07/30/07 - Smart floors convert footsteps to free energy
Researchers at MIT are working on a special floor that harnesses energy from footsteps, turning your walking into lighting above your head. The fancy, efficient floors could be used in commuter-heavy areas like airports or shopping malls, helping cut down on energy consumption and making such places more self-reliant. The floors will feel a bit different than normal floors however, depressing a bit when stepped on. The effect will feel like walking on solid sand, so we'll have to wait and see if that odd sensation will prevent people from installing it.
07/30/07 - 42.8% Efficient Solar Cell
The University of Delaware has achieved a record-breaking combined solar cell efficiency of 42.8% from sunlight at standard terrestrial conditions. Combined with the demonstrated efficiency performance of the very high efficiency solar cells’ spectral splitting optics, which is more than 93%, these recent results put the pieces in place for a solar cell module with a net efficiency 30% greater than any previous module efficiency and twice the efficiency of state-of-the-art silicon solar cell modules. The highly efficient VHESC solar cell uses a novel lateral optical concentrating system that splits solar light into three different energy bins of high, medium and low, and directs them onto cells of various light sensitive materials to cover the solar spectrum. The system delivers variable concentrations to the different solar cell elements. The concentrator is stationary with a wide acceptance angle optical system that captures large amounts of light and eliminates the need for complicated tracking devices. Modern solar cell systems rely on the concentration of sunlight. The previous best of 40.7% efficiency was achieved with a high concentration device that requires sophisticated tracking optics and features a concentrating lens the size of a table and more than 30 centimeters, or about 1 foot, thick. The UD consortium’s devices are potentially far thinner at less than 1 centimeter.
07/30/07 - Healthcare is 'financial catastrophe' for millions
(I saw SICKO last night, it really shows the problem as corrupt politicians and greedy HMOs. It reported 4 health care lobbyists for every congressman among other revealing points. It also highlights the French, English, Canadian and Cuban universal health care systems and how the media is being used to report terrible healthcare THERE when it is as good or better than in the US and all paid by their government. But no, we have to spend TRILLIONS in other countries on bogus wars! - JWD) SICKO, Michael Moore's new film, reveals the terrible healthcare decisions that some Americans have to make. For example, one man stitched up a gash in his own knee because professional care would be too costly. But the World Health Organization says people in poorer countries have to make similar decisions far more regularly, and the impact is often devastating. WHO researchers studied 89 national surveys of domestic spending and found that worldwide, 150 million households suffer "financial catastrophe" each year due to healthcare costs. “150 million households suffer financial catastrophe each year due to healthcare costs” The biggest impact is in Brazil and Vietnam, where 10 per cent of households each year are affected. Families in richer nations also suffer: rates for Switzerland and the US exceed 0.5 per cent (Health Affairs, DOI: 10.1377/hlthaff.26.4.972). In each case the severity of the problem is linked to how much people have to pay for treatment relative to public funding.
07/30/07 - Surface Ozone Reduces Plant Growth and Add to Global Warming
Scientists from three UK research institutes-the Met Office, the University of Exeter and the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology-have found that projections of increasing levels of ozone near the Earth’s surface could lead to significant reductions in regional plant production and crop yields. Their research is published online in the journal Nature. Tropospheric (near-surface) ozone has doubled since 1850 due to emissions associated with fossil fuel and biomass burning, and further increases are expected over the twenty-first century.
07/30/07 - Military researchers creating soothsaying "Crystal Ball" software
"Deep Green" uses a variety of approaches to first gather information about what's currently happening on a battlefield, and then extrapolates the likelihood of outcomes if various actions are taken. After listening to a military planner's opinions about the current situation, and mixing that with some of his drawings, the "sketch to plan" part of the software gathers all the information about what the commanding officer would like to do. Then the "sketch to decide" module displays storyboards showing what will probably happen if each plan is carried out. The quick punch part of the software is "Blitzkrieg," which rapidly deduces what might be the best course of action, and then there's "Crystal Ball," which computes likely outcomes from thousands of possibilities, presenting the best ones to the field generals.
07/30/07 - Visible light pulses knock out viruses in blood
(This is similar to the patented German invention to cure AIDS and other diseases. It runs live blood through a quartz tube irradiated by UV. The blood 'cold boils' and turns a bright scarlet as the viruses are killed, then it is filtered and returned to the body. - JWD) The technique destroys a virus with a pulse of light from a low-power laser. The pulse produces mechanical vibrations in the virus shell, or capsid, irreversibly damaging and disintegrating it, and so "deactivating" the virus for good. The technique might be used to kill HIV, as well as hepatitis C, say the researchers involved. Traditional methods of destroying viruses, such as UV irradiation, can cause mutations, which eventually make the micro-organisms resistant. UV light can also damage the DNA of surrounding healthy cells. Scientists have also tried using microwaves to kill viruses but this is even less promising since the water in and around a micro-organism strongly absorbs this frequency of light. Most of the energy from the microwave radiation is absorbed by the water and does not even reach the virus itself. The researchers applied pulses of purple-coloured light lasting just 100 femtoseconds (10-15 seconds) to viruses called M13 bacteriophages. It takes just a single pulse to destroy the viruses completely, say the researchers. The "power density" of the laser is just 50 megawatts per square centimetre, which is low enough to leave surrounding human cells and tissue undamaged, but high enough to produce large-amplitude vibrations in a virus's capsid. It is also too low to cause genetic mutations, meaning the virus will not build up resistant to the treatment over time. Disinfecting blood - Tsen told New Scientist that the technique could be used to disinfect blood or other biological samples in hospitals. "In addition, we believe that the method may be especially important in designing novel treatments for blood-borne viral diseases," he said. "For example blood dialysis allows us to irradiate a patient's blood outside the body and potentially cleanse it of infectious virus particles before reintroducing it into the patient. In this way, we could reduce mortality associated with diseases like hepatitis C and AIDS." The team now plans to test the efficacy of its technique in killing a wide range of deadly viruses, including HIV and hepatitis C. "We also plan to conduct further tests on the effects of the low-power visible laser on mammalian cells to determine any potential side effects and confirm that it selectively kills viruses," said Tsen. / Patent 6,113,566 - Ultraviolet light produces a rapid detoxifying effect with subsidence of toxic symptoms. Venous oxygen is increased in patients with depressed blood oxygen values. Of special interest is that a rapid rise in resistance to acute or chronic viral and bacterial infection occurs. No harmful affects have been observed with UBI therapy in thousands of cases of viral infections, hepatitis, bacterial infections, hypoxemia and many other illnesses, especially blood-related infections. The diseases successfully treated with UBI include: (1) Atypical pneumonia; (2) Poliomyelitis and polioencephalitis; (3) Hepatitis; infectious and serum; (4) Influenza; (5) common upper respiratory disease; (6) Herpes simplex; (7) Herpes zoster; (8) Mumps; (9) Mononucleosis; and (10) measles. Moreover, preliminary reports indicate that UBI may be useful in treating HIV and research is currently under way to evaluate the effects of UBI on eliminating HIV from blood and blood products. If this research is successful, it would have major implications in ensuring the safety of blood in blood banks.
07/30/07 - Illegal 'cancer drug' website shut down
"Is DCA worth trying? We absolutely think so," proclaimed a website promoting the laboratory chemical sodium dichloroacetate (DCA) as a treatment for cancer earlier this year. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) clearly did not agree. Last week it visited the site's owners and told them to stop making and selling DCA from a sister website, or face criminal prosecution. Jim Tassano of Sonora, California, claims to have sold DCA to more than 2000 people, with no reports of serious side effects, via his website www.buydca.com. However, on the 17 July he posted the following message on the site. "Two agents from the FDA visited us today and ordered that we stop making and selling DCA. Unfortunately, the site www.buydca.com will be shut down. It is against US government law to sell substances with the suggestion that they are cancer treatments unless they are approved by the FDA. DCA can still be obtained from pharmacies with a prescription and from chemical companies." In an interview with New Scientist, Tassano told us: "We've seen cancers where it doesn't seem to respond at all [to DCA], but a lot of people have reported improvements in their symptoms." "I'm disappointed [that the FDA has shut the website down], but not surprised. It is an unapproved cancer treatment and we have become very high profile. I guess the pressure has got to be too much for the FDA," he said.
07/30/07 - Fake ATM Receipts
(This is just TOO funny a joke item to pass on! Can you imagine the gossip and looks you'd get from friends or at work? - JWD) When you go to the ATM, do you huddle around it protectively and then refuse a receipt because you don't want your friends to find out how broke you are? We don't. We prefer to complain about our near-empty bank accounts to anyone who will listen. If you're an ATM huddler, however, you can imagine how great it would be to "lose" an ATM receipt showing that you're fabulously wealthy in a potential partner's purse or on a blowhard co-worker's desk. But where might one find realistic-looking fake ATM receipts? That's where Custom Receipts comes in. It's a website that will make ATM receipts for you that show astronomically high bank balances (or low ones, if you're rich and need to pretend that you're broke in order to fit in). Fake receipts: $6 for four, or $15 for 52. Tricking the ladies into thinking you've got dough: priceless. (via http://blog.scifi.com)
07/30/07 - Homemade Hydropower - September 1933
Constructed of junk parts at a total cost of $20, a homemade hydroelectric power plant is supplying current on the farm of William E. Howell, Decatur Island, Wash. The water wheel is built up on half of a rear automobile axle, and the two-foot, V-shaped buckets are constructed of cedar planks. A thousand gallons of water a minute run down a 217-foot flume from a small creek and strike the buckets after a five-foot drop, spinning a one-fourth-horsepower, thirty-two-volt motor of washing machine type which is used as a generator. The electricity thus produced by the “backyard” hydroelectric station is sufficient to light two houses, the barn and outbuildings, to operate an electric washer, sewing machine, vacuum cleaner and sheep-shearing machine, and to run the builder’s amateur radio station, with which he talks to the mainland.
07/30/07 - Paris Buys Citizens Bikes
Paris, France has adopted an innovative, yet wonderfully simple, approach to reducing congestion and greenhouse-gas emissions in city limits. It's buying its citizens bikes. 22,000 of them. The program, paid for by an outdoor advertiser in exchange for the exclusive use of 1,628 urban billboards, allows people to rent the large gray bicycles at a rate 1 euro ($1.38) a day; a week pass costs 5 euros ($6.90) and a yearly subscription, 29 euros ($40). The fee gets you a maximum of 30 minutes' bike use at a time; ride for longer in one trip, and there's a small incremental fee. The time limit is intended to keep the bikes in circulation; however, you can use the program as many times as you like within the period for which you've bought a pass.
07/30/07 - Novel Chinese Windmill Waters Farm - October 1933
Adapting an Oriental idea for raising water for his own needs and to irrigate his fields, a California farmer has constructed the curious apparatus shown in the accompanying photographs. Power from a windmill, transmitted through gears, revolves a spiral-shaped tube of pipe open at both ends. The outside end dips into a water-filled ditch at each revolution. Water is thus picked up, and runs by gravity around the spiral to the hub as the wheel revolves. An opening in the hub dis-charges the water into a trough four feet above the level in the ditch, giving a sufficient lift for the irrigation purposes desired.
07/30/07 - Fuel plant faces criticism, lawsuit over odor
A test plant for converting poultry byproducts into fuel oil, heralded by its owners as a new alternative energy source, is in the cross hairs of the city's mayor and a private lawsuit seeking class-action status over odors from the facility. Renewable Energy Solutions has been plagued by repeated complaints from townspeople about strong smells. Gov. Matt Blunt ordered the plant shut down in December 2005, but RES reopened three months later after spending more than $3 million for new odor-control equipment. The plant, which started operation in May 2004, uses extreme heat and pressure to turn turkey waste from nearby packing plants into oil, gas and other materials. "I'm calling it a stink - not an odor - because that's what it is," said Mayor Jim Woestman. "RES has done things that have helped, but it hasn't solved it. It can still make you lose your appetite."
07/30/07 - Toyota Unveils Plug-in Hybrid Prius - 8 Miles per charge???
"Toyota has announced a plug-in hybrid vehicle, based on their popular Prius. So far, it will only have a range of 8 miles on the battery (13km). They are going to test this vehicle on the public roads, apparently a first for the industry. From the article: 'Unlike earlier gasoline-electric hybrids, which run on a parallel system twinning battery power and a combustion engine, plug-in cars are designed to enable short trips powered entirely by the electric motor, using a battery that can be charged through an electric socket at home. Many environmental advocates see them as the best available technology to reduce gasoline consumption and global-warming greenhouse gas emissions, but engineers say battery technology is still insufficient to store enough energy for long-distance travel.'"
07/30/07 - The Future of Putting Chips Inside Our Brains
"Researchers at the University of Florida (UF) have developed chips which someday might be inserted in the brains of people affected by epilepsy or who have lost a limb. These neuroprosthetic chips 'can interpret signals in the brain and stimulate neurons to perform correctly.' The University claims this is the future of medicine. This is maybe a little bit extreme. Just the same, the researchers are already studying these chips with rats and hope to have a prototype ready within 4 years that could be tested on humans."
07/30/07 - Divining Rod Tunes in on Ore - September 1934
(I did a US patent search and only found a Reflex Camera in 1959 by Walter Henning of Germany. - JWD) DEVELOPED on radioactive principles, a new divining rod has been perfected to tune in on underground minerals and water. The device, invented by Walter Henning, German engineer, consists of a vertical axis and horizontal arm from which a capsule is freely suspended. Into this capsule is inserted a given substance, which is said to respond to the radiations of the mineral sought. According to the inventor, the divining rod performs as soon as it comes near to the metal sought. It will point to the ore deposit, then turn on its axis, the number of turns indicating the depth below the surface where the ore can be found.
07/30/07 - Ad Types
At Slate: There Are 12 Kinds of Ads in the World. They are: 1. Demo 2. Show the need or problem 3. Use a symbol, analogy, or exaggerated graphic to show problem 4. Comparison 5. Exemplary story 6. Benefit causes story 7. Tell it (AKA Presenter or Testimonial) 8. Ongoing characters and celebrities 9. Symbol, analogy, or exaggerated graphic 10. Associated user imagery 11. Unique personality type 12. Parody or borrowed format
07/30/07 - Prohibition politics - Looking for Revenue from Legalized Drugs
The standard, schoolbook history of alcohol prohibition in the United States goes like this: Americans in 1920 embarked on a noble experiment to force everyone to give up drinking. Alas, despite its nobility, this experiment was too naive to work. It soon became clear that people weren't giving up drinking. Worse, it also became clear that Prohibition fueled mobsters who grew rich supplying illegal booze. So, recognizing the futility of Prohibition, Americans repealed it in 1934. Despite pleas throughout the 1920s by journalist H.L. Mencken and a tiny handful of other sensible people to end Prohibition, Congress gave no hint that it would repeal this folly. Prohibition appeared to be here to stay -- until income-tax revenues nose-dived in the early 1930s. From 1930 to 1931, income-tax revenues fell by 15 percent. In 1932 they fell another 37 percent; 1932 income-tax revenues were 46 percent lower than just two years earlier. And by 1933 they were fully 60 percent lower than in 1930. With no end of the Depression in sight, Washington got anxious for a substitute source of revenue. That source was liquor sales. So, if the history of alcohol prohibition is a guide, drug prohibition will not end merely because there are many sound, sensible and humane reasons to end it. Instead, it will end only if and when Congress gets desperate for another revenue source.
07/30/07 - Allergic to cats? Try dander under your tongue
(YECCHHH! No WAY...Get a DOG! - JWD) Cat dander is the infinitesimal bits of dried saliva that are present on your cat's skin. These flakes are the culprits that cause your allergy to flare up. / People who are allergic to cats may not have to get rid of their pets to find relief, if the findings of a new study hold up. Tolerance to cats can be built up in allergic kids by placing increasing doses of standardized cat dander extract under the tongue, according to Spanish researchers. In the medical journal Allergy, Dr. Emilio Alvarez-Cuesta of Hospital Ramon y Cajal, Madrid, and colleagues note that a first-line step for people with cat allergy is to remove cats from the home. However, this is often rejected or is not entirely effective, leaving immunotherapy as the only treatment...
07/28/07 - Molecular Chaos observed
(Think check valve/diode to possibly entrain this force! - JWD) Molecular chaos is an assumption that the velocities of colliding particles are uncorrelated and independent of position. An example of molecular chaos is the air in any room. While the nitrogen and oxygen atoms are flying around with some average square speed because of the temperature in the room, they are not related, so the air does not spontaneously fly off in one direction of the room without some sort of external pressure change, like a window opening. The molecular chaos assumption, which is part of the kinetic theory of gases, is widely thought to be true because everything else that arises and follows from that assumption works so well. However, it has been nearly impossible to prove the assumption, until now. Olafsen, in collaboration with Dr. G. William Baxter, associate professor of physics at Pennsylvania State University - Erie, constructed two “gases,” or layers, of ball bearings. In the layer where molecular chaos held, researchers measured Maxwell Boltzmann statistics, like those that predict the mean square speed of particles in the air in the room. In the layer where the assumption of molecular chaos failed, the statistics did not obey Maxwell Boltzmann statistics. Perhaps the most interesting part, researchers said, is that the two “gases” were in contact with each other while simultaneously demonstrating their respective behavior. “The two layers can be thought of as two gases simultaneously in thermal contact, and yet, one of the gases demonstrates molecular chaos while the other does not,” Olafsen said. “It means that the particulars of how energy is injected and distributed within the two gases is important to understanding when a system will demonstrate molecular chaos.”
07/28/07 - The Electric Airplane
Sonex Aircraft and AeroConversions Products unveiled yesterday its E-Flight Initiative," and with it, a prototype ELECTRIC AIRPLANE. The quiet new flying machine is a light sport aircraft with an unusual combination of a v-tail plus tailwheel configuration. The powerplant reveals plans to build 10 battery "safe boxes" each with 8 Li-Poly battery packs per box. / The motor, said Schaible, is more than 90 percent efficient... and the most powerful of its kind. In regard to battery power, most contemporary electric powerplants for gas-electric and pure electric cars and previous generations of RC electric vehicles utilize Lithium Ion battery technology. While much improved in power density and discharge rate over lead-acid and NiCad batteries, Li-Ion batteries still do not offer sufficient power discharge-to-weight ratio to support an electric powerplant for an aircraft based on battery power alone with market-viable endurance. Newer RC electric vehicles, cell phones, laptop computers and other mobile devices have been moving toward Lithium Polymer cells, which can safely discharge at a rate of 25 times their capacity, or "25c." The so-called "E-Flight Team" engineered and constructed 10 battery "safe boxes" to contain eight Li-Poly battery packs per box and consolidate their charge/discharge and balancing wiring into two sets of multi-pin connectors. The boxes will accommodate natural cell expansion and contraction while safely securing each cell pack and facilitating cell cooling with "cooling foam" padding. The boxes are designed to contain and safely direct fire or explosion within the box through a "blow hole" in the box connected to a small exhaust manifold. For the proof-of-concept plane, the battery boxes are removed and charged individually. Further generations of safer, more powerful Li-Poly batteries show the near-term possibility of further extended flight durations, from the current 45 minutes to one hour, while personal electronics and transportation will undoubtedly continue to push improvement of the technology in years to come. And in regard to price? "Any (final) product will be vastly less expensive than other things out there." In fact, said Schaible, the entire research and development for the project is less than the cost of a ready-to-fly LSA.
07/28/07 - Opposites Interfere
If single quantum particles can exist in two places at once, and interfere with themselves in predictable patterns, what happens when there are two quantum particles? Can they interfere with each other? Prof. Mordehai Heiblum of the Weizmann Institute’s Condensed Matter Physics Department and his research team have been experimenting with electrons fired across special semiconductor devices. Quantum mechanics predicts that two electrons can indeed cause the same sort of interference as that of a single electron - on one condition: that the two are identical to the point of being indistinguishable. Heiblum and his team showed that, because of such interference, these two particles are entangled - the actions of one are inextricably tied to the actions of the other - even though they come from completely different sources and never interact with each other. The team’s findings recently appeared in the journal Nature. Dr. Izhar Neder and Nissim Ofek, together with Drs. Yunchul Chung, Diana Mahalu, and Vladimir Umansky, fired such identical electron pairs from opposite sides of their device, toward detectors that were placed two to a side of the device. In other words, each pair of detectors could detect the two particles arriving in one of two ways: particle 1 in detector 1 and particle 2 in detector 2, or, alternatively, particle 2 in detector 1 and particle 1 in detector 2. Since these two “choices” are indistinguishable, the choices interfere with each other in the same way as the two possible paths of a single quantum particle interfere. The scientists then investigated how the choice of one particle affected the pathway taken by the other, and found strong correlations between them. These correlations could be affected by changing, for example, the length of the path taken by one particle. This is the first time an oscillating interference pattern between two identical particles has been observed, proving, once again, the success of quantum theory.
07/28/07 - Device Conduit Technologies intros new EV battery
A San Francisco-based company says it's scaling up to deliver a new, longer-lasting electric and hybrid vehicle battery pack in volume. Device Conduit Technologies says its DCT RackPack™ Massively Intermoduled Battery (MIB) pack can finally deliver 100 to 300 mile range to electric and hybrid vehicles at affordable prices. The pack uses large numbers of "ordinary batteries," the company said, without specifying their quantities or chemistries, in "new energy containers managed wirelessly so that your car can talk to you and administrate your vehicle, home and portable power." DCT says it has two issued patents and two patents pending.
07/28/07 - Capturing power of sun to electrify poor nations
A group of Massachusetts Institute of Technology graduate students has developed a solar energy system that generates electricity, heating, and cooling - using little more than sheet metal and car parts and $US100,000 ($A115,000) in World Bank funding. They hope to turn their invention into a viable business, under the name Promethean Power. Mr Orosz wanted to provide electric power, refrigeration and hot water to people without electricity. He and some MIT colleagues designed a set of mirrors that focus sunlight on tubes filled with coolant. The hot coolant turns to pressurised vapor, which turns a turbine to make electricity. The leftover heat can be used to warm a tank of water and to run a refrigerator, using a gas-absorption process that chills liquid ammonia by first heating it. Such a system needs pumps and coolant condensers, which may be hard to obtain and maintain in a poor country. But Mr Orosz designed his system to rely on components for cars, which are common even in poor countries. Spare parts are readily available, and so are people with skills to replace things that break. Mr Grama estimates that building one of the systems will cost about $US5000, and that the price could fall to $US3000 if the solar systems are mass-produced. Yet each would produce enough power to run a small business, such as a grocery store or restaurant. Aside from electricity to run lights, the chemical refrigerator could be used to preserve food, and the leftover heat would deliver hot water.
07/28/07 - $19.95 Inkjet Head Cleaner Software
Harvey the Headcleaner™, a computer program that will reduce, if not eliminate inkjet printer head clogging, has just come on the market. Harvey is the brainchild of Gainesville, Florida, entrepreneur and inventor Richard Hilton, and was developed by computer programmer Patrick Flahan of Odessa, Florida. Hilton, president of Hilton Images, Inc., has manufactured laser sublimation toner cartridges under the brand name SubToner™ since 1999, and recently became an authorized distributor for Sawgrass Technologies sublimation products for inkjets. Since the inception of SubToner, Hilton heard customers complain about clogged heads, which often can be deadly for an inkjet printer. If an inkjet printer is not used on a regular basis, ink dries in the printer heads and clogging may result. Harvey sends a specifically timed message from the computer to the printer, telling it to print a special page, which causes just enough ink to run through the printer to prevent clogging. Full mechanics and specifics of the clogging phenomenon and how Harvey works are available on the website, www.harveyheadcleaner.com All that Harvey requires is a computer connection to the inkjet printer and plain paper in the printer. Harvey the Headcleaner customers just go to the website, www.harveyheadcleaner.com, pay $19.95, and download and install Harvey for their specific printer. Harvey is easy to set up to meet each user’s needs. From then on, Harvey is on the job, keeping heads clog-free.
07/28/07 - Aussie Drought Busting Invention for Gardens and Lawns
Paul O'Callaghan is a former farm hand from the Aussie outback who got so tired of carting buckets of wastewater from the bath to his parched garden that he invented a better way to do it with one trip, not twenty seven! Paul's Waterleech invention is a portable, shower/bath/washing machine water collection unit, which can keep America's gardens and lawns blooming through the drought. The unit is about to be launched in the US. The Waterleech or 'little Aussie sucker,' literally sucks up the 'grey' water from showers, baths and washing machines into a 16-gallon unit on easy-roll wheels; it can then be wheeled outside to water gardens and lawns, without using precious water resources.
The Waterleech is about the size of an upright vacuum cleaner. Twelve volt, rechargeable batteries power the whisper-quiet twin pumps. The units come with an array of sprinkler attachments, drip irrigators, lawn soakers and hoses with nozzles. The centrepiece of Paul O'Callaghan's technology is the patented but unsexy sounding 'universal plug hole collection grommet'. The 'grommet' fits over any size plughole where it sucks or collects up to 90% of the water before it wastes away down the drain. The Waterleech has the potential to recycle over 10,000 gallons per year - sufficient to keep household gardens blooming throughout the driest drought. The Waterleech is available from www.waterleech.us. It retails for around $1000 plus tax. Editor's notes: The Waterleech allows Grey Water to be used on gardens, rather than letting it go to waste and using resources to take it away to be processed or wasted elsewhere. Grey Water recyling is used extensively in Australia. Grey Water recycling will eventually become a fact of life in the US, so now is a good time to start, with each household able to save around 10,000 gallons per year.
07/28/07 - Protecting Yourself From Invention-Promotion Scams
It's a common story, yet it breaks my heart every time someone tells me their version: An aspiring inventor sends his or her product to an invention promotion company, pays a large fee (often their entire savings) and gets nothing in return. Not only have they been embarrassed, but they've also been depleted of the money they could've used to further develop their product. Be aware of a company that promises too much using these tactics: * They promise free information on how to patent and market your invention. * They claim to have special agreements with manufacturers looking to license new products or even claim to represent these manufacturers. * They require "a small initial investment" to conduct a "feasibility" or "marketability" study and patent search. * They present a flashy marketing plan that is professionally bound, with a completed patent search and conclusion that claims the enormous potential for the success of your invention. * They guarantee a successful patent -- or your money back. (Remember, most patented inventions never get to market anyway.) * They use "shills" -- people paid to give good references and testimonials about your product. * At last they need another investment to get your product to market. Many have fallen for the adage "it takes money to make money." * Once you pay, they avoid your calls and rarely return them.
07/28/07 - Pantone GEET Inventor in trouble
(The title for this was 'Fuel Injected Lunatic' but I know Paul and he is NOT a lunatic, nice guy with an interesting technology. - JWD) The state wants Pantone competent so he can be sentenced on two charges of securities fraud, to which he pleaded guilty in October 2004. Concerns over Pantone’s ability to understand legal proceedings after his plea agreement led Hansen to commit him for evaluation Dec. 12, 2005, to the male forensic unit in the Utah State Hospital, which lies at the base of the east bench in Provo. But, because of the lack of available hospital beds, he spent the next three and a half months in Salt Lake County Jail before he was admitted. Four hospital staff evaluations found him incompetent. Related to his treatment, court documents state, “He exhibits grandiose and persecutory delusions, complicated by a personality disorder and a history of substance abuse.” This institutionally imposed silence must be frustrating to a man who, for decades, hawked inventions to a highly skeptical world. Extraordinary Technology magazine publisher Steve Elswick says Pantone’s a very accomplished inventor. He’s also, Elswick says, outspoken and egotistical. “You’ve got to be somewhat egotistical to believe you can do something everyone else says is impossible.” Not everyone. Alternative-energy obsessives scattered across the United States have long followed Pantone’s litigious battles with ex-partners and his largely undocumented claims for his 20-year-old invention, Global Environmental Energy Technology (GEET), with fascination. And then there are those seeking to get rich quick by investing in a device that Pantone claims offers, when attached to an automobile engine, not only clean exhaust, but also double or even triple the gas mileage. Along with substantial anecdotal evidence from friends, teachers, students and investors that the device does reduce emissions-within limitations-a number of Pantone’s supporters say they have witnessed a GEET-modified engine run on a little gasoline, water, cat urine, Coke and pickle juice while in a closed room for several hours without suffering from ill effects. But their claims don’t stop there. Supporters say disgruntled investors have conspired to frame Pantone with false fraud charges in order to steal his patent.
07/28/07 - DIY gadget repair with FixYa
Web site FixYa aggregates user-submitted instructions for fixing consumer electronics, from your digital camera and laptop to your dishwasher. In essence, FixYa is a glorified forum with a smart focus on finding and organizing solutions for consumer product support. If you have a problem with a product, you can ask for support on FixYa; alternately, if you know how to fix a product, you can offer your solutions (and possibly earn a few bucks for answers). FixYa is young, but it already has a fairly large base of troubleshooting questions and answers.
07/28/07 - Pay-As-You-Go Software for the Developing World
(Interesting business model, subscriptions by use. - JWD) Microsoft tries to win customers in South Africa with a subscription service for Office. In South Africa, a legal copy of the Professional version of Microsoft Office can cost more than $700. That makes the software beyond the reach of many personal-computer users, and even small businesses. So Microsoft South Africa has launched a "Pre-Paid Edition" of Office that comes bundled with new computers. A buyer can choose to pay $30 for three months of usage, and then resubscribe to the service every three months after that.
07/28/07 - Power from new wood waste energy plant
“This is truly the way to go in the state of Florida.” Progress Energy Florida said Thursday it will partner with a renewable energy company to purchase electricity produced from waste wood. Atlanta-based Biomass Gas & Electric plans to build its plant in Liberty County. It is expected to produce enough power for 46,000 homes and be on line by 2011. The partnership was announced at the governor's mansion. 'These companies have stepped up to the plate, they're doing the right thing and I couldn't be more proud of them,' said Gov. Charlie Crist, who signed orders that will require power companies to increase renewable energy use and lower carbon dioxide emissions.
07/28/07 - Oil from shale could meet need
Technology to draw oil from rock in Rocky Mountain states and other unconventional sources is getting another look from companies and the government as the demand for energy increases and supply tightens, especially in the United States. The United States holds 60 percent of the world's shale. Shell expects to extract from 3.5 to 5 barrels for each barrel of energy used, Boak said, by heating the rocks underground for three or four years, after which the oil seeps through cracks so it can be pumped out. It's relatively efficient, he explained, because it partially refines the kerogen underground and brings it to the surface as fuels requiring little processing: naphtha, diesel and kerosene.
07/28/07 - Toxic Pollution info kept Secret
The Bush administration has proposed the first-ever rollbacks to the public’s right-to-know about toxic pollution. These rollbacks jeopardize toxic pollution information and keep communities, emergency responders and state regulators in the dark. Despite overwhelming public opposition, the administration is proceeding with its plan to allow polluters to withhold information about the toxic pollution they release into our communities and environment. Every year, factories and manufacturers release thousands of tons of dangerous pollutants, toxic metals, and poisonous fumes into our air, water and urban centers. To counter this problem, in 1987 Congress created the Toxic Release Inventory. The “TRI” program mandates full disclosure when companies release toxics into our air, land, and water, as well as report when toxic waste is treated, burned, recycled, or disposed of. Now, however, the Bush Administration is caving to powerful interests in the chemical industry by working to strip us of our right to know when companies pollute our neighborhoods by weakening the TRI regulations.
07/28/07 - Sewerage systems of the future?
