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11/30/05 - NE Thermo Hydraulic Geothermal Engine - the 'new Stirling'?
Brian’s idea for the engine began in 1976 while he was working in the scorching heat of Saudi Arabia. The Natural Energy Engine™ works like a thermometer pushing the red liquid up the stem as it heats up and of course as it cooled, the liquid would come back down. Brian realized that there was a source of energy that could be put to work. The only energy sources needed to make this engine function are hot and cold water. The first model ran off of hot and cold water from his kitchen sink. At a small warehouse in Phoenix, the self-styled engineer Brian Hageman is perfecting an engine that promises to reduce the cost of pumping oil, generating electricity and desalinating water, among many other applications. Hageman's Natural Energy Engine™ uses hot and cold water to drive a piston that can be used to pump liquids or turn a wheel. The hot and cold water expands and contracts pressurized carbon dioxide to push and pull the piston. Hageman, who has patented the device in the United States and 20 other countries, said he is close to announcing a version of the engine that can be licensed to manufactures. The water can be heated using natural gas, solar panels or natural forces within the earth. Hageman, who has been tearing things apart and putting them back together since childhood, got the idea for his engine in 1976 while working as an engineer building an oil refinery in Saudi Arabia. While pressure-testing pipes, he noticed that pressure continued to build after pumps were turned off. He realized that external heat caused the liquid in the pipe to continue to expand. In 1996 he formed Deluge Inc. to commercialize the Natural Energy Engine™. He continued to develop the product in incubator space at Arizona State University. Hageman raised money to fund the research by selling stock in his company to private investors. He estimates that 450 people have invested almost $10 million in the company over the past nine years. Eventually, Hageman said, he would like to take the company public. (From the video) - A normal oil pump produces one barrel per day and requires electricity to pump the oil. Using the Deluge engine, an oil well can pump from 7-8 barrels a day at NO COST, since it used carbon dioxide and 1800 degrees F. from underground hot water to produce the hydraulic power for pumping. (Liquid carbon dioxide forms only at pressures above 5.1 atm (75psi - pounds per square inch); at atmospheric pressure (14.7psi), it passes directly between the gaseous and solid phases in a process called sublimation.) Mr. Hageman continued, “The versatility of the Natural Energy Engine™ is that it can use a variety of heat sources such as solar thermal, geothermal, ocean thermal, industrial waste heat and biomass to heat the water that fuels it.” Deluge demonstrated that its engine was capable of pumping an oil well at depths ranging from 120 to 480 meters (394 to 1,575 feet), with power to spare. When asked what else is on the horizon for the NE Engine™, Hageman stated that Deluge has also begun a project using solar thermal and the Natural Energy Engine™ to power air conditioning units. Brian was excited to report that preliminary testing has shown a 75% reduction in running costs over conventional air conditioning systems. Hydraulic Engine Patent - United States Patent - 5,916,140 - Hageman - June 29, 1999 - Hydraulic engine powered by introduction and removal of heat from a working fluid - An example of a working fluid that may be utilized according to the present invention is water. Another fluid that may be utilized is mercury. Additionally, other substances that may be utilized as a working fluid include FREON, synthetic FREONS, FREON R12, FREON R23, and liquified gasses, such as liquid argon, liquid nitrogen, liquid oxygen, for example. FREON and related substances, such as synthetic FREONS, FREON R12, and FREON R23, may be particularly useful as a working fluid due to the large degree of expansion that they may undergo as heat is introduced into them and the tendency to return to their original volume and temperature upon removal of heat. Another example of a working fluid that may be utilized according to the present invention is liquid carbon dioxide. Other fluids that may be utilized as working fluids include ethane, ethylene, liquid hydrogen, liquid oxygen, liquid helium, liquified natural gas, and other liquified gases. Other working fluids may also be used, as one skilled in the art could determine without undue experimentation once aware of this disclosure. According to one embodiment, an engine with a cylinder having a diameter of about 5 inches and a piston stroke of about 18 inches generates about 10 horsepower.

11/30/05 - Power from geothermal water
Geothermal waters found in the Western Canadian Sedimentary Basin (WCSB) represent a new form of abundant and cheap energy that's sequestered in underground aquifers. The renewable energy stored in these subsurface aquifers is sufficient to power geothermal heat pumps and heat exchangers to generate electricity. The Alberta Geological Survey (AGS) and the Alberta Research Council (ARC) have teamed up to study the technical and economic feasibility of harnessing Alberta's low temperature (10 to 40 degrees Celsius) to medium temperature (40 to 140 C) geothermal resources. Preliminary estimates suggest that -- given current technologies -- the potential energy locked in Alberta's geothermal waters is on the order of two to five trillion barrels of oil equivalent. According to Rick Richardson, manager of the AGS, even one percent of the energy contained in the subsurface aquifers could dwarf the remaining oil and gas reserves in the WCSB. At present, there are more than 30,000 heat pump installations in personal residences and commercial facilities across Canada. At Springhill, Nova Scotia, heat pumps extract energy from 18-degree C waters in a flooded coal mine to heat and cool a nearby industrial complex. According to Natural Resources Canada's Office of Energy Efficiency, the Springhill geothermal project offsets the need for oil-fired electrical power generation, creating an annual energy savings of $45,000. Temperatures in the WCSB correspond with depth, increasing on average about 3.3 degrees Celsius for every 100 meters. "We're taking heat pump technology to the next level," he said. "And, there's a role for hybridization of technologies." One new technology that Potter will evaluate is Arizona-based Deluge Inc.'s Natural Energy Engine™, a noncombustible engine that uses geothermal energy, essentially replacing conventional diesel- or gasoline-powered pump jacks at wellheads. The engine contains high-pressure, liquefied carbon dioxide that is heated and cooled, causing expansion and contraction -- this change in volume pushes and pulls on a piston, creating mechanical energy. In September, Deluge won the 2005 Outstanding Technology Development award from the U.S. Federal Laboratories Consortium for field-testing its engine at the Naval Petroleum Reserve near Casper, Wyo. Deluge demonstrated that its engine was capable of pumping an oil well at depths ranging from 120 to 480 meters, with power to spare.

11/30/05 - Compressed air wind energy storage
Two of the hurdles to relying on wind power for producing energy are the intermittent nature of the wind itself, and the fluctuating prices producers get for feeding the resulting power into the grid. In a 2003 paper entitled “Large Scale Energy Storage Systems”, six students of engineering at Imperial College London noted that compressed air energy storage (CAES) systems typically relied on plants burning fossil fuels to compress the air stored in large underground caverns, which then used this air to produce energy at peak hours. Also, besides burning fuel to complete the compression work in the first place, this air was mixed with natural gas and itself burned in a turbine to create the electricity. The researchers also noted that another approach, called compressed air storage (CAS) would hold the compressed air in man-made vessels, but that “current technology is not advanced enough to manufacture these high-pressure tanks at a feasible cost. The scales proposed are also relatively small compared to CAES systems.” Earlier in 2005, a Vancouver, B.C. company, Encore Clean Energy Inc., released news about a system it is working on that will allow wind energy producers to store energy in the form of compressed air in underground steel tanks or pipes, and release it through a special generator to create electricity when it is needed. Encore will make use of its core technology, the Magnetic Piston Generator (MPG), as the turbine for its wind energy storage systems. The MPG is a unique pressure-driven linear engine designed to generate electricity with higher fuel efficiency and lower emissions than conventional internal combustion engine-powered electric generators or even hydrogen fuel cells, according to the company. The MPG can use many different sources of energy - one of them the compressed air from these proposed wind energy storage facilities - to generate the pressures required to propel the MPG's "Magnetic Piston" at high velocities, back-and-forth, through a linear alternator to generate power according to Faraday's Law of Induction. "For example, 25% of the wind energy produced is, in turn, consumed by the air compression and storage process, then the remaining 750-kW of compressed energy could be sold during peak-demand times at prime peak prices of >10-cents per kWh, generating $75 in revenues - a 250% improvement in gross revenues for a wind farm owner.” “This retrofit wind energy storage solution should enable wind farm owners to earn the highest prices for the power they generate and give local utilities the kind of peak, on-demand, power availability that Utilities pay the most for, but which up until now, current wind farm owners could not reliably guarantee.”

11/30/05 - Coal powered fuel cells
Fuel cells are being looked to as a clean, inexpensive source of energy. Most fuel cells are seen as a potential replacement for batteries but coal-based fuel cells could have broader applications, producing general electricity for utilities. By adding oxygen to carbon in an electrochemical process, the direct carbon fuel cells (DCFCs) convert coal into electricity without burning it or turning it into a gas. The method can also use tar, biomass, and organic waste. The result is that twice as much energy can be produced from the same amount of fuel, at 20 to 30 percent lower cost and about half the carbon dioxide emissions, said Larry Dubois, SRI’s vice president. The emissions can also be more easily captured for use or disposal, he said. But clean coal technologies have been expensive, keeping them from widespread use. Environmentalists are divided in their opinion on whether clean coal qualifies as a clean technology. And fuel cells have run into serious challenges on the way to market, including regulatory, size, and price obstacles. SRI said its fuel cell will be cheap. Coal is by far the cheapest fuel source, far less expensive than natural gas or oil. SRI’s method uses half as much coal to produce the same amount of energy, further cutting costs, said Mr. Dubois. Unlike hydrogen and methanol fuel cells, SRI’s carbon fuel cells use no catalyst or costly noble metals like platinum. That again cuts costs, and should increase reliability, said Mr. Dubois. Finally, the technology makes it easier to capture carbon dioxide.

11/30/05 - Teen Repeller
Stapleton has learned that children can hear sounds at higher frequencies than adults can which led him to fashion a novel device that he hopes will provide a solution to the eternal problem of obstreperous teenagers who hang around outside stores and cause trouble. The device, called the Mosquito ("It's small and annoying," Stapleton said), emits a high-frequency pulsing sound that, he said, can be heard by most people younger than 20 and almost no one older than 30. The sound is designed to so irritate young people that after several minutes, they cannot stand it and go away. So far, the Mosquito has been road-tested in only one place, at the entrance to the Spar convenience store in this town in South Wales. Like birds perched on telephone wires, surly teenagers used to plant themselves on the railings just outside the door, smoking, drinking, shouting rude words at customers and making regular disruptive forays inside. At first, members of the usual crowd tried to gather as normal, repeatedly going inside the store with their fingers in their ears and "begging me to turn it off," Gough said. But he held firm and neatly avoided possible aggressive confrontations: "I told them it was to keep birds away because of the bird flu epidemic." "It's loud and squeaky and it just goes through you," said Jodie Evans, 15, who was shopping at the store even though she was supposed to be in school. "It gets inside you."

11/30/05 - Chicken fat converted to biofuel
"We're trying to expand the petroleum base," said Brian Mattingly, a graduate student in chemical engineering. "Five to 20 percent blending of biodiesel into petroleum-based diesel significantly reduces our dependence on foreign oil." Mattingly's research allows biodiesel producers to assess different materials to see what works best. Producers will be able to choose the best way to convert different grades of chicken fat into fuels. Chicken fat can be a less-expensive substitute because it is available at a low cost. However, fatty acids in raw chicken fat can lead to the creation of soap during the various chemical processes. In his studies, Mattingly used high-quality fat (less than 2 percent fatty acid content) and low-quality, feed-grade fat (6 percent fatty acid content) obtained from Tyson Foods Inc. plants in Clarksville and Scranton. The high-quality fat is more expensive than the feed-grade fat, but both are less expensive than soybean oil. It took different steps to refine the different fats, but it could be done, Mattingly said. "The project demonstrated that there is a very fine line between facilitating an adequate reaction and generating so much soap that the biodiesel yield is diminished," Mattingly said. "Basically, deciding which method to use comes down to economics."

11/30/05 - Google Phonebook Lookup
Find residential or business phone book listings using Google’s rphonebook and bphonebook operators. For example, query Joe Smith’s listing in Oakland like so: rphonebook: Joe Smith Oakland CA, or to get Sushi Samba’s number in NYC: bphonebook: Sushi Samba New York NY

11/30/05 - Lower Insulin levels with Alzheimer's progression, linked to tangles in brain
(Keely referred to using acoustics to untwist 'tangles' and 'knots' in the brain which prevented the flow of the neural force, see article link below. - JWD) Researchers at Rhode Island Hospital and Brown Medical School have discovered that insulin and its receptors drop significantly in the brain during the early stages of Alzheimer's disease, and that levels decline progressively as the disease becomes more severe, leading to further evidence that Alzheimer's is a new type of diabetes. They also found that acetylcholine deficiency, a hallmark of the disease, is linked directly to the loss of insulin and insulin-like growth factor function in the brain. "We're able to show that insulin impairment happens early in the disease. We're able to show it's linked to major neurotransmitters responsible for cognition. We're able to show it's linked to poor energy metabolism, and it's linked to abnormalities that contribute to the tangles characteristic of advanced Alzheimer's disease. This work ties several concepts together, and demonstrates that Alzheimer's disease is quite possibly a Type 3 diabetes," de la Monte says.

11/30/05 - Keely on the Brain as a Resonator
They (convolutions of the brain) are SIMPLY VIBROMETRIC RESONATORS, thoroughly SUBSERVIENT TO SYMPATHETIC ACOUSTIC IMPULSES given to them by their atomic sympathetic SURROUNDING MEDIA, all the sympathetic impulses that so entirely govern the physical in their many and perfect impulses (we are now discussing PURITY OF CONDITIONS) are NOT EMANATIONS properly INHERENT IN THEIR OWN COMPOSITION. They are ONLY MEDIA - THE ACOUSTIC MEDIA - for TRANSFERRING from their vibratory surroundings the CONDITIONS NECESSARY to the pure connective link for VITALIZING AND BRINGING INTO ACTION THE VARIED IMPULSES OF THE PHYSICAL. CERTAIN ORDERS OF ATTRACTIVE VIBRATION PRODUCE CERTAIN ORDERS OF STRUCTURE; thus the infinite variety of effects; more especially in the cerebral organs. The bar of iron or the mass of steel, have, in each, all the qualifications necessary, under certain vibratory impulses, to evolve all the conditions that govern that animal organism - the brain : and it is as possible TO DIFFERENTIATE THE MOLECULAR CONDITIONS of a mass of metal of any shape so as to produce what you may express as a CRAZY PIECE OF IRON OR A CRAZY PIECE OF STEEL ; or, vice versa, AN INTELLIGENT CONDITION IN THE SAME. Discordance in any mass is the RESULT OF DIFFERENTIATED GROUPS INDUCED BY *** ANTAGONISTIC CHORDS ***, and the flight or motion of such, when intensified by sound, are very tortuous and zigzag; but when free of this differentiation are in STRAIGHT LINES. TORTUOUS LINES DENOTE DISCORD, OR PAIN; STRAIGHT LINES DENOTE HARMONY, OR PLEASURE. There is good reason for believing that INSANITY IS SIMPLY A DIFFERENTIATION IN THE MASS-CHORDS OF THE CEREBRAL CONVOLUTIONS, which CREATES AN ANTAGONISTIC MOLECULAR BOMBARDMENT towards the neutral or attractive centres of such convolutions; which, in turn, produce a morbid irritation in the cortical sensory centres in the substance of ideation; accompanied, as a general thing, by sensory hallucinations, ushered in by subjective sensations; such as flashes of light and colour, or confused sounds and disagreeable odours, etc., etc. This unsuitable aggregation may be COMPARED TO A KNOT ON A VIOLIN STRING. As long as this knot remains, it is impossible to elicit, from its sympathetic surroundings, the condition which transfers pure concordance to its resonating body. Discordant conditions (i.e. differentiation of or knots in a mass) produce negatization (interference of intended actions) to coincident action. The normal brain is like a harp of many strings strung to perfect harmony. The transmitting conditions being perfect, are ready, at any impulse, to induce pure sympathetic assimilation. The different strings represent the different ventricles and convolutions. The differentiations of any one from its true setting is FATAL, TO A CERTAIN DEGREE (dependent on the degree of phase shift), to the harmony of the whole combination.

11/30/05 - Creativity linked to sexual success
Psychologists at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne and the Open University in Britain found that professional artists and poets have about twice as many partners as other people. Their creativity seems to act like a sexual magnet. But Dr Daniel Nettle, a psychologist at Newcastle University's School of Biology, said it is a double-edge sword. "Poets and artists have more sexual partners but they also have high rates of depression," he told Reuters. Although creative people have long been associated with active sex lives, the researchers believe their study is the first to back it up with research. They found that professional artists and poets had between 4 and 10 sexual partners, while less creative people had an average of three. "We found it in both the men and women which was quite a surprise to us," said Nettle, who reported the finding in the journal "The Proceedings of the Royal Society (B)." The study also showed that the average number of sexual partners increased as creative output went up. What the artists produce draws attention to them, which seems to enhance their sexual allure. "It could be that very creative types lead a bohemian lifestyle and tend to act more on sexual impulses and opportunities, often purely for experience's sake, than the average person would," said Nettle.

