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02/29/08 - Solar without the Panels
KeelyNet Utilities are using the sun's heat to boil water for steam turbines. Investors and utilities intent on building solar power plants are increasingly turning to solar thermal power, a comparatively low-tech alternative to photovoltaic panels that convert sunlight directly into electricity. This month, in the latest in a string of recent deals, Spanish solar-plant developer Abengoa Solar and Phoenix-based utility Arizona Public Service announced a 280-megawatt solar thermal project in Arizona. By contrast, the world's largest installations of photovoltaics generate only 20 megawatts of power. In a solar thermal plant, mirrors concentrate sunlight onto some type of fluid that is used, in turn, to boil water for a steam turbine. The capacity to store energy is critical to the economics of the solar thermal plant. Without storage, a solar thermal plant would need a turbine large enough to handle peak steam production, when the sun is brightest, but which would otherwise be underutilized. Stored heat means that a plant can use a smaller, cheaper steam turbine that can be kept running steadily for more hours of the day. While adding storage would substantially increase the cost of the energy produced by a photovoltaic array or wind farm, it actually reduces the cost per kilowatt of the energy produced by solar thermal plants. - Source

02/29/08 - Ethanol carries a little-recognized risk
The nation's drive to use more alternative fuel carries a danger many communities have been slow to recognize: Ethanol fires are harder to put out than gasoline ones and require a special type of firefighting foam. Many fire departments around the country don't have the foam, don't have enough of it, or are not well-trained in how to apply it, firefighting experts say. It is also more expensive than conventional foam. The problem is that water doesn't put out ethanol fires, and the foam that has been used since the 1960s to smother ordinary gasoline blazes doesn't work well against the grain-alcohol fuel. Wrecks involving ordinary cars and trucks are not the major concern. They carry modest amounts of fuel, and it is typically a low-concentration, 10 percent blend of ethanol and gasoline. A large amount of conventional foam can usually extinguish such fires. Instead, the real danger involves the many tanker trucks and railcars that are rolling out of the Corn Belt with huge quantities of 85 or 95 percent ethanol and carrying it to parts of the country unaccustomed to dealing with it. Water is not used against gasoline fires, because it can spread the blaze and cause the flames to run down into drains and sewers. Instead, foam is used to form a blanket on top of the burning gasoline and snuff out of the flames. But ethanol - a type of grain alcohol often distilled from corn - eats through that foam and continues to burn. Such fires require a special alcohol-resistant foam that relies on long-chain molecules known as polymers to smother the flames. Industry officials say the special foam costs about 30 percent more than the standard product, at around $90 to $115 for a five-gallon container. Fighting ethanol fires also requires a change in tactics. Brent Gaspard, marketing director for Williams Fire & Hazard Control Inc., an industrial firefighting company in Texas, said firefighters cannot just charge ahead and attack an ethanol fire with foam. "If you just plunge the foam into the fuel, it's going to be less effective. You have to let the foam gently run across the surface so you create a shield," he said. - Source

02/29/08 - Will the Egg Grow Up to Be a Hen or a Rooster? (Mar, 1922)
KeelyNet The “sexometer” consists of a piece of cork wound with copper wire from which is suspended a pendulum of wire ending in a flat piece of aluminum-plated substance. In examining the egg, the cork is held in one hand and the egg in the other. If the egg is male, the pendulum, it is claimed, will swing in a circle. If it is female, the pendulum is said to swing back and forth. It has been demonstrated that the device, when held over one egg, will swing in a circle; yet when it is held over another, it will swing back and forth. Whether these varying motions are due to the sex of the egg, or to such incidental qualities as shape and size, is a puzzle that no one has been able to answer. The inventor claims that in experiments covering a period of six months, the instrument forecasts on 85 per cent of the eggs tested were correct. / (Surely there must be some electronically detectable signal for this? - JWD) - Source

02/29/08 - 48% of Teenagers Bought No CDs in 2007
48% of teenagers bought no CDs at all in 2007, up from 38% in 2006. Music downloads continue to grow, though, with iTunes leading the way. The illegal sharing of music online continued to soar in 2007, but there was one sign of hope that legal downloading was picking up steam. In the last year, Apple Inc.’s iTunes store, which sells only digital downloads, jumped ahead of Best Buy Co. to become the No. 2 U.S. music seller, trailing Wal-Mart Stores Inc. - Source

02/29/08 - Nanoparticles to Make Hydrogen Cheaper than Gasoline
KeelyNet QuantumSphere has developed nanoparticles that could make hydrogen cheaper than gasoline. The company says its reactive catalytic nanoparticle coatings can boost the efficiency of electrolysis (the technique that generates hydrogen from water) to 85% today, exceeding the Department of Energy’s goal for 2010 by 10%. The company says its process could be improved to reach an efficiency of 96% in a few years. The most interesting part of the story is that the existing gas stations would not need to be modified to distribute hydrogen. With these nanoparticle coatings, car owners could make their own hydrogen, either in their garage or even when driving. - Source

02/29/08 - Three trillion dollars - Economist tabulates true cost of Iraq war
Some time in 2005, Stiglitz and Linda Bilmes, who also served as an economic adviser under Clinton, noted that the official Congressional Budget Office estimate for the cost of the war so far was of the order of $500bn. The figure was so low, they didn't believe it, and decided to investigate. The paper they wrote together, and published in January 2006, revised the figure sharply upwards, to between $1 and $2 trillion. Even that, Stiglitz says now, was deliberately conservative: "We didn't want to sound outlandish." So what did the Republicans say? "They had two reactions," Stiglitz says wearily. "One was Bush saying, 'We don't go to war on the calculations of green eye-shaded accountants or economists.' And our response was, 'No, you don't decide to fight a response to Pearl Harbour on the basis of that, but when there's a war of choice, you at least use it to make sure your timing is right, that you've done the preparation. And you really ought to do the calculations to see if there are alternative ways that are more effective at getting your objectives. The second criticism - which we admit - was that we only look at the costs, not the benefits. Now, we couldn't see any benefits. From our point of view we weren't sure what those were." - Source

02/29/08 - Turn PDFs into Printable Booklets with BookletCreator
Want to read a printed copy of a PDF that's portable and staple-free? BookletCreator is a free PDF conversion webapp that creates documents that can be printed and folded into an easy-to-read booklet. Assuming your PDF is oriented to "portrait" layout and is less than eight pages, you can get what appear to be pretty decent-looking booklets from your document. Got more than eight pages? Tell BookletCreator to split the file into so many pages per booklet, and spread your words and images across multiple copies. BookletCreator is free to use and doesn't require a sign-up. - Source

02/29/08 - Geneticist creating critter that turns CO2 to fuel
A scientist who mapped his genome and the genetic diversity of the oceans said Thursday he is creating a life form that feeds on climate-ruining carbon dioxide to produce fuel. "We have modest goals of replacing the whole petrochemical industry and becoming a major source of energy," Venter told an audience that included global warming fighter Al Gore and Google co-founder Larry Page. The genetics of octane-producing organisms can be tinkered with to increase the amount of CO2 they eat and octane they excrete, according to Venter. The limiting part of the equation isn't designing an organism, it's the difficulty of extracting high concentrations of CO2 from the air to feed the organisms, the scientist said in answer to a question from Page. "We think we will have fourth-generation fuels in about 18 months, with CO2 as the fuel stock." - Source

02/29/08 - Temperature Monitors Report Widescale Global Cooling
KeelyNet The total amount of cooling ranges from 0.65C up to 0.75C -- a value large enough to wipe out most of the warming recorded over the past 100 years. All in one year's time. For all four sources, it's the single fastest temperature change ever recorded, either up or down. Scientists quoted in a past DailyTech article link the cooling to reduced solar activity which they claim is a much larger driver of climate change than man-made greenhouse gases. The dramatic cooling seen in just 12 months time seems to bear that out. While the data doesn't itself disprove that carbon dioxide is acting to warm the planet, it does demonstrate clearly that more powerful factors are now cooling it. Let's hope those factors stop fast. Cold is more damaging than heat. The mean temperature of the planet is about 54 degrees. Humans -- and most of the crops and animals we depend on -- prefer a temperature closer to 70. Historically, the warm periods such as the Medieval Climate Optimum were beneficial for civilization. Corresponding cooling events such as the Little Ice Age, though, were uniformly bad news. - Source

02/29/08 - Bio-Foolish Behavior
In 2005, America used 15% of its corn crop to replace just 2% of its gasoline. Two new studies say use of biofuels will leave the world a warmer and hungrier place. According to University of Minnesota ecologist and study co-author David Tilman, converting the grasslands of the U.S. to corn for ethanol releases excess CO2 emissions of 134 metric tons per hectare (equal to 2.47 acres). The reason is that plants, from grasses to trees, store carbon dioxide in their roots, shoots and leaves. "I know that when I look at a tree that half the dry weight is carbon," says Tilman. "That's going to end up as carbon dioxide in the atmosphere when you cut it down." "Any biofuel that causes land clearing is likely to increase global warming," says Nature Conservancy ecologist Joseph Fargione, the lead author of a second study also published in Science. According to Searchinger, "Corn-based ethanol, instead of producing 20% savings, nearly doubles greenhouse gas emissions over 30 years and increases greenhouse gases for 167 years." So it's not surprising that 10 prominent scientists have written a letter to President Bush and other government leaders urging them to "shape policies to assure that government incentives for biofuels do not increase global warming." - Source

02/29/08 - Air Force Blocks Access to Many Blogs
The Air Force is tightening restrictions on which blogs its troops can read, cutting off access to just about any independent site with the word "blog" in its web address. It's the latest move in a larger struggle within the military over the value -- and hazards -- of the sites. At least one senior Air Force official calls the squeeze so "utterly stupid, it makes me want to scream." Now there's the Air Force's argument, that blogs aren't legitimate media outlets -- and therefore, shouldn't be read at work. But this view isn't universally held in the military. Many believe blogs to be a valuable source of information -- and a way for ordinary troops to shape opinions, at home and abroad. / From The Raw Feed - Young Americans join the military to fight for, among other rights, freedom of speech. But the U.S. Air Force is now denying those very rights to Air Force troops. 1. Young people who serve in the military already sacrifice their relationships and social lives, leisure and income. Now they're being needlessly denied the small pleasure of surfing the Internet without censorship. 2. We trust Air Force personnel with nuclear weapons and heavy bombers, but we can't trust them with blogs? 3. Exactly what is the Air Force brass afraid of? Are they afraid that military personnel will be exposed to bad language? Sex? What, exactly? 4. How does it affect morale for troops to know their military superiors are deciding what they can and cannot read? 5. Are recruiters telling young people thinking about joining the Air Force that they're signing up for censorship? - Source

02/29/08 - Blind Irishman sees with the aid of son's tooth in his eye
Bob McNichol, 57, from County Mayo in the west of the country, lost his sight in a freak accident when red-hot liquid aluminium exploded at a re-cycling business in November 2005. McNichol heard about a miracle operation called Osteo-Odonto-Keratoprosthesis (OOKP) being performed by Dr Christopher Liu at the Sussex Eye Hospital in Brighton in England. The technique, pioneered in Italy in the 1960s, involves creating a support for an artificial cornea from the patient's own tooth and the surrounding bone. The procedure used on McNichol involved his son Robert, 23, donating a tooth, its root and part of the jaw. McNichol's right eye socket was rebuilt, part of the tooth inserted and a lens inserted in a hole drilled in the tooth. "Now I have enough sight for me to get around and I can watch television. I have come out from complete darkness to be able to do simple things," McNichol said. - Source

02/29/08 - 0-300mph in just 30 seconds
KeelyNet This is the world’s fastest-ever road vehicle, taking just 30 seconds to reach 300mph before hitting a maximum 340. The Acabion GTBO, described by its creator as a “road streamliner,” is neither car nor motor-bike, but something in between. The super-light two-seater dream machine uses jet fighter and Formula 1 technology, with a turbo-charged 1300cc engine pushing out a whacking 800 horsepower. But ironically it has two stabilisers at the back, just like those fitted to toddlers’ bikes, to keep it steady at low speeds. Dr Maskus aims to have it on the road in the UK and USA within three years. But start saving now - it will set you back a whopping £1.5million. Fastest current road car is America’s SSC Ultimate Aero TT, which does a mere 257mph. - Source

02/29/08 - Scientists advance 'drought crop'
Researchers in Finland and the United States say they have discovered a gene that controls the amount of carbon dioxide a plant absorbs. It also controls the amount of water vapour it releases into the atmosphere. This information could be important for food production and in regulating climate change. Plants play a crucial role in the regulation of the atmosphere by absorbing carbon dioxide from the air. They absorb the gas through tiny pores on their leaves called stomata and these pores also release water vapour as the plant grows. In extremely dry weather, a plant can lose 95% of its water in this way. Now teams in Finland and California are reporting in the journal Nature that they have found a crucial genetic pathway that controls the opening and closing of these pores. The researchers say that this understanding could allow them to modify plants so that they continue to absorb carbon dioxide but reduce the amount of water released into the atmosphere, enabling them to thrive in very dry conditions. - Source

02/27/08 - USPTO to Hold Live Online Chat for Independent Inventors
KeelyNet Senior officials of the United State Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) will be available live online February 28, 2008 to answer questions and offer tips for independent inventors, a press release by the USPTO stated. Instructions for taking part in the online chat will be posted on the home page of the USPTO website. Inventors can begin logging on for the chat. The independent inventor online chat is part of the USPTO's continuing efforts to promote and protect America's independent inventors. This effort includes educating inventor-entrepreneurs about the risks of working with invention development companies. / Instructions for taking part in the on-line chat will be posted on the home page of the USPTO web site at 10 AM (EST) this Thursday (02/28/08). Inventors can begin logging on for the chat at 1:30 PM. The independent inventor on-line chat is part of the USPTO's continuing efforts to promote and protect America's independent inventors. This effort includes educating inventor-entrepreneurs about the risks of working with invention development companies. We have transcripts (http://www.uspto.gov/web/offices/com/iip/onlineiip.htm) and frequently-asked questions ( http://www.uspto.gov/web/offices/com/iip/transcripts.htm) from previous onlines available on the Inventors Resource pages. Check them out, your questions may have already been answered for you. - Source

02/27/08 - $21 million for Cool Earth’s Solar Balloons
KeelyNet What has inflatable lightweight mirrors and captures the same amount of energy from the sun, as traditional flat panel PV systems, while using 500 times less solar cell material? Cool Earth's cool Solar Balloons do and they're about to expand. Since these Solar Balloons require less material to capture energy they are lightweight as well as cost efficient. Each balloons is 2 meter wide and is stable enough to withstand 125 mile an hour winds. In addition since the bubbles are lightweight they can easily be suspended on support cables above ground and are kept perpendicular to the sun's light. "Instead of rigid aluminum or glass structure to focus light, we use metalized plastic films and instead of ribs, trusswork, or material heft to maintain the mirror shape, we use active inflation air," Cool Earth website. The transparent bubble design forms a protective barrier around the reflective receiver and protects it from such things as rain, dirt, and bugs. The energy is concentrated and then focused onto photovoltaic cells thus increasing the energy impacting the cells in greater volumes. By controlling the inflation of the balloon the balloon's optical properties are optimized. Earlier this month (Feb. 14, 2008) Cool Earth's developer and owner announced an initial closing of $21 million in its Series A financing. - Source

02/27/08 - Cure Hiccups with a Zap!
KeelyNet Back in 2003, Philip Ehlinger, Jr., in the style of a pre-Discovery Channel MythBuster, or an obstinate inventor, you decide, felt this urban legend was worth validating, so he came up with United States patent 7062320. Basically, the device is a cylinder resembling a drinking glass that is strapped to the hiccup sufferer's face and is designed to shock them every time they drink from it! Supposedly, the shocks stimulate the nerves that control the hiccups. Whether or not this actually cures the hiccuper is anyone's guess. The more interesting question is how does an otherwise perfectly sane and self-loving individual come to a point that electro-shock therapy for treating a case of annoying hiccups does not seem like overkill but a good idea? - Source

02/27/08 - Beating the heat with a home-made AC
KeelyNet M. B. Lal has come up with a simple non-patented invention that aims at helping people keep cool during the sizzling hot summers - and all at a fraction of the cost required to run conventional air-conditioners and air-coolers. All that is needed for the functioning of the ice-based “Snowbreeze” is a 23-Watt fan that consumes less energy than the regular light bulb. How to make - A movable device, “Snowbreeze” can be assembled from scratch at home with the following easily available components -- a container bucket, a few strips of plywood, an ice drum, a roll of aluminium foil and, obviously, loads of ice. At the heart of the machine resides a powerful 23-Watt fan that propels cool air while wheels at the base ensure that the device can be moved around without too much trouble.This is what the veteran Mr. Lal, the brain behind “Snowbreeze”, has to say: “Power shortages, outages and the resulting pollution are being widely discussed these days. This new invention has the potential of cutting down energy consumption by air-conditioning and room heating by at least half. It also ensures uninterrupted service during power breakdowns, no pollution and pre-humidified hot air during the winters.” “It can be rigged up by two carpenters within two days and I have not patented it so others are free to modify it further as per their requirement,” he adds. Multipurpose - Not a device to hibernate during the winters, “Snowbreeze” can also double up as a room heater with the minor addition of a 500-Watt quartz halogen bulb that is suspended in the upper part of the aluminium drum. A point to note is that “Snowbreeze” is not just an air-cooler but an air-conditioner that de-humidifies air like any conventional air-conditioner. The overall cost of operating it may not be significantly more than the running costs of a desert cooler. To make things simpler, Mr. Lal has come out with a do-it-yourself book on the subject. - Source

02/27/08 - Underground Farming in Japan
KeelyNet There’s something unusual going on inside a former bank vault hidden beneath a high rise building in Tokyo, Japan: farming! And no, not the illicit kind: While we’re on the subject of things agricultural and of things covered by just about everyone long before today, there is Pasona O2, a subterranean farm cultivated inside a former bank vault beneath a high rise building in one of Tokyo’s business districts. Though walled in from sunlight, weather and geology, it’s unbelievably verdant. Tomatoes, lettuces, strawberries, and other fruits and vegetables, as well as flowers and herbs, are grown in an area covering almost a square kilometer. There is even a terraced rice paddy. This is all done, by the way, in a very hi-tech fashion. Computers control the temperature and light, which in this case is artificially generated by LEDs, halide lamps and sodium vapor lamps. - Source

02/27/08 - Steam-powered battery charger
KeelyNet For the most part we have all the power we could ever need from our small 600 Watt solar array and our 20' diameter wind turbine, but on occasion I do need to run a generator and I always figured that a steam engine would be the most fun, plus... I don't need to rely on petroleum - I have lots of wood all around me! The engine is a 1903 C&BC 6 horsepower steam engine. I bought it at auction nearby (stole it) for less than $150. It's in very good shape, I believe it's been rebuilt and never run since. The boiler we got about a year later. I'm guessing it to be about a 4hp boiler. It was made by 'The Look Out boiler company' in 1940. It seems to be in good condition. - Source

02/27/08 - Teenagers unhappy about security cameras in school lavatories
Students at Lipson School in Plymouth UK returned from a one-week break to discover closed-circuit security cameras in the lavatories (They were "the round ones that can move," said one 15-year-old who saw them). After hundreds of students protested, the school agreed to remove the cameras. Principal Steve Baker said contractors fitted them on the orders of another staff member, who did not have the measure approved by him or school governors. Mr Baker added that the system had now been disabled and would be removed as soon as possible. He said: "Someone made an error. They had no authorisation from me or from the governors to install these cameras" - Source

02/27/08 - Plan a Room Redesign in 3D with Mydeco
KeelyNet Feel like giving a room in your house a new and improved look, but find yourself aimlessly wandering the aisles of your home improvement store, hunting for inspiration? The Mydeco website offers a free tool that lets you visualize almost every aspect of a room-either built in Sims-style 3D or recreated from an uploaded photo-from floors to furniture to wallpaper, down to what you'll put on your coffee table. Once your room is set up, you can view it from any angle, check out other users' rooms and (of course) see purchase recommendations. For a free online tool that requires no CAD-like skills, Mydeco is a pretty helpful style solution. (via lifehacker.com) - Source

02/27/08 - Shoppers warned bigger bills on way
Tom Knutzen, chief executive of Danisco, one of the world’s largest ingredients companies, said rising vegetable oil costs made it more expensive to produce preservatives, colourings and flavourings. “Our products are based on vegetable oil. “Our input cost has gone up so we are increasing prices,” he said in an interview in Brussels. He added that preservatives, colourings and flavourings made up only 1-2 per cent of the cost of food but there would be a ripple effect as they were present in almost all the food sold worldwide. US agriculture officials forecast that food inflation will rise this year at an annual rate of 3-4 per cent, warning that the risks were skewed to the upside. Last year, food inflation rose 4 per cent, the highest annual rate since 1990. Companies until now have moderated consumer price increases thanks to large inventories and financial hedges in the commodities market futures. But during the course of this year those mitigating factors would vanish, executives said. “The final result will be higher prices,” Mr Lapp said. The global economy is “at the beginning of a period in which consumer will face higher food prices”. - Source

02/27/08 - Flamethrowers
KeelyNet Possibly one of the most terrifying and demoralising infantry weapons ever produced is the portable flamethrower. As the introduction to the 1944 Australian Army training pamphlet for flamethrowers states: " ... flame has a powerful psychological effect in that humans instinctively withdraw from it, even when their morale is good. In addition, it is a casualty producing and lethal agent." Although first used by the German Army during WW1, the Australian Army's experience with flamethrowers really began during WW 2 when a need for this type of weapon was identified. Experience showed that a stubborn enemy, when well dug into extensive bunker systems, was extremely difficult and costly to dislodge using the more conventional small arms and grenades. - Source

02/27/08 - RedTacton Device Turns Your Body Into Swipe Card
Japanese telecom company NTT is soon to launch a product that transmits data via your body, effectively turning you into a touch-technology swipe card. RedTacton is a card-like gadget that you simply carry anywhere on your person, and it transmits data via electric fields- a world's first according to NTT. The data is passed on to other devices as you touch them, even with your clothes or shoes. So you can open an office door keylessly, unlock and start your car, or any of a million other applications currently using swipe-card entry. It's clearly more convenient than having to fish out a conventional card, and more secure than a wireless device whose signal could be snooped on. NTT even foresees medical applications in the future, since the system could easily and discretely transmit health-sensor data to doctors and nurses as they touch you during exams. No prices are announced yet, but it will be "a bit pricier" than existing systems. - Source

02/27/08 - Forget global warming: Welcome to the new Ice Age
Snow cover over North America and much of Siberia, Mongolia and China is greater than at any time since 1966. The U.S. National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) reported that many American cities and towns suffered record cold temperatures in January and early February. According to the NCDC, the average temperature in January "was -0.3 F cooler than the 1901-2000 (20th century) average." Last month, Oleg Sorokhtin, a fellow of the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences, shrugged off manmade climate change as "a drop in the bucket." Showing that solar activity has entered an inactive phase, Prof. Sorokhtin advised people to "stock up on fur coats." He is not alone. Kenneth Tapping of our own National Research Council, who oversees a giant radio telescope focused on the sun, is convinced we are in for a long period of severely cold weather if sunspot activity does not pick up soon. The last time the sun was this inactive, Earth suffered the Little Ice Age that lasted about five centuries and ended in 1850. Crops failed through killer frosts and drought. Famine, plague and war were widespread. Harbours froze, so did rivers, and trade ceased. It's way too early to claim the same is about to happen again, but then it's way too early for the hysteria of the global warmers, too. - Source