The deep green reeds, yellow water lilies and gently splashing water simply look like an attractive water feature. But in fact, this Sustainable Urban Drainage System (Suds) could be the future of sewerage management. "This is using technology and engineering to slow the water down from when it comes from the sky to when it gets into the river" says Simon Hughes, flood risk assessor from the Environment Agency. "It uses the lakes to make sure that heavy rain doesn't run into the system too quickly". Instead of going into the sewers, the water is collected, filtered and stored in tanks buried in the garden. It can then be used for flushing the loo or for washing - reducing water use by up to 50% and also helping to manage the water cycle. Building experts say these sustainable methods of managing water could be made compulsory within two years.
07/26/07 - ForTwo Plugin Electric car testing in London
London was chosen because it is regarded as one of the least car-friendly cities in the world. Businesses in the central area not only have to cope with the £8(US$16) - a-day congestion fee, but also face high parking charges and heavy traffic density. The electric version is powered by a 40bhp motor, can go up to 70 miles before the battery goes flat and has a top speed of 70mph. Recharging is done through a standard electrical power point and costs about £1.20, producing the equivalent of 60g/km of carbon dioxide emissions at the power station, Smart says. That's a far lower figure than any petrol or diesel car in the world. A full recharge takes about eight hours, but the battery can be topped up from 80% drained to 80% charged in about three-and-a-half hours.
07/26/07 - Avoid the BioFuel Bubble
An old Midwestern maxim deems a corn crop healthy if it’s ``knee-high by the fourth of July.’’ Yet when it comes to the expectations that corn-based ethanol will cure America’s dependence on foreign oil, the hype is way over everyone’s head. Running the numbers on how much land could be put into production for corn-based ethanol makes it clear how little of the fuel could be produced to help curb America’s energy gluttony, Bloomberg said. There isn’t enough suitable land for corn growing to make a significant dent in America’s voracious energy needs. Yet that hasn’t stopped ethanol investors or a wave of irrational exuberance from Wall Street to Brazil. You can see the ethanol frenzy at more and more gasoline stations. The number of fueling outlets providing gasoline with ``E85,’’ or gas containing 85 percent ethanol, is now more than 1,200, compared with less than 750 stations last year, to service more than 4.5 million flexible-fuel vehicles, according to the National Ethanol Vehicle Coalition. There are 110 ethanol plants running in the US, with 73 more under construction. Say you were able to cultivate every acre of Illinois for corn-based ethanol. This is purely hypothetical as it would involve bulldozing Chicago and other cities and towns in the Prairie State. As an Illinois resident surrounded by cornfields, fleeing demolition is not my relocation fantasy. One of the potentially most productive corn-growing states on the planet would yield about 5.7 billion bushels of corn and 16 billion gallons of ethanol, according to Charles Washburn, professor emeritus at California State University in Flagstaff, Arizona. He has researched the subject over the past 45 years. The Illinois mega-crop would provide only 0.8 percent of annual US gasoline and diesel-fuel use, Washburn estimates, subtracting the energy it takes to create ethanol. Of course, US energy consumption isn’t a static beast. Washburn further projects that ``a new corn field the size of Illinois would be required to meet our transportation energy growth every seven months.’’ Even if every bushel of US corn, wheat, rice and soybean were used to produce ethanol, it would only cover about 4 percent of US energy needs on a net basis, Washburn estimates.
07/26/07 - Can U.S. Adopt Europe's Fuel-Efficient Cars?
Whether by presidential order or congressional mandate, car makers in the foreseeable future will likely have to build fleets that average about 35 miles per gallon. But what kinds of cars and trucks will gasoline-guzzling Americans drive to achieve that average? The answer would seem to lie in Europe, where fuel prices are roughly double U.S. levels amid heavy taxation and more than half of the vehicles bought have diesel-powered engines. Vehicles in Europe meet the magic average of 35 mpg. But there are aspects of the European model that, for now, make it less likely to work easily in the U.S. For one thing, cars in Europe are more expensive, pound for pound, and typically far less powerful than the vehicles Americans have come to expect. In the U.S. today, about 70% of car and truck sales sport six- or eight-cylinder engines. In Europe, 89% of vehicles sold have a four-cylinder or smaller engine, according to the Alliance for Automobile Manufacturers, a trade group representing nine auto makers from three continents. Auto makers also contend stricter mileage rules will force them to build less-safe vehicles -- the crux of the argument being that lighter vehicles fare worse in crashes. The National Academy of Sciences says technology exists to improve fuel economy without sacrificing safety but notes that high costs could motivate car makers to downsize vehicles to meet higher fuel mileage targets. Detroit's auto makers warn tougher mileage rules could be devastating at a time when they are bleeding red ink in their core North American operations. Even Toyota Motor Corp. and Honda Motor Co. -- models of fuel efficiency -- fear tougher rules, depending on how they are written. The mileage of a 2007 five-door European Ford Focus is 25 miles per gallon in urban driving and 42 mpg in driving outside of urban areas.
07/26/07 - Oil to hit $100 in 2008, Predicts Bank
A "steady ascent" of crude oil prices toward $100 (U.S.) a barrel continues, but the predicted date when that level will be hit remains a moving target, according to a CIBC World Markets report Wednesday. The investment banking division of the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (TSX: CM) predicts "new record highs of $80 a barrel this year and reaching as high as $100 a barrel by the end of 2008 as soaring oil demand outpaces growth in global supply." U.S. crude price could top $90 a barrel this autumn and hit $95 by the end of the year if OPEC keeps oil production capped at current levels, Goldman Sachs said in a report issued on Monday.
07/26/07 - HyWet Hydrogen car for sale in August
According to the Copenhagen Post the first prototype of the Hywet car will roll out of the garage in August, powered by fuel cells running on hydrogen. The two-passenger Hywet, equiped with a 13 kW electric motor, a stack of high temperature PEM fuelcells and a Lithium Ion-battery; can accelerate surprisingly briskly to a speed of 80 km. At current prices for hydrogen the Hywet can be fuelled up for US$19.00 (€13.50), making it competitive with conventional gasoline and diesel-powered cars. The first prototype cost about DKK 1 million, but Mikael Kau of Cemtec predicted production models will go for about US$37,000 (€27,000), about the price of a traditional mid-sized car in Denmark.
07/26/07 - Quantum to Supply Transportable Hydrogen Refueling Stations to GM
These units will be used to refuel GM's fuel cell vehicles, which are equipped with Quantum hydrogen fuel systems, at various locations, from vehicle proving grounds and public ride-and-drive events to fleet demonstrations. "Our transportable hydrogen refueling stations are designed to support our customers as they advance their hydrogen fuel cell vehicle initiatives and are helping to establish the foundation of a hydrogen refueling network," stated Alan P. Niedzwiecki, President and CEO. "The high pressure storage systems developed by Quantum, which these new refueling stations support, translate directly into a greater vehicle driving range for hydrogen fueled vehicles, a critical factor for the commercialization of fuel cell vehicles." Recently, GM announced that their Chevrolet Sequel fuel cell vehicle successfully drove a distance of 300 miles on one fill of hydrogen, from General Motors' Fuel Cell Activity Center in Honeoye Falls to Tarrytown, New York, becoming the world's first fuel cell vehicle to achieve that milestone. The Sequel is equipped with Quantum's integrated hydrogen storage system, comprised of Quantum's ultra-lightweight 10,000 psi (70 MPa) hydrogen tanks and related hydrogen regulation, metering, and safety systems.
07/26/07 - How Californians are being escheated
Escheat is a feudal concept that arose from the despotism of the Dark Ages. It stemmed from the principle that property rights depend upon the sufferance of the sovereign, and when a person dies or disappears without heirs, his property reverts to the feudal lord. California revived this medieval doctrine in 1959 and began seizing personal assets on the smarmy pretext that after a few years of account or safe-deposit box inactivity, property is obviously "lost," and the state needs to "protect" it by selling it off and depositing the proceeds into the general fund. Today in California, no one's property is safe. When a family sets aside an investment for college or retirement, it may be in for a nasty surprise just three years later. After a lifetime running a small shop, Benny and Sally Fong could have retired on their shares of Warren Buffett's holding company, Berkshire Hathaway, that had grown in value to more than $1 million. But when they tried to redeem their nest egg, they discovered the state Controller's Office had sold the shares - for just $171,000.
07/26/07 - Coal's Doubters Block New Wave Of Power Plants
From coast to coast, plans for a new generation of coal-fired power plants are falling by the wayside as states conclude that conventional coal plants are too dirty to build and the cost of cleaner plants is too high. If significant numbers of new coal plants don't get built in the U.S. in coming years, it will put pressure on officials to clear the path for other power sources, including nuclear power, or trim the nation's electricity demand, which is expected to grow 1.8% this year. As recently as May, U.S. power companies had announced intentions to build as many as 150 new generating plants fueled by coal, which currently supplies about half the nation's electricity. One reason for the surge of interest in coal was concern over the higher price of natural gas, which has driven up electricity prices in many places. Coal appeared capable of softening the impact since the U.S. has deep coal reserves and prices are low. The coal industry is looking for ways to make its product more palatable. Earlier this week, Peabody Energy and ConocoPhillips said they are exploring the possibility of constructing a coal-gasification plant at a mine in Illinois, Indiana or Kentucky that would convert coal into 50 billion to 70 billion cubic feet of pipeline-quality synthetic gas a year. It said it would have its analysis completed in early 2008. It would be cost competitive at $5 to $6 per million British thermal units, which is less than today's prices.
07/26/07 - Baby mammoth found in Siberia may be cloned
Enthusiast scientists hope to clone the baby mammoth that was found at Yamal, Siberia, by fusing the nucleus of a mammoth cell with an elephant egg cell stripped of its DNA. The initiator of this idea is Larry Agenbroad - the director of the Mammoth Site in Hot Springs, South Dakota. “This mammoth does not have any defects except for its tail was bit off. In terms of the state of preservation, it is the most valuable discovery of this kind in the world”, the deputy of the director of Russian Academy of Sciences Alexei Tikhonov said. Larry Agenbroad also marks that there are only 3 exemplars of little mammoths` remains in the world and that to find them in any condition is great luck.
07/26/07 - Are we falling for the great green con?
Planting a tree to 'offset' your holiday flight. Recycling the old banger for a new car. Eating organic food. Is this REALLY helping save the planet? Global warming is a terrible thing and we are all against it. So when a company offers to fight the dreaded climate change and - what's more - pay you handsomely to do so, only the most extreme cynic could surely, possibly, object. Take, for example, the latest wheeze from motor manufacturer Vauxhall. If you want to buy a new car, the company promises to give you £1,000 trade-in for your old car - regardless of its age and condition. What is more, the firm goes on to promise that your old car will then be scrapped, removing thousands of what the company calls "so-called bangers, emitting choking exhaust fumes into the atmosphere". Sound too good to be true? That's because it IS too good to be true. Vauxhall's "offer" is, in fact, no more than the latest in a growing list of climate cons - marketing ploys used by unscrupulous companies which use green propaganda to make you part with your cash. For the truth is that most, if not all, of these ploys have little to do with the environment and everything to do with profits. Of course, there's nothing wrong with profits, it's just that I wish companies would be more honest in their sales blurb. For instance, check into just about any hotel and you will be faced with signs piously asking you to help save the environment by reusing towels and not wasting water. Except, of course, the real reason is simple: the management wants you to help them cut their water and laundry bills. Sometimes, to reinforce the idea, the little card upon which the towel-plea is printed is decorated with fluffy clouds and other green icons. It would be more honest to say "Cut our costs and help the environment", but they don't. Take the issue of flying. We are now forced to feel we can assuage our guilt by buying into one of the many carbon-offset schemes on offer. The theory is simple: you can repair the damage created by your flight - in the form of emissions of carbon dioxide (the main man-made greenhouse gas) - or other profligate consumption, such as driving a gas-guzzling car, by paying an offset firm to fund the cutting of CO2 production elsewhere, for example by planting trees. British Gas seems obsessed with getting every house to buy a new boiler. They say we will save money, and also that we will save the Earth. However, they don't mention the healthy profit they will make (and the complicated carbon-calculations involved with making new gas boilers). Everywhere you go these days, you are invited to pay more to go green.
07/26/07 - Climate change already affecting rainfall
According to a paper published in the journal Nature, climate change is bringing more precipitation to northern Europe, Canada and northern Russia but less to swathes of sub-Saharan Africa, southern India and Southeast Asia. "[The changes] may have already had significant effects on ecosystems, agriculture and human regions that are sensitive to changes in precipitation, such as the Sahel," the researchers say. Scientists have long said that global warming is bound to interfere with snow and rainfall patterns. This is because air and sea temperatures, and sea-level atmospheric pressure - the underlying forces behind these patterns - are already changing. But until now evidence for declaring that the interference is already happening existed anecdotally or in computer models, rather than from observation. Dr Francis Zwiers, a scientist with Environment Canada, Toronto, found a way around these problems by using two datasets of global rainfall pattern beginning, conservatively, in 1925 and ending in 1999. They compared these figures with 14 powerful computer models that simulate the world's climate system, and found a remarkably close fit. Over the 75 year period under study, global warming "contributed significantly" to increases in precipitation in the northern hemisphere's mid-latitudes, a region between 40 and 70° north, they say. In contrast, the northern hemisphere's tropics and subtropics, a region spanning from the equator to 30° latitude north became drier. And the southern hemisphere's tropics (equator to 30° latitude south) became wetter. The study looked at annual average rainfall on the land, not at sea. It also did not look at extreme weather events, like episodes of drought and flooding, whose frequency and severity may increase as a result of global warming. / Influence of global warming seen in changing rains - Tropical regions north of the equator, including such areas as the Sahel in Africa which borders the Sahara desert, have already begun to get even drier and will continue to do so, the data show. Regions in the far north, including Canada, Northern Europe and Russia, will get wetter, as will the southern tropics. Seager's own research has shown that, in addition to the trends shown by Zwiers' team, there will also be a significant drying of areas in the northern subtropics, including the US southwest and the Mediterranean. But aside from the overall trends, Zwiers says an important message from the combined models is that they consistently show that, for all regions, there will be a significant increase in extremes of precipitation - both floods and droughts. Thus, even desert areas that will undergo serious drying could simultaneously suffer greater risks of flash flooding.
07/26/07 - MIT Researchers work toward spark-free, fuel-efficient engines
MIT researchers have demonstrated how ordinary spark-ignition automobile engines can, under certain driving conditions, move into a spark-free operating mode that is more fuel-efficient and just as clean. The mode-switching capability could appear in production models within a few years, improving fuel economy by several miles per gallon in millions of new cars each year. Many researchers are studying a new way of operating an internal combustion engine known as "homogeneous charge compression ignition" (HCCI). Switching a spark-ignition (SI) engine to HCCI mode pushes up its fuel efficiency. In an HCCI engine, fuel and air are mixed together and injected into the cylinder. The piston compresses the mixture until spontaneous combustion occurs. The engine thus combines fuel-and-air premixing (as in an SI engine) with spontaneous ignition (as in a diesel engine). The result is the HCCI's distinctive feature: combustion occurs simultaneously at many locations throughout the combustion chamber. That behavior has advantages. In both SI and diesel engines, the fuel must burn hot to ensure that the flame spreads rapidly through the combustion chamber before a new "charge" enters. In an HCCI engine, there is no need for a quickly spreading flame because combustion occurs throughout the combustion chamber. As a result, combustion temperatures can be lower, so emissions of nitrogen pollutants are negligible. The fuel is spread in low concentrations throughout the cylinder, so the soot emissions from fuel-rich regions in diesels are not present. The researchers estimate that the increase in fuel efficiency would be a few miles per gallon. "That may not seem like an impressive improvement," said Green. "But if all the cars in the US today improved that much, it might be worth a million barrels of oil per day--and that's a lot."
07/26/07 - Free XP 1 second Desktop Search
Searches that used to take 90 seconds now take 1 second. I guess Microsoft started to feel a bit guilty about the lousy XP search feature, and came up with an alternative. If you use Windows XP, give it a try. If you don't like it, it's easy enough to uninstall. (via j-walkblog.com)
07/26/07 - Nursing home cat can sense death, ease passing
(The radio station WTOP said over 20 times now this cat has sensed looming death 2 hours before it happens. Should be a way to map the brainwaves and see if there are noticeable changes, though it also be biochemical as noted in the article. On the flip side, what if the cat is CAUSING the deaths? After all, there is an old belief that cats suck the breath out of babies! - JWD) When Oscar the Cat visits residents of the Steere House Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Providence, Rhode Island, the staff jumps into action -- Oscar can sense within hours when someone is about to die. In his two years living in Steere's end-stage dementia unit, Oscar has been at the bedside of more than 25 residents shortly before they died, according to Dr. David Dosa of Brown University in Providence. "The cat always does manage to make an appearance, and it always seems to be in the last two hours." Raised at the nursing home since he was a kitten, Oscar often checks in on residents, but when he curls up for a visit, physicians and nursing home staff know it's time to call the family."I don't think this is a psychic cat," said Teno. "I think there's probably a biochemical explanation," she said in a telephone interview.
07/26/07 - Russian Scientists To Prevent Global Warming
Scientists from the Institute of Global Climate and Ecology claim they’ve found a way to prevent global warming, said Insitute director during a press conference. The technique involves airplanes spraying a thin layer (0.25-0.5 micrometers thick) of various sulphur containing compounds’ aerosol in the lower stratospheric layers. Sulphur drops will reflect solar radiation. Calculations show that spraying of 1 million tons of aerosol allows 0.5-1% decrease of solar radiation and 1-1.5 degree Centigrade temperature drop. The amount of sulphurous spray should be maintained, since sulphur containing compounds will fall down with time. Possible negative consequences of said technique are subject to discussion, however, the head of the Insitute mentioned that amount of sulphur compounds falling to the ground from skies would be 5000 lower than that emitted to atmosphere by industrial enteprises.
07/26/07 - Flying Saucer Designed for Greener Air Travel
"I want to get rid of the image of a cylindrical body with wings," said Etnel Straatsma of Delft University of Technology in The Netherlands. The plane of the future, in Straatsma's vision, might be as wild as a flying saucer. She and other engineers are toying with lighter materials and some are pondering ideas as radical as returning to propeller-driven planes as an eco-friendly alternative to passenger jets. Although estimates vary, flying in a plane releases the equivalent of about 1 pound of carbon dioxide per mile per passenger, which is about the same as driving a car the same distance. Constant retooling of aircraft has helped to decrease emissions per passenger by 2 to 2.5 percent per year, said Andreas Hardeman of the industry group International Air Transport Association. But he agreed that the current paradigm may have reached the "end of the line." Radical change could mean introducing novel materials and shapes, or even reviving "old" propulsion systems.
07/26/07 - Jetson-Like Flying Car in Production
(Since 1983!!! That would be nearly 25 years touting these things with models that never come to production but bring investors? Fans on a tether don't excite me, but independent, safe flight would. - JWD) A flying car resembling what the Jetsons drove could show up soon at a dealership near you. Flying an estimated 10 feet off the ground, which allows it to avoid regulation by the FAA, the M200G takes to the air with the help of eight Rotapower rotary engines. According to the company, flight times, once airborne, could last between 45 minutes and 90 minutes, depending on the vehicle's speed. It's expected to zip through the air as fast as 50 mph, said Bruce Calkins, general manager of Moller International. The car is designed to hold up to 250 pounds, including the driver and any cargo. / Video - M200X model and Video - M400 SkyCar model - both on a tether, big whoopee! Just waiting for a wind gust to flip! With this kind of 'technology', its a money pit by any definition. With gravity control, winds don't matter! / (What I think is a better option - The Lab Project - no fancy business plan with BS promises while asking for tens of millions for startup. Simply lean and focused. - JWD)
07/26/07 - Iron and copper relationship is studied
(This is an interesting tie-in to recent claims about breathing through a copper mesh screen to improve health. - JWD) U.S. scientists studying the relationship of iron and copper in the body have found when iron absorption by cells decreases, copper absorption increases. Researchers at the University of Buffalo's School of Public Health and Health Professionals, led by Assistant Professor James Collins, found iron is only half of an all-important duo of trace minerals -- the other being copper -- that work in tandem to maintain proper iron balance, or homeostasis. "Iron or copper deficiency causes anemia, and abnormal intestinal iron transport is associated with several common human pathologies, including anemia of chronic disease (or ACD) and hereditary hemochromatosis, different forms of which result from several common genetic defects," said Collins. Hereditary hemochromatosis is an inherited metabolic disorder characterized by abnormally high absorption of dietary iron, which is deposited in body tissues and organs, where it may become toxic. ACD is a blood disorder caused by low body iron levels resulting from any medical condition that affects the production and lifespan of red blood cells, such as chronic infection. / Copper for Life - Few people understand the multiple roles that copper plays in regulating life processes. Too little copper can be lethal, whereas excess amounts can cause serious disease. Copper is required for bone strength, blood cell maturation, iron transport, glucose metabolism, heart muscle contraction, host defense mechanisms and brain development. The dilemma is that while ingesting large amounts of copper is unsafe, avoiding copper deficiency is a must. Here, balance and education are key.
07/26/07 - Recycling Urine
Your toilet is wrecking the planet. The problem with urine is that it is the main source of some of the chemical nutrients that have to be removed In sewage treatment plants if they are not to wreck ecosystems downstream. Despite making up only 1 per cent of the volume of waste water, urine contributes about 80 per cent of the nitrogen and 45 per cent of all the phosphate. Peeing into the pan immediately dilutes these chemicals with vast quantities of water, making the removal process unnecessarily inefficient. in continental Europe where you can find a future must-have eco-accessory: the urine separation toilet. These devices divert urine away from the main sewage stream, allowing the nutrients to be recycled rather than treated as waste. They could solve all the environmental problems associated with urine and even turn sewage plants into net producers of green, clean energy. Known in the business as "yellow water", urine enters the sewage system and mixes with solid waste ("black water"), "grey water" from household sinks and baths, and sometimes rainwater. It eventually arrives at a treatment plant, where it must be cleaned up enough to be discharged into a river. So what to do with the urine? The answer is, recycle it indirectly - in other words, extract the nutrients and turn them into fertiliser. In the Netherlands, Grontmij trucks the stored urine to a special treatment plant where the phosphate is precipitated out as a mineral called struvite (ammonium magnesium phosphate). This is a useful fertiliser and can help reduce demand for mined phosphate, which can only be a good thing: phosphate rocks are often contaminated with heavy metals, and mining and refining them generates waste and uses lots of energy. Some estimates suggest the world's phosphate mines will be exhausted in 100 years. Yet at the moment we literally pour tonnes and tonnes of perfectly good phosphate down the drain. The other nutrients in urine can also be turned into fertiliser. Novaquatis, a branch of the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology (EAWAG) on the outskirts of Zürich, is experimenting with extracting nitrogen and potassium in forms that can be sprayed directly onto crops. Once the urine is treated it is clean enough to go directly into a river. Crucially, these methods of extracting nutrients directly from urine consume much less energy than dealing with its vastly diluted form in general waste water. There's an extra energy cost from trucking the urine in, but Wilsenach says it's minuscule compared with the savings. If all these benefits weren't enough, using a NoMix toilet saves water too. According to research done by EAWAG, it reduces your use of flush water by 80 per cent, cutting the average household's overall water use by about 25 per cent. Bear in mind that the water that fills up the toilet cistern is clean enough to drink: "We use good quality drinking water to flush away urine," says Wilsenach.
Russia stakes claim under North Pole, it's Just not Big Enough
(At nearly 6.6 million square miles (17 million sq km), Russia is the largest country in the world in geographic size, occupying more than one-ninth of the world's total land area. It is just slightly less than 1.8 times the size of the United States. Russia has a population of nearly 145 million.) - Russia is sending a mini-submarine to explore the ocean floor below the North Pole and find evidence to support its claims to Arctic territory. Russia's claim to a vast swathe of territory in the Arctic, thought to contain oil, gas and mineral reserves, has been challenged by other powers, including the US. Moscow argued before a UN commission in 2001 that waters off its northern coast were in fact an extension of its maritime territory. The claim was based on the argument that an underwater feature, known as the Lomonosov Ridge, was an extension of its continental territory. The UN has yet to rule upon the claim. The Law of the Sea Convention allows states an economic zone of 200 nautical miles, which can sometimes be expanded. To extend the zone, a state has to prove that the structure of the continental shelf is similar to the geological structure within its territory. At the moment, nobody's shelf extends up to the North Pole, so there is an international area around the Pole administered by the International Seabed Authority.
07/26/07 - Single Guys Live in LA, Single Girls in NYC
This map might explain why ‘Sex and the City’ is set in New York, and not in Los Angeles. And why there’s so much gang violence in LA. So why can’t all those single guys from LA and those thousands upon thousands of single girls from NYC meet up somewhere in the middle?
07/24/07 - Plug-In Hybrids Get Green Grades
Overall, plug-in cars are a plus for the environment, despite the fact that they would increase the demand for electricity. Plug-in hybrids, which use electricity from the grid to replace gasoline for daily driving, would cut gas consumption and save commuters from high fuel prices. But some experts have been concerned that switching from gas to electricity, much of which is generated from fossil fuels, would actually significantly increase pollution in some parts of the country, as opposed to decreasing it. A study released last week by the environmental group National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and the largely utility-funded Electric Power Research Institute shows that plug-ins, once they're on the market, will significantly cut greenhouse gases. Across the country, the vehicles will on average also decrease other pollutants, but the impact in local areas will depend on the source of electricity. In plug-in hybrids, a large battery pack that is recharged by plugging it in stores enough energy to power a car entirely, or almost entirely, with electricity for the first 40 miles or so of driving. For longer trips, the car reverts to conventional hybrid operation, relying largely on gasoline for power but improving efficiency: by storing energy from braking in the battery and using it for acceleration, for example.
07/24/07 - Federal Science Gets More Politicized
A group of scientists is making to call attention to Executive Order 13422, going into effect today, that gives political appointees final say regarding science-based federal agency regulations. The Union of Concerned Scientists wrote a letter to two Senate committee chairs urging that questions about this executive order be asked at the confirmation hearings for the nominee to head the Office of Management and Budget. "UCS urged the Senate committee to ask [the nominee] Mr. Nussle how he would ensure that political appointees would not interfere with the work of agency scientists." Late last month the House voted to prohibit the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs from spending federal money on Executive Order 13422. Democrats called the order a "power grab."
07/24/07 - Is this the proof that spirits DO exist?
Professor Klaus Heinemann, a researcher for NASA, the U.S. space agency, was studying a collection of photographs his wife had taken at a gathering of spiritual healers when he noticed that many of them featured the same pale but clearly defined circle of light, like a miniature moon, hovering above some of the subjects. Like most rational people, he assumed that the pictures were faulty. 'I presumed the circles were due to dust particles, flash anomalies, water particles and so on,' says Prof Heinemann. As a scientist with considerable experience in sophisticated microscope techniques - examining matter down to atomic levels of optical resolution - his methods were nothing if not rigorous. Still puzzled, Heinemann set out to discover what else might have caused the mysterious circles. He and his wife began taking hundreds of digital photographs at random events to see whether they could recreate the mysterious effect. The answer was that they could make these shimmering 'orbs' appear again, but only - absurd as it may sound - if they 'asked' the apparitions to make themselves visible to the camera. And they found this method worked particularly well when the couple photographed spiritual gatherings. Heinemann set up dozens of experiments using two cameras on static tripods under controlled conditions. His early experiments found that orbs can move very fast, up to 500mph or more. Heinemann also found that during his numerous dual camera experiments, when he used twin cameras to capture an object from two different angles, a single orb shape would often appear - but only in one of the two images taken simultaneously. It was as if the orbs somehow chose which camera to appear on, or whether to appear at all. Professor William Tiller, a theoretical physicist who spent 35 years researching consciousness and matter at Stanford University in California, reminded the conference that what we see with our physical eyes comprises less then 10 per cent of the known universe. 'They come in all sizes, ranging from a few inches to several feet across,' he says. 'Sometimes they appear alone, and at other times hundreds of them, in colours ranging from white to blue, green, rose and even gold. 'Over time, I realised that a flash seemed to be essential to capture them, even in daylight. I believe this is because we can see the orbs only through the process in physics known as fluorescence. The camera flash sparks this fluorescence process, making the orbs visible to the camera.'
07/24/07 - Unique Material May Allow Capacitors to Store More Energy
Imagine an electric car with the same acceleration capability as a gas-powered sports car, or ultrafast rechargeable 'batteries' that can be recharged a thousand times more than existing conventional batteries. According to physicists at North Carolina State University, all of these things are possible, thanks to their research on a polymer - or plastic material - that when used as a dielectric in capacitors may allow the capacitors to store up to seven times more energy than those currently in use.
07/24/07 - Faster File Flow
Aria, a new product from California-based startup FastSoft, speeds up the transfer of any large file over the Internet, without requiring hardware or software on the receiving end. According to Dan Henderson, FastSoft's vice president of product and market development, a 700-megabyte movie file that takes 50 minutes to download regionally via a cable-modem connection can be downloaded in 34 minutes if the sender uses Aria. Overseas transfers show a bigger difference, with the same 700-megabyte movie taking nearly eight hours to download from Asia via a cable modem, and about 45 minutes with Aria. The company has seen files that normally take a day to download go through in a couple of hours. Harris says that he was attracted to Aria in part because only the sender needs to own hardware, and recipients don't need to know anything about Aria to get their files faster. All the sender has to do is connect the Aria appliance to his or her server.
07/24/07 - Don't Break the Chain
Comedian Jerry Seinfield has a gem of a leverage technique he uses on himself and you can use it to motivate yourself - even when you don't feel like it. He then revealed a unique calendar system he was using pressure himself to write. Here's how it worked. He told me to get a big wall calendar that has a whole year on one page and hang it on a prominent wall. The next step was to get a big red magic marker. He said for each day that I do my task of writing, I get to put a big red X over that day. "After a few days you'll have a chain. Just keep at it and the chain will grow longer every day. You'll like seeing that chain, especially when you get a few weeks under your belt. Your only job next is to not break the chain." "Don't break the chain." He said again for emphasis. Over the years I've used his technique in many different areas. I've used it for exercise, to learn programming, to learn network administration, to build successful websites and build successful businesses. It works because it isn't the one-shot pushes that get us where we want to go, it is the consistent daily action that builds extraordinary outcomes. You may have heard "inch by inch anything's a cinch." Inch by inch does work if you can move an inch every day. Daily action builds habits. It gives you practice and will make you an expert in a short time. If you don't break the chain, you'll start to spot opportunities you otherwise wouldn't. Small improvements accumulate into large improvements rapidly because daily action provides "compounding interest." Skipping one day makes it easier to skip the next.
07/24/07 - Convert video, audio, and images with DivXMachine Shell Integrated
Windows only: Freeware media transcoder DivXMachine Shell Integrated converts pictures, audio, and video to and from a variety of formats through the Windows right-click context menu. After you install DMSI and its dependencies (there are a fair amount), just right-click on any file you want to convert-video, audio, or image-and navigate through DMSI's option tree to choose exactly what you want to convert the file to. Transcoding media (especially video) used to be territory for the pros, but simple tools like DMSI are making the process easier every day. DivXMachine Shell Integrated is freeware, Windows only.
07/24/07 - The Ethanol Backlash is Here!
Any rapidly growing, paradigm-shifting industry is bound to engender both enthusiasm and resistance in roughly equal amounts. And the prospect of using grains, which have generally been cheap in this country, as a replacement for fossil fuels, was bound to excite hope and ruffle feathers. After all, while farmers and ethanol-plant investors will profit, companies and industries that rely on cheap grains, or that produce and distribute fossil fuels, face serious disruption. And so, before it has even emerged as anything more than a marginal contributor to supply-ethanol accounted for about 1.25 percent of gasoline use last year-a full-fledged ethanol backlash is underway. The squawks of protest arise not just from oil companies. They're coming from economists, environmentalists, poverty fighters, and science nerds. Meet the ethanol-skeptics.
