05/31/06 - Home chemistry under assault as illegal
Chemistry kits shouldn't be a crime, but increasingly they are. Home science experimentation -- model rockets, chemistry sets and playing with explosives -- are a gateway drug to serious nerddom. But the hobby is under assault from government agencies that are terrified of terrorists, from anti-fireworks campaigns, and from the war on (some) drugs. The result is that hobbyists and those who supply them are getting investigated, raided and even jailed. Science and innovation are things that you start doing early on (Nikola Tesla invented his turbine design when he was five -- a design still in use at Niagara Falls and other power-generation stations), and penalizing those who help kids do science is a surefire way to trash the nation's competitiveness. more than 30 states have passed laws to restrict sales of chemicals and lab equipment associated with meth production, which has resulted in a decline in domestic meth labs, but makes things daunting for an amateur chemist shopping for supplies. It is illegal in Texas, for example, to buy such basic labware as Erlenmeyer flasks or three-necked beakers without first registering with the state’s Department of Public Safety to declare that they will not be used to make drugs. Among the chemicals the Portland, Oregon, police department lists online as “commonly associated with meth labs” are such scientifically useful compounds as liquid iodine, isopropyl alcohol, sulfuric acid, and hydrogen peroxide, along with chemistry glassware and pH strips. Similar lists appear on hundreds of Web sites.
05/31/06 - You Affect Climate Change
The EU's new anti-global warming campaign, You Control Climate Change, launched Monday. The focus is on individual action ("Turn down. Switch off. Recycle. Walk."): The 50 practical tips included in the campaign range from turning off lights, recycling materials and not using cars. Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said the campaign highlighted individual responsibility. The campaign also targets pupils, who will be encouraged to sign a pledge to reduce their carbon dioxide emissions. EU member states will be launching the campaign at national level over the next few days. It may as well get individuals to make real steps towards going climate neutral in their own lives.
05/31/06 - Light - Hue and timing determine whether beneficial or detrimental effects
Chronic insomnia sufferer Erin Chesky now easily falls asleep by 11 p.m. Glovinsky's trick: entraining Erin's biological clock. Each morning, a special lamp delivers a half-hour of intense fluorescent light as she eats breakfast or reads. Mariana G. Figueiro of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute's Lighting Research Center in nearby Troy, N.Y., uses colored light at night to aid elderly institutionalized patients. An early evening treatment from some 50 blue light-emitting diodes (LEDs) coaxes a person's fractured sleep into solid, nightlong slumber. Elsewhere, researchers are experimenting with color-tuned light to perk up the body, improve visual acuity, and even reduce depression. Such techniques all stem from an emerging realization that for the body, light's role extends well beyond vision. Suspecting that the biological clock preferentially responds to select elements of the spectrum, George C. Brainard and his team at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia launched a 5-year effort to find the most-effective hues. The project tested 72 people and encompassed more than 600 person-nights of observation. Results, published 5 years ago, showed that the biological clock is most responsive to a narrow band of wavelengths from 466 to 477 nanometers (nm), which are close to the blue of a clear sky. "It's not something we would have predicted," Brainard notes, since these wavelengths aren't ones to which the eye's vision receptors-rods and cones-are most sensitive. The receptors called blue cones have a maximum sensitivity of about 430 nm. Compared with people receiving green light, those getting the same intensity of blue light became more alert and less drowsy-4.0 versus 6.5 on a 9-point sleepiness scale. Blue light also triggered brain waves suggesting that the volunteers were more awake. "[W]e have demonstrated that short-wavelength [blue] light is more effective at stimulating subjective and objective correlates of alertness and performance," Lockley's team concluded in the February Sleep.
05/31/06 - Hurricane Season - States say "You're on your own!"
Convinced that tough tactics are needed, officials in hurricane-prone states are trumpeting dire warnings about the storm season that starts on Thursday, preaching self-reliance and prodding the public to prepare early and well. Cities are circulating storm-preparation checklists, counties are holding hurricane expositions at shopping malls and states are dangling carrots like free home inspections and tax-free storm supplies in hopes of conquering complacency. But will it work? Emergency management officials groaned this month at a poll by Mason-Dixon Polling and Research Inc., which found that of 1,100 adults along the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts, 83 percent had taken no steps to fortify their homes this year, 68 percent had no hurricane survival kits and 60 percent had no family disaster plan. At a Home Depot, Brenda and Jerry Dyche of South Fort Myers were shopping for a generator last Wednesday. With that and a new roof, they said, they had no reason to flee. "We'd just as soon be in our house," Mr. Dyche said. "Where are we going to go? I-75 is a parking lot by the time they evacuate everybody." "The very last place you would want to go is a Red Cross shelter," Mr. Lorenzo said last week at a community hurricane preparation meeting. "You're so close to the people sleeping next to you that you can feel the hair of their mustache on the side of your head." "It makes it a lot harder when people line up in their Lexuses or Mercedeses to get ice and water at a public distribution site when the Publix is open a block away," Governor Jeb Bush said. As his audience of emergency workers applauded, he added, "I don't know about you, but it sure made me feel better to get that off my chest."
05/30/06 - Peanut Milk to heal what ails you
A cafe owner who thought up an unlikely beverage has created a `miracle' cure, writes John Glionna. Chang schemed up the unlikely beverage when his teeth, loosened by gum disease, drove him to find a painless way to consume peanuts, a favorite food since childhood. The creation had unexpected benefits, Chang says: It cured his gums and even slowed his baldness. Cooke and other regulars who flock to Chang's KK Cafe swear by peanut milk - the mystical elixir that Chang concocted in the kitchen of his storefront burger joint in San Francisco's bohemian Haight district. Cooke drinks it for energy and, she says, because it keeps her eyes clear of infection. The walls of Chang's eatery carry testimonials affirming the reputed powers of peanut milk. Although there's no hard proof of any health benefits, the beverage has spawned a cult of peanut milk fanatics. The drink, which does not contain milk, is made from peanuts, grains, herbs and spices. Fans say it strengthens patients with AIDS and cancer, reverses baldness, heals wounds faster, prevents colds, reduces symptoms of menopause and soothes psoriasis. It's also said to be a hangover cure. Some drink it at bedtime to help them sleep, others as an alternative to caffeine. Chang, 58, suggests another benefit: "More sexual stamina!" From a back-shop endeavor that started with half a kilogram of peanuts a day, Chang's company now processes 900kg a month and ships about 240,000 bottles a year. The 310-milliliter containers sell for US$1.69 (HK$13.18). The drink has the look and consistency of milk, with a definite peanut twang. Chang didn't plan to sell his invention. But soon cafe denizens began asking about it. Word spread as customers started to report their own claims of astonishing results. William Garcia Ganz, 58, who suffers from HIV and cancer, is another regular customer. One day, Chang noticed how sickly Ganz looked and began pushing peanut milk. Chang told Ganz that his older brother died from complications of AIDS in San Francisco in 1990. Ganz, a musician and conductor, was unable to pay, so Chang gave him a free daily quart. During his exhausting chemotherapy, Ganz, said, he lived solely on peanut milk, gaining weight, before his cancer went into remission. "I don't know if it was a miracle, but this drink definitely tided me over during those awful months," he said.
05/30/06 - The Science of Qi with Dr. Patrick Flanagan
PERHAPS the grooviest scientist on the planet today is Dr Patrick Flanagan. Inventor, physicist, medical doctor, author and holder of over 300 patents, he is also among the most brilliant scientists alive. At age 11, he invented a missile detector which could track missiles being launched anywhere in the world. The Pentagon promptly bought his invention and appointed him as an adviser! At age 13, he invented a hearing device that helped many deaf people. He continued to invent so many things in so many fields that by age 17 (43 years ago), Life Magazine had already chosen him as one of the 100 most important young people in the US. As proof that he has not slowed down at all, in 1997 at age 51, he was named Scientist of The Year by the International Association of New Science. Now at age 60, he is still full of ideas, is charged with energy, and wears earrings! During Dr Flanagan’s research, he found that the Hunza Valley water contains high levels of negatively-charged hydrogen ions (each hydrogen atom having an extra electron). So drinking the water means having lots of spare electrons to neutralise free radicals without generating new ones, and also plenty of electrons to feed the energy-generation processes. These negatively-charged hydrogen ions are usually unstable, but they are abundant in Hunza water because of its content of colloidal silica mineral, which traps the ions. His brilliance is proven when he is able to duplicate nature by embedding and stabilising these ions to edible silica powder (silica hydride, also called “active hydrogen”), thus making the most powerful antioxidant known. In the lab, it has doubled the life-span of cells. According to him, the moving electrons (through the movement of hydrogen) generate qi, the universal life force. Even he acknowledges that qi is at the core of all matter and biochemical reactions. ...more info...
05/30/06 - At last, alternative energy research gets some respect
The future of energy is bright in Said Al-Hallaj's invention lab at the Illinois Institute of Technology, and not just because of the solar window that lies in development on a table. All around the lab are advanced alternative energy projects that testify to the war on oil that's proceeding quietly at laboratories and research centers across the country. A tiny two-passenger electric car stands ready to drive 25 miles on one charge of its custom-designed pack of lithium-ion batteries, not unlike the ones that power laptops. A research assistant who's working out the kinks on an electric bicycle motors down a hallway at 20 mph, triple the speed of the hybrid fuel-cell scooter developed here. Elsewhere, Al-Hallaj and another professor are converting an SUV into a plug-in hybrid vehicle using lithium-ion cells to double the fuel efficiency and reduce emissions. And a team of students is converting a gasoline-powered lawnmower to use hydrogen as fuel. Some of the projects could be manufactured commercially right now, said Al-Hallaj, research associate professor of chemical and environmental engineering and coordinator of IIT's renewable energy program. Ethanol's potential is limited by cost and transport issues and the fact that even those seemingly endless fields of corn in the Midwest are finite. Experts say corn-based ethanol isn't ever likely to displace more than 10 percent of the gasoline supply. That's where biomass comes in. By using other crops and forest waste along with the entire corn plant, not just the kernels, the Department of Energy says enough cellulosic ethanol could be produced by 2030 to lower U.S. gasoline consumption 30 percent.
05/30/06 - Students Develop Energy Saving Circuit
Adarsh Pakala, Bhagvan Chandra, Arun D'Souza, Chethan, the students of final electrical and electronics, NMAMIT, Nitte here under the guidance of Prof K Vasudeva Shettigar and Prof Chandramohan M S has designed a microprocessor based 'converter and inverter circuit' for electric drive (back power). The invention can help save huge power wastage in trains. Energy wasted is supplied back for use, thus conserving it. The aim of the project was to arrange converter and inverter operations in a single circuit. In both the cases the power flow is controlled by varying the firing angle of each SCR and the accurate firing angle is produced by microprocessor. Here a DC motor is used as load, which can operate in any of the four quadrants. The motor is supplied through a converter and inverter circuit. This concept is used for regenerative breaking which implies transferring the power from load to source during breaking time. For example in electric trains large amount of power is wasted during breaking, this power is converted into electric energy and fed back into the supply mains using the above concept. Around 30 to 40 per cent energy can be saved in this operation. This project won the runners up position the ICPC (Inter-Collegiate Project Competition) held at P A College of Engineering, Mangalore.
05/30/06 - Strawjet - natural building material from straw
Developed mainly by Ward in his backyard shop and relocated to big shops in Talent last year, Strawjet Inc. produces a machine that gleans waste straw from fields, weaves it into cables, then, using a clay-cement material, binds the cables into building materials, such as blocks and beams. Ward says he began his trek as a "green" inventor after getting seriously ill from contact with building materials in his job as a construction supervisor. Finding that no modern green materials compared in strength to traditional ones, Ward decided to invent them. His central vision of using farm fiber waste came to him while driving a combine on a farm - and after 10 years of research, and using many hand-made parts, he built the first prototype. Seeing deforestation in Latin America further motivated him to find a wood alternative. The invention of the Strawjet has special significance, Palombo said, because it's a major departure from existing technology, because it creates strong building materials from abundant waste and because China and other emerging nations, needing to build millions of new homes, are looking for alternatives to scarce and expensive steel and timber. A hand-fed version of the Strawjet is likely to be in demand in disaster-prone regions, such as quake-stricken Afghanistan or the hurricane-thrashed Gulf Coast, Palombo said, adding, "There's a staggering amount of potential in China and the Mideast, where there's certainly not enough lumber, concrete or steel." The corporation has focused on straw because it's abundant, but is already exploring stronger agricultural fibers, such as hemp and "virtually indestructible" palm fronds, either substance capable of supporting a 10-story building, Palombo said.
05/30/06 - Australia might drink recycled waste water
City officials in Goulburn, Australia, are studying whether residents will concede to use recycled effluent for drinking water, the Sydney Morning Herald reported. If so, the federal government would spend $11 million to construct a $3 million recycling system. Goulburn is experiencing a severe drought, having received only 0.12 inches of rain in April, compared to almost 2 inches on average for the month. Pejar Dam -- the city's largest surface water storage area -- is dry. Treated waste water would be passed through 26 filtration barriers. It would first be used for non-drinking purposes. "If it doesn't rain it could be (used) faster, but even if it rains we will proceed with the scheme because we could be in this (water shortage) position again," Mayor Paul Stephenson told the newspaper. Last year, Frank Sartor, the former water minister, said people who wanted mass recycling of water were "hopelessly misinformed." Sartor said it was not a practical solution because people would not accept it.
05/30/06 - Heart may be home to its own stem cells
Because fully developed heart cells do not divide, experts have believed the organ was unable to regenerate after injury. But, in 2003, researchers at Piero Anversa’s laboratory at New York Medical College in Valhalla, New York, US, discovered stem cells in the hearts of mice, and subsequently humans. However, they still did not know whether these stem cells actually resided in the heart or had merely migrated there from another tissue, such as bone marrow. Leri and her colleagues have now removed tiny numbers of cardiac stem cells from people undergoing heart operations, grown them in the lab and then transplanted them into the damaged hearts of rats and mice. The results are promising, says Leri, and may eventually give better heart-healing results than bone-marrow derived stem cells. “If these cells truly do exist we would like to be able to find out what regulates their activity and whether you can simulate that mechanism to repair heart tissue without having to use cells from elsewhere,” he says.
05/30/06 - Oil much more valuable to Chemistry
(This is what Dr. Hal Puthoff was told when interviewing high ranking oil execs and presenting them with the proposition of free energy. He was told the oil was far more valuable from all the different products you can MAKE from it than just burning it. - JWD) Petroleum and natural gas reserves are getting smaller and smaller. It is thus a real waste to burn up these valuable resources for heat or transportation especially as "black gold" is also the most important starting material for the chemical industry. It is used in the production of most organic compounds, be they plastics, medicines, or solvents. We clearly need alternatives and are scouring nature in the hope that renewable plant resources will eventually provide some real competition for fossil resources. For example, the enzymatic extraction of cellulose from wood by-products produces the sugar glucose, which is then fermented to form ethanol. This ethanol can then be used as a “biological” fuel for vehicles. Under different reaction conditions, the fermentation of glucose produces glycerol. Glycerol is also a highly promising starting material for the synthesis of fuels and other organic compounds, as a team of scientists from the USA and Brazil have discovered.
05/30/06 - Paratroopers could fly 200km (125 miles) with new glider wings system
The system, which involves the development of new modular carbon-fibre wings, will mean that aircraft can drop parachutists from 30,000 feet (9,150 metres) into an area of operations without flying into a danger zone. Trials of the modular wing are being developed by the German firm Elektroniksystem und Logistik and Draeger. They are due to finish by the end of 2006, with the entire parachute and wings combination expected to be available during 2007. Peter Felstead, editor of Jane's Defence Weekly, said the new system has been in use with the German army since 2003, but the development of the new wing means soldiers can travel much further than the current 48 kilometres. "The new wing will also reduce the impact of wind conditions on the jumper and allow operatives to travel up to 40 kilometres carrying loads of around 100 kilogrammes," Felstead said. "The system is reportedly 100 percent silent and extremely difficult to track by air on ground-based radar systems." Jane's Defence Weekly reported that the next stage of the development will utilise small turbo-jet drives, as used on unmanned aerial vehicles, allowing jumpers to be carried longer distances without jumping from such extreme heights.
05/30/06 - MATT - a test bed for auto new-fuel research
It's like a giant rolling Erector Set for engineers who really like to play around with automotive components. One day, the engineers can test how an electric motor performs with a gasoline-powered engine and a manual transmission. The next day, they can substitute an engine fueled by hydrogen. Soon they intend to place giant batteries on the MATT's rear platform to research a plug-in hybrid vehicle that could increase fuel efficiency and reduce emissions. The building where MATT is housed illustrates the nation's changing priorities. The structure previously was used for research into magnets necessary for use in nuclear reactors. When that work ended in the 1970s, the building sat empty for years.
Now it's devoted to the lab's Center for Transportation Research, where among other projects the staff is working to develop, test or perfect vehicles that can run on everything from ethanol to hydrogen, methanol to wood chips. Hillebrand said he's confident that the nation can move away from its dependence on foreign oil, but he said he believes the solution lies in a combination of new options, not one single answer. "We are the Saudi Arabia of coal, because we've got all the coal we want," Hillebrand said. "We're the Saudi Arabia of shale oil, tar sands, biofuels . . . solar, wind. The U.S. has got substantial carriers of fuel and energy supplies. The problem the U.S. has is they're not oil - they're in different forms. "So what our research is really focusing on is giving the U.S. alternatives to just using oil, and there are a lot of alternatives," Hillebrand continued. A standard hybrid such as the Toyota Prius uses an electric motor, a small battery and a gasoline engine. With a plug-in hybrid, the small battery is replaced by much bigger battery packs that can be recharged through a standard 120-volt outlet. With such a car, a driver could travel the first 10, 20 or even 40 miles of a trip on battery power before the vehicle would switch to the gasoline engine, Hillebrand said.
Plug-in hybrids are "inevitable," said Bradley Berman, editor of HybridCars.com, a Web site that provides consumer information about hybrid vehicles. Argonne researchers took a Prius, disconnected its small battery and used a power-processing system to simulate the larger battery used in a plug-in hybrid. The result? A car that traveled 78 miles on one gallon of gasoline.
05/29/06 - Patent Details of Russian Star Battery
(Thanks to the ever intrepid Bob Nelson at Rex Research for the followup on this new Russian Battery technology that relies ideally on superconducting (tested with gold) nano sized metal particles dispersed in a polymer matrix to allow plasmon resonance. - JWD) Patent number: WO2005019324 - HETEROGENIC MATERIALS - Publication date: 2005-03-03 - Inventor: ZAYMIDOROGA OLEG ANTONOVICH FL (RU); SAMOILOV VALENTIN NIKOLAEVICH (RU); PROTSENKO IGOR EVGENIEVICH FLA (RU) - Heteroelectric, covered by "umbrella" patent of Russian Federation N2249277 covering 24 directions of a science and technics, allows to carry out management of a magnetic field and its transformation with the purpose of creation of devices and devices with predicted optical, electric and magnetic properties. For the ways and devices with use heteroelectric experts JINR Scientific Centre for Applied Research (SCAR) are received the following patents which are not having analogues in the world: the Amplifier electric radiation (N 2266596); the Electric condenser and not hinged elements of integrated schemes (N2266585); the Mirror (2265870); the Way of generation of coherent electromagnetic radiation and dipol nanolaser on its basis (N2249278); Optical glass (N2209785); the Photocathode (N2216815); the Heterogeneous photo cell (N 2217845); the Photo cell (N2222846). Solar Cell - proposed photocell depending for its operation on conversion of electromagnetic light flux energy into electrical energy has operating efficiency as high as 60 - 70% at resonant frequency maximum due to introduction of metal nanoparticles measuring 10-30 nm into its photosensitive layer, concentration of mentioned nanoparticles in mentioned layer being (1-10)10-2 volume fractions. EFFECT: enhanced efficiency of photocell. / Photocathode - technical result of invention lies in increase of quantum yield of photoelectrons to 60- 70% in maximum in visible region of spectrum. To achieve this technical result layer of semiconductor with p-n junction deposited on surface of glass flask of photoelectric multiplier facing vacuum was implanted with nanoparticles of metal with linear dimensions under 100 nm homogeneously distributed over its surface with concentration of mentioned nanoparticles in layer amounting to (1/5)10-2 volume fractions. EFFECT: increased quantum yield of photoelectrons. (Interesting that this wide ranging patent cites two US patents that relate; US2003032709 - Thermoelectric materials, thermoelectric device, and method for producing thermoelectric materials, US2002145132 - Composite polymers containing nanometer-sized metal particles and manufacturing method thereof AND European patent EP0488321 - Electroconductive polymer coated metal particles and method for preparing same.
05/29/06 - Power Generating Shock Absorber
(Thanks to Bob Paddock for the headsup! - JWD) A conventional automotive shock absorber dampens suspension movement to produce a controlled action that keeps the tire firmly on the road. This is done by converting the kinetic energy into heat energy, which is then absorbed by the shock’s oil. The Power-Generating Shock Absorber (PGSA) converts this kinetic energy into electricity instead of heat through the use of a Linear Motion Electromagnetic System (LMES). The LMES uses a dense permanent magnet stack embedded in the main piston, a switchable series of stator coil windings, a rectifier, and an electronic control system to manage the varying electrical output and dampening load. The electricity generated by each PGSA can then be combined with electricity from other power generation systems (e.g. regenerative braking) and stored in the vehicle’s batteries. Developed as a secondary power source for hybrid/electric vehicles, the PGSA uses a Linear Motion Electromagnetic System (LMES), in which kinetic energy that would be dampened and turned into heat is instead converted into electricity. The PGSA is the same basic size and shape as a standard shock absorber or strut cartridge, and mounts in the same way. The bottom shaft of the PGSA mounts to the moving suspension member and forces the magnet stack of the LMES to reciprocate within the annular array of stator windings, producing alternating current electricity. That electricity is then converted into direct current through a full-wave rectifier and stored in the vehicle's batteries.
05/29/06 - Claims of Russian Fuel-Less power Generators for sale
(Received an email from Alex Frolov with a link claiming to sell these and cavitation vortex heater systems that are super efficient. - JWD) "Faraday Lab Ltd is dealer of Russian producer firm AKOIL, which offer fuel less power generators. This production can be exported for the Customer only after consideration and discussion. Power generators of 100kW -1000kW can be delivered by usual export contract. Power plant of more than 1000kW output power can be build for the Customer as joint venture in location of the Customer. This technology is autonomus fuel less electric power generator. Energy input is necessary only for starting of the device. Life time is more than 70 years. Warranty period 10 years (but really it is very
reliable system and it can work more than 10 years without any technical problems). The devices are produced for sale in closed safe frame and it can not be open for observation by user. Any attempt to open this device will lead to self-destruction of the device. You can order it only
for electricity production. Know how is protected and license sales are not planned."
05/29/06 - Hybrid Solar Ferry for Alcatraz tourists
San Francisco is planning to use an Australian company's solar hybrid ferries to transport tourists to and from Alcatraz island. "Ferry operator Hornblower Cruises and Events won the contract with its bid to incorporate wind and solar power into a diesel ferry that also has electric motors," according to an article at MSNBC.com. "Hornblower has been working with Solar Sailor, an Australian company that operates a similar ferry in Sydney. Hornblower expects its first vessel will be built within two years and the second within five. The ferries could be each large enough to accommodate 600 passengers."
05/29/06 - Scientists Float Plan to Shoot Water to the Moon
A strikingly simple concept would provide efficient water provisions for human outposts and even bases on the moon. The idea is to clobber our already crater-rich neighbor repeatedly with tons of water ice - to establish an "anywhere, anytime" delivery system. SLAM needs no midcourse correction en route to the moon - nor does it need a spacecraft, for that matter. All that’s necessary is a thermal jacket for the water ice payload that’s flung by rocket booster toward any selected spot on the moon. "It appears to be entirely feasible, simple and really cheap," Stern said. A proprietary technique would be utilized to keep the water ice ball from being buried too deep on impact. At lunar impact speeds, virtually all of the ice will come to rest less than 5 feet (1.5 meters) below the surface, if properly pre-fractured. Also, work done on the concept indicates that a majority of the water ice that is slammed into the moon is retained, with only 15 percent vaporized.
05/29/06 - Green Water and Sustainable Agriculture
Water scarcity is a major issue for rainfed agriculture, which uses 75% of all agricultural water. Rain-fed agriculture is at the mercy of two things: rain and the capacity of soil to capture and store that rain. While farmers can't do much to make it rain, they can do a lot to retain rainfall in the soil. The rainfall that infiltrates and remains in the soil--also called green water--is the largest fresh water resource and the basis of rain-fed agriculture. Green water is a very important resource for global food production. About 60% of the world staple food production relies on … green water. The entire meat production from grazing relies on green water, and so does the production of wood from forestry. Modest measures like mulching, conservation tillage, and small-scale water harvesting can increase infiltration by as much as 2-3 fold. Other methods include terracing, contouring and micro-basins that also increase green water and reduce run-off.
05/29/06 - Faster Than Light?
The textbooks say that information can't travel faster than light, but researchers at Rochester University have uncovered tantalizing evidence that this may not be the case. Scientists sent a burst of laser light through an optical fiber that had been laced with the element erbium. As the pulse exited the laser, it was split into two. One pulse went into the erbium fiber and the second traveled along undisturbed as a reference. The peak of the pulse emerged from the other end of the fiber before the peak entered the front of the fiber, and well ahead of the peak of the reference pulse. But to find out if the pulse was truly traveling backward within the fiber, Boyd and his students had to cut back the fiber every few inches and re-measure the pulse peaks when they exited each pared-back section of the fiber. By arranging that data and playing it back in a time sequence, Boyd was able to depict that the pulse of light was moving backward within the fiber. "It's weird stuff," says Boyd. "We sent a pulse through an optical fiber, and before its peak even entered the fiber, it was exiting the other end. Through experiments we were able to see that the pulse inside the fiber was actually moving backward, linking the input and output pulses." "The pulse of light is shaped like a hump with a peak and long leading and trailing edges. The leading edge carries with it all the information about the pulse and enters the fiber first. By the time the peak enters the fiber, the leading edge is already well ahead, exiting. From the information in that leading edge, the fiber essentially 'reconstructs' the pulse at the far end, sending one version out the fiber, and another backward toward the beginning of the fiber." Boyd's team are already working on ways to see what will happen if they can design a pulse without a leading edge. According to Einstein, the entire faster-than-light and reverse-light phenomena will disappear. Boyd is eager to put Einstein to the test.
05/29/06 - Music can reduce 'chronic pain'
US researchers tested the effect of music on 60 patients who had endured years of chronic pain. Those who listened to music reported a cut in pain levels of up to 21%, and in associated depression of up to 25%, compared to those who did not listen. The patients who took part in the study were recruited from pain and chiropractic clinics. They had been suffering from conditions such osteoarthritis, disc problems and rheumatoid arthritis for an average of six-and-a-half years. Most said the pain affected more than one part of their body, and was continuous. Some listened to music on a headset for an hour every day for a week, while the rest did not. Among those who listened to music, half were able to chose their favourite selections, the rest had to pick from a list of five relaxing tapes provided by the researchers. "Our results show that listening to music had a statistically significant effect on the two experimental groups, reducing pain, depression and disability and increasing feelings of power." "Listening to music has already been shown to promote a number of positive benefits and this research adds to the growing body of evidence that it has an important role to play in modern healthcare." Previous research published in the same journal found listening to 45 minutes of soft music before going to bed can improve sleep by more than a third. Dr Stannard said it was possible that music simply provided a distraction which stopped people concentrating on their pain.
05/29/06 - Join a timeshare island tribe in Fiji
Today's LA Times has a short article about Tribewanted, a project to recruit 5,000 people from around the world who want to live on an island with 100 other people for a couple of weeks and build a community. The goal: to build a sustainable eco-community and keep at bay developers with dreams of massive hotel complexes. Memberships - Nomad ($220), Hunter ($440) and Warrior ($660) - entitle members to seven, 14 or 21 days on the palm-fringed 200-acre oasis, 100 at a time. Fees cover food, lodging and local airport transfer. This is not for the five-star hotel crowd. The tribe will be roughing it, especially the early arrivals, who will have only tents and basic shower and toilet facilities. "The first job for the tribe," [co-founder Ben] Keene said, "is to build for those who come later," working alongside paid Fijian laborers to build beach huts. There's no electricity, but solar energy will provide Internet access. So far, about 400 people have signed up, ranging in age from 18 to 67. (via boingboing.com)
05/29/06 - Listening to Light
"Human eyes have a persistence of .02 seconds, meaning any light operating at 50Hz or above is perceived to be continuously on. The ear, however, is much better at detecting changes in frequency than the eye by discerning frequencies from about 50Hz to around 18 KHz. Therefore, many forms of light that can and cannot be discerned by the human eye, such as infrared or ultraviolet, can be heard by the human ear with the aid of an electronic circuit. Normally, only people with Synaesthesia are capable of multi-modal sensory input from a single sense source. Utilizing this electronic circuit allows regular people to expand their sensory horizons, too. A similar technology was developed for the military to allow divers to 'see' in murky water by transfering the information from optical or SONAR sensors into sensations on the human tongue. Called the 'Brain Port,' even completely blind individuals were able to navigate a room, identify people in front of them and catch tossed objects."
05/29/06 - Immigration Bill Passes Senate
"For illegal immigrants, those in the country for five years could stay, keep working and eventually apply for citizenship. They would have to pay at least $3,250 in fines and fees, settle back taxes and learn English." Now, remember this is the Senate. The House, which faces more elections this fall, would make illegal immigration a felony and has no guest worker program or amnesty. (via urbansurvival.com)
Russian scientists have invented a battery that can capture energy not only from the sun, but also from the stars, the head of a research institute at the Dubna Nuclear Institute, near Moscow, said. "The scientists have successfully created a new substance," Valentin Samoilov announced, "thanks to which this battery can work on earth, independently of meteorological conditions, using solar and stellar energy. "This is a battery like no other," Samoilov, who head's the Institute's center for applied research, told the Itar-Tass news agency, explaining that it could function 24 hours a day and was twice as effective as an ordinary solar panel at converting light into electricity. Moreover, Samoilov declared, the new battery was cheaper than a solar panel.
