presence of a digital camera's lens and then shoots light directly at the camera when a photographer tries to take a picture. The result? A blurry picture of a beam of light. he key was recognizing that most digital cameras contain a "retroreflective" surface behind the lens; when a light shines on this surface, it sends the light back to its source. The Georgia Tech lab prototype uses a modified video camera to detect the presence of the retroreflector and a projector to shoot out a targeted three-inch beam of light at the offending camera. They imagine their contraption installed in environments where cameras might not be welcome: locker rooms, for example, or trade shows. The Motion Picture Association of America has already expressed interest in mounting the technology in movie theaters to combat video pirating.
12/12/05 - Chlamydia parasite lives off our fat
In humans today, chlamydial infections are responsible for a range of ailments from sexually transmitted infections to atypical pneumonias to chronic severe disorders such as pelvic inflammatory disease and atherosclerosis. The Centers for Disease Control says that Chlamydia trachomatis is the most common sexually-transmitted infection in the US, with three million new cases a year. Chlamydia gets around because it knows its hosts so well. It's an "obligate intracellular parasite" which means that it relies on its eukaryotic host for everything from reproduction to synthesizing ATP, all while living inside a membrane-bounded vacuole that provides a protected, fertile environment for the bacteria to grow and multiply. Because lipid acquisition from the host is necessary for chlamydial replication, these pathogens are essentially lipid parasites. So, to add insult to injury, Chlamydia apparently lives on our fat. The researchers found that Chlamydia not only directs lipid droplets to its protective vacuole but also causes the proliferation of new lipid droplets on the host. The co-option of lipid droplets appears to be essential for Chlamydia pathogenesis. When the researchers used drugs to inhibit lipid droplet formation in the host, they sharply impaired bacterial growth.
12/12/05 - Meldown-proof Safe Nuclear Power produces Hydrogen as a byproduct
In France, about 75 percent of electricity is generated from nuclear power. Worldwide, it provides 17% of our energy. The US has not brought a new plant online since 1996 yet still generates 788.6 billion kilowatt-hours (KWh) yearly - almost 20% of the US total - accident free. Nuclear power is like a handgun. It’s the people handling it who are dangerous. But there is one big difference: with a handgun, you shoot a few people at most. A reactor accident could wipe several hundred square miles - permanently. Danger aside, what makes nuclear power attractive? It’s competitive or cheaper than other forms of power generation. It’s easy to build compact plants that generate hundreds if not thousands of megawatts - something wind and solar can never hope to match. Compared with coal, still used to produce 50% of the US electricity needs, nuclear is clean. It creates no greenhouse gases. Its waste, although highly toxic, is compact and when handled correctly, safe. Physicists and engineers at Beijing's Tsinghua University have made the first great leap forward in a quarter century, building a new nuclear power facility: a pebble-bed reactor (PBR) - sometimes also known as a Pebble Bed Modular Reactor (PBMR). This reactor is small enough to be assembled from mass-produced parts and cheap enough for emerging economies. Its safety is a matter of physics, not operator skill or reinforced concrete. This reactor is meltdown-proof. What makes it so safe is the fuel: instead of conventional fuel rods made of enriched uranium, PBRs use small, pyrolytic graphite coated pebbles with uranium cores. As a PBR reactor gets hotter, the rapid motion of atoms in the fuel decreases probability of neutron capture by U-235 atoms. This effect is known as Doppler Broadening. Nuclei of heated uranium move more rapidly in random directions generating a wider range of neutron speeds. U-238, the isotope which makes up most of the uranium in the reactor, is much more likely to absorb the faster moving neutrons. This reduces the number of neutrons available to spark U-235 fission. This, in turn, lowers heat output. This built-in negative feedback places a temperature limit on the fuel without operator intervention. PBRs use high-pressure helium gas, not water, for cooling. Reactors have been “run dry" - without cooling gas. Result: they simply stabilize at a given temperature - lower than the pebbles’ shell melting point. No meltdown can occur. The high-temperature gas design also has a silver lining - it can produce hydrogen. Think about that - fuel cell vehicles need expensive-to-produce hydrogen to run on - this reactor could make hydrogen as a byproduct. A single PBR reactor would consist of one main building covering an area of about 1,300 square meters - less than half a football field. It would be about 42m high (6 stories), some of it below ground level. Billion dollar steel reinforced concrete containment vessels are not required - any coolant leak would be in the form of nonradioactive helium gas which would quickly disperse with out causing any ill effects.
12/12/05 - The secret of 'muscular' old age
Muscle is constantly being built and broken down, which works to maintain a balance in young adults. But as people age, the breakdown process is more successful than the muscle-building action. However French researchers, writing in the Journal of Physiology, say adding the amino acid leucine to old people's diets could help them keep muscle. UK experts agree, saying the best way to boost leucine levels is to eat meat. Once adults reach 40, they start to lose between 0.5 and 2% of their muscle each year. As in all mammalian tissues, proteins are created (synthesised) from amino acids and digested (degraded) by enzymes. Straight after a meal, the rate of synthesis doubles, prompted by the arrival of a large amount of amino acids. The rate of the breakdown of protein is highest in-between meals.
The difference between the two rates determines how much protein remains in the muscle. But, in older animals - and, it is believed, includes humans - the amino acid stimulus prompting synthesis is less effective, and the process slows down. However, the breakdown of proteins is not, leaving older animals with less protein than their younger counterparts. "Leucine is most abundant in meat, so it makes sense in terms of protein synthesis to eat meat. "As people get older, they tend to need to eat less. But people should maintain their protein intake as they age."
12/12/05 - Correlations between Sumerian translations and New Planet Data
Scientists at a laboratory of jet propulsion in Pasadena, California, found a lot of amazing data while studying the pictures. First, a color scheme of Neptune surprised the researchers. It was bright blue with a few spots of white clouds. Second, a wide inclination angle of the rotation axis of the planet, which indicated a strong magnetic field, ample resources of internal heat, and a liquid core. Linguist and historian Zachariah Sychin believes that data from Voyager merely confirms his predictions first published in a book titled The Twelfth Planet. The book was published in 1976. Sychin also believes that data obtained by the probe agree with the writings of the ancient Sumerians, the writings made 6,000 years ago. The civilization of the Sumerians emerged in Mesopotamia (now a part of Iraq) around 4000 B.C. According to Sychin, the Sumerians invented a wheel, a furnace for roasting earthenware, and an irrigation system. More importantly, they invented the basic concepts of astrology. They used cuneiform writing for putting down their discoveries on clay tablets, statuettes and stone cylinders with mirror engravings of the symbols and drawings. Positive images were produced by rolling the cylinders over the soft clay. Sychin had been studying articles of the Sumerian civilization for more than 30 years. One day he found a rare stone cylinder in a museum of West Berlin. Apart from the image of a god giving a plow to humankind, the cylinder also had a startling chart of the heavens showing the planets with the Sun in the center. In total, the chart contained 12 planets, the Sun and Moon inclusive. The researcher was astounded when he saw the image of Uranus transmitted by Voyager Two in the January of 1986. The Sumerian description of the planet - mash.sig - meaning "bright greenish"- almost matched the greenish blue picture of Uranus on his TV screen. Sychin's translation of the Sumerian expression "hum.ba" read: "marsh plants." He believes it indicates the presence of hot semi-liquid material that was discovered on Neptune three years later. The Sumerian regarded Uranus as Neptune's twin brother. Data gathered by the probe seemed to confirm the point. Not unlike Uranus, Neptune's color is bright blue, the planet has a strong magnetic field, a hot semi-liquid core and plenty of water.
12/12/05 - Into Online Games? here is the motherload
Good Experience Games - These are online games that, in my opinion, offer a "good experience" - good game design with an overall attention to quality. Unless otherwise noted, they're all free, online, and available right now. -mh
12/11/05 - 'TryBrid'car runs on gas, electric or alcohol
Amongst the cars which had their first public showing at the recent San Francisco International Auto Show were the WORLDCAR, Obvio! and XEBRA. The three-seater (side-by-side) Brazilian-made Obvio 012 and Obvio 828(main image) look to be the pick of the litter, powered by a Tritec 1.6 litre four cylinder motor (as used in the MINI) using flexible fuel technology that enables the engines to run on gasoline and alcohol or any combination plus an additional electric drive - effectively making it the world’s first “trybrid" automobile that can switch between three energy sources. Both cars bristle with the latest thinking, such as a survival cell, (a la smart), McPherson struts all round, four big disk brakes, an immobile carputer and a CVT (Constantly variable transmission). The engines are available in 115 bhp standard output, with tuned versions available all the way up to a brutal 250 bhp. Mainly constructed of composite materials to enable the lightest possible result (750 kg - the MINI weighs 1150 kg), the 012 looks to have all the ingredients for a top seller, looking great, offering startling performance and ecological cred at a time when we are seeing the "greening" of the American market.
12/11/05 - American Inventor show seeking contestants - $50,000 prize and marketing
An open casting call will begin at 8 a.m. Sunday (12/11/05) in Washington, at the Ronald Reagan Building, 1300 Pennsylvania Ave. N.W. Prospective contestants, including children, can enter with a sketch, a prototype or even just a concept. The competition is open to individuals and teams. The invention must be something that can be mass-produced and sold to consumers in a retail outlet.
Nine finalists will each be given $50,000 to develop their product, refine it and take it to the next level. Viewers will vote to determine which invention is worthy of the $1 million prize. "American Inventor" will air on ABC. Additional information is available at www.AmericanInventor.tv or by calling (877) 255-8009.
12/11/05 - Richard Hulls Fusor @ makezine.com
Richard Hull, Richmond, Virginia with his homemade nuclear fusor designed and invented originally by Philo Farnsworth in the early 1900s. Farnsworth also invented the 'Multipactor', both of these devices are believed by some to be capable of overunity operation. "Oh, fusing atoms is easy," claims Hull with a slight Virginia twang. Well, OK, not that easy. First you have to find a way to generate over 20,000 volts of electricity. Fusor enthusiasts live for the brilliant purple light that emanates from the reaction -- an indication that the hydrogen gas has passed into a plasma state and that neutron radiation is on its way. "With this project, you can be killed in so, so many ways!" With thousands of volts blasting the Fusor's core, the purple glow signals that hydrogen is entering a plasma state. The image was shot with a digital camera sensor inside the stainless steel housing of the Fusor. Richard Hull is shown standing between his power supply and the Fusor.
12/11/05 - We'd rather keep the lights on than be green
THE 189 nations and 8,000 delegates gathered last week in Montreal at the Climate Change Conference faced an ugly reality: most of the countries that promised to cut their greenhouse gas emissions to meet their Kyoto treaty obligations have failed to do so. It seems that job-creating economic growth trumps environmental concerns, especially given the uncertainty surrounding the presence and causes of global warming. Besides, developing countries such as India, China, South Africa and Brazil have shown no inclination to join, although richer countries agreed in Montreal to increase their incentives to cut emissions. Indeed, when the energy crunches come, politicians quickly shed their green clothes.
