05/31/07 - Team Discovers "Throttle" For Solar Wind
"Because helium nearly vanishes from the solar wind at its minimum speed, the researchers believe helium might somehow set the minimum speed. Helium is not accelerated efficiently by any process thought to be propelling the solar wind. Instead, it has to be dragged along by the hydrogen: Solar wind hydrogen atoms exert a small electric field that drags the helium out along with it, according to the team."
05/31/07 - WaveTech - Re-Inventing the Engine
Inventor Brad Raether says he has developed a more efficient way to transform linear power - the drive of a piston or the stroke of a bicyclist's leg - into rotary power - the motion needed to drive wheels. The idea looks simple. Rather than hooking the bottom of a piston rod to a crook in a crankshaft, which is the way piston engines have converted linear motion into rotary motion for 300 years, Raether's model uses a crossbar that runs inside a race in the cylinder wall to twist the piston rod with each stroke. The bottom of the rod spins a gear, which connects directly to a drivetrain, eliminating the crankshaft altogether. The design of the race gives the piston more leverage throughout its stroke, transferring about three times more of its power than a conventional piston, Raether said. Among the potential results: Production automobiles that get 75 to 100 miles per gallon, with minimal changes to their standard engines. Or possibly more efficient bicycles, pedal-powered cars, or small pedal-powered airplanes. Or possibly more efficient power production plants. More efficient compressed air-driven vehicles, used extensively in mining and manufacturing where sparks can be deadly. And standard internal combustion engines that could run at lower RPMs because they transfer their power more efficiently, dramatically reducing fuel usage, waste-heat and engine wear and tear. Raether says his tests have shown so far that any of those outcomes are possible with his invention, if he can get it to market. His patent is pending but, as with most inventions, commercializing it is not an easy task.
05/31/07 - WaveTech Engine - US Patent Application - 20070079791
Raether; Bradley - April 12, 2007 - WaveTech engine / Abstract - Reciprocating engine construction wherein a rotating assembly converts the linear motion of the piston into rotational motion more efficiently, therefore yielding more torque and working power while using less fuel. The rotating assembly is three components working together, an interchanger unit with track rollers mounted at both ends and attached at it's center to the connecting rod by bearings allowing it to rotate while reciprocating, a stationary cylindrical unit having opposing wave shaped races (tracks) encircling it's perimeter with slopes of at least 45 degrees to convert the reciprocating motion to rotational motion on a one to one ratio 90 degrees perpendicular to the axis of the interchanger as the track rollers follow the slopes of the races, a rotating carrier that keeps the track rollers aligned and transfers the converted rotational motion to the output shaft by means of gears.
05/31/07 - Computers Outperform Humans at Recognizing Faces
"According to the recent Face Recognition Grand Challenge, The match up of face-recognition algorithms showed that machine recognition of human individuals has improved tenfold since 2002 and a hundredfold since 1995. 'Among other advantages, 3-D facial recognition identifies individuals by exploiting distinctive features of a human face's surface--for instance, the curves of the eye sockets, nose, and chin, which are where tissue and bone are most apparent and which don't change over time. Furthermore, Phillips says, "changes in illumination have adversely affected face-recognition performance from still images. But the shape of a face isn't affected by changes in illumination." Hence, 3-D face recognition might even be used in near-dark conditions.'"
05/30/07 - Stove cooks, chills and powers your mobile
A stove that uses acoustic technology to cook and cool, and generates its own electricity, is being designed for developing communities in Africa and Asia. A person can spend two hours a day collecting wood to burn in a fire that is so wasteful that 93% of the energy generated, literally, goes up in smoke. The efficiency comes from a technology known as thermoacoustics, which produces sound waves from heated gas and then converts them to electricity. Wood is placed inside the stove and burned. The fire heats compressed air that has been pumped into specially shaped pipes located inside the stove's chimney and behind the stove. The heated air begins to vibrate and produce sound waves. Inside the pipes, the noise is 100 times louder than a jet taking off. Because the pipes are stiff and do not vibrate, the sound waves have nowhere to go. So outside the pipe, people hear only a faint hum. At the end of a pipe, the sound waves vibrate a diaphragm attached to a coil of metal wires sitting inside a magnet. As the wire coil vibrates, about 50 times per second, it generates an electrical current, which is captured by wires and converted to the proper voltage. The stove has electrical sockets, where homeowners can plug in, for example, a mobile phone for charging. Or they can sell the electricity as a phone-charging service. For refrigeration, the heated, compressed air is sent through a different part of the pipe, where sound waves cause the air to expand. And as it expands, it cools to a temperature that can produce ice. It takes about 2 hours of stove use to produce enough ice that will keep the fridge cold for 24 hours. But homeowners have the option of producing more ice to sell for income. In five year's time, they hope to be churning out about 1 million stoves a year that each sell for US$30-40.
05/30/07 - The Quantum Physics of Remote Viewing
Danish physicist Niels Bohr, who was to become later one of the fathers of the “Manhattan Project” that developed the first US A-bomb during WWII, used in 1913 the theory of “quanta” of energy in order to prove that the whole world of atoms was full of “quantum” jumps. An electron could jump from one level of energy (so-called orbit) to another without appearing in-between these states. Discontinuity had been introduced in our equation of the universe! In the strange world of quantum physics, particles dematerialized themselves into waves (such as in transistors) and rematerialized themselves later into particles. This depended on the type of experiment they were subjected to, and most importantly: the choice made by a conscious observer as to how he or she would view these particles. To most theorists, the phenomena of nature existed only as determined states as a conscious observer witnessed them, either directly, or through the artifacts of a measuring device. Quantum mechanics was born, and with it our view of reality would be forever changed. we make a potential reality manifest itself by our choices, even retroactively through time and immediately across the perceived infinite space, as the two experiments mentioned hereafter have proven, to the surprise of most physicists. Or, in other words, volition and free will operate outside the confines of time/space, and our impression of making choices is but a delayed awareness of events that higher levels of our minds have already made for us and therefore project to our awareness (ego) as a holographic packet of sensory information, post facto. Very advanced “remote viewers” know at which points volition is part of the higher levels of one’s self and at which points it is made available to the lower (conscious level), as the quantum self or higher self merges with the lower self (ego). If we are co-creator of our reality by mere thought, the natural imbued skepticism of many scientists and their methodologies introduce a negative bias in the results that they would obtain in thought experiment such as “remote viewing” etc. In other words, in order to achieve 100% success at proving the efficacy of “remote viewing or influencing ” one would need to deal with scientists and tests subjects that are of the firm belief of the easy achievement of such mental feats, which would automatically be called a bias experimental protocol by the skeptical scientific community. That is why the best results at remote viewing were always achieved within intelligence and military secret units that pragmatically only cared about bridging time and space effectively using mental technologies, and were not the least concerned about peer recognition and the fear of being ridiculed.
05/30/07 - Researchers develop low-cost, low-energy desalination process
A low-cost water desalination system developed by New Mexico State University engineers can convert saltwater to pure drinking water on a round-the-clock basis and its energy needs are so low it can be powered by the waste heat of an air conditioning system. A prototype built on the NMSU campus in Las Cruces can produce enough pure water continuously to supply a four-person household, said Nirmala Khandan, an environmental engineering professor in NMSU's Department of Civil Engineering. The system utilizes the natural effects of gravity and atmospheric pressure to create a vacuum in which water can evaporate and condense at near-ambient temperatures. Two 30-foot vertical tubes - one rising from a tank of saline water and the other from a tank of pure water - are connected by a horizontal tube. The barometric pressure of the tall water columns creates a vacuum in the headspace. At normal temperatures, Khandan said, evaporation from the pure-water side will travel to the saline side and condense as the system seeks equilibrium. "That's nature," he said. "We want it to go the other way." Raising the temperature of the water in the headspace over the saline column slightly more than that of the freshwater column causes the flow to go in the other direction, so that pure, distilled water collects on one side and the brine concentrate is left behind in a separate container. A temperature increase of only 10 to 15 degrees is needed, Khandan said. "That's the trick of this vacuum," he said. "We don't have to boil the water like normal distillation, so you can use low-grade heat like solar energy or waste heat from a diesel engine or some other source of waste heat." Potentially a desalination system using this method could be coupled to a home's refrigerated air conditioning system, Khandan said. "When you air condition a house, you are pumping the heat outside the house, and the heat is wasted into the atmosphere," he said. "We want to capture that heat and use it to power this desalination system." The 30-foot-tall NMSU prototype is powered by a solar panel. Khandan and his research assistant, civil engineering doctoral student Veera Gnaneswar Gude, have modified the process originally developed by Florida researchers to incorporate a thermal energy storage device that allows the system to operate around-the-clock, using stored energy at night. The Institute of Energy and Environment housed in the NMSU College of Engineering helped them instrument the system. (via cleantechblog.com)
05/30/07 - Plasma could turn old tyres into new
Blasting old tyres with super-hot gas offers a way to turn them back into new ones, say UK researchers. This would tackle one of the world's biggest waste disposal problems. Old tyres are piling up in landfill across the world because they are so difficult to dispose of, or reuse. The options for recycling are limited because the rubber used is vulcanised, meaning it has been combined with another chemical, usually sulphur, to improve its overall strength and durability. But vulcanised rubber does not melt, and is therefore difficult to reform and reuse. So many tyres are simply dumped in landfill, a process that releases heavy metals and other pollutants and risks starting dirty, long-burning fires. Now, David Isaac and colleagues at Swansea University, UK, have shown that spinning ground-up tyres, called rubber "crumb", inside a chamber filled with ionised oxygen gas plasma could provide a solution. "It makes the surface of the crumb much better at sticking onto new rubber," Isaac explains. "Without treatment, the interface between the old pieces and new rubber is very weak." The treated rubber particles can then be added to fresh non-vulcanised rubber to make new tyres. Laboratory tests show that tyre rubber recycled in this way has similar tensile strength and other mechanical properties to completely new material. Isaac says the plasma treatment appears to create reactive oxygen species - small, highly reactive molecules - on the surface of the rubber by opening up carbon bonds. This reactive surface adheres well to fresh rubber. But it will not stay that way for ever, so the researchers have to add it to new rubber straight away. In the long term, they hope to find a way to make the plasma treatment last longer. "Around 65% of the world's rubber production is for tyres," Isaac told New Scientist "Tyre rubber is recycled into products like flooring, but it makes sense to try and recycle them into more tyres."
05/30/07 - Methane tested as new rocket fuel
The trouble with exploring the solar system is that there just aren't any rocket fuelling stations out there. That won't be the case if future planet-hopping astronauts are equipped with a new kind of rocket engine that burns two gases already in good supply on several other planets: methane and oxygen. "It's not as nice as kerosene," says XCOR Aerospace's Aleta Jackson. "But it's available on Mars and other parts of the solar system." That abundance on other worlds is crucial if spacecraft are ever going to break free of dependence on Earthly fuels and still travel at speeds that will get them to other planets in a timely fashion. The 5M15 engine works by combining liquid oxygen with liquid methane to burn at supersonic speeds and generate 3400 kilograms of thrust. Most rockets use liquid oxygen and hydrogen, or solid fuels. Another advantage is the higher temperatures at which methane is a liquid. Hydrogen used to launch the space shuttle needs to be kept at -253°C, whereas methane is liquid at -162°C.
05/30/07 - Revealing Hidden Secrets of Youthfulness
One recent study published by the journal of the Canadian Public Library of Science, PLoS One, found that energy-producing skeletal muscle cells called mitochondria can be revitalized with weight training exercises. "There's accumulating evidence to show that mitochondria are involved in the aging process and if the mitochondria don't work very well, the energy, the endurance and the strength of muscles become diminished," study co-author Dr. Mark Tarnopolsky of McMaster University, who was located in Hamilton, Canada. Co-Author Dr. Mark Tarnopolsky stated of the Canadian study, "The main, novel finding [of our study is] that we could bring that aging mitochondria pattern back towards a younger person, almost reversing the aging signature, pretty much by 40, 45 years with six months of weight training." He added "What's cool about that is that this aging is reversible - maybe not 100 per cent - but at least at the cellular level, we're seeing a significant reversal of accumulated damage over a long period of time." Breaking out in a sweat like Arnold used to do is not the only answer, although its benefits may be much more quickly realized than non-impact exercises such as tai chi. But, these low-intensity exercises can reap bountiful rewards. In fact, Steven Wolf of Emory University says, “… it takes three months of tai chi for someone who is really frail to regain strength and flexibility.” He added, “In Western medicine, we expect instant results. But, that’s not what happens here.” "Patients [in the intervention group] took part in activities, sat at the table together during mealtimes and served themselves food from bowls, encouraging them to be more independent and interact more with other patients" stated Ms. Mamhidir. The results were that the intervention group markedly increased weight, by as much as 15 pounds in one case, during the term of the 3-month study. The actual point of the Swedish study is missed by those analyzing it. The point is simply this: we are all animals and like animals in the wild if we don’t keep hunting we die, whether that hunting is experiencing the strain of a new tai chi position or, as in the Swedish study, simply making an elderly person fill their own soup bowl instead of catering it to them.
05/30/07 - Eating Radiation: A New Form of Energy?
In a bizarre alternative to photosynthesis, some fungi "eat" radiation--with the role of chlorophyll taken by melanin, a chemical also found in human skin. Here's a possible solution to both the energy crisis and what to do with highly radioactive waste from nuclear reactors: use the radiation as food. It sounds like something out of a comic book, although scientists already know that fungi will eat asbestos, jet fuel, and plastic. It has also been shown to decompose hot graphite in the ruins of the Chernobyl power plant, which melted down in 1986. The plant's release of large amounts of radiation appears to have attracted black hordes of fungi. But how does it work? According to Ekaterina Dadachova and her colleagues at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, in New York City, the fungi Cryptococcus neoformans and two other species use melanin, also a pigment found in human skin, to transform radiation into energy to use as food for growth. Researchers believe that melanin is present to protect fungi from stress, such as radiation, and that certain species use this molecule for metabolic reactions. Dadachova's lab discovered that exposure to radiation caused the melanin in these species to change shape, increasing its ability to impact metabolism and growth. One other interesting aspect for humans: using melanin raises the possibility that this chemical also converts radiation from the sun into food for our skin cells, but only in minute amounts.
05/30/07 - Rules 'hiding' trillions in debt
Liability $516,348 per U.S. household. The federal government recorded a $1.3 trillion loss last year - far more than the official $248 billion deficit - when corporate-style accounting standards are used, a USA TODAY analysis shows. The loss reflects a continued deterioration in the finances of Social Security and government retirement programs for civil servants and military personnel. The loss - equal to $11,434 per household - is more than Americans paid in income taxes in 2006. "We're on an unsustainable path and doing a great disservice to future generations," says Chris Chocola, a former Republican member of Congress from Indiana and corporate chief executive who is pushing for more accurate federal accounting.
Bottom line: Taxpayers are now on the hook for a record $59.1 trillion in liabilities, a 2.3% increase from 2006. That amount is equal to $516,348 for every U.S. household. By comparison, U.S. households owe an average of $112,043 for mortgages, car loans, credit cards and all other debt combined. Unfunded promises made for Medicare, Social Security and federal retirement programs account for 85% of taxpayer liabilities. State and local government retirement plans account for much of the rest. This hidden debt is the amount taxpayers would have to pay immediately to cover government's financial obligations. Like a mortgage, it will cost more to repay the debt over time. Every U.S. household would have to pay about $31,000 a year to do so in 75 years.
05/30/07 - Email Tax Coming
(Ron Paul SAVE US from these CROOKS! - JWD) The era of tax-free e-mail, Internet shopping and broadband connections could end this fall, if recent proposals in the U.S. Congress prove successful. State and local governments this week resumed a push to lobby Congress for far-reaching changes on two different fronts: gaining the ability to impose sales taxes on Net shopping, and being able to levy new monthly taxes on DSL and other Internet-service connections. One senator is even predicting taxes on e-mail.
05/29/07 - This magnet helps keep food fresher
EVERY day, tonnes of uncooked meat in our supermarkets, restaurants and hotels are destroyed before reaching their recommended shelf life. Even with refrigeration, meat still spoils easily because the temperature is not always consistent and has to be thrown away. Last year alone, almost half-a-million tonnes of food waste were incinerated. Now, thanks to a local company, Esmo Technologies, the amount of spoiled raw meat can be cut by about a third, simply by placing a specially modified magnet next to it in the refrigerator. It also helps preserve other foodstuff. The palm-sized magnet, called an EsmoSphere, is a world-first invention by Dr Richard Chua, 42, who has filed for patents both locally and internationally. When plenty of food is stored together, the food will deteriorate even faster, Dr Chua said. With the EsmoSphere, refrigerated food can remain fresh because the magnet emits a dome-shaped magnetic field (see graphics at right) that strengthens the bonds between water molecules in the food. With stronger bonds, water loss is reduced, so raw meat which is placed within the EsmoSphere's protection zone does not become dehydrated. The EsmoSphere's magnetism also delays bacterial growth and slows down oxidation, which causes discoloration. The EsmoSphere, which comes in different sizes and costs between $40 and $80, does not require an electrical source and its magnetic field remains effective for three years. 'The EsmoSphere's magnetic strength is like that of a fridge magnet or handbag with a magnetic catch.' In a supermarket trial conducted over three months from the end of last year to early this year, the EsmoSphere helped save an average of a few thousand dollars per outlet. Meat remained fresh for three days, which is the recommended shelf life. Before the EsmoSphere was used, meat had to be thrown after just two days. In addition, 40 per cent less seafood was thrown away. For more info, go to www.esmotech.com
05/29/07 - Magnet Food Saver uses primarily South Pole Energy
Device and method for treating a perishable object. WO2006083232 - A method and device for treating a perishable object. The method comprises exposing the perishable object to a south magnetic field created by magnetic interference of a plurality of magnets. /  In the decomposition of all living cells, such as in fish and meat products, there are several chemical and biochemical processes taking place. These processes include: (1) enzymatic spoilage that is caused by the tissue enzymes of the fish or meat itself; (2) oxidative deterioration that results in foul, rancid odors and color changes; (3) spoilage due to bacterial growth from its secondary products, primarily from the enzymes that cause the decomposition of proteins. These chemical-related deterioration processes are conventionally controlled by the reduction of ambient temperature by means of refrigeration processes. However, such refrigeration devices require electrical supply, which may not be available in some circumstances. /  Further, even if refrigeration devices are available, it may be desirable to help prolong and/or enhance the freshness of food and beverages stored in a refrigerator for a longer period of time and to retain moisture of the food. SUMMARY /  In accordance with a first aspect of the present invention there is provided a method of treating a perishable object, the method comprising exposing the perishable object to a south magnetic field created by magnetic interference of a plurality of magnets. /  The perishable object may comprise a food item, a beverage item, or both, and the exposure maintains the freshness of the food item, the beverage item, or both. /  The method may further comprise shielding a north-pole side of the magnets. /  The magnets may be permanent magnets or electromagnets. In accordance with a second aspect of the present invention there is provided device for treating a perishable object, the device comprising at least one panel defining at least a portion of a space for containing the perishable object; a plurality of magnets housed within the panel and arranged such that a south magnetic field created by magnetic interference of the plurality of magnets extends into the space for containing the perishable object.
05/29/07 - "Sit a spell, that can wait."
(What a wonderful IDEA to restore a lost American tradition! - JWD) “Sit down a spell. That can wait.” That's the mantra of the Professional Porch Sitters Union, a somewhat tongue-in-cheek organization founded in 1999 by Claude Stephens of Louisville, Ky. The Union got its start when Stephens and a group of friends gathered on his porch after a busy day of meetings on behalf of an organization to which they belong. “We had just sat through these meetings with agendas,” he says. “Then we came to the porch and we were sipping bourbon and drinking lemonade and talking, and we all felt we were getting more done there - just sitting casually - than we had in the meetings.” So the Union was born, and its mandate was simple. “There are no rules. There are no dues. You don't have to attend meetings. You don't have to do anything. Well, you do have to sit on your porch, whatever that means to you,” Stephens says. “People have abdicated their responsibility for creating their own entertainment to other tools,” Stephens explains. “Television and air conditioning are two of the biggest tools - they drove people inside, away from the porch, which used to be the pleasant place to be when the house was hot. When that happened, when people began staying inside, communities began failing. To return to the porch is to return to community. It's the interface between your private life and your community.” Martha Conn thinks he's on to something. “I agree wholeheartedly with the idea that porches bridge the gap between inside and out,” the New Londoner says. “People often comment that the only time they meet their neighbors is when there is a blizzard and people join in to help dig each other out. Porches allow for that sort of casual contact during spring, summer and fall, with folks walking their dogs, strolling their babies or sitting across the street on their own porches. The contact might only consist of waving and maybe a little small talk about the weather or the dog or the baby, but over time you get to know each other and become real neighbors.” And Kim Thompson of Waterford has certainly found that to be the case. Since replacing their old porch with a new wraparound version, they've been sitting outside almost nonstop and meeting people at the same pace. “We're on the porch when I'm not cooking and when we're not working,” she says. “Even in January - year-round, we're out there. And somebody's always stopping by: people walking by, people who are working on their own houses will stop by to talk about it, people who drive by will beep ... We've made a lot of new friends.” All three porch enthusiasts have suggestions for what makes a porch perfect. Says Stephens, “My opinion is hat it has comfortable places to sit, and that it is protected from weather, and that it is between your private world and your community. A deck in the back isn't going to do it. If it also has amenities like the ability to have nice music, maybe wind chimes, a place to put some favorite reading material, places to set drinks ... that's nice, too.” Thompson's take: “It's got to be inviting. You need the rocking chairs and the flowers and the plants. It needs to be friendly-feeling. You've got to have the lounging area.” And Conn adds, “I think the only real requirement for a good porch is that it must have room for a few chairs, including at least one rocker. A transistor radio is handy for ballgames, too.” She now lives in the home she grew up in and her porch-sitting prowess was honed early on. “The porch has always been our most important 'living room' during the summer months. We continue my parents' tradition of relaxing out there after work most every day in the summer, and frequently cooking and eating our dinner there as well. When there were babies around, there was always a porch swing, and we also used to have a hammock strung between two posts, with a rope to tug every once in a while to start the swinging again. “Our favorite time to head to the porch is after work, around sunset and up until dark. It's a great place to share the news of the day and unwind with a glass of wine or beer and a bowl of peanuts. Other than evenings, if I get up in time, I love to sit in the early morning sun with a cup of coffee and read my paper.” She may not know it, but her time on the porch has an impact on her environment, according to Stephens. “That simple act (of sitting on your porch) helps repair communities,” he asserts. “It does other things, too. It reduces crime. I don't know of specific studies, but I bet you could prove that in communities where people sit on porches there are fewer crimes because there are eyes on everything. And children have a much larger range of allowable activity. If it's just you that watches a child, you can only let them go so far. But if you know your entire neighborhood is going to be watching that child, you'll allow them to go a little farther. It's not just children, it's senior citizens. If you don't see them on the porch for a few days, you might go over and discover they're not well. It's a communication safety net. “A porch, to me, is not necessarily an architectural feature,” he continues. “It really helps develop a community.” / Contact Info - (via impactlabs.com)
05/29/07 - HK invents pain-free device to measure blood sugar
Hong Kong scientists have invented a device to help diabetics measure their blood sugar painlessly for the first time - without pricking their fingers. The size of a mobile phone, the instrument emits a weaker form of infrared, or near-infrared, which penetrates the skin on the finger and homes in on the bloodstream. Out of the many components in the blood, the beam is able to identify bits of glucose through the frequency, or wavelengths, they transmit and the amount of blood sugar present would be displayed on the instrument in 10 seconds. "There are different types of cells in the blood vessel ... red blood cells, white blood cells, other compounds, protein, glucose, cholesterol but our model selects the one for glucose and tells you its levels," Joanne Chung, professor and associate head of research at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University's School of Nursing, said in an interview. Diabetes is a condition when the pancreas produces too little or no insulin. Unable to store sugar, the person loses a key source of energy and is at risk of heart disease, kidney failure, nerve damage, blindness and other eye diseases. According to the World Health Organisation, 180 million people worldwide suffer from diabetes and this figure will more than double by 2030. In 2005, 1.1 million people died from it. For decades, diabetics have monitored their blood sugar using conventional instruments, which require them to prick their fingers and draw blood, up to several times a day. While these have an accuracy rate of around 80 to 85 percent, the process is less than ideal. "From a nursing perspective, everyone has the right not to suffer any pain, even if it is a very small finger prick," Chung said.
05/29/07 - Formula cleans sewer water to drink and removes smell
Ramiro Rosas, 48, who has lived in Pharr for the past five years, said he developed his solution by accident while he was building a model volcano for a science project and later learned that the solution breaks down harmful bacteria. He won’t reveal its ingredients, but he said the solution is made out of all natural products, including orange juice. “The dirtier the stuff is the more (the solution’s ingredients) like it,” said Rosas, who attended Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic school in Mission when he developed the formula. Rosas spent years spreading the word about his solution. Local people would have him pour the solution in their septic tanks. He also developed air filters using lava rocks soaked in the solution and installed those in some homes, including his own. He also created a system using the solution-soaked lava that helps remove the stench from wastewater treatment plants. The rocks are placed in poly vinyl chloride pipe and the pipe is lowered into the water. The cities of Pharr and Rancho Viejo, which Rosas approached with the solution, have used it for some of their wastewater lift stations. Sharrieff Mustakeem, president of MCX Environmental Energy Corp., the company that is marketing Rosas’ product, said the company plans to incorporate Rosas’ system in infrastructure products in several African countries where the company is doing work. Some projects include reducing odor in water and making contaminated water potable, Mustakeem said. Mustakeem said what he likes about Rosas’ product is that it is all natural. He said much of what causes bad odor in water is bacteria. Using a natural substance to eliminate the bacteria is better and more effective than using chemicals, he said.
05/29/07 - Simple Story, Profound Message
(This arrived in my email tonight and is too good to not post. Thanks to whoever sent it. - JWD) A group of alumni, highly established in their careers, got together to visit their old university lecturer. Conversation soon turned into complaints about stress in work and life. Offering his guests coffee, the lecturer went to the kitchen and returned with a large pot of coffee and an assortment of cups: porcelain, plastic, glass, some plain-looking and some expensive and exquisite, telling them to help themselves to hot coffee. When all the students had a cup of coffee in hand, the lecturer said: "If you noticed, all the nice-looking, expensive cups were taken up, leaving behind the plain and cheap ones. "While it is but normal for you to want only the best for yourselves, that is the source of your problems and stress." What all of you really wanted was coffee, not the cup, but you consciously went for the better cups and are eyeing each other's cups." "Now, if life is coffee, then the jobs, money and position in society are the cups. They are just tools to hold and contain Life, but the quality of Life doesn't change. Sometimes, by concentrating only on the cup, we fail to enjoy the coffee in it." Don't let the cups drive you... enjoy the coffee instead.
05/29/07 - Wind, sun and tides power Biorock, rehab for recovering coral reefs
First-Step Coral recently won a $7,500 award in the MIT IDEAS competition and is one of eight semifinalists in the 2007 MIT $100K Entrepreneurship Competition "development track" for advancing low-income communities in developing countries. Winners will be announced May 16 at an awards ceremony at 7 p.m. in Kresge Auditorium. "I've seen the natural ecosystem get worse and worse. It's overused, overexploited," la O' said. "The fishermen throw sticks of dynamite into the water and the sonic waves cause the fish to die and make them easier to catch. It also shatters the coral and causes it to slowly die off. It's akin to carving a hole in the center of the Amazon and denuding it, but the coral reefs are less visible because they're underwater." The coral reefs help provide more than 60 percent of the animal protein consumed by the Philippines' population of 80 million. The declining fishing industry then puts more pressures on the land, which must support more agriculture as people move inland in search of a new food supply. Goreau's invention, called Biorock, uses an electrochemical process to deposit calcium carbonate, also known as white limestone, onto a common iron building material called rebar. Rebars are used for construction supports and can be fashioned into any shape. The students make it into curved structures that resemble small Quonset huts. After the calcium is deposited on the black metal, it turns white, and clumps of living coral that the volunteers tie to the metal begin to grow and attach themselves to the framework. In trials in the Pacific islands, the Indian Ocean and the Caribbean, corals attached to Biorock grow three to five times faster than native coral and have an increased survival rate. The MIT students' innovation is to power the electrochemical process with wind turbines, tidal power and solar panels. During a trip to the Philippines in January, the First-Step Coral team installed 500-watt solar panels donated by Shell and Sunpower to power Biorock in the Carbin and Molocaboc islands in the Sagay Marine Reserve. The team plans to study the effect of the cyclical nature of the renewable sources on the growth and development of the coral. / Contact Info
05/29/07 - Energy-saving innovators
There are a lot of eurekas being heard around Florida lately as entrepreneurs and investors look for profit in the nation's quest to reduce its energy use. Some innovators are evolving mom-and-pop operations competing for state and federal grants to reach commercial viability. They include Brown's newly patented high-efficiency Hydronic Clothes Dryer, a process to turn citrus peel waste into ethanol, a methanol-powered fuel cell, and a fuel-efficient car that runs on a mix of gasoline and water. / Mike Brown says his invention dries clothes 41 percent faster than existing dryers, and uses 53 percent less energy. He believes it will be the first dryer to receive an Energy Star rating from the Department of Energy, the ultimate consumer recommendation for energy efficiency. Brown's process works by passing air over a heat-transfer liquid, called Paratherm, a specialty thermal oil which, when it heats up, has a capacity to stay hot longer than the metal heating element found in conventional dryers.
Brown points out that his dryer is also much safer as it uses a noncombustible heating system.
"The hydronic system will not ignite dust or lint because we are using a liquid source of heat, " he said. Brown has shown his system to engineers at the leading manufacturers, including Electrolux, Bosch and Haire. / STEPHEN LUSKO aQUGEN, A GAS MADE FROM WATER - His Clearwater company believes it has discovered a hydrogen gas that, when injected into gasoline, improves fuel economy and reduces toxic emissions.
05/29/07 - Video - Is Bush an Idiot?
Is the President of the United States, George W. Bush, an idiot? Scarborough Country asks the forbidden question. They look at his inability to speak correctly, not at his inability to lead correctly, however. Of course the real question is, is the Republican Party full of idiots because they nominated the sucker, and continue to blindly follow his crap? Is the US full of idiots, because they elected the sucker and have not begun demanding better until recently?
05/28/07 - Wind Power Runs Into Zoning Rules
Some communities have outlawed residential turbines. Others entangle applicants in so much red tape that they simply give up. Standoffs between cities and green-minded homeowners are becoming more common as interest grows in residential turbines. Backyard windmills are already an $18 million-a-year industry in the U.S., and manufacturers think that could triple if wind got the same local acceptance and federal incentives as solar energy systems, which typically involve nothing more intrusive than panels on the roof. Zoning boards and neighborhood associations have heard complaints that the windmills would be unsightly, that the blades could break loose and fly into someone's yard, that a twister could knock a pole down or send it flying like a missile, or that the spinning blades would make too much noise. (Unlike big industrial wind turbines, the backyard varieties are barely audible.) Residential windmills start as low as about $12,000, and industry officials say one can cut household bills anywhere from 10 percent to 50 percent, depending on the wind and the height of the tower. Michael Bennett, general manager of the Bear Valley Springs homeowner association, said the community's environmental board just recently began drafting rules that would enable the community to catch up to the rest of the state. "The No. 1 concern has been visual blight," Bennett said, "and No. 2, the noise level."
Rhode Island Renewable Energy owner Dave Anderson said promoting turbines in some wind-fertile areas can be almost futile, since neighbors there "want to be green, and they think it's a great idea and, you know, we've got to do something about the Middle East. But `Just don't do it in my backyard.'" "There's a lot of people who don't want to go through the hassle of fighting town hall," Anderson said. "They say, `We're not going to fight that fight.'"
05/28/07 - Diesels set to out-strip hybrids in accelerating US Growth
At present, hybrid gasoline technology appears to be the preferred route in the US, not least due to its attraction as a visible badge of green awareness amongst higher income purchasers. Many OEMs plan to launch hybrid products in the next few years, but the report highlights that this technology faces substantial manufacturing cost penalties which are unlikely to be eroded even in mass production. Diesel has a clear cost advantage over hybrid, even when fitted with the type of complex exhaust after-treatment technologies necessary to meet future, more stringent emissions regulations.
05/28/07 - Climate Monitoring Station Proposed on the Moon
A University of Michigan study indicates the perfect place to monitor Earth's climate system would be the surface of the moon. The side facing us is a perfect location to monitor temperatures and weather patterns here on our planet. "On the near side of the airless moon, where Apollo 15 landed, surface temperature is controlled by solar radiation during daytime and energy radiated from Earth at night. Huang showed that due to an amplifying effect, even weak radiation from Earth produces measurable temperature changes in the regolith. Further, his revisit of the data revealed distinctly different characteristics in daytime and nighttime lunar surface temperature variations. This allowed him to uncover a lunar night-time warming trend from mid-1972 to late 1975, which was consistent with a global dimming of Earth that occurred over the same period and was due to a general decrease of sunlight over land surfaces."
05/28/07 - Video - Neodymium + Electromagnet Osc (Low Freq Pulse System)
Using a homemade wirewound nail as an electromagnet, a coin shaped neodymium supermagnet and 4 AA batteries in series (6vdc), this inventor discovered an interesting oscillating effect between the rare earth and the electromagnet. When the magnet vibrates it produces a spark between the coil and the batteries.
05/28/07 - NASA looks to private sector to help it go lunar
NASA is in the market for commercial relationships and private capital as it gears up for its next manned missions to the moon. "If somebody says 'I have this really great way to be able to extract water ice from lunar regolith (lunar rocks) that I've developed on my own dime' we would be interested," Woodward said. "If we could be in a commercial relationship with somebody who has the capability that's fine because in many cases they can do it for less money than we can," he told Reuters on the sidelines of a space development conference in Dallas. NASA's lunar plans envision the building of an outpost on the moon which would be continuously manned like the International Space Station is now. "Maybe at that point there will be commercial exploitation and we won't be sending missions there but some of the commercial companies here will start sending people there," Woodward said. "One thing that keeps getting batted around is a fuel dump in orbit, in low Earth orbit. If someone was to build one of those and said do you want NASA to be a customer we would say yes because if you do the math it turns out that it would be an advantage to us," Woodward said. "We're trying to help some commercial entities demonstrate that they can do low Earth orbit resupply to say the space station and once they can do that we can contract with them and then we don't have to do it ourselves anymore."