05/28/06 - BioGas from table scraps
Fans of the 1985 movie Back to the Future may recall that the time-travelling DeLorean ran on organic waste. As far fetched as powering your vehicle with table scraps sounds, some Europeans have been doing that for years through a process that recovers energy from organic waste. Scott MacKay held up a five pound bag of assorted table scraps during the monthly Leduc-Nisku Economic Development Authority breakfast May 16 and said,” This amount would take you two kilometers.” Kompogas -- the trade name of the technology and retail name of the fuel --is a thermophilic dry digester system. The process involves anaerobic fermentation of biogenous waste -- grass clippings, newspaper, table scraps -- at a high temperature over 15 to 20 days to produce biogas. Biogas is about 58 per cent methane, about 42 per cent carbon dioxides and less than two per cent of hydrogen sulphide.” A study on Kompogas emissions said, ” the carbon dioxide Kompogas powered vehicles release into the air is the same carbon dioxide that plants take from the air during photosynthesis.” Aside from producing fuel for vehicles, Sweden powers three trains solely on biogas, he said. Other end uses include electricity and fertilizer. Jones said agriculture is a good source of feedstock to produce green energy. Aside from outputs such as manure, Jones said, “We can pull methane from corn, the cereals and legumes.” Depending on the size of the facility, the start-up costs can be prohibitive, which opens the door for public/private partnerships.
05/28/06 - How Many Miles to the Bushel?
TOO often, discussions of alternative energy take place in an alternative universe where prices do not matter," Popular Mechanics reports. there was not one automobile that could handle all types of fuel, the magazine tried to match the cars as closely as possible in size and weight. And the price it used for gasoline - $2.34 a gallon - is about 20 percent less than most people are now paying at the pump. Still, the results in the cover article by Mike Allen are intriguing and surprising. The cheapest fuel was electricity. About one ton of coal would be needed to produce the requisite energy. Cost to drive coast to coast: $60. Using compressed natural gas would set a driver back $110. And biodiesel, made of used vegetable oil in the magazine's example, would cost $231. Gasoline, as it turns out, figured in the middle of the pack. It would take 4.5 barrels of crude oil to produce the 91 gallons of gasoline necessary to get a Honda Civic coast to coast. The cost would be $213. On the high end were E85/ethanol, a mixture of 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline, at $425, and M85/methanol, 85 percent methanol and 15 percent gasoline, at $619. And then there was hydrogen. It would require 16,000 cubic feet of hydrogen to power General Motors' Hy-wire concept car: $804. One acre of soybeans can produce 50 gallons of biodiesel fuel. There are 427 million arable acres in the United States. The average American driver uses 464 gallons of gasoline a year and there are 198 million drivers in the United States. All of which means: "Arable acres needed to make enough biodiesel: 1.8 billion." Would annexing Canada be a possibility?
05/28/06 - On having an Open Mind
Catholic writer Mark Shea tells an anecdote about a college bull session among students at Central Washington University over The Da Vinci Code. “Even if it’s just fiction,” a student opined, “it’s still interesting to think about.” To which another student replied: “Your mother’s a whore.” And then, to the first student’s stunned incredulity, he added, “And even if that’s just fiction, it’s still interesting to think about.”
05/28/06 - Croatia apologizes to Tesla for not recognizing his talent
Zagreb's city councillors have delivered a posthumous apology to their compatriot Nikola Tesla, one of the pioneers of modern electrical engineering, for failing to recognise his genius, officials said Thursday. The city council met on Wednesday, exactly 114 years after Tesla presented Zagreb's then mayor with the idea of introducing electric street lighting to the city. The city authorities told the young inventor they did not understand his vision and turned down his project, before introduced electric lighting 15 years later. "He was forced to go abroad, but still he did not forget his country," said Tatjana Holjevac, head of municipal council. Zagreb mayor Milan Bandic said the capital remembered Tesla with pride as he marked the 150th anniversary of the inventor's birth by unveiling a statue of him. At the age of 28, the scientist moved to the United States where his genius blossomed as he churned out a vast of array inventions, the most famous of which was the alternating current (AC) motor, used the world over today. Croatia and neighbouring Serbia are marking the anniversary of Tesla, an ethnic Serb born in a Croatian province of the old Austro-Hungarian empire, with series of events.
05/28/06 - The Science that is Magick - TET technology
(Found this fascinating page about Egyptian images that indicate electrical devices, if you have a few minutes, give it a read! Note the concept of transmissions with hands on long arms as capable of affecting mass at a distance. - JWD) Was the modern battery, prototyped by this voltaic pile, derived directly from the ancient Egyptian battery without them being credited, at a time when Egyptian art and architecture was also being borrowed by America's founders? Nikola Tesla, the prodigal master inventor, spoke himself of his electrical and wireless electrical arts being centuries old. The endless lists of significant proportions and measurements and placements that seem to have been involved truly are remarkable. People like Graham Hancock, Robert Beauval, and John Anthony West are doing a fine job filling in other missing pieces, and pyramid energy has been covered with great skill, competence and often strong credibility by bona-fide scientists like Patrick Flanagan and Christopher Hills; wonderful collections of threads and ideas include the classic works on Egyptian and Mexican pyramids by Bird and Thompkins. Richard Hoagland is also producing fabulous work relating the Sphinx and ancient knowledge to the ancient "Face on Mars". What "real" scientists seem to discover about them is wild enough on it’s own; Science (yes, "the", hard-boiled, skeptical and straight-laced Science magazine. Drop by any public library and look for yourself how "New Age" it’s not) once published some studies detailing cosmic ray readings at the Pyramids... they still don’t seem to be able to explain the results they got. There are also devices to be found in Egyptian artwork, normally without too much digging, that depict strikingly vaccuum-tube like devices- more weight to Nikola Tesla's statements that his art of wireless electricity and radio was an ancient one. One of Allen and Sally Landsburg's books delves into the peculiar recorded longevity of certain ancient middle eastern rulers. Their ages are written as numbers like 60, 000 and 70,000 years. They go so far as to speculate that these ancients took perhaps the kind of batteries that are found in archaeological sites in the middle east, and connected them to their endocrines to achieve this effect. As bizarre, or even Frankensteinian, as this may sound, not only with a wireless contrivance such as a tet could they have a reasonable chance of existing in such a fashion without the encumbrance of being perpetually physically wired to a machine, but some of the vignettes of the tet as an old man certainly encourage even more speculation along these lines. There are also scenes of various persons on thrones, sometimes Osiris, where the cut-away view shows these thrones to have layers of material very similar to the tet. They are literally, with wry humor, "seats of power".
05/28/06 - Tracking you and your kids
The right phone is one that can use a GPS tracking service. GPS stands for Global Positioning System, so if you and your friends, your kin or co-workers have the right phone and service, it will tell you where they are, and tell them where you are. A tracking service from Nextel costs $10 a month, but there's a Web service called Mologogo (www.mologogo.com) that does it for $6 a month. Not a big price difference, but Mologogo will sell you a phone and the proper locating software for $99 as a package deal. The phone is from Boost Mobile phone, a subsidiary of Sprint/Nextel, and is available from many retailers. If you go to the Web site www.boostmobile.com, you can get a list of nearby outlets. The key here is that the phones are GPS-enabled, which is what you need to find out where another user is located. GPS is a natural addition to cell phones, and it's likely there will be a number of special services that will spring up to use it. Already, one called CatTrax (www.kidssafegps.com) not only tracks the location of a phone registered with its service, but also alerts parents if the carrier of that phone is in an area that houses a registered sex offender. (Laws in many states require convicted sex offenders to register with the police wherever they live.) The charge for this service is $20 a month.
05/28/06 - Technique speeds up detecting, treating wound bacteria
"The flora of wound infections is very complex," he said. "At times there can be 12 or more organisms present, and most clinical laboratories are not proficient in isolating and identifying anaerobes, which often predominate." Using DNA detection methods though a technique called real-time polymerase chain reaction, the physician-researcher from the West Los Angeles Veterans Administration Medical Center can drastically cut the time it takes for lab personnel to figure out just what bacteria they're dealing with. "The big advantage of real-time PCR is that we get quantitative information and accurate identification on the organisms in five hours or so, whereas the current procedure--culturing and identifying organisms by biochemical activity, etc.--can take one to several days and sometimes weeks, depending on the organism," he said. His technique is also useful in detecting flora that can't easily be grown in culture because no one's been able to determine just what the bacteria like in the way of nutrients and environmental conditions. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Web site, antibiotic resistance is a growing threat to the general population, as well as the military. In fact, more than 70 percent of the bacteria that cause hospital-acquired infections are resistant to at least one of the drugs most commonly used to treat them. So far Finegold and his colleagues have been able use real-time PCR to detect 20 of the most common bacteria found in wounds.
05/28/06 - UK Online Store Sells Caffeinated Pantyhose
An online store in the UK called TightsPlease is selling CAFFEINATED PANTYHOSE called Palmers Slim Fit 20 designed for weight loss. And, no, I'm not making this up. According to the site, "Body temperature causes the release of caffeine microcapsules into the skin increasing the metabolic rate and the burning of fat. This can reduce the circumference of thighs, cellulite and the "orange peel" effect. They take 1-4 weeks to work and come in a 3 pair value pack."
05/28/06 - Nature offers guidance on organising dynamic networks
Today, for many, computer networks are an indispensable infrastructure that interconnects people, places and organisations. But increasingly they are beginning to creak as their complexity grows. Biological systems through years of evolution can offer clues on how to cope, as a research project has demonstrated. "Even a minor perturbation on a network can cause major problems," says Dr Ozalp Babaoglu at the University of Bologna. "Simply adding a computer or installing an operating system can suddenly mean that the printer stops working or you can't access your files." The problem is caused by complex systems, where a large number a simple elements interact. And networking can be complex. Millions of interconnected nodes create inherent complexity and a growing sophistication of interactions between devices means complexity exists even when the number of devices is modest. Enter the BISON project funded under the European Commission's Future and Emerging Technologies initiative. BISON is inspired by Complex Adaptive Systems like ants, fireflies and even single cells. "The load balancing protocol was inspired by negative chemotaxis," says Babaoglu. Chemotaxis is a process where single cells or multicellular organisms move towards a chemical stimulus. Negative chemotaxis in the digital world prompts data to spontaneously disperse, effectively balancing the data load across the network. It used Ant Colony Optimisation (ACO), a computing scheme inspired by the way ants leave and follow paths to find the shortest route to food. In the computing paradigm, tiny packets of data, called ants, are sent out to find the most efficient routing choice based on the twin needs of connectivity and power management. BISON also developed a synchronicity protocol inspired by fireflies. Synchronicity is important to time the execution of certain functions in a network. Fireflies very quickly synchronise their light emission, rather like clapping in an audience, and Babaoglu says it could become the basis for developing a heartbeat on the internet.
05/28/06 - Multiple 'body clocks' backup DIM MAK/QI claims
(Dim Mak is healing or curing with a touch. Simply put, acupressure and acupuncture are ways to aid the circulation of qi throughout the body. This energy cycles endlessly through the body along fourteen channels, called meridians. "Twelve run to different organs and different parts of the body, plus there are two special meridians" says Lam. Acupuncture and acupressure points are points where the meridians are accessible to outside stimulation. The belief does exist that there is a correlation between specific pressure points and specific times of day. According to Lam, the flow of qi through the body is quite regular and cyclical. It reaches certain points at certain times of the day. "If you strike and block a pressure point at a time of day when the energy is supposed to flow through it," says Lam, "the blockage is very severe." Dim Mak is the dark side of acupressure. Instead of helping the body use its own resources, Dim Mak in effect turns the body against itself, shutting down vital energy flow--numbing, paralyzing, even killing. Many of the claims made for it--masters who could strike their opponents and weeks later, watch them drop dead, right ON SCHEDULE; masters who didn't even need to touch their enemies--are dismissed as outlandish. - JWD) Research conducted at Oregon Health & Science University suggests that contrary to popular belief, the body has more than one "body clock." The previously known master body clock resides in a part of the brain called the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN). Researchers at OHSU's Oregon National Primate Research Center (ONPRC) have now revealed the existence of a secondary clock-like mechanism associated with the adrenal gland. The research also suggests a high likelihood that additional clocks exist in the body. "Our latest research suggests that a separate but likely related clock resides in the adrenal gland. The adrenal gland is involved in several important body functions, such as body temperature regulation, metabolism, mood, stress response and reproduction. The research also suggests that other peripheral clocks reside throughout the body and that these clocks are perhaps interconnected." This research provides important new information regarding the complex, rhythmic, 24-hour functions of the body. The research may also impact current therapies for a variety of diseases. For instance, data gathered in this study and future studies may suggest that certain therapies be delivered at certain times to synchronize with normal body functions controlled by body clocks. "One example is testosterone replacement, a common treatment for certain disorders in males such as sexual dysfunction and depression," explained Urbanski. "Patients receiving testosterone late in the day often complain of sleep loss. This is likely due to the fact that in healthy people, testosterone levels are lower in the afternoon and evening. As more data is gathered about body clock functions in our lab and others, we will likely learn of a specific window of time during the day where testosterone therapy is effective, but less disruptive for patients."
05/28/06 - Quake Kills over 3,000 in Indonesia (Comet related?)
A powerful earthquake flattened homes and hotels in central Indonesia on Saturday as people slept, killing at least 3,000 and injuring thousands more in the nation's worst disaster since the 2004 tsunami. The magnitude-6.2 quake struck at 5:54 a.m. near the ancient city of Yogyakarta, 250 miles east of the capital, Jakarta. The quake's epicenter was 50 miles south of the rumbling Mount Merapi volcano, and activity increased soon after the temblor. Yogyakarta is about 18 miles from the sea. In the chaos that followed the quake, false rumors of an impending tsunami sent thousands of people fleeing to higher ground in cars and on motorbikes.
05/27/06 - 800 Billion Barrels of Oil Shale
The United States has 800 Billion Barrels of Oil Shale locked up in Wyoming and Colorado, that’s enough to supply the whole World for 60 years, and inventor Byron Merrell has developed a method of Oil shale recovery that can extract oil for $33 dollars a barrel. His Petrosix process is next going to be tried in a plant that can produce 1,000 barrels a day. If successful larger projects could whittle the price down to under $20 a barrel. Merrell spent five years "mentally" designing an oil shale "retort," in which pulverized rock is baked, and vaporized oil extracted. He built his first prototype in 1993, buying shale from an abandoned mine to experiment with. Getting oil out of the rocks is not the problem. Any junior-high school kid can do that with a Bunsen burner. "Every retort that's ever been built has made oil. To make it economically is another trick," Merrell says. And that's the trick that, so far, has eluded almost everyone who's tried. If the price of oil stays high enough, if the retorting process can be made cheap enough, and if environmental concerns can be satisfied, there's a lot of oil to be had here. Crushed oil shale is dumped into the top of the retort, then heated to about 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit on its way down, until the organic material inside is vaporized. It takes about a ton of rock to produce a barrel of oil. When it's operating, this handmade prototype can make 24 barrels a day. (via newtechspy.com)
05/27/06 - MultiSpectral Cell Analysis
The method, which works by analyzing many separate colors in an object or surface, has been applied to the field of "flow cytometry," or analyzing cells that are contained in a liquid flowing past a laser beam. The new technique enables researchers to study 32 colors from a single cell flowing past a laser beam in a fraction of a second, promising to yield a wealth of data about cells for applications ranging from medicine to homeland security. In flow cytometry, a liquid treated with fluorescent dyes called "markers" flows past a laser beam at the rate of 10 meters per second. "So, a single particle or cell is in front of the laser beam for about one ten-thousandth of a second as it flows by," Robinson said. "You couldn't blink your eye that fast. We are now able to make a full fluorescence profile of a single cell in that brief amount of time, meaning we can define vast numbers of properties of a cell." Different markers automatically bind to specific cells, and the colored dyes glow when exposed to the laser beam. Analyzing a single particle or cell in 32 separate colors provides a "spectral signature" that enables researchers to diagnose disease or detect biological and chemical agents. "Different diseases will be reflected by different proportions of certain types of cells," said Robinson, whose research is based at the Bindley Bioscience Center at Purdue's Discovery Park, the university's hub for interdisciplinary research. The technique borrows complex computer algorithms developed decades ago by David Landgrebe, a Purdue emeritus professor of electrical and computer engineering. Multispectral analysis uses a single mirror to direct light into a "holographic filter" that separates each of the 32 wavelengths and then into a detector that picks up each wavelength. Satellites use multispectral analysis by viewing the same location on Earth with numerous filters to look at individual colors. "You can determine the nature of a material by its spectral signature," Robinson said. "You can tell the difference between healthy wheat crops and wheat that has a fungus on it. You can tell the difference between land containing iron and land containing zinc because it has a different signature, and so on.
05/27/06 - The Tropics May be ExpandingThis map of the Earth shows areas of particularly strong warming of the lower atmosphere in yellow, orange and reddish colors. Note the enhanced warming of midlatitude regions north and south of the equator, indicating the expansion of the tropics. The map also shows pronounced warming at Arctic latitudes. Atmospheric temperature measurements by U.S. weather satellites indicate Earth’s hot, tropical zone has expanded farther from the equator since 1979, says a study by scientists from the University of Utah and University of Washington. Researchers say the apparent north-south widening of the tropics amounts to 2 degrees of latitude or 140 miles. But they do not know yet if the tropical expansion was triggered by natural climate variation or by human-caused phenomena such as depletion of the atmosphere’s ozone layer or global warming due to the greenhouse effect. “It’s a big deal. The tropics may be expanding and getting larger,” says study co-author Thomas Reichler, an assistant professor of meteorology at the University of Utah. “If this is true, it also would mean that subtropical deserts are expanding into heavily populated midlatitude regions.”
05/27/06 - Lasers Used to Break Molecular Bonds
A team of U.S. researchers say they've achieved a long-sought scientific goal of using laser light to break specific molecular bonds. The process, developed by Philip Cohen at the University of Minnesota, uses laser light, instead of heat, to strip hydrogen atoms from silicon surfaces. That's a key step in the manufacture of computer chips and solar cells, so the achievement could reduce the cost and improve the quality of a wide variety of semiconductor devices. We live in the silicon age, said Tolk. The fact that we have figured out how to remove hydrogen with a laser raises the possibility that we will be able to grow silicon devices at very low temperatures, close to room temperature. One application that we intend to examine is the use of this technique to manufacture field effect transistors that operate at speeds about 40 percent faster than ordinary transistors, said Cohen.
05/27/06 - Space Elevator An Impossible Dream?
The idea of a space elevator was popularized in science fiction, where writers envisioned a 100,000-kilometre-long cable stretching straight up from the Earth's surface and fixed in a geosynchronous orbit. Payloads, or tourists, would simply ascend the cable into low-Earth orbit, eliminating the need for rocket launches. "Three months ago, the dreams of a space elevator finally seemed to be coming true after a successful test. An article in Nature, however, suggests that there's reason to be pessimistic. Ever since carbon nanotubes were discovered, many have been hoping that this discovery would turn the dream into reality. Pugno, however, argues that inevitable defects in the nanotubes mean that such a cable simply wouldn't be strong enough. Even if flawless nanotubes could be made for the space elevator, damage from micrometeorites and even erosion by oxygen atoms would render them weak. It would seem that sci-fi will never be anything other than what it is: a fiction."
05/27/06 - Invention IDs Computer Users By Typing Patterns
“I remembered, as a kid, reading about Thomas Edison - who among other things, was a telegraph operator - and that good telegraph operators could tell who was on the other side of the wire based on his exact patterns of dots and dashes,” Brown recalled. That early lesson in Morse code, in combination with some research Brown was exposed to while in graduate school at Texas A&M University, and others’ comments about recognizing individual typists based on their keyboard’s sounds, sparked the idea. “All of these were sort of grist for the mill,” Brown said. The invention enables any typical computer workstation, using a standard keyboard, to distinguish a computer user by the way they type their name. “If you typed my name at a computer running my invention, the computer would be able to determine that you are not me,” Brown said. An obvious application for the technology is to improve information security. “Rather than replace passwords, this technology would probably best be used to add another layer of authentication,” Brown said. “It could reduce the need for measures such as changing your password every six weeks.” Brown and Rogers trained a neural network, a type of computer program which “learns” by example, using the precise time that each key is pressed and released by its user. Measured precisely enough, each person’s typing pattern is a “fingerprint” of sorts, unique to them.
05/27/06 - Simple, Cheap Fly trap cuts blindness
(Thanks to Jorge Galante for this related link to the flytraps preventing illness and infection. - JWD) A cheap trap made from plastic pop bottles and dung has significantly cut the number of cases of trachoma - a major cause of blindness. Trachoma affects approximately 14m people world-wide, mainly in developing countries. It is thought to be spread from person to person by the thousands of flies which swarm in certain regions. In Africa's Rift Valley, for example, there could be as many as 32,000 flies gathered in just one house. Professor David Morley developed a fly trap which can be built simply from two transparent plastic bottles, based on his observation that flies, following feeding, tend to fly upwards towards the light. The lower bottle is plastered with mud to make it dark inside, and then filled with a mixture of goat droppings and cow urine - guaranteed to prove irresistible to flies. After a fine meal, the flies pass up a plastic tube into a second bottle, left transparent to lure them. Here they die from exhaustion and exposure to UV light. The bottle went on trial in 300 Masai homes in Kenya over a year. The fly population was reduced by an estimated 40%, and more importantly, the number of trachoma cases fell by more than a third. Professor Morley told New Scientist magazine: "Local children have been making the traps at school - the teacher made it part of the homework." Trachoma is the leading single cause of preventable blindness in the world. It is caused not by just one infection, but the legacy of repeated infections over the years. These cause inflammation on each occasion, and eventually the cumulative damage causes the eyelid to tighten and bend in on itself, prodding the eye with its own lashes and scarring the cornea.
05/27/06 - Deserts Expanding With Jet Stream Shift
Deserts in the American Southwest and around the globe are creeping toward heavily populated areas as the jet streams shift, researchers reported Thursday. The result: Areas already stressed by drought may get even drier. As the atmosphere warms, it bulges out at the altitudes where the northern and southern jet streams slip past like swift and massive rivers of air. That bulging has pushed both jet streams about 70 miles closer to the Earth's poles. Since the jet streams mark the edge of the tropics, in essence framing the hot zone that hugs the equator, their outward movement has allowed the tropics to grow wider by about 140 miles. That means the relatively drier subtropics move as well, pushing closer to places like Salt Lake City, where Thomas Reichler, co-author of the new study, teaches meteorology. The movement has allowed the subtropics to edge toward populated areas, including the American Southwest, southern Australia and the Mediterranean basin. In those places, the lack of precipitation already is a worry. Additional creep could move Africa's Sahara Desert farther north, worsening drought conditions that are already a serious problem on that continent and bringing drier weather to the countries that ring the Mediterranean Sea. Moving the jet streams farther from the equator could disrupt storm patterns, as well as intensify individual storms on the poleward side of the jet streams, said lead author Qiang Fu, a University of Washington atmospheric scientist. In Europe, for example, that shift could mean less snow falling on the Alps in winter. That would be bad news for skiers, as well as for farmers and others who rely on rivers fed by snowmelt.
05/26/06 - Growing glowing nanowires to light up the nanoworld
Nanowires made of semiconductor materials are being used to make prototype lasers and light-emitting diodes with emission apertures roughly 100 nm in diameter--about 50 times narrower than conventional counterparts. Nanolight sources may have many applications, including "lab on a chip" devices for identifying chemicals and biological agents, scanning-probe microscope tips for imaging objects smaller than is currently possible, or ultra-precise tools for laser surgery and electronics manufacturing. he wires are grown under high vacuum by depositing atoms layer by layer on a silicon crystal. NIST is one of few laboratories capable of growing such semiconductor nanowires without using metal catalysts, an approach believed to enhance luminescence and flexibility in crystal design. The wires are generally between 30 and 500 nanometers (nm) in diameter and up to 12 micrometers long. When excited with a laser or electric current, the wires emit an intense glow in the ultraviolet or visible parts of the spectrum, depending on the alloy composition.
05/26/06 - Tips for Preventing or Catching Identity Theft
Identity theft may be a growing problem that affected 9.3 million Americans last year, according to Javelin Strategy and Research. But consumer advocates say a few precautions can lessen the chances of becoming a victim, even for people whose personal information has been stolen. The first thing to do if you think your Social Security number, birth date or other sensitive data has fallen into the wrong hands is to place an initial fraud alert on your credit reports. There are three major credit reporting agencies, but a call to one -- for instance, Equifax at 800-525-6285 -- will ensure the other two are notified.
05/26/06 - Brain Waves Control Robot
(Remember the 1982 Clint Eastwood movie FireFox? The Russian jet he was stealing was controlled by thought alone and he had to think in Russian for it to respond correctly. - JWD) In a step toward linking a person's thoughts to machines, Japanese automaker Honda said it has developed a technology that uses brain signals to control a robot's very simple moves. In a video demonstration in Tokyo, brain signals detected by a magnetic resonance imaging scanner were relayed to a robotic hand. A person in the MRI machine made a fist, spread his fingers and then made a V-sign. Several seconds later, a robotic hand mimicked the movements. Further research would be needed to decode more complex movements. What Honda calls a "brain-machine interface" is an improvement over past approaches, such as those that required surgery to connect wires.
05/26/06 - Ditch the Laptop for A USB Key
Nowadays, whenever someone plans a long distance trip, staying in touch with the world is a major priority. Bringing a laptop, with all its weight, bulk, and potential for theft is often viewed as a necessary evil. Most people simply cannot be without their email, and access to their personal travelogues. In the past, keeping all the relevant information on a laptop was the only solution to connectivity on the road. With the availability of cheap USB keys and hard drives, though, the world traveler has a few more options. Now, they can carry an entire computer's worth of software everywhere they go, and keep a personal mini computer stored on a usb key, accessible through almost any computer in the world. Thanks to the hard work of sites such as www.portableapps.com and Open Source, the software is all free and easily accessable. Word processors, web browsers, even entire office suites are available for free download.
05/26/06 - Free Portable Applications for travelers
A portable app is a computer program that you can carry around with you on a portable device and use on any Windows computer. When your USB flash drive, portable hard drive, iPod or other portable device is plugged in, you have access to your software and personal data just as you would on your own PC. And when you unplug, none of your personal data is left behind.
05/26/06 - Global warming may boost oil industry
A top level report on artic climate change spurred by global warming has outlined possible oil industry benefits, but also many potential pitfalls. It points to possible benefits for oil exploration, extraction and shipping with possible energy industry advances for the artic "sub region", including Alaska and western Canada. Their report says: "Extensive oil and gas reserves have been discovered in Alaska along the Beaufort sea coast and ... offshore oil exploration and production are likely to benefit from less extensive and thinner ice." The Canadian "northwest passage" is likely to offer opportunities for oil and commodity shipping. "The costs and benefits of a longer shipping season in the Canadian arctic areas are likely to be significant." The report draws less than positive conclusions about global warming and its effects on the artic wilderness. Rather than assuming a positive note, much of the effects of increased access to oil deposits are in fact negative. Oil spills will increase and access by land may be harder. Infrastructure, including oil pipelines, rigs and associated buildings are going to falter and fail as the ground underneath them starts to melt. "Coastal erosion will pose increasing problems for some ports, tanker terminals and other industrial facilities. Some towns and industrial facilities are already facing severe damage and some are facing relocation as warming begins to take its toll." Even if the oil industry can benefit from increased sea borne access, it may well find the benefits are outweighed by the costly collapse of its land facilities.
05/26/06 - How to NOT achieve your Goals
#5. Don’t Do - Talk - Because talk is easier than action, this step one of the easiest steps for you to take. Try to fill up as much of your day with socializing as possible. Talk about all the things you will do someday or that you were gonna do. Just make sure you don’t mess it up by doing anything productive. Action is your enemy. Embrace your excuses!
05/26/06 - 'Alien message' sparks tsunami panic
A website warning of a tsunami has spread panic in Morocco, despite the government's assertion that the alert was merely rumour - and the dubious nature of its source. The Ufological Research Centre said on its website last week that a tsunami could hit the Atlantic after a comet passes close to earth on Thursday, May 25. Eric Julien, author of La Science Des Extraterrestres (Science of Aliens), claimed that the impact of a comet fragment would trigger powerful volcanoes in the Atlantic and generate a giant tsunami that would be destructive across the coasts of several countries, including Morocco. The alert caused fear and panic among Moroccan citizens, though the Moroccan meteorological office dismissed it on Monday as insignificant. The Moroccan news agency MAP quoted Mustafa Janah, the head of the Meteorological Office, as saying the comet would pass earth at a distance of about 10 million kilometres. Citing the US space agency, Nasa, he ruled out any risk of a tsunami in the Atlantic Ocean. Janah also said that "the Ufological Research Centre does not have technical means" to observe this kind of phenomenon. But despite all the assurances, many Moroccan coastal residents have abandoned their homes and moved to higher ground, anxiously awaiting May 25.
05/25/06 - UofL Researcher Says Water Powered Cars Possible, But Impractical
Denny Klein's water powered car wows just about everyone who travels to his Clearwater, Florida research lab to see it.
"You just drive it like a regular car," Klein told an economic development team during a demonstration last week. "The infrastructure is already in place to get it serviced, so we don't have to reinvent the wheel." Kinne says Klein's invention lacks real-world applications. "I don't ever see hydrogen catching up with existing fuel storage technologies," she said. Kinne says UofL has received a federal grant to research ways to extract hydrogen from water, using solar energy, which she says would be much more efficient. But Kinne says that wouldn't work for Klein's car, because the solar panel would be bigger than the car.
05/25/06 - Tiny, self-powered sensor for future hydrogen economy
Hydrogen has been called “the fuel of the future.” But the gas is invisible, odorless and explosive at high concentrations, posing a safety problem for hydrogen-powered cars, filling stations and other aspects of the so-called hydrogen economy. A team of more than a dozen University of Florida engineering faculty and graduate students has found a way to jump that hurdle: a tiny, inexpensive sensor device that can detect hydrogen leaks and sound the alarm by wireless communication. The cool part? The device, called a sensor node because it is designed to work in tandem with dozens or hundreds more like it, has the ability to draw its power from a tiny internal power source that harvests energy from small vibrations. The materials and chemical researchers came up with the sensor, which is based on zinc oxide nanorods - what Pearton called “whiskers” of zinc oxide through which pass an extremely tiny electrical current. The more hydrogen surrounding these whiskers, the more conductive they become, providing a way to measure the ambient hydrogen in the air. The electrical engineering researchers figured out how to amplify the signal enough to make it readable by a microcontroller. They also developed a tiny wireless transmitter to send the information to a central base station. The electrical engineers further found ways to power the device either through conventional solar cells or a “piezo-electric vibrational energy harvesting system” that draws on energy from vibrations produced by a variety of mechanical and electrical equipment. Laboratory tests of the node, attached and energized by the vibrations of a mechanical shaker, showed that it could detect hydrogen concentrations of as little as 10 parts per million and successfully transmit the information as far as 20 meters, or about 65 feet. Ten parts per million is well below the level at which hydrogen becomes explosive.