02/27/08 - 3rd Manmade Grand Canyon Flood Planned
For the third time since 1996, officials plan to unleash a manmade flood in the Grand Canyon next month in an effort to restore an ecosystem that was altered by a dam constructed on the Colorado River decades ago. The Glen Canyon Dam, completed in 1963 upstream from the Grand Canyon, permanently changed the Colorado River, transforming it from a warm, muddy, unpredictable force of nature into a cooler, clearer, tightly controlled water-delivery system. In 1996, the government staged the first artificial flood in the canyon, opening Glen Canyon Dam's bypass tubes for several days in an attempt to replicate natural cycles. A second test in 2004 taught scientists the importance of sand and sediment. The dam traps almost all the sediment that once flowed down the river, which is why beaches and habitats have eroded. A good monsoon season can wash significant quantities of sand down the Paria and Little Colorado rivers, which empty into the big Colorado below the dam. If approved by the U.S. Department of the Interior, next month's flood will scour and reshape miles of sandy banks on the floor of the Grand Canyon. The department's decision is expected this week. If approved, flows in the Grand Canyon would increase to 41,000 cubic feet per second for nearly three days four to five times the normal amount of water released from the Glen Canyon Dam. What scientists and environmentalists want to see is what will happen to the fish and the canyon when the gates close at dam and the staged flood recedes. - Source

02/25/08 - Flying 'paddleboat' may finally take off
KeelyNet A cyclogyro flies using "cycloidal propellers" - several wings positioned around the edge of a rotating cylindrical framework, a bit like a paddle-wheel. As each wing rotates, its blades move through the air generating lift and thrust. And, since each wing rotates through a full circle, altering the angle of the individual blades can pull the aircraft forwards, backwards and down as well up. The manoeuvrability that cycloidal propellers could offer provides benefits over more established flying methods. Although no cyclogyro has yet flown without being tethered, its proponents say the design could prove more efficient and manoeuvrable than helicopters at small scales. A team of Singapore researchers is leading the race to construct a working cyclogyro with a prototype that hovers on the end of a line. After studying the performance of different cycloidal designs, the pair modified a toy helicopter, giving it two cycloidal propellers with three blades each, and a small tail rotor for stability. "On the tether, the aircraft can spin, move directly up and down or fly forward and backward," says Hu. "This is perhaps the first recorded flight for a cyclogyro," he adds. "There were some people claiming successful flights, but no video or proof for that." "Cyclogyros are more relevant now because people want to build small, agile UAVs [uncrewed aerial vehicles]," says Weihs. At such sizes they have greater advantages over helicopters, he says. The parts of a helicopter blade nearest and furthest from the hub are moving too slowly and too fast, respectively, to generate thrust. "With a cyclogyro every bit moves at the same speed, so there is no 'dead space'," says Weihs. Cyclogyros can also be more manoeuvrable, says Weihs. Helicopters must tilt to travel laterally. But cycloidal propellers can generate thrust in any direction so the craft can remain level, or adopt any other position and still fly in any direction. These advantages are greatest at small sizes. "They are probably not practical above half a metre across," says Weihs. "You won't see one carry a passenger." - Source

02/25/08 - Five Great Auditory Illusions
Daniel Levitin has written The Music Illusion, which looks at auditory illusions and how they can help us understand the workings of the human brain. Here we have compiled five of the most striking auditory illusions discovered so far. We had a big pool to choose from, from the mysterious quintina (fifth voice) heard in some types of throat-singing, to the saxophone solo that isn't on Lady Madonna (it's actually the Beatles singing into their cupped hands) and the soaring guitar sound of Pink Floyd's Dave Gilmour. Listen to our top 5 below, and read our explanations of the effects involved...(refer Source page for samples) - Source

02/25/08 - Alternative Without Geo-engineering
An invention that is driven by concentrated solar energy. It utilizes a thermally powered photonic crystal to produce precisely unique terahertz frequencies of sufficient power to dissociate CO2 molecules in atmospheric gases to the exclusion of surrounding molecules of matter in air. The invention works on these principles. It is known that specific molecules absorb energy at unique frequencies. It is also known that bodies of matter resonating at the same frequency transfer energy to the exclusion of surrounding matter. Therefore, CO2 molecules in the atmosphere will absorb energy from a specifically tuned and sufficiently powered field of radiation, as they pass through it, to the exclusion of other molecules comprising air. The energy absorbed excites and dissociates covalent bonds resulting in new molecular fragments. The invention can be designed to produce two species of by-product from dissociated CO2 molecules. First, carbon (carbon black) and oxygen second, carbon monoxide and oxygen. In the first case, carbon is condensed for sequestration as a solid. In the second case, carbon monoxide is reacted with metals to produce a metal carbonyl that can be further refined into an alternative fuel. Interestingly this alternative fuel is harvested by the invention from a new untapped and decentralized source--the earth’s atmosphere. When the fuel is combusted it will be carbon neutral to the environment producing a new closed loop alternative fuel cycle driven by solar energy. Livingry.us LLC will shortly offer equity units to move this technology through a proof of concept and anticipates beginning to license the technology before the end of year. - Source

02/25/08 - Another Step Towards Artificial Intelligence
KeelyNet Fellows of experimental physics department of Ural University of Physics and technology have developed necessary hardware components for “electromagnetic consciousness” according CEMI (consciousness electromagnetic information field) theory of Johnjoe McFadden. Russian think tank created a model of neural network on neurons (EM (electromagnetic) neurons) with additional channels for information exchange via electromagnetic field and patented it (patent No. 2309457 “Neural field model”). Channels for interaction via electromagnetic field are implemented in an original construction of neural axon, looking like a chain of in-series radio-frequency pulse self oscillators with self-quenching circuits and radio-pulse envelope separators. The concept of EM neurons is almost the same like McFadden’s CEMI theory, but with following exception: mechanism of information exchange process between neurons via EM field is different. EM neurons have much in common with its biological prototype and correspond with usual processes of neurophysiology. However, the issue of spontaneous generation of consciousness in networks with this type of architecture remains open. - Source

02/25/08 - New Development for Correct Diagnosis
Scientists from Russian city of Novosibirsk have developed a unique device - a microchip appliance, able to identify any existing viral and biological infection. The device identifies tuberculosis, AIDS, hepatitis and flu viruses and does it very fast - only 15 minutes are required for telling what makes a human being sick. The patient should only give several drops of his blood. Inventors claim their diagnostic device has no analogues in the world. However, it can work in common biochemical laboratories. - Source

02/25/08 - Move Over, Oil, There’s Money in Texas Wind
KeelyNet The wind turbines that recently went up on Louis Brooks’s ranch are twice as high as the Statue of Liberty, with blades that span as wide as the wingspan of a jumbo jet. More important from his point of view, he is paid $500 a month apiece to permit 78 of them on his land, with 76 more on the way. Texas, once the oil capital of North America, is rapidly turning into the capital of wind power. After breakneck growth the last three years, Texas has reached the point that more than 3 percent of its electricity, enough to supply power to one million homes, comes from wind turbines. Texans are even turning tapped-out oil fields into wind farms, and no less an oilman than Boone Pickens is getting into alternative energy. Supporters say Texas is ideal for wind-power development, not just because it is windy. It also has sparsely populated land for wind farms, fast-growing cities and a friendly regulatory environment for developers. The quaint windmills of old have been replaced by turbines that stand as high as 20-story buildings, with blades longer than a football field and each capable of generating electricity for small communities. Powerful turbines are able to capture power even when the wind is relatively weak, and they help to lower the cost per kilowatt hour. - Source

02/25/08 - Aluminum-rich alloy produces hydrogen on-demand for large-scale uses
The new alloy contains 95 percent aluminum and 5 percent of an alloy that is made of the metals gallium, indium and tin. Because the new alloy contains significantly less of the more expensive gallium than previous forms of the alloy, hydrogen can be produced less expensively, he said. When immersed in water, the alloy splits water molecules into hydrogen and oxygen, which immediately reacts with the aluminum to produce aluminum oxide, also called alumina, which can be recycled back into aluminum. Recycling aluminum from nearly pure alumina is less expensive than mining the aluminum-containing ore bauxite, making the technology more competitive with other forms of energy production, Woodall said. "After recycling both the aluminum oxide back to aluminum and the inert gallium-indium-tin alloy only 60 times, the cost of producing energy both as hydrogen and heat using the technology would be reduced to 10 cents per kilowatt hour, making it competitive with other energy technologies," Woodall said. (via zpenergy.com) - Source

02/25/08 - The 'Perfect Smile' Camera
KeelyNet Set this eight-megapixel camera to “Smile Shot,” and the shutter won’t click until someone grins. Face-detection software finds jawlines and watches for the change in contrast-light teeth against a darker mouth-that indicates a smile. Olympus FE-280 $200 - Source

02/25/08 - Cosmic coincidence spotted
The secret of the Universe is not 42, according to a new theory, but the unimaginably larger number 10122. Scott Funkhouser of the Military College of South Carolina (called The Citadel) in Charleston has shown how this number - which is bigger than the number of particles in the Universe - keeps popping up when several of the physical constants and parameters of the Universe are combined1. This ‘coincidence’, he says, is surely significant, hinting at some common principle at work behind the scenes. - Source

02/25/08 - 20 Fascinating Facts About the Natural Healing Power of Bananas
KeelyNet Here is a story that even a monkey would go ape about. A professor at CCNY for a physiological psych class told his class about bananas. He said the expression 'going bananas' is from the effects of bananas on the brain. When compared to an apple, it has four times the protein, twice the carbohydrate, three times the phosphorus, five times the vitamin A and iron, and twice the other vitamins and minerals. It is also rich in potassium and is one of the best value foods around. No wonder monkeys are so happy all the time! - Source

02/25/08 - Special coating greatly improves solar cell performance
The energy from sunlight falling on only 9 percent of California’s Mojave Desert could power all of the United States’ electricity needs if the energy could be efficiently harvested, according to some estimates. Unfortunately, current-generation solar cell technologies are too expensive and inefficient for wide-scale commercial applications. A team of Northwestern University researchers has developed a new anode coating strategy that significantly enhances the efficiency of solar energy power conversion. A paper about the work, which focuses on “engineering” organic material-electrode interfaces in bulk-heterojunction organic solar cells, is published online this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). - Source

02/25/08 - Laws of (website traffic) attraction
If you have a great web log (blog) or a great web page, it doesn’t really matter if no one sees it, right? So, to bring people on your site you have to learn how to do it. Traffic is the main problem to every webmaster, and not many of them know how to get quality traffic. I will show you how to attract people to your site so they wish to never leave and always come back. All of these steps are free so don’t forget to write them down, bookmark this page or even tell your friend about it. So this is it. These 5 laws of website traffic attraction will help you find visitors and boost your traffic to the limits. When you get it just be sure to keep it, ‘cause you never know when will you find it again. - Source

02/25/08 - Google, X Prize Foundation Attract 10 Teams For Moon Race
Google (NSDQ: GOOG) and the X Prize Foundation have announced that 10 teams will compete to put a privately funded robotic spacecraft on the moon. The Google Lunar X Prize, announced six months ago, offers $30 million worth of prizes for the first teams to create a machine that can travel at least 500 meters on the lunar surface and send video and other images and data back to Earth. A team that lands a privately funded spacecraft on the moon, travels across the lunar surface, and transmits images back to Earth before Dec. 31, 2012, will be eligible for a $20 million prize. The second-place team wins $5 million. Bonuses and additional prizes from "preferred partners" will also be disbursed. If it takes until 2013, the grand prize amount drops to $15 million. The contest ends Dec. 31, 2014, unless both organizations decide to extend it. Space Florida is a preferred partner and first preferred launch site for the competition. The 10 teams are Aeronautics and Cosmonautics Romanian Association, Astrobotic, Chandah, Frednet, Lunatrex, Micro-Space, Odyssey Moon, Quantum3 Ventures, Southern California Selene Group, and Team Italia. They include private commercial ventures, researchers, university staff and students, an international team of open source developers, as well as teams from Romania, Italy, and the United States. - Source

02/25/08 - E-mail 'Killer' Duping People Into Paying to Save Their Lives
KeelyNet The message, which warns against contacting the police, claims to be a threat by a hired killer. It says the "victim" can stop his or her own murder by wiring a specified amount of money to the sender. Long said people should not respond to the e-mail. He said anyone worried about suspicious e-mails can contact the FBI or forward the e-mails to the state's consumer protection division. The attorney general's office says two other scams have surfaced in e-mail and on lookalike Internal Revenue Service Web sites. One notifies people by e-mail that their tax return will be audited or that they are eligible for a refund. It ask people to click on a link, which then sends them to a site that looks like the IRS Web site, but is not. The second scam also involves lookalike IRS Web sites - which ask for information such as Social Security or bank account numbers. - Source

02/25/08 - Storm over Pentagon climate scenario
Global warming is more of a threat than terrorism. A report commissioned by a Pentagon think tank is creating a storm of controversy - not because of any military scenarios but because of what it has to say about climate change. The authors suggest a number of dire consequences in a scenario in which the current period of global warming ends in 2010, followed by a period of abrupt cooling. Some examples: * As temperatures rise during this decade, some regions experience severe storms and flooding. In 2007, surging seas break through levees in the Netherlands, making the Hague “unlivable.” * By 2020, after a decade of cooling, Europe’s climate becomes “more like Siberia’s.” * “Mega-droughts” hit southern China and northern Europe around 2010 and last 10 years. * In the United States, agricultural areas suffer from soil loss due to higher winds and drier climate, but the country survives the economic disruption without catastrophic losses. * Widespread famine in China triggers chaos, and “a cold and hungry China peers jealously” at Russia’s energy resources. In the 2020-2030 period, civil war and border wars break out in China. * “Disruption and conflict will be endemic features of life.” In a “world of warring states,” more countries develop nuclear weapons, including Japan, South Korea, Germany, Iran and Egypt. - Source

02/23/08 - The Hot-Line Solar Collector
KeelyNet The Hot-Line module looks just about like a conventional flat-plate collector. What makes Lightfoot's panel highly unconventional is that it [1] contains a specially curved reflector which acts to concentrate incoming sunlight on a wedge-shaped absorption tube, [2] operates with an efficiency far surpassing that of any "normal" flat-plate solar panel, and [3] actually "tracks" the sun through a 50 degree vertical arc - and through 150 degrees in the east/west plane - without moving! Dan Lightfoot came upon the idea for the Hot-Line collector quite by accident a decade ago. It seems Dan had been observing a sheet of aluminum that was resting up against his garage wall and noticed how the sun's reflection from that curved sheet formed a bright spot on an adjoining wall. Moreover, he noticed that the bright spot stayed in roughly the same place throughout the day, despite the sun's constant movement. This got Dan to thinking, and to experimenting. With the aid of a small sheet of aluminum, a few scraps of wood and a handful of bolts and clamps, Lightfoot found (by trial and error) that he could curve the metal in such a way that it would focus light in a line - a line that, furthermore, moved only a small distance in or out from the metal as the jury-rigged reflector was tilted through various angles to the sun. At this point, Dan knew that if he could just bend a long sheet of reflective material to the same curvature, lay a channel along the focal plane of the reflector thus created, and run air or water through that channel, he'd have what no one had developed before: a fixed-position, concentrating solar collector. (Focusing collectors are nothing new, of course, but they all have one drawback: in order to work, the reflector must face squarely into the sun at all times. This usually calls, in turn, for a costly and complex motorized gimbal mounting, to allow tracking of the sun. In contrast, Lightfoot's collector can focus light all day long while remaining stationary. - Source

02/23/08 - Microlon to increase their engine's performance and life
This remarkable invention helps reduce friction in all functions of the engine, making it more efficient and causing less overall wear. This promotes a list of benefits, like increased gas mileage, more horsepower and longer engine life. It's important to distinguish this treatment from oil or fuel additives. Microlon engine metal treatment gives more effective friction reduction than any lubricant on the market today, yet it works in conjunction with conventional lube to give optimal performance and protection. The treatment is so effective, it lasts the entire life of an engine and never wears out. In addition to improved gas mileage and horsepower, the more efficient engine will have reduced exhaust emissions, thus protecting the environment. In fact, studies show that engines treated with Microlon have reduced hydrocarbon emissions by 24 percent, carbon monoxide by 43 percent and nitrous oxide by 21 percent. An independent study by Porsche revealed that the treatment increased fuel economy by almost 10 percent. By that measure, the savings that a customer will experience will pay for the product in the first year alone. A motorcycle company reported an 11 percent increase in horsepower in one of their main models. Many other tests results show astonishing improvements in other factors of engine performance, all of which are available on the website. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, only 12 percent of the energy from the gasoline burned in an automobile engine goes to moving the tires; the remaining energy gets wasted in various ways. By far, the largest waste is due to engine friction, constituting 62 percent of the initial energy supply. Much of this friction is due to metal-on-metal contact. By adding Microlon, high quality resins embed themselves into the metal, making the surface contact points very slippery, thus allowing more energy to affect the drive train. - Source

02/23/08 - Local invention may prove boon for booze, bio-fuel industries
University of Saskatchewan microbiology Prof. Dennis Bayrock has invented a chemical that could increase by a few percentage points the amount of ethanol and liquor produced in the fermentation process. It may not seem like much, but in a year's worth of production in the two industries, it could mean millions in profit per facility. The chemical, which hasn't been named, can be used during the production process to prevent bacteria from stealing the fermenting yeast's sugars, which is the major contributing ingredient in ethanol production. "What many people don't know is, ethanol plants aren't pharmaceutical grade and sterile," said Bayrock, who often works with the muck-filled fermenters in plants. "They're biological in nature and bacteria is always an issue." Just like the human body gets infections, so can fermenting ethanol, he said. Because the yeast is living, there is still limited knowledge on how it will act during its time in a fermenter. "Consider this product the antibiotic for infections in the process," he said. But it isn't just for when the fermenters have "infections." The new chemical can also be used in smaller doses to prevent bacteria from ever hindering production. "With almost all ethanol plants that are using cereal grains there's always a concern of contamination with bacteria," said Keith Rueve, plant manager at the Pound-Maker ethanol facility in Lanigan. "It basically comes in with the grain and needs to be controlled so that it doesn't rob the ethanol yield from the process." - Source

02/23/08 - Wiretapping Made Easy
Silently tapping into a private cellphone conversation is no longer a high-tech trick reserved for spies and the FBI. Thanks to the work of two young cyber-security researchers, cellular snooping may soon be affordable enough for your next-door neighbor. In a presentation Wednesday at the Black Hat security conference in Washington, D.C., David Hulton and Steve Muller demonstrated a new technique for cracking the encryption used to prevent eavesdropping on global system for mobile communications (GSM) cellular signals, the type of radio frequency coding used by major cellular service providers including AT&T (nyse: T - news - people ), Cingular and T-Mobile. Combined with a radio receiver, the pair say their technique allows an eavesdropper to record a conversation on these networks from miles away and decode it in about half an hour with just $1,000 in computer storage and processing equipment. Decrypting GSM still requires special equipment and is more secure than a typical landline. The GSMA, he noted, has developed and is working on implementing a higher level of encryption; Newer 3G cell carriers are also immune from the attack. Although their exploit doesn't target the competing CDMA cellular technology used by carriers like Verizon (nyse: VZ - news - people ) and Sprint Nextel (nyse: S - news - people ), Muller argues it's not necessarily less secure. GSM was only decrypted first because it's more popular worldwide: Few cellphone subscribers outside North America use CDMA carriers. - Source

02/23/08 - Electric cars face battery of hurdles
KeelyNet In the rush to deliver an electric car to the masses, General Motors Corp. is finding that the all-important battery might not be the only major hurdle. The heating and cooling systems, for example, are a challenge because they typically are built to run off a traditional fuel combustion engine. That means new types of air conditioning and heating systems must be built. GM, in a high-stakes race with Toyota Motor Corp. to turn out an affordable, effective battery-powered car, has found that while the lithium-ion batteries themselves are hitting all the marks on early road tests, a host of other issues are beginning to crop up. A typical modern stereo system, for example, drains too much juice from the battery life. At the same time, there still isn't a supplier base to provide parts for the mass production of electric vehicles. The quandaries underscore the complexity of what GM and other automakers are trying to achieve in creating an electric car, a feat that involves far more than simply swapping an engine for a high-powered battery cell. "An automobile with a gasoline engine as the power plant has a lot of energy on board -- so much energy there are things that we never paid attention to," Hall said. "When you're relying on the battery, all these problems stack up and you realize you have to do all these other things to optimize for range." In many cases, he said, the suppliers will be better equipped than the automakers to improve on the efficiency of vehicle components. "This is not so much a matter of invention," he said, "as much as it's an application of technology they wouldn't normally do." - Source

02/23/08 - America's economy risks mother of all meltdowns
“I would tell audiences that we were facing not a bubble but a froth - lots of small, local bubbles that never grew to a scale that could threaten the health of the overall economy.” Alan Greenspan, The Age of Turbulence. That used to be Mr Greenspan's view of the US housing bubble. He was wrong, alas. So how bad might this downturn get? To answer this question we should ask a true bear. My favorite one is Nouriel Roubini of New York University's Stern School of Business, founder of RGE monitor. Recently, Professor Roubini’s scenarios have been dire enough to make the flesh creep. But his thinking deserves to be taken seriously. He first predicted a US recession in July 2006. At that time, his view was extremely controversial. It is so no longer. Now he states that there is “a rising probability of a ‘catastrophic’ financial and economic outcome”. The characteristics of this scenario are, he argues: “A vicious circle where a deep recession makes the financial losses more severe and where, in turn, large and growing financial losses and a financial meltdown make the recession even more severe.” - Source

02/23/08 - A Lead on the Ark of the Covenant
According to Tudor Parfitt, a real life scholar-adventurer, Raiders of the Lost Ark had it wrong, and the Ark is actually nowhere near Egypt. In fact, Parfitt claims he has traced it (or a replacement container for the original Ark), to a dusty bottom shelf in a museum in Harare, Zimbabwe. A wooden box, roughly 4 ft. x 2 ft. x 2.5 ft., perhaps gold-plated and carried on poles inserted into rings, it appears in the Good Book variously as the container for the Ten Commandments (Exodus 25:16: "and thou shalt put into the ark the testimony which I shall give thee"); the very locus of God's earthly presence; and as a divine flamethrower that burns obstacles and also crisps some careless Israelites. It is too holy to be placed on the ground or touched by any but the elect. It circles Jericho behind the trumpets to bring the walls tumbling down. The Bible last places the Ark in Solomon's temple, which Babylonians destroyed in 586 BC. - Source

02/23/08 - Idaho Psychiatrist blames energy drinks for psychosis
After an Idaho teen last week complained of demonic possession and threatened to harm herself with a knife, her psychiatrist blamed her actions on energy drinks. “She held a knife to herself and was going to kill herself,” Dr. Craig Denny told Idaho Falls and Pocatello, Idaho -based KIFI ABC affiliate Tuesday. “This all started when she was drinking this new energy drink that’s more powerful than all the others.” That energy drink, as it turned out, wasn’t an energy drink at all. It was an energy shot called Zantrex-3 Insta-Shot, according to one of Denny’s colleagues at the hospital. Denny said the girl was consuming several of the five-hour energy shots each day, and his colleague said the youth was simultaneously consuming Zentrex’s diet pills - which also claim to supply energy. The patient demonstrated symptoms about a week after she started consuming the energy shots, Denny said, and the symptoms subsided within days after she stopped. “There’s no limit to what these kids can buy and drink,” Denny said. “I don’t want to see this happen to any other kids and we as a society can be more responsible with what we market to children.” Denny said he didn’t have animosity toward the companies that make energy drinks and energy shots, but said parents should more closely watch what their kids consume - whether It’s energy drinks, soda or fast food. - Source

