06/30/06 - Cheaper, Cleaner Combustion
Researchers at Georgia Tech say their simple design -- in which fuel goes down the "straw," air mixes from a donut-shaped inlet around the straw, and combustion gases flow out of the "teacup's" sides (see image) -- slashes nitrogen oxides emissions to as low as one part per million (the best existing technologies emit nine parts per million), and also produces less carbon monoxide pollution. The reduction in emissions is done without complex and costly equipment that mixes air and fuel, or systems to cleanse pollutants from the exhaust. "If someone can show a combustor that can get to two parts per million NOx and not require [exhaust scrubbers] on the power plant, you have made a big step to save capital costs, reduce the cost of electricity, and reduce pollution," says Richard Dennis, turbine technology manager at the U.S. Department of Energy's National Energy Technology Laboratory in Morgantown, WV. Essentially, the Georgia Tech design minimizes areas of very high temperatures within the combustion chamber and also minimizes so-called "back-mixing" of combustion gases with hot areas -- zones where the nitrogen oxides form. Instead of premixing fuel with air, the shape of the combustion chamber efficiently forces the air and fuel to mix and guides the combustion process.
06/30/06 - Science finds new fix for UV-damaged skin in arthritis treatment
For many women, accumulated sun exposure has already permanently damaged their skin cells, causing them to overproduce pigment that shows up as unsightly dark splotches and uneven skin tone over time. But new research indicates that glucosamine - a compound best known for treating arthritis - can actually help stop the formation of new age spots, and help fade existing ones. Chronic UV exposure can damage melanocytes, cells in the skin responsible for producing melanin, in a variety of different ways. Often, this damage can lead to a loss of cellular control, and the production of chemicals that allow the cells to keep producing more and more melanin - which eventually leads to age spots and uneven discoloration. Additionally, as skin ages, cell turnover slows down and melanin "dust" - microscopic particles of melanin - can become trapped in the upper layers of skin, resulting in a duller appearance. "Pigmentation is an appearance issue that strikes an emotional chord for women, and even though we're constantly telling our patients about the importance of UV-protection, once the damage is done, we need to be able to provide them with ways to help," says Dr. Kimball. "The level of research and validation on topical cosmetic application of glucosamine will help it stand apart from other ingredients when it comes to improving tone and treating hyperpigmentation."
06/30/06 - Renewable Energy Company to Propel Wave Energy
The AquaBuOY technology, which has been independently evaluated and found commercially viable, is placed to acquire a dominant market position due to its potential to generate electricity at a cost that is competitive with onshore and offshore wind farms and some fossil fuels, in the near to mid-term. Finavera Renewables' acquisition of AquaEnergy includes wave energy projects under development in Figuera da Foz (Portugal), Makah Bay (Washington), and Ucluelet (British Columbia) with planned installation dates of 2008, 2009 and 2010, respectively, for a combined power generation potential of 200 MW when at full capacity.
06/30/06 - New Process Makes Diesel Fuel & Industrial Chemicals from Sugar
James Dumesic, a University of Wisconsin-Madison chemical and biological engineering professor, reports in the June 30 issue of the journal Science on a better way to make a chemical intermediate called HMF (hydroxymethylfurfural) from fructose - fruit sugar. HMF can be converted into plastics, diesel-fuel additive, or even diesel fuel itself, but is seldom used because it is costly to make. The new, patent-pending method for making HMF is a balancing act of chemistry, pressure, temperature and reactor design. After a catalyst converts fructose into HMF, the HMF moves to a solvent that carries it to a separate location, where the HMF is extracted. Although other researchers had previously converted fructose into HMF, Dumesic's research group made a series of improvements that raised the HMF output, and also made the HMF easier to extract. Once made, HMF is fairly easy to convert into plastics or diesel fuel. Although the biodiesel that has made headlines lately is made from a fat (even used cooking oil), not a sugar, both processes have similar environmental and economic benefits, Dumesic says. Instead of buying petroleum from abroad, the raw material would come from domestic agriculture. Expanding the source of raw material should also depress the price of petroleum.
06/30/06 - Gyroscopes rise upwards due to curled gravity
A hydrodynamical theory of gravity based exclusively on differentiating the velocity field vector once, with respect to time, can yield more information on magnetic force than appears in a modern textbook. The totally parallel hydrodynamical theories of gravity and electromagnetism leave us to choose whether, (1)A positron is a sink in one aether, and a source in the other aether, or (2) Whether there is only one aether, and that like charges only repel when they are positive. The latter conclusion is the same as saying that gravity and negative electricity are one and the same thing. (via zpenergy.com)
06/29/06 - Gyro Wave to Energy Converter
Researchers and companies have been trying for decades to capture the energy of waves to produce electric power, but the latest wave energy invention comes from an unlikely source: Aaron Goldin, a senior at San Dieguito High School Academy in Encinitas, California. In December, Goldin won the $100,000 Grand Prize scholarship from the 2004-2005 Siemens Westinghouse Competition in Math, Science and Technology, the nation's premiere high school science competition, for his invention of the "Gyro-Gen," a gyroscope that converts ocean wave energy into electricity. The spinning gyroscope, mounted in a buoy, resists the movement of the waves by exerting torque on a crank, which turns an electric generator. Goldin created his gyroscope prototypes in his garage, scavenging an old tape recorder, answering machine, and other household appliances for parts. "For many years, people have known that wave energy is very powerful, but his solution using a gyroscope is novel," he said. "We actually looked on the Web and at the patent office, and we couldn't find any work done on this." Aaron said he believed the gyroscope might generate electrical power from waves because it would automatically push back against them, enabling it to absorb wave energy. Aaron said his device is a free-floating system that is environmentally benign. Aaron's vision soon turned into the Gyro-Gen. It's a spinning gyroscope and power generator inside a floating buoy. As the buoy travels over a wave, it tilts, first one way and then the other--and this motion causes the gyro to perform a very peculiar trick, called precession. This stunt is difficult to believe until you've seen it, but basically what happens is that the gyro resists the rocking motion not by tilting in the opposite direction, but by turning along an axis that's at a 90-degree angle to the tilting force. Aaron figured the gyro's axis-shifting action could be harnessed to move a crank that turns a generator. But could the setup produce surplus electricity--more than that needed to keep the gyro spinning? He built a prototype, and it does indeed generate excess power. Aaron has applied for a patent.
06/29/06 - Stabilizing explosive elements with Nano sized Capsules
Capsules only nanometers or billionths of a meter wide that stabilize extremely dangerous compounds normally prone to igniting or exploding can safely generate more than enough hydrogen gas to beat U.S. Department of Energy goals for hydrogen production for 2015 just by dropping them in water. The capsules are finding use in simplifying pharmaceutical manufacture. They could also help clean petroleum of sulfur and destroy ozone-destroying CFCs, dangerous mustard gas and organic pollutants such as PCBs. The capsules are safe and easy to handle, and after they react the only byproducts are environmentally friendly, such as sand or sodium silicate, "which is the main ingredient in toothpaste," Lefenfeld said. Sodium, potassium and other alkali metals are potentially extraordinarily useful elements because they are highly chemically reactive. However, this also makes them dangerously volatile. "If you drop sodium in water, you'll see it dance as a fireball on the surface. If you drop rubidium in water, it's like a hand grenade. And cesium is like a depth charge. It's why people have avoided using them," Lefenfeld said. He and his colleagues developed a method to enclose nanoparticles of alkali metals in porous capsules made of ceramics such as silica or alumina. These capsules soak up the loose electrons that make the alkali metals so violently unstable, while at the same time maintaining their reactivity. "If the alkali metals were not in nanoclusters, you could not achieve stabilization," Lefenfeld said. "The nice thing about our technologies is that our materials can be made through currently commercially available ingredients, processes and equipment. There's no need for specially designed or really expensive types of equipment. It can all be very simple," Lefenfeld said. One exciting possibility for these capsules is generating hydrogen gas for vehicles in the future. Combining hydrogen gas with oxygen results in energy and water, and none of the dirty mix of toxins and global warming gases burning gasoline spews forth. The cleanliness of hydrogen is in large part why government and industry support for hydrogen vehicles has reached into the billions of dollars. Scientists worldwide are experimenting with cost effective and convenient sources of hydrogen. The U.S. Department of Energy requirement for hydrogen production for 2015 is a material that can generate 8 weight percent hydrogen, "so if you put in 100 grams of a material, you're supposed to get eight grams of hydrogen back," Lefenfeld said. "Our materials currently can get up to 9 weight percent hydrogen, exceeding the 2015 requirement, with the potential of achieving 13 or 14 weight percent hydrogen which is nearly double the DoE 2015 requirement."
06/29/06 - The Simmer Stove - ingenious and simple new stove design
The Simmer Stove works by lowering the cooking pot into the benchtop, significantly reducing the chances of the pot being pulled or knocked off the stove and taking the heat source well away from human hands. The safety aspects seem to pale beside the confinement of the heat source which prevents heat loss to the atmosphere and significantly reduces the energy needs of the stove.
06/29/06 - B100 Biofuel
Dean Schmelter is opening a Southeast Biodiesel plant to produce low-polluting, relatively low-cost fuel by recycling vegetable oil from area restaurants. According to our recent report, Mr. Schmelter, who owns several other chemical-processing facilities in the Southeast, signed a lease with the Noisette Co. for the use of an old warehouse at the former Navy Base. He told our reporter his new enterprise was prompted by a conversation with a local mechanic, recalling: "I was complaining about the high cost of fuel, and he said, 'Well, you're a chemist. Do something about it.' " So he did, coming up with a process for producing the "B100" that now runs the turbo diesel engine in his Mercedes. The result, he explained, is a fuel that, borrowing from the Environmental Protection Agency's description, is "more biodegradeable than sugar and less toxic than salt."
06/29/06 - Gel Absorbs Water to Aid Firefighters
In Southern Utah, the state has a new weapon to battle the fires. If any fire threatens homes, crews plan to use a fire-retardant gel to fight off the flames. Wildfires challenge firefighters all across the west. The fire season in Southern Utah continues to intensify. When flames roar towards homes, everyone gets nervous. But what if firefighters could pull a protective diaper over homes to fend off the flames? In a sense, that's how Thermo-gel works. Randy Crane, Utah Product Rep: "The good thing about this material is that you can spray it on and it's good for eight hours. You can spray it on and leave with some assurance you're going to be protected." Like the polymers in the baby diaper, the polymers in this foam absorb 50 times its weight in water. When you put the foam on a structure, it's like covering it with a dome of water." We tried to burn items covered with the gel, they would not light. A test wall went up in flames, while the side coated with the gel did not burn. Tracy Dunford, State Fire Manager: "We can apply this to the structures and get our firefighters out of the way, and come in after the flames have gone by. It's shown to be pretty effective." If a fire burns towards homes in Southern Utah, firefighters will spray the gel on the homes to repel the flames. Some states drop it from planes. The company says Thermo-Gel works on wildfires, tire fires, structure fires, prescribed burns, and for home protection. It washes off with water and can be used on trees and vegetation.
06/29/06 - Odor Recorder for later Playback
Imagine being able to record the smell of that perfume you liked while out shopping so you can play it back later and decide if you'll buy it. Engineers in Japan are building an odor recorder capable of doing just that. The device can analyze an object's odor and reproduce it for you using a host of non-toxic chemicals. In tests, the system has successfully recorded and reproduced smells of orange, lemon, apple, banana and melon.
06/29/06 - Integrated Grid-tie windmill becomes cheaper, easier to install
The Skystream 3.7 small wind turbine system, which has been designed as a grid-tie turbine with all necessary power electronics integrated into the system. The company is calling it a "new weapon" in the fight against high electricity costs. "With no batteries, Skystream 3.7 connects directly to the home to supply power. When the wind is not blowing, the home is powered by the electric utility. Depending on the local utility, excess electricity can be sold back to the utility or used at a later date," according to a company press release. "With a typical cost of $8,000 to $10,000 to purchase and install, Skystream 3.7 can pay for itself in 5 to 12 years. This payback period will vary and can be much quicker in states with investment rebates. It's anticipated that Skystream 3.7 will save the average homeowner $500 to $800 per year, based on 4,800 to 6,600 kWh produced per year and a $.12/kWh cost of electricity."
06/29/06 - Researchers new tool to determine insect bites in children
Children afflicted with insect-bite rashes are often misdiagnosed or referred for extensive and costly tests, but a new, easy-to-remember set of guidelines developed at the Johns Hopkins Children's Center should help. Called SCRATCH, the letters form a memorable acronym for symmetry, cluster, Rover, age, target/time, confused, household). It is a guide to the symptoms and features that help pediatricians and others to recognize the source of a rash. Insect-bite skin rashes mimic the symptoms of a variety of conditions, ranging from fungal infections, scabies, allergies and environmental contacts, to HIV-associated dermatoses. Reactions to a bite are often delayed, making it difficult to trace exposure. The most common misdiagnosis was scabies, a skin infection caused by a parasite that produces red, itchy lesions. Many of the children were treated repeatedly for scabies. "These guidelines are really intended to make pediatricians consider insect-bite hypersensitivity as a diagnosis and think twice before referring a child for a skin biopsy or another invasive procedure," Cohen says. Using the tool is straightforward, Cohen adds. If the rash fits the SCRATCH criteria, it's likely bug-borne. S for Symmetry / C for Clusters / R for Rover Not Required / A for Age Specific / T for Target Lesions and Time / C for Confusion / H for Household with Single Family Member Affected.
06/29/06 - Peephole Ad
(This advertising gimmick is just too novel and unique to not share here. - JWD) Ad agency Saatchi & Saatchi has come up with a new version of those annoying advertising fliers that underpaid immigrants hang on your door. The new version is a STICKER placed in front of your peephole to help you visualize the use of the service advertised.
06/29/06 - Owning a thing is worse than Borrowing a thing
In order to truly engage in one-planet living we have to do better than just make our current ways of life greener: we have to redesign the way we're living, increasing our quality of life while reducing its impact. One of the fundamental insights that's helping us re-imagine our lives in a brighter, greener cast is that most of the time, we don't want stuff, we want specific needs fulfilled or experiences provided; that, as Amory Lovins puts it, we don't want refrigerators, we want cold beer -- if there were a better, cheaper, cleaner way of providing cold brews, most of us wouldn't shed a tear to see our fridges go. Recognizing that this is true for nearly every product in our lives is revelation number one. The second revelation in recasting our relationship to stuff is that owning a thing can actually be worse than borrowing it. Dawn likes to remind us that there's enormous waste in the ownership of things: that, for example, the average power drill gets used for ten to twenty minutes in its entire life. Because we've been convinced that not having our own power drill at hand when we need it might lead to disaster or at least embarassment, we have made and purchased millions of power drills which will go essentially unused. This is the epitome of unsustainable waste, involving as it does mountains of mined ore, refineries full of oil, and rivers of waste used to create nothing of value. What's more, those drills sit in our homes, cluttering our spaces, gathering dust and generally making few of us much happier. In the case of drills, there is a simple solution: the tool library. They already exist in many places, and they're easy to start elsewhere. Why own a drill when you can own a library card and, with a small bit of planning (and we know that walkshed technologies are making planning like this easier every day), have the use not only of a drill but of a whole workshop full of great tools? What's true of power drills is true of nearly everything.
06/29/06 - Canadian tool can re-grow teeth and bones
The researchers at the University of Alberta in Edmonton filed patents earlier this month in the United States for the tool based on low-intensity pulsed ultrasound technology after testing it on a dozen dental patients in Canada. "Right now, we plan to use it to fix fractured or diseased teeth, as well as asymmetric jawbones, but it may also help hockey players or children who had their tooth knocked out," Jie Chen, an engineering professor and nano-circuit design expert, told AFP. Chen helped create the tiny ultrasound machine that gently massages gums and stimulates tooth growth from the root once inserted into a person's mouth, mounted on braces or a removable plastic crown. The wireless device, smaller than a pea, must be activated for 20 minutes each day for four months to stimulate growth, he said. It can also stimulate jawbone growth to fix a person's crooked smile and may eventually allow people to grow taller by stimulating bone growth, Chen said.
06/29/06 - ACLU Files for Info on New Brain-Scan Tech
"According to their website, the ACLU has filed a FOIA request seeking information on the new Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging service being made available to the government for use on suspected terrorists which can produce 'live, real-time images of people's brains as they answer questions, view images, listen to sounds, and respond to other stimuli. [...] These brain-scanning technologies are far from ready for forensic uses and if deployed will inevitably be misused and misunderstood," said Barry Steinhardt, Director of the ACLU's Technology and Liberty Project. "This technology must not be deployed until it is proven effective -- and we are a long way away from that point, according to scientists in the field,"'"
06/28/06 - Younger the mom's age at birth, the longer you live
People are more likely to see their 100th birthday, research hints, if they were born to young mothers. The age at which a mother gives birth has a major impact on how long her child will live, two researchers from the University of Chicago's Center on Aging told the Chicago Actuarial Association meeting this spring. The chances of living to the ripe old age of 100 and beyond nearly double for a child born to a woman before her 25th birthday, Drs. Leonid Gavrilov and Natalia Gavrilova reported. The father's age is less important to longevity, according to their research. They observed that first-born children, especially daughters, are much more likely to live to age 100. But their latest research suggests that it is the young age of the mother, rather than birth order, which is significant to longevity.
06/28/06 - Hybrids Consume More Energy Than Full-size SUVs
The basic gist of the report is to calculate how much energy cars use in their lifetime, because thinking only in terms of fuel efficiency is quite short sighted. The report suggests that batteries and other parts of hybrid cars are very complicated to manufacture and recycle and in fact, the energy required to drive a hybrid is quite small in comparison to the energy required to build and recycle it (and do the research and development on a hybrid I might add). This also does not help the hybrid case: Based on the average mileage and life expectancy, there is a wide range of years that certain models will be on the road before being scrapped. This ranges from a low of 10 years to as much as 20-plus years. As segments, the lowest number of years are Hybrid models as a group (12.1 years) while the highest segment is Premium SUVs such as the Range Rover and Hummer H2 (22.2 years). The report still doesn't show actual energy inputs, only a conversion to US dollars.
06/28/06 - Think globally? Act domestically
Consumers eager to slow global warming increasingly have a financial incentive to think close to home when making choices about where to invest. Efficiency-enhancing systems, from triple-paned windows to water-saving washers offer more than a boost to a home's long-term value, experts say. They also immediately slash onerous energy bills and shrink a household's "carbon footprint" - the emissions that contribute to global warming. Energy audits pinpoint the physical locations where energy is being wasted. Public utilities routinely offer such services, often through an online analysis of energy bills, free of charge. For a few hundred dollars, a qualified contractor will conduct an on-site analysis and furnish a written report highlighting the opportunity spots. The greatest potential gains often lurk in the areas of heating and cooling, which together account for 41 percent of energy usage in a typical home. That adds up to more than $600 per year in an average household which, according to the US Department of Energy, spends about $1,500 per year on energy bills. But before buying new machinery, experts say, invest - if necessary - in making the living environment airtight. Otherwise, the benefits of efficient systems slip through the cracks along with the climate-controlled air. "If you have any extra bucks, I would say, 'insulate your house,' " says Susanne Moser, a research scientist and public educator at the Institute for the Study of Society and Environment in Boulder, Colo. "We pump so much energy out into the universe by having ... badly insulated homes. That would be a huge difference you could make."
06/28/06 - The Renewal of the West
If 200 years from now America will be filled with people who know and love the ideas of Jefferson and Madison -- but these people are overwhelmingly dark skinned -- will this be good or bad? Clearly, there is a rage of anti-immigrant feeling in large swaths of my political party (Republican) at the moment. I don't think, however, that it's racism that drives it. It's nostalgia. Large numbers of conservatives seem to think that they have a constitutional right to have their country look the same in their old age as it did in their childhoods. The problem of course, is that the country of their childhoods, didn't look the same as the country of their parent's childhoods. America is a highly dynamic country. In fact, dynamism is the point of it, especially racial dynamism. When the first Congress commissioned that Adams, Franklin and Jefferson create a 'great seal' which would represent the ideals of our country, the (eventual) results included the Latin words "E Pluribus Unum", From many, One. From many what? From many races. Despite waves of German immigrants, English remained our national language. Despite waves of Irish and Italian immigrants from the 1840's to the 1920's, which were proportionately far larger than our current immigration wave, America never really did become a vassal of the Pope. Immigration doesn't represent the 'death of the West' it represents its renewal. People go from places that they don't like to places that they do like. This implies that they 'buy in' to what we're about to some degree. I would argue that immigrants tend to buy in to America more fervently than those of us who are born here. By definition someone who crosses oceans and valleys to get to something has proven already that he values it. Such people are also, by nature, risk takers. We're the children of the people who left their homes (mostly in Europe) and started over. Do they change the culture? Of course, they do. Living cultures change, dead cultures don't.
06/28/06 - Planet Size Comparisons
How big is Earth compared to other planets and stars? Here are a fun series of photos comparing Earth's size to that of other planets and stars. I like the way the planets are laid out on a table.
06/28/06 - All-Electric Car That Accelerates Faster Than a Ferrari
At least three Silicon Valley startups -- Tesla Motors of San Carlos, Wrightspeed Inc. of Woodside and battery maker Li-on Cells of Menlo Park -- are among a small cadre of companies nationwide developing electric cars or components. 'To attract consumers en masse, the price has to be low enough where they can see the break-even point,'' said Anthony Pratt, an automotive analyst at J.D. Power & Associates. ''The problem with electric vehicles is that they tend to be limited by the battery technology.'' Some major automakers are also working on electric vehicle technology, but most are focused on hybrid cars that run on a combination of gas and electricity, Pratt said. Backers of electric cars, powered by batteries charged from an electric outlet, say the country could quickly reduce its dependence on foreign oil -- as well as emissions of ''greenhouse'' gases blamed for global warming -- if more drivers went electric. In Tesla's workshop about 20 miles south of San Francisco, Eberhard and Tarpenning offered a glimpse of their first model -- a sleek two-seater called the Roadster that resembles a Lotus Elise -- but would not allow photographs. They plan to unveil it at an event for prospective buyers next month in Santa Monica. ''We're building a car for people who like to drive,'' Eberhard said. ''This is not a punishment car.'' To build the Roadster, Tesla engineers designed a sophisticated battery system with more than 8,000 lithium-ion cells and a network of computers to control them, Eberhard said. They also built an electric motor that is more than twice as powerful as earlier electric vehicles. The Roadster will be able to drive about 250 miles on a single three-hour charge, drive up to 135 miles per hour and accelerate from zero to 60 in four seconds, Eberhard said. It will cost between $85,000 and $120,000. With no doors, roof or windshield, a drive in Wrightspeed's X1 feels like a roller coaster ride and can leave passengers wind-beaten and queasy. It accelerates from zero to 60 mph in 3 seconds, making it one of the world's fastest production cars. Last year, Wright's X1 beat a Porsche and Ferrari in separate races.
06/28/06 - Verify your Anti-Virus software is REALLY working
The EICAR virus test is a harmless text file that is detected as a virus by most AntiVirus vendors. You can use it to verify that your local virus scanner is working (just copy the string into a plain text file and save it), check to see if your email server scans for viruses (email yourself a copy), and test if scanners detect viruses inside archives (put it inside a zip file).
06/27/06 - Universal Battery Charger
William Caldwell decided to save the money and invent something cheaper. He came up with a device that will charge any rechargeable battery, and starting Wednesday, Caldwell, a Homestead resident, will be showing it off at INPEX, the largest invention trade show in the United States. The golf cart battery charger would have cost $300, 'and I thought, `For that, I'll sell my golf cart,' '' said Caldwell, 64, a retired land surveyor. ``My invention is a lot cheaper to build then to buy a battery charger.'' It took $1.50 to build the first prototype of the invention, which resembled an extension cord. The current prototype is more sophisticated and cost about $50 to make. That's the one Caldwell will bring to Pittsburgh for the convention, which runs through Saturday. The device resembles an extension cord housed in a square, four-inch electrical box with light bulb sockets. It weighs 1 pound. Users would connect a rechargeable battery to the charger box and plug in the unit. The more light bulbs connected to the box, the more juice it provides, charging any battery up to about 170 volts. Caldwell said his invention is unique because most batteries need individual charging devices, while his charges all types. He said he has applied for a patent. He used the ''Load Controlled Battery Charging Device'' overnight to charge his golf cart battery. ''The golf cart worked pretty good the next day,'' he said. ``There's no question about it, it works.'' Caldwell said the charger can be used for appliances and gadgets as small as a cellphone to as big as a boat battery. ''You hook it up to your battery and you go have a beer,'' he said. ``It's well worth it when you want to go fishing.''
06/27/06 - Inventor claims undetectable Noise based, Interference Free Radar
(Reminds me of Professor Nunnelly's Quartz Switched system which the government suppressed because it used thousands of frequencies that completely obviated the Aurora stealth technology. - JWD) A new radar system is virtually undetectable because its signal resembles random noise, according to researchers at Ohio State University. The radar could be of use to the military and law enforcement, the scientists said today. The radar uses a very low-intensity signal across a wide range of frequencies, so a TV or radio tuned to any one frequency would interpret the radar signal as a very weak form of static. "Almost all radio receivers in the world are designed to eliminate random noise, so that they can clearly receive the signal they're looking for," said Eric Walton, who led the work. "Radio receivers could search for this radar signal and they wouldn't find it. It also won't interfere with TV, radio, or other communication signals." To put it another way, the bandwidth of the new device is thousands of times broader than the signals it might otherwise interfere with, Walton explained. Like traditional radar, the "noise" radar detects an object by bouncing a radio signal off it and detecting the rebound. The new radar can be tuned to penetrate solid walls, just as a TV signal does. The military could use it to spot enemy soldiers inside a building, or police could catch speeding drivers without setting off their radar detectors. Walton, whose team is filing for a patent on the device, said the components cost less than $100. (Thanks to Bob Nelson at Rex Research who found the patent application 20060012513 for this interesting device. - The test results demonstrated that the pseudo-noise radar system may be used to alert a moving or stationary vehicle to the presence of dangerous obstacles. The radar may operate in a frequency band where penetration of light (grass and brush) foliage is possible. Thus, the radar may see through fog, rain, snow, darkness, light foliage, and even building walls. Since the radar may use a very wide band (e.g., greater than 800 MHz) spread spectrum signal, it may be very difficult to detect and to jam. Furthermore, noise-like signals may be transmitted over bands that are otherwise licensed to other carriers because it has been shown that they do not interfere with those carriers.
06/27/06 - Brain key to Stroke Cure
SCIENTISTS have discovered a new way to make the brain repair itself after a stroke, according to new research. Fewer rats that suffered an induced stroke remained paralysed after the treatment, which activated stem cells in the brain, researchers found. A team of scientists stimulated stem cells in the rats' brains after they were starved of oxygen. They used proteins to activate a receptor on the stem cells known as the notch. The receptor caused a "cascade" effect which created new brain cells after the stroke. The treatment also improved the ability of existing cells to survive the lack of oxygen. When rats were given the treatment, many recovered from the loss of movement the stroke had caused. Other treatments using embryonic stem cells have been restricted by problems experienced in working with the cells under laboratory conditions. Implanted cells come under attack from the body's immune system. The researchers wrote: "New cell therapies based on embryonic stem (ES) cells are supported by work in animal models of human disease. "They are difficult to implement, however, because it is hard to grow tissue-specific precursors in the laboratory and it is difficult to deliver them to diffuse disease sites in the body without stimulating an immune response. "The results that we present here suggest a general model of stem-cell expansion that applies to many precursor cells of clinical interest."
06/27/06 - Best way to build children’s brains: play with them
Playing with your young children is the best way to make them into smart adults, researchers say-beating trendy toys, classes or music as a brain-building strategy for preschoolers. Children’s foremost need is a secure relationship with an adult who loves them, said Eric Knudsen of the Stanford University School of Medicine in Stanford, Calif. “It’s all about playing with your child,” he added. The authors said that working independently, they concluded that the earliest years of life forever shape an adult’s ability to learn. The capacity for change in the foundations of skill development and brain circuitry “is highest earlier in life and decreases over time,” the authors wrote. A child’s eventual ability to learn calculus or a second language, Knudsen said, starts with brain cells shaped by positive interactions with nurturing adults, well before school begins. “With all the attention currently focused on K-12 education reform and job training for adults with limited skills, this paper said that the biggest bang for the buck will come from investing in the earliest years of life,” he said. “It’s not about the toys, it’s about the human connection.”
06/27/06 - Extreme vegetarianism can lead to fatal diseases
Extreme vegetarian practices among Indians can lead to hyperhomocysteinemia and high homocysteine levels resulting in diseases including strokes, heart attack, diabetes and other fatal diseases, experts have opined. "We are not advocating that everyone should eat meat but milk, eggs or green salad can be consumed to make up for deficiency of B12, folic acid and pyridoxine," stated Dr Rusom wadia, pune-based consulting physician and neurologist. "Prevalence of heart attack, diabetics and paralysis stroke has reached epidemic proportions in India. It has begun affecting 10 to 20 years younger population compared to the western world," noted Dr Talwalkar. The experts participating in the conference revealed that different parts of country showed different homocystein levels "ideal level is five to 15 micromoles per litre but the lower the level is better," they stated. It was felt that besides advising for change in lifestyle, which includes giving up smoking, including eggs or milk or green salad in diet, regular exercises, one vitamin tablet a day can reduce the homocystein level and save Indian population from being susceptible to fatal diseases. "What we are talking is just one risk factor for fatal diseases, there are various other factors. But taking care of one factor can reduce the diseases," the experts stated.
06/27/06 - 3000 electric cars to be available for business use by 2012
Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) and Fuji Heavy Industries, the maker of Subarus, unveiled a prototype an electric vehicle that they have been developing together since last year. TEPCO says that it will use 3,000 of these cars for business use by fiscal 2012. The electric vehicle is based on Fuji Heavy’s Subaru R1 minicar and features a high-performance manganese lithium-ion battery developed with NEC Corp. It can run about 80km on a single charge with a top speed of 100 km/h (62 mph), according to the developers. A 346V battery pack powers the 40kW drive motor, and can recharge to 80% capacity in 15 minutes. The manganese Li-ion cells use lithium manganese oxide spinel (LiMn2O4) as the cathode active material. The crystalline spinel structure makes the battery resistant to overcharging and provides high thermal stability, according to NEC/Tokin.