05/25/06 - Molding your face for anti-aging
A "beautifying" brace that fixes faces instead of teeth has been launched in the UK. The device fits in the mouth and places a load on the facial muscles, improving tone and circulation. Wearers have reported remarkable anti-ageing effects, including reduced lines and eye bags, more prominent cheekbones, smoother skin, and a firmer jaw line. The "Oralift" brace is even said to improve hair quality and increase fullness of the lips. The technique emerged from work inventor Dr Nick Mohindra carried out over 5 years while pioneering the "dental facelift" which involves altering the height of the teeth. A research paper published in the British Dental Journal in 2002 showed that 80 per cent of patients given the "facelift" were judged to look between five and 20 years younger. The tailor-made device is designed to increase the gap between the upper and lower teeth - known as the "free-way space" - which is usually no more than three millimetres. Separating the teeth with the Oralift forces the facial muscles to adapt to a new "free way space". This sets off a series of responses, including boosting the flow of blood and oxygen to the muscles of the face and neck, and triggering healing processes. "It's funny to think of the Oralift as a brace that beautifies, but that's what it is. Here we have a simple device, worn in the mouth, that can turn an ugly duckling into a swan. "People spend a fortune on cosmetic surgery, which doesn't always have the desired result and can occasionally prove disastrous. Oralift sculpts the face without the need of a scalpel, using the body's own natural healing processes, and is completely safe." The appliance can be worn only at night, when it works passively, or during the day and while eating, said Dr Mohindra. Daytime use involves "active exercise" and loads the facial muscles even more. Other forms of active facial exercise include talking, laughing, grimacing and chewing. At £2,500, the Oralift is not cheap, though it is said to last a lifetime. ...More info...
05/25/06 - Grow a square Melon
(Along with the article about facemolding, remember that Japanese girls wore tight wooden shoes so their feet would grow small and petite, and this interesting article about shaping a melon to a square form. One other item is the insertion of an inflatable tube up the nose which is then inflated and causes restructuring of the bones in the head. I don't remember the name of this procedure but the claims were improved thinking, better looks, etc.. - JWD) Grow a square watermelon by putting it into a box. If my wife and I have another baby, we'll see if we can grow a square kid. (via boingboing.com)
05/25/06 - Low vitamin D intake could affect lung
Jane Burns at the Department of Environmental Health at the Harvard University School of Public Health in Boston and other researchers studied 2,112 adolescents aged between 16 and 19, according to Newswise wire. They found that 35 percent who had a low dietary intake of Vitamin D as per International Unit (IU) or less per day had significantly lower lung function compared with teens who consumed more. They did not find any difference between girls and boys. The recommended amount of Vitamin D is 200 IU for this age group. Vitamin D is found in fortified dairy products, egg yolks, saltwater fish and liver. Some calcium supplements have Vitamin D added. "It may be that we should be promoting dietary Vitamin D intake at recommended levels to ensure optimal lung function as well as to form and maintain healthy bones," she said. While vitamin D's exact role in lung health is not yet known, the nutrient is known to have an effect on the immune system, added Burns. "We don't know by which mechanism Vitamin D affects pulmonary function. It is an area that needs to be explored."
05/25/06 - Selling with Self Downloads
Web service PayLoadz sells your digital goods via PayPal, by hosting your files, accepting payment from customers and redirecting them to a download page good for 48 hours to pick up their purchase. This seems like a great solution for those of you who want to sell your ebook, font face, software, podcast, song, ringtone, photograph - or any digital creation - via PayPal. PayLoadz offers a free account for under 50MB of file storage and $100 worth of transactions, going up from there (to $70/month for $2500 in transactions.) Author Kevin Kelly uses PayLoadz to sell his ebook, and heartily recommends it: Customers download the books anytime, and the money flows into my Paypal account. I do nothing. Yet when all is accounted for my total profit from a digital file is equal to the total profit from selling the equivalent paper book - with about 1/100th the trouble. (via lifehacker.com)
05/25/06 - The Eight Most Dangerous Search Terms
Don't try this at home--not if you want to have a working computer. Search for "Free Screensavers," we're told, and 64% of the sites you'll find are the kinds that can gum up your machine with spyware or a computer virus. Even if you search for something as harmless as "I love you," they report, 19.7% of the links they found on Google were ones they would rate as "red" or "yellow" on their scale of riskiness for malware of some sort or another. Here's their list of the eight most dangerous search terms: 1. Free screensavers 2. Bearshare 3. Screensavers 4. Winmx 5. Limewire 6. Download Yahoo Messenger
7. Lime wire 8. Free ringtones. If you follow your own common sense--keep your antivirus software up to date, don't download software offered by a weird site you don't know--you'll probably be fine.
05/25/06 - DIY Mosquito Trap
1. The items needed. 2. Cut the top of the bottle as shown. 3. Put 200ml hot water in the bottle, stir with 50gram brown sugar. Put the sugar water in cold water to cool it down til 40C (temperature) using a thermometer. 4. After cooling down, put the sugar water in the bottle then add the yeast. No need to mix the yeast with the sugar water. When yeast ferments, it creates carbon dioxide. 5. When you cut the bottle, dont throw the top part away because where you see they put the top upside down to fit into the bottle. Carbon dioxide will be released from where we drink the bottle so make sure to seal the edge. 6. Put black paper around the bottle since mosquitos like dark places and carbon dioxide. This mosquito trap will then start working. 7. Mosquitos fly around the corner, so the best place to place the trap is at some dark corner. 8. TIPS: Put the trap in some dark and humid place for 2 weeks, you’ll see the effect. You’ll have to replace the sugar water + yeast solution every 2 weeks.
05/25/06 - New Super-Efficient Plug-in Hybrid Unveiled
Trinity is a 2006 model Chevy Equinox SUV powered by electric motors and a small internal combustion engine that can run on gasoline or ethanol. The electric motors and batteries provide power for driving at low speeds and for a range of up to 40 miles, and the gas engine supplies additional power for longer journeys and highway driving. "This is a car that is completely sustainable with no oil at all," said Andy Frank, professor of mechanical and aeronautical engineering at UC Davis, who advises the team. Trinity does all the things a conventional model of the vehicle can do with higher performance, Frank said. Unlike hybrids currently on the market such as the Toyota Prius, Trinity's batteries can be recharged from a domestic power supply, allowing the vehicle to be powered by cheap off-peak electricity. This reduces fuel consumption and emissions and allows the vehicle to run exclusively on electric power for most short trips around town. Computer models run by the team show that Trinity's average gas consumption in everyday use could reach about 200 miles per gallon, assuming an all-electric range of 40 miles, said graduate student Peter English, outreach coordinator for the team.
05/24/06 - Star Trek Remote Scanner technology is here!
Argonne engineers have successfully performed the first-ever remote detection of chemicals and identification of unique explosives spectra using a spectroscopic technique that uses the properties of the millimeter/terahertz frequencies between microwave and infrared on the electromagnetic spectrum. The researchers used this technique to detect spectral "fingerprints" that uniquely identify explosives and chemicals. The Argonne-developed technology was demonstrated in tests that accomplished three important goals: * Detected and measured poison gas precursors 60 meters away in the Nevada Test Site to an accuracy of 10 parts per million using active sensing. * Identified chemicals related to defense applications, including nuclear weapons, from 600 meters away using passive sensing at the Nevada Test Site. * Built a system to identify the spectral fingerprints of trace levels of explosives, including DNT, TNT, PETN, RDX and plastics explosives semtex and C-4. The millimeter/terahertz technology detects the energy levels of a molecule as it rotates. The frequency distribution of this energy provides a unique and reproducible spectral pattern - its "fingerprint" - that identifies the material. The technology can also be used in its imaging modality - ranging from concealed weapons to medical applications such as tumor detection.
05/24/06 - Plaster casts of ant nests
(Just too neat not to post. - JWD) Walter R. Tschinkel, from the Department of Biological Science at Florida State University pours orthodontal plaster down ant holes, and creates perfect molds of the topology of the inside of an ant-colony. These are lovely sculptural pieces -- someone should mass produce them. (via boingboing.com)
05/24/06 - Hopes for Nation's first solar/hydrogen-powered home
Mike Strizki plans to use 10 tanks to store hydrogen fuel for his prototype solar/hydrogen powered home in East Amwell and hopes to help usher in the high-tech future of renewable energy by having the nation's first solar/hydrogen-powered home on his 12-acre property in the Sourland Mountains. All that stands between the 49-year-old engineer and his goal is a building permit. Strizki says local and state officials have held up his project unnecessarily. That project, which is being paid in part with a $225,000 grant from the state Board of Public Utilities, would enable him to produce and store enough renewable energy to completely power his home. It also would provide pollution-free fuel for the prototype car in his garage that runs off a hydrogen fuel cell. The aim: Strizki wants to show it's possible to produce all the electricity and fuel a family could need, without polluting, and without having to pay a power company or oil company a dime. Strizki's solar/hydrogen system works, at least in theory, like this: On sunny days, solar panels on the roof of Strizki's garage would generate more than enough electricity to power his home. Instead of sending the excess energy back into the main power grid, Strizki wants to send it to a $75,000 device called an electrolyzer. The device holds water that would then be broken down into its elements: oxygen and hydrogen. The oxygen would be released into the atmosphere, while the hydrogen would be stored at a low pressure in 10 1,000-gallon propane tanks on his property. The tanks would hold enough hydrogen to power a fuel cell for 3 1/2 months. In the winter, when the days aren't as long and solar panels aren't as effective, any extra power Strizki's home requires would be supplied by the stored hydrogen and an $18,000 hydrogen fuel cell. The hydrogen also would be used to power the New Jersey Genesis, a zero-emissions car Strizki helped design and now maintains for the state Department of Transportation.
05/24/06 - DIY Stereo Video Microscope
The Field Sequential method of 3D works only on TV screens that use cathode ray tubes (CRT) for the display. It utilizes the two interlaced fields used to display the picture. The TV picture is made up of 525 scanned lines. The screen is scanned twice, once for the odd numbered lines and again for the even numbered lines. These two fields can be separated and one used for the right eye and the other for the left eye of a 3D picture pair. The system requires a pair of 3D shutter glasses to alternate the video images for production of the stereo 3D effect.
05/24/06 - 100 Items To Disappear
First In A Panic
#1. Generators (Good ones cost dearly. Gas storage, risky. Noisy.. target of thieves; maintenance, etc.) #2. Water Filters/Purifiers (Shipping delays increasing.) #3. Portable Toilets (Increasing in price every twomonths.) #4. Seasoned Firewood (About $100 per cord; wood takes 6 - 12 mos. to become dried, for home uses.) #5. Lamp Oil, Wicks, Lamps (First choice: Buy CLEAR oil. If scarce, stockpile ANY!) #6. Coleman Fuel (URGENT $2.69-$3.99/gal. Impossible to stockpile too much.) #7. Guns, Ammunition, Pepper Spray, Knives, Clubs, Bats & Slingshots #8. Hand-Can openers & hand egg beaters, whisks (Life savers!) #9. Honey/Syrups/white, brown sugars #10. Rice - Beans - Wheat (White rice is now $12.95 - 50# bag. Sam's Club, stock depleted often.) #11. Vegetable oil (for cooking) (Without it food burns/must be boiled, etc.) #12. Charcoal & Lighter fluid (Will become scarce suddenly.) #13. Water containers (Urgent Item to obtain. An size. Small: HARD CLEAR PLASTIC ONLY) #14. Mini Heater head (Propane) (Without this item, propane won't heat a room.) #15. Grain Grinder (Non-electric) #16. Propane Cylinders (Urgent: Definite shortages will occur by September, 1999.) #17. Michael Hyatt's Y2K Survival Guide (BEST single y2k handbook for sound advice/tips.) #18. Mantles: Aladdin, Coleman, etc. (Without this item, longer-term lighting is difficult.) #19. Baby Supplies: Diapers/formula/ointments/aspirin, etc. #20. Washboards, Mop Bucket w/wringer (for Laundry)
05/24/06 - Sunglasses that relieve Stress?
The love of your life stood you up. You were passed over for a promotion. Your sports car was towed from a no-parking zone. A professor flunked you. You are angry. The adrenaline is pumping. Your teeth are grinding. You want revenge. You are out of control. Hold on. Science might have found a way to help. The secret could be in a new sunglasses design that is said to bring calm and rationality within minutes of wearing them. Marketed as NeuView ( www.neuviewglasses.com ) for $72 a pair, the glasses direct light at an angle to the optic nerve. The result is said to activate the more rational left side of the brain to balance the emotional right brain that is inflamed during stressful moments. They’re called lateral glasses, and the idea was researched and developed for psychotherapy by Fredric Schiffer of the Harvard Medical School. Veteran psychotherapist Robert Buck, in Hastings-on-Hudson, N.Y., modified the glasses and obtained a patent. Buck compares the process to turning on the light in a dark room so that you can see the entire room. When a man whose car had been towed came to his office several days after the incident threatening to flatten tires where he was parked, Buck gave him the glasses. Within seconds, he was able to say, “I don’t have to do that.” The glasses have been used by experienced golfers, before putting, to activate the right side of the brain as a balance to the over-active strategizing left side.
05/24/06 - Pill 'reverses' vegetative state
(Could cymatics be used to 'change the shape' of these receptors? - JWD) A sleeping pill can temporarily revive people in a permanent vegetative state to the point where they can have conversations, a study finds. Zolpidem is usually used to treat insomnia. South African researchers, writing in the NeuroRehabilitation, looked at the effects on three patients of using the drug for up to six years. A person in a vegetative state will appear to be awake and may have their eyes open, but will show no awareness of their surroundings. They will not be able to interact with other people, and will show no responses to sounds or things that happen around them. But they will show signs of movement, and cycles of sleep and may be able to breathe on their own. Each of the three patients studied was given the drug every morning. An improvement was seen within 20 minutes of taking the drug and wore off after four hours, when the patients restored to their permanent vegetative state. Patient L had been in a vegetative state for three years, showing no response to touch and no reaction to his family. After he was given Zolpidem, he was able to talk to them, answering simple questions. Patient G was also able to answer simple questions and catch a basketball. Patient N had been "constantly screaming", but stopped after being given the drug when he started watching TV and responding to his family. Drugs like Zolpidem activate receptors for a chemical called GABA in nerve cells in the brain. When brain damage occurs, these receptors appear to change shape, so they cannot behave as normal. He said the drug appeared to cause the receptors in these dormant areas to change back to their normal shape, triggering nerve cell activity.
05/24/06 - The Ethical Dilemmas of Immortality
"When you save a life, you are simply postponing death to another point," Harris told LiveScience. "Thus, we are committed to extending life indefinitely if we can, for the same reasons that we are committed to life-saving." One of several ethical and moral arguments that have cropped up in recent years as labs around the world aim at the dream of immortality, or at least to extend lives well beyond the century mark. Among other debates: * Will everyone have an equal chance to drink from a fountain of youth? * If people live longer but are miserable for decades, will views on suicide and euthanasia change? * In an immortal society, how do you make room for new generations? The life expectancy for the average American is 77.6 years. Extending life spans will be an incremental process, most experts say. But there is great promise. "It is one thing to ask, 'Should we make people immortal?' and answer in the negative. It is quite another to ask whether we should make people immune to heart disease, cancer, dementia, and many other diseases and decide that we should not,” Harris contends. Most scientists and ethicists agree that life-extension technology will likely be very expensive when first developed, so only a small number of wealthy individuals will be able to afford it. Existing social disparities between rich and poor could become even more pronounced. The fortunate few who could afford the therapy would not only have significantly longer lives, but more opportunities to amass wealth or political power and to gain control of economic or even cultural institutions, critics say. Immortality will not mean invincibility. Diseases and wars will still kill, strokes will still maim and depression will still be around to blunt the joys of living. The question of when, if ever, is it okay for someone to end their own life or to have someone else end it for them is already a topic of fierce debate. An answer will become even more essential if by telling someone they must live, we condemn them to not just years, but decades or centuries of torment. Also, Earth can support only so many people. If everyone lived longer, generations would have to be born farther apart to avoid overcrowding.
05/24/06 - The Guilt of Flying
The giant Airbus A380 on to British soil this week was drowned out by the scream of its Rolls-Royce Trent 900 engines as it passed overhead. Just to repeat, then: this plane has the lowest fuel consumption per passenger of any large commercial airliner yet built. It requires less than three litres of fuel per passenger per 100km travelled, making it more fuel-efficient than even the latest hybrid cars. It also creates half the departure noise of its rival Boeing 747-400 while carrying 35% more passengers - up to 555 in a traditional three-class configuration, or a rather unsettling 853 passengers if everyone squeezes into economy. Although the figures seemed to vary, the general consensus was that aviation currently contributes about 4% of global CO2 emissions (no one raised the issue of "radiative forcing" which means that contrails left at 30,000ft act to further magnify a plane's climate change impact). A French air traffic controller drew some sharp intakes of breath from the audience by showing a real-time sequence of all the planes flying over France at one moment. The screen was a tangle of lines. He commented that every single day 2.5m people now fly through the airspace directly over metropolitan Paris - equivalent to about a quarter of its population. Similarly, a representative from the US Federal Aviation Administration showed an extraordinary map of current flightpaths etched over one another on the world's surface. The only places on Earth that are now not scarred by routes are a triangle of air space over the central Pacific, as well as much of the southern Atlantic and Antarctica. Currently, the only real alternative is "synthetic" kerosene made not from oil but natural gas, biogas or coal. It has the major advantage of working within current aircraft and therefore does not need new costly infrastructure. In fact, there are already planes flying in South Africa fuelled on this technology - but made from coal and therefore not offering any significant emissions advantage over kerosene. The bottom line, he said, is that kerosene will be the preferred fuel for the next 30 years.
05/24/06 - A123's Super Batteries
A123 has now built a battery pack that could make hybrid vehicles cheaper and more convenient, while maintaining or improving performance. The new hybrid battery pack was unveiled this week at the Advanced Automotive Battery and Ultracapacitor Conference in Baltimore. It could be appearing in vehicles within three years. The pack weighs about as much as a small laptop computer, yet fits into a case smaller than a carton of cigarettes. Ten of them would replace the 45-kilogram battery in the Prius and if one failed, the consumer could continue to drive the car using the remaining batteries, then replace the faulty one as easily as changing the battery on a rechargeable. Probably more important than ease of replacement, though, is the potential for cost savings and increased safety. Because the advanced lithium-ion batteries put a lot of power into a small, light package, a much smaller battery is needed to power the car, which could reduce hybrid prices. As a result, a variety of cars in a fleet could come with a hybrid option that costs about as much as the option for an automatic transmission.
05/24/06 - Solar Power to run greenhouse and farm pumps
A grant from the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education program will allow Kuebler to use solar power to irrigate his farmland and sustain his crops. Kuebler owns The Salad Garden, an Ashland farm that grows about 40 kinds of vegetables. He has used the city’s water for as long as his farm has been operating. Soon he will install a solar-powered pump system so he can use water from a pond on his land. The system will use solar panels to harness energy from the sun and push his water uphill. Kuebler hopes to save money on both electricity and water. The solar pump will push the water from his pond uphill to a reservoir, which will then use a very small electric pump to distribute the water to his crops. In addition, he plans to channel water runoff from the roof of his barn to the pond, reducing erosion and helping refill the pond.
05/24/06 - Iranian Wind Power Plant to Generate 112,000 MWh of Power
Twenty electricity generating wind turbines are currently operational at Dizbad Wind Power Plant located near Neishabur. In addition to the existing electricity generating wind turbines, 23 more electricity-producing units are also expected to be installed in the region and become operational in the current year -- Iranian year ends March 20 -- the project manager said. ... The 28.4-megawatt turbines are slated to generate 112,000 megawatts of electricity per hour and are expected to supply the annual electricity requirements of 78,000 home subscribers in this northeastern part of the country. A wind atlas of the nation's appropriately zoned sites for the installation of new wind power plants is being provided by the related agencies, the official also announced.
05/24/06 - DIY yellow jacket trap
The Alaska Outdoor Journal publishes instructions on making a yellow jacket trap out of soapy water, a few sticks and a piece of raw fish. This method is NON-TOXIC and for the most part pet and wildlife friendly due to the harmless components that are used to build the “system.” There are quite a few commercial products on the market to eliminate yellow jackets but this one doesn’t cost anything and I can guarantee its an extremely effective way to rid your yard or campsite of the yellow hoards in just a day or two. How It Works: The yellow jackets love fish and will begin to cut off small pieces to take back to the nest. In their "excitement" of buzzing around the bait a few will occasionally hit the water. The soap in the water breaks the surface tension of the waterproof coating on the yellow jacket and it instantly sinks in the water and drowns in a few seconds. Some yellow jackets will successfully haul a piece of meat back to the nest and tell all the other gatherers in the nest where this great food source is. Soon all the wasps from the nest will be working on this fish and over a period of time, all will eventually make mistakes and either fall off the fish and into the water or bump other wasps flying around and knock themselves in the drink, then its curtains for them too. It only takes a day or two to wipe out nearly every yellow jacket in your area. Put the trap on a table or other high area outside so that kids and pets will not be able to get close to it. A piece of fish with vertical sides works best for having the insects fall off easier. (via boingboing.com)
05/24/06 - U.S. military-industrial complex creating phantom enemies
(The answer to all this meddling and mischief making from all sides, FREE ENERGY. - JWD) In order to sell more weapons, the United States needs to create phantom enemies for countries targeted as markets. This is definitely the case in regard to the tiny Arab states on the southern shores of the Persian Gulf. U.S. officials are seeking ways to recapture the petrodollars amassed by these countries as a result of high oil prices over the past few years. Thus, an imaginary enemy is needed, and Iran is currently the best available imaginary enemy. The U.S. is currently attempting to convince the tiny Persian Gulf states that they must buy U.S. arms to counter the imaginary threat posed by Iran in order to create jobs in the United States and to partly compensate for the cost of the war in Iraq. On Thursday, U.S. Air Force Lt. Gen. Jeffrey Kohler said Iran's neighbors -- including Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and the United Arab Emirates -- are talking to the United States about ways to bolster their defenses. In a Reuters interview, Kohler claimed a refusal by Tehran to suspend uranium enrichment has "awakened some major concerns" among all its neighbors. The Los Angeles Times reported in its Saturday edition that the United States has begun developing what it called a “containment strategy” with Iran's Persian Gulf neighbors that aims to spread missile defense systems across the region and interdict ships suspected of carrying nuclear technology. Opinion polls show that Arabs have a positive view of the Islamic Republic of Iran and its peaceful nuclear program. Likewise, most Arabs have a negative view of the U.S. and regard Washington as their enemy. Thus, when it is said that Arabs hate the United States, it is not merely sensational rhetoric but what opinion polls suggest. So, as far as the United States, Israel, and Iran are concerned, the Arab world surely knows which country is a threat to the region.
05/23/06 - Nanotubes Produce Desalination Breakthrough
Scientists have developed a carbon-nanotube membrane that could possibly be used to inexpensively desalinate water. According to researchers at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, such membranes could offset energy costs of desalination by as much as 75 percent. Olgica Bakajin, Lawrence Livermore's lead scientist on the project, explains, "This is like having a garden hose that can deliver as much water in the same amount of time as a fire hose that is 10 times larger." Common methods for removing salt from water rely on reverse osmosis, or moving freshwater through a semipermeable membrane by applying pressure; but it can be expensive because of the energy needed to produce large amounts of pressure.
05/23/06 - Hydrogen Fuel Balls
"New Scientist reports that the Department of Energy has filed a patent for hydrogen fuel balls. From the article 'The proposed glass microspheres would each be a few millionths of a metre (microns) wide with a hollow center containing specks of palladium. The walls of each sphere would also have pores just a few ten-billionths of a metre in diameter.' They are supposedly safe and small enough to be pumped into a fuel tank in the same manner as gasoline."
05/23/06 - 100% efficient, 29 pound Airmotor?
The Rotary Air engine was invented by Angelo Pietro and is nearly 100% efficient weighing only 29 lbs. Using Compressed air it operates six expansion chambers and pivoting dividers that move a single rotary piston. The engine is so small it can be fitted directly to a wheel and makes no exhaust.
05/22/06 - Green fireball 'space junk or meteor'
(The disintegrating comet is supposed to have its highest chances for collision between the 12th and the 26th of May. - JWD)A "GREEN fireball" seen streaking across southeast Queensland skies was either a meteor or space junk, a space expert said today. Dr Stephen Hughes said the fact that the green ball of light was seen over a wide area indicated that it was very high in the sky. "Meteors tend to burn up between 80km and 130km above the surface of the earth," he said. "It is possible that the sighting last night could have been a piece of space junk."
05/22/06 - 'Youth juice' jabs for $200 a week
THOUSANDS of older Australians are injecting human growth hormone to try to stay young. They believe the $200 six-times-a week hGH injections form a fountain of youth against signs of ageing. While hGH is popular in the US, well-off Australians have embraced it only recently. So-called "youth juice" is prescribed by 300 doctors in Australia to about 20,000 patients -- many of whom are doctors. The hormone occurs naturally, but in healthy humans its production normally wanes after 20. Converts believe hGH stimulates regrowth of the heart, liver, spleen, kidneys and other organs that have deteriorated with age. Health authorities warn that the hormone therapy can be dangerous to people with diabetes or hypoglycemia. Among hGH's many boasts are that it: INCREASES muscle mass by 9 per cent, without exercise. REDUCES fat by 14 per cent without dieting. IMPROVES energy levels, focus and sexual performance. "You can actually tell which patients are taking it, just from the sound of their voice -- they are vibrant," Dr Bakaric said. "The older you are, the more benefit you get from it. "But it needs to be used in conjunction with good diet, vitamin supplements and exercise." Since hGH promotes cell growth, it could also promote growth of cancerous cells. Other side effects included fluid retention, carpel tunnel syndrome (pain in the wrists) and myalgia (muscle pain).
05/22/06 - Patent trolls stub their toes on a legal ruling
Welcome to the world of high technology. It has two kinds of inhabitants. The first kind invents, designs and brings to market all kind of innovative goods and services and generally adds to the sum total of human happiness. The second makes nothing and provides no useful service to humanity. It merely owns patents for the purpose, not of bringing goods and services to market, but of extracting royalties from those who do. The polite name for such creatures is 'patent trolls'. During a patent dispute, use of the patent can be suspended, thus damaging or destroying extant businesses. This threat of automatic injunction while a patent dispute is under way has been the killer weapon in the trolls' arsenal. So it is gratifying to see that the US Supreme Court has finally disarmed it. The justices ruled last week that MercExchange, a small company whose patent was infringed by eBay, was not automatically entitled to a court order blocking the offending service. In a unanimous judgment, the Supremes held that judges have flexibility in deciding whether to issue court orders barring continued use of a technology after juries find a patent violation. The decision threw out a ruling by a federal appeals court that said injunctions should be automatic unless exceptional circumstances applied. The decision won't stop patent-trolling - because the potential rewards are so great - but it does level the playing field a bit. What it won't stop is the increasing tendency to use patent infringement as a commercial weapon.
Scientists back plug-in hybrids
A group of scientists urged Congress on Wednesday to fund research for plug-in hybrid vehicles, touting the technology as another way to reduce the nation's dependence on oil through the help of a simple electrical socket. While ethanol-fueled vehicles will require a better network of fueling pumps, a plug-in hybrid car could recharge at home. "To think that you could pull into your garage at the end of the day and 'fill 'er up' just by plugging your car into a regular, 110-volt socket in the garage is very appealing," said Rep. Judy Biggert, R-Ill., chairwoman of the House Science subcommittee on energy. Plug-in hybrids combine hybrid technology _ which uses both gasoline and electric power _ with large batteries that can be plugged into a standard wall socket. John German of American Honda Motor Co. told lawmakers the technology offered potential, but the larger battery pack "adds thousands of dollars to the initial price of the vehicle and detracts from the performance and interior space." Others have worried that thousands of plug-in hybrids could overwhelm the electric grid. Paul Williamsen, a product education manager with Toyota, told reporters Tuesday that the automaker found from experience with electric vehicles that consumers often plugged in their vehicles during the day, leading to "increased total consumption on the electrical grid during those peak daylight hours."
05/22/06 - Liquid-crystal lens with focus controlled by varying the voltage
Physicists in the US have created a new type of tuneable liquid-crystal lens, whose focus can be changed by varying the voltage applied to it. The new device is better than traditional liquid-crystal lenses because it only has small astigmatism and does not scatter light. It could be used for zoom lenses and other microphotonic devices. Most liquid-crystal lenses exploit the fact that liquid-crystal molecules, which are shaped like tiny rods, can change the way they point in an electric field. In particular, if the field is big enough, they all line up in the direction of the field. This alters the refractive index -- and hence the focusing power -- of the material. Without any voltage, the liquid-crystal/monomer mixture was uniformly distributed throughout the gap between the substrates. But when the researchers applied a voltage across the two substrates, the liquid-crystal molecules clumped together at either end of the gap, where the electric field was higher, while the monomers moved towards the middle of the gap, where the field was lower. As a result of this concentration gradient, the refractive index varied across the device, being highest at the ends and lowest in the middle. The device therefore functioned as a lens, which the researchers proved by firing a helium-neon laser through it and focusing the light on a CCD camera. The researchers were able to increase the lens's focal length simply by turning up the voltage across the device.
05/22/06 - Simpler 3D Optical Converter
It allows the capturing of three-dimensional images without expensive holographic or stereoscopic technology and production processes. It uses the common garden movie camera, and an arrangement of four convex lenses to produce 3-D images from a single camera in stereoscope. It can cut the costs of 3-D films dramatically. With the commonly used holographic system, each frame would cost about Rs70,000; with the optical converter, it will cost Rs2-4. This gadget can be a boon for movie-makers as well. The optical converter allows the capturing of three-dimensional images without expensive holographic or stereoscopic technology and production processes. The arrangement of four convex lenses can be attached to produce output from a single camera in stereoscope, rather than mono-vision, which is the norm. More simply put, two cameras are not required to produce the stereoscopic image; just one, with the device attached, will do. This double-barrelled result can be viewed on a screen within the camera itself. This technology can cut the costs of 3-D films dramatically,
05/22/06 - Invention Companies Alledgedly Scam aspiring Inventors
The United States Patent and Trademark Office estimates there are about 100 invention promotion companies. Some legitimately help inventors develop and market their products but others just rip them off in inventive ways. The alleged scam artists know just what buttons to push, telling people their ideas can be big money makers and urging them to send thousands of dollars as soon as possible to help develop their products. A salesman told one inventor she had a real moneymaker, that she could earn $250,000 every four months in royalties. So she sent PTI more than $5,000 with nothing coming from it. Two months ago a federal judge ordered invention development firm Davison Associates Inc., a related firm and three current or past officials or employees to pay the Federal Trade Commission $26 million to create a compensation fund for clients misled about the company's services and its record for getting new products licensed. The U.S. patent office, which won't comment on PTI, said overall invention promotion scams are a big problem.