12/11/05 - Wing-Suit, landing without a parachute
Up to now, Jeb Corliss has been testing speeds and fall rates in the wing-suit so that he can determine what's required to be able to land the wing-suit without a parachute. Corliss and Go Fast! - sponsored test pilot Luigi Cani teamed up to gather the data. Jeb flew in free fall donning a parachute alongside Luigi, who was at the controls of the world's smallest and fastest parachute-known as the ICARUS VX-39. The two were able to gather data using GPS systems attached to Luigi that tracked exact forward speeds, exact fall rate and the glide angles so the calculations could be done to determine what apparatus would be needed for a safe landing. No-one has ever survived a landing attempt without a parachute but Corliss is adamant that he has four technologies under development that will enable him to land safely without a parachute some time on 2005, though he has not yet disclosed these technologies to the media. "It can be done safely and it can be a repeatable process," said Corliss. "Not only do I believe I can land safely, I believe I can land safely and get up and do it again."
12/10/05 - WaveSnake to tap wave energy
Geologists estimate the underwater earthquake that triggered the tsunami unleashed a force greater than all the explosives detonated in World War II. That much energy-6 trillion watt-hours-breaks on the world's coastlines every two hours or so. Capture it all and you could power 5 million American households for a year. Offshore, even more free energy rolls in swells. Tony Trapp, managing director of Engineering Business Ltd. in England, calculates that capturing just 1 to 2 percent of global wave power-the share he considers recoverable-could supply 13 percent of the world's current demand for electricity.
12/10/05 - Next-Gen Hydrogen
A Canadian man's invention, the Hydrogen Generating Module (H2N-Gen), might just solve the world's greenhouse gas emission problems. The device -- about the size of a DVD player -- reduces fuel consumption by 10 percent to 40 percent and cuts pollutants by as much as 100 percent, according to the inventor. The H2N-Gen contains a small reservoir of distilled water and other chemicals, such as potassium hydroxide. A current is run from the car battery through the liquid. This process of electrolysis creates hydrogen and oxygen gases, which are then fed into the engine's intake manifold, where they mix with the gasoline vapors. The process helps a car engine burn gas more completely, increasing efficiency and reducing emissions, the inventor contends.
12/10/05 - Wearing Weights To Lose Weight
(This is NOT new, wrist and ankle weights have been used for years to increase strength when worn during excercise, this one claims it assists weight loss. - JWD) By wearing these body weights that are "scientifically proven" (something mentioned quite a few times at the BodyTogs web site!) you will burn more calories and fat than you would if you didn't wear them. In fact, Dr. Virji contends that wearing his BodyTogs for 10 hours doing no organized exercise is just as effective as running for 90 minutes on the treadmill. You wear them on your arms and legs underneath your clothing and Dr. Virji says they are comfortable to wear and will give you the all the benefits of working out without working out.
12/10/05 - New Nuclear Technique Promises More Energy, Less Waste
The December 2005 issue of Scientific American hides a great article away entitled Smarter Use of Nuclear Waste. Unfortunately, only a preview is available on their website without purchasing the article. To summarize, today’s thermal reactors in the US basically only burn 5% of the fuel put into them, using water as a moderator to slow neutrons down to cause a reaction in the Uranium 235, but not the more abundant Uranium 238. Many reactors outside the US use another technique that use 6% of the fuel, but cause more concerns about illicit production of weapons grade Plutonium. Both techniques generate problematic long term radioactive waste, which must be stored and secured for thousands of years and draws the ire of many environmental groups. This technique uses fast, un-moderated neutrons in a method which also reacts with the Uranium 238 and uses pyrometallurgical processing to recycle the material until it uses more than 95% of the original material, the remainder of which would only need to be stored for less than 500 years.
12/10/05 - Flexible instantly refreshed Newspaper Reader Displays
THE newspaper of the future will be a flexible plastic sheet capable of receiving all the pages via radio waves. And if that sounds a tad futuristic, you'll be reading from it at your breakfast table by 2008. Plastic Logic, one of Cambridge's most exciting companies at the moment, has just announced "the world's largest flexible organic active matrix display", in other words, the enewspaper. The plastic displays, or readers, can be updated in real-time. This means newspapers will be bang up-to-the-minute with breaking news, share prices etc, putting them on a par with broadcasters, even one jump ahead, as the new flexible displays will be capable of receiving your favourite newspaper wherever you happen to be in the world. The display is battery-powered during downloading and for updates or doing the crossword, but once a page is there it is dormant and using no power.
12/10/05 - Solar Hydrogen Production Station From Landfill Gas Announced
"This project, 'SHEC Station No. 1', when completed will have the capacity of producing 1.2 million kg of renewable hydrogen per year and will prevent 81.1kt of Carbon Dioxide Equivalent (CO2e) emissions from entering the atmosphere, every year." Mr. Beck goes on to say, "The life expectancy of this plant is well over 40 years, in 40 years there will be a new landfill in this city that we can sequester the methane from to create renewable energy. Imagine if every city had this insight, the world would start to become a different place." Hydrogen is a main component in gasoline, fertilizer production, hydrogenating edible fats and oils and a host of other industries. Today the most common method of hydrogen production is the steam reformation of our depleting supplies of natural gas causing greenhouse gases to be exposed to our atmosphere. The technology to be demonstrated at "SHEC Station No. 1" in Regina solves numerous problems such as the destruction of harmful greenhouse gasses as well as the production of clean, green, high purity, renewable hydrogen.
12/10/05 - Bio-diesel processor produces 200 gallons an hour
(This was only a snippet in another article, but it was interesting. - JWD) At the moment no American car companies produce hybrids, and over half of new European cars are hybrids. Close to the hybrid vehicle was a small bio-diesel processor on a cart connected to an old 300TD Mercedes. The machine is patented by Mike Pelly, but is not yet being commercially produced. The 3 by 3 by 5 ft. machine converts used vegetable oil and other wastes into bio-diesel fuel that can be used in diesel engine vehicles. Pelly, a participant at the rally, advocates that his machine produces 200 gallons per hour. He promotes his invention under the company name Olympia Green Fuels. A page on his BioDiesel Processor. The Pelly "Model A" modular skid-mounted biodiesel processor can be configured for batches of 25 to 400 gallons (95 to 1,500 litres).
12/10/05 - India compiling 30-million-page electronic traditional medical encyclopaedia
In a quiet government office in the Indian capital, Delhi, some 100 doctors are hunched over computers poring over ancient medical texts and keying in information. These doctors are practitioners of ayurveda, unani and siddha, ancient Indian medical systems that date back thousands of years. The ambitious $2m project, christened Traditional Knowledge Digital Library, will roll out an encyclopaedia of the country's traditional medicine in five languages - English, French, German, Japanese and Spanish - in an effort to stop people from claiming them as their own and patenting them. The electronic encyclopaedia, which will be made available next year, will contain information on the traditional medicines, including exhaustive references, photographs of the plants and scans from the original texts. Dr Vinod Kumar Gupta, who is leading the traditional wealth encyclopaedia project and heads India's National Institute of Science Communication and Information Resources (Niscair), reckons that of the nearly 5,000 patents given out by the US Patent Office on various medical plants by the year 2000, some 80% were plants of Indian origin. Practitioners of traditional medicines say their importance cannot be denied - according to the WHO, 70% of the people living in India use traditional medicine for primary health care. Also, some 42% of the people living in the US and 70% of the people living in Canada have used traditional medicines at least once for treatment.
12/10/05 - Cures for all Diseases?
Perhaps you've seen him on TV. His name is Kevin Trudeau and he claims that he has rediscovered the 'natural cures' to most, if not all, of today's foremost illnesses. Trudeau, an author and consumer advocate, also argues that the Food and Drug Administration along with the Federal Trade Commission have concocted a nefarious plot involving drug companies to keep real 'cures' from people for the sake of money. He, furthermore, disavows the need for surgery or prescription drugs to treat a host of ailments. Despite being regarded by many as a charlatan or modern-day snake oil salesman, Trudeau has managed to sell millions of copies of his book Natural Cures 'They' Don't Want You to Know About. To be precise, Trudeau has sold 4 million copies and has spent 23 weeks on the New York Times best-seller list. Is Trudeau simply an ex-con who has duped a sizable minority of the American population? Or has Trudeau stumbled onto a treasure trove of medical secrets long repressed by two-faced sickness profiteers?
12/10/05 - Treasury hijacks funds meant for green causes
Hundreds of millions of pounds raised from electricity bills to help develop renewable energy are being diverted to the Treasury, creating a new " stealth tax". So far, the Treasury has taken £210m from the so-called NFFO Fund, while only £60m has been spent on renewable energy. By 2010, the fund is expected to have raised as much as £1bn, which is likely to be taken by the Treasury for general spending. The process is based on the fund being a "hereditary revenue of the Crown" along with income arising from the Crown's traditional rights to treasure trove, swans and sturgeons. The director of Greenpeace, Stephen Tindale, said: "This sounds like a scandal in the making. Money raised from consumers for renewable energy must be spent on renewables - not on general expenditure. This is enough money to make Britain the world leader in offshore wind power, and that is how we believe it should be used." Mike Childs, of Friends of the Earth, said: "This money has been raised for renewables and that's how it should be spent, for example, to bring on a new generation of renewable technologies such as wave and tidal power."
12/10/05 - Geothermal Heat Pumps
Although temperatures in the atmosphere can vary considerably over the course of a year (or even a day), the temperature underground remains fairly constant. At about six feet under, the soil measures from 45 degrees to 75 degrees fahrenheit, depending upon latitude. And this consistency, it turns out, can be a resource for keeping one's home warm in the winter and cool in the summer. Geothermal heat pumps move heat from one place to another via the circulation of a refrigerant fluid. They have a number of advantages over traditional heating and cooling systems, including low noise and essentially no maintenance. Most importantly, they use significantly less energy than traditional gas, electric or oil-based heating & cooling systems. According to the US Environmental Protection Agency (PDF), geothermal heat pumps cost 30-40% less per month than traditional methods (and probably even less with current fuel prices). A geothermal heat pump doesn't create heat by burning fuel, like a furnace does. Instead, in winter it collects the Earth's natural heat through a series of pipes, called a loop, installed below the surface of the ground or submersed in a pond or lake. Fluid circulates through the loop and carries the heat to the house. There, an electrically driven compressor and a heat exchanger concentrate the Earth's energy and release it inside the home at a higher temperature. Ductwork distributes the heat to different rooms. In summer, the process is reversed. The underground loop draws excess heat from the house and allows it to be absorbed by the Earth. The system cools your home in the same way that a refrigerator keeps your food cool - by drawing heat from the interior, not by blowing in cold air.
12/10/05 - Health crisis turns ex-hospital CEO to natural medicine
Three years ago, Treuman Katz got some troubling news: At 60, he was on his way to becoming a diabetic. Katz, CEO of Children's Hospital & Regional Medical Center at the time, could have relied on the region's top specialists. Instead, the man who had spent nearly 40 years running two of the country's pre-eminent hospitals reached out to a naturopathic doctor. He took herbal supplements, changed his diet, started yoga and hired a naturopathic trainer. Soon, his blood sugar dropped and he began to feel healthier than he had in years, he said. "My objective is not to convert," Katz said. "But the bottom line is that the cost of health care is staggering because we're not taking care of underlying issues."