07/24/07 - Secret list of buildings you can't photograph
The DHS says that it's against the law to photograph "sensitive" government buildings, but they won't publish a list of these buildings, so it's impossible to comply with the law. The rub is that if you get caught breaking the law, you'll get shaken down, have your name and personal information taken, and go into a file, presumably forever. The bottom line is that McCammon was caught in a classic logical trap. If he had only known the building was off-limits to photographers, he would have avoided it. But he was not allowed to know that fact. "Reasonable, law-abiding people tend to avoid these types of things when it can be helped," McCammon wrote. "Thus, my request for a list of locations within Arlington County that are unmarked, but at which photography is either prohibited or discouraged according to some (public or private) policy. Of course, such a list does not exist. Catch-22." (via boingboing.net)
07/24/07 - All types of Soda Bad
Drinking more than one soft drink daily -- whether it's regular or diet -- may be associated with an increase in the risk factors for heart disease, Framingham researchers reported in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association. "In those who drink one or more soft drinks daily, there was an association of an increased risk of developing the metabolic syndrome." Metabolic syndrome is a cluster of cardiovascular disease and diabetes risk factors including excess waist circumference, high blood pressure, elevated triglycerides, low levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL "good" cholesterol) and high fasting glucose levels. The presence of three or more of the factors increases a person's risk of developing diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
07/22/07 - Box Converts Car Fumes into Biofuel
The invention consists of a box which the inventors say can be fixed underneath a car in place of the exhaust to trap the greenhouse gases blamed for global warming - including carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide - and emit mostly water vapour. The captured gases can be processed to create a biofuel using genetically modified algae. Dubbed “Greenbox”, the technology developed by organic chemist Derek Palmer and engineers Ian Houston and John Jones could, they say, be used for cars, buses, lorries and eventually buildings and heavy industry, including power plants. “We've managed to develop a way to successfully capture a majority of the emissions from the dirtiest motor we could find,” Palmer, who has consulted for organizations including the World Health Organisation and GlaxoSmithKline, said. The three, who stumbled across the idea while experimenting with carbon dioxide to help boost algae growth for fish farming, have set up a company called Maes Anturio Limited, which translates from Welsh as Field Adventure. Although the box the men currently use for demonstration is about the size of a bar stool, they say they can build one small enough to replace a car exhaust that will last for a full tank of petrol. The crucial aspect of the technology is that the carbon dioxide is captured and held in a secure state, said Houston. Other carbon capture technologies are much more cumbersome or energy-intensive, for example using miles of pipeline to transport the gas. “The carbon dioxide, held in its safe, inert state, can be handled, transported and released into a controlled environment with ease and a minimal amount of energy required,” Houston said at a demonstration using a diesel-powered generator at a certified UK Ministry of Transportation emissions test centre. More than 130 tests carried out over two years at several testing centres have, the three say, yielded a capture rate between 85 and 95%. They showed the box to David Hansen, a Labour MP for Delyn, North Wales, who is now helping them. "Based on the information, there is a clear reduction in emissions," Hansen said.
Supposed perpetual motion machine attracts interest (not Steorn BS)
The two "country boys" from Unionville who claim to have developed a vehicle that runs on no fuel have teamed up with another inventor to file a patent for their technology. Their innovation is beginning to attract interest. Randy Nichols and Andrew Lamb contacted the Times-Gazette last month and demonstrated their device: a Nissan 4x4 truck that apparently runs with no internal combustion engine or fossil fuels. Until their patent is put into "pending" status, they will give no new demonstrations of the vehicle. In the meantime, the inventors are fine tuning their device, trying to get more speed out of it, Lamb told the T-G Thursday. Lamb said they now have four working prototype vehicles, which they have hidden for security reasons. An attorney has also been hired to deal with the patent and other legal issues. He claims to have developed the same system independently in 1992. After the pair from Unionville spoke to Tyler, Lamb said "we didn't realize all the possibilities with this thing." Lamb also said the device could be used as a generator large enough to power a house. The invention works by using a hydraulic pump to force fluid to a hydraulic motor, which turns the flywheel of the Nissan truck. From the flywheel to the rear of the vehicle, nothing has been modified, according to Lamb. After removing the gas engine, the pair from Unionville installed a tiny DC motor on the flywheel, which powers the transmission and the vehicle. Lamb said the truck also has a complete charging system, which was the hardest part of the design, taking them about eight months to perfect. It is powered on a 24-volt system and when this reporter interviewed them in June, the pair were reluctant to give away any more secrets, mainly due to the fact they had not patented their invention yet. The trio now plans to have the group New Energy Congress take a look at the device to validate their claims. The group is an association put together "for the purpose of reviewing the most promising claims to up-and-coming clean, renewable, affordable, reliable energy technologies, in order to come up with a weighted list of recommendations of the best technologies," according to their Website. Due to legal issues, the device itself won't be put on display until the paperwork for the patent is put in "pending" status. However, after that step, the three plan to put the vehicle on display and "on nationwide news" after the paperwork goes through, Lamb said.
07/22/07 - Toyota asks Permission to Road Test Plug-in Prius
Toyota Motor Co. will obtain permission from Japan’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport by the end of July for the testing of a prototype plug-in Prius on public roads. Toyota will be the first car maker to obtain permission for a plug-in hybrid test in Japan. After completing the road tests, Toyota will start building a way to market the model by leasing them to public (government and municipal) offices.
07/22/07 - 'Saudi Arabia of renewable energy' off Scotland's coast
IT HAS been described as the "greatest untapped source of energy Scotland has ever had", capable of generating enough electricity for every home and business in the country several times over. But while the Pentland Firth has been too deep and too dangerous to exploit, the race is now on to develop machines that will harness this "underwater hurricane" and fundamentally change Scotland. Not only could it provide endless supplies of electricity for Scotland and beyond, but spare energy could be used to convert rubbish into environmentally friendly biofuel for cars, trains and airplanes, slashing greenhouse gas emissions and ridding the country of landfill sites. In August, the world's largest tidal-current generator will be installed on Northern Ireland's Strangford Lough and, next year, ScottishPower will start testing an underwater turbine in the Pentland Firth itself.
ScottishPower believes its system could generate up to a gigawatt (GW) of electricity - equivalent to all of Scotland's wind farms put together, or the power produced by the Hunterston B nuclear power station. But Professor Stephen Salter, who wrote an energy review for the SNP extolling the potential of the Pentland Firth, believes the actual amount of energy could be as high as ten to 20GW. Prof Salter, of Edinburgh University, has developed a form of cylindrical turbine which he believes would be able to go deeper than ever before, where the Pentland Firth's most powerful currents are found. The water in the fastest- moving channels is about 70 metres deep. His machines operate down to 50m, while seabed-based turbines could be used in the bottom 20m. The Firth would generate energy in four regular tidal pulses a day, often generating large amounts of power in the middle of the night. Fuel cells or large industrial batteries could be used to store spare electricity, but Prof Salter said it could be used for a process which can turn waste into gas or liquid fuel. How could we use the excess power? Electricity can be stored in large industrial batteries or used to split water, H2O, into hydrogen and oxygen. Hydrogen can be used in fuel cells to power vehicles or turned back into electricity when needed. It could be used to pump upwards into hydro-electric reservoirs, which can provide electricity at short notice to cope with sudden peaks in demand. A cryogenic process can turn almost any waste into gas or "super-clean diesel" for vehicles and aircraft.
07/22/07 - Tornado Power
Inventor Louis Michaud has formed a company called AVEtec Energy, filed and obtained patents, and has partnered up with the University of Western Ontario's wind-tunnel lab to study small prototypes and do computer simulations of his "vortex engine" process. Heat rises when you've got a certain temperature differential, and as it rises it swirls -- kind of the reverse of what you see when water goes down a drain. AVEtec's pitch might raise eyebrows, but many are taking it seriously. Michaud envisions building a large cylindrical building 200 metres in diameter and about 50 meters high, and this structure would have an open top. Heated waste water from a power plant that would normally go to a cooling tower would instead be diverted to the vortex building and into 10 or more strategically located cooling cells, where fans would blow so the air could pick up the heat energy from the water. The hot air from the 10+ intake ducts are then pushed at an angle into the cylindrical building, where you see the beginnings of a whirlwind. As the hot air rises it gathers energy and creates a vortex that reaches higher and higher into the atmosphere. At a certain point the fans pushing the hot air into the vortex are turned off. The vortex, now hungry for more heated air, begins to suck in the air on its own. Suddenly, what were fans now become turbines that spin as the air is drawn in. The turbines are connected to generators that produce clean electricity as long as a constant source of waste heat is provided to feed the vortex, which at this point is a full-fledged tornado stretching into the troposphere. Michaud calculates it would cost $60 million to build such a plant. But because it would be replacing the function of a cooling tower, that figure would be offset by up to $20 million. The end result, assuming it works and is safe, would be a 200 megawatt power station producing clean energy at less than half the cost of a coal plant. Speaking of outside the box, Michaud says his vortex engines could help us directly manage climate change. He says there's no reason hundreds of his vortex engines couldn't be stationed in the ocean along the equator, where ocean water is warm enough to provide energy for creating a tornado. Why do this? Well, the greenhouse effect prevents heat that hits the earth's surface from radiating back into space, so Michaud argues that his vortex network would act like air conditioners that suck the hot air high into the atmosphere where the heat can more easily escape. All I can say is.... Wow!
07/22/07 - Energy Efficient Ultrasonic dish dryer
With an eye to improving the environmental footprint of its dishwashers, the German engineering company Bosch has devised a new way to dry dishes. The conventional method is to heat the dishes while they are being washes. The dishes retain thermal energy which heats any leftover water so that it evaporates quickly once the wash is over. Bosch says that zapping the dishes with ultrasound instead could be a far more energy efficient way of drying them off. The sound waves make surface water vibrate, causing it to break up into droplets. The waves also reduce the cohesion of the droplets so they roll off dishes more quickly. Sound alone is unlikely to dry your dishes completely but Bosch hopes that combining the technique with minimal heating or fan drying will make dishwashers far more energy efficient.
07/22/07 - Safest place on the Plane
A look at real-world crash stats suggests that the farther back you sit, the better your odds of survival. Passengers near the tail of a plane are about 40 percent more likely to survive a crash than those in the first few rows up front. That's the conclusion of an exclusive Popular Mechanics study that examined every commercial jet crash in the United States, since 1971, that had both fatalities and survivors.
07/22/07 - Harry Potter and the Devil
A Mexican exorcist/priest warns: Potter may help the devil. The leading exorcist of Mexico's main archdiocese said the popular Harry Potter book and film series could allow the devil to enter children's minds, and does ''a lot of damage.'' The Reverend Pedro Mendoza, a Roman Catholic priest and exorcist coordinator of the Archdiocese of Mexico City, made the comments at the end of a five-day exorcism conference in Mexico City. ''If you put all these ideas in a child's head, that he can become a wizard, the child believes that, and that is opening an avenue through which the devil can get in." Rather, you should teach your children that an invisible being sent his only son to earth to suffer and die for your child's sins. And if you don't believe it, the invisible being will punish you and make you spend eternity in Hell. (via j-walkblog.com)
07/22/07 - 'Energy crops' plan to fuel power stations in Scotland
MORE than 250,000 tonnes of "energy crops" will be used to fuel power stations in Scotland, it was announced yesterday. ScottishPower said the crops would be used in a bid to cut carbon emissions. It plans to grow enough to fuel the country's two coal-fired power stations at Cockenzie and Longannet. Farmers will be contracted at competitive rates to grow the green fuel. Burning of the specially-produced plants will begin in 2009 and, by 2013, ScottishPower hopes they will have replaced five per cent of the coal they currently use. The firm said planting would have a minimal effect on land used for food crops. The project will use about 12 per cent of Scotland's agricultural land - around 35,000 hectares. Energy crops should provide a carbon-neutral fuel as the carbon dioxide released on burning is equal to what is captured as the plant grows. Frank Mitchell, generation director at ScottishPower, said: "This [will] ultimately displace 300,000 tonnes of carbon emissions per year." (via scotsman.com)
07/22/07 - Ancient Darfur lake 'is dried up'
(Refill it from the Mediterranean. - JWD) A vast underground lake that scientists hoped could help to end violence in Sudan's Darfur region probably dried up thousands of years ago, an expert says. Alain Gachet, who used satellite images and radar in his research, said the area received too little rain and had the wrong rock types for water storage. But the French geologist said there was enough water elsewhere in Darfur to end the fighting and rebuild the economy. Analysts say competition for resources such as water is behind the unrest. Radar studies had revealed a depression the size of Lake Erie in North America - the 10th largest lake in the world. But Mr Gachet, who has worked on mineral and water exploration in Africa for 20 years, said the depression identified by the Boston researchers was probably full of water 5,000 to 25,000 years ago. "This lake was at the bottom of a broad watershed feeding the Nile above Khartoum," he said. Earlier in the week Hafiz Muhamad, from the lobby group Justice Africa, told the BBC the "root cause" of the conflict was lack of resources. He said "drought and desertification" in North Darfur had led the Arab nomads to move south, where they came into conflict with black African farmers.
07/22/07 - Cell Phone DTMF Controlled Door Latch
(This has tons of hacking applications. - JWD) I’m sure you’ve noticed that when you press the keys on a standard telephone keypad, an audible ‘beep’ is generated. These beeps are actually the combination of two distinct frequencies. For example, the tone you hear when you press the number ‘9’ on a telephone, is actually a combination of a 1447 Hz and 852 Hz signal. In a telephone exchange, these signals are decoded by a computer which finally connects the dialer to the designated phone line. For example, the tone of 1447 Hz and 852 Hz will be decoded as binary ‘1001’. In this project, I have designed a simple DTMF decoder circuit which allows me to control appliances in my house from any place on Earth using a telephone. The second part of this project was to build a DTMF decoder circuit. I used a CM8870PI tone decoder IC for doing this. The circuit I have built is fairly simple, and can be used for controlling up to four devices. If you want to control more than four devices, check out this circuit. I had a Nokia 1100 cell phone lying around with a hands-free accessory which was rarely used. So, I hacked its hands-free accessory and connected it to the circuit (I just cut the wires which went into the earpiece). That’s about it! To control things in the house, you just dial into the base station and the Nokia 1100 auto-answers the phone call. Each function is just a matter of pressing the appropriate number on the phone and the DTMF chip decodes it and sends output to a transistor which controls a relay. To open my door, I just dial the phone, enter the magic code and voila - Alohomora! Watch the video above. :) (via hackaday.com)
07/22/07 - Custom Trojan Creation Tool Sold Online
"Net Security.org is reporting on the surprisingly sophisticated 'virus in a can' software called Pinch. Pinch is a tool sold on several online forums and designed to create Trojans. It allows attackers to specify the data that Trojans steal. One of the interface tabs, PWD, allows malicious users to select the type of password to be stolen by the Trojan: from email passwords to passwords kept by the system tools. It is possible to order the Trojan to encrypt this data when sending it, so that nobody else can read it. 'Pinch also lets users carry out other actions: turn infected computers into zombie computers, pack Trojans to make detection more difficult, and kill certain system processes, particularly those of security solutions.'"
07/22/07 - Bionic hand makes life easier for amputees
A BIONIC hand invented in Scotland will help millions of amputees around the world. The i-LIMB's launch follows the success of trials involving people in the UK, Europe and the US. Patients who have benefited include soldiers wounded in the Iraq war, accident victims and people born without hands. The i-LIMB looks and behaves like the real thing. And it is the first prosthetic device with five individually powered digits to be made widely available. It can carry out delicate and precise movements such as holding a glass of water and turning a key in a lock. Previously, amputees had to use artificial hands which only used a thumb and two fingers to produce a claw-like grip. The i-LIMB is controlled by the muscles in the remaining part of the user's limb. Electrodes on the skin surface pick up the muscle signals to open and close the life-like fingers. The hands, which will cost between £3000-£8000 depending on the technical features included, will be manufactured in Scotland. It is hoped further products, including bionic shoulders, arms and individual fingers, will be produced in the future.
07/22/07 - DIY iBook/Powerbook External Battery
I wanted to power my iBook G4 for a long period of time away from an outlet. The idea was to be able to use the laptop during the ~13 hr flight from Sydney, Aus to Los Angeles in coach where there are no power jacks (getting the whole thing through airport security going to the United States was really... fun..... This is actually pretty simple. The idea here is to have a large battery pack, a regulator to keep the voltage constant at 24V (should be able to handle at least 1.5A continuously), and a male 2.5mm stereo headphone connector (same as the typical cell phone hands-free connector), which fits the proprietary Apple power connector (it just won't have the metal shield). The pack had 20 D-cell alkaline batteries in series, providing nearly 36V when fresh (under load). A heatsinked LM317 regulated the voltage to 24V. Using a multimeter I found that usually my iBook drew 600-700mA with no disc in the optical drive and a full internal battery (not charging). The current fluttered about as the hard drive and cpu activity went up and down, and charging brought the current to over an amp. So typically a 12" iBook G4 will consume 15 to 20 watts. Obviously the LM317 design loses a lot of energy to heat, since the LM317 is a linear regulator and just turns the excess energy into heat, so if you build this, use a VERY VERY BIG HEATSINK!!! If you are replicating this, just build the thing below and it should work, piece of cake, though you might want to put a switch in there between the batteries and the circuit, so you can switch it on and off. (via hackaday.com)
07/22/07 - Software Protection Racket
If you need any more evidence that Symantec is a bunch of crooks. Ed Bott writes: Norton's latest entry in the protection racket. Would you pay your antivirus software company $29.95 a year over and above your existing subscription fee for "an extra layer of protection against Web robot attacks"? Me neither. Isn't this what Norton AntiVirus is supposed to do? Ed Quotes Ryan Naraine: It has to be the biggest con job in IT to convince consumers that they should pay a separate subscription for each of the above "protection" products. So you pay for virus protection, then pay a bit more for spyware protection, and if those don't work, buy an anti-rootkit package and if your PC still falls into a botnet, here's your $29.95 anti-botnet tool. Spreading fear isn't just for politics any more. (via j-walkblog.com)
07/22/07 - White House Kisses Goodbye to 5th Amendment
The latest Executive Order from the War Criminal Administration facilitates and sanctions the taking away of property of anyone who is deemed to be "undermining efforts to promote economic reconstruction and political reform in Iraq or to provide humanitarian assistance to the Iraqi people". Left in those terms, it isn't too much of a stretch to envision this Administration deciding that any particularly vocal critic of the Iraq occupation is "undermining efforts" and thus a target for seizure of property or assets, Fifth Amendment be damned. Big news indeed, and yet it has received scant little attention in the media. Shameful in every regard, but it troubles me even more that this latest criminal act has crossed a new threshold in reckless disregard for the US Constitution, and yet hardly a soul even knows about it. "If the White House decides that you are in any way 'undermining efforts' in Iraq, or related to Iraq or pretty much anything else, the Treasury Department is authorized to seize your money, property, stocks, etc..."
07/22/07 - Make your photos into coloring pages
(This has other uses, realtors here make line drawings of houses and I've seen high contrast machine photos converted to line drawings. - JWD) Make a fun coloring book out of family photos with photography blog Fototiller's simple three-step tutorial. All you need is Photoshop (or similar), a good photo, and a couple of minutes. My seven year old was just about beside herself with glee at the prospect of coloring family pictures, and I'm betting your kinder will be pretty excited, too. This would also be a potential great gift for family members, as well as a good time-filler for doctor's appointments, road trips, etc.. (via lifehacker.com)
07/22/07 - Your Own Mini-Stalker
"A ComputerWorld article discusses the inherent privacy dangers of carrying around our ubiquitous technological assistants. They're like miniature stalkers, right there in your pocket. 'Camera phones contain all the necessary ingredients for completely invasive stalking: a microphone, camera, personal data on the user, location information, a chat and call history - you name it. And victims carry them everywhere they go. All that's missing is the software that lets stalkers take control ... new software, called snoopware, does just that.'"
07/22/07 - Edit PDF files for free with PDFill
Windows only: Free utility PDFill can create, update and merge existing PDF files for free. Yesterday we posted Combine PDFs for Mac, and PDFill does the equivalent job on Windows, plus more. PDFill can also split or reorder PDF pages, encrypt/decrypt PDF's, rotate and crop, add image or text watermarks, and convert images to PDFs and back. The downside is PDFill requires the Java runtime to work - but you still can't beat the price for pretty advanced PDF manipulation. PDFill is a free download for Windows.
07/22/07 - Land Rollers - improved skates
LandRoller is revolutionizing skating with a radical design that delivers enhanced performance thereby breathing new life into recreational skating. Only with new patented Angled Wheel Technology™ can large wheels be mounted on a skate while maintaining a low center of gravity and a short wheelbase. Traditional skating dynamics are maintained while still delivering all of the advantages of large diameter wheels. These advantages include improved maneuverability, a smoother ride, and the ability to skate over more surfaces. LandRollers allow enhanced performance over inline and quad roller skates, providing skaters of all skill levels with an entirely new and improved experience.
07/22/07 - Slot Machine with Bad Software Sends Players To Jail
"Previous discussions here have turned into debates over who is liable for faulty software: the programmers, the publisher, etc. Yahoo has a new option: perhaps the users are criminally liable for using the software. From the AP: 'Prosecutors are considering criminal charges against casino gamblers who won big on a slot machine that had been installed with faulty software ... A decision on whether to bring criminal charges could come in a couple of weeks, said John Colin, chief deputy prosecutor for Harrison County. He said 'criminal intent' may be involved when people play a machine they know is faulty.' Would your average user be able to distinguish 'faulty software' from 'lucky'?"
07/22/07 - To know what's happening around the world, ask the locals
If there is one thing Professor Melissa Leach has no time for, it is "bullshit research". The social anthropologist jokes with her husband, fellow anthropologist James Fairhead, that she is going to set up the IBRD - Institute for Bullshit Research Development. "It's easy," she argues, "to come up with narratives about deforestation: all the world's trees are disappearing fast; or, water scarcity will lead to water wars. But these are often contradicted by evidence on the ground about how environments are really changing." Leach and her colleagues had shown how experts can reach wildly wrong conclusions if local knowledge and history are not taken into account. Their findings became a book, Misreading the African Landscape, and a film, Second Nature: Building Forests in West Africa's Savannahs. A decade later, they are still being used to illustrate the power of anthropological methods. "It shaped my entire career," she says. "A lot of my work since has been about trying to bring to life the knowledge of local people." "The Gates and Rockefeller foundations, for example, assume one size fits all, that solutions can be applied across a stable world," she says. "But we live in a world of dynamic change and uncertainty. We want to tackle these challenges head on, combining new theory with practical solutions that make science and technology work for the poor, and create sustainable environments from building on people's own knowledge. Economic growth is to be applauded, but one can't assume its benefits will trickle down to the poor." Academic and policy debates, she says, are compartmentalised into areas such as agriculture or health. Rarely do the different disciplines manage to speak to one another. "We urgently need new, interdisciplinary approaches to understanding and addressing situations that combine an understanding of social, technological and environmental processes," she says.
07/20/07 - Refrigerator Uses Solar Energy - August, 1935
(Before the advent of high efficiency refrigerants, ammonia was used for cooling and making ice. Most notably in a neat refridgerator unit called an Icey Ball (details at Rex Research) which used a heat transfer process to cool and freeze. - JWD) A REFRIGERATOR which requires no energy other than exposure to sunlight for two hours a day has been developed by Otto H. Mohr, California consulting engineer. Larger solar power units requiring up to four hours exposure can be used for heating or cooling entire homes, according to the inventor. A spherical lens catches the sun’s rays at all hours of the day. This lens gathers the rays, and changes the light into heat which is transferred to the refrigerating liquid, usually ammonia. The cooling operation is similar to that of ordinary gas refrigerators.
07/20/07 - Build a better Mousetrap
"It's a fun entry," says Professor Wolff of Daniel Doheny's Mousemaster, a trap able to hold "12 to 15 mice in one go". The Mousemaster avoids the need for traditional traps. The 27-year-old Irish inventor put the device on the market in Ireland in August, selling them for 25 euros (£17). Covering the top of an ordinary bucket, the Mousemaster lures the creatures to it with the help of a traditional treat of cheese ("chocolate is second best", says Mr Doheny). Once on the device, their weight opens a trapdoor, they fall into the bucket and can't get out. Simple. Mr Doherty, a keen amateur inventor, says the Mousemaster is "more or less geared up for farms or big businesses that might have a big mouse problem".
07/20/07 - RoboSwift: The tiny plane that flys like a swift
RoboSwift is a micro airplane fitted with 'shape-shifting' wings which mean that the wing surface area can be adjusted continuously making the plane more maneuverable and efficient. Weighing only 80 grams, one of its key tasks once completed will be to follow groups of swifts to aid in studies of the birds as they fly. The swift inspiration is to be found in the unique "morphing-wings". Morphing means the wings can be swept back in flight by folding feathers over each other, thus changing the wing shape and reducing the wing surface area. RoboSwift also steers by morphing its wings. The technique means the micro airplane is highly maneuverable at very high and very low speeds, just like the swift. RoboSwift is steered by asymmetrically morphing the wings. Sweeping one wing back further than the other creates a difference in lift on the wings that is used to roll and turn the micro plane in the air. The students found out that only four feathers were needed, far fewer than the bird uses, to acheive this effect. The aircraft will be able to go undetected while using its three micro cameras to perform surveillance on vehicles and people on the ground.
07/20/07 - Rancho Mirage inventor puts white lid on energy bills
(This link isn't working. - JWD) In his latest, patent-pending invention, Savin said, is a white roof paint that can cut energy bills in half - a claim some in the industry find hard to believe...
07/20/07 - Taking drugs with food may take a bite out of costs
Taking an expensive breast cancer drug on a full stomach - as opposed to an empty one as prescribed - could save a patient or their health authority $1700 (£835) a month or more, according to an analysis of data from clinical trials. In general, taking pills with food against the label's advice can lead to an overdose. For example, drinking grapefruit juice can interfere with the body's ability to handle cholesterol-lowering statin drugs. For this reason, pharmaceutical companies must provide the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) with information on how eating a meal can influence the absorption of their products. Ezra Cohen and Mark Ratain at the University of Chicago, Illinois, US wondered if taking advantage of changes in lapatinib absorption after eating could reduce this cost. Based on clinical trial data submitted to the FDA, they calculated that taking the medication with a low-fat meal or high-fat meal could increase the amount of lapatinib circulating in the blood by 1.7 and 3.3 times, respectively. Adding grapefruit juice to the mix would reduce costs further still. "We expect that one 250 milligram lapatinib pill accompanied by food and washed down with a glass of grapefruit juice may yield plasma concentrations comparable to five 250 milligram pills on an empty stomach," Ratain says. People who pop a pill with a meal, but no grapefruit juice, are calculated to get the equivalent effect of three pills, and would save around $1700 a month.
07/20/07 - China simplifies method for turning coal to gas
Chinese researchers have demonstrated a cheap, simple way to convert underground coal into gas. Coal is heated in the presence of oxygen and steam, producing methane, hydrogen, carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide. The process would be cheaper, however, if the coal did not have to be mined and transported first. For this reason, a number of countries have experimented with a process that drives two vertical shafts into the ground to connect a tunnel containing coal. A fire is started at one end, and air and steam are supplied through one shaft; gas is collected through the other. The gas is produced in a "reducing atmosphere", which means the oxygen is too low for actual combustion. This process can be shut down by cutting off the supply of air. However, manually carving out the connecting tunnel is expensive and time-consuming. So Lanhe Yang and colleagues at the China University of Mining and Technology in Xuzhou, Jiangsu Province, came up with a different idea and tested it at an existing mine. They sank two vertical shafts into a seam of coal, 40 meters deep and 40 meters apart from one another. Rather than dig a connecting tunnel, however, they simply ignited the coal seam at the base of one shaft and started pumping air in. As soon as the fire had created sufficient space to allow an efficient reaction, they pumped steam in too. The resulting gases seeped through the coal seam and were extracted out of the second shaft. They collected roughly 90 cubic metres of gas per hour. Eventually, the fire began to create a combustion chamber so big that the reaction became inefficient. But the researchers reversed the air flow, feeding air in through the opposite shaft, towards the fire. This "backward combustion" process caused the fire to burn towards the flow of air. By alternating forward and backward combustion, the researchers were able to control the shape of the combustion chamber, keeping it at an average of 40cm diameter. They were able to monitor its size by sampling the composition of the gases that came out each shaft.
07/20/07 - A Saliva Tests that Detects Cancer
By 2011, doctors expect a painless spit cup to replace certain dreaded blood tests. Scientists working on the $12-million Human Salivary Proteome Project have recently identified 1,166 proteins in saliva, including five indicators of oral cancer. They have also found specific markers in the spit of patients with breast cancer and the autoimmune disease Sjogren's syndrome and are now working to identify the protein linked to ovarian cancer. Detecting the proteins during a routine spit test could help doctors diagnose cancers early enough to cure them, not to mention spare patients painful needle pricks.
07/20/07 - Boeing Helping to Develop Algae-Powered Jet
"Air New Zealand, Aquaflow Bionomic Corporation and Boeing are working together to develop and test a bio-fuel derived from algae. Aquaflow Bionomic Corporation began operating in May last year after it met a request from the local council to deal with excess algae on sewage ponds. Boeing's Dave Daggett was reported this year as saying algae ponds totaling 34,000 square kilometers could produce enough fuel to reduce the net CO2 footprint for all of aviation to zero."
07/20/07 - Icebox on Wrist to Cool the Whole Body - September, 1934
(This has thermoelectric module hack written all over it! - JWD) Purdue University physicists say the whole body may be kept cool during the hottest weather by a recently developed miniature refrigerator that straps to the wrist in the manner of a watch. The refrigerator is somewhat larger than a wrist watch and encloses a pellet of dry ice- solid carbon dioxide. As the dry ice evaporates, it forms an invisible gas. Escaping from the case, the gas has the same effect as cold water poured over the wrists. It lowers the temperature of the blood in the arteries and this cooled blood is carried to every part of the body. The metal case is insulated from the wrist by rubber, as the temperature of the dry ice is 109 degrees below zero and its contact with the skin would result in a severe burn. With proper insulation, however, there is no danger of this occurring. And thus the device can be worn in perfect safety.
07/20/07 - Killer electrons in space
One of the most hazardous adversaries faced by astronauts, spacecraft, and satellites are so-called "killer electrons." The supercharged electrons may burst with 1,000 times more energy than a dental X-ray, exposing astronauts to massive amounts of radiation and sometimes frying circuitry or degrading solar power arrays. Previously, killer particles were thought to originate in the sun or even outside our solar system. But recently, scientists at Los Alamos National Labs looked closely at the outer radiation belt, about 13,000-16,5000 miles above the Earth, and now believe that the electrons are actually accelerated to "killer" speeds there. The Los Alamos research suggests that magnetic storms and other kinds of "space weather" affect the risk of killer electrons. From National Geographic:
The discovery may aid scientists in ongoing efforts to protect satellites and astronauts from the particles' damaging effects... "We cannot control this kind of space weather any more than we can control the Earth's weather," (NASA researcher Mike Xapsos said.) "However, having a better understanding of the process helps us make more accurate predictions of when spacecraft can expect trouble and how to deal with it." (via boingboing.net)
07/20/07 - NOPEC
There's a bill floating around that would let our government sue OPEC members for driving up the price of oil. Surprise, surprise, it passed both houses of Congress. President Bush has vowed to quash the brilliantly named "NOPEC" (the No Oil Producing and Exporting Cartels Act), but the appearance of sticking it in OPEC's eye has such bipartisan appeal that the measure may enjoy a veto-proof majority. This could be an emotionally satisfying way to lash out at $3-a-gallon gasoline, but it's not energy policy. NOPEC would accomplish nothing except perhaps ignite a trade war. America's relationship with foreign oil producers is fundamentally sick. Time to move out of the house, once and for all. The way to get OPEC out of our lives is to stop buying so much oil, and the way to do that is to force its price up, up, up. At a certain pain point, Americans will choose fuel-efficient cars, houses and appliances -- and they will turn to wind, solar and other clean-energy sources. High oil prices make these alternatives more competitive.