06/27/06 - Less than Zero Point Energy
For many years now, scientists have known that a vacuum is in fact not empty, and is actually teeming with particles and energy. Some have even come to the conclusion that the presence of these quantum particles can produce energy for nothing. The possibility of vacuum energy created from "nothing" represents a foot in the physics lab door by those seeking to create perpetual motion machines, and, like any vacuum salesman, they're not going to be easily dissuaded. To cut a long (and complex) story short, Heisenberg proved that the subatomic world has particles constantly popping in and out of existence. Physicists refer to the energy that a quantum vacuum produces as zero-point energy. Physicist Charles Seife defines zero-point energy as: "The energy caused by the spontaneous creation and destruction of subatomic particles, even in the deepest vacuum. It is a prime suspect for the cause of the cosmological constant." "There exists a background sea of quantum light filling the universe and that light generates a force that opposes acceleration when you push on any material object," explains physicist Dr. Bernhard Haisch. "That is why matter seems to be solid, stable stuff that we, and the world, are made of. So maybe matter resists acceleration not because it possesses some innate thing called mass as Newton proposed and we all believed, but because the zero-point field exerts a force whenever acceleration takes place." The late Dr. Eugene Mallove said, "Basically, aether energy is at the root of everything. The aether is responsible for the creation and destruction of matter, it is responsible for life itself," said Mallove in his last interview in 2004, just prior to his death. You can take or leave the term aether (and since nobody knows the entire composition of the universe, I guess he's entitled to call it anything he liked), but Mallove's hypothesis may have some resonance with those who ascribe to wave theory (where all matter is comprised of waves rather than particles). "All particles are made of aether, they are not little hard things, they are - the things that we call particles today, electrons and protons and so forth - are nothing but special geometries of the mass free aether that are in a form that makes them have an inertial quality. In other words, makes them have mass," said Mallove in the interview. (My favorite quote, "The place of the material world in the universe is that of an exquisitely beautiful precipitate or varied cloud-work in the universal aether, determined by a geometrical necessity..." - Professor John G. MacVicar 1870 / JWD)
06/27/06 - Germans invent shield for cellphone radiation
Faced with tough global competition, German yarn manufacturer Zimmermann has developed a special cloth that shields the body from cellphone radiation. Nobody knows exactly what effect cellphone radiation has on a person's body. Yet concern about possible health effects among millions of cellphone users is omnipresent and Zimmermann is bent on solving the problem. The company based in Simmerberg in Bavaria's Allgaeu region has developed a cloth called "eblocker" that shields almost completely from mobile phone radiation. At first glance, eblocker looks exactly like any other cloth except that in tests, it barred 99,9999 percent of electromagnetic radiation. The crucial component is silver - wafer thin pieces of which have been wound into the thread thus functioning as a barrier. The first idea for using it was self-evident - mobile phone pockets in clothing. The small piece of cloth for a mobile phone pocket in a jacket or blazer costs around $1,28 (about R8). The material is sewn onto the inside of a bag. There would be no reception, if a mobile phone was wrapped entirely in eblocker. The high protection factor means the cloth is suitable for entire body suits, for example, to do maintenance on antennae which cannot be switched off and whose high electromagnetic radiation would cause people serious damage. The silver seam in the eblocker cloth is protected by a circle of cloth and the material can be washed and ironed, says Dehmer.
06/27/06 - Feng shui creates better websites?
Chinese feng shui and the ancient Indian science of vaastu shastra can boost business by helping web designers create better pages, say experts who are marrying traditional philosophies with the internet. Believers in vaastu shastra say the system seeks to create harmony between people, objects and the five elements of earth, fire, water, air and space. They say it can be directly applied to the web, just as it is to home design. "Just as the world comprises of the five basic elements, each web site has five elements and these need to be in balance with one another," says Dr Smita Narang, author of Web Vaastu. "Earth is the layout, fire is the colour, air is the HTML, space is name of the web site, and water is the font and graphics," says Narang. He says each must be chosen carefully to strike a balance with the other. Narang, a vaastu expert who has spent four years analysing around 500 sites, says a web site that disregards vaastu rules will have few hits and business will suffer. An essential element of feng shui is the idea that unnecessary objects allow free flow of energy, followers say. They say this principle can also be applied to making better websites and generating more visits. A Web site where the colours hurt your eyes, the music offends your ears or has too much information is probably too cluttered and does not give a positive flow of ch'i," says Vikram Narayan, a Mumbai-based feng shui practitioner. The trick, Narayan says, is to remove items on your web site that serve no purpose, and keep the things that serve you well.
06/27/06 - Radioactive Scorpion Venom as Cancer Treatment?
Scientists say they have helped establish the safety of a bizarre new treatment for an aggressive, essentially incurable cancer called high-grade brain glioma. More than 17,000 cases are diagnosed in the United States every year. The treatment is based on findings that the venom in the yellow Israeli scorpion contains a molecule that attaches itself selectively to the tumor cells. Health physicists in a study used a compound called TM-601, a synthetic version of the molecule. The molecule, a protein, was bound to a radioactive substance called I-131 believed to kill glioma cells. When injected into the blood, if things work as hoped, the radioactive venom protein travels to the brain and attaches to the glioma cells, and the I-131 releases radiation that kills them. Patients could safely return home several hours after the procedure, according to Jackson, and their families would be exposed to no more radiation than is typical with a thyroid cancer patient going home after treatment. Patients showed no evidence of adverse reactions, Jackson reports, adding that 54 patients nationwide are currently in investigational trials for the therapy.
06/27/06 - Interactive Water
Three interactive water displays: a tantalizing fountain that withdraws when a hand comes near, a musical harp with water "strings," and a liquid touchscreen. The displays apply emerging sensing technologies to the medium of water. In each case, the electro-optic properties of the water itself are exploited to make the water a fundamental element of the sensing system. To show, somewhat whimsically, how emerging sensing technologies can be applied in unusual ways. The core technical innovation is the use of capacitive and optical sensing techniques in which the fluid itself serves as the sensing element.
06/26/06 - Fake Meat with taste and texture
As manufacturers race to develop a good-tasting meat substitute or additive with a believable texture, Solae LLC is introducing what it considers a breakthrough technology. The patent-pending technology, called SoleCina, can be used with both animal and vegetarian products and delivers the "mouth feel" of whole-muscle meat and poultry. The invention, which includes a process and ingredients, is a result of more than 10 years of closely guarded research and development.
06/26/06 - All work and no play: virtue is regretted more than vice
The older we get, the more we regret not having more fun, says new study in the September issue of the Journal of Consumer Research. Researchers from Columbia University show that choosing work over play leads to regrets about having missed out on the pleasures of life. Over time, these regrets intensify, while guilt about indulging tends to fade. As with many mid-life (and quarter-life) crises, we tend to experience especially strong regret if pleasure is constantly delayed. According to the study - one of the first to compare indulgence regret to self-control regret - the greater temporal perspective gleaned with age helps us let go of guilt for, say, transgressions at a long-ago spring break. Instead, we begin to experience wistful feelings for delayed pleasures - for not taking that around-the-world trip sooner or for constantly dieting and not eating dessert.
06/26/06 - Hot freezes faster than Cold
"We take the properties of water for granted. Yet scientists assure us that we have a lot to learn about our biologically essential old friend. Research supporting the counterintuitive claim that hot water freezes faster than cold illustrates this point. The claim made news in 1969 when Erasto Mpemba, a Tanzanian schoolboy, said that his ice cream mixture froze faster when it started out hot than when it started out cold. Never mind that others have reported this strange behavior of water for centuries. Skeptics scoffed. The boy's teacher spoke derisively of 'Mpemba's physics.' It's time to rethink the derision. Jonathan Katz at Washington University has studied the 'Mpemba effect' and finds the claim valid. Reviewing the physics of water in Science two years ago, Yan Zubavicus and Michael Grurze at the University of Heidelberg in Germany explained why 'liquid water is one of the most mysterious substances in our world.'"
06/26/06 - Clean living may Make us Sick
"Gritty rats and mice living in sewers and farms seem to have healthier immune systems than their squeaky clean cousins that frolic in cushy antiseptic labs, two studies indicate. The lesson for humans: Clean living may make us sick. The studies give more weight to a 17-year-old theory that the sanitized Western world may be partly to blame for soaring rates of human allergy and asthma cases and some autoimmune diseases, such as Type I diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis. The theory, called the hygiene hypothesis, figures that people's immune systems aren't being challenged by disease and dirt early in life, so the body's natural defenses overreact to small irritants such as pollen. The new studies, one of which was published Friday in the peer reviewed Scandinavian Journal of Immunology, found significant differences in the immune systems between euthanized wild and lab rodents."
06/26/06 - Invention removes excess Nutrients
Too much of those nutrients can mean too much algae, which can hamper the life of other tiny species, which in turn, reduces the prospects for insects, birds and fish. Bad as it was, it got Kania thinking. Wasn't there some way to get those excess nutrients out of the water? Five years later, Kania is perfecting his solution and selling it on the world market: floating, man-made islands, teeming with life and possibilities. The islands, acting as a sort of floating filter, are designed to improve water quality with plants that suck up excess nutrients. They also create wildlife habitat, function as small-scale wetlands and add a little visual spice to waterways. Prices start at around $29 per square foot. The islands are made differently because they're meant to be versatile and functional nearly anywhere on the planet where there's water. Kania, whose company employs six people, has identified 26 possible markets for the islands -- including livestock waste ponds, golf courses and bird habitat -- and expects that number to double soon. The idea of the synthetic islands is relatively simple.
The core of each island is a cushiony polymer batting, made from recycled material, that's stacked in layers that are buoyant and can be shaped and customized. Plants are then inserted into pre-cut pockets. The layers allow the plants' roots to reach the water. As the plants grow and tiny microbes begin clinging to the island, they take excess nutrients out of the water. The plants convert them into stems, leaves and other plant parts. Sucking out the contaminants helps restore the biodiversity of the waterways, Kania said. Meanwhile, the islands offer shade, protection and food for fish and great spots for birds, he said.
06/26/06 - Invention firms steal Thousands with bogus promises
(To date, I have received 4 emails from this Davison company offering to assist me with getting products manufactured and marketed. - JWD) "There are a lot of shysters in that arena; they outweigh the good guys 100-to-1," said Jeffrey Dobkin, a marketing consultant and a director of the Philadelphia-based American Society of Inventors. "We had one guy who spent $23,000 with a patenting-scheme company," and wound up with nothing to show for it, Dobkin said. Tracking the industry is inexact since many of the companies open and close quickly. But there are dozens, if not hundreds of them, and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office estimated in 2002 that consumers lost $200 million a year to the schemes. Experts say it's likely gone up since then. Dobkin said that after an inventor calls seeking help with his creation, the companies ensnare their prey using a combination of sweet talk and escalating financial commitment. "They keep fleecing you until you're out of money," he said. Invent-Tech, as the company is also known, is one of the top gripe-getters on the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office's online forum for complaints against such firms. Erica Johnson, inventor-relations team lead for the company, said the firm treats its clients fairly. "In the documentation our inventors must sign, it's clearly stated this is not an overnight-success industry, it is speculative." Pittsburgh-based Davison & Associates Inc., now doing business as Davison Design & Development, also draws many complaints, according to the Federal Trade Commission.
06/25/06 - The Dynamic Combustion Chamber - burning hydrogen in a vacuum
Smog, a world scourge, is mostly emissions from motor vehicles, industrial facilities and electric utilities. It is created when oxygen from air is burned. The combustion creates nitrous oxide and other greenhouse gasses. Alas, a basic step in humankind's energy-making recipe is flawed. The consequences imperil Earth. Back to the classroom. The science teacher filled a Coke bottle with water, stuck it upside down in a bowl of water, ran in electrodes and gave the water a jolt. The electrical zap separated the water into its "H2O" parts: two parts hydrogen, one part oxygen. Sticking his thumb over the Coke bottle, the teacher carried it to a flame. When he took his thumb off the bottle, foof! the gases went up in a quick ball of flame. Heat - energy - was produced, but no tailpipe byproducts. Only water residue. Energy without smog. Without oil or greenhouse gasses. Or to put it another way, no glaciers were melted in the making of this production. Stockton's invention, the Dynamic Combustion Chamber, recreates this process in a vacuum in a closed tank and translates the heat to say, steam power. "What makes this invention so unique is its removal from the atmosphere," Stockton said. "The whole process occurs within the vessel." The science and technology is not new, Stockton says, but nobody thought of it, or at least patented it, because nobody thought past the natural use of atmosphere in combustion. If Stockton's invention works, and it catches on, there's only one word for its potential: Wow. Factories, power plants, ships, trucks, cars, heaters, coolers - all these and more things could be powered without pollution. Does it work? UC Davis thinks it does; its scientists have partnered with Stockton as researchers. "We are extremely interested," Paul A. Eric, head of the university's Hydrogen Production and Utilization Laboratory, wrote Stockton on Thursday. There are technical obstacles. Hydrogen requires big storage tanks or intense compression, for instance. But, "Based on our discussions with you, we think ... (the idea) is feasible ... and may enable ubiquitous use of hydrogen in the near-term," Eric wrote. By "ubiquitous," Eric seems to imply Stockton's invention not only works but is practical and reliable enough to transform the energy marketplace. Stockton thinks so.
06/25/06 - Life After the Oil Crash
Civilization as we know it is coming to an end soon. This is not the wacky proclamation of a doomsday cult, apocalypse bible prophecy sect, or conspiracy theory society. Rather, it is the scientific conclusion of the best paid, most widely-respected geologists, physicists, and investment bankers in the world. These are rational, professional, conservative individuals who are absolutely terrified by a phenomenon known as global "Peak Oil." Oil is increasingly plentiful on the upslope of the bell curve, increasingly scarce and expensive on the down slope. The peak of the curve coincides with the point at which the endowment of oil has been 50 percent depleted. Once the peak is passed, oil production begins to go down while cost begins to go up. In practical and considerably oversimplified terms, this means that if 2000 was the year of global Peak Oil, worldwide oil production in the year 2020 will be the same as it was in 1980. However, the world’s population in 2020 will be both much larger (approximately twice) and much more industrialized (oil-dependent) than it was in 1980. Consequently, worldwide demand for oil will outpace worldwide production of oil by a significant margin. As a result, the price will skyrocket, oil-dependant economies will crumble, and resource wars will explode.
06/25/06 - High fuel cost may change the way Americans vacation
A recent National Retail Federation survey found that 37 percent of consumers plan to cut back on their travel plans because of the high cost of fuel. With experts expecting gas prices to remain high this summer, even resilient vacationers may need to cut down in other areas to make up for the increased fuel expense. Before you give up on your dreams of a family vacation, take the time to sit down and develop a plan. Create a budget. Plan out your trip. Drive sensibly. Stay closer to home. With a little planning and compromise, you can have a relaxing vacation and come back without the stress and burden of debt.
06/25/06 - Executive Order: Protecting the Property Rights of the American People - Think Again
Section 1. Policy. It is the policy of the United States to protect the rights of Americans to their private property, including by limiting the taking of private property by the Federal Government to situations in which the taking is for public use, with just compensation, and for the purpose of benefiting the general public and not merely for the purpose of advancing the economic interest of private parties to be given ownership or use of the property taken. An email sent to urbansurvival.com notes; "Read it closely. It isn't what is said to be. The executive order that Bush signed is called "Protecting the Property Rights of the American People" but in fact it does exactly the opposite. It allows "limiting taking of private property by the Federal Government to situations in which the taking is for public use, with just compensation, and for the purpose of benefiting the general public". Basically this one executive order does away with the Constitution and allows the Federal Government to come in and take your food stores, ammo, guns, cars and precious metals any time it pleases "for the purpose of benefiting the general public."
06/25/06 - Heard on a radio news show - A woman farmer was told by the government she had to pay $8 per chicken to have trackable RFID chips implanted for 'bird flu' tracking. She told them it was the stupidest thing she'd ever heard, the chickens only SELL for $2 each!
06/25/06 - Channeling Tides for Power Production
Rudi Visket dreams of clean energy harnessed from the methodical rising and falling of the ocean tides. The former engineer hopes to see the completion of one of two projects that he designed with his South Salem neighbor, Darren Hendren. The pair are fighting something akin to a riptide, however. Most Oregon researchers looking for ways to tap energy from the sea are focused instead on wave energy. Oregon State University, for example, is leading national efforts to capture the power of the gradual up-and-down swells. Researchers already have three prototypes. Annette von Jouanne, an electrical engineer at Oregon State University, said that research is focused on waves because there are no large tides here. In Canada, for example, the difference between high and low tides can be 25 feet. In Oregon, it typically is 7 to 10 feet, she said. Hendren and Visket's system harnesses the ocean's power from land. Their idea is to direct ocean water to flow into a channel where it passes by several water wheels before it enters a natural or manmade reservoir. As the waterwheels turn with the tide, the design uses several simple mechanical conversions to produce continuous electrical energy. The system works the same way as the tide goes out; the water wheels simply turn the other way. "This is all old-fashioned stuff," Visket said. "If you have a paddle and you put water under it, it has to turn. There are no two ways about it." The design team worked hard to address any potential problems. For example, the water wheels are several feet higher than the floor of the channel to allow fish passage, and the system doesn't need oil or other possible contaminants. "We have a truly non-polluting system," he said.
06/25/06 - We are Speeding down Two Paths To Ultimate Destruction
We are now in a situation where technology has developed to the point where we have the ability to destroy ourselves, together with much other life that shares this planet. For the first time in history, we have the ability to wipe ourselves out. Currently, there are two paths to annihilation. The first is climate change. Biodiversity is dropping at a rate not seen since the last ice age. The world has already witnessed its first climate change refugees, and many thousands of people have already lost their lives due to climate change-related disasters. The scientific consensus is that enhanced global warming is happening, it is due to human activity and it does potentially hold catastrophic consequences for us all. The second path is through nuclear weapons. The US nuclear stockpile alone consists of nearly 10,000 nuclear weapons, 5,735 of which are active or operational. A single nuclear bomb has the potential to kill hundreds of thousands of people. Parts of Chernobyl remain uninhabitable to this day. But there is never just ‘a single nuclear bomb'.
06/25/06 - India's 'Grancrete' stronger than Concrete
An Indian-American researcher has helped develop a tough new ceramic material that is almost twice as strong as concrete and may be the key to providing high-quality, low-cost housing throughout the developing world. "I was asked to create a material that could safely encase nuclear waste so that the waste did not get into ground water," said Wagh. The substance Wagh developed combined magnesium oxide and potassium phosphate with water and ashes. The promising new technology may lead to affordable housing for the world's poorest. Houses can be built by spraying grancrete on to a simple frame of Styrofoam and it hardens quickly and will not crack easily. Experiments have proved that grancrete is stronger than concrete, is fire resistant and can withstand both tropical and sub-freezing temperatures, making it ideal for a broad range of geographic locations. It insulates so well that it keeps dwellings in arid regions cool and those in frigid regions warm. "Grancrete is 50 percent sand or sandy soil, 25 percent ash and 25 percent binding material," Wagh said. "Binding material is composed of magnesium oxide and potassium phosphate, the latter of which is a biodegradable element in fertilizer. So even if grancrete were to decompose, it would revitalize the soil," said the scientist. "For every tonne of conventional concrete, you get a tonne of greenhouse gases. With one tonne of grancrete, you get one-tenth of the greenhouse gases." According to an estimate by Casa Grande, the company that is collaborating with Argonne in making grancrete, the cost of building a grancrete home is about $6,000. Grancrete is so versatile that Wagh even paints using it. "It becomes like a paste and you can add any colour to it... It is a little more difficult to use than oil paint. According to Jim Paul, president of Casa Grande, workers need only two days of training to learn how to calibrate the machinery. Casa Grande typically assembles a team of five people who can start in the morning and create a home that residents can move into that evening. Grancrete cures in 15 minutes, while conventional concrete can take hours, or even days, to dry.
06/24/06 - Meerut youngsters claim to have invented new source of energy
Three friends belonging to varying backgrounds in Meerut have claimed to invent a novel source of energy that could provide an alternative to the power generated by high cost intensive big dams or nuclear and thermal power plants in future. The new concept is based on gravitational force used as a mode of energy and, in their opinion, is very much cost effective. The concept's working is based on three basic principles of gravitational pull on Earth, the Archimedes principle of floating and the magnetic force that are available at no cost. Financially and ecologically, our system is profitable and safe. "Out of the different energies, we have chosen gravitational energy as the main source. Our system of harnessing gravitational energy doesn't need water or air. It can be used in any place since gravitational force is present everywhere. Even this can be set up in a room. Based on ourconcept and the designed system, gravitational energy is converted into electrical energy", said Vivek Kumar Bhutani, one of the inventors. This new system provides promising, excellent and revolutionary solution for an eco-friendly energy generation, at almost no cost. An additional advantage is that the working of the generation system is possible anywhere and at any time. "You have to invest money only once in coal and diesel and after that there is no need for any investment. It runs automatically. The environment is not affected in anyway by this system. Above all, no large space is needed to assemble this system," said Pradeep Kumar Singh, a student pursuing Masters in Bio Technology from Birla Institute of Technology and Science (BITS), Pilani. While facing a lot of problems in arranging material and input of their choice, initially, the trio could not produce a complete working unit. But later, they proved their theoretical principle by making suitable changes in the assembly of their pilot project with the available sources.
06/24/06 - Scientist finds intense lightning activity around a hurricane's eye
"Generally there's not a lot of lightning in the hurricane eye-wall region. So when people detect a lot of lightning in a hurricane, they perk up -- they say, okay, something's happening." In 2005, scientists did perk up, because a very strong Hurricane Emily had some of the most lightning activity ever seen in a hurricane. Scientists are now trying to determine if the frequency of lightning is connected to the hurricane's strength. Hurricane Emily was one of three named storms (the others were Hurricane Dennis and Tropical Storm Gert) observed during the TCSP field experiment. Scientists flew NASA's ER-2 high-altitude weather plane above Emily, where they recorded some of the most powerful lightning activity ever seen in a hurricane's eye-wall. Emily was one of the largest, most violent hurricanes ever to be documented by the ER-2 plane. During the flights, scientists detected both cloud-to-ground lightning strokes and cloud-to-cloud lightning in the thunderstorms surrounding Emily's eye. They also found that the "electric fields," or areas of the atmosphere that contained electricity above Hurricane Emily, were some the strongest ever recorded. "We observed steady fields in excess of 8 kilovolts (8,000 volts) per meter (3.2 feet)," says Blakeslee. "That is huge--and comparable to the strongest fields we would expect to find over a large land-based thunderstorm."
06/24/06 - NYC to add more hybrid taxis to streets
The city soon will have more cabs running on alternative fuel. The number of hybrid-electric taxis and taxis powered by compressed natural gas is increasing more than tenfold to 281 after the city's first major auction for permits to operate them. Hybrid taxis can get double the gas mileage of traditional cabs and generate less pollution. The agency has approved nine different hybrid models for use as taxis, from the tiny Toyota Prius to the luxe Lexus RX 400h. The taxi commission gives medallion owners the sole right to pick up passengers hailing cabs on the city's streets.
06/24/06 - Synchronising the Swarm
(Critical Mass - Directly applicable to tapping aether/zpe and other forms of 'chaotic' energies. - JWD) Oxford zoologists have described in the journal Science how they employed a mathematical model to reveal the densities at which the swarms first fix upon one direction of migration. Dr David Sumpter, from the Zoology Department, said: ‘The key to the control of these swarms is better understanding how they form. We showed that at a critical density these insects will spontaneously adopt a common direction of travel. This transition to ordered motion could explain the often sudden emergence of hopper bands in Africa.’ The zoologist and his colleagues discovered that when a swarm contains between 25 and 74 locusts per square metre, the locusts are almost always aligned but exhibit rapid and spontaneous changes in direction. There were almost no directional changes above that range of densities. ‘By drawing a parallel between locusts and the behaviour of physical systems, we showed that the complex dynamics of moving animal groups can be captured by a very simple mathematical model. ‘The model, which was based on the alignment of ‘self-propelled particles’ (SPPs), predicted unstable switching of group direction. We observed such switching in the laboratory, possibly explaining the highly unpredictable collective motion of locusts in the field.'
06/24/06 - Teasing out "stem cells" from a bag of blood
Simply give some blood and two weeks later it will be turned into cells from other tissues, such as brain, liver or pancreas - at least, that's the idea. IT WOULD be the ultimate in tissue therapy. Simply supply a bag of your blood and come back two weeks later to find it turned into cells from other tissues, ranging from brain and liver cells to the insulin-producing beta islet cells of the pancreas. The idea is to revert a patient's blood cells to the stem cell stage and then chemically nudge them to re-specialise into particular tissue types that can be implanted to heal damaged tissue. A huge advantage over using donated tissue is that the transplant would be "autologous" - made of the patient's own cells, thus avoiding immune rejection. "It's autologous, we don't need to worry about rejection of tissue, and immunosuppression," says Glenn Winnier of Pharmafrontiers, a company in Woodland, Texas. It now claims to have refined a way to produce stem cells from white blood cells called monocytes and develop them into many different ...
06/24/06 - Frequency Maps for the Brain
(Keely referred to the 3 tones in the brain and how acoustic manipulation could remove the 'knots' in the convolutions of the brain which produced mental and neural problems. - JWD) The brain filters what we hear. It can do this in part because particular groups of neurons react to specific frequencies of sound. Neurobiologists from the Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics in Tübingen have now created a "frequency map" for numerous areas of the brain. They used magnetic resonance imaging to identify which neuronal fields are activated by single frequencies and by mixtures of frequencies (PLoS Biology, June 20, 2006). In interpreting our environment it is important for the brain to separate sound into its constituent frequencies. That means that particular sound frequencies best activate certain groups of neurons in the auditory cortex. Scientists have used electrophysiological and anatomical studies to determine which areas of the brain are responsible for certain frequencies - but mainly in animals, like those of the macaque monkey. In the new fMRI study, scientists went beyond identifying individual auditory cortex fields (ACFs); earlier studies had predicted those findings. The researchers also created frequency maps for most of these fields. At first, they mapped several ACFs, then a total of eleven, organised like a mosaic on the surface of the brain. They observed a periodic pattern: a topographic preference for certain frequencies, that either increases or decreases as one progresses across a field. In certain neighbouring fields, the frequency develops in the exact opposite way revealing many mirror reversals of the mosaic pattern. Each sound frequency can thus be found in each ACF. Petkov explains that "in the context of such similar organization for so many fields, certainly different fields have different tasks, but we are only beginning to understand what those differences are." Each ACF is responsible for a different sound signal. Three of these fields, which together create a kind of "core" for the auditory cortex, react to individual frequencies in simple sounds like tones. The other eight - including newly described ones - respond better to sounds that are a mixture of different frequencies, like many of the sounds in our environment. These ACFs enclose the three core fields like a belt, and seem to be eight in number. The pitch pattern in each individual ACF was not as differentiated as, for example, on a piano keyboard. The organisation of the topography could be best observed when sounds lay four octaves apart from one another. Petkov explains that "this is due to the conditions necessary for the imaging technique." In order to see clear signals at all with fMRI, the scientists presented tones that were louder than the soft test tones that are commonly used in electrophysiological studies. "Larger and larger areas of the auditory cortex become active when we do this, but our challenge was to preserve the broad topography by not presenting sounds too loudly," Petkov explains. This was an interesting observation for the Max Planck researchers because noise affects the auditory cortex, leading to hearing loss, which also probably disrupts such organised patterns of the brain.
06/24/06 - Chinese Satellites can't be jammed
The Chinese may be planning to put GPS satellites in orbit, and use a DIRTY TRICK they learned from the French: They're reportedly going to make the network's signal frequency so close to the American GPS system's that one can't be jammed without also jamming the other. Another dirty trick: The Chinese were allowed to participate in the development of Europe's Galileo GPS system based on the belief that the technology would be used only for civilian purposes, but China used what they learned from the Europeans to develop a system that guides nuclear missiles to U.S. targets. Gee, thanks, Europe. When will the West learn that CHINA STEALS TECHNOLOGY?
06/23/06 - From Campfire To Gas Tank, Mesquite Harvested For Ethanol
The dense mesquite-covered mid-section of Texas could provide fuel for about 400 small ethanol plants, according to one Texas Agricultural Experiment Station researcher. The industry would be based on the harvest and use of rangeland woody plants, such as mesquite and red berry juniper, as an energy source. The vision is to build as many as 400 refineries around the state based on mesquite wood. If other woods are considered, the number could go as high as 1,000, he said. Working with an Aberdeen, Miss. company, Ansley is studying the supply, harvest technologies, ethanol conversion rates and ecological effects of mesquite-to-ethanol production. One ton of mesquite wood will yield about 200 gallons of ethanol, he said. An acre of the densely populated mesquite standing 10 to 12 feet tall will yield about 8 to 10 tons of wood. A commercial refinery producing 5 million gallons of ethanol per year will require about 30,000 acres to sustain it, an approximate four- to five-mile radius if the refinery is located near the middle of the mesquite stand, Ansley said. Ranchers have long been looking for a way to utilize the mesquite growing wild on their pasturelands, but until now, nothing has looked economical, Ansley said. Mesquite could be used in a wood-fired power plant, but "we think there's much greater potential with ethanol." A patented process to convert the wood into ethanol is being tested in a prototype plant in Mississippi, Ansley said. In Texas, the prime area to harvest mesquite is the middle third of the state: a band bordered on the west by a line from Childress to Del Rio and on the east from Decatur to Austin. "We're talking small travel distance from wood source to these refineries, about 4 to 5 miles," Ansley said. "They would process about 5 million gallons per year of ethanol, which would require about 30,000 acres. Only about 10 percent would be harvested each year, with about 10 years needed for regrowth."
06/23/06 - New hydraulic hybrid trucks roll off
The new system replaces a truck's transmission with hydraulics and that, combined with a low-emission diesel engine, yields a 60 percent to 70 percent saving on fuel use. Delivery trucks pile up the hours and miles with city driving. They were among the most likely to benefit from a drivetrain that transfers the energy lost in braking into a series of fluid and air pumps that in turn power acceleration. The EPA estimates it will take UPS less than three years to recover the $7,000 cost of outfitting each of its trucks with the new hydraulic system by saving money on fuel and reducing brake wear. The truck already has a big fan in driver Dave Schuler, who took it for a spin in front of the EPA offices in Washington. "You'd be surprised how it drives because it makes no noise," he said. "You wouldn't think it would have the power for a truck this size."
06/23/06 - Switchgrass Burn Test Proves Hopeful
Switchgrass is often cited as one of the most promising crops that could be grown in the U.S. for a variety of biomass processes, particularly directed combustion or as a feedstock for a cellulosic-ethanol processing project. For all its hype, there are few actual examples of its use. This week, however, brought news of a successful and promising application of switchgrass crops co-fired with coal. The three-month test burn: -- Delivered, processed, and burned 31,568 bales of locally grown switchgrass totaling 15,647 tons as renewable fuel for generating electricity at Ottumwa Generating Station (OGS). -- Generated 19,607,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity from the renewable switchgrass fuel. That is enough electricity to provide 100% of the electricity needs for an entire year for more than 1,874 average Iowa homes. This is a world record for electricity generation from switchgrass...
06/23/06 - No Quick Fixes
Step right up, ladies and gentlemen, for quick fix solutions that will cure all our energy ills. We'll suspend the federal gas tax. We can plant oil wells in the Arctic wilderness and off our coasts, assuring us years of worry-free guzzling. Did we mention the $100 rebate? Like a traveling medicine show, members of Congress are scurrying from press conference to press conference to show the folks back home that they're doing something about high gasoline prices, and by gum, they really mean it this time. What a farce. The time that lawmakers spend promoting showy gimmicks is time that should be used on a long-range strategy for moving our country off its dangerous addiction to oil. Time is not in our favor. Rising gasoline prices are not a transitory market hiccup but an ominous sign that the energy system on which we depend is dangerously unstable.
06/23/06 - How to protect solar energy collectors from the wind
FLOATING rafts of solar energy collectors could provide cheaper electrical power than their landlubber cousins. Standard collectors use lenses to track the position of the sun and concentrate sunlight onto solar cells. To withstand the damaging forces of strong winds, they need to be made from tough materials such as steel, which makes them expensive. Phil Connor of Sunengy in Mount Kuring-gai, New South Wales, Australia, believes a better idea would be to float arrays of solar collectors on lakes. Wind sensors connected to the rafts would allow the lenses to be lowered beneath the water to protect them if the wind speeds exceeded 50 to 60 kilometres per hour. The arrays could then be made of cheaper plastics rather than steel.
06/23/06 - Earth hottest it's been in 400 years, humans responsible
There is sufficient evidence from tree rings, retreating glaciers, and other "proxies" to say with confidence that the last few decades of the 20th century were warmer than any comparable period in the last 400 years, according to a new National Research Council report. There is less confidence in reconstructions of surface temperatures from 1600 back to A.D. 900, and very little confidence in findings on average temperatures before then. Their 155-page report said average global surface temperatures in the Northern Hemisphere rose about 1 degree during the 20th century. This is shown in boreholes, retreating glaciers and other evidence found in nature, said Gerald North, a geosciences professor at Texas A&M University who chaired the academy's panel. The report was requested in November by the chairman of the House Science Committee, Rep. Sherwood Boehlert, R-New York, to address naysayers who question whether global warming is a major threat.