05/28/07 - Magnets May Make The Brain Grow Stronger
In mice, stimulating the brain with a magnetic coil appears to promote the growth of new neurons in areas associated with learning and memory. If the effect is confirmed in humans, it might open up new ways of treating age-related memory decline and diseases like Alzheimer's. Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) has been used experimentally to treat a range of brain disorders, including depression and schizophrenia, and to rehabilitate people after a stroke. TMS uses a magnetic coil to induce electric fields in the brain tissue - activating or deactivating groups of neurons, although the exact mechanism has remained unknown. One theory was that it aided learning and memory by strengthening brain circuits through a process called long-term potentiation (LTP). They confirmed that TMS enhanced LTP in all areas of the brain tested, by modifying key glutamate receptors so that they stayed active for longer. The team also saw large increases in the proliferation of stem cells in the dentate gyrus hippocampus. These cells divide throughout life and are now believed to play a crucial role in memory and mood regulation.
05/28/07 - Video - Bush drinking again - Hilarious and could explain a lot!
05/28/07 - Some Soft Drinks May Damage Your DNA
(Interesting that many Mexicans here in central Mexico tell me they don't drink Pepsi because they believe it causes diabetes. - JWD) "The Independent is reporting new findings that indicate a common additive called sodium benzoate, found in soft drinks such as Fanta and Pepsi Max among others, has the ability to switch off vital parts of DNA in a cell's mitochondria. From the article: 'The mitochondria consumes the oxygen to give you energy and if you damage it - as happens in a number of diseased states - then the cell starts to malfunction very seriously. And there is a whole array of diseases that are now being tied to damage to this DNA - Parkinson's and quite a lot of neuro-degenerative diseases, but above all the whole process of aging.' European Union MPs are now calling for an urgent investigation in the wake of these alarming new findings."
05/28/07 - Video - Prediction of August 2007 Nuclear War in the Middle East?
A prophecy of war in 2007. Astrology and Bible Prophecy prediction of a nuclear war in the Middle East in August 2007, when Muslim armies and Islamic terrorists of Osama bin Laden and Al qaida, and possibly Iran also, could attack Israel and possibly the U.S. with nuclear weapons and biological weapons. This could be the Battle of Armageddon as described in the Bible's Book of Revelation. From the Revelation13.net web site. But these Muslim armies will be destroyed.
05/28/07 - 700 meter Wifi Hack
A military adaptation of civilian wi-fi equipment has been developed to use in boarding operations on the high seas. Modifications to normal off-the-shelf gear can result in a range of over 700 meters, allowing information to be passed through on-shore internet connections. "The main reason for all this was to speed up the transmission of passport photos and other personal data back to the ship, so that it could be run through databases to check for terrorists or criminals. This wi-fi hack cut several hours off the time required to check documents. The Expanded Maritime Interception Operations (EIMO) wireless system was developed last year, to provide several kilometers of range to the original wi-fi gear (which has been in use for over three years). Each pair of wi-fi units costs about $1400 to construct, using common parts to add more powerful antennae to standard 802.11g wi-fi equipment."
05/27/07 - Filipino - HydroGasifier European Patent WO2007008091
(Courtesy of Robert Nelson at Rex Research) Inventor Roberto V. Celis (article below) - A fuel saving device and method for dissociating water into its constituents hydrogen and oxygen gases by utilizing the hot exhaust gases of an engine between 710 degrees F and 950 degrees F. The method consists of replacing the exhaust pipe directly below the exhaust manifold of an engine with an expanded exhaust pipe that encases the water dissociation device, consisting of a long, spirally formed superheater, preferably stainless steel tubing to have vast area of contact to maximize heat transfer to the passing water. The spirally formed tubing causes the passing water to turbulently move in circular manner, superheat, exert great pressure on the inner wall of the superheater tubing, discharges and expands in the large dissociation chamber into its constituents hydrogen and oxygen gases that are immediately sucked into the combustion chamber of the engine to cause efficient combustion of the fuel, reduce emission, add power and speed, increase mileage and release oxygen.
05/27/07 - Filipino invention stops global warming
A Filipino invention may yet be the answer to stop global warming. Roberto V. Celis, 74, said it took him 14 years to develop his invention called "Hydrogasifier" using water as supplemental fuel for all kinds of internal combustion engines that use gasoline, diesel, natural gas, hybrid or bio-fuel, eliminating deadly pollutants from spreading into the atmosphere. "It utilizes the hot exhaust gases from the engine to dissociate water into hydrogen and oxygen gases that are immediately introduced into the combustion chamber to completely burn the fuel," Celis said in an exclusive interview with the Philippines News Agency in his shop in Marikina City. Celis said that when he perfected the development of the "Hydrogasifier" as an anti-pollution device, it turned out also as an engine enhancer, increasing power of the vehicle and at the same time cutting down fuel consumption. "Fuel saved from gas or diesel is from 30 to 50 percent and that is a lot of savings," he added. Using the "Hydrogasifier" would save the Philippines some US$ 2-billion of fuel annually, he said. Celis said that carbon emission is near zero during a series of laboratory tests by the Land Transportation Office (LTO) "that makes this device a potential carbon eliminator to prevent global warming that's threatening man's health." To prove his invention works perfectly, Celis installed the device to test its effectiveness in a Ceres Liner Bus, a Jeep Star Bus, and jeepney operated by Ryan Transport Services, all based in Bacolod City last March and came up with the following results: the 174 horsepower (Hp) of the Ceres Bus increased to 199 Hp, while emission from 9.6K down to 0.21K, cutting down emission by 94 percent; The Jeep Star Bus from 137Hp to 144.83 Hp and from 9.9K to 2.29K or emission reduction by 76 percent; and The Ryan jeepney from 83 Hp to 87 Hp and from 9.9K to 0.82K or a reduction by 90 percent of its emission. A Pajero installed with "Hydrogasifier" saved fuel by 40 percent in city driving, and by as much as 87 percent in highway driving, Celis said. He said a 1994 Toyoto Corolla car using the device saved fuel by 50 percent in highway driving and up to 30 percent in city driving. He said his invention can also be installed in factories to control pollution. He said that vehicles using the device are like trees, which helps lower carbon emission in the environment, as these release only 6.5 percent to 7.6 percent oxygen from the tail pipe to make cities clean and healthful. / Also invented; CELIS, ROBERTO V - IMPROVED DOUBLE ACTING RECIPROCATING STEAM ENGINE - Marikina, Phillipines / and Patent 4392875 Smog Eliminator - 1983
- A device for eliminating carbon particulates from smoke including recirculating pressure water sprays within a spray booth mounted on a smoke stack, a conical deflector and a water collecting means mounted therein; the collected spray water being cleaned in a two compartment tank, partially filled with sand, and returned to the spray booth via a recirculation pump and a pressurized water reservoir.
05/27/07 - Additional information about the inventions of Roberto V. Celis courtesy of Robert Nelson of Rex Research
Here's the Celis HydroGasifier Patent and a couple more that look interesting: GAS SAVING DEVICE AND METHOD FOR DISSOCIATING WATER Inventor: CELIS ROBERTO V (PH) Applicant: CELIS ROBERTO V (PH) EC: IPC: C25B1/04; C25B1/00 Publication info: WO2007008091 - 2007-01-18 / AN IMPROVED DOUBLE ACTING RECIPROCATING STEAM ENGINE Inventor: CELIS ROBERTO V Applicant: ROBERTO V CELIS EC: IPC: F01B1/00; F01B1/00; (IPC1-7): F01B1/00 Publication info: PH19263 - 1986-02-21 / Smog eliminator
Inventor: CELIS ROBERTO V (PH) Applicant: CELIS ROBERTO V EC: B01D47/06; F23J15/02D IPC: B01D47/06; F23J15/02; B01D47/06 (+2) Publication info: US4392875 - 1983-07-12 / SOLAR SUPER HEATER Inventor: CELIS ROBERTO Applicant: ROBERTO CELIS EC: IPC: (IPC1-7): F24J3/02 Publication info: PH14181 - 1981-03-25
05/27/07 - Sorry, but building Atomic power stations is the only way
Make no mistake, atomic power - a controversy from another age - is back on the agenda. Nuclear power is not the answer to all our problems - but it is an answer, a vital part of the energy mix. Electricity is not like the air or the sea - it isn't just "there"; it has to be made. And, for the most part, that means finding a way of boiling water to make steam, and using that steam to whirl turbine-driven dynamos and make electricity. The question is, what do we boil the water with? Currently, we make most of our electricity by burning gas and coal and also - about a fifth - from nuclear power. Nuclear power is, essentially, a non-polluting technology. Atomic stations generate carbon dioxide when they are built and a little more to ship in the uranium fuel, but once running they produce only small quantities of the greenhouse gas. So we have options. We could do nothing. That will probably mean power cuts, stratospheric electricity bills, and ever more reliance on gas from former Soviet republics. We can save electricity. We can lag our lofts, install quadruple glazing and so on. But this will not solve the problem. Then there are the Greens' beloved renewables. Wind, tides, waves and so on. Nuclear power is the cleanest, most non-polluting and certainly the safest means of generating electricityon a very large scale ever devised. Not one person has ever been killed by a radiation leak from a power station in normal operation. Of the two largest nuclear accidents, no one died at Three Mile Island in the U.S. and Chernobyl has, to date, killed fewer than 100 people. Compare the thousands killed in coal mining, and in ordinary power stations. A growing number of Greens accept that, in comparison with climate change, nuclear power is the lesser of two evils.
05/27/07 - Passengers drive you to distraction
A new study has found that drivers with passengers were almost 60% more likely to have a crash resulting in hospitalisation than those who hit the open road solo. There was an even greater increase in risk when researchers simply considered all types of collisions. "The likelihood of a crash was more than doubled in the presence of two or more passengers," says Suzanne McEvoy of the George Institute for International Health, who led the study, which appears in the journal Accident Analysis and Prevention.
05/27/07 - Baking as cure for Dog ills is tried in Germany - May 1924
(Russian research has revealed that healthy tissue can survive high temperatures without damage, whereas diseased tissues will self-destruct. A heater is placed in the rectum because of the large surface area for exposure to a maximum volume of moving blood, and the temperature is slowly brought up to 120 degrees Fahrenheit. It is claimed to cure all viral and bacterial diseases. - JWD) Ills of dogs are being treated by baking in Germany. For this purpose, and to aid in scientific research, gas ovens have been installed in the Berlin veterinary university’s clinic. The application of heat to animals is said to act in the same way that a steam bath does to the human body.
05/27/07 - Ever Had Your Colon “House Cleaned?” - November 1934
Large Per Cent, of All Ills and Ailments Have Their Source in the Neglected “Cellar” of the Human Body. IT’S only natural to neglect the cellar of the house, the part you don’t see. Yet, as a matter of fact it’s more important to keep the cellar clean and airy than any other part of the house. The colon, or large intestine, may be called the cellar of the human body. It’s there the rubbish or waste matter from digested food collects for passage out of the body-only the body waste is no mere rubbish, but highly toxic or poisonous waste. This waste can’t stay in the body too long. When it does, self-poisoning literally sets in. When the colon is normal it acts vigorously through muscular contraction in moving the accumulated waste matter along its way and out of the body. When the colon becomes “inert” or semi-paralyzed, the poisonous waste collects in the colon, and cakes itself to the walls of the colon and in the folds and crevices, like so much concrete. The muscles of the colon then become “cemented” and can only feebly move. More and more waste collects and hardens and soon there is left only a small passageway for the waste. The retention of the waste matter then that follows plays havoc with human health! The poisons of the waste-the toxins of decay, fermentation and putrefaction-are absorbed by the blood. They are carried to all parts of the body. They affect your brain and nervous system and make you mentally depressed and melancholic. They affect your heart and make you weak and listless. They affect your lungs and make your breath foul. They affect your digestive organs and make you bloated, “belchy” and distressed with gas. They affect your muscles and joints and make you lame and sore. They undermine your whole health, in truth, make you old long before your time and cut years from your life. Many Are Victims! A half-dead colon is what ails many people today. Our modern mode of living is at fault. It is all out of accord with Nature. We eat too much prepared and bland foods. We don’t get enough bulk or roughage to get the right response from the colon. We don’t get enough vigorous exercise. The result is the colon “lays down on us” and we are half invalids. Virtually every one suffers in some degree from a clogged colon, and for this reason nearly every one can stand an occasional thorough “house-cleaning” of the colon. Laxatives are often futile. They frequently aggravate the situation. An enema is only partly efficient, for the colon is shaped thusly-^-and an enema reaches only to the first bend.
A True “Internal Bath” The only effective means of thoroughly cleaning out the colon is to get a fluid up there, throughout the whole length of the colon, that will loosen the accumulations from the walls and folds of the colon, break them up and flush them out, leaving the colon clean and wholesome and the muscles free to resume their normal functioning. In other words, an internal bath. This is exactly what you get in the use of the J. B. L. Cascade, that marvelous invention of the eminent Dr. Charles A. Tyrrell, who perfected it to save his own life. This appliance holds and injects into the colon a flood of pure, warm water, especially treated with a wonderful cleansing tonic. The fluid fills the entire length of the colon and reaches into every tiny fold and crevice. The action of the especially treated warm water loosens all accumulations from the colon walls and folds and induces a natural muscular action of the colon that drives all the waste out. There is complete cleansing of the colon without pain or discomfort. Glorious Relief. The feeling following a J. B. L. Cascade treatment is one of grateful relief. You just know something beneficial for your health has been done! Taken just before retiring, an “internal bath” with the J. B. L. Cascade sends you to bed with that delightfully relieved feeling that insures a night of sound, restful slumber. And in the morning! You feel like a new person with a new appetite for break- fast and a new zest for life! You fairly radiate “pep” and energy! If you want to see how this treatment can take years off your shoulders, just try one “internal bath.” / More Info (really interesting!) - Dr. Tyrell developed the J.B.L. (Joy, Beauty, Love) Cascade Syringe. This was a large rubber hot water bottle with a nozzle mounted on the side, which when placed flat on the toilet seat with the nozzle vertical, enabled a 4 quart enema to be taken at home by the person sitting on it. It was even considered to be safe for the use by children, as the lesser weight of the child enabled a safe pressure to be applied to completely fill the colon. Over one million of these syringes were sold between the years 1900 and 1950. / (Years ago, a friend of mine ran a Colonics clinic. He told me they often 'extracted' stringy plastic residue from clients who often ate plastic packaged food cooked in a microwave but left in the plastic wrapper. He said molecules of the plastic melted into the food and was eaten along with the food, to cause a host of problems. - JWD)
05/27/07 - English speed cameras go digital
The Gatso speed camera has been the bane of British drivers for the past couple of decades, but they at least had the hope that when they saw the flash the camera might be out of film. Amazingly enough, the British speed cameras still use this antique technology, but not for much longer. The Dutch company that builds the cameras for the British government has developed a digital imaging module to upgrade the cameras so that they will never run out of film again. The new units have 11-megapixel sensors and can monitor four lanes of traffic at once. They can also store thousands of images compared to the 200 for the film units. So now the traffic enforcers can ticket more people with less effort.
05/27/07 - Recovering Oil drenched Soil
Russian scientists have developed a new agent for recovering soils, contaminated with petrol and oil refinery products. Joint think-tank from Saint Petersburg and Serpukhov has developed a special agent for remediation of soils, polluted with oil and its products. The agent is based upon the complex of specific microorganisms - oil destructors - with a biological substrate, which works as a carrier - various biological fertilizers can be used for this purpose, for instance. Authors claim it’s the innovative combination of microorganisms and biological substrates, which can not only eliminate hazardous contaminants from soil, but also restore its fertility.
05/27/07 - Running Cars on Hydrogen Made from Starch
A new way to make hydrogen from corn or potatoes could make fuel-cell vehicles more practical. Using a stew of enzymes culled from several organisms, researchers have developed a way to convert starch, available from numerous sources including corn and potatoes, into hydrogen gas at low temperatures and pressures. The method produces three times more hydrogen than an older enzymatic method does, suggesting that it might be practical to use such enzymes to produce hydrogen for fuel-cell vehicles. The researchers combined 13 commercially available enzymes isolated from yeast, bacteria, spinach, and rabbit muscle. The work is available online in PLoS ONE, a journal published by the Public Library of Science. The hydrogen comes from two sources: the starch and the water used to oxidize the starch. The enzymes facilitate chemical reactions in which the water and starch can be completely converted into hydrogen and carbon dioxide. The new system produces a higher yield of hydrogen than previous experimental systems that used enzymes for converting sugars into hydrogen. But while the yield of hydrogen is high, so far the rates at which the gas is produced are extremely low. That's in part because the researchers used off-the-shelf enzymes and have not optimized the system, Zhang says.
05/26/07 - The trouble with New Yorks Hybrid Taxi Plan
New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg ordered all New York City's taxi companies to convert to all-hybrid cars within five years. Sounds like a great idea. Here's the problem. Some hybrids, like those from Honda, kick into electric mode during acceleration, then gas mode while cruising -- which will save gas for lead-footed New York cab drivers. Other hybrids, however -- most conspicuously Toyotas (including the popular Prius) -- kick into gas mode during acceleration. You can get over 50 mpg, but only if you accellerate slowly. That means cabbies driving Priuses and others using the Toyota-style system won't really see huge improvements in gas mileage or big cuts in pollutio unless they drive like aging hippies in Marin County. (via therawfeed.com)
05/26/07 - 10 'Swiss Army Knife' Camera Phone tricks
Here are ten useful tools you can find inside your camera phone right now: 1. Handheld Scanner 2. Screen-Capture Utility 3. Photographic Memory 4. Contact Database Enhancer 5. Automatic Personal "City Guide" Creator
6. String Around Your Finger 7. Driving Directions Maker 8. Personal Security Device 9. Liability Reducer 10. Morale Booster
05/26/07 - Record any audio with MP3myMP3 Recorder 2.0
Windows only: Freeware app MP3myMP3 records audio from any source piping through your PC. Record internet radio and save to mp3 or wav. Record streaming audio from the Internet, microphone, or any other source for that matter. MP3myMP3 Recorder works directly with your system sound card - if you can hear it, you can record it! Select any input source and MP3myMP3 Recorder can save it to WAV or MP3 formats. Since it doesn't restrict the length of your recordings, MP3myMP3 is an ideal candidate for turning documents into MP3s, recording Skype calls, or digitizing cassettes among other things. MP3myMP3 Recorder is a free download for Windows only. (via lifehacker.com)
05/26/07 - Gallup: 31% of Americans Believe the Bible is Literally True
About one-third of the American adult population believes the Bible is the actual word of God and is to be taken literally word for word. This percentage is slightly lower than several decades ago. The majority of those Americans who don't believe that the Bible is literally true believe that it is the inspired word of God but that not everything it in should be taken literally. About one in five Americans believe the Bible is an ancient book of "fables, legends, history, and moral precepts recorded by man." Belief in a literal Bible is strongly correlated with indicators of religion, including church attendance and identification with a Protestant or other non-Catholic Christian faith. There is also a strong relationship between education and belief in a literal Bible, with such belief becoming much less prevalent among those who have college educations...
05/25/07 - Fla. Man Invents Machine To Turn Water Into Fire
A Florida man may have accidentally invented a machine that could solve the gasoline and energy crisis plaguing the U.S., WPBF News 25 reported. Kanzius, 63, invented a machine that emits radio waves in an attempt to kill cancerous cells while leaving normal cells intact. While testing his machine, he noticed that his invention had other unexpected abilities. Filling a test tube with salt water from a canal in his back yard, Kanzius placed the tube and a paper towel in the machine and turned it on. Suddenly, the paper towel ignited, lighting up the tube like it was a wax candle. "Pretty neat, huh?" Kanzius asked WPBF's Jon Shainman. Kanzius performed the experiment without the paper towel and got the same result -- the saltwater was actually burning. The former broadcasting executive said he showed the experiment to a handful of scientists across the country who claim they are baffled at watching salt water ignite. Kanzius said the flame created from his machine reaches a temperature of around 3,000 degrees Farenheit. He said a chemist told him that the immense heat created from the machine breaks down the hydrogen-oxygen bond in the water, igniting the hydrogen. "You could take plain salt water out of the sea, put it in containers and produce a violent flame that could heat generators that make electricity, or provide other forms of energy," Kanzius said. He said engineers are currently experimenting with him in Erie, Pa. in an attempt to harness the energy. They've built an engine that, when placed on top of the flame, chugged along for two minutes, Kanzius told WPBF. "This was an experiment to see if I could heat salt water, and instead of heat, I got fire," Kanzius said. Kanzius said he hoped that his invention could one day solve a lot of the world's energy problems.
05/25/07 - Additional information for the machine used in the Kanzius Water to Fire system courtesy of Robert Nelson at Rex Research
Here are the patent #s for John Kanzius' inventions: (Results are sorted by date of upload in database) / 1 ENHANCED SYSTEMS AND METHODS FOR RF-INDUCED HYPERTHERMIA II in my patents list Inventor: KANZIUS JOHN (US) Applicant: THERM MED LLC (US); KANZIUS JOHN (US) EC: IPC: A61N1/40; A61N1/40 Publication info: WO2007027620 - 2007-03-08 / 2 ENHANCED SYSTEMS AND METHODS FOR RF-INDUCED HYPERTHERMIA in my patents list Inventor: KANZIUS JOHN (US) Applicant: THERM MED LLC (US) EC: A61B18/14; A61N1/40T; (+1) IPC: A61N1/40; A61B18/14; A61F2/00 (+3) Publication info: EP1758648 - 2007-03-07 / 3 Enhanced systems and methods for RF-induced hyperthermia in my patents list Inventor: KANZIUS JOHN (US) Applicant: EC: IPC: A61F2/00; A61F2/00 Publication info: US2006190063 - 2006-08-24 / 4 SYSTEM AND METHOD FOR RF-INDUCED HYPERTHERMIA in my patents list Inventor: KANZIUS JOHN (US) Applicant: THERM MED LLC (US); KANZIUS JOHN (US) EC: A61B18/12; A61N1/40T; (+1) IPC: A61B18/12; A61F2/00; A61N1/40 (+4) Publication info: WO2005110544 - 2005-11-24
05/25/07 - Can Centaurs and Talking Pigs Be Far Behind?
The United Kingdom Department of Health reverses its proposed ban on chimeras, saying that Parliament should allow the fusing of humans and other species. Nobel laureate and famed geneticist Sydney Brenner once delivered a somewhat tongue-in-cheek lecture to students at Cambridge University about how to nonsurgically create a centaur. He concluded that one day soon it might be possible to create such a six-limbed vertebrate. Mermaids and other mythical hybrids might be on the way, too, as well as human-dog drudges trained to cook omelets and happily perform useful tasks around the house, like changing the light bulbs. This day has not yet arrived, but it may be inching closer with a recent amendment to a bill in the British Parliament that would legalize human hybrids for research. This legislation, offered by the British Department of Health, is a U-turn from government ministers who said last December that they supported a ban on creating chimeras. Wilmut and the other United Kingdom scientists are not interested in making mermaids--or mermen, either. They want to use animal eggs to grow human stem cells by cleaning out 99.9 percent of the animal materials from the eggs and injecting them with human DNA. These hybrids would provide a solution to the severe shortage of pure human eggs needed for embryonic stem-cell research, which now depends on human volunteers to provide eggs. Are hybrids inevitable?
05/25/07 - Museum Exhibition Reveals Science Behind Mythical Creatures
Entitled "Mythic Creatures: Dragons, Unicorns & Mermaids," the exhibition traces the possible origins of some of the world's most famous "imaginary" beasts, as well as their lesser-known counterparts. The exhibition deftly combines nature and myth, paleontology and anthropology, and delightfully campy models of mythical creatures with real fossils. "Mythic Creatures" borrows specimens and artifacts from the fossil, art and anthropological collections of the AMNH and other museums, and examines how such objects might have - through imagination, misidentification, speculation or outright deception - given birth to such fantastical creatures. "Faced with awesome nature, our imaginations might create something to be revered, something beautiful, something to be gently feared or something simply whimsical and playful, perhaps even magical," Futter said. "I trust that this exhibition will show you a little of all of these."
05/25/07 - How to win the Energy War
America's current energy condition, however, is a spectacular example of failure. Consider four facts: No. 1: The United States is very vulnerable to the interruption of its imported oil supply. No. 2: This dependence on oil has a huge effect on the country's foreign, military and economic policies. No. 3: America could have reduced its vulnerability if it had taken decisive action after the 1973 Arab oil embargo. (In 1973 America imported 35 percent of the oil it used; today that figure is greater than 60 percent.) No. 4: The United States has never adopted a credible plan to reduce its dependency principally because of a lack of political will. Here we are, 30 years later, with oil prices higher than ever and greater dependence on imported oil. Since one of the current presidential candidates will inherit this mess, shouldn't we ask each of them to spell out the details of his or her energy plan? I'll lay out some ground rules. Any credible strategy needs to reduce oil consumption and increase other energy supplies. All of the measures in the plan need to add up to a significant reduction in imported oil in the relatively near term, say, within 10 to 12 years. To ensure that price signals are consistent and clear, we could levy a truly substantial gasoline tax - something like 50 cents per gallon to start, followed by 50 cent increases in each of the following three years - with rebates for lower-income taxpayers. The revenue from this levy could be used to pay for tax credits for fuel-efficient autos. We should also have automakers improve their corporate average fleet economy - commonly called CAFE standards - by at least 4 percent per year. Increasing tax incentives for the production and purchase of alternative-fuel vehicles would also help. The other major way to wean us from oil is to resume construction of nuclear power plants. Nuclear energy is the cleanest and best option for America's electric power supply, yet it has been stalled by decades of unproductive debate. Our current commercial nuclear power plants have an outstanding record of safety and security, and new designs will only raise performance. The basic elements of a responsible energy policy are not complicated, but the politics are horrendous. Still, we can't continue to throw empty rhetoric at the issue, using the oil companies as political punching bags and relying on our troops to keep the oil flowing.
05/25/07 - Sugar to Hydrogen
"We need a simple way to store and carry hydrogen energy and a simple process to produce hydrogen, said Y.H. Percival Zhang, assistant professor of biological systems engineering at Virginia Tech. Using synthetic biology approaches, Zhang and colleagues Barbara R. Evans and Jonathan R. Mielenz of ORNL, and Robert C. Hopkins and Michael W.W. Adams of the University of Georgia, are using a combination of 13 enzymes never found together in nature to completely convert polysaccharides and water into hydrogen when-and where-that form of energy is needed. Polysaccharides like starch and cellulose are used by plants for energy storage and building blocks, and are very stable until exposed to enzymes. Just add enzymes to a mixture of starch and water and "the enzymes use the energy in the starch to break up water into only carbon dioxide and hydrogen," Zhang said. A membrane bleeds off the carbon dioxide and the hydrogen is used by the fuel cell to create electricity. Water, a product of that fuel cell process, will be recycled for the starch-water reactor. Laboratory tests confirm that it all takes place at low temperature-about 86 degrees F°-and atmospheric pressure. The vision is for the ingredients to be mixed in the fuel tank of a car, for instance. A car with an approximately 12-gallon tank could hold 27 kilograms (kg) of starch, which is the equivalent of 4 kg of hydrogen. The range would be more than 300 miles, Zhang estimates. One kg of starch will produce the same energy output as 1.12 kg (0.38 gallons) of gasoline. With hydrogen storage the largest obstacle to large-scale use of hydrogen fuel, the DOE's long-term goal for hydrogen storage was 12 mass percent, or 0.12 kg of hydrogen per one kg of container or storage material. But such technology is not available, said Zhang. Using polysaccharides as the hydrogen storage carrier, however, the research team achieved hydrogen storage capacity as high as 14.8 mass percent, which they reported in the May 23 issue of PLoS ONE, the online, open-access journal from the Public Library of Science.
05/25/07 - Small changes bring big improvements
Article on how small, incremental changes can yield huge results. (via lifehacker.com)
05/25/07 - O2 rises exceed worst-case scenarios
The world's recent carbon dioxide emissions are growing more rapidly than even the worst-case climate scenario used by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, say researchers. The team, led by Michael Raupach of the Australian Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, looked at the growth of CO2 emissions and found that emissions growth suddenly accelerated in 2000. During the 1990s, emissions grew by 1.1% per year on average, but the number shot up to 3.3% between 2000 and 2004, when the study ended. When they compared the recent emissions trend to those the UN-backed IPCC drew up as its "worst case scenario", the team found the reality was at least as bad, if not worse. They concluded that the rise in CO2 emissions is not due to a growth in global population, but a reduction in global efficiency. "We are not getting more efficient at using CO2 in the way we projected," explains co-author Corinne Le Quéré from the University of East Anglia in the UK. "If you follow anything to do with global policy or global economy these results will not be surprising," says Mike Hulme, director of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research in the UK. He says the results "turn the focus back to the process that is in place at the moment to create a new climate regime beyond 2012", when the Kyoto Protocol expires. He adds that drawing the conclusion that Kyoto has failed is "too crude an analysis".
05/25/07 - Darfur next battle for Oil
(Note, the USA borrows 3 TRILLION dollars A DAY from China - JWD) It's the Oil, Stupid…China and USA in New Cold War over Africa's Oil Riches. The case of Darfur, a forbidding piece of sun-parched real estate in the southern part of Sudan, illustrates the new Cold War over oil, where the dramatic rise in China's oil demand to fuel its booming growth has led Beijing to embark on an aggressive policy of-ironically-- dollar diplomacy. With its more than $1.3 trillion in mainly US dollar reserves at the Peoples' National Bank of China, Beijing is engaging in active petroleum geopolitics. Africa is a major focus, and in Africa, the central region between Sudan and Chad is priority. This is defining a major new front in what, since the US invasion of Iraq in 2003, is a new Cold War between Washington and Beijing over control of major oil sources. So far Beijing has played its cards a bit more cleverly than Washington. Darfur is a major battleground in this high-stakes contest for oil control. Today China draws an estimated 30% of its crude oil from Africa. That explains an extraordinary series of diplomatic initiatives which have left Washington furious. China is using no-strings-attached dollar credits to gain access to Africa's vast raw material wealth, leaving Washington's typical control game via the World Bank and IMF out in the cold. Who needs the painful medicine of the IMF when China gives easy terms and builds roads and schools to boot?
05/25/07 - World Population Becomes More Urban Than Rural
"A major demographic shift took place on Wednesday, May 23, 2007: For the first time in human history, the earth's population is more urban than rural. According to scientists from North Carolina State University and the University of Georgia, on that day, a predicted global urban population of 3,303,992,253 exceeded that of 3,303,866,404 rural people. In the US, the tipping point from a majority rural to a majority urban population came early in the late 1910s."
05/25/07 - The Landing Strip
Although it’s one of the cornerstones of an organized home, I’m amazed how many folks haven’t heard of the landing strip. The concept it very simple. Organization comes from things having a place and being in their place. Probably the time when this rule is least observed is when we come home. We come from work exhausted, often carrying our work bags, groceries, and the mail. All we can think of is changing into jeans and flip-flops. Stuff just gets tossed down and then later we’re too occupied to clean up. If instead you have a place to “land,” and a routine for doing so, you’ll avoid disorganization from the get-go. (via lifehacker.com)
05/25/07 - Most People Believe Gas Prices Have Been Manipulated
According to a recent poll on Daily Fuel Economy Tip, nearly 80% of people believe that oil and gasoline companies have manipulated the supply of gas in order to cause prices to shoot through the roof. When asked, “Do you believe oil and gasoline companies have manipulated the supply of gas to cause prices to increase?” 79% of respondents stated yes; 16% stated no; and 5% stated that they were unsure.
05/24/07 - Efficient, Clean, high power Steam engine
Bruce Crower has spent a lifetime eking more power out of every drop of fuel to make cars go faster. Now he's using the same approach to make them go farther, with a radical six-stroke engine that tops off the familiar four-stroke internal-combustion process with two extra strokes of old-fashioned steam power. A typical engine wastes three quarters of its energy as heat. Crower's prototype, the single-cylinder diesel eight-horsepower Steam-o-Lene engine, uses that heat to make steam and recapture some of the lost energy. It runs like a conventional four-stroke combustion engine through each of the typical up-and-down movements of the piston (intake, compression, power or combustion, exhaust). But just as the engine finishes its fourth stroke, water squirts into the cylinder, hitting surfaces as hot as 1,500°F. The water immediately evaporates into steam, generating a 1,600-fold expansion in volume and driving the piston down to create an additional power stroke. The upward sixth stroke exhausts the steam to a condenser, where it is recycled into injection water. Crower calculates that the Steam-o-Lene boosts the work it gets from a gallon of gas by 40 percent over conventional engines. Diesels, which are already more efficient, might get another 5 percent. And his engine does it with hardware that already exists, so there's no waiting for technologies to mature, as with electric cars or fuel cells.
05/24/07 - Food Coloring Causes ADD?
When Paul was diagnosed with attention deficit disorder, Liz wanted to alternative to medication. She decided to try the Feingold program -- an elimination plan where you take certain ingredients completely out of the diet. Those bright colors in cereal, candy, drinks, even vitamins appealing to kids, but could they also be life-altering? “I just started taking him to specialists because he was impossible to live with," says Sherborn mom Liz Parrish about his son Paul. When Paul was diagnosed with attention deficit disorder, Liz wanted to alternative to medication. She decided to try the Feingold program. It’s an elimination plan where you take certain ingredients completely out of the diet. Liz had to remove products that included artificial coloring and flavors, certain food additives, aspartame (also known as NutraSweet) and aspirin, which occurs naturally in many fruits and vegetables. For people with sensitivity to these items, it can cause problems says Dr. Cathleen London, a family practitioner in Brookline. "There is something to this combination in bodies; it’s an irritant to the nervous system.” The diet requires work. You need to closely check labels. Even the colors in some toothpastes and the pink in medications like amoxicillin are out. The initial test period usually takes about two weeks, but Liz saw a difference in just days. “Our life has been so much better. Just his whole social interaction with kids and his school work.” But not everyone in the medical community thinks diet is the problem and that the Feingold program the answer. “The consensus is out on whether this works or not, “says Dr. Anne Wang-Dohlman, an allergist at Newton Wellesley Hospital. She says other factors may be at work besides diet. “I would want to figure out whether there were other types of triggers that I can document objectively before going right to the Feingold diet.” But Dr. London says it can’t hurt to try the program, “Isn’t it worth two weeks before we start medication that they may be on for the rest of their life?”