05/22/06 - Aircraft-like Blackbox to detect Doctors Malpractice
Doctors attending a medical conference in Tobago have been told of a new device, called a "medical black box," capable helping doctors improve their surgical skills and of detecting malpractices in operating theatres. "The black box or clinical data recorder will allow data to be recorded and lead to improvements in patient care." said Pro. Sir Ara Darzi,consultant cardiologist attached to St Mary's Hospital, Imperial College, London. Darzi said the invention was a plus for medicine and that he would like to see them installed not only in major hospitals abroad but in Trinidad and other Caribbean states. "It will mean all personnel working in hospital theatres will have to be on their guard at all times" said a leading surgeon. "The clinical data recorder (black box) could provide data for analysing " near misses", looking at how and why decisions were made, and helping to bring about a change in medical culture." Darzi said Human actions were key elements in many serious incidents but they were only part of the explanation for the reason why disaster strikes. He said clinical monitoring was clearly needed because most errors were avoidable and all healthcare professionals were committed to achieving high clinical standards."
05/21/06 - Iowa company hopes to make gasoline obsolete
A clean six-cylinder engine that looks like it could have been pulled from a Ford pickup has been running for 110 hours, not quite half the 300 hours it must continuously run for certification. The company, led by a retired Ford Motor Co. engineer, hopes to meet Environmental Protection Agency automotive 2007 emission standards. All 81 parts are original Oxx Power, the brand name the company has given all its engines. The engine can run on a number of fuels including hydrogen, ethanol, natural gas, propane or digester gas from landfills. The company, started by Ted Hollinger, 65, is initially focusing on making more efficient, environmentally friendlier engines to replace those used in generators and in forklift trucks, airline ground equipment, irrigation pumps, tractors and buses. The company's products include a six-cylinder engine and a three-cylinder version for small engine applications. The company has found immediate interest in its hydrogen-powered generators that use five engines. There are obstacles to making cars powered with hydrogen-fueled internal combustion engines. To carry enough hydrogen, the fuel tank would have to be under extremely high pressure, he said. In addition, tanks made to that specification cost as much as the engine to power the car. Hydrogen technology is better suited for generator applications and for industrial uses at its current stage of development, he said. A better solution may be engines that run on ammonia, Hollinger said. Development of ammonia as a fuel must include ways to improve its combustibility. Ammonia does not readily spark like other fuels, but Hollinger is determined to overcome some of the obstacles. Hollinger said he doesn't expect his small company to make major breakthroughs in the automotive propulsion, but he's willing to work with Ford or any other company working on clean fuel technology. "I hope in the future the automotive people will look at our stuff and incorporate some of our ideas," he said. "Somebody needs to do something now." More info...Hydrogen Engine Center
05/21/06 - Brazil sharing its Sugar to Ethanol Experience
Brazil's campaign of investment and technology transfer combines the "teach a man to fish" adage with tactical motives. First, it enlarges the global ethanol business and hence its lobbying power. Second, it may disarm some developing countries' resentment of Brazil's dominant role in world trade. Third, it promotes Brazil globally as a relatively moderate and apolitical supplier of fuel. "President Lula (da Silva) has made it clear that we should offer our technology and expertise in both ethanol and the automotive sector to other countries," Furlan said, referring to the fact that Brazil is also a world leader in making "flexfuel" cars that run on either ethanol or petrol.
05/21/06 - Turbine Infra and low frequency sounds cause grief
Giant wind turbines spin next to Daniel d’Entremont’s home in a tiny rural community in southwestern Nova Scotia. The large house in Lower West Pubnico is now empty and abandoned, d’Entremont says, because inaudible sound from the 17-turbine wind farm made his family sick. ""The noise is unbearable,"" he says from Abrams River, the nearby community he recently relocated to with his wife and four of his six children. ""It’s like a surround sound you can’t avoid it, you can’t ignore it. It just comes right into your head.""
D’Entremont blames the turbines for sending low-frequency sound into his old house, located about 400 metres from the nearest turbine. He says his family couldn’t sleep, his children were constantly tired and suffering headaches, and nobody in the house could concentrate. Gordon Whitehead, an audiologist who retired last month from a 21-year career at Dalhousie University in Halifax, insists low-frequency noise can affect the health of some people. He says such inaudible vibrations the same kind of vibrations that music fans can feel in their bodies at a loud rock concert can lead to symptoms including loss of balance andblurred vision. ""There’s a lot of research out of the U.S. about killing large animals by hitting them with very large, very loud low-frequency sound literally stopping the heart,"" says Whitehead. ""A wind farm doesn’t produce sounds loud enough to do that, but the point is if you’re in a situation where the land around you is very dense, then some people who are very sensitive to that are going to pick that up."" ""If the sound is audible and it annoys you, then it can seemlouder,"" says Sharpe, who compares it to a dripping tap that can keep someone awake at night. ""As your stress level increases, your awareness of the annoying sound increases as well. As we know, elevated stress levels for a prolonged period of time can have a negative health effect.""
05/21/06 - Ammonia as a Fuel
There are disadvantages to hydrogen. It detonates very easily. When used in diesel engines, it needs to be compressed for injection into the cylinder. But doing so can consume up to 15 percent of its output power, thus compromising its efficiency. At low pressure, its heat of combustion is low per unit volume. Although Honda has introduced a hydrogen-powered car employing a fuel cell that offers many advantages, and Toyota and others will soon follow suit, in the immediate future hydrogen will not be readily available at the corner fuel station. There is an alternative to a hydrogen future. Ammonia-based fuels offer a great potential for universal use. The present disadvantage is that pure ammonia is not suitable for use in high-speed engines. Its flame speed is too low. However, ammonia can be doped by environmentally friendly chemical additives, and thus be compatible in high-speed engines. Ammonia is already compatible in other energy devices, such as low-speed engines and fuel cells. It is an abundantly produced chemical used in industry and agriculture. Production facilities can easily be expanded. At the present time, technology exists in which an emulsificant can be used as a component in a fossil fuel, so that the ignition properties of the emulsion are not altered. Ammonia can gradually be introduced as the emulsificant. Ammoniated fuel will power an engine or burner with very little modification. Thus, the transition to an ammonia-based fuel economy can be as slow or as fast as societal conditions permit. Ammonia tested
- Tests of ammonia fuel (shown in bench tests to have an octane number of 130) in a four-cylinder Toyota engine have demonstrated performance at an optimum fuel-air ratio, in accord with theoretical predictions. Early work indicated that some hydrogen, which could be supplied by partial dissociation of the ammonia entering the engine or by other means, would be needed in an ammonia-fueled internal combustion engine to achieve adequate performance over the desired operating range. The tests show that operation at slightly fuel-rich conditions reduces nitrogen oxide emissions to one-tenth the concentration observed in today's automobiles. For a range of scenarios, the cost of OTEC-ammonia delivered to U.S. ports is estimated to vary from $0.30 to $0.60 per gallon (in 1995 dollars). Adjusting for the lower mileage per gallon of ammonia, this would be equivalent to gasoline costing $0.80 to $1.60 per gallon.
05/20/06 - Noosphere indicates 'something' is coming
A reader sent in a note that the Princeton Noosphere (global consciousness) project was almost solid red last night. You might want to bookmark http://noosphere.princeton.edu/gcindex.html and click on the real time display once in a while with your sound card up. I've been monitoring this morning and there have been few gongs - a sort of normal morning. Nevertheless, it's one of those things I keep running in background now and then. The display changes very slowly, and gives an impression of the state of the network averaged over a substantial period. - The data represented as color changes in the continually updating button is collected from 'Probability Eggs' located in various areas of the earth. It is a Princeton PSI project that uses shifts in probability to determine upcoming events in human consciousness. The color coding represents the level of coherence or correlation among the eggs, which is reflected in the probability of the Chisquare. The expected level is about 50%, and big shifts in either direction are notable. The GCP's formal testing looks for increased interegg correlation, which is represented here by the warm colors, orange and red. * Blue starts to fade in at 90% and above. * Green represents about 50% * Yellow starts fading in from green at 40%. * Orange fades in at 15% or so. * Red is 5% which is regarded as "significant". * Bright red is 1%, or odds of 1 in 100. (via urbansurvival.com)
05/20/06 - Revolutionary Japanese UV LED
The LED operates deep in the ultra-violet range of the energy spectrum, with a wavelength of only 210 nanometres (210 billionths of a metre), the shortest of any device of this kind, they report in Thursday's issue of the British journal Nature. LEDs that emit ultraviolet light, which is not visible to the human eye, could have biological and public-health applications, such as killing germs in contaminated water. They could also eventually replace lasers, which gobble up more energy and use toxic gases, as the tool for reading disc-stored data. The new LED devised by Yoshitaka Taniyasu of NTT Basic Research Laboratories and colleagues is based on "doping" aluminium nitride, a substance not previously used in LEDs, with silicon or magnesium.
05/20/06 - Gore's Film on Warming
'An Inconvenient Truth,' an incredible documentary about Al Gore's work to raise awareness about global warming. It opens May 24. It's part revealing profile (Gore is as smart as you'd guess, a Macintosh / Treo freak who creates his Keynote presentations himself, and a passionate, caring, positive, and funny person) and part hair-raising report on the astonishing changes our planet is undergoing as a result of massive increases in carbon dixode in recent decades. The two parts are woven together in a way that makes for a riveting, unforgettable movie. I especially like the fact that the film offers a way out of the frightening path we're taking. There's plenty to be scared about, but with smart (and expensive) work, Gore believes we can reverse global warming.
Naturally, Big Oil is not happy about this film and has started attacking the facts presented in the film.(via boingboing.com)
05/20/06 - Multiple AI Agents to test interactions (Remember 'The 13th Floor'?)
If computers could create a society, what kind of world would they make? Thanks to the work of an ambitious project that adds a whole new meaning to the phrase, ‘computer society’, in which millions of software agents will potentially evolve their own culture, we could be about to find out. The NEW TIES project to create a thoroughly 21st-century brave new world - one populated by randomly generated software beings, capable of developing their own language and culture. “While individual (or machine) learning and evolutionary behaviour have been quite well studied, social learning is still an unknown quantity,” says project coordinator Gusz Eiben, an AI professor at the Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam. “The computer scientists want to develop and study machine collaboration, with an eye on future applications in robotics. Robots in the home are only five to 10 years away, and in the future we might be able to send robot rescue teams to disaster areas to search for survivors. They could even one day travel to Mars. Obviously, it will be important for them to be able to cooperate with each other - especially if they are in a hostile environment.” Future disaster victims rescued by robots may perhaps owe their survival to the software agents currently being prepared for life in the NEW TIES engine - which, within a few months, will be running across a Grid of 60 computers. “No one has ever created an engine of this complexity,” says Eiben, adding that it will support about 1,000 agents at first, building up to millions - each one a unique entity with its own characteristics, including gender, life expectancy, fertility, size, and metabolism. The agents will not be labelled, but will have their own distinguishing characteristics to make them recognisable. Their traits will be inherited from their parents, and passed on to their offspring, but they will be able to learn from their own experiences and from each other.
05/20/06 - Robot carries out long distance heart operation by itself
The 50-minute surgery, which took place in a Milan hospital, was carried out on a 34-year-old patient suffering from atrial fibrillation. Dozens of heart specialists attending an international congress on arrhythmia in Boston also watched.
Pappone has used the robot surgeon in at least 40 operations. "It has learned to do the job thanks to experience gathered from operations on 10,000 patients," Pappone said, pointing out that the robot carries the expertise of several human surgeons used to boost its software.
05/20/06 - Winning (and Losing) the First Wired War
"The Iraq war was launched on a theory: That, with the right networking gear, American armed forces could control a country with a fraction of the troops ordinarily needed. But that equipment never made it down to the front lines, David Axe (just back from his 6th trip to Iraq) and I note in this month's Popular Science. That's a problem, because the insurgents are using throwaway cellphones and anonymous e-mail accounts to stitch together a network of their own."
05/20/06 - Getting 'In the Zone'
When a person's life is in danger, a phenomenon known as 'time-dilation' can occur. This is when, during a car crash for example, time seems to slow down or become frozen. In these cases the body's internal clock speeds up when facing a potential catastrophe, so that it can take in more information more quickly and function more effectively in an emergency. This is also a phenomenon actively sought by elite sportspeople, when they get 'in the zone'.
05/20/06 - Psionic Smell via Computer
(Thanks to Patrick Bailey. - JWD) Psionics is the use of instrumentation to detect and enchance 'paranormal' abilities. Generally requiring a 'witness' which provides the sample to be analyzed or affected. - Click on the link to load the page, place mouse pointer over the black box in the right corner and wait til the blue bar over the photograph of the roses has completed. Once the blue bar is complete, move close to your computer screen, move the mouse pointer over the picture of the roses and move it around a bit, the aroma should be evident in a few seconds.
05/20/06 - Access your home PC with a thumb drive
Setting up remote access to your computer using open source program UltraVNC and a thumb drive. Once you’ve setup the VNC server on your computer (and you’ve set up the proper port forwarding), you then place a portable VNC viewer on your thumb drive and you’re ready to access your home computer from any computer you can plug your USB drive into.
05/19/06 - Louis Rota's Earth Currents
(Thanks to Mike Watson for this interesting headsup. - JWD) Louis Rota (1886-1951), was a pioneer in the development of the radar who devoted his life to the study of energy fields which he named "The Universal Currents". * All matter is formed from universal currents. * Each universal currents has its own specific properties, Rota had detected 361 different currents by the time of his death in 1951. * Every chemical element is constituted of a different group of universal currents, copper, for example, is formed from four such universal currents. * If an element is exposed to one of its constituent currents the element disintegrates, not explosively but gradually or more rapidly depending on the strength of the universal current. * The constituent currents are held together by a "force of cohesion" which is related to gravitation but unlike gravity is polar. * The huge polar force of cohesion is released when an element is dissolved by a constituent current and can attract or repel ordinary gravitation. * Electromagnetism is formed of five universal currents held together by the force of cohesion, three for magnetism and two for electrostatic forces. * Electromagnetic polarity arises from the polarity of the force of cohesion. * Electromagnetism can be split into its universal current components releasing the force of cohesion. * The properties of the universal current are heavily involved in the life process. The life process splits matter into its universal current components. * Common physical instruments usually cannot detect the universal currents directly, only components bound by the force of cohesion e.g. magnetism, electricity and momentum are detected.
05/19/06 - Selling Your Invention
The process of selling a product is relatively basic--just be sure to clearly see your invention as a product, and yourself as a businessperson. It's a lot easier to grow sales if you understand the way a market adopts a product, especially when there's a lot of competition. Create a demand for your product. Start by selling directly to end-users. Once you've ironed out your product and packaging wrinkles, begin selling to local independent specialty stores and online stores. The next level is selling to larger, independent regional stores and catalogs. Finally, once you've achieved success with these retailers, you may decide to approach mass-market sales channels--traditionally, stores like Sears, Target, Wal-Mart and Kmart. You need to start out with small retailers, create ever-increasing demand, and eventually move on to the bigger retailers. Define your target market. You'll need to position the product. Make a Plan - Now that you've positioned your product, you're ready to create your sales plan. By understanding and positioning your product correctly--and following the right steps, over time, to create demand for your product--you'll be well on your way to creating long-term success.
05/19/06 - Why Aren't Americans 'Very Worried' About the Climate?
It was barely six weeks ago that Time magazine warned us to "Be Worried. Be Very Worried" about climate change. The planet's climate, said the magazine, is "booby-trapped with tipping points and feedback loops, thresholds past which the slow creep of environmental decay gives way to sudden and self-perpetuating collapse." And those tipping points may well be upon us. So, why aren't Americans worried enough to take action? A bevy of seemingly lesser problems manage to get ample coverage by the media -- and loud and clear response on the part of Americans and their leaders: immigration, education reform, gas prices, tax cuts, even avian flu. But public discourse on climate -- arguably the mother of all social, environmental, and economic issues -- never seems to move beyond background noise. And that lack of demonstrable concern is reflected in Americans' lack of personal commitment and action -- as well as that of their leaders.
05/19/06 - What is the value of your domain name?
LeapFish.com’s Domain Name Resource Center can estimate the value of any domain name. “This question is asked by many, but very few get a solid answer. This is because domain names rely entirely on demand and therefore the only indication as to value is what somebody will pay for it. Here at LeapFish, we have created a rating system which is based on various factors and ratings you may find individually for a domain name. This system is called a CVS (Combined Value Score). The CVS is created by compiling a score derived from several different factors and running them through our formula to end up with a number. This is your score.” (KeelyNet.com came out with an Estimated Base Value: $1,020.00 - Estimated Actual Value: $173,400.00) - (via lifehacker.com)
05/19/06 - Combined Camera/Display Screen
The clever idea is to insert thousands of microscopic image sensors in-between the liquid crystal display cells in the screen. Each sensor captures its own small image, but software stitches these together to create a single, larger picture. A large LCD screen filled with image sensors would be ideal for videoconferencing, Apple suggests, as participants would always appear to look straight into the "camera". The technique could also add a camera function to a cellphone or PDA without wasting space, and light from the screen should help illuminate a subject. The more sensors there are, the wider and clearer the image. Sketches accompanying the company's patent show as many sensors as liquid crystal cells in a screen. If some of the sensors have different focal lengths, switching between them would make the screen behave like a zoom lens.
DIY Maxwell's Demon Magnetocaloric Free Energy machine
You can build your own free energy machine if you want. It is observable and measurable. No faith garbage. It is an example of atomic science manifesting at a macroscopic level. For your machine get two samples of magnetocaloric substance. One positive and one negative (one gets hot, one gets cold when exposed to magnetism). Put one in a box with a magnet. Make a hole in the side of the box. Repeat this for your other substance. Now with two sensitive digital thermometers one in each box. Join the boxes together so that the gas inside travels between the two. Sit and wait. What happens is that one box gets hot the other cold. Not in a big way but by 2-3 degrees. It will then stay that way. This setup is actually based on James Maxwell's thought experiment "Maxwell's daemon" Sadly he died before the magneto-caloric effect was found. Otherwise it would be a real world experiment. Any annoying skeptics bother you on free energy just tell them to run the experiment. Or if you want to really put them in there place say: "Just look through this telescope, Your Holiness." Skeptics remembering Galileo will understand. / Supporting information; Magnetocaloric Refridgeration - Magnetocaloric materials change temperature in response to an applied magnetic field. The field supplied by a superconducting magnet cools a piece of solid gadolinium, which in turn cools water flowing around it. Gadolinium has a magnetocaloric response twice that of iron, but Ames researchers Vitalij K. Pecharsky and Karl A. Gschneidner have found that alloys of gadolinium, silicon, and germanium show a response twice again as big. The magnetocaloric effect depends on the way a material's atomic spins align themselves. All materials store heat in the form of atomic vibrations. An applied magnetic field forces the atoms into alignment, reducing the system's heat capacity and causing it to expel energy, which the water carries away. When the field is removed, the atoms randomize again and can absorb energy from their surroundings, creating a cooling effect. Shull has modified a magnetocaloric material, gadolinium gallium garnet, by substituting iron for some of the gallium atoms. The addition of iron tripled the material's response to a magnetic field.
05/18/06 - Carl Tilley Update - Independent investigation questions invention
In 2003, he told Channel 4 that his car, his ATV and even his boat never need gas, and they don't need to be charged. Tilley convinced investors to give him $400,000, implying a big pay-off was close. "We do have one offer right now to buy, sight unseen, all the technology, for two billion," claimed Tilley in 2003. Since our first series of stories, the TBI raided the Tilley compound and confiscated his electric inventions. The state then hired Dr. Saeed Foroudastan, an MTSU civil and mechanical engineer, to do an analysis of the Tilley Black Box and Electric Vehicle. Dr. Foroudastan had high hopes that Tilley was onto something big, but was disappointed when he started doing research on the technology. He tested the DeLorean that Tilley said could make it to California. But during the test, the vehicle ended up not being able to make it out of town and ended up traveling only 18 miles. Dr. Foroudastan tested Tilley's the magic box and it died after just 64 minutes. He concluded Tilley's invention "borders on science fiction" and that his claim is "intentionally fraudulent or grossly misguided." In September, Tilley was sentenced to two years probation for the sale of unregistered securities. Fuller hoped Tilley would get a tougher sentence, but he could not get a fraud conviction. No investors would testify against Tilley. "During our handling of this case, we never found a single investor who was willing to come into court and say they had been defrauded," said Brian Fuller, Assistant District Attorney. Fuller speculates they are either embarrassed or still hoping their investment will pay off.
05/18/06 - Results of the States' Test of the Tilley Spinner
(Courtesy of Dan York. - JWD) Carl B. Tilley claimed to have designed and produced an apparatus the output of which would be three times greater than its input. The study below analyzes this claim and tests its validity. It is believed that the claims of Mr. Tilley are intentionally fraudulent or grossly misguided. "During the inspection of the components in the black box, the alternator (fig. 5) was inspected and compared to a standard alternator (fig. 4). The internal energizing coil had been removed and replaced with a permanent ring magnet, eliminating the requirement of an energizing current to the coil. Although slightly increasing the alternator’s efficiency, the modification limits the alternator’s ability to regulate voltagethe advantage of an alternator over a generator. This particular modification is not unique to the Tilley black box. Permanent magnet (PM) alternators by Hornet Power Systems can be purchased online. (See attached printout accessed at http://www.hydrogenappliances.com/pma.html.)" There is no possibility that the Tilley black box performs in a manner consistent with Tilley’s claims of a three-to-one ratio of output to input. In addition, the wiring of the gauges in the car to read an approximate three-to-one ratio of output to input regardless of the operational status of the charger is indicative of additional lack of understanding.
05/18/06 - Invention to Reduce Cooking Gas Consumption
Vijayakumar Hegde, a researcher, has invented a device that can help save cooking gas by over 50 per cent. The invention converts extra flame into steam which lessens carbon emission significantly. This also reduces health hazards, he said. Households, hotels, caterers, ayurvedic medicine manufacturers and other consumers of cooking gas will benefit from the invention. Added info 04/19/06 - He claimed that the burner would reduce the output of carbon by 50 per cent. He said the burner did not allow the flame to go waste. The flame around the utensil was converted into steam, which could be used for cooking and other purposes. He claimed that the widespread use of this invention would bring down the use of LPG by 50 per cent and the subsidy on LPG cylinders could be done away with.
05/18/06 - 'Pinball protons' from UV rays and other causes can cause DNA damage
Researchers have known for years that damaged DNA can lead to human diseases such as cancer, but how damage occurs--and what causes it--has remained less clear. Now, computational chemists at the University of Georgia have discovered for the first time that when a proton is knocked off one of the pairs of bases that make up DNA, a chain of damage begins that causes "lesions" in the DNA. These lesions, when replicated in the copying mechanisms of DNA, can lead to serious disorders such as cancer. Call it a "pinball proton." While chemists have shown other causes of DNA damage, the report in PNAS is the first to report how protons, knocked away by such mechanisms as radiation or chemical exposure, can cause lesions in DNA. The double-helix structure of DNA has been known for more than half a century. This basic building block of life can "unzip" itself to create copies, a process at the heart of cell replication and growth. DNA is made of four "bases," Adenine, Guanine, Thymine and Cytosine, and each one pairs with its opposite to form bonds where the "information" of life is stored. Thus, Guanine pairs with Cytosine, and Thymine with Adenine. The team at the University of Georgia studied how the removal of a proton from the Guanine-Cytosine (G-C) base pair is involved in creating lesions that can lead to replication errors. This pair has 10 protons, meaning there are numerous targets for processes that knock the protons off. The lesions are breaks in the hydrogen bonds, of which there are two in the G-C base pair. (The Adenine-Thymine pair has three hydrogen bonds.) "Our real goal is to examine all possible lesions in DNA subunits," said Lind. The team discovered that the base pair minus its knocked-off proton can either break entirely or change its bonding angle--something that also causes improper replication. "The C-G subunit is usually totally planar [flat]," said Lind. "If it twists, it could simply pull apart." Though it has already been suspected that lesions in DNA caused by both high- and low-energy electrons result in cancer cell formation, the new study is the first evidence that protons do the same thing.
05/18/06 - Instant E. Coli test using Digital Camera
The widely known Escherichia coli bacteria, or E. coli, belong in the guts of warm-blooded animals, where they aid digestion. But some types of E. coli produce toxins that can make people sick and can even be fatal. That's why health inspectors at slaughterhouses and restaurants, for example, look for E. coli in meat and other foods. Health officials also test for high levels of the bacteria to see if fecal matter has contaminated bodies of water, such as rivers in cow country and lakes near sewage-processing plants. Such tests, however, can mean days of waiting for food or water samples to culture in a laboratory Petri dish. "We're using changes in reflectivity to see proteins, or pieces of bacteria, left behind on our chip," Miller explained. Normally when this chip is struck by a single blast from a red laser, it doesn't reflect visible light. But if E. coli are stuck to the chip, the laser light becomes visible to the digital camera. The silicon chip, which is used just once for each sample, is coated with an E. coli protein--called a Translocated Intimin Receptor, or TIR-that harpoons E. coli bacteria and no others, Williams said. Captured E. coli mar the mirror-finished chip's surface, causing it to reflect.
The burst of light reflecting from the chip is captured on the prototype's digital camera. A burst on the camera's screen means E. coli lurk. Coating the chip with different proteins would allow it to capture other bacteria. And coating it with a mixture of proteins would in theory let the system detect many types of bacteria in a single sweep.
05/18/06 - Orbiting Space Junk threatens space efforts
Outer space is fast filling up with human-generated junk, from exploded satellites to leaky nuclear reactors, and the debris threatens the safety of cosmic exploration. One possible solution is to encourage space-launching nations to build sturdier rockets that don't blow up in space and spew debris everywhere, ones that burn up in the Earth's atmosphere upon their return. Another is to have inventors develop futuristic laser beams that can "sweep" space junk from the skies. We increasingly depend on satellites for duties as diverse as cell-phone calls, TV broadcasting, military reconnaissance and guided hikes by global positioning systems. Satellites are used to track robotic minisubs in Antarctica and animals in the wild. Space junk ranges from human waste to a discarded Russian spacesuit. About 18 collisions of existing satellites -- 11 of them "catastrophic" to the objects that collide -- will probably occur over the next 200 years, even if Earth never launches another rocket, reported two officials at NASA's Orbital Debris Program Office in Houston. Fortunately, paint flecks and much larger debris -- dead satellites and discarded booster rockets -- eventually fall back to Earth and burn up in the atmosphere. But some debris is orbiting so high that it won't return to Earth for thousands of years. And the satellites and other discarded equipment that make up that debris will be ramming into each other, spewing paint flecks and transistors and rubber tubes like busted piñatas at a children's party. As a result, experts say, the overall amount of space debris will grow for decades even if NASA and every other space agency never launches another rocket.
05/18/06 - Making your wishes CLEAR!
This is a photo of a tattoo that Mary Wohlford, 80, has emblazoned on her chest. Wohlford, of Decorah, Iowa, got the ink in February to hopefully eliminate the possibility of any Terri Schiavo-esque controversy about her medical wishes should she become unable to communicate them directly. If all else fails, if family members can't find her living will or can't face the responsibility of ending life-sustaining measures, she said, then doctors will know her wishes by simply reading the tiny words that are tattooed over her sternum. "I probably should have had it dated, too," she said. As it was, the first time she entered Gary's Professional Tattooing Studio, the employee balked, saying he wasn't sure it would be ethical.
"I said, 'OK, but you get these druggies and drunks in here and you do it. Do I look lucid or not?' " she remembered. The employee still demurred. Shop owner Gary Lietz said he, too, was reluctant, but eventually gave in. Wohlford even talked him into a senior citizen discount. (via boingboing.com)
05/18/06 - America the Hated
A new survey of some 91,000 people in 50 countries shows that whatever goodwill America had after 9/11 has completely evaporated. "The precipitous rise in anti-Americanism is startling," wrote the authors of the new Pew Global Attitudes study. "America's image is at a low ebb: Where once it was considered the champion of democracy, America is now seen as a self-absorbed, militant hyperpower. "More than 70% of non-Americans say that the world would be improved if America faced a rival military power, and about half the citizens of Lebanon, Jordan, and Morocco think that suicide attacks on Americans in Iraq are justified." Young people have the most hatred for America today. And even though the overwhelming majority of Americans despise the Bush Administration, loathe Congress and are as dubious of the Iraq occupation as Europeans are, it is the American citizen who has suffered most from the decline of U.S. popularity. "Majorities around the world think Americans are greedy, violent and rude, and fewer than half in countries like Poland, Spain, Canada, China and Russia think Americans are honest," Newhouse News Service reports today. "In the past, while Europeans and Asians and Arabs might have disliked American policies or specific U.S. leaders, they liked and admired Americans themselves. Polls now show an ominous turn. Majorities around the world think Americans are greedy, violent and rude, and fewer than half in countries like Poland, Spain, Canada, China and Russia think Americans are honest."
05/18/06 - Scientists Find Way To Cram 8 Million Books Onto One Chip
Scientists at IBM's Almaden Research Center say that they have invented a new method that could help squeeze the text from 8 million books onto a cartridge half the size of a VHS tape. According to the Wired news, researchers at International Business Machines say that a new method for stuffing 6.67 billion bits into a square inch of tape and 8 terabytes (roughly 8 trillion bytes) on a single cartridge, increasing storage capacity of standard tape products by at least 15 times.
05/18/06 - Cooling helps after cardiac arrest
As many as 400,000 people in North America suffer sudden cardiac arrest each year. Only 30 percent have their hearts restarted. Once the heart is restarted, a significant factor for subsequent death is brain injury. Cooling the patient can minimize the damage. In a paper presented at the 2006 Society for Academic Emergency Medicine Annual Meeting, May 18-21, in San Francisco, investigators from the University of Pittsburgh discussed how even slight cooling (2 .C) can help.