06/22/06 - Roads & Paved Parks as Giant Solar Panels
A DUTCH businessman on holiday in the Highlands noticed how sheep liked to lie on roads warmed by the day's sunshine. From that simple observation 15 years ago, a heating system has been developed that allows car parks and roads to act as solar panels, storing energy in aquifers - layers of water-bearing permeable rock. The result is a use of renewable energy that means buildings can be heated or cooled, while roads and airport runways could be kept free from ice and snow without tonnes of salt. Its inventors claim the method reduces the carbon dioxide emissions of conventional heating systems by up to 90% and doubles the life expectancy of tarmac by halving road maintenance. Henk Verweijmeren, whose holiday led to his founding IHS in 1995, yesterday said there would be enough energy to heat their 1000 square metre offices and two other offices of the same size. He said the system was highly efficient. Although one square metre of solar panel would generate twice the power, it would cost £400 compared with £30 for one square metre of road or car park. "There was a report which said that if they built this into every road in Holland, they would be able to heat every building in the land."
06/22/06 - Japan kick-starts biofuel transport
Japan plans to have 40 per cent of cars running on biofuels within five years in a bid to slash greenhouse gas emissions and foreign oil dependence. Vehicles account for about 20 per cent of energy consumption in Japan, which is nearly entirely dependent on the Middle East for oil. The Environment Ministry would launch a project to boost the production of ethanol made from sugar cane produced on Miyako island in Japan's southern island chain of Okinawa, the Nihon Keizai Shimbun business daily revealed.
06/22/06 - "Ice gun" will help to fight riotous crowds
Dissatisfaction leads to demonstrations and protests. When demonstrants become very agresive the government has to use its power. However the power should be used in its most harmless way. For such purposes military scientists invent special kinds of weapons that can stop mass disturbances and not to injure their participants. Instead of quelling riotous crowds with tear gas or rubber bullets, peacekeepers may soon be sliming them. A portable device worn like a Ghostbuster backpack allows the wearer to cover the ground in goo so slippery it's almost impossible for a person to maintain their footing. "It's like walking on ice," said Errol Brigance, a senior research engineer at the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio, Texas. Brigance and his colleague Rolf Glauser filed for a patent on the anti-traction method earlier this year. The technology, developed in partnership with the U.S. Marine Corps, offers another non-lethal weapon to the military's crowd control arsenal. The backpack system weighs less than 75 pounds and consists of three tanks: one containing compressed air, another filled with five gallons of water, and a third containing powder made from an acrylic polymer. The compressed air works to independently pump the water and powder out two nozzles, mixing the substances mid-air into a honey-thick goo too viscous to be dispensed any other way. The nozzles can shoot the non-toxic material up to 25 feet, enough leeway to slime the ground in front of a maddening mob. Vehicles won't have much luck gaining traction either.
06/22/06 - What can a magnet tell you about rain patterns?
In the June issue of the respected journal Nature Physics, he and J. David Neelin, UCLA professor of atmospheric and oceanic sciences, report that the onset of intense tropical rain and magnetism share the same underlying physics. Peters and Neelin analyzed statistical properties of the relationship between water vapor in the atmosphere in the tropics and rainfall, using remote sensing from a satellite over the tropical oceans. "We studied properties of that relationship that are also observed in equivalent quantities for systems with 'continuous-phase transitions' like magnets," said Peters, a research scientist with UCLA's Institute of Geophysics and Planetary Physics and a visiting scientist at the Santa Fe Institute. "The atmosphere has a tendency to move to a critical point in water vapor where the likelihood of rain dramatically increases. The system reaches a point where it's just about to rain; it's highly susceptible. Any additional water vapor can produce a large response." How does a critical threshold point work? Consider a pile of rice, Peters said. You can add a single grain of rice and measure its effect on the pile. After slowly adding rice grains, at some point you eventually trigger an avalanche; the release is very fast. A similar principle is behind the coin machines you can find in casinos, where it looks as if dropping in one or two quarters will create an avalanche of coins that will come crashing down for you. In fact, it is much more likely that it only looks like the system is at a critical point; you are more likely to lose your quarter. Imagine that you add one raindrop into a cloud. Like the pile of rice, where adding a single grain can produce an avalanche or nothing at all, or like the coin machine, the one additional raindrop could trigger a huge downpour, but most of the time produces nothing. You can heat a magnet to a point where it loses its magnetization; it no longer has a north and south direction. "When a magnet is near the critical temperature, a slight perturbation can cause it to switch north and south," Peters said. "When the system reaches the critical point and is so susceptible, a slight change -- one more grain of rice, one more coin -- can produce a massive response of the system. This phenomenon can be studied using statistical mechanics and critical phenomena." Peters began studying "avalanche distributions" in 2002, measuring how much rain falls in one storm. This led him to make predictions about the functional relationship between water vapor and rainfall. "It's a self-organized critical system, from which we can make predictions," said Peters, who described physics as "beautiful."
06/22/06 - New Software predicts Song potential success or failure
It will come as no surprise to anyone with an ear for music, but Abba's Eurovision-winning song Waterloo has all the characteristics of a surefire hit while this year's winner, Hard Rock Hallelujah by the outlandish Finnish band Lordi, doesn't. The verdict was delivered by a computer running software developed for record companies to help them predict which songs will be hits and which will flop. And it seems to work. Last week, Hard Rock Hallelujah was at number 25 on the British charts; Waterloo went to number one in 1974. The developers claim the software can identify a potential Top 30 hit within 20 seconds and has an accuracy rate of at least 80 per cent. The program analyses 30 criteria including melody, beat, tempo, chord progression and cadence, and cross-refers them to a database of three million songs. It spots mathematical similarities even though songs might not sound the same or even be from the same genre. It gives each piece of music a hit grading from zero to 1000. A score of 700 or more indicates the song falls into a cluster of existing hits on the database and, theoretically, has got what it takes to succeed. The software is also capable of scoring a new song on its longevity -- its "classic grade". The catchy Waterloo generated a hit rating of 722 and a classic grade of 764, justifying its enduring popularity. The software placed it in the same hit cluster as Keane's Is It Any Wonder? and Elton John's I Guess That's Why They Call It The Blues.
06/22/06 - Device burns fuel with almost zero emissions
Georgia Tech researchers have created a new combustor (combustion chamber where fuel is burned to power an engine or gas turbine) designed to burn fuel in a wide range of devices - with next to no emission of nitrogen oxide (NOx) and carbon monoxide (CO), two of the primary causes of air pollution. The device has a simpler design than existing state-of-the-art combustors and could be manufactured and maintained at a much lower cost, making it more affordable in everything from jet engines and power plants to home water heaters. "We must burn fuel to power aircrafts and generate electricity for our homes. The combustion community is working very hard to find ways to burn the fuel completely and derive all of its energy while minimizing emissions," said Dr. Ben Zinn, Regents' professor, the David S. Lewis Jr. Chair in Georgia Tech's Guggenheim School of Aerospace Engineering and a key collaborator on the project. "Our combustor has an unbelievably simple design, and it would be inexpensive to make and inexpensive to maintain." Called the Stagnation Point Reverse Flow Combustor, the Georgia Tech device significantly reduces NOx and CO emissions in a variety of aircraft engines and gas turbines that burn gaseous or liquid fuels. It burns fuel with NOx emissions below 1 parts per million (ppm) and CO emissions lower than 10 ppm, significantly lower than emissions produced by other combustors. The combustor burns fuel in low temperature reactions that occur over a large portion of the combustor. By eliminating all high temperature pockets through better control of the flow of the reactants and combustion products within the combustor, the device produces far lower levels of NOx and CO and avoids acoustic instabilities that are problematic in current low emissions combustors.
To reduce emissions in existing combustors, fuel is premixed with a large amount of swirling air flow prior to injection into the combustor. This requires complex and expensive designs, and the combustion process often excites instabilities that damage the system. But Georgia Tech's design eliminates the complexity associated with premixing the fuel and air by injecting the fuel and air separately into the combustor while its shape forces them to mix with one another and with combustion products before ignition occurs.
06/22/06 - Nanocrystals' 'self-purification' mechanisms explained by energetics
Doping semiconductor nanocrystals will likely provide a basis for a wide variety of nano applications. But since the tiny nanocrystals tend to repel impurities, scientists must first find a way to overcome nanocrystals’ “self-purification” mechanisms and exploit them for doping. In 2005, scientists (Erwin et al.) proposed that the difficulties in doping nanocrystals could be explained by the crystals’ surface topology and how easily impurities could bind to the surface. For these reasons, these scientists determined that the smaller the size of a nanocrystal, the less binding energy, and the more difficult doping becomes. “Suppose you have two different systems that create levels in the gap, and one is deeper than the other,” said Dalpian. “If you want to populate these levels (put electrons on them), it will cost more energy to populate the one that is deeper. That is why it costs more energy to put impurities in the small nanocrystals than the larger ones: the level created in the gap is filled and is deeper for smaller nanocrystals.”
06/22/06 - Zapper brings relief to Migraine sufferers
THE debilitating pain caused by migraines, the splitting headaches suffered by millions of people, can be eliminated using a handheld device that “zaps” the condition as it kicks in, a study suggests. Patients treated with the experimental device, which is held against the back of the head and emits a quick magnetic pulse, have reported significant improvements. The pulse has been found to trigger an electric current in neurons in the brain, preventing the initial “electrical storm” from developing into a full-blown migraine. The device, which is activated by a switch, sends a strong electric current through a metal coil, creating an intense magnetic field for about one millisecond. When held against a person’s head, this magnetic pulse creates an electric current in the neurons that blocks the aura before the onset of a throbbing headache. The device, which is made by a Californian company called Neuralieve, is designed to interrupt the aura phase of the migraine, the initial period of electrical activity in the brain, before it leads to headaches. Sufferers of such severe headaches often describe seeing showers of shooting stars, zigzagging lines and flashing lights, and experiencing loss of vision, weakness, tingling or confusion. These initial symptoms are typically followed by an intense throbbing head pain, nausea and vomiting. About one in eight people in the UK suffers from migraines, which are twice as common in women as they are in men, and are estimated to cost the health service £1 billion annually.
06/22/06 - Organ Clock Theory & the flow of Qi
In our daily routine, when our every act is time bound, did you know that our vital organs too are time bound..? The 12 organs in our body are owning 2 hours in a day according to the relevant time of the organ clock. In traditional Chinese medicine, diagnosis and the treatment are based on the dynamic theory of energy flow. This energy flow is continuous in our body in definite path. This vital energy is termed as ‘Qi’, which has three levels that is superficial, deep and intermediate. It is possible to cause changes in the body by influencing this Qi flow at the superficial level, which is called ‘Acupuncture Therapy’. 3 am to 5 am - Lungs / 5 am to 7 am -Large Intestine / 7 am to 9 am - Stomach / 9 am to 11 am - Spleen / 11 am to 1 pm - Heart / 1pm to 3 pm -Small Intestine / 3 pm to 5 pm - Urinary Bladder / 5 pm to 7 pm - Kidney / 7 pm to 9 pm - Pericardium / 9 pm to 11 pm - Endocrine System / 11 pm to 1 am - Gallbladder. Again, the day starts, cyclic flow to complete the 24 hours for 12 organs. Man has to stick to nature for better living. Biological clocks govern every living thing, in motion, rest, sleep, chemical composition, excretion, regulation of tissue fluids, glands and organs.
The circulation is repeated for every twenty four hours which is called as circadian rhythm.
06/22/06 - Invest in Coastal property at your own risk
The NYT has a great article today on how climate change and rising seas could destroy at least a quarter of all US beachfront homes by 2060, but little is being done to check the destruction. Though most of the country's ocean beaches are eroding, few coastal jurisdictions consider sea level rise in their coastal planning, and still fewer incorporate the fact that the rise is accelerating. Instead, they are sticking with policies that geologists say may help them in the short term but will be untenable or even destructive in the future. ... Few coastal residents want to see their towns walled off and surrounded by water. And few want to elevate their houses by 20 feet or more, as flooding experts are beginning to recommend in some coastal areas. The approach favored by many scientists, a gradual retreat from the coast, is a perennial nonstarter among real estate interests and their political allies. The politics of rising seas are already nasty, obviously, and they'll only get nastier, I'd bet. But ultimately, the destruction even of a quarter (or even all) of the nation's waterfront homes is comparatively small potatoes in the total sweep of potential futures we're committing ourselves to by failing to take action to stop climate change.
06/22/06 - Tomatoes help in blood clot battle
Eating tomatoes can help prevent deep vein thrombosis. Researchers have found that the yellow fluid around tomato seeds has anti-clotting properties. Aspirin can prevent the potentially fatal condition by thinning the blood but can also cause bleeding in the stomach. The new research shows tomatoes contain a unique chemical that similarly thins blood but without causing any harm.
06/22/06 - No cash? No card? Just insert your finger
Customers can pay with cash, plastic or their index finger at a new Coast to Coast Family Convenience store here. Taking a big step beyond the ease of the Mobil SpeedPass, Coast to Coast has installed what's claimed as Florida's first biometric payment system. There are no cards or PIN numbers to remember. Just stick your finger in the scanner and be on your way. While applications are available to process credit and store loyalty card transactions by fingerprint, this one is limited to processing only debit account transactions. "People either love it or think it's a sign of the coming apocalypse,'' said Amer Hawatmeh, owner of the new convenience store at 110 E Bearss Ave. who signed up a few hundred customers for Pay By Touch. "But to me, it's the wave of the future.'' The Pay By Touch computer records a multitude of point-to-point measurements and stores them in an encrypted form in an IBM data center. Images of both index fingers are kept in case a shopper's trigger finger is hidden by a bandage. To create an account, you must let the store get a fix on you and your bank account by scanning in a sample check and a driver's license. You can also apply online and be assigned a PIN number. The number is keyed in the first time you buy something to link your fingerprint to the personal account information. The shopper needs neither a card nor a PIN number after that. Just place a finger on the scanner.
06/22/06 - 'Thirst for Knowledge' May be Addictive
A U.S. scientist says he believes there's a simple explanation for the pleasure of grasping a new concept: The brain is getting its fix. Neuroscience Professor Irving Biederman of the University of Southern California says the click of comprehension triggers a biochemical cascade that rewards the brain with a shot of natural opium-like substances. While you're trying to understand a difficult theorem, it's not fun, said Biederman. But once you get it, you just feel fabulous. He says the brain's craving for a fix motivates humans to maximize the rate at which they absorb knowledge. I think we're exquisitely tuned to this as if we're junkies, second by second, said Biederman.
06/21/06 - Toyota gives in to plug-in hybrid pressure
Toyota's previous comments with respect to the whole plug-in hybrid movement have bordered on hostile. The company, no surprise, has tried to downplay the potential by pointing to technical challenges, criticizing Prius hackers, and claiming that car owners don't want to be burdened with having to plug their car into an electrical socket. But public pressure seems to have Toyota singing a different tune these days, making it the latest (and arguably most important) big car manufacturer to reveal that, yes, it's working on plug-in hybrids behind the scenes. On June 13 Toyota issued this release outlining its improved efforts to create environmentally sound and sustainable vehicles. Among a list of impressive initiatives under way, Toyoto Motor Corp. (TMC) made the following statement: "TMC will advance its research and development of plug-in hybrid vehicles (which can be charged from an external power source and provide electricity) and is currently working on a next-generation vehicle that can extend the distance traveled by the electric motor alone and that is expected to have a significant effect on reducing C02 and helping to abate atmospheric pollution." Whether this is open acknowledgement of a serious R&D program that will lead to commercialization of plug-in hybrids, or simply a marketing stunt to appease the plug-in hybrid movement, who knows... I think Toyota, like other car manufacturers, realize that some huge advancements in battery technology are just around the corner and could soon unlock the potential of plug-in hybrids and EVs in general.
06/21/06 - Ultra-sensitive Ammeter measures Electron flow in Attoamps
Physicists at the Tokyo Institute of Technology have developed the world's most sensitive ammeter yet. The device allows current to be measured at the attoampere level and is expected to be of use in nanoelectronics, calibration devices, quantum computation and biology.
06/21/06 - California’s Global Warming Pollution Up 85% Since 1960
Global warming pollution in California jumped 85% between 1960 and 2001, according to The Carbon Boom, a new analysis of government data released today by Environment California. Increased carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from the combustion of oil, primarily for transportation, and natural gas, primarily for electricity and heating, were responsible for 61% and 38% of this increase, respectively. “When you find yourself in a hole, the first thing you should do is stop digging,” said Bernadette Del Chiaro, advocate with Environment California. “To protect future generations from the effects of global warming and to spur clean energy solutions, we need to stop this trend of increasing pollution.” The early effects of global warming are evident in California and worldwide. According to NASA, 2005 was the warmest year ever recorded. Left unchecked, global warming threatens to cause serious future water shortages in California as Sierra snowpack-fed rivers and streams dry up and as sea levels rise, threatening the coast. “This study shows us that despite public perceptions that we are cleaning up our air, our CO2 emissions are increasing not decreasing,” said Assemblyman Mark Leno.
06/21/06 - Nanowires make 4 times faster Circuits
"Advances in nanowires have shown that they may be the future in cheap, high-performance electronics. Researchers at Harvard have shown that nanowire transistors are are least four times faster than existing silicon ones. These nanowires show promise in being able to be embedded in plastics, and could lead to devices such as flexible displays that process information in the screen itself." (via slashdot.com)
06/21/06 - Smithsonian removes electric-car exhibit coincident with Electric Car movie
Just weeks before the release of a movie about the death of the electric car from the 1990s, the Smithsonian Institution has removed its EV1 electric sedan from display. The upcoming film "Who Killed the Electric Car?" questions why General Motors created the battery-powered vehicles and then crushed the program a few years later. The film opens June 30th. GM happens to be one of the Smithsonian's biggest contributors. But museum and GM officials say that had nothing to do with the removal of the EV1 from display.
06/21/06 - Sunscreens don't completely protect you from Cancer
Sunscreens generally do a good job filtering out the ultraviolet rays that cause sunburn - UVB rays. But with sunburn protection, many people get a false sense of security that keeps them under the harsh sun much longer. That adds to the risk of eventual skin cancer - both deadly melanoma and the more common and less-threatening basal and squamous cell cancers. And most sunscreens don't defend nearly as well against the UVA rays that penetrate deep into the skin and are more likely to cause skin cancer and wrinkles. That's true even for some products labeled "broad-spectrum UVA/UVB protection." Experts say the best protection against UVA is a sunscreen that includes zinc oxide, titanium dioxide or avobenzone. Consumers should also look for those that are water-resistant and have an SPF of 30 or better, indicating strong protection against UVB rays, and apply liberally and often. More important, limit time in the sun, particularly from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and cover up, including wearing a hat and sunglasses. "I don't think people understand they're only getting protection from part of the spectrum," said Dr. Sandra Read, a spokeswoman for the American Academy of Dermatology. "You're accumulating this damage and you don't know it." Research has shown heavy sunscreen use lowers risk of squamous skin cell cancer, which has a high cure rate if caught early. Another study found heavy sunscreen use in children reduces the number of moles, which can turn cancerous later, Weinstock noted.
06/21/06 - Farmer’s hail cannons spark storm
The cannon is a shock wave generator that is supposed to disrupt the formation of hailstones. An explosive charge of acetylene gas and air is fired in the lower chamber of the machine. As the energy passes through the neck and into the cone of the cannon, it develops into a force that becomes a shock wave. The shock wave then travels at the speed of sound into and through the clouds. This is said to disrupt the growth of the hailstones. The cannon is fired every four seconds as the storm approaches. It affects a 500-meter radius. His iceberg lettuce is still tiny, but healthy, with leaves sprouting whole and unmarred. They’ll hopefully stay that way, Smith says, thanks to the eight hail cannons stationed across his 3,800-acre Southern Colorado Farms, aimed at the sky and poised to fire off sound waves that supposedly stop the nasty ice pellets that can ravage his crop. Smith believes in his cannons. So do a lot of his neighbors in the San Luis Valley. That’s the problem. Although Smith maintains that his cannons, $40,000 apiece, can stave off the damage from summer storms, others are convinced they’re doing more than that - stopping the rain as well, drying up an already parched land and killing their livelihood. “Without some solid data, it is really hard to judge one way or the other,” he said. But the World Meteorological Organization dismisses cannons as nonsense, saying that “there is neither a scientific basis nor a credible hypothesis to support such activities.”
06/21/06 - It's Legal to use Illegally gained evidence
U.S. government spies on citizens using third parties and can legally use all evidence against citizens even when evidence is collected illegally. Numerous federal and local law enforcement agencies have bypassed subpoenas and warrants designed to protect civil liberties and gathered Americans' personal telephone records from private-sector data brokers. These brokers, many of whom advertise aggressively on the Internet, have gotten into customer accounts online, tricked phone companies into revealing information and even acknowledged that their practices violate laws, according to documents gathered by congressional investigators and provided to The Associated Press. The law enforcement agencies include offices in the Homeland Security Department and Justice Department - including the FBI and U.S. Marshal's Service - and municipal police departments in California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia and Utah. Experts believe hundreds of other departments frequently use such services. "We are requesting any and all information you have regarding the above cell phone account and the account holder ... including account activity and the account holder's address," Ana Bueno, a police investigator in Redwood City, Calif., wrote in October to PDJ Investigations of Granbury, Texas. An agent in Denver for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Anna Wells, sent a similar request on March 31 on Homeland Security stationery: "I am looking for all available subscriber information for the following phone number," Wells wrote to a corporate alias used by PDJ. Congressional investigators estimated the U.S. government spent $30 million last year buying personal data from private brokers. But that number likely understates the breadth of transactions, since brokers said they rarely charge law enforcement agencies any price. Privacy advocates bristled over data brokers gathering records for police without subpoenas. "This is pernicious, an end run around the Fourth Amendment," said Marc Rotenberg, head of the Washington-based Electronic Privacy Information Center, a leading privacy group that has sought tougher federal regulation of data brokers. "The government is encouraging unlawful conduct; it's not smart on the law enforcement side to be making use of information obtained improperly." Legal experts said law enforcement agencies would be permitted to use illegally obtained information from private parties without violating the Fourth Amendment's protection against unlawful search and seizure, as long as police did not encourage any crimes to be committed.
06/21/06 - Soros, Strong involved in plan to dump Chinese SUVs on American market
George Soros, the billionaire who bankrolled Moveon.org, is considering pouring hundreds of millions into a Chinese state automaker with plans to begin dumping cheap exports on the U.S. market next year, WND has learned. The "Chery" is a knockoff of the South Korean Spark, sold in the U.S. in partnership with General Motors. GM filed a lawsuit against Chery Automobile Co. for piracy of the car developed by its South Korean affiliate Daewoo and Chery will have to change the name of its exports to the U.S. as a result. The lawsuit, launched in the name of GM Daewoo Auto & Technology Co. Ltd, contends Chery's QQ copied the design of Daewoo's Matiz, while Chery claims it developed the QQ on its own. GM's investigation results showed the two vehicles "shared remarkably identical body structure, exterior design, interior design and key components." The Chery QQ sells in China for $3,600.Chery sold about 50,000 of these last year in China and is planning to begin exporting cars to the end of 2007. Some auto industry analysts suggest the low price on the Chery is the partly the result of the "borrowed" technology and design. The list price on the Chery is expected to be around $20,000 in the U.S.
06/20/06 - Floating nuclear reactor for Russia
Russia is planning to build a floating nuclear power station by 2010. The giant Sevmash shipyard in the northern city of Severodvinsk has won a tender to build the floating nuclear reactor for a low-power thermal and electric power plant. Some of the power generated by the plant will be used by the shipyard. It will also produce electricity for export. "The first station will provide electric and thermal energy to Sevmash," said Yevgeny Velikhov, president of the Kurchatov research institute. "It is planned to construct such plants in remote regions of (Russia's) far north and far east." Mr Obozov said Russia needed the floating power plant to help supply foreign electricity markets in the Asia-Pacific. He said Russia may set up as many as six floating power stations in the future, with plans for similar projects in the Kamchatka, Chukotka, Yakutia and Krasnoyarsk regions.
06/20/06 - Invention Set to Revolutionise Sewage Treatment
Kenya Medical Research Institute (Kemri) has unveiled a simple aerobic sewage treatment plant that would reduce pollution of the environment. The recycled water, they say, is certified fit for human consumption, is odour-free and can save colossal amounts of money that hotels and agro-chemical factories incur to purchase water. To illustrate its efficacy, the institute's centre in Kisumu uses the recycled waste to water lawns and flowerbeds and in cleaning and sanitation. The centre initially relied on septic tanks to dispose of its waste over the years, before realising that the black cotton soil, where the centre stands, was being affected. Bacteria, which the scientists have coded as WWT-C, are used to eat waste and transform it into non-polluting material. Researchers say eight different types of organisms are used in the process. These heavy-duty bacteria break down waste and sewerage in many Western nations. "We have a population of over 300 people generating waste water of approximately 10,000 gallons per day. Therefore, recycling the waste was a prerequisite," says Olwande. The aerobic treatment plant that sits on less than a quarter acre piece of land has four main components that work together to purify wastewater. "The waste from our residential houses and offices is channeled to the pre-treatment tank that removes microbes that cannot degrade," Olwande explains. Waste, which includes rags, sticks, condoms, sanitary towels and fruit seeds, are removed manually using a rake. "The next component is the aeration chamber where the microbes decompose waste in water. The aerobic digestion is a process occurring in the presence of oxygen," he says. He explains that bacteria consumes organic matter and converts it into carbon dioxide under aerobic conditions. "The aeration system consists of an air pump, piping and diffusers that force air into the aeration chamber," Olwande says. The bacteria changes dissolved and solid pollutants into cell mass, non-degradable material and gases such as carbon dioxide, hydrogen and methane. The variety of aerobic microorganisms living together in this mixed state decomposes assorted materials. The air pump located at the aerobic tank compresses air to flow into the aeration chamber before the diffuser forces air into water. "Air is bubbled and the rising bubbles mix with the water the aerobic digestion is a bacterial process occurring in the presence of oxygen," he explains. Treated water moves from the aeration chamber into a settling chamber or clarifier. The clarifier allows the cell mass and non-degradable materials to settle from the water before it leaves the treatment system.
06/20/06 - Mice fed 30% vegetable diet were thinner with clearer arteries
If you love your arteries, eat your vegetables. So say researchers who found that mice fed a vegetable-rich diet cut their risk for atherosclerosis - hardening of the arteries - by 38 percent. "There is some epidemiological evidence that people who eat a lot of fruits and vegetables, probably more than five servings a day, have a lower risk of coronary heart disease than people who don't," added lead researcher Michael Adams, a professor of pathology at Wake Forest University School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, N.C. Adams' team fed a control group of 53 mice a vegetable-free diet. Another group of 54 mice got the same base diet, but with vegetables added to make up 30 percent of the total diet. Vegetables included freeze-dried broccoli, peas, green beans, corn and carrots. After 16 weeks, they assessed the animals' health and found those who ate the vegetable-rich diet had lower total cholesterol levels, lower levels of the so-called "bad" cholesterol or low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and a 7 percent lower average body weight. "The mice who consumed 30 percent of their diet as vegetables developed atherosclerotic plaques that were 38 percent smaller than those of the mice who consumed no vegetables," he said. They didn't track exercise as a variable, but the mice all lived in the same environment and so probably got about the same amount of activity, Adams said. "We looked at the accumulation of a marker of inflammatory activity," he said. "Inflammation is known to be an integral part of the development of atherosclerotic plaque." The vegetables may work, he said, by their anti-inflammatory properties.
06/20/06 - NASA's Reverse Thrust
When President George W. Bush unveiled his plan for a new moon shot two years ago, a lot of people worried that it was long on rhetoric and short on cash--ultimately forcing NASA to raid its science budget to pay for it. On close examination, though, the trajectory seemed reasonable. The money freed up by phasing out the space shuttle and the International Space Station was not an implausible amount to build a postshuttle spacecraft (known as the Crew Exploration Vehicle, or CEV) and send it moonward by 2020. A "go as you can pay" strategy would extend the deadlines if money got tight, rather than pickpocketing other programs. Michael Griffin said at a press conference last September: "In our forward planning, we do not take one thin dime out of the science program in order to execute this architecture." Now it looks like the skeptics were right. The NASA budget announced in February mows down a scarily long list of science missions, from a Europa orbiter to a space-based gravitational-wave observatory. Research grants to individual scientists, traditionally kept safe from high-level budget machinations, have taken a 15 percent hit, retroactive to last fall; hundreds have already received "termination letters" canceling their projects. Griffin went before Congress in February as the bearer of bad news: "Fulfilling our commitments on the International Space Station and bringing the Crew Exploration Vehicle online in a timely manner, not later than 2014 and possibly much sooner, is a higher priority than these science missions during this period."
06/20/06 - Send prearranged, pretimed SMS messages
Web site Oh, don't forget... lets you schedule text message reminders as simply as possible, without any registration. Just enter your cell number, the date and time you'd like the reminder, and the text message you'd like to receive. Oh, don't forget... only lets you schedule reminders on the hour (or now). (via lifehacker.com)
06/20/06 - PayPal Fixes URL Used for Fraud
According to Internet-monitoring company Netcraft, a security flaw on PayPal's site allowed hackers to steal credit card information from PayPal users. The vulnerability, first publicly announced on Friday, involved what is known as a cross-scripting attack. Those targeted by the attack received an e-mail, purporting to be from PayPal, that directed them to a special URL on the PayPal servers Relevant Products/Services from HP. At that page, they encountered an official-sounding notice. "Your account is currently disabled," it reportedly read, "because we think it has been accessed by a third party. You will now be redirected to the Resolution Center." Users were then taken to a non-PayPal server in South Korea, with a fake log-in page designed to capture private information -- including credit card and Social Security numbers. Users were requested at that site to remove any limits on funds being removed from their accounts. PayPal said that it has fixed the flaw and has gotten the Korean server shut down. PayPal also said that it was not clear how many people -- if any at all -- had been duped. PayPal does warn its users to enter their user names and passwords only on PayPal pages that begin with the following URL: https://www.paypal.com/. It also says that its users should never log in to PayPal from a link in an e-mail.
06/20/06 - Treating Cancer with electrical treatments
If you remember Bjorn Nordenstrom, the radiologist and researcher who was using platinum electrodes and measuring DC micro currents in the body, he was able to cure various diseases including cancer. Frank provides this URL which shows the curing of cancer with applied electrical current. - "Bjorn Nordenstrom, M.D., author of Biologically Closed Electric Circuits : Clinical, Experimental and Theoretical Evidence for an Additional Circulatory System, states that bioelectricity is conducted through the microcapillary circulatory system in the body. When injury occurs, a positive charge builds up in the area of injury and sets up the voltage potential difference which serves as biological battery waiting for the switch to be turned on. The bioelectricity is then switched on by a change in the electrical insulation properties of the capillary membranes. As they become less permeable to the flow of ions and become more electrically insulated, the bioelectric flow of energy is forced to take path of least resistance, which is through the bloodstream. Thus the bioelectric switch is through the bloodstream." Correlation with E-Meters - "In the author's opinion, endogenous activation of BCEC systems, leading to unidirectional flow of current over long time periods, may lead to modification of cells and tissues. Strong currents will destroy cells and tissue. Weak currents, on the other hand, will gently create new internal and external environments for cells. The currents will also directly interfere with cellular metabolism and modify structural elements of cells, damage to structures e.g. the DNA molecule, is evidently one possible effect of such modifications. Cells subjected to the conditions described can be expected to show variable abilities to survive and adapt themselves to the new living conditions."