02/23/08 - Solar panels a 'loser,' professor says
Installing solar panels on homes is an economic "loser" with the costs far outweighing the financial benefit, a respected University of California-Berkeley business professor said Wednesday. The technology, using photovoltaic panels to generate electricity, is not economically competitive with fossil fuels and costs more than other renewable fuels, said Severin Borenstein, who also directs the UC Energy Institute. "We are throwing away money by installing the current solar PV technology," he said. Not surprisingly, the solar industry reacted strongly to the report. Neal Lurie with the American Solar Energy Society called the study "a publicity stunt." "Borenstein doesn't give proper credit to the important role that competition and economies of scale play in driving down costs," he said. And Julie Blunden, a vice president with San Jose's SunPower, said Borenstein's analysis was "deeply flawed." "He seems to be disconnected from the empirical data in the market," she said. "He doesn't seem to have much peripheral vision from his ivory tower." - Source

02/23/08 - Scientist Experiments With Healing Doctor's Prayers
Dr. Issam Nemeh is the medical doctor who is said to heal spiritually, by praying over those who are ill. Szatowski is a NASA researcher from Virginia who believes Nemeh's healing prayers can be measured remotely, over long distances in a closed metal box used to measure electromagnetic images. "What I think is going on is the electromagnetic signal is creating resonances at a molecular level and time sequence correctly that is causing these physical healings," Szatowski said. "In our three-dimensional world, that is the true physical healing is taking place from the electromagnetic radiation." Under controlled conditions when Nemeh prays in Cleveland for a healing, the energy from that prayer can be registered scientifically, Szatowski said at his office in Virgina. "If you have a closed metal electric box, there is no electromagnetic energy in there unless you put it in there," Szatowski said. "How is it getting in there?" Henry asked? "It's coming from the field, from prayer," Szatowski said. "We are measuring the artifact of prayer, artifact meaning we are detecting and measuring the electromagnetic signature as a result of prayer." Scientists and skeptics put little stock in words, Henry reported. They want to see proof, results of comparative studies and double-blind tests that prayer is science. - Source

02/23/08 - Contactless Cards' Risks Become Real
Python hacker and Adam Laurie took the stand at the Black Hat DC 2008 conference to demonstrate major security failings in the radio frequency identification tags used in modern credit cards and passports. Asking for a volunteer from the audience who had a smart-card on or about his person, hacker Laurie waved his magic RFID reader at the suddenly famous attendee and suceeded in popping their name along with the account number and expiration date for their RFID-enabled American Express credit card up on the big screen - without ever touching the man in question or even removing the card from his wallet. As if it weren’t already hard to keep up with the latest trends of identity theft and fraud, now there’s another one. RFID, or radio frequency identification tags, are growing in popularity globally, with uses as diverse as in credit cards, animal tagging and even U.K. passports. These tiny chips rely on radio fields of a specific frequency to broadcast stored information that save holders time. - Source

02/23/08 - The search for the nebulous Nazi gold
German treasure hunters plan to snake a camera into an underground cavern next week to get a look at what they claim is plunder secreted by the Nazis in the mountainous region by the Czech border in the final weeks of World War Two. Christian Hanisch was led to the spot on the fringes of the tiny village of Deutschkatharinenberg, about 100m from the Czech Republic, by a set of co-ordinates he found in a notebook belonging to his father, a former Luftwaffe radio operator who died last year. Haustein said earlier this week that he was convinced they had found the Soviet Union's storied Amber Room treasure - something he has been seeking for 12 years - but acknowledged Friday that while there could be "cultural treasures" in the cavern, like paintings or amber panelling, they aren't things that show up with a metal detector. The claim to have discovered the Amber Room treasures, first reported by German media this week, has been met with scepticism by experts, who point out that stories of the Amber Room surface regularly, only to be proved wrong. But Haustein defended his theory, saying that even if the find turns out not to be the Amber Room treasure, he is on the right track. / The elaborately carved chamber, made of nearly 1,000 pounds of amber, was a 1716 Prussian gift to St. Petersburg’s founder, Czar Peter the Great. Looted by the Nazis in 1941 from a former imperial palace, the Amber Room epitomized Russia’s losses in the war and inspired a series of treasure hunts. - Source

02/23/08 - The Myth of the Million Dollar Challenge
KeelyNet Ater ten years, the James Randi Educational Foundation (JREF) says nobody has even got past their preliminary testing. Furthermore, none of the 'big fish' - medium John Edward, spoon-bender Uri Geller, psychic Sylvia Browne - have applied. And now, perhaps as a result of that fact, James Randi has announced that the Challenge will come to an end in two years, on March 6th, 2010. The JREF need to protect a very large amount of money from possible "long-range shots", and as such they ask for extremely significant results before paying out - much higher than are generally accepted in scientific research (and if you don’t agree to terms, your application is rejected). In the case of parapsychological research, however, where effect size is often small (though apparently robust), this means most researchers would have to go to extraordinary lengths to win the million dollars. Furthermore, applicants must first pass a 'preliminary test', before they are allowed to progress to the actual 'formal' test which pays the million dollars. So an applicant must first show positive results in a preliminary test (yielding results against chance of at least 1000 to 1, apparently), then once through to the next stage they would then have to show positive results against much higher odds to claim the prize (by all reports, at odds of around 1 million to 1). Failure in either test means no cash prize, and a fail beside their name. It many respects it would be like telling a professional golfer to shoot 63 around Augusta National, then come back and shoot 59, to prove that he can play golf. In the words of Chris Carter, author of Parapsychology and the Skeptics: If Randi were genuinely interested in testing unusual claims, then he would also not insist upon odds of at least one million to one against chance for the results. Anyone familiar with scientific studies will be aware that experimental results against chance of say, 800,000 to one would be considered extraordinary; but results this high would be, according to Randi, a “failure.” Dr Michael Sudduth of San Francisco State University also pointed out to me a wonderful irony in one of the rules. Challenge rule #3 states: "We have no interest in theories nor explanations of how the claimed powers might work." As Sudduth puts it: “Curiously, Randi's challenge itself is saddled with assumptions of this very kind. The challenge makes little sense unless we assume that psi is the sort of thing that, if genuine, can be produced on demand, or at least is likely to manifest itself in some perspicuous manner under the conditions specified by the challenge.” - Source

02/23/08 - Arizona to become 'Persian Gulf' of solar energy
A Spanish company is planning to take 3 square miles of desert southwest of Phoenix and turn them into one of the largest solar power plants in the world. Abengoa Solar, which has plants in Spain, northern Africa and other parts of the U.S., could begin construction as early as next year on the 280-megawatt plant in Gila Bend -- a small, dusty town 50 miles southeast of Phoenix. The company said Thursday it could be producing solar energy by 2011. Solana will be enough to supply up to 70,000 homes at full capacity. Unlike most solar energy, Solana will use the sun's heat, not its light, to produce power. Gila Bend can get as hot as 120 degrees in the summer. Abengoa CEO Santiago Seage said the plant will use thousands of giant mirrors to harness the sun's heat. That will heat up liquids, which will spin turbines -- just like coal or other power plants but without the pollution. He said using heat will allow the plant to produce power even after the sun has gone down. "We receive the heat from the sun, and we use a fluid that becomes very hot. And we can keep it hot for a long time and release that heat for a long time," he said. "It's like coffee. You can make it hot, keep it hot for a few hours and drink it anytime you want." - Source

02/21/08 - Costs of Solar Photovoltaic Panels Substantially Eclipse Benefits
KeelyNet Despite increasing popular support for solar photovoltaic panels in the United States, their costs far outweigh the benefits, according to a new analysis by Severin Borenstein, a professor at the University of California, Berkeley's Haas School of Business and director of the UC Energy Institute. "Solar photovoltaic (PV) is a very exciting technology, but the current technology is not economic," said Borenstein. "We are throwing money away by installing the current solar PV technology, which is a loser." In his January working paper, "The Market Value and Cost of Solar Photovoltaic Electricity Product," Borenstein also found that, even after considering that the panels reduce greenhouse gases, their costs still far outweigh their social benefits. The bottom line, Borenstein argues in his paper, is that solar PV panels are not ready for widespread installation. Rather than subsidizing residential solar PV installations, as many states do, he favors more state and federal funding for research and development. "We need a major scientific breakthrough, and we won't get it by putting panels up on houses," he said in a recent interview on campus. "It is going to come in the labs." Solar photovoltaic panels generate more power on summer afternoons when the sun is shining most intensely, which is also when the value of electricity is higher for most U.S. electricity systems, Borenstein noted. Proponents of the devices have pointed out that most previous analyses fail to address that fact. Borenstein uses actual wholesale electricity prices and simulated data to calculate how much that timing enhances the value of solar photovoltaic panels. He found that the favorable timing of solar PV production increases its value by up to 20 percent. However, the premium value of solar PV could be from 30 percent to 50 percent higher if U.S. systems were run with less capacity and prices were allowed to rise as demand increases at different times of the day, said Borenstein, who has long advocated for such variable time pricing. He noted that U.S. systems typically operate with excess capacity and that consumers pay the same price for electricity at all times of the day. - Source

02/21/08 - Directed Self-Ordering of Organic Molecules for Electronic Devices
A simple surface treatment technique demonstrated by a collaboration between researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), Penn State and the University of Kentucky potentially offers a low-cost way to mass produce large arrays of organic electronic transistors on polymer sheets for a wide range of applications including flexible displays, “intelligent paper” and flexible sheets of biosensor arrays for field diagnostics. - Source

02/21/08 - New Books Expose Patented UFO Technology, Exotic Propulsion Systems
Luke Fortune has released over 3400 pages of proof that man has had the ability to build UFO craft, in replicable form, over the last 100 years. This disclosure effort includes: * 260 patents explaining the science of various propulsion systems that have been seen by witnesses that have been misidentified UFOs * How these craft can be glowing balls of light invisible to radar * How these are saucer, sphere, cigar, or triangle shaped * What the technology is that nullifies gravity and inertia keeping the pilots safe from high speed maneuvers and right angle turns that would kill ordinary pilots in conventional aircraft * The different forms of technology that can be implemented into various craft to cause these phenomenal propulsion abilities: * Electromagnetic/Electrokinetic propulsion (Electrogravitic) * Plasma thrusters * Magnetohydrodynamic propulsion * Inertial propulsion * Fusion, fission, and anti-matter propulsion technologies * Even traditional airfoil/air-flow technologies, for people who refuse to grasp the other available technologies * Technology is in encyclopedic format, with a Primer for ease of explanation. * Online videos to educate how this technology works, presented in easy to grasp layman vocabulary. * Prospectus available on how this technology can be used to improve the global economy, raising the standards and quality of life for all people - Source

02/21/08 - Orgone warrior
KeelyNet Wayne Dotson makes “orgonite tower busters,” organic resin disks the size of hockey pucks that are filled with metal filings and crystals. He and a small army of “cell-tower gifters” around the world say that the disks, when placed near cell towers, convert “deadly orgone energy” from radio transmissions into “positive orgone energy.” While anybody can hope for world peace and good karma, orgone warriors actually engineer devices that charge the ether, ward off the fascist plague and disrupt government mind-control experiments. Orgonite tower busters were invented in2000 when Reich-inspired researchers supposedly discovered that an organic fiberglass resin poured into small molds with metal shavings has the ability to transfer deadly orgone energy into positive energy. Through further trial and error, it was discovered that placing a quartz crystal in the mixture amplified the effect. The resin shrinks during the forming process and compresses the crystals, creating polarized endpoints in the crystal (called a piezoelectric effect). Orgone warriors like Dotson have a multitude of strategies aimed at saving the planet from destruction. He has installed what he calls a cloudbuster in his backyard. It’s five-foot-tall bundle of copper tubes imbedded in an orgonite and crystal base. By focusing orgone energy on the clouds, it’s Dotson’s personal effort at protecting our climate. - Source

02/21/08 - NIST Working On "Deathalyzer"
"In this approach, NIST researchers analyze human breath with 'frequency combs,' which are generated by a laser specially designed to produce a series of very short, equally spaced pulses of light. Each pulse may be only a few million billionths of a second long. The laser generates light as a series of very narrow frequency peaks equally spaced, like the teeth of a comb, across a broad spectrum." The goal is to create a fast, low-cost method for detecting disease. - Source

02/21/08 - Gravity Lamp Grabs Green Prize
KeelyNet "A lamp powered by gravity has won the second prize at the Greener Gadgets Conference in NYC. From the article, "The light output will be 600-800 lumens - roughly equal to a 40-watt incandescent bulb over a period of four hours. To "turn on" the lamp, the user moves weights from the bottom to the top of the lamp. An hour glass-like mechanism is turned over and the weights are placed in the mass sled near the top of the lamp. The sled begins its gentle glide back down and, within a few seconds, the LEDs come on and light the lamp ... Moulton estimates that Gravia's mechanisms will last more than 200 years, if used eight hours a day, 365 days a year." The article contains links to the patents and the designer/inventor Clay Moulton's site." - Source

02/21/08 - Airport Security Prize Announced
"Verified Identity Pass, a firm that offers checkpoint services at airports, has announced a $500,000 award for any solution that will make airport security checks quicker and simpler for passengers. The cash prize will go to any individual, company or institution that can get customers through airport security 15% faster, at a cost of less than 25 cents per passenger, using technology or processes that will be approved by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). Passengers must not need to remove their clothes or shoes, something that slows down processing significantly. "We're looking at moving things that are conceptual or in the lab to things that we can deploy," says company spokesman Jason Slibeck and added that over 150 individuals, start-ups, defense contractors and universities have shown an interest in the prize. One promising procedure is mass spectroscopy, which involves analyzing the mass-charge ratio of ions on a swab sample taken from a passenger's clothing or air collected from around them to spot traces of substances including explosives or drugs. The Pre-Registration Package Information Sheet is available online." - Source

02/21/08 - Infrared LEDs make you invisible to CCTV cameras
This German exibition is showcasing bright infrared LED devices that overwhelm the CCDs in security cameras, allowing you to move through modern society in relative privacy. - Source

02/21/08 - Pentagon investigated lasers that put voices in your head
A recently unclassified report from the Pentagon from 1998 has revealed an investigation into using laser beams for a few intriguing potential methods of non-lethal torture. Some of the applications the report investigated include putting voices in people's heads, using lasers to trigger uncontrolled neuron firing, and slowly heating the human body to a point of feverish confusion - all from hundreds of meters away. A US citizen requested access to the document, entitled "Bioeffects of Selected Non-Lethal Weapons," under the Freedom of Information Act a little over a year ago. There is no evidence that any of the technologies mentioned in the 10-year-old report have been developed since the time it was written. - Source

02/21/08 - How I built my house of Straw for £4,000
KeelyNet "Actually, you could make it for less than that," James says. "I'd cut the wood myself next time instead of going to the sawmill. That would knock off a thousand." He finds the whole concept of mortgages quite amusing. His home is strong, warm and utterly watertight. The only maintenance is a lime wash on the walls every year or two. The turf roof repairs itself. "I'm building a water wheel next," James says. "In the meantime, I'm getting power from a car battery that my partner, Eli, charges for me at her house. You'd be amazed what you can run from that battery - a digital recording studio, a stereo, tools, lights and a laptop." James, 52, a software engineer, took 10 months to build his house, finishing it in November last year. Now, he's set up a website about straw-bale homes, runs eco-engineering courses and takes commissions making straw-bale buildings; the latest is a changing room for a Hull primary school. The benefits run much deeper than simply wanting to save cash and the planet. "Now that it's built, the initial buzz has grown into a sort of permanent primeval satisfaction. I sit here, it's warm and quiet and there's snow flying past the windows, and I think: yes, this is what it's all about." Straw bales can be used to make all kinds of buildings. If you're just building a summer house, you may not need planning permission. The best way to get started is to go on a course or help someone else build a straw-bale house; James's website can put you in touch with someone. But it's not hard to do it yourself, he says. "Straw is perfect for a beginner. It's easy to work with and you can make your house any shape you want. You can use straw to make any kind of buildings - from a four-storey office block to a house I know, which is a spiral. Go mad, have fun, start living!" It'll help to follow these seven steps. But you will need a bit of DIY sense - and some manual labour from your friends. - Source

02/21/08 - Female G spot 'can be detected'
The mysterious G spot - supposedly a route to female sexual satisfaction - can be located with ultrasound, claim Italian scientists. Some women say stimulating a certain part of the vagina triggers powerful orgasms, but medicine has not been able to pin down the exact location. Researchers told New Scientist magazine they found an area of thicker tissue among the women reporting orgasms. - Source

02/21/08 - The towns where people live the longest
The quest to live longer is one of humanity's oldest dreams and three isolated communities seem to have stumbled across the answer. So what can they teach us about a longer life? Something remarkable links the remote Japanese island of Okinawa, the small Sardinian mountain town of Ovodda and Loma Linda in the US. People live longer in these three places than anywhere else on earth. What is even more intriguing is that each community is distinct from the others and raises a different theory as to why residents live longer. In all three communities scientists have dedicated themselves to trying to uncover these unique secrets. - Source

02/21/08 - Hospital 'code blue' deadlier at night
Many hospitals call it "code blue," a signal given over the intercom when a patient's heart has stopped. When code blue works well, a team speeds to the bedside and revives the patient. The graveyard shift is the worst time to call code blue, a new study finds. Patients who go into cardiac arrest while in the hospital are more likely to die if it happens after 11 p.m., when staffing may be lower or patients watched less closely. Researchers found among the late night cases a higher portion of instances where patients were discovered with no heart electrical activity, that is, too late to deliver a lifesaving shock. Staff who are fatigued, less experienced or too few in number could be to blame, researchers speculated. Weekends had lower survival rates than weekdays, but the difference wasn't as pronounced as between late night and daytime hours. Only in the emergency room was there no night-or-day difference in survival. The study was based on an analysis of more than 86,000 cardiac arrests in more than 500 hospitals over seven years. - Source

02/21/08 - Scientists find way to tell age through eyes
The new technique uses radiocarbon dating to measure special proteins known as lens crystallines that develop around birth and remain unchanged for the rest of our lives. They are the only part of the body apart from teeth that do so. The researchers correctly identified the ages of 13 people within one-and-a-half years by analyzing a carbon isotope called carbon 14 trapped inside the crystallines, they reported in the journal PLoS One. The technique employed in the lens analysis is based on the sudden increase in atmospheric carbon 14 beginning in the 1950s until a test ban a few years later when the Soviet Union and the United States began testing nuclear bombs. These experiments more than doubled the amount of atmospheric carbon 14, which gradually began to decline toward normal levels after the ban, Lynnerup said. Scientists have recorded these levels annually, giving the Danish team a benchmark to date a person's birth by matching the corresponding year in which the carbon 14 atmospheric content was as high as in the person's eye lens. - Source

02/19/08 - Invention Machine Inventor offers cure for Electoral College problem
Dr. Koza's reputation precedes him, featured recently in Popular Science Magazine with his 'invention machine', evolutionary programming that alters its own code to find far more complex solutions to problems. The invention machine has created antennae, circuits, and lenses, and has received a patent from the US Patent Office. Other accomplishments of Dr. Koza's include the co-founding of Scientific Games Corporation, a company which built computer systems to run state lotteries in the United States. He is also responsible for the scratch-off lottery ticket. Dr. Koza first made public his idea of circumventing the more than two-hundred-year-old electoral college system in 2006. His proposal calls for an interstate compact that requires every state's electoral votes to be cast behind the winner of the popular vote. "We're just coming along and saying, 'Why not add up the votes of all 50 states and award the electoral votes to the 50-state winner?'" - Source

02/19/08 - Invention improves efficiency of catalytic converter
A new type of catalytic converter has been created that improves the efficiency of the converter by focusing on the air to fuel ratio. By controlling this ratio and maintaining a certain amount of oxidants in the converter better efficiency can be achieved. The inventors, who have received a US patent for their creation, use a computer to calculate the difference between the amount of oxidants in the converter and the amount that should be in there. The air to fuel ratio is subsequently adjusted to either produce more hydrocarbons or more oxidants creating a balance. This means that lower amounts of hydrocarbons and carbon monoxide particles are released into the atmosphere through the tailpipe. The new technology intends to fix unnecessary complexity and a delay in the reaction that occurs in most catalytic converters without the new system, journalgazette.net reports. - Source

02/19/08 - Tech firm pays workers to dream
KeelyNet "Oceanit is a company that's always learning and growing because its people are curious," said Ian Kitajima, the company's marketing director. "When we hire, we hire people who are Oceanit-like .... At Oceanit, you've got to be smart, in some cases brilliant." The company, which specializes in the aerospace, engineering, life sciences and information technology fields, has innovation right in its name: the "it" in Oceanit stands for "innovative thinking." To further promote a work culture based on creativity, Oceanit two years ago launched an internal research and development fund to help pay for projects and inventions its staff of 150 might come up with. To date, the company has funded eight internal invention ideas, including flame-retardant concrete, a "smart" electrical socket and Waters' idea to convert incinerator ash into building material. Oceanit says the program, which awards up to $50,000 twice a year for internal projects, helps create an environment where its workers can get excited about their work, and tell other potential employees about it. - Source

02/19/08 - Future of India-U.S.-China triangle will be invention-based: expert
The competition among India, China and the United States will not be for natural resources such as oil and gas but for intelligence and creating knowledge that spark inventions, said Yan Xuetong of the Tsinghua University, China. The future will be based not on technology but on knowledge that will be put to creative use to make inventions, he said here on Wednesday at the concluding session of the three-day conference on the “India-China-U.S.A. Triangle,” convened by Centre for National Renaissance, New Delhi. - Source

02/19/08 - To save the world we may have to waste it
Even the most damaging fossil fuel - coal - will probably show peak production before 2030. Once coal goes into decline it’s game over for industrial civilisation. There is simply no other concentrated source of energy to fall back on. (Nuclear energy resources are too limited.) Our industrial activity must decrease because “energy” is defined as “the capacity to do work” so less energy means less work done. The current, suicidal path of our civilisation was understood decades, if not centuries ago. With this knowledge the only sane course of action has been to turn back, reduce our energy use, reduce our consumption, stabilise our population and try to find ecological balance. If you forced me to wager money on whether the world’s billions of human inhabitants will unite in self-imposed austerity to overcome climate change or, instead, will ignore their own children’s long term best interests and continue to consume and pollute then I would bet on the latter. If some of us adopt frugality but the rest do not stop population growth then our species will reach its resource limits with many more mouths to feed than if we all consumed as wastefully as possible. - Source

02/19/08 - Fun Size Countries: The Insane Histories of the World's 6 Tiniest Nations
Do you ever get the urge to just start your own country, with your own damned rules? Well, some people actually do it. All it takes is a small, uninhabited piece of land you can claim (though it helps to also be completely insane, or to have balls the size of watermelons). - Source

02/19/08 - New Solar Cell Harvests Hydrogen From Water
"The folks at Penn State have now developed a process that more closely mimics the photosynthesis process in plants, and while we won't pretend to understand all the nitty gritty of dye usage and other such nonsense, we do know that such a system could eventually attain 15% or so efficiency, providing a nice and clean way to gather power for that fuel cell car of the future." - Source