11/29/05 - Apollo veterans being recalled for new Moon Shot
They are grayer, 35 years after the glory days, and their memories are not as keen. But the engineers who landed Americans on the moon are as enthralled as ever by the romance of space travel. And today some find themselves, to their delight, working once again to send humans to the lunar surface. Now in their 60s or older, veterans of the Apollo program have been called away from their tennis games, their grandchildren and their puttering to pursue President Bush's goal of returning astronauts to the moon by 2020. Some are serving as part-time consultants to NASA Latest News about NASA or private companies. Others are working full time on the new moon program. All say the work is a joy, not a burden. No human footfall has stirred the moon's fine dust since 1972, when astronaut Eugene Cernan climbed back into his spaceship and declared that humans, "God willing ... shall return, with peace and hope for all mankind." As in the Apollo program that went to the moon in the 1960s and '70s, the next moon vehicle will detach from its rocket to descend to the lunar surface. As in Apollo, the ship will be wingless, and parachutes will cushion its touchdown on Earth. "We tried hard initially to not make this new (effort) look like Apollo," says John Connolly, a leader of the NASA team that designed the new moon mission. But "we started coming to the realization more and more that the Apollo guys were pretty darned smart." So smart that NASA Administrator Michael Griffin invited a group of Apollo veterans to Washington several times to review NASA's findings. Griffin called them "the graybeards," says Robert Seamans, 87, who was NASA's deputy administrator for much of the moon program.

11/29/05 - Solar Energy costs differ
How much you'll pay in city fees to put solar panels on your home depends on where you live -- and some fees around Silicon Valley are so high they are placing a cloud over renewable energy, according to a new study. Saratoga, for example, charges $95 for a permit to install solar panels on a house. Yet in Los Gatos, two miles away, city planners will sock a homeowner with a $1,287 bill for a permit to install the same system. The findings come from a survey of 40 cities in San Mateo, Santa Clara and San Benito counties by the Loma Prieta Chapter of the Sierra Club. ``There's a huge gap in what various cities charge,'' said Carl Mills, a Milpitas technical writer who helped compile the survey. ``Something is very wrong.'' In addition to high fees, in some towns delays, red tape and bureaucratic hassles also are making it harder to go solar, the survey found. Sierra Club volunteers phoned 40 municipal building and planning departments over the summer and asked how much it would cost to install a typical solar-panel system on a house. They chose one that would cover 320 square feet, with the solar panels installed flush to the roof, generating 3 kilowatts, and costing $27,000.

11/29/05 - 140 ton Geothermal Heating System
Southern Illinois University Carbondale's Library Storage annex is one of the largest geothermal energy projects in the state, thanks to a collaboration between the university and the Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation. The system consists of 80 vertical liquid-filled tubes, reaching more than 300 feet into the ground, using the earth's natural geothermal heat to warm the building in winter and changing the heat into cool air in the summer. Freitag said geothermal energy is the top of the line these days when one speaks about efficient and environmental heating and cooling systems. The best part of the project, he noted, is the roughly $21,000 SIUC should save each year to offset the initial higher costs of installing the system. "The efficiencies are so high over time the costs of the system just pay for themselves," Freitag said. Gatton estimated the university will recover costs from savings in a little less than five years. Eight geothermal system dealers exist in the Jackson and Williamson county area, officials said. Typical four- or five-ton systems can be installed in residential homes for roughly $1,000 per ton. "The systems tend to be pretty fool-proof, and not that much goes wrong with them," Freitag said. He has had a geothermal system in his home for the last five years.

11/29/05 - Nanotech the 'new asbestos'?
"Nanomania," one could call it -- the growing excitement and anxiety about super-small gadgets that might transform our world for better or worse. "However," Monica warns, "no industry -- including the nanotechnology industry -- is beyond the reach of American trial lawyers. Concerns about possible health and safety hazards posed by nanomaterials are being raised among labor unions and environmentalists; trial lawyers cannot be far behind. Some have even begun to compare nanotechnology to asbestos, a material plagued by $70 billion in litigation over the past three decades." The anxieties have grown since the 1990s, as an increasing number of lab researchers have reported evidence of certain nanomaterials' toxic effects on living organisms.

11/29/05 - GAO Says NASA Is Wasting Your Tax Dollars
The Space Agency is wasting taxpayer dollars by the millions according to GAO reports and Congressional testimony. Not only that, but NASA has so far refused to respond to the reports and refused to give us an on-camera interview or to even answer written questions. According to Tom Schatz with Citizens Against Government Waste, "NASA seems to be an agency more interested in working on the achievements of the agency as opposed to managing their dollars." NASA's 2006 budget is in excess of $16 billion. The agency says it understands its fiduciary responsibility to the taxpayer. But by any standard, the space program is wasting many, many millions of dollars. We tried to get NASA to talk to CBS 11. The agency refused, saying it would answer questions in writing. So, we submitted questions but again, NASA would not respond. And now, it has its eye on returning to the Moon and a manned mission to Mars. Schatz says that shouldn't be the focus. "Let's just get NASA in shape to do what it's doing now as opposed to expanding its mission into something that's far larger than anything they've done before."

11/29/05 - Creating a Vibrant Space Industry
One of the few things that everyone in the space industry can agree on is that there are many petty controversies in the space community. This is holding back the industry from having more demand, more political support, and more capital. The message was that if there is a clear choice in the market, “money flows,” but “confusion” causes the money to “stop flowing.” By stopping the confusion in the space industry, and ceasing our petty feuds, we can set the stage for capital to flow and new ideas to flower. The world is awash in capital. We have trillions of dollars of houses, cars, and businesses. The world’s productive capacity is growing all the time. We are figuring out how to build old things better so quickly, we have to find an ever-increasing pace of new items to produce. All the existing aerospace related firms and many others can prosper if demand and capitalization grow for space enterprise. Investors can be taught to like space again. When there are customers and demand, it should be very easy to teach the investors that the space industry is worthy of their dollars. As Monte Davis recently said on “The Space Show”, we have to set aside our petty differences. Shut up about Moon vs. Mars, hybrid vs. liquid, SSTO vs. TSTO, alt vs. biz, tourism vs. military, private vs. public, orbital vs. suborbital, robots vs. people, and asteroids vs. space invaders. Start subordinating our unimportant grousing about other’s companies and products to common goals. Start smoothing over our differences, agree to disagree, and push forward a positive message about our own and all competing products. Start teaching each other how to promote in a positive way and teach the media how to cover us in a positive way. The world is awash in capital. It can afford to devote a hundred billion dollars on developing space if it can merely be shown to have promise and if all the experts merely say it’s possible or remain silent. If there is less dissent, we will proceed to ascent.

11/29/05 - 'Psychic witness' helped police solve murder
(Now THIS is a proof of power or gifts. - JWD) Lebanon County detectives thought they knew who killed Mark Arnold in 1993, but they didn't know where to find the perpetrator. Jan Helen McGee told them the killer was at a beach, probably Ocean City, Md., or Rehoboth Beach, Del. Detective Paul Zechman called the police departments there and, sure enough, they found Robert Wise living in Arnold's stolen car at a shopping mall near Rehoboth. Wise is serving a life sentence in state prison for the murder.

11/29/05 - AIDS tops 40 million worldwide
UNAids tried to lighten the gloom by pointing to Kenya, Zimbabwe and some of the Caribbean countries, where there is some limited evidence that infection rates may be dropping slightly. But in the worst-hit regions, notably sub-Saharan Africa, the trend is steadily upwards and in India there are suggestions that the scale of infection could be worse than the official figures imply. At a press conference in Delhi, he said Asia, which contains half of humanity, was particularly at risk. China and Burma, which he said had the worst epidemics in Asia, were slow to acknowledge the scale of the problem. ``In the world's most populous nation, China, the overwhelming majority of the population does not know how the virus is transmitted.'' Only one million are so far on the drugs, while six million will soon die without them. Three million people died of Aids last year. The World Health Organisation, which set a target of three million on treatment by the end of this year, stressed that treatment is now essential to prevention work, because people will not be tested for HIV and therefore will not change their behaviour unless drugs are available.

11/29/05 - Storm damaged cars flood the market - be wary of great deals
As the Gulf Coast region struggles to return some semblance of normality after Katrina’s battering, consumer advocates are raising a new alarm: Thousands of cars soaked by the hurricane are expected to enter the U.S. car market over the next few months and could be snapped up as bargains by unsuspecting buyers. Most of these so-called "storm cars" are usually sold for parts, but others make their way into the hands of dishonest people who try to fix them and pass them on to unwitting consumers in other states, or sometimes overseas, without disclosing that they have been damaged by flooding. Flood damage can lead to serious problems, including the malfunction of headlights, windshield wipers, brakes and even airbags, and so many insurance adjusters simply write off a vehicle if it has been flooded above its dashboard where most of its electronic components are housed.

11/29/05 - Introverted youth have deep roots for behavior
Introverted children enjoy the internal world of thoughts, feelings and fantasies, and there's a physiological reason for this. Researchers using brain scans have found introverts have more brain activity in general, and specifically in the frontal lobes. When these areas are activated, introverts are energized by retrieving long-term memories, problem solving, introspection, complex thinking and planning. Extroverts enjoy the external world of things, people and activities. They have more activity in brain areas involved in processing the sensory information we're bombarded with daily. Because extroverts have less internally generated brain activity, they search for more external stimuli to energize them. "It's the different pathways that are turned on that activate the behaviors and abilities we see in introverts and extroverts," says Marti Olsen Laney, a neuroscience researcher and author in Portland, Ore., who is credited with connecting introversion with its underlying biology. "It impacts all areas of their lives: how they process information, how they restore their energy, what they enjoy and how they communicate." Introverted children need time alone more than do extroverted children, says Laney, whose book, The Hidden Gifts of the Introverted Child, is due in January. "Extroverts gain energy by being out and about," but "being with people takes energy from introverts, and they need to get away to restore that energy." Laney says introverted kids also behave differently. They're not slow, inattentive or shy. Shyness is behavior that may diminish as children grow; introversion is a character trait that lasts.

11/29/05 - The Coming $100 Laptop Tragedy
The earliest mistakes in any major project are typically the biggest mistakes.* Early decisions are important because of all the downstream resources and actions that they commit you to. Governments of various poor countries are expected to buy them for their young people. And therein lies the tragedy because governments are very poor at getting resources into the right hands. Imagine that you're a government bureaucrat tasked to buy, say, one million computers for young people in your country and to hand them out for free. How would you do so? You could do it by handing them out to every school kid -- but then you would be discriminating against the poorest kids, typically in the rural areas, because a disproportionately high number of them are not in school. You could hand them out to every child (assuming there are no more than one million children), but then you would be discriminating against young people who are just past their childhood. In short, you would have no good criterion for distributing them. Whose hands would you want them to end up in? In reality, two things will happen, one bad and one good. First, the bad outcome. As development economist Jeffrey Sachs used to recognize, poor countries tend to have governments with a lot of power. That's one main reason they remain poor. As Friedrich Hayek pointed out in his classic cautionary book, The Road to Serfdom, in countries where governments have a lot of power, the worst tend to get on top. Thus, the powerful bureaucrat who is charged with distributing the computers is not likely to be a particularly ethical or caring person, as maintaining his power is more important to him than raising his people out of poverty. In fact, this bureaucrat is likely to give the computers to his friends or to others who are politically powerful. In many countries, he may even try to sell them. Which leads to the good thing. Whether this bureaucrat sells them or puts them in the hands of people who value the computers less than other people do, eventually the computers will tend to end up in the hands of those who value them most.

11/29/05 - Belief can produce physical results in healing
Medicines may actually work better if people believe they will. Research is now showing that the power of expectations can have physical, not just psychological, effects on your health. Scientists are measuring the resulting changes in the brain, from the release of natural painkilling chemicals to alterations in how neurons fire. It's a new spin on the so-called placebo effect. Doctors have long thought it was psychological. But now scientists are amassing the first direct evidence that the placebo effect actually is physical. They say expecting benefit can trigger the same neurological pathways of healing as real medication does. Columbia University neuroscientist Tor Wager says, "Your expectations can have profound impacts on your brain and your health."

11/28/05 - Hands on Science 'must teach experiments'
In Nesta's survey of secondary school science teachers, 87% said learning which allowed more experiments and scientific enquiry would have a significant impact on performance. Almost two thirds said the biggest barrier to more scientific enquiry was lack of time within the curriculum. But many had also decided against an experiment because they thought safety regulations prohibited it. Nesta chief executive Jonathan Kestenbaum said: "In a highly technological society such as ours the ability of learners to enquire and analyse is increasingly important. "Scientific literacy now needs to take its place alongside general literacy and numeracy as a major part of the agenda to raise standards in schools." Practical projects bring concepts to life and make them relevant for students - for example a whodunnit investigation based on forensic science and a project to develop a robot which makes mechanical systems more engaging for students.

11/28/05 - Poor diet, inactivity make older people ill
Healthcare organisation Age Concern, which developed the report with the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, estimates the minimum weekly cost of a healthy diet to be 32.20 pounds. But, the study found, those on lower incomes spent just 23.40 pounds. It also found more than 90 percent of those over 75 failed to take the amount of moderate exercise recommended to stay fit. The guidelines recommend 30 minutes of moderate exercise at least five days a week. But the study found 21 percent of the people over 65 could not walk 200 metres without stopping or experiencing discomfort. The researchers said older people could exercise for as little as £2.10 a week. Gordon Lishman, director general of Age Concern, said: "While younger generations are increasingly encouraged to lead healthier lifestyles, the health needs of older people have been routinely overlooked."

11/28/05 - Flywheels Spin Clean Energy
For temporary backup needs, flywheels replace batteries. Flywheels are spinning discs that store energy, and the companies planned to use them to recapture braking energy for hybrid cars. Mr. Pinkerton thought his magnetic bearings could reduce friction in the flywheels, increasing their energy efficiency. But then he stumbled upon another application. Flywheels could also be used to briefly generate power during an outage, bridging the critical gap before backup generators kick in. So fixated were the flywheel makers of the era on the untold billions that awaited them in the automotive industry, they discounted this less sexy market. Mr. Pinkerton didn’t. “They said it was boring, but right away, we realized we would like to go after that market. It was exciting because it was real.” Flywheels are essentially big discs that spin like tops, storing energy as motion. The basic principal is inertia, which is the same principal used in all gyroscopes-tops, potter’s wheels, and satellites. If a flywheel is constantly juiced with a small amount of electricity, it will spin. When the electricity is cut, the spinning slows and energy is drawn off. At those times, flywheels automatically turn into generators, feeding electricity back through the system. Most flywheel systems only provide about 15 seconds of power. But considering that 90 percent of all outages last for two seconds or less, that’s all you need, says Mr. Gunderson. In longer outages, it’s enough time to bridge to a generator. So flywheels are used for applications where it’s critical to avoid those few seconds of interruption, including hospitals, data centers, financial institutions, broadcasters, communication centers, airports, military installations, and semiconductor fabricators. Most flywheel customers are large power consumers that need at least 100 kilowatts of energy and have backup generators, says Ms. Saeed. Flywheels generally come in containers the size of water heaters or refrigerators, and can provide between 100 to 250 kilowatts of power. Beacon Power for flywheel backup systems.

11/28/05 - Emerging infectious diseases likely to worsen
The recent emergence of diseases, such as AIDS, SARS and avian flu, have catapulted emerging infectious diseases to the top of the medical and political agendas, and have highlighted the importance of wildlife as reservoirs or vectors for disease, writes Dr Andrew Cunningham. Of pathogens causing emerging infectious diseases, 75% are zoonotic (able to transmit from animals to humans), with wildlife being an increasingly important source. But why are we now seeing an apparently rapid increase in the emergence of new zoonoses from wildlife? One of the major drivers is closer human contact with wildlife, primarily caused by human encroachment into, and modification of, wildlife habitat. For example, Ebola virus outbreaks often are linked to hunting for "bushmeat" or to mining development, and the AIDS pandemic originated from human encroachment into African forests for food. The rise in international trade and travel is also important. The emergence of West Nile virus in North America, and AIDS and SARS globally, for example, arose from such travel and trade. This globalisation of people and products is difficult to control and is largely related to increasing air transportation. With world air travel expected to grow at about 5% a year for at least the next 20 years, the problem of emerging infectious diseases will continue to grow, he warns. Emerging infectious diseases are not only a problem for human health but are a major threat to animal welfare and to species conservation. Some emerging infectious diseases also threaten domesticated species.

11/28/05 - The Vatican and Aliens
For those not up to speed on the Old Testament, this part of the creation story deals with a category of creatures called “the Nephilim”, a non-human race that apparently inhabited the Earth around the time Adam and Eve got kicked out of the Garden of Eden. Even in the 1950s, priests knew that aliens and the Church didn’t compute. If there were extraterrestrials out there, their existence could effectively herald the death of God - cutting the ground from beneath key biblical truths, not least of which is the claim that humankind was made in God’s image. Half a century on, the Catholic Church is finally getting round to asking what it would mean for their religion if humankind were to establish the existence of intelligent aliens. Were such creatures discovered, ought the Pope to consider ordaining an ET? And if the human race ever masters interstellar travel, should missionaries be sent into outer space? “Is original sin something that affected all intelligent beings?” he asks. “Is there a sort of ‘cosmic’ Adam predating even life on Earth? Is Jesus Christ’s redemptive sacrifice sufficient for the whole universe? Would there be a parallel history of salvation on other planets?” It is the devout who find the issue the most difficult to resolve. “They are the people who fear even thinking about science, as it might make them question their faith. But a faith that is afraid of the truth has no faith.” Part of his mission is to show the blinkered that even the most fantastical of scientific discoveries would, at least in his opinion, not trash the teachings of Christ and the prophets. “The discovery of extraterrestrial life will not destroy the Church,” insists Consolmagno. “What it might do is help us discard the bad ideas in religion - the narrow views, the hubris, the divisiveness.”

11/28/05 - 46 Best-ever Freeware Utilities
There are a lot of great freeware products out there. Many are as good or even better than their commercial alternatives. This list features my personal pick of the "best of the best."