07/20/07 - Inexpensive, easy process to produce solar panels
Researchers at New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) have developed an inexpensive solar cell that can be painted or printed on flexible plastic sheets. “The process is simple,” said lead researcher and author Somenath Mitra, PhD, professor and acting chair of NJIT’s Department of Chemistry and Environmental Sciences. “Someday homeowners will even be able to print sheets of these solar cells with inexpensive home-based inkjet printers. Consumers can then slap the finished product on a wall, roof or billboard to create their own power stations.” “Developing organic solar cells from polymers, however, is a cheap and potentially simpler alternative,” said Mitra. “We foresee a great deal of interest in our work because solar cells can be inexpensively printed or simply painted on exterior building walls and/or roof tops. Imagine some day driving in your hybrid car with a solar panel painted on the roof, which is producing electricity to drive the engine. The opportunities are endless. ” The science goes something like this. When sunlight falls on an organic solar cell, the energy generates positive and negative charges. If the charges can be separated and sent to different electrodes, then a current flows. If not, the energy is wasted. Link cells electronically and the cells form what is called a panel, like the ones currently seen on most rooftops. The size of both the cell and panels vary. Cells can range from 1 millimeter to several feet; panels have no size limits. The solar cell developed at NJIT uses a carbon nanotubes complex, which by the way, is a molecular configuration of carbon in a cylindrical shape. The name is derived from the tube’s miniscule size. Scientists estimate nanotubes to be 50,000 times smaller than a human hair. Nevertheless, just one nanotube can conduct current better than any conventional electrical wire. “Actually, nanotubes are significantly better conductors than copper,” Mitra added. Mitra and his research team took the carbon nanotubes and combined them with tiny carbon Buckyballs (known as fullerenes) to form snake-like structures. Buckyballs trap electrons, although they can’t make electrons flow. Add sunlight to excite the polymers, and the buckyballs will grab the electrons. Nanotubes, behaving like copper wires, will then be able to make the electrons or current flow.
07/20/07 - Hybrids losing out to Diesels
It looks like consumers are starting to come to the realization that although hybrid vehicles have the potential to provide big increases in fuel efficiency, that improvement is not universal especially if you're not prepared to modify your driving habits. J.D. Power has released the results of their second annual Alternative Powertrain Study and the number of people considering a hybrid has dipped from fifty-seven percent last year to only fifty percent. They found that hybrid intenders are willing to pay up to $2,396 extra and expect an extra 18.5mpg with a hybrid. While the price differential is possible with tax credits, that mileage improvement is totally unrealistic. During the same time period the number of drivers willing to consider a diesel jumped from twelve to twenty-three percent.
07/20/07 - A Cyclic Universe
Ever since the discovery of the cosmic background radiation in 1965, the overwhelmingly predominant view has been that our universe began about 14 billion years ago in a cosmic fireball known as the "big bang" and that it has been expanding, cooling, and evolving ever since. Recently, though, a small but growing number of theorists have begun to challenge this conventional belief and to pursue a radical new history of the universe. According to this new idea, there was a big bang, but this was not the beginning of space and time. In fact, in the version proposed by Neil Turok and myself, the big bang has occurred myriad times in our universe's past, repeating at regular intervals during which galaxies, stars, planets, and life form anew. The result is a "cyclic universe" in which cycles extend far into the past and into the future - and perhaps forever.
07/20/07 - DIY Life
DIY Life highlights the best in "do-it-yourself" projects. Here you'll find all types of projects, from hobbies and crafts to home improvement and tech. Make your own baby wipes and organic mosquito repellent.
07/20/07 - Video - Know-it-All College Student Pwned by Ron Paul
During a discussion on the "war on drugs" a student suggests that we use the military to stop the drug trade, and Ron Paul retorts by saying if we need to enforce good habits that he should be put on a diet. / Video - Stop Dreaming! Restore the Republic! - Congressman Paul's consistent voting record prompted one of his congressional colleagues to say, "Ron Paul personifies the Founding Fathers' ideal of the citizen-statesman. He makes it clear that his principles will never be compromised, and they never are." Another colleague observed, "There are few people in public life who, through thick and thin, rain or shine, stick to their principles. Ron Paul is one of those few."
07/20/07 - July 17, 2007 - Executive Order: Blocking Property of Certain Persons Who Threaten Stabilization Efforts in Iraq
...all property and interests in property of the following persons, that are in the United States, that hereafter come within the United States, or that are or hereafter come within the possession or control of United States persons, are blocked and may not be transferred, paid, exported, withdrawn, or otherwise dealt in: any person determined by the Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with the Secretary of State and the Secretary of Defense, (i) to have committed, or to pose a significant risk of committing, an act or acts of violence that have the purpose or effect of: (A) threatening the peace or stability of Iraq or the Government of Iraq; or (B) undermining efforts to promote economic reconstruction and political reform in Iraq or to provide humanitarian assistance to the Iraqi people; (ii) to have materially assisted, sponsored, or provided financial, material, logistical, or technical support for, or goods or services in support of, such an act or acts of violence or any person whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to this order; or (iii) to be owned or controlled by, or to have acted or purported to act for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, any person whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to this order. (b) The prohibitions in subsection (a) of this section include, but are not limited to, (i) the making of any contribution or provision of funds, goods, or services by, to, or for the benefit of any person whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to this order, and (ii) the receipt of any contribution or provision of funds, goods, or services from any such person. Sec. 2. (a) Any transaction by a United States person or within the United States that evades or avoids, has the purpose of evading or avoiding, or attempts to violate any of the prohibitions set forth in this order is prohibited. (b) Any conspiracy formed to violate any of the prohibitions set forth in this order is prohibited. Sec. 3. For purposes of this order: (a) the term "person" means an individual or entity; (b) the term "entity" means a partnership, association, trust, joint venture, corporation, group, subgroup, or other organization; and (c) the term "United States person" means any United States citizen, permanent resident alien, entity organized under the laws of the United States or any jurisdiction within the United States (including foreign branches), or any person in the United States. / Comments at Digg - Comments: I'm worried that no newspapers have picked up on this story. This is the White House Website. This is getting scary. / The way I see it now, Bush has the power to imprison us without due process, put us all in camps, and basically turn this country into a dictatorship. I used to get goosebumps singing the national anthem. Now I shed a tear for Democracy.
07/18/07 - A Survival Imperative for Space Colonization
To ensure our long-term survival, we need to get a colony up and running on Mars within 46 years. Dr. Gott has used his technique to successfully forecast the longevity of Broadway plays, newspapers, dogs and, most recently, the tenure in office of hundreds of political leaders around the world. He bases predictions on just one bit of data, how long something has lasted already; and on one assumption, that there is nothing special about the particular moment that you’re observing this phenomenon. This assumption is called the Copernican Principle, after the astronomer who assumed he wasn’t seeing the universe from a special spot in the center. The beauty of the Copernican formula is that it allows you to make predictions when you don’t have any other information, which is how Dr. Gott managed to predict the tenure of virtually every other nation’s leader that day in 1993 - a total of 313 leaders. If none of those still in power stays in office beyond age 100, Dr. Gott’s accuracy rate will turn out to be almost exactly 95 percent. Dr. Gott notes that past civilizations, notably China, abandoned exploration. He also notes that humans have been going into space for only 46 years - a worrisomely low number when using Copernican logic to forecast the human spaceflight program’s longevity. Since there’s a 50 percent chance that we’re already in the second half of the space program’s total lifespan, Dr. Gott figures there is a 50 percent chance it will not last more than another 46 years. Maybe the reason civilizations don’t get around to colonizing other planets is that there’s a narrow window when they have the tools, population and will to do so, and the window usually closes on them. “In 1970 everyone figured we’d have humans on Mars by now, but we haven’t taken the opportunity,” Dr. Gott says. “We should it do soon, because colonizing other worlds is our best chance to hedge our bets and improve the survival prospects of our species. Sooner or later something will get us if we stay on one planet. By the time we’re in trouble and wish we had that colony on Mars, it may be too late.”
07/18/07 - Gushers of Green
According to John Caveny's analysis, the new energy gold isn't black, it's green, and the new energy wildcatters aren't sitting on gushers, they're standing in them. Caveny demonstrated as he waded among rows of miscanthus, a tropical "superweed" so tough and prolific that it looks to him like a good bet to make mountains of cellulose -- and bundles of cash for farmers. "The future is big for this stuff, in my opinion," said Frank Dohleman, an Urbana-Champaign doctoral student in plant biology, "and I don't mind being in on the ground floor." The comparison of a carbon farm to an oil well isn't as far-fetched as it sounds. Miscanthus, which is one of many perennial plants under study as sources for cellulose-based biofuels, grows for 20 years and needs relatively low amounts of fertilizer, water and care. European researchers have been studying it for some time. The economics are attractive enough now to draw investors who can afford to wait a few years to recover their stake. They're expected to improve markedly as demand and productivity grow: The glint in the wildcatter's eye is the gusher of a 300-acre energy farm costing about $6 million for land, interest and planting and turning at least $8 million in revenue over the life of the crop. Six ethanol processing plants funded by the U.S. Department of Energy will come on line within 18 months, and these represent the market for the first cellulose harvest, said Tom Harrington, who is based in Morro Bay (San Luis Obispo County) as a Speedling consultant. "Just using our existing technology, we expect to expand to 15,000 acres by '09, and I would say that's conservative," he said. One of the trickiest problems is designing specialized harvesters and balers for a crop that grows 12 feet high, creates huge blocks of vegetation instead of rows, and dies back in winter to thickets of spiky canes as woody as bamboo. Urbana-Champaign scientists interviewed were overwhelmingly positive in their assessment of the impact of miscanthus on the environment. They said it crowds out weeds and adds carbon to the soil -- a service provided for thousands of years by the prairie grasses that predated industrial agriculture. It could improve wetlands by serving the function that canebrakes served before the prairie was developed for farming, and its minimal fertilizer requirements could help clean up the Mississippi River, they said.
07/18/07 - 'Kitchen science' reveals dinosaurs died in agony
The puzzle: Why were fossils of those ancient creatures so often discovered buried with their heads, necks and feet arched bizarrely backward into a distorted posture unlike anything seen alive? The answer: Kevin Padian, a noted dinosaur expert and curator of the Museum of Paleontology at UC Berkeley, and Cynthia Marshall Faux, a veterinarian and paleontologist at the Museum of the Rockies in Bozeman, Mont., say the beasts were suffering in violent death throes as they perished -- asphyxiated by volcanic gases or ash falls, poisoned by unknown toxins or drowned in swamps or deepwater lakes. When paleontologists years ago were struck by the peculiar posture of most fossil dinosaur skeletons, they offered many explanations in their reports: The skeletons always developed that way after death, they said -- strong currents must have bent the bodies that way before sediments could bury them; or their necks were broken backward as a result of diving or falling into mud; or salts in evaporated water stiffened them into position after death; or dry air shriveled the tendons in their dead bodies until the skeletons bent; or it was all an example of rigor mortis -- the stiffening of any body that follows quickly after death. "The prevalent idea has been that these animals distorted posture occurred only after death with no scavenging of their bones, and then were somehow buried by currents of water and mud," Padian said. "Our study suggests that many of these animals died instead in places that were already inundated, and that they maintained their death postures as they were quickly buried."
07/18/07 - Ion Power - The Slow-Motion Space Mission
The new ship will putt-putt into interplanetary space under the power--if that's even the word--of an engine that accelerates by barely 15 m.p.h. (24 km/h) per day, or zero to 60 in more than half a week. Yet the places the ship is going--and the remarkable way it will get there--could open an entire new era in space travel. The odd duck of a spacecraft, scheduled to launch in September, is known simply as Dawn, and its destinations are the asteroid Vesta and the dwarf planet Ceres, mysterious bodies orbiting in the belt of rubble that circles the sun between Mars and Venus. Of all the things that add weight to a spacecraft, fuel presents the most problems. The farther you're going, the more propellant you need, but every pound of it you add means more mass the engine must propel, which requires more fuel still, and on and on. A spacecraft like Dawn, which is designed not just to fly by its two targets but also to settle into orbit around them, would require a massive load of onboard gas. Ion propulsion sidesteps that whole mess. Rather than rely on common combustible fuel, it uses xenon gas, a comparatively light 937 lbs. (425 kg) of it loaded into a compact 72-gal. (273 L) tank. A jolt of electricity energizes the gas, causing xenon ions to shoot out the back of the ship at 77,000 m.p.h. (124,000 km/h). A stream of charged atoms has somewhat less oomph than a burst of fire--less force than the weight of a single piece of paper, in fact--but over time it adds up. "It's acceleration with patience," says Rayman. "In the four days it takes to increase speed by 60 m.p.h., we'll use only 2 lbs. of propellant. If we keep thrusting, however, we can achieve extremely high speed." Indeed they can. By the time Dawn completes its four-year journey to the neighborhood of Vesta, a trip made longer by the slow acceleration, it will have sped up by 24,500 m.p.h. (39,400 km/h) and will be tearing along as fast as any interplanetary ship has ever propelled itself.
07/18/07 - HortiBot - the Robot Farmer
Scientists in Denmark are developing an agricultural robot for identifying and eliminating weeds. While this might seem like a relatively easy task, it actually requires a lot of machine intelligence to pick out the weeds among the crops. The robot is still in the early stages of development, but the researchers hope that it will ultimately lead to a reduction in the amount of herbicides used by farmers and therefore cut costs. Currently, farmers tend to deal with weeds by either spraying entire fields or by using manual laborers to physically remove weeds by hand. But these approaches have their problems, says Jørgensen. Although labor can be cheap, the cost of training workers can mount up. The high turnover of low-skilled workers in agriculture means that farmers often have to pay to train as much as one-third of their work force each year. Indiscriminate spraying of herbicides has an environmental impact, is wasteful, and adds to the cost of farming. And herbicides are normally sprayed using heavy vehicles such as tractors, which in turn cause compaction of the soil. "If the soil is too compact, the roots can't penetrate it, and water can't get through," says Jørgensen. A single tractor and its load can weigh enough to compact soil by as much as half a meter, he says. The aim with Hortibot is to address these issues by enabling a lightweight robot to carry out the same tasks under the supervision of a single worker with little training. Weighing just 245 kilograms--roughly one-fortieth as much as a tractor--the robot is based on a modified framework of a commercially available remote-controlled slope mower called a Spider. Standing a meter tall and roughly a meter and a half wide and long, the four-wheeled Hortibot comes equipped with a downward-looking camera. This enables the robot to navigate autonomously in between several rows of crops without damaging them and without the use of any global-positioning technology. Some agricultural machines now use GPS, but it can be unreliable since it depends on the resolution and accuracy of maps, says Jørgensen. Using a vision-based approach ensures that the robot covers the field more accurately, turning when it reaches the edge of a field to continue winding its way across the entire plot. The human operator is there to guide it to the field and stop it if obstacles emerge. With less than an hour's training and using a simple control stick, anyone can use it, Jørgensen says.
07/18/07 - System Relies on Ice To Chill Buildings
Because electricity is needed to make ice for an innovative cooling system, water is frozen in large silver tanks at night when power demands are low. The cool air emanating from the ice blocks is then piped throughout the building more or less like traditional air conditioning. At night the water is frozen again and the cycle repeats. Ice storage can be used as the sole cooling system, or it can be combined with traditional systems to help ease the power demands during peak hours. "The concept is the same, but when you make something mechanical, it can break, but a big block of ice four floors below grade level isn't going to do anything but melt," said Todd Coulard of Trane Energy Services.
07/18/07 - Diamonds Are a Fuel Cell's Best Friend
"Researchers at UC Davis have used nanocrystals made of diamond-like cubic zirconia to develop cooler fuel cells. Even if hydrogen fuel cells have been touted as clean energy sources, current fuel cells have to run at high temperatures of up to 1,000 C. This new technology will allow fuel cells to run at much lower temperatures, between 50 and 100 C. Obviously, this could lead to a widespread use of fuel cells, which could become a realistic alternative power source for vehicles. The researchers have applied for a patent for their technology, but don't tell when fuel cells based on their work are about to appear."
07/18/07 - Banned Words Including "Rape" Result in Mistrial
(What's the point if you can't use free speech due to this hypersensitive PC semantic BS? - JWD) Judge Jeffre Cheuvront of Lancaster County District (Nebraska) has declared a mistrial in a rape case claiming publicity made it impossible to seat an untainted jury. Previously, the judge had barred attorneys and witnesses from using the words "rape," "victim," "assailant," "sexual assault" and "sexual assault kit" - a ban allowed under Nebraska law where the language is deemed "prejudicial" or "misleading" to a jury. Words such as "sex" and "intercourse" were allowed, as they did not imply the act was "violent" rather than only "non-consensual." The mistrial was a result of advocates for rape victims criticizing the restrictions by holding rallies on the alleged victim's behalf, as well as publicizing the ban nationwide.
07/18/07 - Mitochondria and the Prevention of Death
"Research into mitochondria - small structures within a cell that have their own DNA - suggests that they may be a cause of cellular death, according to Newsweek. The article The Science of Death: Reviving the Dead reports on people who have recovered from sudden death due to cardiac arrest through the use of medically induced hypothermia. The cooling process may help stop the death of brain and heart cells initiated by the mitochondria once they are deprived of oxygen. The article goes on to probe delicately at the question of where a person's personality 'is' between death and later revival, and describes several ongoing scientific studies of near-death experiences."
07/18/07 - Researchers Predict 'Dead Zone' Growth
Researchers predict that the recurring oxygen-depleted "dead zone" off the Louisiana coast will grow this summer to 8,543 square miles - its largest in at least 22 years. The forecast, released Monday by the Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium, is based on a federal estimate of nitrogen from the Mississippi River watershed to the Gulf of Mexico. It discounts the effect storms might have. The "dead zone" in the northern Gulf, at the end of the Mississippi River system, is one of the largest areas of oxygen-depleted coastal waters in the world. Low oxygen, or hypoxia, can be caused by pollution from farm fertilizer, soil erosion and discharge from sewage treatment plants, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. The pollution is carried downstream by the Mississippi and comes from throughout the U.S. Excess nutrients can spur the growth of algae, and when the algae die, their decay consumes oxygen faster than it can be brought down from the surface. As a result, fish, shrimp and crabs can be forced to move or die, the consortium Web site says. The dead zone usually begins forming in the spring and stays through summer and into the fall. Though the size of the dead zone has shrunk some years, on average it has steadily grown larger, Turner said. If the prediction stands, it would be the largest dead zone measured since mapping began in 1985, the report says. The consortium has scheduled an assessment of the dead zone for summer's end.
07/18/07 - World's First Hydrogen-Powered Racecar To Debut This Weekend
The first hydrogen-powered race car will take to the track this weekend in the worldwide Formula Student category, and if the notion of green car racing catches on, we can look forward to watching the ingenuity of the racing community making some significant contributions to the development of emission-free consumer cars in the near future. This is the first time that a hydrogen-powered racing car has been developed anywhere in the world. It will produce zero CO2 emissions, run on ‘green’ hydrogen produced from farm waste and is expected to be equally as fast as a petrol-fueled car. “Usually if a car is run on hydrogen, we would expect it to lose performance,” said John. “But, in this case, we have found a way to get optimum performance from the engine.”
07/18/07 - Was Reich right?
Wilhelm Reich was a scientist. A physician. An inventor. An inmate. A much-studied man who remains something of a mystery, now 50 years after his death in a federal prison. This man who gained acclaim and, to some degree, notoriety for his research will be the focus of a conference here at the end of July. More than 85 doctors, scientists and researchers from Europe and the United States, and others interested in Reich, will gather to discuss what his work means today and how it should be advanced. "The way the FDA (claims to have) disproved him, especially in today's standards, is not scientific at all," said Maio, who will participate in a panel discussion on how to possibly get FDA approval for clinical trials for treating burn victims with orgone-energy blankets, one of Reich's experimental medical instruments. Anecdotal evidence from a doctor in Germany, who will also attend the conference, has shown remarkable results with the blankets, Maio said. "I think the issue was that people thought he was a communist, people didn't like the fact that his theories were somewhat controversial and they concentrated on this idea of sexual energy and thought he was some kind of perverse old man or something." This year is significant for those who study Reich, said Kevin Hinchey, associate director of the Wilhelm Reich Museum in Rangeley and a board member of the Wilhelm Reich Infant Trust. The museum sits on 160 acres, the site of Reich's former home and laboratory overlooking Dodge Pond and the place where his body is entombed. According to the scientist's will, his archives were to be, "put away and stored for 50 years to secure their safety from destruction and falsification by anyone interested in the falsification and destruction of historical truth." The half-century release date comes in November. His Orgone Energy Accumulator was originally developed as a small box. This box was comprised of alternating layers of organic and metallic materials, that could contain orgone radiation, from microscopic cultures, for observation and measurement. Later, accumulators were used in experiments on cancer mice. Finding promising results in this research, Reich built larger accumulators for the experimental treatment of and prevention of diseases in human subjects. Wilhelm Reich in the 21st Century: 2007 International Conference on Orgonomy will be held July 29 to Aug. 1 at Orgonon and Saddleback Mountain in Rangeley. To register, call 864-3443 or e-mail [email protected] For more information, go to www.wilhelmreichmuseum.org.
07/18/07 - Stealth advertising: marketing creeps into the evening news
A few years ago, we predicted that the spread of DVRs was going to change advertising culture, as viewers gained the ability to jump past commercials and free themselves from scheduled broadcasting times. Now a new study from the University of Oregon has found that local news broadcasts are being infiltrated by advertising at around the same rate that DVR users skip ads. The fact that DVRs allow viewers to skip adverts is seen as one of their biggest benefits by users, but advertisers-and the TV networks that depend on them-are not so happy. Ad buyers don't want to pay full price for slots that viewers will never see, and TV networks are going as far as asking fans not to watch timeshifted programs but instead watch them live, lest the show in question get canceled. The researchers looked at 17 different TV stations in the US over a four-month period in 2004. The study, published in Electronic News, monitored 2 newscasts a month for each station and looked for instances where 'stealth adverts' crept into the news reporting. A stealth advert, according to Jim Upshaw, one of the authors of the report, is when a commercial message promoting a product is "cloaked in some other garment than a normal commercial." Upshaw and his colleagues found that 90 percent of the newscasts contained at least one instance of stealth advertising, including product placement within stories or on the anchors' desks, and sponsored segments. Small-to-medium sized stations were more susceptible to the trend than those serving larger markets.
07/18/07 - Boredom, revenge and the other 235 reasons to have sex
Some do it to keep warm on a chilly night. Others think it might burn off a few calories after a heavy dinner. The spiritual among us might even feel it brings us closer to God. But the main reason for having sex is seldom as straightforward as passion, it is claimed. The researchers also confirmed what most already consider obvious - men and women think differently about sex. They found it was more about the physical experience for men, while women's desires were based on an emotional need. Women were much more likely to say: "I realised that I was in love." Men were more likely to say: "I wanted to increase the number of partners I had experienced." Each of the 237 reasons was given the highest rating by at least one of the people taking part. "The frequently endorsed reasons for having sex, reflect what motivates most people most of the time: attraction, pleasure, affection, love, romance, emotional closeness, arousal, the desire to please, adventure, excitement and opportunity," say the psychologists.
07/18/07 - Patch Helps Heart Grow New Cells
A special patch placed on a damaged area of the heart regenerates cardiac cells after heart attack and improves heart function, a new study finds. Success with the patch in rats may lead the way to new methods of repairing damaged human hearts and possibly spare some patients the need for a heart transplant, according to researchers reporting in the July 15 online edition of Nature Medicine.
07/18/07 - Funny Big-Eyed Russian photoshopped
Russians like to make internet stars from amusing or extraordinary people seen in mass communication media. For example, for some period of time such a star was Chumazik (Dirty-Faced Fellow), a drunken factory worker. The video with this guy was a true hit in 2005 across Russian part of Internet. That was three years ago. But here is another story, the new one. During the press conference of the Russian President Vladimir Putin, that took place on G8 summit, some young man started to throw out propaganda leaflets. This incident became very popular in the Russian part of the Internet. The reason of such popularity is neither the actions of the young activist, nor the smart reaction of the Mr. President. The reason was the man sitting in the conference hall (you can see him on the picture above). They called him Glazastik (Big-Eyed Guy). Below you can see the short video of this incident - see the guy with strange eyes behind the guy with leaflets, clear at 00.58 of the video. After the video was spread around Russian Internet many photoshopped versions of him appeared, we also include them here.
07/16/07 - Inventor claims truck runs on Hydraulic Power
If someone told you that they had rebuilt a Nissan 4x4 truck to run with no internal combustion engine or fossil fuels, you would likely think that there's no conceivable way this could work. And so did this writer. That is, until he saw it for himself. Randy Nichols and Andrew Lamb of Unionville appear to have actually come up with a way of getting around without filling up the gas tank. And with this truck, there isn't much of a choice, because it doesn't have anyplace for the fuel. "You could take this vehicle to California right now and never have to fill it up," Lamb says. "You never have to do anything to it." This is a bold claim. But seeing is believing and the pair popped the hood to reveal the missing space. Just two car batteries, an AC/DC converter, a hydraulic motor, a small electric motor and various hoses are left sitting around the empty space which once housed the engine. The rear part of the truck has been stripped back to show no gas tank or exhaust system. While it reached only about 10 MPH around the lot, Lamb asserts that they've clocked the truck at 42 MPH, adding that he needed to put a little more hydraulic fluid in it to get more pressure for better speed. This is how it works: A hydraulic pump forces the fluid to a hydraulic motor, turning the flywheel, which is what powers the vehicle in a gasoline engine. "From the flywheel to the back, it's the same, nothing has been modified," Lamb said. Taking the gas engine out, they installed a tiny DC motor on the flywheel, which powers the transmission and the vehicle. Lamb said the truck also has a complete charging system, which was the hardest part of the design, taking them about eight months to get right. It is powered on a 24-volt system and the pair were reluctant to give away any more secrets, mainly due to the fact they haven't patented their invention yet. "This thing can be modified to work on something as small as a motorcycle or a big as a tractor trailer," Lamb claims. They had to create their own ignition system for the truck. The pair put the invention in the 4x4 to demonstrate that a larger vehicle could be powered by the system, stating that if they used a smaller car like a Geo, they wouldn't be taken seriously. Lamb said once they hook up a larger DC engine to the flywheel, it will go faster than a gas powered vehicle. It goes pretty far on just $3 of hydraulic fluid rather than the same amount worth of gasoline, Lamb claims. The two "country boys," as they call themselves, jokingly said they were worried that the gas companies would have them done away with if they became successful with the device. / 1997 Hydraulic Car
07/16/07 - Young inventor's gadget zaps computer identity thieves
Young inventor William Morse has created a gadget, dubbed the Hard Drive Zapper, that sends a crippling electrical current into a computer's hard disk mechanism. That's good news for people with an arsenal of old computers in their basements, and bad news for identity thieves, the 18-year-old Morse contends. Now with patent-pending status, the Hard Drive Zapper is being marketed by Morse and sold for $20 out of the Salem, N.H., computer repair shop where he works. "It's nothing fancy," says Morse, who received a $10,000 entrepreneurial scholarship for the idea. "For 20 bucks you can protect yourself and your family from potential identity theft." The threat of an identity thief finding that information has been reason enough for some people to hold onto their old PCs for years, Morse said. "A lot of people are just afraid," he said. "Even if you just gave it to the geek down the road, someone's going to look at it." But Morse said his Zapper effectively makes that information unretrievable, unless an experienced hacker wants to spend more than $1,000. The Zapper delivers 25 times the normal voltage directly into the hard disk drive, the physical mechanism where a computer stores data, including things like passwords, documents, Web-surfing history and personal account information. Using it does require getting "under the hood" of the computer, opening the case and finding the right component. Morse provides instructions. With the motors that spin the hard disk fried, a determined hacker would have to disassemble the device and use specialized and expensive equipment to read the information - probably more work that it's worth. Morse makes his Hard Drive Zappers from recycled disposable cameras. After taking the cameras apart and modifying their circuit boards, 6 inches of wire and a plug are attached to where the lens would normally be. Once the gadget is plugged into the hard drive, after a quick noise and flash the Zapper's job is done. Morse said he came up with the idea for his invention after a college wouldn't sell him several old computers for fear data was still stored on them. / RFID Zapper - circuit similar to hard drive zapper for hackers. This circuit uses a coiled wire to produce a strong magnetic impulse to destroy the RFID chip. For the Hard Drive the wires from the high voltage circuit would be connected to the power supply wires of the hard drive. An interesting observation can be made when activating the Zapper about 0.5” away from the metal lampshade of an anglepoise lamp. It produces a “ping” sound as if one flips the fingernail against it. This phenomenon indicates that the magnetic field of the Zapper should be sufficient to destroy any RFID- chip at close range.
07/16/07 - Video - Toy inspires new spin on Earth's magnetic field
How can a spinning toy called a rattleback help us understand the Earth's magnetic field? For those of us below a certain age, a rattleback is a toy that you can spin in one direction but not the other. If you try to make it spin in the "wrong" direction, it spontaneously rattles up and down, and then starts spinning in the other way. It doesn't sound terribly complex, but mathematicians and physicists have been struggling for centuries trying to work out why rattlebacks behave like this. The man with the answer is Tadashi Tokieda from the University of Cambridge, who worked it out with his colleague Keith Moffatt. Tokieda was among the scientists exhibiting their work at the Royal Society's Summer Science Exhibition last week. New Scientist went to meet him and got more than we bargained for: as well as tackling the rattleback problem, he showed us the ultimate spinning penny and explained why eggs stand up on end if you spin them.
07/16/07 - Navy wins permission to keep using newer sonar technology
The federal government plans to extend by five years its rules allowing the Navy to use a new sonar technology that detects submarines at great distances. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said Tuesday research and stringent monitoring indicate marine mammals are unlikely to be injured when the Navy uses low-frequency active sonar under normal operating conditions. The rules require sailors to shut down their sonar when marine mammals are nearby and adopt other measures to protect the animals. Scientists say loud sonar can damage marine mammal brains and ears. Sonar may also mask the echoes some whales and dolphins listen for when they use their own natural sonar to locate food. But much is still unknown about how sonar affects whales and other marine mammals. For example, the sound can hurt some species while not affecting others, and experts don't fully understand why. The Navy says it takes steps to ensure its sonar doesn't harm whales and other marine mammals.