05/18/06 - Tsunami risk of asteroid strikes revealed
Tsunamis triggered by asteroid impacts cause a disaster similar to the 2004 Asian tsunami once every 6000 years on average, according to the first detailed analysis of their effects. Researchers have assumed that tsunamis would make ocean impacts more deadly than those on land. The model shows that waves radiating from the impact of a 300-metre-wide asteroid would carry 300 times more energy than the 2004 Asian tsunami. The analysis included the full range of asteroid sizes, including the smallest asteroids capable of penetrating the Earth's atmosphere. These are between 60 and 100 metres, depending on their composition. The most common asteroids, between 100 m and 400 m, would yield tsunami waves up to 10 m when they arrived at the coast. A total of about 50 million coastal residents are vulnerable to such waves, though no single impact would affect them all. The analysis confirms suspicions that tsunamis are the biggest risk posed by asteroid impacts. The risks from climate effects of big impacts - through dust and smoke that blocks out the Sun - are about two-thirds that of tsunamis, while those of land impacts are about one-third of the tsunami risk.
05/18/06 - With regard to the numbers of illegals in the US
I, (JWD), think the US government is masking the true numbers. And so can't help but compare them with the mysterious Fremen from the movie DUNE and this brief section of dialogue;
DUKE LETO (happily) - Duncan! What have you discovered about the Fremen, Duncan -- tell me. Why haven't we heard from you?
So too, I think, does the US have many, many illegals from many countries, not counted, not suspected as to their true numbers.
DUNCAN - My lord... I suspect so much. I think they are the allies we seek... they are strong and fierce... they do not give their loyalty easily or quickly.... As you know, the Imperium has never been able to take a census of the Fremen. Everyone thinks that there are but few -- wandering here and there in the desert.... My lord, I suspect an incredible secret has been kept on this planet... that the Fremen exist in VAST NUMBERS... vast numbers... and it is they that control Arrakis.
05/17/06 - Cheaper Solar Comes Closer
Stellaris has a concentrating solar technology that it said will cut the cost of solar modules by 40 percent and convert 20 percent more sunlight into electricity, compared with current solar energy systems. Solar concentrators enhance the amount of sunlight that can be converted into electricity by solar photovoltaic cells. Most use mirrors that track the sun and direct more light into solar panels. Stellaris says its technology is distinguished by a lack of mirrors or moving parts. Instead, the glazing technology uses tiny cone-shaped polycarbonate lenses to direct light into smaller amounts of photovoltaic material. A number of these lenses are combined into solar tiles, which look black when viewed straight on, but appear to be clear when viewed from an angle. Because they are translucent, the solar panels can be used not only on rooftops, but in windows, curtain walls, and skylights, said Tom Ward, vice president of marketing and sales at Stellaris. With Stellaris’s technology, solar-power systems can produce the same amount of electricity as other systems, using only one-third of the photovoltaic material, according to Mr. Ward. He predicts the technology will result in an overall cost savings of about 40 percent. Instead of crystalline solar photovoltaic cells, the concentrators use thin-film solar cells. Thin-film cells contain little or no costly polysilicon, which is especially advantageous during a polysilicon shortage
05/17/06 - Rotating Water Polygons
A team from Technical University of Denmark has generated very unusual dynamic structures in a cylinder of water. A rotating plate inside the water-filled cylinder induces a whirl that develops into stable symmetric shapes, such as pentagons or hexagons that also rotate. The unusual phenomenon in question involves rotating a bottom plate under a liquid in a circular (cylindrical) container. Bohr and his team of students at the Technical University and at the Niels Bohr Institute set up an experiment to find out whether or not such conditions would lead to stable deformations of a water surface into polygon shapes. Bohr tells PhysOrg.com that a somewhat similar experiment took place eight years ago with a different team (including Clive Ellegaard and others). “We had fluid falling on a plane, like water from a faucet. We found that even if the rim of the plate is completely circular, the fluid surface can be shaped like a polygon.” The circle shape demonstrates instability, but when it develops into a polygon (and Bohr’s team has found that the polygon can have anywhere from two to six sides), it becomes quite stable and can remain the same for hours. In some cases there can also be slow transitions from one polygon to another. The findings are related to geophysical phenomena around us. Bohr explains that similar forces are at work on our own planet: “We live on a rotating sphere, and fluids abound in the oceans and in the atmosphere,” he explains. “Our experiment might help us know the basic instabilities and properties of systems like that.”
05/17/06 - Risks for Next-Gen Autos
Thanks in part to venture capitalists, chips control more of the car. Now just imagine what hackers can do. Picture this: You’re hurtling down the expressway when, without warning, your disc brake calipers decide to squeeze their rotors, sending your car into a squealing skid. The “blue screen of death,” familiar to users of overtaxed PCs, could become grim reality when the computer is merged into 4,500 pounds of rolling steel, aluminum, and plastic. As automakers seek to make cars more dynamic, allowing a two-way flow of information to update engine controls, operate a global positioning system, or download movies, dangers lurk. “The car has to go from being a closed system to a somewhat open system,” says Darrin Shewchuk, spokesman for Harman International Industries. “What happens when I pull into the service station and the attendant is uploading information into my car?” Mr. Shewchuk wonders. For now, the threat of malicious code is blunted by today’s proprietary operating systems used in vehicles. “A lot of systems talk to each other, but they don’t control each other,” says Frank Viquez, director of automotive research at ABI Research. “At this point in the industry, they’re extracting information from each other, but they’re not fully converged.” A hacker today could conceivably break into a car’s navigation system and track its location-but right now he’d have trouble inserting software to reach the brakes or other safety systems.
05/17/06 - Approaching Comet producing X-rays
Comet 73P is continuing its glorious disintegration as it flies by Earth - the comet is now in at least 58 visible pieces. Between 14 May and 17 May, the closest piece of the comet will fly to within 12 million kilometres of Earth. This is closer than any comet has come to the planet in 20 years. The Subaru Telescope in Hawaii observed at least 13 pieces that had broken off the large piece known as Fragment B. Those mini-comets were only tens of kilometres across and astronomers expect them to disappear from sight quickly. Earth will pass through the fringes of the comet's trail, producing a very small meteor shower from 19 May to 19 June. his comet appears 20 times brighter in X-rays than Comet Tempel 1, the comet that suffered of the Deep Impact crash landing in 2005. Scientists think that highly charged particles from the solar wind grab electrons from material in the 73P comet to produce the X-rays.
05/17/06 - Sharks sense and avoid magnetic fields?
The World Wildlife Fund has launched a campaign to see if fishermen can attach magnets to their hooks to avoid accidentally capturing sharks, which are reportedly able to detect - and presumably avoid - magnetic fields. Studies suggest that some species of sharks not only detect, but are repelled by, magnetic fields, the organization said in a press statement. Trials of the idea will be carried out, with funding from the WWF. Fishing boats, especially those known as long-liners, target commercially valuable species such as tuna by trailing lines with thousands of baited hooks.
05/17/06 - Forget Hooch (homemade whiskey), use your still to power your car
TULLAHOMA, TENNESSEE: The still standard equipment of any illegal liquor distiller has a shot at becoming the must-have accessory of penny-pinching motorists. An upstart Tullahoma business is marketing stills that can be set up as private distilleries making ethanol 190 proof grain alcohol out of fermented starchy crops such as corn, apples or sugarcane. The company claims the still’s output can reduce fuel costs by nearly a third from the pump price of gasoline. Buyers of stills need a federal permit to make ethanol on private property. In what amounts to an honour system, they are supposed to add a poison to their homemade alcohol so it is not the moonshiner’s favourite white lightning. "We make it very clear that it is against the law to drink what comes out of it,"said Shelley McClanahan, a spokeswoman for her family's business, Dogwood Energy. The company is building four or five stills a day and has sold 45 in recent weeks, more than 125 since September, to meet the demand from customers ranging from small businesses to thrifty individuals. "You can save a lot of money. That's what this is all about,"McClanahan said.A bushel of the fermented starch crop, mixed with yeast, water and sugar, and allowed to sit for about 2.5 days, then strained and heated to boiling, makes about 9.84 litres of ethanol, which is then added to gasoline to produce a blended fuel. Dogwood Energy says it costs about 75 cents per gallon to make ethanol at home. Adding 15% ethanol to $3 gasoline reduces the cost of a fill-up to $2.40 per gallon, McClanahan said. A blend with 85% ethanol cuts the cost to $1.09 for a blended gallon, she said. DIY Fuel Still and Many Still Examples
Mild 'duress' can double chances of pregnancy
(This 'stressing' effect might be useful in provoking healing in a sluggish biological system, give it a kick in the pants to straighten up and fly right! - JWD) Drs. Yael Kalma and Yulia Gnainsky, working in collaboration with Drs. Amichai Barash and Irit Granot of the Kaplan Medical Center, had been investigating a protein they suspected plays a role in the implantation of a fertilized egg in the uterus - a crucial and sometimes failure-prone process. The team took biopsies at several stages in the menstrual cycles of 12 women with long histories of fertility problems and unsuccessful IVF treatments to see if levels of this protein changed over the course of the cycle. Indeed, the team's research went according to plan and they found evidence pointing to the protein's role. The surprise came soon after: Of the 12 women participating in the study, 11 became pregnant during the next round of IVF. The idea of biopsy incisions, basically small wounds, leading to such a positive outcome was counterintuitive, and Dekel realized something interesting was happening. She and her team repeated the biopsies, this time on a group of 45 volunteers, and compared the results to a control group of 89 women who did not undergo biopsy. The results were clear: The procedure doubled a woman's chances of becoming pregnant.
05/17/06 - Fuel Efficient Thermophotovoltaic device
Rather than using the engine to turn a generator or alternator in a car, for example, the new TPV system would burn a little fuel to create super-bright light. Efficient photo diodes (which are similar to solar cells) would then harvest the energy and send the electricity off to run the various lighting, electrical and electronic systems in the car. Such a light-based system would not replace the car's engine. Instead it would supply enough electricity to run subsystems, consuming far less fuel than is needed to keep a heavy, multi-cylinder engine running, even at low speed. Also, the TPV system would have no moving parts; no cams, no bearings, no spinning shafts, so no energy would be spent just to keep an engine turning over, even at idle. The idea is to create intense light, let it shine on new types of photo diodes to make electricity, and bounce any excess light back to the light source to help keep it glowing-hot. In theory, Kassakian said, efficiency could be as high as 40 percent or 50 percent. At the heart of their energy system would be a cylindrical element, such as tungsten, etched with tiny pits -- nano-holes -- so it emits intense light at selected wavelengths when heated to a high temperature, perhaps 2,200 degrees Fahrenheit (1,500 Kelvin). Special light-sensing cells, made of a new material such as gallium-antimonide, would surround the glowing element, picking up the radiated light. A highly specialized filter, set between the two, would let the most useful light wavelengths pass through to hit the photo diodes, while reflecting light of less useful wavelengths back to the heating element, pumping up the temperature. He added that such a system, once commercialized, might also be applied to other problems, such as supplying the power to run large semi trucks' lighting, air conditioning and electronic systems, eliminating the need to run the diesel engine all night long while the driver rests. TPV-generated power might also be ideal for uses in remote places, distant from power lines, similar to what is being done now with solar collectors and fuel cells.
05/17/06 - World Corporate travelers viewed as 'Ugly Americans' by much of the world
Launched this month by a non-profit group concerned about mounting anti-Americanism worldwide, the "World Citizens Guide" has 16 suggestions designed to change the behavior of corporate America overseas. - "Be proud of the American way, but remember it's not the only way"; - "Listen at least as much as you talk"; - "Save the lecture for your kids"; - "Speak lower and slower"; - "Think as big as you like, but talk and act smaller"; and - "Dress up -- you can always strip down." "While we are still admired for what people describe as our youthful enthusiasm, optimism and can-do spirit, we are seen as loud, arrogant and completely ignorant of cultures outside the US," Reinhard, who is chairman emeritus of the advertising firm DDB Worldwide, told AFP. He said the suggestions in the four-page guide were compiled following a survey of people in some 96 countries. "The responses were quite consistent across regions," he said. "The single word that came up more than any other single word was the word 'respect.'" For the 60 million Americans who travel overseas annually: "Slow down, listen and learn."
05/16/06 - Lithium powered Taxi
The first Lithium-ion electric taxis are to begin rolling in NYC thanks to Hybrid Technologies. The Amazing 320V power pack offers a life cycle of 1,500 charges, each lasting 150 miles (225,000 miles!). The Taxis only need 5 to 6 hours to charge and can do so via a standard 100 volt wall socket. (via newtechspy.com)
05/16/06 - Student invents eyeball mouse
People can now operate a computer by just looking at it, says the inventor of the new product in Nanjing. Zhou Chen, a high school student, named his invention the "eyeball mouse." Users can click and open a website by just looking at the screen and moving their eyeballs. A professor from Computer School of Nanjing University praised the invention and said it could be helpful to future developments of an intelligent robot.
05/16/06 - Suction Venom Extractor
A friend was bitten by a flying bug. Her arm immediately began to swell up. She was in intense, burning pain. We attached The Extractor over the bite, with its largest cup...Several drops of foul brown liquid were drawn from her arm. Almost immediately her pain dissipated. I have used this tool many times since then on simple bee stings on my children -- their pain leaves almost immediately. (via boingboing.com)
05/16/06 - Claims of Free Energy deal
(Courtesy Dan York...this one reeks to high heaven of a Dennis Lee type membership with promises setup...CAVEAT EMPTOR and a huge block of salt. - JWD) Revolutionarily new and dynamic ENERGY - FUEL - A New Science Technology for ELECTRICAL POWER GENERATION and ELECTRIC AUTO ENGINES. The technology is know as "SOLID-POWER" Technology and is the sibling both to HYDRO and WIND-POWER technologies. Both of which have been operating for centuries, have fuels that never wear out, has technology that works well for clean electricity - BUT both cannot do the job of supplying the WORLD with electricity. "SOLID-POWER" can, because it exists on every square inch of land in the World, and even under the sea. IF NEED BE, IT WILL HAVE TO BE JAMMED DOWN THE THROATS OF THE DISBELIEVERS and DISCLAIMERS and cynics of science! This is a charitable organization, APPROVED by the I. R. S. as such, and for TWO activities at that. The only one in the U.S.A. we believe, that has accomplished this. It also will ONLY hold a ONE-TIME-FUND-RAISING-DRIVE and never ask for one more penny from its few like-minded, forever more attached, partners and friends, ever again. The discovery came from a field of science that has been "DEAD" for decades, called "Classical Mechanics!" THOSE who join the organization, will in fact have their NAMES IMMORTALIZED, along with theirs, forever in history, as well as the amazing, supposedly impossible one GIFT of a Power Plant...ad nauseum...WHOIS shows no owners names or contact info...now how trustworthy is that??? - Inventor claimed name Dante A. Donatelli Jr. - claimed he had discovered the Third Use of the Bernoulli’s Principle - Contributions to this CHARITY that gives you 'Name Immortality'...big whoopee! - Phase One, 3.8 million dollar FUND-DRIVE - no proof, no details, nothing for the investor - “CEDCO”, short for the “Clean ‘Enerpower’ Development Corporation”, the Marketing for-profit corporation to be formed and owned exclusively by onegift4power...Company contact - R. Hutchins, 215 Pebblebrook St., Arlington, TX 76014-1032, telephone: 877-829-5500 (US/Canada Tollfree number) AND Superpages shows Donatelli, Nancy (related to inventor Dante with same address), 215 Pebblebrook St, Arlington, TX 76014-1032, (817) 461-5560
05/16/06 - Inventor Donatelli's description of his invention
The GIFT and every Power Plant Dante owns, the other nine, uses an “ELECTROMECHANICAL” systems of operations. No one in the history of science and the world has ever used this combination of energies before. Electrical energy - converted to mechanical energy - then used to develop free mechanical energy - then both added up, the converted mechanical energy and the developed free mechanical energies - and this total transmitted and converted to more electrical than is being used when system is operating. The 2080 MW "DYNALEVER" Power Plant is 885 feet long & 285 feet wide, and in comparison, sits on acreage only 1/800th as large as large as that the Hoover Dam/Lake Mead Power Plant uses, and although it generates over 3000 MW of electricity, 1000 MW being used for the Power Plants operation, delivers the same 2080 million watts electricity per second as the Hoover Dam. The Power Plant uses over 32 million pounds of solid matter in motion, by way of 16 pods, with 8 - 1/2 cylinders in each pod, using 500,000 pounds of solid matter each, and with 16 massive, 60 foot, 100 ton flywheels, cranking out over 3 million horsepower operating 32 specially constructed Electrical Generators, as 1 million HP is used to generate electricity for the operations of the entire Power Plant, 2 million to generate electricity for sale. THE REMARKABLE THING THAT SCIENCE MISSED, ONCE THE “FUEL” IS PLACED IN MOTION, IT TAKES VERY LITTLE TO KEEP IN MOTION, BY WAY OF ENERGY, AND THIS IS A PHENOMENON OF NATURE...still no details but sounds like Bessler or some kind of swinging pendulum/seesaw with rotary flywheels effect. Why do these types always make OUTRAGEOUS POWER CLAIMS but no one can do Hal Puthoffs' 1 WATT Challenge on a small scale? No, it has to be millions of dollars and massive equipment/investment as their proofs? And nothing for the contributors...
05/16/06 - The One Watt Challenge proposed by Dr. Hal Putoff as a Proof of Principle (PoP) - In researching innovative energy sources, we are faced with a good news/bad news situation. On the good news side, new arenas of research activity are being opened up and pursued vigorously. These range from relatively mainstream approaches to develop solar energy, to highly innovative approaches to extract energy from vacuum fluctuations. On the bad news side, despite varying degrees of claimed success, there are as yet no standalone devices in this class (with the exception of solar devices) that unambiguously demonstrate the generation of net excess energy to the satisfaction of the consensual research community. It is suggested here that the credibility of these efforts requires meeting what we call "The 1 Watt Challenge," the demonstration of a device that can continuously generate, on a stand-alone, self-powered basis, a minimum of at least 1 watt excess average output power."
05/16/06 - Reaction Control Device to save up to 3/4ths energy
Baton Rouge inventor receives patent US6612934 that uses gravity as the opposite force via an activated counterweight to block the REeaction and make it action/action. Gravity as you know is free, abundant and as yet untaxed. Newton had said that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. What he didn't say is that here not only does the reaction move the earth a bit needlessly but it wastes 1/2 to 3/4th the energy. It was learned that this counterweight must be applied fresh just as e.g. the reaction of a motor begins or else it is not effective. A motor or engine will come up to speed in half the time. This means smaller motors or engines even 1/4th the size may have the same performance for motion-related uses. Otherwise the motor or engine will waste 1/2 the energy while the load, machine or wheels will waste 1/2 of the 1/2 that they receive for a total of 3/4 the energy down the drain so to speak. Patent #6,612,934 - Reaction Control Device - As rotational mechanical devices accelerate or decelerate, they have an opposite reaction against their housing and/or their surroundings in fact to move the earth. This reaction represents wasted energy that is lost to the system. The invention comprises the use of equal and opposite force from an energy source gravity via activated spring, cable, or counterweight applied fresh as acceleration begins or lift and release from opposite or adjacent sides to reset. These methods can conserve as much as three-fourths of the applied energy for motors, machines, and other motion-related applications.
05/16/06 - Hate hotline puts speech on hold
What's the difference between a Rottweiler and a Jewish mother? Eventually, the Rottweiler lets go. Now, some Jews may find that joke offensive. I don't. But if you're insulted, and you live in Boulder, you're in luck. Soon enough, you may be able to report me to the authorities. Tuesday, the Boulder City Council will take up the matter of allocating public funding for a "hate hotline," which would give residents an opportunity to report incidents in which Boulderites use tactless language. Golden says the agenda item on the hotline is "extensive" and a "real dilemma" for the ACLU. There are some very "broad standards" laid out in the resolution. There is, for instance, the policy statement condemning the usual individual or collective acts of racism and bigotry. Great. But it also condemns those who attack "personal beliefs and values." What would happen to the bumper- sticker industry? So, it seems that since purifying our thoughts is still beyond technology's reach, Boulder will now attempt to achieve politically correct speech codes in other ways. The council should realize, however ugly it may be, Americans still have the constitutional right to be racist, homophobic, Jew-hating or even to make bad jokes - as anyone who's heard the one about the redneck who invented the ejection seat on the helicopter can tell you.
05/16/06 - Indian overunity motor/generator claim
I read of a new "invention" in the bulletin dt Oct 1, 96 (not April 1) in the A. P. Regional News from the India Network Foundation. According to it, a mechanic & electrician from Madanapalle, Andhra Pradesh has invented a new machine that can generate electrical energy enough to run a household, without any external energy inputs, except for a battery to start. No details were published. Strangely there is a 1/4 HP motor too
among the items that constitute the invention. Later I did not hear any more about it! (If you have additional information about this claim from India in 1996, I would like to know more, thanks! - JWD)
05/16/06 - FengShui to improve your love life?
(Fengshui claims to be able to reroute natural energy flows to enhance specific aspects of your life...dragon current, ley lines and all that stuff. - JWD) People like Los Angeles advertising art director Alicia Schiefer insist that feng shui works to improve one's romantic life. "It's worth it to do it," she said. Using the peach blossom technique in feng shui, she entered into what she says was a very satisfying long-term relationship. Feng shui is increasingly becoming accepted in the West as a way of increasing business prosperity and maintaining health, harnessing the universal energy of life, or qi, to create a harmonious environment. "Not only will you be able to improve your surroundings to attract romance, but you can increase your personal energy that will make you feel more energized and attractive," according to Sugita's E-book "The Feng Shui Equation." The formula for stirring up romantic energy is simple enough. Fresh flowers are placed in water in a wide-necked vase. The color of the flower and the vase must be the same and can be determined by checking a person's birth date on a feng shui chart or by having a reading done. The chart also determines the best direction for the flower arrangement. Then, one must sit back and wait. Schiefer lived in a rental for a year and never met anyone. Her peach blossom was in place, but she planned to move. Within a few weeks, a prospective tenant asked to meet her because of how she had decorated the space. Five years later, she and her partner, Brad Amster, are still together. Feng shui practitioners point out that the technique does have its down side. The random personal attraction created can bring ex-boyfriends and ex-husbands back on the scene. "It only improves what you were meant to have," said Betty Stone, assistant to Feng Shui Master Larry Sang of the American Feng Shui Institute. Pat Linse, co-founder of the Skeptics Society, said it would be interesting to test the technique scientifically by gathering 100 people who do not know the ritual and having 50 of them practice the correct ritual while showing the wrong ritual to the other 50, and then observing whether there is a difference in the groups' outcomes.
05/15/06 - Dye pinpoints diseases and pathogens
Chemical screening tool lights up in presence of dangerous pathogens and diseases in air, water and bodily fluids. “This detection technique, which uses DNA to seek out target DNA, could one day be used in clinical care situations to quickly detect diseases such as AIDS and hepatitis,” says Professor Ulrich Krull. “It could also act to constantly monitor the environment and sound an alarm if harmful agents were to appear.” A fluorescent dye is attached to probe DNA that binds to specific target DNA sequences, illuminates in the presence of a targeted pathogen or genetic mutation and then sends a detection signal through an optical fibre. By simply adding heat, the dye unbinds and the detection chemistry is ready to test the next sample. The chemical screening system fits onto a microchip and soon could test blood and water samples in a matter of seconds.
05/15/06 - New invention converts waste to active carbon
New U of T research will make it possible to convert waste material from oil sands into active carbon, and has the potential to greatly reduce mercury emissions. “We are the first to convert waste to activated carbon,” says Charles Jia, a professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering and Applied Chemistry. The newly patented “SOactive” process, through which oil-sand fluid coke, a byproduct of producing synthetic crude oil, can be activated by sulphur dioxide, while the sulphur dioxide is converted to elemental sulphur, which acts as raw material for fertilizer and sulphuric acid, among other things, Jia says. The professors have termed the activated form of the coke “ECOcarbon.”
05/15/06 - 1,820 Sheep die grazing GE cotton land
1820 Sheep died grazing on the harvested GE cotton land. Even wearing GE Cotton could cause terrible skin reactions". The latest studies on GE Cotton farming have raised grave concerns about the safety of GE cotton which is widely used in food as well as in clothing. A preliminary report released in late April has found that thousands of sheep died after grazing on land where GE cotton had been grown. The sheep and goats started dying after seven days of continuously grazing on tender leaves and pods of Bt cotton that remaind in the fields after picking. "After 10 years, we still have no diagnostic tools to assess possible reactions to GE food", says Claire Bleakley of GE Free (NZ) in food and Environment, "GE cotton should be properly tested on animals and humans for safety, but so far it has not." In December a three month study was released which found that workers picking GE cotton suffered severe skin reactions with itching and blistery eruptions leaving a black skin discolouration which was still apparent after 5 months. "The dangers of GE organisms in the food chain and the environment are becoming apparent. All government agencies and commercial interests must take these warnings seriously before it is too late", says Ms Bleakley.
05/15/06 - 1st Gear takes you to 112mph - WrightSpeed X1 Cleantech Super Car
With advanced electric drive train technology, our cars raise the performance driving experience to a new level - while still returning 3 times better energy efficiency than the most efficient cars available. Wrightspeed is building the X1, demonstrable today in a street-legal prototype, using lithium-ion batteries and a 3-phase electric motor. It has already raced against and beaten some of the world’s fastest production cars, while at the same time being 10 times more energy efficient than the cars it outperformed. The X1 prototype is a concept car, and a test platform. It is not a production car, and never will be. It’s a proof-of-concept vehicle that will lead to a production car in the future. The X1 prototype is just the beginning. It meets its design specs of 0-60 in 3 seconds, 170 mpg equivalent; and at 1536 lbs, is only 36 lbs over the design target of 1500. It really does raise the performance driving experience to a new level, even for racing drivers. No clutch, no shifting, precise and immediate control of torque in drive and braking, perfect traction control…first gear takes you to 112mph… X1 Prototype Specs; • 3-phase AC induction motor, 236hp at the motor shaft • 182 ft lbs torque at the motor shaft, from 0 rpm to 6,000 rpm • 13,300 rpm rev limit • weight 1,500 lbs • no clutch, single gear ratio 8.35:1 • Quaife limited slip differential • Alcon front calipers, 4 piston • Dymag Magnesium Alloy wheels • inboard Bilstein race dampers, Eibach 2-stage springs • steering: rack and pinion, 1.5 turns lock-lock • Lithium Ion battery pack. Performance; • 0-60 ~ 3.0 seconds • Standing quarter mile ~11.5 seconds • Top speed 112mph (electronically limited) • Range >100 miles in urban use • Charger: onboard conductive. Input 100-250V 50 or 60 Hz. Current: user adjustable up to 80A • Energy consumption 200 WHr/mile in urban use, equivalent to 170 mpg (33,705 WHr/gallon)
05/15/06 - Green roofs in winter: Hot design for a cold climate
Karen Liu of the National Research Council’s Institute for Research in Construction, offers the first conclusive data that winter green roofs can help reduce heat loss and energy consumption during cold months. The winter green roof uses evergreens - juniper shrubs - and a thicker soil base than typical leafy green roofs, which generally provide passive benefits to the environment by reducing the need for air conditioning on hot days. The winter roof was installed on both a standard test house and an energy-efficient winterized house. Bass used environmental systems performance software to chart the indoor temperature fluctuations in both buildings. “The results for the winterized house were good, and the results for the regular house were dramatic,” says Bass. “The assessment opens up designers to considering winter roofs as part of a year-round energy efficiency strategy.”
05/14/06 - Solar Hybrid-Electric Aquatanker
SolarSail has come up with an Aquatanker design that can save 40 to 60% in energy costs. The configuration can be used to carry people as a ferry or scaled up to transport water to drought ridden areas. Using solar sail technology, the total energy expended may be as low as 5kW hours per ton.
05/14/06 - Tex2Me almost free texting service
A mobile phone revolution could make cheap text messages available to millions - thanks to an East Anglian inventor. Most people, from primary school children to pensioners, carry a mobile phone and most can be seen wiggling their thumbs to send text messages. And thanks to a new piece of technological wizardry, the price of each message has been shrunk to a fraction of a penny. Industry experts are divided on the impact Tex2me might have on the mobile phone market, but one theory says that in time it could force major operators to offer free text messages to everyone. / tex2me.com - What is Tex2? Tex2 is a simple programme that sits on your phone. It's free and lets you swap messages with anyone who's got Tex2 for a fraction of the cost of a traditional SMS. Tex2 means you can exchange around 20 messages with your mates for the price of one SMS sent the old fashioned way. Tex2 requires that you have GPRS enabled on your phone and that you can use your phone to browse the web. If in doubt, Call your network to check. Before downloading Tex2 make sure your network has enabled GPRS. The tiny cost of sending and receiving Tex2 messages comes off your prepay or contract balance. You don't have to buy vouchers or add-ons.
05/14/06 - Racing for a better way to power cars
On Saturday, the Viking 32 concept car will be on display and competing against two-dozen other vehicles at this year's Tour de Sol at the Saratoga Automobile Museum Auto Show in Saratoga Spa State Park. The competition offers $10,000 in prize money, in addition to the showcasing of new technology. When the Tour de Sol began in 1989, competition focused on solar-powered vehicles imitating gasoline-powered cars. The race was promoted as a way to increase efficiency and raise awareness about alternative fuels. The cars were impressive but did not come close to the practicality of their petroleum-dependent counterparts. The Viking can travel between 200 and 300 miles at highway speeds on one tank of methane gas. The sleek low-riding car can go from zero to 60 mph in six seconds. To fill it up, Wilson's team goes to a dairy near the university to collect methane generated from the composting manure at the farm. The gas is filtered to remove carbon dioxide and hydrogen sulfide. What is left is clean-burning fuel the team estimates could be produced for one-fifth the cost of gasoline. A century ago the first automobiles had three sources of power -- steam, lead batteries and gasoline, said Saratoga Automobile Museum Director Alan Edstrom. The invention of the electric starter motor, which allowed gasoline engines to be started with an ignition switch, made steam and electric vehicles obsolete.