12/10/05 - The Fish Carburetor Story
John R. Fish - developed his "Fish" carburetor in the early 1940's that was tested by Ford who admitted that the invention was a third more efficient than theirs. The design can also be easily switched to alcohol. Nevertheless the inventor was hindered from manufacture and distribution in almost every possible way, he once even resorted to selling by mail order, only to be stopped by the Post Office. The device can be currently bought from "Fuel systems of America" Box 9333, Tacoma, Washington 98401 - U.S.ph:(206) 922-2228. (US PAT's 2,214,273 and 2,236,595 and 2,775,818.) Originally invented by John Robert Fish in America in the early Thirties. J.R. was not an automobile engineer but a brilliant all-round inventor with a strong grasp of pressure differentials and expertise in machine tooling. When he came to look at carburetors initially, it was to stop the waste of fuel as it slopped about on cornering, braking and hard acceleration. All standard or conventional carburetors are entirely dependant on a stable fuel level to feed through the "Manometer" principle. He demonstrated the point by fitting a glass jug to the bonnet (hood) of a car. The level changed by literally inches on hard cornering. The typical four barrel carburetor of the time had float chambers almost all round the unit to prevent starvation but it was very wasteful on the high side of the float chamber. All conventional carburetors still use the "Manometer" or "U" tube principle today and rely on a Venturi to accelerate the incoming air so dropping the pressure which then lifts the fuel level through the jetting. Unfortunately, this tends to strangle the engine at higher revs. Fuel of course has a much higher inertia than air so jetting has to be much richer at low speeds (air velocity) which means that when the fuel finally catches up with the air flow, it would be chronically over-rich requiring it to be corrected by an "air corrector jet" to bleed down the over-rich main jet. - · Fuel level was not critical to metering under any conditions. · No Venturi was required to potentially strangle the air flow. · A single progressive metering groove did away with both main and corrector jets, as well the Venturi. · The carb works on pressure differential - not air speed, which means that it is almost instantly self adjusting & self compensating so any change in weather or altitude requires no adjustments or modifications as with conventional carbs. Hence all round suitability for cars, boats, aircraft, mountain or pressure charging use. · Instead of the usual one main fuel discharge point within the carburetor, the "Fish" has from SIX to TEN leading to vastly superior atomization and therefore much improved vaporization and since wet fuel DOES NOT burn (only the vapor), better and more complete combustion is ensured enabling more power to be extracted from the same amount of fuel.
Biodiesel as a substitute, is worse than the fossil-fuel burning it replaces
By promoting biodiesel as a substitute, we have missed the fact that it is worse than the fossil-fuel burning it replaces. In 2003, the biologist Jeffrey Dukes calculated that the fossil fuels we burn in one year were made from organic matter "containing 44 x 1018 grams of carbon, which is more than 400 times the net primary productivity of the planet's current biota". In plain English, this means that every year we use four centuries' worth of plants and animals. Arable land that would otherwise have been used to grow food would instead be used to grow fuel. But now I find that something even worse is happening. The biodiesel industry has accidentally invented the world's most carbon-intensive fuel. In promoting biodiesel - as the EU, the British and US governments and thousands of environmental campaigners do - you might imagine that you are creating a market for old chip fat, or rapeseed oil, or oil from algae grown in desert ponds. In reality you are creating a market for the most destructive crop on earth.
12/10/05 - Peculiar encompassing new 'mission statement' for the Air Force
The realities of the world have changed dramatically since the creation of the Air Force in 1947 and continue to change almost daily. With these changes in mind, Air Force leaders released a new mission statement Dec. 7 that defines the current and future direction of the Air Force. The mission of the United States Air Force is to deliver sovereign options for the defense of the United States of America and its global interests -- to fly and fight in Air, Space, and Cyberspace. The statement includes two new concepts, "sovereign options" and “cyberspace," which the secretary and chief defined. They said having sovereign options is the essence of being a superpower. "Our task is to provide the National Command Authority and the combatant commanders with an array of options ... options that are not limited by the tyranny of distance, the urgency of time, or the strength of our enemy’s defenses," they said. "With one hand the Air Force can deliver humanitarian assistance to the farthest reaches of the globe, while with the other hand we can destroy a target anywhere in the world." The term cyberspace includes network security, data transmission and the sharing of information. (Definition of 'sovereign' - autonomous: (of political bodies) not controlled by outside forces; Supreme authority to make decisions, carry out actions.)
12/08/05 - Israelis to be allowed euthanasia by machine
Machines will perform euthanasia on terminally ill patients in Israel under legislation devised not to offend Jewish law, which forbids people taking human life. A special timer will be fitted to a patient's respirator which will sound an alarm 12 hours before turning it off. Parliamentarians reached a solution after discussions with a 58-member panel of medical, religious and philosophical experts. "The point was that it is wrong, under Jewish law, for a person's life to be taken by a person but, for a machine, it is acceptable," a parliamentary spokesman said. "A man would not be able to shorten human life but a machine can." The bill, which was approved at the third and final reading in the Knesset by 22 votes to three with one abstention, will become law next year. It is expected that elderly Israelis will begin to leave "living wills" in which they stipulate whether they would allow the new euthanasia procedure to apply to them if they were to end up in hospital, dependent on a respirator and suffering from a terminal disease.
12/08/05 - Intelligent Bacteria
The humble microbes may have a rudimentary form of intelligence, some researchers have found. The claims seem to come as a final exclamation point to a long series of increasingly surprising findings of sophistication among the microbes, including apparent cases of cooperation and even altruism. This method involves focusing not so much on the behavior itself as the nuts and bolts behind it-a complex system of chemical “signals" that flit both within and among bacteria, helping them decide what to do and where to go. Researchers have found that this process has similarities to a type of human-made machine designed to act as a sort of simplified brain. These devices solve some simple problems in a manner more human-like than machine-like. The devices, called neural networks, also run on networks of signals akin to those of the bacteria. The devices use the networks to “learn" tasks such as distinguishing a male from a female in photographs-typical sorts of problems that are easy for humans but hard for traditional computers. It was found that the bacterial system contains all the important features that make neural networks work, leading to the idea that the bacteria have “a minimal form of intelligence." Bacterial signaling possesses all four of the key properties that neural network experts have identified as essential to make such devices work, Hellingwerf elaborated. One of the other lines of evidence is a simple examination of bacterial behavior. This behavior is strikingly versatile, researchers have found in recent years; bacteria can cope with a remarkably wide range of situations by taking appropriate actions for each. For instance, the deadly Pseudomonas aeruginosa can make a living by infecting a wide variety of animal and plant tissues, each of which is a very different type of environment in which to live and find sustenance. Furthermore, bacteria cooperate: they can group together to take on tasks that would be difficult or impossible for one to handle alone. In a textbook example, millions of individuals of the species Myxococcus xanthus can bunch up to form a “predatory" colony that moves and changes direction collectively toward possible food sources.
12/08/05 - 3 Laws of our Energy Peak Future: LOCAL, LOCAL, LOCAL
Relocalization is the process by which communities localize their economies and essential systems, such as food and energy production, water, governance, media, and even money. This process will require that we: * rebuild our cities to significantly reduce overall transportation needs; * support localization of essential systems; and * use ecological city design as a framework for this transformation. Essentially, human civilization needs to prepare itself to do with less energy, fewer natural resources, and fewer material goods, with the ultimate goal of being able to live within a reduced planetary carrying capacity. Any other approach will lead to a form of assisted suicide-with nature doing the assisting. The energy peak will affect the heaviest energy users the most. At first they will use their control of the money system to stave off disaster, but that will not last long. If the US suffers a severe enough dollar crisis, it will find itself catastrophically exposed as the world's largest energy importer and will be vulnerable to the desires of the energy exporters, all of whom will have reason enough to bring the reign of American economic empire to an end. The US military has presumably understood this, and they may not be willing to stand by and be emasculated by energy and economic constrictions.
12/08/05 - Another human powered treadmill generator
An exercise treadmill that produces enough electricity to power a television set, radio and telephone has been developed at Singapore's Ngee Ann Polytechnic, its developers said on Wednesday. Electrical engineering students and exercise partners Ng Bing Rong, 23, Lee Beng Chuan, 24, and Neo Boon Kiat, 25, said the idea struck when they saw an old treadmill stored at the school. "Instead of spending so much money to go to the gym, where you have to bring your own mini-disc player, or paying for electricity, you will generate electricity and burn calories," The Straits Times quoted Ng as saying. "The radio and TV will also encourage you to get off the couch and exercise," he added. It took two months to adapt the treadmill to converting energy from the user's footsteps into electricity and store it in a battery. The trio also installed a radio, a 12-centimetre TV set and a power socket to charge a mobile phone. It takes about four hours of brisk walking to fully charge the 12-volt battery, which powers the radio and TV and charges the phone for about 12 hours.
12/08/05 - DIY bicycle generator
This is a brief page about a simple pedal bike we made from a 3 speed bicycle. Although none of us really cares to "pedal" for power, we thought it would be interesting to see just how much power could be generated this way. It also served to test a low rpm alternator we built from a single phase 1/2hp induction motor. Although most folks who live off the power grid probably get plenty of exercise doing other things, this could provide significant power if used daily. We built this in about 1 hour, if a person actually had a need, it would be well worth taking a little more time, and making certain improvements to the design. The two things are necessary to build one, a bike, and a low rpm generator/alternator. We used an old 3 speed, although the gears on a 10 speed might be more appropriate. We removed the back wheel, and took the sprocket off it. The generator, is actually an alternator we built from a 1/2hp furnace blower motor. The lower the rpm for this type of motor, the more poles, so that it generates at lower rpm. This was a 1200 rpm 6 pole motor. We removed the armature and cut a slot into which we inserted 6 surplus computer hard drive magnets, with alternating poles facing outwards. Although the magnets were not a perfect fit for arc, and diameter, they were more than close enough. Seems like, with a few improvements to the bike, and a 1 hour workout daily, one could produce easily 100 watt hours per day, which is significant, and might actually be practical for some folks who have small power systems. Especially when one considers the efficiency of new light bulbs and LED's, a daily 1 hour workout could easily provide lights, and radio for a small, simple power system. With the use of a welder and a hack saw, it took about 1 hour to make our bike. The generator took another hour, of course, it required use of a metal lathe.
12/08/05 - EZROCKET airplane
On Dec. 3 the California-based XCOR Aerospace made a milestone test for its EZ-Rocket airplane which realized a record 16-kilometer flight from the Mojave Civilian Flight Test Center to the California airport. XCOR Aerospace has developed the airplane to show their capability of producing safe, cheap, simple, reliable and operable aircraft rocket propulsion system. The EZ-Rocket was honored Transportation Invention of the Year in 2001 by the Time Magazine.
12/08/05 - Common sugar may be making you obese
Fructose, a common sugar found in fruit, honey, sweeteners and in many processed foods, may be contributing to your obesity, say researchers. It may trick you into thinking you are hungrier than you should be, say University of Florida researchers who studied animals and found its role in a biochemical chain reaction that triggers weight gain. Physical inactivity, increased caloric intake and consumption of high-fat foods undoubtedly account for part of the problem but Americans are feasting on more fructose than ever. It's in soft drinks, jellies, pastries, ketchup and table sugar, among other foods, and is the key component in high fructose corn syrup, a sugar substitute introduced in the early 1970s. Since then, fructose intake has soared more than 30 percent and the number of people with metabolic syndrome has more than doubled worldwide, to more than 55 million in the US alone, Johnson said. Johnson added: "If you feed fructose to animals they rapidly become obese with all features of the metabolic syndrome, so there is this strong causal link. And a high-fructose intake has been shown to induce certain features of the metabolic syndrome pretty rapidly in people. "We cannot definitively state that fructose is driving the obesity epidemic. But we can say that there is evidence supporting the possibility that it could have a contributory role - if not a major role."