05/24/07 - Water wheels
A Largo inventor says he's come up with a way to make vehicles run on H20. "I've been called a magician and a crackpot," says inventor William H. Richardson, the research and development director for Definitive Energy LLC and the original patent owner of a seemingly simple process for turning water into fuel. "There is so much opposition to it." Richardson calls this alternative energy source Aqualene and claims that the gas created from separating water molecules is better for the environment than any biofuel and less costly than hydrogen fuel-cell technology. For the last 15 years, he has championed Aqualene to NASA, the U.S. government and corporations small and large -- with no success. Now, a little dejected, Richardson looks to other uses for his patented gas, from powering a more effective cutting torch to purifying water in third world countries. Aqualene, he says, can even cook a mean steak. Richardson leads me to a glass bowl full of water sitting on a shop table and attaches two insulated clamps, connected by three 12-volt batteries, to a graphite rod. When he lowers the rod into the water, it produces a bright white light -- the "electric arc" -- furiously sending bubbles to the surface. Richardson places a funnel over the bubbles and ignites the gas spewing out of the narrow end, producing a solid orange flame. That gas -- a combination of oxygen, hydrogen and carbon -- is Aqualene. He claims 100 volts can produce 1,000 cubic feet of Aqualene per hour. Richardson reaches over for a balloon, fills it from a pressurized tank full of Aqualene and watches it float to the ceiling. "The gas will dissipate and fly out of the atmosphere," he says, filling another balloon and taking out a lighter. "And it's combustible." The explosion warms my face; Richardson burns the hair off his hand. Richardson says Aqualene could replace other combustible gases like acetylene and propane, both of which are less effective and produce more pollution. Richardson then directs my attention to a lawnmower engine mounted on a table with a tube connected to the tank of Aqualene. He pulls on the lawnmower cord and the engine starts. There's no smell of gasoline (or any other fuel) nor is there any kind of visible smoke or exhaust. "This engine is just like every other engine on the planet, except it runs on water," he says proudly. "They call it the engine that could." Later, Richardson shows me home videos of him driving a Ford Escort and Mustang that he says are running off Aqualene. Both cars appear to operate like any gasoline-powered car; in one clip, Richardson peels out in his parking lot with the Mustang, later claiming he's reached 110 miles per hour in the modified roadster. The only design problem, he says, is that Aqualene's water byproduct could easily rust the tailpipe. With Aqualene, the electricity used to separate the hydrogen and oxygen molecules -- itself created through fossil fuels -- may use more energy than is recoverable from the produced gas. Richardson has heard this all before. "Fundamentally, [many chemists and engineers] don't understand it," he says. "We're manufacturing a product that is above the normal chemistry findings." And, perhaps to his detriment, he quotes a line from Star Trek: "It's chemistry, Jim, but not as you know it." The opposition to Aqualene as a fuel source has led Richardson to other ventures and eight other patents. His latest is Aquaclean, a device using the heating properties of Aqualene to turn cloudy, polluted water (or salt water) into pure distilled water. "Presently we're working with some missionary groups out of Africa," he shares. "They're trying to drill holes for clean water, but it's expensive and it's hard to prove you're going to get clean water. But most villages have a source of water -- it's just not usually fit [to drink]. If they run it through this unit, it would be cheaper than drilling a hole in the ground and they would have an accurate supply of clean, drinkable water."
05/24/07 - How economic bubbles built America
In 1820, as calculated by the English economist Angus Maddison in The World Economy: Historical Statistics, the United States produced 1.8 per cent of the world's gross domestic product. China and India together produced 50 per cent. In 1920, the U.S. produced 15 per cent of world GDP, the same percentage as China and India. With 4 per cent of world population, the U.S. now produces 25 per cent of world GDP, twice the combined share of China and India. With a $13-trillion (U.S.) economy, the country now routinely increases GDP by hundreds of billions a year -- or more than the entire GDP of such dynamic economies as South Korea. What explains this explosive American growth -- uniquely sustained for two centuries? Normally, by way of explanation, people cite democratic institutions, the rule of law and free-market capitalism. But these essential attributes of most prosperous countries don't explain the profound differences between rowdy, expansive American growth and (for example) discreet, orderly European growth. In his 2005 book The Hypomanic Edge: The Link Between (a Little) Craziness and (a Lot) of Success in America, Mr. Gartner says the U.S. gene pool endows an exceptional percentage of Americans "with energy, creativity, enthusiasm and a propensity for taking risks." He says these people are programmed "to leap at every wacky idea that occurs to them, utterly convinced that it will change the world." He concludes that market bubbles are a consequence of this biologically eccentric character trait but finds that entrepreneurial zeal and brilliant innovation are consequences of it, too. Now Daniel Gross, a columnist for Slate, picks up Mr. Gartner's premise and runs with it, though more in the tradition of conventional economics than speculative psychology. In his new book Pop! Why Bubbles are Great for the Economy, Mr. Gross argues that excessive enthusiasms - "outbursts of entrepreneurial id" - are indeed a defining aspect of the American Way. These outbursts invariably produce bubbles, he says, the long-term consequences of which are invariably good. All by themselves, bubbles have given the United States a huge competitive advantage and constitute one reason why the country was able to build itself "from almost nothing to become, for all its faults and failings, the most prosperous nation in the history of mankind."
05/24/07 - Death by Veganism
I was once a vegan. But well before I became pregnant, I concluded that a vegan pregnancy was irresponsible. You cannot create and nourish a robust baby merely on foods from plants. Indigenous cuisines offer clues about what humans, naturally omnivorous, need to survive, reproduce and grow: traditional vegetarian diets, as in India, invariably include dairy and eggs for complete protein, essential fats and vitamins. There are no vegan societies for a simple reason: a vegan diet is not adequate in the long run.
05/24/07 - Islam Beheaded
The truth about Muhammad has been one of the world's best-kept secrets. For centuries, it has been virtually impossible to raise objections about the character of Muhammad in Muslim countries, for anyone who raised such objections would (following the example set by Muhammad himself) immediately be killed. Outside the Muslim world, there has been little interest in Islam. But things have changed. Now many people are interested in Islam, and Muslims aren't able to silence everyone. Moreover, with the advent of the Internet, it is now impossible to keep Muhammad's life a secret. The facts about the founder of Islam are spreading very rapidly, and Muslims are frantically scurrying to defend their faith.
05/24/07 - Exercise 'reverses' muscle ageing
A twice-weekly trip to the gym may not just give you stronger muscles - it may give you younger muscles as well. Research on over-65s has shown that regular resistance training appears to reverse signs of ageing in the muscles. Analysis of muscle tissue showed the molecular machinery powering muscle cells became as active as that in 20-year olds after exercise.
05/24/07 - How to $100 Super-Bright Flashlight for Under $10
Detailed instructions (with video in Flash) on modding a $4 plastic flashlight to outshine a more expensive Surefire E2. / From what I understand you can overdrive an LED and you eventually get up to 100% of the possible light from it. It is an exponential curve with the flat spot on top. You also get 100% of the possible heat from it. If you drive a 3-watt at 1 or 1.5 watts, you get 80% of the light and much less % of the heat.
Whereas with an incan if you drive it at full rated voltage, you get a reliable light for a "normal" lifetime. When you overdrive it like this project does, you get a bodacious light output, but it might blink out on you at any moment. It will definitely not give you the same life as when run at the rated voltage or below.
05/24/07 - Finger Length Predicts SAT Performance
A quick look at the lengths of children's index and ring fingers can be used to predict how well students will perform on SATs, new research claims. Kids with longer ring fingers compared to index fingers are likely to have higher math scores than literacy or verbal scores on the college entrance exam, while children with the reverse finger-length ratio are likely to have higher reading and writing, or verbal, scores versus math scores.
05/24/07 - Photovoltaic (Solar Panel) Costs to Decrease 40% by 2010
The solar industry is poised for a rapid decline in costs that will make it a mainstream power option in the next few years, according to a new assessment by the Worldwatch Institute in Washington, D.C., and the Prometheus Institute in Cambridge, Massachusetts. In 2006, for the first time, more than half the world’s polysilicon was used to produce solar PV cells. Combined with technology advances, the increase in polysilicon supply will bring costs down rapidly -- by more than 40 percent in the next three years, according to Prometheus estimates.
05/24/07 - Decontaminating water with Solar Energy
Haley Robinson says she got the idea for her project in Grade 9, when she was studying solar water heating options for Canadian homes. "I was really surprised at how fast the sun could heat water up and what high temperatures could be reached," she said. "I was thinking, 'How could I apply this to somewhere else where maybe more of an impact could be felt with little or no cost?' " The result? An teepee structure made essentially from garbage: Sticks, cardboard, plastic bags and aluminum foil. A container of water, covered in heat-insulating charcoal paint and plastic bags, is suspended by string in the middle of a cardboard funnel covered in foil. As the sun reflects off the foil, the water is heated to 55 C, where it must remain for several hours for all bacteria to die and make the water potable. Robinson said she tested her invention at home in April in 5 C weather and found the water reached a temperature of 61 C. That's good news for developing nations that receive hot sunshine all year, but don't have access to clean water, according to Robinson. "It's a huge energy saving that not a lot of people know about, because it's relatively new technology. In developing countries, there's year-round solar gain, so if they could just tap into this resource, then a lot of crises could be addressed," she said.
05/24/07 - US City Sustainability Ranking
The SustainLane 2006 US city rankings of the 50 largest cities is the nation’s most complete report card on urban sustainability. The rankings explain how people’s quality of life and city economic and management preparedness are likely to fare in the face of an uncertain future. These indicators gauge, for instance, which cities’ public transit, renewable energy, local food, and development approaches are more likely to either limit or intensify the negative economic and environmental impacts of fossil fuel dependence.
05/23/07 - 'Muscle noise' could reveal diseases' progression
(Reminds me of Dr. Abrams 'Spondylotherapy' and the use of 'percussing' to determine the location and nature of physical problems. - JWD) A new non-invasive elastography technique that measures "muscle noise" could provide a way of monitoring neuromuscular disease without exposing the patient to radiation. The elastic properties of a muscle can reveal their condition. Muscles become harder, for example, when they contract during exertion. Neuromuscular disease also produces changes in muscle stiffness. So detecting these changes could provide a way to monitor the progress of the disease. Muscles also make noise as they contract. It is possible to hear the sound of the masseter muscle - a jaw muscle used in chewing - by placing your head, ear down, on the palm of your hand. The sound produced by a muscle comes from the shortening of actomyosin filaments along the axis of the muscle. During contraction, the muscle shortens along its axis and expands across the axis, producing vibrations at the surface. The researchers say it should be easy to monitor the progression of muscular diseases after analysing more muscles and building up a database of vibration responses. The key advantage of the new technique is that it is non-invasive. This means that it does not require external sources, such as indentation or ultrasound, to produce the propagating waves.
05/23/07 - Hydrogen breakthrough for carbon-free cars
UK scientists have developed a compound of the element lithium which may make it practical to store enough hydrogen on-board fuel-cell-powered cars to enable them to drive over 300 miles before refuelling. Achieving this driving range is considered essential if a mass market for fuel cell cars is to develop in future years, but has not been possible using current hydrogen storage technologies. Fuel cells produce carbon-free electricity by harnessing electrochemical reactions between hydrogen and oxygen. However, today’s prototype and demonstration fuel-cell-powered cars only have a range of around 200 miles. To achieve a 300 mile driving range, an on-board space the size of a double-decker bus would be needed to store hydrogen gas at standard temperature and pressure, while storing it as a compressed gas in cylinders or as a liquid in storage tanks would not be practical due to the weight and size implications. The UK-SHEC research has therefore focused on a different approach which could enable hydrogen to be stored at a much higher density and within acceptable weight limits. The option involves a well-established process called ‘chemisorption’, in which atoms of a gas are absorbed into the crystal structure of a solid-state material and then released when needed. The team has tested thousands of solid-state compounds in search of a light, cheap, readily available material which would enable the absorption/desorption process to take place rapidly and safely at typical fuel cell operating temperatures. They have now produced a variety of lithium hydride (specifically Li4BN3H10) that could offer the right blend of properties. Development work is now needed to further investigate the potential of this powder.
05/23/07 - Fly Ash 'Green' Bricks
Researchers have found that bricks made from fly ash--fine ash particles captured as waste by coal-fired power plants--may be even safer than predicted. Instead of leaching minute amounts of mercury as some researchers had predicted, the bricks apparently do the reverse, pulling minute amounts of the toxic metal out of ambient air. Each year, roughly 25 million tons of fly ash from coal-fired power plants are recycled, generally as additives in building materials such as concrete, but 45 million tons go to waste. Fly ash bricks both find a use for some of that waste and counter the environmental impact from the manufacture of standard bricks. "Manufacturing clay brick requires kilns fired to high temperatures," said Henry Liu, a longtime National Science Foundation (NSF) awardee and the president of Freight Pipeline Company (FPC), which developed the bricks. "That wastes energy, pollutes air and generates greenhouse gases that contribute to global warming. In contrast, fly ash bricks are manufactured at room temperature. They conserve energy, cost less to manufacture, and don't contribute to air pollution or global warming." Once colored and shaped, the FPC bricks are similar to their clay counterparts, both in appearance and in meeting or exceeding construction-material standards.
05/23/07 - Scientists join forces to work on solar energy
George Crabtree said his new project at Argonne National Laboratory near Darien is to make solar cells out of a common ingredient in paint and suntan lotion. “It’s everywhere,” Crabtree said of titanium dioxide. “People make it by the ton, and it’s incredibly cheap.” Finding cheaper ways to produce solar energy is the goal of a new research lab Crabtree is heading up with a Northwestern University chemistry professor Michael Wasielewski. Hydrogen has one other advantage in that it can be used to store solar energy for use at night or on cloudy days. Crabtree described current efforts to “split water,” or separating hydrogen from oxygen. “You can take a bucket of water and put an apparatus into it and as long as the sun shines, it’ll bubble up hydrogen on one side and oxygen on the other side,” Crabtree said of one ongoing experiment. “It doesn’t take any energy at all except sunlight.”
05/23/07 - Singing golf club to remember your perfect stroke
When it comes to golf, it's not enough to make the perfect swing every now and again, you need to be able to reproduce it on every hole. So Robert Grober, a professor of physics at Yale University, has come up with a novel way to help golfers get it right every time. He has created a golf club equipped with sensors that measure changes in the movement and acceleration of the club as it swings. A computer connected to the club converts this swing data into a sound signal that lets the golfer know how they are doing. Different aspects of the sound correspond to different qualities of the swing. Focusing on timing and tempo in particular should help golfers hone their drive, the patent application says. Reproducing your own best swing is then just a matter of trying to match the sound it makes on Grober's device. But perhaps you could also listen to the sounds made by famous golfers. I wonder what Tiger Woods' swing would sound like...
05/23/07 - Pressure on small, infected wounds a good idea?
(Though a pus wound will eventually pop on its own, I tend to prefer to gently press it to release the excess puss, then clean and medicate. - JWD) Am I helping or hindering healing, by squeezing out the pus? My minor cuts and punctures often get infected. While these wounds are healing, I habitually fuss with 'em -- if they're even slightly swollen I squeeze the injury between thumb and finger, like a zit, in order to eliminate the pus. I figure I'm reducing the white blood cell and lymph system's workload, thereby decreasing recovery time. / False. Squeezing can cause pressure-induced rips in tissue already damaged by the process of infection, and those rips take further time to heal. Opening a small wound to the outside by bursting the top will also often allow extra germs to get in there that would otherwise not have done so. The best thing you can do for minor cuts and punctures is scrub the hell out of them with soap and warm water and a nailbrush as soon as you get them, then paint on a little Betadine, then leave them the hell alone. That way they won't get infected in the first place.
05/23/07 - Water shortage 'will lead to power cuts'
AUSTRALIA'S eastern seaboard faces electricity brownouts because coal-fired power stations are running out of water, the Greens say. Dwindling dam levels were threatening power supplies, he said. "NSW and the eastern seaboard of Australia faces brownouts, largely because many of the state's coal-fired power stations are running out of water," he said. "Building another coal burner would only increase our vulnerability to droughts and increase the risk of electricity brownouts because of water shortages." Some energy experts believe NSW will face power brownouts next year, because its main emergency generator, the water-powered turbines of the Snowy Hydro, may have to sit idle as dams drop to record lows.
05/23/07 - Perfect your webcam picture
Photography blog Strobist breaks down how to get the best webcam shot using simple techniques. Adjusting your light source, turning down the monitor brightness, softening your desk lamp light, wearing a white shirt and even setting up a background you can make a huge difference in how you come across on your webcam. Check out the image above for a before and after shot, and head over to Strobist for the details on how to get yourself looking that good on the cam. (via lifehacker.com)
05/23/07 - Repeat an opinion often enough, and people will believe it
Whether people are making financial decisions in the stock market or worrying about terrorism, they are likely to be influenced by what others think. And, according to a new study in this month's Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, published by the American Psychological Association (APA), repeated exposure to one person's viewpoint can have almost as much influence as exposure to shared opinions from multiple people. This finding shows that hearing an opinion multiple times increases the recipient's sense of familiarity and in some cases gives a listener a false sense that an opinion is more widespread then it actually is.
05/23/07 - Calloway Self-Running Gravity Engine
Calloway Gravity Engine - Final drawing. Use a 32 inch drum or larger. 1st position. Once this design starts rotating (give it a little push) #4 rolls backwards, #1 moves off TDC or 12 o'clock, #7 rolls right to the center. Then it will quickly gain a speed up to the (weight set) rpm. The wheel spin gets to a point of "out running" the weights, so a smooth regulated rpm is achieved. Expect no more than 50 to 60 RPM. Do you wish to go green with engine power? I do not consider this as 'perpetual motion'. This engine is powered by the force of gravity. We will not use up this clean energy source. Gravity is always here. This is as green as it gets. I do not expect you to believe these statements because you have been taught differently. I assure you that what I say is true. Simply build it to see the results. Robert H. Calloway
05/23/07 - Viagra could aid jetlag recovery
Viagra could be used to help people flying eastwards recover from jetlag, animal research suggests. A team of Argentine scientists found the drug helped hamsters recover up to 50% faster from forward shifts in their daily time cycles. If it doesn't cure your jetlag, at least it'll stop you from rolling out of bed.
05/22/07 - Power from a Pyramid?
It seems that a quite simple set-up of a home-made capacitor and two home-made coils, stimulated by a magnet, positioned at the geometric center of a metallic pyramid will produce appreciable amounts of current, enough to run a small fan. / This is similar to Steven Mark TPU in that it needs a magnet to run, and puts out DC with a small AC componant. This device seems so simple, that perhaps we can figure out just what goes on with a magnet and some coils of wire leading to the design of more complex systems like the TPU? / It sounds like to me by just reading your post, that the device is basically a form of homopolar generator, using the earth's magnetic field on the outside of the pyramid. The magnet seems to concentrate the flux and cause a power to be induced in the copper? He did mention that the dc is a pure dc, just like a homopolar generator would produce. / Video and related links at the URL. (via zpenergy.com)
05/22/07 - Solar Thermal Storage
When most people think of solar energy they think of panels on people's homes. But if you follow the money, investors are betting that large-scale solar from companies like Ausra are the most cost-competitive. Ausra, which presented at the Clean Energy Venture Summit here on Tuesday, is testing a system to generate power at centralized stations. These solar parks use concentrating solar power to create steam that turns a turbine to make electricity. If constructed on a large enough scale,these solar thermal plants are already cost-effective when compared with fossil-fuel power generation, according to advocates of the approach. Ausra's twist is "thermal storage." In addition to generating steam from its array of special metal tubes, Ausra stores hot water that a power plant can draw on during times when the sun is not shining. That thermal storage is key to competing on price even at peak demand times, said Robert Morgan, the chief development officer of Ausra, who spoke on Tuesday. The company's system, which is now testing in Australia, can operate at 10 cents per kilowatt hour for plants between 100 and 200 megawatts. For plants between 100 and 500 megawatts, the cost goes down to 8 cents per kilowatt hour, said Morgan. That means they can compete with existing natural gas plants, which operate at 12 cents per kilowatt hour, he said. "With thermal storage, we can compete with coal on price," he said. Coal-fueled plants are typically the cheapest sources of power.
05/22/07 - Patent Pending: New Biofuel Developed at UGA
A team of University of Georgia (UGA) researchers has developed a new biofuel derived from wood chips. Unlike previous fuels derived from wood, the new and still unnamed fuel can be blended with biodiesel and petroleum diesel to power conventional engines. Scientists have long been able to derive oils from wood, but they had been unable to process it effectively or inexpensively so that it can be used in conventional engines. The researchers have developed a new chemical process, which they are working to patent, that inexpensively treats the oil so that it can be used in unmodified diesel engines or blended with biodiesel and petroleum diesel. Here's how the process works: Wood chips and pellets -- roughly a quarter inch in diameter and six-tenths of an inch long -- are heated in the absence of oxygen at a high temperature, a process known as pyrolysis. Up to a third of the dry weight of the wood becomes charcoal, while the rest becomes a gas. Most of this gas is condensed into a liquid bio-oil and chemically treated. When the process is complete, about 34 percent of the bio-oil (or 15 to 17 percent of the dry weight of the wood) can be used to power engines. The researchers are currently working to improve the process to derive even more oil from the wood.
05/22/07 - Cellphone Radiation protecting Underwear
Switzerland's Isabodywear plans to unveil a new line of men's underwear that protects your boys from HARMFUL CELL PHONE RADIATION. The safe skivvies are made with threads of silver, which the company says blocks harmful radiation from cell phones (found by some scientists to hinder sperm production). Also: The company is giving away 500 pair free (for testing purposes), so if you want to beta-test radiation-proof briefs, send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org and ask for a pair. (via therawfeed.com)
05/22/07 - The 'Jury Duty Scam'
The phone rings, you pick it up, and the caller identifies himself as an officer of the court. He says you failed to report for jury duty and that a warrant is out for your arrest. You say you never received a notice. To clear it up, the caller says he'll need some information for "verification purposes"-your birth date, social security number, maybe even a credit card number. This is when you should hang up the phone. It's a scam.
05/22/07 - Digital Waste Worth More Than Gold, Copper Ore
"Imagine sheer mountains of discarded Pentium IIIs, tractor trailers overflowing with discarded wall warts. Photojournalist Natalie Behring visited Guiyu, China and documented the world's biggest digital dump where, for $2 per day, the locals sort, disassemble, and pulverize hundreds of tons of e-waste. The payoff is huge: computer waste contains 17 times more gold than gold ore, 40 times more copper than copper ore. But the detritus also leaches chemicals and metals into local water supplies."
05/22/07 - Recycle your old computer at Staples
Starting today, Staples' electronic recycling program accepts used monitors and computers. Drop them off at any of the office chain's U.S. locations for 10 bucks a pop (for handling and recycling costs). Peripherals like keyboards, mice and speakers will be taken for free, but televisions and floor-model copiers won't be taken. No word on whether or not they'll take printers. (via lifehacker.com)
05/22/07 - Paper models of your favorite SCI Fi Spacecraft
Free printable templates for paper models of your favorite "Star Wars" and "Star Trek" spacecraft. Bonus: English translation is just a bit wonky.
05/22/07 - Illegal Immigrant Families cost $20,000 per year
A Heritage Foundation researcher testified yesterday that the average illegal immigrant family (as well as low-skilled legal immigrant family) receives about $20,000 in benefits more than they pay in taxes, resulting in an average lifetime net loss to American taxpayers of $1.2 MILLION. He makes the point that, while supporters of illegal immigration say low-cost workers help the economy, the reality is that the businesses get the cheap labor, but taxpayers pay far more for those workers. It's a redistribution of money from taxpayers to both business owners and the relatives of immigrants abroad. Obviously we need to bring in far more H1B visa workers (high-skilled) -- who pay far more in taxes compared to the benefits received -- and allow far fewer illegal and other low-skilled immigrants. The current cap on high-skilled workers (many of whom head to Silicon Valley) is 65,000 -- an annual quota reached this year in ONE DAY. Illegal immigrants come every day, and currently number between 12 and 20 MILLION. (via therawfeed.com)
05/22/07 - Spy Drones Take to the Sky in the UK
The Guardian is reporting that the UK's has launched a new breed of police 'spy drone'. Originally used in military applications, these drones are being put into use as a senior police officer warns the surveillance society in the UK is eroding civil liberties. In the UK, there are an estimated 4.2 million surveillance cameras already, and you are on average photographed 300 times a day going about your business. Is there any evidence to suggest that this increasingly Orwellian society is actually any safer?"
05/22/07 - Tea 'healthier' drink than water
Drinking three or more cups of tea a day is as good for you as drinking plenty of water and may even have extra health benefits, say researchers. The work in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition dispels the common belief that tea dehydrates. Tea not only rehydrates as well as water does, but it can also protect against heart disease and some cancers, UK nutritionists found.
05/21/07 - Near Light Speed Space Ship is Man's Future
The inventor, who wishes to remain anonymous says, “He has created a mankind first based on common day physics used by many.” He further states, ”The propulsion application is a first and a patent has been filed. There is no information on the World Wide Web or any other source of publication on this future invention. Even my patent application and patent will not be published at my request.” Without using this propulsion discovery mankind will never be able to explore the universe. This is what is known. Present day Oberth technology used by NASA and others can be classified as an antiquated propulsion technology which hits ~ 25k miles/hr. max (.00378 % of c, c=186,000 miles/sec) and has a very limited travel distance. Space travelers using Oberth technology would see the time needed to travel to Alpha Centauri our closest neighboring galaxy taking hundreds if not thousands of years. The inventor says, “Even if my propulsion hits 50 % of light speed that is ~ 330,000,000 miles/hr. there is plenty of room to learn and grow towards 99.9 % the speed of light (c=670,616,629.384 mile per hour). This would mean travel to Mars in weeks not years and travel to Alpha Centauri in 5 to 10 years. The possibility for space colonization, space mining, and space travel would be limitless. Forget about the low earth orbit joy trips now being offered by space tourism companies. Mankind could find itself doing what it does best, exploring. There will be many new Columbus and Lewis and Clarks types blazing trails discovering new worlds determining mankind’s existence”. The cost of such disruptive technology must be out of this world. Nothing could be further from the truth. The cost per pound for current Chemical Rocket technology is $ 2,000 to $ 10,000 dollars per launch. This generally runs into hundreds of millions of dollars per launch as verified by NASA. The launch cost per pound for components of the NLS Spaceship to Low Earth Orbit would have the same current or lower cost. The NLS components launched to LEO would used to build the spaceship. Something like the TV program Star Trek’s Enterprise. Present Day Solid Rocket Exhaust is 1,000 to 4,000 m/s with 10^3 to 10^7 N thrust and a firing duration of minutes. The Proposed NLS Propulsion Exhaust is 300,000,000 m/s with 10^3 to 10^9 N thrust and a firing duration of years - decades. Estimated cost for Space Shuttle is hundreds of billions of dollars with $ 500 million per launch and $ 50 million per month to maintain the shuttle program ending around 2012. Estimated cost for NLS Space Ship is hundreds of millions of dollars with $ 200 million per launch and $ 2 million per month with no program termination in man’s existence. Forward thinking aerospace companies who are interested in the future of space travel may contact the inventor. A trade secret agreement will be required of all parties interested. CONTACT INFORMATION - the inventor NLS Propulsion
05/21/07 - Solar Flashlight Lights the Poorest Villages
Since August 2005, when visits to an Eritrean village prompted him to research global access to artificial light, Mr. Bent, 49, a former foreign service officer and Houston oilman, has spent $250,000 to develop and manufacture a solar-powered flashlight. His invention gives up to seven hours of light on a daily solar recharge and can last nearly three years between replacements of three AA batteries together costing 80 cents. Over the last year, he said, he and corporate benefactors like Exxon Mobil have donated 10,500 flashlights to United Nations refugee camps and African aid charities. Another 10,000 have been provided through a sales program, and 10,000 more have just arrived in Houston awaiting distribution by his company, SunNight Solar. “I find it hard sometimes to explain the scope of the problems in these camps with no light,” Mr. Bent said. “If you’re an environmentalist you think about it in terms of discarded batteries and coal and wood burning and kerosene smoke; if you’re a feminist you think of it in terms of security for women and preventing sexual abuse and violence; if you’re an educator you think about it in terms of helping children and adults study at night.” The light, or sun torch, has a narrow solar panel on one side that charges the batteries, which can last between 750 and 1,000 nights, and uses the more efficient light-emitting diodes, or L.E.D.s, to cast its light. “L.E.D.s used to be very expensive,” Mr. Bent said. “But in the last 18 months they’ve become cheaper, so distributing them on a widespread scale is possible.” The flashlights usually sell for about $19.95 in American stores, but he has established a BoGo - for Buy One, Give One - program on his Web site, BoGoLight.com, where if you buy one flashlight for $25, he will buy and ship another one to Africa, and donate $1 to one of the aid groups he works with.
05/21/07 - Turkish Super Light Bulb
Assistant Professor Hilmi Volkan Demir`s research group achieved solid-state white light generation using nanocrystal hybridization on light emitting diode (LED), with tunable color properties for the first time in the world. Nanocrystal LEDs transform electric energy directly to light, while Edison`s bulb transformed the heat to light. Life time of LED-based light sources will last about 23 years and it would trigger fundamental changes for lighting systems of cars. This technology would also be one of the solutions to global warming since it ensures 90 percent energy savings. "LEDs will replace electric bulbs and fluorescent lights that we use in our houses. This invention will change indoor and automotive lighting systems in the future. Lighting function of cars will entirely be realized by the help of white LEDs within the next five years," Demir said.
05/21/07 - The USPTO´s New One-Year Accelerated Examination Program
With the increasing number of patent application filings, it is not surprising to learn that the United States Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO) is increasingly overburdened. Each year it takes longer for an applicant to receive an action on the merits (e.g., a substantive action addressing patentability issues), as well as obtain final disposition (e.g., final rejection, allowance, abandonment) of a case from the USPTO. Consequently, expediting a patent application through the USPTO is becoming more desirable for those seeking faster determinations of their matters. This article discusses generally the requirements for a grantable petition to make a patent application special, and pays particular attention to the new one-year accelerated examination program available to patent applicants as of August 25, 2006. / (Another idiotic PATCH allowing IDEAS ONLY to take up time and resources...It's BROKE, see Fixing the Patent System. - JWD)
05/21/07 - Inflatable Satellite Antennas for connectivity anywhere
It's an ultralight, ultraportable antenna tucked inside an inflatable shell that can pull down a superfast broadband satellite connection at any location. The GATR-Com is designed for disaster-relief responders, far-flung video producers and front-line troops-anyone whose job (or life) depends on getting digital information-video, Internet, calls-in and out of remote places. "You just can't do effective disaster relief without decent satellite communications," says Eric Rasmussen, a U.S. Navy physician and commander whose relief experience includes the Indonesian tsunami of 2004 and the aftermath of battles in Bosnia and Iraq. "But when the mud is two feet deep, if you can't pack a dish on your back or drop it out of a plane, it's not going to get there." The GATR-Com (an acronym for "ground antenna transmit and receive") system, complete with electronics and tethering gear, weighs less than 70 pounds and fits easily into two backpacks. It can be powered by a car's cigarette lighter or a small generator. There's nothing else like it that's this small or rugged.
05/21/07 - A "Revolution" in Renewable Energy? Maybe Not.
Professor Jerry Woodall and students have invented a way to use an aluminum alloy to extract hydrogen from water - a process that he thinks could replace gasoline as well as its pollutants and emissions tied to global warming. But Woodall says there's one big hitch: "Egos" at the U.S. Department of Energy, a key funding source for energy research, "are holding up the revolution." Elemental metals like oxygen, and aluminum likes oxygen a lot. Aluminum's not unique in this respect. Drop some metallic sodium in water sometime and see what happens. (I strongly recommend you watch from a safe distance.) You can mix other things with water to make fuel. You can generate acetylene, for example, by mixing water and calcium carbide. In other words, the idea of generating hydrogen by reacting water with a metal or other chemical is far from revolutionary, controversial or even new. This would've been ground-breaking stuff in 1750. In 2007? Not so much. The article doesn't mention it, but Prof. Woodall filed for his patent on this almost 27 years ago and the patent has long-since expired. (It's patent number 4,358,291 if you want to check it out.) TROUBLESOME FACT # 2 : The process of reacting aluminum with water consumes roughly NINE pounds of water and EIGHT pounds of aluminum for every ONE pound of hydrogen it generates. TROUBLESOME FACT # 3 : The process of reacting aluminum with water generates roughly SIXTEEN pounds of aluminum oxide waste for every ONE pound of hydrogen it generates. Now, 16 pounds of solid waste product may not seem like a big deal until you realize that the 1 pound of hydrogen fuel you've just generated is the energy equivalent of less than ONE HALF GALLON of gasoline. That's where the big, 350-lb. chunk of aluminum alloy comes in. The article mentions that there's a 350-lb. chunk of aluminum alloy added to the vehicle and that some aluminum is consumed by the process, but the article fails to elaborate... TROUBLESOME FACT # 4: At an average level of automotive efficiency, the 350-lb. chunk of aluminum will be consumed every few hundred miles. ( and more troubling facts at http://mypetjawa.mu.nu/archives/187920.php )
05/21/07 - Small Parks Could Cool Big Cities
An additional 10 percent more green space could reduce surface temperatures by 7 degrees Fahrenheit, according to a team of British scientists. Extra parks and green roofs could counteract the predicted rise in temperature until 2080 when summers are expected to be hotter and drier and winters wetter. Because American cities are more prone than British cities to high summer temperatures, University of Manchester biologist Roland Ennos said green space has an even more important function in the United States. In cities around the world, planting more grass and trees could keep people more comfortable and reduce air conditioning costs and energy expenditures, Ennos said. "It should make life more pleasant climatically," Ennos told LiveScience. "Many studies have also shown that it improves people's physical and mental health, sense of wellbeing, and can result in reductions in crime." On sunny days, urban areas such as downtown sections of American cities can be up to 22 degrees Fahrenheit hotter than more rural areas. But the research team found that adding green space can minimize the "urban heat island" effect, which involves the fact that plants collect and retain water more efficiently than skyscrapers and parking lots. When the water evaporates from leaves on plants and trees, it cools off the air nearby, just like evaporating sweat cools us down. Although Ennos' models suggest green space will decrease temperatures, it will not be able to absorb the rainfall from the more frequent and 50 percent larger winter storms predicted to hit Manchester by 2080, he said. Left unabsorbed, the rainwater is expected to flow to city drains and travel to streams and rivers, ending up in the ocean. "Unfortunately, increasing the amount of green space only has a limited effect in reducing run-off, and so flash flooding will become an increasing problem in our cities," Ennos said. Floods could be prevented with more rainwater storage, he said, which might keep the city's green space irrigated during the droughts expected in summer months.