06/20/06 - Ethanol's Water Demands a Concern
City officials in Champaign and Urbana took notice when they heard that an ethanol plant proposed nearby would use about 2 million gallons of water per day, most likely from the aquifer that also supplies both Illinois cities. "There was concern about impacting a pretty valuable resource," said Matt Wempe, a city planner for Urbana. "It should raise red flags." The proposal for a 100 million gallon-per-year ethanol plant is just one of many that have popped up in the past several months across Illinois, which already has seven operating plants and is the nation's No. 2 ethanol producer after Iowa. It would take about 300 million gallons of water for processing the product and cooling equipment to make 100 million gallons of ethanol each year, according to the Renewable Fuels Association. Improving technology means new plants use as much as 80 percent less water than plants built just five years ago, and most plants recycle their water so it has more than one use, he said. Still, the draw on Midwest water supplies is a concern.
06/19/06 - Silicon Free Solar Cells? Bypassing Peak Energy
an encouraging update on silicon-free solar cells from Daystar Technologies. Daystar's unique metal foil design is not vulnerable to current shortages in silicon. Production of this thin film design is being ramped up to 20 MW per year, and soon to the GW range per year. DayStar’s TerraFoil(TM) is a combination of Copper Indium Gallium diSelenide (CIGS) technology solar cells placed on flexible 1-5 mil stainless steel foil. DayStar is pursuing a vision of Gigawatt scale manufacturing by initially employing discrete solar cells on specialty metal substrates that will be manufactured by incrementally advanced production processes adapted from the computer hard-drive industry. According to Daystar, achieving economical, widely accepted solar energy requires low cost, high throughput manufacturing of high performance solar cells, modules and systems that can meet the cost demand of less than $1/Wp at the system level. To achieve this benchmark cost, DayStar is pursuing a vision of gigawatt scale manufacturing.
06/19/06 - Better Software Will Save Airlines Fuel and Time
Known as Advanced Continuous Descent Approach, the project aims to coordinate plane landings with less noise and emissions, as well as reduce fuel burn, said Fredrik Lindblom of the Swedish aviation authority, LFV. The computer system behind the project calculates a more exact time of arrival, which should simplify ground handling services and avoid long passenger waits at the gate or baggage claim, Lindblom said. Air traffic controllers in Sweden use a data link to tell the aircraft's flight management computer what approach path to use. The plane then adjusts its speed and approach path for the calculated route. The new system is also economically beneficial to the airlines, Lindblom said. Arlanda has landed about 200 flights with the Green Approach system. ''Today, pilots flying some of our B737s are daily offered the option to fly 'Green Approaches' in low traffic,'' Larsson told The Associated Press. The system is being tested only outside rush hour with 19 Boeing 737s from SAS, but the plan is to gradually increase the number of green landings throughout 2006, and eventually apply them to all incoming flights. SAS sees a potential of saving about 100 kilograms (220 pounds) of fuel per flight with the green approach, and ''with 80,000 possible landings per year at Arlanda ... that is a lot of saving,'' Larsson said.
06/19/06 - New Interference on the Horizon for U.S. Wind Power Development
At Tehachipi pass, a well-known wind farm in Central California, even the smallest wind turbine, the tips of its blades whirling at just the right speed, gives off a radar signal larger than that of a Boeing 747 Jumbo Jet, according to Gary Seifert, Program Manager, Idaho National Laboratory, who spoke at last week's annual U.S. wind power industry conference. The U.S. military is perfecting stealth technology so that some planes give off a radar signature no larger than a bird. This drastic mismatch, said Seifert, shows why military concerns over radar interactions with wind projects are putting the brakes on hundreds of megawatts of wind power development in parts of the country. Not only can many wind turbines give off a similar signature to that of an airplane on a landing approach, but wind projects can create radar "dead zones" above and behind a particular wind project, or "ghosting," whereby a second false image can be created, according to Siefert.
06/19/06 - Seceding from the National Energy Grid
Reynolds, Indiana - This corn and soybean and hog farming town of 533 residents is "wrestling with the nation’s dependence on ordinary energy supplies and starting a one-town rebellion." The town wants to secede from America’s energy grid and power itself entirely with renewable sources, like its corn and pigs. King Van Voorst, 85, a longtime resident, blamed Arab nations for the recent spike in gasoline prices. Reynolds’ residents have begun speaking passionately of an end to their reliance on foreign oil and of the potential electricity they could envision in the more than 150,000 pigs that wander nearby. Nearly 100 of the community’s residents have begun driving cars that can run on ethanol-based fuel. As reported, this month they began work on a plant that would allow Reynolds to draw its electricity from pig and cow manure, as well as human waste.
06/19/06 - Make your own Air Conditioner on the Cheap
You may recall a similar earlier post which used a bucket of ice water and gravity to make cold water flow through a coil of pipe attached to the back of a fan, which made it blow cold air. A closed-circuit version doesn't waste water; it uses an aquarium pump to push the water through a tube loop submerged in an ice-filled cooler. This rates as one of my personal favorite DIY projects we've ever posted, and while it was invented by poor college students enduring summer school in an AC-less dorm, it could work anyplace that's not air-conditioned - like the garage, attic or tool shed on those dog days.
06/19/06 - Looming energy crisis requires new 'Manhattan Project'
Soaring global demand for energy and rapid depletion of resources need to be addressed by a long-term government-led project similar to the World War II-era effort to develop an atomic bomb, University of Southern California scientist Anupam Madhukar said at the annual National Energy Symposium on Thursday. "A sense of urgency is needed like the Manhattan Project or sending a man to the moon," Madhukar said. They agreed that it would take 50 years to shift energy consumption policies in a more sustainable direction, pointing at how, for most of the 1800s, the United States relied on wood for its energy needs. After forests were depleted, it took half a century for the country to make the shift to coal, and it will take just as long to shed what President George W. Bush has called "our addiction to oil," according to scientists. The United States consumes one-fourth of the world's energy. China, India, Germany, Japan and Bangladesh have a combined population of 2.9 billion, and together consume less energy than the United States, with a population of 290 million. Scientists said that to keep up with demand, the country must diversify its energy portfolio by developing technologies in natural gas, biofuel and nuclear, wind and solar power.Analysts agreed at the energy symposium that any tangible change in energy policy will require firm governmental leadership. But some believe that conservation is also driven by localized responsibility. "Just look at this room," said Debbie Cook, a city council member from Huntington Beach, just south of Los Angeles. "There's a gas fire in the fireplace in the middle of June and a tremendous amount of unnecessary lights hanging from the ceiling." "Energy is the engine of growth for civilization," said Lewis. "It is the currency of the world." Scientists just believe the United States is squandering this currency.
06/19/06 - Build the world's best paper airplane
These instructions are for building the "best paper airplane in the world" look like a fun project for a lazy Sunday afternoon. The step-by-step photo tutorial should make it easy, but if you're still confused, the video makes it pretty clear. I saw a paper airplane with a similar design at this year's Maker Faire, and let me tell you - those things can fly. I can't vouch for the "best in the world" claim, but I can tell you that it will probably blow away any paper airplanes the amateur builder has ever constructed.
06/19/06 - Save the city by reintroducing Streetcars
North American cities built in the first half of the 20th century, like Vancouver, are all the same. They are streetcar cities. Neighbourhoods that we now might think of as urban were then called suburbs. Dunbar, Marpole, the Drive, Sunrise, all streetcar suburbs. As with modern suburbs, transportation was crucial. Without a way to get home, suburbs can’t exist. In those days, “suburban” residents got to and from work on the streetcar. Streetcars were never more than an eight-minute walk from home. Land that was farther away than this simply wasn’t developed. Streetcar access was so fundamental that developers most often built streetcar systems with their own funds prior to subdividing new parcels for housing. The redevelopment of streetcar streets is held back by something so obvious: no streetcars. Anyone who doubts this need only visit Portland, where modern streetcars were recently introduced. This US$60-million investment provoked more than a billion dollars’ worth of new condominium construction in the Pearl District through which it passed. The City of Vancouver has a modest proposal for reintroducing streetcars downtown, a proposal overwhelmed by the bloated RAV proposal. I pray that this project sees the light of day.
06/19/06 - Bring me a God helmet, and bring it now
One of the biggest disappointments of my so-called adult life is the sad realisation that I can neither fly nor move objects with the power of my mind. This sucks. There is a natural human drive to seek out the transcendent. A "neurotheology" researcher called Dr Michael Persinger has developed something called the "God Helmet" lined with magnets to help you in your quest: it sounds like typical bad science fodder, but it's much more interesting than that. Persinger is a proper scientist. The temporal lobes have long been implicated in religious experiences: epileptic seizures in that part of the brain, for example, can produce mystical experiences and visions. Persinger's helmet stimulates these temporal lobes with weak electromagnetic fields through the skull, and in various published papers this stimulation has been shown to induce a "sensed presence", under blinded conditions. You can order a commercial product online for just $220 (£119): it is basically eight magnetic coils that fit over the relevant parts of your skull; the signal is generated by your computer's soundcard, and then played through these magnetic elements, instead of through the magnetic coils of your speakers.
06/19/06 - Hydrogen fuel far from ready for prime time
President Bush has pointed to hydrogen technology as the ultimate solution to the nation's fuel supply problems, but one big question waits to be answered: Where will all the hydrogen come from? Even if a storage scheme is found, it's still not entirely clear where all the hydrogen would come from to run any significant part of the national transportation system. It's not that hydrogen is so hard to find. It's the most abundant element in the universe, the H in H2O -- ordinary water -- and the "hydro" in "hydrocarbon" -- as in natural gas or other fossil fuels. Hydrogen today, in fact, is produced almost entirely from natural gas. The trouble is that it takes energy to get hydrogen in pure, usable form. Advocates like to tout the fact that hydrogen can be made from ordinary water. But as Californians can attest, even water can be hard to come by.
06/19/06 - Cornwall's Eden Project
From the first sight of the place, everything was done so well and so thoughtfully, and was of such a scale, that it couldn’t fail to take away even the most cynical skeptic’s breath. It would be very easy to walk around being critical, nitpicking about what isn’t quite right about the place. While there is of course plenty of room for improvement in a number of areas, in all honesty, I could not have pulled off something on that scale, so I don’t really feel qualified to criticise. I thought that probably a community of people would settle around the Biomes, and reorganise them as food growing spaces. They really are the dream polytunnel for any aspiring grower! There is plenty of water there, good shelter, good solar access, fertile soil and the Biomes, so rather than heading for the hills with a shotgun and a bag of rice, I’m off to the Eden Project when things get tough, to build a little cob house on one of the terraces and grow potatoes all year round in the Biomes. One of the great things about the place is its impact on the local economy. It is estimated that it contributes £700m to the local economy every year. They use some of their income to start local businesses, like a local beer, Eden Ale, that they were launching when I was there (very nice it was too). They say that about 87% of the food they use is locally sourced. They have mastered the idea that in order to really drive anything forward you need an income stream. Now they have that base they have the freedom to develop lots of other activities. I for one, was blown away by it. Do go, you won’t regret it.
06/19/06 - Cycles of Nature
Rhythmic cycles make nature swing and blow, roll, swim, fly, rotate and burn. Looking and listening for these cadences provide ways to experience the world's natural functions as a kind of music. The base beat of dawn and dusk every 24 hours. The drumroll of hummingbird wings flapping 200 times per second. The slow jazz of the humpbacked leviathans, repeating their six-to 18-minute lyric poems, note-for-note, over weeks.Almost anywhere you look, you can discern periodicity in nature. But there are other syncopations beyond human experience. Major ice ages return every 100,000 years or so. Earth's rotational axis teeters back and forth every 41,000 years. There's a mass extinction on Earth every 62 million years. You can observe cosmic tempos and daily pulses in all four elements - earth, wind, water and fire. You just need to know where to look. Here are four of an uncountable number of ways to groove to the natural rhythms, no headphones required.
06/18/06 - Why don't we USE Wave Motion for Power?
The prospects for wave power have risen and fallen, appropriately enough, for years. But now the technology finally seems to be making headway. Not only is the world's first commercial wave farm due to be switched on and connected to the electricity grid in Portugal this summer-but an even newer type of wave-power generator could drastically reduce the cost of extracting energy from the sea. The potential is vast: a report published earlier this year by the Carbon Trust, an organisation set up by the British government to help meet its targets for reducing greenhouse-gas emissions, concluded that 20% of Britain's electricity could be provided by wave and tidal power. This is four times more than previous estimates, and means that marine energy alone could enable Britain to reach its emissions-reduction targets. In America, meanwhile, the Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory has estimated that the use of wave power on the east coast could provide 10-25 times more electricity than the total wind potential of the Great Plains. Given this potential, why is it that so far, not a single commercial wave-power generator is in operation? “The biggest problem with wave-power generators is that they are relatively expensive,” says Keith Melton of the New and Renewable Energy Centre in Blyth, England. Most produce electricity at a cost of between 10-20 pence (18-36 cents) per kilowatt hour (kWh), whereas electricity produced from natural gas costs around 4p/kWh. One reason for the expense of wave power is the need to make the equipment impervious to storm damage and corrosion. Of the countless wave-power concepts invented over the years, most have been heavily over-engineered to reduce the chances of breakdown at sea. This reduces their efficiency, increasing the cost per kWh and preventing wave power from making progress. Off the northern coast of Portugal, three 150-metre-long articulated snake-like pontoons, called Pelamis Wave Energy Converters, are in the final stages of being hooked up to the country's national grid. Each one has three power-converter modules distributed along its length, which transform the flexing motion at the snake's joints into electricity as the snakes are buffeted by the waves. The three snakes are the first stage of a planned 24-megawatt wave-power farm, which will be capable of providing 15,000 households with power. Ed Spooner, a consultant engineer based near Durham, in England, invented the Snapper. His invention works much like a typical linear generator, in which a magnet is moved up and down inside coils of wire, inducing electrical currents in the process. But there is a crucial difference: alongside the coils are a second set of magnets of alternating polarity. These prevent the central magnet from moving up and down smoothly. Instead, magnetic forces repeatedly halt its motion, so that it moves up and down in a jerky fashion. The resulting series of short, rapid movements is more suitable for generating electricity than a slow, smooth movement. Early tests suggest that it could be as much as ten times more efficient than existing wave generators.
06/18/06 - Alternate fuel mixes 70% water with 30% fuel
A Dumagueteño who invented an alternative source of energy called the Water Fuel Conversion System is hoping that the government will use his invention to address high cost of fuel importation and possible depletion of fossil fuels in the Middle East due to increased demand from developing countries. Antonio Teves, 87, exhibited his invention, which uses 70 percent water and 30 percent fuel as alternative energy in running power plants during the trade fair of the Visayas Area Business conference in Dumaguete. Teves said the invention was conceived before the war in 1940 while he was working as a chemist at the Central Azucarera de Bais paper division. He went to the United States where he perfected the prototype and in 1996, got a patent for his invention and another patent the following year in the Philippines. With the use of his invention, ordinary water will be separated into hydrogen and oxygen, the former to replace the gasoline or diesel fuel. Teves projected a P3 billion savings for the government with the use of the Water Fuel Conversion System. The invention, he added, will not go to waste because the National Power Corporation-Small Plant Unit Group diesel power plant in Pilar, Cebu has already installed it and the plant had been operating for two years.
In Siquijor, the system is undergoing final testing for use by the electric cooperative there.
Teves is expected to assist in the installation of the system in all of the 236 engines of NAPOCOR throughout the country. He said he believed it is high time that government starts to use alternative fuels like hydrogen to prepare for any fuel crisis in the future.
06/18/06 - Search Warrant entry without knocking is now legal
The Supreme Court ruled today that police with a search warrant do not need to knock on people's doors before entering their homes to investigate possible criminal activity. Every conservative on the Court ruled that a failure to knock was a relatively minor sin, and that suppression of evidence was too high a penalty to pay for it. Justice Alito, of course, cast the deciding vote -- which, were Sandra Day O'Connor still on the Court, would in all likelihood have swung the other way. In the dissenting opinion, Justice Stephen Breyer wrote, "The court destroys the strongest legal incentive to comply with the Constitution's knock-and-announce requirement." The new ruling "weakens, perhaps destroys, much of the practical value" of this Constitutional protection. On a related topic, the President signed into a law legislation that increases the fine for indecency on radio and TV from $32,500 to $325,000. So, police face no consequences for barging into your home unannounced, but people can get fined several hundred thousand dollars for flashing their boobs on TV.
06/18/06 - Ego traps us in costly, losing battles
(I've done this with directions...too proud to ask but will spend an hour or more driving around rather than simply ask. And seen many people spend much more than the value of an item in ego driven 'I'll get it if its the last thing I do!' wars. - JWD) After a protracted bidding war, some participants in an experiment spent more than $3.70 trying to buy one dollar. Researchers say the game was a small example of how ego entraps people in costly, losing ventures. A gambler plunges deeper into debt when crushing losses should scream to him to quit. A banker keeps lending to someone who clearly won’t pay back. A leader pours troops and money into a war that has become a quagmire. These scenarios have something in common: in each, someone is entangled in a costly, protracted and losing venture. It happens quite often. Threatened egotism, in particular, “makes people more prone to become entrapped in losing endeavors,” two psychologists wrote in the study, published in the July issue of the research journal Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin. Egotism, they wrote, is “the motivation to maintain and enhance favorable views of self.” Admitting an unwise decision threatens such views, they added. To avoid that, people slog ahead with failed courses of action despite mounting losses. “Individuals commit more to a losing course of action when their ego involvement is higher,” the researchers wrote: for these hapless players, personal affronts transformed the games into ego battles.
06/18/06 - Students Develop Energy Saving Circuit
The invention consists of a microprocessor based 'converter and inverter circuit' for electric drive (back power). The invention can help save huge power wastage in trains. Energy wasted is supplied back for use, thus conserving it. The aim of the project was to arrange converter and inverter operations in a single circuit. In both the cases the power flow is controlled by varying the firing angle of each SCR and the accurate firing angle is produced by microprocessor. Here a DC motor is used as load, which can operate in any of the four quadrants. The motor is supplied through a converter and inverter circuit. This concept is used for regenerative breaking which implies transferring the power from load to source during breaking time. For example in electric trains large amount of power is wasted during breaking, this power is converted into electric energy and fed back into the supply mains using the above concept. Around 30 to 40 per cent energy can be saved in this operation.
06/18/06 - Positive Displacement to create Energy
Internal Hydro International Inc.'s (OTCBB:IHDR) (www.InternalHydro.com) Energy Commander small-scale hydro system has superiority over larger turbines, in a system for renewable energy that has never been used. "The Energy Commander uses small flows in a small intake compared to turbines, in a fashion that creates energy in a way that does not hurt the environment." Over time, Nelson made the first four prototype units numbered Energy Commanders I, II, III and IV, which were in operation, from 200 watts, to 500 watts, to 25 kilowatts, to what is being produced and tested now at 30 kilowatts, all from intakes as small as 1/2 an inch when he began. Nelson cites how one of the initial units ran for years creating electricity that was used, creating concern from a local utility that he was stealing power. Nelson, as the first and only holder of a patent ever to be issued for the creation of electric power through the use of positive displacement flow of fluids by the U.S. Patent Office, states that the ability of the technology to use a variation of available flows, and create more mechanical power from smaller sources of flow is the key. "Positive displacement through the Energy Commander system is superior to traditional hydro turbines for several reasons," stated Nelson. "There is no such thing as having to have 65 psi to operate this technology; we can vary its intake by expanding the unit with no change in essential size unlike a turbine for most flows available. Turbines are great in many conditions, but we can provide electricity from flows that turbines can't touch due to the low flow and head pressure and our ability to scale up," stated Nelson. He continued, "First, it was made to utilize energy no one ever tapped before, essentially municipal pressure when I made the first units, which existed in the walls of any structure but could be used on the outflow, at much smaller scale than what we are going to produce now. The second advantage is that the positive displacement system takes in a much smaller diameter of flow, since we use small four to six inch inlets, whereas even micro turbines, and small turbines use inlets from 24-48 inches or more. Third, we have a start up point for the creation of electricity using flows at lower levels than turbines. Fourth, we can make electricity from flows as small as 30 pounds of pressure per square inch and escalate it up, not by bigger units but by simply expanding the number of cylinders if the flow is greater, not creating a larger unit which has environmental drawbacks, and limits . Fifth we can make it environmentally friendly since we use a smaller intake and can guard against fish mortality and other environmental concerns," continued Nelson.
06/18/06 - New Biodiesel Process
Biodiesel is biodegradable, nontoxic and releases fewer emissions than petro-diesel when burned. It serves as a direct substitute for petroleum and could easily be integrated into the fuel currently used to power vehicles and home heating systems. It also is regarded as one way to reduce dependence on foreign oil. Lowery and Douville have revolutionized one component of the process by which 100 percent soybean oil and methanol are combined to create biodiesel. They have already secured one provisional patent for their invention and are applying for two more. Because they are still in the application process, the students would not specify the exact nature of their innovation, but said the process they have created is potentially 40 times more efficient than current techniques used to produce the alternative fuel.
06/17/06 - Personal Jet Glider
"As was reported two years ago on Slashdot, japanese artists, students and engineers under the lead of Kazuhiko Hachiya have taken upon themselves to build a real-size, fully functional Mehve (japanese website), the small jet-powered glider flying wing ridden by anime heroin Nausicaa. They have made a lot of progress, and are now test-flying the full scale, yet unpowered model by tow-launching it along with its thrilled pilot. They're having a lot of fun, too, judging from the movies of the testing sessions." (via slashdot.com)
06/17/06 - Accidental Inventions
#6. Microwave ovens - Microwave emitters (or magnetrons) powered Allied radar in WWII. The leap from detecting Nazis to nuking nachos came in 1946, after a magnetron melted a candy bar in Raytheon engineer Percy Spencer's pocket. #10. Potato chips - Chef George Crum concocted the perfect sandwich complement in 1853 when - to spite a customer who complained that his fries were cut too thick - he sliced a potato paper-thin and fried it to a crisp. Needless to say, the diner couldn't eat just one...and more at the link...
06/17/06 - PopSci: ten steps to end fossil fuel addiction
As part of Popular Science's big Future of Energy package, the magazine outlines "10 steps to end America's fossil-fuel addiction." On the PopSci site, each step links to a longer explanation of the technology and potential impact. Here are the first five: * Step 1: Harness the Wind Turbines are getting stronger, lighter, bigger * Step 2: End Gridlock Make power where we use it * Step 3: Rev Up Our Hybrid Rides Ultralight parts and a plug could double America's mileage * Step 4: Brew Better Ethanol With a little help from our termite friends * Step 5: Switch on the Sun Lamp Cheaper, more efficient materials can send solar soaring...
06/16/06 - Trash-smashing laser
In their written report, the students pointed out that the U.S. throws away more than 160 million tons of solid waste a year. The resulting landfills "have toxic runoff into our rivers, streams, oceans and underground water sources, jeopardizing our water supply." The students developed a system whereby the laser aims through a concave lens and hits the trash. While disintegrating the trash, the system also produces gases, which the students said could be captured and converted to other uses. The idea is for the system to be integrated within individual households.
06/16/06 - Kids invent door lock power source for Hotels
Having won first prize in a local invention contest, these students came up with a neat device that could help the environment and save hotels millions of dollars they spend on batteries. Now, four AA batteries are used in each hotel card-key door locks. But using Legos for gears, the teens developed a door lock device that runs without batteries. It takes the energy a person uses in opening the door and stores it in a generator inside Altoid box. The inventors say it could save Hilton Hotels $10 million a year. The students are worried somebody might steal their inventions. They would like to pattern the designs, but that can cost as must as $15,000, money these young inventors don't have just yet.
06/16/06 - Five cups of coffee a day guarantee absolutely healthy liver
(Wonder if this is sponsored by the coffee growers of the world? - JWD) Drinking one to three cups of coffee a day is associated with a 40% decrease in the risk of alcoholic cirrhosis versus drinking less than one cup. People who drink two or three cups a day are 40% less likely to contract cirrhosis, while those who drink four or more cups are 80% less likely to suffer the disease. The findings, conducted by researchers at the Kasier Permanente, in Oakland, California, are thought to be the largest study to look at the inverse relationship between coffee and cirrhosis. The link was first reported by researchers at the same institute in 1993 but this new study - of 125,000 people over 22 years - "solidifies the association", Arthur L Klatsky, the lead author of the study, said. Dr Klatsky, who was involved in the earlier research, added: "Consuming coffee seems to have some protective benefits against alcoholic cirrhosis, and the more coffee a person consumes the less risk they seem to have of being hospitalised or dying of alcoholic cirrhosis. We did not see a similar protective association between coffee and non-alcoholic cirrhosis." Drinking tea had no effect, suggesting the ingredient that protects against cirrhosis is not caffeine. Blood tests conducted on the 5% of drinkers who consumed the most alcohol confirmed that coffee drinkers were less likely to have high levels of enzymes in the liver - a key indicator of liver damage, according to The Guardian.
06/16/06 - Inventor of Text Messaging gets nothing
Engineer Matti Makkonen, 54, got a telephone call from the telecommunications service provider Sonera two years ago. Sonera wanted to know his bank account number so they might send him a royalty payment. Woah! Had the day finally arrived when Makkonen would get compensation for his idea that changed the lives of hundreds of millions of people? After all, Makkonen has been called the father of the text message. Because of his idea, more than 500 billion SMS messages are sent by mobile phone users around the world. Sonera deposited EUR 300 on Makkonen's account. The payment from Sonera had nothing to do with text messages. It involved a telephone exchange innovation that he had already forgotten. Makkonen ultimately did not get a cent for developing text messages. He also got no money from his idea for changing phone numbers of the old NMT mobile standard to GSM, even though the innovation helped Sonera get a large number of customers for its new digital mobile phone network. Makkonen's disappointment is understandable. If he were to get only one tenth of a percent of the financial yield of all of the text messages sent in the world, he would earn EUR 50 million a year. Fees paid to inventors are meagre compared to the millions that corporate executives are able to take home each year. One executive in a large listed company can earn more in a year than all of the inventors combined. This is the case also with Nokia, which pays "millions of euros" a year for all of the inventions developed by people on its payroll. These can number up to 1,200 a year.
06/16/06 - New method to detect Heavy Water
(Patrick Flanagan and I were talking one day and I told him about my D2O (heavy water is a major contributing factor towards aging) theory, that for every 6,000 drops of light water, we get 1 drop of heavy water which is deposited in the deep fat of the body to suppress mitochondrial nuclear furnace reactions, thus over our lifetime, with diminshing heat and electrical energy from this quenching effect, we suffer degradation and inevitable death. He told me he once tried an experiment where he froze still water and drank only the melted ice taken from the top of the container. The idea being that any heavy water would have gravitated to the bottom where it was frozen. But he said he didn't notice any 'appreciable effect.' - JWD) An H2O molecule has two atoms of hydrogen that each are built of a single proton and a single electron. A D2O molecule, by contrast, has two atoms of a hydrogen isotope known as deuterium, which differs in that each atom has a single neutron in addition to a proton and an electron. This makes a heavy-water molecule significantly more massive than a regular water molecule. "Heavy water isn't a misnomer," says Armani, who is finishing up her doctorate in applied physics and will soon begin a two-year postdoctoral appointment at Caltech. Armani says that heavy water looks just like regular water to the naked eye, but an ice cube made of the stuff will sink if placed in regular water because of its added density. This difference in masses, in fact, is what makes the detection of heavy water possible in Armani and Vahala's new technique. When the microresonator is placed in heavy water, the difference in optical absorption results in a change in the "Q factor," which is a number used to measure how efficiently an optical resonator stores light. If a higher Q factor is detected than one would see for normal water, then more heavy water is present than the typical one-in-6,400 water molecules that exists normally in nature. The technique is so sensitive that one heavy-water molecule in 10,000 can be detected, Armani says. Furthermore, the Q factor changes steadily as the heavy-water concentrations are varied. "This technique is 30 times better than the best competing detection technique, and we haven't yet tried to reduce noise sources," says Armani. "We think even greater sensitivities are possible." "This technique is 30 times better than the best competing detection technique, and we haven't yet tried to reduce noise sources," says Armani. "We think even greater sensitivities are possible."
06/16/06 - Computers learn to perceive 3-D as 2-D images
The discovery promises to revive an area of computer vision research all but abandoned two decades ago because it seemed insoluble. It may ultimately find application in vision systems used to guide robotic vehicles, monitor security cameras and archive photos. Using machine learning techniques, Robotics Institute researchers Alexei Efros and Martial Hebert, along with graduate student Derek Hoiem, have taught computers how to spot the visual cues that differentiate between vertical surfaces and horizontal surfaces in photographs of outdoor scenes. They've even developed a program that allows the computer to automatically generate 3-D reconstructions of scenes based on a single image.
06/16/06 - High-speed charging claim for Lithium-ion Batteries
Vancouver-based AccelRate Power Systems Inc., a developer of battery-enhancing charging technologies, revealed this week it has successfully demonstrated a way to safely reduce the charge time of Lithium-ion batteries from two hours to less than a half hour -- in other words, a charge-time decrease of more than 75 per cent. A test that has been ongoing since last August proved that such a quick charge could be done without overheating the battery or compromising performance. "This feature should allow more robust battery performance and greatly reduce the concern about heat generation for high-charge rate applications," the company stated. AccelRate has already demonstrated that its chargers can cut charge time with conventional lead-acid, nickel metal hydride and nickel cadmium batteries by 80 per cent. Doing pretty much the same for Lithium-ion technology is important because it opens up one of the fastest-growing battery markets, particularly as Lithium-ion systems gain a foothold in the market for electric, hybrid and plug-in hybrid vehicles. The ability, say, to charge an electric car battery in less than an hour could serve as a major boost to an EV movement already benefitting from momentum.
06/16/06 - The world's going to pot; let's get Rich
Christopher Flavin, president of the highly respected Worldwatch Institute, is quoted in this Reuters article about the "massive" business opportunities that come with environmental threats such as global warming and water scarcity. "I believe we will look back on this period as being a turning point," said Flavin, adding that we've hit a "perfect storm" in terms of threats to natural resources and environmental quality. "I would argue now there is a lot of similarity where we were with oil 100 years ago. This year will be the first that Iowa puts more (corn) into its ethanol plants than it exports. We really are in the middle of a paradigm shift." His best quote: "You'd have to be an idiot not to make money out of biofuels."
06/16/06 - Cheap Wide angle lens for your camera
Here's a great idea for making a $11 wide-angle lens for your pocket-camera by getting a fisheye peep-hole (the kind you put in your front door) and holding it to your camera's optics. Great way to save bucks and still experiment with photography.
06/16/06 - Compact Tidal Generator Could Cut Cost of Producing Electricity
What's new about the Southampton design is its simplicity. "This is a compact design that does away with many of the moving parts found in current marine turbines. It's a new take on tidal energy generation," says Turnock. Most current tidal stream generators are essentially wind turbines turned upside down and made to work underwater. They often include complex gearboxes and move the entire assembly to face the flow of the water. For example, they turn a half a circle as the tidal current reverses direction. Gears and moving parts require expensive maintenance, especially when they are used underwater. This pushes up the cost of running the turbines, a cost that is passed on to the consumers of the generated electricity. The Southampton design does not need to turn around because the design of its turbine blades means that they turn equally well, regardless of which way the water flows past them. The blades are also placed in a specially shaped housing that helps channel the water smoothly through the turbine. Another beauty of the Southampton design is that everything is wrapped in a single package that can be prefabricated so there will be few on-site construction costs. "Just drop it into flowing water and it will start generating electricity. It will work best in fast flowing, shallow water," says Turnock, who foresees rows of these devices secured to sea floors and riverbeds. The present prototype is just twenty-five centimetres across and the research team now plan to design a larger model with improved propeller blades that will further increase the efficiency of generating electricity. All being well, the team envisage the generator becoming commercially available within five years.