11/28/05 - Rat-rods, cars with attitude
Once disgraced, now embraced, rat rods are becoming one of the hottest trends among backyard mechanics since the tail fin. Also called the primer job, lowbuck, or rat-a-billy, rat rods are used cars with attitude. They are often Frankensteinian amalgams of old cars put together - the cheaper and dowdier, the better. Rat rods represent, in part, a populist revolt against the platinum-priced world of hot rodding. Its devotees are a tattooed and grease-under-the-nails subculture driven, in essence, not by status, but by dreams of "on the road" adventures and escape from the metronome monotonies of everyday life. Rat rodding is popular enough that it's even angering some of its upscale brethren: At hot rod shows, fans often look past the pretty but arguably soulless high-end machines to gawk at cars that haven't been painted since the Hoover administration. Experts say rat-rod enthusiasts now number perhaps 30,000 nationwide, and are boosting interest in America's unique but finite inventory of old cars. That attitude has morphed today into a punk-a-billy culture, in which old "ratty" cars help satisfy a longing for a time when life was more spontaneous - and dangerous. Unlike the ethos at the well-behaved hot-rod shows, where the Beach Boys eternally play and few people actually drive the cars, rat rodders like to go fast, in style, and perhaps not always to the letter of the law. Yet no matter what their state of inelegance, rat rods are meant to be looked at - whether with reverie or disgust - and driven. "Some of the rat rods have no paint, exposed wells, no floors, and are kind of unsafe," says Shane Thomas.

11/28/05 - A cautionary picture of water supplies as Earth warms
Mountain snows and alpine glaciers represent key reservoirs of fresh water for some 1.6 billion people worldwide. In 50 years, however, a warming planet is likely to disrupt many of these sources, leaving millions of people scrambling for additional supplies. The US West is not the only region of the world that relies on winter snows to water crops, generate electricity at hydroelectric dams, or fill soup pots. So a team led by Timothy Barnett at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography looked at other regions that rely on snowmelt for at least 50 percent of their water and lack the ability to store a year's worth of runoff. The principles involved are "exceedingly simple and uncontroversial," he says. "When it's warmer, you may have the same amount of precipitation, but more will be in the form of rain than snow. That's 'duh.' And if you have any snowpack in a warmer world, it's going to melt earlier." This can translate into less water in summer and fall. As for glaciers, "they are fossil water," Dr. Barnett says. "They may melt right up to the end, and you don't think you have a problem. Then, hey, they're gone." One of the areas the team sees as most crucial is the region whose thirst is slaked by glaciers in the Himalayas and Hindu Kush mountains. Collectively, these mountain ranges hold the third largest mass of ice after Antarctica and Greenland. The rivers they feed provide much of the water for 50 to 60 percent of the world's population. Yet China's latest survey of the mountains show that over the past 25 years, the glaciers are in wholesale retreat.

11/28/05 - 900 Million to 5.8 Billion - The Deal That Even Awed Them in Houston
The buzz in Houston these days is over the $4.9 billion in profit that four elite private equity firms - the Texas Pacific Group, the Blackstone Group, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts and Hellman & Friedman - stand to make from selling an electricity company for $5.8 billion. Lured by deregulation of the electricity industry in Texas, the investors acquired the electricity company Texas Genco, which owns several power plants in the Houston area, just last year with $900 million in cash. Now, they are selling it to NRG Energy of Princeton, N.J., for a gain of $5 billion, a flip that will be one of the most lucrative private equity investments in recent memory. "This part of the deregulation process has transferred billions from ratepayers to investors," said Clarence L. Johnson, director of regulatory analysis at the Office of Public Utility Counsel, a state agency in Texas created to represent the interests of homeowners and small businesses on utility issues. "It seems extraordinary, doesn't it?" The investors profited largely by exploiting an obscure part of electricity deregulation here that pegs electricity prices to the price of natural gas. Because Texas Genco fuels some of its plants with relatively cheap coal and nuclear power, its operations become much more lucrative in times of high natural gas prices, like now.

11/28/05 - GM expects to sell more vehicles abroad than in US
(Interesting how some companies are being forced to find less demanding workforces or shut their doors. - JWD) Wagoner told The Detroit Free Press that he was surprised recently to learn from the automaker's marketing analyst, Paul Ballew, that GM likely will sell 4.5 million vehicles in the US and 4.6 million abroad this year. In 2004, GM sold 4.7 million cars and trucks in its home market and 4.3 million in other countries, according to the newspaper. In 2003, GM sold 20 percent more vehicles at home than abroad. Nonetheless, Wagoner said GM still must stem losses in its North American operations to reverse the company's slide. "Our fate is going to be determined in the next three to five years on getting this business in the US turned around and profitable," he was quoted as saying. Wagoner said he has concerns about the situation at bankrupt Delphi Corp., GM's former parts subsidiary where a showdown is looming with labor. But he said all three parties need to find a compromise that averts a catastrophe. "If we all act purely in our self-interest," he said of GM, Delphi and the United Auto Workers, "any one of the three of us could blow the place up. That doesn't sound like a winning strategy ... If everybody steps back and thinks about what we really need to do here, the possibility of coming to a reasonable agreement is much, much better than the possibility of the thing blowing up."

11/28/05 - Project Paperclip: Dark side of the Moon
Sixty years ago the US hired Nazi scientists to lead pioneering projects, such as the race to conquer space. These men provided the US with cutting-edge technology which still leads the way today, but at a cost. The end of World War II saw an intense scramble for Nazi Germany's many technological secrets. The Allies vied to plunder as much equipment and expertise as possible from the rubble of the Thousand Year Reich for themselves, while preventing others from doing the same. The range of Germany's technical achievement astounded Allied scientific intelligence experts accompanying the invading forces in 1945. Supersonic rockets, nerve gas, jet aircraft, guided missiles, stealth technology and hardened armour were just some of the groundbreaking technologies developed in Nazi laboratories, workshops and factories, even as Germany was losing the war. Thus began Project Paperclip, the US operation which saw von Braun and more than 700 others spirited out of Germany from under the noses of the US's allies. Its aim was simple: "To exploit German scientists for American research and to deny these intellectual resources to the Soviet Union." Events moved rapidly. President Truman authorised Paperclip in August 1945 and, on 18 November, the first Germans reached America.

11/28/05 - Marine renewable clean energy
It was a 5-year project to develop and test a commercially-sized marine current turbine. The turbine was installed in the summer of 2003 off Foreland Point, near Lynmouth on the North Devon coast of England, and has been successfully operated and tested sincethen. the turbine is a 300 kW, horizontal-axis machine that resembles a 2-bladed wind turbine, but with the rotor underwater. The turbine is mounted on a steel pile fixed into a socket in the seabed, and the power train - the rotor, gearbox and generator - can be slid up and down the pile and out of the water for servicing.

11/27/05 - Brightening Nanotube Light Sources
Nanotubes have proven to be very inefficient phosphors, absorbing a thousand photons for every photon that they emit (a ratio called quantum efficiency). Now, however, the latest research into nanotube luminescence has found that there is substantial room for increasing the efficiency of these infinitesimal light sources. "We were expecting to see individual differences of only a few percent, so we were very surprised to find that some nanotubes are a 1,000 percent more efficient than others," says Tobias Hertel. Nanotubes are members of the fullerene family along with buckyballs, carbon molecules shaped like soccer balls. Nanotubes, which are also called buckytubes, are seamless cylinders made of carbon atoms and capped on at least one end with a buckyball hemisphere. Nanotubes come in two basic forms: single-walled and multi-walled, which have two or more concentric shells. Slight differences in the geometric arrangement of carbon atoms produces nanotubes with different electrical properties, either metallic or semiconductor. Semiconducting nanotubes are the variety that produces light. Since nanotubes were discovered in 1991, scientists have determined that they are relatively easy to make and have developed several methods for doing so. The original process that was used is called the arc-discharge technique. Large amounts of current are passed through two graphite rods in a container filled with high-pressure helium gas. As the rods are brought together, an electrical arc is formed and the carbon in the smaller rod is transformed into a tubular structure filled with nanotubes. This produces a mixture of different types of nanotubes, including single-walled and multiple walled, semiconductor and metallic varieties in the form of black, sooty powder. A more recent process uses a laser to vaporize carbon by scanning repeated across a flat slab made from a mixture of graphite and metal. This approach is noted for its ability to make a large proportion of single-walled tubes. In addition, a chemical vapor deposition process has been developed that is most suitable for producing nanotubes in commercial quantities. Nanotubes are not known to be toxic to living cells, unlike the cadmium found in quantum dots. They produce a narrower, more precise beam of light, which makes them easier to detect. Finally, they are more stable and continue producing light long after quantum dots have faded.

11/27/05 - German Flying Saucers
(Jim L. sent an email about a recent documentary on the History Channel about UFOs, German flying machines and said it had about 5 minutes of footage of Victor Schauberger, so I found this interesting site. - JWD) What I found through FOIA documents, BIOS Reports, the record of the 415th NFS, US Army and USAAF/USAF Technical Intelligence Manuals from 1945-47, as well as eyewitness accounts and postwar disc developments by AVRO Canada, Lockheed, Northrop, Boeing, and NASA helped sort out the mistakes and I believe I corrected them all. Solid evidence exists for the Sack A.S.6, Schauberger Repulsin discoid motors, Focke's Schnellflugzeug patent/project, the mystery V-7 (Miethe Elektrische Luft Turbine, under the Bruno Schwenteit postwar patent), Coanda's Lenticular design, Josef Andreas Epp's Omega Diskus 1/10th scale models as well as his GDR Pirna disc of 1950, Schriever's Flugkreisel, and the BMW Prague facility Flugelrad jet auto-gyros. The problem most people have is with the SS Technical Branch E-IV and their occult disc programs that date way back to 1922 with the occult Thule and Vril Gesellschafts. Speer, however, in his book "Infiltration" tells of his denial of access to SS war production, materials accumulated, direction of slave work force for weapon construction, and active projects.

11/27/05 - Cheaper Veggie Diesel May Change the Way We Drive
Japanese scientists may have found a cheaper and more efficient way to produce "biodiesel." The renewable, vegetable oil-based fuel can be used in conventional diesel engines, which are found in about 2 percent of cars currently sold in the U.S. and in about 40 percent in Europe. Any vegetable oil can become fuel, but not until its fatty acids are converted to chemical compounds known as esters. Currently the acids used to convert the fatty acids are prohibitively expensive. Michikazu Hara, of the Tokyo Institute of Technology in Yokohama, Japan, and his colleagues have used common, inexpensive sugars to form a recyclable solid acid that does the job on the cheap. "We estimate the cost of the catalyst to be one-tenth to one-fiftieth that of conventional catalysts," Hara said. Though it has been historically limited, U.S. interest in the fuel appears to be rising rapidly. "We are anticipating 75 million gallons [284 million liters] of production in 2005, and that's triple last year's production," said Jenna Higgins, a spokesperson for the National Biodiesel Board, a biodiesel-industry trade group.

11/27/05 - Sleeping In A Horizontal Position May Be Bad For You
Plants actually use gravity for their growth, rather than just overcoming it. Gravity provides the driving force for a two-way elevator formed by separate liquid columns, where the downward flowing side carries a concentrated and therefore heavier form of the lighter ascending liquid. Evaporation does the trick, concentrating the mineral content of the sap by getting rid of the pure H2O while keeping the minerals. The heavy descending liquid and the ascending new sap form a loop where water molecules, in what is described as a rubber-band effect, are able to lift the ascending column by negative pressure at the top. A first set of observations about sleeping in a slightly inclined position (head up, feet down, five degrees) rather than in our traditional perfectly horizontal beds, seems to confirm that the human organism requires gravitational pull to function in an optimal manner. Positive health effects were observed for those sleeping in the inclined position. Start at a six inch incline until you are comfortable with the changes, then go for the full 8 inch incline. Complete spinal cord injuries dating back as much as 18 years can be reversed to some degree by simply tilting a bed and altering the posture while seated! My discovery is in how gravity drives the cerebrospinal fluid, in a simple flow and return system, inducing some nerve regeneration, and also appears to facilitate effective guidance to regenerating nerves, much the same as how gravity induces and guides direction to seedlings This is achieved by altering posture to make use of gravity and can repair a significant amount of the damage in complete / incomplete spinal cord injuries. However, this does not solely relate to spinal function and a vast amount of other benefits have been reported, namely restored bowel and bladder function, increased metabolism, reductions in infections, visual improvements and in particular addresses the problem of urinary infections by assisting the renal function, muscular atrophy, and osteoporosis have responded well to this intervention. A general decrease in pain has been noted by some people that have already taken part in the pilot study. However, during nerve regeneration / redirection, people have reported a temporary increase in pain. Spasm and general muscle tension is improved significantly also. One of the first things you should notice is an improvement in body temperature. Instead of cold hands and feet, you will find that you have nice warm hands and warm feet. Goose bumps occur, finger / toe nails and hair grows more profusely. Toe nails, when they are in poor condition, have been reported to shed and a new nail grows which is stronger and smoother than the old nails that have been lost in two cases.

11/27/05 - 200mpg Pogue carburetor plans found?
A retired Cornish mechanic has enlisted the help of the University of Plymouth to rebuild Pogue’s revolutionary carburetor, known as the Winnipeg, from blueprints he found hidden beneath a sheet of plywood in the box. The controversial plans once caused panic among oil companies and rocked the Toronto Stock Exchange when tests carried out on the carburetor in the 1930s proved that it worked. Patrick Davies, 72, from St Austell, had owned the tool box for 40 years but only recently decided to clean it out. As well as drawings of the carburetor, the envelope contained two pages of plans, three test reports and six pages of notes written by Pogue. They included a report of a test that Pogue had done on his lawnmower, which showed that he had managed to make the engine run for seven days on a quart (just under a litre) of petrol. The documents also described how the machine worked by turning petrol into a vapour before it entered the cylinder chamber, reducing the amount of fuel needed for combustion. The announcement of Pogue’s invention caused enormous excitement in the American motor industry in 1933, when he drove 200 miles on one gallon of fuel in a Ford V8. However, the Winnipeg was never manufactured commercially and after 1936 it disappeared altogether amid allegations of a political cover-up. Though we have no report of how fast Pogue drove the 8 cylinder car over the 200 mile distance using just one gallon of gasoline, it did not stop one critic/skeptic from suggesting, “You can get fantastic mileage if you’re prepared to de-rate the vehicle to a point where, for example, it might take you ten minutes to accelerate from 0 to 30 miles an hour.” In a search for KeelyNet news details, we find the 1935 Patent # 1,997,497 - In carburetors as commonly used for supplying a combustible mixture of air and liquid fuel to internal combustion engines a relatively large amount of the atomised liquid fuel is not vaporized and enters the engine cylinder more or less in the form of microscopic droplets. When such a charge is 'fired' in the engine cylinder only that portion of the liquid fuel which has been converted into the vaporous and consequently the molecular state, combines with the air to give an explosive mixture. The remaining portion of the liquid fuel which is drawn into the engine cylinders and remains in the form of small droplets does not explode and thereby impart power to the engine, but burns with a flame and raises the temperature of the engine above that at which the engine operates most efficiently, i.e., from 160-180 degrees F..

11/27/05 - Maxell offers 1.6 terrabyte holographic storage in late 2006
It'll be using technology from Bell Labs spin-off InPhase Technologies that's said to be able to achieve 1.6TB per disk uncompressed capacity with 120MBps of bandwidth. TB - One TB (Terrabyte) of storage = 1000 GB (Gigabyte)

11/26/05 - Core Evidence That Humans Affect Climate Change
An ice core about two miles long - the oldest frozen sample ever drilled from the underbelly of Antarctica - shows that at no time in the last 650,000 years have levels of the greenhouse gases carbon dioxide and methane been as high as they are today. The research, published in today's issue of the journal Science, describes the content of the greenhouse gases within the core and shows that carbon dioxide levels today are 27% higher than they have been in the last 650,000 years and levels of methane, an even more powerful greenhouse gas, are 130% higher, said Thomas Stocker, a climate researcher at the University of Bern and senior member of the European team that wrote two papers based on the core. The work provides more evidence that human activity since the Industrial Revolution has significantly altered the planet's climate system, scientists said. Scientists are enthusiastic about the ice core because it includes about eight full glacial cycles. The Vostok sample had four. Glacial cycles occur roughly every 100,000 years and include long periods of cold, when ice ages occur, and brief, warm interglacial periods, such as the current one. The cycles are controlled by shakes, wobbles and tilts in the Earth's orbit around the sun that determine the amount of sunlight falling on and warming the planet. The work suggests that the next ice age is about 15,000 years away. "Anyone counting on an ice age to head off global warming, or hoping to justify human greenhouse-gas emissions as a useful attempt to head off the next ice age, will find no comfort in the ice-core record," Alley said.

11/26/05 - Microwave Water Heater
The tankless system uses microwave technology to heat water on demand, saving energy and providing an endless supply of hot water for residential and commercial usage. The technology is designed to eliminate the deadly Legionella Pneumophila, since water will not stagnate, as it does with conventional hot water heaters. Powered by electricity and unaffected by the volatile gas markets, the Vulcanus MK4 can heat water from 35 degrees Fahrenheit to 140 degrees Fahrenheit in seconds and can source multiple applications at once: showers, dishwasher, sink usages and more. The Vulcanus MK4 is the size of a stereo speaker with a sleek modern look, making it ideal for condos and apartments, while powerful enough to serve the needs of any size family.

