03/31/07 - Pond-Powered Biofuels
Using a complex (and still expensive) photosynthetic process, breakthrough innovators have developed biodiesel and ethanol from an unlikely source that can double its output overnight and just might help give alternative energy the bump it needs: little green goo. Colorado's Solix Biofuels tackles the difficult task of harvesting algae the right way with a field of bioreactors that take a kind of painter's dropcloth (inset) to bubble CO through its system.The science is simple: Algae need water, sunlight and carbon dioxide to grow. The oil they produce can then be harvested and converted into biodiesel; the algae’s carbohydrate content can be fermented into ethanol. Both are much cleaner-burning fuels than petroleum-based diesel or gas. The reality is more complex. Trying to grow concentrations of the finicky organism is a bit like trying to balance the water in a fish tank. It’s also expensive. The water needs to be just the right temperature for algae to proliferate, and even then open ponds can become choked with invasive species. Atmospheric levels of CO2 also aren’t high enough to spur exponential growth. Solix addresses these problems by containing the algae in closed “photobioreactors”-triangular chambers made from sheets of polyethylene plastic (similar to a painter’s dropcloth)-and bubbling supplemental carbon dioxide through the system. Eventually, the source of the CO2 will be exhaust from power plants and other industrial processes, providing the added benefit of capturing a potent greenhouse gas before it reaches the atmosphere. Given the right conditions, algae can double its volume overnight. Unlike other biofuel feedstocks, such as soy or corn, it can be harvested day after day. Up to 50 percent of an alga’s body weight is comprised of oil, whereas oil-palm trees-currently the largest producer of oil to make biofuels-yield just about 20 percent of their weight in oil. Across the board, yields are already impressive: Soy produces some 50 gallons of oil per acre per year; canola, 150 gallons; and palm, 650 gallons. But algae is expected to produce 10,000 gallons per acre per year, and eventually even more.
03/31/07 - Is dark energy an illusion?
The quickening pace of our universe's expansion may not be driven by a mysterious force called dark energy after all, but paradoxically, by the collapse of matter in small regions of space. Astronomers were astonished to discover in 1998 that the expansion of the universe is happening at an ever-increasing rate. The mysterious repulsive force responsible for this was dubbed dark energy, though scientists still do not know what it is. Now, physicist Syksy Rasanen of CERN in Geneva, Switzerland, says we might not need dark energy after all. As counter-intuitive as it sounds, the increasing rate of expansion might be due to the collapse of small regions of the universe under gravity, he says.
03/31/07 - Architect claims to solve pyramid secret
A French architect claimed Friday to have uncovered the mystery about how Egypt's Great Pyramid of Khufu was built - with use of a spiral ramp to hoist huge stone blocks into place. The construction of the Great Pyramid 4,500 years ago by Khufu, a ruler also known as Cheops, has long befuddled scientists as to how its 3 million stone blocks weighing 2.5 tons each were lifted into place. Houdin said he had taken into account the copper and stone tools available at the time, the granite and limestone blocks, the location of the pyramid and the strength and knowledge of the workers. According to his theory - shown in a computer model available at http://www.3ds.com/khufu - the builders put up an outer ramp for the first 140 feet, then constructed an inner ramp in a corkscrew shape to complete the 450-foot structure. Houdin also postulated that King's Chamber was hoisted into place through a system of counterweights.
03/31/07 - The Farce that is Alternative Energy
Solar, wind, ethanol, hybrid cars…none of them is going to be our savior when the oil music stops playing. You’re wondering why? Efficiency, that’s why--energy in vs. energy out. To oil’s benefit, it took less energy to get for the energy it gave. Even at $40/barrel, it was the cheapest source of energy, with the most output, per barrel (or even BTU). Now that cheap source is destined to come to a thin trickle, if not a screeching halt. What do we have as replacements? Solar panels, made from petroleum, only provide us with about 10% of our current energy needs, and we’d have to line I-5 in California with solar panels just to make 6 megawatts of power (the standard used in today’s electric generation plants)-the golden rule used to measure the electric needs of an average U.S. city. Six megawatts equals ONE power plant. It takes 12 solar panels working constantly just to run 1 refrigerator, and we don’t live in the land of the midnight sun.
03/31/07 - Video: Army Flying Saucer
The U.S. Army would like to have a fleet of robotic flying saucers -- and it's given a British company a contract to try to build some UFO-like prototypes. "The six-month contract is aimed at demonstrating the [machine's] ability to hover close to its control-ground station, providing a surveillance capability for convoys, security force bases and other roles," reports Defense News. “Because it has no exposed rotating parts, it can be flown through doorways and windows,” said Geoff Hatton, the technical director of Peterborough, England-based GFS Projects. “We have taken science fiction and turned it into science fact.” The British government has also kicked in some money to build the battery-powered saucers, versions of which have been built and flight-tested that are nearly four feet in diameter. The machine relies on the so-called "Coanda Effect," named after the Romanian aeronautics pioneer Henri Coanda. In the 1930s, he observed that the flow of air will follow a curved surface, rather than just continue in a straight line. That led engineers to increase the lift -- the vertical motion -- of most aircraft, which are slightly curved. But it's also inspired more than a few tinkerers to try to build a completely curved plane -- an honest-to-God flying saucer. In the 1940s, the U.S. Navy developed the Flying Flapjack, a Frisbee-looking fighter plane that could take off and land like a helicopter. By the mid-50's, the Air Force was worked on a jet-powered saucer, the Avrocar. But the service could never get it stable more than a few feet off the ground. More recently, from 1992 to 1998, the Navy experimented with a set of unmanned, 250-pound, six-foot-diameter flying saucers. In 2002, Norweigan researchers showed off plans for a circular flying robot "inspired at least partly by the design of Star Trek's USS Enterprise," New Scientist noted. A team of Russian engineers, under a Navy contract, worked for a while on a Coanda-powered, pita-shaped, stubby-winged drone. Last year, the Air Force tapped a Massachusetts firm to build a set of heavily-armed "frisbee-UAVs," or unmanned aerial vehicles. The "flight duration and payload are still limited," on GFS' saucer, the company notes. Right now, the firm "is now focused on optimising fan, motors and canopy specifications, with a view to having a commercially solid range of capabilities by 2008. Applications could range from "close quarter surveillance and intelligence gathering" to "shark watch" and "toy." In the meantime, the company has applied for patents on everything from "craft having aerofoil surface for controlling its spin" to "craft having flow-producing rotor and gyroscopic stability." And GFS has inspired a whole community of saucer-builders, at least one of which has gone through some not-inconsiderable flight testing. Here's some footage from one of those experiments.
03/30/07 - Reverse Osmosis Sanitation System - Cleaning poison water
THREE students have come up with an idea that could help save the lives of 1.2 billion poverty-stricken people. The brainy trio have designed a lightweight barrel on wheels that purifies water as it is pushed along, cleaning it to such an extent it could then be bottled and sold in the UK. "The figures given by the charity were staggering and we just couldn't get our heads round the fact that 10,000 people die every day because they don't have access to a clean water supply. "Then as we were sitting chatting in a cafe, we had the idea of making a barrel on wheels that could purify the water as it was being pushed back home. Red Button's water purifier, or Reverse Osmosis Sanitation System (ROSS) to give its proper name, will mean a family of four in poverty-stricken areas such as sub-Sahara Africa and Bangladesh will be able to collect enough water for a day's drinking, cooking, cleaning, washing and even a small amount of farming in just one trip to their nearest water source. At the moment, many African families need to make three 12-kilometre round trips to their nearest clean water well. This means children are often kept back from school and parents are stopped from working in order to make the timeconsuming but vital trips. Nicky, 23, said: "Clean water is the most basic thing any of us need to stay alive. "Having a ROSS would mean a family could use the nearest water source and free up the time normally spent trekking to wells for education and work. "We are aware that it is not a long-term solution but it could be used as an instant fix in areas where any kind of infrastructure is still five or 10 years away from being put in place. "They are so durable they could even be dropped by plane into remote areas to be used instantly by families on the ground." Nicky added: "We are also looking into the possibility of teaching local people how to make the barrels themselves from old bicycle parts and plastic containers." "That way, all we would do is supply the inner workings while, hopefully, also give the local economy a boost." The purifier would also make a huge difference to people who don't have any access to clean water wells. The simple filter device cleans even the filthiest of water of all bacteria, parasites and viruses making it completely safe to drink and use. "Having clean water makes a difference in so many other ways as well. It is, for example, vital for cleaning wounds properly. Farm produce also benefits from being irrigated with pure water." - Ross website
03/30/07 - Irrational Public Radio - Hilarious!
"We love public radio. We love NPR, PRI, & MPR. We are fans of All Things Considered, Morning Edition, Car Talk, This American Life, Fresh Air, and Prarie Home Companion. We like the commentaries, the features, the independent member station programs. We love them all dearly. But we also think they're begging to be made fun of. So here we are." Check out the episode guide.
03/30/07 - Dept. of Energy Rejects Corn Fuel Future
"The United States' Department of Energy is stating that corn based fuel is not the future. From the article, "I'm not going to predict what the price of corn is going to do, but I will tell you the future of biofuels is not based on corn," U.S. Deputy Energy Secretary Clay Sell said in an interview. Output of U.S. ethanol, which is mostly made from corn, is expected to jump in 2007 from 5.6 billion gallons per year to 8 billion gpy, as nearly 80 bio-refineries sprout up. In related news, Fidel Castro is blasting the production of corn fuel as a blatant waste of food that would otherwise feed 3 billion people who will die of hunger."
03/30/07 - LG Electronics launches first steam washing machine
LG has successfully incorporated the eco-friendly steam technology used to clean clothes with less water and energy, while preventing shrinkage and extending the life cycle of the garment. The newest offering also features the Refresh Course process, which allows consumers to deal with wrinkles without ironing. The LG Steam Washing Machine features the dual spray system, which sprays steam on the laundry for 40 minutes to improve washing performance and help rid it of harmful germs. According to tests conducted by accredited testing, inspection & research institute, LG's newest offering improves washing performance by 21% over the company's conventional drum washing machines. Whereas traditional high heat washing processes waste energy in heating up the water and the chamber, the LG Steam Washing Machine utilizes steam for the same result with just half the energy. It also reduces water usage by 27%. Further, the unit utilizes steam technology to clean its interior. Compared to traditional drum washing processes, the technology reduces the time needed dramatically.
03/30/07 - Watch and Learn
SuTree is a knowledge community. We nurture the ultimate tree of knowledge: the world's largest index & library of free video/audio lessons, tutorials, lectures & how-to's. Our content is handpicked by our users and then examined by our team/community.
03/30/07 - Goldfish live in a deep-fat fryer
A Japanese restaurant has combined a deep-fat fryer with a functional goldfish tank -- the boiling oil floats on the surface of the cool water, and the fish get to eat all the crumbs of batter that dribble down. Because oil floats on water, despite the massive heat (163 degrees Celsius) the goldfish simply stay away from the surface and all is well. They eat the crumbs of croquettes and other fried foods that fall to the bottom, and can live in there for 5-10 years as they happily clean away, ignorant to the fact that certain death awaits any potential escapees. (via boingboing.net)
03/30/07 - Imagine a World Without Ethics
Why do we behave ethically? Just think what life would be like if everyone did what they wanted, without regard for consequences. At the end of every talk, I ask the group, "Why should we be ethical?" Over the years, I've heard a wide range of responses, including: • To sleep better at night. • To be able to look myself in the mirror. • To be a good role model to my children. • It's the easiest way to live. • Without ethics, life would be pure chaos. • It's the right thing to do. One of the most creative answers came a few weeks ago when I was speaking to a group of human-resources managers in Cleveland: We're all going to live forever. The question is where! The answers people give are thoughtful, sincere, and often inspirational. In response to this chorus of naysayers, I propose the following Code of Ethics for the 21st century: 1. The most important thing in life is to get exactly what you want, whenever you want, and by any means necessary. Thus, you have the absolute right to do whatever you have to do to satisfy whatever desire, craving, or wish you have. 2. Tell the truth at all times, unless it's to your advantage to lie, deceive, or tell a partial truth. 3. Never take responsibility for anything. That way, you never have to worry that you may have done the wrong thing. Blame the misfortunes of the world, and in your own life, on the poor judgment of other people. 4. Keep your promises, unless something better comes along. 5. Kindness is for wimps. Let your true feelings show, no matter how unpleasant they may be. 6. Show care and compassion for your fellow human beings, unless they've hurt you. In that case, all bets are off. 7. Have little or no regard for how your actions affect other people. It's their problem, not yours, if they're offended or harmed by what you say or do. 8. Never, ever cheat, unless you can get away with it. 9. Do not, under any circumstance, report wrongdoings you observe. Don't get involved. It's none of your business. 10. Always follow the New Golden Rule: "Do unto others before they do unto you." For those who criticize the subject of this column, this code might seem like the perfect antidote: Think about yourself, and only about yourself, and you will be fine.
03/30/07 - Soil May Counteract Buckyball Danger
The teeny, tiny carbon particles known as buckyballs did not harm healthy bacteria living in soil samples in a recent test. The result contrasts with prior studies in which buckyballs killed bacteria in lab dishes, suggesting that components ofordinary soil may counteract the potential dangers of some nanoparticles. "There was a bit of a fear it was going to have a major negative effect on soil," says environmental microbiologist Ronald Turco of Purdue University in West Lafayette, Ind., who led the study. He says there are still many other nanoparticles to evaluate, however, including flecks of silver and other metals as well as buckyballs' carbon cousins, nanotubes, which are likely to behave in other ways.
03/30/07 - Songslide: Pick your price for Independent Music
After performing and recording independent music for years, we realized something very interesting. Every time we let our fans choose the prices they paid for our shows and CDs, we always made more money. People who wanted to pay more, paid more. And people who didn’t want to pay more were still able to contribute at lower prices. It was good for everyone. The fans were able to express how much they liked the music by showing their support in the most meaningful way. And we walked away with more money, which meant we had a better chance to continue making the music our fans loved. But the biggest thing was, it created such a great feeling between us and our fans. People really liked being in control of what they paid for our music. And we really liked giving them that control. After all, different songs have drastically different value to different people. So why not let everyone express that value when they pay for music? We started SongSlide because we believe there is a huge well of untapped generosity out there in the world of independent music. We believe that when fans are given the choice to support their favorite artists by paying more for their music, they will pay more. Why? Because it feels great to support the musicians you love. And because fans know it will make a difference to the artists.
03/30/07 - TeamViewer Remote Control of any PC on the Net - FREE
TeamViewer Desktop with wings - Simple, Fast and Secure Desktop Sharing. Desktop sharing has never been easier: With TeamViewer you will be able to connect to the desktop of a partner anywhere on the Internet. TeamViewer also works in the other direction: Show your own desktop to a partner over the Internet and demonstrate your own software, solutions and presentations. * Remote Control without Installation. With TeamViewer you can remotely control any PC anywhere on the Internet. No installation is required, just run the application on both sides and connect - even through tight firewalls. * Remote Presentation of Products, Solutions and Services. The second TeamViewer mode allows you to present your desktop to a partner. Show your demos, products and presentations over the Internet within seconds - live from your screen.
03/30/07 - Smokers take more sick leaves than non-smokers
Two separate studies have revealed that when compared with non-smoking colleagues, smokers’ performance at their work place is worse, and they take 8 days of additional sick leave annually. In one study, an analysis of the career progression of almost 5,500 women entering the US Navy over a period of 12 months between 1996 and 1997 revealed that compared with non-smokers, daily smokers were less likely to enlist for eight years, and they were significantly more likely to leave before they had served their full term. Non-smokers achieved the longest period of service; daily smokers achieved the shortest. Significantly fewer regular smokers re-enlisted. Regular smokers were significantly more likely than non-smokers to be discharged for medical reasons, bad behaviour, misconduct, including drug misuse, and personality disorders. On an average, non-smokers were paid significantly more than daily smokers, even after taking account of educational attainment and time in service. The performance of those who had smoked in the past or were occasional smokers typically fell somewhere in between that of people who had never smoked and daily smokers. “Cigarette smoking might simply be a ‘marker’ for other underlying factors, such as non-conformity and high risk taking, that contribute to poorer performance in the military,” the authors explained. Another study by a team analysed registry data on sickness absence among more than 14,000 workers in Sweden and revealed that non-smokers took the fewest days off sick; smokers took the most. Across the whole sample, the average number of days taken as sick leave was 25. But smokers took almost 11 extra days off sick compared with their non-smoking colleagues, equal to 43% of all sick leave taken every year among the sample, say the authors. There was little difference in the number of additional days taken as sick leave between male and female workers.
03/30/07 - Mercury in energy-saving bulbs worries scientists
The newer energy-efficient kinds contain tiny amounts of mercury, the hard part is getting rid of them when they burn out. Mercury is poisonous, but it's also a necessary part of most compact fluorescent bulbs, the kind that environmentalists and some governments are pushing as a way to cut energy use. With an estimated 150 million CFLs sold in the United States in 2006 and with Wal-Mart alone hoping to sell 100 million this year, some scientists and environmentalists are worried that most are ending up in garbage dumps. Mercury is probably best-known for its effects on the nervous system. The Mad Hatter in the classic children's book ”Alice in Wonderland” was based on 19th-century hat makers who were continually exposed to the toxin. Mercury can also damage the kidneys and liver, and in sufficient quantities can cause death. Some of the mercury emitted from landfills is in the form of vaprous methyl-mercury, which can get into the food chain more readily than inorganic elemental mercury released directly from a broken bulb or even coal-fired power plants, according to government scientist Steve Lindberg. The mercury content in the average CFL - now about 5 milligrams - would fit on the tip of a ballpoint pen, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and manufacturers have committed to cap the amount in most CFLs to 5 milligrams or 6 milligrams per bulb. The majority of Philips Lighting's bulbs contain less than 3 milligrams, and some have as little as 1.23 milligrams, said spokesman Steve Goldmacher.
03/30/07 - Mad Hatter Day October 6th
MadHatterDay is a holiday in October. It fills the need for a second crazy day in the year, almost exactly half a year from April Fools' Day. The real spirit of MadHatterDay is turnabout: The nonsense we usually have to pretend is sane can be called madness for one day in the year; the superficially crazy things that really make sense can be called sane on MadHatterDay. MadHatterDay is 10/6. The date was chosen from the illustrations by John Tenniel in Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, wherein the Mad Hatter is always seen wearing a hat bearing a slip of paper with the notation "In this style 10/6". MadHatterDay began in Boulder, CO, in 1986, among some computer folk who had nothing better to do. It was immediately recognized as valuable because they caused less damage than if they'd been doing their jobs. Your world is crazier than you think: * We travel around by taking the juice from hundred-million-year-old rotten dinosaur food and exploding it in a metal can. * A "sports fanatic" is not someone who participates in sports, but someone who sits indoors on a beautiful day, drinking beer while yelling at the picture on a little box. (Throw the ultimate football party: Forget the TV; just sit around eating and drinking with friends.) * As much as we say we like to "get away from it all", the more successful we are, the more we take it all with us when we go. (Take a vacation with all the comforts of home: Just stay home!) * We're so well-fed that we're getting food with intentionally reduced nutritional content--so we can take the trouble to eat without getting the benefit of doing so. (Enjoy the ultimate in fast-diet-food: Skip lunch.) * We've saved so much gift-giving for the Christmas season that it has entirely unbalanced the flow of cash and consumer goods through the year. So merchants decided to start the season early to have something to do the rest of the year. (There's now only one major gift-giving holiday -- but it lasts for five months. Surprise someone with a MadHatterDay present.)
03/30/07 - Climate science was doctored
THE Bush administration diluted scientific evidence of global warming, one of its former high-ranking officials has admitted. Philip Cooney, an oil industry lobbyist now working for Exxon Mobil, conceded during a congressional hearing yesterday that while he was chief of staff of the White House Council on Environmental Quality he watered down reports on the adverse effects of man-made emissions on the planet's climate. "My sole loyalty was to the President and advancing the policies of his administration," Mr Cooney told the house government reform committee. Documents released by Democrats yesterday revealed that in 2003 Bush administration officials made at least 181 changes to a plan to deal with climate change that were aimed at playing down the scientific consensus on global warming. There were another 113 changes that made less of the human causes of climate change, and even changes made to herald potential benefits to higher temperatures. The Environmental Protection Agency was so against Mr Cooney's alterations - saying they were "poorly representing the science" - that it chose to leave the entire section on climate control out of its 2003 State of the Environment report. Committee chairman Henry Waxman said Mr Cooney's testimony was proof that there was a "concerted White House effort to inject uncertainty into the climate debate. It would be a serious abuse if senior White House officials deliberately tried to defuse calls for action by ensuring that the public heard a distorted message about the risks of climate change," Mr Waxman said. "Scientific press releases were going to the White House for editing," he said. "It's very unfortunate that we developed this politicisation of science. The public relations office should be staffed by expert appointees. Otherwise they become offices of propaganda."
03/29/07 - Video - 'The Great Global Warming Swindle' Hits YouTube
Director Martin Durkin's 75-minute production combines interviews with distinguished scientists, a sober narrative, and damning graphs and statistics to challenge the core claims of global warming theory. The film also alleges that government funding for climate change research is perverting science and fueling a political agenda of massive state intervention in local economies. The fierce response to the film suggests it has struck a nerve not only with establishment opinion, but also with an audience weary of being hectored by media elites and environmental activists. "A detailed look at recent climate change reveals that the temperature rose prior to 1940," explains paleoclimatologist Ian Clark, "but unexpectedly dropped in the post-war economic boom, when carbon dioxide emissions rose dramatically." Just the opposite, in other words, of what global warming theory predicts. The film notes that much more carbon dioxide is produced by natural means than by industrial emissions: Volcanic emissions, carbon dioxide from animals, bacteria, decaying vegetation, and the oceans "outweigh our own production several times over." Durkin's team of climatologists and astrophysicists point to evidence suggesting that as radiation from the sun varies--measured, for example, by sun-spot activity--the earth tends to heat up or cool down. "Solar activity," the film alleges, "very precisely matches the plot of temperature change over the last 100 years." A heliocentric theory for climate change? The documentary has sent scientific authorities and activists into attack mode. The counter-charges mostly evade the issues raised by Durkin's film: that humans produce miniscule amounts of carbon emissions; that carbon samples from polar ice sheets contradict global warming predictions; and that solar activity corresponds closely to temperature change. Moreover, some of the solutions--insisting on solar energy for developing nations, switching to low-wattage light bulbs--appear ludicrous. - View It (8 parts)
03/29/07 - Chinese Biofuels Expansion Threatens Ecological Balance
According to the agreement, signed by China's State Forestry Administration (SFA) and the oil company PetroChina in January, the parties will join efforts in developing two Jatropha curcas plantation bases in Yunnan and Sichuan provinces, with biofuel production capacities of 10,000-30,000 tons each and a combined area of more than 40,000 hectares, according to China Green Times. Jatropha, a hardy oilseed bush with seeds containing over 30 percent oil, is regarded as an ideal raw material for biodiesel production. The Chinese government has since embraced additional biofuels expansion. On February 7, an SFA spokesman told the press that the country was ready to devote more than 13 million hectares of forestlands to biofuels production, Xinhua News Agency reported. And several local governments have embarked on or are planning ambitious long-term oilseed plantation projects. According to blueprints from the Yunnan Provincial Forestry Department, the province will construct 1.27 million hectares of biofuels plantations and aims to become China's biggest biofuels base by 2015, achieving an annual production capacity of 4 million tons of ethanol and 600,000 tons of biodiesel. Forty counties in the province have begun to develop biofuels plantations. Ever-rising demand to fuel the country's motor vehicle fleet is driving these developments. A recent study by the National Bureau of Statistics reports that private vehicle ownership in China reached 29.25 million by the end of 2006, a 23.7 percent increase over 2005. Blessed with a favorable geographic location and unique landscapes, natural forests in southwestern China have long been a paradise for flora and fauna, home to more than 6,000 plant species and over 1,000 animal species. Nibbled away by plantations of jatropha and other biofuels plantations, the future of those species appears startling bleak.
03/29/07 - Spaceport America Takes Off
"Spaceport America, being built north of Las Cruces, New Mexico, is finally becoming a reality and is set to become the world's first commercial spaceport. Governor Bill Richardson recently secured 33 million dollars from the state legislature for the final design, and a proposed 0.25% sales tax increase in Dona Ana County, where the facility is to be constructed, is expected to bring an additional 6.5 million dollars per year (if approved by voters next week). Richard Branson, the head of upstart Virgin Galactic, on Monday agreed to lease the facility for 27.5 million dollars over twenty years. If all continues to go as planned, SpaceShipTwo will make its first suborbital joy ride in two to three years."
03/29/07 - US No Longer Technology King
According to a recent report from the World Economic Forum the US has lost the leading spot for technology innovation. The new reigning champ is now apparently Denmark with other Nordic neighbors Sweden, Finland and Norway all claiming top spots as well. "Countries were judged on technological advancements in general business, the infrastructure available and the extent to which government policy creates a framework necessary for economic development and increased competitiveness."
03/29/07 - Hydrogen cars offer no real answer to global warming
The reason hydrogen-powered cars would produce more carbon dioxide emissions than regular cars starts with the fact that it takes energy to create hydrogen. One way to produce hydrogen is to extract it directly from fossil fuels; indeed, a 2004 National Academy of Sciences study predicted that fossil fuels would be the main source of hydrogen for "several decades." The other way is to split water molecules using electricity. Naturally, BMW talks up this approach, envisioning electricity that would ultimately be supplied by renewable sources. BMW brochures feature the Hydrogen 7 parked in front of wind turbines and shiny photovoltaic arrays. But renewable sources furnish only 2 percent of the world's electricity (not counting hydropower's 16 percent). Coal, by contrast, supplies 39 percent--and is the worst emitter of carbon dioxide, watt for watt. Clearly, a great use for renewable power is to replace coal power. But is it worthwhile to divert even a small part of it to the task of manufacturing hydrogen? According to Romm's analysis, the math for hydrogen cars simply doesn't work out. Burning coal to generate one megawatt-hour of electricity produces about 2,100 pounds of carbon dioxide. It follows that one megawatt-hour of renewable power can avert those emissions. Using that electricity to make hydrogen would yield enough fuel for a fuel-cell car to travel about 1,000 miles, Romm says. But driving those 1,000 miles in a gasoline-powered car that gets 40 miles per gallon would produce just 485 pounds of carbon dioxide. In this sense, Romm says, a vehicle powered by hydrogen fuel cells would indirectly create four times the carbon dioxide emissions of today's most efficient gasoline cars.
03/29/07 - Pulsing light could suppress Epilepsy and Parkinson's
Epilepsy and Parkinson's disease often must be treated by removing neurons that fire incorrectly. The new MIT research could lead to the development of optical brain prosthetics to control neurons, eliminating the need for irreversible surgery. The work takes advantage of a gene called halorhodopsin found in a bacterium that grows in extremely salty water, such as the Great Salt Lake in Utah. In the bacterium, Natronomas pharaonis, the gene codes for a protein that serves as a light-activated chloride pump, which helps the bacterium make energy. When neurons are engineered to express the halorhodopsin gene, the researchers can inhibit their activity by shining yellow light on them. Light activates the chloride pumps, which drive chloride ions into the neurons, lowering their voltage and silencing their firing. That inhibitory effect may be extremely useful in dealing with diseases caused by out-of-control neuron firing, said Boyden. "In such diseases, inhibition is more direct than excitation, because you can shut down neural circuits that are behaving erratically," he said. Many epilepsy patients have implanted electrodes that periodically give their brains an electric jolt, acting as a defibrillator to shut down overactive neurons. This new research opens up the possibility of an optical implant that could do the same thing, using light instead of electricity. The Media Lab neuroengineering group plans to start studying such devies in transgenic mice this year.
03/29/07 - Power plug ID labels
Stick one of these ID Pilot Wire Identification Labels on each plug. Each sticker has a drawing of each kind of gadget you've got (with a number, too, so for Monitor #1 and Monitor #2). Packages come in the "Office," "Household" and "Electronics" themes along with appropriate gadget labels. Sure you could make your own boring text labels that wrap around the plug (so the monitor plug reads "ONIT"), but this $6 investment seems like the finishing touch to your perfect cord management solution.
03/29/07 - San Francisco to ban plastic grocery bags
San Francisco's Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday to become the first U.S. city to ban plastic bags from large supermarkets to help promote recycling. Under the legislation, beginning in six months large supermarkets and drugstores will not be allowed to offer plastic bags made from petroleum products.
03/29/07 - Why an ebook reader won't displace books
First of all, if overlooks the point that publishers don't manufacture ebook readers; the consumer electronics industry does. And the consumer electronics industry will not cut off its own nose to spite its face by producing an ebook reader for $20, if it can produce one with extra bells and whistles that sells for $350. We've had the tech for a $20 (or $50, anyway) ebook reader for a decade; it would resemble a grey-scale palm pilot, albeit without even the PDA functionality. But the parts are dirt cheap these days! If a manufacturer thought they could sell the beast, they'd be churning them out by the bucketload - and it's perfectly possible to read ebooks on a 160x160 green screen. Secondly, and more devastatingly for the sky-is-falling promoters of the "pirate ebooks will doom the publishing industry" theory, until ebook readers cost no more than a hardback, 90% of readers will ignore them. We might see such a device (at $200) take off in the book club market. Imagine you join the e-book club. Your first sign-up gets you an ebook reader loaded with five titles for $20. Then you have to buy a book a month for the next year before you can leave, and you're paying $20 a pop. After a year you've got 17 novels and an ebook reader, and you're out $240 for a $200 reader. Most abook-clubbable people will stay in (they're set up for the club and they've already got a small bookshelf on their reader) and over the next year the club can make the profits to pay for that first year's loss-leader. But 80% of readers don't do book clubs.
03/29/07 - Greaseball Challenge Race uses Biofuel
The first ever Greaseball Challenge charity car rally will take place in April when five teams will drive from the U.S. to Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama in under four weeks promoting biofuels and green adventure travel. Designed to show that you can use locally-available fuels as viable alternatives to petroleum fuels, the participating Greaseballers are out to have a good time and promote a great cause. The rules are simple: * Teams must acquire a diesel vehicle on a shoestring budget (under $200) by resourcefulness, sponsorship or mechanical ingenuity. * Teams are on their own! (i.e. unsupported for the duration of the rally). * Vehicles are powered using alternative fuels - biodiesel, vegetable oil, waste grease, or any renewable fuel source. * All vehicles are donated in the destination countries to benefit local environmental projects. The 2007 Challenge is a pilot run with plans to expand the event in 2008 to include 100+ teams participating in cars, buses, and trucks. This time around though, teams will be driving diesel vehicles including two vintage Mercedes and a 72-seater school bus, running on biodiesel, waste grease and vegetable oil sourced from biodiesel producers, diners, fast-food outlets, markets, factories and farmers. Along the way, teams will be stopping by biofuel projects to meet biofuels producers, distributors, farmers, community cooperatives, entrepreneurs and NGOs actively working in this field. At the end of the run, all the vehicles and funds raised will be donated to biofuel-related projects in the destination country.
03/28/07 - Green Race Car Virtually Grown from Seed
University of Warwick WMG (innovative industry solutions provider) researchers managed to make an environment-friendly race car. Eco One runs on bio-fuels and bio-lubricants, has tyres made of potatoes and brake pads made of cashew nut shells. The car can run with a speed up to 150mph (241km/h) and will be shown at the Sexy Green Car Show (Eden Project in Cornwall). Ben Wood the project manager said they aim to make a race car that is 95% biodegradable or recyclable mentioning that all the plastic parts can be made from plants and steel for the chassis is recyclable. / "Almost everything on the car can be made out of biodegradable or recyclable materials. "All the plastic components can be made from plants and, although the chassis has to be made from steel for strength, steel is a very recyclable material. "We already have the shell, brake pads, fuel and tyres sorted. "My aim is to end up with a race car that's 95 per cent biodegradable or recyclable.
03/28/07 - Tecumseh's Curse
The story of the so-called Tecumseh curse, although known in the world, is part of the American culture and is taught in schools in history classes. How else to explain the horrifying sequence of seven American presidents who did not live to see the end of their mandates in the strict periods of 20 years. Death to the elected on zero year. According to folklore, the curse also known as the Tippecanoe Curse, the President Curse or the Curse of the Zero Year arose after the victory over American Indians in the battle of Tippecanoe in 1811. The famous Indian chief Tecumseh and his army was then defeated by the Americans led by General William Henry Harrison, a future presidential candidate. Tecumseh then cursed the American people. According to another version, his brother Tenskwatawa, also known as The Prophet, made the curse. Whoever passed the curse, it went like this: Harrison will die, I tell you. After his every big chief (meaning U.S. presidents) elected in the space of 20 years on the year ending with a zero will die during his term. And each time they die let them remember my people. Since U.S. presidential elections take place every four years, every 20 years an election takes place on the year ending with a zero. To confirm that this was not a fluke, 20 years had to go by and the election for a new president. It was Abraham Lincoln, elected for the first time in 1860. At the beginning of his first mandate he was killed by southern sympathiser John Wilkes Booth. James Garfield was elected in 1880 and lived through only four months of his term. He was shot dead by the mentally unstable Charles J. Guiteau. William McKinley was elected in 1900 for his second term as president. After a year and a half he was killed by Leon F. Czolgosz who claimed to be the antichrist. He confessed to the murder, saying that McKinley was the “enemy of the people”. After World War II the Americans were tired of Wilson and in 1920 elections voted for his total opposite, the decisive Warren G. Harding. He is considered one of the worst American presidents. During his tour Travels to Understand People of America he was struck by a heart attack in San Francisco. He died in his room at the Palace Hotel. One of the most popular American presidents who was elected as many as four times was Franklin Delano Roosevelt. In 1940 he was elected the third time. He died from a brain aneurism soon after he was elected a president the fourth time. Since he was elected as president in the zero year, 1940, his death is also considered to be part of the Tecumseh curse. The youngest American president John F. Kennedy became president in 1960 in the narrowest presidential race to date. On November 22 1963 he was shot in Dallas. Lee Harvey Oswald was accused of the assassination by the Warren Commission. Many still believe that Oswald was just a scapegoat for one of the most famous conspiracies in the 20th century. The first president who might have broken the curse was Ronald Reagan, elected in 1980. But, opinions about this case differ. John Hinckley shot him 69 days after he took up office. The wound was severe and doctors said it was touch-and-go. Many say credit for this went to his wife Nancy who was, it was widely known, obsessed by the curse.But, has the curse been broken will be known on January 20, 2009 when president George W Bush, elected in 2000, should hand over his seat to another president. He survived the assassination in Georgia during his speech. Vladimir Arutinian threw a hand grenade at 20 metres, but because it was faulty, it did not explode. Doctors say that the president is of good health, so the chances of him dying from a health problem in the next two years are slim.
03/28/07 - Future of weaponry unveiled
Star Wars-style ray guns and plastic ice-slicks could be the future of weaponry, according to the U.S. Department of Defence. DARPA, the Pentagon's Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency, envisions fleeing Iraqi insurgents slipping on artificial ice sprayed on the road and an angry mob in Afghanistan dispersed by non-lethal ray gun blasts. The artificial black ice is one of its newest projects. DARPA recently called for proposals from scientists to develop a polymer-based material that acts like the sheer ice that forms on roads in cold temperatures, sending unwitting drivers spinning out of control. But the agency wanted polymer ice because it could be used against enemies in any climate, including hot, arid ones like Iraq and Afghanistan where U.S. troops are currently fighting. The idea is to lay down the ice to cause adversaries to slip, while U.S. troops would make use of a to-be-developed 'reversal agent' - something to be incorporated into their boots and tyres - that would allow them to gain traction on the 'ice'. Closer to development is a ray gun that DARPA unveiled last week, a so-called active denial system (ADS): a weapon that emits a beam of energy that makes the target feel a strong burning sensation on their skin, repelling them without causing genuine injury. Mounted on a trailer, ADS is a parabolic antenna-like unit that shoots out a focussed radio-frequency beam more than 500 metres, giving it a much greater range than current crowd-control devices like rubber bullets or water cannons. When they hit their target, the beams penetrate the skin to about 0.4 millimetres, causing a sensation that makes people think their clothes are on fire. This could be used to scare off a menacing mob without causing real injury, according to DARPA. DARPA stresses that ADS is not a laser, nor does it use more dangerous microwave energy.
03/28/07 - Smart cameras spot shady behavior
The next generation of surveillance cameras will be able to tell if you're up to no good and, developers hope, spot crimes and misdemeanors before they happen. Normally it is down to the judgment of a security guard watching a bank of monitors to decide if something looks suspicious on one of their screens. However, with an average of over 100 monitors for each security guard to keep an eye on, it is practically an impossible task. There is also the loss in attention that naturally occurs when people are sitting watching screens nonstop. Industry experts suggest that after 12 minutes of continuous video monitoring an operator will miss up to 45 percent of screen activity. That rises to up to 95 percent after 22 minutes. It sounds simple enough, but the task of creating a computer program that can filter out all the normal background goings on of a situation, be it on a train station platform or high street, has proved to be extremely complex. Rather than going down the route of face recognition technology, the program tries to keep it simple by comparing any number of situations and actions that would be captured by a camera with an empty background. By using an algorithm to tell the normal from the abnormal, the software is able to alert a security guard if it deems something to be out of the ordinary. A person standing close to the edge of a train platform might not necessarily be an immediate suicide risk, but the program is able to track that person and evaluate the amount of time they've been there and so constantly monitor the situation. "We remove the background furniture of a picture and just highlight the new people and objects. This is moving on from things like a medium motion sensor. That's fine for things like a prison fence, but not for the London Underground or a busy shopping street where you constantly have movement," said Velastin. In the UK there is approximately one surveillance camera for every 14 people and issues of invading civil liberties surround ever new development in our surveillance society. One advantage of the new technology is that it is less invasive than face recognition software. Civil liberties groups have criticized technology that searches for particular people as it brings with it fears of profiling and of being watched regardless of whether anything illegal was being committed or not. / More Watching - Automated analysis of how and where people are walking or otherwise moving, and what objects they carry or leave behind, flags the attention of security staff. This is meant to preempt a crime and make suspects identifiable even by gait. The technology is of questionable public benefit since street crime has not decreased despite the presence of CCTV. 'An airport camera can be programmed to know what a departure hall should look like, with thousands of separate movements. A single suitcase left for any length of time would trigger an alarm. This technology was developed for use in hotels to alert staff to a breakfast tray left outside a room. Soon, it will be coming to a street near you. Why not go the whole hog and have microphones attached to cameras or embedded in street lights?'"
03/28/07 - Researchers link human skull size and climate
Humans grew bigger brains as the climate they lived in got cooler, according to researchers at the University at Albany, New York. The researchers concluded that humans got brainier because they had to adapt to a more challenging environment. They base this assertion on a plot of cranial capacity of 109 fossilised human skulls against the corresponding paleontological record of two million years of changing climate. As well as a relationship between a cooling earth and growing skulls, the researchers report that where the skulls were found matters, too, because the further you get from the Equator, the more varied the weather becomes. Lower temperatures and seasonal variations threw up new challenges for the early human, such as fluctuations in the availability of food and the need for fire and clothes to keep warm, the researchers argue. More co-operation would have been needed to find, preserve, and store food; and the people would have needed more complex tools. Along with that, more intricate social structures would have evolved, which in turn would have required more grey matter. The researchers suggest that having to adapt to the impact of lower temperatures could account for as much as 50 per cent of the increase in the size of our skulls.
03/28/07 - Old age memory loss explained
The reduced capacity of older people to learn and remember may be caused by stem cells in the brain dividing less frequently, rather than a shortage of neural stem cells as was previously thought. The findings suggest it may be possible to treat degenerative disorders, including Alzheimer's disease, dementia and depression, by stimulating the stem cells' ability to divide and produce new nerve cells. The researchers found that stem cells in ageing brains are not reduced in number - instead they divide less frequently, resulting in dramatic reductions in the number of new neurons added to the hippocampus. The team is now searching for ways to stimulate the brain to replace its own cells in order to improve learning and memory function in the elderly. One approach being explored is to treat older rats with drugs designed to mimic the action of compounds called neurogenic factors, which encourage stem cells in the brain to divide, said co-author Ashok Shetty, also of Duke University. The researchers are also grafting neural stem cells grown in culture dishes into the hippocampus, to stimulate those already present. Additional approaches include using behavioural modification techniques - such as physical exercise and exposure to an enriching environment - that are known to stimulate proliferation of stem cells.
03/28/07 - HP Dishonors Warranty If You Load Linux
A very Linux-unfriendly policy at HP. A woman bought a Compaq laptop and loaded Ubuntu on it. Some time later, still well inside the 1-year hardware warranty, the keyboard started acting up. An HP support rep told her, "Sorry, we do not honor our hardware warranty when you run Linux." Gateway and Dell refused to comment to the reporter on what they would do in a similar situation.
03/28/07 - The First Evolving Hardware?
"A Norwegian team has made the first piece of hardware that uses evolution to change its design at runtime to solve the problem at hand in the most effective way. By turning on and off its 'genes' it can change the way it works, and it can go through 20,000 - 30,000 generations in just a few seconds. That same number of generations took humans 800,000 - 900,000 years." / The team first started to use evolution back in 2004 when they made the chicken robot “Henriette”, yes a chicken. The chicken robot used evolution, this time software based to learn how to walk on its own. Evolution solves a lot of problems that programmers cant solve, a programmer can’t think of every problem that might occur if say a robot was sent to Mars and fell into a hole, through evolution that robot could learn how to climb out of the hole without the interference of humans. The team now wants to make a robot designed to help in the installation of oil pipes and other oil related equipment at 2.000 metres depth, these depths make it almost impossible to communicate with a robot, you’ll either have to have 2-3 kilometres of wires or communicate through echo signals which in turn will give a multi second delay. An evolution-based robot could find the solution to any problem at hand within seconds without human intervention.
03/28/07 - New biomass method may fuel future cars
A new process that runs on biomass and renewable energy could produce enough fuel to power all cars in America, say the U.S. scientists who proposed it today. The method, enough to fuel the needs of other forms of transport too, recycles all the carbon dioxide (CO2) usually wasted in the production of biofuels, making it far more efficient than previous techniques. The new process, proposed by chemical engineers led by Rakesh Agrawal of Purdue University in Indiana in a paper published in this week's edition the U.S. journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, is unique because it uses hydrogen from renewable energy sources to trap all the CO2 produced when making biofuel. Agrawal’s method differs from current biodiesel production by reacting the wasted CO2 with hydrogen, creating more diesel fuel. The hydrogen for this part of the reaction could be gleaned from water molecules using energy from non-fossil energy sources such as solar or nuclear power. The gains in efficiency are so great that the same volume of biomass, previously predicted to satisfy only 30 per cent of yearly U.S. transport needs (1.239 billion tonnes), might now be enough to satisfy the entire industry, wrote the researchers. That amount of biofuel could be produced on an area covering 10 per cent of the U.S. landmass, they said. Though running cars on diesel fuel would still generate CO2 emissions, that CO2 could effectively be reabsorbed from the atmosphere by growing more biomass - essentially creating a balanced CO2 cycle.
03/27/07 - The Purpose Project
Discovering our purpose in life means asking and answering the essential question, “What makes me want to get out of bed in the morning?” Why is our answer important? Because purpose dramatically affects aging! We are born with a purpose. Some of us never question our purpose and so it remains unspoken our whole lives. But it is there. Our purpose is the reason we are alive. Purpose is not a job or a role. It is a cradle-to-grave, round-the-clock unifying principle in our daily lives. It is our reason for getting up in the morning and every one of us needs a reason to get up in the morning. Purpose is that deepest belief within us where we have a profound sense of who we are, where we came from, and where we’re going. It is the quality or thread we choose to shape our lives around. It is a source of deep meaning and vitality. Why is Purpose Important? Purpose has a dramatic affect on aging and retirement. Science is beginning to validate what many people have known intuitively all along. When it comes to the transitions and challenges of aging, purpose is essential. Purpose gives us the will to live. Without purpose we die. With purpose we live with meaning and dignity. It is the one thing that cannot be taken away from us. ( via alfin2100.blogspot.com )
03/27/07 - Organ death countdown
We often think that the clock stops when we die. But when one clock stops, another one starts ticking. I'm thinking specifically of the countdown until organs are no longer salvageable. Once donors die, doctors must act quickly to remove the life-saving organs. (Wait too long and the organ quality plummets.) But how fast is too fast? And how do we define death? These questions will be coming to a hospital near you, thanks to a trend reported by the Washington Post. Instead of waiting until a patient is brain dead to harvest organs, doctors are instead beginning this process when the patient no longer has a pulse. This "cardiac death" can precede brain death by several minutes. "The number of these donations is on the rise. It has more than doubled from 268 in 2003 to at least 605 in 2006, enabling surgeons to transplant more than 1,200 additional kidneys, livers, lungs, hearts and other organs," - The Washington Post The trend - which we reported in August 2006 - is escalating due to a worldwide shortage in available organs. A dead brain does not show any steady electrical activity and will deteriorate over time if the patient is left on life support. Still, Van Norman and others feel concerned about the trend towards harvesting organs from donors within seconds rather than minutes of cardiac death. While doing so might improve the quality of organ transplants, Van Norman says that this hastened process compromises the experience of death for the patient. Experts worry that reports of this trend will put people off from becoming organ donors.
03/27/07 - Double Output from Microbial Fuel Cells
Researchers at Penn State have developed a new graphite brush anode, consisting of graphite fibers wound around a conductive, but noncorrosive metal core, for use in a microbial fuel cell (MFC). Use of the new anode more than doubles the power output of fuel cells using earlier generations of electrodes. A new membrane-tube air cathode, adapted from existing wastewater treatment equipment, completes the circuit.
03/27/07 - Nissan Skyline, 1,000 kilometers on one tank of fuel
Nissan V6 Skyline Delivers 38 MPG in Road Test. Nissan engineers set out to prove a point - that the new Skyline sedan could go 1,000 kilometers on one tank of fuel. The challenge - that this would be accomplished on real roads with unpredictable traffic and weather conditions and with different drivers. The so-called 'eco-driving challenge was conducted by a team of product development experts on the roads from Tochigi to Kanagawa. The 2.5-liter Skyline model driven was powered by the VQ25HR V6 engine, capable of generating 225 horsepower and 26.8kgm of torque. The team succeeded in covering a distance of 1,024.4 kilometers with an average fuel consumption rate of 16.3km-per-liter. The main objective of the eco-driving challenge was to promote greater awareness of Nissan's advanced fuel-economy technology as well as demonstrate the efficiency of the new VQ engine under real-world driving conditions.
03/27/07 - 'Biofuel cell' produces electricity from hydrogen in plain air
Fraser Armstrong, Ph.D., described how his research group at Oxford University built the biofuel cell with hydrogenases - enzymes from naturally occurring bacteria that use or oxidize hydrogen in their metabolism. The cell consists of two electrodes coated with the enzymes placed inside a container of ordinary air with 3 percent added hydrogen. That is just below the 4 percent danger level at which hydrogen becomes an explosion hazard. The research established for the first time that it is possible to generate electricity from such low levels of hydrogen in air, Armstrong said. Prototype versions of the cell produced enough electricity to power a wristwatch and other electronic devices. The biofuel cell uses enzymes from Ralstonia metallidurans (R. metallidurans), an ancient bacterium believed to have been one of the first forms of life on Earth. It evolved 2.5 billion years ago, when there was no oxygen in Earth’s atmosphere, and survived by metabolizing hydrogen.