05/20/07 - New fuel for 21st century -- aluminum pellets?
Pellets made out of aluminum and gallium can produce pure hydrogen when water is poured on them, offering a possible alternative to gasoline-powered engines, U.S. scientists say. "The hydrogen is generated on demand, so you only produce as much as you need when you need it," Woodall said in a statement. He said the hydrogen would not have to be stored or transported, taking care of two stumbling blocks to generating hydrogen. For now, the Purdue scientists think the system could be used for smaller engines like lawn mowers and chain saws. But they think it would work for cars and trucks as well, either as a replacement for gasoline or as a means of powering hydrogen fuel cells. On its own, aluminum will not react with water because it forms a protective skin when exposed to oxygen. Adding gallium keeps the film from forming, allowing the aluminum to react with oxygen in the water. This reaction splits the oxygen and hydrogen contained in water, releasing hydrogen in the process. "I was cleaning a crucible containing liquid alloys of gallium and aluminum," Woodall said. "When I added water to this alloy -- talk about a discovery -- there was a violent poof." What is left over is aluminum oxide and gallium. In the engine, the byproduct of burning hydrogen is water. "No toxic fumes are produced," Woodall said. "When and if fuel cells become economically viable, our method would compete with gasoline at $3 per gallon even if aluminum costs more than a dollar per pound." Recycling the aluminum oxide byproduct and developing a lower grade of gallium could bring down costs, making the system more affordable, Woodall said. The Purdue Research Foundation holds title to the primary patent, which has been filed with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. An Indiana startup company, AlGalCo LLC., has received a license for the exclusive right to commercialize the process.
05/20/07 - Idea for Wind Skyscrapers
I don't know if a "Wind Energy Skyscraper" like this could even be built someday. The concepts I've seen, so far, just add two-three rotors to a skyscraper to save 10-15% of energy. However, it looks like a very good idea that worth an article! The sketch published in this page is only one version (of hundreds possible design) of a "Wind Energy Skyscraper" that has a 200 m. side squared section and is 600 m. tall with 10 (or more) high stories and 250 wind rotors (25 per floor) each 40 m. large. I think that a "Wind Energy Skyscraper" has at least TEN BIG ADVANTAGES vs. the existing "wind turbines" that need their own (expensive) skyscrapers-like towers. 1. the tower-array of 250 rotors has a very small "footprint" (just 200x200 meters in my design) compared with the VERY LARGE terrains used to build the multi-towers wind energy power plants. 2. the small "footprints" allow to build MANY wind energy power plants just NEAR the biggest cities (rather than country) that need large amounts of energy. 3. a few hundreds "Wind Energy Skyscrapers" (built near the biggest cities, that already have big buildings and skyscrapers) can REDUCE the ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT of HUNDREDS of THOUSANDS (150+ meters each) TOWERS/ROTORS built (so far) on very large surfaces devastating their landscapes, reducing the food's cultivations and killing thousands migrating birds. 4. the "energy-sources" built near the "energy-users" (the cities) allow to SAVE great amounts of energy (about 30%) now LOST in the long-distance energy trasfer. 5. the smaller rotors are MORE WIND/ENERGY EFFICIENT (than bigger rotors) since they run ALSO with SLOW wind speeds (and MUCH FASTER than big rotors with high speed winds). 6. the tower-array design allows the engineers choice of the MOST EFFICIENT number and dimension of rotors to generate the max quantity of energy possible. 7. smaller rotors allow the use of multi-blades design that are more wind/energy efficient and (also) LESS NOISY (than bigger rotors) to reduce the noise pollution. 8. so many rotors in a single tower allows to add a (cost effective) "Energy Storage System" to store the extra energy produced by night and release it on peak energy request saving large amounts of energy! The "Energy Storage System" can be a simple array of high efficiency rechargeable batteries or a complex but cheaper water electrolysis device that splits oxygen and hydrogen used as car fuel and/or methane replacement and/or propellent for fuel-cells' energy modules. 9. one of the BEST (50-70%) money saving of the "Wind Energy Skyscrapers" will be on costruction materials since EACH (100-120 m. diameter) wind turbine needs its own GIANT (100-150 m. tall) and very (time+money) expensive "mini-skyscraper", while, the 250 (smaller) rotors+motors SHARE the tower's structure just using a SMALL part of it to support each rotor! 10. last but not least, the (200x200 m.) surface atop the "Wind Energy Skyscraper" is PERFECT to deploy many Solar Cells Panels (something simply IMPOSSIBLE to do with to-day's wind turbines!) to (daily!) produce a FURTHER amount of FREE, CLEAN, RENEVABLE energy!!! The final (very exciting!) result of these advantages will be a VERY LOW COST ENERGY compared with the current wind turbines energy prices!!!
05/20/07 - Solar Power at Half the Cost
A new roof-mounted system that concentrates sunlight could cut the price of photovoltaics. A new mechanism for focusing light on small areas of photovoltaic material could make solar power in residential and commercial applications cheaper than electricity from the grid in most markets in the next few years. Initial systems, which can be made at half the cost of conventional solar panels, are set to start shipping later this year, says Brad Hines, CTO and founder of Soliant Energy, a startup based in Pasadena, CA, that has developed the new modules. Concentrating sunlight with mirrors or lenses on a small area cuts the costs of solar power in part by reducing the amount of expensive photovoltaic material needed. But while concentrated solar photovoltaic systems are attractive for large-scale, ground-based solar farms for utilities, conventional designs are difficult to mount on rooftops, where most residential and commercial customers have space for solar panels. The systems are typically large and heavy, and they're mounted on posts so that they can move to track the sun, which makes them more vulnerable to gusts of wind than ordinary flat solar panels are. Soliant has designed a solar concentrator that tracks the sun throughout the day but is lighter and not pole-mounted. The system fits in a rectangular frame and is mounted to the roof with the same hardware that's used for conventional flat solar panels. Yet the devices will likely cost half as much as a conventional solar panel, says Hines. A second-generation design, which concentrates light more and uses better photovoltaics, could cost a quarter as much. He says that a more advanced design should be ready by 2010. The Soliant design combines both lenses and mirrors to create a more compact system. Each module is made of rows of aluminum troughs, each about the width and depth of a gutter. These troughs are mounted inside a rectangular frame and can tilt in unison from side to side to follow the sun. Each trough is enclosed on top with a clear acrylic lid. Inside each trough, a strip of silicon photovoltaic material runs along the bottom. As light enters, some of it reflects off the inside surface of the trough and reaches the strip of silicon. The rest of the incoming light is focused on the strip by a lens incorporated into the acrylic lid.
05/20/07 - Doctors May Be Third Leading Cause of Death
(Perfect timing for Moore's 'Sicko' film. - JWD) Doctors Are The Third Leading Cause of Death in the US, Causing 250,000 Deaths Every Year. This week's issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) is the best article I have ever seen written in the published literature documenting the tragedy of the traditional medical paradigm. What does the word iatrogenic mean? This term is defined as induced in a patient by a physician's activity, manner, or therapy. Used especially of a complication of treatment. If the higher estimates are used, the deaths due to iatrogenic causes would range from 230,000 to 284,000. In any case, 225,000 deaths per year constitutes the third leading cause of death in the United States, after deaths from heart disease and cancer. Even if these figures are overestimated, there is a wide margin between these numbers of deaths and the next leading cause of death (cerebrovascular disease).
05/20/07 - The Cast Pyramids
"What started as a two-hour project turned into a five-year odyssey that I undertook with one of my graduate students, Adrish Ganguly, and a colleague in France, Gilles Hug," Barsoum says. A year and a half later, after extensive scanning electron microscope (SEM) observations and other testing, Barsoum and his research group finally began to draw some conclusions about the pyramids. They found that the tiniest structures within the inner and outer casing stones were indeed consistent with a reconstituted limestone. The cement binding the limestone aggregate was either silicon dioxide (the building block of quartz) or a calcium and magnesium-rich silicate mineral. The stones also had a high water content-unusual for the normally dry, natural limestone found on the Giza plateau-and the cementing phases, in both the inner and outer casing stones, were amorphous, in other words, their atoms were not arranged in a regular and periodic array. Sedimentary rocks such as limestone are seldom, if ever, amorphous. The sample chemistries the researchers found do not exist anywhere in nature. "Therefore," says Barsoum, "it's very improbable that the outer and inner casing stones that we examined were chiseled from a natural limestone block." More startlingly, Barsoum and another of his graduate students, Aaron Sakulich, recently discovered the presence of silicon dioxide nanoscale spheres (with diameters only billionths of a meter across) in one of the samples. This discovery further confirms that these blocks are not natural limestone. "The basic raw materials used for this early form of concrete-limestone, lime, and diatomaceous earth-can be found virtually anywhere in the world," he adds. "Replicating this method of construction would be cost effective, long lasting, and much more environmentally friendly than the current building material of choice: Portland cement that alone pumps roughly 6 billion tons of CO2 annually into the atmosphere when it's manufactured." "Ironically," says Barsoum, "this study of 4,500 year old rocks is not about the past, but about the future."
05/19/07 - What Is "Lemon Law?"
Did you know that if something you own is defective and you get it repaired three times for the same problem, you may be entitled to a free replacement under "lemon law?" Every state has its own lemon law statute, but all consumers are protected under the federal Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act.
05/19/07 - Is Speech Recognition Finally 'Good Enough'?
"Speech recognition software is fast, but it still may not be accurate enough. Clerical jobs usually ask for 40 wpm, but speech recognition software can keep up with someone speaking at 160 wpm. In Lamont Wood's demo it did very well at too/two/to and which/witch, but will it still render 'I really admire your analysis' as "I really admire urinalysis'? At 95% accuracy, people aren't jumping on the bandwagon. Wood's typing speed is about 60 wpm with 93% accuracy, so he found that using speech recognition was about twice as fast as typing. Those who type at hunt-and-peck speeds will experience results that are even more dramatic. There's really only one product on the US market: Dragon NaturallySpeaking from Nuance Communications. The free versions from Microsoft aren't up to the task and IBM sold ViaVoice to Nuance, where it's treated as an entry-level product."
05/19/07 - Gitmo attorneys sue NSA, DoJ for warrantless spying
A civil liberties group representing 16 attorneys of detainees at Guantanamo Bay on Thursday sued the National Security Agency and the Justice Department, claiming that the government illegally spied on the lawyers with warrantless wiretaps and has refused to turn over records of the snooping. The Center for Constitutional Rights filed the FOIA suit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. The group wants all records related to government eavesdropping on the lawyers' conversations with their clients, which would usually be considered legally protected privileged communication. The suit alleges that the government failed to meet its FOIA obligations to turn over records the lawyers want in timely fashion.
05/19/07 - How to Beat the stock market: buy customer service
Using a back-tested paper portfolio and an actual case, the study's authors found that companies at the top 20% of the the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) outperformed the the stock market, generating a 40% return. Over time, the portfolio outperformed the Dow Jones Industrial Average by 93%, the S&P 500 by 201%, and NASDAQ by 335%.
05/19/07 - Start-up piggybacks on flat panel TVs for solar sell
A Silicon Valley start-up has stepped in hoping to reduce the cost of solar energy by tapping the manufacturing know-how behind flat panel TVs. Signet Solar de-stealthed this week, pitching thin film solar technology. The thin films process, for the uninitiated, has its pros and cons when compared to mainstream crystalline silicon technology. On the plus side, thin film gear costs much less than today's solar modules. On the downside, it's less efficient. Rajeeva Lahri, CEO at Signet Solar, argues that the efficiency issues won't matter for the market his company has targeted. Come 2008, Signet plans to sell a pair of thin film modules to customers looking to build large solar farms on cheap land. Such farms have little space constraints, making the cheaper solar technology an attractive option, since you're not trying pack a lot of juice on prime real estate such as a city rooftop. This play could prove lucrative since the crystalline silicon solar crowd faces a crisis of sorts. Business is too good. The cost of the polysilicon material needed to make their products has doubled in price since 2004. This has forced companies such as Evergreen Solar and SunTech Power to form deals with the polysilicon makers, hoping to secure a more static price for the material. Even with such arrangements in place, the companies can expect to pay more and more for polysilicon thanks to increasing demand for solar products. Signet Solar looks to route around this pricing problem via a partnership with Applied Materials, which will tap machines normally used to build flat panel TVs to create thin film silicon solar PV (photovoltaic) modules. "Many competitors use custom built equipment to make their products," Lahri said. "We realize the importance of leveraging a mainstream equipment base." With Applied Materials on its side, Signet thinks it can reduce the cost of solar modules to between $3 and $4 per watt next year and then eventually down to between $1 and $2 per watt. That price would include some of the costs associated with installing the systems and excludes subsidies. Current solar energy companies sell their modules at around $4 per watt and see costs rise to close to $10 per watt with installation, according to Lahri.
Signet claims another edge over the competition in that it plans to produce some of the largest solar modules on the market at 1.3m x 2.2m. That compares with products about 1m x 0.6m.
"With the larger modules, there's less wiring, less framing, less handling and less overall infrastructure," Lahri said. "So, customers prefer the larger modules because it reduces their cost of installing them." / signetsolar.com
05/19/07 - Turbine Turbulence: How to Fix U.S. Wind Power
While U.S. contributions to the international wind circuit remain some of the biggest - our installed capacity of 11,600 megawatts (MW, 1000 kw) represents nearly 15 percent of wind energy worldwide - you don’t usually here about them, because wind power accounts for just over one half of 1 percent of our annual consumption. In the past two years, capacity in this country has risen by more than 4800 MW, but the U.S. would need to raise the bar by 382,800 MW - about as much as it takes to power 4.8 millions homes per year - to match Denmark’s commitment to this free, ever-present energy source. What’s more, some fear that without new technology or improved infrastructure, the current growth rate will be as fleeting as the tax credits and rising natural gas prices that have fueled it. The U.S. has a long road ahead if (and that’s a big “if”) it wants to make wind as American as big oil; here three major obstacles facing our wind-powered future, plus solutions that could overcome that turbulence - and make turbine-tapped energy a larger part of what runs your house.
05/19/07 - How Second Dimension of Time Could Unify Physics Law
For a long time, Itzhak Bars has been studying time. More than a decade ago, the USC College physicist began pondering the role time plays in the basic laws of physics - the equations describing matter, gravity and the other forces of nature.
Those laws are exquisitely accurate. Einstein mastered gravity with his theory of general relativity, and the equations of quantum theory capture every nuance of matter and other forces, from the attractive power of magnets to the subatomic glue that holds an atom’s nucleus together. But the laws can’t be complete. Einstein’s theory of gravity and quantum theory don’t fit together. Some piece is missing in the picture puzzle of physical reality. Bars thinks one of the missing pieces is a hidden dimension of time.
05/18/07 - Designing Cities for People, Rather than Cars
The world’s cities are in trouble. In Mexico City, Tehran, Bangkok, Shanghai, and hundreds of other cities, the quality of daily life is deteriorating. Breathing the air in some cities is equivalent to smoking two packs of cigarettes per day. In the United States, the number of hours commuters spend sitting in traffic going nowhere climbs higher each year. In Bogotá, Colombia, where Enrique Peñalosa served as Mayor for three years, beginning in 1998. When he took office he did not ask how life could be improved for the 30 percent who owned cars; he wanted to know what could be done for the 70 percent-the majority-who did not own cars. Peñalosa realized that a city that is a pleasant environment for children and the elderly would work for everyone. In just a few years, he transformed the quality of urban life with his vision of a city designed for people. Under his leadership, the city banned the parking of cars on sidewalks, created or renovated 1,200 parks, introduced a highly successful bus-based rapid transit system, built hundreds of kilometers of bicycle paths and pedestrian streets, reduced rush hour traffic by 40 percent, planted 100,000 trees, and involved local citizens directly in the improvement of their neighborhoods. In doing this, he created a sense of civic pride among the city’s 8 million residents, making the streets of Bogotá in strife-torn Colombia safer than those in Washington, D.C. Enrique Peñalosa observes that “high quality public pedestrian space in general and parks in particular are evidence of a true democracy at work.” He further observes: “Parks and public space are also important to a democratic society because they are the only places where people meet as equals..In a city, parks are as essential to the physical and emotional health of a city as the water supply.” He notes this is not obvious from most city budgets, where parks are deemed a luxury. By contrast, “roads, the public space for cars, receive infinitely more resources and less budget cuts than parks, the public space for children. Why,” he asks, “are the public spaces for cars deemed more important than the public spaces for children?” Now government planners everywhere are experimenting, seeking ways to design cities for people not cars.
05/18/07 - Nanoglue sticks anything and strengthens with heat
Less than a nanometer - or one billionth of a meter - thick, the nanoglue is inexpensive to make and can withstand temperatures far higher than what was previously envisioned. In fact, the adhesive’s molecular bonds strengthen when exposed to heat.
The glue material is already commercially available, but the research team’s method of treating the glue to dramatically enhance its “stickiness” and heat resistance is completely new. The nanolayers are extremely susceptible to heat and begin to degrade or simply detach from a surface when exposed to temperatures above 400 degrees Celsius. This severe limitation has precluded more widespread use of the nanolayers. When exposed to heat, the middle layer of the “nanosandwich” did not break down or fall off - as it had nowhere to go. But that was not the only good news. The nanolayer’s bonds grew stronger and more adhesive when exposed to temperatures above 400 degrees Celsius. Constrained between the copper and silica, the nanolayer’s molecules hooked onto an adjoining surface with unexpectedly strong chemical bonds.
“The higher you heat it, the stronger the bonds are,” Ramanath said. “When we first started out, I had not imagined the molecules behaving this way.” Another unprecedented aspect of Ramanath’s discovery is that the sandwiched nanolayers continue to strengthen up to temperatures as high as 700 degrees Celsius. The ability of these adhesive nanolayers to withstand and grow stronger with heat could have novel industrial uses, such as holding paint on hot surfaces like the inside of a jet engine or a huge power plant turbine. “The molecular glue is inexpensive - 100 grams cost about $35 - and already commercially available, which makes our method well-suited to today’s marketplace. Our method can definitely be scaled up to meet the low-cost demands of a large manufacturer,” he said.
05/18/07 - Video - Free Energy - Self running Bedini Motor Replication
This Motor is built by Mike and is a replication of John Bedinis FE-Motors. It is a selfrunner and runs with Energy it gets from the Vacuum. Explanations and discussions:
see the thread in the overunity.com forum at http://www.overunity.com/index.php/topic,1988.0.html / for explanations this type of energy google for Tom Bearden and John Bedini and visit http://www.icehouse.net/john1/
05/18/07 - Latent memory of cells comes to life
New Danish research has examined the mechanisms behind latent cell memory, which can come to life and cause previously non-existent capacities suddenly to appear. Special yeast cells for example, can abruptly change from being of a single sex to hermaphrodite. Sometimes, dramatic and very sudden changes are observed in one individual in the absence of any kind of change to the DNA. This happens in fact in all of us as our body develops: cells with identical genetic information adopt very different fates, forming tissues that have apparently very little in common with each other, such as skin, brain, or bones. Mechanisms at the origin of this so-called cellular differentiation are those for which researchers at the University of Copenhagen have a possible clarification. ”The explanation for the sudden changes is that it is not the DNA itself that is altered - it is its immediate surroundings that change and thereby cause a cell to activate some of its dormant capacities” says Kim Sneppen, professor in Biophysics at the Niels Bohr Institute, University of Copenhagen. In the practical experiment molecular biologists used a mutant of a yeast cell which was bi-stable, in that it could become either of a single sex or hermaphrodite. The experiment showed that a spontaneous change occurred in the yeast cells about every 2000 cell-generations.
05/18/07 - City parks could cool urban areas by 4°C
"If you look at infrared maps of cities, the woodland areas are 12°C cooler than city centres with no trees," says Roland Ennos at Manchester University in the UK, who carried out the study with colleagues. Ennos's team used the city of Manchester as a template for their study. With two computer models - one to calculate changes in temperature and one to calculate changes in rainwater run-off - they investigated how the urban climate would change if world greenhouse-gas emissions continue to rise at the current rate. "We found that the temperature in Manchester will go up by 4°C by 2080 if the amount of green area remains unchanged," says Ennos. Vegetation cools local temperatures when the water it has absorbed is evaporated from its leaves - much like the cooling effect of perspiration. The researchers say that the increased greenery would not have to involve building new parks. For instance, green roofing - roll-out strips of soil planted with succulents, commonly used in Germany - would have a similar effect. "Even if a fraction of city's buildings had green roofs, this could have a big impact," says Ennos. Chris Huntingford of the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology in the UK says that unless people undergo significant lifestyle change, heat stress is likely to be the biggest health issue facing city dwellers in the UK as a result of climate change. Huntingford also points out the importance to human health of finding out if night-time temperatures would also be affected by the additional greenery. "This period is critical in allowing the body to rest from the effects of excessive day-time warmth," he says. Studies have suggested that a great number of deaths in France during the 2003 heatwave were due to the fact that people were not given any night-time respite from the high day-time temperatures.
05/18/07 - Ministers bow to human animal hybrid pressure
Ministers have bowed to pressure to allow the creation of human animal hybrid embryos for research. When the ban was proposed last year there were fears among scientists it would hamper medical breakthroughs. Hybrid embryos will only be allowed for research into serious disease and scientists will require a licence. The draft bill allows the creation of human embryos that have been physically mixed with one or more animal cells. However, true animal-animal hybrids, made by the fusion of sperm and eggs, remain outlawed. And in all cases it would be illegal to allow embryos to grow for more than 14 days or be implanted into a womb. Scientists say their work could help find cures for devastating diseases, such as Alzheimer's.
05/18/07 - Video - Fuelless DIY Cavitation heater from waterpump
(Since it is European, I believe these temp quotes are in Celsius, not Fahrenheit. - JWD) This prototype copies the Griggs Cavitation System and proves it works as stated in his video. The unit provides instantaneous heat at 59 degrees (59 degree Celsius = 138.2 degree Fahrenheit) with the rotor configuration shown and using the magic gap of 3mm around all sides. Rotation is 2900rpm using 220VAC at 500Watts. This unit was made in Holland by KAMPEN72 and his brother. Other designs will be available eventually with the amount of heat dependent on the design and the configuration of the holes on the rotor. Different cavitation configurations are being developed for maximum heat up to 80-90 degrees (80 degree Celsius = 176 degree Fahrenheit) which are needed for the heater to be deemed efficient. The idea behind this project is to be able to heat your home without the consumption of wood, gas or other fuels which would save loads of money. The time has come to begin to use proven alternative energy sources and say no more to oil. Coefficient of Performance or C.O.P.(the ratio of output to input power) - Griggs claims a COP of 1.3 to 1.5 / Hydrosonic or cavitation devices - James Griggs' Hydrosonic Pump is already being sold to customers, regularly providing them with over-unity energy. An energy efficiency consultant from Georgia, Griggs invented the pump as a result of his curiosity about a common phenomenon called water hammer or cavitation. Griggs noticed that heat emanated from fluids, which flow quickly through the pipes of a boiler causing water pressure to drop in part of the pipe. Bubbles formed in the low-pressure areas collapse when carried to areas of higher pressure. The resulting shock waves collide inside the pipe bringing about the water hammer effect.7 Griggs' pump is made up of a cylindrical rotor that fits closely within a steel case. When the rotor spins, water is forced through the shallow space between the rotor and the case. The resulting acceleration and turbulence created in the gap somehow heats the water and creates steam. In 1988, a testing expert found that the heat energy put out by the hydrosonic pump was 10 to 30% higher than energy used to turn the rotor. In 1990, Griggs started Hydrodynamics, Inc. He and his partner have invested over a million dollars in the business. The units they are selling are not only more efficient than standard boilers but they also require less maintenance. They are self-cleaning and eliminate the problem of mineral build-up that reduces the efficiency of standard boilers. Georgia Power and the civil engineering department at Georgia Institute of Technology are currently conducting studies of the pump. A new cavitation device similar to the Griggs machine is now available for testing, scientific investigation and purchase by research laboratories. This is the "Kinetic Furnace" of Kinetic Heating Systems, Inc. of Cumming, Georgia. Jointly invented by Eugene Perkins and Ralph E. Pope, the furnace is a heat-producing rotary cavitation device for which the inventors have been granted four United States patents, the most recent one in 1994. Numerous independent companies and testing agenices have found the same over-unity performance: Coefficient of Performance or C.O.P.(the ratio of output to input power) in the range 1.2 to as high as 7.0, with most typical operation in the range 1.5 to 2.0. Dr. Mallove and Jed Rothwell of Infinite Energy recently confirmed the excess heat in a preliminary on-site test.
05/18/07 - Vintners discover they can harvest not just grapes, but also solar power
Earlier this year, the Sokol Blosser Winery in Dundee installed 144 solar panels that are expected to produce about 30 percent of the 70,000 to 80,000 kilowatt hours of electricity their facilities consume each year. "That's a good deal," said Susan Sokol Blosser, the company's president. "The sun's not charging us." "Wineries are definitely the early adopters of stuff like this," said Alex Sokol Blosser, Susan's son and vice president of the company. Not only is "sustainability" part of Oregon's brand as a winemaking region, but sloped, south-facing vineyards are the ideal spots for harvesting solar energy, said Alan Hickenbottom, director of the Northwest region for groSolar, the company that installed Sokol Blosser's system. "This industry by far has the best sites," he said. "Vines love the same thing that panels do." Already, the 57,000 kilowatt hours generated by Stoller's system in the past year have exceeded initial estimates by 20 to 25 percent, he said. The winery's 200 solar panels have offset about 40 to 50 percent of the company's total energy use, he said.
05/18/07 - Anti-sit technology
Along the lines of controlling crowds and where people congregate and hangout, comes these new methods to stop anyone from comfortably relaxing against or on building surroundings. The Anti-Sit Archives is a huge collection of pictures of "anti-sit" technologies used by landlords to prevent people from perching on the sides of their buildings. A fascinating tour through the architectures of control in design.
05/18/07 - Texas holds top spot in wind
Texas is poised to hold its position as the No. 1 wind-producing state in the United States. TXU Corp. announced Tuesday that its subsidiary, TXU Wholesale, signed an agreement with Dublin, Ireland-based Airtricity to purchase wind power from its Roscoe Wind Farm. Under the stipulations in the five-year contract, Airtricity will sell 209 megawatts of power from the site, which is still under construction near Abilene, Texas, to TXU for distribution. "We are well on our way to more than doubling our wind power purchase to 1,500 megawatts." This is the second power-purchase deal between TXU and the leading Irish renewable energy company.
05/18/07 - Christopher Hitchens' plainspoken Falwell mal-eulogy
An unblinking Christopher Hitchens, live on CNN, delivers up a frank, uncensored and uninhibited rant eviscerating the recently late Elmer Gantry-actalike. To which I say hip hip hooray and about time. I first had that sick-at-the-stomach sensation that our democracy might be plunging into an irreversible and precipitately destructive decline when the clown Falwell saw fit to blame 9/11 on all his pet boogeymen on national, prime time TV. Incredulous, I asked my wife WhyTF was this pompous jerk's opinion solicited and broadcast on such a tragic occasion? It had to be symptomatic of something really, really going wrong with America. It woke me up rudely. F**k Falwell and all religious hucksters of his ilk. / The Video on youtube / Quotes - Hitler or Falwell? / "The future does not belong to religion." - comedian/commentator Bill Maher
05/18/07 - 70% Of Americans Don't Know Plastic Is Made With Oil
According to a recent nationwide online survey, 72 percent of the American public does not know that conventional plastic is made from petroleum products, primarily oil. Moreover, 40 percent of the respondents believe that plastic will biodegrade at some point. The survey was conducted by InsightExpress on behalf of Metabolix, a company that manufactures a biodegradable plastic made with corn. (Bioplastics are becoming quite popular these days â€” you can read more about them here).
05/18/07 - PBS - Spying on the Home Front
9/11 has indelibly altered America in ways that people are now starting to earnestly question: not only perpetual orange alerts, barricades and body frisks at the airport, but greater government scrutiny of people's records and electronic surveillance of their communications. The watershed, officials tell FRONTLINE, was the government's shift after 9/11 to a strategy of pre-emption at home -- not just prosecuting terrorists for breaking the law, but trying to find and stop them before they strike. President Bush described his anti-terrorist measures as narrow and targeted, but a FRONTLINE investigation has found that the National Security Agency (NSA) has engaged in wiretapping and sifting Internet communications of millions of Americans; the FBI conducted a data sweep on 250,000 Las Vegas vacationers, and along with more than 50 other agencies, they are mining commercial-sector data banks to an unprecedented degree. Even government officials with experience since 9/11 are nagged by anxiety about the jeopardy that a war without end against unseen terrorists poses to our way of life, our personal freedoms. "I always said, when I was in my position running counterterrorism operations for the FBI, 'How much security do you want, and how many rights do you want to give up?'" Larry Mefford, former assistant FBI director, tells Smith. "I can give you more security, but I've got to take away some rights. … Personally, I want to live in a country where you have a common-sense, fair balance, because I'm worried about people that are untrained, unsupervised, doing things with good intentions but, at the end of the day, harm our liberties."
05/18/07 - Zipcar - Car sharing, cars by the hour or day
Zipcars live in your neighborhood! Drive MINIs, VWs, cars that haul and more. By the hour or day. Includes gas, insurance and parking. Simply reserve online, walk a block and drive away. / Vancouver, San Francisco, Minneapolis, Chicago, Toronto, Ann Arbor, Chapel Hill, DC/VA/MD, NY/NJ and Massachusetts
05/18/07 - Assault on Reason
A large and growing number of Americans are asking out loud: "What has happened to our country?" People are trying to figure out what has gone wrong in our democracy, and how we can fix it. It is too easy-and too partisan-to simply place the blame on the policies of President George W. Bush. We are all responsible for the decisions our country makes. We have a Congress. We have an independent judiciary. We have checks and balances. We are a nation of laws. We have free speech. We have a free press. Have they all failed us? Why has America's public discourse become less focused and clear, less reasoned? Faith in the power of reason-the belief that free citizens can govern themselves wisely and fairly by resorting to logical debate on the basis of the best evidence available, instead of raw power-remains the central premise of American democracy. This premise is now under assault. American democracy is now in danger-not from any one set of ideas, but from unprecedented changes in the environment within which ideas either live and spread, or wither and die. / What happened to our beloved
United States of America? .. 'I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America and to the Republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all...
05/17/07 - Combination Refridgerator and Microwave
(When I was growing up, we had a redneck way to rapidly cool a hot sixpack of beer or sodas is to spray it with butane or propane gas though you can use CO2 if available. The expansion rapidly cools and can even freeze the sixpack. I've long thought this could be a novel microfreeze device if you safely dispose of or disperse the gas. If you build and sell something like this, remember to send me a check! - JWD) In this invention, the basic idea behind the Refrigerator/Microwave is to combine two kitchen appliances into one as a convenient combo-appliance. Although microwave penetration of the other two P's has been falling off in recent years, the appliance still cooks 14.8% of all frozen pizzas and about 10% of prepared potatoes. Microwaving owns the category of shelf-stable entrees, where it is the preferred cooking method for 99.9% of the entries. Microwaves are used most for convenience -- for reheating items that are already cooked. It was a lesson that took many food companies a few years to learn. As far as combination product sales, the Refrigerator/Microwave could be encouraged by Matsushita's success. In household appliances, Matsushita's main business areas include washing machines, vacuum cleaners, dishwasher/dryers, microwave ovens, rice cookers, induction-heating (IH) cooking equipment, sanitary equipment and electric heating equipment. In fiscal 2006, Matsushita continued to enjoy favorable sales of tilted-drum washer/dryers, while combination steamer/microwave ovens achieved high sales growth. Regarding tilted-drum washer/dryers, Matsushita introduced the world's first model to employ a heat-pump drying system that uses no heater or cooling water during the dry cycle, thereby achieving significant energy- and water-savings. In response to increased awareness about personal health, Matsushita launched a new steamer/microwave oven in June 2005 that combines steam, microwave and conventional oven cooking functions to eliminate excess fat and salt from foods. This product was a hit in the domestic market, contributing to increased market share. In conclusion, we can note that the Refrigerator/Microwave has extensive potential for success as a refrigerator, as a microwave and as a combination appliance that is sure to deliver astounding convenience.
05/17/07 - European particle accelerator self-destructs
(No schadenfreude please, it was an accident. - JWD) A 43-foot-long magnet for the world's largest particle collider broke "with a loud bang and a cloud of dust" during a high-pressure test, and officials said Tuesday they are working to find a replacement part. The part that failed March 27 was in a super-cooled magnet designed to focus streams of protons so that they collide and allow scientists to study the results of the collision, giving them a better understanding of the makeup of matter, according to Fermilab, based in suburban Chicago, which has an accelerator of its own and is helping build one deep beneath the Swiss and French countryside outside Geneva. Fermilab said the failure that broke a glass cloth-epoxy laminate support resulted from a test of "asymmetric" or irregular force. Subsequent testing showed that the support was inadequate to withstand the longitudinal forces, which had been overlooked in the design process. The aim of the CERN experiment is to make subatomic particles - in this case protons - travel at nearly the speed of light until they collide, emitting a shower of even smaller particles that will reveal mysteries about the makeup of matter.
05/17/07 - Anti-RPG Copper Shield protects Helicopters
Last January, a Black Hawk helicopter flying in rural Iraq burst into flames, killing all 13 soldiers on board. A few days later, a helicopter owned by a private security company crashed in Baghdad, killing five civilian contractors. Over the next few weeks, six more aircraft were shot down, leaving 11 more dead-one of the worst series of chopper disasters since the war began. Although the Army won’t attribute any crash solely to an RPG-insurgents typically fire guns at the craft as well-the simple, unguided, shoulder-launched projectiles are widely believed to be the primary anti-chopper ordnance of the insurgency. Since RPGs are far slower than heat-seeking missiles and are easily knocked off course, New Jersey inventor Richard Glasson set out to build a system that would block or at least deflect the grenades before they reached the chopper. The key is launching that barrier in time. An RPG will detonate four to six seconds after being fired (unless it hits a solid object-then it detonates on impact). In Glasson’s system, the chopper’s radar calculates the speed and trajectory of an incoming grenade within milliseconds. Half a second later, pods of launch tubes on the helicopter aim and fire between one and eight unguided yard-long rockets on an intercept course with the grenade. The rocket’s aim doesn’t have to be precise because each drags a braided steel-cable parachute woven with Kevlar. In the next second, these fast-opening chutes inflate to form a series of six-foot-wide bombproof nets, catching the grenade and dragging it to the ground.