11/26/05 - Propeller powered bike can go up to 85MPH!
Standing outside on the street near his home, Brown ran his hands over the tangled mass of wires, metal and tubes that make up the twin engines that power his unique bicycle. Despite its awkward appearance, Brown said he figures his bike can make the long trek across country on just 30 gallons of gas. There are other powered bicycles, he said. But most are direct-drive, meaning the engine powers the wheel rather than the chain, as his does. He can still use the gear shift on the bike, saving fuel and engine wear. Other bikes rely on a single engine. He took two small engines and through a system of gears and a throttle mechanism, made them work together. That extends the life of the engine and boosts speed. "It's something that somebody's never tried before," he said. The trip will take him a while, he said - probably 15 to 20 days. The bike can only reach about 25 mph, he said. "There's a trade off here, speed for economy," he said. Brown knows the bike will run. He's put 200 miles on it already. The throttle acts like a cruise control, he said. By setting the engines at a constant speed, they run more efficiently. When terrain requires more or less power, he shifts gears in the same way as he would riding a pedal-powered bicycle. His adventures with propeller-driven vehicles began in 1980, while he was working on a go-cart. He was living in Minnesota at the time. Brown struggled with the gears, until someone suggested that he stick a propeller on the back. He did and continued working on his invention. By the time he had finished the vehicle, he could speed along at 85 mph.

11/26/05 - Keep science off web, says Royal Society
(How backwards is this? It is irrational logic claiming an exchange of knowledge with wider society is best via private print journals. - JWD) The Royal Society, Britain's national academy of science, yesterday joined the debate about so-called open access to scientific research, warning that making research freely available on the internet as it is published in scientific journals could harm scientific debate. The Royal Society fears it could lead to the demise of journals published by not-for-profit societies, which put out about a third of all journals. "Funders should remember that the primary aims should be to improve the exchange of knowledge between researchers and wider society," The Royal Society said. A spokesman for the Royal Society said: "We think it conceivable that the journals in some disciplines might suffer. Why would you pay to subscribe to a journal if the papers appear free of charge?"

11/25/05 - Ford’s Easy Fuel System Takes The Guesswork Out Of Filling Up
Gasoline and diesel fuel sold next to each other from look-alike pumps, often four to six in a row. Over 150,000 people a year put the wrong fuel into their vehicle and the figure is rising rapidly as diesel sales increase. But for anyone who accidentally fills their diesel-powered car with gasoline, it can be a €4,000-€5,000 ($4,700-$5,900) case of mistaken identity. Ford of Europe has now come up with a solution for the mis-fueling of cars, a problem that affects hundreds of thousands of people in Europe each year. It’s called Easy Fuel, and it is a simple device that prevents a gasoline nozzle from being inserted into a car with a diesel engine. "Ford’s intention is to isolate the danger of engine damage to all customers," said Ford Fuel Systems Engineer Stefan Buro. "With the Easy Fuel system, we have developed a method for error-free handling, especially for the coming generation of quietly running diesel engines, where the only things customers notice are good performance and excellent fuel economy." The Easy Fuel system, with a patented mis-fueling inhibitor, consists of a sealed filler pipe insert and fuel nozzle locator that guides the nozzle to the tank opening. The insert contains a mechanically operated diameter detector which only allows the larger diesel fuel nozzle to be inserted into the filler pipe, and locks out the thinner gasoline nozzles. The system will begin appearing on Ford vehicles within two years following final testing. Unlike a gasoline engine, which compresses a mixture of gasoline and air, diesel engines compress just air before diesel fuel is injected into the cylinder and the fuel is ignited. Pouring gasoline into a diesel engine can cause damage to the fuel pump, the high-pressure injection system, as well as other serious engine problems.

11/25/05 - Energy Demand Prompts Fresh Interest in Bio-Energy
Biomass gasification is the partial oxidation of solid organic material including wood, sewage sludge and hybrid crop species. The output of the process is a fuel suitable for combustion in turbines to produce heat and in some cases combined heat and electricty (known as co-generation). While the technology is well proven, it is not widely used in New Zealand due to the relatively low cost of fossil fuels, hydro and geothermal energy. “The most likely application of biomass gas will be in the forest industry, where there is an abundance of raw material in the form of forest trimmings and waste from sawmills and timber processing plants. It is also an ideal fuel for generating heat for drying timber. “Looking beyond the forestry industry there are opportunities to incorporate biomass gas in industrial energy parks to produce process heat for manufacturing and energy for refrigeration, or to supply thermal energy and electricity for small towns serving the forestry sector. “It could also be used for heat and power for schools, hospitals and other public buildings, as it is in North American and Europe. The beauty of biomass gas is that it comes from a waste product, is clean burning, produces zero carbon emissions and can be built where the energy is needed, rather than relying on an expensive distribution network. New Zealand has 1.8million hectares in pine plantations, providing a large source of woody biomass. The installed capacity of biomass energy plant throughout the larger wood processing sites in New Zealand is around 550MWth,yet there is no exclusive electricity generation using wood or forest residues.

11/25/05 - Charges of Congressional "Pork" Leveled at Solar Projects
Earmarked solar projects are diverting critical research funds while congressional belt tightening is forcing a fight for limited federal resources. A curious and not altogether comfortable situation has emerged in the U.S. solar industry lately. In the past few weeks, Senators and State Representatives from across the U.S. have proudly trumpeted their successful efforts to secure funding for solar projects in their home districts through the use of Congressional earmarks, or line-items added to bills. While new solar projects throughout the U.S. may seem like a good thing, the solar industry's national representatives came out against such actions, characterizing the projects as "solar pork"; programs that are not really there to advance solar energy but rather a way for lawmakers to bring money to home districts while gaining some positive press.

11/25/05 - Localization of finger impacts using acoustic time-reversal process
Time reversal in acoustics is a very efficient solution to focus sound back to its source in a wide range of materials including reverberating media. It expresses the following properties: A wave still has the memory of its source location. The concept presented in this letter first consists in detecting the acoustic waves in solid objects generated by a slight finger knock. In a second step, the information related to the source location is extracted from a simulated time reversal experiment in the computer. Then, an action (turn on the light or a compact disk player, for example) is associated with each location. Thus, the whole system transforms solid objects into interactive interfaces. Compared to the existing acoustic techniques, it presents the great advantage of being simple and easily applicable to inhomogeneous objects whatever their shapes. The number of possible touch locations at the surface of objects is shown to be directly related to the mean wavelength of the detected acoustic wave. An acoustics sensor and analyzer that localizes finger impacts on a surface and maps them to computer commands. The system taps time-reversal acoustics to analyze reverberations within a solid object in order to trace a sound back to its point of origin. The system works with rigid materials like glass, metal, hard plastics and ceramics, and can work with irregularly-shaped objects. The system is made up of a single acoustic receiver and a personal computer, and can identify contact points as small as a square centimeter. The system can be used to turn a desk top into a computer keyboard, a coffee table into a remote control, and a spot on a wall into a light switch.

11/25/05 - New Spectrometry to detect Cancers and growth rate
The method, known as “stable isotope ratio mass spectrometry,” can determine where a substance was produced by “weighing” various forms or isotopes of an element in the substance - such as the ratio of rare oxygen-18 to common oxygen-16. Additional uses of the method may result from a new study that challenges the long-held belief that water moves so rapidly through cell membranes and pores that the water inside cells is chemically identical to the water outside cells. Prevailing wisdom says that water inside and outside of cells is identical in terms of ratios of oxygen-18 to oxygen-16, and rare hydrogen-2 to common hydrogen-1. The researchers found that up to 70 percent of the water inside rapidly growing bacterial cells was generated by metabolism, the process of converting food into energy and other necessities of life. That conclusion was based on their surprising discovery that water inside the bacterial cells (intracellular water) has a different oxygen-18-to-oxygen-16 ratio than water outside the cells (extracellular water). The difference in isotope ratios in water inside and outside a cancer cell “could be useful in developing a test to assess the metabolic rate of a tumor - how fast the tumor is growing,” says Hegg. “This could be especially important in tumors in which obtaining a biopsy is difficult.” If doctors can do a biopsy to remove a sample of a tumor, the cancer cells can be cultured in a dish to determine how rapidly they grow. “But if you can’t biopsy it because it’s in your brain or another hard-to-reach location, then you need some other way to figure out how fast it’s growing,” Hegg says. Such a test would involve taking a blood sample to collect some metabolite produced by the cancer cells. “If that metabolite has the same isotope ratio as the water in your bloodstream, then the tumor is not growing so rapidly,” says Hegg. “However, if the isotope ratio in the metabolite is vastly different than the ratio in your body water, it indicates the tumor is growing very rapidly, so it needs to be treated more aggressively.”

11/25/05 - Water Vapor May Be Biggest Contributor to Higher Global Temperatures
An unexpected greenhouse gas -- water vapor -- may be the biggest factor contributing to higher global air temperatures, a Swiss researcher said Wednesday. Other greenhouse gases heat the ground, which causes more water evaporation that in turn further increases ground and then air temperatures, said Rolf Philipona of the World Radiation Center in Davos, Switzerland. "Water vapor is a greenhouse gas," said Philipona. "Wherever you have an increase in water vapor, you have an increase in temperature." A study led by Philipona found that temperatures in the Alps increased by 1.3 to 1.4 degrees Celsius since 1980, but rose much more rapidly after 1995 -- jumping up almost a full degree at the same time that water vapor levels there rose by relatively high 4 percent. "There has been a lot of speculation over why temperatures go up," Philipona said in a telephone interview. "In this study, we were able to distinguish between the effects of water vapor and the effects of aerosols and other factors." Over the same period of time, temperatures in relatively arid Spain hardly rose at all because the dry landscape did not release a significant amount of water vapor, Philipona said. Most water vapor in the air occurs naturally, but humans can help restrict the problem by limiting carbon dioxide emissions, which heat the earth's surface and cause greater water evaporation, he said. "We cannot reduce water vapor, but we can enhance it marginally," Philipona said. "We have to strongly reduce the CO2 which we put into the atmosphere." Previously, global warming skeptics have claimed that rising surface temperatures would cause a lack of water vapor, potentially cooling the planet. "We are the first to measure the water vapor feedback and its effect on temperatures," Philipona said.

11/25/05 - eTV - Local kid aims at knocking out obesity with invention
ntroducing exercise television or E-TV! The creator of this invention, ten year old Nick Nordlund of Glastonbury, wants to single handedly solve the problem of adult obesity. "America is the fattest country on the planet earth," says Nick. "I wanted to make something that you can have entertainment and exercise at the same time. You have to exercise in order to watch tv." This all started when Nick broke his mother's treadmill. He saw it had a DC or Direct Current motor and his wheels began to turn. He pedaled the bike to make the motor run and hooked it up to a DC television. "Maybe someone will make something like this, and get it patented and start selling it and maybe stop obesity," says Nick.

11/25/05 - Seagate denies hard drive to be replaced by flash memory
World hard drive leader Seagate is going to produce 2048GB hard drives next January in Singapore, a strategy to compete with flash memory chip, which has been regarded to take the place of hard drives. Samsung Electronics Co. holds that hard drive era is going to die out after the company unveiled 16 GB flash memory chips in September this year. Flash memory chip lags far behind hard drive both in properties and capacity. An ordinary hard drive has a storage of hundred of GBs while flash memory only has several GBs, said general manager of Seagate China. The manager also said that the two kinds of storage devices can be complementary, flash memory is more suitable for handheld devices like MP3, while hard drive is more adequate for digital TV sets and mobile phones.

11/25/05 - US Patent Office Co-Sponsors Invention Contest
The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) announced in a Tuesday press release that it is joining the National Inventors Hall of Fame and the History Channel in sponsoring the Modern Marvels Invent Now Challenge. This is a new contest that invites the everyday inventors to share their vision and ingenious design with the world. Twenty-five semi-finalists will have the opportunity to be recognized, have their invention exhibited and receive valuable information to help them realize the full potential of their invention. The most remarkable invention submitted will be named the 2006 “Modern Marvel of the Year.” The inventor will win $25,000 and be featured on the History Channel during a special Invention Week of Modern Marvels programs. The deadline for entry is December 31, 2005.

11/25/05 - Zinc good for children with HIV
Zinc supplements are a safe and effective way to reduce illness in children with HIV, US researchers say. Evidence shows that they cut the chance of diarrhoea and pneumonia without any risk of worsening the HIV infection, according to a report in The Lancet. They recruited 96 children, aged between 6 months and five years, from Grey's Hospital in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa, and randomly assigned the children to receive zinc supplements or a dummy drug each day for six months. The zinc supplements did not result in an increase in blood HIV viral load - a measure of HIV severity - but the children receiving zinc did have less diarrhoea. "More than half these children die before the age of three years, most commonly of respiratory tract infections and diarrhoeal diseases. "Zinc supplementation could be a simple and cost-effective intervention to reduce morbidity and mortality in children with HIV-1 infection." A spokeswoman from the HIV/Aids charity AVERT said: "The findings of this trial are certainly encouraging, as diarrhoea can be a life threatening illness in HIV positive children." People with a healthy, balanced diet should not normally be deficient in zinc. Foods rich in zinc include fish, meat, cheese, some nuts and seeds and brown rice.

11/24/05 - Chiller Additives May Save Energy For Cooling Big Buildings
A National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) researcher has come up with a method designed to improve the energy efficiency of water chillers that cool the nation's large commercial buildings. The NIST method, if confirmed through experiments with full-scale chiller systems, could save as much as 1 percent of the 320 billion kWh of electricity used annually by chillers or an equivalent 920,000 barrels of oil a day, according to Mark Kedzierski, the NIST mechanical engineer who developed the technique. The researchers discovered that some lubricants, when injected in small amounts, can significantly enhance evaporator heat transfer, increasing the efficiency of chillers. When they studied the process more closely they found the most efficient heat transfer occurred when the added oil's surface tension, viscosity, composition and chemical characteristics complemented those of the chiller's base lubricant. In a recent paper* describing the method, Kedzierski describes how the right additive forms a very thin covering on an evaporator surface, which produces enhanced bubbling during boiling. The improved conversion of the refrigerant molecules into vapor molecules increases the chiller's cooling capacity similar to a heat pump.

11/24/05 - New process for Recycling Tires
The innovative process, known as Molectra, reclaims all of the components that make up a tyre cleanly and efficiently without waste, residue, or emissions whilst extracting various products for re-use. The process recycles one hundred percent of the tyre. The Molectra process integrates mechanical, chemical and microwave treatments to cleanly and efficiently break the tyre down into its base materials - oil, carbon, rubber granules, steel and plastic fibres, which can then be made into valuable products and resources. An extensive list of products made from the processed tires is described at the above URL.

11/24/05 - New Florida Invention non-invasively zaps Cancer with radio waves
More than 1.3 million people will get cancer this year, and 570,000 will die from it. John Kanzius and his wife, Marianne, retired to Sanibel Island in 2002, but any thoughts of a relaxing retirement were postponed six months later, when Kanzius was diagnosed with a rare form of leukemia. "I began one night trying to see if I could transmit high energy waves through a short space," he said. Kanzius told his friend, Dr. Robert McDonald, of Southwest Florida Regional Medical center, about cutting up his wife's pie pans to help send radio waves from point "A" to point "B." "He said he was able to cook hot dogs using this, and I was blown away," said McDonald. Kanzius continued to fine tune his work to see if the radio waves could be targeted to attack specific cells. Kanzius discovered that neighboring cells were unaffected. He now now holds seven patents on his technology. In recent months, Kanzius' work has gotten the attention of some very important researchers who believe he's on to something big. "Current radio frequency treatment require literally sticking a needle or needles into tumors and turning on an electrical current that will heat the tumor slowly," said Curley. "First, it's external and non-invasive -- no needles placed in the tumor or the body. Second, it would allow us to treat tumors much more rapidly than current equipment allows us to use," he said. "The ability to non-invasively treatment somebody is truly the holy grail of cancer." "To think that two to three years from now, I might be able to watch somebody that's been treated and have a doctor say to that person, 'You've been cured' -- that would be all I'm looking for," said Kanzius. The team at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center should have some preliminary data on Kanzius' work within the next few weeks. As for his own health, Kanzius says his cancer is in remission.

11/24/05 - Ignoring useless information aids memory: study
Filtering out useless information can help people increase their capacity to remember what is really important, researchers said on Wednesday. Scientists at the University of Oregon in the United States have demonstrated that awareness, or visual working memory, does not depend on extra storage space in the brain but on an ability to ignore what is irrelevant. Vogel and his team believe the results could lead to better ways to enhance memory and improve the diagnosis and treatment of cognitive problems such as attention deficit disorder and schizophrenia.

11/24/05 - NASA says Private enterprise needed in space
(What a sneaky way to maintain oversight/control of private ventures, partner up with them! - JWD) NASA has said commercial investment will prove vital to its future efforts in space exploration. Ex-staffers backed the sentiment, saying NASA has too much on its plate to go it alone. The agency's chief administrator Michael Griffin told the American Astronautics Society that private investment in space could be the "dawn of the true space age", reports. He called on American industry to get involved in developing commercial cargo and crew ships, as well as putting private fuelling stations in low Earth orbit to help with the bid to get manned missions back to the Moon and to Mars. "We want to be able to buy these services from American industry. It will not be government business as usual," he said. Former NASA chief of staff Courtney Stadd said that the agency should not confine itself to working with US partners, but should look to international contractors and partnerships as well. He noted: "Any misstep in human spaceflight could spell a very long hiatus in human-driven exploration in the US." In related news, the House and the Senate have just approved NASA's 2006 spending plan, granting the agency $16.5bn - 0.7 percent of the federal budget - for the next fiscal year.