03/27/07 - Riches await as Earth's icy north melts
The latest report by the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says the ice cap is warming faster than the rest of the planet and ice is receding, partly due to greenhouse gases. It's a catastrophic scenario for the Arctic ecosystem, for polar bears and other wildlife, and for Inuit populations whose ancient cultures depend on frozen waters. But some see a lucrative silver lining of riches waiting to be snatched from the deep, and the prospect of timesaving sea lanes that could transform the shipping industry the way the Suez Canal did in the 19th century. The U.S. Geological Survey estimates the Arctic has as much as 25 percent of the world's undiscovered oil and gas. Moscow reportedly sees the potential of minerals in its slice of the Arctic sector approaching $2 trillion. All this has pushed governments and businesses into a scramble for sovereignty over these suddenly priceless seas. It could open the North Pole region to easy navigation for five months a year, according to the latest Arctic Climate Impact Assessment, an intergovernmental group. That could cut sailing time from Germany to Alaska by 60 percent, going through Russia's Arctic instead of the Panama Canal. Or the Northwest Passage could open through the channels of Canada's Arctic islands and shorten the voyage from Europe to the Far East.
03/27/07 - 1040 Form and Instructions in 1913
1. Taxes were only paid on income above $20,000, equivalent to $407,000 in today's dollars, at the initial rate of only 1%. 2. The highest marginal tax rate in 1913 was 6%, which applied to income above $500,000, equivalent in today's dollars to about $10 million. The entire 1040 tax form in 1913, including all forms and instructions, was only 4 pages, click here to view. All instructions in 1913 were contained on a single page, compared to the 2006 1040 Instructions, which run 143 pages long, without any forms.
03/27/07 - Seeing Color in the Night
"In 'Things that show color in the night,' the Boston Globe reports that a company named Tenebraex is helping color blind people to travel. But it's also developing goggles to help soldiers and physicians to see all colors at night, and not only the green color of current night vision systems. These goggles, which should become available this summer, will be sold for about $6,000 to the Army. But as states one of the founders of the company, with monochrome night vision, 'blood is the same color as water.' So these expensive night vision devices might be more targeted to Army physicians than to regular soldiers."
03/27/07 - Magnets could be key to surgery without scars
The idea of using magnets to manipulate the instruments in the abdominal cavity was formulated after Dr. Cadeddu watched a television show featuring teens who used magnets to hold studs on their lips to avoid getting their lips pierced. The new technique, which is still in the developmental stage, allows for magnetically maneuvering laparoscopic surgical tools inserted into the abdominal cavity through the bellybutton or throat. The challenge remains, however, to design the new instruments and determine just how to move them once they’re inside the human body. The system uses a stack of magnets outside the abdomen to attract other magnets attached to laparoscopic instruments inside the abdomen. Surgeons can then move the outside magnets to position an internal camera at the best spot for seeing or to move a retractor or other surgical instrument. Once optimally positioned, the instruments can be locked in place. That allows a much greater range of maneuverability and the surgical team can more easily reposition the camera or instrument, said Dr. Cadeddu. “The current state of the art for laparoscopic surgery requires four or five holes. The question behind this is, can we do the surgery through only one hole and can we hide the hole in a cosmetically advantageous or less painful location,” Dr. Cadeddu said. Study researchers concluded that “the ability to reduce the number of trocars (holes) necessary for laparoscopic surgery has the potential to revolutionize surgical practice,” but noted that there will be a learning curve for the new system and that because of the expanded maneuverability, surgeons will likely need to develop new techniques.
03/27/07 - Chemists turn to sugar to fuel batteries
Researchers at Saint Louis University in Missouri have cooked up biodegradable fuel cell batteries that they say can run on just about any sugar source and that can last three or four times longer per charge than typical lithium ion batteries. Commercial versions could be ready in three to five years, the researchers say. A prototype of the stamp-sized battery runs a calculator, but future applications could include powering computers and recharging cellphones. Tree sap, soda and drink mixes have been used to power the batteries so far. "This study shows that renewable fuels can be directly employed in batteries at room temperature to lead to more energy-efficient battery technology than metal-based approaches," said study leader Shelley Minteer. Like other fuel cells, the sugar battery contains enzymes that convert fuel - in this case, sugar - into electricity, leaving behind water as a main byproduct. But unlike other fuel cells, all of the materials used to build the sugar battery are biodegradable.
03/27/07 - Average cost of driving remains at 52.2 cents/mile
According to the AAA, it costs an average of 52.2 cents/mile to operate a new vehicle, which is about the same it was last year. On average, the association figures you'll be spending $7,823 to drive 15,000 miles. While you may have noticed that gas prices have been a little lower lately, any savings at the pump are offset by higher insurance rates and the increase of financing when buying a new vehicle. The AAA also breaks it down by vehicle type, so where a small car may cost you $6,219 a year to drive, a large sedan would force $9,373 out of your wallet. A minivan demands $8,639 a year, while the SUV remains the consuming king, gobbling up $9,997 per year. Ownership expenses that fit into the calculation include fuel, maintenance, tires, insurance, license, registration, taxes, depreciation and finance charges. What, no car washes? [Source: Detroit News]
03/27/07 - Government Gone Mad
The Framers of our beloved Constitution (and Bill of Rights) had a pretty good handle on how "absolute power corrupts absolutely" issue. That's why - at least in the beginning - our Constitution was a cherished bastion against forces that would hijack government and twist it to their own power-tripping ends. If you doubt for a minute that we've now crossed some almost invisible line - where government rules far more of your personal life that the Framers intended, and you doubt the excessive powers of the misnamed Patriot Acts, then consider how Big Government's local arms are also jumping onboard the trend to more intrusive governance. My case in point is a headline every American ought to be aware of: "Florida: City to Seize Homes Over a $5 Parking Ticket." If you read the story, you'll see how the idea is to charge people a $250 "appeal fee" in order to seek redress - and even then, the process starts off without a judge. Thought you were in the Land of the Brave, Home of the Free? Not so fast, pard. And if that doesn't get your blood pressure up even without a jolt of Monday juice, try Michael Hodges "Federal Government Spending" report. Among his assertions: "New data from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis confirm that the average federal civilian worker earns $106,579 a year in total compensation, or twice the $53,289 in wages and benefits for the typical private worker." Don't get me wrong: There is a proper role for government. But what the Framers had in mind was a group of strong United States with a central government strong enough to defend borders and there was even a direct prohibition on federal taxes which would be a direct capitation on the whole country - to keep central government from getting too big. Alas, as one reader points out in a Pogo-like "We have seen the enemy, and he is us" sort of way, Since the Russians brought down their walls in 1989, we seem to have suspiciously traded places with them. Our country has gone wild on government. Here's one that ought to comfort you: There are now reportedly 435,000 Americans in the so-called "terrorist database". I wonder if that somehow relates to the headline that the Department of Homeland Security has plans for the new HQ in a lunatic asylum?
03/26/07 - Unifying principle said to govern all galaxies
Astronomers have found a mathematical principle that they say surprisingly fits all galaxies, from the stately spiral-shaped ones to the messy “train wrecks.” All galaxies, they said, follow a consistent relationship between their mass, or weight, and the velocities of the stars and gas clouds that compose them. “We were truly surprised at how well” the pattern fits a dizzying array of galaxy types. Galaxies fall into three basic types: spiral or disk-like ones such as our own Milky Way; those shaped like roundish clouds, known as elliptical galaxies; and messy, bashed-up or oddball galaxies. These are usually thought to be remnants of galaxy collisions, and sometimes dubbed “train wrecks.” Astronomers noted years ago that for spirals and ellipticals, there were specific relationships between their masses and the velocities of their constituent stars. These rules are called the Tully-Fisher and the Faber-Jackson relations, respectively. The researchers devised a new measure of the components’ total velocity, which they called a “speed indicator.” It combines both the orderly rotation velocity and the random or disordered motion. This property turns out to be strictly related to the mass of galactic components, said Susan Kassin, a postdoctoral researcher at the university and the study’s lead author. “Surprisingly, if you use this new speed indicator to measure the motions of stars and gas in a galaxy, you can predict the mass in stars the galaxy has with pretty high accuracy.” Galaxies like our Milky Way consist of billions of stars formed into a spiral disk along with some gas. Our galaxy also spins like a pinwheel at a few hundred kilometers (miles) per second. The new findings in essence show that the mixed-up and orderly velocities are somehow related, said Ben Weiner of the University of Arizona in Tucson, Ariz., another co-author of the study. “The mixed-up velocities may settle down to orderly rotation over time as the universe ages,” he proposed.
03/26/07 - Bolt-on 'superlens' gives microscope nanoscale vision
A "superlens" that refracts light in unconventional ways to let an optical microscope see beyond the normal limit of its vision has been created by US researchers. They hope to develop a cheaper, mass-produced version that could upgrade the microscopes used in research laboratories worldwide. Optical lenses can only resolve details down to those that are half the wavelength of light in size - a few hundred nanometres. Light waves carrying information about these tiny features do not travel more than a few hundred nanometres because of interference and diffraction. The lens is made from an arrangement of concentric plastic rings, spaced about 500 nanometres apart, on top of a gold surface. In experiments, this surface was used to image a pattern of plastic dots, deposited in the centre of all the rings like a bull's-eye. The dots are too small and too close together to be distinguished with an optical microscope, but the superlens makes it possible. A laser was shone onto the dots, exciting electrons from the gold surface into waves called plasmons. These waves ripple through electrons on the surface at the speed of light and, when they reach the concentric plastic rings, the waves are refracted. "But they don't experience it like a normal lens," Smolyaninov explains. "They are refracted the opposite way to usual." As a result, the plasmon rays reflected by the central, nanoscopic dots diverge, which effectively magnifies the image they carry. Since the electrons in the plasmon wave also emit light, the resulting image can then be observed on the outer rings by a conventional optical microscope. Using this method Smolyaninov and colleagues achieved a resolution of 70nm, or one-seventh the wavelength of the light used. This is four times better than would be possible with light alone. / Robert Nelson at Rex Research found the two patents for this; US2005185186 and US2003227662. Thanks Robert!
03/26/07 - US fudging of climate science - details revealed
The Bush administration has again been charged with interfering with federal climate science, in order to underplay the significance of global warming. Documents "appear to portray a systematic White House effort to minimise the significance of climate change", said a memo released by the committee. The committee also heard a former White House aide defending his editing of government reports on climate change, to put them in line with the views of the Bush administration. Phil Cooney, chief of staff at the White House's Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) from 2001 to 2005, said this editing was part of the normal review process between agencies. Before he joined the White House, Cooney was a lobbyist for the American Petroleum Institute, and he now works for the oil giant ExxonMobil. In a 10-year policy plan, Cooney and Brian Hannegan, also at CEQ, made at least 181 edits to emphasise scientific uncertainty regarding the effects of climate change and 113 changes to minimise the importance of human contributions to global warming, according to the committee's memo. For example, Cooney replaced "will" with "may" in the sentence: "Warming temperatures will also affect Arctic land areas." He also deleted this sentence: "Climate change has global consequences for human health and the environment." The Bush administration is not the only one to have exerted political pressure in this field of research, according to one witness. Meteorologist John Spencer, who said his position is that humanity's role in climate change is not fully understood, said he felt political pressure much earlier - under the Clinton administration. Spencer, also a proponent of intelligent design, resigned from NASA in 2001 after a 14-year career.
03/26/07 - “Youth” pills, hawked online, win over top scientists
A Harvard Medical School biologist who is a leading expert on aging takes them daily, persuaded by his own research that they may work, according to people familiar with his activities. The capsules in question are called Longevinex (longevinex.com). The Harvard researcher, David Sinclair, has said in interviews that he takes supplements containing the ingredient, called resveratrol. Grapes and red wine also contain resveratrol (see chart), but far too little for these products to confer the dramatic lifespan boost seen in animal studies, researchers say. Nonetheless, even moderate alcohol drinking is tied to slightly higher lifespan in humans, according to a study in the Dec. 11-25 issue of the journal Archives of Internal Medicine. But pills may have much more resveratrol, so some people want them-though their effects are little studied, and how the substance works is still debated. Last November, Loew said in an online forum that Sinclair had emailed him: “I take 4 pills of longevinex with bfast and 4 at dinner, but I don’t recommend anyone else take any resveratrol pills until we know more.” (Note: late last month, the manufacturer raised the amount of resveratrol per capsule, so Sinclair’s reported eight pills would be equivalent to 3.2 now. Either way, his reported regimen amounts to about 320 mg daily. Three pills daily would cost about $3.50 a day currently.) Resveratrol has been tied to both greater lifespan and vigor in animals. Since 2003, it has been found to extend lifespan in worms and flies by nearly 30 percent; fish and yeast by almost 60 percent; and obese mice by an estimated 15 percent, though that study, by Sinclair and colleagues, is unfinished. Ninety-nine percent of genes are similar in mice and humans. As far as ill effects, researchers say the jury is out, but nothing has raised alarms yet. “About 10,000 people in this country take this product with no apparent side effects,” the Harvard Gazette article quoted Sinclair saying. Compared to what Sinclair reportedly takes, fish and mice in the longevity studies got doses roughly five to seven times higher-adjusting for their weight-with no reported problems. In rat studies, researchers found that they had to multiply those higher doses again, by somewhere between 10 and 30, for harmful effects to become evident. But no long-term safety studies have been done in humans, or with specific commercial products. Sardi recommends that his not be taken by growing children or pregnant women, or simultaneously with other medications.
03/26/07 - Virtual actors take to the stage
Actors working in real time from remote locations have been beamed onto a stage where they performed with live, in-the-flesh actors, US researchers say. The broadband-enabled experience allowed the audience to watch a seamless, 3D performance, according to the University of Central Florida. The technology could mean future theatergoers might attend plays where one or more actors are working outside the venue, even in a different country, or from their own homes. "We are not talking about holograms yet or the kind of imagery that requires funky glasses," says Professor John Shafer, a member of the cast. Shafer was hooked to a receiving and transmitting broadband-connected computer that can pull 130 megabytes of data in an instant. Although he performed in Florida, his body was 'beamed' onto a stage at Bradley University in Illinois, where he performed 'with' live actors there, as well as with actors beamed in from the University of Waterloo in Canada. Both 3D and 2D sets consisting of multiple screens and special-effects lighting that helped to give the impression that all the actors, remote or not, existed in a single space. To further link the performances, the actual live actors were also sometimes featured on screens. At one point, a virtual actor even appeared to hand a live actor a cigarette. Shafer and his team next plan to present Alice Experiments in Wonderland, a play that will beam actors simultaneously onto three live stages in different locations.
03/26/07 - Worms Live Longer on Fortified Steak and Chicken
Experiments with worms suggest humans might one day be able to eat themselves to a longer and healthier life. The new approach differs from previous studies which extended life in non-human animals by keeping food consumption to a bare minimum, a technique called caloric restriction. Researchers led by Mikhail Shchepinov, formerly of Oxford University, fed nematode worms, Caenorhabditis elegans, bits of steak and chicken reinforced with variations of certain atoms, called “isotopes,” of elements like hydrogen, carbon, nitrogen and oxygen. Isotopes have the same number of protons as their natural counterparts but different numbers of neutrons. Carbon, for example, usually has 6 protons and 6 neutrons. An isotope of carbon, called C13, has 6 protons and 7 neutrons. Worms on the specialized diet lived about 10 percent longer on average. Assuming people will one day routinely live to 100, a similar approach in humans could add an extra 10 years to a person’s life, the researchers say. The researchers think eating isotope-reinforced foods reduces molecular damage incurred by rouge molecules that roam the body called “free radicals,” which have highly reactive, unpaired electrons. Many scientists think free-radical damage is one of the reasons why organisms age.
03/26/07 - Washington State To Try RFID Drivers Licenses
The state of Washington has approved a program to issue RFID-equipped drivers licenses to facilitate cross-border traffic. The idea is to load the drivers license with information proving citizenship, so that (with Department of Homeland Security approval) the bearer doesn't need to carry a passport - which otherwise will be required to re-enter the US from Canada beginning in 2009. The "enhanced" licenses will require applicants to submit to an in-person interview and to show proof of citizenship. A pilot program in Washington begins January 2008. Officials hope for DHS approval of the program before the Vancouver Olympics in 2010 causes a spike in cross-border traffic.
03/26/07 - Engineering Bacteria to Harvest Light
A set of genes found in marine microorganisms can endow common bacteria with the ability to generate energy from light. Some bacteria, such as cyanobacteria, use photosynthesis to make sugars, just as plants do. But others have a newly discovered ability to harvest light through a different mechanism: using light-activated proteins known as proteorhodopsins, which are similar to proteins found in our retinas. When the protein is bound to a light-sensitive molecule called retinal and hit with light, it pumps positively charged protons across the cell membrane. That creates an electrical gradient that acts as a source of energy, much like the voltage, or electromotive force, supplied by batteries. Intrigued by the prospect that a single piece of DNA is really all an organism needs to harvest energy from light, the researchers inserted it into E. coli. They found that the microorganisms synthesized all the necessary components and assembled them in the cell membrane, using the system to generate energy. "All it takes to derive energy from sunlight is that bit of DNA," saysEd Delong, professor of biological engineering at MIT and author of the study. A paper published last month by Jan Liphardt and colleagues at the University of California, Berkeley, showed that E. coli engineered to have a proteorhodopsin pump can easily switch between energy sources: when bacteria are starved of their regular energy supply, they use light energy to drive their flagellar motor, a rotating tail that bacteria use to swim. The more light there is, the faster the motor goes. "It's sort of like creating a hybrid car," says MIT's Delong. "Instead of supplementing gas with energy stored in a battery, cells can supplement their energy metabolism with light."
03/26/07 - Why the Greeks could hear plays from the back row
The wonderful acoustics for which the ancient Greek theatre of Epidaurus is renowned may come from exploiting complex acoustic physics, new research shows. The theatre, discovered under a layer of earth on the Peloponnese peninsula in 1881 and excavated, has the classic semicircular shape of a Greek amphitheatre, with 34 rows of stone seats (to which the Romans added a further 21). Its acoustics are extraordinary: a performer standing on the open-air stage can be heard in the back rows almost 60 metres away. Architects and archaeologists have long speculated about what makes the sound transmit so well.
03/26/07 - 'Convincing' Atheists
(An excellent, well thought out page. - JWD) Ask any believer what would convince him he was mistaken and persuade him to leave his religion and become an atheist, and if you get a response, it will almost invariably be, "Nothing - I have faith in my god." Although such people may well exist, I personally have yet to meet a theist who would acknowledge even the possibility that his belief was in error. Many theists, by their own admission, structure their beliefs so that no evidence could possibly disprove them. In short, they are closed-minded, and have been taught to be closed-minded. In light of this, it is ironic that atheists are often accused of being the closed-minded ones. / More at Imaginary.
03/25/07 - Using Steam from Nuclear Power Plants for Ethanol Production
Researchers and engineers at Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the US Department of Energy are suggesting using the steam from existing nuclear power plants in the Corn Belt to reduce the costs of producing ethanol from corn and other biomass. While current corn-to-ethanol plants provide the near-term market for nuclear steam, future cellulose-to-ethanol plants represent a much larger and longer-term market for nuclear steam. The ethanol market could require hundreds of gigawatts of thermal energy and thus may become the dominant cogeneration market for nuclear heat. Steam provided by the reactor would be condensed at the ethanol plant, and warm water would be returned to the nuclear power plant. Almost all of the heat required by the production process could come from condensing the steam. Modern steam systems would allow more than a mile of separation between the reactor and the ethanol plant. Based on the price of electricity, the cost of low temperature steam from a nuclear power plant is about half the cost of steam from natural gas.
03/25/07 - Mosquito Swallow
Summer is upon us, so time to stop potential mosquito breeding in its tracks. Dancy said neighbors seemed comfortable blaming nearby Shoal Creek for the multitudes of mosquitoes. After clearing intrusive, non-indigenous bamboo in his backyard, Dancy discovered something that amazed him. "I got down to the creek, there were no mosquitoes. None. That's when I started to think: If they are not originating down in the creek, where we all thought they were coming from, then where are they breeding in such abundance?" Climbing up the creek's banks to the house, Dancy re-entered the thick, haze of vicious mosquitoes. Pondering what attracted droves of cantankerous mosquitoes to his home, started his research. Thumbing through countless books at the library, Dancy was introduced to the Asian tiger mosquito. He learned that there were more than 2,500 mosquito species, more than 160 of which are in the United States. The research he found was primarily done because of the mosquitoes' role in the transmission of diseases: malaria, yellow fever, West Nile virus, dengue fever and encephalitis. Dancy noted that the Asian tiger mosquito is more aggressive than the indigenous Texas mosquitoes. He learned that the Asian tigers were believed to have been stowaways in water-filled tires that were shipped into the Port of Houston in the mid-1980s. And since then, they have been found east of the Rockies. Dancy figured out that these mosquitoes with bad attitudes were the same variety as the ones in his backyard. Dancy's trap is designed to be an ideal breeding spot for the Asian tiger and other container- or tree-hole-breeders. When the eggs hatch, the larvae and pupae will not escape. The trap itself is small, unobtrusive and easy to manage. The trap requires a little water each week and the addition of a few dead leaves occasionally, and homeowners must be cognizant of other breeding areas around the home. Dancy's trap has a patent pending and sells for $34.95 online at MosquitoSwallow.com. It will be released in some Austin-area garden centers in the coming months. The Web site also offers helpful information for homeowners to minimize the mosquito swarms this summer. "You have to take steps to get rid of breeding sites around your home. That's when this trap will make a difference. It's a part of a holistic approach, not a silver bullet," Dancy says. Mosquito Swallow
03/25/07 - Water gate: An invention that can dam a river
They set out to dam the San Jacinto River and flat stop it just to prove they could. They’re calling their product water gate, but water wall is more like it. It’s an emergency dam, the creation of Daniel Dery, a French-Canadian who flew down for the demonstration. It was as if they’d turned off the faucet below the dam. Kevin Hosler with the Needham Fire Department watched as the riverbed went dry.
“I think it’s pretty amazing,” Hosler said. “Basically, it shut this creek down in 30 minutes, maybe less.” The audience was mostly hazmat or emergency management directors from city, county and state agencies near Conroe. “We didn’t think they could do it, but they did,” Oliver said. “We were impressed.” Oliver, like others, envisioned using it to stop chemical spills or contain the runoff from highway accidents. For this demonstration, they’d brought a 38-inch wall, and in about 45 minutes the rising water was nearing the top. “We have 2 meters in stock, but we go up to 5 meters,” Dery said. That’s 18 feet. This water was just three high, and still as it rushed across the creek bed, it served as a reminder of the force and the speed of rising water. Which made the polyester-reinforced PVC dam just that much more impressive. The only question left was just how much “amazing” would cost.
03/25/07 - Zimbabwe: 'Funding Not a Necessity for Invention'
IS money an important vehicle for invention and innovation in science and technology research? There are no easy answers to this question. I've received numerous calls and e-mails from scientists and other readers asking why most scientists and institutions have almost turned into "crybabies" demanding money for everything to happen. The readers had a point. Of course, scientists will not agree with me when I say lack of money has no direct bearing on invention and innovation. Balancing the need to adequately fund research without unfairly compromising invention and innovation is why money is such a complicated component of any scientific and technological development. Most scientists and research institutions I have talked to, continue bemoaning lack of funding as the basic reason why research is not progressing well enough to answer most of Zimbabwe's pressing problems. But some critical readers of this column say money or lack of resources is not a good excuse for scientists and research institutions to fail to come up with inventions and innovations needed for Zimbabwe to secure its position in the global knowledge economy. An electrical engineer argues that the most prolific researchers in the past century and before did not require much in terms of physical resources. "Newton recreated the scientific world as we know it with his development of calculus, and the classical theory of mechanics and all this without a computer or even electricity, just pen and paper," he said. "Albert Einstein developed the theory of relativity and other theories all without a computer. As you might have gathered by now, I could go on listing theoretical and applied science endeavours that were developed without the computer. And so when our focus is on not having computers I believe that we have missed the point," he argued. "Money is not a necessity for innovation and invention to take place. Look at all the inventions that were made in the previous centuries; it was out of necessity, done by people searching to improve the quality of their lives and not crying out for dollars," he said. "My comment here to the practising scientist is that if your research is relevant then the market will pay for it. By the market I include private companies (domestic and international), Government agencies and other (local/foreign) universities or research centres," he said.
03/25/07 - Hurricanes inspire winning invention
On Thursday in Delray Beach, Nevils, 37, proudly unveiled the emergency water storage product that she and husband Michael Nevils, 44, developed after South Florida was hit by hurricanes two years in a row. The Fort Lauderdale residents' product is a solution for the homeowner to keep up to 65 gallons of emergency water supply in the bathtub or sink, avoiding the prehurricane scramble for bottled water. "When you see those palm trees starting to bend, you fill it up," Nevils said, demonstrating how the plastic storage bags are filled with tap water and secured.
03/25/07 - New hope of reopening mines
ABANDONED coal mines across the nation could become a source of wealth for the Welsh economy if an invention lives up to its promise. Ten years of work by Metal Innovations has culminated in the unveiling of the Celtic Miner. The hydraulically-powered, tank-like machine, can access narrow seams and bore tunnels. Built at workshops in Ogmore Vale, near Bridgend, the Celtic Miner is the idea of Gareth Thomas, an engineer and mine owner, who has spent time at the coal-face as well as running his own design and build consultancy. The Celtic Miner - and the prospect of disused mines reopening - has excited attention in the Welsh investment community.
03/25/07 - SONO water filter inventor wins $1Million Prize
Professor Abul Hussam, who teaches chemistry and biochemistry at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va., won the Grainger Challenge Gold Award for Sustainability for inventing the filter, which consists of two polyurethane buckets lined with sand, brick, wood and iron composites that eliminate arsenic, which can cause organ failure and death. Hussam and his brother, Dr. Abul Munir, a physician, established a laboratory in Bangladesh that they called SONO. The filter was invented there after Hussam spent two years developing procedures to effectively measure arsenic levels in water. He introduced the filter in 1999. "This is amazing," said George Mason President Alan Merten. "Having access to clean water is a basic human right. If you don't have clean water, the rest are irrelevant." The filters are inexpensive to produce and easy to use. Once water is drawn from a well, it is poured directly into the SONO filter. The clean water is then collected by a bucket attached to the filter, which can produce 20 liters of arsenic-free water per hour. Hussam says tainted drinking water affects many poor residents of Bangladesh. Since he developed the filter, he has distributed 30,000 of them, most for free. His brother runs the SONO laboratory and works to spread the word on the filters. Part of the challenge is educating people to change their ways and use the filters on a regular basis, Hussam said. "We've learned how to popularize the filter. Basically what were doing is changing people's habits," Hussam said. For about US $35 they can last at least 5 years without presenting a toxic waste disposal hazard. New models are developed for community scale use with flow rate exceeding 100 L per hour. The filters are made from indigenous materials.
03/25/07 - Pope: Europe losing hope in its Future
"One must unfortunately note that Europe seems to be going down a road which could lead it to take its leave from history," the pontiff told bishops in Rome for ceremonies to mark the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Rome, a major step toward the creation of today's European Union. Benedict said he was concerned about Europe's "demographic profile"-though he did not describe the trends that have alarmed the continent for decades. In countries like Italy, where many married couples have one or no children, the population is expected to shrink dramatically in a generation or two unless fertility rates quickly increase. Benedict expressed concern that Europe's population trends, "besides putting economic growth at risk, can also cause enormous difficulties for social cohesion, and, above all, favor dangerous individualism, careless about the consequences for the future." "You could almost think that the European continent is in fact losing faith in its own future," Benedict said. A recent Eurostat survey showed Poland's fertility rate to be the lowest in the EU, at 1.23 children per woman. A rate of 2.1 children per woman is considered the minimum necessary to keep a population from shrinking.
03/25/07 - Solar plane to fly continuously around Mars
Sky-Sailor, the working dream of a solar-powered, autonomously-controlled microairplane, has exciting implications in two areas: one on the technological advances of unmanned air vehicles (UAVs); and another on exploring the lower atmosphere of Mars. Scientists André Noth, Walter Engel and Roland Siegwart of the Institute of Robotics and Intelligent Systems in Switzerland believe that Sky-Sailor will reach the inner orbit of Mars within a decade or two, depending on advancements in technology. In order for Sky-Sailor to navigate Mars, the group demonstrates, the plane must satisfy that planet’s flight conditions: a low atmospheric density, decreased solar energy, variable winds and below-freezing temperatures. At an altitude of 1500 m and an average velocity of 30 km/hr, Sky-Sailor’s top priorities include a low-weight structure to minimize energy needs, and a small enough volume to fit inside the shell which will transport the plane to Mars.
03/25/07 - AIDS groups condemn Gambian president's 'miracle cure'
The president announced his discovery in January, and by the end of the month ten HIV-positive patients had enrolled to receive the treatment, a statement from the umbrella organisation said. All participants were ordered to give up their antiretroviral drugs. In February, UN envoy Fadzai Gwaradzimba was expelled from Gambia after expressing doubts over Jammeh's miracle cure, suggesting it could lead to irresponsible sexual behaviour.
03/24/07 - Flexible Battery Charges in a Minute
Scientists at Japan's Waseda University have developed a new new polymer-based battery, which not only charges in less than a minute, but also lasts for up to 1,000 recharges. The cool thing about the superthin (200nm-thick to be exact) battery is that unlike previous polymer-based batteries, this one won't won't self-discharge. The battery - which consists of a redox-active organic polymer film around 200 nanometres thick. Nitroxide radical groups are attached, which act as charge carriers. Because of its high radical density, the battery has a high charge/discharge capacity. This is just one of many advantages the ‘organic radical’ battery has over other organic based materials according to the researchers. The power rate performance is strikingly high - it only takes one minute to fully charge the battery and it has a long cycle life, often exceeding 1,000 cycles. The team made the thin polymer film by a solution-processable method - a soluble polymer with the radical groups attached is “spin-coated” onto a surface. After UV irradiation, the polymer then becomes crosslinked with the help of a bisazide crosslinking agent.
03/24/07 - The At-Home Conception Kit
The Conceivex Conception Kit is the first comprehensive reproductive healthcare system designed for couples and was this week granted 510K clearance by the U.S. FDA. The Conception Kit contains fertility prediction tools, semen collectors and the only FDA-cleared home-use cervical cap for conception, which are designed to be used together for up to three months in order to enhance the couple’s chance of becoming pregnant. The cornerstone of the US$300 kit is the Conception Cap, which brings the semen in direct contact with the cervix for four to six hours, increasing the opportunity for sperm to move into the uterine cavity and fertilize an egg at the most opportune time. The Conception Kit contains the following fertility tools and medical device to enhance conception: Conception Caps, non-latex semen collectors, sperm-friendly intimate moisturizers, ovulation predictors, timing wheels, pregnancy tests, and a journal to record progress. The Conception Kit is available through a healthcare provider or purchased online with a valid prescription.
03/24/07 - National debt load is a fiscal time bomb
Let's say someone is spending about 11 percent of his or her paycheck to cover interest on outstanding debt. Erica Sandberg, a spokeswoman for Consumer Credit Counseling Service of San Francisco, says she'd immediately advise that person to seek help. "This is a huge amount of a person's paycheck just to make ends meet," Sandberg said. "That's never smart. If you're borrowing that much, you might feel good for the short term. But over the long haul, you're going to be in real trouble." Unfortunately, the person she's talking about is you -- and everybody you know. As the national debt approaches a staggering $9 trillion, roughly $240 billion will be spent this year paying interest on the half that's held by public creditors (of which Japan and China are the largest). That translates to about 11 percent of projected tax revenue. In other words, we're spending more on interest for our national credit card bill than was spent last year in discretionary funds for the Education, Veterans Affairs and Justice departments combined.
03/24/07 - Ministry Watch: Revealing the Good, the Bad and the Ugly
(An interesting site for those who have seen naive people tapped to near financial destruction by these people. - JWD) MinistryWatch.com calls upon donors to prayerfully consider withholding contributions to Benny Hinn Ministries/World Outreach Church (BHM) in response to facts and allegations regarding reports that Hinn: • Lives a lavish lifestyle with funds intended for charitable purposes; • Preaches a self-serving prosperity theology message; • Manipulates individuals at “healing crusades” for personal gain; • Makes unsubstantiated claims of healings; • Is nontransparent and lacks independent board oversight. An outstanding website that leads potential religious donors away from phony scumballs like Benny Hinn, the Trinity Network, and the Christian Children's Fund and instead to the Ministries that actually do something good with their money.
03/24/07 - Adopting Ubuntu | Linux switch can be painless, free
Ubuntu is an African word meaning 'Humanity to others', or 'I am what I am because of who we all are'. The Ubuntu distribution brings the spirit of Ubuntu to the software world. For many people, e-mail, web surfing, picture editing, listening to music, making spreadsheets and basic word processing are just about all they do with their computers. Today's Macs and Windows PCs are impressive machines indeed, but their power - and price - can be overkill for the average computer user. If you're looking for a new computer and you're not sure whether to go Windows or Mac, I'd suggest also paying some attention to the "L" word. No, not that "L" word. I'm talking about Linux. / Download it Free
03/24/07 - Are GM Crops Killing Bees?
A mysterious decimation of bee populations has German beekeepers worried, while a similar phenomenon in the United States is gradually assuming catastrophic proportions. The consequences for agriculture and the economy could be enormous.
03/23/07 - Missile-repelling inventor aims for power
Yoshiro Nakamatsu, the self-proclaimed inventor of the floppy disk and more than 3 000 other gadgets including a golf putter with a "sonic dynamism mechanism" that his website says improves your score and your health, is making his fourth run for the job. At a news conference this week, Nakamatsu, 78, promised not only to lower taxes, but to safeguard Tokyo's 12,6 million residents from missile attacks with a new invention. "I'm going to protect Tokyo by an invention that will make missiles turn around," Kyodo news agency quoted Nakamatsu - who is running under the moniker "Dr NakaMats" - as saying. Asked how, he replied: "I cannot give you a simple answer." / Excellent article about Dr. Nakamatsu - If you don’t live in Japan, you might have never heard of Dr. NakaMats, although he is an inventor extraordinaire! Not only has he invented the Floppy Disk, he has also earned the IG Nobel Price for his research last year. What if I tell you, that he has also invented the fax machine, magnetic paper train tickets, the synthesizer and written over 80 books? He has made over 3218 inventions already (as opposed to Thomas Edison with 1093 only) and hopes to complete 7000 inventions before his estimated death at age 144. Now what do you think? Is he the greatest unacknowledged mind of our time? Or has he simply been involved in many inventions?
03/23/07 - Electrics wizard looks for funds to power an idea
THE former head of Highland Council’s energy advice unit has developed a system which he claims could eliminate tens of thousands of tonnes of carbon emissions every year. Bill Richmond’s invention helps improve the efficiency of domestic heating systems and cuts the amount of electricity needed to maintain the optimum temperature in buildings. The system uses wireless technology to link a series of thermostats with heaters around the home. Independent research found it reduced energy consumption by more than 17 per cent - equivalent to £200 a year for the average household. “While inspecting properties with Highland Council, I noticed how heating systems were controlled centrally and continued to produce heat for the whole building even when some rooms were already warm enough,” he explained. “This system links a series of thermostats in different rooms so that heat is only delivered where it is needed.”
03/23/07 - Flash Memory Moves onto the Desktop
The photo shows Intel’s new flash memory drive, which is about the size of a matchbook, replaces a magnetic hard disk drive and is meant for low-end and ultra-portable computing devices. The flash chip can have as much as eight gigabytes of memory. Flash memory is moving from iPods to desktops and laptops, providing a performance boost and the potential for instant boot-ups. For the most part, flash memory has been used in small audio gadgets such as iPods and in portable USB drives. But a recent flurry of announcements from flash chip makers Intel and Samsung, among others, show that the technology has reached a point at which it is finally economical to integrate a small amount of flash memory--from 128 megabytes to 8 gigabtyes--into laptops and desktops as a supplement to the magnetic hard drive. The benefit, say chip makers, is faster boot times, faster application start-ups, and impressive power savings. Since flash memory, which is created from silicon, is based on solid-state electronics, there are no moving parts, which makes it faster and more energy efficient than the spinning magnetic disks used in hard drives. Because flash is faster, it can be employed to cache frequently used files and applications. And since it is nonvolatile memory, flash can be used to store the start-up files for a system when the power is off, so that a computer can boot up much faster. There are still challenges before flash really competes with computers' hard drives. For one thing, it tends to wear out over time, as files are written and erased from memory sectors. Currently, flash is capable of 100,000 rewrites per cell...
03/23/07 - Boron absorption to destroy Tumours
Scientists from Nuclear Physics Institute have developed a device, able to destroy cancer cells without damaging healthy tissues of human organism. Said device is a portable neutron accelerator, which requires ordinary socket for its energy needs. Scientists suggest using so-called chemical trap for destroying tumors - injured organ receives boron containing solution, which cancer cells tend to absorb 3-4 times more than healthy cells. Then the patient is exposed to neutrons, which destroy particular cells, saturated with boron isotopes.
03/23/07 - Mechanical force to induce Molecular Reactivity
Researchers have shown that they can use mechanical force to make a molecule more reactive. By tugging on two sides of a specially designed molecule, chemists have been able to change its shape so that it becomes much more reactive. The researchers were able to control the reactivity of the molecule by applying a mechanical force on its chemical bonds. The energy for such a chemical transformation typically comes from light, heat, or electricity. "The key thing is that force will trigger the molecule to become reactive ... and that [reactive state] would go on to do useful and productive chemistry," says Jeffrey Moore, a chemistry and materials-science professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign who published the work in Nature. The finding could lead to self-healing materials, in which molecules under stress would change shape and react to make the material stronger. Another use would be polymers that react and light up right when they are damaged. Moore and his colleagues were able to control the structure of a ring-shaped organic molecule, not just break it apart. The researchers attach polymer chains to the two sides of the molecule. Then they apply ultrasound frequency to a solution containing the molecule; the ultrasound creates a mechanical force along the polymer chains and pulls them in opposite directions. The chains tug at the molecule and break a chemical bond in the ring, which triggers a more extensive rearrangement of the molecule and makes it reactive. Moreover, the researchers found that force rearranges the molecule in a way that is different than if the molecule was exposed to other triggers, like heat and light. "One of the really beautiful, unexpected things about this work is that the reaction that occurs ... is not the reaction that you would expect to happen," says Stephen Craig, a chemistry professor at Duke University. "They pull on one molecule and make it rearrange into something that normally there is no way to rearrange into with heat or light." Once the molecule is in this new arrangement, it reacts with another molecule that can be detected with ultraviolet light. Moore says that this concept could be used to make polymers that would give some kind of visual cue when they are just about to break. Or, he says, researchers could further develop the principle and make materials in which, if researchers apply pressure at a certain point, the molecules in that area become reactive and stick together--a novel strategy for creating self-healing materials.
03/23/07 - Time is ripe for SuperCapacitors
Passive components, especially capacitors, are today undergoing constant development and so make an indispensable contribution to technical progress in electronics. One of the most recent innovations in the field of passive components is the electrochemical double layer capacitor - the SuperCapacitor from Wima. From about 10 up to several thousand farad (F) values are housed in one case (Figure 1). A 100 F model, for example, is approximately the size of a match-box, and this capacitance would correspond to the impressive volume of 100 million parallel connected standard polyester film capacitors with an individual capacitance of 1 mF each! With the SuperCapacitor, despite the limitations of its low maximum operating voltage of 2,5 V, several units can be built up to an enormous capacitance of the desired voltage rating by connecting them in series or parallel (cascade). A typical application is for the quick supply of several hundred amperes in the direct current field. The SuperCapacitor is therefore, the connecting link between a conventional capacitor and a battery. It combines the advantage of the capacitor as a fast supplier of electricity with that of the battery, as a notable energy reservoir. Its energy density is, at present, still limited to about 1/10th of the battery value - thus far! Building on the Helmholtz principle of energy storage, Wima's SuperCap capacitors have about a million times the capacitance of traditional capacitors of comparable size. These SuperCaps can accumulate energy comparable to the stored energy of smaller batteries, however, they deliver considerably higher electric currents and are also maintenance-free. By the use of a material based on an electrode containing carbon, which is attached with low resistance to a conductive foil, the SuperCap achieves extremely large surfaces within the smallest volume. Wima double-layer capacitors are available in the standard capacitance range of 100 F to 300 F with a rated voltage of 2,5 V d.c. and the highest discharge current (see Table 1). The prismatic case makes space-saving serial and parallel connections possible. Wima SuperCaps can replace, protect or support batteries eg, in the context of new traction technologies.
03/23/07 - Rusty Nail Night Light
These blocking oscillator type power supplies work best with ferrite cores, and sometimes they can be hard to locate. Some readers have expressed anxiety over making inductors, and that is understandable since to many, inductors have an aura of mystery about them. Just to prove that these inductors aren't magic, or even that critical for that matter, I wound one on a rusty nail that I noticed laying beside the road one day while waiting for a tow truck. It is a 2-1/2 inch (6.5 cm) long flooring nail, which serves as the inductor's core. The wire is a twisted pair of #24 solid copper wire that I pulled from a length of CAT-5 (ethernet) cable, which is similar to the wire used to connect telephones inside buildings. I wound 60 turns of the twisted pair in about three layers around the flooring nail, then I connected the start end of one conductor to the finish end of the other conductor and that made it into a 120 turn center tapped inductor. I connected it to a 2N2222, a 1K resistor, a 1.5 volt penlight cell, and a white LED. Nothing happened. Then, I put a .0027 uf capacitor across the 1 K resistor (it happened to be on the work bench) and the LED came on. Sometimes you need .001 uf or so. The LED glows nicely and the circuit draws 20 milliamps from the AA cell. The waveform on the oscilloscope looks terrible, but the point is that the circuit oscillated with even this rusty nail, and it boosted the output of the 1.5 volt AA cell to over 3 volts peak to drive the LED.
03/23/07 - Cheaper, More Efficient Solar Cells
According to StarSolar's website, the biggest problem facing solar power today is the high cost of solar electricity compared to conventional sources. StarSolar's patent-protected technology solves this problem by significantly increasing the efficiency of solar cells, which is the single biggest driver in solar cost reduction. These improvements are achieved through innovative light trapping technology that enhances infrared light absorption by a factor of seven, thus increasing overall power generation by 37%. Technology Review, March 21, 2007 -- ... The effort uses a type of material called a photonic crystal that makes it possible to "do things with light that have never been done before," says John Joannopoulos, a professor of physics at MIT who heads the lab where the new designs for solar applications were developed. But StarSolar needs to choose a large-scale manufacturing technique that will allow it to produce the photon crystals inexpensively.
03/23/07 - Dutch Flying Car
The Dutch company PAL-V Europe BV plans to launch in 2009 a TRICYCLE HELICOPTER with wings that folds up so the vehicle can be used as a car. Called the PAL-V (short for Personal Air and Land Vehicle), the three-wheeled gyrocopter will lean into turns when driven on the road, go zero to 60 in five seconds and travel 340 miles on a tank of gas. To propel the PAL-V in the sky, a single rotor and propeller are used, similar to what would be found in a gyrocopter. The distance required for takeoff is 50 meters and landing space is even less, allowing the PAL-V to be operated in many environments. With a maximum airspeed of 120 mph and no traffic to contend with, commuting times with a PAL-V should be reduced considerably. Powering the PAL-V is a Mazda-sourced, environmentally certified automotive engine capable of running on gasoline as well as bio-diesel or bio-ethanol. According to the company, Special Light Sport Aircraft certification, a Sports Aviation License, motorcycle license, and standard automobile driver's license are all required for operation of the vehicle in the U.S.
03/23/07 - Computer Speakers for Your Ears Only
Microsoft researchers are developing an algorithm that would allow speakers to work like virtual headphones--even as you walk around your office. Researchers at Microsoft are trying to make audio output more sophisticated. A team, led by Ivan Tashev, a software architect at Microsoft, recently began work on an algorithm that, in theory, will be able to direct sound from a set of speakers--ideally embedded in a computer monitor--into a person's ears, effectively creating virtual headphones; just a few inches outside the focal point of the sound waves, the volume dramatically fades away. Crucially, says Tashev, his algorithm could be used by a wide range of inexpensive speakers that could be put into computer monitors. The algorithm adjusts the timing of sound waves emitted from each speaker in an array. As a result, sound waves cancel each other out in some parts of space, and amplify each other in others, effectively creating a focused beam of sound that acts as virtual headphones. The goal, he says, is to "target focused sound so that a person can walk around an office and hear" while on a video- or computer-aided audio conference call. Information about a person's location could be collected by hardware peripherals and fed back into the speaker software, allowing the virtual headphones to move with the user in real time. For example, Tashev says, a camera, either mounted on or embedded in a computer monitor, and image-processing software could determine a person's position. In addition, an array of four or more microphones on or near a computer monitor could be programmed to localize sound by measuring the subtle time differences among when sound arrives at each speaker in the array. In fact, Tashev's previous work has been to design such sound-localizing algorithms for the types of microphones that are commonly found in the bezel of laptop computers. Employing both a camera and a microphone can improve the accuracy and distance a person could roam while using the speakers.
03/23/07 - Another Step Towards the Driverless Car
"At Essex, we have for some time been working on automatically learning how to race cars in simulation. It turns out that a combination of evolutionary algorithms and neural networks can learn how to beat all humans in racing games, and also come up with some quite interesting, novel behaviours, which might one day make their way into commercial racing games. While this is simulation, the race is now on for the real thing - we are setting up a competition for AI developers, where the goal is to win a race between model cars on real tracks. As the cars will be around half a meter long, the cost of participating will be a fraction of that for the famous DARPA Grand Challenge, whereas the challenges will be similar in terms of computer vision and AI."
03/23/07 - 'Political correctness is killing our Freedoms'
(Truth, Justice and the American Way. Personal responsibility for your life and actions/inactions. My Hero! - JWD) Europe's citizens must be on their guard against political correctness and moralising politicians, says the European Commission President José Manuel Barroso in an interview with The Daily Telegraph. The former Portuguese premier and centre-Right politician is concerned that freedom can be the loser in European culture wars over climate change, cheap air travel, Islam and free speech. "We should be aware of people who, sometimes for good reasons, try to establish what I call private moral codes, for this or that, be it climate change, religious behaviour or any kind of social behaviour," he says. Mr Barroso backs the right to offend. "We have to show respect for all communities but the fundamental right of freedom of expression is for me more important than other collective rights," he says. "People should be able to choose what clothes they wear - as long as they don't go naked of course." As the European Union prepares to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the founding Treaty of Rome, Mr Barroso insists that the rights of the individual, within the law, over moral strictures from either secular or religious communities, are sacred. "Shall we respect the rights of a community to impose, for instance on a girl, a specific way of doing things or shall we give primacy to the rights of the girl, or it could be a boy, to choose?" he says. "I have no doubts. In the Europe I want, the right to choose has primacy."
03/23/07 - Man dies from crab he was about to cook
Tan Boon Hock of Singapore died after getting cut by a live crab he was about to cook up for dinner. Apparently, he was infected by a flesh-eating bacteria that the crab was carrying. The bacteria, Vibrio, can also turn up on fish and prawns. From the German Press Agency: Cooking destroys the bacteria, making the seafood safe for consumption. Doctors advised people preparing meals to use tongs or gloves when handling the live crabs. The claws should be brushed and washed with water before cooking, they added.