05/17/07 - Could grazing the scalp be a cure for baldness?
Could a graze on the head help cure baldness? Biologists had thought that once mammals lose their hair follicles, they are gone forever. Now George Cotsarelis at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia and his colleagues have shown that adult mice can regenerate follicles when their skin is wounded. The team cut out a square centimetre of skin from the backs of mice two weeks after their hair follicles had formed. After 14 to 19 days the wounds had closed and formed new. When the researchers added Wnt proteins - signalling molecules usually involved in embryonic development - the number of follicles doubled and the skin healed with less scarring. This suggests that wound healing may trigger an embryonic state in skin, says Cotsarelis. Surprisingly, the new follicles originate from stem cells that are not usually involved in creating hair follicles.
05/17/07 - Whale Flippers May Improve Airplane Wing Design
Wind tunnel tests of scale-model humpback whale flippers have revealed that the scalloped, bumpy flipper is a more efficient wing design than is currently used by the aeronautics industry on airplanes. The tests show that bump-ridged flippers do not stall as quickly and produce more lift and less drag than comparably sized sleek flippers. In their study, the team first created two approximately 22-inch-tall scale models of humpback pectoral flippers -- one with the characteristic bumps, called tubercles, and one without. The models were machined from thick, clear polycarbonate at Duke University. Testing was conducted in a low speed closed-circuit wind tunnel at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md. The sleek flipper performance was similar to a typical airplane wing. But the tubercle flipper exhibited nearly 8 percent better lift properties, and withstood stall at a 40 percent steeper wind angle. The team was particularly surprised to discover that the flipper with tubercles produced as much as 32 percent lower drag than the sleek flipper. “The simultaneous achievement of increased lift and reduced drag results in an increase in aerodynamic efficiency,” Howle explains. As whales move through the water, the tubercles disrupt the line of pressure against the leading edge of the flippers. The row of tubercles sheer the flow of water and redirect it into the scalloped valley between each tubercle, causing swirling vortices that roll up and over the flipper to actually enhance lift properties. “The swirling vortices inject momentum into the flow,” said Howle. “This injection of momentum keeps the flow attached to the upper surface of the wing and delays stall to higher wind angles.” “This discovery has potential applications not only to airplane wings but also on the tips of helicopter rotors, airplane propellers and ship rudders,” said Howle.
05/17/07 - Stem Cells Harvested from Fat of Liposuction Patients
Patients having liposuction will soon be able to store their stem cells taken from excised fat, U.S. firm Bio-Matrix Scientific said Wednesday. Bio-Matrix will be the first U.S. company to provide a commercial bank of "non-controversial," fat-derived adult stem cells, said the company's chairman and chief executive officer David Koos. "Stem cell banking commercially in the United States has been focused around cord blood," he said in a statement. "Our big competitive advantage is that we anticipate being the first company to commercially bank adult stem cells. There are research entities that bank adult stem cells on a short-term basis strictly for research purposes. For commercial purposes -- namely patients wanting to store their stem cells -- we believe that we will be the first in the U.S. to do that." Koos added," Because we've chosen adult stem cells derived from fat we feel we have a leg up in that competitive arena because we're going to be dealing directly with plastic surgeons, cosmetic surgeons and other professionals in the tissue management industry."
05/17/07 - Russia sees moon plot in Nasa plans
Mankind's second race for the moon took on a distinctly Cold War feel yesterday when the Russian space agency accused its old rival Nasa of rejecting a proposal for joint lunar exploration. The claim comes amid suspicion in Moscow that the United States is seeking to deny Russia access to an isotope in abundance under the moon's surface that many believe could replace fossil fuels and even end the threat of global warming. Nasa announced in December that it was planning to build an international base camp on one of the Moon's poles, permanently staffing it by 2024. Russia's space rocket manufacturer Energia revealed an even more ambitious programme last August, saying it would build a permanent Moon base by 2015. While the Americans have either been coy or dismissive on the subject, Russia openly says the main purpose of its lunar programme is the industrial extraction of helium-3. Dismissed by critics as a 21st-century equivalent of the medieval alchemist's fruitless quest to turn lead into gold, some scientists say helium-3 could be the answer to the world's energy woes. A non-radioactive isotope of helium, helium-3 is a proven and potent fuel for nuclear fusion - so potent that just six metric tons would supply Britain with enough energy for a year. As helium-3 is non-polluting and is so effective in such tiny quantities, many countries are taking it very seriously. Germany, India and China, which will launch a lunar probe to research extraction techniques in September, are all studying ways to mine the isotope. "Whoever conquers the moon first will be the first to benefit," said Ouyang Ziyuan, the chief scientist of China's lunar programme. Many officials in Moscow's space programme believe Washington's lunar agenda is driven by a desire to monopolise helium-3 mining. They allege that President Bush has moved helium-3 experts into key positions on Nasa's advisory council. The plot, says Erik Galimov, an academic with the Russian Academy of Sciences, would "enable the US to establish its control of the energy market 20 years from now and put the rest of the world on its knees as hydrocarbons run out."
05/17/07 - Field Guide to the Loner: The Real Insiders
Loners are pitied in our up-with-people culture. But the introvert reaps secret joy from the solitary life. Miina Matsuoka lives by herself in New York City. She owns two cats and routinely screens her calls. But before you jump to conclusions, note that she is comfortable hobnobbing in any of five languages for her job as business manager at an international lighting-design firm. She just strongly prefers not to socialize...In our society, where extroverts make up three-quarters of the population, loners...are pegged as creepy or pathetic. But soloists like Matsuoka can function just fine in the world - they simply prefer traveling through their own interior universe. Loners often hear from well-meaning peers that they need to be more social, but the implication that they're merely black-and-white opposites of their bubbly peers misses the point. Introverts aren't just less sociable than extroverts; they also engage with the world in fundamentally different ways...
05/17/07 - A good BBQ is in the bag!
(One restaurant here serves a prebought, prefrozen spiced fish in an aluminum bag that they don't warn you about, it's horrible, but I knew a nurse who cooked everything in aluminum pouches she twisted up. Try BBQ corn with garlic! - JWD) The Qbag is a new invention that lets you cook a whole new range of foods directly on the barbecue. According to the manufacturers, The aluminium foil bag is the perfect cooking vessel, retaining moisture and succulence and letting your favourite sauces and marinades go to work, while the window lets you keep an eye on things. There is also a window which peels away for you to add ingredients or stir, and at the end of cooking the Qbag can be used as a serving dish. The manufacturers said that the Qbag works just as well in the oven if the weather turns a bit nasty.
05/16/07 - Video - eBay scammer Confronts Judge Judy!
Here's a Judge Judy episode of a similar eBay scammer (Kelli Filkins) who got punished for her crimes against humanity. Judge Judy's ferocious dressing-down of the unrepentant, flat-affect Filkins is a work of art. - (via boingboing.net)
05/16/07 - More efficient Parabolic trough solar collector system
A mirror alignment measurement device, invented by Rich Diver, a researcher at Sandia National Laboratories, may soon make one of the most popular solar collector systems, parabolic troughs, more affordable and energy efficient. Diver's new theoretical overlay photographic (TOP) technology is drawing interest from the solar industry because of its simplicity and the need to find solutions for global warming. "TOP alignment could cure a significant problem with trough systems -- inaccurate mirror alignment that prevents sunlight from precisely focusing on solar receivers," Diver says. "Improperly aligned mirrors result in lost and wasted energy." Parabolic troughs use mirrored surfaces curved in a parabolic shape. The mirrors focus sunlight on a receiver tube running the length of the trough. Oil runs through the focal region where it is heated to high temperatures and then goes through a heat exchanger to generate steam. The steam is then used to run a conventional power plant. The world's largest parabolic trough facilities, located in the Mojave Desert near Barstow, Calif., consist of nine plants producing 354 megawatts of power at peak output. The plants range in size from 14 to 80 MW. The 30 MW plants near Kramer Junction, for example, each have about 10,000 modules with each module comprising 20 mirrors. A 64 MW trough plant, which will supply power to Las Vegas, Nev., is expected to go on line soon. A 1 MW plant also exists in Arizona. An issue with parabolic trough systems, says Diver, has been lack of accurate mirror alignment that prevents maximum energy efficiency. Borrowing from variations on methods used to align mirrors in solar dish systems, Diver came up with TOP alignment, an optical approach to rapidly and effectively evaluate the alignment of mirrors in parabolic trough power plants and prescribe corrective actions. "This method could be used during trough power-plant construction to improve the performance of existing power plants or for routine maintenance," Diver says. "It should be an ideal mirror alignment technique because it is simple to set up, requires a minimum of sophisticated hardware, and does not require removal of the receiver." The TOP approach consists of a pole with five cameras positioned along it. Four of the cameras take digital photographic images of the four rows of mirrors on the parabolic module. The middle camera photographs the module's center, where a boresight gauge is attached, which is used to vertically center, or "boresight," the pole to the trough module. Vector algebra and projection theory are then used to predict the theoretical projected image of the receiver for perfectly aligned mirrors. The calculated theoretical image of the receiver for perfectly aligned mirrors is overlaid on the photographs of the actual receiver image position in the mirrors. The images and the actual image are compared to show how the mirrors should be aligned. It then becomes a matter of adjusting the mirrors to the correct alignment. "This whole process is very simple," Diver says. "Once the mirrors are aligned, the energy savings start. It's like picking money off the ground. And the mirrors are aligned for the life of the plant."
05/16/07 - Biodiesel from Algae, Powered by constant temperature Geothermal
With gasoline prices hitting over $3 a gallon in the U.S., Claude Sapp, principal for Infinifuel Biodiesel, is working to turn the oldest geothermal plant in Nevada into a biodiesel processing facility, where camelina oil seed and even algae is becoming diesel fuel. Any plant that produces high oil yields can someday power a vehicle said Sapp. "We can get it from crambe, canola-type plants, oily seeds, even algae, " he said. "It (algae) starts out in a test tube and replicates itself," he said. "We can grow it in our test ponds. It is about a thousand times more productive to grow algae than growing oil seed in the dirt. We have plenty of land to expand. We can grow acres more than our test ponds." Sapp said government researchers were initially skeptical about algae growing in Nevada's desert climate because of the cool nights, but with the geothermal energy, Infinifuel can maintain a constant temperature. "We can grow more algae and harvest it more often than we can dry crops," he said. "We'll have some at 4,000 feet and 6,000 feet, so we'll get a good idea on what grows where," he said. "Farmers from across the state have told me they can't keep planting hay and alfalfa." The plant, which Sapp hopes puts out its first batch of biodiesel in July, is almost entirely self-contained, and fits in nicely with the ranching and farming environment around Wabuska and Yerington. It begins with algae or oil seed being nourished by the sun, fertilizer and carbon dioxide, then crushed or pressed in a special facility to become vegetable oil and biomass. The biomass is added to alcohol, where it is mixed with the vegetable oil and heated with geothermal power in a biodiesel plant, where it becomes finished biodiesel. Glycerine, a byproduct of geothermal processing, can be used in dust suppression and the biomass, left over from the crushing and pressing process, becomes fertilizer or fish or animal food. The geothermal facility Sapp is using creates enough to power the biodiesel plant and even sell some electricity. "The water at the geothermal plant comes out of the ground at about 220 degrees," Sapp said. "The plant makes electricity, with any excess sold back to Sierra Pacific, so it is all self-contained. We're trying not to use any petroleum products at all."
05/16/07 - Farfetched? Hint of Free Will Found in a Fly
A spark of free will may exist in even the tiny brain of the humble fruit fly, new findings that could shed light on the nature and evolution of free will in humans. Future research delving further into free will could lead to more advanced robots, scientists added. The result, joked neurobiologist Björn Brembs from the Free University Berlin, could be "world robot domination." For centuries, the question of whether or not humans possess free will-and thus control their own actions-has been a source of hot debate. "Free will is essentially an oxymoron-we would not consider it 'will' if it were completely random and we would not consider it 'free' if it were entirely determined," Brembs said. In other words, nobody would ascribe responsibility to one's actions if they were entirely the result of random coincidence. On the other hand, if one's actions were completely determined by outside factors such that no alternative existed, no one would hold that person responsible for them. "We speculate that if free will exists, it is in this middle ground" between randomness and determinism "that is currently not well understood or characterized," said mathematical biologist George Sugihara at the University of California, San Diego. A plethora of increasingly sophisticated computer analyses revealed the way the flies turned back and forth over time was far from random. Instead, there appeared to be "a function in the fly brain which evolved to generate spontaneous variations in the behavior," Sugihara said. Specifically, their behavior seemed to match up with a mathematical algorithm called Levy's distribution, commonly found in nature. Flies use this procedure to find meals , as do albatrosses, monkeys and deer. Scientists have found similar patterns in how emails, letters and money travel and "in the paintings of Pollock," Brembs said. These strategies in flies appear to arise spontaneously and not result from outside cues, findings detailed in the May 16 issue of the journal PLoS ONE. This makes their behavior seem to lie somewhere between completely random and purely determined, "and could form the biological foundation for what we experience as free will," Sugihara added. "This function appears to be common to many other animals."
05/16/07 - Brothers of invention turn cobs into potential gold
For the past 10 years, harvesting corn and selling the cobs has been a humble little business for Ty and Jay Stukenholtz, 34-year-old twin brothers. By trial and error, computer designing, tinkering and banging away, the Stukenholtz brothers, who farm the 350-acre family farm near Nebraska City, came up with a way to harvest corn cobs and kernels at the same time and keep the materials separate. Until now, the brothers’ invention has had limited appeal because of the small market for corn cobs, save as cattle feed or in some limited industrial uses. But that might be about to change as ethanol makers look into producing ethanol from crop residue and other biomass, including the cobs, leaves and stalks from corn plants. “Our goal was to build a cleaner that can attach to the back of a combine with a tank on top for the cobs,” Ty said. “It’s universal, so it fits on any combine,” said Jay, finishing Ty’s thought.
Ty and Jay are identical twins except for the fact that Ty is right-handed and Jay is left-handed. Their thinking is as complementary as their dexterity, they say, so they form two halves of an inventing whole. In January, Pihlblad and the Stukenholtz twins formed a limited liability company called Ceres Agriculture Consultants, based in Waukee. The company intends to produce or license the twins’ biomass collection system to a farm equipment manufacturer and provide other renewable fuel services. “We want the attachment to fit on older and new combines so that a farm equipment maker can offer it as a kit for their customers,” Jay said. “We’ll license the technology to a farm equipment company.” As the combine moves through the field, it pulls whole corn plants into the corn head mounted on the front of the combine. Corn kernels are separated from the cobs and other parts of the corn plant and the kernels are routed into the combine’s conventional grain storage tank. The Stukenholtz brothers’ innovation fits on the back of a combine, where the leaves, cobs and other shredded corn plant residue is normally flung out and onto the ground. Instead, the brothers have come up with a device that consists of a series of sieves and fans that separate the different parts of the corn residue as it moves to the back of the combine. The cobs, once separated from the other parts of the corn plant, are sent to a tank that sits atop the combine. The tank is designed to slide to one side so it can discharge the cobs into a wagon. Other plant residues like soybean pods also can be gleaned by setting the sieves and fans in a different configuration.
05/16/07 - How to sleep like a Martian baby
(There are two points indicated humans didn't evolve on earth, one is no penile bone, the other is that humans in artificial light will revert to a 25 hour day, just like Mars. - JWD) An experiment aimed at finding ways to help astronauts adapt to life on Mars could end up helping insomniacs on Earth, researchers say. They found that two 45 minute exposures to bright light in the evening could help people adjust to a longer, Martian-style day. The US space agency NASA asked Czeisler's lab to find ways to help astronauts adjust to life on Mars, where the days are about 24 hours and 39 minutes long, or 24.65 hours. This nearly 25-hour day is enough to throw most people into a state of jet lag, which Czeisler has shown interferes with the ability to learn, remember things, react quickly and sleep. His team tested 12 healthy volunteers aged 22 to 33 who had kept a regular eight-hour sleep and 16-hour wakeful schedule at home for at least three weeks. Writing in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the researchers say the natural range of circadian days in the group was from 23.47 hours to 24.48 hour days, a full hour's difference. Tests on animals has shown there is a natural variation; daylight tweaks the genetically determined circadian rhythm. But what astounded him was an additional difference in hormone release. The researchers took blood from these volunteers every hour and found those people with the shorter internal clock released the sleep hormone melatonin four to five hours before their usual bedtimes. By contrast, those with unusually long internal days did not release melatonin until about an hour before bedtime. Other research has shown that using a computer after dark, working in a brightly lit office or other exposure to bright light can mess up a person's internal clock, making it harder to fall asleep.
05/16/07 - JPMorgan Chase Challenges Slavery Apology
Deneen Borelli said today, "It's absurd for someone to apologize for the transgressions of others committed hundreds of years ago. Slavery was an abomination and blemish on our Nation's history. JPMorgan Chase's apology for slavery, along with a $5 million donation for a scholarship fund, are the fruits of a shakedown. It is the looting of shareholder assets and sets a terrible precedent." Peter Flaherty, NLPC President, said today, "If JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon were alive 200 years ago and owned slaves, the apology would be appropriate. Otherwise it is about as cynical and as hollow as you can get." The apology and monetary pledge were apparently prompted by a Company- commissioned report produced in response to a municipal ordinance in Chicago, requiring firms doing business with the city to disclose their links to slavery. The report found only the most tenuous connections to slavery over 200 years ago by two banks whose successor banks had been acquired by the Company. The supporting statement for the resolution points out that JPMorgan Chase (JPM) is currently being sued by plaintiffs seeking damages that they characterize as "slave reparations." The statement argues that the bank may be opening itself to lawsuits by the descendents of Irish, Chinese and Native Americans, whose ancestors also suffered injustice. For the complete proposal, supporting statement, and company response, go to http://www.nlpc.org. Slavery "apologies" or other expressions of regret have been recently adopted or are being considered by Congress, a number of state legislatures and several cities. Banks that have apologized for alleged links to slavery also include the Bank of America, Wachovia and Lehman Brothers.
05/15/07 - Analysis of 'The Law of Attraction' from 'The Secret'
'The Secret' teaches people how to use the Law of Attraction to create their own destinies. They're sitting back wishing for cars, money, romance and a whole laundry list of other things they're expecting to magically appear. The real "secret" is: the Law of Attraction doesn't work...like that. The Law of Attraction is based on the principle of "like attracts like" -- or better said, like energy attracts like energy. It's the same with all other forms of energy; they transmit and receive on a certain frequency. You have a frequency, your car has a frequency, money has a frequency, and so does everything else in the physical universe. According to the scientific principle of attraction, this 'frequency' is what draws these energies towards each other. The Law of Attraction states that once you put out a certain kind of vibrational energy you will receive the same in return. This is referred to as "like attracting like". However, you must put yourself into position (taking action) to receive these things; just as you would have to physically tune your radio to receive a certain radio station's signal. Herbert Hoover once said, "Words without actions are the assassins of idealism." Better stated, "Words without action are simply wishes." Many people misinterpret the Law of Attraction as a wishing well or 'magic' genie. They think by wishing for things hard enough, they will get them. This is simply not true. It takes more than that to make your dreams come true. The Law of Attraction is about acting, not just thinking. Just look at the word: AttrACTION.
05/15/07 - Web site to show cause, effect
Rising temperatures in the Middle East more than 8,000 years ago directly led to the invention of money. The carbon emitted from cars and power plants in your neighborhood may be causing destructive hurricanes. These and tens of thousands of other surprising connections are being made on a new online database called K-Web, or Knowledge-Web, to be released this month. The Web site will allow users to trace more than 30,000 connections between science, economics, history and the weather. Created by science journalist James Burke, the site aims to explain, in real-world terms, the impact of melting ice caps, rising carbon dioxide levels and warming oceans. It will allow users to see the direct effect of carbon emissions on their neighborhood, businesses and national economies.
05/15/07 - Battery booster
Common alkaline batteries have a positive electrode of manganese oxide and a negative electrode of finely powdered zinc, which has a large surface area to maximise the rate of discharge. The flaw with this system is that, during discharge, a layer of zinc oxide forms around each grain of zinc, which acts as an insulator, degrading the overall performance. Hitachi's solution is to replace the zinc with a fine powder of zinc/aluminium alloy. The beauty of this is that the aluminium tends to displace zinc within the zinc oxide layer. And the electronic nature of aluminium (it has a higher valence than zinc) frees up electrons within the zinc oxide, making it a much better conductor. This gives the battery better staying power and means there should be no stopping those drumming bunnies now.
05/15/07 - Self-Healing Villa Repairs Cracks and Monitors Vibrations
A US$18.6 million “self-healing” house will be able to resist earthquakes by sealing cracks in its walls and monitoring seismic vibrations. The walls of the house contain nano polymer particles designed to convert into liquid when under pressure, flow into cracks, and solidify. The house walls will be built from novel load bearing steel frames and high-strength gypsum board. But they will also contain wireless, battery-less sensors and Leeds-designed radio frequency identity tags that collect vast amounts of data about the building over time, such as any stresses and vibrations, temperature, humidity and gas levels. “If there are any problems, the intelligent sensor network will alert residents straightaway so they have time to escape,” stated Professor Wilkins, of the NMI. Dr Robert Gregory of Leeds added “Even if the building totally collapsed, the sensors would still let you pinpoint the source of the fault.”
05/15/07 - Amish in Ohio embracing solar power
In shunning modern technology, the Amish in northeast Ohio keep their homes free of electric and telephone wires. But a growing number of rooftops are sporting solar panels. Hundreds of Amish are taken with getting energy from the sun. They see it as a safe alternative to natural gas and kerosene as a source of light. Livestock farmer Owen Nisley of nearby Charm said getting power through solar panels is "no different from my cows eating the grass that has captured the sun's energy. ... We love the solar, even in the winter when there are a lot of dark days." Installing enough solar power to provide all the electricity a typical Ohio home uses could cost as much as $20,000 to $25,000, said Raber, who recommends starting with a blackout backup system and slowly adding panels over years. "You can pay an awful lot of electric bills with that kind of money," he said. "But these panels last 20, 25, 50 years. What is your electric bill going to be in 25 years?
05/15/07 - Keyless entry for your apartment
Ryan sent in his simple but effective keyless entry hack for his apartment. Many shared apartment buildings have doors that allow residents to buzz visitors inside. He interfaced a keyless entry remote with the entry button on his intercom system. Press the button and voila - open sesame. It's almost a head slapper because it's such a simple hack, but sometimes those are the best.
05/15/07 - Beating the Thieves
"A cop friend told me the street price for a stolen laptop was no more than $200, so I taped a notice on the bottom [of my laptop] that said $300 reward for return."
05/15/07 - Xray Van
New technology placed inside a van is shown in this video. The van is called the Z Backscatter Van and is designed to slowly drive around and generate real-time x-ray images of cars, revealing weapons, explosives, drugs, and stowaways.
05/15/07 - LG. Philips Develops World's First Color E-Paper
"LG.Philips LCD has announced it has developed the world's first 14.1-inch flexible color E-paper display, equivalent in size to an A4 sheet of paper. The 14.1-inch flexible color E-paper uses electronic ink from E-Ink Corp. to produce a maximum of 4,096 colors. It can be viewed from a full 180 degrees, so that images always appear crisp, even when the display is bent."
05/15/07 - Body builders inject "Popeye" oil for giant biceps
Synthol, which is a mixture of triglyceride oils and benzyl alcohol, was originally intended as a form of “posing oil” for bodybuilders. When injected into a muscle, however, the body is slow to break it down, so giving an inflated appearance... “Also, because it gives a fast swelling, you will get cramp from a squashing of the nerve. Then you can get crushing of the actual blood vessels and blood flow cut-off.” Some authorities in the US have said bodybuilders also risk giving themselves a pulmonary embolism, which can be fatal, by injecting synthol directly into a major blood vessel.
05/15/07 - Security 'bad news for sex drive'
A woman's sex drive begins to plummet once she is in a secure relationship, according to research. Researchers from Germany found that four years into a relationship, less than half of 30-year-old women wanted regular sex. Conversely, the team found a man's libido remained the same regardless of how long he had been in a relationship.
05/14/07 - Now, a scooter that runs on magnetic power
Believe it or not, a man in Thrissur District of Kerala has developed a two-wheeler scooter that runs on magnetic power. It takes just an ordinary battery to start the scooter and the rest is done by the inbuilt magnetic mechanism, which enables the scooter to run at a speed of 25 to 45 kilometers per hour. It's noise and pollution free. "It doesn't cause any air or noise pollution. This kind of technology can be very useful for our country and this motivated me to create it," said the 27-year-old Naveen C, the inventor. He holds a diploma in computers but could not pursue a career in electronic engineering due to personal problems. But Naveen prepared his scooter using a 25-year-old Chetak two-wheeler scooter. He removed its petrol tank and fixed a magnetic mechanism. It took him seven years to prepare his dream scooter which cost around 20,000 rupees. Naveen claims that the technology used in his scooter can be used in any vehicle with very little changes. The magnetic power reduces if the scooter is used for a long period. But it can be retrieved in no time. The scooter named "7th" by Naveen, doesn't require recharging. Hailing from Thrissur's Chellakara area in Kerala, Naveen has become a talk of the town after his invention. "In the present scenario when petroleum prices are soaring high, this is a very good invention by Naveen, I really appreciate him for this," said Dr. Krishnamany, a villager. "He has developed this scooter using limited resources available in his house which will become a useful product for the entire nation and our entire village will support him," said C. Nandakumar, another villager. Naveen has applied to patent his scooter and is open to share his innovation with any vehicle company approaching him. But it has to be an Indian company, he says.
05/14/07 - Exhaust gas treatments for No x reduction to add to global warming
Synthetic diesel from Bio-Diesel with far excellent fuel properties. The enforcement of year 2007 stringent emission norm for reduced NOx reduction/oxides of nitrogen gases from the diesel exhaust and the after treatment to reduce them will add to global warming by several fold according to engine combustion kinetics, emission control expert and inventor of the Electronic Catalytic Convertor - Mr.Srinivasan Gopalakrishnan, Hydrodrive Systems & Controls Pvt. Ltd, India. His invention of the PROCESS AND SYNTHESIZER FOR MOLECULAR ENGINEERING OF MATERIALS had been granted the Great Britain Patent and the Indian Patent while the rights are pending in the USA,CANADA,JAPAN,CHINA,PHILIPPINES and in few other countries. The present exhaust gas after treatment technologies such as the Three way catalytic convertor employing NO x reduction catalysts calls for maintenance of high temperature for effective oxidation/conversion process. Automobile and exhaust catalytic convertor manufacturers ensures maintenance of high temperature through injection of fuel in the exhaust gas after treatment system. For the diesel NOx control., methods such as diesel fuel with short lived radicals are being injected so as to have an accelerated chemical reaction to take place at reduced temperatures for the oxidation /conversion. Even the DPF(Diesel Particulate Filter) or soot trap have to necessarily use fuel injection or heat addition for periodical regeneration process for ensuring satisfactory functioning and for oxidation/burning of the accumulated soot to avoid back pressure.
05/14/07 - Energy machine pitch renewed
Joe Newman says his device harnessed energy from matter at a 100 percent conversion rate, allowing it to produce more energy than was put into it. At then end of a two-hour demonstration, he told audience members they could stick around and talk to his business partner if they wanted to invest in the their company. Several did. "I'm definitely going to invest," said Paul Headley, 71, of Pine Hill. "Anything to get us off our dependency on Arab oil." Newman has been hawking his alternative energy machine for years, and he's something of an eccentric fixture on the central Gulf Coast. Web sites are devoted to both praising and criticizing Newman's work, describing him as a genius or a snake-oil salesman. In the 1980s, the U.S. Patent Office denied his application for a patent on an engine that Newman claimed produced more energy than was put into it. The Patent Office said the device "smacked of perpetual motion."
05/14/07 - Sake May Power Cars In The Future
Japanese motorists may one day pump their cars full of sake, the fermented rice wine that is Japan's national drink, if a pilot project to create sake fuel is a hit with locals in this mountain resort. The government-funded project at Shinanomachi, 200 kilometres (124 miles) northwest of Tokyo, will produce cheap rice-origin ethanol brew with the help of local farmers who will donate farm waste such as rice hulls to be turned into ethanol. "We want to present the next generation a preferable blue print -- a self-sustainable use of local fuels," said Yasuo Igarashi, a professor of applied microbiology at the University of Tokyo who heads the three year project.
05/14/07 - 'Virus Sponge' filter
University of Maryland researchers have announced a new "virus sponge" that could aid in the treatment of, among other things, avian flu. The sponge woks similar to kidney dialysis, filtering the harmful virus from the blood. "The virus sponge is based on a technology called molecular imprinting. In molecular imprinting, researchers stamp a molecule's shape into a substance (in this case, a hydrogel--a sponge-like material). When the specific molecule filters through the hydrogel, it fits in the imprint hole and is trapped."
05/14/07 - Monday Begins Wiretap the Internet Day
The Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act requires that everyone from cable services to Universities give them access, within certain parameters, to the usage habits of customers. "If you're a broadband provider (separately, some VOIP companies are covered too) ... Hurry! The deadline has already passed to file an FCC form 445, certifying that you're on schedule, or explaining why you're not. You can also find the 68-page official industry spec for internet surveillance here. It'll cost you $164.00 to download, but then you'll know exactly what format to use when delivering customer packets to federal or local law enforcement, including 'e-mail, instant messaging records, web-browsing information and other information sent or received through a user's broadband connection, including on-line banking activity.'"
05/14/07 - The Impeachment Train is starting to roll...
Last week, Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH), started things off by filing a three-article bill of impeachment against Vice President Dick Cheney. Initially largely ignored by the mainstream media, and even ridiculed by some leading Democrats in Congress, that bill, HR 333, today garnered two co-sponsors, Rep. William Lacy Clay (D-MO) and Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), the latter a deputy whip and senior member of the House congressional leadership. The two co-sponsors signing on to the bill give it a much stronger chance of being taken seriously in the House Judiciary Committee headed by Rep. John Conyers (D-MI), and follow a week of intense impeachment activities across the country. Delegates to the annual convention of the California Democratic Party, the largest state chapter of the Democratic Party, overwhelmingly passed a detailed resolution calling for the impeachment of the president and vice president. The resolution received the highest vote total of all the resolutions offered at that convention, and was a powerful message to California's top Democrat, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who represents a district in San Francisco, that her own party wants action on impeachment, not a political dodge. A few days later, on Saturday, Aug. 28, impeachment groups across the nation held demonstrations, many of which featured protesters assembling to form giant letters spelling out the word "Impeach." While the mainstream media largely ignored those protests, the message was not lost on House Democrats.
05/14/07 - Eyedrops and sedatives used to rob unsuspecting victims
(There is a local guy who took a 4 hour bus trip, accepted a sealed mint from a Mexican and passed out for 12 hours. He awoke to find all his papers, camera, money, etc. missing. - JWD) Police have busted a Mexican crime ring that used flirtatious young women to rob men after slipping sedatives or eyedrops into their drinks. Known as the "goteras" or "eyedroppers" for allegedly tranquilizing victims with certain kinds of eyedrops and other drugs that can be lethal when mixed with alcohol, the gang is suspected in 23 deaths and 28 other robbery cases since 2004, according to the Mexico City Attorney General's Office. Substances found in some eyedrops especially those used by doctors to relax eye muscles during examinations can be toxic if swallowed, and can lead to coma or death. Authorities said 10 suspects five men and five women have been arrested in a series of raids starting in April. "One, two or as many as four women in a restaurant, bar or night club would start flirting from their table, with the intention of being invited over by their future victims," according to the case file. "They adopted an attitude of being willing to have sex." The women allegedly would then lure men to seedy hotels or private homes and serve them drinks laced with knockout drugs. Authorities said the gang tried to knock the victims out for as long as possible usually about 12 hours, long enough to cash checks, drain bank accounts and rack up credit card purchases. It was unclear whether the deaths were intentional or due to lack of knowledge about dosage. Prosecutors began investigating several years ago after men started turning up dead in homes and hotels, from similar causes: respiratory congestion, swelling and fluid buildup in the brain or lungs, hemorrhages and heart attacks. Police were still investigating and said the gang may have had dozens of members.
05/14/07 - How dare you call me a fundamentalist
The hardback 'God Delusion' was hailed as the surprise bestseller of 2006. Several critics began with the ominous phrase, “I’m an atheist, BUT . . .” So here is my brief rebuttal to criticisms originating from this “belief in belief” school. I’m an atheist, but I wish to dissociate myself from your shrill, strident, intemperate, intolerant, ranting language. Objectively judged, the language of The God Delusion is less shrill than we regularly hear from political commentators or from theatre, art, book or restaurant critics. The illusion of intemperance flows from the unspoken convention that faith is uniquely privileged: off limits to attack. In a criticism of religion, even clarity ceases to be a virtue and begins to sound like aggressive hostility. The nonbelieving choir is much bigger than people think, and it desperately needs encouragement to come out. Judging by the thanks that showered my North American book tour, my articulation of hitherto closeted thoughts is heard as a kind of liberation. The atheist choir, moreover, is too ready to observe society’s convention of according special respect to faith, and it goes along with society’s lamentable habit of labelling small children with the religion of their parents. You’d never speak of a “Marxist child” or a “monetarist child”. So why give religion a free pass to indoctrinate helpless children? There is no such thing as a Christian child: only a child of Christian parents. “What are you going to put in its place? How are you going to fill the need, or comfort the bereaved?” What patronising condescension! “You and I are too intelligent and well educated to need religion. But ordinary people, hoi polloi, Orwellian proles, Huxleian Deltas and Epsilons need religion.” In any case, the universe doesn’t owe us comfort, and the fact that a belief is comforting doesn’t make it true.
05/13/07 - Project aims to extract Methane from Dams
Scientists in Brazil have claimed that a major source of greenhouse gas emissions could be curbed by capturing and burning methane given off by large hydro-electric dams. The technology will extract the methane from the water to supplement the energy produced by the dam turbines. Critics of the industry have claimed that in tropical areas of Brazil - which supplies more than 90% of its electricity from large dams - some reservoirs emit so much methane that their contribution to climate change is greater than an equivalent power station burning fossil fuels like coal or gas. Methane is produced mainly by bacteria that break down organic matter where there is little or no oxygen, for example at the bottom of lakes and reservoirs. Since intake pipes for hydroelectric turbines tend to be placed quite deep, methane-rich water is suddenly transferred from conditions of high-pressure to the open air. The lead scientist of the INPE project, Fernando Ramos, told the BBC's Science In Action programme: "It's like opening a bottle of soda. A large part of the methane is dissolved in the water bubbles, and it's released to the atmosphere. "That's the reason big hydro-electric dams built in tropical areas are harmful to the environment." There is still great uncertainty about the precise amount of methane added to the atmosphere in this way, as each dam behaves in very different ways depending on the amount of vegetation in the water, the temperature, the shape of the reservoir and many other factors. However, a statistical analysis carried out by the INPE scientists has estimated that large dams could be responsible for worldwide annual emissions equivalent to some 800 million tonnes of carbon dioxide. To put that in perspective, last year's total greenhouse gas emissions from the UK were around 660 million tonnes.