02/19/08 - The Dumbing of America
KeelyNet "The mind of this country, taught to aim at low objects, eats upon itself." Ralph Waldo Emerson offered that observation in 1837, but his words echo with painful prescience in today's very different United States. Americans are in serious intellectual trouble -- in danger of losing our hard-won cultural capital to a virulent mixture of anti-intellectualism, anti-rationalism and low expectations. First and foremost among the vectors of the new anti-intellectualism is video. The decline of book, newspaper and magazine reading is by now an old story. The drop-off is most pronounced among the young, but it continues to accelerate and afflict Americans of all ages and education levels. Reading has declined not only among the poorly educated, according to a report last year by the National Endowment for the Arts. In 1982, 82 percent of college graduates read novels or poems for pleasure; two decades later, only 67 percent did. And more than 40 percent of Americans under 44 did not read a single book -- fiction or nonfiction -- over the course of a year. The proportion of 17-year-olds who read nothing (unless required to do so for school) more than doubled between 1984 and 2004. This time period, of course, encompasses the rise of personal computers, Web surfing and video games. - Source

02/19/08 - 50 Tricks to Get Things Done Faster, Better, and More Easily
We all want to get stuff done, whether it’s the work we have to do so we can get on with what we want to do, or indeed, the projects we feel are our purpose in life. To that end, here’s a collection of 50 hacks, tips, tricks, and mnemonic devices I’ve collected that can help you work better. - Source

02/19/08 - Britain's Invisible Tank
KeelyNet A soldier who's seen it first-hand says: "This technology is incredible. If I hadn't been present I wouldn't have believed it. I looked across the fields and just saw grass and trees - but in reality I was staring down the barrel of a tank gun." As we understand it, the technology involves a whole bunch of cameras and projectors. The surrounding area is filmed, then projected onto the tank's other side. It seems then, that 'invisible' may not be the right word. Perhaps 'perfectly camouflaged' would suit things better. We don't care though, the headline stays. If a camera breaks mid-battle, or a projector just fails, that's it. The competitive edge provided by an invisible tank is all but lost. The man behind this all, one Professor Sir John Pendry, knows this and he has a plan: "The next stage is to make the tank invisible without [the cameras and projectors] - which is intricate and complicated, but possible." What's more - the same technology could be used to make jackets for the soldier himself. This of course means an invisible soldier could emerge from an invisible tank and wreak absolute havoc on the guy with the war-donkey we talked about earlier. - Source

02/19/08 - Spinal injury regeneration hope
The University of Cambridge team is developing a treatment which could potentially allow damaged nerve fibres to regenerate within the spinal cord. Spinal injuries are difficult to treat because the body cannot repair damage to the brain or spinal cord. Although it is possible for nerves to regenerate, they are blocked by the scar tissue that forms at the site of the spinal injury. The Cambridge team has identified a bacteria enzyme called chondroitinase which is capable of digesting molecules within scar tissue to allow some nerve fibres to regrow. The enzyme also promotes nerve plasticity, which potentially means that remaining undamaged nerve fibres have an increased likelihood of making new connections that could bypass the area of damage. - Source

02/19/08 - Japanese MagLev Hover Buses
KeelyNet Haneda Airport in Tokyo on December 15, will put a new hybrid bus in service. This is the first practical use of the maglev for a Japanese bus. Like conventional hybrids, the bus uses an engine and electric motor combination, but this bus has a magnet using "contactless feed" and takes advantage of a more powerful battery for the electric driving percentage reducing the carbon dioxide emissions by about 60 percent. The service is expected to begin in about two weeks, except Saturdays and Sundays, at 11 a.m. and 14:00 there will be three bus units each in operation for the first, second and third terminal of the international contact between about 4.2 km of bus service lines. - Source

02/19/08 - Waffle Crete
Modular, light-weight WAFFLE-CRETE panels weigh half as much as solid panels of the same size. Smaller cranes and less rigging are required compared to heavier panels. Hook-up and disconnect time is kept to a minimum. WAFFLE-CRETE is the most economical modular precast building system available. SAVES MATERIAL: WAFFLE-CRETE panel molds cast a 4”-12” thick section that utilizes half the concrete of solid slab equivalents. The system is ideal for load bearing walls, floors and roofs and capitalizes on the efficient waffle design to eliminate material that is normally wasted. SAVES CONSTRUCTION TIME: Light-weight, precision cast panels increase control at the job site and speed the erection process. Bolted panel connections eliminate much of the temporary bracing and shoring associated with other precast systems. WAFFLE-CRETE floor panels require no topping. Waffle panel voids are easy to insulate and notched ribs provide space for installing electrical and plumbing conduit. REDUCES FINANCING COSTS: Shortened construction time saves interim financing and allows earlier occupancy. REDUCES INSURANCE COSTS: WAFFLE-CRETE structures save money on fire and extended coverage insurance. Rates are considerably lower for fire resistive structures. REDUCES MAINTENANCE COSTS: Highly durable, solid structures last longer, reducing both short-term and long-term maintenance costs. In addition, buildings hold their value better and appreciate faster than less substantial buildings. IMPROVES ENERGY EFFICIENCY: Massive, infiltration-free precast panels contribute to thermal efficiency and help reduce energy usage. WAFFLE-CRETE panels resist temperature changes and air leakage is drastically reduced. - Source

02/17/08 - New World Record for Solar-to-Grid Conversion Efficiency
KeelyNet Sandia National Laboratories and Stirling Energy Systems (SES) set a new solar-to-grid system conversion efficiency record by achieving a 31.25 percent net efficiency rate. The old 1984 record of 29.4 percent was toppled Jan. 31 on SES’s “Serial #3” solar dish Stirling system at Sandia’s National Solar Thermal Test Facility. The conversion efficiency is calculated by measuring the net energy delivered to the grid and dividing it by the solar energy hitting the dish mirrors. Auxiliary loads, such as water pumps, computers and tracking motors, are accounted for in the net power measurement. “Gaining two whole points of conversion efficiency in this type of system is phenomenal,” says Bruce Osborn, SES president and CEO. “This is a significant advancement that takes our dish engine systems well beyond the capacities of any other solar dish collectors and one step closer to commercializing an affordable system.” Serial #3 was erected in May 2005 as part of a prototype six-dish model power plant at the Solar Thermal Test Facility that produces up to 150 kilowatts (kW) of grid-ready electrical power during the day. Each dish unit consists of 82 mirrors formed in a dish shape to focus the light to an intense beam. The solar dish generates electricity by focusing the sun’s rays onto a receiver, which transmits the heat energy to a Stirling engine. The engine is a sealed system filled with hydrogen. As the gas heats and cools, its pressure rises and falls. The change in pressure drives the pistons inside the engine, producing mechanical power, which in turn drives a generator and makes electricity. - Source

02/17/08 - A world united on water
Every litre of petrol requires up to 2.5litres of water to produce it. On average, crops grown for their bio-energy need at least 1000 litres of water to make one litre of biofuel. It takes about 2700 litres of water to make one cotton T-shirt, up to 4000litres of water to produce 1kg of wheat and up to 16,000 litres to produce 1kg of beef. The statistics are equally surprising for hundreds of other products that we all take for granted, such as milk, juice, coffee, fruit, pizza, detergents, carpets, paint, electrical appliances, cosmetics and so on. On average, wealthier people consume upwards of 3000 litres of water every day. Even to produce the much more basic things our economy needs, such as cement, steel, chemicals, mining or power generation, requires tonnes of water. We have seen how a combination of crop switch for biofuels and drought can have an inflationary impact on food. Water is the bigger problem behind this issue. It has the potential for a much more profound impact on consumers and voters. In the breadbasket areas of the world, which help feed our fast-growing urban populations, we are heading for painful trade-offs or even conflict. Water is local. Water basins will become the flashpoints. These are the large areas that drain into the world's major rivers and eventually into the sea. They contain millions of people, farmland, forests, cities, industry and coastline, and often straddle multiple political boundaries. The sector that will get the most attention will be the water used by agriculture for food and textile production: 70 per cent of all our freshwater withdrawals are in this sector. Savings made here can help elsewhere in the water basin. - Source

02/17/08 - John Cleese’s “Letter to America”
KeelyNet Dear Citizens of America, In view of your failure to elect a competent President and thus to govern yourselves, we hereby give notice of the revocation of your independence, effective immediately. Her Sovereign Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, will resume monarchical duties over all states, commonwealths and other territories (except Kansas, which she does not fancy), as from Monday next. Your new prime minister, Gordon Brown, will appoint a governor for America without the need for further elections. Congress and the Senate will be disbanded. A questionnaire may be circulated next year to determine whether any of you noticed. To aid in the transition to a British Crown Dependency, the following rules are introduced with immediate effect: 1. You should look up “revocation” in the Oxford English Dictionary. Then look up “aluminium,” and check the pronunciation guide. You will be amazed at just how wrongly you have been pronouncing it....and the full article at the link. - Source

02/17/08 - Acute Coronary Events Drop After Italy's Public Smoking Ban
The number of acute coronary events dropped significantly among adults in Rome after Italy banned smoking in public places in 2005, a new report shows. Researchers in the Italian capital found an 11.2 percent reduction of acute coronary events in persons aged 35 to 64 years and a 7.9 percent reduction in those aged 65 to 74, according to the findings in the Feb. 12 issue of Circulation. Cigarette sales and the frequency of people smoking also dropped. "Since coronary heart disease is a leading cause of death in Italy, the reduction observed had enormous public health implications," study co-author Francesco Forastiere, head of the environmental and occupational epidemiology unit of the Rome E. Health Authority, said in a prepared statement. "It will be interesting to see if the effect of the ban is stable over time, and if similar positive health effects can be detected in other places." The study was the first in Europe to show long-term health benefits of smoking bans in public places. - Source

02/17/08 - Linguist tunes in to pitch processing in brain
"Everyone has a brainstem, but it's tuned differently depending on what sounds are behaviorally relevant to a person, for example, the sounds of his or her mother tongue," Gandour said. The brain stem is located early along the auditory pathway, about 7-9 milliseconds from the time the auditory signal enters the ear. This is near where pitch processing begins in the cochlea and the auditory nerve, about 0-2 milliseconds. "We now know that there are regions of the brain involved in processing the sounds of language that we didn't know about before," he said. "We know even less about how pitch information is analyzed, transformed and represented at different levels of the brain in the translation from sound to meaning. A fuller understanding will give us a better idea what roles the brain regions are playing, and this information could help people with communication disorders or brain injuries." - Source

02/17/08 - Brain waves pattern themselves after rhythms of nature
“Structures built from a very large number of units can exhibit sharp transitions from one state to another state, which physicists call phase transitions,” said Cowan, a Professor in Mathematics and Neurology at Chicago. “Strange and interesting things happen in the neighborhood of a phase transition.” When liquids undergo phase transitions, they evaporate into gas or freeze into ice. When the brain undergoes a phase transition, it moves from random to patterned activity. “The brain at rest produces random activity,” Cowan said, or what physicists call “Brownian motion.” An article in a Japanese journal that described a statistical physics approach to chemical reaction networks. “It took me years to understand how to use these tools for biological networks,” he said. “It so happens that there is an analogy between the behavior of chemical reaction networks and neural networks.” - Source

02/17/08 - Brain blanket boosts mind control
KeelyNet With a sheet of electrodes placed over the brain, people can quickly learn to move a cursor around a computer screen using their thoughts. The two established techniques involve inserting electrodes into the brain or attaching them onto the scalp. These approaches have let people control robotic limbs, steer wheelchairs, type messages and walk in virtual worlds using thought alone. Electrodes on the scalp can only detect electrical waves that have passed through the skull, producing a weak signal susceptible to interference from mains electricity and other sources. Electrodes implanted directly into the brain produce much clearer signals, but are not well tolerated by the body. "The brain tries to get rid of [the electrodes] by covering them with a sheet of tissue," explains Schalk. "The signal degrades over time." Schalk and colleagues at Albany Medical College, Washington University in St Louis, University of Washington, Seattle, and the University of Wisconsin at Madison, all US, think a third approach will face fewer hurdles. They cover part of the brain's surface with a polymer sheet containing a grid of electrodes 2 millimetres in diameter and spaced 10 mm apart, a method called electrocorticography (ECOG). Such electrode grids are often placed in people with severe epilepsy to identify the focus of seizures within the brain. "These grids are thin like a sheet of paper," says Schalk. "The electrodes record signals similar to those recorded by electrodes on the scalp, but with much greater fidelity." In recent experiments, five patients learned to control a computer cursor in two dimensions on a computer screen using their brain signals. All five acquired this skill in less than 30 minutes, a performance similar to those achieved using electrodes implanted directly into the brain, says Schalk. Learning to control a cursor like this using a scalp-recorded methods takes weeks or months, he adds. - Source

02/17/08 - Liquid Oxygen runs Amazing Auto (Aug, 1930)
KeelyNet Blast furnace and refrigerator in one was the remarkable car that they built. One of its two tanks (refilled when necessary from a special “thermos bottle” truck) held oxygen chilled to many hundred degrees below zero to keep it a liquid. Another tank held the fuel-gasoline, benzine, oil, or methylated spirits. When the driver opened a valve, oxygen and fuel flowed through separate pipes to the “motor,” a hollow tube little larger than a ginger ale bottle. Here the gases were ignited, and a flame six feet long shot out of the tube with a deafening roar. Its recoil propelled the car forward with a force estimated at more than 200 horsepower. An ominous event in the preliminary trial occurred when Valier got too hot a mixture of the gases. Instantly the “motor,” of hardest steel, melted away. Valier replaced it, and one night the car was ready for its first test. On this first attempt, the car circled the Tempelhof airport, near Berlin, seven times at a ninety-mile-an-hour clip. Valier showed that he could slow it, bring it to a stop, and start off again-stunts that were impossible with his previous rocket cars, which had to keep on going until the rockets burned up. While Valier was preparing the car for a run with oil fuel, something went wrong. Probably fumes of the gases escaped from their separate tanks and mixed, causing an explosion that hurled Valier twenty feet. He died while being rushed, unconscious, to the hospital. Yet the risky experiment proved, Doctor Heylandt said, the scientific possibility of driving vehicles this new way. - Source

02/17/08 - Oceans Eyed As New Energy Source
Just 15 miles off Florida's coast, the world's most powerful sustained ocean current - the mighty Gulf Stream - rushes by at nearly 8.5 billion gallons per second. And it never stops. To scientists, it represents a tantalizing possibility: a new, plentiful and uninterrupted source of clean energy. Florida Atlantic University researchers say the current could someday be used to drive thousands of underwater turbines, produce as much energy as perhaps 10 nuclear plants and supply one-third of Florida's electricity. A small test turbine is expected to be installed within months. Researchers said the underwater turbines would pose little risk to passing ships. The equipment would be moored to the ocean floor, with the tops of the blades spinning 30 to 40 feet below the surface, because that's where the Gulf Stream flows fastest. But standard navigation equipment on ocean vessels could easily guide them around the turbine fields if their hulls reached that deep, researchers said. And unlike offshore wind turbines, which have run into opposition from environmentalists worried that the technology would spoil the ocean view, the machinery would be invisible from the surface, with only a few buoys marking the fields. - Source

02/17/08 - Truth about teleportation
KeelyNet Scientific American: What's the biggest misconception about teleportation? Jeff Kimble: That the object itself is being sent. We're not sending around material stuff. If I wanted to send you a Boeing 757, I could send you all the parts, or I could send you a blueprint showing all the parts, and it's much easier to send a blueprint. Teleportation is a protocol about how to send a quantum state-a wave function-from one place to another. / As Minkel sums it up, the phenomenon "turns out to be more relevant to computing than to commuting." - Source

02/17/08 - Beer cheaper than water drives surge in supermarket drink sales
Supermarkets and corner shops now account for almost a third of all alcohol sold in Scotland, compared with only a fifth 25 years ago, according to the beer industry. Forty-one per cent of Britain's beer is now bought in shops and supermarkets, compared to 33 per cent in 2000 and 30 per cent in 1986. The shift away from bars has been driven by loss-leading supermarket prices - which have left beer cheaper than water - and the smoking ban, which has led to more consumers drinking at home. - Source

02/17/08 - Solar Activity Diminishes; Researchers Predict Another Ice Age
KeelyNet Dr. Kenneth Tapping is worried about the sun. Solar activity comes in regular cycles, but the latest one is refusing to start. Sunspots have all but vanished, and activity is suspiciously quiet. The last time this happened was 400 years ago -- and it signaled a solar event known as a "Maunder Minimum," along with the start of what we now call the "Little Ice Age." In 2005, Russian astronomer Khabibullo Abdusamatov predicted the sun would soon peak, triggering a rapid decline in world temperatures. Only last month, the view was echoed by Dr. Oleg Sorokhtin, a fellow of the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences. who advised the world to "stock up on fur coats." Sorokhtin, who calls man's contribution to climate change "a drop in the bucket," predicts the solar minimum to occur by the year 2040, with icy weather lasting till 2100 or beyond. Observational data seems to support the claims -- or doesn't contradict it, at least. According to data from Britain's Met Office, the earth has cooled very slightly since 1998. The Met Office says global warming "will pick up again shortly." Others aren't so sure. - Source

02/17/08 - 14 Grand Engineering Challenges of the 21st Century
The list, announced this afternoon, addresses four themes the committee considered "essential for humanity to flourish" - environmental sustainability, health, reducing our vulnerability and adding to the joy of living. "We chose engineering challenges that we feel can, through creativity and committment, be realistically met, most of them early in this century," said committee chair William J. Perry, the former Secretary of Defense who teaches engineering at Stanford University. "Some can be, and should be, achieved as soon as possible." What are they? * Make solar energy affordable. * Provide energy from fusion. * Develop carbon sequestration methods. * Manage the nitrogen cycle. * Provide access to clean water. * Restore and improve urban infrastructure. * Advance health informatics. * Engineer better medicines. * Reverse-engineer the brain. * Prevent nuclear terror. * Secure cyberspace. * Enhance virtual reality. * Advance personalized learning. * Engineer the tools for scientific discovery. - Source

02/15/08 - Generating Power From Revolving Doors
KeelyNet In a typical office building thousands of people pass through revolving doors on a daily basis. Multiply that by the number of buildings in a typical city, and you can see why harnessing all that human power is actually not a bad idea. So the Revolution Door from Fluxxlab in New York is basically a turbine that’s powered by people as they enter or exit a building, just like how water powers a turbine as it rushes through a hydroelectric dam. The Revolution Door uses a redesigned central core to efficiently convert the motion of the spinning door into electricity, and in theory could provide a source of free energy to the building where it’s installed. - Source

02/15/08 - Blue film delivers drugs at the flick of a switch
An implantable device that releases precise doses of a drug into a patient's bloodstream at the flick of a switch is a step closer with prototype technology demonstrated by US scientists. Paula Hammond and colleagues at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, US, developed a drug-infused film that breaks down when a voltage is applied across its surface. The new film could be used to coat an implantable powered device that would release medication on command. Applying a small voltage from the device to the film causes it to break down and release its drug. Turning the voltage off again stops the film dissolving. The researchers used nanoparticles of a pigment called Prussian blue - an inorganic iron hexacyanoferrate compound - to make the film and a chemical called dextran sulphate to represent the drug in their prototype. They took a glass substrate coated with indium tin oxide and dipped it in a solution containing dextran sulfate, which is positively charged. Next, they dipped the substrate into a solution containing negatively charged Prussian blue nanoparticles. By repeating the process they gradually built up alternating layers of pigment layers and "drug" held together by electrostatic charge. Applying 1.25 volts to the substrate caused the layers to lose their charge and begin dissolving in a solution. When the voltage was removed, the layers stabilised and stopped dissolving. The device could be used to deliver drugs to a specific part of the body, such an area where a tumour had been removed. Or it could deliver a drug needed only under certain conditions, such as anti-seizure medication, Hammond says. - Source

02/15/08 - Tinkerer Finds Power In The Wind
KeelyNet A 40-foot tall windmill on his property saves Jim Eubanks about $50 a month on his electricity bill. The fiberglass double helix set of blades sitting atop a narrow tower of metal rods secured with guy wires is one of Eubanks’s many inventions. The windmill generates about 40 volts of power in a 20-mile-per hour wind, he said. “I tried rotors first but they are hard to balance and tend to fly apart once the wind gets strong,” Eubanks said. He and Gary worked on and off for several weeks to design and build. He estimates the parts cost him from $400 to $500. Eubanks is thinking of increasing the power by adding another double helix atop the existing one. His design allows him to lower and raise the tower by removing some ground level pins and guy wires. Then he can lower and raise the tower by pulling it with his tractor. With an additional helix and several extra batteries, he said he could run any and all electrical devices in his house. - Source

02/15/08 - New materials can selectively capture carbon dioxide
Scientists have demonstrated that they can successfully isolate and capture carbon dioxide, which contributes to global warming, rising sea levels and the increased acidity of oceans. Their findings could lead to power plants efficiently capturing carbon dioxide without using toxic materials. "Now we have structures that can be tailored precisely to capture carbon dioxide and store it like a reservoir, as we have demonstrated. No carbon dioxide escapes. Nothing escapes - unless you want it to do so. We believe this to be a turning point in capturing carbon dioxide before it reaches the atmosphere." The carbon dioxide is captured using a new class of materials designed by Yaghi and his group called zeolitic imidazolate frameworks, or ZIFs. These are porous and chemically robust structures, with large surface areas, that can be heated to high temperatures without decomposition and boiled in water or organic solvents for a week and still remain stable. The inside of a ZIF can store gas molecules. Flaps that behave like the chemical equivalent of a revolving door allow certain molecules - in this case, carbon dioxide - to pass through and enter the reservoir while blocking larger molecules or molecules of different shapes. "We can screen and select the one type of molecule we want to capture," Phan said. "The beauty of the chemistry is that we have the freedom to choose what kind of door we want and to control what goes through the door." - Source

02/15/08 - Crowds 'pick leaders to follow'
KeelyNet People in crowds behave just like sheep, scientists claim, by blindly following one or two people who seem to know where they are going. The results published today show that it takes a minority of just 5 per cent of what they called "informed individuals" to influence the direction of a crowd of a minimum of 200 people. The remaining herd of 95 per cent follow without realising it. "There are strong parallels with animal grouping behaviour," says Prof Krause, who reports the work with John Dyer in the Animal Behaviour Journal, with colleagues at the Universities of Oxford and Wales Bangor. "We've all been in situations where we get swept along by the crowd but what's interesting about this research is that our participants ended up making a consensus decision despite the fact that they weren't allowed to talk or gesture to one another. "In most cases the participants didn't realise they were being led by others." - Source

02/15/08 - US to Use Spy Satellites on US Citizens
According to the Associated Press, a plan to use U.S. spy satellites for domestic security and law-enforcement missions is moving forward after being delayed for months because of privacy and civil liberties concerns. The plan is in the final stage of completion, according to a department official who requested anonymity because the official was not authorized to speak publicly about it. While some internal agencies have had access to spy satellite imagery for purposes such as assisting after a natural disaster, this would be the first time law-enforcement would be able to obtain a warrant and request access to satellite imagery. A plan to use U.S. spy satellites for domestic security and law-enforcement missions is moving forward after being delayed for months because of privacy and civil liberties concerns. It is possible that in the future an agency might request infrared imaging of what is inside a house, for instance a methamphetamine laboratory, and this could raise constitutional issues. In these instances, law enforcement agencies would still have to go through the normal process of obtaining a warrant and satisfying all the legal requirements. - Source