03/23/07 - EXODUS: Escape from Earth
Dr. Jack Sarfatti wrote: Suppose we had a plentiful supply of zero point vacuum energy, you still have to worry about thermodynamics and waste heat and entropy. Global warming will be accelerated by cheap free energy. The world will burn out even faster! You people are not physicists and do not understand that the problem is much more complex than you imagined or possibly can imagine. The problem is too many people in too small a space. Either you kill most of the people or you find a more happy solution. I am talking about the complex problems of ecology - that a supply of cheap energy will not solve our problem, but will hasten the destruction of the planet because of two factors; 1) over-population, 2) second law of thermodynamics still applies, i.e. dumping of waste heat between two positive temperatures in all engines in use today. YOU DON'T GET THE POINT ABOUT ENGINES! ANY ENGINE AND DEVICES CONNECTED TO IT WILL ULTIMATELY PRODUCE WASTE HEAT AT SOME POINT IN ITS USE. AT SOME POINT YOU NEED TO IRREVERSIBLY "ERASE" and that raises entropy/heat. Six billion people living in this small space at same energy consumption level we "privileged" do will destroy the planet from the waste heat. In any case we don't have the technology and even if we did, practical economics and politics would prevent us from mass-producing enough for everyone to make a difference in time. There is one loophole maybe. If you connect a negative temperature to a positive temperature there is no waste heat. All the heat converts to work.? The issue is that this planet is too damn small for all the billions and billions to live at the same level we do in the richer parts of the world. The only escape fro the worlds poor is SMI^2LE SPACE MIGRATION through stargate wormholes... (via zpenergy.com)
03/23/07 - McDonald's: take "McJob" out of the dictionary
McDonald's is taking action to get the word "McJob" taken out of the Oxford English Dictionary. Let's be clear: the job of a dictionary is to record language as it is spoken, and people clearly say "McJob" to mean a crummy job. McDonald's argues that jobs at McDonald's aren't crummy, so people are wrong to call crummy jobs McJobs. Let's stipulate for the sake of argument that working at McD's is great -- would it matter? Nope. When we say "McJob," we mean "An unstimulating, low-paid job with few prospects, esp. one created by the expansion of the service sector." From the point of view of the fast-food proletariat, the reason for the McLanguage offensive is clear: The word McJob, as the OED definition makes clear, is "depreciative." It goes on to define the term as: "An unstimulating, low-paid job with few prospects, esp. one created by the expansion of the service sector." It found its way into the dictionary in March 2001, 15 years after it was apparently coined by the Washington Post. "Dictionaries are supposed to be paragons of accuracy. And it this case, they got it completely wrong," Walt Riker, a Mickey D's McSpokesman complained to the Associated Press. "It's a complete disservice and incredibly demeaning to a terrific work force and a company that's been a jobs and opportunity machine for 50 years."
03/22/07 - Earthmen rule against moon real estate bid
A Chinese appeals court has upheld a ban on a company from selling land on the moon, ruling that "celestial bodies" could not be anyone's property, state media said on Saturday. Lunar Embassy to China, a Beijing-based company that sold plots of lunar land to individuals, sued the Beijing Administration of Industry and Commerce which revoked its business licence and fined it 50,000 yuan (3,300 pounds) in October 2005. The court cited an international treaty that China signed in 1983.
"The treaty states that outer space, including the moon and other celestial bodies, is not subject to national appropriation by claim of sovereignty, by means of use or occupation, or by other means... The exploration and use of outer space shall be carried out for the benefit and in the interests of all countries," Xinhua said. The company offered to sell individuals ownership of an acre of lunar land for 298 yuan each. "Within three days of opening for business, it was reported that 34 clients had bought 49 acres of land, earning the company more than 14,000 yuan. "There was no indication if the company provided discounts to clients who bought multiple plots."
03/22/07 - Science turns sun, surf into green energy
A REVOLUTIONARY technology that uses sunlight and sea water to produce an unlimited supply of clean, hydrogen fuel could be developed within a decade, Sydney researchers say. Leigh Sheppard, of the University of NSW, estimated that 1.6 million of the solar devices, installed on rooftops, would be able to produce enough hydrogen gas to supply Australia's entire energy needs. Technique relies on using a light sensitive material, titanium dioxide, to harness the power of the sun to split water into oxygen and hydrogen gas. "The process has the additional advantage that it works best in sea water," Dr Sheppard said. Australia was rich in titanium, and had abundant sunshine. "And we are surrounded by ocean." It might also be possible to use artesian water, or pump sea water inland, to a large array of solar panels which could produce hydrogen for local use and even for export. An area covering 40 square kilometres would meet the country's energy needs. A way of using sunlight to split water was first developed by Japanese scientists in the 1970s, but worldwide interest in developing this approach has only recently been rekindled by concerns about burning fossil fuels and global warming. The small UNSW team, led by Professor Janusz Nowotny, is a world leader in using titanium dioxide as a catalyst to split water. The researchers have developed instruments which can measure the electrical properties of the material so they can improve its performance by altering its oxygen content or adding impurities.
Software helps Determine Life or Death
A computer program may predict how patients who are incapacitated wish to be treated more accurately than their loved ones. People may sign an advance directive that specifies the type of medical care they would like if they lose the ability to make decisions. When people don't state their preferences ahead of time, though, relatives are often asked to decide on the patient's behalf. The computer tool used information on the incapacitated patient's circumstances and characteristics, for example, someone who has pneumonia and severe Alzheimer's disease, is 60 years old, well-educated, Native American and male. The program determined treatment preferences, such as whether the patient would want the pneumonia to be treated with antibiotics, based on the preferences of similar people. Since there is no way to tell what medical treatment people may want when they are incapacitated, studies that looked at whether loved ones accurately predicted patients' treatment choices used hypothetical scenarios, such as: "You recently suffered a major stroke leaving you in a coma and unable to breathe without a machine. After a few months, the doctor determines that it is unlikely that you will come out of the coma. If your doctor had asked whether to try to revive you if your heart stopped beating in this situation, what would you have told the doctor to do?" A review of previous studies using these scenarios suggested relatives accurately predict patients' treatment preferences about 68 per cent of the time.
03/22/07 - Melting ice caps open up sea lanes
"Diminishing sea ice conditions in the Arctic Ocean are changing ecosystems, most conspicuously for polar bears," said the commission's report, prepared for US President George W. Bush and Congress. "This also creates unprecedented access for ships that will bring people to the north, and will significantly shorten global marine transportation routes," it said. The cost difference is dramatic, according to Mead Treadwell, the commission chairman. The estimated cost of transporting a shipping container between northern Europe and Alaska's Aleutian Islands is about $500 he said; moving the same container between Europe and the port of Yokohama, through the Suez Canal, costs about $1500. Beyond shipping, less sea ice means easier access for offshore oil exploration and drilling in the Arctic, which is thought to contain about 25 per cent of the world's remaining oil and gas reserves, the report said. It also noted that about half of the fish consumed in the United States comes from the Bering Sea off the Alaskan coast. With increased prospecting for oil and gas, the risk of spills also rises, spurring the need for new clean-up technologies, Mr Treadwell said.
03/22/07 - The perils of a hypersexualized society
It is not being alarmist to say that society is bombarded with sexual innuendo. The mentality is, "You have a right to be sexy by any means necessary." Unfortunately, this right or, more often, desire supersedes all moral values, common sense and appropriate behavior. In a society in which instant gratification is everything, in which we focus on the product rather than the person, people use more elbow grease not to evolve spiritually but to change themselves superficially, thickening the layers between their authentic selves that lie beneath. In advertising, television, film, sports, music and magazines, sex sells. Pro-sex feminism encourages women to express their sexuality - condemning men for objectifying women but condoning and supporting women who objectify themselves. Misogyny and the misconception of beauty have been woven into the fabric of our society so much that it is less offensive and more conventional. This has everything to do with why sex offenders are running rampant - not just Chester the molester but the lifestyles of sexual promiscuity, crime and addiction. Aspiring to be the next Beyoncé or Angelina Jolie, women demolish their self-confidence and natural beauty trying to thin themselves, boost their busts and round their rumps in misguided attempts to build self-esteem and acquire the attention, love and affection they've always wanted. Where does the dialogue begin? When do we start treating adults who commit sexual molestation or statutory rape - instead of wagging our fingers at them, locking them up and throwing away the key? Guilt and shame are not the solutions. And where do our children (and adults) get the self-love and knowledge within themselves to know better?
03/22/07 - Duct Tape May Not Get Rid Of Warts
A study among older adults has found duct tape helped only 21 percent of the time and was no better than moleskin, a cotton-tape bandage used to protect the skin.
But researchers used transparent duct tape. Only later did they learn that the transparent variety does not contain rubber, unlike the better-known, gray duct tape that appeared to be effective in a 2002 study. The tape supposedly works by irritating the skin and stimulating the body's immune system to attack the virus that causes warts. Experts say warts usually clear up on their own in about two years.
03/22/07 - Star Trek-like Human-posing ET's visited U.S. capital in 1957
UFO scientists believe Gene Roddenbury must have been briefed on "Star Trek" by extraterrestrials posing as humans in 1957. This will make your head hurt. (via fark.com) / "Exoscience", as the study of Extraterrestrials reveals that certain elements of the science fiction series Star Trek, may have been inspired by actual cosmic awareness by its creators. The most notable similarity seems to be that a "Galactic Federation" of ethical planetary civilizations according to representation by contactees and researchers does exist, that is governed by "constitutionalism” including the rights of sentient beings, and social justice. This apparent Galactic Federation like “the Federation” in Star Trek appears to be governed by a ‘prime directive’ when dealing with civilizations outside of a “voluntary association of ethical planetary civilizations”.
03/22/07 - Slobs Found To Be More Productive Than Neatniks
"Are you a slob? Do you pile papers on top of folders on top of game boxes? Here's the thing that those anal neat people can't even conceive of: you're more productive than they are. That's the conclusion of "A Perfect Mess: The Hidden Benefits of Disorder," by Eric Abrahamson and David Freedman, a new book that argues neatness is overrated, costs money, wastes time and quashes creativity."
03/22/07 - Dr Grordbort's Infallible Aether Oscillators
From the all round military durability of the Goliathon 83 which can dissolve 7/9ths of an African Elephant in 10 earth seconds to the elegantly futuristic style of the F.M.O.M. Wave Disrupter Gun that issues a conical emission of inverted aether particles, capable of warping and collapsing the very fabric of space (and thereby disintegrating the target subject), these Rayguns are sure to meet the requirements of any aspiring adventurer or explorer. These weapons are but a start to a continuing series of wave weapons, ingenius contraptions and objects of art which will be revealed in due course. Each Raygun will retail at US $690.00 (+ tax) / NZ $1165.00 (incl GST) and will be available for sale, one Raygun per month from June until August. Weta Originals will also reveal a further piece at this years' San Diego Comic Convention. Meticulously built to the exacting standards and plans of Dr. Grordbort, these weapons, bespangled in fine detail and with various (most likely quite dangerous) moving parts are the perfect addition to a gentleman's study or a deterring centerpiece for a lady's powder room or chiffonier. Ammunition not supplied (Phlogiston and Compressed Aether phials may be ordered through the Doctor's upcoming Contrapulatronic Dingus Directory)
03/22/07 - Debbie Bird is allergic to modern technology
Debbie Bird's eyelids swell to three times their size when she is exposed to microwaves. Debbie and her husband Tony often sleep in a silver-plated mosquito net. The 39-year-old is so sensitive to the electromagnetic field (emf) or 'smog' created by computers, mobile phones, microwave ovens and even some cars, that she develops a painful skin rash and her eyelids swell to three times their size if she goes near them. As a consequence, Mrs Bird, a health spa manager, has transformed her home into an EMF-free zone to try and stay healthy. The walls are all covered in special carbon paint, the windows have a protective film on them and she and her husband, Tony, 45, even sleep under a silver-plated mosquito net to deflect the radiowaves. Debbie's home is a radio-wave free zone. A clear protective film has been put on the windows and the walls have been redecorated with a special carbon paint. They took electromagnetic readings of the property and set about making it safe. The house was completely re-wired, had clear protective film put on the windows and every wall was painted with black carbon paint, which cost £250 per tin, to deflect the harmful rays. All the couple's bedroom curtains are also silver-plated and they sleep under a silver-plated mosquito net, which also protects against radiation. Although the renovation was not cheap, Mrs Bird said it was worth it. Her skin rashes have gone and she no longer has trouble sleeping. Officially in the UK, electro-sensitivity (ES) does not exist as a medical condition.
Doctors say there is little scientific evidence to back up a link between EMF and poor health. They claim the symptoms, often attributed to flu or viruses, are psychosomatic. But campaigners disagree. They reckon around 500 people are already being treated for ES and as many as five per cent of the population could be affected.
03/22/07 - Proposing a New Mental Disorder
It may be helpful at this point if I set out the diagnostic criteria for this condition, which I am proposing to call World Domination Disorder: A. Unusual Beliefs - 1. Believing that you have a divinely inspired mission to rid the world of evil. - 2. Believing, or claiming to be a democratically elected head of state, and believing or claiming that the majority of the population support you. - 3. Acting on these beliefs. B. Unusual Experiences: - 1. Hearing voices, especially of a religiose or grandiose nature (e.g. hearing the voice of God telling you that you are on a divine mission, and are engaged in a struggle on the part of good, against evil). - 2. Having the experience that one’s actions and will are under the control or influence of God. - 3. Acting on these experiences.
03/22/07 - Houses cheaper than cars in Detroit
With bidding stalled on some of the least desirable residences in Detroit's collapsing housing market, even the fast-talking auctioneer was feeling the stress. "Folks, the ground underneath the house goes with it. You do know that, right?" he offered. After selling house after house in the Motor City for less than the $29,000 it costs to buy the average new car, the auctioneer tried a new line: "The lumber in the house is worth more than that!" As Detroit reels from job losses in the U.S. auto industry, the depressed city has emerged as a boomtown in one area: foreclosed property. At least 16 Detroit houses up for sale on Sunday sold for $30,000 or less. A boarded-up bungalow on the city's west side brought $1,300. A four-bedroom house near the original Motown recording studio sold for $7,000. "You can't buy a used car for that," said one man. "It's a gamble, and you have to wonder how low it's going to get."
03/22/07 - The #1 Briefcase When You Have To Go #2
The Gotta Go Briefcase will surely inspire the business savvy men and women of the world climbing the corporate ladder who will stop at nothing to get an edge… not even to take a dump. In today’s fast paced corporate market, every minute counts and often can be the difference between success and failure. No longer is it feasible or convenient to take time out for toilet breaks, especially in taxis, subways or rail systems where facilities are not always provided. Now, for the GM who has to take a BM, there is the Gotta Go Briefcase. A full functioning briefcase that also doubles as a portable lavatory.
03/21/07 - Airplane and Spacecraft Navigation - the Centrifugal Thrust Propeller
Sri Lanka's Sudath Sunimal Perera has turned a new page in aviation and astronomical history with his very own centrifugal navigation system. "This is an invention that could change the method of navigating a spacecraft or an aeroplane," Sudath said speaking to Daily Mirror Life. He has received an international patent for his invention from the International Intellectual Body in Geneva, which is given after an extensive research done to determine whether there are any similar products in the world. This invention aspires to navigate spacecrafts or any moving object without depending on any medium. At present the force that is generated by gas combustion and small rockets are used to navigate the space crafts. However usage of this method is limited because the materials which are used in small rockets are limited and the cost of these materials are high. The navigational systems used in these spacecrafts are complicated and quite a large number of instruments have to be fixed to navigate these kinds of machines automatically or manually. In those methods the environmental pollution is also said to be higher and the risk factor is greater. Taking into consideration the above mentioned issues, the centrifugal propeller has been designed as a solution which could minimize the risks, costs and mainly the environmental pollution. The centrifugal force is totally dependent on the mass, radius, circular orbit and the angular speed. Centrifugal force = mass*(velocity) (velocity) / (radius). In the process of operating a propeller, uniform air density is an essential factor. Specially crossing places such as an air pocket is a difficult task but do not affect the in centrifugally thrust propeller because of non-dependence on the medium. The variation in air layers sometimes causes dangerous outcomes which directly effect normal aircraft but not the centrifugally thrust propeller. Navigation (steering) of an aircraft may experience unnecessary vibration due to an air thrust but not with the CTF method. According to Sudath, NASA has expressed interest in his new device. He had been directed to NASA by the Arthur C. Clarke Center. This is not his first and only invention as he had invented a solar powered aircraft and a power generation device which is a low energy consumption device.
03/21/07 - Invention cuts pollution from car exhausts
An inventor from St Helens has designed the answer to every motorist’s prayer - a device to make your run around faster, greener and give you up to 75% more miles per gallon. Engineer George Heeley has tested his ‘Passive Turbo’ fuel saving device in the UK and US with impressive results. To date more than 1,000 vehicles in the US have been fitted with the device. The £200 device uses clever science to make petrol or diesel powered vehicles from cars to HGVs more fuel efficient, cut exhaust emissions as well as giving a increase in power. The gadget gives petrol powered cars a miles per gallon increase of between 25 to 75% and 18 to 25% on diesel powered vehicles. The gadget gives petrol powered cars a miles per gallon increase of between 25 to 75% and 18 to 25% on diesel powered vehicles.
Now Mr Heeley, who used to work for Tate and Lyle as an engineer, is planning to manufacture the device from his Kleen and Green Miracle Solutions premises in St Helens. He said: “I have the Passive Turbo fitted on my own vehicles and we are fitting them on other people’s vehicles at a rate of a few a week. It really does work. “The Passive Turbo works using a special air filter with near zero drag resulting in the engine receiving near on 100% of air on the induction stroke which is not affected by weather, pollen or crankcase venting like a standard air filter. “The second stage of this device consists of a container of liquid (non flammable) that changes its state from liquid to a gas by molecular adhesion. “This gas mixes with a metered flow of air into the engines PSV system in a continuous ongoing process. The effects of these two units working together results in the increase in fuel consumption as well as minimum exhaust emissions.” - For more information on the device email Georgeheeley@aol.com
03/21/07 - Web-based Experiments for Mass Testing
“Nearly 2000 subjects participated in this experiment.” 2000?! How had he gotten so many participants? “The experiment was posted on the internet.” To put this in perspective, a “large” experiment in cognitive psychology typically involves 20 to 30 subjects. I asked how long had it taken to get 2000 subjects. “About two weeks” was the reply. Within minutes I was planning my own web-based experiments. Of course, if typical experiments need only a dozen subjects, who needs 2000? The answer is: lots of people. Some experiments don’t require much data. If you want to find out whether 3-year-olds or 20-year-olds can make more basketball free-throw shots, you only need a few 3-year-olds and a few 20-year-olds to each make a few shots. However, many interesting effects are more subtle. For example, suppose the average Kansan can make a free-throw 80% of the time, as opposed to 81% for Nebraskans. To see this effect, you will either need at least 100 Kansans and Nebraskans each throwing one shot or a smaller number of people throwing many more shots. Most experiments opt for the latter strategy: recruit a few participants and test each one several times. Testing large numbers of subjects takes large amounts of time and money, so we often avoid it. But if you can test 1000 subjects a week via the internet, suddenly a whole world of experiments opens up. That is, I believe, the great promise of web-based experiments. On the other hand, many scientists have reservations about the reliability of web-based experiments. “How do you know,” they ask, “that your volunteers are really paying attention? How do you know they aren’t pressing buttons randomly or even purposefully giving the wrong answers?” I don’t know. But that’s also true for subjects tested in a brick-and-mortar lab. In fact, while my internet participants are volunteers that can quit whenever they want to, subjects who come to the lab are usually paid or are fulfilling a requirement for a psychology course. Who is likely to be more motivated? And if a “malicious” subject purposefully tries to give bad data, it’s better that s/he is one of 1000 than one of eight.
03/21/07 - Malaria Wristwatch inventor dragged into Court
PORT Elizabeth entrepreneur and self-styled inventor Gervan Lubbe - recognised worldwide for his malaria wristwatch invention claim - is being dragged into the High Court by his company directors to account for his invention claims, and some five million copies of his own biography. The directors are also demanding access to an alleged Anglo American letter of credit for an order of 121 000 of the malaria watches. The directors also want disclosure of information regarding a warehouse in Boksburg in which Lubbe claims 185 000 Malaria Monitors, 286 000 NIS devices and 5,2 million of the South African edition of his autobiography, Full Disclosure, are being stored. The board members say the court must put them in a position to market and sell these products. The most recent date for the launch of the malaria monitor, the pain machine and the autobiography would have been today. The directors say the products are their only source of income. The duration of this agreement is 20 years from the date the last party signed the agreement. All of Lubbe‘s 70 employees are allegedly bound by the stipulation that “the chairman of the company is always right” and the employee will undertake a lie detector test at Lubbe‘s request. Later in the week of March 12, Lubbe allegedly dissolved his board, effectively firing the rest of the directors. Previous directors have allegedly been locked out of the business premises at a compound in Seaview and instructed to return company cellphones, credit cards and lap top computers. Armed guards at the compound at 1951 Westmead Road off the Old Seaview Road were instructed not to allow directors onto the property.
03/21/07 - Credit Card Protector
David Fink is offering for sale a piece of plastic for credit cards so potential thieves can't see your number. Fink was inspired by his own experience with credit theft. "In a store, they swipe the card a lot of times, put the card on the top of the cash register and it sits there until its authorized and then they give it back to you. It didn't look like a good idea to me to just have it sitting there, so my brain just came up with a way to go around that," Fink said. He invented and has a patent pending on the "Peek-A-Bye." It's a plastic sleeve that covers up most of the card number and the expiration date. "The idea of it -- just getting rid of people peeking at your card as it goes by," Fink said. "(The) unique feature is the back is clear, so the signature can still be verified, but to use the card, the magnetic strip is still exposed," he said. Experts also recommend that consumers avoid unbranded ATMs because they can be a target of skimmers, when a thief installs an extra card reader to steal numbers. Check out Fink's invention -- the Peek-A-Bye on his Web site.
03/21/07 - LG expects Analog to Digital TV converters to go for $60
LG is one of three companies that have developed converter boxes to prevent analog television sets from going dark on February 17, 2009, when U.S. television stations are required to switch to digital. If U.S. owners of analog televisions do not get a converter box, subscribe to satellite or digital cable, or replace their TV with a digital television by February 17, 2009, they will not be able to watch television broadcasts. Congress has set aside up to $1.5 billion to aid the digital TV transition. All households will be eligible to request up to two $40 discount coupons to buy converter boxes until $990 million has been exhausted.
03/21/07 - Anti-rape device to hit market - and rapists
A controversial South African invention, a female condom-like anti-rape device, is almost ready to hit the market after months of waiting for patent verification. The device, known as Rapex, has stirred controversy around the world but its inventor, Sonnet Ehlers, is preparing the final pre-production phase after seven years of waiting. The controversy has raged over whether the device, which has fish-like teeth that attach to the head and shaft of the penis, is a medieval device built on a hatred of men or whether it is an easy-to-use invention that could free millions of South African women from fear of rape. In the latest crime statistics, South Africa recorded a staggering 54 926 rape cases, giving it one of the worst sexual assault records in the world. This device, which is inserted in the vagina, could give women vital seconds to escape the rapist while he was busy dealing with his pain. "The surprise factor will give women a chance to escape," says Ehlers, explaining that the rapist would be in great pain as the 25 teeth attach themselves to the shaft of the penis. The rapist also has to contend with the fact that only a doctor can remove the fish-like teeth. "I want this guy to be identified. I want a way that will prove that penetration took place," said Ehlers. With production scheduled for next month, Ehlers said the product will be mass-produced in China to keep costs down.
03/21/07 - China' Sweeping financial Reforms
#1 - China is an increasingly prosperous society. And in this society, personal wealth must have legal protection. The country’s economic and social changes make the law absolutely necessary. Until now, local officials have had the right to seize businesses, farmland and even homes with virtual impunity. They’ve been able to sell off those properties to large commercial interests or speculators. And as a result, small- and medium-sized enterprises in many sectors, especially in rural China, have been squeezed or even squashed. Your take-away from this change: If you thought China’s growth has been impressive even without laws protecting personal property ... and even without the enthusiastic participation of the masses ... wait till you see what can happen as this reform unleashes the entrepreneurial spirit of hundreds of millions of Chinese citizens that, until now, have been held back or left out! #2 - For the first time, China will now allow trading in stock index futures and options. #3 - China has just created what could soon be the largest investment fund in history. Goal - To tap into China’s $1.1 trillion in foreign reserves ... to invest a big chunk of that money in stocks ... and to create a massive, unprecedented new wave of investment. The largest mutual fund in the U.S., the Magellan Fund, has “only” $50 billion or so on assets. So right off the bat, the new Chinese fund would be four to eight times larger than anything we’ve ever seen in the U.S. financial markets. / No End to the Great Cash Drain in the U.S.! No End to the Great Cash Pile-Up in China! Meanwhile, back in the U.S., the Commerce Department has announced our worst trade deficit in history for the fifth year in a row: * The red ink in the current account (the broadest measure of trade) was $856.7 billion in 2006. * That means that every single day of the year, holidays included, $2.3 billion is being drained from the United States and winding up in the coffers of foreign corporations, foreign investors and foreign central banks, especially China’s. * Our deficit is now at a record 6.5 percent of the total economy, a continuing - and worsening - drain on U.S. growth and U.S. corporate earnings. * Even investment inflows - which had been positive in every single year since the great crash of 1929 - have turned negative. Instead of investment money flowing into America to the tune of $11.3 billion in 2005, now it’s flowing out, with $7.3 billion leaving last year alone. This puts the U.S. dollar in even greater jeopardy. In contrast, China’s trade surplus surged to a record-smashing $178 billion last year, up by a hard-to-believe 74 percent from the previous record of $102 billion set in 2005.
03/21/07 - Laughter May Boost Altruistic Behavior
(Every native Texan knows this! - JWD) A good laugh may not only lift your mood, but can make you more cooperative and altruistic towards strangers, according to a new study. Laughter, a universal human behavior, has been shown in previous studies to act as a “social lubricant” and promote group cohesiveness. In this new study, researchers tested whether this sense of closeness would promote altruistic behavior. Study participants watched either a funny or a serious video, and then played a game with strangers to see how laugher affected the balance between group interest and self-interest during the game-play. Each person was given a small sum of money (about $5) and told they could invest it in either a private fund or a group fund-they would get back whatever they put in the private fund, while whatever was contributed to the group fund would be doubled and split evenly among group members, regardless of how much each person put in. The researchers found that laughter made strangers more likely to invest in the group fund, and so increased their sense of altruism. The study also suggested that laughter increases endorphin levels, which are known to be part of the body's mood-lifting chemistry.
03/21/07 - Futuristic NASA think tank to be shut down
(How retarded is this? - JWD) NASA will likely shut down its Institute for Advanced Concepts, which funds research into futuristic - and often far-out - ideas in spaceflight and aeronautics, officials say. The controversial move highlights the budgetary pressures the agency is facing as it struggles to retire the space shuttles by 2010 and develop their replacement. The institute, which operates from an office in Atlanta, Georgia, US, receives about $4 million per year from NASA. Most of that is used to fund research into innovative technologies; recent grants include the conceptual development of spacecraft that could surf the solar system on magnetic fields, motion-sensitive spacesuits that could generate power and tiny, spherical robots that could explore Mars.
03/21/07 - Can Newton's 2nd Law be Violated on Earth?
Astrophysicists have found evidence that a corrected version of Newton’s 2nd Law (which deals with the acceleration of mass) works well on the grand scale of the universe. These modifications to Newtonian physics are known as “modified Newtonian dynamics (MOND). “Newton offers a foundation for classical mechanics in the relationship of force, mass and accelerations,” Alex Ignatiev explains to PhysOrg.com. “These are always true, except in special cases.” Ignatiev has devised a way of detecting one such special case, dealing with small accelerations on earth. This type of experiment is something widely considered so difficult that it has been dismissed in the past as impossible. “We already have observation of this theory in astrophysical evidence,” Ignatiev, a scientist at Melbourne’s Theoretical Physics Research Institute in Australia, points out. “I want to look at how it works on earth.” Ignatiev’s Suggestion on how this could be accomplished has been published in Physical Review Letters as “Is Violation of Newton’s Second Law Possible?” And the implications if Newton’s 2nd Law is violated under special conditions on earth? “Well,” says Ignatiev, “this is dealing with fundamental physics. If Newton’s Law can be seen to be violated on Earth, then everything we know has to be re-evaluated.” “The conditions for testing this are really special,” he explains. “Time and place have to be accounted for.” According to Ignatiev, the possible places to conduct this experiment lie 80 degrees north and south of the equator. “These are latitudes in places like Antarctica and Greenland - not exactly hospitable areas.” But timing is important as well. “It must be very finely tuned,” Ignatiev insists. “Only two instances during the year, around the two equinox dates, for about 1/1000th of a second.” If these experiments were to take place, Ignatiev says that scientists would look for what he calls the SHLEM effect. This acronym stands for static high latitude equinox modified inertia and would be noticed in a condition where the forces of the earth’s rotation on its axis, and of the orbital force of the earth as it moves around the sun, would be canceled out. “This would lead to a tiny shift to be detected,” Ignatiev explains.
03/21/07 - Magnetize a Bic pen
A remedy for lost pens when you need them. Four quarter-inch (1/4") neodymium disc magnets ("rare earth" magnets) will not only fit nicely inside the body of a Bic pen, but they are strong enough to hold both the pen and a shopping list to my refrigerator. Sounds like a great way to ditch those pricey magnetic notepads; with this method you can use scrap paper instead. As for the magnets themselves, I found a package of 50 for $8.99. One dozen magnet pens, coming up!
03/21/07 - FTC Charges Invention Promotion Swindlers with Contempt
The Federal Trade Commission has filed a civil contempt action against four individuals and eight business entities for allegedly operating a fraudulent invention promotion business in violation of a court order. The individuals were employed by International Product Design Inc., which the FTC charged with fraudulent business practices in 1997. A court order issued in 1998 prohibited Julian Gumpel, Darrell Mormando, and Greg Wilson from deceptively marketing invention promotion services, but Gumpel later revived the same scam under the name, “Patent and Trademark Institute of America” ( PTI ). For a fee of $895 to $1,295, PTI promised to evaluate the marketability and patentability of inventors’ ideas, but its evaluations were almost always positive and were not meaningful, according to the FTC. For a fee of $5,000 to $45,000, PTI’s clients were offered legal protection and assistance to obtain commercial licenses for their inventions. They also were told that PTI would help them earn substantial royalties from their inventions, but PTI did not help consumers license their inventions, and clients did not earn royalties. The FTC alleges that PTI’s business practices violated the court order, which prohibited the defendants from falsely promising to evaluate invention ideas and falsely claiming that consumers would profit financially if they bought PTI’s invention promotion services. The FTC also alleges that PTI never sent consumers the “Affirmative Disclosure” form required by the order; the form should have disclosed PTI’s non-existent track record in bringing inventions to market.
03/20/07 - Compressed Garbage for Fuel
TransLoad's equipment compresses tons of garbage into dense cylindrical bales and seals them hermetically in several layers of plastic film. The company intends to load those bales into boxcars, and ship them to its landfills. TransLoad claims that the combination of compaction, shrink-wrapping and rail-based shipping makes the system cost-effective and eco-friendly. Compressing the garbage at a rate of 1,400 to 1,600 pounds per cubic yard prevents liquid from pooling in the bales, which in turn prevents putrefaction and foul odors. Sealing the waste in impermeable plastic prevents the escape of groundwater-polluting leachate associated with standard landfill storage. And shipping by rail eliminates the need for greenhouse gas-emitting trucks, a point the company's PR firm is quick to emphasize in the wake of Al Gore's Oscar win for An Inconvenient Truth. A variety of conversion technologies, including ones that use landfill gas to generate electricity, are being explored by garbologists in Europe and the United States. Thompson notes that several bioreactors are already in operation across the country. And a company called Geoplasma plans to build a facility in St. Lucie County, Florida, that will use plasma arc technology to convert waste into gas that can be used to generate electricity. Stoller looks forward to the day when TransLoad's bale-stuffed landfills will function as enormous trash-powered fuel cells.
03/20/07 - Full steam ahead for Nevada solar project
The Nevada Solar One power plant is essentially a tea kettle, just one that happens to take up 300 acres and can provide enough power for 15,000 homes. The plant, which will start to generate electricity for nearby Las Vegas in April, consists of approximately 184,000 mirrors arranged in long, parabolic arrays that focus the sun's energy on a receiver--a metal tube filled with oil that's encased in specialized glass--from German conglomerate Schott. Sunlight heats the oil to 400 degrees Celsius (about 750 degrees Fahrenheit). The oil gets transferred to a heat exchanger where it makes steam, which then cranks a turbine to produce electricity. If the heat can't be used right away, it gets transferred to vats of molten salt which retain the heat for later use. The driving force behind the demand for solar thermal power, besides global warming and fears about rising electrical prices, are state and federal laws aimed at curbing fossil fuels and coal. In Nevada, regulations require that utilities get 15 percent of their power from renewable resources and a total of 5 percent from solar power by 2015. Other southwestern states have passed similar laws. Solar thermal plants aren't cheap. The construction tab for building Solar One will likely run about $250 million, said Cohen. The power generated by the plant, minus any subsidies, may not get to parity with electricity generated from conventional plants until around 2020. Solar thermal electricity, according to statistics from Schott's publications, will cost around 15 to 17 cents a kilowatt hour in the U.S. Residents of Las Vegas now pay around 7 cents a kilowatt hour.
03/20/07 - Carbon Dioxide Capture and Conversion Process
CO2 Solution Inc., developers of a technology and process that converts carbon dioxide to bicarbonate ions, has signed a license option and technology development agreement with Babcock and Wilcox (B and W) to further the development of its process. More specifically, B and W will purchase an exclusive option to license and to market, in North America, the technology developed by CO2 Solution for coal combustion based electricity generating plant applications. The CO2 Solution process takes place inside a bioreactor with the help of an enzyme-carbonic anhydrase, obtained with genetic engineering-that accelerates the transformation of CO2 into bicarbonate ions in an aqueous environment. The bicarbonate ions can then be used in other processes. The reaction is as follows: CO2 + H2O ?? H+ + HCO3- To date, CO2 Solution has been granted 12 patents in various countries and regions, including Canada, the United States and Europe, and it also has 21 patents pending.
03/20/07 - The Air Car Nears Completion
"According to an article on Gizmag, Tata, India's largest automotive manufacturer, has developed a car that runs on compressed air. It costs less than $3 USD to fill a tank on which it can run for 200 to 300km. The car will cost about USD $7,300 and has a top speed of 68mph. About once every 50,000 km you have to change the oil (1 liter of vegetable oil). Initial plans are to produce 3,000 cars per year."
03/20/07 - First Fuel Cells
We are a distributor of practical hydrogen fuel cells for personal and educational use. Hydrogen has the highest energy content per unit weight of any known fuel, and can be produced from a wide variety of abundant and renewable energy sources. It is our goal to advance the understanding and use of this clean and efficient energy source. We truly believe that hydrogen and fuel cells are the key to a clean energy future.
03/20/07 - Companies Asked to Donate Unused Patents
"There are countless patents that are promising but sitting idle, stowed in the corporate file room. In fact, about 90 percent to 95 percent of all patents are idle. Countless patents sit unused when companies decide not to develop them into products. Now, not-for-profit groups and state governments are asking companies to donate dormant patents so they can be passed to local entrepreneurs who try to build businesses out of them."
03/20/07 - Different Colored Flamed Candles
Who says candle flames need to be yellow. The candles from More Than Light put a fun spin on an everyday item. “The More than lights online store offers clear paraffin oil as well as a variety of colored oils designed for burning in clear (glass) containers, enhancing the natural beauty of the oil lamp and adding additional color to the lamp and room. Our colored oils are available in four colors (red, green, blue, yellow) and are packed in a special container designed to enable an easy refill while the lamp is still burning
colored oils add a unique designer touch to every occasion and as simple as they are, usually leaves guests, friends and family breath taken. ”
03/20/07 - Inuit seek answers to Arctic sun quirks
Some Inuit say they hope scientists coming to Nunavut for research as part of International Polar Year can help shed light on changes they're seeing in the sun - particularly, how it's been showing up more often in the usually always-dark winters. For the past several years, residents in the High Arctic have observed that the winter dark season is ending earlier than usual, with the sun coming up at a different place than what people are used to seeing. Wayne Davidson, who is the resident meteorologist in Resolute Bay, said the likely cause of this "rising sun" mystery is a temperature difference between the very cold air over the snow and the air above, which has been warmer than usual.
03/20/07 - US troops in Iraq want out
"We just want to get out of here as soon as possible," said one vehicle commander in one of his few printable comments. "It's because the Iraqi army is so scared that we have to come here to die," he added, asking not to be named. "Ninety-five percent of Iraqis are good but five percent are bad. But the 95 percent are too weak to stand up to the five percent." "Bush should send all the Death Row prisoners here and they can be killed fighting the terrorists. We've had enough," said another soldier, as the Humvee accelerated past a roadside car in case it exploded. The lower ranks were in rebellious mood, especially after publication of a poll on Monday, commissioned by the BBC, ABC News, ARD German TV and USA Today, which showed only 18 percent of those questioned had confidence in US and coalition troops, while 78 percent opposed their presence. "If no one wants us here we are quite ready to get out tomorrow," said the outspoken vehicle commander.
03/20/07 - Data Centers Breathe Easier With Less Oxygen
"Wood stops burning when the oxygen content falls to 17 percent and plastic cables between 16 to 17 percent, said Frank Eickhorn, product manager for fire detection at Wagner Alarm and Security Systems GmbH in Hanover, Germany. Wagner makes electric compressors that use a special membrane to remove some of the oxygen from the outside air, a system the company calls OxyReduct. The excess oxygen is exhausted, and the remaining nitrogen-rich air is pumped inside the data center."
03/19/07 - Video - Wood as Thermal Battery
New inventions turns wood into a material that can store solar energy. 94% of American houses are made of low-tech material wood. A new biotechnology to alter wood at the molecular level has been named among the top 25 Inventions of 2007 in the Modern Marvels Invent Now Challenge to be announced at 10:30am on Thursday March 22nd at the Tech Museum of Innovation in San Jose. Here is a video of the Big Bear home. Michael Sykes’ invention, U.S. Patent No. 6,933,016, describes a technology to turn wood into a thermal battery. Zeolitic seed crystals are injected into the wood, altering the molecular structure at a nanolevel- so there is no change in appearance or structural properties. Thus wood is no longer just a structural member, or just a decorative trim or paneling, it becomes a solar energy storing device, and when the house is properly configured and sited it can heat and cool itself.
03/19/07 - The HumanCar - new invention
The HumanCar is a four-wheeled pedal-powered car. That isn't a new idea, but this one is more impressive than most. It combines the pedal power of the two passengers in the back seat with an electric engine to reach some truly impressive speeds: this thing can hit 60 mph downhill. The two people in the front seat are responsible for steering, which they accomplish by leaning in the direction that they want to go. Obviously the HumanCar isn't going to replace your minivan anytime soon, and it isn?t practical unless you have three friends you go everywhere with, but it is certainly a fresh take on alternative fuel for vehicles.
03/19/07 - Global oil glut hidden by rig dearth makes drillers good bet
The professionals most familiar with the so-called oil shortage know there is an estimated 3tn barrels under land and sea. That is why they are making their biggest bets in drilling rigs where the scarcity is no illusion. Oil drillers “are the most attractive way to go,” said Don Hodges, who holds about 160,000 shares of Transocean Inc and about 120,000 shares of GlobalSantaFe Corp among the $1.1bn managed by Dallas-based Hodges Capital Management. “There is a shortage, it takes time to build one and it takes a lot of money. Their earnings are going to go up every year for the foreseeable future.” Orders for offshore rigs have surged sixfold in the past five years, and rental rates are at the highest ever after oil prices tripled and industry profits soared. The wait for the most sophisticated rigs, which can drill in waters more than a mile deep, is a record three years, and the cost to lease one has quadrupled since 2004, climbing to more than $500,000 a day. With crude prices above $50 for most of the past two years, investors from Boone Pickens to billionaire John Fredriksen, who controls the world’s largest oil tanker company, are betting on drilling companies to outperform producers. “We think drilling companies are going to stay very busy,” hedge fund manager Pickens, who is sticking to his prediction that oil prices will reach $70 a barrel this year, said in an interview Qatar last month. The situation for drillers is “very positive for profitability,” he said. The rigs most in demand are known as drillships and semisubmersibles, equipment used in deep waters. The battle for rigs has intensified as oil producers boost exploration in the Gulf of Mexico, West Africa and Brazil. The number of offshore rigs in West Africa has increased to 56 from 44 a year ago, according to industry analyst ODS-Petrodata.
03/19/07 - The gas-powered PogoBoot
A symbol of Russia's lack of entrepreneurial spirit, the boots became a military secret, as generals envisioned soldiers running swiftly alongside armored vehicles. When declassified in 1994, the inventors dreamed of selling their invention to a lazy public, but instead the company went out of business last year. Gordeyev invented a gasoline-powered boot that looks like pogo sticks that strap to your shins, and they work on the same principle as the air-cushioned basketball shoe. But rather than being dismissed as a crackpot invention, his boots -- which use tiny pistons -- became classified as a Russian military secret until 1994. The dream Gordeyev conceived in 1974 to run faster and jump higher without getting tired might never have become a popular option for commuters or even caught on as a sport. But unlike the Segway, the self-balancing scooter invented in the US, it never had a chance. Instead, the boots became a military secret, as generals envisioned soldiers running swiftly and effortlessly alongside armored vehicles. Like the boots, Russian scientists are still trying to gain traction in the capitalist world. A company in Saratov making a novel transport airplane with no tail, called the "flying saucer," never got off the ground. For now, though, the boots remain a curiosity, without the wider distribution their owners hoped for. "Everything that would happen in an engine happens when you step down" in the boots, said Rustam Enikeev, the dean of the faculty of internal combustion at the Ufa State Aviation Technical University. A step down compresses air in the shoe as in a typical sneaker, said Enikeev, who was a designer on the project. But then, a tiny carburetor injects gasoline into the compressed air and a spark plug fires it off. Instead of fastening a seat belt, the institute's test runner, Marat Garipov, an assistant professor of engineering, strapped on shin belts at a recent demonstration. Then he flicked an ignition switch. Before running down a university corridor, he jumped in place a few times to warm up the engine. Garipov then ran laps for about 10 minutes, going about 19kph, with the two-stroke boots emitting small puffs of exhaust. A test runner once topped out at 34.9kph, despite the risk of shooting off balance. The tanks in the shoes hold a third of a cup of gasoline each and will take the runner 4.8km; that means the boots get about 29.8km per liter. But even after years of research, gasoline-assisted running remains dangerous. "The worst situation is when the spark fires as the runner just lands, and the force of the blast is absorbed by his body," Garipov explains flatly. The two powerful engines tend to throw a wearer off balance or cause knees to buckle. Gordeyev, the inventor, now 61 and retired, disagrees that the boots are dangerous and still has visions of their mass adoption. "We've been running in them for years and we haven't had one trauma," he said in a telephone interview. "The latest version operates smoothly. It will become a device for moving humanity. It's a means of personal transportation."
03/19/07 - Global Space Agencies Gather For Collaboration
Fourteen space agencies around the world have agreed to coordinate their space exploration efforts, paving the way for truly planet-wide collaboration in space science. NASA plans to create a collaborative space effort across the globe. Agencies from 'Italy, Japan, China, Britain, France, America, India, Korea, Ukraine, Russia, Canada, Germany, Australia and the ESA' got together for the first time since the formation of the Global Explorations Strategy team last year. "This year, they met in Kyoto to discuss a draft Framework for Collaboration, which will set out how the various agencies will work together. The team has agreed that its main focus should be robotic exploration of the solar system, particularly of the moon, Mars and the near-Earth asteroids. It has also proposed a non-binding collaboration mechanism which would allow all agencies to share their plans, and look for opportunities to work together. This would also provide a route for agencies to share the data from their own missions with scientists from other agencies."
03/19/07 - Israeli discovery converts radioactive waste into clean energy
The laws of conservation of energy and mass say that energy or mass cannot be created or destroyed - only change form. With the help of Russian scientists, Israeli firm Environmental Energy Resources (EER), has taken the laws of science and turned them into a useful invention for mankind - a reactor that converts radioactive, hazardous and municipal waste into inert byproducts such as glass and clean energy. Using a system called plasma gasification melting technology (PGM) developed by scientists from Russia's Kurchatov Institute research center, the Radon Institute in Russia, and Israel's Technion Institute - EER combines high temperatures and low-radioactive energy to transform waste. "We go up to 7,000 degrees centigrade and end at 1,400 centigrade," says Moshe Stern, founder and president of the Ramat Gan-based company. Shrem adds that EER's waste disposal rector does not harm the environment and leaves no surface water, groundwater, or soil pollution in its wake. The EER reactor combines three processes into one solution: it takes plasma torches to break down the waste; carbon leftovers are gasified and inorganic components are converted to solid waste. The remaining vitrified material is inert and can be cast into molds to produce tiles, blocks or plates for the construction industry. EER's Karmiel facility (and its other installation in the Ukraine) has a capacity to convert 500 to 1,000 kilograms of waste per hour. Other industry solutions, the company claims, can only treat as much as 50 kilograms per hour and are much more costly. 'The production of nuclear weapons/power in the US has left a 50-year legacy of unprecedented volumes of radioactive waste and contaminated subsurface media and structures... Nuclear waste generators include the national laboratories, industrial research facilities, educational and medical institutions, electrical power utilities, medical diagnostics facilities, and various manufacturing processes.'
03/19/07 - E-waste - The effluence of affluence
The scene is set: Humans struggle to survive on an Earth - now toxic and contaminated - that is suffocating beneath the cast-off electronic and electric goods of yesteryear. While most would consider this to be the archetypal scene of a dystopian future, some experts are saying it's not far off from the current reality. The United Nations Environmental Programme estimates that nearly 50 million tonnes of electronics waste (e-waste) are disposed of each year worldwide. As a result, various international agreements, treaties and conventions have been created, debated and signed in an effort to deal with the rising mountain of techno-trash.
03/19/07 - Space and the end of the future
Amid the renewed interest in manned space missions to the Moon and beyond, there has been a great deal of talk about the American public’s interest in space-or more accurately, its lack of interest. In some quarters, the feeling even verges on hostility. Of course, it’s all too easy to exaggerate the change, given the somewhat romanticized view of the enthusiasm for space exploration in the 1950s and ’60s. There is, of course, nostalgia for the heady early days of the Space Age, when everything seemed new and major “firsts” followed one another in quick succession. There’s also a fondness for big communal moments when the nation as a whole was united in a common feeling, and moments like the shock of Sputnik and the exultation in the Apollo Moon landings satisfy the craving. One is disillusionment with a program that had for too long been organized around expensive stunts, especially after the ending of the Cold War that had once seemed to justify those stunts. (The International Space Station, underperforming and far more expensive than initially planned, started as an American response to Soviet space stations such as Mir.) Another is the dashing of over-optimism about both the technical problems that had to be mastered, and the likelihood of quick, dramatic results. (Forty or fifty years ago, Venus seemed much more hospitable, and rocket design likely to progress much more quickly, for instance.) Still another is the sense that other fields represent the real cutting edge of technology. The space age gave way to the information age, and many believe us to be on the threshold of a molecular age. The interest in space was always much more intense for scientific, political, and military elites, and “the zealots, the dreamers” who wanted to go along for the ride, than the general population.