11/24/05 - Cosmic rays still an enigma, for now
Cosmic rays, the highest-energy particles in the universe, are being pitched at Earth from someplace beyond our galaxy. For more than seven decades, no one has been able to figure out where they are coming from. Now, armed with a cosmic-ray catcher's mitt inaugurated last week in Argentina on a site half the size of Rhode Island, scientists from the University of Chicago and Fermilab, along with more than 250 other scientists from 16 countries, hope to solve one of astronomy's biggest mysteries. Cosmic rays are so powerful that when they collide with air molecules in Earth's atmosphere, they can temporarily produce energies similar to those that existed right after the big bang, the explosive beginning of the universe about 13 billion years ago. "We want to understand how nature reaches these energies," said University of Chicago astrophysicist Angela Olinto. "The energies of the particles that we'll be observing with this detector are millions of times more powerful than we can produce with particle accelerators on Earth. In principle these particles will give us the possibility of testing physics that we can't test in our laboratories." Cosmic rays are protons accelerated to speeds approaching that of light, 186,000 miles per second.

11/24/05 - Patent enforcement: What you don't know might hurt you
(This is precisly why the patent office needs to REQUIRE WORKING HARDWARE for hardware related ideas or processes. - JWD) There is a growing group of entities that consider enforcing patents to be a main or significant source of revenue. As a consequence, more and more businesses have to be concerned with patent matters. In the past, most patent lawsuits involved competitors, each making and selling products containing proprietary technology into the same market suing each other. But patent enforcers often sue retailers or end users of products or technologies, not the manufacturers. In addition, patent enforcers often do nothing other than buy or otherwise procure patents. So, the classic scenario has changed. Patent owners are suing purchasers rather than manufacturers or direct competitors. Even when they are fortunate to enjoy warranties or indemnities, end users and retailers may still have to spend time and money to defend themselves against or settle patent infringement claims. The U.S. and many foreign countries do not require an inventor to actually build or implement his or her invention. An inventor need only create a design. Patents issued on designs are sometimes referred to as “paper patents,” because the inventor never builds a prototype before filing the patent application and may never actually build a product or implement a process embodying the invention. In some cases, the inventor may not have any intent to sell products or services that implement the patented technology. As a consequence, the issuance of paper patents can lead to situations where inventors invent patents rather than patent inventions. The patent statute states that “[e]xcept as otherwise provided in this title, whoever without authority makes, uses, offers to sell, or sells any patented invention … infringes the patent.” There is no requirement that the patent owner make or provide a product or service embodying the invention. Nor is there any requirement that the infringer make the infringing device. In simple terms, a plaintiff must prove just two things: ownership of the asserted patent and that the accused device or process (regardless of who made or designed it) is covered by at least one claim in the patent.

11/24/05 - New Technology To Reduce Office Lighting Energy Consumption Up To 60%
A world-first technology that can reduce office and commercial lighting energy costs by 30 to 60 percent has taken a major step toward commercialization, Fifth Light Technology Ltd. and Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC) announced today. "Fifth Light technology became interested in this field several years ago out of a belief that the key to better commercial lighting efficiency and energy savings lay in dimming, intelligent control systems and management protocols, rather than expensive electronic ballasts and light tubes," says Dr. Joseph Dableh, President, Fifth Light Technology Ltd. The technology utilizes a unique, patented controller system that, for the first time, allows fluorescent lighting systems using magnetic ballasts to be dimmed. The system allows for the individual, automated control of each lighting fixture in a building, in step with lighting needs and the time of day. Prior to Fifth Light's technology, fluorescent lights operated by magnetic ballasts - by far the most common type of office and commercial lighting installed worldwide, with more than one billion fixtures in North America alone - could not be adjusted. At a time of heightened concern over rising energy costs and greenhouse gas emissions, ironically most commercial spaces are over-lit, with tenants generally preferring lower light levels than they currently experience. More than doubles the life of fluorescent bulbs and ballasts, reducing maintenance and capital costs. Works with existing or new magnetic ballasts, fixtures and bulbs. Qualifies for energy efficiency rebates offered by the federal government and some utilities. Lighting represents at least 30 percent - and more often greater than half -- of a building's electrical energy costs. With each Fifth Light dimmer saving an average 350 KWh of electricity per year, if the technology were installed in 200 office towers, it would replace the output of one large coal-fired generator or 80 percent of an average nuclear reactor.

11/24/05 - DayTracker keeps track of days
(Hard to believe there is a market for this but it shows how simple devices will sell. - JWD) "Busy people, shift workers and many elderly can lose track of time. They can use the quick nudges this instrument provides to put the garbage out on time, to tune into a program they don’t want to miss, or to comfortably get ready for an event which needs preparation,” said Brophy. “The DayTracker is essentially a tool which helps people stay organized on a day-by-day basis within the week. They can tack adhesive notes on its wide rim face to alert themselves to special events,” said Brophy. The patented battery operated device automatically tells what day of the week it is and even roughly tells the time of day. It can be hung on a wall or placed on a coffee table. “If you are on medication, you might take an afternoon nap, then wake up thinking it’s the next day. The serious danger is that you could take next day’s prescription (shown by your pill box as not taken) thereby overdosing (double dosing).” Currently his device, manufactured in China, is being sold for $19.95 in Home Hardware stores in Sudbury and the Valley, at the Science North’s gift shop and at Guardian Health Care Pharmacy on Lasalle Blvd. Brophy is already selling units this past month and is optimistic his invention will be a hit.

11/24/05 - More evidence 'dark energy' is the aether/zpe push
Albert Einstein, who added a "cosmological constant" to his equation for the expansion of the universe but later retracted it, may be vindicated by new research published today in the journal Astronomy and Astrophysics. The enigmatic "dark energy" that drives the acceleration of the Universe behaves just like Einstein's cosmological constant, according to the Supernova Legacy Survey (SNLS), an international team of researchers in France and Toronto and Victoria in Canada, collaborating with large telescope observers in Oxford, Caltech and Berkeley. Their observations reveal that the dark energy behaves like Einstein's cosmological constant to a precision of 10%. The Supernova Legacy Survey (SNLS) aims to discover and examine 700 distant supernovae to map out the history of the expansion of the universe. The survey confirms earlier discoveries that the expansion of the universe proceeded more slowly in the past and is speeding up today, apparently driven by some unknown form of energy. Since scientists don't know much about this mysterious new form of energy, they call it "dark energy."

11/24/05 - Realtime walking in Virtual Reality
Nurakhmed "Ray" Latypov and his older brother Nurulla, working together in Moscow, were seeking a way to enable a person to walk, run and even jump, crawl, dive or roll -- all while remaining safely in place. In physics terms, they wanted to create an endless moving plane. In 1996, Ray conceived of a lightweight sphere, big enough to hold a person inside and mounted on wheels that would allow it to rotate freely. No matter how the occupant moved or how quickly or in which direction, the sphere would rotate to accommodate the motion. "It is truly unique in its ability to provide full-body motion in an immersive experience, where you can affect and change things," said Alexey Palladin, chief executive of Redmond-based VirtuSphere Inc. (pronounced "virtue sphere"). The VirtuSphere is 8 1/2 feet in diameter and weighs less than 500 pounds. Made of latticed ABS plastic, so it can be seen and heard through, it sells for between $50,000 and $100,000, depending on the software shipped with it. The sphere rests on a base of 25 supporting wheels that pivot in every direction, and it cannot be knocked off that base from the inside, no matter how violent the occupant's motions. It breaks down into 32 small pieces, fits into a small car and can be assembled in four hours with a power screwdriver. The VirtuSphere is entered through a circular hatch, and most people acclimate to the motion within 20 minutes, chief test pilot Kaizen Taki said. Once the hatch is closed, the occupant dons a head-mounted display that projects an image onto a small screen in front of the eyes. It's connected wirelessly to a personal computer outside the sphere. Sensors under the sphere bring the horizon closer to the occupant with every step forward. If the occupant walks backward, the horizon recedes. Thanks to a key portion of the display made by VirtuSphere, if the occupant turns his head left, right, up or down, what he's seeing on the display shifts accordingly.

11/24/05 - The Global Warming 'Tipping Point' Scenario
Rising temperatures trigger a runaway melt of Greenland's ice sheet, raising sea levels and drowning Pacific islands and cities from New York to Tokyo. In Siberia, the permafrost thaws, releasing vast frozen stores of greenhouse gases that send temperatures even higher. In the tropics, the Amazon rainforest starts to die off because of a warmer, drier climate. Melting ice in Greenland could send a sudden flow of cool water into the North Atlantic, disrupting the giant current that pulls warm water northwards to create the Gulf Stream. This might shut down the warm current and could also make parts of Europe and North America sharply colder, despite an overall warming of the climate. Scenarios like this, and the uncertainty surrounding them, will provide a dramatic backdrop to a United Nations climate change meeting in Montreal, Canada, from November 28-December 9. Around 190 countries will debate how to expand a U.N.-led fight against global warming to include developing nations such as China and India and skeptic countries, led by the United States and Australia. Concerns about "tipping points" today focus on the Arctic. Experts say Greenland's 3,000 meter (9,800 ft) thick ice sheet, which has been melting at ever higher altitudes in summers in recent years, may be vulnerable to a runaway thaw. If the Greenland sheet melted entirely over the next few centuries, world sea levels would rise by about 7 meters (23 ft). Antarctica's far bigger ice cap is likely to be more resilient as the giant continent acts as a deep freeze. A melting of the Arctic "may happen very abruptly. It's one of the big unknowns and would be irreversible," said Paal Prestrud, head of the Center for International Climate and Environmental Research in Oslo.

11/23/05 - Home Energy From Honda
Home Energy Station III provides heat and electricity for the house as well as fuel for a hydrogen-powered vehicle. The station uses natural gas as its base energy source and is designed to work in a home-based refuelling environment. It creates enough hydrogen to power a fuel cell vehicle for a day, while providing electricity for an average-sized household. "The third generation of Honda's Home Energy Station continues to push the limits with its innovative technology," says Honda R&D Americas Vice President Ben Knight, "The combination of home energy generation and home refuelling offers an attractive alternative to gasoline and takes us one step closer to a truly viable hydrogen-based transportation system."

11/23/05 - How soon we forget - hybrids losing the point
It seems the high-mileage, low-frills trend in hybrid automaking may prove shorter than a Hummer's trips between fill-ups. Newer hybrids are using the added boost from their gas-electric engines for more acceleration and power. But more mean equals less green. To attract drivers looking for large and luxurious vehicles, automakers such as Lexus and General Motors Corp. are building hybrids with the looks and size of regular cars. The focus on performance sacrifices the kind of jaw-dropping efficiency that got hybrids noticed in the first place. Environmentalists say automakers are squandering gas-scrimping technology that reduces air pollution as well as the nation's reliance on foreign oil. It's cheaper to modify an existing model than to build a new competitor to the Prius or Insight, and SUVs have more room for adding hybrid components than sedans, he said. Automakers say gas guzzlers have the most room for improvement. But some new hybrids barely get better mileage than their non-hybrid counterparts. Take the hybrid Chevrolet Silverado, which gets the same 19 miles per gallon on the highway as a regular Silverado. On city streets it gets 17 mpg, two mpg more than the non-hybrid.

11/23/05 - Ormat Commissions 20-Megawatt Geothermal Power Plant in Nevada
The plant was commissioned only 8 months after Ground Breaking. Formerly known as the Galena 1 Project, the plant was renamed in honor of Governor Kenny Guinn’s late energy advisor Richard “Dick” Burdette Jr. The state of the art 20 MW Geothermal Power Plant is integrated into the existing Steamboat Geothermal Complex and brings the total output supplied from Steamboat to Sierra Pacific Power to 45 MW, which is sufficient to power 45,000 homes. It is an air-cooled binary power plant that re-injects 100% of all geothermal fluid produced, and consumes no water or chemicals. Contrary to wind power plants, it works continuously, providing base load power.

11/23/05 - Why $5 Gas Is Good for America
A few billion newly motorized citizens of BRIC - that's economist-speak for Brazil, Russia, India, and China - have turned up unexpectedly at the filling station, pushing prices sharply north. Rising oil prices are more than just an irritant or even an ominous nick out of the GDP. They're an invitation to corn and coal and hydrogen. For anyone with a fresh idea, expensive oil is as good as a subsidy - with no political strings attached. Indeed, every extra penny you pay at the pump is an incentive for some aspiring energy mogul to find another fuel. For the better part of a century, cheap oil has fatally undercut all comers, not to mention smothered high-minded campaigns for conservation, increased efficiency, and energy independence. But growing demand is outrunning the oil industry's carefully computed supply curves, bidding up long-term expectations for the price of energy. Corn, sugar, and soybean farmers hope rising prices can do what billions in subsidies and tax-funded research couldn't: make ethanol and biodiesel cost-effective. Smarter money is betting that using plant waste will prove more economical. These technologies join compressed natural gas, already widely used where it's worth spending extra money for cleaner exhaust.

11/23/05 - Rocking coil to tap wave power
The idea of David Woodbridge is to use the rocking motion of the waves to generate electricity, came from looking at his son's Slinky toy back in 1972. After noticing how easily it transferred energy, he thought, why not use something like the Slinky as a coil that rocks? Almost any eighth-grader can tell you that spinning copper wires through a stable magnetic field makes electricity -- lots of electrons jumping off the magnetic field and zooming through a conductive metal. And since the ocean waves are already moving, why not cobble together a machine to harness that energy? The elder Woodbridge founded Aqua-Magnetics Inc., a small company that Tom now runs. It's a radical departure from most attempts at ocean-based electric generators, which try to use the force of the waves to turn a wheel. Professor Eric Thosteson of the Florida Institute of Technology and others say they've never heard of an idea like it.

11/23/05 - WWF says global warming already hurting people, business in Europe
"Snow disappearing in Scotland, fewer bees in Italy, crop losses in Spain, forests on the decline in Germany and sea levels rising off the coast of England are dangerous signs of climate change in Europe," WWF International said, saying the changes hurt the livelihoods of labourers like foresters and farmers, whose work depends on nature's predictability. Cassian Garbett, 45, of England said he is the last permanent resident in one of five coastguard cottages near the town of Seaford - a position that has allowed him to observe a rise in the sea level there. "What we've been experiencing in the past four to five years is that the sea is a very different animal." The sea defences that protect his home from flooding have broken four times since 1999, he said, and nobody in the region can remember them breaking before that. Giuseppe Miranti, 26, an Italian organic beekeeper, said warmer temperatures are making flowers bloom outside their regular season, which changes the behaviour of his bees.

11/23/05 - Clean Power, Drinkable Water
Waves, tides even undersea currents can, in principle, be tapped to generate electricity; the technology is in transition from real-world experiments to early adoption, and the preliminary signs are that the systems can indeed produce usable amounts of power at competitive prices. Most desalination installations use electricity to create the pressure needed to drive a reverse osmosis system but the two Sydney-based, privately owned companies' combined technologies use wave pressure directly to power a reverse osmosis desalination plant. This unusual project avoids the multiple energy losses in converting wave energy to electricity before using the electricity to drive pressure pumps. "The main expense with desalination is building up the pressure needed to force the water through the separation membranes," says David Murdoch, managing director of H2AU. "With normal water desalination, that pressure energy is lost but our systems incorporate energy recovery technology, which allows us to transfer most of the pressure from the outgoing brine to the incoming seawater." The Port Kembla test system has met its initial goals, and is now gearing up for longer-term operation. Energetech estimates that it will produce at least 500 MWh annually -- possibly up to 1,500 MWh -- and about 2,000 liters of fresh water every day. At full production, an Energetech wave power system should produce electricity at a cost of less than five cents US per kilowatt-hour.

11/23/05 - One in Eight Email Messages Infected by Sober.Z Worm
Blocking Port 25 Will Assist in Stopping Mass-Mailing Worm Propagation. On Tuesday, Nov. 22, the MX Logic Threat Center had blocked over 1 million email messages infected with the latest variant of the prolific Sober worm, W32/Sober.Z -- or one in every eight emails. W32/Sober@MM!M681,WORM_SOBER.AG, Sober.Y, and W32/Sober-{X, Z}) is a mass-mailing worm spread through a .zip file attached to an email. Once the attachment is opened, the worm uses its own email engine to send itself to addresses harvested from the infected computer. Port 25 is an Internet gateway that is used for the sending of email traffic on the Internet. As a globally recognized best practice, ISPs can choose to block this port to prevent malicious outbound email, such as the Sober.Z worm which used its own SMTP engine to propagate.

11/23/05 - DIY Geodesic Clubhouse
Geodesic domes are made of interlocking geometric shapes--often triangles. Because loads are spread over many triangles, these domes are especially strong. Often made of aluminum bars and plexiglass, they’re also light compared to ordinary domes. Geodesic domes were popularized by an American inventor named Buckminster Fuller (1895-1983). Look for the distinctive Bucky-ball shape in museums, greenhouses, alternative housing, and science centres. Vancouver’s Science World is a 47-metre tall geodesic dome made of 766 triangles.

11/23/05 - Investors Bet on Global Warming
The Earth is warming up, and many people see this as a very serious threat to the planet and its inhabitants. Among the short list of side effects: melting glaciers, rising seas, scorching summer heat waves and a spike in severe storms. For investors -- particularly those fond of waterfront property and carbon-emitting fossil-fuel guzzlers -- climate change is also a factor worthy of weighty consideration in assembling a portfolio." (Global warming) started out as an environmental issue, but it crossed over to become a quite fundamental financial and economic issue," said Nick Robins, head of SRI (Socially Responsible Investment) Funds for Henderson Global Investors in London. "It's no longer a question of, is it happening and are humans causing it, so much as, what will the impacts really be?" While the catastrophes can't entirely be blamed on global warming, Ceres considers it an undeniable contributing factor.