12/08/05 - Shower Billboard
Apparently from MIT, check out this novel method to 'paint' images using only water droplets. There is no other information provided with the article except for the interesting tube arrangement which controls the patterns. This installation works like a flat shower that shoots out water droplets with different frequency. The difference in distance between droplets results in an image. As much as 100 years ago, there were 'singing fountains' using a similar principle to produce melodious music as the water flowed from a fountain.
12/08/05 - Viruses chat with you to get downloaded
A new worm that targets users of America Online's AOL Instant Messenger is believed to be the first that actually chats with the intended victim to dupe the target into activating a malicious payload, IM security vendor IMlogic warned Tuesday. According to IMlogic, the worm, dubbed IM.Myspace04.AIM, has arrived in instant messages that state: "lol thats cool" and included a URL to a malicious file "clarissa17.pif." When unsuspecting users have responded, perhaps asking if the attachment contained a virus, the worm has replied: "lol no its not its a virus", IMlogic said. The malicious file disables security software, installs a backdoor and tweaks system files, the company said. Then it starts sending itself to contacts on the victim's buddy list. But the worm is programmed so that the infected user cannot see the messages that are being sent out by the worm, according to IMlogic.
12/08/05 - Outsourcing space missions
NASA hopes to supplement, and eventually replace, crew and cargo flights to the space station that had been planned for the shuttle fleet. The agency also may have to pare down the number of shuttle flights to the station even before they retire to pay for development of a new spacecraft known as the Crew Exploration Vehicle. Musk is developing a series of launchers, called the Falcon, which, if successful, could significantly undercut the price routinely paid to aerospace giants Lockheed Martin Corp. and Boeing Co., to send payloads into orbit. Other start-up firms that have expressed interest in NASA’s space station business include t/Space, SpaceDev, Constellation Services International, AirLaunch LLC, SpaceHab, Andrews Space, Rocketplane Ltd., Universal Space Lines and Bigelow Aerospace, according to an Excel spreadsheet on NASA’s procurement Web site. Boeing and Lockheed Martin, which manufacture and sell the Delta and Atlas expendable launch vehicles, have kept any aspirations of becoming NASA’s space station truckers under wraps. “As long as it’s a level playing field, we’re open to compete with them any time and anywhere," said SpaceX’s Williams. The agency expects to award one or more contracts in May. NASA has allotted $500 million to pay for the initial phases of the program through 2010. (out of a yearly budget of $16 BILLION??? - JWD)
12/08/05 - Manmade Floating Island
The "spiral rainbow island" an ecological paradise created by Richie Sowa. The island is anchored off the coast of Mexico, close to Cancun. The island is made from recycled plastic bottles, packed into netting. The island is 66ft X 54 ft in size and has on it a 2 bedroom house and living area. It has 3 beaches and Richie has many animals on there with him to keep him company, including Cats, Ducks and a Dog! Richie Sowa spent four years making the floating Spiral Island, which measures 66ft by 54ft, weighs 60 tons and has three sandy beaches. The mangrove-covered paradise, which is anchored off the coast of Mexico, includes a two-bedroom house with a large living room and kitchen. The walls are made from palm trees and the roof is plastic sheeting. Richie hopes to make the island totally self-sustainable and is growing food including tomatoes. Energy comes from solar panels which provide enough juice to power lights and a CD player. There is a warm-water shower and a self-composting toilet. He started by setting up a roadside stall to collect the bottles, then spent six months building a basic raft using thick bamboo poles. Next he tied the recycled bottles in bags to the poles, giving the island buoyancy. In January last year Richie and 20 mates spent five days moving the island out into the Caribbean where a boat towed it to a safe location in a lagoon. It was then anchored to rocks. Now Hollywood moguls are planning to make a movie about Richie’s adventure. Unfortunately, the island was destroyed in the 2005 hurricane.
12/07/05 - Supercap 9VDC Battery
9V batteries are often found in devices that aren’t used very often. If you use a NiCd rechargeable battery you may find it completely discharged by the time you need it. Capacitors on the other hand can maintain their charge for years. This circuit uses a 10F cap with a switching voltage regulator to increase the voltage from 2.3V to 9V. With a light load the cap will last up to 3 hours and once discharged it can be recharged in less than 20 seconds. Warning: PDF link.
12/07/05 - Smart Roof Heat Exchanger uses roof 'rib' heat for green Air Conditioning
"I couldn't believe something so simple had never occurred to anyone else, but it hadn't and there's now a patent pending for our Smart Roof Heat Exchanger," Mr Oaten said. "Essentially, it gathers or expels air through a fan-driven, battery-powered unit that can be installed on new or existing metal roofs, costs about the same as a small air-conditioner and most important, reduces greenhouse emissions by 40 per cent." Last week, when the mercury hit 28 degrees, two heat exchangers funded by Sustainability Victoria were installed at phase one of the Maryborough Community Education Precinct, a $26 million public school complex designed by Oaten Stanistreet. "As intended, the units cooled the building by removing all the hot air in the ribs of the roof decking where temperatures reached 43 degrees. We recorded 21 degrees inside the building -- a fantastic result," a jubilant Mr Oaten reported. As Mr Oaten noted, the heat exchangers can be used on the metal roofs of everything from small homes to shopping centres.
12/07/05 - Aquatic Kites for power
The Underwater Electric Kite, or UEK is the logo of the firm Vauthier and his artist wife, Denise, established here in 1981. The turbine is so named because it moves like a kite: Anchored to the bottom by a cable and controlled by a computer, it rises or descends searching for the layer of water where the tidal current runs fastest. Faster currents yield more energy. Marine turbines, propellers contained within a housing, do underwater what windmills do in the air: draw energy from their element. As alternative energies go, tidal power is one of the most difficult to master. Not every inlet or bay is suitable for a turbine and undersea cables. Repairing equipment underwater is difficult and corrosion a constant problem. Also, disrupting the flow of currents or tides can harm fish and other aquatic life. While Canada, Russia, and France have pursued major tidal projects, the technology remains a stepchild here. Nonetheless, devotees believe tapping the power of the tides can contribute to the nation's power grid in local areas, and interest in various ocean technologies is growing. Vauthier wants to sink 25 turbines in the inlet to generate 10 megawatts of electricity, power for about 10,000 people. The inlet is a deep, energetic stream nearly 100 yards wide through which small pleasure craft and working fishing boats pass. Opened by storms about 90 years ago, the inlet was stabilized with parallel rock jetties. These create a choke-point that impels the water through at a speed that can reach six knots, making it one of the fastest-running tides on the East Coast. Vauthier told the fishermen the project wouldn't inhibit their sport. The turbines, fixed 45 feet beneath the surface, would be marked with buoys and screened to block entry of the smallest fish and prevent snagging lures.
12/07/05 - Cellphone Camera Lenses
Coming in telephoto, wide and macro varieties, these lenses-which you crudely attach with a magnet-ensure that you will make the very most out of that, ooh, 1 megapixel your phone camera is capable of shooting. All this pointless novelty doesn’t come cheap either-at 7000-yen (approx. $57) each you would expect Ansel Adams-like results. But I believe that all you’ll elicit is a lot of people saying “hey, what the hell is that on your phone?" to your chagrin and shame.
12/07/05 - Computer Simulation Shows Buckyballs Deform DNA
A new study published in December 2005 in Biophysical Journal raises a red flag regarding the safety of buckyballs when dissolved in water. It reports the results of a detailed computer simulation that finds buckyballs bind to the spirals in DNA molecules in an aqueous environment, causing the DNA to deform, potentially interfering with its biological functions and possibly causing long-term negative side effects in people and other living organisms. The findings came as something of a surprise, despite earlier studies that have shown buckyballs to be toxic to cells unless coated and to be able to find their way into the brains of fish. Before these cautionary discoveries, researchers thought that the combination of buckyballs’ dislike of water and their affinity for each other would cause them to clump together and sink to the bottom of a pool, lake, stream or other aqueous environment. As a result, researchers thought they should not cause a significant environmental problem. Cummings’ team found that, depending on the form the DNA takes, the 60-carbon-atom (C60) buckyball molecule can lodge in the end of a DNA molecule and break apart important hydrogen bonds within the double helix. They can also stick to the minor grooves on the outside of DNA, causing the DNA molecule to bend significantly to one side. Damage to the DNA molecule is even more pronounced when the molecule is split into two helices, as it does when cells are dividing or when the genes are being accessed to produce proteins needed by the cell. “The binding energy between DNA and buckyballs is quite strong," Cummings says. “We found that the energies were comparable to the binding energies of a drug to receptors in cells." It turns out that buckyballs have a stronger affinity for DNA than they do for themselves. “This research shows that if buckyballs can get into the nucleus, they can bind to DNA," Cummings says. “If the DNA is damaged, it can be inhibited from self-repairing."
12/07/05 - DIY Passport Photos
Passport photo shops are almost as much of a rip off as ringtones. Why pay for something that you can easily do yourself for free? This website, epassportphoto.com, can help you make your own passport photos. (via boingboing.net)
12/07/05 - Ornithopter
Is it a bird? Is it a plane? Or is it an insect?
Call the flying toy anything you want, says Sean Frawley, an Embry-Riddle student who invented the gizmo. He just hopes the radio-controlled oddity with flapping wings will be flying off store shelves next year after a Hong Kong toy company starts production. His product technically is known as an "ornithopter" -- an experimental flying device powered by flapping wings. Weighing just an ounce, the craft has a fuselage and tail fashioned from plastic foam and double wings made of cellophane stretched on a foam frame. A battery-powered motor moves the wings, and a handheld radio control governs the gadget's speed and direction. "It can go as high as 200 feet but then you run into a problem of seeing it," he said. "It's kind of small." Sold only through a Web site Frawley operated with a buddy, www.ornitech.com, the ornithopter at first had spotty sales, mainly to adults who were model-airplane enthusiasts. But after Popular Science magazine featured his toy-building efforts in a June 2002 issue, more than 1,000 orders poured in. The article also caught the attention of several toymakers, who contacted Frawley with job offers. The one that Frawley accepted was a consulting deal with WowWee Ltd., a Canadian company operating in Hong Kong. WowWee promised him a cut of 6 percent to 8 percent of the profits on anything he designed.
12/07/05 - Digital photography: look beyond the ordinary
Take lots of photos. The days of worrying about blowing the budget on film are all but over. By using a decent-sized memory card, you will have the freedom to take many photos of the same subject, re-cropping, repositioning, bracketing the exposure (taking pictures half-a-stop or a full stop above and below the recommended exposure), and playing with depth of field if you have a more advanced model with manual controls. The world is filled with patterns, and they can do wonders for your photography. Patterns can also give you a great photograph when the scene isn't what you had hoped for: if a steam train is late, the rails present many possibilities; if there is no game at an African waterhole, the patterns in the surrounding bush will make a wonderful memento. But most of all, taking patterns can make you start looking at the world with a photographer's eye. The more you identify patterns or abstracts in a scene, the more likely you are to take advantage of them and the better and less haphazard your photographs will be. Patterns can arise from colour, lines, texture or a combination of all. Simplify the composition by eliminating any detail that detracts from the picture, either by zooming, moving or re-framing. It's far better to do the work before you take the picture, because quality is lost with computer cropping and enlargement. Try not to look at the subject of your photograph, but rather at its underlying design. Look up, look down, stand against walls -- and don't be afraid to climb on things or get down on your knees or even your belly to get a better composition. The world gets terribly boring when seen from the same angle all the time.