03/19/07 - South Korea Opens Power Plant Using Animal Waste
South Korea Wednesday opened its first domestic-designed power plant using animal waste for fuel as part of efforts to provide a new source of evironmentally friendly energy, officials said. The 30-kilowatt plant in Icheon, 60 kilometers (36 miles) southeast of Seoul, can process 20 tons of animal waste a day, the ministry of commerce, energy and industry said. The plant will produce the energy equivalent of 360,000 tons of oil a year, the ministry said. In December, it opened the world's largest garbage-fuelled power plant using methane gas for fuel. The 50-megawatt plant is set to save the country the import of 500,000 barrels of heavy oil annually. South Korea currently relies heavily on nuclear power plants which supply 40 percent of demand.
03/19/07 - Gigoit - Community Resharing
Whatever the circumstances, we all have things that may be perfectly useable but that we just don’t need or want anymore. It can be anything from barely-worn clothing from a fast-growing toddler to a half-full gallon of leftover paint from a house project. Gigoit is a completely free resource for people to give their unwanted but usable items to neighbors in their communities who can use them. It's a win-win situation!
03/19/07 - Micro-Wind Turbines Suitable for City Dwellers
A large wind turbine on a small outer island is one of Hong Kong's few sources of renewable energy. One of the reasons not more are being built is that the wind in the city is simply not strong enough, a problem it shares with many places worldwide. Engineers at the University of Hong Kong and a private renewable energy company have developed a new micro wind turbine that can generate electricity even if wind speeds are as low as two meters per second. Lucien Gambarota , the main inventor of the technology, says this is its advantage over conventional small wind turbines, which only work about 40 percent of the time because of low wind speed. "We never stop this machine and they never stop because there is always one meter per second wind - 365 days, 24 hours a day, they keep working," said Gambarota. "They deliver different levels of energy because the wind changes but these turbines they keep moving, they keep spinning." Gambarota says the small turbines are ideal for crowded cities such as Hong Kong because they can be installed on rooftops and balconies. Their design is simple: plastic gearwheels, each about 25 centimeters in diameter, are linked to one another and turn, moved by the wind. Groups of gearwheels can be arranged in an array of shapes and sizes, ranging from about two up to thousands of square meters, depending on how much energy is needed and how much space is available. The energy generated by the turbines is stored in a battery, which then powers electrical appliances. The wind turbine is easy to install and comparatively cheap. At the moment, a set of 20 gearwheels costs about $25. Gambarota says the price will go down once the turbines are being mass-produced, making them a good option for consumers who want to cut down on their energy costs. "Let's say if you have good conditions, five, six meters [of wind] per second, if you are a family with one kid you need most probably three, four square meters of that then you can most probably cover at least 60, 70 percent of your [energy] needs." Energy generated by micro wind turbines can be used to pump water, for example, saving women and girls from having to walk for miles to rivers and lakes to fetch it.
03/19/07 - A Step Toward Inexpensive Geothermal Energy
Geothermal technology harnesses energy created by heat at the Earth’s core. Internationally, geothermal power plants supply electricity to about 60 million people, mostly in developing countries. In the United States, geothermal power plants supply four million residents with electricity. The Pacific “Ring of Fire” provides some of the hottest spots on the planet for geothermal power. Because of this, Central America is a prime building area for geothermal power plants and draws researchers such as Ohio University hydrogeochemist Dina Lopez. Power plants are built at geothermal reservoirs, where wells release steam, heat or hot water to spin turbine generators and produce electricity. Silica, which is released from dissolving rock, is a common element found in water. After extraction from the reservoirs, hot water cools down and silica precipitates, forming hard, glassy deposits that clog pipelines and injection drill holes at geothermal plants. Removing the silica buildup is costly and difficult due to the high volumes of water involved. “Geothermal energy has enormous potential,” she said. “There are hundreds of geothermal fields in the world, but they haven’t been exploited because of our ability to easily get energy from oil and other sources.”
03/19/07 - dot-com Tech Veterans looking for Alternative forms of Power
Silicon Valley's dot-com era may be giving way to the watt-com era. Out of the ashes of the Internet bust, many technology veterans have regrouped and found a new mission in alternative energy: developing wind power, solar panels, ethanol plants and hydrogen-powered cars. It is no secret that venture capitalists have begun pouring billions into energy-related startups. But that interest is now spilling over to many others in Silicon Valley - lawyers, accountants, recruiters and publicists, all developing energy-oriented practices to cater to the cause. The energy boomlet is part of a broader rebound that is benefiting all kinds of startups, including plenty that are focused on the Web. But for many in Silicon Valley, high tech has given way to "clean tech," the shorthand term for innovations that are energy-efficient and environmentally friendly. Less fashionable is "green," a word that suggests a greater interest in the environment than in profit. Those drawn to the alternative-energy industry say that they need time to understand the energy technology, and to turn ideas into solid companies. After all, in contrast to the Internet boom, this time the companies will need actual manufactured products and customers.
03/18/07 - Catalyst could help turn CO2 into fuel
A new catalyst that can split carbon dioxide gas could allow us to use carbon from the atmosphere as a fuel source in a similar way to plants. "Breaking open the very stable bonds in CO2 is one of the biggest challenges in synthetic chemistry," says Frederic Goettmann, a chemist at the Max Planck Institute for Colloids and Interfaces in Potsdam, Germany. "But plants have been doing it for millions of years." Plants use the energy of sunlight to cleave the relatively stable chemical bonds between the carbon and oxygen atoms in a carbon dioxide molecule. In photosynthesis, the CO2 molecule is initially bonded to nitrogen atoms, making reactive compounds called carbamates. These less stable compounds can then be broken down, allowing the carbon to be used in the synthesis of other plant products, such as sugars and proteins. In an attempt to emulate this natural process, Goettmann and colleagues Arne Thomas and Markus Antonietti developed their own nitrogen-based catalyst that can produce carbamates. The graphite-like compound is made from flat layers of carbon and nitrogen atoms arranged in hexagons. The team heated a mixture of CO2 and benzene with the catalyst to a temperature of 150 ºC, at about three times atmospheric pressure. In a first step, the catalyst enabled the CO2 to form a reactive carbamate, like that made in plants.
03/18/07 - Texas Plant Uses Only Biodiesel To Produce Power
Chicken fat and a $3.5 million investment are behind a breakthrough in the way Texans heat, cool and light their homes and offices. Using the slimy, light-colored tallow as the source for clean-burning biodiesel, Biofuels Power Corporation launched three, 2,000 horsepower diesel engines a couple of weeks ago. They add a bit more energy to the massive grid that powers much of the Lone Star State.
03/18/07 - Euthanasia doctor given suspended sentence
Doctor Laurence Tramois, who prescribed a lethal injection of potassium chloride to a terminally-ill woman, took full responsibility for the death of her patient. Tramois was given a one-year suspended prison sentence on Thursday for poisoning Paulette Druais, a terminally ill woman. Chantal Chanel, the nurse who administered the injection, was acquitted by the court. Druais's husband and son testified during the trial that they were grateful to Tramois and Chanel for their actions and insisted that Druais had asked to end her life. But her son Laurent admitted during testimony that the family had never "broached the topic" of euthanasia even though they were distraught over her failing health. The jury decided that Tramois should not get a criminal record because of the conviction.
03/18/07 - How to Run Your Car on Grease
What do you get when you cross hybrid transportation with local economic support and resource reuse? Frybrid. A small company in Seattle has developed a simple system for running any diesel automobile on vegetable oil discarded from the grease traps of restaurants. This is not biodiesel -- in which vegetable oil gets transformed into a highly viscous substance through transesterification; this is what many people call "straight vegetable oil" or "waste vegetable oil" (SVO/WVO) -- a direct line from the kitchen to the car. In order to take advantage of this immediate and abundant fuel source, the car at the receiving end needs to be properly equipped to heat (and sometimes filter) the otherwise thick oil. That's Frybrid's specialty. They offer custom mods, DIY kits, and online instructions to get your diesel vehicle grease-ready. I went to visit Chris Goodwin and Forest Gregg of Frybrid in their shop in Seattle's Capitol Hill to get a tour of the conversion process and some inside info on the advantages of fryer fuel and the growth of the VO user community. So how does a car run on VO? Basically, the car needs a storage tank to contain the vegetable oil, a mechanism for heating the oil until it's viscous enough to run through the fuel lines, and a temperature sensor for monitoring what's going on in the car. All VO cars must be started on diesel or biodiesel, which doesn't need to be preheated. Once the veggie oil reaches 160F degrees (Chris estimates that this takes between 1.5 and 5 miles of driving), a computerized switch transfers the flow from the diesel tank to the veggie oil tank and you're running on pure grease until you turn the car off. Just before turning it off, another switch purges the veggie oil from the lines and restocks them with diesel/biodiesel so that the next time you turn the key, the cold car can start easily. The Frybrid website has a detailed explanation of the ingredients and steps required to convert a car. They make their system foolproof by installing indicator lights and override switches in the dash that ensure that the transfer back and forth occurs at the proper time, and that you don't clog your fuel lines with french fry oil. They estimate that their DIY kit, which runs about $1400, can be installed in a weekend, and Chris tells me that they've never met a diesel car they couldn't convert.
03/18/07 - NASA Headed for Financial 'Train Wreck'
NASA's proposed budget for 2008 is $17.3 billion, a 3.1 percent increase over what the White House requested for 2007. However, since Congress didn't pass a budget for NASA last year, the 2007 funding level was kept the same as 2006's $16.6 billion, leaving the space agency with an expected $545 million shortfall. The chairman of the U.S. House science committee said Thursday that NASA is headed for "a train wreck" if the space agency isn't better funded to finish building the international space station and develop the next-generation spacecraft. The White House has cut NASA's five-year budget plan by almost $2.26 billion in the three years since President Bush announced the "Vision for Space Exploration" plan to develop new spacecraft to go back to the moon and then to Mars."It does reflect a strong commitment by the administration to NASA," Griffin said of the budget. "It does not purchase all of the things that all of us would like to purchase. But that is a fact of life."
03/18/07 - Daylight saving doesn't save energy
Putting the clock forward in spring gives us an extra hour of daylight in the evening, so we need less energy to light and heat our homes. But daylight saving gives us cooler, darker mornings, which pushes up energy consumption, giving us no net saving. Starting daylight saving a couple of months early doesn't seem to cut energy consumption, as many of its supporters claim. Ryan Kellogg and Hendrik Wolff, two PhD candidates from the University of California, Berkeley, wanted to test the popular idea that lengthening the period when clocks are put forward will reduce electricity use by delivering an extra hour of evening daylight. In other studies, mostly based on simulations, researchers have estimated that extending daylight saving could cut electricity demand from 0.6% to 3.5%, the authors say. Given this, environmental concerns and the high cost of fuel are pushing countries to consider starting daylight saving earlier. The US, for example, started daylight saving this week, three weeks earlier than normal, to cut energy consumption by 1%. For their experiment, they compared energy use in the states of Victoria and South Australia around the time that Sydney, New South Wales, was hosting the Games. Kellogg and Wolff looked at detailed data on half-hourly electricity consumption, prices, and weather conditions in Victoria and South Australia during September and October. For each state, they compared energy use during that time with energy use in the previous year, ignoring the two weeks of the Olympics. "Our results show that the extension failed to conserve electricity," they write in a working paper for the university's Energy Institute. "The point estimates suggest that energy consumption increased rather than decreased, and that the within-day usage pattern changed substantially, leading to a high morning peak load." These findings match the expected effects of daylight saving on people's behaviour, the US scientists write. "Less lighting and heating are required in the evening; however, demand increases in the morning - particularly from 07:00 to 08:00 - driven by reduced sunlight and lower temperatures." Overall, these two effects cancel each other out, they say.
03/18/07 - Everday Tips for Everyday People to Save
(This site precisely states the problem..we CONTINUE to consume and pollute at increasing rates, hoping for some miracle cure for the damage done...we need to MINIMIZE our damaging effects. - JWD) Want to help the environment but you don't really consider yourself an "activist"? No problem! You don't have to live in a tree or go to demonstrations to be an activist - the small choices we make every single day make a big impact on the environment. There are 140 things you can start doing right now to make the world a better place and help the environment! Kermit the Frog once sang, "It's not easy being green" - but we're here to show you that it is! You don't have to be a card-carrying environmental activist to help improve the planet. Each and every person has the power to change things for the better in their everyday lives. By getting into the habit of making eco-friendly choices, you can become a force of change without even thinking about it! Imagine yourself in a silent auditorium filled with people. When one person begins clapping, the sound is small and it echos throughout the room. Sooner or later, everyone in the whole auditorium is clapping, and the sound is so loud, it almost hurts yours ears. The small choices we make every day do have an impact. "But isn't it too late?" Its never too late to start changing things for the better. The earth is constantly trying to heal itself from the damage we inflict upon it. The reason this healing process isn't working anymore is because we consume natural resources and pollute the environment faster than the earth can recover from it. When we reduce our consumption and the amount of pollutants we create, the earth will be able to regenerate more easily. Working towards sustainable lifestyles will create a better, healthier environment for everyone, now and in the future.
03/18/07 - Global temperature - politics or science?
The entire debate about global warming is a mirage. The concept of ‘global temperature’ is thermodynamically as well as mathematically an impossibility, says professor at The Niels Bohr Institute, University of Copenhagen. It is generally assumed that the atmosphere and the oceans have grown warmer during the recent 50 years. The reason for this point of view is an upward trend in the curve of measurements of the so-called ‘global temperature’. This is the temperature obtained by collecting measurements of air temperatures at a large number of measuring stations around the Globe, weighing them according to the area they represent, and then calculating the yearly average according to the usual method of adding all values and dividing by the number of points. Average without meaning. “It is impossible to talk about a single temperature for something as complicated as the climate of Earth”, Bjarne Andresen says, an an expert of thermodynamics. “A temperature can be defined only for a homogeneous system. Furthermore, the climate is not governed by a single temperature. Rather, differences of temperatures drive the processes and create the storms, sea currents, thunder, etc. which make up the climate”. He explains that while it is possible to treat temperature statistically locally, it is meaningless to talk about a a global temperature for Earth. The Globe consists of a huge number of components which one cannot just add up and average. That would correspond to calculating the average phone number in the phone book. That is meaningless. Or talking about economics, it does make sense to compare the currency exchange rate of two countries, whereas there is no point in talking about an average ‘global exchange rate’.
03/18/07 - Searching for Mr. Right Now
Are Young Women Trading Relationships for Emotionless Sexual Encounters? "When you're hooking up," said Evi, explaining her feelings, "it's 'I want to feel good right now, and this is how I'm going to feel good. I'm going to kiss. I'm going to do this and that because I want it right now and don't care who you are. We want some sort of self-satisfaction." According to Evi and Tina, "hooking up" is broadly defined. They say it can range from kissing to making out to having sex. It's often with a stranger and, if there were any thoughts of this tryst leading to a relationship, think again. 'No Emotional Element' "[Hooking up] means there's no emotional element," said Evi. "We hooked up, I'm physically satisfied, and I went on my way." So, just how prevalent is this culture of hooking up? "I think it's rampant," said Tina. "Everyone does it," said Evi. "In our age group? I think everyone. I think we would honestly consider someone weird if they didn't hook up." Whenever we see girls acting sexually in an overt way, in a proactive way, we get panicky. "If it is making you happy, and you are feeling good the next day, there is nothing wrong with it," said Stepp. "The problem is if it becomes a pattern. If it becomes the only way you know how to relate. Then it's a problem." "Women today worry that long-term relationships are going to mess up their life plans," said Stepp. "They are ambitious. Both Tina and Evi have career goals. Men get in the way of that." Despite all of the controversy involved in hooking up, Tina and many of her friends still believe in true love. "Yes," said Tina. "I think I'm a hopeless romantic."
Man-Of-Steel Mentality Helps Guys Heal Faster
The stereotypical “tough guy” or “real man” rarely asks for help or shows signs of weakness, because then he wouldn’t be a guy, right?
While many scientists have considered these masculine tendencies to be barriers to health and recovery, a small study of about 50 men suggests the opposite. The man-of-steel mentality, often associated with military men and those in other high-risk occupations, can boost and speed up a guy’s recovery from a serious and/or traumatic injury possibly. “It has long been assumed that men are not as concerned and don't take as good of care of their health,” said lead study author Glenn Good of the University of Missouri, Columbia, “but what we're seeing here is that the same ideas that led to their injuries may actually encourage their recovery.”
03/17/07 - Skystream 3.7: Residential Wind Power
The future of residential wind power is here. Introducing Skystream 3.7 - a compact utility connected wind generator designed specifically for residential homes and small business. Clean, quiet, inexpensive energy is closer than you think. Rated Capacity: 1.8 KW /
Rotor: 12 feet (3.72 m); 50-325 RPM / Alternator: Gearless, permanent magnet brushless / Voltage Output: 240 VAC (Optional 208 VAC) / Estimated Energy Production: 400 KWh per month at
12 MPH (5.4 m/s) / Weight: 170 pounds (77 kg) / Tower: Towers from 34-70 feet (10.4-21.3 m) are available; height is dependent by site / Warranty: Five year limited
03/17/07 - The Solar Shuttle - solar-powered 42-passenger boat
Designed by SolarLab founder Christoph Behling, the SolarShuttle is the UK’s largest and most advanced solar boat. It was launched last July, and operates on the ecologically-fragile Serpentine Lake in one of the oldest parks in the world, London’s Hyde Park. Entirely pollution-free and silent running, the exquisitely beautiful SolarShuttle can carry 42 passengers in all daylight conditions, has reserve power for night-time running and even generates surplus energy that can be fed back into the national grid. Able to carry 42 passengers, entirely pollution-free and silent, the SolarShuttle eliminates the production of 2.5 tons of carbon dioxide emissions every year compared to a similar sized diesel boat. The SolarShuttle can operate in all daylight conditions, stores reserve power for evening cruises and even generates surplus energy that can be fed back into the national grid.
03/17/07 - Brazil to Send Ethanol to U.S.
An official from Brazil's state-run oil firm Petroleo Brasileiro, or Petrobras, said the company plans to start exporting ethanol to the United States in 2007. Silas Oliva Filho, manager of ethanol and oxygenates at Petrobras, said during a sugar and ethanol conference in Sao Paulo Thursday that the company planned to enter the U.S. ethanol market for the first time in 2007. According to the Associated Press, the announcement comes a week after the U.S. and Brazil signed an agreement to join forces to promote more ethanol use. But the U.S. charges a 54-cent-a-gallon U.S. tariff on imports of Brazilian ethanol made from sugar, a measure designed to help U.S. corn growers. Ethanol can be made from either crop, but ethanol made from sugar is much cheaper. Oliva Filho didn't provide any estimates of volume.
03/17/07 - The Digital Bedouins and the Backpack Office
"The laptop and wireless revolutions have led to the rise of a new class of digital 'Bedouins' - tech workers who ply their crafts from Starbucks and other locations with WiFi access. Another article describes some strategies and tools for embracing the Bedouin way of life, and even having fun: 'If you have the right kind of job, you can take vacations while you're on the clock. In other words, you can travel for fun and adventure and keep on working. You can travel a lot more without needing more official vacation time. I've done it. In August I took a month long vacation to Central America, backpacking from one Mayan ruin to the next, and I never officially took time off. I submitted my columns, provided reports and other input, participated in conference calls and interacted via e-mail. I used hotel Wi-Fi connections and local cybercafes to communicate and Skype to make business calls. Nobody knew I was sunburned, drinking from a coconut and listening to howler monkeys as I replied to their e-mails.'"
03/17/07 - Huge potential for wind energy in Qatar
QATAR has a huge potential for wind energy, a visiting businessman said yesterday. Addressing a luncheon meeting, Sanjeev Sardana, leader of an Indian business delegation, pointed out that his country was the world’s second largest producer of the green energy and most of it was produced in coastal states such as Maharashtra, Tamilnadu and Kerala. With the sea surrounding the peninsula on all the three sides, Qatar could easily tap wind energy, he said. Sardana was heading an Indian Electrical and Electronics Manufacturers’ Association (IEEMA) delegation which was on a three-nation tour of the region. The delegates left Doha for home yesterday.
Making a presentation on IEEMA, Sardana said India is capable of producing quality equipment necessary for power generation, transmission and distribution. Some 65% of the world population still had no electricity. As such there is tremendous opportunity for power generating companies, he stressed.
03/17/07 - Top Ten Signs You're a Fundamentalist Christian
10 - You vigorously deny the existence of thousands of gods claimed by other religions, but feel outraged when someone denies the existence of yours. / 7 - Your face turns purple when you hear of the "atrocities" attributed to Allah, but you don't even flinch when hearing about how God/Jehovah slaughtered all the babies of Egypt in "Exodus" and ordered the elimination of entire ethnic groups in "Joshua" including women, children, and trees! / 3 - While modern science, history, geology, biology, and physics have failed to convince you otherwise, some idiot rolling around on the floor speaking in "tongues" may be all the evidence you need to "prove" Christianity. / 1 - You actually know a lot less than many atheists and agnostics do about the Bible, Christianity, and church history - but still call yourself a Christian.
03/17/07 - Subliminal sounds to cure vidgame "addiction"
The inventors suggest game companies integrate the system into game machines so it can be triggered it after a preset period of time. From The Korea Times: ``We incorporated messages into an acoustic sound wave telling gamers to stop playing. The messages are told 10,000 to 20,000 times per second,’’ Xtive President Yun Yun-hae said. ``Game users can’t recognize the sounds. But their subconscious is aware of them and the chances are high they will quit playing,’’ the 35-year-old Yun said. ``Tests tell us the sounds work...’’ Xtive applied for a domestic patent for the phonogram and is looking to take advantage of the technology in other sectors. ``We can easily change the messages. In this sense, the potential for this technology is exponential,’’ Yun said.
03/17/07 - Walgreens marks up generics by 975%
A study on the pricing on generic drugs finds that the main-street pharmacies mark up their offerings by 975 percent! Even once you factor in the cost of buying a membership at Costco and Sam’s Club, the price differences were astounding. Here are the prices he found at Houston stores for 90 tablets of generic Prozac: Walgreens: $117 / Eckerd: $115 / CVS: $115 / Sam’s Club: $15 / Costco: $12 / Those aren’t typos. Walgreens charges $117 for a bottle of the same pills for which Costco charges $12.
03/17/07 - News of Alien Presence Startles India
India was startled by four reports last week which appeared to confirm the rumors of a large underground base staffed by extraterrestrials in the Ladakh region of the Himalayas. In New Delhi, India's capital, a senior officer of the Indian Army told freelance journalist Subha Jain that aliens were indeed in the Himalayas. In Leh, a city in the Ladakh region, a local official confirmed that the Indian Army had moved armored brigades into the area and was limiting access to civilian residents and tourists. In Joshimath, another Ladakh town, workers at an auto repair shop claim they witnessed a strange broadcast on their Chinese-made miniature black-and-white television set. "According to Subha Jain, a freelance reporter in New Delhi, she bumped into a very senior military official in a nightclub in New Delhi. According to him, the extraterrestrials have been visiting India and the rest of the world for thousands of years." "Last week, a flight commodore of the Indian Air Force (IAF), who recently retired, was asked to provide a little talk to his youngest son's class at a school in Bangalore." "Guess what he picked as a topic? Yes, you got it right. It was the advanced landing base for UFOs in Ladakh." "He started by saying new technology is evolving, and new advancements are being made in Aerospace. The students started questioning him on different aspects of these new technologies and where this technology came from. At that moment, he began giving a vivid description of the landing base." "The Himalayas and Ladakh is where they have made their most recent contact. They want to let Indians know the rules and regulations of the multidimensional universe." "India is planning an unmanned moon and later an advanced unmanned Mars expedition. India's Space Research Organisation (SRO) has been given the galactic do's and don't's." (See the newspaper India Daily for December 19, 2004, "ET contacts with India's government and military.)
03/17/07 - Everybody's movin' to Britain
If you think Britain is intolerably crowded today, you might well want to brace yourself before reading the next sentence. Because this country is going to become much, much more densely populated over the course of this century as millions of people flee the uninhabitable desert that mainland Europe is doomed to turn into. Such at least is James Lovelock's fear. The esteemed - if controversial - environmentalist and futurologist also believes that "Most life will move up to the Arctic basin because only it and a few islands will remain habitable." Lovelock, who is most famous for coming up with the so-called Gaia hypothesis - the idea that the Earth functions as some kind of living super-organism.
03/17/07 - Top investor sees U.S. property crash
Commodities investment guru Jim Rogers stepped into the U.S. subprime fray on Wednesday, predicting a real estate crash that would trigger defaults and spread contagion to emerging markets. "You can't believe how bad it's going to get before it gets any better," the prominent U.S. fund manager told Reuters by telephone from New York. "It's going to be a disaster for many people who don't have a clue about what happens when a real estate bubble pops. "It is going to be a huge mess," said Rogers, who has put his $15 million belle epoque mansion on Manhattan's Upper West Side on the market and is planning to move to Asia. Some investors fear the problems of lenders who make subprime loans to people with weak credit histories are spreading to mainstream financial firms and will worsen the U.S. housing slowdown. "Real estate prices will go down 40-50 percent in bubble areas. There will be massive defaults. This time it'll be worse because we haven't had this kind of speculative buying in U.S. history," Rogers said.
03/16/07 - His Energy Bill is $0.00
Mike Strizki lives in the nation's first solar-hydrogen house. The technology this civil engineer has been able to string together - solar panels, a hydrogen fuel cell, storage tanks, and a piece of equipment called an electrolyzer - provides electricity to his home year-round, even on the cloudiest of winter days. Mr. Strizki's monthly utility bill is zero - he's off the power grid - and his system creates no carbon-dioxide emissions. Neither does the fuel-cell car parked in his garage, which runs off the hydrogen his system creates. The solar-hydrogen house took longer to complete than Strizki expected - a strict local zoning officer and the state permitting process caused delays, he says - but in October 2006, the system finally went online. The total cost, $553,000, was paid for in part with a $250,000 grant from the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities. On sunny days, solar panels on the roof of Strizki's detached garage generate more than enough electricity to power his home. The excess electricity powers a device inside the garage called an electrolyzer, which transforms a tank of water into its base elements - oxygen and hydrogen. The oxygen is released into the atmosphere, while the hydrogen is stored in 10 1,000-gallon propane tanks on Strizki's property. In the winter, when the solar panels collect less energy than the home needs, that hydrogen is piped to an air-conditioner-size fuel cell, located just outside the garage, which generates electricity. The final piece of the equation is "The New Jersey Genesis," a hydrogen fuel-cell car Strizki helped design and now maintains for the New Jersey Department of Transportation. He can fill up the Genesis with hydrogen from his electrolyzer and drive it pollution free. Strizki understands that few people can afford to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars for clean energy. Now that he's demonstrated his idea works, his goal is to make the system better and less expensive. (For example, the 10 propane tanks could be replaced by one high-pressure hydrogen tank buried underground.) With mass production, he believes he could get the price of the system, not including the solar panels, down to about $50,000. (A new solar panel system can cost as much as $80,000, Strizki says, but some states, including New Jersey, have offered rebates that cover up to 70 percent of the cost.) Strizki's method for making hydrogen is totally clean, but suffers from a different problem: Electrolyzers are only 50 percent efficient. By the time the electricity from his solar panels is converted into hydrogen, and the hydrogen converted back into electricity in the fuel cell, half of the clean energy he started with is used up. Mr. Romm thinks it's a waste. That electricity would do more good toward reducing pollution if it was sent into the main power grid to displace other energy, he says. "[Strizki's system] doesn't get you that much environmentally," he says.
03/16/07 - MDI and Tata Motors: compressed aircars to India
For several years MDI has struggled to convince a sceptical world of the benefits its air engine can bring, but in Tata Motors it has found an excellent partner. Commenting on the agreement, Mr. Guy Negre has said, “MDI has for many years been engaged in developing environment-friendly engines. MDI is happy to conclude this agreement with Tata Motors and work together with this important and experienced industrial group to develop a new and cost-saving technology for various applications for the Indian market that meets with severe regulations for environmental protection. We are continuing the development with our own business concept of licensing car manufacturers in other parts of the world where the production is located close to the markets. We have also developed this new technology for other applications where cost competitiveness combined with respect for environmental questions has our priority.” / More Info MDI AirCar - After fourteen years of reserch and development, Guy Negre has developed an engine that could become one of the biggest technological advances of this century. Its application to CAT vehicles gives them significant economical and environmental advantages. With the incorporation of bi-energy (compressed air + fuel) the CAT Vehicles have increased their driving range to close to 2000 km with zero pollution in cities and considerably reduced pollution outside urban areas.
03/16/07 - Germans lost out on their invention of MP3
Germany's Fraunhofer Society, a sprawling collection of 56 scientific research institutes, has played a big role in developing technologies ranging from medical scanners to solar energy to car air bags. But its biggest invention may be blasting the latest U2 or Red Hot Chili Peppers tunes into your ears right now. For Germans, the invention of MP3 is a source of pride-and chagrin. MP3 patents generate tens of millions of dollars in licensing fees for the nonprofit Fraunhofer. But the really big money went to non-German companies that make MP3 players, such as Microsoft, Sony (SNE ), and, of course, Apple (AAPL ), which uses MP3 technology in its iPods and iTunes software (see BusinessWeek.com, 2/26/07, "Apple's International iTunes Controversy"). "We tried to push [the technology] to German companies, but they were often too slow," says Brandenburg, now 52 and director of the Fraunhofer Institute for Digital Media Technology in the eastern German city of Ilmenau. Perhaps most important, MP3 has been an inspiration to Fraunhofer's 12,553 researchers. Many of them work in relatively unglamorous fields such as power-plant technology or auto electronics, with most of the credit for their work going to companies such as Siemens (SI ) and DaimlerChrysler (DCX ) that provide financing. Fraunhofer could use a boost. The outfit gets only 20% of its budget from the German government and needs to earn the rest from contract research. MP3 royalties, meanwhile, fell 45% last year, to $78 million, as the initial surge of companies buying licenses has subsided. Still, the nonprofit is forging ahead with work that builds on its MP3 expertise. In January, Fraunhofer unveiled the latest version of MP3 Surround, which creates the illusion of surround-sound with standard stereo speakers.
03/16/07 - TI Customer chip Innovations
The slight, blond man sat on a motorized wheelchair, facing away from the hundreds of people in the audience. The chair, as if guided by an occult hand, rotated 90 degrees and carried its motionless occupant toward center stage. The man was guiding the device not by speech but by imagined speech. The still-experimental technology, designed by two engineering students from the University of Illinois, uses a digital signal processor built for other applications by Texas Instruments Inc. The invention gives new hope to 3 million Americans with little or no ability to speak. It also explains why folks at TI hesitate to predict what new computer chips will lead to. To illustrate the life-changing potential of new applications supported by new chips, the company recruited several customers to discuss three innovations. The first was a smart camera system that senses where people are and adjusts lights and climate control as they move. Unlike motion detectors, which often leave lights on too long because they cannot distinguish an empty room from a stationary occupant, these sensors know exactly when to cut the lights. The second demonstration, from automaker Audi AG, showed off a radar-based system that activates a light on the rear-view mirror whenever a vehicle enters a driver's blind spot. If the driver activates a turn signal, the light on the mirror flashes to reiterate the warning. The big hit of the morning came last, when TI introduced the two students from the University of Illinois and the professor who advised them in the formation of their start-up business, Ambient Corp. Ambient's technology uses a sensor to "read" electrial signals that the brain uses to command the larynx to speak. The sensor sends the information to a computer, which can say whatever word the person was thinking or carry out a direct command. "Different brains use different signals to form different words, but we can train the computer to understand your brain by hooking you up, asking you to think specific words at specific times and noting the signals your brain produces," said Michael Callahan, the little company's co-founder and CEO.
03/16/07 - 4G Cebit Portable Hot Spot for places phone wires don't reach
The owner of the tiny shop needs a telephone, but is worried about the pricey charging for a mobile, preferring an old-fashioned, less expensive fixed-line connection together with a cheap used handset. That kind of customer could soon be joining the world telephone system at minimal cost thanks to one of the new devices to be offered at the Cebit trade fair in Germany this week. Apart from a power supply, it needs no other connecting wire when it is screwed to the wall of a shop or home. It has a tiny stub aerial to connect with a digital mobile network. Barely bigger than a pack of cigarettes, the XS Jack only has sockets for two telephones or fax machines. Its simplicity makes it attractive to mobile providers eager to win low-price business. It is cheaper than most present-day mobile phones since it needs neither a battery nor display. "It will do well in places where there won't be phone wires hanging on poles, even if they wait 100 years," explained 4G executive Gerhard Zacharias. He declined to give a price. The invention reflects the way that many backward or conflict-torn regions of the world are simply skipping installation of a fixed-line system altogether as they move from no phones to mobile phones. The device is not intended for direct sale to individual phone users, but to be bought in bulk by mobile phone companies which could then give it away free as a way of persuading residential customers to sign up. At 3.6 Mbit/s, Internet access and other mobile data applications reach speeds similar to that of downloads over a DSL fixed-line connection. A download rate of up to 7.2 Mbit/s is in preparation.
03/16/07 - Geo-Political Disaster Around the Bend?
Today (and perhaps all week) the financial markets will be shaking off the dust from last week's tremors…toting up the damage…and wondering what to do next. Daily Reckoning readers already know what to do - batten down the hatches. Hold yen, Swiss francs, gold, property you want to own whether it goes down in price or not, and private businesses with good cash flow. "Seven years after the stock-market bubble busted, the troubles in the housing market look strikingly familiar. In fact, everything is going according to the textbook - the textbook in this case being Charles Kindleberger's 1978 classic, Manias, Panics, and Crashes," says the Wall Street Journal. "Mr. Kindleberger found speculative bubbles tended to follow similar patterns. First, there is some 'displacement' - such as the development of the Internet or a prolonged period of ultralow interest rates - that radically improves the outlook for some area of the economy." People take advantage of the opportunity - by buying dotcom shares or mortgaging their houses. What begins as a modest shift of financial emphasis ends in a reckless, greedy, hell-for-leather chase for profits. Investors begin to think that the opportunity is permanent, rather than temporary, and that they can get away with anything as long as they are on the right side of the trade. This attitude leads them to over-reach…and to ignore warnings. Finally, when the dishes rattle and the gas lines break, the roof caves in on them.
03/16/07 - GMO corn causes liver, kidney problems in rats
Environmental group Greenpeace launched a fresh attack on genetically modified maize developed by U.S. biotech giant Monsanto, saying on Tuesday that rats fed on one version developed liver and kidney problems. Environmental group Greenpeace launched a fresh attack on genetically modified maize developed by U.S. biotech giant Monsanto, saying on Tuesday that rats fed on one version developed liver and kidney problems. The maize had been authorized in more than 10 countries and in the European Union. MON863 is a form of maize genetically modified to make it resistant to corn rootworm. It has been authorized by the European Union for use in animal feed since 2005 and for human consumption since January 2006.
03/16/07 - Brazil's 200,000 ethanol slaves
Behind rusty gates, the heart of Brazil's energy revolution can be found in the stale air of a squalid red-brick tenement building. Inside, dozens of road-weary migrant workers are crammed into minuscule cubicles, filled with rickety bunk-beds and unpacked bags, preparing for their first day at work in the sugar plantations of Sao Paulo. Inside the prison-like construction are the cortadores de cana - sugar cane cutters - part of a destitute migrant workforce of about 200,000 men who help prop up Brazil's ethanol industry. Biofuels are mega-business in Brazil. Such has been the success of the country's ethanol programme - launched during the 1970s military dictatorship - that it is now attracting attention from around the world. Economic refugees fleeing the country's arid and impoverished north-east, these men earn as little as 400 reais (£100) a month to provide the raw material that is fuelling this energy revolution. "They have the clothes on their bodies and nothing else. They bring their children with malnutrition, their ill mothers-in-law. We try to reduce the problem. But there is no way we can fix it 100%. It is total exploitation," she said. Activists go even further. They say the "cortadores" are effectively slaves and complain that Brazil's ethanol industry is, in fact, a shadowy world of middle men and human rights abuses. "They come here because they are forced from their homes by the lack of work," said Francisco Alves, a professor from nearby Sao Carlos University who has spent more than 20 years studying Sao Paulo's migrant workforce. "They will do anything to get by." That includes working 12-hour shifts in scorching heat and earning just over 50p per tonne of sugar cane cut, before returning to squalid, overcrowded "guest houses" rented to them at extortionate prices by unscrupulous landlords, often ex-sugar cutters themselves. Faced with exhausting work in temperatures of over 30C (86F), some will die.
03/16/07 - Russian scientists considering animal-to-human transplants
''We are currently working on the possibility of xenotransplantation, which is transplantation of organs from animals to humans. We are also studying the possibility of cloning organs and creating hybrid organs,'' Director of the Russian Scientific Research Institute of Transplantation and Artificial Organs Valery Shumakov said on Monday at a news conference on the 20th anniversary of the first heart transplant in the country. ''So far, we have achieved some definitive results, but we cannot disclose any details,'' Ria Novosti news agency quoted Shumakov as saying. He said the main problem with transplantations had been chronic under-funding and a shortage of personnel. Shumakov's institute performs transplant operations free of charge for Russians, but foreigners have to pay for them.
03/16/07 - Stem cell hope for eye patients
Scientists have carried out a pioneering transplant which has restored the sight of patients who were slowly going blind. Around 1,000 people suffer from a rare genetic disorder called aniridia which means they are born without the stem cells that can rejuvenate tissue in the eye. Sufferers develop diseases normally associated with old age - such as glaucoma or cataracts - when they are young.
03/16/07 - Truth VS Red-hot debunking of climate change
The science might be bunkum, the research discredited. But all that counts for Channel 4 is generating controversy. The problem with The Great Global Warming Swindle, which caused a sensation when it was broadcast on Channel 4 last week, is that to make its case it relies not on future visionaries, but on people whose findings have already been proved wrong. The implications could not be graver. The film's main contention is that the current increase in global temperatures is caused not by rising greenhouse gases, but by changes in the activity of the sun. It is built around the discovery in 1991 by the Danish atmospheric physicist Dr Eigil Friis-Christensen that recent temperature variations on Earth are in "strikingly good agreement" with the length of the cycle of sunspots. Unfortunately, he found nothing of the kind. A paper published in the journal Eos in 2004 reveals that the "agreement" was the result of "incorrect handling of the physical data". The real data for recent years show the opposite: that the length of the sunspot cycle has declined, while temperatures have risen. When this error was exposed, Friis-Christensen and his co-author published a new paper, purporting to produce similar results. But this too turned out to be an artefact of mistakes - in this case in their arithmetic. So Friis-Christensen and another author developed yet another means of demonstrating that the sun is responsible, claiming to have discovered a remarkable agreement between cosmic radiation influenced by the sun and global cloud cover. This is the mechanism the film proposes for global warming. But, yet again, the method was exposed as faulty. They had been using satellite data which did not in fact measure global cloud cover. A paper in the Journal of Atmospheric and Solar-Terrestrial Physics shows that, when the right data are used, a correlation is not found. Cherry-pick your results, choose work which is already discredited, and anything and everything becomes true. The twin towers were brought down by controlled explosions; MMR injections cause autism; homeopathy works; black people are less intelligent than white people; species came about through intelligent design. You can find lines of evidence which appear to support all these contentions, and, in most cases, professors who will speak up in their favour. But this does not mean that any of them are correct. You can sustain a belief in these propositions only by ignoring the overwhelming body of contradictory data. To form a balanced, scientific view, you have to consider all the evidence, on both sides of the question.
03/16/07 - World may get greener, then wilt, due to warming
Global warming is expected to turn the planet a bit greener by spurring plant growth but crops and forests may wilt beyond mid-century if temperatures keep rising, according to a draft U.N. report. Plants in tropical and dry regions from Africa to Asia are set to suffer from even a small rise in temperatures, threatening more hunger linked to other threats such as desertification, drought and floods. But some plants in temperate regions, such as parts of Europe or North and South America, could grow more in a slightly warmer world, according to the draft.
03/16/07 - IRS Will Pay You to Turn in Tax Cheaters
There's a new sheriff in town and his name is John Doe. And he may be in the cubicle next to you. Under a newly amended rule from the Internal Revenue Service, ordinary citizens can help the tax man cometh, or at least collect. The new Whistleblower Office is the IRS's attempt to give incentives for you to rat out the tax cheats you know. That's right. If your employer, co-worker, landlord, neighbor or father-in-law is raking in fistfuls of cash and bypassing Uncle Sam, you can anonymously report the abuse to the IRS and snag a windfall from their dishonesty.
03/15/07 - The End of Garbage
"Garbage," says the character played by Andie MacDowell in Sex, Lies, and Videotape. "All I've been thinking about all week is garbage. We've got so much of it, you know? I mean, we have to run out of places to put this stuff eventually." In 1989, America had garbage on its mind. A barge called the Mobro had carried 3,000 tons of unwanted trash up and down the East Coast. California told its cities to recycle 50% of their garbage by 2000 or face steep fines. The national recycling rate was only 16%. Today San Francisco has a recycling rate of 68%, the best of any American city, and it intends to do better. Much better. San Francisco and Wal-Mart (Charts) do not have much in common, but there is this: Both have a goal of achieving zero waste. Zero waste is just what it sounds like - producing, consuming, and recycling products without throwing anything away. Getting to a wasteless world will require nothing less than a total makeover of the global economy. San Francisco offers a glimpse of the future. Norcal Waste Systems, the city's trash hauler, provides customers with color-coded 32-gallon carts known as the Fantastic Three - a blue cart into which they can throw paper, glass, plastics, and metal for recycling; a green cart for food and yard waste; and a black cart that's destined for the landfill. (Remember, in cowboy movies the bad guys wore black.) Norcal also recycles tires, mattresses, and light bulbs. "The other garbage companies think we're nuts," says Mike Sangiacomo, Norcal's CEO. Technology is a big help. Norcal operates a $38 million facility that disaggregates all the recyclables in those blue bins. Conveyor belts, powerful magnets, and giant vacuums separate computer paper from newsprint, plastic jugs from water bottles, and steel and tin cans from aluminum. Materials are then sold to global commodity markets - and we do mean global. Wastepaper, for example, is the U.S.'s No. 1 export by volume to China, according to PIERS Global Intelligence Solutions, which tracks trade. Ships that bring products from China to the U.S. return with wastepaper, which becomes packaging for goods made in China. A second innovation is the city's handling of food scraps. Another Norcal facility grinds all that up with yard waste and cures it for three months. Banana peels, onion skins, fish heads, and other detritus are thus transformed into a nutrient-rich product dubbed Four Course Compost, which sells for $8 to $10 per cubic yard.
03/15/07 - Prius Outdoes Hummer in Environmental Damage
Through a study by CNW Marketing called “Dust to Dust,” the total combined energy is taken from all the electrical, fuel, transportation, materials (metal, plastic, etc) and hundreds of other factors over the expected lifetime of a vehicle. The Prius costs an average of $3.25 per mile driven over a lifetime of 100,000 miles - the expected lifespan of the Hybrid. The Hummer, on the other hand, costs a more fiscal $1.95 per mile to put on the road over an expected lifetime of 300,000 miles. That means the Hummer will last three times longer than a Prius and use less combined energy doing it. So, if you are an environmentalist - ditch the Prius. Instead, buy one of the most economical cars available - a Toyota Scion xB. The Scion only costs a paltry $0.48 per mile to put on the road. If you are still obsessed over gas mileage - buy a Chevy Aveo and fix that lead foot.
03/15/07 - Solidifying Hydrogen
Researchers at the University of New Brunswick in Fredericton have made a breakthrough in hydrogen storage. They have successfully condensed hydrogen gas into a usable solid under mild conditions. “The challenge is to find a safer, more efficient and economical way to store hydrogen so that it can be released on demand,” explained chemist Sean McGrady, the lead researcher on the project. “The way to do this is to turn hydrogen into a compound - a solid - so you can use it when you want, safely, in the amount you want.” Hydrogen gas is typically stored under pressure in large metal cylinders, approximately four feet high. These cylinders are heavy and expensive to transport. Since they are under pressure, they also pose a safety hazard. The research is expected to produce reversible hydrogen storage materials that can be processed into a powder for use in limitless commercial applications. In collaboration with Dr. McGrady’s team, HSM is currently testing an initial product that stores more than six per cent hydrogen by weight. The next step is to develop a more cost efficient product that will store more than nine per cent hydrogen by weight. HSM believes that this will lead to acceptance of its materials as the industry standard. This will allow for the expansion of HSM into hydride tanker trucks for the widespread distribution of hydrogen, and the use of its hydrogen storage container as a fuel tank within fuel cell and hydrogen powered vehicles.
03/15/07 - 'The Glove' - Stanford's New Anti-Fatigue Technology
When people exercise, their muscles consume energy and generate heat as a byproduct. When enough heat accumulates internally, it can limit exercise performance. Two Stanford biologists have developed a method for cooling that maximizes heat transfer through the palms of the hands. "We literally cool the body from the inside out, rather than from the outside in, which is the conventional method," explains Senior Research Scientist Dennis Grahn. The device works by creating a local subatmospheric pressure environment, Grahn says. "We stick the hand in a rigid chamber with an airtight seal around the wrist, and then we draw a bit of the air out of the chamber," he explains. "This causes blood to be pulled into the hand. Then we cool the overlying skin surface of the palm of the hand [by circulating cool water through a closed system on which the palm of the hand rests], which cools the blood in the hand's vascular heat-exchange structures. Arteries deliver blood directly from the heart to these vascular structures, and veins then carry the blood from these structures back to the heart." when people used their cooling device during anaerobic exercise, such as weight lifting, where the time to exhaustion is very short, the effects on exercise performance were dramatic. "We helped a weight-lifter increase his capacity to do pull-ups from 180 to 600 in the same time period after six weeks of training," notes Grahn. "And we've seen professional football players triple their anaerobic exercise capacity in four weeks." During aerobic exercise, such as running, conducted in the heat, the device greatly extends endurance. "Under the right circumstances, you can double the endurance of someone working at a fixed load," says Grahn. "This has significant implications not only for athletes but for people such as factory workers and military personnel who work in hot environments."
03/15/07 - Vapster to Improve mileage
Gerald Rowley - Feb 8, 2007 at 4:08 pm - I am the inventor of Vapster, a fuel vaporizing device which converts liquid fuel into vaporized fuel. I have been testing over a year on my Mazda MX-6. Typical highway mileage for this car is 30.5 MPG. With the Vapster device I average 42 MPG. Some runs are at 44 MPG. Further improvements to the system will push the mileage into the 50 MPG range. I have contacted the engineering depts. of the University of Miami, Florida Atlantic University, Georgia Tech, MIT, and University of Florida to be a third party witness to this device. Sadly to say nobody has come forward to witness this amazing device.
03/15/07 - 'For Dining' Only anti-laptop sign at restaurant
Just snapped this "FOR DINING ONLY" sign at an Austin cafeteria -- it includes a laptop in a circle with a line through it. I get the point -- laptop users squat on tables, reducing the turnover. But I can sit and read a newspaper or a book at a table for hours, too -- why not have a "NO READING -- FOR DINING ONLY" sign? And how about those great, social meals where you chat with your friends for hours? "NO READING, LAPTOPS OR TALKING: FOR DINING ONLY!"
03/15/07 - Muslim cashiers refuse to handle customer's bacon
In the latest example of religious beliefs creating tension in the workplace, some Muslims in the Twin Cities are adhering to a strict interpretation of the Qur'an that prohibits the handling of pork products. Instead of swiping the items themselves, they are asking non-Muslim employees or shoppers to do it for them.