11/23/05 - Thugs for hire in China
(This is an intriguing insight into some of the problems China is experiencing due to rapid growth, lack of jobs and a male/female imbalance. - JWD) Young toughs with few prospects for marriage or meaningful employment can find work at a respectable wage beating and intimidating lawyers, activists, journalists and ordinary citizens who challenge corrupt village leaders and wealthy business owners. "It is common, and it is becoming worse and worse," says Lu Banglie, a pro-democracy activist who was beaten by thugs last month after trying to help villagers oust an unpopular local leader across the border from Hong Kong. The increasing use of hired muscle in China "is a sign that society is becoming completely lawless," says Robin Munro, research director of the China Labor Bulletin, a Hong Kong-based group that helps mediate labor disputes. "It's a shocking development in a country that is growing as fast as China." Unable to rely on the courts for justice, peasants have been taking their protests to the streets, occasionally with violent results. Hiring plainclothes hooligans allows local strongmen to deny responsibility for violence. In a country where boys traditionally have been valued over girls and the government restricts couples to one or two children, many couples abort female fetuses to give themselves another chance for a boy. Result: About 117 boys are born for every 100 girls. That means millions of young Chinese men will never marry. Many young Chinese men with no marriage prospects - known as guang guan or "bare branches" - have drifted into the thug-for-hire trade. "When you have sizable numbers of bare branches, it becomes relatively easy to have your personal army of goons," says Brigham Young University political scientist Valerie Hudson, co-author of Bare Branches: The Security Implications of Asia's Surplus Male Population.

11/23/05 - Forests paying the price for biofuels
THE drive for "green energy" in the developed world is having the perverse effect of encouraging the destruction of tropical rainforests. From the orang-utan reserves of Borneo to the Brazilian Amazon, virgin forest is being razed to grow palm oil and soybeans to fuel cars and power stations in Europe and North America. And surging prices are likely to accelerate the destruction. The main alternative to palm oil is soybean oil. But soya is the largest single cause of rainforest destruction in the Brazilian Amazon. Until recently, Europe's small market in biofuels was dominated by home-grown rapeseed (canola) oil. But surging demand from the food market has raised the price of rapeseed oil too. This has led fuel manufacturers to opt for palm and soya oil instead. Palm oil prices jumped 10 per cent in September alone, and are predicted to rise 20 per cent next year, while global demand for biofuels is now rising at 25 per cent a year. Roger Higman, of Friends of the Earth UK, which backs biofuels, says: "We need to ensure that the crops used to make the fuel have been grown in a sustainable way or we will have rainforests cleared for palm oil plantations to make bio-diesel."

11/23/05 - Free Online Chapter - Tachyon book excerpt by Dr. Hans Nieper
Chapter 17 - "On the Subject of Medicine and the Tachyon Era" by Dr. Hans A. Nieper - The term "Tachyon" - also known as "Zero Point Energy" - is the modern notation for the ancient concept of ether. This paradigm considers gravity to be caused by a high-powered energy field, which pushes objects together. (See also our pages on Walter Wright's Push Gravity) This energy field is an energy source for many bioprocesses, chemical reactions and sub-atomic interactions. There have been several dozen experiments done by various researchers, including NASA, that cannot be explained if gravity is an attractive force. More than 30 different designs have been produced and tested that have been able to transform "Tachyon" energy into electrical or mechanical energy. Dr. Nieper's Archive can be found at the Brewer Science Library. (I had a bad photocopy of Dr. Niepers excellent book 'Dr. Nieper's Revolution in Technology, Medicine and Society' so went ahead and ordered a complete new copy from the Brewer Science Library for the very reasonable $29.00. It is an excellent book with a WEALTH of detail on Tachyon/ZPE energy, with many descriptions of its practical use. If you have a spare $30, it is definitely worth your time to study.

11/22/05 - Piece of tape defeats any CD DRM
The highly controversial XCP digital rights management (DRM) technology bundled by Sony BMG on 52 of its audio CD albums can be defeated by applying a small piece of tape to the discs, according to analyst firm Gartner. Applying a piece of opaque tape to the outer edge of the disk renders the data track of the CD unreadable. A computer trying to play the CD will then skip to the music without accessing the bundled DRM technology. The use of a piece of tape will defeat any future DRM system on audio CDs designed to be played on a stand-alone CD player, the analyst said. Sony abandoned the use of the XCP anti-piracy technology earlier this month after weeks of heavy criticism from security experts and consumer advocates. The technology sought to prevent users from making illegal copies of the music on Windows computers, but posed a major security risk and was capable of damaging the computer when users attempted to remove the software.

11/22/05 - Mildly depressed people more perceptive than others
Surprisingly, people with mild depression are actually more tuned into the feelings of others than those who aren’t depressed, a team of Queen’s psychologists has discovered. The researchers were so taken aback by the findings, they decided to replicate the study with another group of participants. The second study produced the same results: People with mild symptoms of depression pay more attention to details of their social environment than those who are not depressed.

11/22/05 - New invention will convert waste to active carbon
New U of T research will make it possible to convert waste material from oil sands into active carbon, and has the potential to greatly reduce mercury emissions. “We are the first to convert waste to activated carbon,” says Charles Jia, a professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering and Applied Chemistry, who presented his findings to the 55th Canadian Chemical Engineering Conference in Toronto this week. Collaborating with colleague Donald Kirk, Jia has developed the newly patented “SOactive” process, through which oil-sand fluid coke, a byproduct of producing synthetic crude oil, can be activated by sulphur dioxide, while the sulphur dioxide is converted to elemental sulphur, which acts as raw material for fertilizer and sulphuric acid, among other things, Jia says. The professors have termed the activated form of the coke “ECOcarbon.” “So in future, the sulphur count in coke will increase, and we will have a bigger problem if we want to use the oil sands as an energy source,” Jia explains. Developing applications for high-sulphur petroleum coke therefore adds value to Canada’s natural resources. Canada is also a major producer of non-ferrous metals; non-ferrous smelters, along with coal-fired power stations, are major contributors of man-made sulphur dioxide, and in many cases mercury. “The United States released new mercury emission regulations in March, and our active carbon will be very effective in removing mercury from industrial waste and oil-sand waste.”

11/22/05 - River 'fence' to harness tidal power of Mersey
A renewable energy conference attended by Sir Jonathon Porritt will be told today of plans to draw on the Mersey's vast renewable energy potential by constructing a tidal power fence which, according to initial estimates, could generate up to 2,000 megawatts of electricity, enough to power 15 per cent of the North- west's electricity requirements. The Mersey offers more tidal power potential than virtually any other river in Europe, by virtue of its 10-metre tidal range and strong currents which are a by-product of its shape and its position on England's windy North-west coast. Peel Holdings, the property company which recently acquired the Mersey docks, has agreed to make land available to construct a fence across the width of the river. Water would be trapped in gates, which would be shut at high tide and then allowed to escape through the turbines of a hydroelectric plant.

11/22/05 - Hacking Hybrid Cars to increase mileage
Engineers are developing adapter kits for hybrid vehicles that will increase their efficiency to 100 miles per gallon by powering them solely on electricity during short trips. Today's hybrid vehicles use electricity stored in batteries to assist the gasoline engine in acceleration and to completely power the vehicle while idling or at steady low speeds (generally less than 25 mph). Vehicles such as the Toyota Prius, Honda Civic Hybrid and Ford Escape Hybrid include drive-train management systems that automatically decide when to use the batteries or internal-combustion engine. Referring to "plug-in" hybrids, David West, vice president of marketing for consortium co-founder Raser Technologies, said that "80 percent of cars would be able to drive five days per week without using their combustion engines." West said consumers would save money since the equivalent of one gallon of gasoline costs just 60 cents in electric power. The consortium will develop a prototype hybrid vehicle within a year that includes more-powerful electric motors, longer-lasting batteries and ultracapacitors that can store electricity used for acceleration, West said. The prototype will cost about as much to build as today's hybrids, because some components such as the flywheel will be eliminated. Not only will the vehicle get more than 100 mpg, but consumers will save even more by tapping into the grid. Plug-in hybrids "are not viable with today's battery technology," Hermance said. He said the Prius' power-management system keeps the batteries charged at 60 percent, plus or minus 15 percent to extend their life. Running solely on electricity would discharge the batteries beyond their optimal range and burn them out after approximately 2,500 cycles, or about six years of use, he said. But Raser Technologies' West said powering a vehicle with electricity will cost about a quarter the price of using gasoline, which he believes offsets any inconvenience from having to charge the vehicle overnight.

11/22/05 - How people power is reviving rural life
(I've been reading about small towns being stripped and ripped by businesses like WalMart and people moving off for better opportunities. Many young people leave to make a better life for themselves. So this article is particularly a tug on the heart for those of use who love small towns. - JWD) Since the 1990s there has been a gradual increase in the number of volunteer-run shops, with the purpose of keep villages alive against the backdrop of rural decline and the march of the supermarkets. It's good news, considering the ageing populations; the disappearing pubs, shops, buses and post offices. Just this week English Heritage launched its Heritage Counts 2005 campaign, lamenting "the pressures that are threatening its [British rural life's] long-term survival". According to a doomy litany of 2003 statistics from the Countryside Agency, 75 per cent of rural parishes have no daily bus service, 598 rural post offices went under during the year, 78 per cent of settlements do not have a general store and 72 per cent do not have a small village shop. "When these places go, they are usually transformed into domestic dwellings. And once that happens, it's difficult to put them back." Villages then become dormitories, and their inhabitants drive to ring-road supermarkets in nearby towns. The Rural Revival campaign is aiming to stem this tide, and, when alerted to closing shops, to promote an alternative: volunteer-staffed stores that "help people to help themselves", as Malhomme puts it. There are now more than 150 community-owned shops in the country, run on co-operative principles that aim not for profit, but to reinvigorate village life. They are mostly groceries, but there are post offices among them. So attractive is the concept that this Thursday sees the first National Community Retailing Conference, designed to show how such shops can help restore the fortunes of rural Britain. One of the main benefits of Ascott-under-Wychwood's village shop has been social. "It makes people talk to each other more," says Pearce. "It has really bought people together."

11/22/05 - Warp-drive spaceman from Indiana opens up a can of wormholes
When Dark Matter described the Indiana inventor who patented a light-speed spaceship, it brought in more mail, and weirder mail, than any Dark Matter story, ever. First, a local security standards advisor tells just how easy it is to sound as though you're being profound in physics: "I was once at a patent ceremony at my company, and decided to test the room by stating that my patent was "A Method and Apparatus for Extracting Net Positive Power from the Zero Point Energy". Nobody in the room blinked. Even among scientists and engineers, whacky new theories or devices seem to get some level of acceptance, even when a few moments of thought would indicate that they're not possible under the laws of nature as we understand them." (there some other letters worth reading at the posted URL)

11/22/05 - People unaware of harmful effects of painkillers
A nationwide survey of adult households in the United States was commissioned to determine perceptions of NSAIDs users on the effectiveness of the drugs and their safety, and knowledge regarding side effects and medical complications associated with over-the-counter and prescription painkillers. NSAID users were defined in the study as those people who used prescription or over-the-counter painkillers on at least two occasions in the year prior to the survey for at least five consecutive days at a time. Of the 807 people surveyed who used NSAIDs, 54 percent were not aware of the potential side effects of these drugs and 18 percent has previously experienced side effects. Those who used over-the-counter painkillers commonly experienced side effects such as stomach pain, internal bleeding and ulcers. Moreover, nearly 30 percent of these people did not consider themselves at risk for any side effects associated with painkiller use. Everyday more than 36 million people take over-the-counter and prescription NSAIDs for pain relief, headaches and arthritis, with nearly 25 percent exceeding the recommended dosage. Although long-term use of NSAIDs in high doses can provide great benefit in terms of anti-inflammatory effects, pain relief and cardioprotective effects, there is an increased risk of gastrointestinal complications ranging from stomach pain to ulcers, hemorrhage, and severe and potentially deadly gastrointestinal problems. Each year, the side effects of long-term NSAID use cause nearly 103,000 hospitalizations and 16,500 deaths by some estimates.

11/22/05 - New battery technology
Lithium ion batteries have been powering cell phones and laptops for years. But they've never been used for more power-hungry machines like power tools and hybrid vehicles, mainly because of their high cost, their inability to provide adequate current, and safety questions. All this has now changed, though, according to A123 Systems. This month the Watertown, MA startup announced a new lithium ion battery, based on research done at MIT, that's suitable for applications requiring high power output. The battery's high power density -- a measure of the watts of power it can produce per kilogram -- means it's also lighter than conventional batteries of similar size. At about the same weight as an 18-volt drill battery, the new battery can deliver 36 volts, according to Baltimore MD toolmaker DeWalt, which is producing a new line of seven products that use the battery. Chiang says A123's batteries can produce 3,000 watts of peak power, twice as much as a drill or saw designed to be plugged into a wall outlet. The new batteries are based on an advance by Chiang in his lab at MIT's department of materials science and engineering. He was working with a material, lithium iron phosphate, that promised high capacities for batteries. But it had a significant problem: an inability to handle large currents. Chiang found that doping the material gave it very high conductivity. His success in the lab led him to found a startup to commercialize the technology. Chiang declines to give details of A123's current battery, including whether or not it uses iron, but does say it uses an inexpensive lithium metal phosphate in the battery's cathode, the electrode that receives electrons during discharge. Tests are underway to see if it can replace the 100-pound batteries in hybrid vehicles with lithium-ion batteries lighter than 20 pounds. Imagine a hybrid vehicle with 100 pounds of the A123 batteries offering 5 times the range under electric power of today's hybrids.

11/22/05 - Owning Ideas
(This drives me nuts with the patent office for hardware patents that are never built, just patented as an idea of what 'COULD BE'. - JWD) Ideas are increasingly treated as property - as things that have owners who may decide who gets to use them and on what terms. Ideas such as one-click shopping, getting customer reviews on a website or even putting classified ads on the internet are now patented, which is to say that somebody owns them - the first two, Google, the classified ad patent - and anybody else who wants to make use of them must pay a rent to the owner. Ideas are codified as intellectual property and regarded as among the most important assets a company can own. As where things are made becomes less important in the formerly industrialised nations of the west, the real value comes in the licence to allow others to make them. Science was one of the first fields in which the confusion of ideas with things became apparent and damaging. It has always been one in which ideas and techniques were freely shared. You might say that any scientific experiment is worthless until it has been copied - if it can't be repeated, it isn't scientific. But as the practice of science has grown more expensive, and more commercial, so has the pressure to patent everything. In the mid-1970s, people started to see they could make money out of software. This is not easy or obvious, because when I make a copy of your program, you still have the original, which works just as well as it ever did. Equally, when you make a copy and sell it to me, it has cost you nothing, so why should you charge me for it as if it were a limited resource? There is no answer from justice to these questions. The only answer that makes sense is that certain arrangements of copyright promote a flourishing market in software, which is in society's general interest, so it should legislate for them. Without it there would be no commercial software industry, or any way to ensure that free software stays free. The directors and board members of any company found guilty of patent infringement are liable to triple damages, personally as well as corporately. So companies that may infringe patents simply can't be sold until the patent holders are bought off, and this is almost always easier and cheaper than fighting the patent, no matter how worthless. This gives the holders of patents tremendous powers of extortion. The only defence is for everybody to do it, which still further clogs up the system. This is madness. Ideas aren't things. If our ideas of intellectual property are wrong, we must change them, improve them and return them to their original purpose. When intellectual property rules diminish the supply of new ideas, they steal from all of us.

11/22/05 - Don't Anger the Fairies!
Plans to build new homes at the edge of Loch Earn were scrapped when the villagers went berserk over the builders' intention to move a single rock ... because the Fairies live inside the stone. The Times of London reports: Marcus Salter, head of Genesis Properties, estimates that the small colony of fairies believed to live beneath a rock in St Fillans, Perthshire, has cost him £15,000. His first notice of the residential sensibilities of the netherworld came as his diggers moved on to a site on the outskirts of the village, which crowns the easterly shore of Loch Earn. "A neighbour came over shouting, ‘Don’t move that rock. You’ll kill the fairies.'" Salter made the mistake of thinking the whole thing was either a joke or just the opinions of a lone nut. He was wrong. The villagers were very serious about the alleged Fairy nest. The rock protruded from the centre of a gently shelving field, edged by the steep slopes of Dundurn mountain, where in the sixth century the Celtic missionary St Fillan set up camp and attempted to convert the Picts from the pagan darkness of superstition.“Then we got a series of phone calls, saying we were disturbing the fairies. I thought they were joking. It didn’t go down very well,” Mr Salter said.

11/22/05 - Some leave jobs over co-workers' rude behavior
Incivility - employees' lack of regard for one another through verbal behaviors less aggressive than bullying - can affect a company's bottom line, said Porath, who has talked with more than 2,400 people in the United States and Canada. Porath said one of eight people switches jobs because of an instance where they have felt disrespected. "Incivility led to decreased motivation, performance, creativity and helpfulness," said Porath, assistant professor of management and organizational behavior. Porath said a lack of respect is a growing societal and workplace problem. One study found that 10 percent of people witness rudeness at work once a day, and 20 percent are targets of incivility once a week. Porath's past studies have shown that half of the people who were objects of disrespect spend work time worrying about interacting with the instigator, and half will think about changing jobs to avoid a recurrence. One-fourth of workers who feel they have been dissed will intentionally cut their work efforts, she said. Some steal from or sabotage the instigators' equipment. Sometimes, standing up to the person and returning the rudeness is a successful strategy, said James Werbel, professor of management at Iowa State. "That's not the preferred way to do it, but it can be effective," Werbel said. "It can blow up . . . but on the other hand, if nobody stands up and it persists, it's no different than sexual harassment, which is a kind of bullying." My solution? Workers need a refresher course on important life lessons learned in kindergarten. My top five: Say "please" and "thank you." Do not interrupt people in the middle of a conversation. Do not yell at others, because you wouldn't want to be yelled at. Do not say anything if you have nothing nice to say. Clean up your own mess.