02/15/08 - Aerotecture Rotary Wind Turbine
KeelyNet This aeroturbine, with its corkscrew shape, is sited on a building rooftop in Chicago. The manufacturer-Aerotecture-notes that the modular/stackable cages are additive and can be mounted in a vertical, horizontal, or diagonal orientation. The turbines are designed for rooftop installation on either commercial or multi-family residences that have access to strong winds. An interesting aspect of their design is the creation of both a vertical prototype for multi-directional wind locations, and a horizontal version for locations with a steady primary wind direction. These turbines are designed to operate at slow speeds, with little noise and maintenance. The reflective finish and slow turning speed of their turbines reduce the risk to birds and wildlife. The 510V will produce an estimated 1kW of power in 30 mph winds with the 520H producing an estimated 1.8kW from similar wind speeds. Each turbine is custom fitted to the architecture of the building with a ballpark cost for the 510V of $15,000 and the 520H of $21,000. Potential installation locations need to be 40 feet above ground, unobstructed by trees or other structures, with wind speeds averaging over 10mph. Initially, distributors will be based in Paterson, NJ, Chicago and San Francisco, and will work within a 400-mile radius of those cities. - Source

02/15/08 - Will additives push gasoline to a record high?
The price may hit $3.50 a gallon this spring because of problems obtaining alkylates. Behind the predicted price spike are problems with obtaining alkylates - the additive. But even before that had time to kick in, prices surged 23 cents a gallon between Sunday and Monday in seven states, reports GasPriceWatch.com. In Dayton, Ohio, for example, gasoline prices rose overnight from $2.82 a gallon to $3.05 a gallon, says Brad Proctor, CEO of the website. And a major factor is expected to be the price of alkylate, which is in greater demand as more ethanol is used in making fuel. On Jan. 24, the price of alkylate was about 42.50 cents a gallon more than the price of unleaded gasoline, according to Platt's, an industry trade publication. "It is the sleeping elephant," says Mr. Cohan. "Last spring's price hike is partially due to shortages of this, and we're on the lookout for this to happen again this spring." But the oil industry says it's difficult to predict shortages because no one really keeps statistics on alkylate production. - Source

02/15/08 - In Gaza, cars are cooking with gas
Enterprising mechanics convert autos because Israeli sanctions have choked off gasoline supply. "We are under siege," says Ali Awad, 48, an automobile mechanic who is especially adept at a certain procedure ideally suited to the strapped circumstances that nowadays prevail in the Gaza Strip, where punitive sanctions imposed by Israel have crippled an already stumbling economy. "We have to survive. We cannot just go out and steal." "As far as I'm concerned, the residents of Gaza can walk," Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said last month, "and they will not get gasoline because they have a murderous, terrorist regime that does not allow the residents of southern Israel to live in peace." As a result, almost all of Gaza's 1.5 million inhabitants should probably have blisters on their feet by now from so much walking. But they have been at least partly spared that particular hardship, thanks in no small measure to mechanics like Awad, men who have mastered the trick of converting cars to run on a pressurized and flammable concoction that still manages to find its way into Gaza, albeit in diminished quantities. It is called cooking gas. For 1,000 shekels - about $275 - Awad can convert an automobile to operate on a combustible source of energy better known for its role in the preparation of dinner. He does an average of one conversion a day. The job takes about eight hours to complete and involves running a fuel line from the trunk or back seat to the engine, where a specially designed pump is installed near the radiator. When the job is done, the vehicle's operator can choose to burn conventional gasoline or the cooking stuff by flicking a switch on the dashboard. - Source

02/15/08 - Cheap Cars Mean Higher Gas Prices
The introduction of cheap cars in China and India may accelerate the increase of price of gasoline in the rest of the world. That is the essence of a CNNMoney article that points to projection that India will be have annual sales of 3 million light vehicles and China roughly 17 million units by 2015. Chery_qqThe 2 billion-plus combined populations of India and China could one day dwarf the 300 million potential car buyers in the U.S. Even though these small, cheap cars get high milage they are for the most part being sold as the first car that an individual owns, therefore over a few years, the sheer volume of these cars adds tremendously to the world's requirements for gasoline. India's Tata Nano and the Chinese Chery QQ are the cars that are sparking this revolution. TheTata Nano, a two-cylinder, four-person sedan that gets 50 miles per gallon and is priced at $2,500 while China's Chery QQ, is a five door, 4 passenger vehicle, with a 3 cylinder, 0.8 liter engine and starts at about $3.700. - Source

02/15/08 - UK Research Team Aims To Decrease Cost of Solar Energy
The £6.3 million [US $12.3 million] PV-21 (Photovoltaic Materials for the 21st century), led by experts at Durham University, will focus on making thin-film light absorbing cells for solar panels from sustainable and affordable materials. At present solar cells are made from key components such as the rare and expensive metal indium, which costs approximately £320 [US $660] per kilogram. To cut costs in solar cell production the research team will work to reduce the thickness of the cells. Making a solar semiconductor thinner by one millionth of a meter in solar cells generating one gigawatt of power could save 50 tons of material. Researchers will also experiment with sustainable low-cost materials that could be used in the manufacturing of solar cells and on the use of nanotechnology and dyes on ultra-thin silicon to capture increased amounts of energy from the sun's rays. Principal investigator Professor Ken Durose of the Department of Physics at Durham University said, "at present you would need tens of tons of very rare and expensive materials for large scale production of solar cells to produce sizeable amounts of power. Some of the materials currently used may not be sustainable in 20 years time which is why we have to conduct research into alternative materials that are cheaper to buy and more sustainable." The researchers hope that the project will ultimately lead PV to grid-parity. "Our medium to long-term goal is to make a major contribution to achieving competitive photovoltaic solar energy, which we hope will lead to an uptake in the use of solar power," said Durose. - Source

02/15/08 - Homeowners Use Arson to Avoid Foreclosure
Looking to cash in on their insurance rather than face foreclosure, some people have committed arson to avoid losing their homes. Michigan authorities believe 38-year-old Sheryl Christman was one of those people, when she set her home ablaze Sept. 1. Christman was just three days short of foreclosure. - Source

02/15/08 - Revolutionary “Green” Clothes Dryer Technology
At the 2008 International Builders’ Show (IBS)® Hydromatic Technologies Corporation will launch a new technology for clothes dryers that will reduce the appliance’s energy consumption up to 50 percent and cuts clothes-drying time by up to 41 percent. As the second-most energy consuming appliance in the home, clothes dryers are not required to abide by energy standards. With Hydromatic’s technology, dryers will finally go “green,” and the company is poised to set energy standards for this high-consuming appliance three years ahead of the deadline set by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). The company, which is based in Orlando, Florida, will demonstrate how it uses a specially-engineered fluid to dry clothes using hydronic technology. By heating up a non-toxic fluid in a self-contained system, the dryer produces enough heat to dry clothes significantly faster than traditional dryers, resulting in less energy consumption and reduced energy costs for consumers. - Source

02/13/08 - Local invention may help clean up coal plants
Air Force Academy graduate David Neumann, who holds a doctorate in physics, has developed a process he says he believes will scrub 90 percent of pollutants spewed by the city’s coal-fired electric plants for a fraction of the cost of other processes under development. Neumann won’t discuss details of the method because patents are pending and competition in the potentially explosive market is fierce. If successful, the new chemical treatment would mean thousands of coal-burning plants worldwide could sharply curtail carbon emissions - one of the biggest contributors to global warming. That, in turn, would make the future of energy less complicated and uncertain in the arena of renewables. Renewables can’t provide the lion’s share of the world’s power because they provide intermittent electricity that is impossible to store. “I would like to contribute to solving the global warming problem,” Neumann said. “It’s not realistic to eliminate fossil fuels in the next 50 years. We have this huge investment in infrastructure. Unless you want to shut down the world economy, we will be burning fossil fuels.” Drew Rankin, Springs Utilities general manager for energy supply, said a method of removing carbon emissions would “liberate” coal as an acceptable long-term fuel source. Installing equipment at one unit alone at the Martin Drake Power Plant will cost an estimated $65 million, plus $5 million a year in operational costs. Neumann’s device is estimated to cost less than $20 million. No operational costs were provided. Analysis by his other company, Envirolution Systems, suggests a market potential of $700 billion worldwide for existing coal plants alone. - Source

02/13/08 - Flexible wings
Micro air vehicles with wingspans of less than 20 centimetres are of huge interest at the moment because they can easily carry small payloads such as cameras and microphones over battlefields, disaster zones, and other areas of interest. But because these aircraft are light, they are also vulnerable to gusts of wind that can fling them off course and disrupt any observations they may be making. Now, Peter Ifju, an aerospace engineer at the University of Florida, US, and colleagues have developed an aerofoil, or wing shape, that flexes in the wind in response to gusts of wind. In such a gust, the leading edge of each wing warps to reduce its angle of attack and keep itself pointing into the wind. This flexing can be controlled in such a way that the wing maintains level flight during gusts of wind, Ifju says, and the result should be a smoother ride in blustery conditions. - Source

02/13/08 - Eat Food, not Food Products
A book telling us to “eat food” sounds about as necessary as one telling us to “breathe air”, “wear clothes” or “drink water”. Yet this is the main message of Michael Pollan’s In Defence of Food, his follow-up to The Omnivore’s Dilemma. It starts to make more sense when you see that much of what is consumed in modern America (and by implication in Britain, though Pollan seldom glances beyond the United States) does not count as food at all in his view. “For while it used to be that food was all you could eat, today there are thousands of other edible foodlike substances in the supermarket.” Pollan has in mind such products as Go-Gurt Portable Yogurt tubes; nondairy creamers; “breakfast cereal bars transacted by bright white veins representing, but in reality having nothing to do with, milk”; junky cereals; “cheeselike foodstuffs”; and “cakelike cylinders (with creamlike fillings)”, of which the notorious example is the Twinkie, an American “hostess cake” with a shelf life so long it almost never grows stale. The true scandal of these quasi-foods, for Pollan, is that many of them are allowed to arrive with jumped-up health claims. No cholesterol! Low fat! Low salt! Far from being contested by the official nutrition advice of the government and medical establishment, the rise of the “edible foodlike substance” in the 1970s and 1980s was actually sanctioned by them. If you can't pronounce it, don't eat it. Pollan’s solution is simple: ignore the misleading lingo of “nutrients”, trans-fats, and omega oils . . . and think about food - real food - instead. Above all, avoid buying anything with ingredients that are a) unfamiliar b) unpronounceable c) more than five in number or d) include high-fructose corn syrup. Because they’re not food but “food products”. - Source

02/13/08 - Propulsion Technology Mostly Unchanged After 50 Years
Although it's been a half century since America entered the space age, the basic propulsion concepts used to push Explorer I into space will be the same type of propulsion that the nation will use to begin the next half century of space exploration. "Chemical propulsion will be with us for the foreseeable future as the means to escape the Earth’s gravity," said Dr. Hawk, who worked with the Air Force Propulsion Laboratory at Edwards Air Force base, before joining UAHuntsville nearly 20 years ago. "Large forces are required for periods of several minutes to accomplish this and chemical systems do this well and relatively cheaply," he said. Hawk, however, concedes there have been technological strides that make current propulsion systems superior to those early engines. UAHuntsville continues to look at ways to make improvements in chemical propulsion technologies, the university's researchers continue to investigate future propulsion concepts. "The application of advanced propulsion concepts such as plasma propulsion devices or others that rely upon energy sources other than chemical is for in-space use," Hawk said. However, he explained that while NASA is not actively pursuing these devices currently, the university continues that research. "We continue to work such advanced devices to continue to provide better understanding of the associated physics so that when NASA is able to bring its attention to the next level of propulsion needs, we will have provided a foundation from which to build." - Source

02/13/08 - Strategy Could Lead to Emission-Free Cars
Researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology have developed a strategy to capture, store and eventually recycle carbon from vehicles to prevent the pollutant from finding its way from a car tailpipe into the atmosphere. Georgia Tech researchers envision a zero emission car, and a transportation system completely free of fossil fuels. The Georgia Tech team’s goal is to create a sustainable transportation system that uses a liquid fuel and traps the carbon emission in the vehicle for later processing at a fueling station. The carbon would then be shuttled back to a processing plant where it could be transformed into liquid fuel. Currently, Georgia Tech researchers are developing a fuel processing device to separate the carbon and store it in the vehicle in liquid form. - Source

02/13/08 - Prop-Driven Car Makes 85 M.P.H (Nov, 1934)
KeelyNet BY MOUNTING a four-bladed airplane propeller on an auto chassis, a Georgia mechanic has evolved a combination vehicle which has attained speeds of 85 miles an hour. The wheels of the auto-plane are not connected with the engine. Motive power is furnished entirely by the pusher-type propeller. - Source

02/13/08 - DVD Rip Automates One-Click DVD Ripping
Windows only: Rip and back up any DVD to your hard drive with DVD Rip, a freeware Windows application that automates the entire DVD-to-hard-drive backup process. All you need to do is insert your DVD, run DVD Rip, and let it take care of the rest. Why? A while back I explained why I'd soured on optical media, the gist of which was the ease with with DVDs are damaged. Sick of scratched, skippy DVDs, I put together a simple AutoHotkey script that automated DVD rips in conjunction with a freeware application called DVD Shrink. I've since gone back and drastically improved the original DVD Rip application complete with options and improved automation. (via lifehacker.com) - Source

02/13/08 - Animal Human Hybrids
The shortage of viable human organs for transplant is a very real threat to prompt medical treatment. It has even led to an illegal, underground market in organ harvesting. One proposition that still rages in debate is the use of stem cells for growing the necessary organs in a lab. A second proposition suggests genetically altering animals to make their organs more compatible for transplant. And now, a third proposition is on the table which has already been given the "go-ahead" by regulators in the United Kingdom: animal-human hybrids. Under the hybrid plan, scientists will mate human cells with animal eggs and allow the hybrid to gestate for fourteen days. After the cells grow, the "non-human" stem cells will be harvested and the hybrid organism would be destroyed. Scientists declare the procedure is necessary as the supply of human eggs is running low and of questionable quality. The technique is not without critics, especially from the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children, who claim "the deliberate blurring of the boundaries between humans and other species is wrong and strikes at the heart of what makes us human." - Source

02/13/08 - Orbiting Solar Panels to Shoot Energy to Earth in the Form of Laser Beams
KeelyNet The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) has begun working on the hardware, and plan to have a Space Solar Power System (SSPS) up and running by 2030. The setup would consist of a satellite-type object in orbit about 22,400 miles above the surface of the Earth. Terrifyingly, the satellite would convert the sun's rays into laser beams and shoot them down to base stations on Earth. Yes, lasers would fire down from space. But friendly lasers, so, you know, it's cool. On February 20th, JAXA is going to begin testing these crazy laser beam transmitters designed to send the precious energy down from orbit. It's a long ways away from this actually being put into use, but researchers claim that when all is said and done, one of these things in orbit can provide basically free power to a whopping 500,000 homes, so we say take all the time you need. - Source

02/13/08 - Climate change soon could kill thousands in UK, says report
Climate change could lead to a heatwave in the south-east of England killing 3,000 people within the next decade, a Department of Health report said today. It put the chances of a heatwave of that severity happening by 2017 at 25%. Without preventative action, the report said that a nine-day heatwave, with temperatures averaging at least 27 degrees over 24 hours, would cause 3,000 immediate deaths, with another 3,350 people dying from heat-related conditions during the summer. It predicted that there would be an increase in skin cancers due to increased exposure to sunlight and that, over the next half century, air pollution could lead to an extra 1,500 deaths and hospital admissions a year. - Source

02/13/08 - Lake Mead Water Could Dry Up by 2021
KeelyNet There is a 50 percent chance Lake Mead, a key source of water for millions of people in the southwestern United States, will be dry by 2021 if the climate changes as expected and future water use is not limited, warn researchers at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California-San Diego. Without Lake Mead and neighboring Lake Powell, the Colorado River system has no buffer to sustain the population of the Southwest through an unusually dry year, or worse, a sustained drought. In such an event, water deliveries to cities such as Las Vegas, Los Angeles and San Diego would become unstable and variable, say research marine physicist Tim Barnett and climate scientist David Pierce. The researchers estimate that there is a 10 percent chance that Lake Mead could be dry by 2014. They further predict that there is a 50 percent chance that reservoir levels will drop too low to allow hydroelectric power generation by 2017. Lake Mead is the largest human-made lake and reservoir in the United States. It is located on the Colorado River about 30 miles southeast of Las Vegas, Nevada, in the states of Nevada and Arizona. Formed by water impounded by Hoover Dam, it extends 110 miles behind the dam, holding approximately 28.5 million acre feet of water. Barnett and Pierce conclude that human demand, natural forces like evaporation, and human-induced climate change are creating a net deficit of nearly one million acre-feet of water per year from the Colorado River system that includes Lake Mead and Lake Powell. This amount of water can supply roughly eight million people. - Source

02/13/08 - Banana Waste to Produce Fuel in Australia
Growcom, an Australian horticulture/biofuel organization, has started the pre-construction process of a commercial biomethane plant. The plant will produce biomethane from banana waste to provide fuel to vehicles that run on natural gas. The process consists in the use of an anaerobic digester to break down the banana’s microorganisms, much like the ones used at landfills to reduce methane emissions. The two-week process is said to produce large quantities of methane - efficiency will depend on new digester technology to reduce the cost in order to produce mass quantities of methane. - Source

02/11/08 - New Highly Efficient Thermoelectric Generator Invention
KeelyNet For more than eight years, Paul Bellezza has been pursuing a dream. His goal: to be able to mass produce his “Highly Efficient Thermoelectric Generator,” an invention that would produce electricity more efficiently than anything now on the market. Bellezza’s generator is built of thermoelectric positive and negative type semiconductor elements between hot and cold paddles connected in series. His development of a toroidal ring has created high DC currents with low voltage in the 2,000- to 5,000-watt AC range. Ongoing work in varying energy design circuits will yield the high AC electrical efficiency outputs from DC thermoelectric power. The generator produces electrical power from any heat source, including high-temperature solar array. The compact generator is capable of being linked in several pairs to increase power output. Bellezza envisions the generator being used for camping, in RVs and as a quieter alternative to today’s generators. It also could improve the efficiency of hybrid automobiles, he believes. “My definition of success? When I see it on the shelves at Wal-Mart, then I know I’m a success,” Bellezza said. The inventor compared his experience in trying to reproduce the circuitry in his thermoelectric generator to the challenges the inventors of transistor radios had 50 years ago. - Source

02/11/08 - Man Invents Gas Saving Device
Fred Craine has invented a gas saving device he calls "Mylege Mastre." "It has never failed," says Craine. Craine says his invention saves gas and reduces gas emissions. Craine says, "I'm getting 42 miles to the gallon on this car (a 1998 Ford Taurus). On the other car, I got 60." He says the electronic device is designed for fuel-injected engines. At speeds of 35 miles an hour or better, he says you press a switch and the "Mylege Mastre" cuts off the fuel to half of the engine saving gas. "The secret of the invention is the simplicity and dependability of it," says Engle. Engle is encouraging Craine to take the "Mylege Mastre" to market. "I'd like America to use this device to reduce their gas bills. I don't want to take it to the oil companies because they will throw it away," says Craine. Craine says his "Mylege Mastre" will sell for $35 to $70, depending on the size of the engine and if the vehicle has cruise control. He says it works on any four, six, or eight cylinder engine and takes about an hour to install. Craine plans to explore the possibility of registering his invention with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. - Source

02/11/08 - French motorwonk savages hybrid cars
A French automotive-industry researcher has published an attack on hybrid cars, suggesting that they aren't a good sustainable way to save the planet and will prevent other technologies from developing. The author of Hybrid vehicles: a temporary step is Jean-Jacques Chanaron, Research Director at the French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS) and Chief Scientific Advisor at the Grenoble School of Management. The paper is co-written by Julius Teske, also of Grenoble, and published by an Inderscience journal. (One co-edited by Chanaron, in fact.) Hybrids certainly come in for plenty of stick: There is a general convergence of strategies towards promoting hybrid vehicles as the mid-term solution... Such a convergence is based more on customer perception triggered by very clever marketing and communication campaigns than on pure rationale scientific arguments and may result in the need for any manufacturer operating in the USA to have a hybrid electric vehicle in its model range in order to survive. It seems that Americans' passion for hybrids could strangle hydrogen fuel-cell development; though the two Frenchmen aren't overly enthusiastic about fuel cells either. - Source

02/11/08 - Nato investigates defence threat from wind farms
Nato has begun an investigation into British findings that wind farms make overflying planes invisible to radar as military chiefs fear a security threat from the rapid spread of the turbines. The MoD is now objecting routinely to all wind farms within line of sight of radar stations, irrespective of distance. There is currently no known technical solution. Evidence was given by Squadron Leader Chris Breedon, opposing a 48-turbine wind farm at Fallago Rig in the Lammermuir Hills in Scotland. “As a result of MoD trials proving that wind turbines adversely influence the performance of military and civilian radar systems operating within radar line of sight, Nato has become concerned about the rapid increase in the number of wind turbine farm projects under planning or in development in a number of Nato countries,” he said. There is still no sign of a solution to the British impasse caused by the MoD’s objections to wind farms in line of sight of its radar stations. Although Britain refuses to say how far the line of sight extends, a Pentagon report suggests a 60-mile radius. - Source

02/11/08 - Air Car out "by end of year," in Europe, for 3,500 Euros
KeelyNet The BBC confirms the car will be released by the "end of year" (as the Age reported) and adds it will be released in Europe and India. Second, the cost: just 3,500 Euros which, considering that's the price of the "cheapest model" and conversion rates, somewhat in line with the cost reported by the Age: $8,000AU. Lastly, details: The BBC News also says the car will go 124 miles on a fill-up that will cost 1.5 Euros and will take just a few minutes. This is not a neighborhood electric vehicle because the car will have a top speed of 68 MPH. - Source

02/11/08 - Human Race Cannot Survive If All Humans Only Live on One Planet
Will humans need to live as space nomads to survive? Possibly, says Neil deGrasse Tyson of the American Museum of Natural History. "It may be," says Tyson, "that our only insurance policy against extinction is to become a multi-planet, space faring species." Worries of climate change and unexpected catastrophe on Earth, compounded with humankind's natural curiosity about what lies beyond, compel private industry and NASA alike not only to wonder "what if," but to prepare for the "when." Video - (via impactlab.com) - Source

02/11/08 - Has Ron Paul Quit the race?
A new message from Dr. Paul: February 8, 2008 - ...Let me tell you my thoughts. With Romney gone, the chances of a brokered convention are nearly zero. But that does not affect my determination to fight on, in every caucus and primary remaining, and at the convention for our ideas, with just as many delegates as I can get. But with so many primaries and caucuses now over, we do not now need so big a national campaign staff, and so I am making it leaner and tighter. Of course, I am committed to fighting for our ideas within the Republican party, so there will be no third party run. I do not denigrate third parties - just the opposite, and I have long worked to remove the ballot-access restrictions on them. But I am a Republican, and I will remain a Republican... - Source

02/11/08 - Automate Repetitive Typing with Snippits
Say goodbye to unrequited speedy-text love with Snippits, a free, open source utility that can insert text, activate program shortcuts, correct spelling, and even run bits of code, all at the touch of one button." - Source

02/11/08 - Why You Should Read Ebooks
In preparation for Read an Ebook Week (March 2-8), Epublishers Weekly has written a list of reasons why you should put down that paperback and focus on reading electronic media instead. One of their reasons include the obvious "we're already sitting in front of the computer screen, so why not?" Additionally, ebooks are environmentally friendly, they can be shipped immediately, they are often cheaper than their paper-based counterparts, and they're an evolutionary technology that may be expanded upon in the future with additional features, such as embedded calculators and interactive tests. One of the most important aspects to ebooks is that their very nature allows for online discourse and commentary. This ensures that accuracy is achieved. The only downside? You probably won't want to take one to the bathroom with you. (via lifehacker.com) - Source - Check out Vanguard Sciences ebooks.