07/16/07 - Moebius strip riddle is solved at last
Popularised by the Dutch artist M.C. Escher, a Moebius strip entails taking a strip of paper or some other flexible material. You take one end of the strip, twist it through 180 degrees, and then tape it to the other end. This creates a loop that has an intriguing quality, dazzlingly exploited by Escher, in that it only has one side. What determines the strip's shape is its differing areas of "energy density," they say. "Energy density" means the stored, elastic energy that is contained in the strip as a result of the folding. Places where the strip is most bent have the highest energy density; conversely, places that are flat and unstressed by a fold have the least energy density. If the width of the strip increases in proportion to its length, the zones of energy density also shift, which in term alters the shape, according to their equations. A wider strip, for instance, leads to nearly flat, "triangular" regions in the strip, a phenomenon that also happens when paper is crumpled. The research may seem esoteric, but van der Heijden and Starostin believe it also has practical applications. It could help predict points of tearing in fabrics and also be useful for pharmaceutical engineers who model the structure of new drugs.
07/16/07 - One Giant Dish feeds 100 Houses
The answer to Australia’s' clean energy needs maybe right here in Canberra. The Australian National University is home to an invention that could meet 100 per cent of Australia's energy needs. The 400-square metre dish is the world's largest solar concentrator, which shifts with the sun to feed electricity back into the grid. "If we covered an area a couple of times as big as the ACT with dishes like this, reasonably spaced out, we could provide 100 per cent of Australia's energy needs," Keith said. One "big dish" provided enough power for about 100 houses, he said. Currently the ANU is working on an improved prototype which the university hopes will be finished early next year. Keith explained that the dish followed the sun during the day. The mirrors on its surface gather up the radiation and focus it to a receiver 13 metres above. The receiver is made from tubing with water going through it. The water boils and creates super-heated steam with temperatures of up to 500 degrees Celsius.
"In the same way that in a coal-fired power station we might burn coal to make steam...ultimately we are going to use this steam for power generation without greenhouse gas emissions," Keith said.
07/16/07 - Freedom Fighters Manual
(I was always curious what was in such books. Be sure to check out the rest of the site as they have numerous other documents of this nature and more. - JWD) In the 1980s, the CIA issued a small handbook called "The Freedom Fighter's Manual" to the anti-Sandinista Contras on how to screw over the government. Presented here is the handbook in its entirety, with tips like "Show up late to work" and "Leave corral gates open on state farms," with English translations.
07/16/07 - Sun's rays Harnessed in Solar Furnace - May 1924
To harness solar energy, a solar furnace, with which it is claimed it is possible to attain much higher temperatures than that given by the electric furnace, has been built. The apparatus is composed of about twenty-five lenses and mirrors, the mirrors forming the walls of a cone and the lenses arranged to form a dome near the base of the cone. By adjustments the sun’s rays are concentrated within an area of about one-quarter of an inch, which is the working part of the furnace. It is claimed that by simply increasing the number of lenses and mirrors increased temperatures may be attained. In tests made with this furnace, the more common metals immediately melted and passed off in gaseous form. Even substances like graphite are unable to withstand the intense heat. The working part of the furnace is, of course, extremely small and can handle samples of not over two grams in weight. One of the advantages claimed for this . apparatus is that substances can be melted or evaporated in a vacuum, as they may be inclosed in a glass vessel. It is believed that a furnace of this sort can reach temperatures sufficiently high to melt substances that up to the present have been considered infusible.
07/16/07 - Commerce - Slave to electricity?
Have you noticed though, in the span of just around 100 years, we have managed to slow to a snail’s pace something that has thrived for thousands of years? They had it in Egypt, Rome, China and even in the Americas. What is it? Commerce, or the buying and selling of goods and services. Over the last couple of decades, another invention, the computer, has made our lives better in so many ways, except when the power goes out. Just a few days ago, much of Ringgold’s commerce came to a halt when for a couple hours in the middle of the day the power was off. I know at least one bank closed its doors, the Post Office could only sell stamps, gas stations couldn’t pump gas, businesses could not run their computer cash registers - so for this time folks looking to conduct simple daily transactions were inconvenienced. Imagine what it would be like if this happened on a larger scale for an extended period of time. Men and women have been buying and selling without electricity forever. With ink and paper or the fingers on their hands, bills were tallied, money changed hands and the customer was on his way. But thanks to all our progress and all the advantages of the modern age, you can’t cash a check or make a deposit at the bank without electricity. Since no one puts prices on products anymore, only the electric computer scanner can tally a bill. I guess folks 20 and under have never experienced anything else. Do you remember the days when you had to know the prices of the items you sold? These days there are obviously some things you can’t do without electricity. I am not advocating life without it, but as the threat of outages spreads across the country, it would make sense for business people to have contingency plans in place to continue to serve customers in some way during these down times. I guess it would mean people would have to pull the mechanical cash register out of the back room. Take out the old Royal typewriter to write for the paper and dig out the old press. Make a paper copy of prices or account records to refer to when the power goes out.
07/16/07 - What do we need to be Satisfied with our Life?
The diminished availability of fossil fuel is not the only limit we face, says the author. For, “even before we run out of oil, we’re running out of planet.” Environmental damage is happening in a thousand different ways, he warns. “Nitrogen runoff, mercury contamination, rainforest destruction, species extinction, and water shortage” are only a few examples. The overarching threat is ‘climate change’ caused by global warming - ‘the gaseous remains of oil fields and coal beds acting like an insulating blanket.’ More is really better only up to a certain point, argues McKibben. “Money consistently buys happiness right up to about $10,000 per capital income (this in India),” he says, citing research. “After that point the correlation disappears.” Past the point of basic needs being met, the ‘satisfaction’ data scramble in mind-bending ways, one learns. In a ‘quality of life’ survey, nearly three-fourth of the answers were non-materialistic. “The best predictor of happiness was health, followed by factors like being married. Income seemed not to matter at all in France, Holland, or England, and it was only the seventh or eighth most important predictor in Italy, Ireland, and Denmark.” Closer home, homeless people in Kolkata ranked among the lowest in ‘life satisfaction’; surprisingly, however, their ‘satisfaction’ doubled “when they moved into a slum, at which point they were basically as satisfied with their lives as a sample of college students drawn from 47 nations.”
07/16/07 - Is our family annoying because we own a Prius?
Why are Prius sales surging when other hybrids are slumping, the Times asked? Because buyers "want everyone to know they are driving a hybrid." According to a marketing survey (which the Times ran in a graphic I couldn't hide from), more buyers bought the Prius this year because it "makes a statement about me" (57 percent) than because of its better gas mileage (36 percent) or lower carbon dioxide emissions (25 percent) or new technology (7 percent). If I'm being honest, I'd answer "all of the above" in response to that survey. It also made me worry about how my kids perceive our family Prius ownership. Do they think we're doing our small bit to save the Earth, or are they imbibing a look-at-me smugness?
07/16/07 - A Nuclear Deterrent
The existence of nuclear weapons is disturbing by itself but what is worse is that they remain in the hands of a very few nations, which are determined to retain a monopoly on mass death. Their retention gives those nations the ability to ride roughshod over others and their deterrent ability ensures that they are relatively safe from invasion or attack. Most have signed the Nuclear non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). But while they take the treaty seriously when it comes to preventing other countries from developing the bomb, they behave as though it is not applicable to their own activities. But surely, the Arab world has the right to secure itself from predators and, in fact, it has more to protect than most. According to an article titled "How the Saudi King, disillusioned with Bush is trying to save the Arabs" published in the April 9 issue of Newsweek, the Saudi Foreign Minister Saud Al Faisal had this to say: "We have two nightmares. One is that Iran will develop a nuclear bomb, and the other is America will take military action to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear bomb". As it is, Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah is calling for a nuclear-free Middle East. A wise and noble sentiment but nobody's listening.
07/16/07 - Video - Ecologically beneficial Golf Ball retriever
The machine is called "The Roller" and retrieves more than 2,000 balls a pass, sometimes 60,000 golf balls a day. It was developed by Fidelity Golf of Wisconsin a year ago and now services a dozen Metro golf courses. "We had the scuba divers, the guys that went out there with a bag around their neck," Assistant Manager of Brookview Golf Course Ben Disch said. "The Roller" goes deeper than a diver, scraping through the muck, sludge and slime. It's a grimy job, but someone, or in this case, something has to do it. "It gets more golf balls and it also is healthier for the pond. It releases the methane, gets the weeds out of the pond, algae out of the pond so the fish are happy too," Otto says.
07/16/07 - Domestic chickens use Earth's magnetic field to navigate
The jury is still out on why the chicken crossed the road. But new research reveals an inbuilt magnetic compass guides domestic chickens when they do venture across the asphalt and other surfaces. Many animals have an innate sense of direction, finding their way along migration routes that extend thousands of miles. Often, they detect Earth’s magnetic field and use that for orientation.
07/16/07 - Make a Jam Jar Jet
To celebrate the first anniversary of MAKE Magazine's Weekend Projects podcast, a tutorial on how to construct a pulsejet (a simple jet engine) out of a jam jar. (Flash; 04:08) Based on a MAKE article by William Gurstelle. The PDF version (1:30 MB) contains a full materials list and detailed instructions.
07/16/07 - Need Anonymity? - Fake Name Generator can help
# Many websites, such message boards, are poorly designed, making it difficult for visitors from foreign countries to sign up for accounts. Using fake information, you can easily fill out the sign up forms and log in to the site. # Use fake information when filling out forms to avoid giving out personal information. # Generate a false identity to use as your pseudonym on the internet. This allows you to keep your real life and your internet life seperate. # Get ideas for names to use for characters in a book or story. # Generated credit cards can be used to test basic client-/server-side validation techniques without accidently processing a real card. # Generated national identity numbers can be used to test basic client-/server-side validation techniques without risking disclosure of real information.
07/14/07 - People with More Moles Tend to Age Slowly
Scientists from King's College, London, compared key ageing DNA with the number of moles a person had in a study of 1,800 twins. A mole is a spot on the skin that is usually round or oval in shape and may range in colour from pink, brown, red or black. The experts found that the more moles a person had, the more likely their DNA was to have the properties to fight off ageing, reported the online edition of BBC News. In the study, experts found that those with more than 100 moles had longer telomeres than those with fewer than 25. Telemores are the part of certain chromosomes linked to ageing. The difference between the two mole groups was equivalent to six to seven years of ageing.
07/14/07 - Colored sand unmixes when jostled
An experiment at Rutgers shows how two populations of sand grains mixed together and held in a hopper will, when shaken out into a beaker, spontaneously segregate themselves, all because of static electrical interactions. This phenomenon, the opposite of mixing, might have practical uses in the powder industry. In the recent report, the two types of sand grains (“art sand”), one colored blue and the other red, are mechanically alike but acquire slightly different charge. Through a process not well understood, the grains lose some electrons owing to their jostling motion (“tribocharging”) in the hopper, and become positively charged.
07/14/07 - Organic farming could feed the world
A switch to organic farming would not reduce the world's food supply and could also increase food security in developing countries, say the authors of a new study. Ivette Perfecto of the University of Michigan in the US and her colleagues found that, in developed countries, organic systems on average produce 92% of the yield produced by conventional agriculture. In developing countries, however, organic systems produce 80% more than conventional farms. Perfecto points out that the materials needed for organic farming are more accessible to farmers in poor countries. Those poor farmers may buy the same seeds as conventional farms use in rich countries, but they cannot afford the fertilisers and pesticides needed for intensive agriculture. However, "organic fertiliser doesn't cost much - they can produce it on their own farms", says Perfecto.
07/14/07 - Copyright your Literary Work
Getting a copyright for your work is surprisingly simple. USA.gov explains the 3-step process, which requires filing an application, paying $45, and mailing a non-returnable version of your work to the Library of Congress. Ever wondered what you can get a copyright for? It's probably more inclusive than you thought.
07/14/07 - China to make Artificial Weather
Unlike their ancestors, they do not assemble to perform a rain dance or gather in a temple to pray to the Lord Buddha to bring the rain. Instead, they grab rocket launchers and a 37-millimeter anti-aircraft gun and begin shooting into the sky. What they launch are not bullets or missiles but chemical pellets. Their targets are not enemy aggressors but wisps of passing cloud that they aim to "seed" with silver-iodide particles around which moisture can then collect and become heavy enough to fall. The farmers are part of the biggest rain-making force in the world: China's Weather Modification Program. According to Wang Guanghe, director of the Weather Modification Department under the Chinese Academy of Meteorological Sciences, each of China's more than 30 provinces and province-level municipalities today boast a weather-modification base, employing more than 32,000 people, 7,100 anti-aircraft guns, 4,991 special rocket launchers and 30-odd aircraft across the country. "Ours is the largest artificial weather program in the world in terms of equipment, size and budget," Wang said, adding that the annual nationwide budget for weather modification is between US$60 million and $90 million. In the beginning, the idea was to ease drought and improve harvests for Chinese farmers, but over the decades other functions have evolved such as firefighting, prevention of hailstorms, and replenishment of river heads and reservoirs. Artificial rain has also been used by some provinces to combat drought and sandstorms. In 2004, Shanghai decided to induce rain simply to lower the temperature during a prolonged heat wave to bring relief to an increasingly hot and sweaty urban populace. And now China's weather officials have been charged with another important task: ensuring clear skies for the Summer Olympic Games next year.
07/14/07 - Pastor accused of using magic trick to trick congregants
Ghanaian Kojo Nana Obiri-Yeboah, a preacher in Uganda, is under investigation for intending to scam his congregation into believing he has magic powers by shocking them with a commercially-available magic trick called the "Electric Touch." The pastor denies the, er, charge, claiming that he ordered the trick as a birthday gift for his daughter. From the BBC News: Media Images 42493000 Jpg 42493710 Machine203 There has been a massive growth in churches set up by charismatic preachers in Africa in recent years, amid fears some could be fraudsters. The pastor told the BBC that during his prayers, members of the congregation "act as the spirit comes in them". The website of the company Yigal Mesika, which makes the "Electric Touch" machine, among other magic tricks, says: "Charge a spoon, keys or coins and watch as it shocks a volunteer! "They will believe you have supernatural powers!" (props to boingboing.net)
07/14/07 - Video - Betting Against Ron Paul
ABC news interview. Long shot candidate banks on presidential campaign.
07/13/07 - Wave-skimming plane developed in China
Chinese scientists have developed a "wing-in-ground" (WIG) aircraft that can fly long distances just a few metres above the sea surface, state media reported on Wednesday. The plane can fly as low as half a meter from the ground, hitting speeds of up to 300 kilometres per hour (180 miles per hour), while also carrying up to 4 tonnes on takeoff. WIG aircraft exploit a phenomenon known as the "ground effect", which occurs as a plane flies close to the ground. At a height roughly equivalent to twice the plane's wingspan, trailing wing vortices that cause drag are disrupted by the ground. This allows the aircraft to travel much more quickly through the air and increases the lift experienced. The plane is as safe as a ship, although much faster, according to Xu Zhengyu of the research team that developed the plane at Tongji University in Shanghai. "It can carry much more weight than ordinary planes, while costing half as much and using half as much fuel," he says. The China Daily reports that the Tongji University plane should consume one third as much fuel as standard planes of the same size, by harnessing the ground effect.
07/13/07 - Video - How to Hack Gas Machine: Free Gas For Your Car!
This video is for entertainment only. This video shows you the big failure found last year in the system of 85% of all station service in the world. And it still works. Try at your own risk. Maybe you can get gazoline for free without being caught!
07/13/07 - Advertising Novelty Blows Smoke Rings - July 1939
(This would make a novel incense burner hack along with a timed solenoid to kick out the smoke. And maybe some colored LEDs to illuminate the smoke rings. - JWD) Smoke rings are easy to produce with a small cardboard pyramid introduced as an advertising novelty. Through a hole in the side, smoke may be blown into the interior. Then a series of quick taps ejects slender smoke rings that float lazily through the air, as shown in the illustration at the right. Pressing slowly on a side releases a fat ring. For best results, a spot free from drafts must be chosen, otherwise the air currents will quickly destroy the rings.
07/13/07 - Invention is Better than Cure
You never know what wonders things from your bathroom cabinet can do or so it would seem. There are people out there who swear toothpaste cures zits and Vicks vaporub fixes cracked feet. 1) Toothpaste - Try applying a bit of toothpaste to a zit that pops up right before a big day. Be careful use only white paste. Gels and whitening pastes contain high levels of hydrogen peroxide that might burn your skin. Apart from being the 10-minute cure for a headache, Disprin is said to be an effective remedy to treat a sore throat.The toothpaste is most effective when used on the pimple when the whitehead has been formed. 2) Vicks - You know what else is a common problem in the winter other than a cold? Cracked feet. Next time you rub Vaporub on your chest, rub some on your feet too. And then cover them up with socks. 3) Aspirin - Apart from being the 10-minute cure for a headache, Aspiriin is said to be an effective remedy to treat a sore throat. Instead of swallowing the pill, try a gargle with a mediumsized glass of warm water with an Aspirin dissolved in it. It will relieve the pain, and the cough, and you have effectively not ingested any drug either. 4) Milk of Magnesia - We all know that Milk of Magnesia cures constipation. Maybe it's the same principle of flushing-out that makes it very effective to treat skin problems. Applying Milk of Magnesia in an area affected by an allergy or acne is very effective. Cosmetologist Dr Blossom Kocchar also recommends it in a remedy for severe acne. Take one teaspoon of Milk of Magnesia and mix it with one teaspoon of water. Leave it on for five minutes and then rinse off with water. Follow this up with an application of a paste composed of one egg white and mashed garlic. Wait for this to dry and then wash off. This remedy is supposed to work wonders. Milk of magnesia flushes out the toxins, the egg white helps the skin to dry up and garlic acts as an antiseptic. 5) Saliva - You can fight fire with fire. For acne problems, apply saliva first thing in the morning. Yes, your own stinky, stale, saliva. The bacteria present in your mouth - probably the same that rot your teeth and gums - is effective in killing the bacteria that cause your acne infection. Leave it on for at least 30 minutes.
07/13/07 - Ad: Hair Growing Hat - June 1924
(This looks an awful lot like an off-the-shelf trouble lamp supported on an extension cone. That would mean light and/or heat is the most likely effect. Reminescent of the recent hot air blow dryer method of killing head lice and their eggs. - JWD) I HAVE perfected a new invention that I absolutely guarantee will give you a new head of hair in only 30 days-or the trial costs you nothing. This new invention-the result of an experience gained in treating thousands of cases of baldness-is in the form of a new kind of hat. It is worn on the head just 10 minutes a day. No unnecessary fuss of any kind. Just put the hat on your head. Wear it 10 minutes. And that’s all there is to it. No matter how thin your hair may be, this remarkable new scientific invention is absolutely guaranteed to give you a brand new growth of hair in 30 days-or it costs you nothing. Don’t send a cent. Just mail coupon below.
07/13/07 - Solar Ovens for efficient cooking
Sun-heated ovens are nothing new. The idea has been around for centuries, and people of a certain age may remember using ragtag cardboard-and-foil contraptions to bake carrot-lentil loaf back in their hippie days. But with today's new versions that produce results comparable to conventional ovens, solar ovens are poised to move into the mainstream. Lynn Langford of Ross purchased a Sun Oven a year ago and uses it to prepare dishes such as baby beet salad with walnuts and feta. Instead of boiling the beets on her stove and toasting walnuts in her oven, she places the beets in a dark pot, wraps the nuts in parchment paper and tucks both into the oven to cook in her sunny backyard. "When you care about not heating up the whole planet, it's a fun and easy way to do it," says Langford, who says her electricity bills dropped by 30 percent in the first month of using her solar oven about three times a week. Solar ovens alone will not solve the energy crisis. A typical family of four consumes about 500 kilowatt-hours per year using an electric range and oven combination, which adds up to only around $65 a year on Bay Area utility bills. Still, it's a start. Some people purchase them in the event that a major earthquake or hurricane -- not to mention terrorist attack -- wipes out power for days, or weeks. Solar cookers provide additional energy savings to those who use air-conditioning, because the air conditioner doesn't have to fight the heat produced by an indoor oven. Solar cooking typically takes two to three times as long as conventional cooking. But once you get used to the relaxed rhythm, it can be easy and convenient, kind of like using a Crock-Pot.
07/12/07 - Ford to develop 'plug-in hybrid' cars
(What a novel idea, they are right on top of it! - JWD) A fleet of experimental "plug-in hybrid" vehicles is to be developed under a partnership announced by US auto maker Ford and utility company Southern California Edison on Monday. Plug-in hybrids have a normal combustion engine and a battery that be recharged via a standard electric power outlet. Ford says cars incorporating the technology could go on sale within the next decade, providing battery technology continues to improve. "Within 5 to 10 years we will start to see this technology in our hands," Ford CEO Alan Mulally said at the announcement. General Motors has already begun development work this year on its own plug-in hybrid car, designed to use little or no gasoline over short distances. It showed off a concept version, called the Chevrolet Volt, in January 2007 and has set 2010 as a target for production.
07/12/07 - Muscular Men Have More Flings Than Their Scrawnier Peers
Women don't just like men with muscles - they go for them. Men who are more muscular than average are much more likely to have short-term affairs and multiple sex partners than their scrawnier peers. "If you're trying to figure out why men - especially young men - spend so much time at the gym, here's your answer," said David Frederick, lead author and a UCLA doctoral candidate in psychology. "The stereotype is that men work out to compete with each other, but our research suggests that pumping iron is a way for men to enhance their attractiveness to women." Frederick and Haselton lead a team that photographed 99 male undergraduates. A panel of independent judges rated the young men on a nine-point scale, with "1" being much less muscular than average and "9" being much more muscular than average. The researchers then asked the men about their sexual histories. When compared with their less-muscular peers, young men who were more muscular than average were twice as likely to have had more than three sex partners in their lives. In another study, Frederick and Haselton asked 120 undergraduate males to rate their own physiques on the same scale and then asked them about their sexual histories. The self-identified muscular men had not only had more sexual partners than their less burly peers, but they were twice as likely to have had brief flings or one-night stands with women. The difference in the number of sexual partners reported by the men who were more muscular than average was also notable: They reported having had an average of four partners, compared with an average of 1.5 partners for men who reported average or below-average muscularity.
07/12/07 - Baby born from defrosted egg
The first test-tube baby created from an egg matured in the laboratory and then frozen has been born in Canada, a conference has heard. The baby is doing well and another three women are pregnant by the same method, researchers told the annual meeting of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology (ESHRE) in Lyon, France. Some women seeking to preserve their child-bearing capacity may not have enough time to undergo ovarian stimulation. Alternatively, they may have a condition that makes it dangerous, such as hormone-sensitive breast cancer. For these patients, ripening eggs in the lab, so-called in vitro maturation or IVM, makes sense. Until now, however, scientists have never frozen, thawed and then fertilised a lab-matured egg. This multi-step process increases significantly the flexibility of fertility treatment. "We have demonstrated for the first time that it is possible to do this and, so far, we have achieved four successful pregnancies, one of which has resulted in a live birth," says Assistant Professor Hananel Holzer of the McGill Reproductive Centre, part of the McGill University Medical Centre.
07/12/07 - Power station harnesses Sun's rays
A concrete tower - 40 storeys high - stood bathed in intense white light, a totally bizarre image in the depths of the Andalusian countryside. The tower looked like it was being hosed with giant sprays of water or was somehow being squirted with jets of pale gas. In fact, as we found out when we got closer, the rays of sunlight reflected by a field of 600 huge mirrors are so intense they illuminate the water vapour and dust hanging in the air. Solucar, proudly claims that it generates 11 Megawatts (MW) of electricity without emitting a single puff of greenhouse gas. This current figure is enough to power up to 6,000 homes. But ultimately, the entire plant should generate as much power as is used by the 600,000 people of Seville. It works by focusing the reflected rays on one location, turning water into steam and then blasting it into turbines to generate power. What happens when the Sun goes down? Enough heat can be stored in the form of steam to allow generation after dark - only for an hour now but maybe longer in future. Anyway, the solar power is most needed in the heat of summer when air conditioners are working flat out. Is it true that this power is three times more expensive than power from conventional sources? Yes, but prices will fall, as they have with wind power, as the technologies develop.
07/12/07 - 'No Sun link' to climate change
A new scientific study concludes that changes in the Sun's output cannot be causing modern-day climate change. It shows that for the last 20 years, the Sun's output has declined, yet temperatures on Earth have risen. It also shows that modern temperatures are not determined by the Sun's effect on cosmic rays, as has been claimed. The scientists' main approach on this new analysis was simple; to look at solar output and cosmic ray intensity over the last 30-40 years, and compare those trends with the graph for global average surface temperature, which has risen by about 0.4C over the period. The Sun varies on a cycle of about 11 years between periods of high and low activity. But that cycle comes on top of longer-term trends; and most of the 20th Century saw a slight but steady increase in solar output. But in about 1985, that trend appears to have reversed, with solar output declining. Yet this period has seen temperatures rise as fast as, if not faster than, at any time during the previous 100 years. "This paper re-enforces the fact that the warming in the last 20 to 40 years can't have been caused by solar activity," said Dr Piers Forster from Leeds University, a leading contributor to this year's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) assessment of climate science.
07/12/07 - Brand New Technique For Radioactive Waste Processing
Scientists from Russian Institute of Geochemistry and Analytic Chemistry have developed a new technology for radioactive waste processing. Mentioned technology allows extracting over 99% of uranium, 99.7% of plutonium and over 98% of americium from liquid radioactive wastes. Russian chemists used diphenyl phosphine oxide, which is able to form stable complex compounds with uranium, its decay products and long-lived radionuclides.
The agent is too expensive, thus scientists have developed a technique for using its trace quantities for extracting maximum of hazardous compounds.
07/12/07 - Low Level Heat Powers Low Cost Hydraulic Engine
The Natural Energy Engine™, requires no combustion, operates virtually silently, and generates no emissions. Developed over the past 10 years, it operates by utilizing low level heat energy, 180°F (82°C) is suitable for many applications, from solar, geothermal, or any other heat source, including waste heat from existing processes.
The main components of the engine system are quite simple - a piston/cylinder and a heat transfer system. The cylinder contains a piston and a working fluid, and depending on the application may have a module to reposition the piston after each stroke. The heat transfer system comprises heat exchangers, a system to circulate the heat transfer fluid (typically water), and a simple circulation controller. The key difference between a traditional combustion engine and the NE Engine is that the NE Engine relies on the transfer of heat to, and its subsequent removal from, a working fluid within the cylinder. As the working fluid is heated it expands, providing the pressure to drive the piston, and is subsequently cooled to complete the cycle. “It is a thermal hydraulic engine,” says Brian Hageman, the inventor of the Natural Energy Engine. “It uses the same principles of expansion and contraction from heat as a thermometer, and uses the expansion to create powerful hydraulic pressure in a manner similar to an automobile’s brakes.”
07/12/07 - Grease Powered Toy Jeep
(This is a way cool mod, heat directly to current to power the motor. Normally we think Stirling engines for heat to mechanical thrust. - JWD) Originally intended to provide refrigeration in 12 volt portable coolers, these Marlow thermoelectric modules will also generate electricity when heated on one side and cooled on the other. And a handsome quantity, too--not just microvolts. Together, they will produce about 3.2 volts open circuit with the grease burner under them. Powering the jeep with drive wheels raised, that drops to about 2.4 volts--the same as two NiCD AA's. I got these on ebay a while ago for around $15 each as I recall. I used two of the Marlow SP2348 modules in series for the heat to electricity converter. I used white heatsink grease to make a good thermally conductive bond between the two heatsinks. Actually, the bottom heatsink (the hot side) was just a flat plate of aluminum, about 1/16" thick. The cooling side was a leftover heatsink from an old UPS (uninterruptible power supply), you know, the type they use for power backup on computers.
07/12/07 - Electric Pulses for Destroying Cancer Cells
The process, called irreversible electroporation (IRE), was invented by two engineers, Rafael V. Davalos, a faculty member of the Virginia Tech--Wake Forest University School of Biomedical Engineering and Science (SBES), and Boris Rubinsky, a bioengineering professor at the University of California, Berkeley, Eurekalert said. Electroporation is a phenomenon known for decades that increases the permeability of a cell from none to a reversible opening to an irreversible opening. With the latter, the cell will die. What Davalos and Rubinsky did was apply this irreversible concept to the targeting of cancer cells. “IRE removes tumors by irreversibly opening tumor cells through a series of short intense electric pulses from small electrodes placed in or around the body,“ said Davalos. “This application creates permanent openings in the pores in the cells of the undesirable tissue. The openings eventually lead to the death of the cells without the use of potentially harmful chemotherapeutic drugs.“ The researchers successfully ablated tissue using the IRE pulses in the livers of male Sprague-Dawley rats. “We did not use any drugs, the cells were destroyed, and the vessel architecture was preserved,“ Davalos said. Oncologists already use a variety of methods to destroy tumors using heat or freezing processes, but these current techniques can damage healthy tissue or leave malignant cells. The difference with IRE is Davalos and Rubinsky were able to adjust the electrical current and reliably kill the targeted cells. “The reliable killing of a targeted area with cellular scale resolution without affecting surrounding tissue or nearby blood vessels is key,“ Davalos said.
07/12/07 - Firm squeezes Movies into an easy, fast download
EuclidVision system can compress digital images to make them much smaller than today's most common compression technologies, MPEG-2 and MPEG-4,which were created by the Motion Picture Experts Group. MPEG-2 is the compression system used on today's DVD movie disks. MPEG-4 is a next-generation system that can reduce the size of a movie even further. But EuclidVision promises to squeeze video files more than ever before. Euclid Discoveries says its scientists compressed a 25-megabyte conference video to just over 8,000 bytes using MPEG-4, but EuclidVision did four times better, shrinking the file to about 1,800 bytes. Wingard thinks his system will work even better with full-length movies. ''We believe that because it's object based, the longer the video . . . the better we'll do," he said. That's because the compression system can remember objects that appear frequently in the video, such as an actor's face, and can store such images in memory after reading them from the disk just once. Thus, many objects need to be recorded just once in the digital file, instead of every time they appear in the film. As a result, Euclid Discoveries says a full-length movie that requires 700 megabytes of storage when compressed using MPEG-4 would use just 50 megabytes when compressed with EuclidVision. At that size, 14 movies could fit on a standard CD-ROM disk. As for video downloading, it would take an hour for someone with a 1.5 megabit-per-second broadband connection to download a 700-megabyte file. But 50 megabytes would take less than five minutes.
07/12/07 - Global Warming Threatens Oil Alternatives
Oil-sand, oil-shale, and coal-to-oil projects--alternative fuel sources that could enhance US energy security, have always faced one hurdle: They look good only when oil prices are high. Now, they have another challenge: global warming.
California has enacted new climate-change policies that make energy companies responsible for the carbon emissions not just of their refineries but all phases of oil production, including extraction and transportation. If that notion catches on--at least two Canadian provinces have already signed on to California’s plan--then the futures of oil-sand, shale, and coal-to-oil projects may look less attractive. The reason: Extracting these alternative sources of oil requires so much energy that their “carbon footprint“ may outweigh their benefits. First, the regulations require oil companies to take responsibility not just for the carbon in the emissions from their refineries, but also from the fuels they sell into the marketplace, which are then combusted in cars. Secondly, the policies put a bright spotlight on the carbon emissions that are produced in other phases of oil production that are often overlooked--including extraction and transportation. “Now the emphasis is on the carbon footprint left from the entire life cycle of a gallon of gas, from extraction to refining to distribution to burning,“ says Kodjak. That spells trouble for the booming oil-sand industry in the Canadian province of Alberta, as energy companies warned when Ontario and British Columbia signed on to the California plan. The amount of carbon emissions produced in the steps to refine oil from oil sands would be far higher--20 to 50 percent higher--than from oil pumped as crude to the earth’s surface, Kodjak estimates. That’s because the land above the oil sands must be stripped away and the oil-saturated earth-sand mixture must be heated to extract a substance known as bitumen. The further refining of bitumen, a mixture of organic liquids, produces even more carbon.