05/13/07 - Print what you need
What may seem science fiction is in fact scientific fact and 3-D printers are just a couple of years from being affordable home accessories, according to industry insiders. Using halogen lamps that melt powdered nylon and technology that allows customers to download plans for such designs online, it will soon be possible to produce everything from a toothbrush to a pair of Jandals. Such printers have been used in industrial design stores for the past decade to test designs for parts before going into full production. But such machines cost US$100,000 ($136,000). In recent years that price has fallen to about US$15,000 but in just a year or two such printers are expected to be available for around US$2000. Later this year, California-based IdeaLab will start selling its Desktop Factory machine for US$4995. Chairman Bill Gross told the New York Times the price could fall to US$1000 in four years. The printers work by stacking very thin layers of the plastic that can be hardened.
05/13/07 - Brand New Wave Energy Plant Developed
Scientists from “Centre of Renewable Energy” company have developed and patented an original scheme of a small, though very effective, wave energy plant. The innovation is very cheap and simple in assembling. Pilot plants are already functioning in Norway and Portugal, however, said unit is the first to convert sea wave energy to electricity. The plant uses gravity and wave energy, thus making very cheap electic energy. Resarchers plan to start full-scale tests this summer.
05/13/07 - Clean Power That Reaps a Whirlwind
The wind turbines rising 180 feet above this dusty village at the hilly edge of Inner Mongolia could be an environmentalist's dream: their electricity is clean, sparing the horizon sooty clouds or global warming gases. But the wind-power generators are also part of a growing dispute over a United Nations program that is the centerpiece of international efforts to help developing countries combat global warming. That program, the Clean Development Mechanism, has become a kind of Robin Hood, raising billions of dollars from rich countries and transferring them to poor countries to curb the emission of global warming gases. The biggest beneficiary is no longer so poor: China, with $1.2 trillion in foreign exchange reserves, received three-fifths of the money last year. And as a result, some of the poorest countries are being left out.
05/13/07 - Eating Honey Reduces Computer radiation damage
Natural honey eliminates hazardous effect of computer radiation on a living organism, claims young scientist from Russian city of Ufa. Young genius, who attends secondary school, has tested honey affecting consequences of staying near computers on fruit flies (Drosophilla melanogaster). Flies, males and females separately, were kept near computer for about six hours and received food with or without honey. Insects, which ate honey and were exposed to computer radiation, produced four-times more baby flies than insects, which didn’t eat honey and were exposed to computer radiation. Control group, which received no honey and wasn’t exposed to hazardous radiation showed even higher fertility than honey-fed flies.
05/13/07 - Ceiling Height Alters How You Think
Workers have long been concerned about glass ceilings at the office. Now they can wonder if the physical ceiling is keeping them from their full mental potential. A recent study at the University of Minnesota suggests that ceiling height affects problem-solving skills and behavior by priming concepts that encourage certain kinds of brain processing.
05/13/07 - Turkey poop powers electric plant
Mounds of manure farmers were stockpiling on their farms to sell as fertilizer had become a nuisance, seemingly overnight. "They said, 'It smells, it creates runoff, it collects flies,' " said Langmo, 48, who raises about a million turkeys a year on his farms near Litchfield. "The commissioners told me to solve the problem or they'd solve it for me." Langmo placed an S.O.S. call to a British company he'd read about that was turning poultry litter into electricity. Nine years later, his solution has arrived: a $225 million plant an hour away in Benson that will turn poop into power. The plant, in the heart of west-central Minnesota's turkey farming region, is scheduled to begin operating June 25. It'll be the nation's first large-scale power plant fueled by poultry manure. More important, supporters say, it will be an important step in the country's quest to develop more sources of renewable energy. About half a million tons of turkey litter will be burned each year, generating enough energy for an estimated 50,000 households. Turkey litter is a mixture of manure and bedding material, such as wood chips, straw, sunflower shells and feathers. It has provided a low-cost fertilizer to farmers for decades. Some of them now worry that their costs will go up and that there won't be enough litter for their fields if turkey growers can get a better price at the Fibrominn plant. And although turkey litter may be a renewable source of energy _ an estimated 2 million tons of it is generated each year statewide _ it takes a lot of poop to make electricity. The mixture doesn't burn as hot as wood, which makes it a labor-intensive and expensive fuel source, critics say. They charge that the "gee-whiz" factor has discouraged research into more creative and economical renewable-energy solutions.
05/13/07 - Are you a 'Night Owl'? After-hours Gene Might Be The Reason
Scientists report a genetic mutation, appropriately called "after-hours" (Afh), which affects our internal body clock and might help explain why some of us are “evening people”, only falling asleep in the early hours of the morning. The research has important implications for human health in an increasingly 24/7 culture, where shift work and continental travel (and the associated jet lag problems) are already linked to several diseases. It can also be important for the many brain disorders, such as dementia, bipolar disease and mental retardation, which are associated to disruptions in the sleep/awake cycle.
05/13/07 - A Historical Chart of Gas Prices
05/13/07 - Helmets Attract Cars to Cyclists
(I see this strange attractor thing all the time...totally empty streets for hours...I go out and the place fills up...same on a motorcycle, people see its a bike and pull right out in front which they don't do with a car. - JWD) An avid cyclist, Ian Walker had heard several complaints from fellow riders that wearing a helmet seemed to result in bike riders receiving far less room to maneuver-effectively increasing the chances of an accident. So, Walker attached ultrasonic sensors to his bike and rode around Bath, allowing 2,300 vehicles to overtake him while he was either helmeted or naked-headed. In the process, he was actually contacted by a truck and a bus, both while helmeted-though, miraculously, he did not fall off his bike either time.
05/12/07 - Aussie Scientists Turn To Cloud Seeding
At a three day conference in Melbourne this week hosted by the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM), scientists from the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) have joined an "ad hoc group for precipitation enhancement" which will widen studies to include climate change and environmental damage. "This is driven by a lot of aspects of climate change and our enormous shortfall in water availability in many parts of Australia," said Professor Stone, a climate expert from the University of South Queensland. "We have to work pretty quickly on making sure we've got some practical science being done here, and it's coordinated without having fragmented work going on." The contentious strategy to seed clouds with chemicals such as dry ice to encourage rainfall has been used in some areas of Australia since 1964 however its benefits are questioned. Some scientists say the strategy equates to stealing rain from elsewhere while others say the benefits are impossible to quantify.
05/12/07 - Super Efficient Home Award winner
The Enertia(R) Building System uses a patented process to increase the latent heat storage capabilities of wood materials. The system also uses milled wooden blocks to eliminate the many materials and labor-intensive steps of house wall construction, replacing them with simple screwed-into-place units. The result is an attractive house of renewable material that heats and cools itself with free, natural clean energy. Each Enertia house is built with a small atmosphere between the walls and is connected to a sunspace. The glue-laminated wooden structure stores solar and geothermal energy in its cellulose, lignin and resin, which is seeded with mineral crystals to initiate phase change. Over time the thermal energy is released to heat the home. During the summer the process is reversed, and the wooden structure absorbs heat from the appliances and occupants throughout the day, dissipating it at night. The Enertia Building System can have a significant impact in reducing the burning of fossil fuels and protecting homeowners from violent weather. According to Sykes, the current methods of building, heating and cooling houses damage the earth, and building just one Enertia house is equivalent to taking 50 cars off the road.
05/12/07 - Bubble Fusion Researcher Faces Fraud Trial
"In 2001, Rusi P. Taleyarkhan shocked the world by claiming he had successfully produced a positive net energy bubble fusion reaction; cold fusion. The New York Times reports that a congressional hearing is now under way against Taleyarkhan, even though Purdue University has already cleared the scientist of any wrongdoing. Dr. Taleyarkhan said last night in an e-mail message that the subcommittee's report represents 'a gross travesty of justice.' He asked, 'Where are the Jesse Jacksons and Al Sharptons of the Asian community during this episode that has caused this biased and openly one-sided smear campaign?' You can view the full (colorful) e-mail at Dailytech."
05/12/07 - Homebuilt Electric Motorcycle
Zach Norman built this electric bike on a Harley frame. I couldn't dig up much in the way of details, but the flickr photo set looks good. At this link are several other posts for electric motorcycles made from motorbike frames and spare parts.
05/12/07 - Scientists Create Artificial Blood
The substance is light, can survive at room temperature, and keeps longer than real blood, allowing it to be used as a stand-in in emergency situations. "The new blood is made up of plastic molecules that have an iron atom at their core, like haemoglobin, that can carry oxygen through the body. The scientists said the artificial blood could be cheap to produce and they were looking for extra funding to develop a final prototype that would be suitable for biological testing ... A sample of the artificial blood prototype will be on display at the Science Museum in London from 22 May as part of an exhibition about the history of plastics."
05/12/07 - Wave Power in Scotland
The Archimedes Wave Swing is submerged at least six metres below the sea surface which, as well as removing visual impact and hazards to shipping, avoids high storm impacts. Compared to most other wave energy devices, the Wave Swing also takes up a proportionately smaller area of the sea, in relation to power generated. Following a successful pilot project in Portugal, the £2.128 million will be used to develop a pre-commercial model of the device at the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) in Orkney. AWS believes that this work will lead directly to the construction of the first mini wave farm of Archimedes units in Scottish waters, by the third quarter of 2010, expanding within 12 months to 20 units. Around 25 metres high and 12 metres in diameter, the commercial units will be rated at 1 Megawatt generating around 3,000 Megawatt hours of electricity in a typical year. That is similar to one large wind turbine and equivalent to the electricity demands of around 300 homes. The main early markets for Archimedes will be Scotland, Portugal and Spain.
05/12/07 - Flip Video Camcorder Uploads Your Movies Straight To YouTube
The Flip, retailing at US$120 for the 512 MB, 30 minute version or US$150 for the 1GB, 60 minute version, records quite decent quality video at 30fps and a TV-friendly resolution of 640x480 - roughly the same as good consumer compact digital still cameras are now producing. It's got a 1.5 inch screen for instant playback and review, takes AA batteries, and can be connected directly to a TV for playback. A pop-out USB plug lets you connect the Flip straight to your computer without an external cable, and the Flip's onboard software lets you edit the video, put soundtracks to it and mix videos. Then, through the same interface, you can upload to YouTube or send the video via email.
05/12/07 - JPod Transportation Concept
The JPod system supplies power to the JPod vehicles via power conductor cables supported from the rail support structure. The system is designed to endure the worst extremes of weather and can travel at speeds up to 30-40 miles per hour. The load capacity depends upon the type of vehicle. A standard people JPod can carry 4 people with a generous margin on normal weight. PRT is a category of public transportation designed to offer automated, on-demand, non-stop transportation on a network of specially built guide ways. A JPod is a small, efficient, safe, computer driven vehicle designed to transport people and cargo. A JPod runs suspended from an overhead rail. The entire network applies existing technologies in new ways. The agreement calls for Festel Capital to act as JPods exclusive cooperation partner in raising funds to form Local Mobility Companies (LMCs). A LMC is a privately owned, or public-private venture, that provides and applies JPods’ patented form of PRT in a given area. LMCs work with all different types of community members- elected officials, the media, neighborhood groups, local government, and private capital, to receive the necessary approval to build and operate a JPods network.
05/12/07 - Papua New Guinea Runs Cars and Generators On Coconut Oil
Even as efforts are on to find alternative fuels to petrol and diesel across the world, residents on a tiny island in Papua New Guinea run their cars and generators on refined coconut oil. What is more, many of them have set up mini-refineries to produce the low-cost environmentally friendly new fuel, helping boost the country's economy. It may not be far before the technology spreads to other parts of the world as inquiries started pouring in to Bougainville island, according to reports. German engineer Matthias Horn, who owns a refinery on the island is quoted by BBC Tuesday: "The coconut tree is a beautiful tree. Doesn't it sound good if you really run your car on something which falls off a tree and that's the good thing about it. You run your car and it smells nice and it's environmentally friendly and that's the main thing." The new invention happened as an answer to the fuel woes being faced by the islanders in face of growing oil prices hitting their businesses. Now the sweet-smelling fuel make the residents less dependent on the imported diesel.
05/12/07 - Bill Bans NSA Eavesdropping
"The US house of representatives today passed a bill outlawing illegal domestic wiretapping by the government. Now government agencies are only allowed to access your private communications under terms of FISA. 'As the Senate Report noted, FISA "was designed . . . to curb the practice by which the Executive Branch may conduct warrantless electronic surveillance on its own unilateral determination that national security justifies it." The Bill ends plans by the Bush Administration that would give the NSA the freedom to pry into the lives of ordinary Americans. The ACLU noted that, despite many recent hearings about 'modernization' and 'technology neutrality,' the administration has not publicly provided Congress with a single example of how current FISA standards have either prevented the intelligence community from using new technologies, or proven unworkable for the agents tasked with following them.'"
05/12/07 - 'Bush Resigns' gaffe on CNN
(A parody doctored photo with Bushs' head and comment. - JWD) CNN International Chyron: "Bush Resigns" - Following up on this post, it did happen. Here's a screen grab from CNN International around midnight ET. This appeared on screen for 12 seconds. (Two seconds before, President Bush had appeared on screen, but the chyron accurately said "Pressure over Iraq.")
05/11/07 - Interesting 1952 Science and Mechanics advertisement
05/11/07 - Harvard Prof Says Computers Need to Forget
"A Harvard professor argues that too much information is being retained by computers, and the machines need to learn how to forget things as humans always have. "If whatever we do can be held against us years later, if all our impulsive comments are preserved, they can easily be combined into a composite picture of ourselves," he writes in the paper. "Afraid how our words and actions may be perceived years later and taken out of context, the lack of forgetting may prompt us to speak less freely and openly." Will such massive databases make us all act like politicians? Is data retention creating a "panopticon"? These are questions that the good doctor raises."
05/11/07 - Purdue scientists claim 'major leap' in engine design
Researchers have created the first computational model to track engine performance from one combustion cycle to the next for a new type of engine that could dramatically reduce oil consumption and the emission of global-warming pollutants. A key portion of his research, based at Purdue's Ray W. Herrick Laboratories, hinges on designing engines so that their intake and exhaust valves are no longer driven by mechanisms connected to the pistons. The innovation would be a departure from the way automotive engines have worked since they were commercialized more than a century ago. In today's internal combustion engines, the pistons turn a crankshaft, which is linked to a camshaft that opens and closes the valves, directing the flow of air and exhaust into and out of the cylinders. The new method would eliminate the mechanism linking the crankshaft to the camshaft, providing an independent control system for the valves. Because the valves' timing would no longer be restricted by the pistons' movement, they could be more finely tuned to allow more efficient combustion of diesel, gasoline and alternative fuels, such as ethanol and biodiesel, Shaver said. The concept, known as variable valve actuation, would enable significant improvements in conventional gasoline and diesel engines used in cars and trucks and for applications such as generators, he said. The technique also enables the introduction of an advanced method called homogeneous charge compression ignition, or HCCI, which would allow the United States to drastically reduce its dependence on foreign oil and the production of harmful exhaust emissions. The homogeneous charge compression ignition technique would make it possible to improve the efficiency of gasoline engines by 15 percent to 20 percent, making them as efficient as diesel engines while nearly eliminating smog-generating nitrogen oxides, Shaver said. The variable valve actuation system makes it possible to "reinduct," or reroute a portion of the exhaust back into the cylinders to improve combustion efficiency and reduce emissions. The system also makes it possible to alter the amount of compression in the cylinders of both conventional and HCCI engines and to adjust the mixing and combustion timing, allowing for more efficient combustion.
05/11/07 - Senate Approves 35mpg Standard
A bill mandating a 35mpg standard for motor vehicles by the year 2020 just passed Senate approval on Tuesday. The measure was naturally received was distress by automotive manufacturers (including Toyota), claiming the technological requirement curve was too steep. If America were really serious about reducing oil dependence immediately, congress should reintroduce a national speed limit of 55mph as they did thirty years ago during the 1973 oil crisis. Empirical evidence has shown time and time again that reduced speeds equate to a dramatic increase in miles per gallon. Fuel economy is typically determined by testing in laboratory conditions standardized by the EPA. Interestingly, the testing is for engine emissions compliance from which fuel economy results are derived. Generally speaking, developments in reduced emissions and improved efficiency go hand in hand with the OBD system, but that is not always the case. A more complete burn of gasoline results in increased hydrocarbon emissions. The OBD II systems in modern cars are a result of environmental pushes in the late 1980s to reduce hydrocarbons. This is why the miles per gallon metric stagnated through the 1990s; automotive manufacturers were more focused on meeting lower and lower emissions standards than improving fuel efficiency.
05/11/07 - Terminator-style flying-HK killbots join US, UK forces
The US Air Force has announced it has ordered a further quartet of MQ-9 'Reapers', worth $59m, to supplement its initial fleet of seven. The MQ-9 is the most formidable killer robot currently in operation. It's a big beast, 36 feet long with an 86-foot wingspan. It can fly for 14 hours without refuelling, going at a maximum speed of 300mph and as high as 50,000 feet - nine and a half miles up. The US Air Force describes it as an "unmanned hunter/killer weapon system". This term might perhaps have been coined by a fan of the classic Terminator movies, in which dystopian future battlegrounds are overflown by murderous Flying-HK death-droids intent on wiping out the last vestiges of human resistance to the machine overlords. The real-world flying HK is at least as deadly as the ones in the movies, able to lift a hefty 3,750 pounds of munitions. This can equate to 14 laser-guided Hellfire missiles, a smaller number of Paveway smartbombs, or GBU-38 Joint Direct Attack Munitions (JDAMs) with their own satnav/inertial guidance. Not only is it difficult to run from the Reaper, it's also pretty hard to hide from it - at least in the open, anyway*. The aerial kill-bot's Lynx radar can sweep 60 square kilometres a minute, picking out any moving target larger than one metre and if necessary swivelling its all-seeing eye for a closer look with resolution down to 10cm. There is also a "multi-spectral targeting system", allowing operators to use all kinds of nightsights and thermal options as well. The droid can almost smell your fear. And all this for just $15m each, a tiny fraction of the cost of purchasing a conventional strike jet with a human pilot. The RAF's new Eurofighters, by comparison, will cost the taxpayers anywhere from £86m to £140m per jet, depending how many are actually used - 11 to 18 times as much as a Reaper.
05/11/07 - Planting Seeds
License to sin -- Asking people to think about vice increases their likelihood of giving in. A new study by researchers from Duke, USC, and UPenn is the first to explore how questioning can affect our behavior when we have mixed feelings about an issue. The study, forthcoming in the June issue of the Journal of Consumer Research, found that asking people questions, like how many times they expect to give in to a temptation they know they should resist, increases how many times they will actually give in to it. As the authors explain: "Despite very real negative repercussions, respondents to a question about their future class attendance engaged in the negative behavior (missing class) at a significantly greater rate than those not asked to predict their behavior." The results were especially pronounced for those with chronically low self-control, and the researchers point out that their findings pose a public policy dilemma for survey researchers who ask questions about vice behaviors in order to gain insight and discourage them. "Fortunately, we also document two moderators of the effect that can prevent intention questions from exacerbating indulgences in vices," the researchers write, "(a) having people explicitly consider strategies for how they might avoid the behavior, and (b) having people create a self-reward for sticking with their stated usage patterns."
05/11/07 - Singularity Institute raising money for "stable self-improving systems"
Tyler sez, "The Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence announced today a $400,000 Online Matching Challenge, backed by PayPal Co-Founder and Former CEO Peter Thiel, to fund their long-term research program to develop safe, stable self-improving systems. They also released a 10-minute video, featuring interviews with Barney Pell, Aubrey de Grey, Christine Peterson, and others." / The technological Singularity -- what Ken Macleod called "The Rapture of the Nerds" -- is the moment at which it is possible to make a computer that is as smart as a human, and then smarter. The idea is that we will irrevocably change as a species at that moment.
05/11/07 - The Twelve Tribes of American Politics
Last year, on the eve of the 2004 presidential election, Beliefnet introduced the "Twelve Tribes of American Politics" to demonstrate how the religious groups that factor in American political decision-making are a great deal more complicated than simply a division between the Religious Right and the Religious Left. Using data from the Fourth National Survey on Religion and Politics (see full study), Beliefnet defined the religious groupings that make up our political landscape. The data is now updated to include results from surveys completed after the November 2004 election. It now show both longterm trends and specific preferences during the 2004 election season. Yes, it does include atheists.
05/11/07 - US firm applies to test 'incredible' stem cell technique on humans
In a new step within the ferocious debate about the ethics and application of stem cell research, the company, Advanced Cell Technology (ACT), said it had devised a simple method for taking stem cells from human embryos and differentiating them into the precursor cells of blood vessels. Injected into mice and rats, the researchers found that the cells migrated to damaged parts of the body and helped to repair them. "When injected into the bloodstream, they homed to the other side of the body and repaired damaged vasculature within 24 to 48 hours," said Dr Robert Lanza, who led the ACT team. Dr Lanza told Associated Press that the technique they had developed had "incredible reparative potential". Other potential benefits could be the treatment for lung damage, the prevention of amputation of limbs blocked by blood clots, help for victims of heart attacks and production of red blood cells for transfusions.
05/10/07 - Snubbed by mainstream, scrappy scientist sues
Ruggero Santilli is frustrated. After a long career as an academic, the Palm Harbor physicist says he isn't getting the respect he deserves. He accuses other scientists of plagiarizing and distorting his writings. He says they dismiss his ideas for a new form of clean, efficient energy as fringe science. Meanwhile, the problem he aims to correct - global warming - is only growing worse. To the academic establishment, Santilli said, those ideas were heresy. "I don't want to use strong words, but it is my opinion that we are living now in scientific obscurity that dwarfs by comparison the scientific obscurity imparted by the Vatican during Galileo's time." So Santilli and his wife, Carla, left Massachusetts in 1990 and settled in Palm Harbor, where he works as an entrepreneur. His latest project is a machine that converts liquid waste into fuel, which Santilli calls Magnegas. Magnegas is created when liquid waste, such as pig manure or engine oil waste, is passed through an electric arc and heated to 12, 000 degrees. The Magnegas bubbles to the surface and the liquid is expelled. At his Tarpon Springs workshop, Santilli keeps a Chevrolet Suburban that runs on Magnegas. He said he has sold several of the recycling machines abroad, and the city of Dunedin expressed interest, although officials there haven't gone beyond preliminary discussions, said Douglas Hutchens, the city's director of public works. Even if his cases are dismissed, Santilli considers his effort a victory because his court filings spread his message to the scientific community. He does not trust the news media to present an unbiased view of his work. "You call the famous professor and the famous professor will say, 'Oh, Professor Santilli is a weirdo. His science is not accepted by the establishment, ' " Santilli said. "The news media is subservient to the scientific authority." Finding people willing to discuss Santilli isn't easy. Several former colleagues declined to be interviewed, saying they feared being sued.
05/10/07 - 'Kids Aren't Key to Women's Happiness'
Although they won't receive flowers or candy on Mother's Day, women who have not had children seem to be just as happy in their 50s as those who did go down the family path. In fact the loneliest, least contented and most vulnerable women were found to be mothers who were single, divorced or widowed in middle age, according to new research. Being healthy and having a partner gave a bigger boost to women's happiness and well-being than being mothers, with education, work and relationships with family and friends also important factors. The findings are based on two surveys of nearly 6,000 women aged between 51 to 61 years old that were conducted in 1992 and from 1987-1988. "Whether you are socially integrated or have concerns about paying the bills - those things play a more direct role in shaping psychological well-being among women in midlife," Koropeckyj-Cox added.
The research, which will be published in the International Journal of Aging and Human Development, showed that the timing of motherhood was also important to happiness. Women who had children in their teens were more depressed and lonelier than those who had their children later.
05/10/07 - Can Soft Drinks Be Healthy?
The idea of a healthy soft drink may sound like an oxymoron. But to soda manufacturers, it's the hottest trend in the better-for-you category of food and beverages. With all the attention on obesity and health, consumers are looking for healthier, more natural beverages. And manufacturers are hoping to perk up sagging soda sales with new "healthy" soft drinks spiked with vitamins and minerals and marketed with natural-sounding terms. Sales of carbonated drinks have been sagging due to the popularity of bottled water and noncarbonated drinks like teas, juices, sports drinks, and "functional" drinks with added ingredients purported to reduce stress or increase energy. How Healthy Are the New Soft Drinks? The truth is that artificially sweetened soft drinks - even those fortified with vitamins and minerals -- are anything but natural and healthy, says Marion Nestle, New York University nutrition professor and author of What to Eat. "It is ridiculous to market soft drinks as healthy, but in today’s marketplace consumers are demanding more healthylooking food, and beverages and soft drink manufacturers need to boost sales," she says.
Most consumers do not need the extra vitamins found in fortified soft drinks, she adds. "We are not vitamin deficient, and these beverages do not address the real health issues of our country of obesity, heart disease, or cancer," says Nestle. University of Vermont researcher Rachel Johnson, PhD, RD, agrees. "It concerns me that we have so many ultra-fortified products where we virtually put a vitamin pill into a soft drink," she says. "The nutrients put into these soft drinks are not the shortfall nutrients that are lacking in our diets such as calcium, potassium, folate, or vitamin D."
05/10/07 - Supplying the World's Energy Needs with Light and Water
A leading chemist says that a better understanding of photosynthesis could lead to cheap ways to store solar energy as chemical fuel. In photosynthesis, green plants use the energy in sunlight to break down water and carbon dioxide. By manipulating electrons and hydrogen, oxygen, and carbon atoms in a series of complex chemical reactions, the process ultimately produces the cellulose and lignin that form the structure of the plant, as well as stored energy in the form of sugar. Understanding how this process works, thinks Daniel Nocera, professor of chemistry at MIT, could lead to ways to produce and store solar energy in forms that are practical for powering cars and providing electricity even when the sun isn't shining. DN: You can use the electricity directly when the sun is out, in places that have sun. [But] you need storage. There's absolutely no way around it. I am distilling the essence of photosynthesis down to be able to use it. TR: Why is photosynthesis attractive in finding a source of clean energy? DN: [Photosynthesis] does three things. It captures sunlight, and [second,] it converts it into a wireless current--leaves are buzzing with electricity. And third, it does storage. It stores the converted light energy in chemical energy. And it uses that chemical energy for its life process, and then it stores a little. It turns out [that] photosynthesis is one of the most efficient machines in the world for energy conversion. But it's not great for storing energy because that's not what [a plant] was built to do. It was built to live and grow and reproduce.
05/10/07 - Microwave Popcorn Is The New Asbestos
Diacetyl, the buttery-flavored chemical used in microwave popcorn, may be banned in California by 2010. The fumes from it cause terrible lung-disease in people who work around it. The chemical is an artificial butter flavoring most commonly used in microwave popcorn. Numerous study have found links between the chemical used by flavor workers and a rare disease called bronchiolitis obliterans. For those of you who aren’t 2000 yr old Romans, that means that the bronchioles and some of the smaller bronchi are obliterated by masses made up of fiberous tissue. It’s like sticking marbles into the networks of tubes in your lung that connect fresh air to the alveoli, the little sacs where oxygen and carbon dioxide are exchanged with the blood. As you Romans can imagine, that’s haud sanus. According to the WaPo, flavoring manufacturers have paid out more than $100 million due to health lawsuits.
05/10/07 - Oil from Algae? It's Possible
Anyone familiar with the field of alternative energy (and that anyone is practically every one these days!) knows that there is no silver bullet. For every positive aspect of a specific alternative energy domain, there appears to be at least one negative aspect. Examples: (1) Solar energy: available in plenty, all around us and free, but how does one get a higher power density? (2) Wind energy: similar to solar energy available in plenty all around us, but presents problems with continuous availability among others, (3) Hydrogen energy appears to be simple and clean but how on earth does one store it in a safe and efficient manner? Such discussions go on for each and every alternative source of energy being explored. As a result, a growing consensus amongst the energy industry experts is that rather than focusing on one avenue of alternative energy, perhaps it is a combination of alternative energy avenues that should be considered to provide a sustainable solution. Algae as a feedstock appear to have many advantages relative to other bio-feedstocks: (1) They can grow in many different areas, even in areas far from seas, in deserts and even in snow (most other oil crops need specific climatic conditions for their growth) (2) Their yields are substantially higher than those for traditional oil crops - many oil crops cannot even theoretically replace petro-diesel or gasoline because that would require almost all the world’s cultivable land to be dedicated to produce biofuels alone (so hello, what do we eat?) (3) Algae also present an interesting possibility of being grown right next to pollutants creating industries (such as coal-based power plants), with the CO2 from the industries used to grow the algae - an extention of this concept is to cultivate algae in sewages! A couple of commercial ventures (some in the US and one in New Zealand) are experimenting with methods such as these. (4) And algae have a bit of history too - oil was originally formed from the millions of years’ of nature’s work on algae! Yes, the oil we are using today as fossil fuel was originally formed from the algal masses. Web site: http://www.oilgae.com
05/10/07 - When Will Gas Prices Affect Your Driving Habits?
With gas prices up nearly 33% since the beginning of the year, it's obvious that the increased cost is starting to hit all of us pretty hard. That being said, has the cost gone up enough to drastically alter the amount of driving that we do?
According to a recent poll on Daily Fuel Economy Tip, for nearly half of us, it looks like the answer to the above question is yes.
05/10/07 - Biofuels Could Do More Harm Than Good, UN Report Warns
The global boom in biofuels is laden with environmental and social risks, even as it presents strong new prospects for mitigating human-caused global warming, a new UN study says. Biofuels such as ethanol can be a cleaner job-generating energy source for 1.6 billion people who live without access to electricity, the authors say. But the study, titled "Sustainable Bioenergy: A Framework for Decision Makers," also warns that an unregulated biofuels boom will spawn deforestation, deplete soil nutrients, and undermine food security by monopolizing farmland.
05/10/07 - Calif. Rebate rule chills sales of solar equipment
California homeowners are rejecting new rebates for solar power equipment, saying the state has made installing the rooftop panels far more costly than expected. As a result, Public Utilities Commission reports show a decline of 78% in rebate requests in the first three months of this year, compared with last year, and the solar installation industry says it is threatened with collapse across much of California.
At issue is a requirement the state added Jan. 1 for getting a rebate under Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's Million Solar Roofs program. Applicants must first sign up for costly pricing plans offered by utilities that charge more for their electricity during hours of peak demand.
05/10/07 - Replace Windows Explorer with Xplorer2
Let's face it: for advanced file manipulation, Windows File Explorer stinks. But like Firefox is a must-have replacement for Internet Explorer, a file manager called Xplorer2 blows Windows Explorer out of the water for anyone who browses multiple folders, copies, pastes, moves and searches the PC filesystem frequently. Using Xplorer2's tabbed, dual pane interface, keyboard shortcuts and killer advanced features, you're in total control of your PC's files. Let's take a look.
05/09/07 - Paper disputes bedrock law of physics - energy to matter and back
The principle under dispute, central to physics for at least two centuries, is called the law of conservation of energy. It states that nothing can be created or destroyed: you can’t get something from nothing, or vice-versa, though converting substances between diverse forms is very possible. But the paper claims new stuff may be formed constantly, in one special setting: within black holes or similar objects. The idea, the author adds, is testable and would resolve several mysteries, including why the universe is expanding ever faster. If a black hole had an opposite, it would be what physicists call vacuum. In plain terms, that means nothingness, though this word is misleading because some minimal level of activity has been found to unfold even in the emptiest space. Vacuum is ubiquitous. Even in solid objects, there is plenty of room for vacuum, between and inside the atoms. In a black hole, vacuum could also conceivably find lodgings. But there, the cramping might become severe even for a guest of such modest demands-forcing the vacuum, in Bayer’s view, to lead a precarious existence. Within black holes or similar objects, he argues, extreme conditions may inject “instability” into the vacuum, converting parts of it into non-vacuum, or matter. “Matter creation can be said to arise from some new particle interaction which violates energy conservation,” he wrote in an email. Bayer’s explanation of this links matter creation to another concept, pressure, a measure of how much a given blob of matter is “squeezed” by what’s around it. It’s why your head hurts if you dive deeply. Negative pressure is also conceivable-your head being pulled apart-though we never experience this on Earth. A simplified view is that positive pressure is an air hose blowing outward; negative pressure, a vacuum cleaner sucking inward. Einstein determined that an object’s gravity depends not just on its mass, as was known before, but its pressure. If an object has enough negative pressure, its gravity can also become negative, and hence repulsive rather than attractive. Bayer argued that matter creation is associated with repulsive gravity because it’s also linked to negative pressure. “The flow of energy into the Universe can be described as being caused by an external pressure from the vacuum,” he wrote in an email. “Viewed from inside the Universe, the positive external pressure looks like a negative internal pressure.” Bringing back the air-hose analogy, imagine an invisible hose blowing air outward and into the mouth of a second tube. That second pipe would appear as though it were sucking in air-negative pressure. Negative pressure within legions of black holes would create a gravitational repulsion that permeates the cosmos and pushes it outward relentlessly, Bayer claims. “While matter is being created, there is a gravitational repulsion associated with the energy flow. When the flow stops, only the ordinary gravitational attraction of the created mass remains.” All newly minted mass would reside permanently in its home black hole. Matter creation would equate to energy creation because, as Einstein found with the famed equation E=mc2, matter and energy are two forms of the same thing.