03/15/07 - Comedian Richard Jeni R.I.P.
The coroner’s office has publicly stated that a suicide ruling will take two weeks, pending the results of an autopsy, Richard Jeni did take his own life. The truth is: earlier this year Richard Jeni was diagnosed with severe clinical depression coupled with bouts of psychotic paranoia. One only needs to have a family member or friend with a mental illness to understand that there is nothing rational, predictable, or fair about these diseases. Mental illness is as serious as any physical affliction and can be just as devastating. He was not down or blue, he was ill. If you knew Richard, you could understand, this was as much a shock to those close to him, as it is to his fans and colleagues. Perhaps Richard’s passing will encourage people to have sympathy, compassion and understanding for those who are afflicted with mental illness. As we are all trying to make sense of this, take time to remember the joy and laughter Richard brought to the countless people he touched during his much too short life.
03/15/07 - The Incredible Shrinking Engine
Both turbocharging and direct injection are pre-existing technologies, and neither looks particularly impressive. Indeed, used separately, they would lead to only marginal improvements in the performance of an internal-combustion engine. But by combining them, and augmenting them with a novel way to use a small amount of ethanol, Cohn and his colleagues have created a design that they believe could triple the power of a test engine, an advance that could allow automakers to convert small engines designed for economy cars into muscular engines with more than enough power for SUVs or sports cars. By extracting better performance from smaller, more efficient engines, the technology could lead to vehicles whose fuel economy rivals that of hybrids, which use both an electric motor and a gasoline engine. And that fuel efficiency could come at a fraction of the cost.
03/15/07 - Green Pedal Powered Rollercoaster
The Skycycle at Washuzan Highland Park in Okayama, a pedal-powered roller coaster. They clearly have some dramatic topography to take advantage of here, and it looks truly frightening. Most North American amusement parks are on pretty flat terrain but they often build artificial mountains- Demand a green ride like this on the Magic Mountain. The side-by-side tandem pedal-powered carts have seat belts, and a cute pink basket. / Comment: Why not modify this into some manner of public transport...somehow? I don't exactly know how that would work, but the whole thing looks rather like an elevated train. (What keeps people from slamming into one another on this?)
03/15/07 - Wave-pump Technology hits the water
Currently being tested in the Gulf of Mexico, the Seadog ocean-wave pump captures energy from ocean swells or waves to pump seawater to a land-based holding area or water tower, where the water can be returned to the ocean through hydroelectric turbines. In addition, because the device pumps water to a reservoir, it can store salt water or desalinated fresh water in the form of potential energy to generate power on demand, even if the current wave regime during a particular period is too low to generate power. The pump uses buoyancy to convert wave energy to mechanical energy. The main components are a buoyancy chamber, buoyancy block, piston assembly, piston shaft, piston cylinder and intake and exhaust valves. In the water, the buoyancy block floats within the buoyancy chamber, moving up and down with the waves. The buoyancy block is connected to the piston shaft which moves the piston assembly through the piston cylinder. During recent testing off the coast of Surfside, Texas, a single Seadog pump experienced waves from 6 inches to 6 feet and consistently pumped a range of 15,000 to 40,000 gallons of seawater per day. INRI says the technology is capable of generating an average of 755MW of hydroelectric energy for every one-square mile pump farm, assuming ocean swells averaging at least 9 feet. With swells of at least 5 feet, the farm could generate approximately 242 MW. / More info at Seadog Homepage.
03/15/07 - Mountaintop destruction with Google Earth
(Courtesy Bob Paddock! - JWD) The first time I flew over southern West Virginia and saw mountaintop removal coal mining from the air, I knew that if everyone could see what I had seen-mountain after mountain blown up and then dumped into streams in the neighboring valleys-they would think twice about where their electricity came from the next time they flipped a light switch. That's why we at Appalachian Voices, and our partner groups, created the National Memorial for the Mountains, using Google Earth to tell the stories of more than 470 mountains that have been lost, as the centerpiece of our website www.iLoveMountains.org. We never imagined that those stories would now be available to over 200 million people as part of the latest release of featured content in Google Earth. Now it's your turn to fly over the region. I invite you to take a look at the mountaintop removal layer in the new featured content for Google Earth. Look for "Appalachian Mountaintop Removal" under the "Global Awareness" folder of the "Layers" sidebar. You can take the site tour of a mountaintop removal operation, explore the featured mountains and affected communities marked with blue flag buttons, and use the slider bar to see high resolution images of these mountains before and after mountaintop removal. To view all the locations of the over 470 mountains that have been destroyed, please visit the full featured version of the Memorial on www.iLoveMountains.org. Thanks for visiting and helping us spread the word, and thanks to everyone at Google Earth who worked so hard to help us bring this important information to life.
03/15/07 - What Credit Card Companies Don't Want You to Know
Of all the games the credit card companies play that end up costing you thousands of dollars (late fees, over-limit fees, transfer fees, and so on), it's always been the interest rate game that hurt the most -- until now. There's a new, completely legal game they're playing, and it can literally wipe you out financially if you're not careful. If you own a credit card, you know by now that if you're late with a payment the credit card company will charge you a late fee in addition to raising your interest rate. But did you know that they can raise your interest rate if you've made a late payment on any of your other cards, including those issued by other companies? Not only that, but your interest rates can skyrocket to 30 percent or more if you make a late payment on your car loan, mortgage, or even your phone bill!
03/15/07 - Hamster Ball for People
This $199.99 giant Gigaball is big enough for an adult to clamber into and roll around inside, though it's marketed at kids. / Kids can literally have a ball while safely crawling, bouncing and rolling around this gigantic sphere. • Made of a heavy-gauge vinyl, the ball inflates to 7’ dia. • Comes with peek-a-boo windows and super-thick pillows of air cushioning against the ground • Indoor or outdoor use; world's largest Giga ball • Ages 4 yrs. and up.
03/14/07 - Poo Power : N-Viro Fuel Tested in Coal-Fired Plant
N-Viro International Corp. announced today the successful completion of a performance test of N-Viro Fuel at a major power generation facility. N-Viro Fuel is a newly developed and patented biomass fuel that has physical and chemical characteristics similar to coal and is created from municipal waste and/or manure. The test was designed to gauge and measure the performance of N-Viro Fuel when blended with Eastern Bituminous Coal in a Circulating Fluidized Bed ("CFB") coal combustion boiler, a clean coal technology. CFB Boilers are mainly utilized for power generation. Coal is combusted, stirred and mixed with limestone (desulphurization media) and air-fluidizing bed materials in a furnace. The combustion within the boiler is completed by circulating un-combusted coals. In comparison with a conventional coal-fired boiler, a CFB boiler's combustion is more efficient and offers various fuel options. Coal fuels more than 40 percent of the world's electricity and 50 percent of U.S. electricity. New state-of-the-art technologies allow coal producers to produce electricity from coal that is cleaner than ever. Coal use has tripled in the past 30 years, while emissions have been reduced by about one-third. The successful full-scale test of the patented N-Viro Fuel Technology is the culmination of our research in waste-derived biomass solid-state fuels. The test demonstrates that our technology can successfully convert disparate organic waste, such as municipal sewage bio solids and animal derived manures into solid-state fuels that can be compatible with coal. N-Viro's patented processes use lime and/or mineral-rich, combustion byproducts to treat, pasteurize, immobilize and convert wastewater sludge and other bio-organic wastes into biomineral agricultural and soil-enrichment products with real market value. For more information visit: http://www.nviro.com/
03/14/07 - Fee ruling may imperil Internet radio
Some small stations say a panel's decision to hike music royalties may put them out of business. Video killed the radio star, as the 1979 hit song goes, and now some fear an obscure group of federal copyright judges may be on the verge of killing Internet radio. In a ruling made public Tuesday, the Copyright Royalty Board significantly increased the royalties paid to musicians and record labels for streaming digital songs online. The decision also ended a discounted fee for small Internet broadcasters. Broadcast radio stations that also stream their programs online, such as KCRW in Santa Monica, said they might have to scale back on webcasting, and operators of Internet-only radio stations said the new fees would probably force them to go silent. An estimated 72 million listeners each month tune in to Internet music programming from hobbyists, traditional radio broadcasters and Web companies such as Yahoo Inc., AccuRadio.com and Pandora.com, seeing them as an alternative to broadcast radio. The board ruled that the current rate of 0.08 of a cent each time a song is played would more than double by 2010. For music sites run by tax-exempt nonprofit organizations, the board set a flat $553 annual fee per radio channel for a certain number of listening hours per month - which stations such as KCRW far exceed. "Unless we can find an alternative to paying the published rates, there's no feasible way we can continue," said Bill Goldsmith, who operates an online rock-music station called Radio Paradise in Paradise, Calif. He estimated that he would owe $650,000 in royalties under the new fee structure in 2007 - 25% more than he expected to pull in this year from listener donations.
03/14/07 - Costs of Switching your Lighting
Replacing each descendant of Thomas A. Edison's invention with a low-energy, long-lasting, compact fluorescent bulb would slash electricity consumption by 75%, proponents say. Compact fluorescent bulbs, because they can last 10 times as long as the incandescent kind, are competitive on cost over the long term. At the Crenshaw Wal-Mart, a standard 60-watt bulb costs 59 cents when sold in a four-pack, while a fluorescent costs $2.52 as part of a three-unit package. Converting a single 60-watt incandescent bulb to a comparable 13-watt compact fluorescent can save a homeowner $30 by the time the bulb burns out, says 18seconds.org, a new website backed by a coalition of government agencies, businesses, environmentalists and celebrities. The group takes its name from the 18 seconds it says it takes to change a light bulb. And that's just the savings for the individual shopper. The payoff for society and the planet is much more dramatic. Using one compact fluorescent bulb could eliminate the need to burn 110 pounds of coal to generate electricity. It also prevents 450 pounds of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases from reaching the atmosphere and contributing to climate change, 18seconds.org says. The average house has 40 bulbs, with about 10% of those compact fluorescents.
03/14/07 - Moscow Futuristic Concepts from 1900?
This is a rare glimpse of how Moscow might have evolved, if communists had not come to power in 1917 (and the laws of physics had been more forgiving)... These amazing visions appeared in Russia at the turn of the century, in 1900 - probably one of the very first truly "Futuristic / Urban" series of images ever published (issued by the Joint Stock Publishing Company "Einem")
03/14/07 - Tapping the sun to power first eco-friendly car in UAE
The solar two-seater car can reach a maximum speed of 50km/h but is better suited to cruising at 45km/h, according to its creator Saqr Bin Saif, 30. The car took three months to build and before that spent four months on the drawing board being refined. "It has four solar panels of 170 watt and two batteries which store the energy. It is ready to go now with the energy stored inside and doesn't need to sit in the sun all day," said Bin Saif. The car is 6 metres in length and 2 metres wide. It has room for a driver and a passenger and the seats are reclined offering a comfortable drive. There is no air conditioning, "like a Formula 1 car," Bin Saif added."I will be working on a new car which will be smaller and faster," he said. The sun provides over 1,000 watts per sq m of energy. The solar cells on the car collect energy from the sun. Electrons in the cells are extracted by the sun’s energy and passed into the car through the solar cells’ metallic connectors. In order for the car to use more energy than it gets from the sun at any moment, batteries are used to store extra electrical energy. The first person to construct a solar car was Alan Freeman of Rugby in England in 1979. A decade later, solar powered cars were being raced across 3,000km powered only by the sun in the World Solar Challenge, launched in 1987 in Australia. Today solar cars can reach speeds up to 130km/h.
03/14/07 - Energy Saving Box
Bill Littlehales, of Incline Village, has invented a tool that could save you money on your power bill. His Carson City corporation developed a half-pound box that can be plugged into a wall outlet to display the monthly cost of energy being used in the home. It looks small, but it could save you $30-$40 a month. "It tells you how much you're paying in real time - like a gas pump," said Littlehales, 74. It takes about five minutes to install, with no rewiring. Littlehales used his mechanical-engineering background to construct the Power Cost Display and a transmitter that is installed on the utility meter panel. The home owner sets the kilowatt-per-hour rate into the box, which is 11.9 cents in Carson City, and watches the digital meter climb with each switch that is flipped. After he saw how much one 100-watt incandescent light bulb cost - $7 a month - he switched to compact fluorescent bulbs - $1 a month. When Noble gets home from work, his display reads $100, which is after the heat kicks on. When his wife, Jennifer, uses the oven to cook dinner the display goes up to $300. After dinner it hovers between $180 to $250 except when the hot tub heat turns on, increasing it to $800. Thankfully, that's only on for two hours a day. A microwave can cost $120 a month; a toaster $112. The inventor demonstrated the product recently using a space heater and two high-beam lights. He turned on the space heater and the digital meter flashed $113. That means, leaving the space heater on for 30 days will cost the home owner that much a month. Turn on one of the lights and the red numbers increased to $115. The 24-hour, 30-day display is the one that gets people's attention most, Littlehales said. "You just saved $3 right there," he said, after turning off one of the lights. He turned off the space heater. "Or $113 right there." Littlehales' patented, Underwriters Laboratories-approved unit will cost $380 retail. They hope to have it available in limited areas though programs with utility companies.
03/14/07 - Early sex correlates with delinquency
New research suggests that when teenagers and younger children engage in their first sexual intercourse far earlier than their peers that they will exhibit higher levels of delinquency in the subsequent years. Conversely, the same work found that those who first engage in sex much later than their peers have a significantly lower delinquency rate. However, Stacy Armour, the co-author of the study, is careful to point out the fact that they are "not finding that sex itself leads to delinquency, but instead, that beginning sexual relationships long before your friends is cause for concern." The average age of first sexual intercourse for each school ranged from 11.25 to 17.5 years old. Those students who first engaged in sexual intercourse more than approximately one year before this average were deemed early. The survey also included questions about delinquent acts that students had participated in during the past as well. It was found that the students who first engaged in sex between the first and second survey had participated in a delinquent act 58 percent more often than those who remained virgins. The increases were even more pronounced for those who had sex early, relative to their peers. In the end "sex itself is not always a problem behavior, but the timing of sexual initiation does matter. Adolescents need to be at a stage when they are developmentally prepared for it." said Armour.
03/14/07 - Belfast Homeopathy Results confirms Efficacy
MADELEINE Ennis, a pharmacologist at Queen's University, Belfast, was the scourge of homeopathy. She railed against its claims that a chemical remedy could be diluted to the point where a sample was unlikely to contain a single molecule of anything but water, and yet still have a healing effect. Until, that is, she set out to prove once and for all that homeopathy was bunkum.
In her most recent paper, Ennis describes how her team looked at the effects of ultra-dilute solutions of histamine on human white blood cells involved in inflammation. These "basophils" release histamine when the cells are under attack. Once released, the histamine stops them releasing any more. The study, replicated in four different labs, found that homeopathic solutions - so dilute that they probably didn't contain a single histamine molecule - worked just like histamine. Ennis might not be happy with the homeopaths' claims, but she admits that an effect cannot be ruled out. So how could it happen? Homeopaths prepare their remedies by dissolving things like charcoal, deadly nightshade or spider venom in ethanol, and then diluting this "mother tincture" in water again and again. No matter what the level of dilution, homeopaths claim, the original remedy leaves some kind of imprint on the water molecules. Thus, however dilute the solution becomes, it is still imbued with the properties of the remedy.
You can understand why Ennis remains sceptical. And it remains true that no homeopathic remedy has ever been shown to work in a large randomised placebo-controlled clinical trial. But the Belfast study (Inflammation Research, vol 53, p 181) suggests that something is going on. "We are," Ennis says in her paper, "unable to explain our findings and are reporting them to encourage others to investigate this phenomenon." If the results turn out to be real, she says, the implications are profound: we may have to rewrite physics and chemistry.
03/14/07 - Spacecraft may surf the solar system on magnetic fields
Photo: A 3-kilometre-long space 'stocking' made of a cylindrical mesh of carbon fibres could be charged up using a coating of a radioactive isotope; the stocking would then be propelled through space by Earth's magnetic field. Future spacecraft may surf the magnetic fields of Earth and other planets, taking previously unfeasible routes around the solar system, according to a proposal funded by NASA's Institute for Advanced Concepts. The electrically charged craft would not need rockets or propellant of any kind. Mason Peck of Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, US, has received a grant to study the idea, which is based on the fact that magnetic fields exert forces on electrically charged objects. He says a satellite could charge itself up in one of two ways - either by firing a beam of charged particles into space, or simply by allowing a radioactive isotope to emit charged particles. The charged satellite would then be gently pushed by Earth's rotating magnetic field, enabling it to change orbit and even escape to interplanetary space.
03/14/07 - Wipe out a single memory
Drug can clear away one fearful memory while leaving another intact. The brain secures memories by transferring them from short-term to long-term storage, through a process called reconsolidation. It has been shown before that this process can be interrupted with drugs. To find out, they trained rats to fear two different musical tones, by playing them at the same time as giving the rats an electric shock. Then, they gave half the rats a drug known to cause limited amnesia (U0126, which is not approved for use in people), and reminded all the animals, half of which were still under the influence of the drug, of one of their fearful memories by replaying just one of the tones. When they tested the rats with both tones a day later, untreated animals were still fearful of both sounds, as if they expected a shock. But those treated with the drug were no longer afraid of the tone they had been reminded of under treatment. The process of re-arousing the rats' memory of being shocked with the one tone while they were drugged had wiped out that memory completely, while leaving their memory of the second tone intact.
03/14/07 - Balancing the Forces
These simple experiments you can try at home. They are described in a book "La Science Amusante" by Tom Tit (pen name of Arthur Good) with illustrations by Poyet, published in Paris in 1890. (translated from Russian version by Avi Abrams) / Totally incredible demonstrations where you can use demonstrate the center of gravity and how it can be discovered and used to establish equilibrium.
03/14/07 - Hydrogen injection could boost biofuel production
The new method requires two-thirds less biomass to produce one litre of fuel than conventional methods. It is a variant on traditional gasification, which is the partial combustion process that converts biomass into biofuel, plus carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide and hydrogen. In current systems, only a third of the carbon ends up as biofuel, while the rest is lost as CO2 and CO. Agrawal's team propose adding more hydrogen to the gasification process. The additional hydrogen will react with carbon dioxide to produce carbon monoxide, which in turn reacts with more hydrogen to make extra biofuel and water. "Adding hydrogen to the gasifier essentially suppresses the CO2, so that all the carbon that came with biomass ends up in liquid fuel," says Agrawal. If the process can eliminate this "waste" of carbon, the same amount of biofuel fuel will require one-third of the biomass required by traditional methods - and so also one-third of the land. The researchers are now designing a gasifier that can inject the extra hydrogen. To their knowledge, no such machine has ever been built, but they say there are no known technical hurdles. The more considerable obstacle to making their modified gasification viable on a large scale will be to find a cheap method for producing hydrogen. Using nuclear power to create the gas is one option but is politically contentious.
03/13/07 - Video - DuckDiver Wave Power
Lever Operated Pivoting Float with Generator - Patent Pending # U.S. PTO 60/880321 - Prototype #24 Pulling the arm down one time turns the generator 200 revolutions. It was tested in the bay in 4 to 12 inch waves. This is the 3rd test with no problems or leaks. See the video! If the Duckdive is attached to the bottom it will adjust itself to the tide, people have been trying to figure out how to do that for 150 years [ that will create so much leverage and power]. The diving method is designed to make more energy and protect the equipment in large waves. This design is not being marketed to consumers. It will under go rigorous testing at this time. I am looking for partners to move this to production. I have built and tested 24 prototypes to figure out what the best ,most durable, most powerful, easiest to install and cheapest way to convert ocean energy. I think tide change is the biggest issue to deal with and the Duckdiver can adjust for 20ft tide and still be hooked to the bottom. I am now convinced that it is a worthy place for me to invest my money. So now I'm going to build it full scale 16ft x 16ft x 3-5ft. pipes and 2 big generators that will fit in the 5ft. pipe. I will be working on finding a place to install it. [that may be the hardest part].
03/13/07 - When Your Brain Talks, Your Muscles Don't Always Listen
Have your neurons been shouting at your muscles again? As we grow older, neurons--the nerve cells that deliver commands from our brains--have to “speak” more loudly to get the attention of our muscles to move, according to University of Delaware researcher Christopher Knight. “As a result of age-related changes in muscle and neurons, elderly people are often frustrated by poor control during precision tasks, and slowed physical responses contribute to more falls as people grow older,” Knight said. Using an experimental apparatus he and his students created in UD's Human Performance Lab, Knight has been examining muscular force on a very small scale in the index finger, specifically, the first dorsal interosseous muscle. Located between the index finger and the thumb, this muscle contains 120 “motor units”--in other words, 120 individual neurons, or nerve cells, and the muscle fibers they activate. “It's a relatively simple muscle, so you get to see more of a one-to-one relationship between the activity of the neurons and the resulting muscular force,” Knight said. Twenty-three subjects, ranging from 18 to 88 years of age, participated in Knight's recent study. In a virtually painless procedure, a small needle-like electrode with four tiny wires was embedded in the muscle of an index finger of each subject. The electrode was hooked up to a computer to record the electrical impulses as they travel from neurons to the muscle fibers. As the index finger was held steady in a small harness, each subject was asked to use the finger to follow the outline of a sinusoidal curve, with its peaks and valleys, on a computer screen. “More force--which is indicated by a corresponding higher firing rate of neurons--is exerted just before you begin the upturn toward one peak and then it eases off again in the downturn toward a valley,” Knight noted. Once recordings were completed at one site in the muscle, the electrode was repositioned to sample from other motor units within the muscle. The results showed lower firing rates among older subjects versus younger subjects--a diminished ability of the muscle fibers to “hear” and respond to the neurons' commands. “The repeated contraction of muscles is essential to movements such as walking,” Knight said. “However, our muscles have a reduced capacity to contract or 'twitch' as we grow older. We lose fast-twitch muscle fibers as we age.”
03/13/07 - Science Team Shows Light Is Made of Particles and Waves
(Tesla believed that light consisted of highly charged particles and invented a receiver to extract energy from both the wave and the particle. Tesla's free-energy receiver was patented in 1901 as An Apparatus for the Utilization of Radiant Energy. Tesla's radiant energy patents include #685957 an #685958. - JWD) Light is made of particles and waves, research published in "Foundations of Physics" shows. Team's findings refute 80-year-old belief. “About 150 years ago, light was thought to behave solely as a wave similar to sound and water waves. In 1905, Einstein observed that light might also act as being made out of small particles. Since then physicists found it difficult understanding the full nature of light since in some situations it acts like a particle and in others like a wave,” Flores said. “This dual nature of light led to the insight that all fundamental physical objects include a wave and a particle aspect, even electrons, protons and students.” In this modified double-slit experiment, a laser beam hits a screen with two small pinholes. As a particle, light goes through one of the pinholes. Through a lens system, the light is then imaged onto two detectors, where a certain detector measures only the photons, which went through a particular pinhole. In this way, Afshar verified the particle nature of light. As a wave, light goes through both pinholes and forms a so-called interference pattern of bright and dark fringes. “Afshar’s experiment consists of the clever idea of putting small absorbing wires at the exact position of the dark interference fringes, where you expect no light,” Knoesel said. “He then observed that the wires do not change the total light intensity, so there are really dark fringes at the position of the wires. That proves that light also behaves as a wave in the same experiment in which it behaves as a particle.” “The important new contribution is that light carries both wave and particle aspects at all times, and future experiments will further clarify the nature of each component.” Afshar said.
03/13/07 - Conversations with realistic Virtual People
Imagine having a discussion with Isaac Newton or Albert Einstein on the nature of the universe, where their 3-D, life-sized representations looked you in the eye, examined your body language, considered voice nuances and phraseology of your questions, then answered you in a way that is so real you would swear the images were alive. This was an opening scene from an episode of the TV show "Star Trek" almost a decade and a half ago. A new research project between the University of Illinois at Chicago and the University of Central Florida in Orlando may soon make such imaginary conversations a reality. "The goal is to combine artificial intelligence with the latest advanced graphics and video game-type technology to enable us to create historical archives of people beyond what can be achieved using traditional technologies such as text, audio and video footage," said Jason Leigh, associate professor of computer science and director of UIC's Electronic Visualization Laboratory. Leigh is UIC's lead principal investigator. EVL will build a state-of-the-art motion-capture studio to digitalize the image and movement of real people who will go on to live a virtual eternity in virtual reality. Knowledge will be archived into databases. Voices will be analyzed to create synthesized but natural-sounding "virtual" voices. Mannerisms will be studied and used in creating the 3-D virtual forms, known technically as avatars. Leigh said his team hopes to create virtual people who respond with a high degree of recognition to different voices and the various ways questions are phrased. "Imagine a computer smart enough to have the avatar respond 'Do you understand what I'm saying?' in the natural way humans communicate with each other," said Leigh. "We're trying to tip towards being as naturalistic as possible." / Example: '300' CGI movie - An all CGI-background ancient battle epic, this tight, spare, slightly less than 2 hour piece of art where ever single frame of film is glorious to look at. It's like a painting you would see at a museum, except, it has come to life. It's smolderingly gorgeous. Suffocatingly sexy to behold at times. It is, after first viewing, one of the coolest movies I have ever laid my eyes on. (comments from aintitcool.com)
03/13/07 - Global warming won't halt ocean current
A new study of 17 different climate models concludes that the thermohaline circulation, which drives the Gulf Stream and helps warm Europe, won't stop dead and abruptly change regional climates anytime this century. That's the good news. The thermohaline circulation is seen as one of the few climate switches that could quickly flip and morph climates worldwide, at least in theory. Many experts have thought it would take something dramatic, like the complete meltdown of Greenland's ice sheet, and subsequent dumping of buoyant freshwater into the ocean, to throw a wrench into the thermohaline circulation. But the models show this may not be the case. Warming of ocean surface temperatures alone may be enough to slow the circulation. All of the models showed a reduction in the conveyor belt-like thermohaline circulation over time, says Weaver. "But it turns out it's not the freshwater that's driving it." The thermohaline circulation, which helps to keep Europe warm, may slow down by 20% if climate change models are accurate. The models show that the main force slowing the thermohaline circulation is the heating of surface waters that most scientists say is related to global warming. Warmer water is more buoyant, and therefore less likely to sink. If less water sinks, the overturning circulation pattern of the North Atlantic slows down, regardless of what happens to Greenland's ice. But the models are limited in their ability to reproduce the real oceans.
03/13/07 - Knuckle Blaster Stun Gun 950,000 volts for $70
The Knuckle Blaster Stun Gun is intended as a self defence device for people who jog in dodgy areas (and if it’s a really really bad area you could always wear one of these on each hand as well as the defensive jacket). Before shocking any potential muggers you should probably ask them if they have a pace maker, then again nah, just knee them and follow up with 950,000 volts to their face. You can get the Knuckle Blaster Stun Gun from Hollywood Gadgets for $69.95.
03/13/07 - Do-It-Yourself Solar Hot Water System
FAFCO, Inc. announces the release of the Hot2o, a lightweight, all-polymer, do-it-yourself solar hot water system designed to reduce water heating bills by up to 50%. Hot2o is designed to work with any conventional residential hot water tank. The entire system fits in a single box and weighs less than 62 pounds. The system can be safely deployed on a roof by a single person using typical household tools. Self-locking connectors and flexible polymer tubing avoids sweated fittings and reduces installation time, difficulty, and leak risk. Hot2o pays for itself in less than five years, as compared to ten to twenty years with traditional glazed copper solar hot water systems. Homeowners who purchase Hot2o are eligible for federal solar energy tax credits under the Tax Relief and Health Care Act of 2006, which was extended through 2008. / "Note that the solar tax credit dictates that the solar system must reduce 50% or more of the energy required for the home's hot water heater."
03/13/07 - Bush's Polar-Bear Problem
The administration tells scientists attending international meetings not to discuss polar bears, climate change, or sea ice. The order to squelch talk about polar bears came in a "new requirement" listing to government scientists traveling abroad. Henceforth, if they are participating in a meeting "involving or potentially involving climate change, sea ice, and/or polar bears," they need to report this and have a spokesperson assigned to articulate the administration's policies. Fish and Wildlife officials want to be sure that "the one responding to questions on these issues, particularly polar bears," understands the administration's position on these topics. Fish and Wildlife director H. Dale Hale said this was not an attempt to censor scientists, though the travel memos specifically require that the traveler "understands the administration's position on climate change, polar bears, and sea ice and will not be speaking on or responding to these issues." The memos were discovered and released by two environmental groups, the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Center for Biological Diversity.
03/13/07 - Minimize your home network's energy consumption
Tips include turning off your monitor (if not the whole machine) when you're away from your desk, dimming your screen (your eyes will thank you for this one too), and enabling sleep mode on your printers and computers. 1)Using fluorescent lighting instead of the incandescent lighting in bulbs - of course, cannot be used in dimmers. 2)Turn off lights when you leave the room. Same goes for the TV - some people just use it for white noise! 3)Reduce the temperature of the heating to 68 F. / We realized that we were sucking unnecessary power with some of our chargers and peripherals, so we organized everything that requires power into 4 categories. 1. Always on: cable modem, phone, airport 2. His computer and peripherals 3. My computer and peripherals 4. Chargers (and the shredder) Each category was plugged into its own powerstrip or squid, and each strip gets turned off when it is not needed. / Always set your screen saver to "Blank" - you don't need flying toasters or whatever when you're not there, so why not let the monitor's Energy Star circuitry do what it's supposed to do?
03/13/07 - Origin of the Mythical Jackalope?
I could be mistaken, but [your post about the poor fellow with the unusual skin condition] looks like a virus that rabbits get that causes what look like horns growing out of them called Shope papillomavirus. That was the first thing i thought when i saw it, although it's probably not related. I have several pet rabbits and they don't go outside because there are rabbits with that in the area, and once you see it, you never forget it. / More Info - The Jackalope (Lepus-temperamentalus) is one of the rarest animals in the world. A cross between a now extinct pygmy-deer and a species of killer-rabbit, they are extremely shy unless approached. None have ever been captured alive and this rare photo (often criticized as fake) shows a mighty buck about to strike. Known by the ancients as "deerbunnies", it wasn't until the early 1960's that the modern more fearsome name of "jackalope" was adopted. It is written that you can extract the Jackalope's milk as it sleeps belly up at night. The milk is belived to be medicinal and can be used to treat a variety of afflictions. The truth is these creatures are aggressive and unpredictable, and should not be provoked for any reason!
03/13/07 - Cocoa nutrient for 'lethal ills'
A nutrient in cocoa called epicatechin appears to lower the risk of four common killer diseases, work suggests. Among the Kuna people of Panama, who can drink up to 40 cups of cocoa per week, rates of stroke, heart disease, cancer and diabetes are less than 10%. The Kuna also appear to live longer than other Panama inhabitants and do not get dementia, a US scientist reports in Chemistry and Industry. Epicatechin, a type of flavonoid, is also found in teas, wine, chocolate and some fruit and vegetables. Flavanols like epicatechin are removed for commercial cocoas because they tend to have a bitter taste.
03/13/07 - U.S. security scares foreign visitors away
According to figures from the Travel Industry Association of America, the number of travelers to the United States -- not including Canadians and Mexicans -- has dropped by 17 percent since 2001. Despite a record year for world tourism last year and a weak dollar against both the British pound and the euro, the number of visitors from Western Europe dipped by nearly three percent over the previous year. The pinch has been felt by businesses from California to the sunshine state of Florida, which draws tourists with its theme parks and beaches. According to industry lobbyists and analysts, the chief reason behind the decline is a convoluted visa process to enter the country and poor perceptions of treatment by pistol-toting and often stern-faced immigration officials on arrival. Two-thirds of respondents worried they could be held back at airports because of a mistake in form filling or a misstatement to immigration officials. Half said officials were rude and that they feared them more than the threat of terrorism or crime. For many foreign tourists and business travelers, the anxiety surrounding the entry process makes rival destinations in Europe, Asia and Africa more attractive to visit than the United States. "There's other places you can go where you don't get treated badly at immigration and ports of entry," British visitor Mitchel Lenson told Reuters as he stood on a wind-swept promontory overlooking the Grand Canyon. "The assumption (in the United States) is 'you must be a criminal, so we'll treat you that way,"' he added. Travel industry sources say the frosty welcome is not just driving tourists away but also business travelers from overseas, foreign students and even foreigners seeking medical care in U.S. clinics and hospitals.
03/12/07 - Hybrid battery 'breakthrough'
Jan Human has come up with an invention that he believes will revolutionise energy usage, cut climate-changing carbon emissions and give a major boost to the use of renewable energy. His invention is a hybrid battery which can charge and discharge simultaneously, and which cuts energy use by up to 27%. It can be linked up to Eskom, solar or wind power at the same time. Because there is less resistance in his battery than in a conventional one, you save energy using power from any of the sources. He has patented his invention, and now hopes investors will commercialise the battery. "The principle can be adapted for any kind of battery, small ones like cellphones and laptops, or it can by used by industry and even Eskom, both as back-up or to power their power stations. The mines and power stations have rugby fields of conventional batteries for back-up. It can also be used for vehicles. The novel aspect of Human's battery is that he found a new "pathway" in the battery which allows it to charge and discharge at the same time. "When a conventional battery is discharging, say to power a light, it cannot store energy at the same time. It's impossible. My battery does that. You can use wind and solar to charge my battery at the same time it is discharging," Human said. He had a bank of 18 batteries, each with a 1 000 amp-hour capacity. Apart from his gas stove, these 18 batteries can supply power for everything else in his house for a week, without charging them, only using the solar energy stored in them from his solar panels. "When you use electricity, you need pressure from the source, which is called electro motor force or EMF. With my battery, I need less EMF, so that is where the 27% saving comes in," he explains. Human says if we are to avoid the worst of climate change, the only solution is wind and solar power. Using his batteries, a household could become 100% carbon free, and 100% free of Eskom power.
03/12/07 - Plugin Cars by 2008
Electric cars, including plug-in hybrids like the Volt, have drawn strong support from U.S. environmental groups, which see such vehicles as a way to reduce oil consumption and greenhouse gas emissions since they can d be recharged with power drawn from a cleaner-burning electric grid. GM billed the Volt as a return to the once-failed idea of a mass-market electric car by 2010. The Volt is intended to draw its power exclusively from a next-generation battery pack capable of being recharged by a small onboard engine or a normal electric outlet. GM has said it is aiming for the Volt to be able to run for 40 miles on pure electric power, meaning many commuters would be able to get through a day without using gasoline. / more info - General Motors Corp. has announced plans to produce the Volt all-electric car in 2010, to run for 40 miles on pure electric power. Meanwhile, Chery Automobile Co. plans to become the first Chinese automaker to crack the American market later this year, with its $3,600 QQ car, and Tata Motors of India plans to market a five-seat $2000 car by 2008.
03/12/07 - Hacker Alert! - First Brain To Computer Interface You can BUY
The German g.tec (Guger Technologies) group has taken the technology out of the lab and into the real world with a complete BCI kit, and amazingly, there’s also a kit for a pocket PC - a super-low-weight biosignal recording system “g.MOBIlab” is used to measure the EEG and the data processing, analysis and pattern recognition are performed on a commercially available Pocket PC or in this case, your windows PC. The first BCI system will enable the composition and sending of messages, and control of a computer game. There’s also an invasive (implanted) option still being trialled in the laboratory - this is significantly more effective abnd the system can already accept and process input from both the embedded array and the cap array. Though the first work in the area is focussed on enabling paralysed humans to communicate far more freely, the potential to enhance one’s communications quite freely is clearly not that far away. There’s also the potential unlocked by putting such a device into the hands of thousands of eager and capable amateurs who will no doubt broaden the understanding of the human mind with their pursuits. In several research projects patients have used the device to successfully produce control signals to select letters and words or to control specific functions of a wheelchair or prosthetic device. The activity of the brain is recorded with a EEG (Electroencephalogram) electrodes mounted onto the surface of the head.g.tec has developed a sophisticated biosignal amplifier which allows the acquisition of the signals with very high accuracy. The amplifier is plugged into a USB port of the notebook for signal acquisition. The big advantage of the ECoG recordings is the better signal quality. Even a single electrode overlaying a specific brain region can generate a reliable control signal for a BCI system. On the surface of the head the EEG measures the activity of millions of neuron to extract the control signal. The BCI system can be realized with g.MOBIlab or g.USBamp. g.MOBIlab is available with up to 8 EEG channels and is portable and available with wireless signal transmission. g.USBamp is available for 16-64 EEG channels and transmits the data over USB to the PC or notebook.
03/12/07 - Earth Power Swindler
The Somerset West "inventor" who made international headlines two years ago by asserting he could tap electricity from the Earth's magnetic field - and took up to R70-million from eager investors - has been charged with fraud. It is alleged that the power actually came from simply tapping into the municipal supply. To demonstrate his "revolutionary electro-magnetic power supply module", Bill Cronjé allegedly ran a secret power cable under his laboratory floor and up a table leg on which he placed the device. Cronjé was arrested at his Somerset West home on Tuesday and appeared in the Somerset West magistrate's court on Wednesday. He faces charges of fraud and offences under the Companies Act. He was granted bail of R100 000. Commercial crime unit detectives submitted photographs and a sworn statement from an electrician who said he was ordered to cut a groove in the cement of a laboratory floor before it was tiled to hide an embedded wire. The cable ran from the wall, secretly tapping the municipal electricity supply ahead of the factory's electricity distribution panel. Newspaper reports at the time said it was either one of the world's greatest inventions or a swindle of breathtaking proportions. At the time, the Scorpions briefly probed Cronjé to look after the interests of potential investors, but nothing came of the investigation. The electro-magnetic module had no other power source. Suspicions were again raised when a Milnerton advocate, Louis van Wyk, for the investors, ordered a private investigation into Cronjé's gadget, which he claimed "could dramatically change the way society generates electricity". He had raised large sums of working capital on the strength of his invention. Van Wyk and commercial detectives attended a meeting in Parklands on Thursday night where about 15 Cape Town investors, who had pumped about R9-million over the past three years into the scheme, discussed the way forward. The main funder, and an inventor in his own right, Frank Taylor, is reported to have ploughed about R60-milion into the project. Van Wyk said most of the smaller investors had handed over their life savings after Cronjé allegedly told them an American electricity supplier in Nevada wanted to import the modules, and that at least R200 000 was needed from each to build a factory to produce them. Some investors had paid much more. When sister paper Weekend Argus approached Gridcon Power SA, the company behind the Cronjé scheme, in 2002, the firm said it was concerned about premature publicity having a negative impact on its plan to list the company on the stock exchange but eventually agreed to a reporter inspecting the supposed invention and laboratory. At the time Cronjé, who had apparently registered four provisional patents involving a supposed unique process harnessing electricity from the electro-magnetic energy fields, was not willing to divulge details of the "sensitive" technology, citing fears of industrial espionage. But he showed a reporter a row of brightly coloured devices with high-voltage warning signs on them and impressive-looking coils of electrical wire, magnets and other devices. Cronjé turned off the power at the mains and said the electro-magnetic module had no other power source. # Cronjé last year claimed he could extract not only pure drinking water but also gold and silver from sea water with another invention, a desalination plant. He was seeking investors for the R1.5-million project.
03/12/07 - Statistical Analysis Debunks Climate Change Naysayers
(Right on target, regardless of the main cause, we need to do everything possible to help repair the problem. - JWD) In a thought-provoking statistical analysis, Dr. Peter Tsigaris of Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops, BC, Canada, concludes that whether or not climate change can be wholly attributed to human factors, it makes strong economic and environmental sense to treat it as human-caused and take action now. Despite the fact that the hundreds of scientists and reviewers on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change announced February 2nd in Paris that global warming is "very likely" caused by human activity, governments and other policy-makers may still justify inaction because of naysayers like Danish weather scientist Henrik Svensmark, who maintains that global climate change can be attributed to the proportion of cosmic rays in our atmosphere, and atmospheric physicist S. Fred Singer, who asserts that “The whole question of anthropogenic, or human-caused, global warming is central to setting any policy of climate mitigation and therefore warrants closer examination.” “These arguments are moot,” says Peter Tsigaris, an economist at Thompson Rivers University, in Kamloops, BC, Canada. He continues: “The important question is the cost of these opinions being wrong relative to the cost of the IPCC report being wrong in its assessment.” In a thought-provoking statistical analysis, Tsigaris has concluded that whether or not climate change can be wholly attributed to human factors, it makes strong economic and environmental sense to take action as though it is human-caused, and mitigate the effects of global warming beyond taking measures to adopt. “As one of my statistics students, Robert Guercio, wrote in his exam booklet, ‘The cost of a type I error would mean spending a great amount of money and time focusing on how we can stop humans from causing global warming when humans are not the problem, but the cost of a type II error would mean spending a great deal of money and time on finding what is causing global warming and then continue to work on some factor of global warming, but not focusing on the real factor, humans.” It’s not just a lesson in numbers, explains Tsigaris, who cautions that the cost of a type II error, stating that global climate change is not human-caused when in fact it is, could be as high as humankind destroying itself. "As Lovelock points out in his Gaia theory, earth is self regulating and will look after itself," he adds. “It is obvious that a type II error, being unaware that global warming is caused by humans and maintaining our current living styles, is much more serious than a type I error which argues that humans are the cause when they are not, in terms of the costs,” he says.
03/12/07 - Iron to remove Viruses from Drinking Water
Highly reactive iron is used in the filtering process to deliver a chemical “knock-out punch” to a host of notorious pathogens, from E. coli to rotavirus. The new technology could dramatically improve the safety of drinking water around the globe, particularly in developing countries. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), over a billion people--one-sixth of the world's population--lack access to safe water supplies. Viruses are difficult to eliminate in drinking water using current methods because they are far smaller than bacteria, highly mobile, and resistant to chlorination, which is the dominant disinfection method used in the United States, according to the researchers. Of all the inhabitants of the microbial world, viruses are the smallest--as tiny as 10 nanometers. According to the American Society for Microbiology, if a virus could be enlarged to the size of a baseball, the average bacterium would be the size of the pitcher's mound, and a single cell in your body would be the size of a ballpark. “By using elemental iron in the filtration process, we were able to remove viral agents from drinking water at very high efficiencies. Of a quarter of a million particles going in, only a few were going out,” Chiu noted. The elemental or “zero-valent” iron (Fe) used in the technology is widely available as a byproduct of iron and steel production, and it is inexpensive, currently costing less than 40 cents a pound (~$750/ton). Viruses are either chemically inactivated by or irreversibly adsorbed to the iron, according to the scientists. Technology removes 99.999 percent of viruses.
03/12/07 - Nano-Piezotronics - Bent Nanowires for new Electronics
In a nano-piezotronic transistor, bending a one-dimensional zinc oxide nanostructure alters the distribution of electrical charges, providing control over the current flowing through it. By measuring changes in current flow through them, piezotronic sensors can detect forces in the nano- or even pico-Newton range. Other piezotronic sensors can determine blood pressure within the body by measuring the current flowing through the nanostructures. And, an electrical connection made to one side of a bent zinc oxide nanostructure creates a piezotronic diode that limits current flow to one direction. The nano-piezotronic mechanism takes advantage of the fundamental property of nanowires or nanobelts made from piezoelectric materials: bending the structures creates a charge separation - positive on one side and negative on the other. The connection between bending and charge creation has also been used to create nanogenerators that produce measurable electrical currents when an array of zinc oxide nanowires is bent and then released. The current flow is controlled by changing the conductance of the nanostructure by bending it between the source and drain electrodes. The bending produces a “gate” potential across the nanowire, and the resulting conductance is directly related to the degree of bending applied. “The effect is to reduce the width of the channel to carry the current, so you can have a 10-fold difference in the conductivity before and after the bending,” Wang explained. Nanogenerators, which were announced in the April 14, 2006 issue of the journal Science, harvest energy from the environment around them, converting mechanical energy from body movement, muscle stretching, fluid flow or other sources into electricity. By producing current from the bending and releasing of zinc oxide nanowires, these devices could eliminate the need for batteries or other bulky sources for powering nanometer-scale systems. Piezotronic nanosensors can measure nano-Newton (10 -9) forces by examining the shape of the structure under pressure. Implantable sensors based on the principle could continuously measure blood pressure inside the body and relay the information wirelessly to an external device similar to a watch, Wang said. The device could be powered by a nanogenerator harvesting energy from blood flow. Other nanosensors can detect very low levels of specific compounds by measuring the current change created when molecules of the target are adsorbed to the nanostructure’s surface. “Utilizing this kind of device, you could potentially sense a single molecule because the surface area-to-volume ratio is so high,” Wang said.
03/12/07 - Inventor of the 'Gravity Transduction Mechanism' Committed
An Olathe man showed up at the downtown Kansas City federal building two years ago with a bicycle and a black suitcase, and pronounced himself a terrorist. He secretly wanted to be arrested, according to court records, to get attention for his plans for a device that he says uses gravity to create clean energy. That backfired. Now he fears that federal agents want to steal his invention. Authorities not only arrested him on April 11, 2005, they also evacuated the federal building and blew up his suitcase. Remnants in it included toilet items, clothes, an empty pistol box and papers about a “Gravity Transduction Mechanism.” The top punishment is four years. If ruled sane enough, he could have pleaded guilty and been released on time served. Jackson County Circuit Judge Charles Atwell has received hundreds of handwritten court filings and letters from the defendant. They promise “USA Total Energy Independence” and “No Pollution Electricity” that will empty orphanages, reclaim the homeless and make “adults, birds, fish sing.” He wanted Mette-Njuldnir to cooperate with a state mental exam, but the defendant said he would do that only if he got an audiotape of it immediately afterward. That would prevent the FBI and National Security Agency from tampering with it, he said. Not possible, the judge said, because it takes time to copy a tape. The defendant asked: “You don’t have the ability to run two tapes at the meeting?” The judge countered: “The fact we’re even discussing taping the mental exam borders on the delusional. … In terms of reality, it’s a square peg in a round hole.” The defendant noted that he briefly talked to a state mental expert once before who wrongly reported he had a gun when he was arrested. “In that report,” he added calmly, “they said, ‘We can’t diagnose him, but he’s delusional.’”
03/12/07 - Solar Energy Conversion Help Mitigate Global Warming
Solar energy has the power to reduce greenhouse gases and provide increased energy efficiency, says a scientist at the U.S. Department of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory. Currently, between 80 percent and 85 percent of our energy comes from fossil fuels. However, fossil fuel resources are of finite extent and are distributed unevenly beneath Earth's surface. When fossil fuel is turned into useful energy through combustion, it often produces environmental pollutants that are harmful to human health and greenhouse gases that threaten the global climate. In contrast, solar resources are widely available and have a benign effect on the environment and climate, making it an appealing alternative energy source. “Sunlight is not only the most plentiful energy resource on earth, it is also one of the most versatile, converting readily to electricity, fuel and heat,” said Crabtree. “The challenge is to raise its conversion efficiency by factors of five or ten. That requires understanding the fundamental conversion phenomena at the nanoscale. We are just scratching the surface of this rich research field.”