12/07/05 - Mentos + Soda = Explosive Eruption!
Words cannot begin to describe the awesome eruption that is created from adding Mentos candies to a 2-liter bottle of soda. The eruption is enormous... and so is the learning if you consider the chemistry. Materials: A roll or box of Mentos® (candy mints) and a 2-liter bottle of diet soda. Either diet or regular soda will work for this experiment, but diet soda is less sticky when you're cleaning it up! Unwrap the whole roll of Mentos. The goal is to drop all of the Mentos into the bottle of soda at the same time (which is trickier than it looks). One method for doing this is to roll a piece of paper into a tube just big enough to hold the loose Mentos. You'll want to be able to position the tube directly over the mouth of the bottle so that all of the candies drop into the bottle at the same time. Okay, you're going to drop all of the Mentos into the bottle at the same time and get back away from it or get seriously splattered!
12/07/05 - Can a common face cleanser Cure Head Lice?
California dermatologist Dale Pearlman, discusses a study he did in 2004 with a product called Nuvo Lotion. According to his research, Nuvo Lotion was more than 96 percent effective at killing head lice when applied to the scalp, dried with a hair dryer, and then left on for several hours to "suffocate" the lice. What Pearlman did not disclose in 2004, but announced in the letter, was that Nuvo Lotion was actually Cetaphil, a common mild skin cleanser manufactured by Galderma Laboratories LP of Fort Worth, Texas. If Pearlman's research is accurate, this could mean a significant improvement over current head-lice treatment guidelines, because all it would take is soaking a child's scalp in Cetaphil, rather than using any products that contain pesticides. The study, as limited as it might have been, had startling results: The "overall cure rate was 96 percent," according to the study, and after six months of treatment, the rate was just down to 94 percent. Nits, or eggs, did not have to be removed for the method to work, the study noted. Aronson noted that Pearlman's study contained one major flaw: Everyone who entered Pearlman's study was first diagnosed by having their hair wetted and then combed for lice. This technique in itself, known as "wet combing," is an effective treatment for head lice, so, it's hard to say whether the wet combing or the Cetaphil application actually cured the lice, Aronson said.
12/06/05 - Japanese Xtreme Segway
Unlike the standard American Segway, this newer Japanese version doesn't monkey around with such extraneous hardware as handlebars and saddlebags. Just hold onto the little handheld controller, hop on, and go. As with its more conventional cousin, the Segway PMP-2 uses gyros to sense which way you're trying to go and take you there. We particularly like this little model because it's easy to transport around in your car or store under your desk at the office. So you'll be more likely to keep it handy when you need it. Plus, we like to envision a future X Games competition in which nimble youths perform death-defying aerial stunts on these things at mind-bogglingly high speeds.
12/06/05 - Fuel breakthrough still sputters
In 1991, the university was awarded the nation's 5-millionth patent in a special ceremony at the Commerce Department. It recognized groundbreaking scientific work by Ingram's team with a bacteria that could convert plant waste into ethanol, a cleaner-burning substitute for gasoline. The invention was hailed as a potential revolution in the fuel industry. Although ethanol was already being made from corn and sugarcane, Ingram's method was potentially far cheaper since it used waste material. The main problem: how to break down the biomass into a soluble form that the bacteria can begin to work on. Because of its fibrous nature, cellulosic biomass is tougher to degrade than corn or sugar cane, adding to the expense. The cost-efficiency of that engineering process has confounded entrepreneurs.
12/06/05 - Hydrogen Boron fusion
Proton - Boron fusion, where a high-voltage reaction with decaborane produces four Helium in the form of alpha particles with no neutron radioactivity. Dense plasma is focused in a unique device which produces the 1 billion degrees (100 keV) necessary to make Hydrogen and Boron-11 fuse together into Helium without high energy neutrons being released. A garage-sized fusion reactor would produce energy at three times the output of the Tokamak Reactor, with its old-fashioned deuterium confinement method.
12/06/05 - Labeling appliances that waste energy in standby
n a single year, the electrical equipment in German households and offices consumed an estimated 18 billion kilowatt-hours of power while switched to standby mode. That corresponds to almost the entire output of all the wind turbines producing electricity in Germany. Many consumer electronics devices take over 50 percent of their total power consumption in standby mode. “A set-top box for receiving digital TV, which will soon be an essential item in almost every household, consumes about eight watts in standby mode, day in, day out,“ remarks Barbara Schlomann of the ISI. That doesn't sound much, but when you add it up over a whole year, it comes to somewhere around 54 kilowatt-hours. Multiply that by the approximately 60 million TVs in Germany, and you arrive at a figure of over three billion kilowatt-hours. The Fraunhofer researchers were given the task of investigating whether this unnecessary consumption of electricity could by reduced through the use of a “standby label“ affixed to electrical appliances, showing for instance how much power the unit consumes in standby mode and when in off mode but still connected to the power supply. The latter state is all the more deceptive in that the equipment appears to be switched off but is in fact still consuming a small amount of electricity. The ISI researchers propose that the markings employed on smaller appliances - such as personal computers, printers, TVs, set-top boxes, espresso machines - ought to show their standby consumption in watts, and furthermore their consumption when switched off but not unplugged from the power supply - the “leaking electricity“. Vampire Power and Vampire Appliances
12/06/05 - Supreme Court goes after Patent Trolls
"A patent troll is a patent owner who has no plan to practice the invention. They assert their patents simply to recover royalties." hirty-five of the nation's top patent-law professors argued in amicus briefs that injunction decisions in patent cases should conform to the historical principles of fairness and should be reasonable and should balance whether the injunction is actually in the public interest, whether it is an adequate remedy and whether the plaintiff would face irreparable injury if the order was not issued. The professors "believe that the threat of injunctions, without considering the equities, may lead to irreparable harm to the defendant," said Hanchuk. If the Supreme Court rules in favor of eBay, it would be a major victory for all companies that perceive themselves as targets of patent trolls, said Annette Hurst, an intellectual-property attorney in San Francisco with Heller Ehrman LLP. "It would substantially reduce the overall threat to defendants from this type of litigation and probably cause settlement values to become more reasonable," Hurst said in response to questions by The Web. Most tellingly, none of eBay's own patents are involved in the litigation. The firm, MercExchange, apparently makes no products and offers no services but simply wants eBay to license its patent, said Marc Hubbard, an attorney and shareholder with the law firm of Munsch Hardt Kopf & Harr P.C., which has offices in Dallas, Houston and Austin.
12/06/05 - Patent Office has serious flaws
Too many patents are issued for "innovations" that are obvious, vague or already in wide use. Too many patent holders try to extend their claims to devices and services that weren't even contemplated when the patents were granted. And it's a difficult, costly exercise to overturn a questionable patent after it has been awarded. Compounding the problem, federal courts have been quick to hand patent holders a sledgehammer when their patents have been infringed. As a consequence, someone who holds a patent over even a small piece of a product, service or business model could shut an entire operation down - a nice bit of leverage when it comes to negotiating a licensing fee. As the Federal Trade Commission noted in a 2003 report, firms in some high-tech fields must obtain licenses to "dozens, hundreds or even thousands of patents" to produce just one product.
12/06/05 - Late Life - when Aging Stops
Though getting older may seem inevitable, a major new study from the forthcoming issue of Physiological and Biochemical Zoology examines the point in human life when your body simply stops aging. "For decades, demographers and gerontologists noticed that late life human data did not fit [expected] models: there was a shortage of deaths," write Michael R. Rose, Casandra L. Rauser, and Laurence D. Mueller. "More specifically, the exponential increase in age-specific death rate seemed to slow down considerably, if not cease." The sudden plateau in mortality rates after a certain age has long been observed with other organisms, but its presence in human populations has been dismissed as a result of the advent of nursing homes and modern medicine. However, close examination of demographic data supports a distinct third phase of life history known as "late life," characterized by the cessation of age-related deterioration. "Late life is a unique and distinct phase of life very different from aging," write the authors. "Each phase evolves according to very different rules. Evolutionary biology has a new set of problems to solve." The authors posit that late life arises after the forces of natural selection affecting both fertility and mortality cease to have an impact.
12/06/05 - New Propulsion, square wheels using gravity
new method of locomotion has recently been invented that may prove useful in many scales of operation. While the title suggests a very narrow topic, there are in fact many interesting variations that arose during the development of this patent pending device. The application of which include robots, micro machines, novelty toys, and others. The first prototype consisted of a car with 4 square wheels, in the general configuration of a typical car, with all 4 wheels mechanically connected together so they must all turn in unison. Furthermore, the rotational orientation of the wheels are sequentially off-set from one wheel to the next by 22.5° (¼ of 90°), moving around the vehicle in a CW or CCW direction as viewed from above. “The weight shifting that propels the car is facilitated by a weight offset laterally from the center of the car that is moved in a rotational manner around the center of the car", says inventor Jason Winckler of Global Composites. “The rotation is provided by a driven shaft extending vertically from the center of the car, with a lateral arm and off-set weight. As the shaft rotates, the weigh shifts in a circular manner around the car". “The shifting weight sequentially drives each wheel that is under the weight to sit flat on the ground, thus moving the other wheels in a rotational manner, and the car in a linear direction; reversing the direction of the rotating weight, reverses the direction of the car. There are also several methods for steering the car that are under development" says Steven Winckler, President of Global Composites. The main driving force for the table top prototype is produced by gravity pulling downward. Other forces that could hold the car against a surface, and provide the moving force necessary to increment the car along, include aerodynamic, hydrodynamic, magnetic, electromagnetic, and electrostatic. Such forces could be independent of the car mass, and could thus propel the vehicle with much greater force and velocity. In some instances, these forces could provide their own means to move from wheel to wheel, eliminating the central motor used in the prototype.
12/06/05 - Catalytic Converters emitting toxic fumes
A study scheduled for publication in the Dec. 15 issue of the American Chemical Society's journal, Environmental Science and Technology, shows that for the first time, toxic metals emitted from automotive catalytic converters have been detected in urban air in the United States. The research was done by Swedish scientists working in collaboration with researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. The researchers found high concentrations of platinum, palladium, rhodium and osmium in air over the Boston metropolitan area. Although these particles - known as platinum group elements - are not yet considered a serious health risk, evidence suggests they potentially could pose a future danger as worldwide car sales increase from an estimated 50 million in 2000 to more than 140 million in 2050. Finding ways to "stabilize" these metal particles within the converters "should be a priority to limit their potential impact," says lead researcher Sebastien Rauch, Ph.D., of Chalmers University of Technology in Göteborg. In addition to the United States - where catalytic converters were first introduced - scientists have also detected elevated concentrations of these elements in Europe, Japan, Australia, Ghana, China and Greenland. Catalytic converters reduce emissions of carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons, nitrogen oxides and other pollutants.
12/05/05 - 2KW in, 40KW out?
A.I. Koldomasov’s device piezo-electrically vibrates a mix of waters through a special dielectric material to produce heat energy in more abundance than the energy which powers the oscillator. The device is reported to put out 40 kilowatts of heat energy with only two kilowatts of electrical input. Last year Dr. Josef Gruber described a visit to the research institute where Koldomasov is managing engineer. Koldomasov discovered the new energy source while observing cavitation - implosions in water such as found in “water hammer" in pipes. Gruber showed a photograph of the small device, filled with pure water mixed with only one per cent deuterium (heavy water). Although there are no spark plugs or similar equipment, electrical discharge could be seen. Energy comes out in the form of both heat and electrical current. “Depending on kind and location of the magnets, DC or AC (electricity) may be observed." Gruber said testing revealed 2000 per cent excess energy.