02/11/08 - Biofuels May Be Bio-FOUL
It turns out the use of biofuels may not be such a good alternative to gasoline after all. A recent article published in Science shows that biofuels may actually increase the the carbon-dioxide levels up to twice the current emissions of gasoline engines. Earlier studies neglected to account for changes in flora where large CO2 consumers such as forests and grasslands are replaced by ethanol crops. Even converting undeveloped land can release enough CO2 from the Earth that it will take between several decades to several centuries for the net effect to be neutralized. Does this mean that all of these "green cars" that received a tax credit because for using biofuels should now owe tax money back to the government? - Source

02/11/08 - Magnetic motor Seminar
June 28-29 - The 2008 Alternative Energy Partnership Conference will have live demos and hard data to back up some of the demos, not more powerpoint presentations, AND the event is free to the public, rather than charging hundreds of dollars a head, with archived footage only available to the public for the same price. Instead of a couple hundred people benefiting from the conference, THOUSANDS will attend the event and MILLIONS have free access to the demonstrations online in real time. It is worth noting (again...) that the advanced energy technologies are not being developed by Ph.D.s...only the folks who actually understand how to apply the theory behind advanced energy technologies. Yet another paradigm shift in progress, apparently. Suffice it to say that the R&D team that will be coordinating next generation prototype builds will have few if any Ph.D.s among them. If any of you care to debate the issue, please provide the yahoogroup POC info of your legion of Ph.D.s with working overunity devices. Meanwhile, we will stick with the gentlemen working out of their garages and backyards preparing their gee-whiz techs for the 2008 AEPC. Everyone is welcome to attend and present their technologies. Travel expenses are being reimbursed for many of the inventors traveling from as far as Alaska to share their open source technologies in an open forum. - Source

02/11/08 - Genetic test in three years to detect prostate cancer
The latest work, funded by Cancer Research UK, identified genetic markers that may be carried by more than half of all men with prostate cancer. The international team led by Dr Eeles discovered the markers by comparing DNA of men with prostate cancer with DNA from healthy patients. They collected DNA samples from 1,854 men who had been diagnosed with prostate cancer by the age of 60 or younger, or who had a family history of the disease. They then gathered DNA from 1,894 men with similar lifestyles, who were known to have a low risk of prostate cancer from PSA tests. By comparing the DNA from the two groups, the scientists identified seven "spelling mistakes" in the genetic code that were strongly linked to the cancer. One gene called MSMB seems to play a role in prostate cancer returning after treatment, but could also be used to screen for the disease. A second gene, called LMTK2 is a promising target for new drugs to treat the disease, the researchers said. - Source

02/09/08 - Perepiteia Perpetual-Motion Machine May Actually Do...Something
KeelyNet The difference between Thane Heins' perpetual-motion invention Perepiteia and last year's flop Steorn Orbo is that when it was demonstrated last week-to scientists at MIT, no less-it appeared to really work. The result of more than 20 years tinkering, Perepiteia defies conventional thought, apparently using magnets to accelerate a turning electrical motor, as the video shows. The invention was refined in conjunction with engineers at the University of Ottawa, and its debut at MIT certainly raised a few eyebrows, even causing electromagnetics expert Markus Zahn to praise it cautiously: It's an unusual phenomena I wouldn't have predicted in advance. But I saw it. It's real. Now I'm just trying to figure it out...To my mind this is unexpected and new, and it's worth exploring all the possible advantages once you're convinced it's a real effect. The caution seems sensible: if it is a real effect then it will change the world, or the laws of physics. At the very least, it may have a real role to play in improving the efficiency of electrical motors. Heins named his invention after a Greek word meaning an action that "has the opposite effect to that intended," and that certainly applies to his life-his wife walked out on him-as well as his device. He's certainly reluctant to use the phrase "perpetual motion" himself, because of the controversy attached, and the allegation that they violate the hallowed law of conservation of energy. Mystery success or just another myth: let us know what you think in the comments. - Source

02/09/08 - 10-Fold Life Extension in a Complex Animal
Researchers at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) have reported a 10-fold life extension in the complex animal C. elegans, tiny worms that live in the soil. Insulin alerts cells that there are nutrients in the blood ready to be used, whereas IGF-1 stimulates growth. Interfering with insulin signaling results in insulin resistance, a condition that can develop into diabetes. Interfering with IGF-1 signaling produces effects in mammals more akin to those seen in long-lived worms. Mice mildly deficient in IGF-1 receptor are long-lived and appear healthy, Reis said, adding that the longest-lived humans tend to have diminished IGF-1 signaling as well. “These observations hint that processes discovered in the worm also are relevant to aging in humans,” Reis said, “but we shouldn’t expect exact parallels.” Reis’ team discovered that a mutant in the insulin/ IGF-1 pathway of C. elegans slows development but ultimately produces adults he described as “super survivors,” able to resist levels of toxic chemicals that would kill an ordinary worm. Although the adult lifespan of C. elegans is normally only two to three weeks, half of the mutant worms were still alive after six months, with some surviving to nine months. “We knew we had found something amazing,” said Srinivas Ayyadevara, Ph.D., research assistant professor in the UAMS Donald W. Reynolds Institute on Aging. “These worms continue to look and act like normal worms of one-tenth their age.” - Source

02/09/08 - The Sun Also Sets
Solar activity fluctuates in an 11-year cycle. But so far in this cycle, the sun has been disturbingly quiet. The lack of increased activity could signal the beginning of what is known as a Maunder Minimum, an event which occurs every couple of centuries and can last as long as a century. Such an event occurred in the 17th century. The observation of sunspots showed extraordinarily low levels of magnetism on the sun, with little or no 11-year cycle. This solar hibernation corresponded with a period of bitter cold that began around 1650 and lasted, with intermittent spikes of warming, until 1715. Frigid winters and cold summers during that period led to massive crop failures, famine and death in Northern Europe. Tapping reports no change in the sun's magnetic field so far this cycle and warns that if the sun remains quiet for another year or two, it may indicate a repeat of that period of drastic cooling of the Earth, bringing massive snowfall and severe weather to the Northern Hemisphere. "Solar scientists predict that, by 2020, the sun will be starting into its weakest Schwabe cycle of the past two centuries, likely leading to unusually cool conditions on Earth." "Solar activity has overpowered any effect that CO2 has had before, and it most likely will again," Patterson says. "If we were to have even a medium-sized solar minimum, we could be looking at a lot more bad effects than 'global warming' would have had." In 2005, Russian astronomer Khabibullo Abdusamatov made some waves - and not a few enemies in the global warming "community" - by predicting that the sun would reach a peak of activity about three years from now, to be accompanied by "dramatic changes" in temperatures. A Hoover Institution Study a few years back examined historical data and came to a similar conclusion. "The effects of solar activity and volcanoes are impossible to miss. Temperatures fluctuated exactly as expected, and the pattern was so clear that, statistically, the odds of the correlation existing by chance were one in 100," according to Hoover fellow Bruce Berkowitz. The study says that "try as we might, we simply could not find any relationship between industrial activity, energy consumption and changes in global temperatures." - Source

02/09/08 - Hybrid Vehicle First Test-Drive in the Ocean
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) and Webb Research Corporation (Falmouth, Mass.) have successfully flown the first environmentally powered robotic vehicle through the ocean. The new robotic “glider” harvests heat energy from the ocean to propel itself across thousands of kilometers of water. In December 2007, a research team led by oceanographers Dave Fratantoni of WHOI and Roy Watlington of the University of the Virgin Islands launched a prototype “thermal glider” off the coast of St. Thomas. The vehicle has been traveling uninterrupted ever since, crisscrossing the 4,000-meter-deep Virgin Islands Basin between St. Thomas and St Croix more than 20 times. Gliding underwater vehicles trace a saw-tooth profile through the ocean’s layers, surfacing periodically to fix their positions via the Global Positioning System and to communicate via Iridium satellite to a shore lab. “Gliders can be put to work on tasks that humans wouldn’t want to do or cannot do because of time and cost concerns,” said Fratantoni, an associate scientist in the WHOI Department of Physical Oceanography. “They can work around the clock in all weather conditions.” The vehicles can carry a variety of sensors to collect measurements such as temperature, salinity, and biological productivity. Gliders also operate quietly, which makes them ideal for acoustic studies. Though the thermal glider is not the first autonomous underwater vehicle to traverse great distances or stay at sea for long periods, it is the first to do so with green energy. Most gliders rely on battery-powered motors and mechanical pumps to move ballast water or oil from inside the vehicle’s pressure hull to outside. The idea is to increase or decrease the displacement (volume) of the glider without changing its mass. The new thermal glider draws its energy for propulsion from the differences in temperature-thermal stratification-between warm surface waters and colder, deeper layers of the ocean. The heat content of the ocean warms wax-filled tubes inside the engine. The expansion of the warming wax converts heat to mechanical energy, which is stored and used to push oil from a bladder inside the vehicle’s hull to one outside, changing its buoyancy. Cooling of the wax at depth completes the cycle. “We are tapping a virtually unlimited energy source for propulsion,” said Fratantoni. The computers, radio transmitters, and other electronics on the glider are powered by alkaline batteries, which are, for now, the principal limit on the length of operation. Webb Research is working to reduce the electrical needs of the instruments, while also developing the capability to convert some of the thermal energy to power for the electronics. The thermal glider concept was conceived in the 1980s by Doug Webb, a former WHOI research specialist who foun - Source

02/09/08 - Researchers make startling HIV Enhancer discovery
Researchers in Germany have discovered that a protein found in semen makes HIV 100 000 times more virulent than it is alone - thus helping to explain why more than 80 per cent of human-immunodeficiency-virus (HIV) infections are transmitted via sexual intercourse. The team of German scientists had initially set out to determine whether semen contained factors that inhibit the HIV infection, according to the report published in the journal Cell. But surprisingly, the HIV and AIDS researchers in Hanover and Ulm, Germany, found that fragments of prosthetic acidic phosphatase isolated from human semen form tiny fibres known as amyloid fibrils. Those fibrils capture HIV particles and help them to penetrate target cells, thereby increasing the infection rate by up to several orders of magnitude. "Most enhancers have maybe a two- or three-fold effect, but here the effect was amazing. More than 50-fold and, under certain conditions, more than 100 000-fold," Kirchhoff says. Wolf-Georg Forssmann of VIRO PharmaCeuticals, GmbH & Co, KG, and Hanover Medical School says the fibrils act like a ferry, picking up the viruses and then bringing them to the cell. Researchers injected both the naked virus and SEVI-treated HIV into the tails of rats that had been given human immune system cells. The HIV with the semen component was five times more effective at transmitting the virus. The fibrils act like a ferry. In situations where low levels of the virus are transferred - as during intercourse - Kirchhoff says, SEVI can make HIV up to 100 000 times more likely to spread when compared with the virus alone. - Source

02/09/08 - Video - Free Energy
Comment: Great video. But... I think that when we are promoting green technologies we should be accurate and appropriate. The video seems to imply that the two solar panels are able to supply enough electricity to run a light, electric burner and hot water. This is extremely unlikely - more likely impossible. The light certainly but not the hot water and cooking. It would be more appropriate (and less expensive) to use solar hot water panels for the water heating. Creating unrealistic expectations for green technologies doesn't help the cause - it harms it. / Response: Very fair comment in general. Except you missed that he's installing the panels next to an existing solar water heater. Really the only item that we took 'poetic license' with was the hotplate. At the time of shooting, we felt that the purpose of a 90sec spot was not so much to be 100% accurate as to give a general impression of the direction to move. Perhaps adding the hotplate was unnecessary. Thank you for your comment. - Source

02/09/08 - Missouri As A Mini-US
The Missouri bellwether is a political phenomenon that notes that the state of Missouri has voted for the winner in every U.S. Presidential election beginning in 1904 except in 1956. Missouri is also considered a bellwether of U.S. views on hot-button social issues such as stem cell research, school vouchers, and same-sex marriage. Some economists also consider the state a bellwether for economic trends such as consumer confidence and unemployment. Why? The cause of Missouri's bellwether status is most often cited as its location and demographics. The Chicago Tribune calls Missouri the "bellwether state that almost exactly mirrors the demographic, economic and political makeup of the nation." A microcosm of the country's current political make up, Missouri has its two Blue "coasts" of St. Louis and Kansas City with Red middle and southern areas. - Source

02/09/08 - Is McCain Disqualified?
KeelyNet John McCain is not a natural born citizen of the United States! He was born in the Panama Canal Zone. There are only three requirements in the Constitution for the office of president. Article II, Section 1, Paragraph 5 requires that a candidate for president must be: a) a natural born citizen of the United States (emphasis added), b) at least 35 years of age, and c) having been a resident of the United States for at least 14 years. By its language, the Constitution - especially the Fourteenth Amendment - makes a distinction between a "citizen" and a "natural born citizen." A more lenient requirement to be only a "citizen," under Article I, Section 3, Paragraph 3, allows McCain to be a senator. / Followup: Only native-born U.S. citizens (or those born abroad, but only to parents who were both citizens of the U.S.) may be president of the United States. / From Bio: Parents: Admiral John Sydney McCain, Jr. (from Indiana) and Roberta (Wright) McCain (from Oklahoma) Religion: Episcopalian. John Sidney McCain was born on August 29, 1936, in the Panama Canal Zone. Born into a family with a distinguished reputation in the U.S. Navy, both his father and grandfather were admirals and his father rose to command all the U.S. naval forces in the Pacific, McCain spent his childhood and adolescent years moving between naval bases in America and abroad. - Source

02/09/08 - Two Studies Conclude that Biofuels Are Not So Green After All
Almost all biofuels used today cause more greenhouse gas emissions than conventional fuels if the pollution caused by producing these "green" fuels is taken into account, two studies published Thursday have concluded. "When you take this into account, most of the biofuel that people are using or planning to use would probably increase greenhouse gasses substantially," said Timothy Searchinger, the lead author of one of the studies... Plant-based fuels were originally billed as better than fossil fuels because the carbon released when they are burned is balanced by the carbon absorbed when the plants grow. But even that equation proved overly simplistic because the process of turning plants into fuel causes it own emissions - through refining and transport, for example. The land-use issue makes the balance sheet far more problematic: The clearance of grassland releases 93 times the amount of greenhouse gas that would be saved by the fuel made annually on that land, said Joseph Fargione, the lead author of the other study and a scientist at the Nature Conservancy. "So for the next 93 years, you're making climate change worse, just at the time when we need to be bringing down carbon emissions." - Source

02/09/08 - Pump iron to lose the pounds
If you want to lose weight but can't stand running, lift weights instead. New research in mice shows that strength training is just as good as endurance training at burning off fat. Running and other endurance activities build up what's known as "slow" or type I muscle. It is rich in mitochondria, the energy powerhouses of cells, and research has shown that this type of muscle combats weight gain and reduces the incidence of metabolic problems. "Fast" or type II muscle - the kind you build when pumping iron - is mitochondria-poor and was thought to be less effective in reversing weight gain. Kenneth Walsh at Boston University School of Medicine and his colleagues were curious to know how weight training affects metabolism. - Source

02/09/08 - New Liquid Bandage Approved
The FDA has cleared for marketing GelSpray Liquid Bandage. The product is a spray-on treatment for wounds -- including combat wounds -- according to a news release from Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey. The product releases polymers from a two-barreled syringe. The polymers mix into a "gel-based dressing that frontline combat soldiers can apply to their own wounds," states the Rutgers news release. Other liquid bandages are already on the market. Those products have "more similarities than differences" with GelSpray Liquid Bandage, according to FDA documents. - Source

02/09/08 - Yahoo Offers All-You-Can-Eat Storage and Bandwidth
"Yahoo this week opened up a new monthly Web Hosting service for small and medium sized businesses that allows unlimited hosted storage capacity and bandwidth for $11.95 a month. Yahoo had been charging $12 a month for 5GB of disk space and 200GB of bandwidth; $20 a month for 10GB disk space and 400GB of bandwidth; and $40 for 20GB disk space and 500GB bandwidth.." - Source

02/09/08 - Nitrogen pollution boosts plant growth in tropics by 20%
A study by UC Irvine ecologists finds that excess nitrogen in tropical forests boosts plant growth by an average of 20 percent, countering the belief that such forests would not respond to nitrogen pollution. Faster plant growth means the tropics will take in more carbon dioxide than previously thought, though long-term climate effects are unclear. Over the next century, nitrogen pollution is expected to steadily rise, with the most dramatic increases in rapidly developing tropical regions such as India, South America, Africa and Southeast Asia. - Source

02/07/08 - New Rail Car Runs on Air-Electric Perpetual Drive (Feb, 1934)
KeelyNet FROM coast to coast by rail in 24 hours, traveling literally on air-that is what W. E. Boyette of Atlanta, Georgia, claims for his invention, a railroad engine that runs almost entirely on air. Air for fuel-speeds of up to 125 miles an hour on rails-low transportation costs--these are possibilities conjured by Boyette’s air electric car. After being started by batteries, the car needs only air to keep it running-a close approach to perpetual motion. Inventor Boyette claims his invention is quite simple, even though it is contrary to all principles of engineering. Large tanks on the sides of the car are pumped with compressed air by a starting air compressor which is driven by an auxiliary electric motor and 4800 pound storage battery set. Compressed air then operates the air engine connected to the driving wheels, bringing the car up to speed. As the car moves, a large air compressor directly connected to the front wheels pumps air back into the tanks. An electric generator connected to the farthest rear pair of wheels is continually charging the batteries. Thus the movement of the car refills the air tanks and partly recharges the batteries. With the engine pulling two passenger coaches over a 250 mile rail run, it is said that about $2.50 worth of electricity for fully charging the batteries at the end of the run will be the only fuel expense. - Source

02/07/08 - Convert PDFs to Online Books with Issuu
Web site Issuu turns any PDF into a web-friendly, embeddable Flash eBook. Just upload the PDF to Issuu and it takes care of all the heavy lifting. When it's done, the result is a flippable page-turner. Some PDFs will work better than others for this sort of embedding, and for those pages with text that's too small to read, clicking on the page will zoom in. It's not the first online PDF viewer, but it may be the best looking-perfect for online zines or just sharing documents without sending big attachments. - Source

02/07/08 - “Sounds” of individual molecules captured
KeelyNet Phys­i­cists say they’ve rec­orded ti­ny vibra­t­ions of in­di­vid­ual mol­e­cules, that could be called sounds-de­pend­ing on how you de­fine sound-and put them in au­di­ble form. The vibra­t­ions in their orig­i­nal form, sci­en­tists said, are too fast and small to hear, but oth­er­wise fit the phys­i­cal de­scrip­tion of what makes a sound: they can pro­duce si­m­i­lar vibra­t­ions in neigh­bor­ing mol­e­cules, which do the same to their neigh­bors, and so forth, spread­ing the os­cilla­t­ions out­ward. Au­di­ble sound con­sists of the same sorts of vibra­t­ions, but much big­ger and slow­er, and af­fect­ing tril­lions of mol­e­cules, so they can move the ear­drums. Mak­ing a mol­e­cule’s vibra­t­ions au­di­ble, how­ev­er, is just a mat­ter of play­ing them back much, much slow­er and louder, re­search­ers said. To im­ag­ine what one mol­e­cule might sound like if you could hear it, pic­ture the small­est bell you can: it would make a ti­ny, high-pitched ping. Now, try to con­ceive of a tone un­imag­inably smaller and higher. To con­vert this from a fan­ta­sy in­to some­thing you can really hear would re­quire do­ing what the re­search­ers did: replay­ing a re­cord­ing very slowly to low­er the pitch-like a 45-rpm rec­ord be­ing played at 33-rpm-and of course with a vol­ume boost. To make orig­i­nal the “sound” it­self, Thumm, of Kan­sas State Un­ivers­ity, and col­leagues struck hy­dro­gen atoms with short, in­tense la­ser pulses. They then scaled the vibra­t­ion speeds, or fre­quen­cies, down to about 1,000 Hertz, for a human-au­di­ble pitch. But they went much fur­ther: they al­so an­a­lyzed the vibra­t­ions al­most as mu­sic, to de­ter­mine how the mol­e­cule, com­posed of mainly of two co­re par­t­i­cles called pro­tons, re­acted to the pulses. “The la­ser pulse ei­ther makes the mol­e­cules vi­brate more vi­o­lently or blows them apart,” Thumm said, which is un­sur­pris­ing be­cause pro­tons are linked by smaller par­t­i­cles, elec­trons, that act as a spring. The pro­tons, banged with a pulse, os­cillate back and forth. While this may be easy to pic­ture on a large scale, Thumm said par­t­i­cles act dif­fer­ently at the sub­a­tom­ic, or quan­tum lev­el. This means de­ter­min­ing the pro­tons’ loca­t­ions af­ter be­ing hit is­n’t easy. Thumm and col­leagues an­a­lyzed mo­lec­u­lar mo­tions by break­ing them in­to their var­i­ous fre­quen­cies, or vibra­t­ion speeds. Dif­fer­ent fre­quen­cies are what cre­ate dif­fer­ent pitches in mu­sic. The mo­lec­u­lar fre­quen­cies could thus be an­a­lyzed as if they were mu­sical chords. Thumm said re­search­ers hope to be able to do the same thing for more com­plex mol­e­cules like wa­ter or meth­ane. Just as a C Ma­jor chord sounds dif­fer­ent from a d mi­nor chord, Thumm said oth­er mol­e­cules al­so would have their own un­ique sound. The stu­dy, pub­lished in the Oct. 10 is­sue of the re­search jour­nal Phys­i­cal Re­view Let­ters, could al­so help in­ves­ti­ga­tors in the goal of ap­ply­ing la­sers to steer chem­i­cal re­ac­tions, Thumm said. - Source

02/07/08 - Conspiracy theories emerge after internet cables cut
Is information warfare to blame for the damage to underwater internet cables that has interrupted internet service to millions of people in India and Egypt, or is it just a series of accidents? When two cables in the Mediterranean were severed last week, it was put down to a mishap with a stray anchor. Now a third cable has been cut, this time near Dubai. That, along with new evidence that ships' anchors are not to blame, has sparked theories about more sinister forces that could be at work. For all the power of modern computing and satellites, most of the world's communications still rely on submarine cables to cross oceans. When two cables were cut off the Egyptian port city of Alexandria last week, about a 100 million internet users were affected, mainly in India and Egypt. The cables remain broken and internet services are still compromised. It was assumed a ship's anchor severed the cables, but now that is in doubt and the conspiracy theories are coming out. Egypt's Transport Ministry says video surveillance shows no ships were in the area at the time of the incident. Online columnist Ian Brockwell says the cables may have been cut deliberately in an attempt by the US and Israel to deprive Iran of internet access. Others back up that theory, saying the Pentagon has a secret strategy called 'information warfare'. - Source