07/10/07 - Update on the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics - Who Pays the Demon?
With the recent rise in interest in alternative energy technologies and other breakthrough clean technologies has come the inevitable rise in questionable business ideas promising unbelievable benefits: "free" energy, "free" electricity, etc. Let's just call these the "Huh" companies -- they typically invite people to sign up to be an early customer for free (just, hey, you will need to write a big deposit check, but you know, you'll get that back, no worries...), so what's not to like? Serious or not, when such overly-aggressive claims are put out there it competes with more sober claims being made by VC-backed startups. And if and when these companies fall flat on their face, it could hurt overall market adoption of next generation technologies, making it that much more difficult for VC-backed startups to get traction in the marketplace. / On the OTHER HAND...Bear in mind this law applies to 'closed systems'. Nothing is truly closed off from the penetration of gravity and aether/zpe type forces, therefore energy can be extracted from the ambient medium which is penetrating the device in all aspects. See 'Something from Nothing Revisited - A Primer'. This realization offers unending hope that someone will be able to intercept, interact with and extract energy from these other forces, not to produce energy from nothing as so many repeat ad nauseum, but to simply convert ambient inflowing forces to forces we can use...i.e., magnetism, electricity, light, heat, etc.. / Click HERE to play Maxwells Demon online.
07/10/07 - Farmer revolutionises coal industry with herbal remedy
Hoang Van Thuong made waves nationwide among scientists, coal manufacturers and homemakers alike when he invented a variety of coal that was cleaner, safer and cheaper than the competition. When the product passed inspections with flying colours - and word spread that the creator was a former farmer with a seventh-grade education level - Thuong’s fame skyrocketed even higher. The coal only needs to burn for two minutes before it can be used for cooking, instead of the usual 30-minute wait, food preparers can minimise health risks associated with being in close proximity to toxic emissions such as nitrogen dioxide (NO2, sulfur dioxide (SO2), carbon monoxide (CO) and carbon dioxide (CO2). After 13 years of experimentation - and failure - he finally came up with the correct formula: making the coal with a blend of 18 different herbs and other fibres.
His product passed recent tests at the Quality Assurance and Testing Centre No 1 under the Directorate for Standards and Quality with flying colours, according to Nguyen The Hao, who tested the product. Hao says the level of toxic substances in Thuong's creation is much lower than the norm, making it more environmentally friendly and less toxic. His product uses a mixture of coal and herbs instead of chemicals. Some 10 cities and provinces are using the coal, and Thuong hopes to further increase distribution and gradually improve the quality of his production equipment to produce a wider range of items and reduce costs. He also intends to patent his invention in Viet Nam as soon as possible. In the near future, Thuong says, he will debut three more inventions: clean, non-poisonous ‘charcoal’ suitable for long trips and export, a non-poisonous mosquito-repellant coal and a multipurpose coal stove that could create a source of clean water for farmers in the Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta region.
07/10/07 - Who needs Velcro on his belt? I do...
(The writer lists what he'd like to see invented, some samples included, read the article for all of them. - JWD) Parade magazine recently asked readers to come up with inventions we all could use. One proposed brake lights on the front of cars. Another suggested PIN numbers for credit cards to thwart thieves. Still another thought up one-way tire-shredders for highway exit ramps. It got me thinking about what else is needed. It’s not easy, since stores like The Sharper Image offer every conceivable convenience, such as motorized grill-cleaning brushes and air purifiers you wear around the neck. But I’ll try. • A beach blanket with raised borders - like the top of a shoe box - to keep sand out. • Law of life: When you can’t find your cell phone, the odds are it’s off, and can’t be called. Someone’s got to be smart enough to put in a chip that turns the phone back on if you dial a special number. • I would definitely buy a button you could step on under your desk to make the phone ring when you need an excuse to stop talking to someone. • If Gap and other stores could offer a precise computer imaging of the lower torso that tells by computer, instead of dressing room, whether a pair of trousers will fit, I guarantee more men would get over their fear of shopping. • All semi-colorblind people like me would love a scanner telling us whether two socks - dark blue and black for example - match. (and more at the link)
07/10/07 - Danish invention saves the shipping industry billions
(I question the header reporting the saving of 'billions', I suspect it is more like tens or MAYBE hundreds of millions over time. - JWD) A Danish invention with an air cushion built into the hull the world’s large container and tanker vessels will probably soon mean a tremendous fall in energy consumption and the CO2 emission to the atmosphere. With a new air cavity system in the hull the world’s large containers and tankers will probably soon be able to reduce their energy consumption significantly and consequently also the CO2 emission into the atmosphere by 10-15 per cent, writes Børsen Business Daily. ”Oil consumption constitutes the largest cost for the operation of a vessel. With the increasing oil prices and the new global focus on the shipping industry’s huge contribution to the climate changes this is an enormous potential,” says general manager and owner Christian Eyde Møller from DK Group which has the patent of Air Cavity System (ACS) that is the name of the new air cavity technology. According to the company’s own estimates the new technology will be able to save 9,000 ton oil annually in an 11-13,000 TEU (twenty feet container units). With the present oil prices this is the equivalent of a financial saving of DKK 17.5 million and reduced CO2 emission of 36,000 ton - and this with an investment of just 2-3 per cent on top of the building price. According to DK - Group’s general manager it will give a repayment time of just two and a half years.
07/10/07 - Video - Magic Wheel - one wheel transport
Consisting of one big wheel and one small wheel, the Magic Wheel operates through the rider planting one foot on the Wheel's platform while pushing with their opposite leg. The idea is best described as unicycle meets skateboard, or maybe, scooter meets antique hiwheel meets bump meets ground meets emergency room meets no insurance meets my stupid back and leg are sore from that stupid device already meets falling into booze and drugs meets never making it in clown college. $249
07/10/07 - Investors see value in alternative energy, but few put money in it
A recent Calvert Group Ltd. survey that coincided with the establishment of an alternative energy fund found that while about 85 percent of investors believe there is money to be made from investing in areas such as solar power and wind power, only about 20 percent of investors have broached the subject with a financial adviser. Calvert, which manages a big chunk of its money under precepts often referred to as socially responsible investing, is hoping investors will start acting on their beliefs and invest in the Calvert Global Alternative Energy Fund. "It really shows we're at a tipping point for public concern about this," said Paul Hilton, director of social investment strategy at Calvert, referring to the poll of nearly 1,100 investors conducted by Opinion Research Corp. "There have been a lot of people coming to us because of concerns about climate change. The No. 1 reason why investors are with us is because they care about environmental issues."
07/10/07 - Google Leading the Way for Plug-In Hybrid Car Development
Google’s philanthropic organization Google.org funds grants to develop leading technology for the plug-in hybrid trend of the future; automakers want in too. Instead of waiting around for existing automakers and government approval for the future of environmentally conscious vehicles, Google has taken matters into its own hands. The philanthropic branch of Google, Google.org has given out over $1 million in grants through their RechargeIT program to developers promoting awareness and new technology for plug-in hybrid cars. Seen as the trend of the future, plug-ins would replace current gasoline-battery hybrid engines by running almost solely on electric power that would use the gasoline engine only to recharge the car’s electric battery. The cars would then need to be recharged at night. In preliminary test trials, the chiefly electric-run engines were up to 30 mpg more efficient than current hybrid models. Google says that the cars would ideally be able to sell back their stored power to the national power grid, through a program called V2G, or "vehicle-to-grid." "Clean energy technology can dramatically shift how we make and use energy for out cars and homes by charging cars through an electric grid powered by solar or other renewable energy sources, and selling power back to the electric grid when it’s need most," said the executive director of Google.org, Dr. Larry Brilliant. "This approach can quadruple the fuel efficiency of cars on the road today and improve grid stability." The plug-in versions of hybrid vehicles would need more sophisticated batteries than those currently used in hybrids on the road, and research indicates that the lithium-ion battery is the way to go. The potential ability to sell back excess stored power is a definite bonus. Owners of plug-in hybrids could sell back as much as $3,000 worth of excess power per year.
07/10/07 - Vortex taps into Aether/ZPE?
(Refer to the Kundel Animation showing the screw effect of magnetic fields. - JWD) In the 19th. Century, Michael Faraday made some remarkable but little known discoveries in regard to spinning magnets. Faradays discovery was simple, but totally revolutionary. If a bar magnet is set spinning, the differential in velocity, down the radius, of each turning magnetic element, sets up a magnetic vortex. This effect is more pronounced with a series of bar magnets radiating from a central spinning hub, or a spinning, magnetic disc. At a certain threshold of angular velocity, the magnetic vortex sets up an inter-dimensional energy portal through a vortex resonance. This simple arrangement is the operating principle of most "free energy" machines. In the 20th. Century a number of inventors, including Bruce de Palma and Adam Trombly, had worked with N-machines or Uni-polar generators. The following is a very brief introduction. In the early 1930’s in Austria, Victor Schauberger, e.g. fabricated conical pipes of special materials, which contained a corkscrew turbine. Operated by an electric motor, the spiral turbines screwed water into a vortex flow and directed the water onto a conventional water turbine coupled to a generator. Schauberger claimed that as the water was screwed faster and faster, it suddenly began to produce enormous amounts of energy. Coupled to a dynamo, the turbine began to produce more electricity than the input motor was consuming. The system quickly went out of control as the apparatus tore itself away from its mountings and smashed itself against the ceiling. When Schauberger experimented with air turbines, he found the same thing happened. Regardless of the medium, vortex motion seemed to generate energy, apparently out of nowhere, and also produced a powerful anti-gravity force. / 32.8 gyro lift = DNA angle?
07/10/07 - Is the Space Station a Money Pit?
There are bad ideas, and then there are true historic stinkers. Put the International Space Station in that second category. It's no surprise that there are a lot of things that can go wrong with a machine like the space station - and no shame when some of them do. The orbiting complex is 240 ft. long at its maximum, weighs 471,444 lbs. and encloses 15,000 ft. of habitable space. It is being built and maintained principally by NASA, the European Space Agency and the space agencies of Russia, Japan and Canada, an arrangement that spreads the costs and the burdens but also diffuses the responsibility. The latest breakdown occurred in computers built and supplied by Russia. The idea that the problem affects the air and water systems sounds scary, but the fact is the station carries at least a 56-day reserve supply of oxygen, and while it doesn't keep as much water on board, there's more than enough to keep anyone from going thirsty for a good while. In the unlikely event things grow even worse aloft, all 10 crew members would be able to bail out easily. The shuttle can leave at pretty much any time, and a Russian return vehicle is always kept attached to the station - not as roomy or comfortable as the shuttle perhaps, but plenty good for jumping overboard and making a quick plunge back to Earth. The larger question, as always, is why we're bothering with this whole program in the first place. The station was originally proposed 23 years ago as an $8 billion orbiting laboratory that would perform cutting-edge biological research, manufacture new and highly marketable materials impossible to make in the gravity environment of Earth and generally pay for itself many times over. Close to two decades past deadline and now carrying a projected $100 billion price tag, it has not returned a lick of good science - nor is it likely to.
07/10/07 - A Wonder Material You Can't Get Rid Of
A plastic bag which costs a supermarket just a penny to buy costs the public seventeen cents to deal with as litter. Put simply, it costs so much more to process the bags than can be earned from selling them that they're simply trucked off to the dump. And while a few flimsy bags don’t seem like much, they add up: Americans consume an estimated 100 billion of them every year. Each of us generates more than 1,600 pounds of garbage every year. That's more trash per person than any other nation on Earth. Much of it comes from plastic bags, plastic water bottles and plastic packaging. As some see it, our love affair with plastic has turned us into a throwaway society. The plastic heads straight to landfills, where it stays for years and years and years. Recently, the plastics industry has come under pressure to boost the relatively low percentage of plastic recycling. While close to three-quarters of cardboard boxes and nearly half of aluminum cans find new uses, only about a quarter of plastic bottles - and just 5 percent of plastic bags - get recycled.
07/10/07 - 'Disguise' Your Browser and Get Free Access to Pay Sites
Did you know that most registration sites give Google VIP access to their restricted content? Reason being, these sites want their content indexed in Google's vast search database to attract and receive more hits. Why should Google be the only one to get this VIP treatment? Here is how, using your existing browser, that you can receive similar treatment.
07/10/07 - Moon walker Aldrin: Mars mission is 'one-way trip'
Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin, the second man to walk on the moon, says planetary exploration will be a "one-way trip." In an interview with EE Times at the Paris Air Show here on Wednesday (June 20), Aldrin said returning to the moon to establish a base will require the ability to be self-sustaining. Lunar explorers would have to produce their own oxygen and power from hydrogen and other lunar materials to survive. Planetary exploration will be "a one-way trip to the stars," said Aldrin, 77. A manned trip to Mars would take about 10 months. Aldrin said current chemical propulsion systems are slow, but adequate to propel humans to the Red Planet. Regardless of what propulsion system is used to get to Mars, Aldrin said the key limiting factors for a manned trip to the planets are power and life support. Beyond Mars, Aldrin said planetary moons might provide a temporary base of supplies before descending to the surface of the outer planets. But he stressed that planetary exploration will only begin when mankind reconciles itself to the prospect that explorers may not return to Earth.
07/10/07 - Time to declare oil independence?
Electric cars have failed to catch on because they are expensive, difficult to recharge and travel limited distances. Not to mention a more recent discovery that seems too good to be true and pushes electric cars to the backburner: a car that runs exclusively on water. Danny Klien had been working with hydrogen products for years before he discovered water as a fuel source. His invention is currently going through safety inspections; the water-run car has passed every test thus far. As his company begins the process of getting a patent and marketing its new product cheerfully, I can't help but ask: why didn't anyone think of this earlier? It turns out someone else already did. A story that has been swept under the rug since 1998 resurfaces as Klien reinvents what another man already tried to do. If you search for the story you'll find it, but it has not been brought into the media's focus for more than a day. Why? You be the judge. Stan Meyer is the original inventor of the water-fueled car; he created a vehicle that could run an astonishing 100 miles to the gallon. He created the catalyst by chance in a chemical spill he was mopping up. As he mopped, he noticed that the water was causing the chemicals to react in a new way, and after inspection he found this chemical catalyst separated the hydrogen from the water. At the time there was no reason to turn down his idea except that it would be too expensive, not to mention that someone higher up didn't want the idea to see the light of day. Stan Meyer was mysteriously poisoned and died in March 1998. According to Meyer's brother, men came the next week and stole all of his experimental equipment and original water-run dune buggy. While he was alive, Meyer claimed to be threatened by oil companies regularly, one in particular being the Arab Oil Corporation, which was trying to buy Meyer out. We may never know who killed Stan Meyer, but one thing is for sure: it's pretty shady.
07/10/07 - New Toothpaste Can Regrow Teeth!
The $3bn (£1.5bn) global market for toothpaste is on the verge of a shake-up as new biotechnologies come through that not only curtail sensitivity problems but will also enable teeth to re-grow to fill in small cavities. Scientists in various countries have developed differing technologies that produce similar results to deaden sensitivity and decalcify the teeth, problems that have increasing significance as populations age.
07/10/07 - Battery-Electric Motorcycle; Uses Valence Li-Ion Batteries
Brammo Motorsports announced the Enertia, the world’s first production zero-emissions battery-powered plug-in electric motorcycle. The chassis integrates six Valence lithium-phosphate batteries in a 3.1 kWh battery pack that powers a permanent magnet DC pancake motor to drive the Enertia to a top speed of more than 50 mph (80 kph). Range is 45 miles (72.4 km). A full recharge requires 3 hours. The Enertia accelerates from 0 to 30 mph (48 kph) in 3.8 seconds. Borrowing from racing technology, the Enertia utilizes a carbon fiber chassis producing an ultra-strong, light-weight vehicle platform of just 275 lbs. Brammo has begun taking orders in the US for a limited production model featuring hand-built carbon-fiber chassis and bodywork. Shipping date is 1Q 2008. The standard edition goes for $11,995 and is expected in 3Q 2008. Brammo’s Enertia is the first of a line of plug-in electric commuter, commercial and recreational vehicles under development.
07/10/07 - Bloodless Revolution - The abolition of menstruation
Say goodbye to another curse of nature. Menstruation just became optional. We've been tampering with periods for years. But on Tuesday, we made it official. The Food and Drug Administration approved Lybrel, the first birth-control pill explicitly designed to abolish monthly bleeding. Since the dawn of hormonal contraception, women have debated the wisdom of suppressing their periods. Crunchy feminists think it's unnatural. Techno-feminists think it's liberating.
07/10/07 - Ten Types of Bribery
(I didn't count 10 but included what they provided. These guidelines (and more) should be used to screen any political or government employee. - JWD) Jointly issued by the Supreme People's Court and the Supreme People's Procuratorate, the interpretation spells out 10 types of bribery, and is expected to help prosecutors indict corrupt officials. The interpretation defines in detail the new forms of bribes and draws a line between public servants' official and social interactions and duties. The new types of bribery include: 1) Receiving stocks and shares as gifts; 2) Buying property such as houses or automobiles at ridiculously low prices from those seeking favors; 3) Making money in fixed gambling games or cooperating with others to run a company; 4) Misusing a post to make profit for others and getting money or gifts after their official tenures; 5) Making profit with the help of family members, relatives or close associates. 6) In some cases, an official can be convicted for doing someone a "special favor" even if he may not have actually received a bribe. 7) People who help officials get bribes covertly can be convicted as "collaborators". 8) The same applies to those who arrange for people ready to bribe an official to get a job done illegally. / Renmin University of China professor Li Chengyan described the judicial interpretation as a "connection" between regulation and law. "It is a natural process. After the regulation, a legal interpretation is needed to specify how the law works. It shows that China is working out a more complete legal system to combat corruption," he said. The CCDI, which issued the regulation on May 29, had offered to be lenient with officials who confessed within 30 days. Leniency in this case could mean corrupt officials being saved from facing the judiciary. But CCDI Deputy Secretary Xia Zanzhong said he is surprised by the small number of officials confessing. "Instead of anti-corruption campaigns, we need more mature and effective legal system to stem corruption."
07/10/07 - Research Links Lead Exposure, Criminal Activity
Fairfax economist Rick Nevin says, "Sixty-five to ninety percent or more of the substantial variation in violent crime in all these countries was explained by lead." Through much of the 20th century, lead in U.S. paint and gasoline fumes poisoned toddlers as they put contaminated hands in their mouths. The consequences on crime, Nevin found, occurred when poisoning victims became adolescents. Nevin does not say that lead is the only factor behind crime, but he says it is the biggest factor. Nevin says his data not only explain the decline in crime in the 1990s, but the rise in crime in the 1980s and other fluctuations going back a century. His data from multiple countries, which have different abortion rates, police strategies, demographics and economic conditions, indicate that lead is the only explanation that can account for international trends. Because the countries phased out lead at different points, they provide a rigorous test: In each instance, the violent crime rate tracks lead poisoning levels two decades earlier. "It is startling how much mileage has been given to the theory that abortion in the early 1970s was responsible for the decline in crime" in the 1990s, Nevin said. "But they legalized abortion in Britain, and the violent crime in Britain soared in the 1990s. The difference is our gasoline lead levels peaked in the early '70s and started falling in the late '70s, and fell very sharply through the early 1980s and was virtually eliminated by 1986 or '87. Other evidence has accumulated in recent years that lead is a neurotoxin that causes impulsivity and aggression, but these studies have also drawn little attention. In 2001, sociologist Paul B. Stretesky and criminologist Michael Lynch showed that U.S. counties with high lead levels had four times the murder rate of counties with low lead levels, after controlling for multiple environmental and socioeconomic factors.
07/10/07 - Comments about Steorns failure
Alan Partridge - I don't understand why he just doesn't go back in his time machine and fix it. Steorn do have a time machine, right? / Florecilla Silvestre - First they believed it was heat caused by a lamp and later, heat caused by friction. But the truth nobody wants to see is heat was caused by GLOBAL WARMING. One more time, an evil dark hand emerges from the shadow to ensure the dominance of the oil industry. The Steorn environmental disaster adds to the long list of reasons to impeach George Bush / Xavier Gill - Not enough hate for my liking, these people are scum. They play on the dreams of millions in order to gain fame and money, hoovering up over $4 million so far. All the while doing irreparable damage to the scientific community doing genuine research. / Ang - Maybe I am very naive and haven't become that cynical about life just yet. Maybe we haven't discovered everything there is to know about the Universe. All I am trying to say is that I am surprised at how much venom the attacks are towards Steorn and anybody that has the slightest hope that this might be true, remember they still haven't disclosed the full details to the public as to what it is they have discovered. If only people demanded the same accountability from billion dollar companies the same way. How many countless so called scientific claims and discoveries have been made regarding cancer or vaccines to cure aids for instance, yet still there is no cure. Still that doesn't mean people have to give up hope or that scientist should stop trying to prove our current theories wrong. Why should no stone be left unturned? (via zpenergy.com)
07/10/07 - Drinking Water can help your diet
"Water can decrease your appetite," said Mara Z. Vitolins, R.D., Dr. P.H., assistant professor of public health sciences (epidemiology). "It is hard to distinguish between being thirsty and being hungry, so try drinking water and waiting 20 to 30 minutes to see if you're still hungry." Vitolins, who also is part of the Center for Research on Human Nutrition and Chronic Disease Prevention, added that drinking water also may help you cut calories. "Most people drink sodas, coffee, and other such beverages and totally disregard drinking plain water," she said. "Replacing the higher calorie beverages with plain water or flavored water (without added sugar) can significantly reduce calories." Furthermore, most of these drinks contain caffeine. "The caffeine acts as a diuretic to set you up for dehydration. By the time you feel thirsty, you already are dehydrated." People of all ages need to drink plain water, she said. Vitolins says one way to calculate how much you need is to take your weight in pounds and divide by two. The result is the number of ounces of water you should drink a day. So a 100- pound woman needs to drink 50 ounces of water each day -- just a little more than four 12-ounce glasses, or three bottles of water (which usually are 500 milliliters or 16.9 ounces.) A 175-pound man would need five bottles of water.
07/08/07 - Creationists and Geocentricity
(Thanks to Bernie Brauer for this amazing view of the universe from a 'believer' perspective. - JWD) Proof of Geocentric Correctness and Heliocentric Incorrectness. Geocentric = nonrotating and nonorbiting Earth = a stationary Earth. - There is NO proof that the Earth rotates on an "axis" daily and orbits the sun annually. None. - All calculations for eclipses, the space program, navigation, satellite movements - anything that demands precision and accuracy - are based on a non-moving Earth. Boiled down, heliocentric math is the same as Geocentric math. - No experiment has shown the Earth to be moving ( much less at 30 times rifle bullet speed in solar orbit and at 250 times RBS around a galaxy. One would think such speeds would flap one's collar a little even if the "science" establishment says no! ) - Multiple experiments have shown the Earth to be stationary. - Revisionist history reveals the roles that Copernicus, Kepler, Galileo, Newton, Einstein, Sagan et al have played in foisting this lie on mankind. - The logic against a moving Earth is overpowering. - World-class astronomer Sir Fred Hoyle said take your pick between the two models... - Copernicanism paved the way for Darwinism which then spawned Marxism, Freudism, Einsteinism and Saganism. ) - Star speeds are not a problem when the thickness of the universe is seen to be what it really is, that is, less than half a light day thick ( eight billion mile radius ). - NASA's space program is labelled "Origins Research" and costs taxpayers mega-bucks. Computerized telescopes are programmed to send back "synthesized images". The "image warper" permits "geometric transformations" while "origins technology... configures the multiple small mirrors..." in these telescopes. Talk about a con job! - The Bible says The Earth is NOT moving and cannot be moved. What'll it be folks? False science as the source of absolute truth... or God's Word? / "I think we're pretty close to throwing out all talk of "gravity" and concluding that all of the phenomena formerly attributed to it is really the working of perfectly balanced interactive electromagnetic forces involving the whole universe with our immovable Earth at the center of it all." Marshall Hall / If you board a helicopter on the east coast of the USA, lift off vertically and hover above the ground for four hours, then set down on the ground again, you will be in the same location that you lifted off from. If the Earth were rotating counter-clockwise at an equatorial speed of 1040 mph then the helicopter should have set down on the west coast of the USA. Therefore the Earth is not rotating. If the Earth were hurtling through space to orbit the sun at a velocity of 67,062 miles per hour then the Earth's atmosphere would be left behind like a comet's tail. Therefore the Earth is not in solar orbit. The alleged tilt of the Earth is symbiotically connected to the alleged rotation which in turn is symbiotically connected to the alleged Earth orbit of the sun. Remove one, nothing works in the wholly assumption-based heliocentric model. Marshall Hall
07/08/07 - Japanese gadget can predict tremors before they hit
(Thanks to Paul Carlson for sharing this. - JWD) A Japanese company has created a home appliance the size of a paperback novel that can warn of earthquakes seconds before they strike. Using the early warning system network and data provided by Japan's Meteorological Agency (JAMA) via the Internet, the appliance sounds off a loud countdown of up to 20 seconds to the moment the tremor begins. Security firm SunShine Co. Ltd says this should give people enough time to hide under tables, turn off gas and fire sources or even just to move away from potentially dangerous furniture. Japan accounts for about 20 percent of the world's earthquakes of magnitude 6 or greater. The appliance sends alerts once it detects primary waves, or the first waves of an earthquake that do not cause major rattling but travel faster than the secondary waves that are responsible for the actual shaking. The alerts could precede the shaking by 10 to 20 seconds, although the period would be much shorter -- and in some cases absent -- if the tremor's centre is near. The company hopes its 'EQGuard', which will also be available in October, will help people who just happened not to be watching television.
07/08/07 - Kundel uses rotating field of magnet
(Thanks to Hans von Lieven for the headsup on this. Check out the animations showing the natural spiral in all magnets and how these rotating flux lines can be 'ridden'. - JWD) The magnet has been the cornerstone of the modern world. Until now without an electromagnet, magnets can do little more than hold items on your refrigerator. The Kundel Magnetic Cog has changed all that. The powerful energy stored within today's magnets can now be utilized. No longer is a heavy iron core wrapped in wire required to generate a strong magnetic field. This exciting new technology can be used with any linear or rotational movement. From steam to piezo crystal and from massive to nano, the principles of this new technology still applies. Using the power of the magnet, our new technology has endless applications for safety and saving energy. It's straightforward, simplistic design allows for great versatility. This frictionless, magnetic coupling transfers rotation to reciprocation and vice versa. By aligning the magnetic fields in a perpendicular geometry, we can efficiently leverage the energy stored within the magnets. Regardless of size, shape, strength, or whether made from plastic or rare earth, the effect remains the same. The magnetic cog works by equal and calculable constants of repulsion and attraction between magnets.
07/08/07 - Organic tomatoes have more antioxidants
According to the new findings, levels of the flavonoids quercetin and kaempferol were found to be on average 79 and 97 per cent higher, respectively, in organic tomatoes. Flavonoids such as these are known antioxidants and have been linked to reduced rates of cardiovascular disease, some forms of cancer and dementia, says Alyson Mitchell, a food chemist who led the research at the University of California, Davis. Mitchell's team say the finding can be explained by the availability of nitrogen. Flavonoids are produced as a defence mechanism that can be triggered by nutrient deficiency. The inorganic nitrogen in conventional fertiliser is easily available to plants and so, the team suggests, the lower levels of flavonoids are probably caused by overfertilisation. Previous research has found no differences between organic and conventional crops such as wheat or carrots. Meanwhile a study proclaiming that organic milk had higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids failed to convince the UK's Food Standards Agency (FSA), which pointed out that these short-chained fatty acids do not have the health-promoting benefits offered by long-chained omega-3 oils. This latest study does not prove that a healthy diet must be organic.
07/08/07 - Declaration of Independence - the street version
(As I was reading this, I couldn't help but hear it done in the voice of Andy Griffith or Jerry Clower. - JWD) WHEN things get so balled up that the people of a country got to cut loose from some other country, and go it on their own hook, without asking no permission from nobody, excepting maybe God Almighty, then they ought to let everybody know why they done it, so that everybody can see they are not trying to put nothing over on nobody.
07/08/07 - Chery Automobile to crack the US auto market
Chery sold a little more than 300,000 cars last year -- roughly the output of one large U.S. assembly plant. But like other Chinese automakers, Chery has long dreamed of a big presence in the United States, the world's largest and most lucrative car market. At the same time, the Chinese government has aggressively supported the expansion of its automakers. Its goal is for Chinese cars to make up 10 percent of the world's auto trade in the next decade. Chery's efforts to break into the United States have proven troublesome. Two years ago, it announced that it had teamed with Malcolm Bricklin, a veteran auto entrepreneur, to sell 250,000 cars here by this year. The deal fell apart. Chery's move to break into the U.S. market follows the successful efforts of a number of Japanese and South Korean automakers over the past three decades. After years of exporting cars for sale in the United States, those pioneers built auto plants throughout the country. From that base, their U.S. sales expanded sharply. Chery will still manufacture its cars in China, but by tying itself to a partner with thousands of outlets in the United States, it might be taking a shortcut, the Washington Post reports.
07/08/07 - Wading Pool Drain Sucks Out Girl's Intestines
(It's the weekend, ok? - JWD) A 6-year-old Edina, Minn., girl is hospitalized after a freak accident at a swimming pool. Abigail Taylor was severely injured Friday when she sat over an open drain hole in a wading pool at the Minneapolis Golf Club. According to a posting by her family on the Caring Bridge Web site, the drain's powerful suction tore out part of her intestinal tract.
07/06/07 - Video - Better demo of Chas Campbells Free Energy Flywheel
(Thanks to Esa Ruoho for passing this along. Note: Despite the claim in the comment section, the video does not PROVE anything as of yet because there are multiple ways to rig demonstrations that aren't as presented. He needs replication by others who can help verify his claim of it being self-running and producing extra power. If he really wants to give it away, he should draw up construction details and let websites post them so others can build the device and help prove his claims. Once proven, it would take off like wildfire and be built and used worldwide. Thus achieving exactly what he wanted. Not the media whore tease method used by 'Steorn'. - JWD) This is a copy of the CD Chas sent to Government and certain members of the community Chas respected. This video proves that a Perpetual Motion machine is possible, and that Chas has harnessed the principle into a clean free energy device. This CD has not been recognized by the government bodies or by Chas's respected peers. Chas is seeking Grants from philanthropic foundations and still wishes to give his device away. / In this video, the inventor plugs in a floor fan, a light bulb, a drill and a rip saw and uses them all at the same time without the generator being affected. For more information and an opportunity to help Chas, visit here and look under Chas Campbell. (I found nothing on this page referring to Chas Campbell. - JWD) / The original youtube video and the post on KeelyNet on 06/08/07.