06/16/06 - Drink Detective picks up date rape drugs
The Drink Detective is actually a disposable matchbox-sized kit that is capable of detecting the 3 main culprits in the date rape drug scene - GHB, flunitrazepam, and the horse anaesthetic ketamine. All sounds good and well until you realize that each drink testing kit costs $6.50 - even more than the drink itself! It would be weird to use this in a social setting, drawing weird looks and even stranger questions, but at least it is a start in the prevention of date rapes. Hopefully further developments in this area will lead to a more affordable solution.
06/15/06 - Time to End Big Oil Subsidies!
Let’s see if I’ve got this right. Social Security and Medicare are dangerously low on funds. Both are supported by our tax dollars. The big oil companies are reporting profits of up to $1 billion a month or better. Pretty good money in anyone’s book. Still, Washington sees fit to take $14 billion to $30 billion a year of our tax money and give it to the oil companies in subsidies. I believe $30 billion a year would solve a lot of problems for Medicare and other programs, but those programs don’t make campaign contributions. It’s too bad no one in Washington can even spell logic. - Tim Sexton
06/15/06 - Focused ultrasound waves to inject drugs
One of the biggest challenges in treating neurological conditions such as Parkinson's and Alzheimer's disease is finding safe and non-invasive ways to enable drugs to penetrate the brain's natural defense -- the blood-brain barrier. Now scientists have developed a way to temporarily open a very small part of that barrier using focused ultrasound. They hope this precise targeting will allow drugs to enter specific parts of the brain -- without exposing the rest of the brain and without damaging the barrier or surrounding neuronal tissue in the process. The blood-brain barrier protects the brain, which is why it can be difficult for drugs to penetrate it. The barrier consists of endothelial cells that line the small blood vessels in the brain. These cells are tightly packed to create a wall between most parts of the brain and the rest of the circulatory system, blocking bacteria and all but the smallest molecules.
06/15/06 - Logic from Chaos
New chips use chaos to produce potentially faster, more robust computing. A reconfigurable chip developed by ChaoLogix in Gainesville, FL, makes it possible to morph a circuit from one type into another in an instant. Having the ability to effectively redesign chips an unlimited number of times after they've been manufactured could make chips faster and more robust. And, ultimately, it could bring down the cost of producing integrated circuits, by reducing the need to make expensive, custom-built chips. The novel chips work by exploiting inherent "chaotic" behavior within the integrated circuits, enabling a single, simple circuit to behave like any kind of logic gate. Such a chip could be transformed, for example, from a graphics card into a memory chip and back again -- in just two computer clock cycles. "We have blurred the line between software and hardware," says William Ditto, chief technology officer of ChaoLogix, which was spun out of research at the University of Florida. Existing reconfigurable chips, called field programmable gate arrays (FPGAs), contain programmable interconnects that can be rewired to perform different functions. But FPGAs are relatively slow to reconfigure, typically taking milliseconds for each rewiring, or about one million times slower than ChaoLogix's chips. Because of this limitation, FPGAs tend to be reconfigured only once to form a single permanent circuit, usually as relatively cheap alternatives to building dedicated chips. Rather than using programmable interconnects, ChaoLogix's approach is to use fixed circuits and instead exploit their inherent "noise" or chaos to make them produce different outputs without changing them. ChaoLogix's trick is to put these chaotic states to use. They've designed a logic gate circuit that's capable of behaving like any kind of logic gate -- if the input voltages are just right. The ChaoLogix system changes all this by allowing every chaotic logic gate circuit, and every array of chaotic logic gate circuits, to switch functions nearly instantly, eliminating the restrictions of hardwired logic gates and consequently eliminating the need for hardwired higher functions such as memory, registers, video and arithmetic processing. The common notion that chaotic systems are unstable and unpredictable is not accurate, says Ditto. Such systems can be extremely sensitive to changes, and it is possible to produce desired states reliably and reproducibly provided you ensure only minor changes are made to the inputs. "Just making small changes to the input, you can adapt [a circuit] to do totally different things," says Celso Grebogi, professor of nonlinear and chaotic systems at Aberdeen University in Scotland. This creates a greater degree of flexibility, because it makes more states available in a given system, he says. Because of this, Grebogi sees engineers increasingly turning toward chaos to get more out of their hardware. ...Harnessing Chaos...
06/15/06 - Green Fuel's Dirty Secret
Archer Daniels Midland stands to make a fortune from ethanol, but is it green? The town of Columbus, Nebraska, bills itself as a “City of Power and Progress.” If Archer Daniels Midland gets its way, that power will be partially generated by coal, one of the dirtiest forms of energy. When burned, it emits carcinogenic pollutants and high levels of the greenhouse gases linked to global warming. Ironically this coal will be used to generate ethanol, a plant-based petroleum substitute that has been hyped by both environmentalists and President George Bush as the green fuel of the future. The agribusiness giant Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) is the largest U.S. producer of ethanol, which it makes by distilling corn. ADM also operates coal-fired plants at its company base in Decatur, Illinois, and Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and is currently adding another coal-powered facility at its Clinton, Iowa ethanol plant. That’s not all. ”[Ethanol] plants themselves are not even the part producing the energy, they also produce a lot of air pollution,” says Mike Ewall, director of the Energy Justice Network. “The EPA (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency) has cracked down in recent years on a lot of Midwestern ethanol plants for excessive levels of carbon monoxide, methanol, toluene, and volatile organic compounds, some of which are known to cause cancer.” A single ADM corn processing plant in Clinton, Iowa generated nearly 20,000 tons of pollutants including sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, and volatile organic compounds in 2004, according to federal records. The EPA considers an ethanol plant as a “major source” of pollution if it produces more than 100 tons of any one pollutant per year, although it has recently proposed increasing that cap to 250 tons.
06/15/06 - Pesticide use increases risk of Parkinson's in men
Mayo Clinic researchers have found that using pesticides for farming or other purposes increases the risk of developing Parkinson's disease for men. Pesticide exposure did not increase the risk of Parkinson's in women, and no other household or industrial chemicals were significantly linked to the disease in either men or women. "What we think may be happening is that pesticide use combines with other risk factors in men's environment or genetic makeup, causing them to cross over the threshold into developing the disease. By contrast, estrogen may protect women from the toxic effects of pesticides."
06/15/06 - Fake UFO photos
As always, the readers at Worth1000.com have worked up some excellent fake photos of UFOs in various situations. Using Photoshop and other photo/image editing software, these days you can do incredible things and produce images that appear to be real....just goes to show you that you can't believe everything you see these days.
06/15/06 - Oakland, CA Considering a Ban on Styrofoam
Oakland, California city officials are considering enacting an ordinance that would ban polystyrene foam -- known as Styrofoam -- in the city. Oakland City Council's Public Works Committee has endorsed a proposal by Councilmember Jean Quan that would require the transition from non-biodegradable products to biodegradable and compostable disposables, if the alternatives exist at the same price or less, the Oakland Tribune reported Wednesday. Styrofoam-type waste is a huge blight on the community, said Quan, citing a study that shows 15 percent of litter collected in storm drains is plastic foam. The proposal is being opposed by the California Restaurant Association. If adopted, the measure would become effective in January, with violators first being warned and then fined up to $500, the Tribune said.
06/14/06 - New 3D Magnetostatic Lens Viewing Device for sale
The 'Flux Resonator' is a device which uses magnetic lines of flux that are clearly visible through this unique lens and appear as a real-time holographic 3D image to the viewer. An inexpensive alternative method for observing magnetic fields in great detail, the Flux Resonator is the perfect tool for viewing and analyzing the potential of magnetism. Unlike other methods used for viewing the effects of magnetism, the flux resonator will render a highly defined and detailed image. Utilizing the inherent properties of natural materials, this 'magnestostatic lens' will forever change the way you think about magnetism.
06/14/06 - Congress' pet projects take $3 billion from NASA budget
NASA must slash science, engineering and education programs to pay for billions of dollars in congressional pet projects, most of which have little to do with the agency's mission to explore space. The price tag for politicians' "pork" has grown so large that NASA may have to delay the new spaceships and rockets needed to replace the space shuttles, to be retired in 2010. Since 2001, Congress has directed the space agency to spend more than $3 billion on special projects, most of them small endeavors sought by individual lawmakers for the benefit of their home districts, according to NASA and congressional records. The cost of congressional add-ins has grown to about a half-billion dollars a year, or five times the total of a decade ago. The consequences are growing too, NASA says. The agency gets no extra money in its roughly $16 billion-a-year budget to fund politicians' local projects, so managers must redirect money from existing projects.
06/14/06 - Unthinking Robot Soldiers of activist groups
The FCC fined CBS $3 million for the teen sex orgy scene in Without a Trace. (View it, if you dare, here). Now CBS is saying the fine is invalid because the people who complained didn't even know what they were complaining about. They were just robotically following the orders of their cult leaders at the PTC and the American Family Association. CBS says that 100% of the 4,211 complaints filed with the feds about this episode of "Without A Trace" came from web-based e-mail form letters originating from 2 right-wing christian groups (the PTC and the American Family Association). Only two complainers claimed to have seen the show, but made an inaccurate reference to another scene, thus blowing their cover. But the brunt of the issue lies with a technicality in the indecency complaint process: the FCC can only consider complaints from viewers in the station's broadcast area. Therefore, CBS alleges, the PTC and AFA-initiated complaints against "Without A Trace" are invalid. (via boingboing.com)
06/14/06 - Hawking warns: 'We. Must. Leave. Earth.'
(Well...DUH! - JWD) Before an audience in Tokyo, the world's best known cosmologist warned the world that we must head into outer space if humanity is to have any hope. "It is important for the human race to spread out into space for the survival of the species," Stephen Hawking told those assembled for his press conference in Tokyo. He is slated to give a lecture there tomorrow. Hawking's predicting a spectacular catastrophe. "Life on earth is at an ever-increasing risk of being wiped out by a disaster such as sudden global warming, nuclear war, a genetically engineered virus or other dangers we haven't yet thought of. "But if we can avoid killing ourselves for the next hundred years we should have settlements that can continue without support from earth," he demanded. He went on to call for the establishment of a permanent base on the moon by 2026 and another on Mars by 2046.
06/14/06 - Beat an Email Scammer, call his Mom
Rob bought and paid for an Xbox on Ebay but it never arrived. He emailed the guy several times, but no response. So, he busted out the phone book and found the 22-year-old scalawag’s address and phone number. Rob found this scammer’s mom, whom he still lives with. He sent her all the info and ended up getting a phoned apology from the guy and all his money back.
06/13/06 - Dream Helmet for restful sleep
(As an all nighter who frequently sleeps during the day, I plan to buy or hack this thing! Hmm, imagine the additions, sound cancelling headphones, LED light trippers, headphones with forest/stream/waterfall/surf/bird sounds, etc...yep, lots of goodies, but use or copy what works FIRST! - JWD) The Dreamhelmet combination sleep-mask, sound blocking pillow is a patented sensory deprivation device. USA patent number 6,088,836 issued 18 July, 2000. The Dreamhelmet is so radical that enthusiastic travel experts from such prestigious publications as the Washington Post and Arthur Frommer’s Budget Travel Magazine have raved about it, using such terms as “ingenious”, and “.. worth its weight in psychotropic drugs!”. The subject of all this excitement is a sleep mask combined with a sound-blocking pillow - all in one! Dubbed the Dreamhelmet because of its adventure travel beginnings, this revolutionary invention has eased the lives of thousands of travelers and home folks alike. The Dreamhelmet is a sort of wearable pillow with opaque eye mask attached that blocks sound and light for a deeper, more restful sleep....more info...$29.95...
06/13/06 - New compressor technology half the size & more Efficient
The basic compressor, an engine component used in everything from refrigeration to internal-combustion engines to electricity production, has seen little technological advancements in the past three decades. But with the demand for more fuel-efficient engines on the rise, an Attleboro research and development company claims it has brought the compressor to a new level, and investors have taken notice. Mechanology Inc., a 12-person company founded in 2000, is based on an invention by founder and chief technology officer Steve Chomyszak. It is called the Toroidal Intersecting Vane Machine (TIVM), and is a compressor and expander that is half the size of traditional compressors, according to chief executive officer Eric Ingersall. Half the size means more efficiency. In fact, in terms of a compressor in the automotive industry, a 10 percent engine downsize means an 8 percent mileage increase, Ingersall said. The new compressor allows both compression and expansion to happen in the same space at the same time. It uses a unique geometry that allows the four functions of intake, compression, expansion and exhaust to occur simultaneously, using the displacement of air, rather than pushing, to create energy. The technology has broad applications in older industries like refrigeration and the automotive industry, but has also attracted interest from the energy and fuel cell markets. "The efficiency of compression is critical in the production of electricity," said Eric Redman, an attorney with Heller Ehrman LLP's energy practice in Seattle, who has worked with Mechanology. "If it proves out and can be demonstrated to those who can put it into action, it will definitely have an impact on the energy industry."
06/13/06 - Odd claim
(This could just be a troll for their product/company. - JWD) Writing in to www.urbansurvival.com, an anonymous person claimed the following, today: "Hello, I work for a private organization that developed an earthquake detection system based various technologies. Last week, it predicted a 7.8 earthquake for the NY area. An alert was sent out to the proper authories who we are in constant correspondence with, but they want to keep this secret. For those in NY, an earthquake is coming." Here is a link to the patented technology." Being naturally suspicious of such claims in emails, I made a quick call to Stellar Solutions which resulted in our finding out that while yes, they have some cool technology, they are not making earthquake predictions. Further, the range on their initial sensor system is 10-20 miles each and there are roughly 70 of sensors - all in California. So Earthquake in New York? Not likely. - The present invention describes the use of a space-based Extremely Low Frequency (ELF) (10) magnetic field detector (80) in conjunction with ground-based network of ELF magnetic field detectors. In particular, a space-based ELF detection system (80) can be used to perform a wide area search and find precursor earthquake signals in both known and unknown earthquake zones, and a ground-based network of ELF detectors can be used to verify that the signals are indeed earthquake generated signals. The use of this invention will minimize cost and manpower necessary to effectuate an accurate and reliable earthquake detection system. (via www.urbansurvival.com)
06/13/06 - Collapsible Offshore Wind Turbine platforms to make & store Hydrogen
Dave Nicholson is working to launch his idea for an alternative energy source: collapsible wind turbines secured on ocean platforms tied to a hydrogen production process. His Windhunter model solves a number of problems that exist with wind turbines and with hydrogen production, he said. Wind turbines only work at full capacity a small percentage of the time because of available wind. With the Windhunter, the oceangoing platform can relocate at sea to find higher wind velocities. In the event of a storm, during relocation or for maintenance, the turbines can be lowered parallel to the platform deck. The turbines would produce electricity, which would be used to break down treated seawater into its components of oxygen and hydrogen. The hydrogen would be captured and stored in tanks. When the storage area is full, the tanks would be transferred to a surface ship for transport to shore. "The turbines and hydrogen production would operate 24/7," Nicholson said. "It would be like a huge floating power plant. Eighteen-member crews would operate the plant; each crew would rotate after 30 days." Except for the mounting of the turbines on the collapsible frame, all the other parts of the system already exist, Nicholson said. "And we could use old oil tankers that are going to be phased out for the platforms," he said, "or old military vessels." The cost of the hydrogen product varies, he said, depending on energy prices and how long it would take for the vessel to break even. The Web site, www.wind hunter.org, has been in operation since April and has logged more than 38,000 hits, Nicholson said.
06/13/06 - Time to stop killing meat and start growing it?
Shrinks call it "cognitive dissonance." You munch a strip of bacon then pet your dog. You wince at the sight of a crippled horse but continue chewing your burger. Three weeks ago, I took my kids to a sheep and wool festival. They petted lambs; I nibbled a lamb sausage. That's the thing about humans: We're half-evolved beasts. We love animals, but we love meat, too. We don't want to have to choose. And maybe we don't have to. Maybe, thanks to biotechnology, we can now grow meat instead of butchering it. In the past two centuries, we've identified the nutrients in various kinds of meat, and we've learned how to get them instead from soy, nuts, and other vegetable sources. Meat has made us smart enough to figure out how we can live without it. So, why do we keep eating it? Because it's so darned tasty. Researchers in Holland and the United States are working on the problem. They've grown and sautéed fish that smelled like dinner, though FDA rules didn't allow them to taste it. Now they're working on pork. The short-term goal is sausage, ground beef, and chicken nuggets. Growing meat like this will be good for us in lots of ways. We'll be able to make beef with no fat, or with good fat transplanted from fish. We'll avoid bird flu, mad-cow disease, and salmonella. We'll also scale back consumption of land and the pollution involved in cattle farming.
06/13/06 - Hope I Die before I get Old?
Back when he was 20 years old in 1965, rock star Pete Townshend wrote the line "I hope I die before I get old" into a song, "My Generation" that launched his band, the Who, onto the rock 'n' roll scene. But a unique new study suggests that Townshend may have fallen victim to a common, and mistaken, belief: That the happiest days of people's lives occur when they're young. In fact, the study finds, both young people and older people think that young people are happier than older people -- when in fact research has shown the opposite. And while both older and younger adults tend to equate old age with unhappiness for other people, individuals tend to think they'll be happier than most in their old age. Older people "mis-remember" how happy they were as youths, just as youths "mis-predict" how happy (or unhappy) they will be as they age. The findings have implications for understanding young people's decisions about habits -- such as smoking or saving money -- that might affect their health or finances later in life. They also may help explain the fear of aging that drives middle-aged people to "midlife crisis" behavior in a vain attempt to slow their own aging. "Pople's happiness results more from their underlying emotional resources -- resources that appear to grow with age. People get better at managing life's ups and downs, and the result is that as they age, they become happier -- even though their objective circumstances, such as their health, decline." Lacey adds, "It's not that people overestimate their happiness, but rather that they learn how to value life from adversities like being sick. What the sick learn from being sick, the rest of us come to over time."
06/13/06 - PalmTop Feng Shui
Motorola has patented a new kind of PDA that evaluates a property’s Feng Shui rating by measuring positive and negative chi and awarding plus and minus points accordingly. “Feng Shui principles are widely applied in the fields of interior decorating and real estate,” a company spokesperson explains. The device houses a camera that checks the colour of the property, a microphone that listens for noise from nearby roads and factories and a compass to find north - a crucial factor for Feng Shui enthusiasts. It can also measure the strength of AM and FM radio signals from local radio transmitters and connect to the nearest mobile phone base station to check for indications of cellphone signal strength. Weak radio signals indicate positive chi but strong signals mean negative chi and lead to a poor Feng Shui rating. Ironically, Motorola’s new gadget seems to help people avoid the signals that they need to connect their cellphones. It looks like city dwellers' chi may be in dire straits. Motorola’s Feng Shui PDA patent.
06/13/06 - Genetic AI lets Nuclear reactors 'evolve' inside supercomputers
Nuclear reactors could be built more efficiently using supercomputers to artificially "evolve" designs, say engineers from the US Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee. They have found they can speed up the extremely complex process of designing a reactor and generate novel designs from scratch by simulating natural selection. Qualls and his colleagues were looking for a more efficient design approach and found inspiration in biological evolution. They used software tools known as genetic algorithms to evolve different reactor designs. Similar algorithms are already used in many different fields to evolve highly efficient solutions to particular problems. The algorithms they created first produce a population of reactor designs by randomising all the different design factors involved. Each design is then tested in a simulation for its "fitness", measuring its performance efficiency, running cost, safety and other parameters. The designs that perform best are singled out for survival. They are mutated and recombined to create the next generation of designs. After many cycles, the potential of the most refined designs is evaluated by engineers. "[Simulated evolution] will come up with some systems we would just never have thought of," Qualls says. "It won't replace the experts or come up with a finished design, but it makes it possible to consider options they wouldn't have had otherwise."
06/13/06 - Hard-nosed Advice to Lunar Prospectors
On the Moon, mission planners hope to find water frozen in the dark recesses of polar craters. Water can be split into hydrogen for rocket fuel and oxygen for breathing. Water is also good for drinking and as a bonus it is one of the best known radiation shields. "In many ways," notes David Beaty, "water is key to a sustained human presence." Ice mining on the Moon could become a big industry. Beaty has learned a lot from his long career prospecting, exploring and mining on Earth. Now, with an eye on other worlds, he has distilled four pieces of wisdom he calls "Dave's Postulates" for prospectors working anywhere in the solar system.
06/12/06 - Device could power the future of energy
Tim Dolan believes he's found the key to solving the world's energy-consumption woes and the environmental damage caused by burning fossil fuels. But Dolan's plan to replace fossil fuels with hydrogen - the H in H2O - isn't just a long series of scientific symbols and calculations that work only on paper. Dolan has built a machine that creates and stores hydrogen. The device, powered by sunlight, sends electricity through water to separate hydrogen from oxygen and then pumps the hydrogen as a gas into a container, where it is stored as a renewable energy source. "Once you have this stored hydrogen, you can take it out of here and run it into any device that uses fossil fuels," said Dolan, a 46-year-old Trumbull resident. "The only thing hydrogen won't do is it won't make plastics. That's what we need fossil fuels for." Dolan said he converted a small engine to run on hydrogen, and the engine works fine off his machine and emits only water vapor. Dolan said his machine is unique because it directly couples to a renewable power supply and can make hydrogen at high pressure without extra parts. He said his machine, which also can operate on wind power, is not only cleaner than fossil fuels, but also more efficient compared to the energy required to use fossil fuels. But a problem with Dolan's prototype, from a practical standpoint, is the space needed to store hydrogen. A pound of hydrogen may have three times the energy content of fossil fuels, but it takes 400 cubic feet to store the hydrogen equivalent of a gallon of gasoline, Dolan said. But Dolan said his machine's storage container, 4 feet by 8 feet and capable of storing 1,000 cubic feet of hydrogen, could be larger. He said his machine also could store hydrogen at high pressure. The container can store nonpressurized hydrogen at an equivalent of 95 kilowatt hours of electricity, or 300,000 BTUs, Dolan said. The machine now built is a prototype, and Dolan said he could have made the storage container big enough to store 10,000 or 20,000 cubic feet of hydrogen. Dolan's prototype can't make hydrogen as fast as people would use it to heat and light their homes and run appliances. But the point of the hydrogen container is to allow the machine to build up a big reserve of hydrogen - like the oil reserves now available for fossil fuels. It takes two days for Dolan's machine to make the hydrogen equivalent of a gallon of gas, he said. "If I had a bigger system, I'd be very comfortable running my house on it because it would work," he said. Dolan said the operating cost of his machine is low - the equivalent of 1 cents for a gallon of gas. Dolan also thinks the cost of his machine would drop when it is mass-produced. "It was designed to be easily replicated and mass-produced because it is that important," he said. Dolan, married and the father of three children, is president of Enabling Technologies, a Trumbull company that develops renewable energy systems.
06/12/06 - Chinese extract may yield diabetes treatment
A plant extract made from the blossom of Gardenia jasminoides is used in traditional Chinese medicine to treat type 2 diabetes could form the basis for new treatments for the disease, scientists now report. In some cases of type 2 diabetes, a person's pancreas doesn't produce enough insulin, a hormone that prompts cells to take in blood sugar. Studies have indicated that a substance called uncoupling protein 2 (UCP2), which is also secreted by pancreatic cells, reduces how much insulin is produced. In a search for UCP2-inhibiting compounds, Lowell's colleague Chen-Yu Zhang tested an extract made from the fruits of Gardenia jasminoides. Chinese-medicine practitioners have used pods from this shrub, also known as the cape jasmine, for thousands of years to treat type 2 diabetes.
06/12/06 - Rivers of unwanted wine to turn into biofuel
Up to 510 million litres of this year's surplus wine will be made into bioethanol that can only be used as biofuel or industrial alcohol, the European Commission announced on Wednesday. French winemakers have been given a quota of 150m hectolitres of table wine and 150m of quality wine, while Italians can sell 250m of quality and 10m litres of table wine for what the EU calls "crisis distillation." Greek and Spanish winemakers have also asked the EU to to buy their unwanted wine, and are awaiting a response. The EU will pay around 130m euros for this year's surplus wine. Last year, more than 180m euros of EU cash went to pay for the distillation of wine for which buyers could not be found. Turning quality wine into bioethanol may not be the cheapest way of producing biofuel, but it makes use of some of the excess wine that would otherwise go to waste.
06/12/06 - Hydrogen And Hybrid Vehicles Latest Better-Mousetrap Efforts
Six years after it unveiled its EV1 electric vehicle in 1996, General Motors hauled the cars off to an Arizona desert and pulverized them. Why did GM crush EV1? The firm said it couldn't make any money on the product. The company said it spent $1 billion on the product. Critics said GM carmakers didn't want the vehicle to succeed, since a big success could so radically alter the car industry, the car parts industry, the car maintenance industry and the energy industry. Big Oil didn't want to hand over its car-fuel franchise to electric utilities, according to people interviewed in the movie. "When you're driving an electric car, you never go to a gas station," said Richard Titus, an executive producer of the movie, distributed by Sony. The auto industry faced similar issues. The EV1 needed little maintenance and had few of the engine parts that comprise the huge after-market parts and service industry. Hybrids represent the latest big attempt to produce a new type of car, but they accounted for just 1% of U.S. sales last year, says Plunkett.
06/12/06 - Cool reasonably priced Spy Equipment
"Here is a collection of "spy equipment" found for sale around the Internet. Everything listed is completely real, is sold at online stores, and almost any item listed here costs less than $500, and often times can be bought for less than $200." (via slashdot.com)
06/12/06 - Ground grown Energy
At the MSU Extension in Presque Isle County, researchers are studying how to make fuel pellets out of switchgrass, which is a variety of prairie grass that grows quickly and can survive harsh weather conditions. Pellets are currently used to fuel some electric power plants in Europe and Canada and can also be used to fuel stoves that heat homes, said David Glenn, county extension director, who leads the research program. Bales of dry switchgrass are fed into a machine, ground into fine fibers and compressed into fuel pellets the size of pet food kernels, Glenn said. "We use a certain recipe to make it stick together into pellets," Glenn said. "We also study the effect of humidity in the air to see whether the pellets stay together or fall apart." He said he hopes that as larger quantities of cheap fuel pellets become commercially available, such power plants will become more popular in the U.S. Researchers heat the switchgrass with concentrated ammonia then add enzymes which produce sugars that ferment into ethanol, said Bruce Dale, an MSU chemical engineering professor. "We have always known that there are sugars in plants that can be converted into fuel," Dale said. "The challenge is to get these sugars out economically - at a cost that can compete with fossil fuels." Manufacturing ethanol from plants commercially could create new jobs. "Rural America is hurting because of a lack of job opportunities," said Dale. "The growing, harvesting and processing of switchgrass will provide employment." Dale said the first commercial plant producing ethanol from plant material will begin operating next year but added that the location of the plant is still confidential. "Initially, the plant will provide 50 jobs," Dale said. "But we hope to develop a whole new industry that can produce 100 billion gallons of ethanol. It may take 20 to 30 years to develop, but that industry will be employing half a million people." "We are identifying varieties that are well adapted to Michigan conditions and different ways of planting switchgrass," said Richard Leep, a professor in the Department of Crop and Soil Sciences. Leep has been studying the growth rate of six different varieties of switchgrass for the past three years. The variety of the grass that generates the highest yield grows up to 8 feet and yields up to 10 tons of plant material per acre within a year in some experiments. Leep also said switchgrass is hardy and versatile because of its roots. "Switchgrass is fast growing and resilient because it has a well-developed root system," he said. "The roots go deep into the ground and have many root hairs that make it efficient in taking in nutrients and reaching water that is deep in the soil."
06/12/06 - Zarqawi May Have Been Tracked by 'Smart Dust'
Al Qaeda In Iraq Chief Terrorist Abu Musab al Zarqawi, killed Wednesday by U.S. forces in an airstrike on his hideout in a date grove some 40 miles north of Baghdad, may have been tracked with SMART DUST, tiny sensors disguised as dirt or dust that can be "sprinkled" on a target, then tracked from the air or from ground-based sensors. The tiny sensors may have been planted on Zarqawi's possessions, or even on one of his groupies' VICTORIA'S SECRET unmentionables. (via therawfeed.com)
06/12/06 - 12 Tips to Extend the Life of your Car
With rising gas prices and very costly repairs, the last thing you want to worry about is if and when your car is going to break down. Here's how to protect your investment, and get from Point A to Point B as reliably as possible. (via lifehacker.com)
06/11/06 - New Form of Electrical Current has many Applications
Previously, there were two types of currents used to deliver electrical power. Direct Current (DC) that comes from your battery in your automobile discovered by Ben Franklin in the 1700’s and Alternating Current (AC) that was discovered by Nikola Tesla and is used to power your home. Clear Energy, Inc., a small R&D company in Baltimore, Maryland has been issued US Patent number 7,041,203 for a new electrical current. It has been over 100 years since the last patented electrical current was issued by the US Patent Office for Alternating Current (AC). Alternating current (AC) is described as electric current that flows for an interval of time in one direction and then in the opposite direction; that is, a current that flows in alternately reversed directions through or around a circuit. The polarities of electrodes or conductors are constantly swapping polarities when the current changes direction. Direct current (DC) is described as electrical current that flows in one direction, and does not reverse its polarities as alternating current does. The electricity produced in (DC) batteries is direct current. The Plus (+) and Minus (-) polarities of electrodes remain constant and never swap. But, what would happen if you have a polarity reversal within the (+) positive and (-) negative electrode without swapping the polarity of the supply voltage. The result is a new electrical current called Sully Direct Current or (SDC)™ named after its inventor John T. Sullivan. Sully Direct Current (SDC) ™ is described as electrical current that flows for an interval of time in one direction and then in the opposite direction; that is, two or more current paths flowing in alternately reversed directions within a constant (+) Anode and (-)Cathode circuit. The plus (+) and minus (-) supply polarities of electrodes remain constant same as a (DC) battery, the polarities within the electrodes of the circuit are reversing causing an alternating reversing multi-directional currents. Alternating Current (AC) and (SDC) ™ both have current reversal, (AC) changes (+) anode and (-) cathode supply polarity when it changes current direction (SDC) ™ changes current direction without swapping the (+) anode and (-) cathode supply lines. Sully Direct Current (SDC)™ can reverse currents at full voltage or zero volts to produce tuned counter EMF forces and magnetic field reversals. One limiting factor in efficient creation of hydrogen in electrolysis is the attraction created between Hydrogen and Oxygen gas bubbles to electrodes, “they stick like tiny magnets increasing resistance of electrodes” thus reducing gas production. As the SDC current changes direction within an inductive coil, the directions of the magnetic fields reverse creating multidirectional forces on the electrodes and ions. A tuned resonator circuit can creates vibrations on the electrodes; this action shakes the electrodes and significantly increases the release of the hydrogen bubbles resulting in more efficient production of pure Hydrogen and Oxygen. It would not be feasible to use (AC) to create this mechanical action; the gases would mix as polarities are swapped creating an unstable mixed gas.