05/14/06 - Copying nature could save us energy
When faced with engineering difficulties, such as lifting a load or coping with extremes of heat, up to 70 per cent of man-made technologies manipulate energy, often increasing the amount used, in order to resolve the problem. However, new research which has compared how nature and man-made technologies overcome similar problems has shown that only 5 per cent of natural ‘machines’ rely on energy in the same way. “A man-made hammer has a very heavy head, so that it is heavy to carry around and lift but can do a lot of work with one hit. It relies on inertia. “But the woodpecker’s hammer, its head, relies on speed. It is very light to carry around, and functions rather like a whip, with the heavier body moving a small amount, and the lighter head, on its long neck, moving much faster. “They can each deliver the same amount of impact energy, but they do it in a very different way.” Researchers are currently looking at the desert cockroach (to develop a new kind of dehumidifier technology), insect sense organs (for structural health monitoring) and the egg-laying organ of a wood-wasp (for a new type of steerable endoscope). “Whilst we have been quick to see the potential for developing new kinds of products from nature, it is only now that we can see the potential for making energy savings too,” said Professor Vincent. “Given the growing demands for improving our energy-efficiency and reducing the amount of pollution we produce, biomimetics offers a new area of study which could reap strong rewards for the future.”
05/14/06 - Hydrogen 'squeezed' from Biomass
In the next couple of weeks, the technology, developed by Virent Energy Systems, will be used for the first time to continuously produce electricity from a small 10-kilowatt generator at the company's facility in Madison. The unit is fueled by corn syrup, similar to the kind used by soft drinks manufacturers. A project is underway to build and test self-contained units capable of producing their own hydrogen from a biomass-derived glycerol solution or even antifreeze. Virent's conversion process, which is called aqueous phase reforming (APR) uses reformation at relatively low temperatures and with liquids rather steam. The process uses extremely active catalysts, which allow 15 times more hydrogen to be converted per gram of catalyst, compared with steam reforming. This efficiency allows 90 percent of the feedstock to be converted in the first cycle and the rest to be recycled. As a result, Virent claims it's able to produce hydrogen for $2-3 per kilogram -- competitive with natural-gas-derived hydrogen. The Navy wants a unit no bigger than two cubic feet and quieter than a generator. The result will be a device capable of producing about one kilowatt of electricity, enough to power about 20 laptops. Running the generator on antifreeze will be an added bonus, notes Apfelback, since the substance is already in the military supply chain.
05/14/06 - The next X-Prize: How about a 250 m.p.g. car?
The challenge: Build the world's most fuel-efficient production car - one that gets maybe 250 miles per gallon and causes little or no pollution. The payoff: prize money from the group that awarded $10 million for the world's first private spaceflight two years ago. "Ford's Model T got 25 miles per gallon, and today a Ford Explorer gets 18 miles per gallon," says Peter Diamandis, X-Prize Foundation chairman. "We believe the time is ripe for a fundamental change in what we drive - and we believe an X-Prize in this area can drive a substantial change." "There are countless failures you don't hear about," says Diamandis of the X-Prize Foundation. "It's all about creating the dynamic to attract the maverick thinker.... It's not about the gizmo - it's about the human being."
05/14/06 - Artificial rain washes dust from Beijing sky
(This was covered here earlier but more detail is here. - JWD) Technicians with the Beijing Weather Modification Office fired seven rocket shells containing 163 cigarette-size sticks of silver iodide over the city's skies on Thursday, Xinhua said. The reaction that occurred brought as much as four-tenths of an inch of rain, the heaviest rainfall this year, helping to "alleviate drought, add soil moisture and remove dust from the air for better air quality", Xinhua said. China has been tinkering with artificial rainmaking for decades, using it frequently in the drought-plagued north. Last month, another artificial rainfall was generated to clear Beijing after the city suffered some of the fiercest dust storms this decade.
05/14/06 - Cochlea's spiral shape boosts low frequencies
(Keely claimed many of his devices copied parts of the body, specifically the ear and this spiral shape. - JWD) This critical hearing organ consists of a fluid-filled tube about a cubic centimeter (three hundredths of an ounce) in volume. For decades, hearing experts thought that its spiral shape was simply an efficient packing job and its shape had no effect on how it functions. A mathematical model of the cochlea that finds the spiral shape acts to enhance the low frequency sounds that we use to communicate with one another. If the new model is correct, then the cochlea is more sophisticated than researchers have thought. Their first model, which portrayed the cochlea as a helix of constant radius, did not show that the shape had any effects. This basic frequency sorting works in the same fashion whether the cochlear tube is laid out straight or coiled in a spiral. That observation, in fact, was the major reason that the researchers studying cochlear mechanics concluded its shape didn't matter. Manoussaki's model comes to the same conclusion, but her calculations also reveal that the spiral shape causes the energy in the waves to accumulate against the outside edge of the chamber. She likens this to the "whispering gallery mode" effect where whispers traveling along curved walls of a large chamber can remain strong enough so they can be heard clearly on the opposite side of the room. This uneven energy distribution, in turn, causes the fluid to slosh higher on one side of the chamber, forcing the basilar membrane to tilt to one side, the direction to which the hair cells are most sensitive. The effect is strongest in the center of the spiral, where the lowest frequencies are detected. The researchers calculate the sensitivity increase can be as much as 20 decibels. That corresponds to the difference between the ambience of a quiet restaurant and the noise of a busy street.
05/14/06 - Flash Memory with Nanoscale materials 1/2 the size and cheaper
Motorola spinoff Freescale Semiconductor of Austin, TX, is using nanoscale materials to develop a new generation of flash memory that will be half the size of conventional flash devices and could cost much less. Flash memory, which is a nonvolatile form of memory (it requires no power to store information), is increasingly common in consumer devices. Today's flash devices store information by applying an electric field to a "floating gate" -- basically a chunk of polycrystalline silicon -- at the center of a transistor. his gate is surrounded by an insulating material, which needs to be relatively thick so that small defects in it don't allow the charge to leak out. Freescale's MRAM (magnetoresistive random access memory) technology replaces the solid silicon gate with a large number of tiny silicon crystals separated by minute amounts of insulation. The result: much less insulation is needed, so that the memory occupies half as much space. Or, in other words, a flash-based gadget can carry twice as many songs. Cutting down on insulation also decreases the voltage needed to store information. This makes it much easier to integrate flash memory with information processing on the same chip, which reduces costs since the number of steps needed to make the device drops by more than half.
05/13/06 - Report of death of Dr. Robert Adams in NZ
Received the following notice from Duncan at Nexus Magazine - "Just got a phone call from Margaret Adams (New Zealand), telling me that Robert died Wednesday evening from a massive stroke. There will be an official statement posted on his website over the next few days, at www.aethmogen.com Robert was greatly loved and respected by all who knew him, and his death has shocked them all. I got to know him when he allowed Nexus to put into the public domain, the working of his Adams' Pulsed Electric Motor Generator. It's a sad day here at our office." - best, Duncan / The Adams motor generator would be called a "Free Energy" machine by most individuals. It is, in fact, a device that converts the perpetual motion of sub-atomic particles, known in physics terminology as "particle spin", into conventional electric power. It is a widely accepted fact of physical law that sub-atomic particles are in a state of perpetual motion. Anybody who tells you that there is no such thing as perpetual motion is either ignorant or a liar. As Robert Adams states, "Our universe is a sea of energy - free, clean energy. It is all out there waiting for us to set sail upon it." Adams has built a number of permanent magnet electric D.C. motor generators based on the principle outlined in this article, some of which have demonstrated an electrical efficiency of 690% and a mechanical efficiency of 620%. The devices run at room temperature. Any device that doesn't could not be running at over 100% efficiency, as heat is the major result of hysteresis losses that are induces in any conventional electric motor or generator. Radiated heat is a sure-fire sign that a power generator is not running over unity, as all heat radiated by such a device is wasted energy.
05/13/06 - 8,000 Miles per Gallon Car?
A British inventor unveils the world's most fuel-efficient vehicle, a three-wheel “TeamGreen” car capable of doing 8,000 miles to the gallon. The 45-year-old inventor, Andy Green, from the University of Bath, built his budget eco-motor for just £2,000, and will be the sole British contender for the title of the world's most fuel-economic car in a global competition being held later this month. He holds the British record for fuel-efficiency, with 6,603 miles to the gallon in a previous car. According to the report, the new vehicle is powered by a single cylinder four-stroke engine with a capacity of just 35cc and runs with a special management system incorporating fuel injection.
05/13/06 - 1994 Ford Escort gets 100 miles from 4 oz water
Denny Klein just patented his process of converting H2O to HHO, producing a gas that combines the atomic power of hydrogen with the chemical stability of water. "it turns right back to water. In fact, you can see the h20 running off the sheet metal." Klein originally designed his water-burning engine for cutting metal. He thought his invention could replace acetylene in welding factories. Then one day as he drove to his laboratory in Clearwater, he thought of another way to burn his HHO gas. "On a 100 mile trip, we use about four ounces of water." Klein says his prototype 1994 Ford Escort can travel exclusively on water [italics mine], though he currently has it rigged to run as a water and gasoline hybrid. 2005 Article - Working in a small, two-room shop at the Airport Business Center, Klein, 63, said he has developed a gas that speeds welding and fusing times and improves automobile fuel efficiency 30 percent. Flipping a switch on his H2O 1500, Klein picks up a hose with a metal tip, creates a spark, and instantly a blue and white glowing stream shoots out of the metal tip. He holds the tip with his fingers to prove how cool it is to the touch, unlike such a tip when oxy-acetylene is burned for welding. But the instant he sets the flame on a charcoal briquette, it glows bright orange. Then, within seconds, he burns a hole through a brick, cuts steel and melts Tungsten. The temperature of the flame is 259 degrees Fahrenheit. But it instantaneously rises to the melting temperature of whatever it touches, Klein said. Those temperatures can exceed 10,000 degrees Fahrenheit. "You can't do this with any other gas," he said. Klein also has outfitted a 1994 Ford Escort station wagon with a smaller electrolyzer that injects his HHO into the gasoline in the car's engine. He said he has increased his mileage per gallon by 30 percent. / He doesn't yet have a patent, only this 40 page application and it is, I think, bustable by several 'prior art' (Rhodes) patents and Yull Brown public claims/demos for many years before - Patent Application - 20060075683 - April 13, 2006 - An electrolyzer which decomposes distilled water into a new fuel composed of hydrogen, oxygen and their molecular and magnecular bonds, called HHO. The electrolyzer can be used to provide the new combustible gas as an additive to combustion engine fuels or in flame or other generating equipment such as torches and welders. It will be soon evident that, despite a number of similarities, the HHO gas is dramatically different than the Brown gas or other gases produced by pre-existing electrolyzers. In fact, the latter is a combination of conventional hydrogen and conventional oxygen gases, that is, gases possessing the conventional "molecular" structure, having the exact stochiometric ratio of 2/3 hydrogen and 1/3 oxygen. As we shall see, the HHO gas does not have such an exact stochiometric ratio but instead has basically a structure having a "magnecular" characteristic, including the presence of clusters in macroscopic percentages that cannot be explained via the usual valence bond. As a consequence, the constituents clusters of the Brown Gas and the HHO gas are dramatically different both in percentages as well as in chemical composition, as shown below. With the use of only 4 Kwh, an electrolyzer rapidly converts water into 55 standard cubic feet (scf) of HHO gas at 35 pounds per square inch (psi). By using the average daily cost of electricity at the rate of $0.08/Kwh, the above efficiency implies the direct cost of the HHO gas of $0.007/scf. It then follows that the HHO gas is cost competitive with respect to existing fuels. (Great name for the gas...Rhodes was first, Brown copied him, now Klein copies Brown though he says not...so how about just HHO gas! - JWD)
05/13/06 - Don't dump old medicines in toilet!
The Tylenol, antibiotics, ibuprofen and Prozac that people toss into the toilet or down the drain may be flowing straight to the bay and contaminating fish, warn local sewage treatment officials who want to stop it. Sewage plant operators who have curtailed everything from industrial waste to household chemicals and pesticides and mercury from dental offices are now trying to reduce pharmaceuticals from homes by offering a safer disposal method for unwanted pills. The plants are designed to treat human waste and other biodegradable organic materials -- not the medicines and chemicals in consumer products that make it through treatment and remain in the effluent that spills into the bay or ocean, and in the sludge that is used for landfill cover, incinerated or placed in farmland. Studies of fish in waterways near Denver, in Lake Mead and in London's Thames River have found changes in their reproductive systems that apparently are linked to pharmaceuticals that can disrupt the endocrine systems, sewer officials say. Southern California officials found detectable levels of ibuprofen; fluoxetine, the generic name for Prozac; and the antibiotics erythromycin, trimethoprim and sulfamethoxazole. Tests also found low levels of the anti-arthritis drug diclofenac; the mosquito repellant DEET; the anti-cholesterol drug gemfibrozil; triclosan, an antibacterial agent in soap; and anti-seizure drugs. A big question is how much of the medicines in effluent come from human excretion and how much are from direct disposal. San Francisco Estuary Institute in Oakland published results of monitoring in the bay and delta in 2003 in which researchers detected Tylenol, or acetaminophen, DEET and the sunscreen octyl methoxy cinnamate, as well as plasticizers, fire retardants and herbicides. "There have been studies throughout the world that have found pharmaceuticals turning up in creeks, rivers and bays,'' said Jen Jackson, pollution prevention coordinator...
05/13/06 - Inventions and creations inspired by dreams
BrilliantDreams -- a site for lucid dreaming -- hosts a page of famous discoveries and inventions inspired by dreams, like the dream in which Friedrich August Kekulé von Stradonitz discovered the Benzene molecule: "...I was sitting writing on my textbook, but the work did not progress; my thoughts were elsewhere. I turned my chair to the fire and dozed. Again the atoms were gamboling before my eyes. This time the smaller groups kept modestly in the background. My mental eye, rendered more acute by the repeated visions of the kind, could now distinguish larger structures of manifold conformation; long rows sometimes more closely fitted together all twining and twisting in snake-like motion. But look! What was that? One of the snakes had seized hold of its own tail, and the form whirled mockingly before my eyes. As if by a flash of lightning I awoke; and this time also I spent the rest of the night in working out the consequences of the hypothesis." (via boingboing.com)
05/13/06 - A Pill to induce Lucid Dreams? ($40 for 2 month supply)
Imagine that while dreaming you actually realize that you are dreaming and are able to take conscious control over what happens in your dream, all while remaining asleep. This is a phenomenon called LUCID DREAMING, an extremely vivid and wonderful dream state in which you can make your every wish come true! Galanthamine is an FDA Approved natural herbal extract and a key ingredient in Brilliant Dreams. Research has shown that galanthamine can maintain and even boost memory and overall cognitive ability. Galanthamine is an herbal extract from the Lycoris radiata (Red Spider Lily). The red spider lily is sometimes called the hurricane lily or magic lily and has become a popular addition to gardens in the southern United States. Although the flowers are beautiful, it is the bulb that provides the dream enhancing natural extract galanthamine.
05/12/06 - Save gas money, save the nation?
It's called the "VortexValve™" - manufactured in the USA by Air Synergy Labs and patented in both the U.S. and Canada. According to an article published in the Bio/Tech News, this ingenious, low-cost device modifies the way air enters an engine, thereby increasing the engine's ability to burn fuel more efficiently. Increasing fuel combustion increases engine performance -- which means you don't have to press as far down on the gas pedal to get the same kind of results (speed, acceleration, etc.). It also means your gas mileage increases - and that means big savings at the pump. And, for those concerned more about the environment rather than their own pocketbooks and the future of the American republic, there's also good news: By increasing engine performance and efficiency, you not only save on fuel costs but an important, extra bonus is that you also reduce the amount of emissions going out the exhaust pipe, so there is less pollution. What makes the "VortexValve™" so remarkable is its simplicity of design. It has no moving parts. To look at it, you would never guess all the hundreds, even thousands, of hours that have gone into its design and production. The unit fits either in the air intake pipe located just before the engine on newer vehicles or sits neatly inside the air-filter pan on older cars and trucks. It is easily installed by any reasonably competent do-it-yourselfer in a matter of 5-10 minutes. The "VortexValve™" is a carefully calibrated, precision manufactured (made in the USA), high-grade stainless steel air-handling unit that has the capability of transforming an essentially linear but somewhat chaotic airflow into an organized, powerful, vortex-like configuration that literally crams more air into the engine. Cramming more air into an engine for better combustion is also the idea behind the expensive, high-maintenance "turbochargers." Depending on the kind of vehicle you drive, a turbo will cost anywhere between about $2,500 and $5,000, installed. Turbos not only have moving parts, but they have fan blades which spin unbelievably fast at thousands of rpms, which eventually means burned out bearings and costly repairs. By comparison, the VortexValve™ costs less than $70 (plus shipping and handling), has no moving parts, requires zero maintenance and will last virtually forever. In one independent test, a couple of 1997 Saturns were each equipped with a VortexValve™. The sedans belong to a security company in the Los Angeles area. The vehicles are just about as "identical" as you can make them. And, they are driven on routes which are pretty consistent. The main variable for the test was the drivers. One Saturn got a 52 percent increase and the other one got a 43 percent increase in gas mileage. Another test was done with the Santa Monica Municipal Bus Company (known as "Big Blue Bus," the company was voted the nation's #1 bus line in 1987, 1992, 1997 and 2000). VortexValves™ were installed in two of their buses (#4802 and #4820), both of which are 1995 models having Series 50 Detroit Diesel, 8.5 liter, 4 cylinder engines. The buses were evaluated after three months, comparing the new monthly data after installation with prior monthly data history. The two buses averaged more than a 13 percent increase in mileage (#4802 did 13.58 percent better and #4820 improved 13.79 percent) which was the equivalent of an average fuel savings of more than 100 gallons per bus, per month. Now, if you were to "do the math" - assuming the remainder of the company's 200 buses would perform in a similar fashion when equipped with VortexValves™ and assuming a conservative, diesel fuel cost of $2.50 per gallon - then the approximate savings to the company would be more than $500,000 per year. 5-10 minute easy install to get 10-30% better gas mileage. Install the VortexValve™ in your vehicle and drive it for at least 30 days. If you aren't 100 percent satisfied in every way, return it for a prompt refund in the amount of 110 percent of your purchase price. More info on the Vortex Valve
05/12/06 - Hooligan chants silenced by delayed echoes
Soccer hooligans could be silenced by a new sound system that neutralises chanting with a carefully timed echo. Stadiums could use the technique to defuse abusive or racist chants, say the Dutch researchers behind it. The echoes trip up efforts to synchronise a chant, neutralising an unwelcome message without drowning out the overall roar of a crowd. "We knew that people become confused if you feed their speech back with a delay," he told New Scientist. "So we wanted to try and apply it in a group context." The volunteers were surrounded by loudspeakers that simulated the sound of a chanting crowd and were asked join in. However one speaker replayed the crowds chant with a short delay. When the delay was greater than 200 milliseconds the volunteers found it too difficult to chant coherently. Increasing the delay, up to about 1 second, was even more effective. "It was very confusing," van Wijngaarden says. He believes the system could be effectively used in a real stadium, but admits that it would have drawbacks. "It had to be quite loud," says he says. "We'd hoped it could be quite soft, but the feedback echo has to be almost as loud as the chant." Tests involving a crowd of 350 at a real stadium also suggest special hardware would be required. "You need more than the simple sound systems stadiums have," van Wijngaarden explains. For example, specialised microphones would need to be installed strategically around a crowd.
05/12/06 - Jetsons soared, but we're stuck in Bedrock
I grew up on the Flintstones and the Jetsons. One cartoon had cars that were powered by feet, the other had cars that flew. If someone would have told me in 1977 (the year "Star Wars" premiered), that in 2006 we would not only be using the same 19th-century technology to power our 21st-century vehicles, we would also be paying more per gallon for the same fossil fuel, I would have said you were crazy. No way. We are going to be flying around in Jetson cars by then, you idiot. Yet here I am, 40 years old in 2006. And here we are, driving around in cars with engines invented in 1885, paying more per gallon for the same fossil fuel that our grandfathers used. What happened in this country? Where are the Edisons and the Teslas? Why is Brazil energy independent while the U.S.A., the greatest country in the world, still relies on people who ride camels and live in the desert to provide us with the same energy that our great-grandfathers used? People in this country were still going to the general store on horses in 1885, for God's sake. Why use the same technology invented then in 2006? We moan and complain and whine, while we drive our SUVs and our Hummers and F150s to the "general store" to buy a gallon of milk that costs less than a gallon of gas. We have coupons for the milk, after all. Get used to it. We have spent the last 20 years not developing fuel alternatives (Jetson cars), but instead developing bigger cars that rely on more camel power, i.e. 19th-century technology. Don't blame the oil companies, or the government, or more refineries which we don't need, or anyone else. Blame ourselves and our lack of innovation; our lack of pioneering which helped us become the most powerful nation on Earth. We have become a nation of Flintstones when we could have been a nation of Jetsons. And you thought the war on terror was a problem - see you at the pumps.
05/12/06 - Running Win95 software on XP
The solution is to go to a Windows program called Help and Support. Click Start at the lower left of the Windows XP screen. Then click Help and Support in the window that comes up. You can then find the answer by clicking on "fixing a problem." That will open a treasure trove of solutions, of which running Win 95 on XP is only one.
05/12/06 - Rent-by-the-hour or day Zipcar muscles in on Autoshare turf
Why buy a car with all the hassles of owning and maintaining? Zipcar currently offers 1,500 vehicles throughout 10 U.S. states to 55,000 members. By the end of May, the company said it will have conveniently located 50 of its cars around Toronto. Many of those cars are fuel-efficient Minis or Prius Hybrids, but the company carries 20 different models overall. Rates in Toronto start at $9.50 (Canadian) per hour and $60 per day, with gas, parking and comprehensive insurance included. The entry of Zipcar means new competition for Toronto's Autoshare, which provides cars at more than 60 locations throughout the city. Like Zipcar, Autoshare also carries Minis, Prius Hybrids, but also the Civic Hybrids, Smart Cars, and other compacts such as the Suzuki Aerio (which I own and love), the Toyoto Yaris and the Honda Fit. The two have slightly different pricing models. If you want to share by the hour and drive a short distance, Autoshare is cheaper. But you've also got to pay a small monthly membership fee with Autoshare, so depending on how much you use the car that could make it more expensive. Zipcar, on the other hand, seems to offer a much better deal for 24-hour rentals.
05/12/06 - UFOs just plasma
After a four-year inquiry, they have concluded that most UFO sightings can be explained by a little-understood atmospheric phenomenon. Defence Intelligence Staff scientists describe how glowing "plasmas" of gas are created by charges of electricity. Airflows then sculpt the plasmas into aerodynamic shapes which appear to fly at extraordinary speeds through the sky. Instead, the scientists say such plasmas can play tricks on the mind, creating vivid impressions. They note that "local (electromagnetic) fields ... have been medically proven to cause responses in the temporal lobes of the brain". As a result, UFO witnesses may suffer from "extended memory retention and repeat experiences" induced by the plasmas.
05/12/06 - BioSlime increase Microbacterial Fuel Cells by 10X
Scientists have boosted the power output of microbial fuel cells more than 10-fold by letting the bacteria congregate into a slimy matrix known as a biofilm. The research suggests that efficient technologies for generating electricity with microbes are much closer than anticipated. While investigating the microbes’ electron transfer mechanism, Lovely’s team created a mutant Geobacter that didn’t have the gene for making the pili, yet the microbes still produced electricity when placed in a fuel cell. The researchers suspected that a membrane protein that was part of the microbe’s energy-making pathway was also able to transfer electrons directly to the metal electrode. “The microbes were lined up in a single, thin layer along the electrode,” says Lovley. “It seemed that either the nanowires or the membrane protein had to be in direct contact with the electrode for electron transfer to occur,” he says. But then the researchers tweaked their fuel cell so the second compartment could take as many electrons as the microbes could provide. To the scientists’ surprise, the power output increased dramatically and Geobacter began to grow on the electrode in a thick, sticky mass known as a biofilm.
05/12/06 - Treat your CD or DVD like a giant Floppy Drive
(This is a neat program but I find it easier to just keep a 1gb Flash drive connected to one of my USB ports, save what I want to it and I can move it to another computer with USB very easily. - JWD) InstantBurn is a $20 Windows program from CyberLink that lets you treat a rewritable CD or DVD like an old-fashioned floppy. The program remains in the background, and whenever you want to save something you just drag that file over to the InstantBurn icon and it's sent to the disk. The program supports multiple disk formats, including the new high-density Blu-ray disks. Individual files can be deleted and sent to the Windows trash can, or the entire disk can be erased and you can start over. You can also rename files. A verification function checks to make sure that information written to disk is the same as the file that was sent to disk. A simple program and not expensive. More info at www.cyberlink.com.
05/12/06 - Superconduction at the flick of a switch
SUPERCONDUCTIVITY is usually turned on and off by cooling a material and then warming it up again. Now this switching has been done electronically, an achievement that could lead to far faster computer chips. When certain metals are cooled to within a few degrees of absolute zero, quantum effects cause electrons to stop repelling each other and pair up. It is this pairing up that leads to superconductivity, the total absence of any electrical resistance.
05/11/06 - Heliotube Solar Concentrator
Practical Instruments has introduced the Heliotube solar concentrator and it is the same size as a traditional solar panel yet costs much less to produce and has an energy output of 177 Watts. The companies next generation product should have an output of 500 watts by concentrating the Sun’s energy by 1000 times.
05/11/06 - Keeping cool: Device promises relief for desert soldiers
The gear soldiers wear and carry can contribute 10 additional degrees to the outside temperature, a dangerously significant increase on a 95-degree day, for instance. In collaboration with the U.S. Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine, Dr. Ellen Glickman, Kent State professor of exercise physiology, has developed a micro-climate cooling system to be placed in soldiers' boots. The device features a pump that circulates cold water through coils in the boots, with the ultimate goal of lowering the wearer's core body temperature. The efficiency of the system will be measured on test subjects this summer on the Kent Campus.
05/11/06 - Out of the frying pan and into the fuel tank
The stalky canola plant (rape seed), raised in a test plot in Hertford County but widely grown in the western United States and Canada, produces tiny black seeds loaded with oil that can be used for cooking -- or powering diesel engines. Buster Manning of Beaufort County, one of the farmers to come to see the crop, said rising fuel costs to run his tractors had motivated him to find a homegrown solution. He plans to start producing biodiesel for his farm and was giving canola a look. Researchers view canola as an alternative to soybeans as a stock for biodiesel fuel because the plants produce two to three times as much oil as soybeans, and canola oil doesn't turn to gel in cold temperatures as quickly as soybean oil. Canola is widely used in Europe to make biodiesel. But the industry is just getting started in the United States and Canada. Most of the million acres of canola grown in the northwestern United States goes for cooking oil, said David Thorenson, assistant director of the U.S. Canola Association. Farmer Jimmy Mason of Harrellsville, in Hertford County, planted the test plot of canola on a few acres of sandy soil that usually grows tobacco. Last week, Mason stood beside the knee-high plants covered with yellow flowers and 2-inch seed pods. The crop, sown last fall, will be ready to harvest in a month. The canola plant forms a rosette with seeds full of oil which can be used for human consumption, but may have a growing role in the biodiesel industry. Canola pods are brittle and when touched burst open to release very small canola seeds (match in top right used to compare size). There are 300,000 seeds per kilo (or 300,000,000 seeds/tonne) of canola and the average canola crop can produce around 400 million seeds/ha. Each of these seeds can germinate and produce thousands of seeds the following year.
05/11/06 - Energy crisis? Venezuela gas cheaper than water at 12 CENTS A GALLON!
Taxi driver Jaime Tinoco works the streets of Caracas in a 1976 Chevy Nova that guzzles 19 gallons (72 liters) of gas a day. But he doesn't worry about fuel efficiency -- filling his tank costs just $2.30. While U.S. consumers struggle with soaring energy prices, Venezuela's gas is now the world's cheapest at 12 cents a gallon and Washington's regional foe, President Hugo Chavez, vows to maintain subsidies that keep fuel dirt-cheap. Chavez, a self-proclaimed socialist and critic of President Bush, has even begun subsidizing fuel for poor U.S. neighborhoods as U.S. consumers brace for average summer gas prices of $2.71 a gallon -- 34 cents higher than last summer. In Venezuela, the world's No. 5 oil exporter, drivers fill their tanks for less than the price of a cheap breakfast, and love to point out that gasoline costs less than mineral water. The nation's gasoline is now the world's cheapest, according to an International Monetary Fund report released in April that shows Venezuelan gas prices as about a third of those in oil-producing giant Saudi Arabia. Shiny SUVs and rusty 1970s-era sedans share the streets of Venezuelan cities as drivers shrug off fuel costs. Past efforts to raise gas prices have not gone well. Authorities in 1989 raised fuel prices at the height of a recession, leading to three days of rioting during which at least 300 people were killed. Human rights groups say troops may have killed several thousand people.
05/11/06 - What does it take to make you Angry?
(I think this needs to include (at least) two other key gripes...
1 - no effective energy policy/agency with ACTION to make changes ASAP
2 - strict regulation of any public utility or business which gouges the public for excessive profiteering at the expense of captive consumers reliant on their services as monopolies. - JWD)
What right do I have as a patriotic American to be angry? I’ve compiled a short (and by no means complete) list just so I could see it all in one place: I’m angry about the shredding of the constitution…illegal wiretaps…falsified intelligence…secret prisons… use of torture as an accepted means of interrogation…Terry Schiavo…the war on science…denial of Global Warming…the fascistic secrecy of our elected officials… presidential signings that declare the President above the law…the breakdown of the wall between church and state…the outing of a clandestine CIA agent for purely partisan political gain…the corrupting influence of K Street… the total sell-out of the legislative process to corporate interests… appointments of unqualified cronies at every level of government…Harriet Miers…Brownie…Abu Ghraib… Scooter …the complete mismanagement of the war in Iraq…the lies about the complete mismanagement of the war in Iraq…the grotesque budget deficits… the pathetic response to Katrina… a civil rights division dedicated to undermining civil rights…an environmental protection agency that refuses to protect the environment…And I’m angry about a smug, simple-minded, incompetent, unqualified President, and a press that denies the obvious fact that we have a smug, simple-minded, incompetent unqualified President. If these things don’t make you angry, I have to ask -- what the hell is the matter with you? And what would it take to make you angry? -- C.B. Shapiro
05/11/06 - Two-Stroke power for any Bike
You take your current bicycle (be it a mountain bike, a cruiser or a commuter bike), you remove the front wheel, and replace it with RevoPower’s. A little wiring here and there, nothing too hard, and you’re set. Then, you go out biking, as usual. But, say you’re growing tired, or you hit a slope and you’re just lazy… well, press a button, and the integrated commercial grade, 23cc two-stroke engine will kick in. RevoPower has an innovative way to turn any bicycle into a moped. For $400 you can replace a standard 26” wheel with a 23cc two-stroke engine and 1 gallon tank. The 1.1 HP motor will propel you at up to 20mph and get 200mpg. The whole setup is only 3” thick and should be ready for sale by late 2006.