12/05/05 - Geeks use technology for cooling down fevers
"I was working on my rig in the basement installing a new water-cooling system when my daughter came down with a 103 degree fever," said Fernando Ferringer of coolingyourkids.com. "I knew we didn't have any Tylenol, and that's when I had a 'Eureka' moment." Ferringer connected the water-cooling system and a couple of heatsinks to his daughter and reduced her fever. "I figured the system cools down my processor which runs a lot hotter than my daughter. Why couldn't it cool her down? She did scream a bit when her hair got tangled in the fan, but we took care of that." CoolingYourKids has grown rapidly and has spawned several other copycat sites like kidmodifier.com and peltierbabies.com, that also hope to take advantage of the craze. Ferringer does not recommend taking a Dremel to your kids and putting Lexan panels or neon lights in them. "Those are just for show and really aren't necessary for cooling or performance."
12/05/05 - The simplistic worldview of Conspiracy Thinking
Conspiracy theory has captured the public imagination. Conspiracy theory offers an explanation of the causes and motives for otherwise inexplicable developments. Such theories are appealing because they provide us with a semblance of control over powerful forces that influence our lives. Today, acts of misfortune are frequently associated with intentional malevolent behavior. Nothing happens by accident. Human malevolence is suspected to be at work behind the death of Princess Diana in a car crash, or a sudden electrical blackout. Unexplained illnesses or a spillage of chemicals are frequently blamed on the self-serving irresponsible acts of politicians, public and business figures, doctors, scientists - indeed all professionals. People always search for meaning. But in our confused and ever changing world we feel particularly perplexed when it comes to making sense of the problems that confront us. Today, conspiracy theory has become mainstream and many of its most vociferous supporters are to be found in radical protest movements and among the cultural left. The simplistic worldview of conspiracy thinking helps fuel suspicion and mistrust toward the domain of politics. It displaces a critical engagement with public life with a destructive search for the hidden agenda. It distracts from the clarification of genuine differences and helps turn public life into a theater where what matters are the private lives and personal interests of mistrusted politicians. A constant search for the story behind the story distracts us from really listening to each other and seeing the world as it really is.
12/05/05 - Fish waste converted to protein/mineral rich material
Preparing fish filets for market generates an enormous amount of waste in the form of byproducts - bones, scales, heads, skin, fins -- and ultimately a quantity of meat that winds up in the trash. “Let’s say you start with 100 pounds of unprocessed fish," said Jacek Jaczynski, assistant professor of animal and veterinary sciences at WVU. “By the time the filets have been extracted, you have 30 pounds of processed fish for the market and 70 pounds of waste - including considerable meat - that heads straight into the landfill." “After being run through our system, we have recovered meat proteins that can be used in value-added food products, lipids such as fish oil that are high in Omega-3 fatty acids and can be used in dietary supplements, and, for lack of a better term, ‘junk’ that’s high in protein and minerals and can be used as animal feed," Jaczynski said. The process has five stages. First, byproducts are homogenized and mixed with water. Then, the pH of the fluid is changed slightly to put the meat proteins into a solution with the water. The substance is then separated into three phases - the protein solution, fats and lipids, and “the junk." After the three components are separated, the pH of the protein solution is changed again, allowing the now fat-free meat solids to form. “Previously, you couldn’t use too much fish meal in animal feed because the meat would end up smelling like fish because of the fats and oils. The ‘junk’ in this case doesn’t have any fat or oil in it, just proteins and minerals," Jaczynski explained. “Also, we can use the same water again with new batches, which conserves that resource."
12/05/05 - Intuitive Eating - the no diet diet
Hawks calls his plan "intuitive eating" and thinks the rest of the country would be better off if people stopped counting calories, started paying attention to hunger pangs and ate whatever they wanted. As part of intuitive eating, Hawks surrounds himself with unhealthy foods he especially craves. He says having an overabundance of what's taboo helps him lose his desire to gorge. There is a catch to this no-diet diet, however: Intuitive eaters only eat when they're hungry and stop when they're full.
That means not eating a box of chocolates when you're feeling blue or digging into a big plate of nachos just because everyone else at the table is. The trade-off is the opportunity to eat whatever your heart desires when you are actually hungry. "One of the advantages of intuitive eating is you're always eating things that are most appealing to you, not out of emotional reasons, not because it's there and tastes good," he said. "Whenever you feel the physical urge to eat something, accept it and eat it. The cravings tend to subside. I don't have anywhere near the cravings I would as a 'restrained eater.'" I was pretty skeptical of the idea you could eat anything you wanted until you didn't feel like it. It struck me as odd," said Peck, who is an assistant professor at BYU. But 11 months later, Peck sometimes eats mint chocolate chip ice cream for dinner, is 35 pounds lighter and a believer in intuitive eating. In a small study published in the American Journal of Health Education, Hawks and a team of researchers examined a group of BYU students and found those who were intuitive eaters typically weighed less and had a lower risk of cardiovascular disease than other students. He said the study indicates intuitive eating is a viable approach to long-term weight management and he plans to do a larger study across different cultures. Ultimately, he'd like intuitive eating to catch on as a way for people to normalize their relationship with food and fight eating disorders.
12/05/05 - Roshchin/Godin weight loss experiment supports Schappeller/Searl claims
The two Russian scientists were in for a surprise when they set up their experiment in a high-ceilinged concrete laboratory. They had built a meter-wide energy converter whose rotating part carried magnetic rollers similar to those built by John Searl, a British inventor. They wanted to test Searl’s claims to have had a flying disc and a generator that converted energy from surrounding space into electricity. With a special non-magnetic platform underneath, the Russians’ total apparatus weighed 350 kilograms. When they sped the rotor up to 200 revolutions-per-minute (rpm), instruments showed the platform rising slightly on its vertical slides. Weight loss! At 550 rpm the ampmeter in the motor circuit showed zero current being consumed. Using clutches, they disconnected the motor and connected the generator to the converter’s shaft. After the shaft reached a critical speed of 550 rpm, the rotor accelerated sharply. The machine was running itself! It didn’t slow down until they connected the first of ten kilowatt-heating-units as a load. The strangeness escalated. In an experiment in the dark, they saw a donut-shaped pink-and-blue light around the machine and smelled ozone from ionization of the air. A wavy pattern corresponding to the surface of the rollers was superimposed on the corona. Zones of yellowish-white light appeared, but there were none of the crackling sounds that usually accompany electrical arc discharges. When the machine was consuming the most power, seven kilowatts, the anomalous weight loss of the platform and its load reached 35 per cent. Was the heavy machine slowly levitating? Further they were astounded to feel a cooling of the surrounding air. Concentric rings of cooled air alternated with normal temperatures. When they tested the surrounding air with sensors, they found rings of “magnetic walls" interspersed with rings of ordinary air rippling outward like waves in a pond, to fifteen meters from their experiment without lessening. Not even Searl had reported measuring such walls. The Roshchin and Godin machine produces a seven-degree drop in temperature in the area around the electrical generator as it operates, suggesting an unusual fulfillment of an energy conservation modality. US Patent 6,822,361 - Orbiting multi-rotor homopolar system, has been awarded for their technology. Rare book reprint $39.95 'The Physics of the Primary State of Matter' by Karl Schappeller which is the source for much of Searls' claims and this article on Searl, Schappeller & Gravity.
12/05/05 - Anyone can request reexamination of a granted patent
(I have seen MANY patents which were clearly patented or written about, thus in the public domain, which could be used to contest the validity of the 'new' patent. An interesting way to create havoc if people began doing the homework, providing the proof and requesting re-examination of patents in effect. - JWD) While we're on the subject of patent re-exam lately, I received a letter from a plucky individual that has decided to file a request for ex parte reexamination of Amazon’s “One-Click" patent (US Patent 5,960,411), using some prior art that he found. I have to admit, I was quite intrigued by the whole affair given that a Request for Re-Exam is not something average citizens take on in their spare time. Keep in mind that anyone can file a written request asking the USPTO to reexamine any claim of an issued patent on the basis of prior art consisting of patents or printed publications that the person believes had a bearing on the patentability of any claim of the issued patent. The USPTO reviews this submission and initially determines whether the submitted prior art raises a substantial new question of patentability. If yes, then the patent undergoes an ex parte reexamination. However, beyond the initial request, a third party's involvement in the reexamination ends, and the patent goes through an examination process that is similar to the regular examination process for pending patent applications. Thus, ex parte reexamination has the risk for a third party of bringing to the USPTO's attention a potentially damaging prior art document that the patent owner will survive the challenge and obtain new, stronger claims.
12/05/05 - Where does OUR money go? - US Treasury Missing $ Trillions
Trillions of dollars in "unsupported adjustments" means trillions of dollars unaccounted for. What's going on? Where is the money? How could this happen? Where are the checks and balances? How much more has gone missing? Is this happening in the other government agencies too? What would happen if a corporation failed to pass an audit like this? Or a taxpayer? Who is responsible for this? Who can we trust to fix it?
12/05/05 - Free Power for cars from waste heat
Converting heat directly into electricity is nothing new; it has been possible since 1821. But thermoelectric materials have been too inefficient to make them practical for anything but a few niche uses, such as in deep space probes. As much as 70 percent of the fuel energy burned up in car engines doesn't go toward moving the vehicle along or powering the CD player, he said. Instead, it's dissipated as waste heat. Stabler says a new generation of thermoelectric materials can convert heat to electricity well enough to be used for taking the burden of electricity generation off the engine, thereby saving fuel. Already, Amerigon, a Deerborn, MI manufacturer, has sold well over a million car seat heating and cooling units that use an older version of the technology. When electricity is applied to thermoelectrics materials they transfer heat, cooling an area or heating it depending on the direction of the current. If the next generation of thermoelectric materials can be manufactured inexpensively, they could be used in more demanding applications. Wrapped around a car's exhaust pipe, for instance, they could harvest waste heat to produce electricity. Initially, this electricity might be used to supplement the electricity generated by the vehicle's alternator, making it possible to run more electrical devices without adding more strain to the engine.
12/05/05 - How News is Made
First, most of what we call "news" today starts out as a press release, which then becomes a headline, a sound-bite, and eventually a story. In a parallel to the way government operates, in which special interest groups lobby to create or defeat legislation, most of our news stories come as a result of PR efforts paid for by special interest groups (businesses) who have a stake in what becomes "news." Don't you just wish that journalists wouldn't make up answers to questions they can't answer? Don't you wish they could sift through self-serving research and not repeat numbers that are at the least, meaningless, if not wholly bogus? The funny thing is that this same news is made every year in the same way as reliably as the turkey at Thanksgiving. The Internet allows us to see how news is made, as though we were walking through a factory tour, and we can compare the very similar results of a mass production system. Turns out the news can be as fake as a department store Santa.