03/12/07 - Light to detect wound infection
UK scientists have identified a way of using light to rapidly detect the presence of bacteria. The team at Sheffield University are developing a portable kit in which specially designed molecules emit a light signal when bound to bacteria. Current laboratory-based detection of bacteria can take hours or even days. The team have spent five years designing special large molecules, or polymers, which can bind to cells. "Eventually we'll be able to tell whether a wound is infected and we should be able to tell which type of bacteria it is," Dr Steve Rimmer, Sheffield University. Once bound the polymer changes shape and emits a light signal. This can either be a coloured light, such as a red glow, or a light that is invisible to the naked eye but can be detected under a fluorescent lamp, depending on the type of polymer that is used. with a light signal you would get "an instant read-out within a minute". Dr Steve Rimmer, from the department of chemistry, who is also leading the project, added: "We have already made the polymers which give you a light signal as they go through a shape change. "We can get an answer within a lab within two hours, but this is very novel and could easily have application."
03/12/07 - Electric Vehicle goes up to 230MPH
The prototype called 'KAZ' is the brainchild of a Japanese professor and Italian IDEA design firm; it will be on display at upcoming Seoul and Detroit auto shows. A Japanese professor, with the sponsorship of several Japanese companies, has come up with an eight-passenger, eight-wheeled vehicle that can go from 0 to 62 mph in seven seconds and reach a top speed of 192 miles per hour. Called KAZ for Keio Advanced Zero-emissions vehicle, it runs on a 600-horsepower electric motor powered by eighty-four lithium-ion batteries. This is the type of battery commonly used in cell phones, and it is the sole power source for the 22-foot-long vehicle. Although the number of batteries is huge, the charging time of one hour isn't, and the KAZ has a driving range of about 185 miles on one charge. Prof. Hiroshi Shimizu of Keio University in Tokyo had the support of fourteen Japanese companies, including Bridgestone Corporation, and he says Toyota, Nissan, and DaimlerChrysler are all talking with him about the prototype. This is the seventh electric-powered vehicle Shimizu has designed. For this sleek-looking model, he had the design help of the IDEA Institute of Italy. The KAZ is scheduled to be on display at the Seoul motor show in November and the North American International Auto Show in Detroit next January. / The Eliica-short for Electric Lithium-Ion battery Car was created by Hiroshi Shimizu and the Keio University Electric Vehicle Laboratory in Tokyo. The fifth electric concept vehicle coming from Keio, the Eliica is the immediate successor to the 8-wheel Kaz (Keio Advanced Zero-emission vehicle) limousine, also a product of the Keio laboratory, and the foundation platform for future 8-wheel work. The Eliica uses 8 60kW in-wheel drive motors to provide the equivalent of 800 hp. The photo to the right shows the exposed platform and wheel units. The Keio in-wheel drive units eliminate the need for the power-transmission devices connecting the engine and the wheels that are necessary in conventional cars. The motor, reduction gear, wheel bearing, and braking system are integrated in a single unit, and the suspension arm adapter is attached to the outer motor casing. Because all the wheels are driven, spin is minimized and the vehicle can be easily controlled, even under difficult road conditions. One of the two models of the car hits 0.8G in acceleration. The car has recorded a top speed of 370 km/h (230 mph), although Shimizu says it could hit 400 km/h (250mph) in the correct conditions. At this point, the Eliica requires 10 hours to charge fully and carries a hefty pricetag: some $320,000.
03/12/07 - Bleak Future Painted in Global Warming Report
The harmful effects of global warming on daily life are already showing up, and within a couple of decades hundreds of millions of people won't have enough water, top scientists will say next month at a meeting in Belgium. At the same time, tens of millions of others will be flooded out of their homes each year as the Earth reels from rising temperatures and sea levels, according to portions of a draft of an international scientific report obtained by The Associated Press. For a time, food will be plentiful because of the longer growing season in northern regions. But by 2080, hundreds of millions of people could face starvation, according to the report, which is still being revised. Written and reviewed by more than 1,000 scientists from dozens of countries, it still must be edited by government officials. "Things are happening and happening faster than we expected,'' said Patricia Romero Lankao of the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colo. the report says North America "has already experienced substantial ecosystem, social and cultural disruption from recent climate extremes,'' such as hurricanes and wildfires. But the present is nothing compared to the future. Global warming soon will "affect everyone's life ... it's the poor sectors that will be most affected,'' Romero Lankao said.
And co-author Terry Root of Stanford University said: "We truly are standing at the edge of mass extinction'' of species. Looking at different impacts on ecosystems, industry and regions, the report sees the most positive benefits in forestry and some improved agriculture and transportation in polar regions. The biggest damage is likely to come in ocean and coastal ecosystems, water resources and coastal settlements.
03/12/07 - Shotgun Flashlight
Security guards that don’t have guns carry around big long metal flashlights for protection. If they have this flashlight made by ARES Defense Systems they won’t have anything to worry about…
“A grenade-style pin removes the safety, and the flashlight fires a .410 shotgun round out the back when a button is pressed. A Mini-Mag size fires a .380 round.”
03/12/07 - Singing Tesla coils
I already love tesla coils--disruptive discharge transformer coils that shoot out bolts of electricity. But this took the concept to a whole new level: small, side-by-side versions of the electricity-spewing devices working in tandem, producing music. Was it real music? Well, I suppose that the definition of "music" is open to interpretation, but in this case I say it was. There was a beat and a rhythm, and before I knew it, I found myself doing a little head bob to...the singing tesla coils. "We figured out we could do it when we started playing with solid state tesla coils," said DiPrima, adding it wouldn't have been possible without help from mentor Steve Ward. "We were the first group to document it." "We're using a computer to modulate the tesla coils," he said. "They're digitally controlled. We built (what we call the) 'Disruptor,' which takes music and turns it into digital pulses." I asked him how much it would cost to build a version of their invention, and he said that it would cost only about $100, though his group had spent several thousand dollars on research and development. He also said he wouldn't be proprietary about the design.
03/12/07 - Video - Magnet Motor - Calloway V Gate : 01
Calloway V Gate on a skateboard wheel. For more info please visit callowayengines.com Brought to you by dust-aid.com - seeking simple solutions for a better world. 3/4 inch long by 1/4 inch diameter neodymium magnets embedded in the wheel so that 1/2 inch is sticking out. The driver magnet is a 2 inch long by 1/4 inch diameter neodymium magnet. An interesting V design is used to produce rotation. It still needs the reset but shows a forward direction which is retriggered by shifting a hand held magnet. It looks like a variation on the original TOMI magnetic drive effect.
03/12/07 - Video - Did You Know? Startling Projections
This is a compilation of facts and projections as to the future based on current growth patterns as witnessed around the world. It is certainly worth spending nearly 6 minutes of time to watch it.
03/12/07 - The Tantalus Field and Henry Moray
An interesting correlation with Moray's 'Walking Electronic Ear' and the sci-fi Tantalus Field. Discovered by the Mirror Captain James Kirk "in the laboratory of a dead alien scientist," the Tantalus Field is a device that granted the Captain much of his power and fearsome reputation. The Field consists of a small viewscreen and a few simple controls. By adjusting the controls, the operator can call up a view of any point within orbital distance (up to 10,000 kilometers away). No known screens or other technology can block the Tantalus Field's view. This ability alone is quite useful for covert surveillance, but the Tantalus Field's true power allows its user to "lock on" to anything in the device's field of view and destroy it with the touch of a button. The Tantalus Field operates on a principle of quantum interference. It disrupts the target's normal quantum resonance signature. In essence, the target no longer "belongs" in normal space-time and instantly ceases to exist, vanishing in a momentary flash of light. This is more than mere disintegration; the subject is banished from reality all together. There is no known defense against the Tantalus Field; once it has you in its sights, you are as good as dead.
03/12/07 - Micro Channel Water Battery
The discovery uses the movement of water through microscopic channels to generate electricity - and even in a laboratory set-up can power an LED, using just a hand-operated syringe, some water, and a piece of glass 1cm in diameter and three millimetres long - is a breakthrough application of nanotechnology, the science of molecule-sized artifacts. When water travels over a surface, the ions that it is made up of "rub" against the solid. That leaves the surface slightly charged.
"So I said, 'If you have separated the charges, then it looks a lot to me like a battery'," recalled Kostiuk. At which Kwok started looking at his work with new eyes. "We got about 10 volts and one milliamp (1/10 Watt) out of a piece of glass with 10,000 microchannels," said Kwok. "Right now we can power an LED with no problem, using just a syringe with some water that we push over the channels." The key thing about the work, which is published on Monday by the Institute of Physics journal, Journal of Micromechanics and Microengineering, is that it would simply have been impossible to develop and exploit 20 years or so ago.
03/11/07 - Green Steam Energy
(I recommend their website to watch this fascinating engine in operation in the fullsize gif animation. - JWD) Robert Green, an American Inventor, has developed a brand new technology which generates kinetic energy through the conversion of waste heat (as well as many other fuel sources). The Green Steam Engine is piston powered and designed for a wide assortment of practical applications. These steam engines are easy to build and can be used to power boats, electricity generators, air or water pumps, water distillers, heat pumps, air conditioners and a wide array of other small to medium sized appliances. How-To Plans and Components can be ordered directly through the Green Steam Engine website. One of the more unique advantages of the engine is its ability to generate energy from the waste heat of engines. Essentially, waste exhaust heat from a vehicle engine can be converted into energy used to power some of the vehicle’s cooling systems and pumps. The design is lightweight, small and quiet - making it perfect for many small space situations. This green engine will boost the efficiency levels of any vehicle or machine system it is installed on. The revolutionary new patented design converts reciprocating movement into rotary movement, greatly streamlining the piston design and allowing for more versatility and project flexibility. The properties of the patented crank mechanism (called a “flexible rod transmission“) invented by Robert Green, provides this engine with the advantage of eliminating the typical crankshaft and cam that requires lubrication and precision machining. It also provides the unique configuration whereby the cylinders are aligned in the same direction as the main shaft. The result is a compact, lightweight and slim engine that is extremely simple to construct and assemble. The pistons and valves operate off a short piece of flexible shaft. Because the flexible shaft is fixed and cannot rotate, the piston rods and valve push rod are held in position while being reciprocated. The cylinders float, attached to a swivel ball fitting at their base. Much of the structure and weight of a typical steam engine has been eliminated. The unique feature of the “Flex Rod Transmission” is that it produces an intermittent movement whereby the valve movement is stopped in its open and closed position during the power and exhaust strokes. This gives prolonged, fully opened valve timing. In compliment, the pistons are held stationary while the valve moves between phases. The output shaft continues rotation while the pistons stand still. The result is that the efficiency is increased dramatically. The overall friction of the engine is reduced due to the small number of light weight moving parts, and the use of ball bearings throughout. The flex rod is nearly frictionless as the flexing is like a spring in which the energy required to flex it is returned in equal amounts.
03/11/07 - JPEG Photo Format on Its Way Out?
Microsoft's new HD Photo format offers higher-quality images half the size of JPEGs, company says. The format, HD Photo -- recently renamed from Windows Media Photo -- is taking aim at the JPEG format, a 15-year old technology still widely used in digital cameras and image applications. Both formats take images and use compression to make the file sizes smaller so more photos can fit on a memory card. During compression, however, the quality of the photo tends to degrade. Microsoft said HD Photo's lightweight algorithm causes less damage to photos during compression, with higher-quality images that are half the size of JPEG. The format can also accommodate "lossless" and "lossy" compression, two methods of compressing photo data with different effects on image quality. Microsoft said adjustments can be made to color balance and exposure settings that won't discard or truncate data that occurs with other bitmap formats.
03/11/07 - Get Over It Day
Question: What are loser ex-boyfriends and girlfriends, annoying co-workers, sniping in-laws, the job you didn't get, that stubborn cellulite and those extra 20 pounds that refuse to go away? Things you need to GET OVER. Today.last March "Get Over It Day" found itself on "Good Morning America," and ESPN's "SportsCenter," and radio shows across the country, not to mention at "Get Over It Day" parties nationwide. "This day moves you toward your next step -- it's a decision you make to say, 'I'm ready to move on,'" says Heide Banks, a psychotherapist and creator of the CD Breaking Free: Seven Keys to Moving Past Hurt and Unlocking Life ($10, at www.getoveritday.com). "Our culture loves to talk about being the victim and not the victor. To move forward, you have to get a new story in your life. I call it 'mourning and moving.'" And just in case you slip back into your funk, the "Get Over It Day" folks have sticky notes, "Declaration of Intent" cards, stickers and rubber bracelets to snap you out of it. "When you're going through something, the natural tendency is to sit around by yourself and mope and revel in [your] misery," says Goldblatt, whose informal "Get Over It Day" network is hosting events in bars around the country today. "Not only do people have things they want to get over themselves, but everybody has a friend who's in a funk that you just want to shake and say, 'Get over it!' "
03/11/07 - Marijuana Odor Didn't Justify Search Without a Warrant
Police officers broke through the door of a trailer in Carbon County in April 2003 because they believed the suspects were eliminating evidence by smoking the marijuana. The court, however, said there was no sign that Bernadette Duran knew authorities were around. "Most significantly, there is no indication that the law enforcement officers engaged in any effort, much less a reasonable one, to reconcile their ... needs with the demands of personal privacy," the court said in a 4-1 decision. Duran and three other defendants pleaded guilty to drug charges, although her conviction was conditional and thrown out after the appeals court declared the seizure illegal, Bailey said. He had feared the Supreme Court would rule against Duran, giving police more authority and diminishing privacy rights. The ruling "will change things," Bailey predicted. "They pay attention, officers do. They read the case law and they know when they get overturned." In the decision written by Justice Ronald Nehring, the majority expressed concern that police might feel empowered to enter a house to check if minors were drinking alcohol or search an 18-year-old for cigarettes, both without warrants.
03/11/07 - High-tech sustainable house
No Grid, No Batteries, the ‘Off-Grid Zero Emission Building’ (OGZEB) is being overseen by FSU’s mechanical engineering professor, Anjaneyulu Krothapalli of the Sustainable Energy Science and Engineering Center (SESEC). “We are building a house that’s not connected to the grid, completely run by solar during the day, and the house during the night will be run on hydrogen,” he explained. Technology used in the house includes a device that makes hydrogen using solar energy and an innovative new fuel cell - both of which are currently awaiting patents. The interior has also been designed by FSU, with sustainable materials including bamboo in the construction. A 1000 square foot building, the OGZEB will be partitioned so that 750 square feet will be a two-bedroom, graduate style flat with the remaining 250 square feet serving as office space. It’s meant to serve as an energy efficient model for campus designers in student living and office space, and a prototype for developing and implementing new alternative energy technologies in residential and commercial settings. To supplement the solar power generated, excess energy will be produced to provide energy storage allowing power to be continuously supplied to the house during non-daylight hours. The most common solution is the use of high efficiency batteries for energy storage. This approach has been, and continues to be, the de facto solution used by the teams in the Solar Decathlon. However, high efficiency batteries are extremely expensive and have a limited lifetime - the OGZEB will use excess energy from solar panels, to produce hydrogen through the use of a highly efficient water electrolysis device currently being developed at SESEC. This hydrogen will be stored until it is required, at which time it will be fed to a special fuel cell (also being developed at SESEC). The use of hydrogen in this way is unique to the project, which is sort of test-run for all the new technologies under development - for example, using an ammonia absorption cycle is also an original concept, especially for a small building. The OGZEB will include low energy, spectrally selective windows, LED lighting, low air infiltration and extensive use of passive solar heating.
03/11/07 - Chilling Effects of the Anti-Terror Paranoia
This page attempts to convey the chilling effect that responses to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, have had on information availability on the Internet as well as some sense of the effect on people trying to provide this information. Currently, this page tracks the following: * Websites Shut Down by US Government * Websites Shut Down by Other Governments * Websites Shut Down by Internet Service Provider * Websites Shut Down or Partially Removed by Website Owner * US Government Websites That Shut Down or Removed Information * US Government Requests to Remove Information * Media Professionals Terminated or Suspended * Other Employees Terminated or Suspended * Related Incidents * Related Links. If you know of a anti-terrorism chilling effect that should be listed here, please use our contact form. Feel free to mirror this page on other websites, just please link back to the original on this page.
03/11/07 - ET's Among Us - The Hernandez Case
A University of Mexico tenured medical professor who met with an extraterrestrial, posing as an ordinary civilian, helps corroborate claims of Human Extraterrestrials living among us. This professor was also a senior member of the Mexican Atomic Energy Commission. The Professor used the pseudonym of ‘Prof Hernandez’ and worked with a Mexican journalist, Zitha Rodriguez to release details of his contact in the early 1970's. It all began in 1972, with a voice in his head, leading him to scientific breakthroughs in his own medical research in immunology which brought him special recognition by his peers. Professor Hernandez knew the ideas were not his own, because he had no background in developing them. They came to his mind full blown, as though someone who knew perfectly well what he was talking about had explained them to him in detail. LYA told Mr. Hernandez that there were many space-races far more advanced than men of Earth who were also coming here for exploration, observation, and study of our humanity about to enter a point where we would either join others in space travel and exploration, or we would eliminate ourselves in a suicidal employment of our primitive technology. We had become a society of some interest to many.
03/11/07 - Subliminal Messages Might Actually Work
"New research indicates that subliminal messages may actually work. In a paper titled Attentional Load Modulates Responses of Human Primary Visual Cortex to Invisible Stimuli, Bahrani et al. demonstrate that even though stimuli may not be available to consciousness, they are processed by the visual cortex. While I'm sure that marketing agencies all over the world are rubbing their hands in glee at this news, the authors report that there's no evidence that this can make people buy things against their will. So with any luck the use of subliminal messages in advertising will remain an urban legend."
03/11/07 - Hooking Up
The youth of today have eschewed dating in favor of hooking up. “Hooking up is like Thanksgiving for guys. They don't have to do anything to get sex” says one young woman. During a class discussion on adolescence, a high school teacher recently asked her students whether they go on dates. We don't ''date,'' the 12th graders reported. We ''hook up.'' If you're in your 40s, ''hooking up'' might mean catching a friend downtown for lunch. But to people in their teens or 20s, the phrase often means a casual sexual encounter -- anything from kissing onwards -- with no strings attached. At the University of Maryland, Robin Sawyer, who teaches a course on sexuality, finds Stepp's book pretty much on target. ''Men have always hooked up,'' says Sawyer. ''What you are seeing now is a desire of women to act in a masculine way, without being judged a whore.'' He also finds that the ''hookup'' vocabulary softens the impact of the behavior.
03/11/07 - UK - Don't like ID cards? Hand over your passport
(Who is running Who? - JWD) Anybody who objects to their personal details going on the new "Big Brother" ID cards database will be banned from having a passport. James Hall, the official in charge of the supposedly-voluntary scheme, said the Government would allow people to opt out - but in return they must "forgo the ability" to have a travel document. With one in every eight people saying they will refuse to sign-up, up to five million adults could effectively be refused permission to leave the country. Campaigners reacted to Mr Hall's remarks with fury, saying they were yet more evidence of the lurch towards "Big Brother" Britain. Phil Booth, of the NO2ID group, said: "The idea that ID cards scheme is voluntary, and people can opt-out, is a joke. "There are all sorts of reasons why people need to travel, not just for holidays. There is work, visiting relatives. "What are these people supposed to do? It stretches the definition of voluntary beyond breaking point. They will go to any length to get personal information for this huge database. Who knows what will happen to it then?" The first ID cards will be issued in 2009, to anybody who applies for a passport. People will be required to give fingerprints, biometric details such as a facial scan and a wealth of personal details - including second homes, driving licence and insurance numbers. All will be stored on a giant ID cards Register, which can be accessed by accredited Whitehall departments, banks and businesses. While The ID Cards Bill was going through Parliament, peers agreed an "opt out" with Ministers for people who needed a passport, but did not want to participate in the ID cards scheme. It was the only way the Lords would accept the legislation, amid howls of concern that it represents yet another move towards a surveillance society. But, as Mr Hall's comments this week make clear, the opt-out only applies to being physically issued with a card. In order to get a passport, people will still have to hand over all their personal details for storage on the ID cards Register - where they will be treated in the same was as those who agreed to sign-up. They simply avoid getting the card - even though they will have to pay the full combined price of £93 for an ID card and passport.
03/11/07 - Polar bears 'thriving as the Arctic warms up'
Pictures of a polar bear floating precariously on a tiny iceberg have become the defining image of global warming but may be misleading, according to a new study. A survey of the animals' numbers in Canada's eastern Arctic has revealed that they are thriving, not declining, because of mankind's interference in the environment. In the Davis Strait area, a 140,000-square kilometre region, the polar bear population has grown from 850 in the mid-1980s to 2,100 today. "There aren't just a few more bears. There are a hell of a lot more bears," said Mitch Taylor, a polar bear biologist who has spent 20 years studying the animals.
03/11/07 - The 'Real' Richest People in America
The REAL Richest People in America is about people making a difference. This inaugural list focuses on richness in giving with the aim of inspiring businesses and individuals to give their profits and their time. Recipients will be selected not because of what they have or profit but because of what they give or what they do. "True richness comes from the love of giving back to society, and happens whether you make $10,000 or $10 million a year," says list founder Tim Richardson. This nominees reflect the best about the joy of giving back; using their time and resources to make a difference in the world.
03/11/07 - DVD - the Physics of Crystals, Pyramids and Tetrahedrons
This is a wonderful 2 hour DVD which presents one man's lifelong study of pyramids, crystals and their effects. Several of his original and very creative experiments are explained and diagramed out for experimenters. These experiments include; 1) transmutation of zinc to lower elements using a tetrahedron, 2) energy extraction from a pyramid, 3) determining mathematic ratios of nature in a simple experiment, 4) accelerating the growth of food sources, 5) increasing the abundance of food sources, 6) how crystals amplify, focus and defocus energy, 7) using crystals to assist natural healing, 8) how the universe uses spirals and vortexes to produce free energy and MORE...
03/10/07 - Inventor announces 'Self-Powered Generator'
The basic idea behind the Self Powered Generator is to alleviate the need to purchase gasoline for a generator and to own a device which will run more efficiently and relatively cost free. Inventor Michael Moran says, "The time for decreasing our dependence on non-renewable fuel sources is upon us. A generator that can function using solar and electric power as a means of producing electricity would be a significant step towards achieving this goal. With lowered fuel consumption and emissions, the unit becomes a cleaner, more cost efficient way to create and supply electricity for many of the consumers' power needs. Rising fuel prices and national efforts to use 20 percent less gasoline over the next 10 years are definite indications that the time for environmentally-friendly, fuel efficient products like the Self Powered Generator is now". Solar Power and Electric Power are the wave of the future and the idea to incorporate a generator with these forms of energy is a great idea that will inevitably win extensive success in the marketplace. For further information on this great new invention, contact Jake Way at firstname.lastname@example.org. And ask about the great new invention known as the "Self Powered Generator".
03/10/07 - Reducing computer waste with Linux
"A typical hardware refresh period for Microsoft Windows is 3-4 years. A major UK manufacturing organisation quotes its hardware refresh period for Linux systems as 6-8 years." A significant difference...a doubling even, of the lifetime of a computer. Thus, a world using Linux would be a world with half the computer waste (and, admittedly, halved sales for Dell and the rest.) A widespread switch to Linux could prevent millions of tons of waste from going into landfills. Every computer not needed would prevent the use of 240 kg of fossil fuels. Spread that out over the 17.5 million computers that wouldn't be going obsolete every year and Linux could deliver the world a much more sustainable future.
03/10/07 - Free Parking?
Edward de Bono was asked by the mayor of a small town in Australia to consult on the town's parking problem. The mayor wanted to know how to effectively use parking meters. TK told the mayor that the problem was not about parking meters and how to use them, it was about people parking their cars all day on the street. "Don't use parking meters," he told the mayor. "Tell people they can park as long as they want for free, provided they keep their headlights on while the car is parked."
03/10/07 - Patriot Act makes us all Terrorists
In a chilling analysis of the PATRIOT Act, the ACLU points out that the new definition of "domestic terrorist" redefines any US criminal as a terrorist, exempt from due process and an open trial. "Domestic terrorists" can have their assets seized without a hearing, have their educational records pulled, and a host of other nasties. "Terrorism" is now officially meaningless: as far as the PATRIOT Act is concerned, if you do anything the government doesn't like, you're a terrorist. When you put it that way, it seems even less likely that we'll win the "war on terrorism." Section 802 does not create a new crime of domestic terrorism. However, it does expand the type of conduct that the government can investigate when it is investigating "terrorism." The USA PATRIOT Act expanded governmental powers to investigate terrorism, and some of these powers are applicable to domestic terrorism.
The definition of domestic terrorism is broad enough to encompass the activities of several prominent activist campaigns and organizations. Greenpeace, Operation Rescue, Vieques Island and WTO protesters and the Environmental Liberation Front have all recently engaged in activities that could subject them to being investigated as engaging in domestic terrorism.
03/10/07 - Kamen's Cyborg Arm
Almost 20,000 soldiers have returned from Afghanistan and Iraq missing one or both arms. Here at TED, inventor Dean Kamen showed a short video of an artificial arm he and his team designed in 13 months at the request of the Department of Defense. The arm can scratch a nose, pick up a pen, and perform other delicate actions. It weighs six pounds and can be covered with a mirror-image cast of the person's other arm. People in the audience were crying when they watched the video.
03/10/07 - 'Flying' in your sleep may be a paralysis
People who have out-of-body experiences, such as flying along a tunnel towards a heavenly light, are more likely to suffer a strange effect called sleep paralysis, according to a survey that adds to mounting evidence for a biological explanation for the experience. During sleep paralysis, people experience a kind of breakdown between states of consciousness which takes place on the fringe of sleep, either when falling asleep or waking. Because the brain turns off the body's ability to move during dreaming, muscles can lose their tone, or tension, causing paralysis. Also common are feelings of rising off the bed or flying. In addition, people report out-of-body experiences, sometimes accompanied by "autoscopy" when they look down on themselves. Not surprisingly, these moments are accompanied by fear. In a survey of 55 people who had a "near-death experience" - defined as a time during a life-threatening episode when a person experienced a variety of feelings, including unusual alertness, seeing an intense light, and a feeling of peace - he found three quarters had an out-of-body experience and half of them had also felt they had left their body during the transition between wakefulness and sleep. "We found that 96 per cent (24 of 25) of near-death subjects having sleep paralysis also had an out-of-body experience either during sleep transition or near-death," said Prof Nelson. In a control group of 55 people, three reported an out-of-body experience. Two of them also suffered sleep paralysis. Prof Nelson says this suggests the same brain circuitry plays a role. The sleep paralysis linked with out-of-body experiences was thought rare, but may strike between 40 per cent and 60 per cent of people at least once. They report sensations of floating, flying, falling or leaving one's body. It ranges from relatively tranquil floating experiences to horrible feelings of falling or rising at high speed.
03/10/07 - YouTube for Documents
Scribd lets you publish and discover documents online. It is like a big online library where anyone can upload. We make use of a custom Flash document viewer that lets you display documents right in your Web browser. There are all sorts of other features that make it easy and fun to publish, convert, embed, analyze, and read documents. Part of the idea behind Scribd is that everyone has a lot of documents sitting around on their computers that only they can read. With Scribd we hope to unlock this information by putting it on the web.
03/10/07 - Find Cheap Gas Fast
LifeClever shows you five ways to find the lowest prices on gas. These include the Konfabulator widget GasWatch, which displays the lowest gas prices within your ZIP code; an SMS option that sends prices to your phone (also based on ZIP code); and even aftermarket GPS systems that can retrieve gas prices. Personally, I'm fond of the mobile phone-optimized gas sites, like GasBuddy.com. With prices once again inching towards 3 bucks/gallon, any of these options could save you some serious coin.
03/10/07 - Download - FireFox Addon - Sort your downloads
Windows/Mac/Unix (Firefox): The Download Sort extension filters files into different folders based on patterns you define. So if you want to save all the .exe files you download into a "software installations" folder, and all the MP3's into a "music" folder, Download Sort will handle all that for you - sort of like rules-based email filtering. Plus you can stow files into folders named by date or source URL. This add-on is a great way to keep your Downloads folder tidy automatically. Download Sort is a free download for Firefox. (via lifehacker.com
03/10/07 - $90 Toilet to Bidet Conversion
(Living in Mexico, much of the plumbing won't accept tissue without clogging, so this sounds like a neat modification for sanitation and saving plenty of water. - JWD) "It shoots water on your bottom," said Wokas, holding up a sample of his contraption. That contraption is a strategically shaped 3/8-inch pipe that attaches to the water supply near the toilet and tucks under the back of the toilet seat. Then it, well -- what Wokas just said it does. In the world according to Wokas, this is the thing that could revolutionize the way we use the bathroom. His Miracle Faucet -- patent No. 5,652,971 -- transforms a simple toilet into one doing double duty as a bidet. What's a bidet? Exactly. Americans don't use bidets. They see one and wonder if they should make a wish and toss a penny. Is it a fountain? A place to rinse your feet or wash your Pomeranian? Wokas says his invention is intended to be used by women -- and men. Bidets are common in Europe, but those folks are not exactly famous for their showering habits. Wokas says that if he can persuade Americans to flush and then spray, rather than flush and, well, wipe, there will soon be an $89 Miracle Faucet attachment in every home. The product is on the company Web site at www.miraclefaucet.com, with plans to distribute to stores in the months ahead. A bidet-like faucet, he insists, promotes better personal hygiene. It reduces the number of showers, thereby cutting water usage. It even cuts down on toilet paper -- you merely pat dry your you-know-what with two sheets, according to the inventor. "There are about 300 million toilets out there. If every house in America had one of these units, we could save billions in energy every year," he said. Asked about the cultural misgivings -- and the cold water -- Wokas said, "You get used to it. In fact, you like it so much you sit on it awhile." - Simple 15 Minute Installation - Requires minimal tools and access to the water supply line at base of toilet tank. A 5/8 inch box and an adjustable wrench are used to secure the compression nut after Miracle Faucet has been adjusted to fit your toilet bowl.
03/10/07 - Drill Powered Skateboard
If you're too lazy to actually push the board with your feet, hook up an electric drill to turn the wheels for you. This looks like a really neat project for the kids (the lighter, the better). The stronger your drill and the bigger your board's rubber wheels, the faster this sucker will go. Check out the photos for getting your new drill-powered skateboard set up.
03/10/07 - Victorian Eco-Engine That Could Save Planet
A London museum is helping to highlight an eco-friendly way of creating ‘free’ energy that was invented almost 200 years ago. Stirling engines were commonplace around 1880 to 1920 but fell out of fashion with the advent of the electric motor. Amid concerns over global warming, the Kew Bridge Steam Museum is organising a rally to showcase these engines, which some scientists believe have a role to play in delivering clean energy. "The thing that makes them so intriguing is because technically it is almost like free energy," explained Lesley Bossine, who is organising the rally. "Basically a Stirling engine is unlike a diesel car or steam engine where you have got to put a fuel in. The Stirling engine works on pure heat, so you can power them on solar power, geothermal energy or waste heat."
03/09/07 - Fuels of the future
The tiny Greeny AC1, made by Reva, is an all-electric urban car costing €17,500 (17,500.00 GBP = $33,753.69 USD) and just one example of the "green" cars that are rolling out of car-plants around the world. The industry has woken up to and acknowledged climate change. A keen awareness that fossil fuel reserves are finite and oil may run out faster than anticipated is also prompting car-makers to club together to develop alternative technologies that employ "green" fuels: hybrids, of course, but also micro-hybrids that recharge the battery when you brake and stop the engine when you are at the lights, hydrogen-based fuel cells, bio-ethanol (E85) that mixes up to 85% of ethanol with petrol/diesel. The industry is holding a gun to the head of Stavros, pointing out that consumers won't buy these expensive new green cars unless the EU and its 27 national governments agree on fiscal and other incentives to switch from traditional gas-guzzlers and that, taken on their own, his proposals would add up to €4,000 to the cost of a new car. The hybrids produced by Toyota and Honda are already so expensive that only 40,000 were sold in Europe last year compared with a quarter of a million in the US.
03/09/07 - Stem cell Cardiac repair without Surgery
The NOGA XP System was developed by Johnson & Johnson Company and first of all intended for curing coronary heart disease. The method is based on computer modeling technology, used for curing heart rhythm disturbances. The main difference of new technology from existing ones is that an extendable needle is attached to the end of catheter, which a surgeon puts inside a heart. Said needle helps a surgeon to deliver stem cells to injured parts of patient's heart.
03/09/07 - Hybrid Taxis Would Slash Smog
The Cleantech Venture Network said Wednesday it is working to convert taxis to hybrids, in a move that it says could save $50 billion in fuel costs over a decade and slash smog in cities. North America has 196,000 taxis, which drive an average of 10 times more than regular passenger cars. “They are the largest contributors to smog in our cities,” said Jim Harris, a managing partner for the Cleantech Innovation Institute. ... Switching cabs to hybrids will save cab drivers an average of $1,200 to $1,500 per month on fuel, he said.
03/09/07 - Sweat may pass on hepatitis B in contact sports
Hepatitis B virus attacks the liver and can cause lifelong infection, cirrhosis (scarring) of the liver, liver cancer, liver failure, and death. The research team analysed blood and sweat samples from 70 male Olympic wrestlers for evidence of hepatitis B infection (HBV). The wrestlers, who were all aged between 18 and 30, were all asked about injuries, as blood-borne infection is a common route of transmission. Over a third said they had had bleeding or weeping wounds during training and competition. And almost half said that they had had an episode of bleeding during other activities. None of the wrestlers had active HBV infection, as evidenced by a lack of antibodies to the virus. Nevertheless, the virus itself was found in the blood of nine (13%), suggesting that they had hidden or occult infection, says the author. This is perfectly plausible, given that intense training temporarily suppresses a normal immune response, she says. Eight (11%) also had particles of the virus present in their sweat, and levels of the virus found in the blood closely matched those found in the sweat. The findings prompt the author to suggest that sweat, like open wounds and mucous membranes, could be another way of transmitting the infection. Some sporting bodies have ruled that HIV testing should be mandatory for all contact sport competitors, but no such recommendations have been made for HBV, says the author.
03/09/07 - Cream induces Collagen production
Restylane, a popular cosmetic treatment for temporarily plumping out wrinkles, actually makes the skin produce more collagen, the natural stuff that makes skin look young, researchers said on Monday. "What we are saying here is ... that in addition to the space-filling concept, is it forcing your body to make its own collagen." That could mean regular injections could have long-lasting effects, Voorhees said. "The half-life of collagen is 15 years. It is going to last a whole lot longer than what a whole lot of people are thinking." In the February issue of Archives of Dermatology, Voorhees and colleagues wrote that Restylane's plumping action stretches the fibroblasts, the cells in the skin that make collagen, and prompts them to make more of it. It also may interfere with the breakdown of existing collagen. The company did not pay for the experiment and does not know what the report says, they said. Rival Allergan Inc makes a similar dermal filler called Juvederm and privately held BioForm Medical Inc makes one called Radiesse. "The various fillers are not going to be identical," he said. Voorhees' team injected Restylane into the arms of 11 volunteers who had sun damage and were aged 64 to 84. They then cut out little plugs of skin to analyze them. The search is on now to find out what causes the change in the cell. Understanding this could help find a way to regenerate many types of cells, not only skin cells.
03/09/07 - Copper - Secret to Long Life?
What controls lifespan? An intriguing new twist is emerging from the work of Professor Heinz Osiewacz (Frankfurt) using a short-lived fungus. He has discovered that when there is a mutation in the gene, Grisea, that controls copper uptake into cells, the fungus can live 60% longer than their normal wild-types. Why is this? Professor Osiewacz explains: “Copper is essential for the cells of the fungus to produce energy. However, this metabolic pathway also produces harmful free radicals which cause aging. When copper is limited they can rescue this problem by using another pathway which is iron-dependent to produce the energy they need. This pathway generates less oxidants and results in the fungus living longer.”
03/09/07 - Thermoacoustic Natural Gas Liquefaction?
“Today, capturing natural gas requires costly ultracold natural-gas liquefiers the size of oil refineries,” said Greg Swift, one of the Los Alamos inventors of thermoacoustic technology. “But our thermoacoustic liquefier should be economical at a smaller size, useful for remote corners of the world where smaller gas fields are available. I’m especially eager to capture the associated gas that often comes out of the ground as a byproduct of oil production.” The thermoacoustic natural gas liquefier converts heat into sound waves and then converts the hot sound wave energy to cold refrigeration using highly pressurized helium contained in a network of welded steel pipes. First, the system combusts a small fraction of the natural gas to heat one end of the steel pipe network. Then, the resulting acoustic energy refrigerates the opposite end of the network, which cools the rest of the natural gas. At minus 160 degrees Celsius the natural gas liquefies - rendered dense enough for economical transport. This technology requires no moving parts, contributing to its economy of operation.
03/09/07 - Simple breath test to detect diabetes
Researchers have developed a simple breath test for detecting Type 1 diabetes, and say that the new non-invasive tool could possibly be an economical method for tracking day-to-day glucose levels. At present, Type 1 diabetes or juvenile diabetes is detected by directly drawing a small amount of blood and assessing the amount of glucose it contains. Mbi and his advisor Chuji Wang have developed a new technique to detect acetone, one of the chemicals whose presence in the lungs rises when blood-sugar levels are high. The team injected acetone-laden water vapour into a small chamber with mirrors. They then sent an infrared laser sensitive to the acetone into the hollow. By detecting the amount of time it took the light to completely dissolve as it went back and forth between the mirrors, they were able to perceive amounts of acetone to concentrations of 0.45 parts per million by volume (ppmv). Mbi says that initial tests show that typical diabetics have acetone levels greater than 1.4 ppmv. Based on the new test, they could tell if the person is diabetic or not.
03/09/07 - Cure for 'Computer Addiction'?
Russian scientists are the first in the world, who started to speak about new disease - computer addiction. The treating technique involves affecting patient's damaged brain compartments. Human being is like relaxing from constant compulsive thinking about computer. Patients, suffering from computer addiction, are very difficult to cure. They totally fall out from normal life, substituting it by virtual games. "Internet-addicts" are like drug takers, having withdrawals, addiction and full degradation of personality.
03/09/07 - Fans use too much Electricity
From our kitchens to industrial buildings, we cannot do without fans - even if we are only seldom aware of them. They cool the processor in our home computers, or rotate in the cooling towers of large power stations. But they need electricity to be able to do their job. For Europe, the Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research ISI, Ger-many, estimated the energy consumption for fans to be well above 200 billion kilowatt hours. The Institute analysed the European market for fans. The researchers concentrated on fans with capacities between 750 watt and 750 kilowatt which are predominantly used in industry as well as for ventilating and air conditioning in buildings. According to the calculations of the Fraunhofer researchers, energy savings of 10 to 20 per cent are achievable in fans use. Industry could save approx. 2.6 billion euro per year in energy costs, mainly in Germany, France, Italy and Great Britain, which are also home to some of the leading fan manufacturers in Europe. Through the energy conservation effect, industrial CO2 emissions can be reduced at the same time by 19 million tons annually.
03/09/07 - Boys have more Sex and Girls are less Healthy
European office of the World Health Organization published the results of a study “The behavioral trends of school-age children in terms of health matters.” The WHO opinion polls involved 162 thousand young people aged from 11, 13 and 15 living in 35 countries and regions of Europe and North America. Russian school children took part in the study too. The report is true picture showing the behavioral trends of the young people. The trends that directly affect their health and life. Self-esteem is extremely important for forming a personal conscientious attitude toward one’s heath and maintaining healthy lifestyles. The report contains data on young people’s state of health rated by themselves. For example, from 3 to 32% of the boys aged 15 and from 13 to 63% of the girls of the same age (living in the different countries and parts of the world) consider their health as satisfactory or poor. By comparison to the boys, the girls report of their poor or satisfactory health more frequently. The findings regarding poor health of 42% of the Russian girls as shown in the report may be news to our specialists. The girls of the same age in Latvia, Lithuania, and Ukraine rated their health in a similar way. Teenagers display different levels of sexual activity too. Less than 10% of the girls in Macedonia, Greece, Israel, Poland, Croatia were involved in sexual relations whereas the number goes up dramatically in Greenland and Wales where more than 40% of the girls learned firsthand about the birds and the bees. According to the report, the least sexually active boys (less than 25% of those polled) are in Austria, Spain, Latvia, Poland, Croatia, Estonia and Czech Republic. The boys with the highest level of sexual activity live in Greenland, Russian Federation, and Ukraine. 70% of the girls and 80% of the boys regarded as sexually active admitted that they used condoms during the last sex act. Teenagers use condoms at the highest frequency in some counties of South Europe as opposed to Finland, Germany, Sweden and Great Britain where the use of condoms is at rock bottom. Experts point out that hazardous habits are less common in the families where children can discuss similar subjects with their parents. Kids reportedly tend to have heart-to-heart talks with their moms, not dads.
03/09/07 - Inhouse Equipment tracking with low power RFID
BOFFINS at the Royal Alexandra Hospital have developed a groundbreaking electronic tagging system to track portable lifesaving equipment as it moves around the building. The hi-tech devices will help to improve patient care by freeing up time spent looking for equipment and also allow technical staff to easily find machines that are regularly moved throughout the Paisley hospital. The Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology uses tags with unique identification numbers, which are attached to portable medical equipment, such as infusion pumps and blood pressure monitors.
The tag constantly sends out this number using radiowaves picked up by receivers placed at the entrance to wards. The strength of the signals is so low that the technology does not interfere with other medical equipment. Devised by clinical scientist Jason Britton and his team for an initial cost of £4,500, the system has been tested in three general wards and there are plans to expand this to other wards and the accident and emergency department. Mr Britton believes that a full system could be installed and made operational for about £85,000 and would lead to estimated savings of up to £20,000 a year at the hospital.
03/09/07 - A ZAP solar car or truck for the street? Sort of...
ZAP, which stands for Zero Air Pollution, was at the Chicago Auto Show which we were at, and we took pictures of the three-wheeled cars and trucks that they have to offer. At that time, their website showed that a solar option would be coming soon. Come it did; adding a solar panel to the roof adds roughly $2,000 to the price of the vehicle. The vehicle is called the ZAP Xebra Xero. No solid data exists on how long it may take to charge the batteries completely with the solar unit on the vehicles roof, which would depend on the amount of sun available and the angle at which the panel were pointed anyway. However, ZAP is claiming that the car can operate for short distances on power from the solar panel only.
03/09/07 - Pyramids give batteries a longer life
Researchers at the University of Michigan and the National Taiwan University, have developed a film which increases the display brightness by 100 percent or more when placed over the screens, hence saving energy. Films to improve the brightness of liquid crystal displays consist of microstructures (structures the size of a fraction of a millimetre) built on top of transparent plastic films. They conserve energy by redirecting and redistributing light so that its direction is 'concentrated'. These films have been used in consumer electronics devices since the early 1980s. Conventional methods of making the films, use mechanical technologies, which make it difficult to achieve microstructures with very smooth surfaces. As a result light rays can be reflected and refracted unpredictably, resulting in energy losses. The new technique produces 'micropyramids' by combining micro-machining and plastic molding technologies, making it easy and inexpensive to mass-produce the new films. The advantage of micro-machining is its ability to build fine mold inserts, making 'micropyramids' with very smooth surfaces. The pyramid structures are designed to prevent energy losses by allowing the majority of light rays from a restricted range of directions to pass through, thereby concentrating the output. Because of the increased smoothness of the surfaces of the pyramids the brightness is enhanced without additional power, and energy loss is minimal. In this way an increase in brightness of 100 percent or more can be achieved without any extra input energy being required.
03/09/07 - Meth - U.S. Drug Habit Migrates to Mexico
The seemingly insatiable U.S. appetite for drugs manifests itself on every level, from local neighborhoods to the halls of power in Washington. For a long time, the United States' addiction to hard drugs was seen as strictly a domestic problem. Compared to drug demand in the United States, consumption of illegal drugs in Latin America was relatively low. Countries south of the Rio Grande kept mainly to production and distribution-as long as U.S. demand created a market, Latin America would supply. Criminals in Colombia and Mexico, in particular, focused on feeding the beast, making billions of dollars in the process. Today demand has begun to spread out from the United States to Mexico, and possibly beyond. Methamphetamine use has risen dramatically throughout the United States, and in the past few years the horror of meth has hit Mexico too. Drug producing and transit countries throughout Latin America have in recent years also become drug consuming countries, as drug traffickers seek profits at home. New findings show that meth-a drug that was previously little known south of the U.S.-Mexico border-is now not only being massively produced in Mexico but also widely consumed. As one former meth user told the IRC Americas Program, “If doing cocaine was like driving a car, doing meth was like flying a space ship.” The Drug Enforcement Administration says that a 2006 survey of 500 county law enforcement officials in 44 states found that meth continues to be the number one drug problem-48% of the counties report that meth is the primary drug problem, more than cocaine (22%), marijuana (22%) and heroin (3%) combined. Meth addicts often lose weight and can develop open sores, or “crank bites,” all over the body. In September 2006 the U.S. government passed the Combat Methamphetamine Act, which requires stores to keep all non-prescription products containing pseudoephedrine, ephedrine, and phenylpropanolamine behind the counter or in a locked cabinet. This law required consumers to show proper identification and sign a logbook for each purchase. It also implemented daily sales limits and monthly purchase limits of these products. Meth labs bring toxic fumes and poison water supplies and pose huge fire hazards within neighborhoods. As well as an increase in street crime, such as robberies, from people stealing to support their habit versus making their own cheap meth in their bath tub. For a meth user, buying Mexican meth is often the preferred way to feed a habit. Ward adds: “If I'm using, I want cheap and I want pure, and right now. You can buy Mexican ice much easier than making your own and risking burning your house down.” The public health effects methamphetamine has on a city are much worse than the degenerative effects of crack-cocaine. Meth is cheap compared to other drugs like cocaine or heroin. Smoking or injecting meth creates a long-lasting high, one that can be extended for days if a user so desires. The effects of the drug run a psychological gamut from euphoria and delusions of grandeur to uncontrolled rages. These elements combine to convert a meth user into an unpredictable individual with a proclivity for violence. Members of La Familia have learned that meth addicts don't last long. As individuals become addicted to meth, they sink inexorably toward imprisonment, or death, unless loved ones intervene in time. The resulting random violence is unpredictable and destructive to themselves and the community around them. In 2006, authorities in the state of Michoacan recorded over 500 drug-related murders. Experts have warned of a possible “cockroach effect” in which crackdowns in one place diffuse criminal activity into formerly untouched parts of the country-particularly when spectacular measures, like sending in federal troops, are not followed up by continuing programs to control production and consumption.
03/08/07 - Physicists say nerve impulses are sonic
Every medical and biological textbook says that nerves function by sending electrical impulses along their length. "But for us as physicists, this cannot be the explanation. The physical laws of thermodynamics tell us that electrical impulses must produce heat as they travel along the nerve, but experiments find that no such heat is produced," says associate professor Thomas Heimburg from the Niels Bohr Institute at Copenhagen University. Nerves are 'wrapped' in a membrane composed of lipids and proteins. According to the traditional explanation of molecular biology, a pulse is sent from one end of the nerve to the other with the help of electrically charged salts that pass through ion channels in the membrane. Instead, nerve pulses can be explained much more simply as a mechanical pulse according to the two physicists. And such a pulse could be sound. Normally, sound propagates as a wave that spreads out and becomes weaker and weaker. If, however, the medium in which the sound propagates has the right properties, it is possible to create localized sound pulses, known as "solitons", which propagate without spreading and without changing their shape or losing their strength. The membrane of the nerve is composed of lipids, a material that is similar to olive oil. This material can change its state from liquid to solid with temperature. The freezing point of water can be lowered by the addition of salt. Likewise, molecules that dissolve in membranes can lower the freezing point of membranes. The scientists found that the nerve membrane has a freezing point, which is precisely suited to the propagation of these concentrated sound pulses. Their theoretical calculations lead them to the same conclusion: Nerve pulses are sound pulses. The chemical properties of anesthetics are all so different, but their effects are all the same - curious! But the curious turned out to be simple. If a nerve is to be able to transport sound pulses and send signals along the nerve, its membrane must have the property that its melting point is sufficiently close to body temperature and responds appropriately to changes in pressure. The effect of anesthetics is simply to change the melting point - and when the melting point has been changed, sound pulses cannot propagate. The nerve is put on stand-by, and neither nerve pulses nor sensations are transmitted. The patient is anesthetized and feels nothing. / PDF - Original Article
03/08/07 - Technology Breakthrough with Smart Materials, GM
Shape memory alloys and polymers are examples of types of smart materials that GM is developing for use in its products. Smart materials can change their shape, strength, and/or stiffness when heat, stress, a magnetic field or electrical voltage are introduced. Shape memory alloys, and polymers in particular, "remember" their original shape and can return to it, opening new possibilities for many movable vehicle features.