07/06/07 - Artificial Photosynthesis to generate Energy
Every hour of sunlight carries enough energy to supply the world with electricity for about a year. However, sunlight is spread over a wide area - one hemisphere of Earth - and there is no efficient way to collect it. Also, cars, trucks, boats, rockets, emergency generators, and even camp lanterns, require fuel, not electricity. Photovoltaic cells are also environmentally dirty. Gary W. Brudvig, chairman of chemistry at Yale University, has a map of the United States with a square about the size of Iowa. That’s about how large an area would have to be covered with solar cells to generate enough electricity for the U.S. Power consumption on a global scale is enormous. The world runs on about 15 terawatts, or 15 trillion watts, a year. Plastering almost 100,000 square miles around the globe with 10 percent efficient photo cells would generate about 20 terawatts. A substantial amount of that electricity would be lost in power lines, and if a storm system happened to pass over an array, local power would drop instantaneously. He has spent decades studying photosynthesis, the process with which plants transform sunlight, water and carbon dioxide into carbohydrates and oxygen. Brudvig’s group is working on a simplified way to emulate green plants, minus the chlorophyll, leaves, roots, and carbon dioxide. As a practical matter, solar energy through artificial photosynthesis could supply about 600 terawatts a year, he said. Right now growing corn to produce fuel is a losing proposition, he said. More energy goes into growing and processing the corn than can be tapped from the final ethanol. Plants are less than 1 percent efficient in converting sunlight into biomass, Brudvig said. "Plants are just trying to live and reproduce, so that’s fine for them," he said. Photosynthesis would have to be about 10 times more efficient to help people with their energy needs, he said. Natural photosynthesis is a good interim measure, but Brudvig and colleagues decided to design an artificial system to harness sunlight with greater efficiency, he said. "Our goal is artificial photosynthesis, to move electrons not using chlorophyll," he said. Brudvig is experimenting with manganese complexes hooked onto nano particles of titanium oxide and suspended in water. Nano particles are the material of choice because they maximize surface area, essential to a process that depends on light. Both manganese and titanium are common in Earth’s crust and relatively inexpensive, he said. Earth also has a large supply of water. The manganese molecule can absorb energy from sunlight and use it to split water molecules into oxygen and hydrogen. The plan is for the manganese to split a water molecule into one oxygen atoms, two positively charged hydrogen nuclei and two negatively charged electrons, he said. These electrons are transported to the titanium oxide, where light boosts them into a higher energy state andconducts them to another reaction surface that create hydrogen, methane, methanol, and other fuels. "Any fuel has excess electrons. We could transfer the moving electrons to make hydrogen, and then use hydrogen to turn carbon dioxide into methanol," Brudvig said. That is, in chemical symbols, CO2 + 6 e- + 6 H+ ---> (CH3 OH) + H2O. Excess oxygen from the water would be released to the atmosphere. Manganese has no trouble with salt water, either.
07/06/07 - ‘Green’ flooring panels save money while they heat
Local inventor’s use of recycled glass helps reduce heating costs. The push to “build green” and reduce energy costs is gaining mainstream appeal in residential construction, and Gary Hydock hopes to capitalize on the trend. Hydock’s company, GCS Radiant in Amherst, makes radiant floor heat panels that are designed to sharply reduce the cost of heating a home. The panels he invented and patented use recycled products and require less construction materials to install than typical systems. Radiant heat systems work by running warm water through tubes beneath the floor. Typically the tubes run under a concrete slab which stores heat and then radiates it through the flooring laid on top of it. Makers of the systems market them as a more efficient way to heat a home. The modular panels Hydock designed consist of a top layer made of concrete, which speeds up the installation process. The bottom of the panels contain grooves for the tubes, protecting them from damage.
07/06/07 - Now, power your house from plastic waste
Electricity from plastic waste. It may sound unrealistic, but it’s now being touted as the technology of future for the power-deficit India. Alka Umesh Zadgaonkar, who has got six patents in India for the technology and in the process of filing for international patent, is joining hands with two large corporates to make it a commercial success. Mrs Zadgaonkar, who developed the technology for producing fuel from plastic waste, owns the patent for her invention. While working as the head of chemistry department in Raisoni Engineering College in Nagpur, Mrs Zadgaonkar invented the new method to reuse the hydrocarbons in plastic. “On a December morning almost a decade ago, when 300 gm of plastic waste she was processing in her college lab broke down into a dark brown liquid. It took time to reach a happy confirmation that the derivative was indeed liquid hydrocarbons. After years of refining processes, she tested the fuel in bikes and proved successful,” said the official. “Plastic, a product of petroleum, gives a fuel better than petrol and diesel as the impurities are less when compared to the crude oil. Through the new technology, we can convert the waste plastic into oil (70%), gas (20%) and coke (10%),” said the official.
07/06/07 - A breeze with solar vision
TERRY Oaten was sure he was on to a winner with his solar energy invention Smart Breeze. The architect has captured global interest by developing a microchip thermostat for his roof-top heating and cooling system. "The Smart Thermostat is the first in the world to count greenhouse gases saved," Mr Oaten said. "In practice, that means you only need fossil fuels for topping up heating or cooling when there's no sunlight." Inspiration hit in 2004 when Mr Oaten suddenly saw a humble corrugated metal roof in a fresh light. What if the air in those roof "ribs" could be collected and converted for heating and cooling buildings? "I couldn't believe something so simple had never occurred to anyone else, but it hadn't," Mr Oaten said after he applied for a patent for the invention he has developed with fellow architect and business partner, Geoff Stanistreet. Operated through a PV cell, battery and fan system, Smart Breeze reduces greenhouse emissions, costs about the same as a domestic air-conditioner - "purchase price that is; there are no energy bills" - and can be used on a small house to giant industrial plant. "Recently, we found that Smart Breeze works just as well with tiled roofs - even better, because they hold heat longer," Mr Oaten said.
07/06/07 - Turkish scientists develop cooling textiles
Products developed by the Aegean University (EÜ) Turkish Textile Association Joint Research Center, inspired hope with its cooling effect during hot summer days. Using salt hydrates obtained from Acigöl, in hats, scientists managed to make temperatures of 50 degrees Celsius feel like 35 degrees Celsius, reported Dogan news agency. This is not a new invention. This system was first used in clothing for astronauts. We just simplified it. Moreover we used the salt hydrates obtained from Acigöl as phase converters. Thus we could reduce the cost. The cost of 100 grams hydrate, which is used for one hat, is YTL 0.10. To use it for curtains, the cost per square meter will not exceed YTL two. Tarakçioglu pointed out that they developed their first projects with car seats in mind since they get excessively warm during hot days. ?After succeeding at that, we tried it on hats, blankets and curtains. Emphasizing that the phase changing system can save energy by 25-30 percent in curtain and roof systems of houses, Tarakçioglu stressed: "It is possible to use them as a heater in winter months in houses facing southward. During the summer, it can also prevent excessive heating thus reducing the energy consumed by air conditioners."
07/06/07 - Superhuman Imagination
Vernor Vinge on science fiction, the Singularity, and the state. One increasingly popular vision of that rapidly accelerating progress is called the Technological Singularity (or, sometimes, just the Singularity). “It seems plausible,” Vinge says, “that with technology we can, in the fairly near future, create or become creatures who surpass humans in every intellectual and creative dimension. Events beyond such a singular event are as unimaginable to us as opera is to a flatworm.” Several trends that together or separately might lead to the Singularity: artificial intelligence, which could lead to “computers that are ‘awake’ and superhumanly intelligent”; computer networks that achieve such intelligence; human-computer interfaces that “become so intimate that users may reasonably be considered superhumanly intelligent”; and biological improvements to the human intellect. “Within thirty years, we will have the technological means to create superhuman intelligence,” Vinge predicted, adding somewhat ominously that “shortly after, the human era will be ended.” Vinge: I think that if the Singularity can happen, it will. There are lots of very bad things that could happen in this century. The Technological Singularity may be the most likely of the noncatastrophes. Except for their power to blow up the world, I think governments would have a very hard time blocking the Singularity. The possibility of governments perverting the Singularity is somewhat more plausible to me.
07/06/07 - Scientists banish pot bellies without surgery
Researchers describe a mechanism they found by which stress activates weight gain in mice. By manipulating this pathway, they say they can selectively add fat to their test subjects. "We couldn't believe such fat remodelling was possible, but the numerous different experiments conducted over four years demonstrated that it is, at least in mice," says senior author Professor Zofia Zukowska, from Georgetown University Medical Center in Washington. "Decreasing fat in the abdomen of the mice we studied reduced the fat in their liver and skeletal muscles, and also helped control insulin resistance, glucose intolerance, blood pressure and inflammation." The researchers tested how stressed and unstressed mice on different diets accumulate and store fat, discovering that stressed mice eating high calorie food gained twice as much fat as unstressed mice eating the same meals. "We have known for over a decade that there is a connection between chronic stress and obesity," says Australian author Professor Herbert Herzog at the Garvan Institute of Medical Research in Sydney. "Now we have identified the exact pathway, or chain of molecular events, that links chronic stress with obesity." Georgetown professor Stephen Baker, who co-authored the study, meanwhile points out that the ability to add fat selectively would be useful for cosmetic restructuring, like facial reconstruction, breast, buttock and lip enhancements. "This is the first well-described mechanism found that can effectively eliminate fat without using surgery," he says.
07/06/07 - sunRED Solar Powered Scooter Concept
Sliding panels on this soon-to-be-built prototype roll back to give the rider access to the seat, and form a complete cocoon around the bike when it's parked. Featuring some other interesting innovations, the sunRED prototype could make a practical short-range commuter, with a range of 13 miles and a top speed around 30mph. sunRED's prototype solar scooter will have a photovoltaic surface of around 3.1 square metres when the panels are fully deployed. When retracted, they'll continue to soak up sun and charge the bike, although at a reduced rate. Its dash will feature an LCD touch screen showing information on energy consumption, range and load as well as speed, odometer and trip meter readouts. The motor is mounted in the front wheel hub, eliminating the need for a transmission and the associated power losses to squeeze out a better range from the available power. A 13 mile range could make the sunRED prototyle a decent commuter in sunny urban areas, although no information is given on how long it needs to sit in the sun to charge to full.
07/06/07 - Researchers Prove Existence Of New Type Of Electron Wave
"The acoustic surface plasmon, which will have implications for developments in nano-optics, high-temperature superconductors, and the fundamental understanding of chemical reactions on surfaces. [...] 'The existence of this wave means that the electrons on the surfaces of copper, iron, beryllium and other metals behave like water on a lake's surface,' says Diaconescu, a postdoctoral research associate in the Condensed Matter Group of the physics department at UNH. 'When a stone is thrown into a lake, waves spread radially in all directions. A similar wave can be created by the electrons on a metal surface when they are disturbed, for instance, by light.'"
07/06/07 - Advanced clipboard formatting with ClipCase
Windows only: Freeware application ClipCase formats the text in your clipboard in a number of very useful ways-from line break removal to different capitalization schemes-designed to help you clean up text before you paste it elsewhere. The most useful features of ClipCase are probably the "Remove returns" functionality and maybe even the "Remove >" (handy for copying email quotes). The text transformation stuff is fun, but other than the "Cap sentences" option, which makes sure you've capitalized the beginning of every sentence, I'm not really sure why you'd make much use of it. Either way, ClipCase should come in handy for anyone who does a lot of copying and pasting of text. ClipCase is freeware, Windows only. (via lifehacker.com)
07/06/07 - Google Loses Gmail Trademark Case
"A court in Germany today banned Google from using the name 'Gmail' for its popular webmail service following a trademark suit filed by the founder of G-Mail. Daniel Giersch, started using the name G-Mail in 2000, four years before Google released 'Gmail'. "Google infringed the young businessman's trademark that had been previously been registered," said the Hanseatic Higher Regional Court in its judgement."
07/06/07 - Forked Hot Dogs
Plug the forks into the two ends of the hot dog. And then comes the tricky part: damn carefully plug in the other end of the cord. A much better strategy is to first plug the other end of the cord into a power strip and then flip the switch on. Under no circumstances should you touch either one of the forks, the hot dog, or other exposed surfaces unless you can actually see that the other end of the cord is *not plugged in.* The hot dog cooks rapidly, in maybe one or two minutes. Watch for swelling, a change in surface shape and luster, and finally smoke and/or cracking to indicate doneness. Overdo it, and there may be a nasty smell to go along with it.
07/06/07 - A Simple Plan To Defeat Dumb Patents
"With the EU being rumored to look at software patents again I thought I'd have a look at the root of the problem - the US Patent Office - and work out if there is a simple way to defeat dumb patents. The big thing that defeats a patent is prior art. At the Patent Office they have the definition of Prior Art that includes the phrase: 'known or used by others in this country, or was patented or described in a printed publication in this or a foreign country.' Now suppose that every time we have an idea that we think is 'obvious' but that hasn't been done before, or something we think would be interesting but don't have the money to create - that we blogged about that idea, tagging it as 'prior art' via Technorati. This would give people an RSS feed of prior art."
07/06/07 - Good vibes power tiny generator
(Thanks to Bill Ward for this headsup. - JWD) A tiny generator powered by natural vibrations could soon be helping keep heart pacemakers working. The device is expected initially to be used to power wireless sensors on equipment in manufacturing plants. The generator's creators say the generator is up to 10 times more efficient than similar devices. The tiny device, which is less than one cubic centimetre in size, uses vibrations in the world around it to make magnets on a cantilever at the heart of the device wobble to generate power. Although the generator produces only microwatts this was more than enough to power sensors attached to machines in manufacturing plants, said Dr Steve Beeby, from the University of Southampton, who led development of the device.
07/06/07 - The Stylistic Artistry of the Declaration of Independence
The Declaration of Independence is perhaps the most masterfully written state paper of Western civilization. As Moses Coit Tyler noted almost a century ago, no assessment of it can be complete without taking into account its extraordinary merits as a work of political prose style. Although many scholars have recognized those merits, there are surprisingly few sustained studies of the stylistic artistry of the Declaration.(1) This essay seeks to illuminate that artistry by probing the discourse microscopically--at the level of the sentence, phrase, word, and syllable. By approaching the Declaration in this way, we can shed light both on its literary qualities and on its rhetorical power as a work designed to convince a "candid world" that the American colonies were justified in seeking to establish themselves as an independent nation.
07/06/07 - High-performance Energy Storage
North Carolina State University physicists have recently deduced a way to improve high-energy-density capacitors so that they can store up to seven times as much energy per unit volume than the common capacitor. High performance capacitors would enable hybrid and electric cars with much greater acceleration, better and faster steering of rockets and spacecraft, better regeneration of electricity when using brakes in electric cars, and improved lasers, among many other electrical applications.
07/06/07 - Video - When the Gods left Earth
A robot is left alone on a dying deserted Earth.
07/06/07 - Leaving No Tracks
In Oregon, drought-stricken farmers and ranchers were about to be cut off from the irrigation water that kept their cropland and pastures green. Federal biologists said the Endangered Species Act left the government no choice: The survival of two imperiled species of fish was at stake. Law and science seemed to be on the side of the fish. Then the vice president stepped in. First Cheney looked for a way around the law, aides said. Next he set in motion a process to challenge the science protecting the fish, according to a former Oregon congressman who lobbied for the farmers. Because of Cheney's intervention, the government reversed itself and let the water flow in time to save the 2002 growing season, declaring that there was no threat to the fish. What followed was the largest fish kill the West had ever seen, with tens of thousands of salmon rotting on the banks of the Klamath River.
07/06/07 - Methane gas from Cow manure kills farming family
Exposure to methane gas led to the deaths of four family members and a farmhand, but whether they suffocated from the fumes or drowned in 18 inches of liquefied cow manure may never be known, authorities said. / The victims had no warning of the deadly gas that had built up in the pit. "You cannot smell it, you cannot see it, but it's an instant kill," said Dan Brubaker, a family friend who oversaw the construction of the pit decades earlier. Farmers typically take pains to ventilate manure pits where methane often gathers. On Tuesday, a cousin of Scott Showalter questioned whether runoff from a pile of cattle feed could have trickled into the pit and accelerated the formation of the gas.
07/06/07 - Steorn has "technical difficulties" with "free energy" machine
Steorn are supposed be demonstrating their "free energy" machine via a live webcast today. However, they've published the following announcement: "We are experiencing some technical difficulties with the demo unit in London. Our initial assessment indicates that this is probably due to the intense heat from the camera lighting. We have commenced a technical assessment and will provide an update later today. As a consequence, Kinetica will not be open to the public today (5th July). We apologise for this delay and appreciate your patience." (and continue to solicit your gullibility for our endless claims without proof. - JWD)
07/06/07 - Oregon Approves 50% Solar Tax Credit
The Oregon Business Energy Tax Credit was increased from 35% to 50% of eligible renewable project costs (up to $20 million); a tax exemption for solar net metered systems passed along with a statewide public buildings solar provision requiring 1.5% of the construction budget to fund onsite solar technologies. "The legislature's approval of a 50% tax credit for both [solar] installations and manufacturing facilities clearly places Oregon as one of the lead states in the advancement of solar energy," said Christopher Dymond, solar program manager at the Oregon Department of Energy. Already ranked 5th in the U.S. for solar hot water systems and in the top 10 with PV, Oregon's solar industry is growing at over 30% annually. "This will be remembered as a banner year for solar energy in Oregon," said Governor Ted Kulongoski.
07/04/07 - Who will care for Global Warming Refugees?
Global warming could create 150 million environmental refugees - but the countries responsible are in no hurry to carry their share of the costs. The number of people seeking refuge as a result of environmental disaster is set to increase dramatically over the coming years. Ironically, given current attitudes, we in Britain will resist accommodating them, and yet they will have become refugees as a direct result of the way we in the west live. Global warming - more than war or political upheaval - stands to displace millions. And climate change is being driven by our fossil fuel-intensive lifestyles. Environmental refugees are already with us. They are people who have been forced to flee their homes because of factors such as extreme weather, drought and desertification. There are already more of them than their "political" counterparts - 25 million, according to the last estimate, compared to around 22 million conventional refugees at their highest point in the late 1990s. By 2050, mostly due to the likely effects of global warming, there could be more than 150 million. In 2001, 170 million people were affected by disasters, 97% of which were climate-related, such as floods, droughts and storms. In the previous decade more than 100 million suffered drought and famine in Africa, a figure likely to increase with global warming. Many times more were affected by floods in Asia. The effects of these population movements are likely to be highly destabilising globally unless they are carefully managed. But, in spite of the scale of the problem, no one in the international community, including the UN high commission for refugees (UNHCR), has taken control of the problem. But without action, the countries least responsible for creating the problem stand to carry the largest share of costs associated with environmental refugees.
07/04/07 - Reclaiming the Sahara, saving Africa and seacoasts worldwide
(WOW! What an amazing plan and on such a huge scale that could do so much good! By redirecting water from the oceans and/or the Mediterranean to cultivate the Sahara it would lower the global warming induced rising water levels worldwide. - JWD) Turning the Sahara Desert into blossoming farm land, with water drained from the Mediterranean Sea, is the ambitious project for which, Hermann Sorgel, German engineer, seeks international support. He proposes to dam the Strait of Gibraltar, and then cut a canal to flood portions of the Sahara below sea level. Evaporation from the inland lake thus formed would produce rain clouds and water a vast area, he maintains. By-products of the scheme would be hydroelectric power and new land reclaimed from the Mediterranean. / Tunnel between Morocco and Spain agreed - The governments of Morocco and Spain have agreed on the construction of a tunnel between the two countries, connecting the African and European continents. Only trains are to pass through the tunnel under the Gibraltar Strait. The projected tunnel between Morocco and Spain will cross the narrow Strait of Gibraltar following an elected passage of 28 kilometres (28 kilometers = 17.4 miles). (Note: The Panama Canal is 51 miles/82 kilometers long and the Suez Canal is 101 miles/161.3 kilometers.) The tract, which doesn't follow the shortest distance between the two continents, was chosen because the deepest point along it only was 300 metres below sea surface. The detailed tract however yet has to be determined by geologists. Several details have however already been agreed upon. The projected double-tracked railway line of 39 kilometres, of which 28 kilometres will be under the sea, is to link Punta Malabata in Morocco (close to Tangier) and Punta Palomas in Spain (close to Tarifa). The projected tunnel is of a shorter length and passed through easier geological conditions than the US$ 13.5 billion tunnel connecting England and France, commercially opened in 1994. This tunnel, operated by a private enterprise, has proven to be difficult to manage economically. It also constitutes the main trade route between Morocco and Europe, with goods being transported on the road and on train to Algerciras or Tangier and being shipped between the two cities. Especially the potential increase in goods traffic and trade seems to be the main motivation for the tunnel. / The arid region, the Sahara - the largest desert in the world, covering 9,000,000 km² (3,500,000 square miles) - extends from the Atlantic to the Red Sea. Though generally of slight elevation it contains mountain ranges with peaks rising to 2400 m (8000 ft) Bordered N.W. by the Atlas range, to the northeast a rocky plateau separates it from the Mediterranean. / The Sahara's lowest point lies in the Qattara Depression in Egypt, at about 130 metres below sea level. / Only about a fifth of the Sahara is covered with sand. Some of the desert is made up of flat stony plains called regs. At its lowest point, the desert is 132 metres below sea level. The Sahara has about 90 large fertile areas, called oases, where people live in villages and grow crops. More impressive than the mountains are the great depressions that can drop several hundred feet below sea level. The largest is the Qattara Depression, which covers 7,000 square miles. Qattara starts just south of the Mediterranean coast and, at 440 feet below sea level, is the lowest point on the African continent. / The large size of the Quattra Depression and the fact that it falls to a depth of 132 m below mean sea level has led to several proposals to create a massive hydro-electric project in northern Egypt rivaling the Aswan High Dam. The proposals all call for a large channel or tunnel being excavated from the Quattra due north about 80 kilometers/49.7 miles to the Mediterranean Sea. Water would flow from the channel into a series of hydro-electric penstocks which would release the water at 90 m below sea level.
07/04/07 - Brilliant Disguise: Light, Matter and the Zero-Point Field
My first inkling that the deceptively simple "Let there be light" might actually contain a profound cosmological truth came in early July 1992. Alfonso Rueda had succeeded in doing was to derive the equation: F=ma. Most people will take this in stride with a "so what?" or "what does that mean?" After all what are F, m and a, and what is so noteworthy about a scientist deriving a simple equation? Isn't this what scientists do for a living? But a physicist will have an incredulous reaction because you are not supposed to be able to derive the equation F=ma. That equation was postulated by Newton in his Principia, the foundation stone of physics, in 1687. A postulate is a law that you assume to be true, and from which other things follow: such as much of physics, for example, from that particular postulate. You cannot derive postulates. How do you prove that one plus one equals two? The answer is, you don't. You assume that abstract numbers work that way, and then derive other properties of addition from that basic assumption. But indeed, as I discovered when I began to write up a research paper based on what Rueda soon sent to Garching, he had indeed derived Newton's fundamental "equation of motion." And the concept underlying this analysis was the existence of a background sea of light known as the electromagnetic zero-point field of the quantum vacuum. If you add up all these ceaseless fluctuations, what you get is a background sea of light whose total energy is enormous: the zero-point field. The "zero-point" refers to the fact that even though this energy is huge, it is the lowest possible energy state. All other energy is over and above the zero-point state. Take any volume of space and take away everything else - in other words, create a vacuum - and what you are left with is the zero-point field. We see things by way of contrast. The eye works by letting light fall on the otherwise dark retina. But if the eye were filled with light, there would be no darkness to afford a contrast. The zero-point field is such a blinding light. Since it is everywhere, inside and outside of us, permeating every atom in our bodies, we are effectively blind to it. It blinds us to its presence. The world of light that we do see is all the rest of the light that is over and above the zero-point field. "Let there be light" is indeed a very profound statement, as one might expect of its purported author. The solid, stable world of matter appears to be sustained at every instant by an underlying sea of quantum light. Haisch Article - (via Zpenergy.com) and The Neutral Center and the Aether Spectrum.
07/04/07 - UN calls for pedal power to reduce environmental damage
More bicycle riding and other lifestyle changes are urgently needed to reduce climate-altering carbon emissions that are damaging Asia's health and could also threaten the economy, the World Health Organisation said Monday. Climate change contributes directly or indirectly to about 77,000 deaths per year in the region, according to WHO estimates. Omi proposed greater use of bicycles, the use of clean energy sources, and tax incentives to reduce carbon emissions. "... we have to adopt lifestyles that are not only healthy but also environment friendly such as reducing the use of private vehicles, walking more or riding bicycles," said Shigeru Omi, WHO's regional director for the Western Pacific. A key UN report released earlier this year warned that billions would face a higher risk of water scarcity and millions more would likely go hungry as damage to the Earth's weather systems from greenhouse gases changed rainfall patterns, powered up storms and increased the risk of drought, flooding and water stress.
07/04/07 - Japan's new bullet train -- the Type N700
Japan's wickedly cool-looking new bullet train, the Type N7000, started operating today. It cost $2.1 billion to develop and can go 185 MPH. JR officials are touting the Type N700 as the fastest bullet train ever. It will travel between Tokyo and Shin-Osaka stations in two hours and 25 minutes -- five minutes less than before. It will barrel between Tokyo and Hakata in four hours and 50 minutes, saving about 10 minutes.
07/04/07 - Synthetic Biology For Natural Fuel
"Making ethanol is easy. Making enough ethanol to fill every gas tank in a developed country is tricky. The Department of Energy has promised $125 million to the Joint BioEnergy Institute, a team of six national labs and universities that will be run like a startup company. They intend to create new life forms that are optimized for alcohol production. The genes of crops that produce large amounts of cellulose will be tweaked to improve the yield per acre and to increase drought and pest resistance. Microbes that produce sugar from cellulose and ethanol from sugar will be built for speed and efficiency."
07/04/07 - Air-Conditioned Bed And Clothing
Now, anyone can feel cool and sleep soundly after a hot day's work. Using extremely quiet dual-fans at the foot of the bed, cool air is pulled in from behind your head and circulated through the soft membrane which also acts as an air-cushion to support you. Best of all, the bed uses extremely low power, costing only $.24 per month if used eight hours a day! Kuchofuku has a wide range of products, which includes jackets, pants, white shirts (for both men and women), and long sleeved shirts formal wear -- all which comes equipped with dual fans that create constant air flow.
07/04/07 - Remote tracking Thirsty Crops
New technology is making it possible for farmers to track the moisture content of their crops without leaving the farm house. Wireless technology developed at the University of Colorado transmits the moisture content from sensors smaller than a postage stamp clipped to plant leaves, said Hans-Dieter Seelig of the university's BioServe Space Technology Center. He said that by reducing the need to observe the plants the technology could save farmers millions of dollars by cutting down on the excessive use of water and ensure timely watering. The data is sent to computers operating irrigating systems. Existing soil moisture sensors lack accuracy and do not always provide a complete picture, said Richard Stoner, AgriHouse founder and president. "What we are developing is a nonintrusive device that gently rests on the plants and lets them interface with the digital world. Basically, this is a device that will allow plants to talk to humans and communicate their needs, like when to water and apply fertilizer," he said. "Basically, this is a device that will allow plants to talk to humans and communicate their needs, like when to water and apply fertilizer."
07/04/07 - New Propane Gas meter
The frustration when the gas ran out while cooking motivated a Guyanese man to develop and patent in the United States a device to read the level of propane gas in a cylinder. Fisheries consultant and Beterverwagting resident Maurice Phillips, after several trips to the United States and US$50,000, now owns a 14-year patent 'US D533 096' from the United States Patent Office in New York City for his invention. Describing how this process started Phillips told the media at a briefing yesterday that he has no engineering background but quite often while cooking he was interrupted because the cylinder of gas had run empty. He felt that there must be a way of knowing when the gas would finish or whether the cylinder was full at the time of purchase in the first place. The potential customer-base for the pressure device was shown at over 12 million people - owners of propane BBQ grills in the US. There are also plans to register the patent in Brazil, Argentina, Mexico, Australia, India and South Africa. All other countries that would like to manufacture the product for sale will have to go through this California-based company. This patent gives the holder the right to exclude anyone from making, using, offering for sale or reselling the design through the US for a period of 14 years. Further, it also prohibits the importation of this design into the US for the same period.
07/04/07 - Better Floodwall Idea
Sitting at the kitchen table inside his French Quarter home, 61-year-old John Knost taps repeatedly on a plain manila folder stuffed with hand-drawn sketches. Inside are umpteen versions of a Da Vinci-esque drawing awash in straight lines and right angles. These sketches, he said, provide the solution to flood protection; a simple, cost-effective creation that came to him late one night, when a hurricane's devastation weighed heavily on his mind. "It's not just an invention," Knost said, but a "way to protect the Gulf Coast." Knost's floodwall is essentially a backup plan intended to prevent water that tops or breaches levees from getting into neighborhoods. It starts below grade with a concrete inverted t-wall and rises above ground as high as desired, at least to the height of the minimum base flood elevation. What sets it apart from a typical concrete wall is a construction-grade waterproof membrane running through it, protected by additional coverings and encased in the wall so it doesn't get punctured. Knost said the membranes are used in basement construction all the time, but no one ever thought of using one in a floodwall. Or, at least, no one applied for a patent, as Knost has. An earthen berm is built on both sides, and a French drain with cut-off valves is put below ground on the flood-protected side to help pump out rainwater if necessary. Once completed, the wall looks like a small hill several feet across. It is designed to be a perimeter wall around entire neighborhoods, with gates across roadways, that mitigates the potential damage from flooding without having to raise every home within the wall. Knost said the waterproof walls can be built at 50 percent of the cost of raising all the homes within a neighborhood. And, he said, the longer the wall, the more houses it protects, the more cost-effective it becomes.
07/04/07 - Europe prepares huge space truck
At almost 20 tonnes, the ATV will be the biggest spacecraft Europe has ever flown when it launches in January. The Automated Transfer Vehicle is part-goods lorry and part-tugboat. Its primary function will be to keep the International Space Station (ISS) stocked up with food, water, fuel and experimental equipment. It will also re-boost the outpost, which has a tendency to drift down from its 300km-plus altitude as it brushes through the top of the atmosphere. "It demonstrates automatic rendezvous and docking - a key technology which currently only the Russians have, but with much smaller vehicles. You have to imagine the ATV as a 20-tonne truck. When it docks with a manned space station, it has to do it smoothly," Jean-Jacques Dordain, head of the European Space Agency (Esa), told BBC News. The rocket will put the vehicle - the size of a double-decker bus - into a 230km-high (140 miles) orbit, underneath the space station. The ATV will then raise its height and edge closer and closer to the platform over a series of orbits. Both ATV and station will be moving across the sky at some 27,000km/h (17,000mph) - but relative to each other, they will lock together at less than walking pace. The ATV will stay at the station for six months. At intervals of 10 to 45 days, the vehicle's thrusters will be used to boost the platform's altitude. Over time, the ISS crew will use the vehicle as a refuse skip, filling the cargo section with all their waste. After undocking, the ATV will destroy all this material - and itself - in a controlled re-entry over the Pacific Ocean. The ATV is not designed to be an astronaut flight vehicle - people will not launch in an ATV to go to the ISS or to the Moon as they might in a Soyuz capsule or in the forthcoming US Orion vehicle. But the fact that people can move around safely inside it demonstrates Europe has the necessary skills to make important components of an independent human transportation system should it want to go down that route.
07/04/07 - Video - Flying Humanoids in Mexico (English translation)
(The description of the pointy hat and the head shot looks more like Spidey's nemesis the Green Goblin! Notice in the enlargement how the rider seems to be holding a box or container and hunching over it as if it is a flotation device like a swimmer would use in water. With a different perspective it could match the piloted flying chair sited in California. - JWD) Testimony from dozens of persons and police officers depict seeing what appear to be witches flying through the skies of remote Mexican towns. Several people videotaped the strange phenomenon. The creatures appear to infest the skies over an old cemetery. / Reported to be female, with dark skin, claws and what appears to be a pointy hat, flying above a cemetery in the mountains of Monterrey, Mexico. No sound, no fumes and under perfect control (as if gyroscopically balanced which hints of an inertial levitation system), moving smoothly across the sky. The pointed bottom part could also be a pendulum-like weight to keep it stable in flight. / See Personal Flight for more info.