02/07/08 - Reports of 5th undersea 'net cable cut
Bruce Schneier comments on the increasingly odd, developing story about mysteriously cut transoceanic communications cables (also covered here on Boing Boing). He also points to reports of a fifth cable being cut. Commenters on Schneier's blog, and Schneier, seem to doubt this is the result of a coordinated malicious attack. The only other theory Boing Boing readers seem to agree on is coordinated malicious attacks by sea monsters. (via boingboing.net) - Source

02/07/08 - Drop of blood can predict future diseases
KeelyNet A modern technology that is already used in Russian medicine may predict that in three years a patient may have diabetes, or in five years a person may run cancer risk. Until recently there was no equipment that could detect a disease at its primary stage. The revolutionary research has been based on the fact that antibodies are the first to react to any defects which have just appeared in a human body. These peculiar molecules produced by immune system cells rid the organism of decay products. “A healthy person has the same number of antibodies in the blood,” said Professor Poletaev. “But when a disease emerges, their number changes drastically, either decreases or increases. Every group of antibodies is associated with a certain organ. Knowing the number of antibodies a doctor may find out defects. For example, the destruction of hepatocytes - the liver-clearing antibodies - testifies to infectious processes in the liver. The destruction of myocardial cells, which results in the shift of cardiotropic antibodies, exercises heart problems.” The new method enables doctors to find out a myocardial disease (a disease of cardiac muscle) three years before the condition proves fatal. Diabetes can be thus predicted five years before it actually begins, whereas a tumour - ten years before the diagnosis is made. “Tests also enable us to find defects in kidneys, the adrenal and prostate gland, in the stomach, the thyroid gland, in the central nervous system and lungs,” Professor Poletaev said. Forewarned is forearmed. It is not so difficult to remedy defects at the stage of pre-existing disease. Sometimes a new way of living, a diet and certain physical exercises may be enough to improve your test results. A disease clears up before it starts. - Source

02/07/08 - Predictify, Inc.
Studies have shown that large groups of regular people are often more accurate than a small group of experts at predicting the outcome of future events. Predictify is a prediction platform that harnesses this collective wisdom. Predictify provides a simple, fun way to engage in current and future newsworthy topics. You can research, discuss and predict the outcomes of real-world events, challenge your friends to private prediction contests, build a reputation based on your accuracy, and even get paid real money when you're right. Best of all, it’s free - no points or bets required. You can also post questions about future events and collect a large sample of predictions about the outcome. Predictify’s unique system captures the full distribution of beliefs, not just the average, and provides easy-to-use graphical tools to analyze the results. Posting questions is free - or, for a small fee, you can add predictor profile data and keep the results private. - Source

02/07/08 - Oregon panhandlers raking in the green
A police survey says panhandlers outside a Wal-Mart here can make $300 a day. Inside, it takes a clerk a week to make that much. Police say people who have a problem with that needn't look to the law--asking for money is considered protected free speech. - Source

02/07/08 - DNA Found to Have "Impossible" Telepathic Properties
KeelyNet DNA has been found to have a bizarre ability to put itself together, even at a distance, when according to known science it shouldn't be able to. Explanation: None, at least not yet. Scientists are reporting evidence that contrary to our current beliefs about what is possible, intact double-stranded DNA has the “amazing” ability to recognize similarities in other DNA strands from a distance. Somehow they are able to identify one another, and the tiny bits of genetic material tend to congregate with similar DNA. The recognition of similar sequences in DNA’s chemical subunits, occurs in a way unrecognized by science. There is no known reason why the DNA is able to combine the way it does, and from a current theoretical standpoint this feat should be chemically impossible. Double helixes of DNA can recognize matching molecules from a distance and then gather together, all seemingly without help from any other molecules or chemical signals. In the study, scientists observed the behavior of fluorescently tagged DNA strands placed in water that contained no proteins or other material that could interfere with the experiment. Strands with identical nucleotide sequences were about twice as likely to gather together as DNA strands with different sequences. No one knows how individual DNA strands could possibly be communicating in this way, yet somehow they do. The “telepathic” effect is a source of wonder and amazement for scientists. This recognition effect may help increase the accuracy and efficiency of the homologous recombination of genes, which is a process responsible for DNA repair, evolution, and genetic diversity. The new findings may also shed light on ways to avoid recombination errors, which are factors in cancer, aging, and other health issues. - Source

02/07/08 - Low folic acid levels linked to dementia
A lack of folic acid may lead to a threefold increased risk of developing dementia in old age, finds a new study. South Korean researchers at the Chonnam National University Medical School in Kwanjiu observed 518 people over a 2.4-year period between 2001 and 2003 to see if they developed dementia. They were all 65 and over. The study participants had their blood tested at the beginning of the study and throughout, a test that assessed levels of folic acid, vitamin B12 and a chemical called homocysteine. When first tested, one in five of the participants had high levels of homocysteine, 17 per cent had low levels of vitamin B12 and 3.5 per cent had lower levels of folic acid. In those people who had high levels of folic acid, levels of homocysteine, which has been linked to increased cardiovascular risk, were lower and vitamin B12 levels were higher. During the two-year period, 45 people were diagnosed with dementia, 30 of them specifically with Alzheimer's disease, seven with vascular dementia and four with other forms of dementia. Those participants who had been low in folic acid at the start of the study were 3½ times more likely to develop the condition. The researchers theorize that shifting levels of micronutrients in the body could be responsible for the onset of dementia, in the same way they lead to weight loss and low-blood pressure. But they also believe that a reverse conclusion could be made, namely that the neurodegenerative process associated with dementia could also lead to decreased folic acid in the bloodstream. The authors suggest further research to clarify this relationship. Regardless, they suggest that folic acid supplementation could be helpful. "There may be good arguments for focusing interventions for the prevention of dementia on nutritionally deficient frail populations," reads the study. - Source

02/07/08 - Beetroot 'may cut blood pressure'
Drinking 500ml of beetroot juice a day can significantly reduce blood pressure, UK research suggests. The study, by Barts and the London School of Medicine and the Peninsula Medical School, could suggest a low-cost way to treat hypertension. While it took less than an hour to note a reduction in blood pressure in the beetroot juice tests, it was more pronounced after three to four hours and a degree of reduction continued to be observed for up to 24 hours, the report published on the online journal Hypertension said. The researchers showed that nitrate in the juice is converted in saliva, by bacteria on the tongue, into nitrite. This nitrite-containing saliva is swallowed, and in the acidic environment of the stomach is either converted into nitric oxide or re-enters the circulation as nitrite. The peak time of reduction in blood pressure correlated with the appearance and peak levels of nitrite in the circulation. No such drop in blood pressure was recorded in a second group of volunteers, who did not swallow their saliva while drinking beetroot juice, or for three hours afterwards. More than 25% of the world's adult population are hypertensive, and it has been estimated that this figure will increase to 29% by 2025. Hypertension causes around 50% of coronary heart disease, and approximately 75% of strokes. - Source

02/07/08 - Russians say 3 months to the first Time Machine
Time travel could be a reality within just three months, Russian mathematicians have claimed. They believe an experiment nuclear scientists plan to carry out in underground tunnels in Geneva in May could create a rift in the fabric of the universe. Irina Aref'eva and Igor Volovich, of Moscow's Steklov Mathematical Institute, say the energy produced by forcing tiny particles to collide at close to the speed of light could open the door to visitors from the future. According to Einstein's general theory of relativity, any large amounts of matter or energy will distort the space and time that surrounds it. If the energy or mass is large enough, it is claimed that time can be distorted so much that it folds back on itself - creating a wormhole, or time tunnel, between the present and the future. But Dr Brian Cox, a member of CERN and one of Britain's leading experts in particle physics, is highly sceptical about the Russian claims, calling them "nothing more than a good science fiction story". He said: "Cosmic ray collisions in the upper atmosphere are far more energetic than anything we can produce. "They have been occurring for five billion years, and no time travellers have appeared. "Stephen Hawking has suggested that any future theory of quantum gravity will probably close this possibility off, not least because the universe usually proceeds in a sane way, and time travel into the past isn't sane." Cynics often point out that if time travel was really possible, we would have been visited by people from the future. However, Einstein's laws of physics suggest that time travel is only possible into the past as far as the point when the first time machine was invented. - Source

02/07/08 - New Way to Kill Viruses: Shake Them to Death
Scientists may one day be able to destroy viruses in the same way that opera singers presumably shatter wine glasses. New research mathematically determined the frequencies at which simple viruses could be shaken to death. "The capsid of a virus is something like the shell of a turtle," said physicist Otto Sankey of Arizona State University. "If the shell can be compromised [by mechanical vibrations], the virus can be inactivated." Recent experimental evidence has shown that laser pulses tuned to the right frequency can kill certain viruses. However, locating these so-called resonant frequencies is a bit of trial and error. An experimental group led by K. T. Tsen from Arizona State University have recently shown that pulses of laser light can induce destructive vibrations in virus shells. "The idea is that the time that the pulse is on is about a quarter of a period of a vibration," Sankey said. "Like pushing a child on a swing from rest, one impulsive push gets the virus shaking." It is difficult to calculate what sort of push will kill a virus, since there can be millions of atoms in its shell structure. A direct computation of each atom's movements would take several hundred thousand Gigabytes of computer memory, Sankey explained. He and Dykeman have found a method to calculate the resonant frequencies with much less memory. - Source

02/05/08 - Turning physics on its ear
KeelyNet The invention, at its very least, could moderately improve the efficiency of induction motors, used in everything from electric cars to ceiling fans. At best it means a way of tapping the mysterious powers of electromagnetic fields to produce more work out of less effort, seemingly creating electricity from nothing. Such an unbelievable invention would challenge the laws of physics, a no-no in the rigid world of serious science. Imagine a battery system in an all-electric car that can be recharged almost exclusively by braking and accelerating, or what Heins calls "regenerative acceleration." No charging from the grid. No assistance from gasoline. No cost of fuelling up. No way, say the skeptics. "It sounds too good to be true," concedes Heins, who formed a company in 2005 called Potential Difference Inc. to develop and market his invention. "We get dismissed pretty quickly sometimes." Heins has modified his test so the effects observed are difficult to deny. He holds a permanent magnet a few centimetres away from the driveshaft of an electric motor, and the magnetic field it creates causes the motor to accelerate. It went well. Contacted by phone a few hours after the test, Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor Markus Zahn is genuinely stumped - and surprised. He said the magnet shouldn't cause acceleration. "It's an unusual phenomena I wouldn't have predicted in advance. But I saw it. It's real. Now I'm just trying to figure it out." There's no talk of perpetual motion. No whisper of broken scientific laws or free energy. Zahn would never go there - at least not yet. But he does see the potential for making electric motors more efficient, and this itself is no small feat. / (Thanks to Duncan Roads, editor of Nexus Magazine for giving me the headsup on this. Mr. Heins send a DVD and its incredible! - JWD) - Source

02/05/08 - What's hurting newspapers
It's not just "the Internet exists," but rather a set of things the industry did wrong, continues to do wrong, and should fix if the newspapers are to emerge from the net with still-beating hearts: The biggest problem, of course, had nothing to do with the newsrooms. It was the collapse of an unsustainable business model. Simply put, the model involved sending miniskirted saleswomen out to sell ads at confiscatory rates to lecherous old car dealers and appliance-store owners. Protecting these profits, whether from national, local or classified ads, became the central focus of newspaper bosses. These areas were the most vulnerable to new competitors. But the condition of the industry by the 1990s - risk averse, promising unrealistic margins, losing its best talent, ignoring ideas outside its preconceived notions - left it unable to meet these threats. - Source

02/05/08 - Future Refrigerators to Run on Heat
"If you’ve ever had to go behind your refrigerator, you may have noticed that cold makes heat. That is, the apparatus, which keeps your food cold, is often too hot to touch. Why, then, can’t heat make cold?” said Rainer Braun, a professor at IWG. "Anybody can produce heat by producing coolness,” Braun said. "But we at IWG are the only ones producing coolness from heat." It is a question of particular importance in hot countries, where food goes bad quickly and interiors need air-conditioning. The problem is, though, that cooling is very energy-intensive, and can put stress on electrical generation systems. So why not look to the biggest source of energy we have: the sun? The principle of solar cooling, the so-called ammoniac-water absorption technique, has been known since 1810. In Gladbeck, this idea has been extrapolated to the idea of using warmth from other processes - the heat of baking ovens. The German scientists have developed a prototype, which very soon could be cooling a cold storage plant in Morocco this way. Another pilot facility in Gladbeck uses the warmth of a gas turbine to air-condition a lecture hall. - Source

02/05/08 - Communing with nature less and less
KeelyNet In an alarming trend, out­door ac­ti­vi­ties are on the wane as peo­ple around the world spend more lei­sure time on­line or watch­ing TV, re­search­ers say. They worry that the trend will lead to fatter, un­health­ier po­pu­la­tions-and more en­vi­ron­ment­al des­truc­tion, as peop­le lose in­ter­est in both na­ture and its pro­tect­ion. Activities as varied as hik­ing and fish­ing are drop­ping in po­pu­lar­ity, the re­search­ers said. The re­search­ers call this shift to sed­en­tary, elec­tron­ic di­ver­sions “vid­e­ophilia.” It “has far-reach­ing con­se­quenc­es for phys­i­cal and men­tal health, es­pe­cially in chil­dren,” Pergams said. “Videophilia has been shown to be a cause of obes­ity, lack of so­cial­iz­a­tion, at­ten­tion dis­or­ders and poor ac­a­dem­ic per­form­ance.” - Source

02/05/08 - Zip Code Info
If you go to ZipSkinny.com and enter your ZIP code, you get all kinds of demographics on that area: income averages and range, education levels, housing density, size, etc. Big-city ZIP codes are often misleading, however, because conditions can vary considerably just a few blocks apart. - Source

02/05/08 - Experts Claim HIV Patients Made Non-Infectious
"The statement's headline statement says that 'after review of the medical literature and extensive discussion,' the Swiss Federal Commission for HIV / AIDS resolves that, 'An HIV-infected person on antiretroviral therapy with completely suppressed viraemia ("effective ART") is not sexually infectious, i.e. cannot transmit HIV through sexual contact.'" - Source

02/05/08 - SMS opens public toilets in Finland
To unlock the door of one of the roadside toilets along Finland's freeway system, you'll now have to send it a text message with your mobile phone. The toilets have been secured, and a sign outside explains that the user just sends the word "open" (in Finish) to a short code and the door will be unlocked remotely. The company managing the service will keep a short term record of all users phone numbers, simply so that if the toilet is then damaged by criminals, they can be traced by the police. - Source

02/05/08 - Green could be key to job preservation
KeelyNet When 1,800 workers lost their jobs after a Maytag appliance factory and headquarters closed last year in the small town of Newton, Iowa, a wind turbine blade company saw opportunity - an available, skilled work force in the middle of one of America's hardiest wind energy production regions. TPI Composites Inc. is building a new plant there as the energy industry aims for a cleaner, more sustainable future. With proper incentives, thousands of "green-collar jobs" could be created, from ethanol production to wind turbines and solar panels, and all the maintenance and construction to support them, industry officials said. However, advocates and executives say training is key to making sure the industry has enough skilled workers to make it into a real economic engine, and are pushing for more lucrative tax breaks, much like oil companies already receive, to make it profitable. - Source

02/05/08 - Recover Disk Space by Deleting Uninstall Folders
You can clear space on your hard drive by removing "uninstall folders"-temporary folders of files Windows sets up that let it roll back updates in case something goes wrong. To see your uninstall folders, browse to the C:\Windows\ directory, and take a gander at all the folders listed there whose name starts with "$NtUninstall." (You've got to have "Show hidden files and folders" enabled in Explorer's folder options to see them). I've got about 231MB of uninstall data stored there myself. Of course, deleting these folders all willy-nilly could screw up any System Restore points you've got going on, or perhaps the Add/Remove Programs functionality for Windows updates, so proceed with caution and only delete if you're desperate for space. Here's how to identify more system disk space hogs with a free download. - Source

02/05/08 - Dyed Solar Cells May Offer Unique Installation Opportunities
KeelyNet Designs decorating the huge windows of corporate buildings may soon be able to provide more than just advertising. Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute of Solar Energy Systems (ISE) have developed a new solar module that uses organic dyes in combination with nanoparticles to produce electricity. The key component of the new modules is an organic dye which in combination with nanoparticles converts sunlight into electricity. Due to the small size of the nanoparticles, the modules are semi-transparent. This aspect makes them well suited for façade integration. The solar module prototype manufactured by the researchers at Fraunhofer ISE is amber in color. It is possible, however, to produce the modules in other colors, or even to print images or text on the module so that it serves as a decorative element. These design options open up an entirely new range of possible applications. Instead of mounting the solar module on the roof of a building, the electricity producer could be integrated in the glass façade. Used in this way, the new technology not only prohibits direct sunlight from entering the building interior but also generates electricity at the same time. - Source

02/05/08 - Tackle All Your CD/DVD Writing with BurnAware
Windows only: Freeware application BurnAware covers all of your most common burning tasks, from burning audio CDs and video DVDs to disk images (like ISO files) and regular data discs. That's a good start, but BurnAware really impresses by supporting virtually every optical format, including Blu-Ray and HD DVDs. If you've been looking for a simple, all-in-one burning tool with a small footprint to replace expensive alternatives like Nero, BurnAware may be the ticket. BurnAware is freeware, Windows only. - Source

02/05/08 - Company banking on 'pacemaker for the eye'
KeelyNet Electricity has been used to shock hearts, ease pain and even treat depression. Now, apparently, it can even thwart blindness. ScyFix, a start-up, has developed a device that treats diseases such as glaucoma and macular degeneration by shooting electric currents into the eye. The company, which is conducting clinical trials in India and the United States, hopes to sell the first device approved by the Food and Drug Administration designed to restore eyesight. Studies showed electricity could stimulate the production of neurotrophins, a family of proteins that can instruct optic nerve, retinal neurons and photoreceptor cells not to die. In addition, neuromodulation can repair cell membranes, allowing cells to absorb nutrients, release wastes, improve blood flow to the eye and rewire faulty nerve connections. Working with doctors and engineers, Harold, who has no medical background, developed a device that releases low-intensity electric currents into the eyelids through electrodes. A complex mathematical equation programmed into the device controls the amount and frequency of the electricity. Patients can administer the treatment at home twice a day for 20 minutes. Harold says he is highly encouraged by the results so far: Since 2002, the device has halted progression of diseases in 95 percent of the 1,000 patients tested in 29 countries, according to ScyFix. - Source

02/05/08 - Washington Pulls Plug on FutureGen Clean Coal Project
Bush Administration kills "clean coal" initiative because state-of-the-art prototype plant would cost $1.8 billion -- about the cost of one week of "success in Iraq." Won't someone please think about the oxymorons? / On Wednesday, Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman said the Bush administration was yanking its support for the project, whose price tag had ballooned to $1.8 billion, nearly double original estimates. Energy Department officials said it was time to confront the cost issue, before equipment was ordered. The plant "was to have been the prototype for the next generation of clean-coal plants around the world," said Scott Smith, AEP's representative on the FutureGen board. Its technology would have been shared with consortium members, including China's largest coal-burning utility, China Huaneng Group, which has been criticized for its CO2 emissions. China, the biggest coal-consuming nation alongside the U.S., has been criticized for its massive increase in carbon dioxide emissions. - Source

02/05/08 - More on the Sonic Boiler
KeelyNet The photos shown to date reminded me of a website I found a couple of years ago describing a similar thing. Here are my notes from that find; "As a sensitive musician Mr Davey noticed, that there was such a frequency of the motor and propeller buzzing, when the aeroplane cabin and his body were getting into a resonance. At this unique resonance frequency he always was experiencing an influx of heat in his aeroplane cabin. He did not know yet, that in future this phenomenon will be utilised in ultrasonic weapon systems for effective and undetected killing of people. But he decided to test whether the same phenomenon is to appear, if a metal hemisphere which simulates his pilot cabin is submerged in water and is excited into a resonance frequency. So he found two tops from old bicycle bells, joined them together, tuned one of them to 50 Hz frequency, attached electricity wire to each one of them, and thrown them into water. Surprisingly, water started to boil extremely fast. So he made his first heater patent based on this observation. This patent was already registered in 1944. After a hero return from the war, he had a device, which repetitively proved to everyone who measured it, that it has the efficiency decisively exceeding 100%. Realising this, he believed that the world is going to pounce on the opportunity of production and use of this technical miracle. After all, people are full of declarations about apparent saving on energy, resources, about protection of our natural environment, etc. However, the reality turned out to be completely opposite. Immediately after it was experimentally confirmed that the device has unexplainably high efficiency, the heater and the inventor fell into disfavour of various institutions that are interested in selling electricity and that protect the monopoly on electrical power. In the result, this extraordinary invention received an extraordinary treatment! Namely authorities were doing everything in their powers to disallow the production and sale of this heater in New Zealand. One of legal tricks that were used against this heater, was that it was declared officially to be "unsafe to health and life of users". (Please notice that practically every electrical device working on 220 Volts can be declared unsafe, if someone in the position of authority wishes to put it down.) In turn in New Zealand it is impossible to undertake the production and sale of anything, that is not officially approved by the government. In the result, Mr Davey was fighting for almost 50 years to receive a permit for the industrial production of this heater. And during these almost 50 years, the permission was continually refused to him, no matter what research outcomes he submitted to please authorities, and no matter how hard he tried. But it is interesting, that in Australia an electric jug with a heating element of the design very similar to the Davey’s heater was put in mass production (this Australian jug most probably is produced in there still even today). This Australian jug is working on the principle of electrical resistance of water (i.e. not telekinesis as the heater of Mr Davey does). Water that it heats is a resistor, in which heat is generated because of the electric current flows through this water. This Australian jug is exactly the same "dangerous to the health and lives", like the telekinetic heater of Mr Davey. Only that it did not encountered in Australia similar bureaucratic resistance because the energy efficiency of it is "normal". When I met Mr Davey for the first time in 1990, he still was appealing to authorities, and still had a hope to receive a permit for the production of his heater - in spite of these almost 50 years of lost battles with bureaucrats. He was even showing to me a large stock of components he gathered to start a production immediately after the permit is granted to him. However, he gave up the experimental production of research copies of his heater. The design of the Davey's sonic heater is extremely simple. It actually is composed of two major parts only - see Figure K8 (3) from monograph [1/4]. The most important out of these two parts is a resonating hemispherical bowl (1) made of a sound inducing metal plate. The second part is a buffering hemispherical bowl (2) almost identical in shape to the bowl (1). This second bowl has the radius around 4 mm larger than the resonating hemispherical bowl (1). Both bowls are assembled symmetrically one around the other, means the hemispherical bowl (1) is placed inside of the hemispherical bowl (2). Coin is 32 mm wide = 1.25984 inches / Big bowl approximately 1.75 inches wide and .75 inches thick / Small bowl approximately 1 3/8 inches wide. Of course, apart from these two bowls, the heater also includes a long rod, nuts, washers, and electrical wires. These are to hold it together, to supply electricity to both bowls, and to allow the heater to be submerged into water that it heats. But these other parts are marginal additions only. The major parts are the bowls. During experimental production of this heater, the resonating hemispherical bowl (1) usually is made from an old cover for a bicycle bell. The dimensions of this hemispherical bowl are not important. It is only vital that it falls into a sonic resonance at the frequency of 50 Hertz, and that it has the outer surface which is parallel and equidistant from the external buffering hemispherical bowl (2). To each of these two bowls a different wire of the household electricity supply (i.e. 220 V, 50 Hz) is connected. The heater must be submerged in water that it heat. It brings water to the boiling point extremely fast. More details about the design and operation of this sonic heater is provided in subsection K3.3 from volume 10 of monograph [1/4]. After being constructed, the Davey's telekinetic heater must be "tuned" in two different manners. The first tuning depends on providing the hemispherical bowl (1) with such frequency of the own oscillations, that makes this bowl to resonate acoustically when a sound of the frequency 50 Hertz is emitted nearby. The second tuning of the heater depends on appropriate selecting the distance "L" between both bowls (1) and (2). On this distance depends the formation of the standing wave between both bowls. Thus it decides about the energy efficiency of the entire heater. From the information that the inventor repeated to me, I gather that the measurements carried out by New Zealand scientists suggested that this heater may consume even less than the equivalent for around 5% of the energy that it generates in form of heat. This would indicate, that the electrical efficiency of this heater is around 2000%. (Means, that the heater produces over 20 times more heat than it consumes electrical energy.)" - from Private Files