06/11/06 - 46 cents/gallon Alternative Diesel Fuel
(KeelyNet is not affiliated with, nor does it receive anything from this company, its just an interesting claim worth reporting. - JWD) Diesel Secret Energy L.L.C. (DSE) has thousands of customers worldwide using a much simpler form of alternative diesel fuel, rather than dangerous-to-create biodiesel, at the amazing cost of 46 cents per gallon. Diesel Secret Energy has created a simple system to safely manufacture an alternative diesel fuel from old fry oils used in restaurants. Unlike the better known biodiesel, DSE's fuel does not require mass handling of dangerous chemicals, nor does it require any conversion to the vehicle as some systems do. The $40 starter kit, which includes a manual with all directions and the company's specially formulated additive made precisely for its fuel, can be purchased online. The roots of the system ironically do not come from a modern discovery, but from the post-war years of WWII. One of the creators of the system came from Germany and was trained as a Mercedes technician during those years. He was taught by some of the original production diesel designers how to make a fuel easily to get driving when petrol was unavailable. This knowledge had little value to him during the better part of the twentieth century until the recent fuel price surges. Upon revisiting these old methods, and consulting with technicians in Germany who have been using the fuel for years in secrecy to avoid the staggering fuel taxes there, he discovered that many friends in the United States wanted to do the same thing to save money. Thus began Diesel Secret Energy. Diesel Secret’s Team expects continued growth of its company and fuel use as prices continue to rise into the summer of 2006. The system employs simple filters to remove waste particles from waste vegetable oil. Our system can only be used with room temperature liquid oils such as Soy, Canola, Peanut, etc. It is not designed to work with hydrogenated oils (shortening). Fortunately, a large percentage of restaurants prefer oil over shortening for their frying. This means it is easy to locate and restaurants are eager to dispose of it cheaply. You will probably need only two or three small restaurants supplying you oil to become completely independent of gas stations forever. There is NO need to replace anything on your vehicle. NO need to spend thousands modifying you vehicle with special heaters or dual tanks. Our system is entirely focused on modifying the fuel in a simple way, not the car, truck, tractor, or boat. It can easily be mixed with petroleum diesel without any changes to anything. Effectively, your fuel will be a true alternative fuel that runs just as well, or better, than any petroleum diesel.For more information, or to purchase the $40 starter kit, visit www.dieselsecret.com.
06/11/06 - Renewables: 25% of energy use in '25?
In Washington this week, a bipartisan group of lawmakers, industry leaders (including the three Detroit automakers), farm groups, governors, county officials, and environmentalists launched an effort to have the nation get 25 percent of its total energy from renewable sources by 2025. The goal of securing one-fourth of the nation's total energy from renewable sources such as wind, solar, biomass, and biogas by 2025 was introduced this week as a concurrent resolution in both houses of Congress. So far, it has at least 30 cosponsors with the number growing daily. The public seems to like the idea as well. A recent poll by Public Opinion Strategies of Alexandria, Va., shows that 98 percent see shifting to domestically-produced renewable energy sources as important for the country with 74 percent agreeing that it is "very important."
06/11/06 - Magnet Experiment Appears to Drain Life From Stars
It's an unassuming experiment: to see how a magnetic field affects polarized laser light. And the rotation the researchers saw was tiny, a mere 100,000th of a degree. If the result is true, however, the implications are huge. According to researchers in Italy who conducted the experiment, this slight twist in the beam -- the result of disappearing photons -- suggests the existence of a small, never-before-seen neutral particle, which, if made in stars, would siphon off all their energy. Standard physics predicts a very small rotation in a beam's polarization in a magnetic field due to ordinary particles popping in and. out of the vacuum. But when researchers at the PYLAS experiment at Legnaro National Laboratory of Italy's National Institute for Nuc1ear Physics turned on their 5-tesla magnet in 2000, they immediately saw a rotation 10,000 times larger than expected, says PYLAS member Giovanni Cantatore of the University of Trieste. The rotation is caused by the loss of a small number of photons whose electric fields line up with the magnetic field. This selective disappearance is what physicists would see if the missing photons were converting into neutral particles about 1 billionth of the mass of electrons. The PYLAS team has spent 5 years looking for such systematic effects: They have rotated and reduced the magnetic field, added air to their vacuum system, and changed the frequency of the laser. "All this time we have tried to make the signal go away," Cantatore says. It hasn't The PVLAS team doesn't claim to have discovered a new particle. It couples so strongly to photons that the axion-search experiments currently scattered around the globe should have seen loads of them coming from the sun (Science, 15 April 2005, p. 339). Such a stream of invisible particles out into space would drain a star of its energy in a few thousand years.
06/11/06 - Observatory Tries to Catch a Gravitational Wave
LIGO - the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory doesn't "see" the cosmos by detecting electromagnetic energy in the form of light, radio waves or X-rays. It feels it, measuring waves of gravity that wrinkle space-time like ripples on a lake. One advantage to gravity-wave science over light-wave science is that whereas light bounces off solid objects, gravity waves go through everything - planets, stars, people's bodies. Einstein said gravity was nothing more than a warping or bending of space and time by large objects. Space to Einstein was not a nothingness but a "fabric" that could be stretched and shaped. Just as a bowling ball causes an indentation on a trampoline, a planet or star dents the space around it. As the body moves through space, it gives off waves of gravity, as a spoon stirring milk gives off ripples. Einstein believed gravity waves would never be directly measured. He couldn't envision a detector that could tease out something so tiny from all the other things that pound Earth, from ocean waves to miners. Inside the arms of the LIGO is a laser interferometer, which works by splitting a laser beam and sending one of the two resulting beams down each arm. The beams then bounce around 100 times on a set of mirrors before being sent back to a photodetector. The two beams should recombine at exactly the same time since they travel an identical distance. But if a gravity wave passes by, the beams will be thrown off as the arms are alternately stretched and squeezed. Detecting such a minute signal has required extraordinary steps. LIGO is operating so smoothly it has exceeded expectations. "We're pulling in 16,384 samples a second," Raab said. "We produce a terabyte of information every day." But even at that rate, it could take years for success. Some gravity-wave scientists have by now spent their working lives waiting for the moment of discovery. Raab has been at it 18 years. He admits to some anxiety over the fact that his long-sought quarry is finally in sight. "The older you get, the more you want to see a result while you're around to see it," said Raab.
06/11/06 - Rain Making and the Moisture Accelerator
He had been hired by the San Diego city council to fill the near-empty Morena Dam reservoir, and was offered $10,000 to put it at capacity. Charles Hatfield was known as a Rainmaker, though he referred to himself with the much more scientific-sounding title of "Moisture Accelerator. "Mr. Hatfield was infamous in America for his rain-making efforts, with enough high-profile "successes" to offset the failures (though whether he was causing the rain or just skillfully predicting it was a subject of lively debate). By the time the San Diego city council hired him, he had already been experimenting with rainmaking chemicals for about thirteen years. Just after the new year, the Hatfield brothers filled the evaporating tanks beside Morena Dam reservoir. Smoke and fumes wafted skyward, and within a few short days, the rains poured. And poured, and poured. Throughout January, the sky gushed water almost daily. Rivers flooded, bridges washed away, and dams burst… an estimated 20 people were killed in the destruction. "I entered into a contract with the city," Hatfield responded to the press after the rains subsided, "and it was up to the city to take the necessary precautions." The city council refused to pay him, implying that if he collected his $10,000 fee, he would be admitting responsibility for the destruction and deaths, and would be liable for lawsuits. Despite his best efforts, he never squeezed a single dime out of the city council. Wilhelm Reich held a strong conviction that the universe was filled with a primordial cosmic energy called Orgone, which was responsible for effects as diverse as the weather, gravity, and human emotion. In 1940, he constructed devices intended to concentrate and focus orgone energy- called orgone accumulators- and claimed that they could be used to cure cancer and other illnesses. He also created some orgone-focusing "Cloudbusters" which resembled anti-aircraft guns. He claimed that these were able to manipulate streams of orgone energy in the atmosphere, affecting the weather by forcing rainclouds to form and disperse at his will. Researchers still explore methods to wring moisture out of the sky, but their methods are more orthodox than Dr. Reich's. Introducing some silver iodide or dry ice into clouds is known to reduce cloud density, and is thought to increase precipitation. But much like the observers of Charles Hatfield and Wilhelm Reich, it is impossible for observers today to know how much rain would have fallen without intervention, so the effectiveness of such methods remains in question.
06/11/06 - Techies Asked To Train Foreign Replacements
"David Lazarus of the San Francisco Chronicle is reporting that Bank of America (BofA) is moving thousands of tech jobs to India and has asked its techies to train their Indian replacements or risk losing severance pay. Although there is nothing in writing that says precisely this, the employees have been made clear about this responsibility in their meetings. BofA is outsourcing tech work to Indian companies whose employees do the work at half the cost of what a U.S. worker gets paid. According to an estimate, outsourcing has allowed the bank to save about $100 million over the past five years."
06/10/06 - Nanotube Filament Capacitors to Replace Batteries?
MIT's Joel Schindall plans to use old technology in a new way with nanotubes. 'We made the connection that perhaps we could take an old product, a capacitor, and use a new technology, nanotechnology, to make that old product in a new way.' Capacitors contain energy as an electric field of charged particles created by two metal electrodes, and capacitors charge faster and last longer than normal batteries, but the problem is that storage capacity is proportional to the surface area of the battery's electrodes. MIT researchers solved this by covering the electrodes with millions of nanotubes. 'It's better for the environment, because it allows the user to not worry about replacing his battery,' he says. 'It can be discharged and charged hundreds of thousands of times, essentially lasting longer than the life of the equipment with which it is associated.' Even today's most powerful capacitors hold 25 times less energy than similarly sized standard chemical batteries. The researchers solved this by covering the electrodes with millions of tiny filaments called nanotubes. Each nanotube is 30,000 times thinner than a human hair. Similar to how a thick, fuzzy bath towel soaks up more water than a thin, flat bed sheet, the nanotube filaments on increase the surface area of the electrodes and allow the capacitor to store more energy. Schindall says this combines the strength of today's batteries with the longevity and speed of capacitors. "It could be recharged many, many times perhaps hundreds of thousands of times, and ... it could be recharged very quickly, just in a matter of seconds rather than a matter of hours," he says.
06/10/06 - Hydrogen made 3X Cheaper
Researchers at GE’s Global Research lab in Niskayuna, NY, have developed a system that produces hydrogen at a fraction of the cost and could be available commercially in just a few years. The basic process, electrolysis, is nothing new: Combine water with an electrolyte, and run current through the solution, forcing the water molecules to split into hydrogen and oxygen gases. But electrolysis-formed hydrogen has long been hampered by the high capital cost of the metals used in the process, around “thousands of dollars per kilowatt,” says Richard Bourgeois, GE’s electrolysis project leader. GE’s breakthrough comes from a proprietary material called Noryl, a highly chemical- and temperature-resistant plastic developed by the GE labs, that lowers the cost of hydrogen production to hundreds of dollars per kilowatt, according to Bourgeois. Although GE has only built a prototype in their lab, Bourgeois believes that demonstrations can come as soon as the end of next year, and commercialization will follow that. The goal of the project, according to Bourgeois, is to bring down equipment costs enough to take the cost of hydrogen from $8 per kilogram to $3 per kilogram-comparable in energy and price to a gallon of gasoline. Currently, Hydrogen production is also limited to industrial refineries and agricultural areas, where the gas is produced on-site using methane, says Bourgeois. GE’s system-which, at approximately 10’ x 20’, can fit in a small trailer-could be marketed to smaller-scale industries. And one day, Bourgeois sees a future when drivers fill their hydrogen-fuel-cell powered cars from pumps with built-in electrolyzers. If electricity needed to produce the hydrogen is wind- or solar-generated, the entire process is, essentially, emissions-free.
06/10/06 - It's Nearly Lights Out for PG&E's Solar Power Buybacks
California's landmark efforts to increase solar power, supported by environmentalists, state leaders and the governor, could be in peril. In the next few months, PG&E, the largest utility company in the state, will reach the cap on how much solar energy it will buy back from customers. If the Legislature fails to pass a new bill raising that cap, new solar users in PG&E's territory won't be eligible for the benefits currents users enjoy, which some fear could bring the rise of solar energy in California to a grinding halt. Individuals and businesses with solar power systems, called photovoltaics, who connect to PG&E's grid can sell back any extra power they generate. The process is called net metering. The solar power system is fitted with a meter that runs forward and backward. During the middle of the day, when the sun is shining, the solar panels often produce more energy than the customer can use, and the meter runs backward. Then, at night, when the panels are not generating any electricity, the customer takes energy from the grid and the meter runs forward. At the end of the year, the customer gets one bill, with all the debits and credits tallied up. Though the law says the bill can never end up in the negative, with PG&E owing the customer money, it can equal zero, making solar panels cost effective over time. But as a compromise to the utility companies, the law also has a cap. When enough photovoltaic systems have been installed that the total capacity reaches 0.5 percent of each utility company's peak demand, then the utilities no longer have to provide net metering to people or businesses that install new systems.
06/10/06 - Device offers end to fresh water shortage
(Headsup Australia! - JWD) A new solar power collection and heating device could be used to turn salt water into fresh water at an unprecedented low cost, researchers said yesterday in Nanjing, capital of East China's Jiangsu Province. The new desalinating device consists primarily of a heliostat, which absorbs solar power and turns it into heat. The heat is then used to bring water to boiling point, and when vaporization occurs the salt becomes separated. According to Zhou, the country currently has 20 desalination projects, which mainly use osmosis and electronic distilling technologies. "These consume other resources, such as electricity and carbon, to produce fresh water. But our device makes use of solar power. The only costs are the heliostat system and the infrastructure construction. It is the most economical and eco-friendly desalination method invented so far," said Zhou. Furthermore, a special heliostat, invented by a scientist in the team, costs only a quarter of the normal price but still generates the same amount of energy, Zhou told China Daily. Zhou did not reveal the exact cost for fresh water production, but said it would definitely be much lower than the current technologies, which cost about 5-8 yuan (US$0.62-1) per cubic metre. The water distilled by the new device meets the standard for drinking water and could be used in local houses, according to Zhou. Zhou also revealed that salt companies are already interested in buying the salt produced, another form of economic return. Zhang said that he is confident of the future application of the new device in thirsty coastal areas in the country. Listed among the driest countries in the world, two-thirds of China's cities are suffering from water supply shortages for domestic and industrial use.
06/10/06 - Swarming Satellites to use collective intelligence
Satellites that exhibit autonomous collective behavior: devices that don't have a whole lot of intelligence in each one, and don't need to communicate with each other or mission control to decide their actions, but when taken as a group they can complete complex tasks that are difficult or impossible for large single satellites (or astronauts) to achieve. A swarm of bees can act like an organism the size of a brontosaurus, with hundreds of eyes, thousands of legs, and stingers galore; but a brontosaurus is too heavy to fly, too big to enter a honeycomb, and too metabolically expensive to survive a global climate disruption. A swarm of bees can travel fast, turn on a dime (in fact, can turn on several dimes and go off in completely separate directions), and can retain its functionality even if significant portions of it die. This last point is particularly valuable in space, where radiation concerns often relegate satellites to using ten-year-old computer technology for its robustness; wouldn't it be nice if you could use the latest, fastest CPU's and sensors instead, and just say "oh well" when 10% of them get fried by cosmic rays? For space applications, swarms have the additional advantage that tiny satellites can sometimes fit in the empty nooks and crannies left by other payloads being launched up, or crew quarters unused during takeoff; every cubic centimeter of launch costs money, just as every gram of weight costs money.
06/10/06 - Microsoft Stops Supporting Win98 & its Isotopes Early
"Today Microsoft announced that it is 'not feasible to make the extensive changes necessary to Windows Explorer on Microsoft Windows 98, Microsoft Windows 98 Second Edition (SE), and Microsoft Windows Millennium Edition (ME) to eliminate the vulnerability' to fix Security Bulletin MS06-15. Granted, the vulnerability is easily prevented by basic firewalling, but this basically is the first time Microsoft has admitted that Windows 98 is so broken that it's crazy to be running it on today's Internet."
06/10/06 - Cancer Curing Blood
An injection of blood cells from cancer-resistant mice cures cancer in ordinary mice. A universal treatment that would work against any type of cancer has always seemed like a far-fetched fantasy. But now researchers at Wake Forest University have made a discovery in mice that might one day lead to a "magic bullet" against human cancers if it proves to be true in people. Several years ago, the researchers identified a rare strain of mouse immune to high, usually lethal doses of cancer cells. Now they have shown that not only are these mice cancer-resistant, but their immune cells are also capable of curing normal, non-resistant mice of any type of advanced cancer. As reported in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, lead researcher Zheng Cui and his team injected white blood cells from the cancer-resistant mice into normal mice with aggressive cancers that should have killed them in two to three weeks. Instead, their cancer disappeared.
06/10/06 - Is Modern Civilization Fragile?
Our ancestors made themselves and us more vulnerable to the vagaries of nature and the weather once they switched from hunting and gathering to farming. So says Brian Fagan, emeritus professor of anthropology from University of California at Santa Barbara. Fagan argues that nimble hunter/gatherers could respond to environmental changes faster than farmers and urbanites who are tied to their land and their cities. As evidence of our increased modern vulnerability to nature's whims, Fagan cites the devastation of Hurricane Katrina. Katrina proves many things-among them, don't trust governments to build levees or organize effective emergency responses-but does it demonstrat increased overall vulnerability? Hardly. Katrina killed more than 1,800 people (there are hundreds more still missing), destroyed billions of dollars of property, and disrupted energy supplies, yet the American economy shrugged off the blow and continued to expand. Our elaborate globe-spanning networks of energy supplies, computers and trade actually buffer us against the effects of natural disasters. It is very unlikely that droughts or floods will devastate every agricultural region across the globe all at once. Mother Nature can still be a bitch, but Fagan is simply wrong when he claims that modern societies are more and more vulnerable to her caprices. Our interconnected and globalized world provides more and more of humanity with radically enhanced security rather than increased vulnerability.
06/10/06 - Shredded Rubber Paving of old Rail lines for New Transportation Routes
The flexible highways are made of panels of shredded car tyres laid over the existing tracks. New thoroughfares could be shared by both cars and trams travelling at up to 50mph (80km/h), says Holdfast, the company behind the scheme. It took four men five days to put down 300m of road. But other users of disused or abandoned railways do not support the plan. "We would like to see these routes converted into walking and cycling routes," said Gill Harrison, a spokesperson for sustainable transport charity Sustrans. The rubber roads are being developed by Holdfast Rubber Highway (HRH) and may provide a use for some of the estimated 50m tyres disposed of in the UK each year. As of 7 July, EU legislation will make it illegal to bury car tyres in landfill sites or burn them, making alternative uses like this more attractive. Parent company, Holdfast Level Crossings, already makes the rubber decking found at pedestrian and rail crossings. The company has extended this idea to create cheap interlocking panels that can be laid between the gaps on disused railway lines. Each mile of track would use 354,000 scrap tyres. Individual panels are made "cold" so there are few emissions in the production process.
06/10/06 - Orwell's 1984 and Beyond Snooping
The New Scientist reports that the NSA plans to mine social networking sites like MySpace to gather information about its users: Pentagon's National Security Agency, which specialises in eavesdropping and code-breaking, is funding research into the mass harvesting of the information that people post about themselves on social networks. And it could harness advances in internet technology - specifically the forthcoming "semantic web" championed by the web standards organisation W3C - to combine data from social networking websites with details such as banking, retail and property records, allowing the NSA to build extensive, all-embracing personal profiles of individuals.
06/10/06 - What's this 'Scotomisation' in The Da Vinci Code?
(This is a psychological trick that magicians and con artists use to fool people. - JWD) Seeing is not always believing. In the current blockbuster film, The Da Vinci Code, there is an important scene where Robert Langdon (Tom Hanks), Sophie Neveu (Audrey Tautou), and Sir Leigh Teabing (Ian McKellan) discuss the possible hidden images in Leonardo da Vinci's masterpiece, The Last Supper. At one point in this scene, Sir Leigh refers to scotomisation - a word not in the current vocabulary of most film goers - and he hardly explains its meaning. "Scotomisation" is the psychological tendency in people to see what they want to see and not see what they don't want to see - in situations, in themselves, in anything, even in a painting - due to the psychological impact that seeing (or not seeing) would inflict. Perception involves seeing and processing information through the filter of our intellect and our emotions. That's why people often see the same thing differently. Scotomisation can be a false denial but also a false affirmation of our perceptions. The term used in behavioral science is borrowed from the science of optics and ophthalmology. “Scotoma” is from the Greek word skotos (to darken) and means a spot on the visual field in which vision is absent or deficient. Psychiatrist R.D. Laing (1927-1989) describes scotomisation as a process of an individual psychologically denying the existence of anything they see with their own eyes that they really don’t want to see and hence don't want to believe. He writes in Interpersonal Perception (1966) that scotomisation is "our ability to develop selective blind spots regarding certain kinds of emotional or anxiety-producing events".
06/09/06 - Breakthrough signals future low-cost fuel
MU physics professor Peter Pfeifer has been buying ground corncob by the pound as part of a research project that could put a natural-gas tank in many American cars in the next five years. Pfeifer and his team heat the ground cobs at high temperatures in an oxygen-free atmosphere to reduce them to carbon, which is then pressed into round one-inch thick briquettes. “It’s almost like charcoal that you put on your Fourth of July barbecue,” Pfeifer said. “Some people call them the Missouri hockey pucks.” Then 216 carbon briquettes are placed into aluminum tubes. To the untrained eye, it seems they are taking up space but in fact, the carbon provides greater storage capacity for natural gas than an empty tank. Natural gas is cheaper and cleaner-burning than gasoline. The equivalent in natural gas of one gallon of unleaded gasoline costs $1.40 - or the price of about a half gallon of gas. Burning natural gas produces fewer greenhouse gas emissions, and it produces virtually no exhaust. Natural gas is also easier to procure: 85 percent of the current U.S. consumption is produced domestically, according to the U.S. Department of Energy, and most of the rest comes from Canada. While automobile engines can burn natural gas without modification, doing so would require a different kind of fuel tank. Storing natural gas requires heavy steel high-pressure cylinders that are expensive and impractical for use in automobiles. “You have to give up your trunk space or passenger space,” Pfeifer said. Microscopic cavities in the carbon, “nanopores,” hold the natural gas - 95 percent of which is methane. “Those pores are almost like a sponge, they suck up the methane,” Pfeifer said. “In this carbon, the methane, at a much lower pressure, is held at almost the same density as it would be in big cylinder tanks.” Because the pressure is low, 500 pounds per square inch instead of 3,600, the tank can be made flat and rectangular, allowing it to be attached to a car like a regular gasoline tank. “At high pressure, this would blow up in your face,” Pfeifer said. The carbon system could also be used to capture the methane that emanates from landfills and transport it to central processing facilities, thus transforming a pollutant - methane is a greenhouse gas four times more potent than carbon dioxide - into a renewable energy.
06/09/06 - John Koza Has Built an Invention Machine
Its creations earn patents, outperform humans, and will soon fly to space. All it needs now is a few worthy challenges. Koza is the inventor of genetic programming, a revolutionary approach to artificial intelligence (AI) capable of solving complex engineering problems with virtually no human guidance. Koza’s 1,000 networked computers don’t just follow a preordained routine. They create, growing new and unexpected designs out of the most basic code. They are computers that innovate, that find solutions not only equal to but better than the best work of expert humans. His “invention machine,” as he likes to call it, has even earned a U.S. patent for developing a system to make factories more efficient, one of the first intellectual-property protections ever granted to a nonhuman designer. As impressive as these creations may be, none are half as significant as the machine’s method: Darwinian evolution, the process of natural selection. Over and over, bits of computer code are, essentially, procreating. And over the course of hundreds or thousands of generations, that code evolves into offspring so well-adapted for its designated job that it is demonstrably superior to anything we can imagine. Like every engineering breakthrough, genetic programming did not emerge fully formed from the ether. Rather it grew out of two promising yet unfulfilled lines of research in computer science: genetic algorithms and artificial intelligence. Koza was 30,000 feet above Greenland when he asked himself why a genetic algorithm, so adept at refining pipelines, couldn’t be used to evolve its own software. Why couldn’t a computer program adapt itself and, in doing so, solve any problem fed into it? The key was mating bits of computer programs together, not just strings of numbers. The old genetic algorithms worked to optimize specific parameters; Koza’s leap in genetic programming allowed for open-ended evolutions of basic structure and so produced more novel and sophisticated designs. He programmed the machine to design circuits with the attributes of other patented devices and started churning out infringements by the dozen. “That’s when we began to see that genetic programming could be human-competitive,” he says. “If you remake a patented circuit, you’re doing something that people consider inventive.”
06/09/06 - Magnetism to increase Brainpower
Australian researchers say magnetic fields could make ordinary people capable of extraordinary mental feats. Participants in the study were presented with 50 to 150 random elements on a monitor. Ten of the 12 participants improved their ability accurately to guess the number of elements immediately following TMS treatment to the left anterior temporal lobe, a skill that receded an hour later, the newspaper said.
06/09/06 - Variable Physical Laws
(Think of aether/zpe changing its local 'pressure' which, since it cascades down to create all that we know as energy and mass, so too would those pressure changes result in energy/mass changes. - JWD) Physical quantities such as the speed of light, the gravitational constant and the electron mass are believed to be the same independent of where and when they appear in the universe. Therefore, they are known as constants of nature. The fundamental constants - and thereby also the fundamental laws - are not at all constant but have gradually changed over time. Implications that this is the case have been known for some time and are now supported by new measurements - for instance from Lund University, Sweden. The constants are so fundamental that it is usually impossible to detect any possible changes since the tools we use to measure these changes are also changing. For instance, if the size of the atoms would increase the atoms in the measuring device would also increase to the same extent and everything would appear normal. But there are dimensionless constants, i.e. they are independent of units. On April 21 this year new findings were published in Physical Review Letters implying that a dimensionless constant - the ratio between the electron mass and the proton mass - has changed with time. And shortly measurements will be presented in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society showing that another dimensionless constant, called the fine structure constant, is also varying with time.
06/09/06 - Phage hunters strike paydirt
A handful of Pittsburgh high school and college students, openly encouraged to dig in the dirt around their homes and schools by their teachers and professors, have isolated and characterized 30 viruses that infect bacteria. As a result of their foray into the world of scientific discovery, the students are now co-authors of an upcoming research article in a peer-reviewed scientific journal. In the June 9, 2006, issue of PLoS Genetics, a research team headed by HHMI professor Graham Hatfull at the University of Pittsburgh reports that it has catalogued and characterized the genomes of 30 viruses called mycobacteriophages, which are viruses that infect bacteria. Phages, as they are known, are used by researchers to learn about the genetics of diseases such as tuberculosis and leprosy. Phage genetic diversity gives the phages a robust capacity to recombine with genes in their bacterial host chromosomes, profoundly influencing the physiology of their hosts. Researchers believe that gene combinations between phage and host are responsible for the toxins of diseases such as cholera and diphtheria.
06/09/06 - A New Technique for Creating an Acoustic Laser
"As posted on Physics News Update 779, an acoustic form of a laser has been created. This type of device is called a SASER (sound amplification by stimulated emission of radiation) and it produces 'a potent ultrasound wave [in] a narrow angular range' in a manner analogous to a laser. It works by building up coherent sound via 'the concerted emission of phonons from a lot of quantum wells [in a stack of] of thin layers of semiconductors.' The 'mirrors' for the sound wave are cleverly produced by changing the thickness of different layers creating an acoustic mirror. This particular research 'is the first to reach the terahertz frequency range while using also modest electrical power input.' As far as applications are concerned, the article mentions their use 'in modulating light waves in optoelectronic devices.' With the reduced power requirements, it's also possible that these devices could appear in medical ultrasound systems after the appropriate tuning."
06/09/06 - Informed Consent Waived in Public Crisis
In a public health emergency, suspected victims would no longer have to give permission before experimental tests could be run to determine why they're sick, under a federal rule published Wednesday. Privacy experts called the exception unnecessary, ripe for abuse and an override of state informed-consent laws. Health care workers will be free to run experimental tests on blood and other samples taken from people who have fallen sick as a result of a bioterrorist attack, bird flu outbreak, detonation of a dirty bomb or any other life-threatening public health emergency, according to the rule issued by the Food and Drug Administration.
06/09/06 - Locked out of Windows?
Go to the command prompt and enter: net user E.g. > net user Mark p@55w0rd - If there are people near you and you don't want them to see the password you type, enter: net user * E.g. > net user Mark * > Type a password for the user: > Confirm the password: You need to have admin access to perform this change from the command line. This is an especially handy trick if you want to change a password on an account but you've forgotten the original (going through the Control Panel can require confirmation of the old password). (via lifehacker.com)
06/09/06 - Clean Burning Diesel
"Diesel fuel has long been the polluting scourge of the automotive industry, having a precedent of filth and noise that drives Americans away. However, the technology in diesel engines has come a long way since its debut in the 19th century. American legistlation has passed mandating the use of ultra-low sulfur diesel (ULSD) by October 15th. ULSD reduces emissions significantly over conventional diesel, but that is not its ultimate virtue. Although the current diesel market share is a dismal 3%, new, clean fuels like ULSD and bio-diesel, coupled with cleaner, quieter, 40% more fuel efficient engines, may hail a positive future for the growing technology."
06/09/06 - Grim Retirement Awaits Many
Workers are not saving enough to counter cuts in pension and Social Security, researchers say. Almost 1 in 2 American families is headed toward years of financial struggle in retirement, according to a new report that says workers are unprepared for cuts in pension and Social Security income. The study estimates that most people need 65% to 85% of their annual income in their working years to stay secure in retirement. But 43% of U.S. households will fall at least 10% short of that range, the study found, using what it said were conservative projections. The percentage of households at risk of an insecure retirement rises to 66% under a less rosy set of assumptions - for example, if workers retire at age 63 instead of at 65. "Unless Americans change their ways, many will struggle in retirement," said Alicia H. Munnell, director of the study and a former member of the White House Council of Economic Advisors. "There is no silver bullet," she added. "The answer is saving more and working longer." The report advises workers to "consistently set aside 6% of their paychecks (with a 3% employer match), invest prudently and leave the money alone." "Americans weaned on postwar affluence have come to expect an extended period of leisure at the end of their work life," the report says. "However, this group is living in a 'golden age' that will fade as Baby Boomers and Generation Xers reach traditional retirement ages in the coming decades." At the same time, a recent report by consulting firm McKinsey & Co. found that 4 in 10 workers were forced to retire earlier than they intended, usually because of health issues or job loss. Not surprisingly, poorer people face even greater risks when their working years end, the report found. Such households risk "not being able to meet basic needs and actually ending up in poverty," study director Munnell said. "People in the future are going to just face enormous pressure when it comes to retirement," she said.
06/09/06 - Penalties for Inadvertently Lying to Government Officials
"A couple of days ago, Bruce Schneier, a well known security expert and one of the designers of the Advanced Encryption Standard, posted a link to an article about the penalties for lying to a government official. According to 18 USC Section 1001, it is a crime to: 1. knowingly and willfully; 2. make any materially false, fictitious or fraudulent statement or representation; 3. in any matter within the jurisdiction of the executive, legislative or judicial branch of the United States. The truly scary part is that according to United States v. Gaudin, 515 U.S. 506, 510 (1995) 'your lie does not even have to be made directly to an employee of the national government as long as it is within the jurisdiction of the ... federal bureaucracy.' This means that if the falsehood is materially relevant then 'this requirement is met if the statement has the natural tendency to influence or [is] capable of influencing, the decision of the decision making body to which it is addressed.' The article goes on to discuss in further detail how you can get into trouble under this law, and how to avoid it. Briefly: don't discuss anything without a lawyer present, and even then be very careful about what you say."