03/08/07 - How to Clone a Passport without opening the package
"The key in this first generation of biometric passport is relatively easy to identify/crack. It is not random, but consists of passport number, the passport holder's date of birth and the passport expiry date. The Mail found it relatively easy to identify the holder's date of birth, while the expiry date is 10 years from the issue date, which for a newly-delivered passport would clearly fall within a few days. The passport number consists of a number of predictable elements, including an identifier for the issuing office, so effectively a significant part of the key can be reconstructed from the envelope and its address label."
03/08/07 - Climate change disrupting life cycles with fatal results
The behaviour of Britain's wildlife is raising alarm about the seriousness of climate change as animals' life cycles are thrown into confusion. The second mildest winter on record has resulted in mammals, reptiles, birds and insects emerging from shelter and starting their breeding seasons far too early. They are getting caught out by cold snaps or wet weather and the young of many species are dying. Baby hedgehogs, baby squirrels, even baby grass snakes are being found in distressed conditions in many places. The visible impact on Britain's wildlife has manifested itself in the form of earlier than normal breeding, egg-laying, nesting and flowering of plants and trees, observed in British wildlife for more than 15 years and now linked to global warming in a whole series of scientific studies. They have sparked huge new interest in the discipline of phenology - the timing of natural events. But until now the changes have been seen as potentially harmful in the future, rather than the present. That situation seems to have changed this winter. Baby rabbits born weeks too early, found wet and shivering by the roadside and infant grass snakes whose parents should not even have emerged from hibernation until later this month have all been brought into the hospital. Cold weather can either simply kill some young animals or prompt others back into hibernation, from which they do not awake because they lack sufficient fat reserves. Toads and newts that should still be under a rock and Pipestrelle bats which are normally still hibernating in hollow trees and barns have all been found out and about; they need care because there aren't enough insects around for them to survive on.
03/08/07 - Moondust Health Hazard
"Moon dust could be a source of oxygen and metals. But moon dust could also lodge in astronauts' lungs, possibly triggering long-term health effects. During the relatively short Apollo Moon landing missions nearly 40 years ago, astronauts reported difficulty breathing. So now, before astronauts return to the moon in 2020, NASA is working on a number of ways to reduce the amount of lunar dust astronauts are exposed to - from simple grates on the floor to magnetic wands and giant lint rollers." / More on Moondust
03/08/07 - Colony Collapse Disorder destroying Bees
Over the course of a week the majority of the bees in an affected colony will flee the hive and disappear, going off to die elsewhere. The few remaining insects are then found to be enormously diseased - they have a "tremendous pathogen load", the scientists say. The condition has been recorded in at least 24 states. It is having a major effect on the mobile apiaries which are transported across the US to pollinate large-scale crops, such as oranges in Florida or almonds in California. Some have lost up to 90 per cent of their bees. Most of the pollination for more than 90 commercial crops grown throughout the United States is provided byApis mellifera, the honey bee, and the value from the pollination to agricultural output in the country is estimated at $14.6bn (£8bn) annually. Growers rent about 1.5 million colonies each year to pollinate crops - a colony usually being the group of bees in a hive. The few bees left inside the hive were carrying "a tremendous number of pathogens" - virtually every known bee virus could be detected in the insects, she said, and some bees were carrying five or six viruses at a time, as well as fungal infections. Because of this it was assumed that the bees' immune systems were being suppressed in some way. Another unusual symptom that we're are seeing, which makes this very different, is that normally when a bee colony gets weak and its numbers are decreasing, other neighbouring bees will come and steal the resources - they will take away the honey and the pollen. "Other insects like to take advantage too, such as the wax moth or the hive beetle. But none of this is happening. These insects are not coming in. "This suggests that there is something toxic in the colony itself which is repelling them." One theory is that the bees may be suffering from stress as beekeepers increasingly transport them around the country, the hives stacked on top of each other on the backs of trucks, to carry out pollination contracts in orchard after orchard, in different states. To keep the bees' energy up while they are pollinating, beekeepers feed them protein supplements and syrup carried around in large tanks. It is in these migratory colonies where the biggest losses have been seen. But the stress theory is as much speculation as anything else. At the moment, the disappearance of America's bees is as big a mystery as the disappearance of London's sparrows.
03/08/07 - Fiery Pepper Fatal for Fat Cells?
Capsaicin, the fiery compound in hot red peppers, may make fledging fat cells self-destruct, Taiwanese scientists report. So far, the Taiwanese team has only pitted capsaicin against fat cells in test tubes, not people. They focused on cells called preadipocytes, which develop into fat cells. The researchers wanted to see what effect capsaicin would have on such cells. First, they brewed a capsaicin extract in their lab. Then, they marinated preadipocytes from mice in the capsaicin extract for eight days, freshening the capsaicin extract every other day. The preadipocytes exposed to capsaicin died before becoming fat cells, according to the study, which appears in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.
03/08/07 - How cars cause urban floods
Why on earth would increased car ownership in urban areas lead to flash flooding? Because towns and cities are complex systems of cause and effect - and the Government needs to start thinking about that, according to a new report. Increased car ownership and use leads to demands for more roads and parking, the diagram explains. That then leads to an increase in hard, impermeable surfaces which cannot soak up rain - which in turn leads to more polluted surface water running off into drains, and in real downpours, a much higher risk of a flash flood. These sort of complex interactions are not being addressed by the Government in policy and planning, says the report, calling for the development of an over-arching policy on the urban environment.
03/08/07 - Human Cells soaked in Jack Daniels and Snuff Juice do not Age
(I couldn't find anything in the 15 minutes I looked for more info about this, probably a hoax, but an interesting one. - JWD) The Truth...or an Urban Legend in the Making? HUMAN CELLS SOAKED IN JACK DANIELS & SNUFF JUICE DO NOT GROW OLD! MINNEAPOLIS - Here's a miracle aging breakthrough from the Mayo Clinic that's guaranteed to blow your mind: Human cells fed a bizarre diet of Jack Daniels whiskey and snuff juice do not grow old. (This is from the Weekly World News but I couldn't find the source article. - JWD) - More Info - Moist snuff products with low nicotine content and pH levels (Hawken Wintergreen, Skoal Bandits Straight, and Skoal Bandits Wintergreen) have a smaller proportion of unprotonated (free) nicotine. In contrast, moist snuff products with high nicotine content and pH levels (Copenhagen Snuff, Skoal Long Cut Wintergreen, and Kodiak Wintergreen) have a higher proportion of unprotonated (free) nicotine. The dose of nicotine that smokeless tobacco users receive can be controlled by adjusting the concentration of nicotine, altering the pH, and varying the size of the tobacco cuttings. The pH level in moist snuff products varied from a low of 5.24 (Hawken Wintergreen) to a high of 8.35 (Kodiak Wintergreen). Increases in pH can increase the rate of absorption of nicotine from smokeless tobacco through the mouth into the bloodstream. Studies with nicotine and other addictive drugs suggest that the rate at which drugs are absorbed is an important determinant of their addiction potential.
03/08/07 - Hagel Suggests Possibility Of Bush Impeachment
“The president says, ‘I don’t care.’ He’s not accountable anymore,” Hagel says, measuring his words by the syllable and his syllables almost by the letter. “He’s not accountable anymore, which isn’t totally true. You can impeach him, and before this is over, you might see calls for his impeachment." Hagel isn’t the only one frustrated. The desire for more accountability over Bush has led to increasing calls for impeachment from the Washington State legislature, the mayor of Salt Lake City, and town hall meetings in Vermont.
03/08/07 - AI Busted for Practicing Law without a License
A website used by consumers to prepare bankruptcy has been charged with practicing law without a license. A weak "expert system" aka Artificial Intelligence has been determined to be practicing law without a license based on decisions it makes in response to questions users answer. This could be a "landmark" case as AI becomes more and more sophisticated. Establishing a legal responsibility is going to infer legal rights. Next up do you commit "murder" when you erase an AI program where there are no copies?
03/07/07 - CeleBell to stop Thieves
The Celebell device - which sounds alarms, sends a message to a call centre and shuts down a cellphone when stolen - has the potential to seriously dent the black market for stolen cellphones. Invented by Wayne Hughes with the help of his father Brian, the technology has wider applications as well. "It can be used to protect just about anything with a portable power supply (a battery being the most common source), from laptops to motorbikes and cars," says Hughes. Hughes says cellphone theft was as rife then as it is now: "It really irritated me that we couldn't come up with the technology to protect cellphones." So he applied his mind to what at that stage was a theoretical protection device and came up with Celebell. Like so many original inventions, it's based on a simple concept. Three microchips that must remain in contact with each other - if contact is broken, the protection sequence is activated. "There's a chip in the Celebell remote control (about the size of a key ring), in the battery on the cellphone and in the phone itself. The user can set the distance that he wants the signal to be broken - from less than a metre to several metres." Once the phone is removed outside the set control area, in other words contact between the microchips is broken, three things happen. Alarms are activated on the cellphone and on the remote control - the first is meant to distract the thief running away with a bleeping cellphone, the second alerts the owner that the cellphone has been stolen, probably within a few metres' distance from where he is. At the same time the cellphone sends a message to the call centre, alerting staff there that a phone has been stolen. The chips in the phone enable it to be tracked at the call centre and a recovery unit is sent out to reclaim it. Thirdly, due to the microchip technology the cellphone then shuts down. It cannot be turned on again regardless of the thief changing simcards or the battery, until reactivated with the remote control for that particular phone. "This makes the cellphone useless to the thief, it cannot be sold on the black market. The current blacklisting system is just to protect owners from the thief running up a huge bill on their phone, but the simcard is changed and the phone is sold. "With this protection the thief is left with a cellphone that cannot be used - so even if the tracking unit does not recover the phone, it has no value for the thief," Hughes says.
03/07/07 - Pollution From China And India Affecting World’s Weather
Renyi Zhang, professor of atmospheric sciences at Texas A&M and lead author of the paper, says the study is the first of its kind that provides indisputable evidence that man-made pollution is adversely affecting the storm track over the Pacific Ocean, a major weather event in the northern hemisphere during winter. The project was funded by the National Science Foundation and NASA. Zhang says the culprit is easy to detect: pollution from industrial and power plants in China and India. Both countries have seen huge increases in their economies, which means more large factories and power plants to sustain such growth. All of these emit immense quantities of pollution - much of it soot and sulfate aerosols - into the atmosphere, which is carried by the prevailing winds over the Pacific Ocean and eventually worldwide. Using satellite imagery and computer models, Zhang says that in roughly the last 20 years or so, the amount of deep convective clouds in this area increased from 20 to 50 percent, suggesting an intensified storm track in the Pacific. “This pollution directly affects our weather,” he explains. Aerosols can affect the droplets in clouds and can actually change the dynamics of the clouds themselves, Zhang adds. The Pacific storm track carries these polluted particles to the west coasts of Canada and the United States, across America and eventually, most of the world, Zhang notes. “The Pacific storm track can impact weather all over the globe,” he says. "The general air flow is from west to east, but there is also some serious concern that the polar regions could be affected by this pollution. That could have potentially catastrophic results.” Soot, in the form of black carbon, can collect on ice packs and attract more heat from the sun, meaning a potential acceleration of melting of the polar ice caps, he believes. “It possibly means the polar ice caps could melt quicker than we had believed, which of course, results in rising sea level rates,” he adds.
03/07/07 - Connecting Your Brain to the Game
Emotiv’s electro-encephalograph cap: Each small circle on the cap is a sensor that measures the electrical activity at the scalp generated by brain activity and facial movements. The information is wirelessly transmitted to a computer, where software uses it to let people mentally interact with video games. Using an EEG cap, a startup hopes to change the way people interact with video games. Emotiv Systems, an electronic-game company from San Francisco, wants people to play with the power of the mind. Starting tomorrow, video-game makers will be able to buy Emotiv's electro-encephalograph (EEG) caps and software developer's tool kits so that they can build games that use the electrical signals from a player's brain to control the on-screen action. Emotiv's system has three different applications. One is designed to sense facial expressions such as winks, grimaces, and smiles and transfer them, in real time, to an avatar. This could be useful in virtual-world games, such as Second Life, in which it takes a fair amount of training to learn how to express emotions and actions through a keyboard. Another application detects two emotional states, such as excitement and calm. Emotiv's chief product officer, Randy Breen, says that these unconscious cues could be used to modify a game's soundtrack or to affect the way that virtual characters interact with a player. The third set of software can detect a handful of conscious intentions that can be used to push, pull, rotate, and lift objects in a virtual world.
03/07/07 - New Tech to Tap North America's Vast Oil Reserves
One day, perhaps, solar cells and nuclear power and wind turbines may meet our energy needs. Right now, the world runs on oil. But the easy finds are gone, and the only new sources left are in deep water, in turbulent regions or in forms that require a heavy investment to extract and process. Fueled by the current high price of crude, the industry sank $86 billion into tough-to-exploit "frontier hydrocarbons" between 2000 and 2005. The red-hot center of this 21st century gold rush is the western Canadian province of Alberta. Spread under 54,363 square miles of boreal forest - a little less than the land area of Florida - lie proven reserves of 174 billion barrels, second only to Saudi Arabia's. Of course, there's a catch. The formation consists of grains of sand surrounded by water, which in turn is coated with bitumen, a complex and viscous hydrocarbon. A "rich" vein is 10 to 12 percent bitumen, but much of the sand here has a lower bitumen content, and all of it is covered with a layer of overburden - trees, muskeg, rock, clay and soil - up to 250 ft. thick. It takes 2 tons of sand to make one barrel of oil. To harvest enough earth to produce profitable oil requires an army of giants: huge trucks, huge tracked electric shovels, vast conveyor belts, enormous crushers, thousands of equipment operators and engineers and scientists - all in a remote region that's blazing hot in summer and 40 below zero in winter.
03/07/07 - PDF format - CO2 Sequestration in North America
What was done - Based on estimates of the magnitude and spatial distribution of fossil fuel CO2 emissions, observations of spatial patterns of atmospheric CO2 concentration, two different estimates of the sea-air flux of CO2, and the results of two atmospheric transport models, the authors calculated the net surface exchange of CO2 over three large regions of the globe. / What was learned - The best constrained region of the planet for which the results of the study are considered to be fairly robust was North America north of 15°N latitude. For this portion of the globe, it was calculated that, between 1988 and 1992, there was a net terrestrial uptake of CO2 of magnitude 1.7 ± 0.5 petagrams of carbon per year. Most of this uptake (70 to 100%) was estimated to occur in the broadleaf-forest region of the continent located between 15 and 51°N latitude. / What it means - The implications of this paper are profound, for it shows the calculated CO2 sink strength of North America would be sufficient to yearly remove from the atmosphere all of the CO2 annually released to it by fossil fuel consumption in both the United States and Canada; and it would therefore call into question any claim that either the United States or Canada is contributing to the ongoing rise in the air's CO2 content. / In addition, the authors suggest that the historical rise in the atmosphere's CO2 concentration, via its aerial fertilization effect, may be one of the major causes of this phenomenon.
03/07/07 - 50 Amazing Ads You Haven't Seen
A set of 50 advertisements that stand out from the rest. Each of these is unique and creative. Collected over a 5 month period, these ads represent the mild to the outrageous, bizarre and even macabre. Check out the Giant Panda chasing the jeep and the Seal clubbing the baby.
03/07/07 - Crackdown on dissent
If any of you doubt that protest is being criminalised in the United Kingdom, take a look at an injunction posted at www.epuk.org. Granted in the high court by the Honourable Mr Justice Calvert-Smith, it forbids the people of a village in Oxfordshire from "coming to, remaining on, trespassing or conducting any demonstrations or protesting or other activities" on the claimant's land. As this land is also the villagers' most treasured local amenity, it means they have to abandon any effective means of trying to protect their quality of life. If not, they could end up with five years behind bars.
03/07/07 - Defying Physics
In general, Hollywood filmmakers follow the laws of physics because they have no other choice. It’s just when they cheat with special effects that we seem to forget how the world really works. We aren’t surprised when the cartoon character Wile. E. Coyote runs off a cliff and is suspended there momentarily before he falls. But in the movies, buses and cars shouldn’t be able to jump across gaps in bridges, even if they go heavy on the accelerator. The fact is, a vehicle will fall even if it’s moving at a high speed. During the 1989 San Francisco earthquake, a driver saw a gap in the bridge too late, and probably inspired by the movies, accelerated to try to make it across. Unfortunately, the laws of physics were not suspended, and he fell into the hole and crashed on the other side. Movies with special effects should come with a warning: “Laws of physics are violated in this movie. Don’t try these stunts at home.”
03/07/07 - US Navy developing powerful "vomit beam"
The Navy is sinking money in a radio-frequency weapon that shoots an invisible wall-penetrating beam, making people so dizzy, they fall over. The company researching the device is touting it as a "Star Trek hand-held Phaser Weapon set on 'Stun.'" But it looks like the thing could be set on "puke," too. "Second order" effects on the radio-frequency beam include "extreme motion sickness" and vomit. Your tax dollars, hard at work.
03/07/07 - Speed of Light Exceeded
"Scientists at the NEC Research Institute in Princeton, NJ are reporting that they have broken the speed of light. For the experiment, the researchers manipulated a vapor of laser-irradiated atoms, causing a pulse that propagates about 300 times faster than light would travel in a vacuum. The pulse seemed to exit the chamber even before entering it." This research was published in Nature, so presumably it was peer-reviewed. It's impossible from the CBC story to determine what is being claimed. First of all they get the physics wrong by asserting that Einstein's special relativity only decrees that matter cannot exceed the speed of light. Wrong. Matter cannot touch the speed of light in vacuum; energy (e.g. light) cannot exceed it; and information cannot be transferred faster than this limit. What exactly the researchers achieved, and what they claim, can only be determined at this point by subscribers to Nature.
03/06/07 - Man Invents Machine To Cure Cancer
A Florida man with no medical training has invented a machine that he believes may lead to a cure for cancer. John Kanzius, who turns 63 on March 1, is a former broadcasting executive from Pennsylvania who wondered if his background in physics and radio could come in handy in treating the disease from which he suffers himself. Kanzius' invention is not flashy, and it looks like a piece of 20th-century hardware. It doesn't even have a name. "It's a kick-ass cancer cell generator," Kanzius said. After 24 rounds of chemotherapy, the former broadcaster decided that he did not want to see others suffer trying to cure the disease. He began tinkering with pie plates and hot dogs, trying to use his broadcasting background to kill the cancerous cells. Kanzius said his machine basically makes cells act like antennae to pick up a signal and self-destruct. Unlike current cancer treatment, Kanzius' machine does not use radiation. Unlike today's radio-frequency treatments, it's noninvasive. Now, some of the nation's most prominent doctors and scientists are using Kanzius' machines in their research. In January, researchers said they performed a breakthrough at the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. "The complete killing of pancreatic cells in laboratory conditions is encouraging," Dr. Steve Curley said. Curley is currently testing whether cancerous tumors can be wiped out in animals. Kanzius explained that his machine uses a solution filled with nanoparticles, which measure no more than one-billionth of a meter. A test subject would be injected with either gold or carbon nanoparticles, which would make their way through the body and attach to the cancerous cells. The test subject would then enter the machine and receive a dose of radio frequency waves, theoretically heating and killing the cancerous cells in moments and leaving nearby cells untouched. Kanzius said he hopes to begin human testing with his machine within the next two years. "The results look too phenomenal for anyone to stop at this point in time. I don't think the largest research center in the world would put time and effort and their name on a project if they did not think it would work," Kanzius told WPBF.
03/06/07 - 14 Ways to Save Money on Fuel Costs
This eBook is the result of years of research into various methods to increase mileage, reduce pollution and most importantly, reduce overall fuel costs. It starts out with the simplest methods and offers progressively more detailed technologies that have been shown to reduce fuel costs. As a bonus to readers, I have salted the pages with free interesting BONUS items that correlate to the relevant page. Just filling up with one tank of gas using this or other methods explained here will pay for this eBook. Of course, many more methods are out there but I provided only the ones which I think are practical and can be studied by the average person who is looking for a way to immediately reduce their fuel costs. I am currently using two of the easier methods in my own vehicle which normally gets 18-22 mpg and now gets between 28 and 32 mpg depending on driving conditions. A tank of gas for my 1996 Ford Ranger costs about $45.00 here so I am saving around $15-$20 PER TANK, without hurting my engine and with 'greener' emissions due to a cleaner burn! The techniques provided in this ebook begin with simple things you can do NOW to improve your mileage and lower your gas costs.
03/06/07 - Plug-in Hybrid Vehicles for a Sustainable Future
The idea of a hybrid vehicle-one that propels itself using both a conventional engine and an electric motor-is not new. Indeed, some hybrid automobiles were produced more than a century ago, when the internal combustion engine was still in its infancy. These cars were designed to address the limited range of existing electric vehicles and the difficulty of starting the early engines, which had to be cranked by hand (a procedure that resulted in not a few broken arms). The best strategy, in my view, is to use a single electric motor coupled with a simple transmission that links both it and the car's internal combustion engine directly to the wheels, which is termed a parallel hybrid configuration. In particular, I believe that the key is using a continuously variable transmission, which does away with the usual fixed gears and instead allows the ratio between rotation of the engine and the rotation of the wheels to take on whatever value will allow most efficient operation. Might the widespread adoption of plug-ins overtax the power grid? Probably not. If these cars were recharged only at night, the electric grid as it currently stands could support more than half the transportation fleet being plugged in without the need for constructing any new plants or otherwise affecting the use of electricity. And because it would take at least a couple of decades for plug-in hybrids to become that common, the nation would have plenty of time to build new electric-generating facilities, be they powered by fossil fuels, with nuclear reactors or from renewable sources, such as wind or solar energy. Indeed, one of the great advantages of plug-ins (and purely electric cars) is that they can directly use solar- and wind-generated electricity for transportation, a process that is three to four times more efficient than converting such renewable energy to hydrogen for vehicular use. Further, with solar panels or a small wind turbine generating a modest 1 to 2 kilowatts and with the appropriate power-handling electronics, the owner of a plug-in hybrid can have a reliablesource of emergency power for his or her home, even when the sun is not shining and the wind is not blowing. In this way, a person can achieve a substantial degree of energy independence. Solar Charging Chart
03/06/07 - Sea Squirt Regrows Entire Body from One Blood Vessel
Our closest invertebrate relative, the humble sea squirt, can regenerate its entire body from just tiny blood vessel fragments, scientists now report. The entire regeneration process, which in part resembles the early stages of embryonic development, can produce an adult sea squirt in as little as a week. Vertebrates (animals with backbones) such as salamanders are capable of regenerating limbs or tails, and even humans are capable of regenerating portions of skin, lungs and livers. "However, in general, the more complex the animal, the lower the regeneration abilities are, relatively," biologist Ram Reshef at Technion Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa explained. "No vertebrate could regenerate their whole bodies if you cut them in two." The ability to regenerate a whole body from a fragment is typically restricted to less complex invertebrates, such as sponges, worms and jellyfish. The whole body regeneration process that the scientists witnessed proved unlike any recorded so far. "When less complex groups regenerate their bodies, they do so through what we call a blastema, which is a kind of tissue that forms right at the place where you want to regenerate an organ or body," Reshef said. In contrast, the sea squirts did not employ blastemas. Instead, regeneration began from dozens of tiny compartments loaded with stem cells, which the researchers dubbed regeneration niches. "In mammals, many adult organs and tissues contain specific stem cells that are involved in repair and some restricted regeneration abilities," Reshef said. The regeneration niches helped form a hollow sphere that organized into a thin and thick layer on opposite sites, very similar to early stages of embryonic development. As cells proliferated, this sphere folded over and over again, developing chambers and organs, with the end result being adults capable of sexual reproduction.
03/06/07 - USPTO Peer Review Process To Begin Soon
"As we've discussed several times before on Slashdot, the US patent office is looking to employ a Wiki-like process for reviewing patents. It's nowhere near as open as Wikipedia, but there are still numerous comparisons drawn to the well-known project in this Washington Post story. Patent office officials site the huge workload their case officers must deal with in order to handle the modern cycle of product development. Last year some 332,000 applications were handled by only 4,000 employees. 'The tremendous workload has often left examiners with little time to conduct thorough reviews, according to sympathetic critics. Under the pilot project, some companies submitting patent applications will agree to have them reviewed via the Internet. The list of volunteers already contains some of the most prominent names in computing, including Microsoft, Intel, Hewlett-Packard and Oracle, as well as IBM, though other applicants are welcome.'"
03/06/07 - Sun Found to Be Warming Both Earth and Mars
Simultaneous warming on Earth and Mars suggests that our planet's recent climate changes might have a natural - and not a human-induced - cause. Mars, it appears, has also been experiencing milder temperatures in recent years. According to one scientist's view, the simultaneous rise in temperatures on Earth and Mars indicates a natural-and not a human-cause for global warming. But according to the global warming mafia, humans are still the culprits, responsible for Earth's climate changes and the Mars phenomenon is a mere coincidence. Earth is currently experiencing rapid warming, which the vast majority of climate scientists says is due to humans pumping huge amounts of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Mars, too, appears to be enjoying more mild and balmy temperatures.
In 2005 data from NASA's Mars Global Surveyor and Odyssey missions revealed that the carbon dioxide "ice caps" near Mars's south pole had been diminishing for three summers in a row. Abdussamatov believes that changes in the sun's heat output can account for almost all the climate changes we see on both planets.
03/06/07 - Condom Applicator
The applicator, invented by Willem van Rensburg and designed by industrial designer Roelf Mulder of South Africa’s XYZ Design, allows a condom to be put on easily and rapidly.
The user holds the device with the thumb and forefinger of both hands, pulling the condom down over the penis in a single rapid movement. See video demonstrations of the product here and here. It is hoped the design will encourage the use of condoms, thereby helping reduce the spread of AIDS.
03/06/07 - Can Sound Induce Orgasm?
Ten years ago, Craig Huxley gave a concert featuring, among other things, a homemade instrument called the Blaster Beam. The Beam can be heard on the soundtrack to STAR TREK: THE MOTION PICTURE (Vger's signature sound effect) and on several New Age albums. It's an amazing instrument, especially when amplified to high levels. The rumor circulating around after the concert was that when Huxley played the Beam, there were women in the audience falling out of their chairs with BIG smiles on their faces. Over a dozen reported having intensely sexual feelings from the Beam sound, up to and including orgasm. / When I took one of several audio courses in college, the prof mentioned that a lot of research was being done in the late 1960's on the affects of amplified CWs on humans (as a function of frequency). It was discovered that at 7 to 9 Hertz, with the proper amplification, the human bowel would resonate, causing the subject to lose ALL control. It seems that the police were intrested in using this technique as a means of crowd control during the anti-war demonstrations. The idea was to blast the crowd, watch for the expressions on their faces that you knew would be there, have a good laugh, and watch them run for it. Demonstration over. / Back when the world was young, I read of this research and attemped to duplicate it using a British motorcycle which had two pistons moving exactly in phase, thus having an oscillating mass of a pound or so and an amplitude of nearly three inches, WAY more power than would be available with electronic equipment. I was unable to produce resonance in my own (for sure) or anybody else's (to the best of my knowledge) orifices. 7 Hz is 420 RPM, a low but perfectly attainable rate. / More Info - A couple months ago, Playboy ran an article in it's magazine about female orgasm because of sound. It stated that a constant tone of 33Hz was the most arousing to most women. Close proximity to the speaker produced orgasm (yes, picture that woman on the speaker in Private Parts). / Try it out for yourself... I had my woman sit on the woofer. She responded to 33Hz & 35Hz. ENjoy. / Listen to the V'GER Audio Clip
03/06/07 - The Biolatrine for Free Methane
The latrine uses a biogas system used widely in Southeast Asia to convert animal waste into methane and adapts it for human waste. The latrine looks much like a standard pit latrine, but waste goes into a huge “bio-digester”, a large underground dome, which stores sludge for 120 days, releasing methane. The methane is being used to light and cook meals at a nearby school. The volume of methane produced is large enough that the latrine may be able to sell some of the gas and use the profits to subsidize the costs of operating the latrine. There’s a second environmental benefit from the use of methane as cooking gas - the more common alternative of charcoal has major negative implications for Kenya’s forests, especially those near urban areas. If the latrine operators are able to find a market for the fertilizer (the solid remains of the sludge after it’s processed for 120 days), the chances for fiscal sustainability increase.
03/06/07 - High Rise Rescue device
Like most Americans, Ernest Barcella was deeply troubled by images of helpless people trapped in New York's Twin Towers on that devastating day in September 2001. The "rescue vehicle," as Barcella simply calls it, has all the capabilities of a helicopter, but without the lift -- and without the huge rotors spinning overhead. According to Barcella's vision, his semi-copter would hang from a cable below an actual helicopter hovering above a burning or damaged building. With two propellers but no overhead rotor, the front of the rescue pod could power itself flush with the vertical wall of a high-rise. The flat nose would then open and allow those in danger to exit from a window into the rescue vehicle. The vehicle could also be used to deploy a police department's SWAT team or a military anti-terrorism squad into a building being held by criminals or terrorists. "Because of its rotor blades, a helicopter cannot approach the flat side of a building," Barcella explains. "But this can."
03/06/07 - Hansen Offers Options for Addressing Global Warming
Speaking at the American University in Washington, D.C. on Monday, renowned U.S. climate scientist James Hansen offered a series of recommendations to stave off the most dangerous effects of climate change. Hansen’s suggestions included scientific, economic, and political approaches to fighting global warming, among them placing a moratorium on all new coal-fired power plants until technologies for carbon capture and sequestration are further developed, likely within the next 5-10 years. Hansen’s second suggestion was to implement a gradually increasing carbon tax that could be used to fund investments in clean technology. A third step-increased energy efficiency-is the most imperative and easiest challenge for both Congress and the public to take on, Hansen noted. Technology already exists to make buildings and vehicles significantly more efficient, he explained, and implementing these technologies more broadly is a key factor in reducing carbon dioxide emissions quickly. As a fourth measure, Hansen said the U.S. National Academy of Sciences should assemble the best scientists to execute a study on the stability of ice sheets, a serious issue that remains under-researched. Finally, Hansen noted the important role the U.S. public can play in helping to “address threats to American democracy.” People have a right to know the truth about climate change, he said, and effective campaign finance reform is needed for this end. “As long as politicians are getting support from special interests, then special interests are going to have special privileges,” he observed.
03/06/07 - Landslide Detector
The ShapeAccelArray, which can track underground movements with hundreds of calibrated sensors, appears to him to be the first of its kind. The ShapeAccelArray is a line of tiny sensors encased in pipe with flex joints. The sensors record data about shifts in the soil, and send reports via cellphone. "It's of most interest in areas of active landslides or buildings that are settling or bridges that are maybe moving around a little bit. You can actually track those motions to the nearest millimetre," Danisch said Friday. One of the sensor arrays is gathering data at a huge highway embankment in San Diego. Another will be dropped deep down into the Mississippi mud alongside a bridge support. Other arrays are set to go to glaciers and to help earthquake research in Japan and Korea. "If you can measure to the nearest millimetre or two what's happening on a daily basis, you have the opportunity to warn people that are living down below that that's coming," Danisch said.
03/06/07 - Growing Produce Vertically
A new way to garden that adds form, function and innovation to a yard. A Harvest Highrise vertical garden is at once yard art and a highly efficient growing system. It captures the sunlight of a large garden while contained within a small area. With the Harvest Highrise, unsightly, vulnerable undersides of pumpkins, melons or squash that lay in the dirt are no longer a problem. Vertical gardening with the Harvest Highrise reduces the backaches and sore knees of stooping and kneeling to cultivate and harvest. The Harvest Highrise structure is 45" X 45" X 84" high to fit within the bounds of a 48"-wide raised bed or planter box if required. The length may be extended by adding additional sections. It is made of extremely durable, high-gloss, furniture-grade PVC.
By harvest time there may be 30-50 lbs. of melons, squash, beans, cucumbers or pumpkins suspended on the cords of each of the sides of your Harvest Highrise. We add a hardwood core to each of the top horizontal tubes for the extra strength and rigidity needed to prevent the tubes from sagging during the weeks just prior to harvest time. Your vines will climb on 200 feet of UV-resistant, 3.2 mm. polyester cord that is included with each 45" x 45" wide x 84" tall Harvest Highrise.
03/06/07 - How to create a stop-motion movie
If the term "Stop Motion" is new for you, Wikipedia defines it as an animation technique which makes static objects appear to move. The object is moved by very small amounts between individual frames, producing the effect of motion when the film is played back. / Technology blog Digital Inspiration shows you how to shoot a stop-motion movie using tools you probably already have.
All you need is a webcam or digital camera, some inanimate objects to shoot and Windows Movie Maker. Oh, and lots and lots of time. Snap a photo, move one or more of the objects ever so slightly, and repeat. When you're done, tweak a few Movie Maker settings, import your photos, and enjoy the stop-motion goodness. (via lifehacker.com)
03/05/07 - Ultrasonically produced Nano-Material for Hydrogen Production
Manoranjan Misra, professor of materials science and engineering, recently received a $3 million research grant from the U.S. Department of Energy to continue his groundbreaking work in various forms of renewable energy. Misra's current project focuses on harnessing photoactive material from the sun to generate hydrogen. Hydrogen is one of the cleanest forms of energy, and studies have shown that it is 33 percent more efficient than liquid fuels. Northern Nevada, with its uncommonly sunny weather - with more than 300 sunny days per year - could become the perfect hub to generate hydrogen energy, according to Misra. "We are uniquely positioned in Northern Nevada, as the average energy from the sun is around one kilowatt per square meter area. In Reno it is much higher than that. Because it is so bright and sunny here in Reno, we have in many ways the perfect location for photo-hydrogen generation." Misra and his research team have created a new hydrogen material that has more than a billion nanotubes, which gives it excellent potential to produce hydrogen from another abundant resource - water. Misra's small-scale hydrogen generation system, located in the Laxalt Mineral Research Building, produces the material through an electrochemical process from applied ultrasonic waves. "We are currently using simulated solar light in the lab," Misra said, "and we are finding our system to be a good and robust way to facilitate the movement of electrons by the incident light to produce hydrogen from water." By the end of the decade, Misra estimates that the system could grow to a more industrial size scale, which would allow power companies to produce hydrogen that could be used to power automobiles or power your home. The new power source is extremely cost-effective, Misra says. "What do we pay now for a tank of gas? A little less than three dollars per gallon? The equivalent for hydrogen generation might be something more along the lines of $1 per gallon to produce," Misra says.
03/05/07 - DVD - the Physics of Crystals, Pyramids and Tetrahedrons
This is a wonderful 2 hour DVD which presents one man's lifelong study of pyramids, crystals and their effects. Several of his original and very creative experiments are explained and diagramed out for experimenters. These experiments include; 1) transmutation of zinc to lower elements using a tetrahedron, 2) energy extraction from a pyramid, 3) determining mathematic ratios of nature in a simple experiment, 4) accelerating the growth of food sources, 5) increasing the abundance of food sources, 6) how crystals amplify, focus and defocus energy, 7) using crystals to assist natural healing, 8) how the universe uses spirals and vortexes to produce free energy and MORE...
03/05/07 - Video - Steorn claims ORBO free energy device Imminent
Orbo Claims - Orbo produces free, clean and constant energy - that is our claim. By free we mean that the energy produced is done so without recourse to external source. By clean we mean that during operation the technology produces no emissions. By constant we mean that with the exception of mechanical failure the technology will continue to operate indefinitely. The sum of these claims for our Orbo technology is a violation of the principle of conservation of energy, perhaps the most fundamental of scientific principles. The principle of the conservation of energy states that energy can neither be created or destroyed, it can only change form. Because of the revolutionary nature of our claim, not only to the world of science but to the world in general, Steorn issued a challenge to the scientific community in August 2006 to test our technology and report their findings. The process of validation that has resulted from this challenge is currently underway, with results expected by the end of 2007. (via zpenergy.com)
03/05/07 - Death Date Calculator
How can I calculate my Death Date? It's very simple, just go to death form, enter your name, birth date, sex etc. Your details won't be stored anywhere, so don't be afraid to click calculate.This site can predict the day you'll die. Yeah, right! But I must say, that it makes you rethink the way you live your life when you look at these passing seconds. Check it out!
03/05/07 - 'Global Warming Is Lies' Claims Documentary
(The reference is always to 'global warming deniers' for those who haven't jumped on the bandwagon to blame pollution and mans industrialization as the cause of global warming. There needs to be a consensus to understand it is not JUST ONE CAUSE, but a combination which INCLUDES man's activities and so address them all in a shotgun approach. - JWD) Accepted theories about man causing global warming are "lies" claims a controversial new TV documentary. ‘The Great Global Warming Swindle’ - backed by eminent scientists - is set to rock the accepted consensus that climate change is being driven by humans. The programme, to be screened on Channel 4 on Thursday March 8, will see a series of respected scientists attack the "propaganda" that they claim is killing the world’s poor. Even the co-founder of Greenpeace, Patrick Moore, is shown, claiming African countries should be encouraged to burn more CO2. Nobody in the documentary defends the greenhouse effect theory, as it claims that climate change is natural, has been occurring for years, and ice falling from glaciers is just the spring break-up and as normal as leaves falling in autumn. It was only in the late 1970s that the current trend of rising temperatures began. This, claim the sceptics, is a flaw in the CO2 theory, because the post-war economic boom produced more CO2 and should, according to the consensus, have meant a rise in global temperatures. The programme claims efforts to reduce CO2 are killing Africans, who have to burn fires inside their home, causing cancer and lung damage, because their governments are being encouraged to use wind and solar panels that are not capable of supplying the continent with electricity, instead of coal and oil-burning power stations that could. Greenpeace co-founder Patrick Moore is shown saying: "Environmentalists have romanticised peasant life, but this is anti-human. "They are saying the world’s poorest people should have the world’s most expensive form of form of energy - really saying they can’t have electricity." Philip Stott, professor emeritus of biogeography at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London , who also features in the film warned the issue was too complex to be down to one single factor, whether CO2 or clouds. He said: "The greenhouse effect theory worried me from the start because you can’t say that just one factor can have this effect.
"The system is too complex to say exactly what the effect of cutting back on CO2 production would be, or indeed of continuing to produce CO2. "It’s ridiculous to see politicians arguing over whether they will allow the global temperature to rise by 2C or 3C." In fact, the experts in the film argue that increased CO2 levels are actually a result of temperature rises, not their cause, and that this alternate view is rarely heard. 'So the fundamental assumption, the most fundamental assumption of the whole theory of climate change due to humans, is shown to be wrong.' The film examines an alternative theory that explains global temperatures, based on research by Professor Eigil Friis-Christensen of the Danish Space Center. The professor and his team found that as solar activity increases, and the sun flares, cloud formation on earth is significantly diminished and temperature rises. Ian Clark, Professor of Isotope hydrogeology and paleoclimatology at the Dept of Earth Sciences, University of Ottawa explains: 'Solar activity over the last hundred years, over the last several hundred years, correlates very nicely, on a decadal basis, with temperature.'
03/05/07 - Bad Behavior to keep your site Clean
Welcome to a whole new way of keeping your blog, forum, guestbook, wiki or content management system free of link spam. Bad Behavior is a PHP-based solution for blocking link spam and the robots which deliver it. Bad Behavior complements other link spam solutions by acting as a gatekeeper, preventing spammers from ever delivering their junk, and in many cases, from ever reading your site in the first place. This keeps your site’s load down, makes your site logs cleaner, and can help prevent denial of service conditions caused by spammers. Bad Behavior works on, or can be adapted to, virtually any PHP-based Web software package. Bad Behavior is available natively for WordPress, MediaWiki, Drupal, ExpressionEngine, and LifeType, and people have successfully made it work with Movable Type, phpBB, and many other packages. Installing and configuring Bad Behavior on most platforms is simple and takes only a few minutes. In most cases, no configuration at all is needed. Simply turn it on and stop worrying about spam!
03/05/07 - Turbosonic Vibrating Platform for Health
(Thanks to Robert Nelson at Rex Research for this additional information. - JWD) Vibration training is a method of training in which the TurboSonic vibration training apparatus is used. The TurboSonic is a training platform which gives mechanical oscillations from 3 to 50 Hertz. This type of vibration is also known as 'whole-Body-Vibration.' Indeed, the whole body vibrates. The vibration emanating from the pedestal and conducted throughout the body stimulates muscle fibers (myocytes) with three times the strength of gravity. This causes the muscle fibers to contract and relax with greater strength and speed. These powerful muscle contractions, when repeated with the frequency seen in WBV exercise, enhance muscle strength over a shorter period of time than is feasible with any other form of muscle training. This dramatically enhances flexibility and expedites the recovery of damaged muscles and tendons, making it an athletic trainer's dream machine. In addition, blood vessels throughout the body are stimulated and circulation is improved. Furthermore, tendons and ligaments, (parts of the body not easily trained) become better toned. The function of intrapelvic muscles and small muscle groups, such as facial muscles, (which cannot be strengthened through conventional weight training exercises) are improved. Exercise involving vibration in the vertical direction also causes greater caloric consumption than regular aerobic exercise does. / US2003135140 - Automatic device for optimised muscular stimulation - Inventor: BOSCO CARMELO - Frequency Range 6 ~ 25Hz, 25~45 - Audio RMS Power 4 ohm / 1200W - Voice Coil 260 x1 - Price: $13,000
03/05/07 - Micro-Bubbles to repair Vision
Presbyopia---the inability to focus on close objects resulting in blurred vision---affects 100 percent of people by age 50. Historically, laser correction of the intraocular lens for presbyopia has been proposed, but it is risky because there is no way to monitor the procedure---no way for ophthalmologists to see what they are doing to the lens being cut. But a tool developed at the University of Michigan allows for a potentially noninvasive, painless fix to presbyopia using tiny bubbles that help ophthalmologists reshape the eye's lens and restore its flexibility and focusing ability. Presbyopia usually starts around age 40, O'Donnell says. The predominant belief is that fibers created in the intraocular lens accumulate and stiffen, thus making the lens less flexible. Without that flexibility, the lens can't change shape to focus on near objects, a process called accommodation. So, while a young eye is like an automatic focus camera, the presbyopic eye can be thought of as a fixed focus camera, he says. One way to potentially solve presbyopia is to laser away some fibers to restore flexibility, but there is no way to know how much or where to cut, he adds. The U-M tool uses bubbles, ultrafast optics and ultrasound to measure the thickness and rigidity of the lens during laser surgery, thus guiding the surgeon as they reshape the lens. It's a new application for microscale bubbles, which scientists have experimented with for years in the areas of drug delivery, tumor destruction and other medical applications. For the treatment of presbyopia, the U-M team used ultrafast laser pulses to create tiny gas bubbles within the intraocular lens. Before the bubbles diffuse, researchers hit them with high frequency sound waves, which push the bubbles against neighboring lens fibers. "Part of the sound is reflected, and from the characteristic of the reflection, you know where the bubble is," O'Donnell said. "It uses exactly the same technology as ultrasound imaging." In this way, researchers measure how far the bubbles have moved based on the force applied, and thus measure the pliability of the lens. "The bubbles show you where the laser should cut," O'Donnell said. "If it's still too hard, you cut some more. If it's soft enough, you stop."
03/05/07 - Retro - 05/01/05 - Lifespan foretold by elasticity of the eye
The aging process of the human body, he reported, can be measured easily by taking note of the change when the lens of the eye becomes less elastic, some time during middle life. Most persons become aware of the change at the age of 45 or 50, when the hardening lens can no longer make sufficient accommodation for reading. If this aging process, called presbyopia or "old-sightedness," occurs early, the individual's normal span of life is comparatively short.
03/05/07 - Advanced Greenhouse Control System for higher yields
Dutch researcher Rachel van Ooteghem has designed a control system for an improved solar greenhouse that yields more. In the new greenhouse, good climate control with sustainable energy resulted not only in an increased crop yield but also a lower gas bill. Factors such as temperature, carbon dioxide (CO2) concentration and relative humidity must be controlled as accurately as possible for optimum crop growth. Van Ooteghem designed an optimal control system for a solar greenhouse with an improved roof cover, heat regulation system and humidity regulation system. Van Ooteghem has developed a control system that maintains the correct climate in the greenhouse, whatever the weather outside. Different climate factors in the greenhouse, such as temperature and relative humidity, can be measured. Subsequently the correct adjustments to the settings of the greenhouse are made to maintain the optimum climate. The precise nature of an 'optimum' climate depends on the objective. For example, the aim might be to maximise the crop yield while minimising the gas usage. With the aid of a model of the greenhouse climate and the crop the new control system can increase the crop yield by 39% while reducing the gas usage by 52%.
03/05/07 - Scientists Wary of Lake Superior Warming
The lake water temperatures is rising almost twice as fast as air temperatures, more than 4 degrees for the average surface temperature. In two decades, the spring turnover has moved up two weeks from early July to mid-June. Part of that likely is due to a loss of ice cover. Since ice is reflective, when it's not there it makes it easier for the lake to absorb heat. In another 35 to 40 years, Austin said, Lake Superior will have very little ice cover. While that may sound good to people who swim or sail on the lake, it's not so good for plants and animals, including the lake's native whitefish. "If there's less ice over time, and there appears to be, there's a chance for greater storminess in the sort of shallow water (bays) that the whitefish spawn in," said Steve Coleman, who directs the Large Lakes Observatory. Bob Sterner, a University of Minnesota biologist, said warming usually speeds the growth of fish and the plants they feed on. But when it's too fast, it can create big problems.
"Paradoxically, you may well see the lake essentially becoming even more desert-like in the sense that you've reduced the flow of nutrients into the system across that temperature gradient," Sterner said. / 2003 Year long Flash Animation
03/05/07 - Inuits Blame U.S. for Climate Change
The Inuits of Northern Canada and beyond are taking their case against the United States on Thursday to an international human rights commission. They have scant chance of a breakthrough but still hope to score moral and political points against the U.S. and its carbon spewers. The Inuit population hails from Canada, Russia and Greenland, as well as Alaska, where they are known as Eskimos. They have been trying to tell the world for more than a decade about the shifting winds and thinning ice that have damaged the hunting grounds the Northern peoples have used for thousands of years. Many researchers believe the world likely is growing warmer because of the heat-trapping, or "greenhouse," properties of carbon dioxide and other human-generated gases that are being emitted into the atmosphere. Scientists generally agree the Arctic is the first place on Earth to be impacted by rising global temperatures. They say that unless developed nations such as the United States _ responsible for one-fourth of world's greenhouse gases _ do not dramatically reduce their emissions within the next 15 years, the Arctic ice likely will melt by the end of the century.