05/09/07 - Electric Fusion - Proven, Safe, Cheap Energy Device
(Thanks to runner65 for the headsup on this and the video link below. - JWD) US Physicist Dr. Robert W. Bussard has produced proven consistent multiple working prototypes of a fusion device that does not need to release neutrons as part of the fusion process. Neutrons induce radioactivity to their immediate surroundings - only one of the Achilles heels of the Tokamak project. IEC/Electric fusion devices are smaller, significantly more economical, non radioactive, has had working prototypes producing 10 kv of energy, much more likely to be a viable option, and could come to reality in about 5 - 6 years from appropriation of 200 million dollars (less than the cost of one day of economic support for the Middle East oil wars without a single loss of life - 1/90th of what has been spent on D-T fusion). In 1996, through some awesome diplomatic expertise (along with the assistance of several patriot scientist friends) Bussard landed a deal with the DOD/DARPA for 50 million dollars and 12 years of research. Four months later when the DOD found out what they were getting, they cancelled the contract by saying that the DOD doesn't do fusion? Somehow he managed to get approximately about 6 million (by Bussard's general statement and 14 million by the navy's specific statements) between a renowned scientist working on revolutionary clean fusion, 5 - 10 members, 35% overhead for filling in 64,000 pages of documents, the first machine (very expensive for its stage), and 12 years of work. One million dollars worth of equipment was also saved by transferring equipment to a propulsion lab. It is amazing what they were able to accomplish with so little money. Part of the 50 million deal that turned into 6 million was an agreement that Dr. Bussard not publish - a complete gag agreement. For 6 million the DOD took away all knowledge of clean safe energy from The People, virtually assured a non viable product, and was able to keep massive funding to D-T fusion (Thermonuclear Weapons), and allows continued experiments for the development of thermonuclear weapons - Bunker Buster B-61. The title 'Technology for the Year' Hardly Does This Discovery Justice - Electric Fusion Is the Technology of the Century. Massive power corporations and their record profits - electric, water, oil - will be obliterated. Millions will gain access to cheap energy and pure water. The potential of one Electric Fusion reactor is impressive. Google rumors IEC output to be in the range of 100 MW (100,000 kW) - 1,000 MW (1 Million kW). To be able to grasp the amount of energy produced, the average home usage peaks at 3 to 4 kW for about 4 hours a day. One Electric Fusion device would provide the peak power for 25,000 to 33,000 home with an on demand output of 100 MW. Or, 250,000 to 330,000 homes at peak output with an on demand output of 1,000 MW. There are approximately 110 million residences in the US. The number of Electric Fusion devices would range from 3,300 units to 330 units to supply electricity to every home in the US - depending on the final MW output of the finished reactor. The applications for completely safe energy at approximately 10% of the current cost are numerous. Once thoroughly implemented there would be tremendous decreases in the production of CO2, significant reduction of fuel pollutants, and pure distilled water could become a by product. There also seems to be potential in this technology for space propulsion and the removal of tons of nuclear waste.
05/09/07 - Why the U.S. Isn’t Funding A Promising Energy Technology
Fusion Power - the process Bussard hopes to perfect would use boron-11, the most common form of the element. Bussard says his experiments - which achieved fusion with deuterium, not boron - in November 2005 proved that the boron process will work. The boron reactor would be similar to, but more powerful than, the reactor that blew up in 2005. Bussard’s reactor design is built upon six shiny metal rings joined to form a cube - one ring per side. Each ring, about a yard in diameter, contain copper wires wound into an electromagnet. The reactor operates inside a vacuum chamber. When energized, the cube of electromagnets creates a magnetic sphere into which electrons are injected. The magnetic field squeezes the electrons into a dense ball at the reactor’s core, creating a highly negatively charged area. To begin the reaction, boron-11 nuclei and protons are injected into the cube. Because of their positive charge, they accelerate to the center of the electron ball. Most of them sail through the center of the core and on toward the opposite side of the reactor. But the negative charge of the electron ball pulls them back to the center. The process repeats, perhaps thousands of times, until the boron nucleus and a proton collide with enough force to fuse. That fusion turns boron-11 into highly energetic carbon-12, which promptly splits into a helium nucleus and a beryllium nucleus. The beryllium then splits into two more helium nuclei. The result is “three helium nuclei, each having almost three million electron volts of energy,” according to Gay, who has written a paper explaining Bussard’s research in layman’s terms. The force of splitting flings the helium nuclei out from the center of the reactor toward an electrical grid, where their energy would force electrons to flow - electricity. This direct conversion process is extraordinarily efficient. About 95 percent of the fission energy is turned into electricity, Gay said.
05/09/07 - Video - Inertial Electrostatic confinement fusion for cheap, cheap power
This is not your father's fusion reactor! Forget everything you know about conventional thinking on nuclear fusion: high-temperature plasmas, steam turbines, neutron radiation and even nuclear waste are a thing of the past. Goodbye thermonuclear fusion; hello inertial electrostatic confinement fusion (IEC), an old idea that's been made new. While the international community debates the fate of the politically-turmoiled $12 billion ITER (an experimental thermonuclear reactor), simple IEC reactors are being built as high-school science fair projects. Dr. Robert Bussard, former Asst. Director of the Atomic Energy Commission and founder of Energy Matter Conversion Corporation (EMC2), has spent 17 years perfecting IEC, a fusion process that converts hydrogen and boron directly into electricity producing helium as the only waste product. Most of this work was funded by the Department of Defense, the details of which have been under seal... until now. Dr. Bussard will discuss his recent results and details of this potentially world-altering technology, whose conception dates back as far as 1924, and even includes a reactor design by Philo T. Farnsworth (inventor of the scanning television). Can a 100 MW fusion reactor be built for less than Google's annual electricity bill? Come see what's possible when you think outside the thermonuclear box and ignore the herd.
05/09/07 - Scientists Electrified By Jet Stream Potential
Scientists are eyeing the jet stream, an energy source that rages non-stop, 365 days a year, just a few miles above our heads. If they can tap into its fierce winds, the world's entire electrical needs could be met, they say. The trick is figuring out how to harness the energy and get it down to the ground cost-effectively and safely. The jet stream typically blows from west to east six to nine miles over the Northern Hemisphere at speeds up to 310 miles per hour. By lofting generators into the upper atmosphere, scientists theorize they could capture the power of the jet stream and transmit the electricity along cables back to Earth. A wind machine, floated into such a monstrous force, would transmit electricity on aluminum or copper cables or through invisible microwave beams down to power grids, where it would be distributed to homes and businesses. Unlike ground-based wind generators, the high-altitude devices would be too high to be heard and barely visible against the blue sky. "My calculations show that if we could just tap into 1 percent of the energy in high-altitude winds, it would be enough to power all civilization. The whole planet," said atmospheric scientist Ken Caldeira at the Carnegie Institution's Department of Global Ecology at Stanford University. "My opinion is that 15 years from now, it'll supply most of the power in the United States," said David Shepard, a veteran Silicon Valley entrepreneur from Ramona, Calif., who with Caldeira and other researchers in Australia and Canada, is helping Roberts plan the helicopter-like version of a wind machine.
05/09/07 - UK attempt to cure blindness
A team from Moorfields Eye Hospital and University College London has spent 15 years developing the technique using laboratory experiments and animal testing. Now they've tried it for the first time on a human. He's 23-year-old Robert Johnson, who's suffered from a type of inherited night-blindness since birth. If the operation turns out to have worked, gene therapy could be used to treat many types of blindness. The operation involves surgery to deliver genetically engineered viruses that are engineered to remove their own genes to make them harmless, and we replace those genes with the gene we want to deliver - the missing gene. And by delivering these particles to the back of the retina we're able to infect the cells in the retina and replace the defective gene with the normal gene and that is the process of gene therapy, if you like. We have been using the same type of system in our dogs and we found that we have been able to restore vision in the dogs. We hope that we will start our human trials this year.
05/09/07 - Hot-air powered railway to harvest energy from cars
An American architect has come up with a scheme, now picked up on Slashdot, to harvest the wind generated by fast-moving motor vehicles and use it to power a light-rail network running alongside the highway. The idea is that sections of dividing barriers would be replaced by rows of Darius turbines, which would whirl in the wakes of the cars and trucks speeding along on either side and generate loads of electricity. Mark Oberholzer, a greenly-positioned Houston architect, had originally proposed no more than this, back in 2006. This year, however, he has refined his ideas. "Opposing streams of traffic create really incredible potential in terms of a guaranteed wind source," he told Metropolis magazine in January. This isn't, after all, a wind powered railway - it's a petrol and diesel powered one, and there's no way in the world that you could call it an efficient way of getting power out of hydrocarbon. Why not use treadmill rollers embedded in the road, while we're at it? In fact, why not just designate one lane of the highway as a bus lane? That would save tons of motor fuel, as it would prevent a lot of car journeys. Then you could use some of the juice to run buses. Buses can carry a lot more people along a highway lane than cars can, and don't use nearly as much fuel per passenger mile. Bingo! You're carrying more people than you were to begin with, burning less fuel than you were too and you don't need miles and miles of incredibly expensive new infrastructure to do it.
05/09/07 - Gene Mutation Responsible For Human Intelligence Tracked Down?
Human and chimpanzee genomes are 99 percent the same, but clearly, that 1 percent difference is hugely significant. A certain form of neuropsin, a protein that plays a role in learning and memory, is expressed only in the central nervous systems of humans. Importantly, it seems that it originated less than 5 million years ago and scientists believe they now know the mechanism behind its production.
05/09/07 - Maggots eat up resistant bacteria
A quarter of all people with diabetes are at risk of foot ulcers, because of the reduced blood circulation caused by the damaging effects of high blood glucose. These lesions often become infected. Antibiotic-resistant bacateria such as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) are becoming increasingly common - and consequently increasingly hard to treat. "MRSA is not just in hospitals, it's everywhere," says team leader Andrew Boulton at Manchester University. Antibiotics prove useless against these bugs. So Boulton decided to turn his attention to maggots. These creatures have been called into action to chew up infected tissues ever since the American Civil War, and have been used in diabetes clinics for a decade. Boulton wanted to see how they fared against MRSA. A small initial trial, published this February, showed considerable success1. 'Larval therapy' (the polite term for maggot treatment) was excellent for shifting MRSA infected tissue: in 12 out of 13 patients, their wounds healed after between three and five applications of maggots, each lasting four to five days. "It's primitive but effective," says Boulton. The maggots might secrete an antibacterial goo, or they might be just devouring the infected flesh. Boulton has noticed that the MRSA infection is highly concentrated around the maggots - rather like iron filings around a magnet, he says. But at the moment how and why this happens is a mystery.
05/09/07 - Your right not to know
"The things one feels absolutely certain about are never true," opined Oscar Wilde, neatly summing up the more rigorous argument of the philosopher Karl Popper, that any intellectual system which cannot doubt itself is suspect. The more the militants of the mind dominate debate, therefore, the poorer they leave us all. Science is similarly reduced by a lust for empirical certainty that presents it as the exclusive path of progress. The methods of science are astonishingly successful in certain parts of life, but of limited value in others: science can heal us but not make us whole; it can entertain us but not make us happy. Then there is the agnostic spirit and our political well-being. A first point was well made by Daniel J Boorstin: "It is not sceptics or explorers but fanatics and ideologues who menace decency and progress." Second, consider the so-called politics of fear. It transforms politics into a question of who can better deliver an illusion of certainty via the exercise of control, as seen in the increasingly macho posturing of home secretaries. What we need is not fear and control, but an ability to understand risks and a capacity to live freely with them. Without a committed and passionate agnosticism, religion will become more extreme, science more utopian, and our politics increasingly driven by fear.
05/08/07 - Claim of self-running generator
I received an email from inventor Jesse McQueen about his patent #7095126 which claims to be a self-running generator. The inventor says it selfruns using 12 volts and he is working on a 240 volt unit. / United States Patent 7,095,126
McQueen - August 22, 2006 - Internal energy generating power source - Abstract - An external power source such as a battery is used to initially supply power to start an alternator and generator. Once the system has started it is not necessary for the battery to supply power to the system. The battery can then be disconnected. The alternator and electric motor work in combination to generator electrical power. The alternator supplies this electrical power to the two inverters. One inverter outputs part of its power to the lamp load device and part back to the electric motor/generator. This power is used to power the electric motor. The second inverter supplies power to the specific load devices that are connected to the system. / The present invention provides an energy source that is capable of producing more energy than it requires to operate. The excess energy is used to power devices. A feedback loop approach is used to channel a portion of the energy produce by the generator back to the generators power input port. This feedback loop approach enables the generator to use its own generated energy to operate. The additional energy generated by the generator is used to power other devices that can be connected to the generator. In the method of the invention an external power source such as a battery is used to initially supply power to start an alternator and generator. Once the system has started it is not necessary for the battery to supply power to the system. The battery can then be disconnected. The alternator and electric motor work in combination to generator electrical power. The alternator supplies this electrical power to the two inverters. One inverter outputs part of its power to the lamp load device and part back to the electric motor/generator. This power is used to power the electric motor. The second inverter supplies power to the specific load devices that are connected to the system. / In the initial model of the present invention incorporated an alternator from a 1997 Isuzu Trooper. The invention incorporates an electric motor 30 (148 watt AC). The electric motor connects to an inverter 40 (400 watt AC). The system also comprises a second inverter 50. The battery 10 also connects to both inverters 40 and 50. Each inverter has two outputs. For the first inverter 40, one output feeds into the electric motor 30 to provide to the motor and alternator combination. The other output feeds into a lamp device 60. The lamp device is a 60-watt AC lamp. This lamp device alters the current traveling from the inverter 40 such that the current feeding into the electric motor 30 is not purely inductive. Although, FIG. 1 shows a lamp device, other loads can be used to accomplish this same altering tasks. The inverter 40 has an input from which the inverter receives power from the alternator 20. The second inverter 50 also has an input that also receives power from the alternator.
05/08/07 - A device sold on eBay a couple of years ago which might relate to the above claim.
As you can see, this device was to stay connected to the battery. The above patent claims you can disconnect the battery yet still produce enough to run the generator and provide useful output power. The other interesting comment in the above claim is that a 60W AC lamp is necessary to "This lamp device alters the current traveling from the inverter 40 such that the current feeding into the electric motor 30 is not purely inductive. Although, FIG. 1 shows a lamp device, other loads can be used to accomplish this same altering tasks."
05/08/07 - Why one-day gasoline 'boycott' won't work
With gasoline prices topping $3 a gallon again, a number of readers, including Greg in Louisiana, are wondering about a proposed one-day "gas boycott" that has a goal of taking $2.3 billion in oil company profits. Aside from circulating some questionable math, organizers of this event stand exactly zero chance of having an impact on gas prices. Unfortunately, even if this boycott were to live up to the hopes of its organizers - including everyone who has forwarded this e-mail in the past few weeks (you know who you are) - it would have zero impact. None whatsoever. The real problem with this idea is that - as some versions of this e-mail helpfully suggest -these "boycotters" simply top off their tanks May 14 or wait to fill them up May 16. All that does is shift sales from one day to another. Any money “lost” from lower gasoline sales on May 15 will be made up with higher sales on the days before and after the “boycott.” To have a real financial impact, you’d have to figure out how to get people to keep their cars off the road for the whole day - cutting actual consumption.
05/08/07 - Moon visit's dark side a blow-out in costs
NASA plans to replace its ageing shuttles with a new generation of space vehicles, and has set a goal of 2018 for a return to the moon at a cost of more than $100 billion. From 2012, one chapter of NASA's space program will end and another will begin. No longer will there be a space shuttle on the Cape Canaveral launchpad, strapped to the back of a fuel tank with two rocket boosters either side. Instead, there will be one slim, graceful rocket with a manned capsule on top, just like the good old days of Apollo, Gemini and Mercury, when the space race was hot and congressional funds plentiful. So far, everyone agrees it will be a safe, cheap alternative to the shuttle for orbital missions - visiting the space station, repairing space telescopes and so on. "Unless the US wants to get out of the manned spaceflight business completely, this is the vehicle that we need to be building," said NASA administrator Michael Griffin. "What we're really developing is the shuttle's successor." Mr Ikin disagrees with those who say NASA should go straight to Mars. "My gut feeling is we'd be better off learning on the moon's surface, which is a very good analog (to Mars)," he says.
05/08/07 - Forget nuclear, try 'concentrating solar power'
There is no need for nuclear power in the U.S. because there is a simple mature technology that can deliver huge amounts of clean energy without any of the headaches of nuclear power. I refer to "concentrating solar power," or CSP, the simple but effective technique of concentrating sunlight using mirrors to create heat, and then using the heat to raise steam and drive turbines and generators, just like a conventional power station. It is possible to store solar heat in melted salts so that electricity generation may continue at night or on cloudy days. This technology has been generating electricity successfully in California since 1985. CSP plants are now being planned or built in many parts of the world. CSP works best in hot deserts and, of course, these are not nearby. But it is feasible and economical to transmit solar electricity over very long distances using highly efficient, high-voltage, direct-current transmission lines. With transmission losses at about 3 percent per 1,000 km, solar electricity may be transmitted to most of the U.S. and much of Canada. In a report commissioned by the German government, it is estimated that CSP electricity, imported from North Africa and the Middle East, could become one of the cheapest sources of electricity in Europe, including the cost of transmission.
05/08/07 - Basic Exercises
No time to exercise? Start off with a few minutes of these basic exercises and calisthenics, just a couple of times per week, and watch your fitness routine grow over time and your body fat shrivel away. This page was designed for people like me: Those that want simple (not to be confused with “easy”) exercises that will tone their body’s primary muscles and build strength for endurance sports without any fancy equipment.
05/07/07 - Predictions for 2007
1) the climatic phenomenon that is El Nino is brewing again and Mr Viner believes it will make for a new hottest year on record. 2) Afghanistan to be the new Northern Ireland 3) unfortunately, my predition is a gloomy one, but think that before the end of the year some kind of skirmish or "police action" will have taken place between IRAN and ISRAEL which will have far reaching effects well into the decade and beyond. 4) The global debt bubble will burst, lead by a housing market crash. The stampede will be out of equities into gold, which will soar way above the $1,000 per ounce level. Other safe havens will be currently low cost real estate in South America. 5) At least one country on the major world political scene will ban religion outright. 6) Big Earthquake will hit Los Angeles - September. 7) The begining of the house price crash in the latter part of the year. 8) The Third World War will begin. It will start with a Nuclear terrorist stike in one of the Islamic countries that are supporting the "War Against Terror" but instead of taking credibility the terrorist group responsible will create propaganda stating it was Israel.
05/07/07 - Garments treated with metallic nanoparticles prevent colds and flu
Fashion designers and fiber scientists at Cornell have taken "functional clothing" to a whole new level. They have designed a garment that can prevent colds and flu and never needs washing, and another that destroys harmful gases and protects the wearer from smog and air pollution. Ong's dress and jacket, part of her original fashion line called "Glitterati," look innocently hip. But closer inspection -- with a microscope, that is -- shows an army of electrostatically charged nanoparticles creating a protective shield around the cotton fibers in the top part of the dress, and the sleeves, hood and pockets of the jacket. Dong explained that the fabrics were created by dipping them in solutions containing nanoparticles synthesized in Hinestroza's lab. The resultant colors are not the product of dyes, but rather, reflections of manipulation of particle size or arrangement. The upper portion of the dress contains cotton coated with silver nanoparticles. Dong first created positively charged cotton fibers using ammonium- and epoxy-based reactions, inducing positive ionization. The silver particles, about 10-20 nanometers across (a nanometer is one-billionth of a meter) were synthesized in citric acid, which prevented nanoparticle agglomeration. Dipping the positively charged cotton into the negatively charged silver nanoparticle solution resulted in the particles clinging to the cotton fibers. Silver possesses natural antibacterial qualities that are strengthened at the nanoscale, thus giving Ong's dress the ability to deactivate many harmful bacteria and viruses. The silver infusion also reduces the need to wash the garment, since it destroys bacteria, and the small size of the particles prevents soiling and stains. The denim jacket includes a hood, sleeves and pockets with soft, gray tweed cotton embedded with palladium nanoparticles, about 5-10 nanometers in length. To create the material, Dong placed negatively charged palladium crystals onto positively charged cotton fibers.
05/07/07 - From kitchen bins to hospitals, potato peel finds place
The potato peel, which always find a place in the kitchen bins, has found its place in the shape of an effective dressing material for burn injuries here in Kerala. The Jubilee Mission Medical College and Research Institute, a private hospital here, has proved in their last 15 years of treatment of burn injuries that bandages made of boiled potato peel were more effective than the conventional ones. The Potato Peel Bandage (PPB), developed by this Catholic Church-run hospital, has the advantage of being cheaper, non-sticky and quick-healing. ''The burns healed faster when PPB is used than the conventional ones as it inherits healing property,'' P V Narayanan, a plastic surgeon in the hospital told yesterday. Dattareya, an Indian-born doctor working in Holland, who visited the hospital a few years ago was amazed at the healing properties of potato peel. The material was put to extensive tests in Holland by the doctor, who was in the health services of the Netherlands Government. The research found that the skin replacement was quicker when the PPB was used. The main advantage of the PPB was that it would not stick to burn wounds as it retains moisture in the wound. The patients would not feel excruciating pain while removing the dressing. On the other hand the patients would have pain while removing any other kind of costly adhesive bandages available in the market, he added.
The cost for a 2.5 meter long and 11 cm wide role of PPB was only Rs 55 as against Rs 20 for one 10x10 cm piece of paraffin tulle grass for vaseline gauze, a most easily available non-sticking dressing material used frequently for burn wound.
05/07/07 - Swell gel mops up spills
Japanese chemists have devised a gel that swells up to 500 times its size when in contact with solvents, a property that could one-day be harnessed to absorb dangerous industrial spills. The new jelly-like substance is a successor to polyelectrolyte gels, super-absorbant polymers that expand many hundred times their dry weight when in contact with water or other polar liquids. But polyelectrolyte gels, which are perhaps best known for absorbing moisture in nappies, cannot tackle organic, or carbon-based, solvents. This is because their structure typically collapses because of the aggregation of charged atoms in such compounds. The Japanese scientists have found away around that by adding tetra-alkylammonium tetraphenylborate, a substance that attracts less-polar solvents. This allows the gel to swell rather than collapse. The gel has been successfully tested on carbon tetrachloride, toluene, tetrahydrofuran and other common industrial solvents, the researchers report.
05/07/07 - Navy Heats Up Cold Fusion Hopes
New proof that cold fusion works could fuel additional interest in generating power from low energy nuclear reactions. Cold fusion has gotten the cold shoulder from serious nuclear physicists since 1989, when Stanley Pons and Martin Fleischmann were unable to substantiate their sensational claims that deuterium nuclei could be forced to fuse and release excess energy at room temperature. Spawar researchers apparently kept the faith, however, and continued to refine the procedure by experimenting with new fusionable materials.
Szpak and Boss now claim to have succeeded at last by coating a thin wire with palladium and deuterium, then subjected it to magnetic and electric fields. The researchers have offered plastic films called CR-39 detectors as evidence that charged particles have emerging from their reaction experiments.
05/06/07 - Up to 95% less Electricity used with New Cell-Resistor heater
The new technology of a patented new cell-resistor, is cutting next to the electricity-bill, the power consumption of most electrical appliances, such as electrical instant water heater, electrical heating devices, floor heating, also water bed heater, hairdryer, washing machines etc., down to a fraction, worldwide. With the very new technology, as much as 95 percent of electricity could be saved worldwide every day just on electrical water heating, comparing to the energy consumption of conventional outdated electrical devices after the old state of the art. The new technology electrical instant water heater with an overall height of 1 inch, with a new dominant design and a consumption of 0.8 KW /h, at 110 V - 230 V, in permanent operation, at a water temperature up to 100 degree centigrade (212 degree Fahrenheit), and a greater water pressure in relation to a comparison product after the old state of the art, with a power consumption of ± 20 KW/h, to 40 KW/h, at a water temperature up to 60 degree centigrade (140 degree Fahrenheit) heavy current (400 V), will replace all conventional great power wasting instant water heater and storage water heater worldwide in a very short period of time, and tilt the market on conventional outdated electrical products and technologies. The inventor seeks an American licensee for unrivaled worldwide production of the new electrical devices. / NOTE: the contact website shows it was an art site. The Wayback machine shows the last record as February, 2005. The domain expires May 13th, 2007 but it isn't responding now.
05/06/07 - Defending the Freedom to Tinker
What Digg did and didn't do in response to a HD DVD encryption-cracking code on its site is the subject of much controversy. By the thousands, Digg members jumped on the freedom of speech bandwagon, which gets closer to the heart of the matter -- that there's some fundamental issues at stake in the form of a 32-digit number. "I think people are upset at the notion that here is a number, a mathematical object, that this company is claiming ownership over and saying users are not allowed to know about," Halderman explained. "I think people, especially technical people, find that notion very distasteful, that a company can own just an integer." The freedom to tinker isn't a right granted by the U.S. Constitution, but is it somehow ingrained into men and women? Most definitely. Cars are jam-packed with patents, yet some auto enthusiasts constantly customize their cars without fear of lawsuits from the manufacturer. The same feeling must certainly extend to electronic devices like PCs and movies on shiny disks, right?. Sure, just because the hood is down and it's impossible to see the engine, so to speak, it doesn't mean something is not under the surface. However, while any consumer can modify a car, they can't create mass copies of cars.
05/06/07 - Nature inspired Vacuum gap electronics
IBM is learning from naturally-forming patterns that create seashells, snowflakes and tooth enamel to build its next family of computer chips. IBM said the "self-assembling nanontechnology," expected to be integrated into its chips in 2009, increases the flow of electrical signals by 35 percent while using 15 percent less power in comparison with traditional chip-building techniques. The new process involves the use of "airgap" insulation for the millions of electrical paths, or ultra thin copper wires that make up each chip. Carbon silicate glass insulation is now used to keep the electrical signal in each path separated so data can be processed properly. Without proper insulation, the signals could become jumbled. Airgap technology relies on a vacuum between the wires to keep data paths separated. Vacuum is a better insulator than carbon silicate, which becomes more fragile as chip components and circuits get smaller, the company said.
05/06/07 - Vibrating windows to stop outside sound waves in their tracks
A team of researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Structural Durability and System Reliability LBF in Darmstadt, Germany, have developed a vibrating window that negates noise generated by sources as loud and shrieking as jet planes. "A window acts like a loudspeaker and a membrane. If you control the vibration of the window, you can control transmitted noise in such a way that it is not acting like a membrane or a loudspeaker," said Thilo Bein, head of the business unit for energy, environment and health at the institute. Bein and his team have developed a method that thwarts vibration with vibration, effectively negating the interference of outside noise through glass windows. The trick, they say, is to stop the sound waves in their tracks. The process uses postage stamp-sized patches made of a ceramic called piezoelectric material, to behave both like a sensor and vibration generator when shot with an electric charge. The material can be made transparent and imbedded in the glass, too, although the team has not yet accomplished this step with the window. Wires running through the window link the stamp-sized patches to a computer controller and an amplifier. When a sound-generated vibration rattles the window, the piezoelectric patch senses it. That data goes to the controller, which in turn delivers a specific electric charge back up to the patch, causing it to vibrate at a phase that ideally cancels out the sound vibrations. In laboratory experiments, the team was able to reduce noise of 90-100 decibels (the sound of a subway or power mower) by 50 percent. According to the scientists, the invention could find its way for use in apartments, hotels and offices within five years.
05/06/07 - Retroactive Immunity Proposed for Telcos Who Share Private Data
"The government has proposed giving retroactive immunity to telephone companies for giving personal data to the government, even if such requests are later found to be illegal." / It's buried beneath the innocuous headline "Liability Defense." As the government explains later in an analysis of the bill, "companies that cooperate with the Government in the war on terror deserve our appreciation and protection-not litigation." Any court case dealing with the issue would be thrown out of court, and the protection would include all phone company interaction with the intelligence community since September 11. The issue of whether any of this behavior was legal is not important. The government has already argued that legality doesn't matter when it comes to the phone companies, since even a ruling that their actions were illegal would expose the existence of the intelligence-gathering program in question. Therefore, such cases should not even be considered by the courts.
05/06/07 - Mushroom Insulation
The patented combination of water, flour, minerals, and mushroom spores could replace conventional foam insulations, which are expensive to produce and harmful to the environment.
Households use nearly one-fifth the total energy consumed in the United States every year - and of that energy, 50 to 70 percent is spent on heating and cooling, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. To reduce this massive energy expenditure, new and existing homes must be fitted with more insulation. Conventional polystyrene and polyurethane foam blends are typically used because of their excellent capacity to insulate, but they require petroleum for production and are not biodegradable. “The insulation is created by pouring a mixture of insulating particles, hydrogen peroxide, starch, and water into a panel mold,” Bayer says. “Mushroom cells are then injected into the mold, where they digest the starch producing a tightly meshed network of insulating particles and mycelium. The end result is an organic composite board that has a competitive R-Value - a measurement of resistance to heat flow - and can serve as a firewall.” The invention’s potential to revolutionize the green building industry already has been recognized in a variety of outlets. Beyond insulation applications, the duo envision modifying the growing mixture slightly to include reinforcing materials that could be used to create strong, sustainable “growable” homes. Examples of this application include inexpensive structural panels that could be grown and assembled on-site in developing nations where usable housing is scarce and generally hard to obtain, or in disaster areas where temporary housing is essential.
05/06/07 - Frog Juice, the Peruvian Viagra
Carmen Gonzalez plucks one of the 50 frogs from the aquarium at her bus stop restaurant, bangs it against tiles to kill it and then makes two incisions along its belly and peels off the skin as if husking corn. Gonzalez adds three ladles of hot, white bean broth, two generous spoonfuls of honey, raw aloe vera plant and several tablespoons of maca -- an Andean root also believed to boost stamina and sex drive -- into a household blender. Then she drops the frog in. She's preparing frog juice, a beverage revered by some Andean cultures for having the power to cure asthma, bronchitis, sluggishness and a low sex drive. A drink of so-called "Peruvian Viagra" sells for about 90 cents. / Drink has broth, honey, aloe, maca -- and frog / The concoction stings the throat / Frog juice is common in Lima's highland city of Huancayo / Drink is credited for curing asthma, bronchitis, sluggishness and low sex drive
05/06/07 - Music made to measure from nature's proteins
(Man, if they get the notes right, are they in for a surprise! - JWD) The "notes" available are the 20 natural amino acids from which all proteins are constructed. The basic concept is simple: assign each amino acid to a different musical note, so leucine could be middle C on the piano, for example, serine could be D, and so on till all 20 have their own note. To create a musical score based on a specific protein, simply go through the entire amino acid sequence of the protein and transcribe the amino acids into notes. Unfortunately, previous attempts to do this have produced melodies that are distinctly unmusical because of huge, sudden leaps up to 20 notes. "It's difficult to listen to single notes leaping over a two-octave range," says Takahashi. She and Miller got round this by assigning each amino acid not to a single note, but to its own triad chord, a group of three notes instead of one. Played one after the other, in the same order as the amino acid sequence, the triads create sequences of harmonies that make the music much richer and more interesting. They cheated slightly by assigning to 7 of the amino acids slight variations on chords already used in the first 13 amino acids. This limited the melodic span of base notes in the pieces to just 13 notes instead of 20, making even the highest melodic leaps much less jarring. Finally, they found a way to assign timings to each triad chord, adding rhythm to the music. To do this, they retreated away from the protein itself and referred back to the gene that builds the protein. The sequence in which amino acids are added to a protein relies on codons - triplets of DNA bases in the gene.
05/06/07 - Why Desire Drives Us Wild
(An early Star Trek Spock quote, "You may find that having is not so pleasing a thing as wanting." - JWD) Most mammals, including humans, experience moments of overwhelming desire - be it for food, sex or other things - that can be followed by seemingly magical feelings of satisfaction and bliss if the desire is met. But scientists have found that, thanks to brain circuitry, we're often likely to be left wanting rather than satisfied. Berridge, a University of Michigan psychology researcher, added, "If separable brain circuits exist for liking and wanting, then a person who had selective activation of the wanting circuit would want more without liking more." Such want/like dissociations can lead to addictions with drugs, sex, food, gambling and more, the researchers believe. Some people also appear to be prone to experiencing the out-of-sync phases.
05/06/07 - Debunkers are Nuts?
Should people who question the government's version of the events of 9/11 have their heads examined? Or is it the people who accept the "official version" who should have their heads examined? Well, the following psychiatrists and psychologists have concluded that the official version of 9/11 is false. Moreover, many of these mental health experts have concluded that the government's account is so obviously false that people who believe the government's version are in psychological denial.
05/05/07 - Static on Moving Object Forms Magnetic Field
To the shaft of an electric motor, attach a disk of hard rubber, or an old phonograph record. Electrify the disk by rubbing it with a woolen cloth. Now start the motor. Place a small magnetic compass near the edge of the whirling disk, and the needle will be deflected, showing that it has been brought into a magnetic field. Such a field is set up not only by electric current passing through a wire, a familiar phenomenon, but also by charges of static electricity on a moving object. The faster the disk spins, the greater will be the magnetic effect. This curious phenomenon was first noted by Prof. Henry A. Rowland, noted American physicist.
05/05/07 - Mind controlled Prosthetic Robots
How would you like having a robot cater to your every whim, just by thinking? While that sounds like science fiction, researchers are on their way to just that. ts slow and slightly shuffling gait, along with its size-- it's about knee-high-- is reminiscent of a child taking its first steps. The fact that the robot is playing with blocks only reinforces that impression. Nearby, like an inattentive parent, a young researcher wears what looks like a swim cap with wires and stares at what might be a computer video game. But, it's the researchers who are taking the first steps, learning how to command the robot simply by thinking. The researcher is watching the computer screen, waiting to answer the robot's questions and give it commands. While the robot gets everyone's attention, it's the brain interface that is the focus of this research. Tuning in to the brain and getting a robot to respond adequately to the commands, is the goal of Rajesh Rao. "We're interested in understanding how the brain works," says Rao," and then using that knowledge … to build, for example, prosthetic devices or helper robots." Since the brain produces many signals all the time, they also had to home in on a particular signal. Rao describes it as, "When you are looking for something, such as, let's say, your keys… and then all of a sudden you see them on a table, then your brain registers a particular kind of response...it's called an 'Ah-hah response.'" The formal name for this brain response is a P3 response. Before someone can command the robot, the researchers go through a fine-tuning process with each new user. They instruct the user wearing the wired cap to concentrate on just one photograph as a number of them are presented on screen. The electrodes measure brain activity. Once they're satisfied, the user is ready to command the robot. The user will only send commands; the actual control of the robot still belongs to the computer.
05/05/07 - Is this REALLY proof that man can see into the future?
In the next room, a patient slips slowly inside a hospital brain scanner. If it wasn't for the strange smiles and grimaces that flicker across the woman's face, you could be forgiven for thinking this was just a normal health check. But this scanner is engaged in one of the most profound paranormal experiments of all time, one that may well prove whether or not it is possible to predict the future. Shortly after 9/11, strange stories began circulating about the lucky few who had escaped the outrage.