11/21/05 - Super Efficient LED brighter than Fluorescents!
It seems like the light emitting diode (LED) world is going from one breakthrough to the next. The last one was the accidental invention of warm white LEDs using quantum dots, now a Japanese researcher at the Meijo University, professor Satoshi Kamiyama, has found a way to make white LEDs more efficient using a purple LED and a silicon carbide substrate. This new white LED has a brightness of 130 lumens per watt! "Normal incandescent light bulbs produce 15-20 lumens per watt; modern fluorescent bulbs produce between 60-110 lumens per watt; and current LED methods allow for a maximum of 60-70 lumens per watt. In short, if this is real, it's a big breakthrough." Professor Satoshi Kamiyama will establish a startup in January to manufacture and sell the LED units. He already has 40 million yen, but it is expected that other companies will want a stake in this.

11/21/05 - Magnetotactic Bacteria sense Earths magnetic field
The entire bacterium is oriented like a compass needle inside the magnetic field. Until now, it was not clear how the cells organise magnetosomes into a stable chain, against their physical tendency to collapse by magnetic attraction. Magnetotactic bacteria are widespread in the mud of marine environments. In their cell interior, they form magnetosomes which are aligned into a chain. The bacteria use them to distinguish "up" from "down" in the Earth's magnetic field, and navigate themselves confidently through layers of water to efficiently find optimal growth conditions. The magnetosomes are made of tiny crystals of the magnetic iron mineral magnetite (Fe3O4) -- only about 50 nanometres in size (one nanometre = one millionth of a millimetre). To build magnetosomes, the cells do not only have to take up large amounts of iron from their surroundings and, from it, produce special iron oxide. The crystals also have to have a exactly defined number, form, and size, in order to be effective magnetic field sensors. To function optimally, the magnetosome crystals have to be strung into a straight chain inside the cell, thereby summing their magnetic moments. Only such a chain structure allows the magnetosomes to behave together like a compass needle which orients the bacteria inside the relatively weak magnetic field of the Earth.

11/21/05 - Mapping sensor network data to Spreadsheet Cells
(This is just TOO intriguing. - JWD) Networks of tiny, inexpensive sensors scattered throughout an environment could make it easier to monitor environmental conditions, collect scientific data and track people and vehicles for military and law enforcement purposes. Managing these sensor networks and analyzing the data they collect, however, promises to be challenging. Researchers at Microsoft Research are using spreadsheets to organize and manage data collected by sensor networks. The researchers' system is a modified version of the company's Excel spreadsheet that allows users to analyze data from a network of sensors and program the sensors without special software. The system allows individual sensors to be mapped to cells within the spreadsheet. Cell values are data from the sensors or variables that can be changed to reprogram the sensors.

11/21/05 - The Dog did not Bark - Secret Service inactions puzzling
Inspector Gregory: "Is there any other point to which you would wish to draw my attention?" / Holmes: "To the curious incident of the dog in the night-time." / Inspector Gregory: "The dog did nothing in the night time." / Holmes: "That WAS the curious incident," remarked Sherlock Holmes.

11/21/05 - Montana holds about 120 billion tons of coal
Coal-to-fuel conversion, which was practiced out of necessity by pariah nations like Nazi Germany and South Africa under apartheid, has been around for more than 80 years. It is called the Fischer-Tropsch process. What is new is the technology that removes and stores the pollutants during and after the making of synthetic fuel; add to that high oil prices, which have suddenly made this form of energy alchemy feasible. The coal could be converted into gasoline or diesel, which would run cars, or into other types of fuel. With coal reserves of about 120 billion tons, Montana has one-third of the nation's total and a tenth of the global amount. Most of it is just under the prairie grass in the depopulated ranch country of eastern Montana. "This is not a pipe dream," said Jack Holmes, the president and chief executive of Syntroleum, an Oklahoma company that has a small synthetic fuels plant and wants to build something bigger. "What's exciting about this process is you don't have to drill any wells and you don't have to build any infrastructure, and you'd be putting these plants in the heartland of America, where you really need the jobs."

11/21/05 - Simple blood test may help detect heart failure
A simple blood test may help detect heart failure at an early stage, says a new study. The test, developed by researchers led by James Januzzi at the Massachusetts General Hospital, can accurately diagnose both systolic and diastolic acute congestive heart failure, reports UPI. It can identify heart patients who may be at risk of death in two months and reduce healthcare expenses by enabling physicians to treat them appropriately from the beginning of their hospital stay, it said. The results of their study will appear shortly in the European Heart Journal.

11/21/05 - Group wants to see Humans Extinct
Make no mistake about it, the Voluntary Human Extinction Movement isn`t anti-child, it`s more like anti-human. The VHE is dedicated to phasing out the human race in the interest of the health of the Earth, founder Les Knight told Wednesday`s San Francisco Chronicle. With 16,000 people born per hour and a current global population of 6.5 billion, there are already more than enough people on the planet, Knight said. A 1994 study concluded a single person born in the 1990s would be responsible during a lifetime for 22 million pounds of liquid waste and 2.2 million pounds each of solid waste and atmospheric waste, the newspaper said. He or she will have a lifetime consumption of 4,000 barrels of oil, 1.5 million pounds of minerals and 62,000 pounds of animal products that will necessitate the slaughter of 2,000 animals. 'Wherever humans live, not much else lives,' Knight said. 'It isn`t that we`re evil and want to kill everything -- it`s just how we live.' Knight, who had a vasectomy at age 25, emphasizes VHE likes kids and says many of its members are parents as well as children. Agent Smith from the Matrix - "I'd like to share a revelation that I’ve had during my time here. It came to me when I tried to classify your species, and I realised that humans are not actually mammals. Every mammal on this planet instinctively develops a natural equilibrium with the surrounding environment; but you humans do not. Instead you multiply, and multiply, until every resource is consumed. The only way for you to survive is to spread to another area. There is another organism on this planet that follows the same pattern... a virus. Human beings are a disease, a cancer on this planet, you are a plague, and we... are the cure."

11/21/05 - Researchers induce “sightless vision” in volunteers
Researchers have reported inducing temporary “blindsight” in healthy volunteers-a condition in which people think they can’t see anything, but can. Using an electromagnetic brain stimulation technique, the researchers deactivated the primary visual cortex in 12 volunteers. An object on a screen was then flashed in front of the temporarily blinded volunteers. In one experiment, the object was a horizontal or vertical bar; in another, colored discs were shown. Although the volunteers reported no awareness of the objects’ characteristics the majority of the time, they also guessed correctly at a level significantly higher than chance. Some researchers say even ordinary people have some capacity for blindsight all the time.

11/21/05 - Surface of the sun solid?
Why do the patterns on the sun's surface not change over long, long periods of time? When it comes to compelling evidence of a solid surface on the sun, seeing is believing. The TRACE and SOHO programs use very sophisticated software to create what are called "running difference" images like the top image from TRACE and the chronologically ordered examples from SOHO shown on the right. These images were created by NASA at the frequency of various ferrite ions, using software that essentially compares sequential snapshots, subtracting one set of images from the other, and thereby isolating only the more consistent and "stronger" features from each image. This image processing technique creates a very detailed "snapshot" of the stronger, more obvious features of the iron calcium ferrite surface of the sun that lies below the photosphere. These features are completely consistent and move UNIFORMLY across the surface. In other words, they do not move at different rates near the equator than than they move at the poles like the photosphere. Whatever this "structure" is, it absolutely cannot be the photosphere or the chromosphere because of it's consistency. This photographic evidence stands in direct opposition to present theories of the sun which claim that the sun is a giant ball of gas and has no solid surface below the photosphere.

11/21/05 - Holographic Quantum Gravity
UC Berkeley physics professor, Raphael Bousso, is trying to break down the mysteries of the universe with a concept called the holographic principle. Physicists stumbled on the idea while studying black holes. It is a concept, which ultimately questions whether the third dimension exists. "One way of quantifying the complexity of matter is to ask how many different states can it be in? How many things can you wiggle in? How many different ways?" Bousso said. "What we've found is that it appears that gravity conspires against that when you really try to store a lot of information in a special region, then once you double that region you can't store twice as much anymore," Bousso said. In other words, if you have a bunch of grapes in the fridge and have all the information including water content, temperature and anything else, you should be able to create an exact replica of the grapes. Physicists have found the information content doesn't hinge on volume, but rather on surface area. An information increase can only happen on a two-dimensional surface and information density cannot increase by volume, a three-dimensional measurement. "The total amount of information that you can store in the world grows only like the surface area of the region that you're considering," he said.

11/20/05 - Branson plans to use plant waste to fuel aeroplanes
SIR Richard Branson yesterday announced plans to power his planes on plant waste as a greener alternative to conventional aircraft fuel. The Virgin Atlantic chairman said he was considering opening refineries to produce cellulosic ethanol, which he claimed could replace kerosene. However, the move surprised environmental campaigners, who said studies had shown ethanol was unsuitable as aircraft fuel, and no viable alternatives were on the horizon. Sir Richard said: "We are going to start building cellulosic ethanol plants to make fuel that is derived from the waste product of the plant. It is 100 per cent environmentally-friendly and I believe it's the future of fuel. Sir Richard said cellulosic ethanol differed from ethanol, which came from corn or fruit.

11/20/05 - Anti-Tornado/Hurricane gel
Peter Cordani - CEO of privately held Dyn-O-Mat Inc. ( - has an intriguing idea. His Jupiter, Fla.-based company produces Dyn-O-Gel, a polymer that gobbles 1,500 times its weight in water. It currently helps make diapers absorbent. Cordani envisions airplanes dropping Dyno-O-Gel into hurricanes to deprive them of moisture and energy. This powder “turns into a gel, like Jell-O, and harmlessly re-liquefies when it hits salt water,” he tells me. “The hurricanes are winning the war,” he adds. “If you take a pie-shaped piece out of the eye of a hurricane, it causes the winds around the eye to work against themselves. If you can slow a hurricane by 12 to 15 miles per hour, you can take it down one category. We’re talking about using $8 million worth of product to slow a hurricane that could cause billions in damage.” Cordani’s Dyn-O-Storm plane tackled a thunderstorm 10 miles off the Palm Beach coast on July 19, 2001. It dropped $40,000 worth of Dyn-O-Gel granules into the churning clouds. The powder sucked the storm dry.

11/20/05 - 2 Filipinos invent fuel saver for diesel powered vehicles
Teodorico E. Castaneda, an engineer, and his partner Francisco “Popoy” Pagayon, a high school dropout, but a self-made inventor, worked on their unique invention they call “UVX” or an acronym for universal vortex expander fuel, power and emission management device for all diesel fuel-fed motor vehicles. Castaneda said they used the principle of thermo-dynamic to develop the UVX device that saves diesel consumption as much 25 percent. The device is installed in the fuel passage line between the fuel injector and the fuel tank that will improve engine power performance, decrease fuel intake, expels pollutants from carbon deposits, reduce engine’s noise and eliminate unburned fuel. Road tests lasted for more than a year, before they concluded they have made a breakthrough of their invention. Pagayon also said that UVX has great potential for use in industrial applications, particularly in the elimination pollution. He explained that “combustion in an engine happens in two ways: chemical and mechanical process. Either way, 100 percent combustion never occurs - be it gasoline or diesel, because the hydrocarbons are not completely burned and they stick to the engine chamber walls.” ”The gaseous form of these carbons emitted through the exhaust pipe is the very destructive carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxide pollutants,” he said, Castaneda said that because of these twin problems, Filipino inventors through the years have been working silently to come up with gas saving device and anti-pollution gadget rolled into one.

11/20/05 - Your employees make your business a success
(This is SO important for anyone who owns a business. I can't count the number of times and places I have NEVER RETURNED because of useless employees, bad manners, bad service, 'don't give a damn attitude', etc....and it gratifies me immensely to see them out of business a few months later. Good products, good prices, ROTTEN SERVICE = out of business. - JWD) A lot of news stories recounting Peter Drucker's career stated that one of his major achievements was "recognition that dedicated employees are the key to success of any corporation." While Drucker was correct in emphasizing the importance of dedicated workers, it's also important to acknowledge the flip side of that insight: employees who look for ways to avoid their workplace responsibilities. The memoirs of soldiers and sailors who served during the past 50 years are filled with such slackers, and the favored term to describe them was "goldbrickers." What leads some workers down the path of dedication while others veer onto the goldbricking road is a mystery we may never unravel. In my own life, I make an ongoing effort to seek out the former and avoid the latter. Find those crackerjack employees at your bank, supermarket, bookstore, and everywhere you do business. Support them, encourage them, and keep them in your personal network.

11/20/05 - Forget spark plugs, start your car with nanotubes
THE accidental discovery that carbon nanotubes can be set alight with nothing more than a bright light could lead to a more efficient way of igniting car and rocket fuel. Three years ago, a student working in Pulickel Ajayan's lab at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in New York inadvertently ignited the pile of carbon nanotubes he was photographing (New Scientist, 4 May 2002, p 27). Researchers think that the nanotubes ignite because they absorb light more efficiently than they can dissipate the energy as heat. The phenomenon only happens when iron impurities are present, although the exact process is uncertain. Despite the mechanism's mystery, researchers are already beginning to exploit the effect. Bruce Chehroudi and Stephen Danczyk of the US Air Force Research Laboratory at Edwards air force base in California have found that nanotubes placed one millimetre away from a droplet of methanol or a liquid rocket fuel called RP-1... When exposed to a conventional photographic flash, the nanotubes emit a loud pop and then ignite. The researchers say that the loud popping sound heard after the flash is a well-known phenomenon, called the photo-acoustic effect. It occurs when porous black objects, such as carbon nanotubes, absorb a large amount of light, which results in the expansion and contraction of the gas surrounding them, releasing sound.

11/19/05 - Canada claims heated up Arctic lands
Global warming is opening up the vast Arctic; now, Canada is trying to assert its claim over the land and protect its resources. After decades of neglect, Canada is launching an all-out effort to protect its North. The Glace Bay was the first Navy ship to visit Cape Dorset and towns in Hudson Bay in nearly 30 years. Its mission: To reconnect with local Inuit who form the country's first northern line of defense. This frigid area, with its barren landscape stretching for thousands of miles, is suddenly worth fighting for, Canadian officials say, because of global warming. The Arctic sea ice cap shrank this summer to the smallest size ever measured, and some scientists say summer sea ice could disappear entirely by the end of this century. The melting and climate change that are widely predicted to be a disaster elsewhere in the world -- creating monstrous hurricanes, killing crops, and redrawing coastlines -- appears to be creating a boom for the northern reaches of Canada. ''Global warming has put the Canadian North back on the map," said Colonel Norm Couturier, commander of Canadian Forces Northern Area. Canadians say the Northwest Passage is theirs and want control to prevent environmental catastrophes from oil tankers that may spring leaks. US officials say the passage is an international waterway. A boundary dispute between the United States and Canada in the resource-rich Beaufort Sea above northeast Alaska is percolating again. And in what has become a symbolic issue over sovereignty, both Canada and Denmark sparred this summer over the ownership of a tiny uninhabited island off Greenland that has little, if any, economic or strategic value.

11/19/05 - Building a better hydrogen trap
Using building blocks that make up ordinary plastics, but putting them together in a whole new way, University of Michigan researchers have created a class of lightweight, rigid polymers they predict will be useful for storing hydrogen fuel. The trick to making the new materials, called covalent organic frameworks (COFs), was coaxing them to assume predictable crystal structures---something that never had been done with rigid plastics. "Normally, rigid plastics are synthesized by rapid reactions that randomly cross-link polymers," said postdoctoral fellow Adrien Côté, who is first author on the Science paper. "Just as in anything you might do, if you do it really fast, it can get disorganized." For that reason, the exact internal structures of such materials are poorly understood, making it difficult to predict their properties. But Côté and colleagues tweaked reaction conditions to slow down the process, allowing the materials to crystallize in an organized fashion instead of assembling helter skelter. As a result, the researchers can use X-ray crystallography to determine the structure of each type of COF they create and, using that information, quickly assess its properties. "Once we know the structure and properties, our methodology allows us to go back and modify the COF, making it perform better or tailoring it for different applications," said Côté.

11/19/05 - Fruit and vegetables can power Korean cars
The government has been looking at ways to encourage the widespread use of bio-diesel since the Kyoto Protocol became legally binding in February, obligating its signatories to cut their carbon dioxide emissions. Since May, fuel made up of 20 percent bio-diesel and 80 percent gasoline has been on sale as part of a government-run pilot scheme at 160 gas stations in Seoul, Gyeonggi province and the Jeolla provinces. Because it is exempt from certain taxes, the alternative fuel sells for 1,100 won ($1) per liter, some 30 to 50 won less than ordinary gasoline. "To mass produce bio-diesel, large quantities of plants and vegetables will be needed," said Lee Jin-suk, a Korea Energy Research Institute professor. "Not only will bio-diesel help us meet our targets for cutting carbon dioxide emissions, but it will also help to invigorate Korea's farms." Lee Won-chul, an executive at the Korea Petroleum Association, said at the hearing that bio-diesel can freeze in cold weather conditions. Also, auto parts manufacturers such as Bosch and Siemens are refusing to take legal responsibility for breakdowns in engines using fuels with more than 5 percent vegetable oil content. Concerns have also arisen that some unscrupulous oil companies or gas stations may use less than the government-mandated minimum level of gasoline in bio-diesel in order to bump up profits. Fuel efficiency is another issue that needs to be resolved. In a study by the Korea Institute of Energy Research, bio-diesel's fuel efficiency was 8 percent less than ordinary diesel.