03/04/07 - Greenhouses for the moon and Mars
A spacecraft approaches the lunar pole, spits out a pod from which sprout several tubular arms it uses to bury itself in the soil, where it begins growing plants in preparation for man's return to the moon. If the moon base is anything like the South Pole research station, and in many ways, physically and psychologically, they say it will be, hanging out with some vegetables will probably be close behind breathable air and warmth when it comes to the inhabitants' needs. You don't just thumb through the seed catalog to buy a lunar greenhouse. Space requires redundancy," says Sadler, and that is one of the strong points of a bio-based air-recycling system. He said a plant-based recycling system has built-in redundancy; should some plants die, others would carry on and even be replaced by a handful of tiny seeds. The results would not be as drastic as a mechanical system's failure, or require the space of mechanical multiple-redundancy backup systems. Inside would be a much more densely packed version of the hydroponic growth system at one of the center's greenhouses at its North Campbell Avenue site. The greenhouse would pop out of a spacecraft module like a jack-in-the-box, be buried in the lunar soil by a robotic digger to shield it from meteorites and radiation. Heat would be provided by light brought in from a fiber-optic collector on the moon's surface, say Giacomelli and Sadler. The unit would be delivered in an unmanned mission, allowing it time to grow plants before astronauts arrived to populate the lunar station.
But there's the matter of water, crucial for human and plant life, but prohibitively heavy as payload. That means finding it somewhere off Earth. That's a problem for NASA to work out. Giacomelli and Sadler say among the ideas under consideration are finding water frozen in the lunar soil and using solar power to thaw it. Gravity on the moon being one-sixth that on Earth, the lunar greenhouse won't need as much structural support to keep the 8-foot-diameter, 18-foot-long arms from collapsing. Plans call for 8-foot-diameter aluminum support rings spaced every 3 feet to support the airtight shell.
03/04/07 - Homegrown Biodiesel? Illegal!
Charles Anderson transforms cars and trucks with diesel engines to run on ordinary vegetable oil, the kind that comes out the back of a restaurant kitchen. With gas prices skyrocketing, Mr. Anderson says, his firm expects to double sales from last year, to $2 million. There's only one glitch: Using straight vegetable oil (SVO) to power a car or truck is illegal. Because SVO hasn't been registered with the Environmental Protection Agency as a motor vehicle diesel fuel, its use violates EPA regulations, says EPA press officer Dave Ryan.
03/04/07 - Running Straight Vegetable Oil in your vehicle
My vehicle is what you would describe as...unique. It is a 2000Ford F250 with a 7.3L Powerstroke V-8 Diesel engine. This is not the remarkable part. What is special about this truck is that it runs on used vegetable oil which I get from restaurants. Believe it or not, the diesel engine was originally designed to run on vegetable oil. The science behind the vegetable oil conversion is very simple. Vegetable oil at room temperature is too thick to use as a fuel, but if you heat it up, it thins out. You can see the same thing happen if you heat a jar of honey in the microwave oven. It eventually will be as thin as water. To convert a diesel powered vehicle to run on the oil, you simply have to heat the oil up before it goes into the engine. The conversion process took me approximately 3 days to do. During that time I had to install an auxiliary tank into the bed of the truck, run a long set of heater hoses from the engine compartment to the tank (for heat), and install a set of solenoid switches controlled by a switch on the dashboard of the truck. The heater hoses are connected to my heater core, which is normally used to heat the cab of the truck during the winter. The coolant flows through the hose into a metal coil in the bottom of my fuel tank. The fuel intake hose is located near this coil, so before the oil goes into the fuel line it is heated. The fuel line runs INSIDE of one of the heater hoses that runs back to the engine compartment, so the oil is heated the entire way to the engine. From there, the oil runs through a fuel filter, which is also heated, and from there the oil goes directly into the injector pump of the truck's engine. That's it! Vegetable oil powered vehicles have a reported 50-70% fewer emissions than normal diesel vehicles. There are NO sulfur emissions (a big issue with diesel these days) and most other emissions are significantly reduced. If I push the gas pedal to the floor, you WILL NOT see smoke come from the exhaust. / Testing your Engine for SVO - Do not simply put 100% SVO into your fuel tank and set out on a long drive. Not only is this illegal, it would also be very stupid. Before you drive on the road with a vehicle powered by any form of un-taxed hydrocarbon fuel you must register with HM Customs & Excise as a substitute fuel producer. But also you should test your engine first without risking any blockage in the fuel supply system.
03/04/07 - 'Crush and zap' recycles circuit boards more cleanly
Electronic circuits in discarded computers, cellphones and other devices could be recycled less harmfully using a technique developed by researchers in China. Unlike current methods, it can be used to reclaim valuable metals such as copper without releasing toxic fumes into the air. Printed circuit boards (PCBs) are made from insulating layers of fibreglass and resin with electronic components and interconnecting circuitry on top. The number of PCBs being manufactured worldwide is growing by around 9% every year, with China and Taiwan alone producing more than 200 million square metres of circuitry each year. Only a small numbers of PCBs are recycled. They are typically put into copper smelters, which risks releasing harmful toxic fumes. Most circuit boards are simply incinerated or thrown into landfill, which releases toxic pollutants such as heavy metals and dioxins into groundwater and the atmosphere. Researchers from Shanghai Jiao Tong University, China, believe their recycling solution could reduce these problems. It involves crushing boards and using a high-voltage electric field to separate metallic and non-metallic materials. The metals can then be reclaimed by distilling in a vacuum while the non-metal components can be compacted into plates for use as building materials.
03/04/07 - China to Auction Ocean 'Rights'
The right to use 1 hectare of sea, or the size of one and a half soccer fields, could be yours if you are willing to pay at least 300,000 yuan ($39,000). Since March 1, Qingdao in East China's Shandong Province has put up sea use rights for auction, and it is open to all individuals, Qingdao Morning Post reported on Friday. The charges vary based on the grade and the purpose of usage. People can use the sea for breeding, dismantling vessels, developing tourism and entertainment facilities, or building ports and shipyards. The lowest fee, 300,000 yuan, allows for construction projects in the sixth grade sea area, while the highest charge, 1.95 million yuan ($252,000), allows for the disposal of waste in the first grade sea area. If two or more people are competing for sea rights to the same area, the price can be even higher. The rights last for a maximum of 50 years.
03/04/07 - Electrical tweaking helps tadpole grow new tail
Tadpoles can regenerate their tails thanks to a technique that alters the electrical properties of their cells, a new study shows. The build-up of electrical charge at the site of amputation helps guide tissue regeneration, the researchers suggest. They speculate that doctors might one day be able to regenerate tissue in patients - such as those who have suffered spinal cord injury - by altering the flow of positively charged molecules out of cells. Scientists have known for some time that applied electrical fields can influence tissue growth. But exactly how the body itself produces similar electrical fields to promote tissue regeneration remained a mystery. Subsequent tests revealed that the cells near the edge of the clipped tails repelled a special negatively charged dye. This indicated that the cells themselves had a negative internal charge, explains Levin. He suspected that the cells achieved this by altering the flow charged particles through their membranes. Cells have numerous pumps in their membranes that transport such particles from inside to outside their membranes, and vice versa. “We have, for the first time, shown how these electrical changes in the system guide regeneration,” says Levin. He explains that the flow of positive protons out of cells at the tip produces a current, which subsequently creates a localised electrical field. This is important because electrical fields can apparently guide the growth of nerves, such as those in the spine within the tadpole tail. “People have shown that cells 'crawl' in an electric field,” Levin says, adding that electrical fields also appear to encourage cells to multiply. In the final part of the study, researchers tried to enable tadpoles to regenerate their tails at 14 days of age. Under normal circumstances, tadpoles temporarily lose the ability to re-grow their tails at this stage in development. Levin speculates that researchers might one day use gene therapy to help people regenerate lost fingers or heal injured spinal cords. Gene therapy could perhaps help boost the number of proton pumps in cell membranes at the injury site making it easier for the cells to create a healing electrical field, he speculates. He notes that humans do have some potential to re-grow lost tissue. We have the ability, for example, to regenerate finger-tips until around age eight.
03/04/07 - Viagra effectively keeps heart attack at bay
During a heart attack, the heart is deprived of oxygen, which can result in significant damage to heart muscle and tissue. After the attack, most patients require treatment to reduce and repair the damage and improve their chances of survival. With the exception of early reperfusion, there are no available therapies that are truly effective in protecting or repairing such damage clinically. Rakesh C Kukreja, PhD., professor of medicine and Eric Lipman Chair of Cardiology at VCU, and colleagues compared nitroglycerine with two erectile dysfunction drugs -- Viagra, generically known as sildenafil, and Levitra, generically known as vardenafil -- to determine the effectiveness of each for heart protection following a heart attack. Nitroglycerin is a drug used to treat angina, or chest pain. It is a vasodilator and opens blood vessels in order to improve the flow of blood to a patient's heart. The research team reported that in an animal model, sildenafil and vardenafil reduce damage in the heart muscle when given after a severe heart attack. In contrast, nitroglycerin failed to reduce the damage in the heart when administered under similar conditions. "Erectile dysfunction drugs can prevent damage in the heart not only when given before a heart attack, as we discovered previously, but also lessen the injury after the heart attack," said Kukreja, who is the lead author of the study. According to Kukreja, the protective effects on the heart produced by these erectile dysfunction drugs may be potentially useful as adjunct therapy in patients undergoing elective procedures, including coronaryartery bypass graft, coronary angioplasty or heart transplantation. In addition, he said another potential application could be to prevent the multiple organ damage that occurs following cardiac arrest, resuscitation or shock.
03/04/07 - Microscope sees Atoms of Different Elements
Image - An atomic force microscope reveals individual atoms of tin, lead, and silicon on a surface, highlighted in the image in blue, green, and red, respectively. - Scientists can now look at a mixed material and pick out individual atoms of different elements on its surface, such as tin or silicon. The advance will allow researchers to understand the structural make-up of complex materials and help them design new ones with unusual properties. Atomic force microscopes are routinely used to spot individual atoms on surfaces and reveal how they are arranged. But previously, they have not been capable of distinguishing between atoms of different chemical elements. The individual atoms on a surface attract or repel the pyramid-shaped tip of an atomic force microscope as it moves along above them, revealing their presence. The strength of this force depends on how far the atom is from the tip. The relationship between force and distance is slightly different for atoms of different elements, providing a kind of fingerprint for each type. The researchers took advantage of this to distinguish between atoms of lead, tin, and silicon on a sample surface. Other research groups had been able to achieve this kind of feat with samples cooled to extremely low temperatures. By carefully compensating for the motion of the sample that occurs at higher temperatures, Sugimoto's group was able to achieve it at room temperature, avoiding the need for cumbersome cooling equipment.
03/04/07 - Shark Bait - the Metric Adjustable Wrench
While observing a new girl working in the tool department at my Lowe's store, I couldn't resist and asked her to get me an item number for a metric adjustable wrench. Three hours in, she called me and asked where she could find these wrenches, I further exacerbated the matter by telling her that they were located underneath the left-handed srewdrivers.
03/04/07 - London Hybrid Electric Buses
The City of London is planning to replace its entire fleet of 8,000 buses with diesel-electric hybrid vehicles. The Climate Change Plan also includes large scale investment in developing renewable energy supply systems, wind farms in London and tidal generation on Thames estuary, plus a service to advise Londoners on making their homes more energy efficient. Advanced heavy duty propulsion has a very important part to play when it comes to transportation, energy and environmental policy and London is leading the way in restricting emissions from transportation within the city. London’s mayor Ken Livingstone has outlined a plan to cut down the city’s greenhouse gas emissions and reduce climate change. The mayor targets to stabilize the emissions in 2025 at 60 per cent below the 1990 levels… Livingstone warned* that without action, London’s carbon emissions are likely to grow from 44 million tons a year to 52 million by 2025.
03/04/07 - Illinois makes big fuss over local couple's vegetable oil car fuel
Illinois Department of Revenue charges elderly couple $244.24 in back taxes for using "1,134.6 gallons of vegetable oil from 2002 to 2006." And he's not allowed to make his own vegetable fuel oil until he pays a $2,500.00 bond to obtain a "special fuel supplier", even though the state's website defines a "special fuel supplier" as storing not less than 30,000 gallons. If he continues to make his own fuel without obtaining this license, he could be charged with a felony! This threatening letter stated that acting as a supplier and receiver without a license is a Class 3 felony. This class of felonies carries a penalty of up to five years in prison.
03/04/07 - CO2 output from shipping twice as much as airlines
Carbon dioxide emissions from shipping are double those of aviation and increasing at an alarming rate which will have a serious impact on global warming, according to research by the industry and European academics. Separate studies suggest that maritime carbon dioxide emissions are not only higher than previously thought, but could rise by as much as 75% in the next 15 to 20 years if world trade continues to grow and no action is taken. The figures from the oil giant BP, which owns 50 tankers, and researchers at the Institute for Physics and Atmosphere in Wessling, Germany reveal that annual emissions from shipping range between 600 and 800m tonnes of carbon dioxide, or up to 5% of the global total. Carbon dioxide emissions from ships do not come under the Kyoto agreement or any proposed European legislation and few studies have been made of them, even though they are set to increase. Aviation carbon dioxide emissions, estimated to be about 2% of the global total, have been at the forefront of the climate change debate because of the sharp increase in cheap flights, whereas shipping emissions have risen nearly as fast in the past 20 years but have been ignored by governments and environmental groups. Shipping is responsible for transporting 90% of world trade which has doubled in 25 years.
03/04/07 - MI5 trains supermarket checkout staff to spot Terrorists
Supermarket checkout staff are being trained by the security services in how to detect potential terrorists. MI5 has been secretly advising food retailers, including Asda and Tesco, on how to identify extremist shoppers. Measures include increasing CCTV in underground carparks to prevent bomb attacks and being alert to mass purchases of mobile phones, which can be used as bomb detonators. The awareness training for staff also covers bulk sales of toiletries which could be used as the basic ingredient in explosives.
03/03/07 - New engine to slash 50% off emissions
A Cambridgeshire firm’s new engine technology, reportedly capable of reducing CO2 emissions by 50 per cent, could become a commercial reality following a £40k award to develop a prototype. Current engine technology only takes advantage of approximately 20 per cent of the energy potentially made available by burning fossil fuels, with 30 per cent of the valuable energy being wasted as heat. Epicam believes its ‘dexpressor’, which harvests this wasted heat, could improve the efficiency of the engine, thus decreasing the amount of CO2 released into the atmosphere by up to 50 per cent. The dexpressor works on a similar principal to a turbocharger, harnessing energy associated with the engine’s exhaust and translating it into mechanical energy. But where a turbo uses an impeller inside the exhaust manifold to drive a pump, Epicam’s technology collects the waste heat emitted by the exhaust and uses it to drive a pump-like rotor. As a combustion engine runs, it produces hot exhaust gases which leave the engine system via the exhaust pipe. Engineers regard the heat produced by the engine as ‘low-grade,’ i.e. not sufficiently intense to be productive. The unique technology, currently a computer model pending the development of a working prototype, accumulates and utilises this ‘low-grade’ energy in a closed system, heating water via a heat exchange coil around the exhaust manifold of the engine. The water in this system is super-heated to around 370°C, past the stage of steam, becoming ‘super-critical water’ and building up 1000 bar of pressure. The pressure is used to turn two rotors, via an innovative pressure retention system, a pair of “low friction rotating devices.” One of these rotors feeds into the crankshaft of the engine, lending its power to turn the wheels of the car. It is the method of keeping the high pressure created in the system and using it to turn the crank that is the secret behind Epicam’s invention. The help given to the engine in turning the crank could translate into being able to reduce the capacity of the engine by up to 50 per cent; so less capacity equals less fuel burnt which in turn would create lower carbon dioxide emissions. The £40k award will now give Epicam the financial capability to translate its dexpressor idea from a computer model into a working example of the technology, which the firm expects to complete in four to six months.
03/03/07 - Backyard Fuel Cell
A Rube Goldberg contraption uses solar panels and electrolyzers to generate hydrogen and allows Web-based monitoring of its proton-exchange-membrane fuel cell. In late 2006, a bemused but impressed inspector granted state approval. Now the system, which they built for around $50,000, taps any surplus solar electricity to fill a 500-gallon hydrogen fuel tank, enough reserve for about 14 days’ worth of power (a second tank can be added to double that capacity). Friend thinks of the setup as sort of a TiVo for energy - bank hydrogen during the summer, then consume as it’s needed. 1) GENERATE SOLAR POWER 2) TURN WATER INTO H AND O 3) LEARN TO PLUMB FOR H 4) TURN H AND O BACK INTO H2O 5) AUTOMATE AND MONITOR
03/03/07 - Using Gym Rats' Body Power to Generate Electricity
"A Hong Kong health club is hoping that a car battery, some StairMasters and dozens of gym rats can help ease the world's energy problems. It is just one of a wave of projects that are trying to tap the power of the human body, the Wall Street Journal reports. The article explains the impetus behind the project: 'The human power project at California Fitness was set in motion by Doug Woodring, a 41-year-old extreme-sports fanatic and renewable-energy entrepreneur, who pitched the experiment to the gym's management last May. "I've trained my whole life, and many megawatts have been wasted," says Mr. Woodring, who has worked out at the Hong Kong gym for years. "I wanted to do something with all that sweat."'"
03/03/07 - Using Lasers to Speed Computer Data
"The start-up Lightfleet has developed an unusual way to use lasers to speed the flow of data inside a computer, hoping to break a bottleneck that can hamper machines using many microprocessors, the Wall Street Journal reports. The company plans to sell servers it predicts will be much more efficient than existing systems in tackling tough computing problems. Tasks could include automatically recognizing a face in a video image or sifting through billions of financial transactions for signs of illegal activity. These machines will attempt to sidestep some of the problems associated with parallel computation by ensuring all processors are connected, all the time." / Engineers at the closely held Camas, Wash., company decided to exploit lasers -- but not in the way they are usually used for communications. Ordinarily, such optical-networking devices send tightly focused pulses of light down stands of fiber-optic cabling. Lightfleet is doing the opposite: using lenses to spread out laser beams and bounce the light off a mirror to send data around a system. Each microprocessor is installed with a laser transmitter and a set of devices that receive beams of light carrying messages from other chips. The light is reflected off the mirror and passes through focusing lenses to the receivers. Messages from each processor, or any combination of them, are simultaneously sent to all the other microprocessors. Each receiver only picks out the messages intended for it, because of special addressing information sent with the light beams. The design is particularly efficient at sending "all-to-all" messages between chips in a system, said Bill Dress, a Lightfleet senior scientist and co-inventor of the technology. Because the system sends light through air, Lightfleet avoids the need for wiring and associated switching circuitry and software, he adds. "You don't have traffic issues and messages colliding," said Jeffrey Hewitt, an analyst at the research firm Gartner Inc. "I think it is very interesting."
03/03/07 - NASA's Future Inflatable Lunar Base
"If you think that future NASA's moon camps need to have a science fiction look, you might be disappointed. Today, NASA is testing small inflatable structures. In fact, if these expandable 'tents' receive positive reviews, astronauts will 'camp' on the moon as early as 2020. These 12-foot (3.65 meter) diameter inflatable units could be used as building blocks for a future lunar base. Right now, a prototype is tested at NASA's Langley Research Center. But NASA also wants to test other inflatable structures in the not-too-friendly environment of the Antarctic next year. Still, it's too early to know if NASA's first habitable lunar base will use inflatable or rigid structures."
03/03/07 - Salt Lake City mayor calls for Bush impeachment
Ross C. "Rocky" Anderson, Mayor of Salt Lake City, called for the impeachment of President Bush before the Washington State Senate Governmental Operations Committee yesterday. "I am honored to address you today and am pleased that you, unlike so many members of Congress and most state legislatures, have recognized your solemn responsibility to examine whether proceedings should be commenced for the impeachment of the President of the United States. Never before has there been such a compelling case for impeachment and removal from office of the president of the United States for heinous human rights violations, breaches of trust, abuses of power injurious to the nation, war crimes, misleading Congress and the American people about threats to our nation’s security and the supposed case for war, and grave violations of treaties, the Constitution, and domestic statutory law."
03/03/07 - Machine May Help Shed Pounds Without Sweating
Sweating off the pounds might be a thing of the past with a new machine that promises to shed pounds simply by standing on it. "You can stand on this machine for 10 minutes and it's equal to 45 minutes to 60 minutes of typical exercise," said DeepTone instructor Jennifer Ament. Ament said TurboSonic uses sound waves that produce frequencies to stimulate your cells. She said a person can burn up to 300 calories in 10 minutes, and that's why people shouldn't be on it for more than that. "It's equal to 60 minutes of exercise so you'd be just overdoing it," said Ament. "I lost 9 pounds, a pants size, which is very exciting and I noticed my face tightening," said Kelly Walton. Greenwood Athletic Club's Dr. Neil Wolkodoff has been studying these frequency machines. He said the body vibration has been demonstrated to increase bone density, increase strength, increase balance, and even burn calories.
03/03/07 - GoDaddy grabs unexpired domain
There is a huge scandal developing about the behaviour of Godaddy. The owner of FamilyAlbum.com was surprised to find that he no longer owned the domain, which had not expired. Godaddy had received a complaint about invalid email address and sent an email to this invalid email address demanding the owner correct his invalid email address and predictably when no action was taken by the unaware domain owner (whose mailing address and phone number were correct!) godaddy grabbed the domain to itself and then either sold it for profit or kept it and with it valuable typein traffic. That this kind of a thing happened means that godaddy is prepared to destroy their customers business without a second thought for undeliverable email address even while phone number and mailing address are CORRECT!
03/03/07 - Dutch pioneer floating eco-homes
Dutch scientists predict a rise in sea levels of up to 110cm (43 inches) by the year 2100. At the same time, there is growing pressure on land. The Dutch government estimates 500,000 new homes will be needed in the next two decades. Most of the land suitable for conventional building has already been snapped up. So Dutch housebuilders are experimenting with new solutions. A row of amphibious houses lines the waterfront at Maasbommel, panelled in blue, yellow and green. They have a hollow concrete cube at the base to give them buoyancy. The houses' new occupants say they barely notice the floods. A vertical pile keeps them anchored to the land. Electricity and water are pumped in through flexible pipes. In all, the houses can withstand a rise in the water table of up to four metres (13ft). At a starting price of 260,000 euros (£180,000 or $310,000), the houses are not a cheap option. But Mr Zevenbergen says demand is high. Cees Westdijk and his wife bought one of the houses because they wanted to live near the water. They hardly notice it when the area floods, he says. "You can build it very big, you can build it small, but I think for a lot of countries with the same problems as here, it is a good solution," he says. He does caution that the floating houses are no replacement for conventional flood defences, including the dykes, a crucial failing in New Orleans.
03/03/07 - The Wind Bank and the 'Flow' Battery
New Scientist explains how a local utility company on King Island, Australia, has "installed a mammoth rechargeable battery which ensures that as little wind energy as possible goes to waste": When the wind is strong, the wind farm's turbines generate more electricity than the islanders need. The battery is there to soak up the excess and pump it out again on days when the wind fades and the turbines' output falls. The battery installation has almost halved the quantity of fuel burnt by the diesel generators, saving not only money but also at least 2000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions each year. The battery works through an ingenious system of chemical mixture and separation. It is thus referred to as a "flow battery": In the lead-acid batteries most commonly used, the chemicals that store the energy remain inside the battery. The difference with the installation on King Island is that when wind power is plentiful the energy-rich chemicals are pumped out of the battery and into storage tanks, allowing fresh chemicals in to soak up more charge. To regenerate the electricity the flow is simply reversed.
03/03/07 - The Thinking Machine
The nonprofit Redwood Neuroscience Institute hired top neuroscientists to pursue a grand unifying theory of cognition. Founder Jeff Hawkins wrote 'On Intelligence', the 2004 book outlining his theory of how the brain works. And it has driven him to what has been his intended destination all along: Numenta. Here, with longtime business partner Donna Dubinsky and 12 engineers, Hawkins has created an artificial intelligence program that he believes is the first software truly based on the principles of the human brain. Like your brain, the software is born knowing nothing. And like your brain, it learns from what it senses, builds a model of the world, and then makes predictions based on that model. The result, Hawkins says, is a thinking machine that will solve problems that humans find trivial but that have long confounded our computers - including, say, sight and robot locomotion.
03/03/07 - Medicare Prescription Drug bill would bankrupt USA
The U.S. government's top accountant says the law that added a prescription drug benefit to Medicare may be the most financially irresponsible legislation passed since the 1960s. U.S. Comptroller General David Walker says Medicare -- barring vast reform to the program and the nation's healthcare system -- is already on course to possibly bankrupt the treasury and adding the prescription bill just makes the situation worse. The federal government would need to have $8 trillion today, invested at treasury rates, to cover the gap between what the program is expected to take in and what it is expected to cost over the next 75 years Ð and that is in addition to more than $20 trillion that will be needed to pay for other parts of Medicare. "We can't afford to keep the promises we've already made, much less to be piling on top of them," he tells Kroft. The problem is the baby boomers. The 78 million people born between 1946 and 1964 start becoming eligible for Social Security benefits next year. "They'll be eligible for Medicare just three years later and when those boomers start retiring en masse, then that will be a tsunami of spending that could swamp our ship of state if we don't get serious," says Walker.
03/02/07 - Top 50 Things To Do To Stop Global Warming
Global warming is a dramatically urgent and serious problem. We don't need to wait for governments to solve this problem: each one of us can bring an important help adopting a more responsible lifestyle: starting from little, everyday things. It's the only reasonable way to save our planet, before it is too late. Here is a list of 50 simple things that everyone can do in order to fight against and reduce the Global Warming phenomenon: some of them are at no cost, some other require a little investment but can help you save a lot of money, in the middle-long term!
03/02/07 - Protect your idea as trade secret or patent?
An old Spanish proverb goes: "A secret between two is God's secret; between three is all mankind's." Nowhere is this truer than in the idea industry, where companies expend huge sums to protect the integrity of their trade secrets, only to have them revealed to or discovered by their competitors. A patent requires disclosing to the public exactly how your invention operates -- lasts for 20 years, during which no competitor can practice your idea but after which it's fair game for any and all. A trade secret, by contrast, can last as long as you can keep it -- the Coke formula has been under wraps for 120 years -- but in some cases that may not be very long. Technology changes so rapidly that today's hot invention could easily become obsolete within 20 years. If that's the case, patent protection might be more appropriate: Even though its term is finite, a patent will shelter your invention from innocent independent development as well as from malicious appropriation. if a clever technician can buy your product and figure out what makes it tick, she can copy the device and resell it as her own without fear of liability if protected only as a trade secret. In such an instance, you'd be better off patenting your device and preventing the technically skilled (and curious) from exploiting your creation. But if your invention cannot be reverse-engineered even by accomplished professionals in your field, you might benefit by protecting it as a trade secret. If no one can unravel your device, you could maintain your competitive edge by avoiding disclosure of how it works and otherwise complying with the prerequisites for trade-secret protection.
03/02/07 - Video - Academic Brainwashing 101
"WARNING: The university faculty members and staff featured on this video are not professional comics. Watch this video at your own risk of dying of laughter. Yes, these situations really happened, as difficult as that is to believe. Reminiscent of Kafka's best satirical work, this film is only for persons intelligent enough to deal with world-class irony." / This 46 minute video is hilariously funny and shows the problems in dealing with academic overseers. (via alfin.com)
03/02/07 - Sun Lizard Solar Heater
Colin Gillam has invented a product called the Sun Lizard which works on similar principals to solar hot water, but has the capacity to heat and cool buildings. The Sun Lizard heats the air, and then pumps that air using a fan around the building to keep people warm in winter. While in summer the fan is used as a heat extractor, pulling rising heat from the building and venting it outside. It is anticipated that the installation of the Sun Lizards will reduce 17,452 mega joules or more than seven tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions for the shire a year. He hopes in years to come the Sun Lizard will be mass-produced so that it will be cheap enough for average people to be able to buy. Currently they retail at $2500 per Sun Lizard which makes it inaccessible to most people, but Mr Gillam hopes that will soon change.
03/02/07 - Free Global Virtual Scientific Library
Several readers wrote in with news of the momentum gathering behind free access to government-funded research. A petition "to create a freely available virtual scientific library available to the entire globe" garnered more than 20,000 signatures, including several Nobel prize winners and 750 education, research, and cultural organizations from around the world. The European Commission responded by committing more than $100 million towards support for open access journals and for the building of infrastructure needed to house institutional repositories able to store the millions of academic articles written each year. In the article Michael Geist discusses the open access movement and its critics.
03/02/07 - Green talk but no green walk?
Al Gore is the latest green campaigner to be accused of being a hypocrite. But would the world really be better off if he'd stayed home with the lights off, asks Mark Lynas. Hands up anyone who isn't a hypocrite. Come on, own up. Who out there actually lives by every one of the principles they profess to uphold? And why has it suddenly gone so quiet? When it comes to ourselves, it seems, we are quick to realise that life is full of grey areas and being pure and virtuous is never as easy - nor even as desirable - as it might appear. Each time a potential "green hero" is shot down in flames, we all feel that little bit more cynical about politicians, leaders and society in general. Cynicism breeds selfishness and a de facto acceptance of the status quo - no cynic ever led a movement for positive change. In this sense, charging someone with hypocrisy serves to reinforce denial: "You're a hypocrite, so why should I do what you tell me?" Or the more disempowering: "If even you can't do it, how can I?" The practical outcome is that lightbulbs go unchanged, lofts uninsulated and bicycles unridden. And greenhouse gas emissions continue to soar. This denial response is also why, on the other hand, no one likes a greenie who is not a hypocrite. Climate activists I know who do walk the walk (eschewing all flights, for example) look prim and obsessive, as if they are out of touch with the concerns and pressures faced by ordinary people.
03/02/07 - Video - Dexter, the 1st Dynamically Self-balancing Robot
Other robots CAN'T KNOCK HIM OVER! Dexter is, as far as we know, the first dynamically balancing biped robot-that is, the first robot that walks like we do. There are of course biped robots that walk. The Honda Asimo is the best known. But the Asimo doesn't balance dynamically. Its walk is preprogrammed; if you had it walk twice across the same space, it would put its feet down in exactly the same place the second time. And of course the floor has to be hard and flat. Dynamically balancing-the way we walk-is much harder. It looks fairly smooth when we do it, but it's really a controlled fall. At any given moment you have to think (or at least, your body does) about which direction you're falling, and put your foot down in exactly the right place to push you in the direction you want to go. The breakthrough, according to Trevor, was to dramatically improve the robot's sense of where its center of gravity was. None of the commercial gyroscopes were good enough, he said, so he built his own. A dynamically balancing robot is really something to see. You can't turn away from it. It's so shockingly anthropomorphic. Because it walks like you do, you sense what it's feeling. But of course it wasn't (just) for entertainment that Trevor built this thing. Any robot for use in real world situations has to balance dynamically, because you can't predict what surface it would have to walk on.
03/02/07 - Color sensor breath test can detect lung cancer
A breath test can successfully pick up lung cancer with "moderate accuracy" even in the early stages, reveals research published ahead of print in Thorax. It could revolutionise the way cancer is detected and potentially save lives, say the authors. The test comprises a chemical colour sensor, which detects tiny changes in the unique chemical signature of the breath of people with lung cancer.
03/02/07 - World's poles to gauge global warming
Polar researchers describe liquefying glaciers. Some say that within this century, the Arctic may no longer be ice-locked. Facing this prospect, 50,000 scientists from 63 nations launched a study Thursday called the International Polar Year, to investigate how global warming is affecting the Earth's poles and what that means for all those living in between. It's been 50 years since international researchers last pooled together research on the polar world, known as the cryosphere. Since then, the world's temperature has risen slowly but steadily. An authoritative report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change last month said humans were very likely to blame for this warming. "The hour is no longer for skepticism. It is time to act, and act urgently," Prince Albert II of Monaco, who has visited the Arctic several times, said in announcing the project in Paris. He called global warming "the most important challenge we face in this century." Scientists will use icebreakers, satellites and submarines to study the effect of solar radiation on the polar atmosphere, the exotic marine life swimming beneath the Antarctic ice, and the culture and politics of Arctic inhabitants. "This will have enormous consequences" for the 4 million people living in polar regions - and well beyond, he said, as the melting ice disrupts ecosystems all the way to the Equator. The experts will also try to quantify the amount of fresh water leaking out from underneath ice sheets in Antarctica.
03/02/07 - Magnetic Honeybees
Proprioception is the sense used by an animal to feel the position and orientation of its body. Honeybees have very sensitive receptors located in the neck joint which determine which way up the head is pointing. The bees use this information to determine which way is up and to enable them to always fly upright. Perhaps the most enigmatic of the bee's senses is their ability to read the Earth's magnetic field. Magnetism is used by many animals, including dolphins and pigeons. The honeybee, however, is more sensitive than any other creature known. They use this sense not only for navigation, but also when building the honeycomb panels of a new hive. If a powerful magnet is placed close to a hive which is under construction, a strange looking cylindrical comb will be produced. The shape of this comb will look like nothing ever found in nature. It is not known exactly how this sensory modality functions. What is known is that a bee's abdomen contains many millions of tiny magnetic crystals. These crystals, which are first formed during the pupal stage of development, are contained within cells called trophocytes. Each trophocyte is connected to the nervous system.
03/02/07 - Bee Die off a result of Systemic Pesiticides?
(Thanks to Chuck Hoffmeister for the headsup on this. - JWD) Western honey bees, or European honey bees (Apis mellifera), gather nectar from the blooms of fruits, vegetables, nuts, melons and many other food crops for the production of honey in wax combs. Millions of honey bees in 22 American states, Spain and Poland have been disappearing at an alarming rate with no explanation to date, threatening pollination of one-third American food crops. Most people don’t realize that honey bees pollinate about one-third of our food supply around the world. Honey bees pollinate apple trees and berry bushes, vegetables, melons, almonds and many other food sources. Honey bees were originally brought from Europe to the United States in 1620. Periodically since then, there have been occasional die-offs of honey bees, mostly attributed to mites. Dave Hackenberg suspects that the culprit in this unprecedented honey bee disappearance is systemic pesticides - poisons designed to stay inside plants and kill off insects that damage crops. Systemic pesticides are not supposed to kill off honey bees, but David Hackenberg explains why he thinks that’s the problem. There’s something in the hive. We’re pretty sure the honey is not the problem because once you air out this hive for a day or so, they (other bees) will take the honey. And if you air the hive out, the beetles, wax moths and everything else will take over. So, there’s some toxic odor, some other - fortunately some of these colonies are still living and we found this here in Florida and we beat if back to Penn State with it - and thinking basically we had a new virus problems, but found out the bees are full of a fungus. And we think this fungus is giving off some toxins. Personally I think the fungus is probably secondary from something else - poisonous pollen or something that was gathered by the bees. a third of the food supply in the United States - and actually the world - a third of the food supply is directly related to the honey bee: fruits, vegetables, nuts, just a lot\ of stuff that we eat, that we’re accustomed to have every day, the honey bee is directly responsible for it. And then, there is probably another 30% of what we consume that honey bees are indirectly responsible for. Take the milk we drink. The cows have to have hay. They’ve got to eat clover and alfalfa to produce milk. And if you go back and listen to what (Albert) Einstein told us - he said if the honey bees disappeared off the face of the Earth, within four years, all life would be gone. Even the wildlife depends on plants pollinated by the honey bees for berries and so on. So, it’s not just humans not being able to get apples and carrots. We’re talking about a real big, serious problem!
03/02/07 - Freelance Job offers
This page offers plenty of Freelance projects you can bid on to make some extra money, check it out! Something for almost everyone.
03/02/07 - Without a Clue!
Customer is looking for someone to code out a complete operating system that is completely functional, has all of the features of Windows XP, is unhackable, and compatible with all existing files. Budget: $1000 - $3000 - "And ITS NOT SUPPOSED TO BE JUST A REDESIGNED WINDOWS as I'm going to sell that operating system later on. It's going to be called BlueOrb. Note that I only accept quality work and do not want any quickly done BS."
03/02/07 - Homeland Security requires internal passport for all US Citizens
The Department of Homeland Security has issued its requirements for standardizing state identification cards. States must start issuing the new internal passports by May 2008, or else their citizens will not be able to board planes or enter federal courthouses... DHS estimates that it will take only 44 minutes for a current driver's license holder to get a certified copy of their birth certificate, travel to the DMV and get a new license when it expires. No current driver's license holder will be allowed to renew a license by mail. They estimate the costs to states and individuals over 10 years will be $23 billion. Congress may move to negate this ruling by repealing the Act or reverting to an earlier process.
03/02/07 - China's Finances affect everyone
On Tuesday, China’s stock markets plunged 8.8 percent, wiping away about US$140 billion of value. The fall, biggest in a decade, came just one day after Chinese stocks reached an all-time record. The news of the sell-off helped trigger today’s 416-point drop in the Dow Jones Industrial Average and similar declines in other American indexes. The real risk China poses to global markets is not so much the severity of a financial crisis as the unexpected nature of such an event. Today, the concern about China in the West is that the country will dominate the global economy. For many, if not most, people in the financial and business communities, the possibility of an economic crisis inside China is remote. For them, it is an “unknown unknown.” Yet all the underlying conditions necessary for such a crisis exist. When it occurs, market participants will probably be caught completely unaware as they were today. After all, how well have the markets predicted turmoil in other countries in the past?
03/01/07 - Ultrasonics to speed Biodiesel Production
Researchers at Mississippi State University report that ultrasonic processing used in biodiesel production delivers a biodiesel yield in excess of 99% in five minutes or less, compared to one hour or more using conventional batch reactor systems. Ultrasonication can also help to reduce the separation time from 5 to 10 hours required with conventional agitation, to less than 15 minutes, according to Hielscher, a small German company providing ultrasonic processing equipment for a variety of sonochemical applications, biodiesel production being one. The ultrasonication also helps to decrease to amount of catalyst required by 50 to 60% due to the increased chemical activity in the presence of cavitation. Another benefit is the increase in purity of the glycerol. Sonochemistry-the application of ultrasound to chemical reactions and processes-is based on the phenomenon of cavitation: the formation, growth and implosive collapse of bubbles in a liquid. Cavitation can be produced through different means, including high pressure nozzles, high velocity rotation, or ultrasonic transducers. The input energy is transformed into friction, turbulences, waves and cavitation. Cavitation bubbles are vacuum bubbles, created by a fast moving surface on one side and an inert liquid on the other. The resulting pressure differences serve to overcome the cohesion and adhesion forces within the liquid. Cavitational collapse produces intense local heating (~5,000 K), high pressures (~1,000 atm), and enormous heating and cooling rates (>109 K/sec and liquid jet streams (~400 km/h). Hielscher estimates that costs for ultrasonication in biodiesel processing will vary between €0.002 and €0.015 per liter (€0.008 to €0.06/gallon) when used in commercial scale, depending on the flow rate.
03/01/07 - How to save 300 pounds and the World
The UK is the world's eighth largest CO2 emitter, and London produces eight per cent - or 44 million tonnes a year - of the country's emissions. Without action, the city's emissions will rise to 51 million tonnes by 2025, the plan warns. Homes are responsible for nearly 40 per cent of the CO2, followed by businesses (33 per cent) and transport (22 per cent). The mayor's plan would cut London's emissions by 20 million tonnes a year. However, Mr Livingstone said a further reduction of 13 million tonnes would only be possible with government action. "We are one of the most vulnerable cities to the effects of climate change. In the past six years, the Thames Barrier, built to defend London from flooding, has been raised a staggering 56 times, compared with just three times in first six years after in was built in the 1980s." Ministers talked about cutting emissions, but were "unwilling to confront the vested interests" in the power, building, aviation and motor industries, Greenpeace director John Sauven added. "The government must now follow the mayor's lead," said Friends of the Earth director Tony Juniper. Everyone must take responsibility, Mr Livingstone said. "Buying a gas-guzzling 4x4 vehicle is an 'individual choice' but it creates carbon emissions that contribute to global warming and harm everyone. It should be no more sociably acceptable than to claim the right to dump rubbish in the street. "The simple message is this: to tackle climate change you do not have to reduce your quality of life, but you do have to change the way you live."
03/01/07 - Tax Credits for Plug-In Hybrids?
Washington's growing interest could help make plug-in hybrids more affordable. The payoff: 150 miles per gallon. Plug-in hybrid vehicles, which can be recharged using a standard wall outlet, are becoming increasingly practical because of advances in battery technology. Like conventional hybrid vehicles, plug-in hybrids can run on gasoline and electricity. But plug-in hybrids have bigger battery packs that can be easily recharged. As a result, they can run longer on electric power, saving much more gas than an ordinary hybrid can. Depending on the configuration of the vehicle, people who drive less than 40 miles a day could use no gasoline at all, while the average U.S. driver could see fuel economy of 150 miles per gallon. Although the vehicles consume electricity, the power will come at a fraction of the cost of gasoline, and it promises to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions. Although no major automaker currently sells a plug-in hybrid, a handful of companies provide aftermarket conversion kits. Interest in plug-in cars extends to Congress. In January, a bill was proposed in the Senate that would provide an up to $4,200 tax credit to offset the expense of plug-in hybrids, which can cost about $10,000 more than a conventional hybrid.
03/01/07 - Global Warming Deniers
Let’s examine who some of the “deniers” are; you know, the “junk scientists”, the “quacks” and “cranks”, who dare oppose the Global Warming consensus. After all, there couldn't be too many of them if 2500 scientists (or is it 51) back the IPCC report:...
03/01/07 - Patent Office head lays out reform strategy
(They miss the KEY POINT...make every patent applicant provide a working model, period. Prove what is being claimed. - JWD) Critics claim that the USPTO lacks enough qualified examiners and issues too many bad patents. The delivery of patent rulings takes longer than applicants would like, slowing down the introduction of innovations into commercial markets. The agency is trying to remedy that problem in part by hiring more examiners, Dudas told me. Last year, the USPTO hired 1,218 patent examiners, for a total of 5,500, and plans to hire 1,000 per year for the next five years. The USPTO received in excess of 440,000 patent applications and completed 332,000 patent applications in 2006. However, the total backlog of patent applications in around 700,000. Dudas countered the claim that the agency issues an excess of unwarranted patents. "Only 54 percent of cases and some claims get approved," Dudas said. The biggest threat today on bad quality patents is the "law of obviousness," Dudas said. The Supreme Court has heard oral arguments in KSR v. Teleflex, a case that could determine what makes up a 'nonobvious' invention. Dudas said that examiners need to be given more deference in determining what is obvious. In the category of getting more information, Dudas said the having applicants submit more complete information, including their own search reports and analysis of why a patent should be granted given similar existing patents. Patent attorneys have been concerned that providing more information could be a liability. If information on a patent application is found out to be false, or a 'lie,' the application is summarily thrown out. Statues need to be changed to accommodate a standard of information accuracy that clearly allows for truly unintended misinformation. Ultimately, "the measure of innovation and competitiveness is not the number of patents but the quality of patents," Dudas concluded. But, the measure of success for the USPTO will be the quantity and quantity of patents that it can process. Improvements are in place, but a backlog of 700,000 will take years to dissipate. / Fixing the US Patent System
03/01/07 - First Graphene Transistor
"UK researchers are announcing the first ever workable transistor made of graphene - that's one layer of carbon atoms. It's thinner and smaller than a silicon transistor can ever be, and it works at room temperature. When silicon electronics are dead, this is what many speculate is going to take over. There's slight controversy as they decided to announce their results via a review article, rather than wait for their (submitted) peer review paper to come out."
03/01/07 - Sleep Labs of the Soviet Empire
In the late 1920s, Soviet architect Konstantin Melnikov proposed a worker's dormitory that would "intensify the process of slumber." It was designed with sloping floors, for instance, which would "obviate the need for pillows" (!). Wonderfully, though, the whole building was a kind of machine-womb, because sleep technicians in a central control booth would "command instruments to regulate the temperature, humidity, and air pressure, as well as to waft salubrious scents and 'rarefied condensed air' through the halls." They would also soundtrack the dorms with nature sounds, all to perfect the experience of sleep. "Should these fail," we read, "the mechanized beds would then begin gently to rock until consciousness was lost." These would thus have been "sleep labs" for the workers of the Soviet Empire.
03/01/07 - Switch for Regeneration discovered
Researchers have known for decades that an electrical current is created at the site of regenerating limbs. Furthermore, applying an external current speeds up the regeneration process, and drugs that block the current prevent regeneration. The electrical signals help to tell cells what type to grow into, how fast to grow, and where to position themselves in the new limb. The complex networks needed to construct a complicated organ or appendage are already genetically encoded in all of our (human) cells (too) - we needed them to develop those organs in the first place. "The question is: how do you turn them back on?" Levin says. "When you know the language that these cells use to tell each other what to do, you're a short step away from getting them to do that after an injury."
03/01/07 - Yay Canada! - Canada Rejects Anti-Terror Laws
(At LAST, someone repudiates the terrorist, paranoid insanity! GO CANADA!!!! OK, USA, now its our time to stand up, reclaim our rights and restore our sanity and freedoms. - JWD) "The Canadian parliament has voted against renewing anti-terror laws that had been introduced after September 11, 2001. The rejected laws included provisions to hold terror suspects indefinitely, and to compel witnesses to testify, and were in some sense Canada's version fo the Patriot Act. The laws were voted down in the face of claims from the minority Conservative government that the Liberal Party was soft on terror, and despite the fact that Canada has faced active terrorist cells in their own country. The anti-terror laws have never been used, and it was viewed that they are neither relevant, nor needed, in dealing with terrorist plots. Hopefully more countries will come to the same conclusion."
03/01/07 - Terror war will end in pre-election Oct. 2008
The Department of Defense's number two official appears to imply in a memo that the Global War on Terrorism will end just in time for the presidential election in November 2008. The contents of the document are outlined in a column in today's Washington Post. In a second memo from Feb. 15, England writes that "to ensure that warfighters and taxpayers receive maximum benefit from on-going initiatives, it would be highly desirable to complete current projects by the summer/fall of 2008."
03/01/07 - Peru: Unsafe sex and public 'net cafes'
One recent survey, for example, found that a small number of men--10 out of 1,112 in the survey--reported having had their last sexual intercourse inside a private module of an Internet cafe. Nine out of the ten had anal sex (only four used a condom), and one out of the ten had oral sex without a condom. Of those who had anal sex, four out of nine had a casual partner, three out of nine an anonymous partner, and two out of nine a stable partner. All last sexual partners were males and all had met on the Internet. "Given the possible association between HIV/sexually transmitted infection transmission and the high level of Internet use by men who have sex with men in Peru," say the authors, "cabinas públicas are a logical place to deliver Web-based interventions." "Cabinas also may be an effective means for delivering low-cost prevention messages to a great number of people, especially those who are not being reached using more traditional methods."
03/01/07 - Audio Watermark Web Spider Starts Crawling
"A new web tool is scanning the net for signs of copyright infringement. Digimarc's patented system searches video and audio files for special watermarks that would indicate they are not to be shared, then reports back to HQ with the results. It sounds kind of creepy, but has a long way to go before it makes a practical difference. 'For the system to work, players at multiple levels would need to get involved. Broadcasters would need to add identifying watermarks to their broadcast, in cooperation with copyright holders, and both parties would need to register their watermarks with the system. Then, in the event that a user capped a broadcast and uploaded it online, the scanner system would eventually find it and report its location online. Yet the system is not designed to hop on P2P networks or private file sharing hubs, but instead crawls public web sites in search of watermarked material.'"
$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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