It transpired that many of the survivors had changed their plans at the last minute after vague feelings of unease. It was a subtle, gnawing feeling that 'something' was not right. Nobody vocalised it but shortly before the attacks, people started altering their plans out of an unspoken instinct. One woman suffered crippling stomach pain while queuing for one of the ill-fated planes which flew into the World Trade Center. She made her way to the lavatory only to recover spontaneously. She missed her flight but survived the day. The aircraft which flew into the Twin Towers on 9/11 were unusually empty. All the hijacked planes were carrying only half the usual number of passengers. Perhaps one unusually empty plane could be explained away, but all four? And it wasn't just on 9/11 that people subconsciously seemed to avoid disaster. The scientist Ed Cox found that trains 'destined' to crash carried far fewer people than they did normally. Dr Jessica Utts, a statistician at the University of California, found exactly the same bizarre effect. When the Air France Concorde crashed in 2000, it wasn't long before the colleagues of those killed in the crash spoke about a sense of foreboding that had gripped the crew and flight engineers before the accident. Speaking anonymously to the French newspaper Le Parisien, one spoke of a 'morbid expectation of an accident'. "I had this sense that we were going to bump into the scenery," he said. Dr Dean Radin devised an experiment to test these ideas. He hooked up volunteers to a modified lie detector, which measured an electrical current across the surface of the skin. This current changes when a person reacts to an event such as seeing an extremely violent picture or video. It's the electrical equivalent of a wince. Radin showed sexually explicit, violent or soothing images to volunteers in a random sequence determined by computer. And he soon discovered that people began reacting to the pictures before they saw them. It was unmistakable. They began to 'wince' a few seconds before they actually saw the image. And it happened time and time again, way beyond what chance alone would allow. So impressive were Radin's results that Dr Kary Mullis, a Nobel Prizewinning chemist, took an interest. He was hooked up to Radin's machine and shown the emotionally charged images.
"It's spooky," he says "I could see about three seconds into the future. You shouldn't be able to do that." Other researchers from around the world, from Edinburgh University to Cornell in the US, rushed to duplicate Radin's experiment and improve on it. And they got similar results.
It was soon discovered that gamblers began reacting subconsciously shortly before they won or lost. The same effect was seen in those terrified of animals, moments before they were shown the creatures. The odds against all of these trials being wrong are literally millions to one against. Dr Jessica Utts at the University of California, who has worked for the US military and CIA as an independent auditor of its paranormal research, believes we are constantly sampling the future and using the knowledge to help us make better decisions. "I think we're doing it all the time," she says. "We've looked at the data and it does seem to happen."
05/05/07 - Aussies make solar power cell breakthrough
Researchers at the University of New South Wales ARC Photovoltaics Centre of Excellence have developed a means of increasing the cell's light-trapping ability by up to 50 per cent. They say that apart from a home's cooking and hot-water heating needs, such improvement to an electric solar system could power an average house with panels covering 10 square metres. "Overall, our new solar cells increase power generated by 30 per cent," said Dr Kylie Catchpole, co-author of the study. As part of the process, UNSW researchers, led by Phd student Supriya Pillai, place a thin film (about 10 nanometres thick) of silver onto a solar cell and heat it to 200C. The film breaks into tiny 100-nanometre "islands" of silver and raises its light-trapping efficiency. With this the team can move from thick expensive silicon "wafers" to cheaper "thin film" cells with less silicon. "Most thin-film solar cells are between eight and 10 per cent efficient, but the new technique could increase efficiency to between 13 and 15 per cent," Dr Catchpole said. Prices for an installed solar system for an average house could fall 25 per cent from $20,000 to $15,000 once the technology filters through, the researchers say. There are only 30,000 Australian households - out of eight million - which have solar panels for electricity. If this solar system is used with a solar heating system for water and cooking, the excess power generated can be sent back to the power grid.
05/05/07 - Energy and Water from Beer Waste
Australian beer maker Foster's is going to generate clean energy and clean water from brewery waste water by using a fuel cell in which bacteria consume the sugar, starch and alcohol in the waste. The fuel cell is expected to produce 2 kilowatts of power - enough to power a household - and the technology would eventually be applied in other breweries and wineries owned by Foster's. The cell should be operating at the brewery by September. "Brewery waste water is a particularly good source because it is very biodegradable and is highly concentrated, which does help in improving the performance of the cell," said Prof. Jurg Keller, the university's wastewater expert. The 660-gallon fuel cell will be 250 times bigger than a prototype that has been operating at Australia's University of Queensland laboratory for three months. The experimental technology was unveiled Wednesday by scientists at the university, which was given a $115,000 state government grant to install the microbial fuel cell at the brewery.
05/05/07 - Respectful Cameras
A camera developed by computer scientists at the University of California, Berkeley, would obscure, with an oval, the faces of people who appear on surveillance videos. These so-called respectful cameras, which are still in the research phase, could be used for day-to-day surveillance applications and would allow for the privacy oval to be removed from a given set of footage in the event of an investigation. "Cameras are here to stay, and there's no avoiding it," says UC Berkeley computer scientist Ken Goldberg. "Let's figure out new technology to make them less invasive." In its current state of development, the camera is only able to obscure the faces of people who are wearing a marker, in the form of a yellow hat or a green vest. It currently works in real time with Panasonic's robotic security cameras operating at 10 frames per second and a resolution of 640-by-480-pixel videos. The researchers use a statistical classification approach called adaptive boosting to train the system to identify the marker in environments with a high degree of visual noise. But they also combined this classifier with a tracker, which takes into account the subject's velocity, along with other interframe information.
05/05/07 - A Challenge to Richard Branson
Back in February of 2007 Richard Branson offered a $25 million prize to anyone who can come up with a plan for removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Richard Branson has money, lots of money, and he is involved in a variety of business enterprises. If he were sincere in his effort to do something good for the planet, he might have used the $25 million to promote projects that cut the use of fossil fuels. It makes no sense to try to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while continuing to pump it into the atmosphere at an ever-increasing rate. Funding wind, solar, hydro, and bio-fuel projects would have been a better use for the prize money. If you’re reading this Richard Branson, I suggest that you take the time to consider what a few sincere people are doing for the benefit of the planet. For example: Gary Reysa runs a website that caters to environmentally conscious do-it-yourselfers. John Abbott’s website and forum are great sources of information for those interested in environmentally-friendly alternatives to home heating. William Lord’s website describes the design and workings of his solar-powered home in Maine. These are just a few of the many folks who, at their own expense, tackle environmentally beneficial projects and share their knowledge with others. We’re doing these things now, not simply bragging about what we plan to do. In the long run we’ll do more good than all of the “rich and famous” combined. If you’re sincere Richard Branson, why not prove it by helping to fund those of us who are involved in projects that benefit the environment? In addition to the technically-minded among us, I’m sure there are plenty of biologists who would like to use their expertise to tackle the carbon dioxide problem. Just imagine how much more we could do with a small grant from you! Come on Richard Branson, you know you want to do it. You've pledged $3 Billion of Virgin Atlantic money to fight global warming. Let's see you back up that statement with action! Get out your checkbook and send us each a couple hundred thousand dollars. I’ll be watching my mailbox. (via thewatt.com and solarjohn.blogspot.com)
05/05/07 - Engineers write defence against aliens manual
A group of American aerospace engineers have written a book on how to defend the earth against alien invasion. Travis Shane Taylor, Bob Boan, Charles Anding and T Conley Powell hold a variety of PhDs and other degrees in hard sciences and technology. All have worked on weapons and aerospace programmes for defence contractors, NASA and various parts of the US forces. Taylor and Boan also claim expertise in various kinds of technical military intelligence-gathering. Their book An Introduction to Planetary Defense: A Study of Modern Warfare Applied to Extra-Terrestrial Invasion is out now in paperback, and getting a fair bit of play in the media.
05/04/07 - Hacking Your Body's Bacteria for Better Health
Modern humans are bacteria-killing machines. We assassinate microbes with hand soap, mouthwash and bathroom cleaners. It feels clean and right. But some scientists say we're overdoing it. All this killing may actually cause diseases like eczema, irritable bowel syndrome and even diabetes. The answer, they say, is counterintuitive: Feed patients bacteria.
05/04/07 - Plastic Power Sheet
Plastic sheet provides cordless power. With the invention of a special type of plastic sheeting that can conduct electricity, power cords and outlets may become a thing of the past. The material, developed by a team of seven Japanese scientists from the University of Tokyo, can deliver 40 watts of energy to any appliance with a small "receiving coil" if the sheet is itself plugged in. The product could potentially be adapted to make walls and tables capable of electrical conduction, according to the researchers. The system is produced by layering an organic molecule that conducts the power, copper wires that sense electronic devices, switches that control power distribution and copper coils to transmit the electricity. The plastic sheet delivers energy with an 81.4 percent efficiency. Researchers predict that the material most likely won't be available for sale for another five years, during which time they will work on improving the product's stability and reliability. Devices would also need a receiving coil to be compatible.
05/04/07 - To Treat the Dead
Consider someone who has just died of a heart attack. His organs are intact, he hasn't lost blood. All that's happened is his heart has stopped beating-the definition of "clinical death"-and his brain has shut down to conserve oxygen. But what has actually died? According to Dr. Lance Becker, an authority on emergency medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. "After one hour," he says, "we couldn't see evidence the cells had died. We thought we'd done something wrong." In fact, cells cut off from their blood supply died only hours later. But if the cells are still alive, why can't doctors revive someone who has been dead for an hour? Because once the cells have been without oxygen for more than five minutes, they die when their oxygen supply is resumed. Biologists are still grappling with the implications of this new view of cell death-not passive extinguishment, like a candle flickering out when you cover it with a glass, but an active biochemical event triggered by "reperfusion," the resumption of oxygen supply. Mitochondria control the process known as apoptosis, the programmed death of abnormal cells that is the body's primary defense against cancer. "It looks to us," says Becker, "as if the cellular surveillance mechanism cannot tell the difference between a cancer cell and a cell being reperfused with oxygen. Something throws the switch that makes the cell die." When someone collapses on the street of cardiac arrest, if he's lucky he will receive immediate CPR, maintaining circulation until he can be revived in the hospital. But the rest will have gone 10 or 15 minutes or more without a heartbeat by the time they reach the emergency department. And then what happens? "We give them oxygen," Becker says. "We jolt the heart with the paddles, we pump in epinephrine to force it to beat, so it's taking up more oxygen." Blood-starved heart muscle is suddenly flooded with oxygen, precisely the situation that leads to cell death. Instead, Becker says, we should aim to reduce oxygen uptake, slow metabolism and adjust the blood chemistry for gradual and safe reperfusion. "In an emergency department, you work like mad for half an hour on someone whose heart stopped, and finally someone says, 'I don't think we're going to get this guy back,' and then you just stop," Becker says. The body on the cart is dead, but its trillions of cells are all still alive. Becker wants to resolve that paradox in favor of life.
05/04/07 - Researchers 'seed' ocean with iron to soak up CO2
A research ship is about to begin a project around the Galapagos Islands, in the Pacific Ocean, that will highlight the importance of marine plankton in the fight against global warming and climate change. Waterbird II, the research ship of an eco-restoration organisation called Planktos, is on a "voyage of recovery" to "seed" the oceans with the iron in the hope of stimulating blooms of phytoplankton, the microscopic marine plants that soak up the energy of the Sun to convert carbon dioxide into organic matter. Scientists have long postulated that it may be possible to speed up the rate at which the oceans soak up atmospheric CO2 by stimulating the growth of plankton in the oceans with added iron - an essential nutrient for photosynthesis. In order for it to work, however, it was important for the phytoplankton to sink quickly to about 300 metres, beyond the range of the zooplankton - the tiny animals that also live within the same surface layers, feeding on other plankton. A number of small-scale trials tested Martin's idea but it soon emerged that zooplankton multiplied as quickly as the phytoplankton, with the result that the animals quickly ate the organic material formed as a result of adding the iron. Instead of the carbon sequestered by the phytoplankton sinking to the seabed as planned, it was emitted to the sea and air by the feeding zooplankton.
05/04/07 - Navy Patents Sound Weapon
Imagine a day when a submarine could blast a target to smithereens using nothing more than acoustic energy. That's the idea behind a recently granted U.S. Navy patent for a cavitation weapon. The powerful weapon would use sonar to generate "acoustic remote cavitation," i.e. a big pressure bubble, that would destroy everything from torpedoes to mines.
05/04/07 - Appendectomy through the mouth
The procedure, called Natural Orifice Translumenal Endosurgery (NOTES) involves the insertion of tools down the throat and through an incision in the stomach lining. Once the appendix is cut loose, it's pulled out of the mouth. Apparently, there are other variations of the technique, including gall bladder removal through an incision made in the vagina. One big benefit is that these surgeries don't leave any visible scar. Advocates say NOTES can be performed without putting the patient under because there are fewer nerves fibers within the body that transmit pain than on the skin. Recovery time is also quicker.
05/04/07 - Kramers Safety Stove using ethanol safety gel
(Thanks to Raymond for this excellent followup and photos on the Bio-Geyser and ethanol Safety Gel, what a great product! - JWD) The ethanol is made from mealies and is supplied by a group of farmers who put up an ethanol plant, Silversands Ethanol, when maize prices were worryingly low. Kramer has merged his Safety Stove business with Silversands. A Safety Stove geyser will produce 55 °C water in 90 seconds. Kramer's company recently signed the paperwork for the production of as many as 450 000 Safety Stove ovens with listed appliance manufacturer Amalgamated Appliances. The market for paraffin stoves is 8m units annually. The gel's appeal lies in its health and safety benefits. It has no harmful emissions. And if a stove is knocked over "the fuel doesn't run to every corner of the house and combust, like paraffin does". It stays put and can be blown out like a candle. However, the safety gel is slightly more expensive. / Combustion takes place only on the surface of the gel, if you spill it just blow it out like a candle, then scoop the gel back into the stove and reuse it. / 1 litre Safety Gel = 6 hours 30 minutes total burning time / Fuel refills packaged in 500ml, 2.5 and 5 litre easy to carry containers, safe to store, transport and use. / (666 degree Celsius = 1230.8 degree Fahrenheit)
05/03/07 - Bio-geyser hailed as 'miracle' invention
A "miracle" invention that converts cold water into hot in just 90 seconds was unveiled at the 4th World Congress of Rural Women on Monday. "It's ideal for rural areas where people do not have electricity to heat water. It is also useful for people who go camping," said Derek Mathew, whose brother, Anthony, invented Anthony's Amazing Bio-Geyser. The new gadget costs R700 (700.00 ZAR South Africa Rand = 99.6938 USD) and the cold water, which runs from a geyser into a pipe, is heated using R2 (2.00 ZAR = 0.284760 USD) worth of ethanol gel fuel. Mathew, who was surrounded by interested delegates at the exhibition at Durban's International Convention Centre on Monday, said the bio-geyser could supply 2,2 litres a minute and is heated to 55C in 90 seconds. It was very safe to use indoors as there was no smoke or fumes. It is generally mounted over a sink or bath and there is also a shower attachment. Delegate Gladys Javu was one of the first to marvel at the geyser, describing it as a "miracle". "There's no fire and its safe for children to use." Delegate Ruth Mkalipi hailed it as a "wonderful" invention and a boon to rural people. / Weight = 7kg / (55 degree Celsius = 131 degree Fahrenheit)
05/03/07 - Farmer's cool invention turns profitable
Ron and Kate Khosla are farmers, and it had always bothered them that it could cost $3,000 or more to have such a huge and heavy contraption installed to create a walk-in cooler room, cool enough to store their harvest in. Their organic farm, Huguenot Street Farm, is modest, as are their profits. Khosla's idea was simple: he thought he could build a gizmo that would allow an ordinary air conditioner to take a room's temperature down as low as 32 degrees. Last week, you could find Khosla juggling about a dozen small boxes at the New Paltz post office, sending his patent-pending CoolBot to farmers like himself. With next to no publicity or marketing, the CoolBot is becoming a very hot item. And it's poised to go more places than the farm. He's sold about 80 units at $250 a pop and has placed material orders that will allow him to build another 500. Coolbot Ordering and Info - “Normal” walk-in cooler compressors sell for $2500 + installation - which in our area is around $800, not including electrical work. They use a “brute-force” approach to cooling: using LOTS of coolant (which is bad for the environment), a big motor, lots of surface area and multiple fans (which dry out your vegetables and end up accounting for up to 60% of the cost of running the darn thing!). Here's the crazy thing: that $2500+ walk-in cooler compressor you see on a small 8' x 8' vegetable cooler may only put out 8,500 BTUs of cooling power! That's less than you get from a $300 window air conditioner from Home Depot! It's not quite that simple, though. Here's the problem with window air conditioner units. First, they are electronically limited so that you can't go below 60 degrees. With some electrical bravery and skill, you could snip, solder and bypass the electrical controls so you COULD go lower. It will work better, but still not very well, because while BTUs are BTUs (it's a strict measure of cooling capacity), your ability to actually ACCESS the BTUs of cooling power in your window air conditioner drops drastically as you approach only 60° F. Why? Because you don't have all fans and the extra surface you see on normal walk-in cooler compressors to dissipate the cold without freezing up!
But that's where CoolBot comes in! CoolBot uses new (2006 patent pending) technology to replace the brute force approach of fans and surface area with a micro-controller "brain" that intelligently interfaces with your air conditioner - controlling and co-ordinating its output so that you can access nearly all your cooling power, even as you keep temperatures in your walk-in cooler (or any highly insulated room) in the 30's without re-wiring and without any freeze-ups.
05/03/07 - Joy As Local Invention Works Wonders On Pest-Infested Farms
To local farmers, Robert Ngari, 45, is a dependable researcher. He is more dear to them than the Government's agriculture officers are.
Thanks to him, many landowners are returning to their land, which they abandoned over the past three years following a massive invasion by millipedes. Ngari has a local invention to control the arthropods. Now farmers can once again venture into horticulture, which is fairly lucrative. A millipede, he discovered, does not die easily when sprayed with poison, unlike other pests and insects that attack growing plants. The insects must swallow poison. "You must ensure that the millipede swallows the poison for it to die. Otherwise, spraying it with chemicals is useless. I even tried to sink millipedes in a container of water mixed with diazinon (a poisonous solution used to control pests), but they did not die," he says. At first he tried several types of edibles to see whether the insect would consume them. "The food that millipedes seemed to like most is maize germ, which we usually give our livestock and chicken," the farmer says. After adding diazinon to it, the millipedes devoured the mixture and started dying. Ngari's new invention is good news to horticulturists, hence their return to the area. Matanya is semi-arid. Horticulture farmers depend on the perennial Burguret River for irrigation. Since millipedes are restricted to moist places, where they feed on organic matter, it is mainly within the valley where this river courses through that they thrive. The area is usually wet. Mulching to protect shooting plants from the scorching sun provides shelter to millipedes.
05/03/07 - Return of The Mummy?
This bizarre image shows a gigantic cloud of dust billowing over an African city. The dust storm - known as a "Haboob" - gathered over Khartoum, the capital of Sudan in north east Africa yesterday. It lasted for about two hours, carrying dust and sand from the Sahara across the city. Haboobs - which are a type of seasonal storm - are formed in summer months.
05/03/07 - Weird Missing Bee theories
The sudden disappearance of one-quarter of America's honeybees has brought out some strange ideas and downright myths. Pettis jokes that the bees are out creating crop circles "and it's working them to death."
05/03/07 - New 'sleep machine' could signal the end of insomnia
Using medical equipment, scientists stimulated the brain with harmless magnetic pulses. These penetrate the nerves that control a type of deep sleep called "slow-wave activity" and made their brains produce these waves. Researchers believe the same principles could be used to create a machine which can electronically stimulate a deep-sleep power nap. This mimics the restorative benefits of eight hours of rest. In response to each burst of magnetism, the sleeping volunteers' brains produced slow waves typical of deep sleep. "We don't know why, but this was a very good place (in the brain) to evoke big waves that clearly travel through every part of the brain. "With a single pulse, we were able to induce a wave that looks identical to the waves the brain makes normally during sleep," he said. There are two broad categories of sleep. In REM (rapid eye movement), the brain starts to dream and the eyes move rapidly from side to side under the closed eyelids. In the other phase, slow waves wash over the brain at a rate of about one a second, 1,000 times a night. Slow-wave activity occupies about 20 per cent of sleeping hours. For the study, the researchers used an electroencephalograph machine, which records brain activity, and a transcranial magnetic stimulation machine to deliver the electronic pulse. Creating slow waves on demand raises the potential of similar treatments for insomnia. Theoretically, it could also lead to a magnetically-triggered "power nap".
05/02/07 - NYC to embrace "congestion pricing"?
Michael Bloomberg, mayor of New York City, is seriously exploring the idea of a congestion pricing system for America's largest city, similar to the downtown toll system currently in place in London. Under consideration is a "proposal to charge motorists for driving into Manhattan below 86th Street on weekdays from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.," according to Associated Press. "Trucks would be charged $21 a day and cars would be charged $8, on top of the city's already expensive parking." It's sure to be controversial, but it's nice to see Bloomberg taking a tough stand on this issue by highlighting the necessity of sustainable growth in New York City. What will be interesting to see is whether NYC modifies the approach currently in place in London, which is simply a toll to get in and out of the city. One potential is to charge people by the number of kilometres they drive in the downtown core, and to have prices be reduced as the vehicle moves out of the city or into less congested areas. Toronto-based Skymeter Corp. is working on just such a scheme, which instead of high-tech tolls uses satellite tracking. Check out the Grush Hour blog for more information on this.
05/02/07 - Voices in your head
Marketers around the world are using innovative audio technology that sends sound in a narrow beam, just like light, making it possible to direct messages right into consumers' ears while they shop or sit in waiting rooms. The audio spotlight device, created by Watertown firm Holosonic Research Labs Inc., has been used to hawk everything from cereals in supermarket aisles to glasses at doctor's offices. The messages are often quick and targeted -- and a little creepy to the uninitiated. Court TV recently installed the audio spotlight in ceilings of bookstores to promote the network's new murder-mystery show. A voice, whispering, "Hey, you, can you hear me? Do you ever think about murder?" was beamed toward customers as they browsed the mystery section in several independent bookstores in New York. Unlike traditional speakers, which broadcast sound in every direction, sound from an audio spotlight speaker can be focused directly at one spot, so no one else can hear it, or projected against a surface so that sound appears to come from the surface itself. For example, a box of Fruity Pebbles can advertise its nutritional content, heard by shoppers only as they walk by boxes in the cereal aisle. The audio spotlight uses ultrasound to stimulate the air into making sound, which is emitted in focused, laser-like beams.
05/02/07 - Non-lethal sonic warfare
In November of last year, the cruise liner Seabourne Spirit was attacked by pirates off the East African coast. After being hit by a rocket-propelled grenade, the crew defended the liner with a sonic weapon, a Long Range Acoustic Device (LRAD - not to be confused with the Lilac Rainbow Allience of the Deaf). The device has a diameter of 84cm (33in) and a weight of only 24kg (53lb), consisting of a dish that can generate a frequency of between 2100 and 3100hz at 150 decibels, and focus the sound wave into a beam 15°-30°, effective for up to 300 metres (985ft). In addition to potentially damaging hearing, the intensity of the sound at such frequencies physically compels the target to get away. The LRAD was devised to protect American Navy vessels following the terrorist bombing of the USS Cole in 2000. Since then, it has been used in regions of Baghdad, Fallujah, and other parts of Iraq. It was also used against civilians in New York City, during the protests of the 2004 Republican National Convention. But non-leathal sonic warfare does not stop there. In parts of Britain, some shops have Mosquitos. Developed by Compound Security Service, the Mosquito is a pretty simple device that produces a continuous high frequency tone. The frequency, however, is inaudible to most adults, who have already suffered some hearing loss by age 20. So, its primary use is to keep young people away, loiterers and troublemakers. The device also has a Pavlovian conditioning effect, in that people unwittingly exposed to the sound in a certain place will avoid going there again, possibly without knowing why. / We assign the lowest sound a person can hear (the threshold) as 0 decibels (dB). This value will be different for each person, but the ratio does give comparative size changes in the intensity (loudness). For example, 43 dB is twice as loud as 40 dB (remember log scale), 53 dB is 10 times larger than 43 dB, and 63 dB is 100 times larger than 43 dB. This scale may seem confusing, but psychologists say that our sense of hearing is roughly logarithmic. In other words, they think that you have to increase the sound intensity by the same factor (double it) to have the same increase in loudness (3 dB). / Every increase of 1 in a common logarithm is the result of 10 times the argument. That is, an earthquake of 6.3 has 10 times the magnitude of a 5.3 earthquake. The decibel level of loud rock music or a chainsaw (115 decibels = 11.5 bels) is 10 times louder than chickens inside a building (105 decibels = 10.5 bels). Pain threshold = +130 decibels. Jet engine = +150 decibels.
05/02/07 - Combined Hydrogen and Carbon system could fuel Transportation
A hybrid system of hydrogen and carbon that can produce a sufficient amount of liquid hydrocarbon fuels to power the entire U.S. transportation sector. The H2CAR process uses carbon produced by biomass and hydrogen supplied from carbon-free energy. The process has several advantages: * The land area needed to grow the biomass is <40% of that needed by other routes that solely use biomass to support the entire transportation sector. * Prior known processes were estimated to be able to produce 30% of the United States transportation fuel from the annual biomass of 1.366 billion tons, while the H2CAR process shows the potential to supply the entire United States transportation sector from that quantity of biomass. * The synthesized liquid provides H2 storage in an open loop system. * Reduction to practice of the H2CAR route has the potential to provide the transportation sector for the foreseeable future, using the existing infrastructure.
05/02/07 - Businesses Scramble To Stay Out of Google Hell
(Murphy's Law in action. - JWD) "Forbes has up an article on the consequences of being dumped into a claimed 'supplemental index', also known as 'Google Hell'. It uses the example of Skyfacet, a site selling diamonds rings and other jewelery, which has dropped in Google's rankings and saw a $500,000 drop in revenue in only three months after the site owner paid a marketing consultant to improve the sites. The article claims that sites in the supposed 'supplemental index' may be visited by Google's spiders as infrequently as once per year. The problem? Google's cache shows that Google's spiders visited the site ss recently as late April. 'Google Hell is the worst fear of the untold numbers of companies that depend on search results to keep their business visible online. Getting stuck there means most users will never see the site, or at least many of the site's pages, when they enter certain keywords. And getting out can be next to impossible--because site operators often don't know what they did to get placed there.'"
05/02/07 - Bush Vetoes Troop Withdrawal Bill
(He is like a petulant, spoiled and selfish child who has been given everything he wanted for too long, now let's see how he reacts when denied his wants. First sign is to say 'you've made your statement' and expect they tumble to his wishes, his actions will become more out of control until he forces an empeachment and probable criminal accountability. - JWD) In only the second veto of his presidency, Bush rejected legislation pushed by Democratic leaders that would require the first U.S. combat troops to be withdrawn from Iraq by Oct. 1 with a goal of a complete pullout six months later. "The president wants a blank check," said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., moments after Bush's appearance. "The Congress is not going to give it to him." She said Congress would work with him to find common ground but added that there was "great distance" between them on Iraq. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said Bush has an obligation to explain his plan for responsibly ending the war. Bush said Democrats had made a political statement by passing anti-war legislation. "They've sent their message, and now it's time to put politics behind us and support our troops with the funds," the president said. He said the need to act is urgent because without a war-funding bill, the armed forces will have to consider cutting back on buying or repairing equipment.
05/01/07 - Notes From an Ex-Senator
I heard about this on Bill Maher's talk show (04/20/07 on youtube.com #4 of 6). Bradley has written another book, “The New American Story,” outlining once again his plan for America. “I’m outside the political pressure cooker now with no ax to grind and no political ambition to accomplish,” he explains. One interesting comment from the book mentioned on Maher's show, "If every car got 45mpg, we wouldn't have to import any oil from Opec."
05/01/07 - Medgle - a Medical Google
Medgle - Personalized medical search by doctors for everyone (for informational purposes only) Probably one of the coolest matches to what I've long been looking for - a search engine which takes your symptoms and returns possible diagnoses to fret over. Takes both (autocompleted!) text strings (multiple lines!) as well as a generalized search based on body location (wif pix!). Many options, tons of fun.
05/01/07 - Companies explore use of brain waves to control toys
A convincing twin of Darth Vader stalks the beige cubicles of a Silicon Valley office, complete with ominous black mask, cape and light saber. But this is no chintzy Halloween costume. It's a prototype, years in the making, of a toy that incorporates brain-wave-reading technology. Behind the mask is a sensor that touches the user's forehead and reads the brain's electrical signals, then sends them to a wireless receiver inside the saber, which lights up when the user is concentrating. The player maintains focus by channeling thoughts on any fixed mental image, or thinking specifically about keeping the light sword activated. When the mind wanders, the wand goes dark. Engineers at NeuroSky Inc. have big plans for brain-wave-reading toys and video games. They say the simple Darth Vader game -- a relatively crude biofeedback device cloaked in gimmicky garb -- portends the coming of more sophisticated devices that could revolutionize the way people play."Most physical games are really mental games," said Mr. Lee, also chief technology officer at NeuroSky, a 12-employee company founded in San Jose in 1999. "You must maintain attention at very high levels to succeed. This technology makes toys and video games more lifelike." Boosters say toys with even the most basic brain-wave-reading technology -- scheduled to debut later this year -- could boost mental focus and help children with attention-deficit (hyperactivity) disorder, autism and mood disorders. the price and size of EEG hardware is shrinking. NeuroSky's "dry-active" sensors don't require gel, are the size of a thumbnail, and could be put into a headset that retails for as little as $20, said NeuroSky Chief Executive Officer Stanley Yang. While NeuroSky's headset has one electrode, Emotiv Systems Inc. has developed a gel-free headset with 18 sensors. In addition to monitoring basic changes in mood and focus, Emotiv's bulkier headset detects brain waves indicating smiles, blinks, laughter, even conscious thoughts and unconscious emotions. Players could kick or punch their video game opponent -- without a joystick or mouse. "It fulfills the fantasy of telekinesis," said Tan Le, co-founder and president of Emotiv.
05/01/07 - CCTV, computers and the 'climate of fear'
Britain risks "committing slow social suicide" by allowing the Big Brother state to take over its citizens' lives, the leading privacy watchdog will warn tomorrow. The report accuses ministers of creating a climate of fear through increasing use of CCTV cameras, the computer tracking of shopping habits and plans for ID cards. Mr Thomas, who three years ago warned that Britain is "sleepwalking into a surveillance society", argues that his fears may have already been realised. He believes that excessive monitoring of personal information has not only damaged the rights of individuals but has also undermined society as a whole. The UK has 20 per cent of the world's CCTV cameras, with 4.2million watching our every move - one for every 14 people.
05/01/07 - How Elf 'n' Safety stole my country
On November 5, 2006, a crowd of more than 2,000 people assembled in a field in Ilfracombe, Devon, to watch a virtual bonfire on a big screen. Heaters were arranged strategically around the field to give the sensation of the warmth of a real bonfire and loudspeakers played the sound of wood crackling. The organisers decided on this performance after concluding that it would be uneconomic to comply with precautions insisted upon by the local council's elf 'n' safety officers. They would have to hire steel safety barriers, an army of stewards and first-aiders, and have the fire brigade on standby. They concluded it wasn't worth it. Where do they find these people? Silly question - they find them in The Guardian jobs pages. So we end up with a "service manager" whose idea of serving the public is banning a bonfire on Bonfire Night. Guy Fawkes Night is just one of the traditional British pursuits to fall foul of the elf 'n' safety Nazis. No aspect of human activity is considered safe unless it has been subjected to rigorous risk assessment, regulation and enforcement. There's an entire puritanical, purselipped industry dedicated to finding out what people like to do and stopping them. All at public expense. The Health and Safety Executive long ago lost all touch with reality. Some of it borders on clinical insanity. Take this, for example: "It's a bit like keeping tigers - they are beautiful to look at, but you wouldn't want them wandering the streets." That was Torbay councillor Colin Charlwood talking not about lions, or crocodiles, but palm trees. He was defending the council's decision to declare the English Riviera's famous palm trees a danger to the public. Charlwood, a Liberal Democrat (now there's a surprise) explained: "What if one of those leaves caught a child in the eye, for example?" If you require any further evidence that those responsible for the "elf 'n' safety" racket are in the collective grip of advanced mental illness just consider that opening sentence. "It's a bit like keeping tigers." No it isn't, not even a little bit. Palm trees are not likely to roam the streets of Torbay attacking innocent holidaymakers. Neither are tigers, for that matter. You don't get a lot of tigers in Devon. Why do we allow these deranged 'elf 'n' safety' obsessives to rule our lives? Cllr Charlwood clearly belongs in a padded cell wearing a jacket which does up at the back, along with the rest of the safety Nazis. After all, you wouldn't want them wandering the streets. We've had a village in Gloucestershirebanning swings in a children's playground, and elf 'n' safety officers in Bognor Regis insisting kiddies wear crash helmets when riding donkeys on the beach. Football in school playgrounds has been given the elbow, in case anyone involved scrapes a knee. Ditto firework displays, bouncy castles, boating lakes, hopscotch, slides and roundabouts. If there's the slightest risk of anyone getting hurt, it's banned. And they wonder why youngsters spend hours stuck in stuffy bedrooms playing video games. The authorities wring their hands about childhood obesity, while at the same time outlawing just about every form of physical activity from French cricket to egg and spoon races. Schoolchildren are being forced to wear heavy sweaters in the playground during heatwaves in case they get skin cancer. We've had schools banning children throwing paper planes in case they get injured; teachers being told not to apply sunscreen to pupils for fear they are accused of abuse; councils knocking flat cemetery headstones considered to be unstable for fear they could injure a mourner; a lifeguard instructor and her husband being prevented from taking their own three children into a toddlers' pool - because elf 'n' safety rules decreed there should be one adult per child. They're stealing childhood. Councils have turned towns and cities into fun-free, soulless, no-go areas. They're so scared of being sued that they'd rather kids sat around shopping centres - shooting up heroin, smoking dope, sniffing glue and supping Special Brew - than play hopscotch.
There is no more depressing sight than walking through a once immaculate-public park, past drained paddling pools, decommissioned swings and slides, padlocked roundabouts and boarded up climbing-frames plastered with graffiti and fly-posters. And why has it come to this? Simple. It's a combination of braindead bureaucrats and greedy spiv lawyers. / Officials order gran to rename her 'Robin tarts' because they don't contain robin - Baker Val Temple was stunned when barmy bureaucrats forced her to rename her novelty Robin Tarts - because they don't contain the red breasted birds.
$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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