02/03/08 - Video - Sonic Boiler
KeelyNet It looks like a desk lamp, is cool to the touch and appears not to be doing anything, until it comes into contact with water. Former spitfire pilot Peter Davey claims his invention uses the power of sound to boil water. Mr Davey believes high frequency sonic vibrations emitted from within the silver bulb cause the water to boil. He says the idea came to him 50 years ago when he noticed different saxophone notes caused different household items to rattle. The mains-powered gizmo has experts intrigued. “I’ve never seen anything like it in my live,” Professor Arthur Williamson said. The Professor has his doubts about Mr Davey’s acoustic theory and suspects there are two simple electrodes inside the boiler. “I’m careful that I don’t divulge everything,” Mr Davey said. “I’m waiting to get a manufacturer that is prepared to put some money into it.” - Source

02/03/08 - Heated Mask Stops Dangers of Inhaling Cold Air Into Your Lungs
Breathing warm air into the lungs helps the wearer feel much warmer for extended periods of exposure to the cold. Originals By Weber, Terry L. Weber, of Toms River, NJ announces immediate availability of the new Weber Breath Warming Cold Weather Mask Model 1-E. It is well known that inhaling cold air into lungs increases the possibility of having a heart attack up to fifty percent. In addition, cold air in the lungs can cause loss of up to forty percent of body heat, thereby increasing chance of getting a cold or the flu. This new non-electric, low cost economy model breath warmer mask, with its built in, patented, heat exchange (heat sink) unit automatically warms 22-degree outside air to a comfortable 80-degrees when the wearer inhales each breath. How it works: the wearer of the mask exhales warm air from lungs and mouth, the breath of air passes through the exchange unit and it warms the exchanger. Then, when wearer inhales, as the incoming cold air moves through the now warmed heat exchanger, it is warmed to about 80-degrees before it moves into the mask wearer's lungs. Result: with this warm air in the lungs, instead of cold air, the whole body feels much warmer. - Source

02/03/08 - Competitions can put inventors’ patent rights at risk
Under intellectual property laws, publishing details of an invention - for example, by publicising it in a competition - can constitute ‘disclosure’. Any invention that has previously been disclosed is most unlikely to be granted a patent. Seventy Seven PR account director Michelle Saxby said: "When we started to organise the competition we realised there would be an issue with IP rights and wanted to be sure we were giving the correct advice to people entering. The specific advice we got from Adam Hart-Davis and Matt Dixon helped us to quickly understand the issues and ensure the competition rules were right.” “The position regarding ‘disclosure’ of an invention can be a bit tricky for the non-specialist,” said Matt Dixon. “Organisers of invention or product design competitions could find that they are jeopardising potential patent rights if the inventions are publicised before patent applications have been filed. "It’s an area of the law that’s not generally well understood. We would urge all PR companies or other organisers of similar competitions to contact CIPA before they finalise the competition rules. Our guidelines can help ensure that inventors don’t throw away their chances of getting a patent for the sake of trophy.” - Source

02/03/08 - A GARBAGE / SEPTAGE COCKTAIL FOR FUEL
A new patented invention by Viridis Waste Control: Septage Bioreactor Landfill technology blending sewage with garbage accelerates the breakdown of the garbage. The result is steady supply of methane that can be used directly as fuel or mixed with natural gas for pipeline distribution. (Natural gas is mostly methane. The mix is relatively easy.) There are more significant advantages blending the garbage and septage together and quickly reacting them into fuel. - Source

02/03/08 - A Low-cost wind Turbine
KeelyNet In 1958, I built a small commercial garage and decided to install a wind turbine to pump the water I needed for my operations. I designed perhaps half a dozen governors all of them either too easy to vandalize or too complex to construct, with many critical parts that tended to wear out. Finally I came up with a satisfactory solution: a hydraulic governor of sealed construction, with two bearings that run in an oil bath at all times and carry a very light load. This device limits the speed of the turbine to 475-600 rpm and has very little drag below 475 rpm. The completed windplant has been in continuous service since its installation in 1958 and has had its bearings greased twice during the 16-year period. All that time it has pumped water for the shop, and I've used it simultaneously to charge batteries with the help of an automobile generator and alternator. This renewal of interest (in wind energy) made me decide to build another vertical axis wind turbine from easily obtainable materials with a minimum of cash outlay. I finally finished an 8' X 6 rotor turbine with a total expenditure of $42.00. All the makings other than the galvanized sheet iron for the wind deflector and rotor vanes were selected from scrap and acquired at no cost. This newer model has a large vee pulley on the rotor drive shaft and a belt with a half twist to turn a small pulley on a horizontal jack shaft. A large pulley on the jack shaft to a small pulley on an alternator or generator imparts sufficient speed to generate full capacity with any wind of 10 mph up. A belt runs from the jack shaft to a reducing gear and thence to a pump jack that operates a plunger-type cylinder pump to fill an overhead tank. I'm selling sets of plans for the turbine for $25.00, and may have manufactured parts available in the future. Instructions can be ordered from C.L. Swett, P.O. Box 657, Winnemucca, Nevada 89445. - Source

02/03/08 - Solar energy breakthrough
Panels already being constructed by Johanna Solar Technology (JST) in Brandenburg, Germany, and will go on sale in Europe this year. According to JST, current solar modules convert only direct sunlight into electrical energy, but thin-film solar modules convert any light across the spectrum into electricity - generating power even under low-light conditions. Due to the construction of the cells, comparatively high yields can be obtained even under partially shaded or overcast conditions. The new thin-film solar modules are based on a wafer-thin, semiconducting absorber layer made of copper, indium, gallium, sulphur and selenium, and are just half the thickness of a human hair and almost a hundred times thinner than a silicon cell. Production would be well below the current price of solar panels - at least 50 percent cheaper than anything that is commercially available at present. - Source

02/03/08 - Software Can Recognize Face with One Photo
KeelyNet Umeå University, Sweden, doctorate student Hung-Son Le and Head of the Digital Media Lab there, Haibo Li, have created software algorithms that can enable a computer to recognize a human face after being shown JUST ONE PHOTO. Previously, computers needed many photos from different angles and with different lighting conditions to perform recognition. But Le and Li have come up with a way to create those variations based on a single photo. In the photo here, the picture in the center is the only one presented to the system, and the algorithm created the different angles. - Source

02/03/08 - Replacement jawbone grown in a man's stomach
A 65-year-old Finnish man received a new upper jaw that was grown in his abdomen using his own stem cells. Scientists had isolated stem cells from the patient's fat, and sorted out the type of cells that could grow into bone tissue. The cells were applied to a custom jaw-shaped scaffold and implanted in his abdomen for nine months. Tissues grew around the scaffolding, which was removed and attached to the man's skull to replace his upper jaw, which had been removed due to a tumor. - Source

02/03/08 - Fizzy drinks linked to gout
Men who consume large amounts of fizzy or sugary drinks are at higher risk of contracting gout than those who abstain, a new study has concluded. Researchers from Harvard and the University of Vancouver found that those who consumed five or six sweet beverages a week were nearly 30% more likely to suffer attacks of the illness than those who drank less than one serving monthly. The risk rose to 85% for those drinking two or more a day. - Source

02/03/08 - Discovery backs theory oil not 'fossil fuel'
The abiotic theory of the origin of oil directly challenges the conventional scientific theory that hydrocarbons are organic in nature, created by the deterioration of biological material deposited millions of years ago in sedimentary rock and converted to hydrocarbons under intense heat and pressure. While organic theorists have posited that the material required to produce hydrocarbons in sedimentary rock came from dinosaurs and ancient forests, more recent argument have suggested living organisms as small as plankton may have been the origin. The abiotic theory argues, in contrast, that hydrocarbons are naturally produced on a continual basis throughout the solar system, including within the mantle of the earth. The advocates believe the oil seeps up through bedrock cracks to deposit in sedimentary rock. Traditional petro-geologists, they say, have confused the rock as the originator rather than the depository of the hydrocarbons. - Source

02/03/08 - The Next 25 Years in Tech
"PCs may disappear from your desk by 2033. But with digital technology showing up everywhere else - including inside your body - computing will only get more personal, reports Dan Tynan for PC World's 25th Anniversary. While convenience will be increased by leaps and bounds, it will come at a profound loss in our sense of what privacy means. 'Technology will become firmly embedded in advanced devices that deliver information and entertainment to our homes and our hip pockets, in sensors that monitor our environment from within the walls and floors of our homes, and in chips that deliver medicine and augment reality inside our bodies. This shiny happy future world will come at a cost, though: Think security and privacy concerns. So let's hope that our jetpacks come with seat belts, because it's going to be a wild ride.'" - Source

02/01/08 - Sax notes lead to off-beat Sonic Boiler
KeelyNet Inventor and saxophone player Peter Davey has come up with a device that he claims boils water in no time. He calls it the "sonic boiler" because he claims it uses the power of sound. How the heater actually works has confounded experts. The device looks oddly like a bent desk lamp, with a metallic ball at the end instead of a lightbulb. When plugged into the power supply, and the ball is lowered into water, it boils the liquid within seconds -- even as little as a tablespoonful. "The principle is beautiful. I have cashed in on a natural phenomenon and it's all about music," he said. The Press invited a retired Canterbury University engineer, Professor Arthur Williamson, to look at the boiler and he was stumped. He watched Davey boil various quantities of water, took notes of the energy used and temperatures reached. He left scratching his head. "I don't know enough about sound to know whether you can transfer that amount of energy via soundwaves. I doubt it," said Williamson. He did remember an alternative kettle years ago that had two perforated metal plates inside. The power ran between the plates, through the water. "The resistance through the water provided the load. I wonder if it isn't working like that? Without taking it to bits, you can't tell." The kettle was specially designed to prevent people getting a shock from touching the boiling water. - Source

02/01/08 - Under 1 percent of U.S. adults have HIV: report
About one-half of one percent of young adults living in homes in the United States are infected with the AIDS virus, around 600,000 people, the National Center for Health Statistics reported on Tuesday. The agency's snapshot of HIV infection in the United States shows the rate continues to be stable and confirms other surveys that show black men are far more likely than other Americans to be infected. The report covers adults aged 18 to 49 and only people living in households -- not prisoners, the homeless or patients in institutions, said Gerry McQuillan, who led the study. The CDC has estimated in the past that more than 1 million Americans in total are infected with the human immunodeficiency virus that causes AIDS. Globally, 33 million people are infected and 25 million have died from the fatal and incurable virus. - Source

02/01/08 - Cheap Hydrogen
KeelyNet A new process uses sunlight and a nanostructured catalyst to inexpensively and efficiently generate hydrogen for fuel. Nanoptek, a startup based in Maynard, MA, has developed a new way to make hydrogen from water using solar energy. The company says that its process is cheap enough to compete with the cheapest approaches used now, which strip hydrogen from natural gas, and it has the further advantage of releasing no carbon dioxide. The technology uses titania, a cheap and abundant material, to capture energy from sunlight. The absorbed energy releases electrons, which split water to make hydrogen. Other researchers have used titania to split water in the past, but Nanoptek researchers found a way to modify titania to absorb more sunlight, which makes the process much cheaper and more efficient, says John Guerra, the company's founder and CEO. Guerra says that chip makers have long known that straining a material so that its atoms are slightly pressed together or pulled apart alters the material's electronic properties. He found that depositing a coating of titania on dome-like nanostructures caused the atoms to be pulled apart. "When you pull the atoms apart, less energy is required to knock the electrons out of orbit," he says. "That means you can use light with lower energy--which means visible light" rather than just ultraviolet light. The strain on the atoms also affects the way that electrons move through the material. Too much strain, and the electrons tend to be reabsorbed by the material before they split water. Guerra says that the company has had to find a balance between absorbing more sunlight and allowing the electrons to move freely out of the material. Nanoptek has also developed cheaper ways to manufacture the nanostructured materials. Solar gases: A parabolic trough can focus sunlight on nanostructured titania, improving the efficiency of a new system for generating hydrogen by splitting water. - Source

02/01/08 - Brain Cleaner to Repair Strokes
KeelyNet It's a tiny vacuum cleaner for the brain: A new treatment for stroke victims promises to suction out clogged arteries in hopes of stopping the brain attack before it does permanent harm. Called Penumbra, the newly approved device is the latest in a series of inside-the-artery attempts to boost recovery from stroke. More than 700,000 people suffer a stroke each year in the U.S., and more than 150,000 die. Survivors often face serious disability. Most strokes occur when blood vessels feeding the brain become blocked, starving delicate brain cells of oxygen until they die. For those, the clot-busting drug TPA can mean the difference between permanent brain injury or recovery -- but only if patients receive intravenous TPA within three hours of the first symptoms. Yet fewer than 5 per cent of stroke sufferers get TPA in time. And of those treated, it only helps about 30 per cent, because the clot is often too big or tough for TPA to bust. Enter Penumbra, an option for patients who miss out on early care -- it can be tried up to eight hours after a stroke strikes -- or if standard TPA treatment fails. Specialists thread a tiny tube inside a blood vessel at the groin and push it up the body and into the brain until it reaches the clog. Just like a vacuum cleaner, it sucks up the clot bit by bit to restore blood flow. - Source

02/01/08 - Aerogenerator turbine sets sail for a greener future
KeelyNet The 144-metre high V-shaped structure would be mounted offshore and capable of generating up to 9 megawatts of electricity, roughly three times as much power as a conventional turbine of equivalent size. One of the problems with horizontal axis wind turbines (HAWT) is that the generators and gearboxes tend to be in an inaccessible position at the top of the structure's tower. This makes them difficult and costly to maintain, says Bird. Such designs also require gearing mechanisms to ensure they are always facing into the wind. By contrast, vertical axis wind turbines (VAWT) can harness the wind from any direction, allowing them to run more efficiently without the need for such mechanisms. A Darrieus turbine becomes unstable above a certain height. The biggest HAWTs are capable of producing 6MW of power and stand just short of 200m tall, but if you try to make them any bigger they start to become less efficient. Instead of being mounted on a tower with "egg whisk" blades that bow outwards and meet at the top - like a typical Darrieus - Sharpe's variation has two arms jutting out from its base to form a V-shape, with rigid "sails" mounted along their length at intervals. As the wind passes over these they act like aerofoils, generating lift which turns the structure as a whole at roughly three revolutions per minute, says Bird. Windpower recently carried out wind tunnel tests on a 6kW scaled version of the Aerogenerator at the New and Renewable Energy Centre in Blyth. These suggested that the predicted power outputs could be achieved. - Source

02/01/08 - Hot Liquids Release Harmful Chemical from Plastic Bottles
The endocrine disrupting chemical bisphenol-A, or BPA, is released when polycarbonate plastic is exposed to boiling water, according to University of Cincinnati scientists, whether the bottle is new or old. The chemical, which is widely used in products such as reusable water bottles, food can linings, water pipes and dental sealants, has been shown to affect reproduction and brain development in animal studies. Scott Belcher, PhD, and his team found when the same new and used polycarbonate drinking bottles were briefly exposed to boiling hot water, BPA was released up to 55 times more rapidly. Belcher's team analyzed used polycarbonate water bottles from a local climbing gym and purchased new bottles of the same brand from an outdoor retail supplier. All bottles were subjected to seven days of testing designed to simulate normal usage during backpacking, mountaineering and other outdoor adventure activities. The researchers found that the amount of BPA released from new and used polycarbonate drinking bottles was the same, both in quantity and speed of release, into cool or temperate water. But once the bottles were exposed to boiling water the speed of BPA release was 15 to 55 times faster, explains Belcher. BPA is one of many manufactured chemicals classified as endocrine disruptors, which alter the function of the endocrine system by mimicking the role of the body's natural hormones. - Source

02/01/08 - Vegetarianism proves to be perversion of nature
Vegetarians can be referred to as true fanatics. On the other hand, they are seriously misled in their beliefs. Practically nobody argues with them, since it is really difficult to convince a vegetarian of his or her self-deception. May be that is the reason why the vegetarian movement develops so actively around the globe and continues to recruit many new members. The human body is unable to generate all substances necessary for the production of cells. It has only 12 or 20 protein amino acids required for the process. The remaining chemicals are supposed to be delivered with food. Each and every human cell is supposed to be supplied with first class animal protein. Some may say that there is enough protein in vegetables (beans, for example) True, but recent studies show that vegetable protein can be digested only with the help of its animal analogue. The human body has its own preferences, by the way. Experts proved that our body requires and assimilates the following substances as construction materials: Egg white - 100% Soured milk - 90% Fresh milk - 83% Beef - 76% Cottage cheese - 75% Compare this data with that concerning vegetable protein: Wheat bread - 52% This is the main reason why dietitians recommend to consume 60 percent of animal protein and 40 percent of vegetable analogue from the daily ration. No vitamins and mineral substances are of any use if our organism does not receive animal protein. Like vegetable protein, they can not be digested without animal protein. Vegetarians, especially those of advanced age, usually face numerous health problems that are mainly caused with the shortage of animal protein. After two months of no-meat diet, the quantity of protein in the cardiac muscle decreases four times, which triggers the development of heart failure. The work of all other organs worsens soon after. A vegetarian man or woman may find themselves on the brink of dystrophy. - Source

02/01/08 - Russian designer invents flying rug for civil and military use
KeelyNet The Evolution aircraft is capable of traveling on land, water and air. “This is a universal kind of transportation. It can fly at the height of 4,000 meters above the ground and cover the distance of up to 400 kilometers without additional refueling. Its 30 horse-power motor allows to develop the speed of 160 km/h in the air and 80 km/h on land. An on-board computer controls pilot’s actions,” Alexander Begak told ITAR-TASS. Unlike heavy aircraft of modern-day aviation, Evolution is easy to transport. It is made of ultra-light coal-plastic and kevlar fibers. The total weight of the aircraft makes up only 60 kilos. The fragile as it may seem construction of the aircraft is protected with the hull made of ultra-strong materials. It is worthy of note that ultra-light aircraft can come in handy for non-civil purposes too. Evolution can serve as reconnaissance aircraft invisible to radars due to its plastic equipment. It can patrol frontiers, conduct day and night photography, mapping and monitoring. - Source

02/01/08 - New Cure for Impotence: Frog Juice!
In Peru, Extracto de rana or frog juice is a popular drink touted to cure asthma, bronchitis and …. impotence! You go to the market stall and you pick your frogs from a tank. The vendor takes them out and bangs them against the table to kill them. Then she peels the skin off them and she fills the blender with hot white bean broth, some honey, raw aloe vera and a generous portion of maca. Then she adds your plucked frogs and she turns the blender on. And voila, a delicious warm glass of frog juice. - Source

02/01/08 - Ford Testing 120mpg Plug-In Hybrid SUV
KeelyNet The Ford Escape Plug-In Hybrid that is currently being evaluated in Southern California is capable of up to 120mpg. 20 vehicles have been delivered to Southern California Edison, who will run them as part of their fleet for two years. For the first 30 miles after a full charge, the Plug-In Escape delivers 4.5 times the mpg of the regular non-hybrid Escape. It takes six to eight hours to fully charge the Lithium Ion batteries from a standard 120-volt outlet; once that charge is depleted, the vehicle operates like a normal Escape Hybrid. - Source

02/01/08 - 10 Sci-Fi Techs We Could Build If They Weren't So Damn Expensive
Possibility isn't limited by technology. And it's certainly not limited by human imagination. What makes something impossible is the lack of cold, hard, cash. - Source

02/01/08 - Geothermal Power in Alaska Offers New Renewable Energy
The whine of the power plant sounds like a jet engine as refrigerant blasts through the turbine at 1000 mph. Though the equipment is compact, the din fills the vast hangar, and mechanical engineer Gwen Holdmann has to shout to be heard: “What you see here is very Alaskan. It’s not painted. It’s not pretty. But it’s real.” I place my hand on the steel door capping the plant’s evaporator; it’s warm to the touch, filled with Alaska’s most promising new energy source-plain water. At Chena Hot Springs Resort, a visionary owner and an ingenious engineer tap into one of the world's most overlooked energy resources - not fossil fuels - to produce electricity, heat buildings and soon, they hope, generate hydrogen. - Source

02/01/08 - Stranded at a U.S. airport? Don't forget Rule 240
KeelyNet ...I was scheduled to fly on Delta from Pensacola to Miami. When I got to the counter, the agent told me the flight was canceled. She volunteered nothing else. So I calmly suggested that she invoke Rule 240. Once she knew that I knew the rule - and only then - did she rewrite my ticket, and those of the passengers in line behind me, and we got to Miami that day on an unusual routing: Pensacola to New Orleans and then on to Miami. Rule 240 allowed me to get to where I needed to go. I've written about Rule 240 for years. And yet, every time I tell people about it, there are those who claim that my information is either out of date or plain wrong. That's led to more confusion, and in at least one case a writer argued that I had simply fabricated Rule 240 out of thin air. Well, I didn't make up Rule 240. It was created by the old Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) way before the days of airline deregulation. And the rule clearly stated what an airline's responsibilities were to passengers in the event of a flight cancellation or delay... / Rule 240 states that in the event of any flight delay or cancellation caused by anything other than weather, the airline would fly me on the next available flight - not their next available flight, which might not leave for another 24 hours. - Source / Additional information - Don't Fly Without A Copy Of Rule 240 - Before your next flight, print out a copy of the airline's Rule 240. Here for your convenience, they are listed for many major American airlines.

02/01/08 - China 'will stop the rain' for Olympics
CHINESE weather boffins say they have stopped the rain from falling in experiments aimed at guaranteeing a dry opening ceremony at August's Olympic Games. With no roof on the showpiece Bird's Nest stadium, the Beijing Meteorological Bureau has been charged with developing methods of preventing wet weather spoiling what promises to be a spectacular start to the Games on the evening of August 8. "Our experiments with rain mitigation have been aimed at light rain," said Zhang Qian, head of weather manipulation at the bureau. / The Chinese are among the world's leaders in what is called "weather modification," but they have more experience creating rain than preventing it. In fact, the techniques are virtually the same. Cloud-seeding is a relatively well-known practice that involves shooting various substances into clouds, such as silver iodide, salts and dry ice, that bring on the formation of larger raindrops, triggering a downpour. But Chinese scientists believe they have perfected a technique that reduces the size of the raindrops, delaying the rain until the clouds move on. The weather modification would be used only on a small area, opening what would be in effect a meteorological umbrella over the 91,000-seat Olympic stadium. The $400-million stadium, nicknamed the "bird's nest" for its interlacing steel beams, has no roof. - Source

02/01/08 - Electronics Projects, Articles and more
For those who like to experiment, I received this url as a confirmation link so decided to post it if you'd like to check it out. They also have links to many other electronics project sites. - Source

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

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

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