06/08/06 - Hurricane Killer
Dyn-O-Gel swallows up to 1,500 times its weight in water. Cordani hopes to deploy aircraft to bombard incoming hurricanes with this substance. With June's arrival, hurricane season is here. Government forecasters expect eight to 10 hurricanes to tear across the Atlantic through Nov. 30; four to six could equal or exceed Category 3 strength. "The potential for hurricanes striking the U.S. is high," National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration chief Conrad Lautenbacher announced May 22. Peter Cordani ponders this with a grim sense of deja vu. As America yet again stares down this cannon and watches its fuse burn, he wonders, "Why do we put up with this?" He explains, "We're losing the battle against hurricanes. They are overtaking us. Half of Florida still has thousands of homes with blue-tarp roofs. There are dumpsters everywhere. New Orleans is still in shambles." Chopping a slice from a swirling cyclone can cost it speed, momentum, and energy, and reduce its ferocity. On July 19, 2001, Cordani chartered a plane and released $40,000 worth of Dyn-O-Gel onto a thunderstorm east of Palm Beach. Local air-traffic controllers and a Miami TV station both said the storm clouds virtually vanished. They became a gel and dissolved harmlessly among the waves below, Cordani says. To preclude another $88.8 billion in hurricane relief, as it already has spent since Katrina, Congress should authorize up to $100 million over three years for hurricane-modification research, including Dyn-O-Mat's plan. Someday soon, one hopes, Peter Cordani will affix happier headlines to his wall. Why not this one? "High-tech powder tames hurricane. Thousands spared."
06/08/06 - Exploiting the Poor
If the UN sincerely believes in the welfare of the third world, why shouldn't it try at least a few of the following things: 1. Close all the arms manufacturing plants in the world. 2. Make "intellectual property" as an "intellectual property" in reality and not "rich people's property" effectively : (a) Make arrangements so that an individual scientist of the Third World can get a patent for the whole world with a maximum expenditure of USD 100. He should be allowed to plead his case himself and perform all the necessary formalities from his own residence through correspondence with his own equivalent currency. (b) Fully assist in fighting the "hijacking of inventions" cases, including mine in the International Court of Justice. (c) Make arrangements to evaluate a WIPO published patent paper with a favourable search report. 3. Monitor the ill-motivated so-called assistance programmes through IMF, World Bank, loyal to their masters the NGOs and similar tools of the West. 4. Do not be a party to the huge profit-making programmes of the West by exploiting the poor under the disguise of humanity, child care, education and God knows what not. 5. Do not allow the West to escape competition from hardy nations under the umbrella of the UN by marketing any product forcibly (invisible) in huge numbers through corrupt governments, so-called donors, loyal NGOs and similar agencies.
06/08/06 - Metro firm touts electronics breakthrough
A Rochester Hills company Tuesday unveiled a new device that would replace the modern transistor to make advanced electronics faster, better and cheaper. Stanford Ovshinsky, president and chief scientist of Energy Conversion Devices Inc., said the patented, hair-thin film can be installed in a variety of electrical pieces such as pacemakers, automobile electronics, radios, televisions, and used in the military. Called the Ovonic Quantum Control Device, it would replace transistors used to control the flow of electricity, while being smaller and less expensive to mass produce. It is designed to make all electronics last longer and work faster. People familiar with the concept of energy conversion are excited about the Quantum Control Device, and say it could lead to alternate forms of power.
06/08/06 - Testosterone makes those old birds tick
Testosterone may help some songbirds "live fast, die young and leave a good-looking corpse", as the adage goes. For dark-eyed junco males, having a little extra testosterone made them more attractive to females-especially older ones-helped them fly farther and sing more sweetly, scientists said on Tuesday. And the hormone-laden males produced more offspring, North Dakota State University assistant biology professor Wendy Reed found. But the chicks were smaller and less likely to survive, she reported in the American Naturalist. Extra testosterone made the dark-eyed juncos more susceptible to disease and shortened their life spans. "They had lower immune function and paid a cost with lower survival rates," Reed said. The higher testosterone levels also made the songbirds worse fathers, Reed found. They made fewer nest visits, resulting in less food delivered and less time spent at the nest.
06/08/06 - Heart, Lungs, Brain Waves Are New Fingerprint
New biometric technology developed by the Israeli company IDesia can identify individual people by sensing unique electronics signals generated by the HEART, BRAIN OR LUNGS during breathing. The technology works this way: Users must touch a "biodynamic signature" (BDS) sensor for up to eight seconds, depending on the levels of accuracy required. The sensor then identifies inidividual electronic signatures. No dedicated reader is required.The technology is said to be ideal for the consumer electronics market because the sensor is smaller and more durable than other methods. They are also easy to use, require little power and are much cheaper than current biometric technologies. IDesia also claims the sensor can be added to a range of PC peripherals, mobile phones, PDAs or even credit, smart or identity cards. (via therawfeed.com)
06/08/06 - Carnahan warns about energy scams
Secretary of State Robin Carnahan urges Missouri investors to be wary of fraudulent oil, gas and alternative energy solicitations over the next several months. With higher gas prices at the pumps and increasing natural gas, propane and fuel oil costs, the Missouri Securities Division in Carnahan’s office warns that recent trends indicate fraudulent investment scams in various energy ventures are also on the rise. While many energy offerings are legitimate, some savvy solicitors push fraudulent energy schemes using high-pressure sales tactics and promises of extraordinary returns to prey on unsuspecting investors. "Many oil and gas scam artists use rising oil and gas prices as well as increased interest in ethanol and biodiesel to encourage investment in their phony operations," said Carnahan. "I encourage Missourians to contact our office’s investor hotline to get information regarding any company or investment, especially if it sounds too good to be true," she added.
Investments, as well as the individuals offering them, must be registered with the state or have an exemption from such registration. Unregistered offerings should also alert an investor to a potential problem. In recent months, a substantial number of biofuel and other alternative energy ventures have registered securities offerings with the state. At the same time, the Securities Division has noticed an increase in complaints and tips involving energy-related scams. Earlier this year, Carnahan took action in the matter of Emerging Technologies, Inc., a venture in which the promoter claimed to have invented a water-powered car. In April, Carnahan also identified oil and gas scams as one of the "Top 10 Threats to Missouri Investors for 2006." "Unfortunately, whenever we see an increase in the number of offerings or registrations in a certain industry, it is often followed by scam artists mimicking and piggybacking on the work of legitimate companies," stated Missouri Securities Commissioner Matt Kitzi.
06/08/06 - Hydrogen boat to cut marine pollution
A hydrogen-powered boat that aims to become the world's first mass produced H-vessel could be the answer to air pollution from the marine transport sector. The boat is powered by hydrogen fuel cells, seen as a great hope for clean energy as they emit only water vapour when burning hydrogen to produce electricity. "The [hydrogen-powered] sloop will be able to travel for two to three days without refuelling. Besides, a fuel cell boat can be recharged within 15 minutes by switching the hydrogen cylinders, rather than the 4-6 hours recharging needed for traditional electric boats." Only a handful of hydrogen-powered boat models exit so far, all of them prohibitively expensive. "Fuel-cell products have so far been one-offs, largely because of the high costs. We have tried to create as cost-effective a product as possible." The boat, called Xperiance, will still have to rely on subsidies to compete on the market. But while similar vessels so far needed subsidies equal to 80-90% of their production costs, for the Xperiance this will be 20-30%, say the designers. The hydrogen used to run the boat will cost no more than diesel thanks to tax breaks.
06/08/06 - Seeking an Energy Breakthrough
The 20th century began with American dependence on fossil fuels, i.e. oil, coal and natural gas (OCG). The 21st century now begins with America still overwhelmingly dependent on the same OCG. Even after the oil shock of 1973 we failed to heed that wake-up call to get serious about energy independence. U.S. House of Representatives sponsored a bill known as the “H-Prize Act of 2006”. An excerpt from that announcement states: “Scientists, inventors and entrepreneurs will be able to vie for a grand prize of $10 million, and smaller prizes reaching millions of dollars, under House-passed legislation to encourage research into hydrogen as an alternative fuel.” This means that certain technology claims can eventually be put to the test and we can learn definitively whether or not they perform. But that could still be off in the future. The good news is that this is a positive step that was long overdue. The bad news is that it applies only to hydrogen which has serious limitations. It also ignores inventors with other systems that may be available right now. A heavy bet is being placed on hydrogen while ignoring other possibilities. A small percentage of the nearly $2 billion already committed could fund additional reward money for other technologies, beyond hydrogen, as long as they achieved the desired results and are available now as working models, ready for evaluation.
06/08/06 - Physicists create cold plasma balls
Underwater electrical discharges generate luminous plasma clouds resembling ball lightning that last for nearly half a second and are up to 20 centimetres across. Ball lightning has puzzled scientists for centuries. Though little reliable data exist, there have been many anecdotal sightings, with people as diverse and famous as Charlemagne, Henry II and the physicist Niels Bohr all claiming to have seen it. Most accounts describe a hovering, glowing, ball-like object up to 40 centimetres across, ranging in colour from red to yellow to blue and lasting for several seconds or in rare cases even minutes. “It is likely that lightning flashes and water interact to produce ball lightning,” says Fussmann. “We therefore use a short, high-voltage discharge of 5000 volts to vaporise some of the water in a glass tank and create the plasma ball.” The tank contains two electrodes, one of which is insulated from the surrounding water by a clay tube. The high voltage causes enormous currents of up to 60 amps - over 200 times those needed to cause death - to flow through the water for a fraction of a second. These enter the clay tube, causing the water there to evaporate and a luminous plasma ball - consisting of ionised water molecules - to rise from the surface. “The balls survive up to 0.3 seconds after the current is switched off - far longer than normal plasmas, which decay away far more quickly,” says Fussmann. Despite the bright glow, the balls also appear to be rather cold, much like neon lights. A sheet of paper placed above them is lifted but does not catch fire.
06/08/06 - Declare Energy Independence
We the people need to motivate Uncle Sam to create a rational and revolutionary energy strategy. Fact: All forms of energy are subsidized. Oil. Gas. Coal. Nuclear. Renewables. No type of energy stands alone in the market, free of tax breaks, research grants or other forms of government help. Fact: Subsidies are ultimately funded by the taxes we pay. Unfortunately, Congress' approach to energy policy has been to kowtow to lobbyists and campaign donors rather than craft a strategy to deal forthrightly with energy-related risks. One of most egregious lollipops in the legislation is a $1.55 billion fund to pay for oil and gas research. Most of the fund will be administered by a private consortium, and a leading candidate is a group backed by former congressman Tom DeLay and made up of executives from Halliburton and other energy companies. Critics call it a giant slush fund for cash-rich oil companies. Redirecting subsidies is an essential component of a strategy that deals with the energy problems on our nation's doorstep. The necessary elements to do so are clear and well within America's entrepreneurial and technological capability. They include improving energy efficiency across the board, mandating lower carbon emissions, and replacing oil and other fossil fuels with solar, wind, homegrown biofuels and other clean energy sources that are not under the control of dodgy foreign regimes.
06/08/06 - Senate to consider letting Hawaiians pursue sovereignty
(Maybe Texas will be next. - JWD) Hawaii Sen. Daniel K. Akaka thinks Hawaiians should be allowed to govern themselves as Native Americans and Alaskans do, and after seven years of pushing a bill to start the process, the Senate is expected to take it up this week. Mr. Akaka says the bill is a way to give "indigenous" Hawaiians a sense of pride and a chance for sovereignty for the first time since 1893, when Queen Liliuokalani was deposed and lands were illegally seized by U.S. Marines and a cadre of sugar-plantation businessmen. "For the first time, if it passes, Hawaiians will have parity and be able to form a government entity to address their concerns, since the overthrow," Mr. Akaka said. Republican senators annually have blocked the legislation, saying it would violate the Constitution by establishing a sovereign race-based government. It is only coming up now through a deal worked out between Democratic and Republican leaders to move other bills.
06/08/06 - The Ark as a Throne for Rejuvenation & Communication?
(An earlier news article here referred to Tet Technology and had a comment that high voltage devices might be used to stimulate the body (possibly focusing on the endocrines) to extend life. A recent item on the Ark of the Covenant led me to this page which shows the use of Throne Chairs by the gods and pharoahs. Is it possible sitting in the field of such a device might heal and prolong life? And is it possible the electrostatic field between the cherubim served as a speaker through which God spoke? Dr. Gianni Dotto claims life is sustained by a DC field and some believe the aura (bioplasma) to be a slow changing, dynamic panoply of complex DC fields which actually 'mold' the shape of the body. - JWD) We are told in Numbers 7:89 that when Moses went into the Mishkan (tabernacle) he would only hear the Lord¹s voice (kol) from above the Ark¹s gold cover, the kapporet. A comparison between Exodus 24:16 and 25:22 implies he spoke to Moses from above the cherubim, from the midst of the cloud, as in Sinai (24:16), and continued doing so in the Tabernacle, where the cloud entered. If so, then, speaking from above the cherubim signifies speaking from above the whole Ark (cp. Exodus 34:5, 40:34, 38; I Kings 8:10 and Leviticus 16:2), so that only his voice was heard from the small area between the cherubim, because he was shrouded in the cloud of glory (Shekinah) which hovered above the Ark.
06/07/06 - Scientists design Maglev car with greater stability
Maglev trains, which use the electromagnetic force to overcome gravity, have intrigued scientists for the past several decades. Levitating several centimeters above the track, the train cars have no physical contact and no friction with the track, enabling speeds of more than 400 mph. Implementing Maglevs into urban areas - or even across the country - could make a five-hour drive a smooth 40-minute ride, as well as reinvent the world’s infrastructure. A team of scientists (W. Yang et al.) from China has recently designed and built a new model for a Maglev car that could offer significant stability advantages over current technology. The scientists used specially fabricated high temperature superconductors (HTSC) for the cars and permanent magnets for the tracks, which demonstrate a higher levitation force and greater stability than when permanent magnets are used on both the track and car. Although the car models are only about 12 cm long and 4 cm wide, they demonstrated frictionless, stable movement across the 10-meter-long track. In the HTSC model, the cars are propelled by a combination of linear motors on the tracks and aluminum rotors on the cars. Photoelectric switches near the linear motors save energy by ensuring that the motors work only when the car is traveling through them. The HTSC model’s large magnetic fields across the track also provide a strong guidance force and good magnetic distribution that prohibits the cars from escaping the track. Because this magnetic configuration provides a large dragging force, it also eliminates the need for any exterior stability control. Using liquid nitrogen to cool the HTSCs to -196 degrees C, the scientists investigated different cooling methods to optimize the levitation and guidance forces. The team found that a field cooled process, which cools the magnets inside the car after the car is on the track, provides significant stability, but also requires further investigation.
06/07/06 - Motorscooter runs on Air
Narayan Prajapati, 35, astonished people here recently when he drove his scooter using air as fuel. He covered a distance of half a kilometre with a total of 150 pounds of air in a special fuel cylinder attached to the vehicle. Prajapati, who lives in Bhanpur Kurdh village of Ramgarh tehsil, has been working on this project for the last four years. "If my technique is properly channelised people will certainly get relief from the regular hikes in petrol and diesel prices," said Prajapati, who sounded enthusiastic about his innovation. The scooter devised by Prajapati runs at a speed of 20 km per hour and can accommodate only one person. The vehicle is like a regular scooter and starts with a kick. However, the accelerator wire of the scooter is directly connected to the air fuel tank. Emboldened by his success, Prajapati is now working on a special generator for his scooter. "I have already started working on the generator which will not only run the scooter but would also generate high air pressure to ensure a regular supply of air to the scooter," he said.
06/07/06 - Orange, Grapefruit Juice For Breakfast Builds Bones In Rats
t may sound like Saturday cartoons: a strong-boned rat that can't be broken. But a couple of Texas researchers say the real hero is citrus juice. Orange and grapefruit juice regularly given to lab rats prevented osteoporosis, long considered an unavoidable aging disease in which bones become more likely to break. fresh grapefruit or orange juice - mixed with sodium bicarbonate to neutralize acidity - was given to the rats each morning. "They drank it with no problem, every morning," Deyhim said. "A reduction in bone density is caused when there is an increase in oxidants. In these studies, both grapefruit juice and orange juice increased antioxidants in the rats' systems," Patil said. "So that is the benefit since oxidants damage bone cells. "In general, people should eat a variety of all the colors (in food) to get all of the beneficial compounds," Patil added. "And eat fresh."
06/07/06 - Re-Engineering The Ark
Using the example of the 500gm-coffee jar-sized Leyden Jar, and assuming that this could store a charge of approximately 200 volts, the Ark would have held the equivalent of 125 such jars, giving it a comparable, if not greater, potential voltage, as well as, more importantly, allowing for a much longer discharge time. Such a level of voltage goes a long way to explaining the reasons for the Arks more evolved design. The most obvious difference is the use of twin terminals on the Ark. There are no problems with this configuration, other than ensuring good connection and isolation of each terminal, but there are some very good reasons for it. Because of its size, and the relation of capacity to charge, it would not be possible to touch the Ark by hand or with any form of implement to discharge it. The Ark would have carried a charge of thousands of volts, and because the human body is a better conductor than air, it would have killed anyone who got too close to it. Sound familiar? ...If the Ark was placed inside the Temple (in effect a large conductive box) and discharged, the result would be disappointing. There would be no spectacular effects, just the barely discernible glow of a few sparks and a loud crack. Why go to all this trouble to create the Temple if this was the end result? There must be some other, less obvious factor involved. The natural assumption to make is that the entire interior structure, and everything in it, would become live if the Ark put several thousand volts into the walls. But the Ark is the only crucial part of the Temple that is earthed, so it would operate normally if it were charged - any discharge would occur between the two cherubim, not the walls or pillars. The answer to this problem is in the opposite principle - the Ark is not the source of the charge, the Temple is.
06/07/06 - Calculate your life expectancy with the Death Forecast
The Death Forecast figures out how long you will live based on a set of survey questions about your lifestyle, health and family history of illness. Estimating the year you’ll buy the farm isn’t the most light-hearted activity in the world, but it’s a number to consider for career and retirement planning. (via lifehacker.com)
06/07/06 - One pill a day keeps cancer at bay
A drug prescribed for one of the commonest forms of leukaemia has reduced the deadly cancer to a chronic illness that can be managed with a single pill a day, specialists said yesterday. New data issued in London showed that about 90 per cent of patients with chronic myeloid leukaemia (CML) who take the drug Glivec are alive and well after five years. CML is one of the four most common types of leukaemia. It is a blood cancer in which the white blood cells do not mature and are over-produced. The condition can lead to tumours forming on the bone marrow or lymph nodes and can also increase the risk of strokes and life-threatening infections. Patients take the drug for life. In some it is weeks before real benefits can be measured but other patients report feeling better within a few days. While the drug does not cure the leukaemia, it keeps it under control. The drug costs the health service from £14,000 a year per patient, depending on the strength of the dose, and is recommended for those for whom a bone marrow transplant is not an option. Glivec is also having good results with a rare cancer of the digestive tract known as gist and is being tried with other cancers, including some that attack the prostate, lungs and brain. Glivec is designed to stop the cancer cells from multiplying. It works by blocking or inhibiting signals that instruct the cancers cells to divide and grow. Sufferers normally take one tablet a day for as long as it is shown that they continue to benefit from it. Users of the drug have reported some mild side-effects, including nausea and sometimes diarrhoea. It can also cause leg aches and cramp, rashes and swelling of the face, especially around the eyes. Such side-effects are usually treatable.
06/06/06 - Renewable Energy Polar Station
The International Polar Foundation is planning to begin building an $8 million dollar polar station in 2007. The new research center will be powered by solar and wind energy only, and will support 20 Belgium staff members. The primary focus of the facility will be to study the effects of global warming. (via newtechspy.com)
06/06/06 - Are Gasoline Alternatives Fuel for a Revolution?
Those who study the quest for alternative fuels are split over whether this recent spate of activity will lead to a focused and sustained effort to find new energy sources. They wonder if the forces at play are the start of an alternative-fuel revolution that will ultimately result in lower prices, fewer emissions and less dependence on foreign oil, or just a spasm of interest that will recede once gas prices fall. "If you can put your finger on the one item that has prevented the alternative-fuel system from becoming really large in the United States, it's cheap gasoline," said Phillip J. Lampert, executive director of the National Ethanol Vehicle Coalition. Since the oil crisis of the 1970s, the movement to find alternative energy sources has endured false starts, largely unable to maintain bursts of momentum from periods of public outrage about energy prices. Nevertheless, some experts and those who advocate alternative fuels are hopeful that as gasoline prices cross the $3-a-gallon threshold, a truly coordinated effort for new energy can seriously begin. "We think there's real momentum behind it," said George Douglas, a spokesman for the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Colorado, created in 1974 after the oil crisis. "First of all, we don't expect oil prices to drop in the near future, and second of all, some of the technologies are very close to being cost-effective."
06/06/06 - Documentary - "Who Killed the Electric Car?"
It was among the fastest, most efficient production cars ever built. It ran on electricity, produced no emissions and catapulted American technology to the forefront of the automotive industry. The lucky few who drove it never wanted to give it up. So why did General Motors crush its fleet of EV1 electric vehicles in the Arizona desert? With a jump on the competition thanks to its speed-record-breaking electric concept car, GM launches its EV1 electric vehicle in 1996. It was a revolutionary modern car, requiring no gas, no oil changes, no mufflers, and rare brake maintenance (a billion-dollar industry unto itself). A typical maintenance checkup for the EV1 consisted of replenishing the windshield washer fluid and a tire rotation. But the fanfare surrounding the EV1’s launch disappeared and the cars followed. Was it lack of consumer demand as carmakers claimed, or were other persuasive forces at work? The electric car threatened the status quo. The truth behind its demise resembles the climactic outcome of Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express: multiple suspects, each taking their turn with the knife. WHO KILLED THE ELECTRIC CAR? interviews and investigates automakers, legislators, engineers, consumers and car enthusiasts from Los Angeles to Detroit, to work through motives and alibis, and to piece the complex puzzle together...more info...
06/06/06 - Heavy-Duty Hybrids
Hybrid trucks and buses could significantly cut U.S. fuel consumption, but initial high costs are holding them back. Heavy-duty vehicles are an important target for reducing U.S. dependence on foreign oil because, while they make up less than 10 percent of all the vehicles on the roads, they consume about half the fuel. 800 hybrid public transit buses are operating in U.S. cities, he estimates, and new orders suggest that number could rise to 3,000 in a couple of years. While hybrid buses consume about 20 percent less fuel, according to Van Amburg, fuel consumption in electrical utility trucks can be reduced by 50 percent with hybrid technology, in large part because, rather than idling the engine at a worksite to power the hydraulic lift used by linemen, the system can be run by batteries, which is much more efficient than idling a large engine. Eaton, based in Cleveland, OH, has already built and tested such a truck, and expects to have 24 of them in operation this year.
06/06/06 - LockNotes to encrypt your files
Windows only: LockNote is a handy portable standalone application that encrypts and passwords a single text file. Download the LockNote.exe file (only 296KB) and launch it. Type the text you want to lock up - like passwords, or names and phone numbers - and when you close it, LockNote prompts you to set a password. Great for information you want to keep securely on a thumb drive, laptop, iPod or a shared computer, you can rename copies of LockNote (like locker1.exe, locker2.exe) to encrypt several different notes on the same drive. Clever! LockNote is a free download, Windows only. (via lifehacker.com)
06/06/06 - SteriPen UV Water Purifier
(So it kills bacteria and you drink the dead stuff too? Maybe use in conjunction with the straw pen filter would be better. - JWD)
UV light has long been used to rid drinking water of bacteria and other dangerous elements without the need for chemicals, boiling or other harsh treatments. Although drinking brown bad tasting water is not enjoyable, at least it won’t kill you thanks to the SteriPen. Just gently stir your glass of water with the handheld device for about a minute and your beverage will be disinfected and ready to drink. The UV light device from Magellan costs $280 and kills bacteria and other deadly pathogens with about a minutes worth of stirring using 4AA batteries. (via newtechspy.com)
06/05/06 - The Next Great Gas-Saving Idea
Cars that run on air. Shock absorbers that store energy. Miracle gas additives. What will be the next great gas saving technology? It's hard to determine the veracity of claims about big breakthroughs in technology-such as AFS Trinity Power Corporation's recent patent application for an "Extreme Hybrid" that gets 250 miles to a gallon or Accelerated Composite's three-wheeled parallel hybrid promising more than 330 mpgs. Miracle gas pills, with names such as EnviroMax Plus, BioPeformance, and Ethos Fuel Saver, claim to "modify the fuel's molecular structure, liberating the energy contained within." Vague-sounding ingredients in these pills-bio-organic enzymes? high density-dispersants?-promise to increase gas mileage by 20% on average, and by as much as 35%, while reducing carbon monoxide pollution. Can these additives really put more tiger in your tank? Inventor Denny Hedges has a design patent on what he calls "The Vibranator." All cars produce reciprocating vibration as they move down the road. The Vibranator replaces a shock absorber, and by applying something called Lenz and Faraday's Laws, converts wasted energy to usable alternating current for charging hybrid batteries. Joe Williams has developed a machine the size of a small DVD player that he claims will eliminate nearly 100 percent of a vehicle's emissions. Dubbed the "Hydrogen Generating Module," the device contains a small reservoir of distilled water and other chemicals such as potassium hydroxide. A current is run from the car battery through the liquid. The process of electrolysis creates hydrogen and oxygen gases which are then fed into the engine's intake manifold where they are mixed with gasoline vapors. By adding hydrogen to the combustion chamber, Williams claims that burning the fuel becomes "97 percent efficient." ArvinMeritor is reforming part of the gasoline from the fuel tank into hydrogen, CO, and nitrogen, and mixing this mixture with the air charge entering the engine and improving the emissions and fuel economy of the engine. News of this device indicates a double digit gain in fuel economy and avoiding having to place even more expensive after-treatments components on the exhaust system to meet tougher emission regulations.
06/05/06 - Mysterious night-shining clouds increasing
SpaceWeather.com has a growing photo gallery of noctilucent clouds (NLCs), mysterious clouds that occur at very high altitudes, near the edge of space. Some scientists suggest that they're caused by space dust, others pin them on rocket exhaust or global warming. Noctilucent, meaning "night-shining," clouds are wispy, tendrilous, and often glow acid blue. (Image seen here captured by Paul Evans on Saturday in Northern Ireleand.)
06/05/06 - China’s Military Space Power Growing
China’s escalating expertise in space is also enhancing its competence as a global military force. Along with lofting future radar, ocean surveillance, and high-resolution photoreconnaissance satellites, China’s rise as a space power also includes pursuit of an offensive anti-satellite system. “Acquiring more sophisticated space systems will allow China to expand the reach of its anti-access forces and could serve as a key enabler for regional power projection.” “In the next decade, Beijing most likely will field radar, ocean surveillance, and high-resolution photoreconnaissance satellites. China will eventually deploy advanced imagery, reconnaissance, and Earth resource systems with military applications,” the report states. The success of China’s human spaceflight program to date “required a substantial amount of systems integration and planning, and serves as an indicator of China’s rapid and relatively smooth rise as an emerging space power,” the report concludes. The Pentagon report warns that Beijing “continues to pursue an offensive anti-satellite system,” saying that China can currently destroy or disable satellites only by launching a ballistic missile or space-launch vehicle armed with a nuclear weapon.
06/05/06 - Extracting Energy from the Mass variation Effect - Which Mass? paper
(This is a new paper from Ken Shoulders whose 85 page patent for electron validium charge clusters (EVOs) was the first to claim energy extraction from ZPE. - JWD) When confronted daily with the ability of an EVO to reduce both expressed charge and mass and also faced with the incessant chant or chorus of, E = mc2, one must ask the question of which mass should we be concerned with as it slides over a range of at least several billion. The answer implied is that we must use one and only one single particle to accurately apply the law. Still, considering the incredible profusion of the effect of charge clustering, we should know how to cover the questions this effect raises, as the energy laws are supposedly too fundamental to lightly toss them about. The intended outcome of such a quest is to devise new ways for deriving useful energy from the mass variation effect associated with EVO action. Although I have investigated several such means, I strongly believe I have found neither all nor the best of them. An allied mystery with the mass reduction effect is how the charge tracks the mass reduction so accurately over such an enormous range. At this point, this tracking is measured as having a range of at least a billion to one. This implies something so fundamental as charge and mass being identically the same with the stated difference being only a convenient definition conjured up by previous physicists and not total reality. We are at the gateway of answering these fundamental questions but I suspect any new answers will be drowned out by the orthodoxy of the Church of Past Science. A consensus is not really needed here, as mass will do what mass does, but it would be nice to at least have a new agreement between vanguard science workers. Which mass should we use as we move forward?
06/05/06 - Million Dollar Homepage kid thwarts blackmailers
The kid who started the Million Dollar Homepage got hit by a denial-of-service attack from some hackers who demanded $5,000 (later $50,000) in exchange for letting his site come back up. Instead the kid wapped free advertising to an Internet security company in exchange for protection -- the site's back up and the Feds are investigating the blackmailers.
06/05/06 - Professor claims Global Warming is Brainwashing and a Lie
The only inconvenient truth about global warming, contends Colorado State University's Bill Gray, is that a genuine debate has never actually taken place. Hundreds of scientists, many of them prominent in the field, agree. Gray is perhaps the world's foremost hurricane expert. His Tropical Storm Forecast sets the standard. Yet, his criticism of the global warming "hoax" makes him an outcast. "They've been brainwashing us for 20 years," Gray says. "Starting with the nuclear winter and now with the global warming. This scare will also run its course. In 15-20 years, we'll look back and see what a hoax this was." Gray directs me to a 1975 Newsweek article that whipped up a different fear: a coming ice age. Another highly respected climatologist, Roger Pielke Sr. at the University of Colorado, is also skeptical. Pielke contends there isn't enough intellectual diversity in the debate. He claims a few vocal individuals are quoted "over and over" again, when in fact there are a variety of opinions. Al Gore (not a scientist) has definitely been heard and heard and heard. His documentary, "An Inconvenient Truth," is so important, in fact, that Gore crisscrosses the nation destroying the atmosphere just to tell us about it. "Let's just say a crowd of baby boomers and yuppies have hijacked this thing," Gray says. "It's about politics. Very few people have experience with some real data. I think that there is so much general lack of knowledge on this. I've been at this over 50 years down in the trenches working, thinking and teaching." Gray acknowledges that we've had some warming the past 30 years. "I don't question that," he explains. "And humans might have caused a very slight amount of this warming. Very slight. But this warming trend is not going to keep on going. My belief is that three, four years from now, the globe will start to cool again, as it did from the middle '40s to the middle '70s." Both Gray and Pielke say there are many younger scientists who voice their concerns about global warming hysteria privately but would never jeopardize their careers by speaking up.
06/05/06 - Men Who Can't Play, Drink
"Men who are not confident in their sporting abilities may try and make up for this by drinking excessively." The University of Sussex researcher did in-depth interviews with 31 men age 18-21, concluding that they commonly use one type of typically masculine behavior to compensate for their inability to perform another. The results "may be able to have an impact on the growing levels of anti-social behavior such as binge-drinking, violence and illicit drug-use," de Visser said Sunday. "Young men could be encouraged to develop a competence in a healthy typically male area-such as football-to resist social pressures to engage in unhealthy masculine behaviors."
06/05/06 - Oye! 666 Apocalypse Manana!
June 6th this year will translate to 6-6-6, the Number of the Beast, well-known from that crazy Bible chapter known as 'Revelations'. Excitement is mounting amongst Satan's minions, none more so than advertising executives, who are getting ready to jump on the Anti-Christ bandwagon in order to boost corporate profits and stir up some publicity. Movie execs have already planned to release a remake of the satanic horror film The Omen on the day, a terrifying reminder of why moms-to-be are dreading the day.