05/11/06 - Giant Wind Turbines offshore
Huge turbines mounted on floating platforms could make wind power competitive with fossil-fuel-generated electricity. These advanced wind turbines, which are in development, could be situated far from the shore, too, avoiding battles with onshore residents who object to the presence of large wind farms. The new turbines will be mounted to towers rising 90 to 95 meters and will have rotors measuring 140 meters in diameter. Imagine a structure larger than a football field rotating at a leisurely ten to twelve revolutions per minute. To decrease the weight of the massive rotor blades and tower, GE plans to use composite fibers, as well as alternatives to the weighty gearboxes now used to transfer energy from the rotor to the electrical generator. The new turbines will adapt to gusts by using sensor-based technology that will quickly angle the blades out of the wind to reduce the wear and tear on the turbine. A potential solution is floating platforms that allow the turbines to be located farther out in the sea -- and out of sight. Current projects locate wind turbines in waters less than 20 meters deep. Going farther out on the continental shelf, which extends several hundred kilometers from the U.S. East Coast, would mean locating them at depths up to 50 meters, which is probably too deep to build towers or trusses that support turbines standing on the sea floor, at least at an affordable cost.
05/11/06 - Giant slingshot: new way to space?
All space projects get into orbit pretty much the same way - by burning lots of rocket fuel, a spaceship powers itself past the sky. NASA and the Army Research Lab have another idea: "Slingatron," a giant, hypervelocity, rapid-fire slingshot. The machine would spin a projectile faster and faster through a spiral-shaped tube, building up increasing amounts of centripetal force along the way - just like a discus-thrower, spinning himself around before a toss, or like a latter-day King David, winding up his weapon before he whacks Goliath. (via boingboing.com)
05/11/06 - Bank helps cut back on energy
A local bank has joined forces with the state and utility companies to offer a loan program to small businesses seeking to become more energy efficient.
Ocean National Bank has created a $1.5 million loan portfolio for the renewable energy and energy efficiency business loan, a project announced by Gov. John Lynch in Concord on Monday. Discount-rate loans of $10,000 and up will be available to companies for energy-saving projects that include energy-efficient lighting and heating, ventilating and air-conditioning systems; variable frequency; renewable energy sources; and premium efficiency motors. "We often ask what we can do locally," O’Brien said. "This program can help small businesses cut down on operating costs and help them become more competitive in the global marketplace." The loans made by Ocean National Bank will be at prime rate minus 1 percent and can be repaid over a maximum period of seven years. O’Brien said in many cases the cost of the loan will be paid back by the energy cost savings derived from the project. "We hope this program will be wildly successful," O’Brien said of the first statewide project Ocean National Bank has taken part in. He believes it will draw applications from across all regions of the state.
05/11/06 - Automotive AC Makers Are Sweating
(They miss the easiest, most efficient method but thats for US to know. 'Que hay para mi? = Whats in it for me?' to tell them. - JWD) The regulation of hydrofluorocarbons looms in Europe -- and may be copied by California. Will CO2 keep us cool instead? In the 1990s, air conditioning suppliers switched from the chlorofluorocarbon Freon to an equally troublesome hydrofluorocarbon called R-134a; while easy on the ozone, R-134a is a greenhouse gas that's 1,300 times more potent than CO2. The impact has been most acute in automotive applications, where refrigerants often leak out. Indeed, by 2010, such leakage will contribute more than 4 percent of the total climate change impact from motor vehicles. Add in the extra fuel consumption to run the AC, and AC's share rises to 7 percent. The new hydrofluorocarbon-based refrigerants offered by DuPont and Honeywell must complete a host of long-term tests, including for the stability of the compounds under heavy use and for toxicity. That could take at least three years. And it's unknown how much the new refrigerants will cost to manufacture. This means that AC manufacturers must also continue to develop their new CO2 systems. "These alternatives have appeared relatively late. That's the dilemma we're in right now," says Glober.
05/11/06 - Fly vacuum stuns with mothball vapor
Flying insects, especially flies, are a nuisance in any environment, especially the home, where fly swatters, sticky fly paper or spray insecticides are usually utilized to eliminate flies. The Fly VacTM is a sanitary and easy-to-use solution to catch and dispose of flies and insects. It is a battery operated, hand-held vacuum that includes a special method to temporarily stun and disorient the flies, before sucking them up into the vacuum's canister. Once the flies are caught, a mesh basket within the vacuum can be pulled out, which contains the dead flies for easy disposal without contact between the user and the flies. Flies are normally very skittish and sense the approach of a vacuum tube or nozzle [whether the negative air flow is on or off], and will fly off in any direction. But as the user approaches the fly, the Fly VacTM dispenses a mothball vapor at the fly, which disorients and stuns it, simultaneously while the Fly Vac TM sucks it into the canister. Once the vacuum has been shut off, the Fly VacTM prevents any insects from escaping outwardly again.
05/10/06 - Crystal Power Generator discovery
(MUCHAS GRACIAS to Jim Nicholson at Gravity Control dot org about the work of Marcus Reid with this incredible claim. It sounds similar to the Free Energy Chip being tested in Leon, Guanajuato, Mexico which I hope to check out soon. Don't be put off by the very low power, as most discoveries start out with such low levels and can be SCALED UP to produce much more! - JWD) I (Eckhard Kantz), confirm that I have received and thoroughly investigated best to my knowledge some multiple battery-like devices that deliver a continuous energy output without any energy input which would be visible to my (current) measurement equipment. In no case there was any hint that the crystal unit would receive input energy from any known energy source like energetic particles, magnetic energy or heat energy. Especially all investigations on electromagnetic waves and temperature were done with extrem effort and as thoroughly as possible. Crystal units can be reproduced by everyone who is interested in those devices. It is an aluminium cylinder where Sodiummetasilikat (Na2SiO3) is melted in and brought to crystalisation. Here is a shematic view of a crystal unit...The mentioned compounds are converted, during a chemical reaction, into a crystaline form. Crystal unit in comparison to a battery, R14 NiMH Accu 2900 mAh which currently run against each other with a load of 1 mA. It is expected that the NiMH Accu will break down latest after delivering 2900 mAh in about 100 days whereas the crystal unit was operated for more than six years already without any energy in but with a continuous current out (different device, the picture shows a 6 weeks old crystal unit). We have observed that these units decline in power during the first few weeks or month, but then for some reason, stop decreasing at some stage, most likely due to water evaporation. Even continuing dead shorts over several years (4-years is longest test) can not kill these units. The power decrease in a battery for example, is during the first phase rather small, and then towards the end, quite abrupt. So the power progress, in a battery and the crystal unit, is just contrarious.
05/10/06 - Backyard windmill may cut electricity bill
People could soon generate their own wind energy with a new type of domestic windmill that plugs straight into the grid. Current domestic-scale wind turbines produce around 24 to 48 volts and rely on costly inverters to convert this to 240 volts, says Adrian Ferraretto, managing director of The SolarShop. The new generator will eliminate the need for an inverter, the company says, and will be cheaper than alternatives on the market. Feeding electricity back into the grid enables a householder to turn their electricity meter backwards and get credit on their electricity bill. Ferraretto says that over a year, with an annual average wind speed of 6 metres per second, the generator would produce around A$2000 worth of electricity. Wind farms typically require an annual average wind speed of 8 metres per second, he says. A standard wind turbine spins on a horizontal axis and must face the wind. But the new turbine has vertical blades that spin on a vertical axis, which means it is always facing the wind. Vertical axis generators also spin much slower than horizontal axis generators, which means the new system will also be safer for birds. "This thing spins at 100 rpm so you can actually see the blades spinning," says Ferraretto. He says the system will cost around A$10,000 to supply and install and should be available in 12 months.
05/10/06 - Purifying waste by burning activated carbon at low temps
Hugh McLaughlin was heating up some activated carbon in the basement of his Groton home, as part of his research for a consulting job, when he noticed something strange. The carbon was burning. Strange because conventional wisdom says carbon doesn't burn until it's heated up to about 1,800 degrees Fahrenheit. The temperature in McLaughlin's reactor was more like 500 degrees. He was granted a patent earlier this year for his method of burning activated carbon, and the invention has been named one of the top 25 inventions of 2006 in the History Channel's Modern Marvels Invent Now Challenge. McLaughlin believes his innovation can have a profound impact on the world. Carbon is used to purify air and water, and his device will allow for cheaper reuse of carbon, leading to cheaper -- and more widespread -- purification. The technology could be particularly useful to makers of alternative fuels such as ethanol and biodiesel, McLaughlin said. It would allow those companies to turn their waste into energy and fertilizer instead of putting it in a landfill, making the waste a revenue source rather than an expense.
05/10/06 - Electric field changes color in New Plastic
Conductive polymers could be used in products from hue-switching camouflage gear to flexible computer displays, researchers say. The electrochromic polymers, developed by Dr Greg Sotzing, an associate professor at the University of Connecticut, are said to be longer and more flexible than other conductive polymers, which are short and brittle. At first, the fibres appear white. If the researchers dip them into a chemical solution that removes electrons, the fibres become conductive and darken to a deep blue. If the researchers apply an electric charge to add electrons, the colour changes to bright orange. The trick for making the fibres useful for colour-changing fabrics, according to Williams, is to control the fibres on the scale of a single pixel. Threads with different charges could be woven together with thin metal wires designed to deliver various voltages, with the intersection between a thread and a wire serving as a pixel. Changing the voltage with an embedded battery would result in different colours. A fabric woven with the polymer fibres could be used, for example, in t-shirts bearing video advertisements or jackets that double as computers. The material could also be used by soldiers to blend into both forested and urban environments.
05/10/06 - Home Made turbines provide power to Farm at low cost
"Think big in whatever job you are on." Charles says he sourced K4 million to connect power to his farm but Zesco asked for more money, which he could not afford. "After all the huddles, I plucked enough courage to ask Zesco if it could sell me any used-up turbine and they refused. This forced me to come up with an idea to invent the turbines using the abundant water resource we are endowed with," he explains. Charles then diverted a bit of water from the falls and placed six drums at 60 degrees angle. He later got two reams from a Land Cruiser, two tractor reams that were once used on his father's farm and made two metal blades. One big pulley and a chain of various small pulleys connected to a 15kilowatt generator gave him 600 volts. "It was another big blow for me to reduce 600 volts to 220-240 volts. It was a hard equation to solve that required a professor in electronics but thank God, before I said I quit, I made relays and managed to bring it to three phase units which gave me 380 volts," he says. Finally Charles reduced it to a single phase that gives him 220-240 volts. Today, the family is happy that Charles came up with technology using natural resources and simple material to invent a turbine to generate power. Dr Aliteke Lushangu said Charles' invention is worth emulating as it could help farmers who needed energy to irrigate their winter crops. "Just like Thomas Alva Edison at ten, he built his chemistry laboratory. At 22 years old, Edison invented an improved stock market ticker - tape machine and after 1600 experiments on October 1879 he invented the lighting bulb," he says . Dr Lushangu described Charles as a genius and has called on academicians to make study tours to this farm at Kapumo waterfalls. Charles is not only an inventor but also a mechanic who has already started working on inventing a special air conditioning machine. His father, Musonda Kapambwe Mumba, says what Charles has done is splendid.
05/10/06 - Beetle's fog capture wing pattern concentrates water
The Namib desert beetle, which lives on the parched sands of southwest Africa, collects drinking water using its wings, which are waxed and covered with an array of raised unwaxed bumps. The bumps strongly attract water, while the waxy areas repel it. On the six mornings per month when fog blows in from the Atlantic, the Namib beetle faces the wind and droplets of water stick to the bumps on its back. This water builds up before rolling down the water-repelling channels on the beetle's back and into its mouth. The researchers have already created a material covered with straight, 750-micrometre-wide water-attracting channels on top of a highly water-repelling background. This design causes water to zip from one side of the material to the other. A video shows dyed water travelling across a flat surface (at 90 degrees) covered with the material. "By mixing hydrophilic and hydrophobic areas you can play around with drops of water and by applying that idea with new morphologies they have generated something very sophisticated," Vincent says.
05/10/06 - Nanotubes provide Interface between Cells & Electrical Devices
U.S. scientists in Texas say they have successfully used carbon nanotubes, for the first time, to send electrical signals to nerve cells. Nanotubes -- tiny hollow carbon filaments about one 10-thousandth the diameter of a human hair -- are 100 times as strong as steel and one-sixth as dense. They can conduct electricity better than copper and have been proposed as the basis for everything from elevator cables that could lift payloads into Earth orbit to computers smaller than human cells. Thin films of carbon nanotubes deposited on transparent plastic can also serve as a surface on which cells can grow. And as researchers at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston and Rice University suggest, such nanotube films could potentially serve as an electrical interface between living tissue and prosthetic devices or biomedical instruments.
05/10/06 - Unclean fuels kill 1.5m people every year
Half the world's population burns wood, coal, dung and other solid fuels to cook food and heat their homes, exposing them to dangerous smoke that kills 1.5 million people a year, the UN health agency said on Thursday. The World Health Organisation said women and children in Africa and Asia were especially vulnerable to indoor air pollution from open fires and poorly ventilated stoves. Children make up 800,000 of the 1.5 million people who die each year from polluting household fuels, women account for 500,000 deaths and the remaining 200,000 are men. "Day in day out, and for hours at a time, women and their small children breathe in amounts of smoke equivalent to consuming two packs of cigarettes per day," the WHO said. Halving the 3 billion people worldwide cooking with solid fuels by 2015 would cost between $13 billion to $43 billion a year, but it would save up to $91 billion a year over 10 years due to health care savings.
05/10/06 - Urging Congress to Cancel the Ethanol Tariff
"The Wall Street Journal is urging Washington to discard the 54-cent-per-gallon tariff on imported ethanol. This tariff is effectively a subsidy for corn-based ethanol produced in the USA. Yet, producing ethanol from corn is highly inefficient and consumes 1 unit of energy for each 1.3 units of energy that burning ethanol provides. By contrast, ethanol derived from sugarcane (which is the sole source of ethanol in Brazil) yields 8.3 units of energy. Sugercane is about 7 times more efficient than corn. Some studies even show that corn yields only 0.8 unit of energy, resulting in a net loss of energy."
05/10/06 - Cancer Resistant Mouse Provides Possible Cure
Scientists at Wake Forest University have found a "cancer resistant mouse" and bred it to make a small army of cancer resistant mice. When transplanting blood from one of these mice to a normal non-resistant mouse they are able to provide "lifetime cancer protection". From the article: "The cancer-resistant mice all stem from a single mouse discovered in 1999. "The cancer resistance trait so far has been passed to more than 2,000 descendants in 14 generations," said Cui, associate professor of pathology. It also has been bred into three additional mouse strains. About 40 percent of each generation inherits the protection from cancer."
05/10/06 - Patent office will ask the public to "peer review" inventions
The US Patent and Trademark Office has launched "Peer to Patent," a community patent peer review project. The USPTO is overloaded with patent filings, so it does little or no investigation into patnets before rubber-stamping them, expecting that the courts will sort out who invented what. This changes the patent system from something that promotes invention to something that rewards companies who aggressively sue inventors. Peer to Patent aims to address this by encouraging the public to review patents, to determine whether they are valid based on the at-large expert knowledge about what has already been invented and what is a new, useful, nonobvious invention. IBM has agreed to have its patents vetted by the public as a guinea pig in the project. Project founder Beth Novacek sez, This Friday, May 12, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) will hold a briefing on the community patent peer review project. The May 12 briefing will be hosted by John Doll, Commissioner for Patents, USPTO, and Jay Lucas, Deputy Commissioner for Patent Examination Policy. The purpose of the May 12, 2006 briefing is to provide greater in-depth analysis of the peer review pilot project as well as answer the question of what constitutes valid prior art. The represents a kick-off of the peer review project and the effort to move from proposal to working prototype with a launch at the beginning of 2007. (via boingboing.com)
05/10/06 - Alzheimer's linked to diabetes?
A provocative new theory suggests that one root cause of Alzheimer's disease is linked to diabetes - a theory about to be tested in thousands of Alzheimer's patients given the diabetes drug Avandia in hopes of slowing brain decay. If diabetic-like changes in the way brain cells use sugar to generate energy truly trigger Alzheimer's in at least some patients, then maybe doctors could intervene early and slow down that degeneration.
05/10/06 - Plankton blooms linked to quakes
Concentrations of the natural pigment chlorophyll in coastal waters have been shown to rise prior to earthquakes. These chlorophyll increases are due to blooms of plankton, which use the pigment to convert solar energy to chemical energy via photosynthesis. A joint US-Indian team of researchers analysed satellite data on ocean coastal areas lying near the epicentres of four recent quakes. The authors say the chlorophyll blooms are linked to a release of thermal energy prior to an earthquake. This causes the sea surface temperature to rise and increases the surface latent heat flux - the amount of energy moving from the surface to the air due to evaporation. And in turn, there is enhanced upwelling - the process by which cold, nutrient-rich water is transported from the deep sea to the surface. "If the epicentre of a quake lies very close to the coast then anomalous [chlorophyll-a] concentrations are clearly visible along that coast." The researchers used as case studies four recent earthquakes in Gujarat, India (2001), Algeria (2002), the Andaman Islands (2002) and Bam, Iran (2003). Using satellite images and measurements of sea temperatures, they found a correlation between peaks in chlorophyll and proximity to an impending earthquake. The amount of "advance notice" depended on the ocean depth and proximity to the epicentre of the quake, with the second factor taking precedence.
05/09/06 - 125X higher Biofuel yield at half the cost
Aurora BioFuels presented a plan showing how to create biodiesel fuel with yields 125 times higher than existing biodiesel conversion technologies, and at half the cost. All contestants were based at UC-Berkeley. UC-Berkeley's Haas School of Business said Friday the $25,000 first prize at the university's eighth annual business plan competition went to Aurora BioFuels, an alternative energy company. Aurora Biofuels homepage - Aurora BioFuels is a Berkeley, CA based innovative alternative energy company with a revolutionary method of creating bio-diesel. Aurora’s proprietary technology, developed at The University of California, Berkeley, allows Aurora BioFuels to create bio-diesel with 125X higher yields and 50% lower costs than current production methods.
05/09/06 - Breathing Moonrocks
An early, persistent problem noted by Apollo astronauts on the Moon was dust. It got everywhere, including into their lungs. Oddly enough, that may be where future Moon explorers get their next breath of air: The moon's dusty layer of soil is nearly half oxygen. The trick is extracting it. "All you have to do is vaporize the stuff," says Eric Cardiff of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center. He leads one of several teams developing ways to provide astronauts oxygen they'll need on the Moon and Mars. Lunar soil is rich in oxides. The most common is silicon dioxide (SiO2), "like beach sand," says Cardiff. Also plentiful are oxides of calcium (CaO), iron (FeO) and magnesium (MgO). Add up all the O's: 43% of the mass of lunar soil is oxygen. Cardiff is working on a technique that heats lunar soils until they release oxygen. "It's a simple aspect of chemistry," he explains. "Any material crumbles into atoms if made hot enough." The technique is called vacuum pyrolysis -- pyro means "fire", lysis means "to separate." In a proof of principle, Cardiff and his team used a lens to focus sunlight into a tiny vacuum chamber and heated 10 grams of simulated lunar soil to about 2,500 degrees C. In their tests, "as much as 20 percent of the simulated soil was converted to free oxygen," Cardiff estimates. What's leftover is "slag," a low-oxygen, highly metallic, often glassy material. Cardiff is working with colleagues at NASA's Langley Research Center to figure out how to shape slag into useful products like radiation shielding, bricks, spare parts, or even pavement.
05/09/06 - Castor Oil as hydraulic drive for Car
(I had a bad photocopy of a hydraulic car from I think Science & Mechanics but thanks to Manny King for the headsup on these fascinating Pathe' NewsReels. I seem to recall the top speed was 60mph and the chassis vibrated too much to go faster. This one used a 2hp gas engine to drive the pump to move the castor oil through the hydraulic motor in each wheel. The article said it cost 2 cents per mile to run it. - JWD) Inventor Charles H. Vlackos, driving pertrolless car backwards and forwards - car runs on castor oil. Inventor inspecting tank filled with castor oil. Close up shot of pipes with hand showing direction in which oil runs. Close up shot of engine on other wheel. Hand pointing to engine. Inventor driving car backwards and then forwards. Towards and pan, inventor driving car along road. Each wheel has a motor to drive it, all fed from hydraulic tubes carrying castor oil under pressure. And Unusual Automobiles which also includes the Castor Oil Car.
05/09/06 - Students build Hybrid SuperCar
The students have found that coupling a high efficiency engine with a high output electric motor packaged in a lightweight body would exceed the acceleration of all supercars presently available. To achieve this, the students plan to use the K1 Attack as a platform (only 1800lbs) with a VW turbo diesel (200hp) powering the rear wheels, and AC Propulsions electric motor (200hp) powering the front wheels. To keep the weight low, the electric motor will be powered by a 450 volt ultra-capacitor pack (weighing only 200lbs). This configuration will allow the super hybrid to attain an impressive fuel economy of 50mpg and a zero to sixty acceleration under 4 seconds. Under normal driving conditions, the vehicle will solely be powered by the diesel engine. Therefore, the ultra-capacitor pack stores only enough energy for a few minutes of blazing acceleration.
05/09/06 - Solitons: Next wave in electronics?
Solitons can occur in many kinds of materials. They were first discovered in water by Scottish engineer John Scott Russell in 1834. Russell was watching a team of horses tug a barge along the Union Canal in Edinburgh when the rope to the barge broke. The barge's bow suddenly dipped into the water, creating a wave that set off up the canal with little change in shape. Sensing he was watching something he hadn't seen before, Russell rode his horse along the canal's banks for several kilometers watching the wave's steady progress. The special waves, called solitons, are valuable in commercial and engineering applications because they are single, stable waves that don't lose strength as they travel large distances. Soliton waves in optical fibers, for example, have transferred large amounts of information over thousands of kilometers with no errors in the signal. Their new ability to tune the electrical soliton oscillator mirrors the robust optical system and allows them to generate waves readily in electronic circuits. "Once further developed," said Ham, "the oscillator will open the door for ultrafast electronic measurement now only possible in expensive lasers. It can be also used for ranging radars and pulsed communication systems."
05/09/06 - 3D Xray microscope
Researchers at the University of London are using a new 3-D microscope that utilizes X-rays to provide information on an objects’ internal structure down to micron size. it does this by taking multiple 2-D images from different angles and combining them. The uses for this technology range from medical to material as well as anthropology.
05/09/06 - Cheaper, better Water Desalination using 'forward osmosis'
Water produced by desalination still costs at least $2 per 1000 gallons, more than twice the cost of conventional water treatment, he says. A large part of this cost comes from energy use. And additional costs may be involved. Reverse osmosis typically recovers 35-50% of the volume of seawater as freshwater, with a leftover brine concentrate. In reverse osmosis, high pressure-about 1000 pounds per square inch-is used to push seawater through a semipermeable membrane that holds back the unwanted salts. The pressure is needed to oppose the natural tendency of freshwater to move across such a membrane via osmosis to dilute the seawater. In the forward osmosis system, the researchers take advantage of this natural tendency. Salt water sits on one side of the membrane, but the freshwater on the opposite side is transformed into a high-concentration solution by adding ammonia (NH3) and CO2. Water naturally flows from the salt water to what is now the “draw solution”, which can have a solute concentration as high as 10 times that of the salt water. “We just let water go in the right tendency...We don’t apply any pressure,” says Elimelech. The diluted draw solution is then heated to about 58 °C to evaporate off the CO2 and NH3 for reuse, leaving behind freshwater. Only one commercial membrane is available for forward osmosis, he adds. This membrane is used to purify water for drinking, but it is “not optimized for seawater desalination.” Using this commercial system, the researchers removed 95-99% of the salt from the water moving across the membrane, producing 2.1-21.2 gallons of drinking water per square foot per day (gfd). According to Trussell, these results are good for a prototype system, with a flux that is comparable to the reverse osmosis numbers of 8-15 gfd. However, he says that salt removal should reach 99.9% for the water to be suitable for drinking. Elimelech calculates that the separation process will consume very little energy. For every 1000 gallons of water produced, the system will require 1 kilowatt-hour of electricity and 1200 megajoules of heat. This could be very low quality heat, he says, “so you can use waste heat, which you can get almost for free.”
05/08/06 - IBM to shatter Moore’s law with 300GHz Crystal Computer
IBM is about to unveil a revolutionary form of computing that could tranform the World of information. It is known as the Crystal Computer and it is a way to use pulses of light to transfer and store digital information as quantum bits. A processor so fast it is capable of running the eqivilatent of 300GHz, or about 400 Gflop/sec, that’s about 100 times faster than today’s fastest consumer microprocessors. The advance is similar to the one made by Australian National University, which used two lasers to focus at a silicate crystal holding atoms of an element known as praseodymium. The element absorbed the light and stored the quantum information as quantum bits. IBM scientists will use a complex process to evenly distribute the rare element neodymium inside silicate crystal. The process works by transferring information onto light beams utilizing the natural "nuclear spin" of the photons in the laser beam. When a series of three lasers are beamed in sequence on the crystal, digital information stored as quantum bits are released and the quantum information is encoded on the neodymium atoms. These atoms can store massive amounts of information. Because of the laws governing quantum mechanics, particles that make up the atoms can be oriented both up and down at the same time. This unit of information is called a qubit, and can hold much more information than a standard digital bit made up of either a 1 or 0. The best part about this breakthrough is that it shatters Moore’s Law, which states the number of transistors per square inch on integrated circuits will doubled every 18 months. The Crystal computer changes the computer paradyme by taking the transitor right out of the mix, and replacing it with the atom. Processor heat and complexity will be replaced with the cool methodical spin of the atom.
05/08/06 - Bomb blocking RF bubbles to thwart terrorists
A series of transmitters would create a self-sustaining bubble of radio frequency noise to prevent terrorists from sending a trigger signal to a hidden bomb. In his patent filing, James Cornwell of Virginia, US, claims that existing radio jamming devices are flawed because they leave gaps that let trigger signals sneak through. His system would use up to four radio transmitters and receivers placed around a risk area. When a wide frequency of noise is fed to one of the transmitters, all the receivers pick it up and feed the signal to their respective transmitters. Soon the feedback loop completely blankets the risk area with powerful radio energy. The method could produce a bomb-blocking bubble up to 1 kilometre square, Cornwell reckons. This would leave bomb disposal experts safe in the knowledge that no one could trigger an explosive device while they are working to defuse it.
05/08/06 - Cutting calories slightly can reduce aging damage
Eating a little less food and exercising a little more over a lifespan can reduce or even reverse aging-related cell and organ damage in rats. Recent research in animals and humans that has shown a more drastic 20 percent to 40 percent cut in calories slows aging damage. The UF findings indicate even small reductions in calories could have big effects on health and shed light on the molecular process responsible for the phenomenon, which until now has been poorly understood. UF scientists found that feeding rats just 8 percent fewer calories a day and moderately increasing the animals' activity extended their average lifespan and significantly overturned the negative effects of cellular aging on liver function and overall health. An 8 percent reduction is the equivalent of a few hundred calories in an average human diet and moderate exercise is equivalent to taking a short walk.
05/08/06 - Acoustic Shockwave facilitates gene therapy
Gene therapy relies on getting genetic material into living cells. An electric field can drag this material through a cell wall, but this often kills the cell in the process. Now two researchers based in Massachusetts, US, have discovered that a short shock of sound can do the same trick, while causing less cell damage. The technique is described in a patent filed by Thomas Flotte and Apostolos Doukas. In experiments, blood cells were placed over a bed of gelatin containing the genetic material to be transferred. The blood cells and gelatin were all placed within a container a few centimetres wide, and a sheet of black polystyrene was positioned beneath the container. Then a powerful ruby laser was shone on the polystyrene for a few nanoseconds. This sudden heating makes the polystyrene sheet contort violently, sending an acoustic shock wave through the gelatin. This, in turn, briefly turns the blood-cell walls to 'jelly', making them permeable and allowing genetic material to pass inside. The inventors suggest that eventually fibre-optic shockwave generators could be placed inside catheters inserted into blood vessels for real-time gene therapy.
05/08/06 - Ener1 Batteries - More Power in Less Space for Hybrid Cars
EnerDel is applying advanced materials, technology and production processes to develop high-powered Li-Ion battery packs for the rapidly growing HEV market. The company believes that its approach will substantially improve the performance, cost and fuel efficiency of HEVs, and thus further increase the demand for hybrid electric vehicles. EnerDel will reduce the size and weight of the HEV battery compared to existing technologies including nickel metal hydride batteries used to power many of the hybrid models on the road today. "We were among the first to recognize the needs of U.S. auto manufacturers and car buyers alike in this regard and we are moving quickly toward providing a battery that packs more punch, in less space, and is much lighter then those currently used," Mr. Grape said.
05/08/06 - Controlling Pain
(I once sat on a couch to watch TV and about 10 minutes later, had a stinging sensation in my right elbow..thought it was a mosquito and kept slapping at it, then noticed my fingers were wet...it was blood where someone had left a razor blade that cut my skin...I felt no pain until I realized it was a cut! - JWD) "Researcher Gregory Berns studied the brain's response to pain anticipation by placing 32 volunteers into an MRI scanner and administering electric shocks into their feet. Participants were informed of how powerful the shock would be and then left to think about it for varying amounts of time before actually being shocked. As the experiment progressed, participants were given the choice of significantly stronger shocks without the wait or weaker shocks while continuing the random wait time. Surprisingly, the experiment showed most people preferred getting a stronger shock 'to get it over with' rather than face the fear of pain. Berns also found that regions of the brain related to focus and attention were stimulated while participants dreaded the coming shock providing evidence to the axiom that, 'the more you pay attention to something that hurts, the more it hurts.'"
05/08/06 - Identity Theft becomes easier
"Using nothing more than a boarding pass stub, columnist Steve Boggan entered the world of identity thieves to see how easy the process really is. In a matter of no time, using only the traveler's name and frequent flier number from the stub, Boggan was able to go on-line and purchase airline tickets as the traveler and retrieve personal information about him to include passport numbers, home residence, telephone numbers and some basic personal history. Much of this information is required by US Customs and Border Protection simply to allow passage into the United States. The test case showed British Airway's databases also allowed the accessed information to be changed, authenticating Boggan using only the personal data he uncovered. The airline indicates it may begin using biometrics and RFID technologies for two stage authentication in the future. A cause for these security breaches? Each airline submitting mandatory data to border control maintains its own databases with varying degrees of internal scrutiny. Information security differs from company to company and 'more secure' data can often be accessed using 'less secure' data available elsewhere."