12/04/05 - Energy from waste fuel, 200 year old Stirling engine technology still viable
A small energy company in Ann Arbor has come up with a new way to generate electricity from some very unusual fuels: waste gases from landfills, sewage treatment plants and even auto assembly plants. Tucked away in a nondescript office on an equally anonymous road in Washtenaw County, STM can complete the assembly of one of its PowerUnits, valued at about $65,000, in about 14 man-hours. Consisting of an engine and generator, the units are about 9 feet long, 3 feet wide, 4 1/2 feet high and weigh 2 tons. Two of STM's 55-kilowatt generators can provide continuous power to the company's 60,000-square-foot building. STM has 32 units in the field, including China, Singapore and Britain. Officials also claim to have a backlog of orders for more. Ford Motor Co. runs one of STM's generating systems on paint fumes from the automaker's Michigan Truck Plant in Wayne. STM also has two of its PowerUnits providing electricity for heating and cooling NextEnergy's Microgrid Power Pavilion in Detroit. The Stirling is an external combustion engine, somewhat like a steam engine, that burns fuel to heat a liquid or gas in a sealed system -- hydrogen in the case of STM's PowerUnits. That heated hydrogen is then used to drive pistons that are in turn connected to an electrical generator. In the last 20 years, advancements in science have made it possible to more fully realize the potential first hinted at with the original Stirling engine almost two centuries ago. "We have solved several of the technical problems that have stood in the way in the past," said Ben Ziph, vice president for research and development. "Now, there are materials that are available over the last 20 years ... "
12/04/05 - Free DIY Inventors guide
It’s No Wonder So Many Indie Inventors Get Scammed--Enthusiasm, Ignorance and Even Greed Combine to Produce Endless Supply of “Easy Marks". New Inventor's Hands-on Journal for Inventors, by Inventors. Each issue presents a step-by-step tutorial on some important aspect of the inventing business. “It’s a real shame invention scams still thrive," said Kyle Shannon, Editor of inventionDIY!™, a new downloadable journal for inventors by inventors, “but they do." Each issue presents a step-by-step tutorial on some important aspect of the inventing business. “The idea is to facilitate inventors teaching themselves how to succeed in this complicated and time-consuming business," added Keith Milone, Publisher of the new venture. “Our biggest surprise was the sheer number of people who approached us with great invention ideas, but had no idea what to do next," stated Mr. Milone. Mr. Shannon goes on to add, “We started a Guest Inventor Program to support these folks, though we ultimately had to end it because we were spending more time managing & educating inventors than developing & selling products." The inaugural issue of inventionDIY! shares 12 Lessons Keith and Kyle learned over the past two and a half years as professional, independent inventors. It can be downloaded for FREE at www.inventionDIY.com. Future issues, digital resources and subscription information can also be found at the Web site.
12/04/05 - Magnetic Power Modules to tap Aether/ZPE for energy conversion
The first in a substantial series of patent applications was filed in January, 2005. A plug-in hybrid car may be modified, to become a prototype powered by VPF for local driving, during 2006. A vital family of energy conversion processes has begun to emerge, which we refer to as Virtual Photon Flux (VPF) energy conversion. VPF holds the promise of cost competitive electric power and automotive propulsion. VPF extraction processes consume no fuel in the traditional sense and produce no pollution. Aviation Week and Space Technology reported in their March 1, 2004 issue that at least two major aerospace firms, and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, are studying ZPE. A NASA news release dated March 30, 2005 states: "[ZPE] . . . is a potentially bottomless sea of invisible, ultra-powerful energy suspected to exist in the vacuum of space." NASA data suggests that far more than 20 times the solar energy available, at the peak of a sunny day, can be extracted from the Zero Point Field per unit of surface area on earth - well in excess of 20 kilowatts per square meter, around the clock, seven days per week. Dr. Fabrizio Pinto, formerly a physicist with the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, has obtained U.S. Patents related to extracting ZPE using the Casimir Force, discovered in 1947. Pinto observes, “ZPE is expected to exhibit infinite density and to be universally present, and might therefore be a limitless source of energy." Recently, MPI engineers determined that conversion of ZPE was not likely to be the source of the energy in our Magnetic Power Modules. ZPE seems limited to conversion of the Casimir Force. Our experiments, which extract energy from what we term Quantum Dynamos, lead more directly to practical, cost-effective, technology. We have concluded that rather than converting ZPE, our generators are tapping an equally limitless source of energy that requires more accurate terminology. Therefore, we have coined the term, Virtual Photon Flux. MPI’s proprietary technology extracts VPF from the interaction of magnetic fields. Modules can be combined for greater power output, in a manner analogous to solar cells. Compact automotive power systems, as well as megawatt modules and small battery replacements, powering laptop computers, will follow. Magnetic Power Inc. - The Joint Venture partner with Sciex (UK) for Takahashi supermagnets and supermotors in North America. Sebastopol, CA. Contact Mark Goldes, TEL 707-829-9391, FAX 707-829-1002.
12/04/05 - Cashew nut based Skin cancer cream claims to cure cancer and warts
It was during Rolando de la Cruz' work as a barber that he became familiar with various skin problems suffered by his clientele: "Many of the people who came to me for haircuts suffered fungal infections and other skin diseases. That’s when I began thinking about how I could help treat their ailments." His invention is a skin cream called DeBCC, which is used for the treatment of basal cell carcinoma (BCC), the most common type of skin cancer. The cream contains a formulation of cashew nut extracts and other Philippine herbs. "By mere application of the cream, with no radical and unacceptable surgeries or procedures, 14 patients with skin cancer were cured in 16 weeks. No recurrences were reported," De la Cruz said. De la Cruz said he discovered the health properties of DeBCC through an "accident." "I was a young boy then and I was eating cashew seeds when I felt a burning sensation. In tears, I ran to my mother, who told me in Kapampangan that ‘it is the cashew seeds’ I had chewed that had burnt me," De la Cruz said with a smile as he recalled how his mother taught him that cashew nuts produce heat. In high school, De la Cruz said he had a classmate who underwent treatment for warts on the neck: "My classmate told me he could not stand the pain of the wart-removal treatment which involved heat. He said it was painful even with anesthesia. It was then that I recalled the cashew incident." His innovation was to develop a cream from cashew nut extracts to treat patients with the skin condition. Using the cashew cream, De la Cruz said, a patient barely feels pain: "Parang kagat lang ng langgam (it is just like an ant bite)." Besides DeBCC, De la Cruz’s magic touch was acknowledged for his Amazing Touch product, which offers natural, non-surgical removal of warts, moles and other skin growths using cashew nut extracts. RCC Amazing Touch International Inc. was established in March 1997 as a one-stop shop for skin and hair care treatment. "Proven to be safe and effective with no side effects, it is relatively painless, bloodless and scar-less, and requires no anesthesia," De la Cruz said of his products.
12/04/05 - Trademarks, Not Patents: The real competitive advantage of the Apple iPod
Trademarks, unlike patents or copyrights, never expire if used properly. Registered design elements that serve as a brand foundation are therefore indefinite forms of competitive advantage. Value transference, in a nutshell, is the premeditated use of multiple intellectual property regimes at specific points across the product lifecycle, in order to realize sustainable differentiation. So how does all of this apply to Apple and the iPod? A quick teardown of my iPod [Exhibit 1 above] reveals that most all of the guts of this product are made by others: Toshiba, Sony, Portal Player, Samsung, Texas Instruments, Wolfson Microlectronics, Cypress Semiconductor, Synaptics and others-a veritable who's who in the high tech hardware industry. These suppliers keep their technology ahead of the performance and cost curves, and Apple benefits. Apple integrates these discrete components (through software intelligence) and packages them in the clean white-and-chrome "bathtub."
12/04/05 - 8 Inventions born of necessity
Health and fruit tea line includes: mangosteen fruit and forest tea, sineguelas, papaya, guyabano, santol and guava. Mangosteen tea is the most potent of all as it helps cure several types of cancer, Sanqui said. - The Vacuumpire, a device which involves a light bulb for attracting mosquitoes and a built-in exhaust fan to suck in the insects. The light bulb is enclosed in a cylinder, which the boys said was used to increase suction force. When tested, Vacuumpire can catch 180 more mosquitoes in a day than those mosquito zappers available in the market. - The “Patient Side-Turning Hospital Bed," which has garnered silver and bronze awards in international invention tilts since 2002. She said the bed would also help small-framed Filipino nurses who take care of “big and heavy" patients abroad. Nurses face a more strenuous task when taking care of bedridden and comatose patients, she said. Turning the patients over to their side to prevent bedsores, to change their clothes, to clean and feed them twice or thrice a day are not easy chores for nurses, she added.
12/04/05 - A Tinfoil Hat on Every Head
When seeking the source of a mysterious malaise, few people would think to blame ions trapped in their mattress coils or cyclotronic resonance from the electrical system. "The signals for everything from AM radio up to cell phones and microwaves are really really small," Miller said, noting that electromagnetic energy from natural sources, such as the sun, is much stronger. Miller's committee maintains studies on electromagnetic hypersensitivity to date have been "overwhelmingly unsuccessful" in linking reported symptoms to electric or magnetic field exposure. The group also warns that many devices on the market falsely claim to reduce RF exposure from cell phones.
12/04/05 - The end of Copyright (and patents)
With the printing press, the concept of intellectual property was born. Over the next two centuries or so, copying books went from being high praise to being a crime. As printing presses were large and heavy-i.e. difficult to conceal and difficult to move-it wasn’t all that hard to prosecute the offenders. The smaller and faster they got, though, the tougher it became. At first, there used to be signs in libraries, warning the users against duplicating copyrighted material-any copyrighted material, ever. But people did it anyway. They didn’t think they were doing any harm, and they weren’t planning to sell the copy, they just needed it for their own use. When enough people feel that it’s OK to do a thing, that thing ceases to be wrong in their own cultural context. Eventually, the Fair Use doctrine evolved with respect to copyright materials. The law changed. It’s now OK to photocopy parts of books for educational, non-commercial use. There’s no intrinsic reason why someone should continue to get paid for something long, long after the labor they expended on it is complete. Architects don’t get paid every time someone steps into one of their buildings. They’re paid to design the building, and that’s that. The ostensible reason we have patent and copyright law is, as the US Constitution says, “to promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts." The patent system was intended to allow inventors to profit for a limited time on particular inventions, not to allow huge technology companies to put a stranglehold on innovation by patenting every tiny advance they make. Part of the issue is related to the question of how much money it took to create a copyrighted work in the first place. With books and music, the answer is simply, “not that much." Forget notions of what their rights may be in law; the idea that a band or an author should be paid millions upon millions over the next several decades for something that it cost them at most a few thousand dollars to make, just feels silly to most people. It may mean that nobody gets mega-wealthy any more. What it does mean for sure is that the giant dinosaurs that currently dominate the distribution channels had better learn to adapt or die. There are a lot of fast-moving little mammals in the underbrush eating the dinosaurs’ eggs. And fifty years from now, kids will be asking, “What does that © symbol mean in this old book, Grandpa?"
12/03/05 - Solar power pontoon boat
This eight-seat pontoon boat called The Loon is solar-electric. On overcast days, eight 6-volt batteries kept them clipping along all day at 5 knots (6 mph). At night, The Loon was plugged into standard electrical outlets at local marinas to recharge its batteries. Cost of fuel for the 100-mile cruise? Zero.