06/04/06 - Energy-hungry China warms to DeWar flask type solar water heaters
Solar heaters, relatively low-tech rooftop devices which capture the sun's energy to provide water for baths and washing and are at the forefront of a renewable energy drive. At least 30 million Chinese households now have one and last year the country accounted for around 80 percent of the world market, said Eric Martinot, visiting scholar at Beijing's Tsinghua University. "We are at 15 to 20 percent annual growth and I don't see that slowing down." With technology so efficient they can work at temperatures well below freezing and under cloudy or smog-choked skies, they soon pay for themselves, he says. "Even in winter when the temperature is minus 20, and with this kind of pollution, they can produce hot water," Huang says, gesturing to the city's gray skies. Demand from house-buyers is forcing many builders to include the heaters in new blocks, and a government pledge that all buildings in major cities will be revamped to make them more energy efficient by 2020 should mean further customers. The key to the demand boom, even in the freezing northeast and chilly western deserts, is the vacuum separating the inner tube with its energy-trapping coating from an outer tube. Sunlight travels freely through the glass tubes but the heat it generates is trapped inside the central one where it can be transmitted to water. "The vacuum prevents molecules carrying heat away, as there is no direct contact between inner and outer tube," Huang said. The heaters are also easier to produce than better known electricity-generating panels.
06/04/06 - If the 2003 European heatwave happened in the US...
In 2003 Europe was hit by the most extreme heatwave since meteorological measurements began. Not only were records for max temperature broken but records for highest nighttime temperature, and other aggregate measurements such as the number of consecutive days with very high temperatures. The result of this was over 20 thousand deaths in France and more than 35,000 across Europe. These temperatures were extreme and prolonged. Although climate change cannot be said to cause any one event there has been serious analysis of the heatwave, an event that can actually be spilt into clusters of occurrences. Analysis of this data shows that overall based on past data, which is actually very good in Europe, the event was several standard deviations away from the norm and is only accurately described as a one in a thousand year or greater event.
06/04/06 - New Solutions for World's Energy Woes
Approximately 2 billion of the world's people, nearly one-third of the human population, have no access to electricity. Consequently, they do without many of the amenities that people in the developed world take for granted -- everything from air conditioning and refrigeration to television, indoor lighting, and pumps that supply drinking water. And without electricity to power factory operations or other commercial endeavors, those 2 billion people remain mired in an endless cycle of poverty. "At SESEC, we are exploring ways to combine existing technologies to convert solar radiation to heat; to use that heat to produce steam to run a low-cost, highly efficient turbine; and then to use the power generated by that turbine to run a small electric generator. Individual homes could be equipped with these technologies. So, rather than being connected to a vast power transmission system, which is prohibitively expensive in much of the world, individual homeowners would be able to generate the energy they need." To demonstrate the various technologies, plans are under way to build a small, completely self-sustaining demonstration house in a parking lot outside Krothapalli's office at the FSU Fluid Mechanics Research Laboratory. The 800-square-foot facility, which will include both living space and an office, will be constructed entirely out of "green," or environmentally sensitive, materials, will produce zero greenhouse-gas emissions, and will feature low-energy LED lighting and other innovations. The house's 5-kilowatt (kW) solar energy array will even produce hydrogen fuel to run a specially equipped automobile. A patent for one of his (Krothapalli) technological innovations was approved in 2005, and four others now are under review. With a colleague, Brenton Greska, Krothapalli recently formed an outside business, Sustainable Technology LLC, to help bring some of the energy systems he is developing at FSU to the marketplace.
06/04/06 - Moderate Exercise Reverses Couch-Potato Effects
Physical inactivity can create loads of problems such as heart disease, diabetes and obesity. But the effects can be reversed and even improved with matching amounts of moderate activity, a new study indicates. "When looking at the group as a whole, we found it wasn't the participants with the highest intensity of exercise who accounted for the combined beneficial effects," Robbins said. "That should be reassuring for people, to know they don't have to do a high-intensity workout to get these benefits of exercise." The nearly 2-pound average weight gain of the sedentary participants during the first part of the study points to a long-term concern. "At that rate, it can be assumed that this group of inactive people would gain 20 pounds in five years," Robbins said. "This means this population of sedentary people needed to exercise just to maintain their current weight. However, our earlier studies have shown that people who exercise can derive many of the cardiovascular risk benefits even in the absence of weight loss."
06/04/06 - RFID to track Immigrants
Not satisfied with building a wall along the Mexican border, politicians in D.C. are discussing the idea of implanting immigrants with radio frequency ID chips. Brian Kilmeade, one of the show's hosts, compared the implants to "permanently putting a string on your finger." A string that stretches all the way to Washington D.C. Silverman's chips are currently being used to hold people's medical records. Their most notable guinea pig will be Tommy Thompson, President Bush's former Secretary of Health and Human Services. Americans are already being forced to have their passports implanted with the chips, enabling the government to access your personal information as well as a photograph of you. RFID tags are also used to allow V.I.P. access to nightclubs, keep track of employees and luggage, and are in countless things you buy regularly.
06/04/06 - Humping hill claims need to be studied
(This might lead to something new that could be duplicated if it can be proven and the cause discovered. Like the 'death tree' that kills anyone sleeping under it, turns out it emits a poisonous gas at night to suffocate the sleeper. So too could this hill produce some kind of gas or even energy that facilitated conception. - JWD) A Romanian village has become a tourism hot spot thanks to a 'humping hill' which is said to help childless couples conceive. Corneliu Olar, Mayor of Horea, has even planted more bushes and trees on the hill to make sure lovemaking couples are not disturbed. He said: "The hill is well known for its mystical powers in helping women to have children. You only need to look at our village to know it's true. "Most of the people living in Horea were conceived by their parents on the hill, and now people come here from far and wide in the hope of fulfilling their wish to have children. "It has been a tradition for more than three centuries. Romanian kings have come and gone, but the humping hill has always been there. "People here are used to seeing couples heading up the hill, and we like to be able to help others now by sharing our holy hill with the many visitors we are now getting."
06/03/06 - Online tool to calculate your Energy Usage
The EPA's Energy Star recently launched an online tool to help individuals assess their current energy use and find easy ways to become more efficient at home. The interactive tool uses this cross-section diagram of a single-family house. You can click on any room for a scaled-up image with stars on each of the devices and structural elements in the room where energy efficiency improvements can be implemented. For example, in the living room, close the flue damper tightly on the fireplace to keep hot and cold air from escaping; seal holes around wall outlets with an inexpensive outlet gasket; apply caulking and weather-stripping around doors and windows. The service is a heavy-hitting publicity vehicle for Energy Star, but [and] also a user-friendly, accessible tool for learning about easy ways to save money on energy bills and contribute fewer greenhouse gases to the atmosphere. They also have a comprehensive list of tips, organized by room, where you can locate specific solutions.
06/03/06 - Ultrasonics Used to Boost Sugar Content
A team of Iowa State University scientists has used ultrasonic pre-treatment of corn to increase the release rates of sugars by nearly 30 percent. The results of the laboratory experiment suggest each bushel of corn that goes into an ethanol plant could more efficiently produce ethanol for automobiles. Iowa State Assistant Professor David Grewell says the experiment involved 20-kilohertz sound waves, too high for human hearing, but apparently greatly affecting a corn slurry that's used to produce ethanol. A team of Iowa State researchers has demonstrated that pre-treating milled corn with ultrasonics can break the corn pieces into even finer particles. That exposes more of the corn's starch to the enzymes that convert starch to simple sugars. The discovery has led to a patent application and a one-year provisional patent for immediate commercialization of the technology.
06/03/06 - Anti-mosquito device kills 1200 bugs/night
This ingenius, hulking, $200 electric mosquito-catcher can nuke 1,200 bloodsuckers a night. The trap uses a strip of octenol (to generate a scent that resembles breath), a UV bulb, and flashing LEDs (oscillating frequencies determined to coincide with spectral sensitivities of many mosquitoes). When mosquitoes get close to the trap, the patented airflow system that disperses the attractant sucks the insects inside, where they are collected in a mesh catch bag or a liquid catch pan that is easy and safe to empty. In a USDA suburban test, our trap captured up to 1,200 mosquitoes in a single night and diminished mosquito populations over an entire acre.
06/03/06 - One-Third of U.S. Adults Diabetic or Pre-Diabetic
The number of Americans diagnosed with type 2 diabetes has now topped 19 million, and a new study says a third of adults with the disease don't even know they have it. The researchers found that another 26 percent of adults had "impaired fasting glucose," a precursor to diabetes. "So, if you add that together with the 9.3 percent of people with diabetes, that means that fully one-third of the adult population -- 73 million Americans -- have diabetes or they may be on their way to getting it," said lead researcher Catherine Cowie, director of the diabetes epidemiology program at the U.S. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. The researchers note that about 95 percent of all cases of diabetes in the United States fall under the category of type 2 disease -- a gradual loss of insulin production and sensitivity that's usually linked to overweight and obesity. Diabetes continues to affect blacks and Mexican-Americans about as much as whites, Cowie noted. "In fact, in blacks, diagnosed diabetes rose more significantly between the two surveys than it did for other groups," she said. "In addition, it rose more significantly in men than in women," Cowie added. It's even worse among older Americans. About 22 percent of those over 65 have diabetes, Cowie said. "Combine that with 40 percent of those with impaired fasting glucose, [and] it's affecting 62 percent of the adult population in that age group," she said. There is a huge portion of the population who don't know they have diabetes or who are at risk for diabetes, Cowie said.
06/03/06 - Using Bacteriophages to eat Bacteria
The word phage comes from the Greek "to eat." A phage contains genetic material that gets injected into a virus's host. Whereas "bad" viruses infect healthy cells, phages target specific bacteria that then explode. At Eliava, phages are produced as a liquid that can be drunk or injected intravenously, as pills, or as phage-containing patches for wounds. Bacteriophages are viruses found virtually everywhere-from soil to seawater to your intestines-that kill specific, infection-causing bacteria. In the United States, the drug company Eli Lilly marketed phages for abscesses and respiratory infections. By the 1940s, American scientists stopped working with phages for treatment because they no longer had reason to. Penicillin, discovered by the Scottish bacteriologist Alexander Fleming in 1928, had become widely available thanks to synthetic production and zapped infections without the expertise needed for finicky phages. But now the equation has changed. Many kinds of bacteria have become antibiotic-resistant-prompting a few Western scientists, and patients, to travel to former Soviet Georgia to give bacteriophages for treatment a try. Phages have been used in the former Soviet Union for decades because scientists there had less access to antibiotics than their American and European counterparts did. Phages were a cheap alternative, and in Soviet clinical trials, they repeatedly stopped infections. (So why don't we have these marvels available? MONEY, GREED, CONTROL. - JWD) In their natural state phages are hard to patent, the route by which drug companies lock up future profits. The first company to spend millions of dollars to prove that a particular phage is safe could allow its competitors to capitalize on the results. As important is the difficulty of regulation.
06/03/06 - Defiant gas dealer battling Big Oil Goliath in 'gouging' protest
(This is sad but shows how vested interests can use the law to destroy those who question or dispute their actions. Who needs to use suppression with physical threats when they can manipulate your life? - JWD) Like many Californians these days, Mehdi Shahbazi rails against Big Oil cartels, price gouging and the pain consumers feel at the pump. To some, Shahbazi is on a quixotic campaign of self-destruction. To others, the Iranian immigrant is a David-like character taking on the Goliath of Big Oil in a battle he believes is crucial for middle-class Americans facing record gas prices. Eight months ago, with customers still reeling from post-Hurricane Katrina gas prices, Shahbazi set up a 4-by-4-foot wooden sign at his Marina Shell station. The sign read: ``Consumers' pain is Big Oil's unearned profit! To oppose it see cashier.'' Inside the mini-mart, people were handed a flier accusing oil companies of trying to drive franchisee retailers like himself out of business by selling gas for less at company-owned stations. The companies' long-term goal is to control the market and raise prices even higher, according to Shahbazi, who came to the United States in 1966 and has sold gas for 37 years. Shahbazi's solution: Find out which stations are company-owned and ``stop buying from those stations.'' The personal ramifications of his protest have been enormous, as Shahbazi digs in for the fight of his life. ``I'm homeless, and Shell knows I'm losing at least $600 a day, so they think I will give up,'' said Shahbazi, 63. ``But I won't give up. I will die here if I have to.''
06/03/06 - 10 types of people that disrupt a normal person's way of life
1. People that ignore instructions or rules. The fat guy upstairs that does nothing but talk outside the main door to the building while smoking in front of a sign that says NO SMOKING IN THIS AREA. I could go on and on about this. 2. Politicians. Liars who say or do anything that will get them rich or respected. If you don't know something just say so...if you did something wrong just say so. 3. Rednecks. I don’t care if you’re white, black, Hispanic….you can be a redneck. Why? Because you are the one who doesn’t take care of yourself within society. Take a bath! Brush your teeth. Stop littering! Redneck is a synonym of an incompetent person. 4. Bums. People who don't want to work and expect the rest of us to give them money. 5. Hypocrites. Ahh yes. Do as I say, not as I do. Take for instance a priest or rabbi who is a child molester. 6. Lawsuit Junkies. In 2003, Richard Schick sued his former employer, the Illinois Department of Public Aid. Schick sought $5 million plus $166,700 in back pay for sexual and disability discrimination. In fact, Shick was so stressed by this discrimination that he robbed a convenience store with a shotgun. A jury felt his pain and awarded him the money he was seeking. The decision was then reversed. Unfortunately, the $303,830 he was still awarded isn’t doing him much good during the ten years he’s serving for armed robbery. 7. News Media. Why can't they just report the news that is important to us. I really don't care which celebrity broke up with who. I don't care that Tom Cruise is a faggot. I don't care that Anna Nicole Smith is having a baby. What I do care about is if the economy is taking a dive, if there is a bad storm coming, if terrorists are coming. Just tell me about the important items that may have an effect on the well being of the human race, but don't guess about what is going to happen by asking "experts." An expert is anyway who at least farted in the direction of someone who actually knows something about the subject. 8. Illegal Aliens. If you want to come to this country and live in it, then do it legally. Stop sending money back to your country. Pay taxes and poop just like the rest of the citizens of the United States. 9. Mr. or Ms. Important. The world does not revolve around you. I have to wait in this line too, I am human too, why should you get special treatment. I think they should do away with programs that allow special access for those that attribute more money to the cause. Wake up and realize that there are other people sharing this earth with you. This is usually the person that complains to the people surrounding them and expects us to agree or feel his or her pain. 10. People Who Get Offended. Oh he said Mexican, she said fag. If something offends you that easy then move to the moon. I stick with the principle of sticks and stones may break my bones but words never hurt. You let them hurt. Why? Because you are insecure with yourself.
06/03/06 - Alcohol 'protects old against mental decline'
Moderate alcohol consumption can help older women have slightly higher levels of mental function than non-drinkers, a US study has found. All women participating in the study were over the age of 65. They team found that compared to non-drinkers, women who reported drinking up to two or three drinks per day performed better on a measure of global cognitive function. This included concentration, language, memory and abstract reasoning. Possible mechanisms include that alcohol increases levels of "good" cholesterol and lowers the risk of stroke, that it may decrease the formation of plaque that is associated with Alzheimer's disease and that it may increase the release of brain chemicals that affect learning and memory. Previous studies have also indicated that moderate levels of alcohol intake reduce the risk of dementia and decline in cognitive function.
06/03/06 - Stuck Nut mistaken for Cancer
A 67-year-old man who was warned he might have lung cancer had actually had a cashew nut stuck in his lung for a year and a half. Doctors at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, King's Lynn, Norfolk, were baffled by Derek Kirchen's collapses and bouts of pneumonia. They warned him he might have lung cancer after taking x-rays. A consultant found the nut stuck in his lung, while carrying out an investigation with a miniature camera. A hospital spokesman added: "This does happen from time to time. People choke on nuts and without realising part of it gets stuck in their lung. It causes similar symptoms to pneumonia. "The problem was that because a nut is organic it doesn't show up as a being a foreign body on an x-ray. "When the x-ray came back it is also had similar markings on it that you might expect to see with somebody who has cancer."
06/02/06 - An Alternative to your Alternator
New thermophotovoltaic materials could replace alternators in cars and save fuel. The technology, called thermophotovoltaics, uses gasoline to heat a light-emitting material, in this case tungsten. A photovoltaic cell then converts the light into electricity. The idea has been around since the 1960s, says John Kassakian, MIT electrical engineering and computer science professor. But until now, the light emitters for the photovoltaics produced inefficient and very costly systems. Improvements in the materials used in these latest devices -- possible in part because researchers can modify the material structure at the nanoscale -- are now making much more efficient systems, Kassakian says. According to Kassakian, the system could potentially be a more efficient way to power electrical systems in a vehicle than the current alternator-based one, which wastes energy in two stages: the internal combustion engine converts only about 30 percent of the energy in fuel into movement, and then the alternator is only 50 percent efficient in converting the mechanical energy into electricity. The researchers modified the surface structure of the light emitter, etching into it nano-sized pits to tune the wavelengths of light emitted to precisely those a photovoltaic cell can convert most efficiently into electricity. They further refined the device with the use of filters that allow the desired wavelengths of light to pass through to the photovoltaic cells, but reflect other wavelengths back to the light emitter. The reflected light carries energy that helps keep the emitter hot, reducing the amount of fuel needed. In addition to replacing the alternator with a thermophotovoltaic module, says Kassakian, the technology could be part of an air-conditioning system for vehicles that doesn't require a compressor. Because this would significantly decrease the load on an engine, it could make it possible to turn off the engine when the vehicle stops in traffic and easily restart it.
06/02/06 - 10 Most Stupid Engineering Mistakes
Firestone 500 tires, 1970s - These steel-belted radials allowed water to seep under the tread, which caused the belting to rust and the tread to separate, typically at high speeds. Dozens of deaths later, Firestone blamed consumers, then recalled 10 million tires. Purity Distilling Company tank, 1919 - You gotta keep your molasses somewhere - how about a rickety tank 50 feet tall and 90 feet in diameter in the middle of Boston? The structure was painted brown to hide the leaks. Eventually it burst (possibly exploding from fermentation), sending waves of molasses up to 15 feet high into the city and killing 21.
06/02/06 - Tide machines may be major power sources
The Norwegian firm, Statkraft, has proposed creating underwater tide-harnessing machines to provide up to 3 percent of the European Union's electricity. The floating machines -- about 130 feet long by 50 feet wide -- use tidal water movements to turn submerged turbines, the EU Observer reported Thursday. Statkraft estimates the technology eventually could supply up to 100 terawatts of power for the EU, with Germany, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands already interested in the project. "They are commercially competitive with wind power," the firm's senior advisor, Bjornar Olsen, told reporters. "But unlike wind, tidal movements are constant. The waters only stay still for two to four hours each day." The low visibility tide machines also have a lesser environmental impact compared with the nearly 400 feet high windmills already in operation in the United Kingdom and Norway, the EU Observer said.
06/02/06 - Fungus turns corn fibers into Ethanol
Researchers have demonstrated they have a process that can convert corn fiber -- a byproduct of the wet milling process that produces corn syrup -- into fuel-grade ethanol on a very small scale. With additional research they'd like to at least double the amount of ethanol their process produces. They would like to try it on a larger, pilot scale. And they would like to try it on other byproducts of corn processing. Van Leeuwen said the next step is to see how the process works on distillers dried grains, a byproduct of the dry milling process that's typically used to convert corn kernels into ethanol. The mold produces enzymes that break down corn fiber into the simple sugars that are fermented into ethanol. And that's not an easy thing to do. Pometto said corn fiber -- which, like all lignocellulose, forms the structure of a plant's cell walls -- is very tough stuff. "There's a reason it's very hard to degrade," he said. "It needs to be tough because nature wants to have growing plants. Without growing plants we'd all be dead." The researchers' techniques for working with mold and corn fiber to produce ethanol are now being reviewed for a possible patent. And van Leeuwen thinks their discovery has lots of potential for the ethanol industry. After all, van Leeuwen said, "We're not using harsh chemicals, high temperatures, high pressure or expensive enzymes to do this."
06/02/06 - June 6, 2006: 6 Things You Must Know
(Total weirdness if you have the time or interest in checking out some of this. - JWD) There are at least a dozen credible sources reporting on the strong occult 'signatures' stamped all over major world events recently, implying that events of global import are planned using certain patterns. Oft quoted examples are: * The '777' patterns found in the London bombings on July 7th, 2005; * The '11' patterns found all over the 9/11 attack; and, * The Madrid Train Bombings 911 days after 9/11 on March 11, 2004...and much more at the link. June 6, 2006 would be a good day to choose if one wanted to stamp a planned crisis with an occult signature. But the next question is how does one plan a crisis that spans two days? While one option would be to create two incidents, one for each day, I believe a different approach will be taken. Using international time differences, it just might be possible to stage an event which occurs on 6/6/6 local time, while in New York (the time zone of the 9/11 attack) it is still June 5th, which would be 1,728 days since 9/11.
06/02/06 - Bacteria eats chocolate to produce electricity
Escherichia coli bacteria fed with diluted caramel and nougat waste. The bacteria consumed the sugar and produced hydrogen, which they make with the enzyme hydrogenase, and organic acids. The researchers then used this hydrogen to power a fuel cell, which generated enough electricity to drive a small fan (Biochemical Society Transactions, vol 33, p 76). The process could provide a use for chocolate waste that would otherwise end up in a landfill. What's more, the bacteria's job doesn't have to end once they have finished chomping on the sweet stuff. Mackaskie's team next put the bugs to work on a production line that recovers precious metal from the catalytic converters of old cars.
06/02/06 - Modeling Molecules with Balloons
A group of German science enthusiasts have been experimenting with ballons they are using to model their favorite molecules. Shown here are balloons portraying a graphite lattice. There are many more ballon models on their website in the attached link. Check out the website if you would like to see some novel balloon models. Balloon buckyballs kick ass.
06/02/06 - Tesla Motors raises $40 million (U.S.)
What do ex-eBay billionaire Jeff Skoll, Paypal founder Elon Musk, and Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin have in common? They all want to see electric cars become the vehicles of the future. These four Web pioneers have contributed to a $40 million (U.S.) Series C financing announced yesterday by Tesla Motors, which is aiming to lead the transition from gasoline-fuelled to electric cars. Musk, chairman of Tesla Motors, co-led the financing along with VantagePoint Venture Partners. In addition to Skoll, Brin and Page, institutional investors that contributed include Draper Fisher Jurveston and JP Morgan Bay Area Equity Fund. So what's Tesla's gameplan? Musk says the company has the potential to be one of the great car makers of the 21st century. "The starting point is a high performance sportscar, but the long term vision is to build cars of all kinds, including low cost family vehicles. Tesla is one of those rare opportunities to change the world in a positive way and build a valuable company in the process."
06/02/06 - Ransomware virus's password is cracked, published
This virus swaps files found in the "My Documents" folder on Windows with a single file protected by a 30-digit password. Victims are only told the password if they buy drugs from one of three online pharmacies. The 30-digit password locking the files is "mf2lro8sw03ufvnsq034jfowr18f3cszc20vmw". Using the password should restore all the hijacked files.
06/01/06 - Dynamic Farming
Farmers are turning more and more to technology as dynamic farming spreads across the the Great Plains states. The days of growing wheat every other year or two and leaving the ground bare the rest of the time are a thing of the past in the Great Plains states. Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists are giving farmers more than a dozen crops to choose from each year, and the means to make choices from among more than 100 possible combinations. The ARS scientists have also developed a free CD farmers can insert in their computers to calculate which crops to plant after inputting the latest market prices. Jon Hanson, research leader of the ARS Northern Great Plains Research Laboratory in Mandan, N.D., calls this new approach "dynamic farming." Dynamic farming systems provide a diversified portfolio of crops for farmers in the Northern Great Plains to choose from. Farmers can change crops quickly in response to sudden changes in market conditions, weather or government policy. All of this was made possible by the introduction of no-till and related conservation tillage techniques which leave a cover of unharvested plant parts to slow moisture evaporation from the soil. This means there's enough moisture in the soil to sustain crops just about every year. The combination of conservation tillage and annual rotations gives farmers extra income, higher yields, more stability, fewer pests, more protection against drought, less soil erosion and more water. The order in which crops are grown has to be chosen carefully, considering such factors as the amount of residue a crop leaves, and root depth. The scientists have found that how residue is managed can make a big difference at harvest--10 to 20 extra bushels of corn per acre, in just one example.
06/01/06 - America’s Newest Alternative Fuel: ‘Miracle Manure’
Sky-high gas prices have forced Americans to develop unique ways to fuel their cars. And now, some innovative college students have found a way to convert cow power into horse power. "Biomethane is made from cow manure...[but]...it doesn't smell bad, though." Eric Leonhardt, director of the Vehicle Research Institute at Western Washington University in Bellingham, explained, “We are talking about dairy cows. So they are very well-trained. They go in one spot, and then that material is pumped into a holding tank."
The manure stews in an underground tank for about three weeks. Then workers siphon off the floating methane, make a few adjustments -- and voila. You have fuel that is ready to pump into a car that has been modified to use natural gas. It takes 15 to 20 cows a day to produce enough waste to power a car for about 300 miles, and scientists say it costs a lot less than regular gasoline... "The gas is currently being sold at 1/5th the pump price,." Leonhardt said.
06/01/06 - Silly Inventions
A skipping rope without the rope, a toothbrush with an in-built video game and a wind-powered bicycle. Mock these ideas if you will but they are actual inventions which have been granted patents. They are, however, unlikely to interest even the most desperate venture capitalist. The bike is a standard bike - but with a sail - which is great unless there is a gust when you are waiting at the traffic lights. They are among a host of ridiculous inventions passed by the US Patent Office and featured on patentlysilly.com. Patentlysilly.com creator Daniel Wright, a New York comic, said his favourite was the mouse trap in the shape of a cat, which emits cheese odours. 'What I like is the idea of a mouse caught between opposing instincts - its sworn enemy and its favourite food,' he added. If he is short of a few suggestions for his website, we've unearthed another string of unusual inventions which have all been granted official patents around the world.
06/01/06 - Tracking single molecules through the body
“Even though the possibility of detecting single molecules has been proposed several years ago and several researchers have reported single-molecule sensitivity, all of the studies have relied on indirect evidence; a problem that this new study overcomes. “The extreme sensitivity of the technique could in principle be applied in many different ways. One example could be to trace minute quantities of illegal substances, from drugs to explosives. Many forensic scientists would like to be able to have a technique that can detect extremely tiny amounts of illegal substances, something beyond anything that can be detected reliably and efficiently now. “Another potential use is in biology. By adding dyes to DNA or antibodies, for example, medical researchers may even one day be able to track single molecules as they move through the human body. If achieved, this could be of great benefit in diagnosing and treating diseases.” To detect such minute quantities of molecules, ultra-sensitive spectroscopy is used. Raman Spectroscopy is a technique used to detect minute quantities of molecules, using a laser to scatter light. SERS - in which a rough metal surface is used to enhance the scattering effect - is still under development, and detecting single molecules using this technique is still extremely difficult, says Associate Professor Etchegoin.
06/01/06 - Light Curtain
Liquid crystal molecules are dispersed between two panels of plastic. The curtain is opaque when turned off and becomes translucent when the power is turned on. This thing works by having liquid crystal molecules between two pieces of flexible plastic. When a current is passed through, it becomes opaque, and when the current is off, it's every man for himself. Showers and windows are a few other places where this might be useful. Different colors are also available: white, red, yellow and blue. Available later this year for $267 to $445.
06/01/06 - Patent details for Strawjet Machine
(Provided courtesy of Bob Nelson at Rex Research - JWD) Patent number: US2006022373 - Publication date: 2006-02-02 - Inventor: WARD DAVID (US). Abstract of US2006022373 - An apparatus for producing a cemented product from agricultural waste. The apparatus is comprised of a wheeled, moveable frame that holds a capturer adapted to capture a portion of the agricultural waste product onto the frame, an aligner, mounted on the frame, that is adapted to align the longitudinal agricultural waste products into rows, a binder that is adapted to bind the aligned waste products together, and a finisher that adds a cementatious material to the bound waste product, creating a cemented product.
06/01/06 - Patent details for making Peanut Milk
(Provided courtesy of Bob Nelson at Rex Research - JWD) Process for manufacturing peanut milk - Patent number: GB2151449 - Publication date: 1985-07-24 - Inventor: HUNTER GEORGE L K; CHANG SHIN SHYONG; BRAWLEY TROY GRIFFIN - Applicant: COCA COLA CO. Abstract of GB2151449 - The process comprises partially roasting blanched partially defatted raw peanuts, grinding into a flour, forming a water flour suspension,
extracting protein and homogenizing. In a preferred process, a lightly roasted (Gardner L Color 74) peanut flour is combined with water to form a slurry. The pH of the slurry is adjusted to between 7 and 8.6 and the slurry is then cooked at between 60 and 100 DEG C for between 5-90 minutes. The pH is then readjusted to approximately 7.0, and the slurry is then homogenized and
centrifuged. Nutritious food of improving children's intelligence and protecting vision of children. Abstract of CN1200889 - The present invention relates to an intelligence-improving vision-protecting nutrient food for children, which is made up by using starch, sugar, honey, soya-bean,walnut, peanut, jujube, sesame, chesnut and other natural plants of chrysanthemum flower and phellodendron bark, etc. as raw materials. It richly contains lecithin, linoleic acid, natural vitamins of VC, VA, VR2, VP and several trace elements of selenium, etc. so that it possesses the several health-care functions of preventing and curing child myopia, activating skin cells, promoting normal growth and development of hair, tonifying brain and improving intelligence and equalizing nutrients for human body. Besides, said food is tasty and palatable.
06/01/06 - Patent Protection with a Click
Rome, May 30 - As from Thursday, a simple click will be enough to protect one's invention, through the 'on-line lodging' of patent requests for industrial tools and models, and enterprise logos. The inventor's rights will be valid as of the moment when the Chambers of Commerce reply, through the web, to the patent request sent. The Ministry for Economic Development (MSE) thus makes another step to reduce red tape. The new telematic device will have the same identical effects of the already existing method, with the direct lodging of paper documents, as set by art.147 of law decree n.30 of the 10th Feb 2005 (on industrial property). The system the runs this telematic lodging service is part of an agreement signed by the MSE and UnionCamere to help start the e-government process, giving enterprises and consultants a web tool that can help them spread their UIBM services.
06/01/06 - Siestas good for you
The Spaniards may have been right all along - a siesta after a hearty lunch is natural, new research suggests. Scientists at The University of Manchester have for the first time uncovered how brain cells or 'neurons' that keep us alert become turned off after we eat. "We have pinpointed how glucose - the sugar in food - can stop brain cells from producing signals that keep us awake." "We have identified the pore in the membrane of orexin-producing cells that is responsible for the inhibiting effect of glucose. "This previously unknown mechanism is so sensitive it can detect minute changes in glucose levels - the type that occurs between meals for example. "This may well provide an explanation for after-meal tiredness and why it is difficult to sleep when hungry. "Now we know how glucose stops orexin neurons 'firing', we have a better understanding of what may occur in disorders of sleep and body weight. "This research perhaps sheds light on why our European friends are so fond of their siestas."
06/01/06 - Master Da Vinci’s streamwriting technique
A technique called “Streamwriting” that Leonardo Da Vinci used to solve problems. Here’s how it works: Grab a pen and pad and write a question at the top of the page, like “How can I make an extra $1000 this month and enjoy it?” Then, beneath your question start writing everything that pops into your head. Write related and unrelated thoughts that come to your mind. Keep your pen on paper and do not stop writing to think or get back on track. Your brain knows the problem, so you don’t need to consciously think about it. You need your conscious out of the way.
$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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