05/07/06 - Switch To Hydrogen!
(The site as usual with such claims says 'preparation for sales to the public', so that isn't a good thing. And they now claim the government has shut them down and taken the chemicals they use to produce the hydrogen. - JWD) The United Nuclear Hydrogen Fuel System Kit is an intermediate approach that simply converts your existing vehicle to burn Hydrogen or Gasoline. The stock Gasoline fuel injection system remains intact and is not modified in any way. It is shut down while the Hydrogen fuel system is activated. The basic system consists of two parts, the Hydrogen fuel system in your vehicle, and a Hydrogen generating system that remains in your garage. The Hydrogen generator is either powered by Solar electric panels or a wind turbine set-up, either of which makes Hydrogen fuel at virtually no cost. ANY claim of fueling a car with water, and having the water converted to Hydrogen quickly enough to power a passenger vehicle is pure B.S. The bottom line is simple physics. It takes electrical energy to break the Hydrogen-Oxygen bond in water and release the free gases... and that takes time. The more energy applied to the water, the faster the gasses will evolve... up to a point. Since you can't make Hydrogen quickly enough to power a car in real time, you must produce it separately, and store it as you store your Gasoline fuel supply in your vehicle now. There are materials call Hydrides that absorb Hydrogen like a sponge absorbs water. Typically, the tanks are filled with granulated Hydrides, and Hydrogen is pressurized into the material. Hydrides have many advantages over liquid & gas. One is that the density of the Hydrogen stored in the Hydride can be GREATER than that of liquid Hydrogen. This translates directly into smaller and fewer storage tanks. Once the Hydride is "charged" with Hydrogen, the Hydrogen becomes chemically bonded to the chemical. Even opening the tank, or cutting it in half will not release the Hydrogen gas. In addition, you could even fire incendiary bullets through the tank and the Hydride would only smolder like a cigarette. It is in fact, a safer storage system than your Gasoline tank is. Then how do you get the Hydrogen back out? To release the Hydrogen gas from the Hydride, it simply needs to be heated. This is either done electrically, using the waste exhaust heat, or using the waste radiator coolant heat. Our kits heat the Hydride tanks electrically, and as soon at the Hydride is sufficiently warm, Hydrogen is released from the tanks and the on-board computer detects the presence of Hydrogen pressure. It is not possible to create sufficient amounts Hydrogen gas from water (on board the vehicle) fast enough to idle the smallest passenger vehicle. The United Nuclear Hydrogen Fuel System Kit converts your existing vehicle to run on Hydrogen. Complete kits will soon be available for various late-model cars & trucks as well as individual system components for those who choose to assemble their own kits. Included in the kits (and also available separately) is our solar powered Hydrogen Generator that manufactures the Hydrogen fuel for your vehicle at virtually zero cost. Simply put, you never have to buy Gasoline again. Since there are no major changes made to your engine, you can still run your vehicle on Gasoline at any time. We now have over 50,000 trouble-free miles on our prototype vehicles. We are currently fleet-testing our systems and are in final preparation for sales to the general public. - May 5th: An update on our fight with the CPSC - and their attempts to remove the necessary chemicals for our Hydrogen Fuel System from public use - will be posted as soon as we receive an update from our attorney.
05/07/06 - How to make Hydrogen from Drano (sodium hydroxide) and run your engine
(This is a repeat news item relevant to the above news item, as taken from the August 2005 KeelyNet archive. - Totally fascinating file with an added bonus of many tips to save on mileage and protect your car. The information originates from Todd Morrill, a 25 year automotive professional. It could be used to mix hydrogen with gas to increase efficiency and lower pollution - JWD) The present invention relates to production of hydrogen gas by reacting aluminum with water in the presence of sodium hydroxide as a catalyst. The process is carried out at room temperature and produces lot of heat and hydrogen gas of high purity. The invention also relates to using a simple hydrogen generator which uses water and aluminum particles as fuel, and sodium hydroxide (NaOH) as a catalyst. The aluminum used in the reaction comprises aluminum foil, electrical wire, beverage cans and other similar aluminum waste. Mixture of water (H20) and Sodium Hydroxide are added to reaction tank then aluminum is added to start releasing hydrogen and heat. Since top of reaction tank is closed, hydrogen gas travels through outlet line into the water lock, water lock (hydrogen flashback arrestor) is added as a safety feature to lower the possibilty of an explosion should an engine backfire occur. It also filters the hydrogen gas to help remove sodium hydroxide vapors. Most cars and trucks have aluminum engine components and since we know it will dissolve aluminum this would not be good to get inside of engine parts. For my tests I used 10 tablespoonfuls (heaping) of drano to 1 quart of water. This mixture dissolved a pop can in less than an hour, and clean aluminum would dissolve even quicker.
05/07/06 - The Car that makes its Own Fuel
(Posted in this news archive back in 2005. - JWD) A unique system that can produce Hydrogen inside a car using common metals such as Magnesium and Aluminum was developed by an Israeli company. The system solves all of the obstacles associated with the manufacturing, transporting and storing of hydrogen to be used in cars. a different solution has been developed by an Israeli company called Engineuity. Amnon Yogev, one of the two founders of Engineuity, and a retired Professor of the Weizmann Institute, suggested a method for producing a continuous flow of Hydrogen and steam under full pressure inside a car. This method could also be used for producing hydrogen for fuel cells and other applications requiring hydrogen and/or steam. The Hydrogen car Engineuity is working on will use metals such as Magnesium or Aluminum which will come in the form of a long coil. The gas tank in conventional vehicles will be replaced by a device called a Metal-Steam combustor that will separate Hydrogen out of heated water. The basic idea behind the technology is relatively simple: the tip of the metal coil is inserted into the Metal-Steam combustor together with water where it will be heated to very high temperatures. The metal atoms will bond to the Oxygen from the water, creating metal oxide. As a result, the Hydrogen molecules are free, and will be sent into the engine alongside the steam. The solid waste product of the process, in the form of metal oxide, will later be collected in the fuel station and recycled for further use by the metal industry. The main reason for this is the improved usage of heat (steam) inside the system that brings that overall performance level of the vehicle to that of a conventional car. The only minor drawback, which also limits the choice of possible metal fuel sources, is the weight of the coil. In order for the Hydrogen car to be able to travel as far as a conventional car it needs a metal coil three-times heavier than an equivalent petrol tank. Although this sound like a lot in most cars this will add up to about 100kg (220 pounds) and should not affect the performance of the car.
05/07/06 - How to Levitate video online
A way cool magic trick that has long puzzled those who saw David Blaine's TV special where he levitated apparently with no prior preparation or setup. Of course its a trick, but something worth studying as such trickery could be applied in scams by the less reputable free energy/alternative science scamsters. This video was at one time being sold for $100 and demonstrates the technique developed by Chris Angel and hacked online by Criss Angel.
05/07/06 - Cheaper to fly than drive?
That's the conclusion reached by The Sun, whose editors -- noting the rising price of gas -- dispatched a reporter last week to fly from Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport to the Long Island MacArthur Airport near Islip, N.Y., then drive back, comparing costs. The flight cost $39.30, including tax. The drive cost $41.26, including tolls. Gas at an Exxon near the Islip airport cost $3.20 a gallon that day.
05/07/06 - Pain controlled to give New life thanks to CD
ISOBEL Craig, 79, remembers being crippled with "the worst pain imaginable" before a CD changed her life. For two years she suffered from trigeminal neuralgia, a rare nerve disorder that causes sudden and severe face pain. During the frequent attacks she was unable to move, eat and talk, and barely able to swallow. "My life was impossible, just terrible. I wanted to die," she said. Doctors told Mrs Craig, from northeast England, there was no cure. In desperation, her daughter, Ann Marie Foster of Melbourne, sent her a subliminal message CD by Australian hypnotherapist Rick Collingwood. "About eight days after first playing the CD, Mum rang me and said the pain in her face had completely gone," Ms Foster said. The CD also helped Mrs Craig's son, Michael, 46, who has cerebral palsy. FOR more information visit www.mindmotivations.com/life-improvement-hypnosis-cds.shtml
05/07/06 - Crude oil from Pig Manure
A typical pig produces about 6 gallons of waste a day. For a hog farmer like Pat Dumoulin of Hampshire, who has about 1,200 sows, that's enough stinky and potentially hazardous fumes that he has a pair of 500,000-gallon tanks to properly store the stuff. Like most farmers, much of the manure from Dumoulin's hogs winds up as fertilizer. Turning garbage into natural gas, cow manure into fuel for power plants, and even fast-food grease into auto fuel are other examples of recent advances in the sub-field of icky-but-renewable energy. Zhang's big breakthrough is that he's designed a more efficient process: a continuous reactor. Instead of converting hog waste one batch at a time, Zhang's lab, which is funded in part by the Illinois Pork Producers Association, has developed a method to feed waste continuously into a reactor, which is essentially an industrial-strength pressurized oven. And, Zhang boasts, "We don't even need pre-drying." Chemically, pig dung isn't as different from oil as one might think. In Zhang's reactor, a process known as thermochemical conversion partially breaks down hydrocarbon molecules that make up most of the excrement, and voila: porky petrol.
Similar but not identical to the black gold it took Mother Nature eons to brew, Zhang's fuel behaves like diesel. hang predicts the process could get 3.6 gallons of crude oil a day out of each pig. Illinois brings some 7.2 million hogs to market each year and the nationwide industry is about 100-million hogs strong.
05/06/06 - Solar Powered Bicycle
The E-V Sunny bicycle has photovoltaic panels built into its wheels, powering a 500-watt motor on the front hub. Perched atop the rear wheel are its 17 amp/hour batteries, which are charged by solar energy. The E-V Sunny Bicycle has light absorbing Solar panels built right into the Wheels, creating continual power from the Sun’s Rays, and maintaining a constant charge to the batteries. The bike is propelled by a 500 watt front hub motor. The variable speed electronic controller drives the bike to speeds of up to 30 kilometers per hour. Overall weight of the bicycle is 75 lbs. and comes with 17 amp hr. batteries and a built in battery charger. Cost of the E-V Sunny Bicycle is $1295.00 and comes with a 90-day warrantee. The cost of the kit starts at $795.00, and the Company provides after sales servicing.
05/06/06 - TV-station exec hires numerologist to 'fix' address
If you think there's something different about the address above the entrance of KRON television headquarters, the fortresslike building at 1001 Van Ness Avenue, you're right. The number 552 has been added. The reason? A station exec's astrologer advised that 1001 was a bad number for business. Advertising is down, its entertainment and local news shows lag in the ratings, and parent company Young Broadcasting, which spent $825 million to buy KRON in 2000, is swimming in red ink. The change happened in January and since then, Patton insists, not only has the independent station announced a network affiliation deal with Rupert Murdoch's upstart MyNetworkTV to begin in September, but also "morale is better; people seem happier." He even thinks business is improving, although one might not know it from Young's latest quarterly financials, which showed the company - with KRON leading the way - lost a whopping $91 million last year.
05/06/06 - How RFID hackers can steal gas, cars, and office access
RFID hackers can exploit vulnerabilities in RFID tags to hotwire cars, steal gas, break into your office, and get up to other naughtiness. A skinny 23-year-old named Jonathan Westhues plans to use a cheap, homemade USB device to swipe the office key out of Van Bokkelen's back pocket. "I just need to bump into James and get my hand within a few inches of him," Westhues says. We're shivering in the early spring air outside the offices of Sandstorm, the Internet security company Van Bokkelen runs north of Boston. As Van Bokkelen approaches from the parking lot, Westhues brushes past him. A coil of copper wire flashes briefly in Westhues' palm, then disappears. Van Bokkelen enters the building, and Westhues returns to me. "Let's see if I've got his keys," he says, meaning the signal from Van Bokkelen's smartcard badge. The card contains an RFID sensor chip, which emits a short burst of radio waves when activated by the reader next to Sandstorm's door. If the signal translates into an authorized ID number, the door unlocks. The coil in Westhues' hand is the antenna for the wallet-sized device he calls a cloner, which is currently shoved up his sleeve. The cloner can elicit, record, and mimic signals from smartcard RFID chips. Westhues takes out the device and, using a USB cable, connects it to his laptop and downloads the data from Van Bokkelen's card for processing. Then, satisfied that he has retrieved the code, Westhues switches the cloner from Record mode to Emit. We head to the locked door. (via boingboing.com)
05/06/06 - China Makes Artificial Rain for Beijing
Chinese weather specialists used chemicals to engineer Beijing's heaviest rainfall of the year, helping to relieve drought and rinse dust from China's capital, the official Xinhua News Agency reported Friday. Technicians with the Beijing Weather Modification Office fired seven rocket shells containing 163 cigarette-size sticks of silver iodide over the city's skies on Thursday, Xinhua said. The reaction that occurred brought as much as four-tenths of an inch of rain, the heaviest rainfall this year, helping to "alleviate drought, add soil moisture and remove dust from the air for better air quality," Xinhua said. Last month, another artificial rainfall was generated to clear Beijing after the city suffered some of the fiercest dust storms this decade.
05/06/06 - Sequential Renaming of files made easy
Yahoo! Tech has a cool tip for renaming lots of files at once, useful for things like renaming huge batches of digital photos (IMG8398.jpg) to something descriptive and usable. Once all the files you want to rename are highlighted, press F2, or right-click on one of the files and select Rename. All of your file selections will disappear except for one, but don’t panic: Type in your new name and click Enter. That’s it! One file will be now be named “renametext” and the others will have sequential numbers in the format of “renametext (1)” and “renametext (2)” and so on.
05/05/06 - Invention promotion scam stopped, FTC says
A company that offered to help U.S. inventors turn ideas into profitable products was ordered to repay consumers $26 million and to stop using bogus claims to recruit customers, the Federal Trade Commission said on Wednesday. The FTC sued Davison & Associates Inc. for allegedly making false claims in Internet and classified ads to sign up inventors by boasting of relationships with manufacturers. The company claimed that its income came from sharing royalties with inventors rather than from the fees of $800 to $12,000 charged to each inventor, the FTC said. Davison also allegedly made false statements that it had a vast network of corporations with whom it regularly negotiated successful licensing agreements, and that the company's marketing services were necessary for consumers to license their invention ideas.
05/05/06 - New Fuel System increases power and torque
Ron Kukler, a Geelong-based mechanical engineer, has developed the Green Diesel fuel system. The award-winning invention is said to be a revolutionary injection system that dramatically increases engine power and torque, while offering a substantial reduction in fuel consumption and pollutants. He said the Green Diesel Corp injection system dramatically decreased the harmful particulate matter emitted by diesel engines enabling stringent Europe and USA 2007-10 EPA Clean Air Legislation to be met. “A two-stage hydraulic/electronic fuel delivery system creates extremely high injection pressures of 160,000 psi compared to about 23,000 psi for traditional common rail injection systems,” he said. “Fuel injected at a higher pressure results in a much cleaner combustion process and a multitude of benefits evident in the much-improved engine performance figures.”
05/05/06 - Bangladesh prof charged with murder after invention kills six
An eccentric Bangladeshi physics professor whose newly-invented steam-driven irrigation pump exploded killing six people has been charged with murder, police said on Thursday. Twenty-four people, including physics lecturer Mainul Islam Talukder, were seriously injured in Tuesday's blast that happened as the invention was being formally unveiled in front of a crowd of onlookers in the northern town of Gobindaganj. "Six people died instantly as they bodies were blown to pieces, while dozens were seriously burnt," local police chief Ataur Rahman told on phone.
05/05/06 - Radio clotting
Major surgery can release a deluge of blood that often flows too fast to clot. If the flow is not staunched in time, this can prevent doctors from seeing what they are doing and may lead to dangerous blood loss. A bleeding organ could be "sewn up" by hitting it with a dose of energy along a stitch line, they suggest. The researchers have come up with a tool resembling a hairbrush that has an array of stainless steel "bristles" that serve as tiny electrodes. To stop blood flowing, or seal off the good parts of an organ before a diseased part is cut away, the tool is pushed onto the tissue so that its electrodes break the surface. Radio waves, at a frequency of around 10 kilohertz, are then generated by feeding current to the electrodes, with the signals skipping up and down the length of the device for around 5 minutes. This heats the organ tissue along a centimetre-wide track, sealing the blood vessels and preventing further bleeding. The patient would of course be anaesthetised, so they would not feel the procedure.
05/05/06 - Red-eye age checker
Red-eye is the effect seen when a person's open pupils allow a camera's flash light to be reflected off their retinas. Red eye correction software analyses a picture, looking for a pair of red dots in the centre of a face, and automatically dulls them to remove the effect. Kodak's patent mentions previous research suggesting a correlation between age and the way pupils react to light. As a person gets older, their pupils have greater difficulty widening to cope with dim light, it says. The company suggests that an age-verification system could take mug shots of a person from a set distance in controlled lighting, using a flash. Software would then measure the size of their red-eye dots to determine how wide their pupils are and make an estimate of their age.
05/05/06 - GM Exec: Driving is Dead
suppliers are developing side-vision-based lane-departure warning systems that read the edge of the road and the white lines. And the next-generation global positioning satellite (GPS) system is going to get you down from accuracy in yards to accuracy in inches. All the technology combined will allow us to implement so-called Smart Highway systems, without having to do what we once feared would be necessary, which is to tear up every highway in order to bury wires under the pavement. With the next-generation GPS system, we won't have to change the road infrastructure one iota. GPS can also coordinate speed with location. Let's say you're in a state with a 75-mph limit and you cross into a state with a 65-mph limit. GPS knows that and can adjust your speed accordingly. It will be able to read and pinpoint on-ramps and turnoffs, based on software programmed into the car's receiver and on the accurate position reading. With radar-based automatic distance-sensing systems, imaging and lane-adherence technology, and the GPS system, we basically have the enablers to do fully autonomous driving.It's not out of the question to imagine that someday soon you'll be able to start the car, punch in the appropriate settings, then swivel the front seats around and play cards and eat lunch as if you're riding on a train. All in perfect comfort and safety, all the way to that niece's place in Chicago. It will help alleviate a lot of traffic congestion and prevent a lot of accidents, assuming the system doesn't break down for any reason. And it's an idea whose time has just about come. If pressed to estimate just how far away that time is, I'd say a working system is ten years out, implementation maybe 20 years.
05/05/06 - Slime to control Rioters
Riot police or troops would wear a back pack with three cylinders - one containing compressed air, another filled with plain water and a third containing a supply of very dry, finely ground, polyacrylamide powder. A nozzle, resembling a shower head, would blasts two separate jets, containing the water and the polymer powder, in the general direction of an ugly crowd. As the two jets mix in the air, after clearing the nozzle, they create a slimy mixture that covers the ground and causes everyone in the area to fall down. Even vehicles should be unable to get a grip on the goo, the patent says. And because the gel is non-toxic, it should cause no permanent harm, besides a few bruised bottoms, that is.
05/05/06 - Saudi derides energy independence
Saudi Arabia's oil minister scorned the popular notion that America can achieve energy independence as a myth, saying Tuesday the idea denies the existence of interdependent global markets and the need for countries to work together for oil-price stability. "While self-reliance is appealing, the efficacy of such an approach for achieving long-term energy security is an illusion built on the myth that security can be achieved through protectionist measures aimed at blocking certain types of imports or goods and investments from certain regions of the world,'' Naimi said. He stressed that the world oil market, stretched thin by surging demand and years of low investment when prices were low, can provide "sustainable energy stability'' when consumers don't feel gouged and producers get an adequate return on their investment. Naimi said that even though he questions the viability of U.S. energy independence, Saudi Arabia thinks America should increase conservation efforts and research and development of such alterative fuels as ethanol. "I believe it's beneficial to begin research on alternative fuels that can go hand in hand with hydrocarbons. We are going to need an alternative'' as oil resources are depleted in coming decades, added the oil minister of Saudi Arabia, which is the world's No. 1 oil exporter and the fourth-largest foreign supplier to the United States.
05/02/06 - May 3rd, 2PM Discovery Channel Free Energy documentary
'A Machine to Die for' will be broadcast again if you haven't seen it. Its the one they contacted me about around 1999 and was finally finished roughly 2 years ago. Has been broadcast in Canada, Australia, New Zealand but not in the US to my knowledge though I'm told May 22-23 it will be nationwide. Haven't found a listing for this date/time yet. It shows Aldo Costa's self-running wheel in France and Reidar Finsrud's self-running machine in Norway.
05/01/06 - Amazing 850 HP M.Y.T. Engine
The ”Massive but Tiny” engine claims to deliver 850 horsepower from an engine weighing just 150 pounds, which would give it a power to weight ratio 40 times greater than a standard internal combustion engine. The MYT™ Engine has the potential to replace all the existing internal combustion engines and jet engines. With 40 times higher power to weight ratio, low parts count, low maintenance, high mechanical efficiency, and low pollution, the MYT™ Engine will benefit airplane, big ship, 18 wheeler, SUV, passenger car, even down to carry on power generator applications. The MYT™ Engine working as a pump/compressor also exceeds exisiting pumps/compressors in providing massive pressure, volume, and flow, all in one unit.
05/01/06 - Solar Powered 3 wheeled Trike
The build-it-yourself Sun-E-Trike is a sun-and-pedal-powered tricycle he invented. The kits boast a comfy seat straight off a motorboat, a rear wire basket for cargo ease and a handle-bar-mounted solar panel. But there's no gasoline required. The kit will cost you about $1,300, according to the vehicle's Web site, www.solartrike.com. "Originally, it started out just as a three-wheeled trike," he explained. "Then, eventually, I put a motor on it… I lived in the country about eight miles out of town … We had some charging problems. So, I put a solar panel on it." The 80-watt solar panel works in tandem with pedal power to charge a one horsepower electric motor with a roughly 10-mile range and can reach speeds of just over 30mph. It recharges in less than six hours, according to Sun-E-Trike's Web pitch.
05/01/06 - Hill Climbing Water
(Reminds me of using cymatic sound waves to cause motion in a preferred direction. - JWD) Physicists have made water run uphill quite literally under its own steam. The droplets propel themselves over metal sheets scored with a carefully designed array of grooves. The physics at work here has been witnessed by all of us in the kitchen. Leave an empty pan on the stove for too long, and water, when you drip it over the scorching pan bottom, will hover over the surface on a bed of steam. The effect was described in the 18th Century by a German scientist Johann Gottlob Leidenfrost. What happens is that the heat is so intense, it boils the underside of the water droplet without any physical contact with the pan. The trick seems simple. Instead of using a smooth surface, the team scored it with a series of skewed triangular grooves. This gives it a kind of saw-tooth profile. Now the water droplets appear to push themselves off the long-slope side of the grooves and rocket across the heated surface - instead of just dancing on the spot as they do in the kitchen pan. The mechanism is a little more complicated and took a while to work out, Dr Linke told the BBC. "The vapour," he explained, "mostly flows in one direction, and the droplet sits on the flowing vapour, a bit like a boat carried along in a flowing river." Droplets can also climb over steps, and up inclines of up to 12 degrees. Filmed with high-speed cameras, the droplets appear to take on a life of their own, sliding along like sloppy amoebae. Suitably micro-patterned channels, argues Dr Linke, would make the coolant flow automatically. "It would be very neat if we could use the heat from the chip to be the pump, because you would not need any additional power, but also because the pumping only happens when the thing is warm; it would also be a thermostat at the same time. So it would all be in one package."
05/01/06 - Magnetic Refrigerator is 40% better
Researchers at the University of Cambridge have discovered a new way to chill food without the compressor. Using the the magnetocaloric effect they have been able to create a magnetic field that somehow chills a combination of alloys, cobalt, manganese, silicon and germanium.The materials are neither costly or toxic and they think it will lead to refrigerators that are 40% more efficient.
05/01/06 - Zero Emission Truck
The Modec Van is England’s first zero emission commercial vehicle and can travel 120 miles on a single charge. It has a top speed of 50 mph all while carrying 2 tons of cargo. The electric motor only has three moving parts and the vehicle can be recharged in 12 hours.
05/01/06 - Simple invention helps MS patients walk
"Our need was to get to a pub that was serving the best cream teas on Dartmoor," Anne Armitage told the BBC News website. "My husband had this wonderful idea - he took off his rucksack, put a bungee on my foot and I covered the last two kilometres and got there in time for tea." The device consists of a shoulder harness and an elasticated cord connected the wearer's shoe. They are hoping it will help people with MS, cerebral palsy, those recovering from strokes and adrenoleukodystrophy, a condition similar to MS. Mr Armitage uses the elastic cord to help people whose muscles won't allow them to lift their feet during that part of the walking cycle. "We found a way of transferring energy from the strong muscles in the thigh and back to the ones that weren't working." The next stage in the product's development was to have it tested by a larger group of people. The South-West MS Society helped by coming up with around 20 volunteers. According to Mr Armitage, over a 90 day period their walking speed increased by more than 100%. The volunteers also reported - though this was not measured scientifically - that the distance that they were able to walk increased by up to 600%. Wearers reported that walking without the MuSmate had also improved. The MuSmate can be used on one or both legs and costs around £75 for a single harness and £125 for a double version. The company estimates that there are two million people in Europe and North America who could make use of the invention.
05/01/06 - Worlds First Hydrogen City
H2PIA will be a fully self-sustaining, hydrogen powered "urban community," replete with several models of residential homes, a public center, plenty of open space, and enough commercial and office space to allow residents a commute-free lifestyle. One home even comes with a hybrid vehicle that generates power for other parts of the neighborhood when not in use. "Outside the hydrogen city there are parks where solar power cells and wind turbines produce energy and hydrogen for the town. Electricity from the town’s solar and wind parks is distributed directly to the inhabitants. Any excess electricity is used to produce hydrogen for the town’s fuel storage. The stored hydrogen is used to produce electricity and heat in the H2-cogeneration plant during periods with no wind and sun." The development will be in Denmark, and emerges from an extensive collaboration of various developers, engineers, architects, and community planners.
05/01/06 - Heating with geothermal cold exchange
Toronto Star takes a look at the potential that low-temperature geothermal technology has to reduce the use of fossil fuels in the province, and in certain situations, also reduce electricity consumption. The Canadian GeoExchange Coalition prefers the name "geoexchange," but they're also known as "earth energy" systems or simple ground-source heat pumps. The column focuses largely on some of the new financing models that are emerging to make these systems more affordable to homeowners and businesses. Marshall Homes, for example, offers them as an upgrade on new homes and allows buyers to roll them into their mortgages. NextEnergy Geothermal Solutions has worked out a deal with Waterloo North Hydro and rents the systems to homeowners under a 20-year contract that charges a fixed fee on the customer's local utility bill.
05/01/06 - Mystery Booms presage earthquakes?
We've reported in the past how many people experience ringing of their ears before major earthquakes. We've also told you that before major earthquake we often have mysterious "booms" in regions soon impacted by quakes. All of which brings us to the Sunday report in the San Diego Union today about "Mysterious booms" being heard over wide areas. Note: do you have 3-weeks of food and water on hand right now?
05/01/06 - Making Money on the Moon
Making money on the moon is an essential part of the U.S. plan for space exploration, NASA officials said on Friday after a four-day strategy workshop with international space officials and scientists. Billed as the first meeting to determine what explorers would do if they return to the lunar surface after more than three decades, the gathering drew some 180 participants from more than a dozen countries, including China, Russia, Japan and the nations of the European Space Agency. Shana Dale, NASA's deputy administrator, said one clear goal was to do business. "The teams recognize the critical importance of space commerce -- having real companies going to the moon and making money," Dale said at a telephone news conference. "The government needs to be a trailblazer and enabler (with) a desire to see commerce take off." Aside from the central issues of commerce, international cooperation and public engagement, the working groups also noted the need for lunar law early in the process. David Beatty of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory said an international legal framework would be helpful in the area of property rights, interoperability standards and making hardware from various countries work together.
05/01/06 - Texas Terrorism Fight
I know it's well intended, but the Texas Department of Public Safety's new "What the Public Needs to Know" about terrorism pamphlet suggests y'all report (among other thing) "Unusual discoveries of weapons, explosives. Is there a usual kind? Also suspicious in Texas: large cash purchases of beer/wine/liquor (oh oh...) and folks who have terrorist characteristics like "Trained to avoid confrontations with law enforcement and therefore can be expected to project a "nice-guy" image." Please don't turn me in...
05/01/06 - 100mph Lithium Powered Car with 300mile range
A company called Hybrid Technologies has introduced the World’s first vehicle powered only by a lithium Polymer battery, and it could make gas-electric hybrids obsolete and change the automotive industry forever. Until now most all Hybrid and fully Electric Vehicles were powered by Nickel Metal Hydride batteries, the technology was relatively cheap and expectable for the high demands placed on automobiles, but engineers knew that NMH batteries were not near effective enough to power an average size vehicle for a trip over 100 miles on their own. Hybrid Technologies uses a revolutionary new Lithium Polymer Battery made by Kokam Corporation. The company plans to market their new method of propulsion in Daimler Chrysler’s Smart Car, but says any car can be modified to use the system. The advanced Lithium Polymer Batteries can propel the 1,700 pound Smart Car for an impressive 300 miles on a single charge, which brings it up to the range of a standard gasoline powered passenger car. Top speed is 100 miles per hour, and to fully charge the vehicle will take 5 hours. The Smart Car’s cost per mile should be around 2¢, which is equivalent to 40¢ per gallon of gasoline. Initial cost will be $35,000, but that price will drop as volumes increase.
05/01/06 - Drugs Meant for Personal use Legal in Mexico
Possessing marijuana, cocaine and even heroin will no longer be a crime in Mexico if they are in small amounts for personal use under new reforms passed by Congress that quickly drew U.S. criticism. The legislation came as a shock to Washington, which counts on Mexico's support in its war against drug smuggling gangs who move massive quantities of cocaine, heroin, marijuana and methamphetamines through Mexico to U.S. consumers. "I would say any law that decriminalizes dangerous drugs is not very helpful," said Judith Bryan, spokeswoman for the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City. "Drugs are dangerous. We don't think it is the appropriate way to go." She said U.S. officials were still studying the reforms, under which police will not penalize people for possessing up to 5 grams of marijuana, 5 grams of opium, 25 milligrams of heroin or 500 milligrams of cocaine. People caught with larger quantities of drugs will be treated as narcotics dealers and face increased jail terms under the plan.
$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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