Amount of air and water pollution? Zero. "A guy with a 45-foot powerboat said his fuel costs were $5 a mile. I can do 10 miles a day for free with the sun," Gisborne added. According to Gisborne, the cost to recharge the batteries is about 1 to 2 cents a mile. On a full charge, the boat travels 30 to 40 miles before it needs recharging. Gisborne's Loon is a 20-foot, twin-hull party boat, topped by a custom-built, 738-watt solar-panel canopy. A high-efficiency electric motor drives a Kort nozzle-style prop. One of the big attractions to recreational boating is what Petru calls "the need for speed" -- folks want to go fast in the water. More than 220,000 powerboats are sold each year in America, and the skyrocketing price of fuel is no big deal when you spend a half-million dollars on a go-fast boat, he said. With a top speed of 8 knots (9.2 mph), travel on the Loon is leisurely. But unlike houseboats that travel at a similar speed, the Loon floats through water as silently as a sailboat. Gisborne figured his boat will attract members of the over-50 crowd who are looking to chill and enjoy nature.
12/03/05 - Mitochondria half as efficient in old age
Mitochondria are the cell's equivalent of power stations. A power station burns fuel to build up steam pressure and uses that pressure to drive a turbine linked to a dynamo. This in turn generates electricity. In mitochondria, the fuel is oxidised and builds up a pressure of hydrogen ions (protons). These force through molecular turbines and enable the cell to generate ATP, an energy unit that can be used throughout the cell. Just as you can work out a power station's efficiency by seeing how much electricity it produces for each unit of oxygen and fuel it burns, you can assess the efficiency of mitochondria by monitoring the amount of ATP produced for every unit of oxygen used. Researchers from various departments of the University of Washington, Seattle, compared resting muscle cells from young (7-month) and old (30-month) mice. They found that old muscle used around half as much energy as young muscle, but that the mitochondria used just as much oxygen at both ages. This represents a 50% loss in efficiency. "The best explanation for this loss of efficiency is that the mitochondria become leaky as they get old. Protons leak back into the mitochondria without making ATP, and so reduce the coupling between oxygen use and ATP production," says lead author David Marcinek, who works in the department of radiology. This inefficiency means that elderly people's muscle produce less useable energy (ATP) for every unit of oxygen consumed, making normal activity seem more challenging and limiting their range of activities.
12/03/05 - Feeling Old?
Muscle in adults is constantly being built and broken down. As young adults we keep the two processes in balance, but when we age breakdown starts to win. However, adding the amino acid leucine to the diet of old individuals can set things straight again. This is the finding of research performed by Lydie Combaret, Dominique Dardevet and colleagues at the Human Nutrition Research Centre of Auvergne, INRA, Clermont-Ferrand, France. After the age of 40, humans start loosing muscle at around 0.5-2% per year. Immediately after a meal degradation of protein slows down and synthesis doubles. This process is triggered by the arrival of a plentiful supply of amino acids. In older animals this stimulus is less effective; synthesis slows down, and previous work also suggests that breakdown may be affected. While adding leucine to the diet restores protein building there was no knowledge about this supplement's effect on breakdown. To address this, researchers compared protein breakdown in young (8-month) and old (22-month) rats. They discovered that the slow down in degradation that normally follows a meal does not occur in old animals, so there is excessive breakdown. But adding leucine to the diet restored a balanced metabolism.
12/02/05 - Stirling Engine powered Drone Aircraft
Instead of using solar cells to convert sunlight to electricity, and storing this in rechargeable batteries, the new plane will use a thermal battery that stores heat in order to drive its Stirling engine. During the day, sunlight will be used to heat a mix of lithium and lithium hydride and a moving parabolic mirror will keep track of the Sun to focus its rays on the thermal store. While the Sun's rays will provide heat for the engine's gas, the cold air outside the plane will provide an ideal way of lowering its temperature. Read the hot-air plane patent here. United States Patent Application - 20050242232 - Kind Code A1 - Bennett, Charles L. - November 3, 2005 - A solar thermal powered aircraft powered by heat energy from the sun. A heat engine, such as a Stirling engine, is carried by the aircraft body for producing power for a propulsion mechanism, such as a propeller. The heat engine has a thermal battery in thermal contact with it so that heat is supplied from the thermal battery. A solar concentrator, such as reflective parabolic trough, is movably connected to an optically transparent section of the aircraft body for receiving and concentrating solar energy from within the aircraft. Concentrated solar energy is collected by a heat collection and transport conduit, and heat transported to the thermal battery. A solar tracker includes a heliostat for determining optimal alignment with the sun, and a drive motor actuating the solar concentrator into optimal alignment with the sun based on a determination by the heliostat.
12/02/05 - Singing can lead to improved health, better career
Singing strengthens expressiveness and promotes demonstrable personal well-being and health, according to researchers. A study of 31 amateur singers conducted by the University of Frankfurt showed that singing stimulated the production of antibodies that, among other things, protect the upper respiratory system from infection. Singing is similar to meditation and walking in terms of its positive effects on health, said Gunter Kreutz, the leader of the study. People who sing regularly can improve their breathing, increase their supply of oxygen, stimulate their circulation and transfer their body into a "balanced and energised" state, said Professor Wolfram Seidner of the University Clinic Charite in Berlin. Researchers opine that the art of singing should not be reserved only for professionals, as the required skills to make the most of singing are quite common. "Humans are natural talents," said Karl Heinz Schmitt, a long-time choral director in Aschaffenburg, Germany, and author of books on the subject. For Peter Lamprecht of Germany's umbrella organisation for choirs, singing is not all about perfection. Rather it's the joy of singing that matters. This joy can light up a life that's been permeated by the need to compete and produce, said Lamprecht.
12/02/05 - Leptin injections to help lose weight
It is estimated that more than 85% of obese people who have lost weight eventually put at least some of it back on. Research suggests this is due to a number of changes in the functioning of the body's metabolic, hormonal and nervous systems. The Columbia team believe these changes are governed by low levels of leptin. The hormone is made in the fat tissue, and so when a person loses weight their leptin production falls off. Conversely, putting weight back on should raise leptin levels, and start to reverse the changes that made weight gain more likely. To test their theory, the researchers gave doses of leptin to lean and obese volunteers who had recently lost weight. They found that most of the metabolic and hormonal changes which mean people cannot keep the weight from creeping back on were reversed once leptin levels were restored to pre-weight loss levels. Injections of leptin have been used to help morbidly obese people with a deficiency of the hormone to lose weight, but a similar approach has no effect on obese people with normal leptin levels.
12/02/05 - Micro-currents to reverse aging
The Integra Total Facial System is an invention which would not look out of place in The Jetsons, the animated portrayal of domesticity in an interplanetary age. It is Mr Campbell's hope that within a year men and women across the country will sit with it in the evenings pressing two prongs against their faces. These emit micro-currents of electricity which exercise muscles beneath the skin and slow the ageing process. His enthusiasm for the £129 system is unflagging and his politeness is pitch-perfect. This is the confidence of a young man looking forward to a future where integra-skincare.com will be a global brand with multiple devices in our homes. The system uses various micro currents which provide a choice of three different effects: toning/lifting, improving circulation and muscle relaxation. It does this by varying the shapes of the impulses or waveforms. The waveforms are sine, ramp and square. Sine waves increase circulation, ramp waves unlock tense muscles and square waves tone and lift the muscles. This electrotherapy face treatment firms and tones the skin through muscle stimulation, and in conjunction with the uniquely formulated topical treatments, results in a dramatic difference in the skin's appearance especially around the eyes and in the frown lines.
12/02/05 - Sandy Kidd looking for investors for up to 25% weight loss devices
Eric Laithwaite, who died of a heart attack aged 76, was one of the UK's greatest electrical engineers. A giant of a man and a amiable eccentric, his fascination with the properties of gyroscopes led to him being branded a heretic by the scientific establishment. The popular press decided that his self-levitating gyroscopic wheel was a magical "anti-gravity device." Despite popular belief to the contrary, Newton's laws never said, "To every action there is an equal and opposite reaction". It was lesser men who followed that put in the "equal and opposite" interpretation, implying that opposing forces should necessarily be "head-on" affairs. ANTI-GRAVITY AT LAST - AFTER 44 YEARS a Welsh engineer has demonstrated before 20 qualified people that the CYPARDON can lose weight and obey the laws of Newton, Euler and the Vector Cross Product.
12/02/05 - New Cheaper Fuel Cell metals
A group of scientists at the University may have solved the problem by using cheaper metals as catalysts in converting chemical energy into electric energy of a fuel cell. Manthiram and his team have experimentally tested the use of a metal alloy of palladium, cobalt and molybdenum to replace the more expensive platinum that is now used in fuel cells for the conversion of chemical energy. This alloy would cost roughly one-fifth as much as platinum. Manthiram said that more long-term tests with industrial partners are needed to verify its durability and stability. "Platinum is a tough competitor," said Bob Rose, executive director of the Breakthrough Technologies Institute and founding executive director of the U.S. Fuel Cell Council. "If this alternative does prove to provide equivalent performance at lower cost, it would be of substantial interest to the government." "The most important issue for fuel cells is high cost," Fu said. "Lowering the cost of materials would re-open the market to commercialize [fuel cell technology]."
12/02/05 - Robot TourGuide
Humanoid robot ASIMO is presented by Motor manufacturer Honda at the annual car exhibition Helsinki Motor Show in Helsinki, Finland December 1, 2005. The robot was developed by Honda to help with practical work and is presently being used as a guide at museums. Its power lasts an hour, compared to 30 minutes for the old model. More important, this robot can jog, in a fashion similar to Sony's QURO. Honda's accomplishment is significant because the Asimo is much taller (4 inches more than its predecessor) and more importantly, heavier (about 120 pounds). To allow the Asimo to jog, the new Asimo can bend and twist its torso relative to its legs. This is accomplished by a new hip joint on the body.
12/02/05 - Nano-cages 'fill up' with hydrogen
A "cagey" strategy to stack more hydrogen in nanoscale scaffoldings made of zinc-based boxes may yield a viable approach to storing hydrogen and, ultimately, replacing fossil fuels in future automobiles, according to new results from National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) researchers. Using beams of neutrons as probes, NIST scientists determined where hydrogen latches onto the lattice-like arrangement of zinc and oxygen clusters in a custom-made material known as a metal-organic framework, or MOF. Called MOF5, the particular nanoscale material studied by Taner Yildirim and Michael Hartman has four types of docking sites, including a "surprising" three-dimensional network of "nano-cages" that appears to form after other sites load up with hydrogen.
12/02/05 - Acoustics to map caves
Pursuing a suspect through an underground tunnel or cave is dangerous work for the police or military. But a system being developed at the University of Denver, Colorado, US, could make their lives a whole lot easier. Revealed in a recent patent finding, the system uses faint sound resonances to build a map of a hidden chamber and locate anyone hiding inside. Low frequency noise - between 1 and 200 hertz - is fed into the tunnel from a loudspeaker placed at its mouth. The cavity will then resonate at different strengths and frequencies depending on its shape. A microphone detects these resonances and a connected computer converts the audio information into a map showing the size and shape of the chamber on a screen. If anyone is hiding inside, their movement should alter the reflection pattern and thus changes the resonant spectrum. Tests show that the system works even when the person hiding is just 1/500th of the volume of the entire chamber. And the system should get more accurate with the creation of a database of resonant patterns relating to different cavity shapes. Read the cave mapping patent here.
Ready for community-owned cars, trucks?
A community-owned fleet of vehicles is on the agenda for Members of Willits Economic LocaLization and staff from the Renewable Energy Development Institute. The goal is to localize the transportation system, reduce the number of cars and trucks on the road, and promote use of sustainable fuel. Filling out this questionnaire will help them learn what would work best for the Willits area.
$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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