07/04/07 - Manmade Modern Unicorn - July 1936
What might be called a modern unicorn has been produced by Dr. W. F. Dove, University of Maine biologist. From a day-old bull calf, Dr. Dove removed the two small knots of tissue which normally develop into horns. These horn buds he transplanted in the center of the bull’s forehead, thereby inducing the growth of a single massive horn. The bull, now nearly three years old, has developed much of the proud bearing ascribed to the mythical unicorn.
07/04/07 - We are meant to be here
If you really want to start an argument, ask a room full of physicists this question: Are the laws of physics fine-tuned to support life? Many scientists hate this idea -- what's often called "the anthropic principle." They suspect it's a trick to argue for a designer God. But more and more physicists point to various laws of nature that have to be calibrated just right for stars and planets to form and for life to appear. For instance, if gravity were just slightly stronger, the universe would have collapsed long before life evolved. But if gravity were a tiny bit weaker, no galaxies or stars could have formed. If the strong nuclear force had been slightly different, red giant stars would never produce the fusion needed to form heavier atoms like carbon, and the universe would be a vast, lifeless desert. Are these just happy coincidences? The late cosmologist Fred Hoyle called the universe "a put-up job." Princeton physicist Freeman Dyson has suggested that the universe, in some sense, "knew we were coming."
07/04/07 - Monkey to Human Testicle Transplant
The development of surgical organ transplantation in humans will always be considered a landmark in medical science, and the scientists that pioneered the risky operations both brilliant and innovative. Well, most of those scientists anyway. One in particular, a surgeon by the name of Serge Voronoff, will live on in medical infamy for performing transplants which, while at the time (late 1800s) were lauded as genius, would eventually disgrace him. Adding to the intrigue is the fact that this surgeon was the student of Nobel Prize winner Alexis Carrel, from whom he had learned the technique of transplantation. The surgery's aim was "rejuvenation" (anti-aging) and all began when Dr. Voronoff became interested in eunuchs and castration.
07/04/07 - Women going on sex tours look for big bamboos and Marlboro men
Women’s sex tourism is especially popular nowadays. Sources state that about 600,000 women come to the countries of the Caribbean Basin every year in search of men’s attention and love. Women’s and men’s sex tourism are two absolutely different phenomena. Women do not go to bars and sex shows to find new partners; they do not make sex tours as such infrequent events are organized basically for men. Researchers who studied the phenomenon of sex tourism among women at Caribbean resorts say that this type of a vacation is typical of middle age women either lonely or unhappy about their family life. While men choose Asia for their sex tourism, women go to Southern Europe (Italy, Greece, Turkey, Croatia and Spain), to the Caribbean Basin (Jamaica, Barbados and the Dominican Republic), Genoa and Kenya in Africa, Bali, Indonesia and Phuket in Thailand to enjoy sex tourism. Nepal, Morocco, Fiji, Ecuador and Costa-Rica are less popular. Thailand, the Dominican Republic and Cuba are the countries that suit for sex tourism of both sexes, male and female. The airport of Montego Bay is crowded with young men when flights from Canada or London arrive. They come there to meet “milk bottles who must be immediately filled up”. This is how they call foreign women with white skin. Locals say that middle age women come to the place in search of “a big bamboo” as the opinion of the sexual power of swarthy men is widely spread all over the world. Sex tourism is popular in the third world countries, and the services are quite affordable there. Jamaica travel experts say that the tariffs are meant for the middle class: $30 per an hour and up to $150 for one night. In addition to the tariff, gigolos would love to receive money, watches, shirts and cigarette lighters as presents. Women from the Canadian capital Ottawa are known as the most generous presenters. For many years it has been considered that sex tourism suited men only. But as it turned out, middle age women who are not that fabulous as film stars but have quite enough money desire to have sex and enjoyment during vacations to take a rest from their husbands, children and housekeeping. Several years ago, two female sociologists from the USA questioned 240 women spending their vacations in Negril and at two similar resorts in the Dominican Republic. They found out that about one third of them had sexual contacts with local young men during their vacations. At that, sixty percent of them agreed that probably the young men made love to them just to get money. All the respondents said they did not pay for the sexual services that men provided during their vacations at resorts. But many of the women explained that they paid money for sex as they treated it as economic aid to the resort staff or even the local economy. Some of the questioned women said they had started sex tourism by chance but loved to enjoy it regularly. Others say they love sex tourism not merely because of sex but rather because of the care and attention that local men give them. These women are even ready to pay for this type of temporary love.
07/04/07 - Human greed takes lion's share of solar energy
HUMANS are just one of the millions of species on Earth, but we use up almost a quarter of the sun's energy captured by plants - the most of any species. The human dominance of this natural resource is affecting other species, reducing the amount of energy available to them by almost 10 per cent, scientists report. Researchers said the findings showed humans were using "a remarkable share" of the earth's plant productivity "to meet the needs and wants of one species". The scientists, from Austria and Germany, who publish their results today in the journal of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, analysed data on land use, agriculture and forestry from 161 countries, representing 97 per cent of the world's land mass.
This showed humans used 24 per cent of the energy that was captured by plants. More than half of this was due to the harvesting of crops or other plants. The human use of the natural resource varied across the globe, ranging from 11 per cent in Oceania and Australia, to 63 per cent in southern Asia. An agriculture professor at the University of Melbourne, Snow Barlow, said the paper showed humans were taking up too much of an important natural resource.
07/04/07 - Rose Glasses on Chickens Reduce Fighting
(They should try this on prisoners with violent tendencies and see if it quenches such behavior. - JWD) There was murder going on in a New Jersey penitentiary yard. The prison chickens were killing each other. One after another, the young White Leghorns would fight among themselves to the death. Nothing was effective in preventing the quarrels until the warden tried putting rose-colored glasses on the birds. That stopped the fighting instantly. The Leghorns, the only fighters in the poultry lot, now are all equipped with aluminum-framed spectacles with center pieces extending in front of the bill.
07/04/07 - Invention for 'plumber's butt'
Stylish women everywhere, take note: Leslie Wilkins has the cure for the fashion affliction known as "plumber's butt." Perhaps you've experienced this horror. Those low-cut pants seem OK when you leave the house, without a trace of underwear or tushie-cleavage visible. But by the day's end, you're doing the dreaded tug-and-pull, yanking those sliding trousers to a more appropriate position above the hips. Wilkins' invention - the isABelt - has solved that dilemma for those who refuse to give up their low-rises. The flat, transparent plastic belt adjusts to the waistband of a pair of pants, keeping them firmly in place. Right now, the $15 isABelt is available at 13 tri-state area boutiques, including seven in Westchester (including Suede in Larchmont and Cloz in Rye). And it's already a hit with shoppers: Wilkins has sold 300 belts in less than two months. "They really work," says Margie Engel, a saleswoman at Beginnings Boutique in Scarsdale. "Customers are wearing pants they didn't enjoy wearing before because they fell below the hips." Lately, Wilkins' brain has been occupied with spinoffs for the isABelt. She's working on isABelt Jr., a more decorative version for children. Then there's the hisABelt for men. "I'm researching that now," smiles Wilkins, "trying to figure out a way to make it a little more rugged."
07/04/07 - Video - Lawyers on How to avoid hiring an American
Watch this video and keep it in mind the next time you hear a high-tech industry titan such as Bill Gates complain that he simply cannot find qualified American employees and therefore the country needs more H-1B visas: You'll see a panel discussion that looks like a sit-down with "the families" on The Sopranos, only instead of talking about organized crime these lawyers are discussing the ins and outs of helping employers side-step immigration law. "Our goal is clearly not to find a qualified U.S. worker ... our objective is to get this person a green card," Lebowitz tells his audience. And how does an employer go about doing that in light of the legal obligation to first search for a qualified American? It's all about where you search, he says. "Clearly we are not going to find a place where the applicants are most numerous, we're going to find a place where - again we're complying with the law - and hoping and likely not to find qualified worker applicants," Lebowitz says.
07/02/07 - Video - Update from 06/25/07 Article - $12 Copper Mask from inventor
The copper mesh is fully integrated into the mouth of the mask. The use of copper as a filter for breathing can alleviate illness from airborne pathogens by eliminating or diminishing in strength and form these harmful pathogens. By breathing through the mask made of copper many important facts happen: The person who breaths through it inhales energy by inhaling this energy the lungs will clear of any bacteria. The mask will eliminate any type of breathing problems, asthma and reinforce the lungs to the smallest capillaries, including any type of Influenza, Birth flu, T.B, and may help people with AIDS to gain strength to fight this sickness. The blood loaded with energy will help to fix any internal organs and in the process will burn fat cells in the process of fixing and reinforcing the muscles in the different parts of the body. Breathing through the mask can help eliminate children obesity. I have been testing this mask with hundreds of people in the last 10 years and have had excellent results for what I just mentioned above. People who have been using it eliminated their asthma problems, lost weight and didn't get sick for years from any type of Influenza. / Additional Notes taken from the video - Carlos is now 70 years old, stronger than he was when he was 30. Copper eliminates any type of mental sickness, Alzheimers, Parkinsons, strokes, Avian Flu, Tuberculosis and gives vitality to the whole system. Just breathing the copper will produce the results. 10 years ago he was dying. Would fall asleep when he drove. When he placed copper on his head (looks like copper chore girl scubber stretched out to make a mesh net) and he felt good. Made a mask and slept while breathing through it. Carlos says he no longer needs glasses, can see like an eagle now. For 4 years now he hasn't gotten sick. Doctor told him he would die 4 years ago and he is alive and healthy thanks to breathing copper. Where to buy / As you can see, this is eminently easy to do for yourself. Any grocery store of decent size will have these COPPER CHOREBOYS and your hardware store should be able to custom order copper mesh if they don't have it in stock. Or you can buy on the internet. He makes a lot of claims for this and it doesn't appear it would do any harm to try it out. If you do try it, please email me your results and I'll post it to the Interact discussion list and possibly also on this page. Thanks! - JWD
07/02/07 - SANYO highest efficiency solar cells
SANYO has broken its own record for the world's highest energy conversion efficiency in practical size crystalline silicon-type solar cells. The company achieved this solar energy breakthrough by demonstrating an efficiency of 22% (beating a previous record of 21.8%) at a research level for its HIT solar cells, the first time that a photovoltaic manufacturer has broken through the 22% mark in conversion efficiency for this type of cell. The increase in efficiency is concurrent with advances in lowering the production cost of the photovoltaic system and the reduction in the use of raw materials such as silicon. This news is among several recent breakthroughs in solar power including an alternative type of photovoltaic device using concentrated sunlight that has been demonstrated to an efficiency level of 40%. The challenge as we move toward a clean energy future is to find an balance between efficiency and manufacturing costs.
07/02/07 - New wave power tipped as 'holy grail'
New technology harnessing wave energy could be the "holy grail" for providing electricity and drinking water to Australia's major cities, Industry Minister Ian MacFarlane said on Thursday. The technology works through fields of submerged buoys tethered to seabed pumps. The buoys move in harmony with the motion of the passing waves, pumping pressurised seawater to shore to run turbines and pass through a desalination plant. "The constancy of the waves even when the surface is dead calm means that you can build a base load renewable energy power station and that is really the holy grail for us, if you can produce renewable energy 24/7," Macfarlane told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. All of Australia's southern mainland cities' current water needs could be satisfied by CETO units covering an area of 155 hectares (about 70 football fields) of sea floor at around 75 percent of the price of current desalination projects, the statement said. In addition, the "Wave Farms" would generate around 300 megawatts of zero-emission power, enough for about 300 000 households.
07/02/07 - New invention to generate household electricity
Graeme Attey of Fremantle designed the concept which uses a modular wind turbine that is small enough to sit on a the roof of house. Mr Attey says his modular wind turbine is about a metre in length and half a metre in height, and creates power using blades which are rotated by the wind. He says the system can also be used in conjunction with solar panels. "Between solar and wind it's very easy actually to drive a whole house."
07/02/07 - Media Ignored Invention That Changes Plastic Bottles Into Oil
Alert Al Gore and Hillary Clinton! Capitalism has answered the call for better recycling methods, but you probably haven't heard about it. A US company, Global Resource Corporation (GRC), invented a revolutionary high-frequency microwave which recycles anything with a hydrocarbon base like plastic, rubber or automobile "scrap" into 20% diesel oil and 80% combustible gas. The Hawk-10 should reduce the amount of trash in landfills and numbers of abandoned junk piles, as well as to a lessor extent, provide some oil--all without producing (for those who care) greenhouse gasses. Aside from a handful of articles that are mostly on techie sites and in India, the major media ignored a June 26 New Scientist article about the Hawk-10. It will now be profitable to clean up those previously useless mountains of discarded tires and old car dumps that enrage environmentalists, while reducing landfills in the process. Considering the media drum beat over oil, environmentalism and recycling, this discovery seemed like a perfect fit, but not even Katie Couric or the New York Times mentioned it. Maybe they were confused as to whether they should support or condemn the process because it creates that dastardly oil.
07/02/07 - Invention 'listens' to beer
Instead of tapping a barrel to sniff or sample the product and determine if fermentation is going well, why not use sound waves to "listen" to what's happening inside? The acoustic listening technology, initially developed by the lab as a tool for national security and later used to identify various liquids, now is being considered for peering into beer. "The beauty of acoustics is that it can tell you what's going on within a mixture without having to disrupt the process by physically drawing a sample and analyzing it," says Dick Pappas. Acoustical listening devices can track microbial growth. Using ultrasound acoustics to track microbial growth in fermentation also has potential for the pharmaceutical industries, which is constantly developing new recipes in its search for better medicines. Pappas said the technology can "listen in" while the fermentation is happening, so there is potential to "sniff out" potential problems and allow for corrections to be made during product development. "We can tell when a mixture is brewed to perfection," he said. The technology also will be used at Hanford in the Waste Treatment Plant by measuring distribution of solids and gases, Pappas said in a statement issued Monday. It also could be used in analyzing waste slurries.
07/02/07 - Miracles sometimes stranger than fiction
Reports of a woman damaging her eyesight through gazing directly at the sun to catch a glimpse of the Virgin Mary defy common sense. Claims of such miracles are commonly reported in the media, and readers will immediately remember "The Shroud of Turin", which is probably the most famous of recent examples that drew the attention of people worldwide for decades. I recently received claims by email that the Apollo 11 shuttle, presumably while orbiting the earth, had taken a picture showing the name of God on "the oceans" and that God's name has also been seen in bread, in a tomato and even on the moon. These claims are not new or confined to a single religious group. 'There are only two ways to live your life' In my view, the miracle here was the satellite that took the picture while in orbit around the globe, because it's a testimony to the ability of the human mind to produce such an invention, which not long ago would have been considered to be in the realm of science fiction. Declarations of miracles create a huge impact and curiosity among believers and non-believers alike. Scientific research has found that a human brain quite easily finds a face (or a resemblance to one) in the oddest of places. All the brain needs is a few markers or features of a face to then construct a complete image of the entire face, a usable bit of knowledge in the fight against crime, when victims catch just a glimpse of a perpetrator's face. It is intriguing then that we human beings so easily take to such claims as I've described above, while ignoring the true miracles under our noses, for example the creation of both ourselves and everything around us, from a single unicellular organism to a complex piece of machinery like the brain, which one scientist called a piece of "meat" that is aware of its own existence - that is, it can think about itself. Why then do we choose to focus our attention on extraordinary claims that can never be proven?
07/02/07 - India's cheap $3000 car push: low-cost, no-profit?
India's market for cars alone should nearly double to 2 million by 2010. Rising incomes and new model launches are boosting sales of bigger sedans and premium cars, but manufacturers' focus is on the lower end of the market that accounts for about two-thirds of annual unit sales. Stirred by Tata Motors Ltd's plans to launch the world's cheapest car, at just 100,000 rupees, next year, Renault/Nissan and Mahindra are mulling a $3,000 model. Toyota Motor Corp, Honda Motor Co, Fiat and Volkswagen AG are also looking to build low-cost cars to compete in fast-growth emerging markets from India and China to Russia. But, despite technology advances, cost savings and shared platforms, there is precious little margin in cheap, no-frills models, so car makers need volume sales. Only 8 in every 1,000 Indians have a car, compared with 300-500 in many Western nations. Tata has said its low-cost car will be a 4-door model with a 600cc rear engine for both petrol and diesel versions. Venture partner Fiat will advise on engineering and development, and Tata may use satellite units owned by local entrepreneurs for assembly. Analysts expect initial output of 100,000-250,000 units. Tata Motors has said it is exploring the use of re-engineered plastic from General Electric and modern adhesives instead of welding, prompting questions from rivals including the Suzuki chief. Toyota has said it would be difficult to offer a cheap enough car that would satisfy its level of quality and reliability.
07/02/07 - Lots of Free Useful Software
Top Dogs best downloadable web Freeware list.
07/02/07 - Aston Martin Looks, Golf Cart Fuel Economy
The Lightning Electric Car can go to 0-60 mph in less than four seconds and drive 250 miles on a single 10 minute charge. The Lightning GT will boast 700+bhp and should completely erode any doubts about the performance capabilities of electric cars. Three versions of the GT are currently planned for a 2008 release,-a luxury model, a lightweight sports model capable of reaching 0-60mph in less than four seconds and an extended range model designed to travel up to 250 miles on a single 10 minute charge. First designed with a standard petrol combustion engine to develop the car's chassis dynamics, the Lightning is made from an aluminum honeycomb and carbon composite structure. Such material is common in Formula One racing and combines low mass with great strength. The Lightning uses a sophisticated regenerative energy system that captures excess friction from the braking process and converts it to charge the car's batteries. This technology is also set to become part of Formula One from 2008 when KERS (Kinetic Energy Recovery Systems) become mandatory (link) and will enable the Lightning's range to be extended to over 250 miles/400km. The car can be fully-charged overnight via a Standard single phase home type power source and a three-phase power supply is required for fast charging. The running costs of a Lightning GT are certain to be significantly lower than a tradition petrol combustion sports car. In fact the Lightning could be as much as £10,000 per year cheaper to run than a Audi RS4 based on an average 20,000 miles of motoring according to the manufacturers. The electric Lightning prototypes are expected to be complete by the end of the year and pre-orders are being taken for 2008 delivery. The price tag is expected to be in the £150,000 range depending on the choice of customized options for interior and exterior finishes and accessories.
07/02/07 - Misplaced U.S.-Mexico Border Fence Could Cost Feds Millions
The 1.5-mile barrier along the U.S.-Mexico border was designed to keep cars from illegally crossing into the United States. There's just one problem: It was accidentally built on Mexican soil. Now embarrassed border officials say the mistake could cost the federal government more than $3 million to fix.
07/02/07 - Real Dragon Fossils on Display in China
Some fossils, named the “China dragon fossils”, were recently exhibited in the Xinwei Ancient Life Fossils Museum in Anshun, Guizhou. When archeologists first stripped the clay off the fossil, they found the dragon had a pair of horns above its head and the shape of the dragon was very like the legendary animal often described in books and stories. For a long time, scientists thought that the dragon was a fictional animal existing only in stories. The dragon fossil was found in Guanling County, Anshun City, in 1996, and has been kept in a good condition. It is measured 7.6 meters long. Its head is 76 centimeters long and the neck is 54 centimeters long. The body is 2.7 meters in length and 68 centimeters in width, and the tail is 3.7 meters long. The dragon’s head is in a triangle shape. Its mouth is 43 centimeters long. The widest part of the head is 32 centimeters long. The horns project from the widest part of the head, and are symmetrical and 27 centimeters long. They are a little bit curved and tilted, which makes the fossil look very much like the legendary dragon. The China dragon was a reptile animal living in the ocean in Triassic Period about 200 million years ago. It was an amphibian. It spent most of its time living in water, although sometimes it walked on land. It also laid eggs on land. The animal lived on fish and small reptile animals.
07/02/07 - Video - What happens when you Die?
I really hope you don't have to have this sort of experience when you die. Can you imagine you're floating round, part of the infinite consciousness and you bump into another thinking free floating spirit. In the interests of conversation you talk about what you were when you were alive. I'd get defensive and feel more than a little ashamed of being a human.
07/02/07 - Vaporised Lighting for Malaria and other illnesses
UK-based Vaporised Lighting Ltd can help poorer countries beat the problem with its Multi Purpose Vapour Delivery System, which uses heat generated from any light bulb to thermally disperse insecticide or oils. The award-winning, patented product works with domestic light bulbs - either standard incandescent or low energy lamps - and is therefore extremely cheap to use. It also creates artificial environments for use in delivering pest control and disinfectant in buildings such as greenhouses and operating theatres. By cleverly using the heat generated from a light bulb to operate the system, associated running costs are avoided. Vaporised Lighting has laboratory-accredited mosquito repellent reports from i2L Insect Investigations, where ongoing and accredited test results delivered a 97% average knockdown of 100 mosquitoes exposed to organic pyrethrum over a 72 hour period, in a 33 m3 room. The versatile system can be used as a simple air freshener, replacing the traditional aerosol sprays or ‘plug-ins’, or as a delivery system for treatments to prevent or suppress infectious diseases. The product is housed in a polymer casing which holds a refillable sinter (dispersion unit). This is attached to the light bulb with a special adhesive, developed in association with Henkel/Loctite. It can be used at any height, allowing it to be mounted on lamps as well as on main lighting systems. The system can be easily removed and if appropriate re-infused with the chosen chemicals or oils.
07/02/07 - Eating potatoes benefits immune system
Eating potatoes could have a beneficial effect on the immune system, says a study conducted by Spanish researchers. The vegetable is considered to be rich in vitamin C, B-complex vitamins and has good doses of minerals like iron, calcium, manganese, magnesium and phosphorus. It has long been known that potatoes are good for bowel health. The scientists carried out a study where they fed growing pigs large quantities of raw potato starch (RPS) for over 14 weeks and found that they had healthier bowels. They also found that these pigs had decreased levels of white blood cells - such as leucocytes and lymphocytes in their blood. White blood cells are produced due to inflammation or when a person is ill to fight the disease, reports the science portal EurekAlert. The general decrease in leucocytes observed by the researchers suggests an overall beneficial effect, according to immunology expert Lena Ohman at the Department of Internal Medicine, Göteborg University, Sweden. Said José Francisco Pérez, the lead researcher from the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona: "The use of raw potato starch in this experiment is designed to simulate the effects of a diet high in resistant starch." Humans do not eat raw potatoes, but they do eat a lot of foods that contain resistant starch, such as cold boiled potatoes, legumes, grains, green bananas, pasta and cereals. About 10 percent of the starch eaten by humans is resistant starch - starch that is not digested in the small intestine and so is shunted into the large intestine where it ferments. Starch consumption is thought to reduce the risk of large bowel cancer and may also have an effect on irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). The decrease in white blood cells observed is therefore interesting, and a diet of resistant starch may be worth trying in IBS patients, an expert said.
07/02/07 - Video - Toby Keith's 'Who's your Daddy?'
I know, this has NO PLACE HERE...but if you like country music (even if you don't) you'll LOVE this video and song from 2002. It was the reason I started tinkering more with youtube to not just save the FLV videos using Video Downloader but also to capture the music from the FLV format and convert to MP3s for easy listening anywhere. Do watch the video, it is a HOOT and you won't be able to get the song out of your mind!
07/02/07 - Inflatable Space Station
A new inflatable, unmanned test module for a proposed private space station was launched into orbit Thursday aboard a Russian rocket, the U.S. company developing the technology said. The 15-foot-long module was designed to expand to a diameter of 8 feet. Contact with the module was established later in the day and data indicated good voltage in the power system and "decent" air pressure in the vehicle, the company said.
That was not official confirmation of solar panel deployment and expansion of the outer shell, Bigelow spokesman Chris Reed said. "But all the data indicates that's the case." Robert T. Bigelow, owner of the Budget Suites of America hotel chain and founder of Bigelow Aerospace, was at the launch site. Bigelow employees monitored the launch at his mission control facility in North Las Vegas.
07/02/07 - Ghostly Moon Events Continue to Mystify
(Maybe 'they' are busy preparing for saving us from global warming? - JWD) Mysterious fleeting changes in the appearance of parts of the Moon have been reported by many observers watching with both the naked eye and through telescopes. Because of the largely anecdotal nature of the evidence for these so-called "transient lunar phenomena" (TLPs), many scientists are sceptical that they even occur at all. If they are real, no one is sure what is behind them. One idea that has been bandied about is that they are caused by gas seeping out from beneath the lunar surface. The gas might stir up dust that reflects sunlight, leading to a temporary bright patch. It's hard to know what these events really are, but if they're the result of gas seeping from the interior, we might learn some interesting things about the Moon by studying them. Like most people, I normally think of the Moon as a dead, unchanging place, but if it's outgassing from time to time, that view may not be so accurate.
07/02/07 - TONS of Free Games
Time on your hands? Do you like to play computer games? This site will be heaven for you. A huge archive of (mainly) free games with pictures, reviews and download links supplied for each game. Lots of gems to be found.
07/02/07 - Roswell eyewitness deathbed confession
Lieutenant Walter Haut was the public relations officer at the base in 1947, and was the man who issued the original and subsequent press releases after the crash on the orders of the base commander, Colonel William Blanchard. Haut died last year, but left a sworn affidavit to be opened only after his death. Last week, the text was released and asserts that the weather balloon claim was a cover story, and that the real object had been recovered by the military and stored in a hangar. He described seeing not just the craft, but alien bodies. Haut is the only one of the original participants to claim to have seen alien bodies. He says the press release was issued because locals were already aware of the crash site, but in fact there had been a second crash site, where more debris from the craft had fallen. The plan was that an announcement acknowledging the first site, which had been discovered by a rancher, would divert attention from the second and more important location. Haut then tells how Colonel Blanchard took him to 'Building 84' - one of the hangars at Roswell - and showed him the craft itself. He describes a metallic egg-shaped object around 12-15ft in length and around 6ft wide. He said he saw no windows, wings, tail, landing gear or any other feature. He saw two bodies on the floor, partially covered by a tarpaulin. They are described in his statement as about 4ft tall, with disproportionately large heads. Towards the end of the affidavit, Haut concludes: "I am convinced that what I personally observed was some kind of craft and its crew from outer space." What's particularly interesting about Walter Haut is that in the many interviews he gave before his death, he played down his role and made no such claims. Had he been seeking publicity, he would surely have spoken about the craft and the bodies. Did he fear ridicule, or was the affidavit a sort of deathbed confession from someone who had been part of a cover-up, but who had stayed loyal to the end?
07/02/07 - Harvesting energy from vibrations
IMEC has fabricated an energy harvester that it said generates energy from mechanical vibrations by using micromachining technology. According to IMEC, the harvester has obtained output power as high as 40 micro-Watts, purportedly achieving the range of required power for wireless sensor applications. The harvester comes with a model that can be used to optimize the device during design. The center said that electrical energy harvesters can be used in situations where batteries cannot be easily replaced. Vibration harvesters in general make use of electromagnetic, electrostatic or piezoelectric conversion to generate electrical power. IMEC and IMEC-NL said that they have developed, modeled and characterized a miniaturized vibration harvester based on a piezoelectric transducer, which converts electrical energy to acoustic energy, and vice versa.
The device consists of a piezoelectric capacitor formed by a platinum electrode, a lead zirconate titanate (PZT) layer and a top aluminum electrode. This capacitor is fabricated on a cantilever that supports a mass on its tip. As the harvester is subjected to oscillations, the mass causes the piezoelectric layer to be stretched. By doing so, it induces an electrical power when an electrical load is connected to the device. IMEC said that for an input vibration with a resonance frequency of 1.8-kHz and an amplitude of 180-nm, a maximum experimental output power of 40 micro-Watts was measured.
07/02/07 - 'Bigfoot' speaks - confesses to 1967 hoax
March 10, 2004: The oft-viewed grainy footage of what looks like a man in gorilla suit, captured in a Northern California forest in 1967, turned out to be just that - a man in a gorilla suit, not the legendary Bigfoot. "It's time people knew it was a hoax," said conscience-stricken Bob Heironimus. "I've been burdened with this for 36 years, seeing the film clip on TV numerous times. Somebody's making lots of money off this, except for me. But that's not the issue - the issue is that it's time to finally let people know the truth." Hieronimus reportedly agreed to don a gorilla suit and walk in front of the camera for an amateur documentary maker named Roger Patterson. An associate of the filmmaker, now deceased, denied Heironimus' claim of a staged Sasquatch encounter. The mystery continues ...
07/02/07 - Put Away the Flags by Howard Zinn
On this July 4, we would do well to renounce nationalism and all its symbols: its flags, its pledges of allegiance, its anthems, its insistence in song that God must single out America to be blessed. Is not nationalism -- that devotion to a flag, an anthem, a boundary so fierce it engenders mass murder -- one of the great evils of our time, along with racism, along with religious hatred? These ways of thinking -- cultivated, nurtured, indoctrinated from childhood on -- have been useful to those in power, and deadly for those out of power. National spirit can be benign in a country that is small and lacking both in military power and a hunger for expansion (Switzerland, Norway, Costa Rica and many more). But in a nation like ours -- huge, possessing thousands of weapons of mass destruction -- what might have been harmless pride becomes an arrogant nationalism dangerous to others and to ourselves.
Our citizenry has been brought up to see our nation as different from others, an exception in the world, uniquely moral, expanding into other lands in order to bring civilization, liberty, democracy.
07/02/07 - Alarmist global warming claims melt under scientific scrutiny
Many of the assertions Gore makes in his movie, ''An Inconvenient Truth,'' have been refuted by science, both before and after he made them. Gore can show sincerity in his plea for scientific honesty by publicly acknowledging where science has rebutted his claims. For example, Gore claims that Himalayan glaciers are shrinking and global warming is to blame. Yet the September 2006 issue of the American Meteorological Society's Journal of Climate reported, "Glaciers are growing in the Himalayan Mountains, confounding global warming alarmists who recently claimed the glaciers were shrinking and that global warming was to blame." Gore claims the snowcap atop Africa's Mt. Kilimanjaro is shrinking and that global warming is to blame. Yet according to the November 23, 2003, issue of Nature magazine, "Although it's tempting to blame the ice loss on global warming, researchers think that deforestation of the mountain's foothills is the more likely culprit. Without the forests' humidity, previously moisture-laden winds blew dry. No longer replenished with water, the ice is evaporating in the strong equatorial sunshine." Gore claims global warming is causing more tornadoes. Yet the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change stated in February that there has been no scientific link established between global warming and tornadoes.
$5 Alt Science MP3s to listen while working/driving/jogging
No time to sit back and watch videos? Here are 15 interesting presentations you can download for just $5 each and listen to while driving, working, jogging, etc. An easy way to learn some fascinating new things that you will find of use. Easy, cheap and simple, better than eBooks or Videos. Roughly 50MB per MP3.
15 New Alternative Science DVDs & 15 MP3s
An assortment of alternative science videos that provide many insights and inside information from various experimenters. Also MP3s extracted from these DVDs that you can listen to while working or driving. Reference links for these lectures and workshops by Bill Beaty of Amateur Science on the Dark Side of Amateur Science, Peter Lindemann on the World of Free Energy, Norman Wootan on the History of the EV Gray motor, Dan Davidson on Shape Power and Gravity Wave Phenomena, Lee Crock on a Method for Stimulating Energy, Doug Konzen on the Konzen Pulse Motor, George Wiseman on the Water Torch and Jerry Decker on Aether, ZPE and Dielectric Nano Arrays. Your purchase of these products helps support KeelyNet, thanks!
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