11/19/05 - Dupont knew Teflon risks to health and hid the info
DuPont Co. hid studies showing the risks of a Teflon-related chemical used to line candy wrappers, pizza boxes, microwave popcorn bags and hundreds of other food containers, according to internal company documents and a former employee. The chemical Zonyl can rub off the liner and get into food. Once in a person’s body, it can break down into perfluorooctanoic acid and its salts, known as PFOA, a related chemical used in the making of Teflon-coated cookware. One of the documents, a 1987 memo, cites laboratory tests showing the chemical came off paper coating and leached into foods at levels three times higher than the FDA limit set in 1967. Another document, a 1973 Dupont study in which rats and dogs were fed Zonyl for 90 days, said both types of animals had anemia and damage to their kidneys and livers; the dogs had higher cholesterol levels.

11/19/05 - Methane synthesized from inorganic chemicals
Scientists wanted to see if they could synthetically produce methane in a laboratory without using organic materials of any kind. The research team decided to squeeze together iron oxide, calcium carbonate, and water at temperatures as hot as 500 degrees Celsius and under pressures as high as 11 gigapascals (one gigapascal is equivalent to the pressure of 10,000 atmospheres). Simply put, the scientists were trying to see if iron oxide, calcium carbonate, and water would produce methane if they were combined under pressures and temperatures comparable to those experienced in the Earth's upper mantle. The basic idea was to smash the iron oxide, calcite and water together at the types of temperatures and pressures we would expect to see deep within the Earth and stand back to see what happened. The diamond mechanism provided a reliable way to take the end product and submit it to spectrographic analysis so its chemical content could be analyzed accurately. The goal was to prove that a hydrocarbon of the petroleum family could be produced via simple inorganic reactions involving no biological agents whatsoever. Remarkably, the experiment worked. The results demonstrate that methane readily forms by the reaction of marble with iron-rich minerals and water under conditions typical in Earth's upper mantle. This suggests there may be untapped methane reserves well below Earth's surface. Our calculations show that methane is thermodynamically stable under conditions typical of Earth's mantle, indicating that such reserves could potentially exist for millions of years ...This implies that methane in the interior of Earth might exist at depths between 100 and 200 kilometers. If methane can be created synthetically from inorganic chemicals, biological content is not a necessary condition of methane's formation.

11/18/05 - Future cars could be fuelled by hydrogen technology
A small CSIRO-developed hydrogen device the size of a domestic microwave oven may be all you need to fuel your car in the future. A team at CSIRO Manufacturing and Infrastructure Technology has developed a small device that can extract enough hydrogen per day from water to power a family car for up to 150kms. Currently, the hydrogen unit runs on main's power, but researchers are investigating how to power the unit with renewable energy, such as solar and wind power. CSIRO's latest work could make the difference. It is developing a solid-state system based on polymer electrolyte membranes for on-demand, distributed hydrogen production at homes, small-to-medium enterprises, remote locations, service stations and other end-user sites, where water and electricity are available. The hydrogen generated can be stored for long periods and be converted to electricity when needed. The ability to generate energy on-site and on-demand would reduce up-front infrastructure costs.

11/18/05 - Washing machine without water
A waterless washing machine that removes stains from clothes in a few minutes has been developed at the National University of Singapore (NUS), the facility said on Wednesday. The appliance uses negative ions, compressed air and deodorants to clean clothes. Industrial design students Wendy Chua, 21, and Gabriel Tan, 23, said they were inspired by the technology in air purifiers, which uses negative ions to clump dirt and bacteria, making it easier for the particles to be sucked out. The ions are a natural cleaning agent. The sleek and compact design is modelled after a waterfall, a natural negative ion generator. It does away with the expensive task of sending clothing to be dry cleaned and protects favourite garments, said Chua. No detergents are used. "It's not meant to replace the traditional washing machine, but it's more a hybrid of the washing machine and the dry cleaner," the Straits Times quoted Chua as saying.

11/18/05 - Croatia to mark Tesla's 150th Birthday
Croatia in 2006 will celebrate the 150th anniversary of the birth of Nikola Tesla, an ethnic Serb who did pioneering work in electricity in the United States in late 19th and early 20th century, the country's parliament decided Thursday. The government will finance the finishing of restoration of Tesla's home in a village in central Croatia and turn it into a museum. Conferences and lectures on Tesla's work are also planned. Tesla, born in 1856 to Serbian parents, studied and worked across Europe, eventually settling in New York in 1885, where he lived until his death in 1943. He was awarded patents on every aspect of the modern system for generating and distributing electricity - including in radio and the modern concept of radar - and experts see his work as being as important as that of Alexander Graham Bell.

11/18/05 - Most Americans feel US should mind own business
The Iraq war and mounting troop casualties have led a growing number of Americans to believe the United States should mind its own business internationally, according to an opinion poll published yesterday. “The percentage of Americans who agree that the US should mind its own business internationally and let other countries get along the best they can on their own has risen from 30 per cent in 2002 to 42 per cent currently,” the poll, conducted by the Pew Research Centre, showed. The poll, based on interviews about foreign policy attitudes with some 2,500 Americans in the general public and opinion leaders, showed that while the majority (52 per cent) of those questioned believe Bush is doing a good job of handling terrorist threats, about half disapprove of his foreign policy and 57 per cent disapprove of his handling of Iraq. “Opinion leaders and the public overwhelmingly point to the war in Iraq as a major reason for discontent with the US around the world,” an analysis of the poll results said. The survey involved 2,006 people from the general public and 520 opinion leaders from the news media, state and local governments, the military, scientists, engineers, security and foreign affairs experts as well as religious leaders. The survey also disclosed that nearly half of Americans believe the use of torture against suspected terrorists to gain information is justified.

11/18/05 - Mine methane powering 3,000 homes
Methane is being extracted from a former Wrexham colliery to produce electricity for about 3,000 homes. Coal production stopped in Llay in the 1960s, but 40 years on a renewable energy company has started reusing the site. A company spokesman said the power extracted was fed straight into the National Grid, and it was not possible to identify which homes receive their electricity from the former mine. Hugh Richmond, managing director of ENER.G Natural Power, said methane gas was the second most abundant greenhouse gas resulting from human activities. Even after coal production has ceased the gas continues to seep from exposed coal faces and collects in the old working voids. "There are hundreds of closed deep mines in the UK alone from which methane gas is seeping into the atmosphere."

11/18/05 - Space Cadets: Real-Life Truman Show
A new reality TV show - in top secret production since March - that will trick nine clueless victims into thinking they've travelled into space. It'll be filmed live starting in December. "Issues that will be explained to them include the fact they will not be weightless in near space and that, like Sir Richard Branson's space-tourist shuttles, their craft will take off horizontally rather than vertically. A Russian fitness trainer will also take them through their physical paces. The shuttle itself has been built using a set from the film Space Cowboys, starring Clint Eastwood, which was made from a Nasa blueprint. It consists of three sections - a cockpit, a mid-deck where they will they eat and sleep, and a laboratory, where the team will carry out experiments - some of them authentic, others slightly more wacky. The cockpit has four windows, which are in reality giant digital screens using graphics three times the resolution of high definition television and better than the visual effects used in The Matrix, capable of recreating hurricanes over Mexico. (via

11/18/05 - Liquid Metal offers new manufacturing material
NASA, CalTech, and the DOE have come up with a pretty amazing new metal alloy (or family of alloys, actually), which has twice the strength and three times the elasticity of titanium. "Liquidmetal" is made of zirconium, titanium, nickel, copper, and beryllium, and it has an amorphous crystalline structure rather than a crystal lattice. As it cools, it doesn't change molecular structure significantly, it just gets more and more viscous until it's a solid, like glass does. Unlike glass, however, it's extremely tough and flexible. It has a much lower melting point than the metals it's made from, so it can be cast into permanent molds for mass-manufacturing, as opposed to steel or titanium, which can only be cast into single-use molds. It also enjoys full strength in casting--it does not have to be forged or wrought to achieve full strength. A company named LiquidMetal was formed to sell the technology. As they say on their website, "Steel was the foundation of our modern industrial revolution... Plastic's overwhelming cost advantage leads to explosive growth [because mass-production casting can be done with a single permanent mold]... Liquidmetal alloys combine over twice the strength of titanium with the processing efficiency of plastics to create the 3rd revolution."

11/18/05 - Roundabouts Reduce Traffic Gridlock and Save Fuel
(These are used all over Mexico and are called 'glorietas'. They most definitely stop traffic gridlock by giving drivers several options for escape from potential roadblocks. - JWD) When traffic engineers plan the roads that eventually will accommodate traffic in new developments like this, the plans usually involve intersections with stop signs or signal lights. But the barren site of a future intersection might be an opportunity to consider another option for traffic management, the modern roundabout. These have been built by the tens of thousands worldwide. The main benefits have been to improve traffic flow and reduce injury crashes by as much as 75 percent compared with intersections controlled by stop lights or signs. A key finding is that vehicle delays at the 10 intersections would have been reduced by 62-74 percent, saving 325,000 hours of motorists’ time annually. Fuel consumption would have gone down by about 235,000 gallons per year, and there would have been commensurate reductions in vehicle emissions. The safety benefits also are considerable. Previous research indicates that roundabouts reduce crashes by 37 percent overall - injury crashes by 75 percent - compared with intersections that have signals. Applying these risk reductions to 5 of the 10 intersections for which crash data were available, researchers estimated there would have been 62 fewer crashes over 5 years. There would have been 41 fewer injury crashes.

11/18/05 - Chladni/Cymatic Phenomena
(Cymatics is the technique John W. Keely used as an oscilloscope to study waves (2D & 3D) and their interactions. It allowed him to 'harmonize' mass to produce various phenomena, many of Keely's discoveries were later surreptitiously copied by Tesla using electrically generated waves. - JWD) Water mixed with cornstarch produces typical cymatics wave structures. In this video, an interesting phenomenon is produced when a straw is used to blow a hole in the vibrating media which does not collapse as long as the 120hz is applied. Three holes are then shown, of which two move in and bounce off each other. The video is available on this site. (via

11/18/05 - Deleting 'Anti-Aging' Gene From Yeast Greatly Lengthens Life Span
Scientists have known for several years that an extra copy of the SIR2 gene can promote longevity in yeast, worms and fruit flies. Now, molecular geneticists at the University of Southern California suggest that SIR2 instead promotes aging. Rather than adding copies of SIR2 to yeast, Longo's research group deleted the gene altogether. The result was a dramatically extended life span - up to six times longer than normal - when the SIR2 deletion was combined with caloric restriction and/or a mutation in one or two genes, RAS2 and SCH9, that control the storage of nutrients and resistance to cell damage. Human cells with reduced SIR2 activity also appear to confirm that SIR2 has a pro-aging effect, Longo said, although those results are not included in the Cell paper. Since all mammals share key aging-related genes, the paper points to a new direction for human anti-aging research. The long-lived organisms in Longo's experiment showed extraordinary resilience under stress. "We hit them with oxidants, we hit them with heat," Longo said. "They are highly resistant to everything. What they're doing is basically saying, 'I cannot afford to age. I still have to generate offspring, but I don't have enough food to do it now." A "really exciting" implication, Longo said, is that cells may be able to speed up their DNA repair efforts. All organisms have the ability to repair harmful mutations in their DNA, whether caused by age, radiation, diet or other environmental factors. Cancer often begins when DNA mutations outstrip a cell's ability to remain differentiated. Many researchers believe DNA repair systems are already running flat out. The organisms in Longo's experiment say otherwise.

11/18/05 - Flying Robot Drone to monitor Cities - more Big Brother
The device, a hovering robot carrying video cameras and other sensors, is being created and tested at HONEYWELL's Albuquerque, NM plant. The first round of testing on the drone [MICRO AIR VEHICLE] has been completed, reports Bob Martin of CBS affiliate KRQE. The battery powered craft can stay in the air for 50-60 minutes at a time, and moves around at up to 55 kilometers an hour. The Micro Air Vehicle has flown more than 200 successful flights, including flying in a representative urban environment. "If there is an emergency, you could provide "eyes" on whatever the emergency is, for police or Homeland Security," explains Vaughn Fulton of HONEYWELL. In the meantime, the U.S. Army has prepared a promotional video showing the craft zooming over war-zone streets. The vehicle will be used for reconnaissance, security and target acquisition operations in open, rolling, complex and urban terrain; it will be equipped with Global Positioning Satellite.

11/18/05 - Lifestyle behind many cancers
Simple lifestyle and environmental changes could significantly help to cut the number of cancer deaths around the world each year, research suggests. Experts linked more than a third of the seven million cancer deaths worldwide in 2001 to nine potentially modifiable risk factors. These include poor diet, smoking, alcohol, obesity, lack of exercise and air pollution. In low and middle-income countries the most important risk factors were smoking, alcohol use, and low consumption of fruit and vegetables. In high-income countries, smoking, alcohol use, and obesity played the leading role. "Primary prevention through lifestyle and environmental interventions remains the main route for reducing the global cancer burden. "If implemented, reduction of exposure to well-known behavioural and environmental risk factors would prevent a substantial proportion of deaths from cancer."

11/16/05 - Rooftop Real Estate
American cities have a surprising amount of wasted open space. Even in densely packed urban areas like New York City, the prime real estate atop roofs is given much less consideration than one would expect from a populace that values each square foot of space so highly. This oversight is a real shame, because there is so much that can be done to improve the local environment and quality of life, simply by fixing up a roof. The average city rooftop is layered with black tar, a material which traps sunlight and heat, raising the temperature of the surrounding area. The heat trapped by dark, flat roofs elevates city temperatures as much as ten degrees Fahrenheit - contributing to what scientists call the "urban heat island" effect.

11/16/05 - Wind Power blows students away
By switching 20 university buildings to wind power, CSU saves one half a penny per kilowatt-hour in utility costs, a total of $1,500 for the year, said CSU utility engineer Carol Dollard. This purchase from Xcel is not the first wind power choice CSU has made. In fall 2004 Housing and Dining Services offered a program that let students sign up and pay an extra $17 to use wind power in their rooms. On-campus apartments have the same option for $26. On campus, City of Fort Collins Utilities charges 4.5 cents for fossil fuel power, and 5.5 cents for wind energy. The extra fee covers the penny difference for a full year, Dollard said. Myth discounted: lights won't flicker. A common myth that wind power is unpredictable may be one thing standing in the way of registration, Miyamato said. But wind energy is just one more way to put power on the grid. The western United States, from Colorado to the Pacific Ocean (excluding Texas) is powered by one energy grid, Dollard said. All states put power on to the electricity grid via coal, fire, hydro and solar energy. Each state pulls from that supply. "When the wind blows, we ramp down fossil fuels," Dollard said. "You've got to play the game all the time and keep the balance." The wind energy CSU purchased will go on to the grid, instead of fossil fuels. "By purchasing wind power, you're offsetting electricity use," Dollard said. "Solar and wind energy are intermittent." "It's not like playing the market with natural gas," Dollard said. "Once you buy a wind turbine, you know what it will cost. There are few variable costs." But while people want more natural gas energy, a higher demand for wind power could mean an economic choice for consumers. "The more people who buy wind power, the cheaper it is," Miyamato said. "Over time it could become less expensive."

11/16/05 - Truckers choose hydrogen
Hundreds of semitrailer trucks zipping along North American highways are now powered in part by hydrogen. These 18-wheelers make hydrogen as they go, eliminating the need for high-pressure, cryogenic storage tanks or hydrogen filling stations, which, by the way, don't yet exist. These truckers aren't just do-gooders. They like Canadian Hydrogen Energy's Hydrogen Fuel Injection, or HFI, system because it lets them save fuel, get more horsepower and, as a bonus, cause less pollution. "We're saving $700 a month per truck on fuel," said Sherwin Fast, president of Great Plains Trucking in Salinas, Kansas. The company tried the HFI system on four trucks and has ordered 25 more. "Drivers like the increased power and noticed there is a lot less black smoke coming out of the stacks," said Fast. HFI is a bolt-on, aftermarket part that injects small amounts of hydrogen into the engine air intake, said Canadian Hydrogen Energy's Steve Gilchrist. Fuel efficiency and horsepower are improved because hydrogen burns faster and hotter than diesel, dramatically boosting combustion efficiency. The HFI system uses electricity from an engine's alternator to power the electrolysis of water to produce hydrogen as needed from small amounts of distilled water. The HFI units are relatively small and cost between $4,000 and $14,000, depending on the size of the vehicle. USA Patents have been issued #6,896,789. Ross - May 24, 2005 - Electrolysis cell and internal combustion engine kit comprising the same.

11/16/05 - Lottery funds Alternative Energy
(What a GREAT IDEA! - JWD) Residents on the Isle of Eigg have been given £250,000 lottery funding to create a 24-hour electricity supply. They have had to use their own generators to power their homes and hope to install a £1.3m grid system, using renewable energy. The Isle of Eigg Heritage Trust has already received £350,000 from local enterprise and energy companies. The trust's Ian Leaver said the cash would provide reliable electricity for 87 people on the Hebridean island. The Big Lottery Fund has pledged £250,000 to the project following donations from a local enterprise firm and the Highlands and Islands Community Energy Company (HICEC). "This lottery money will help towards providing a reliable electricity source for 87 people living on Eigg. The grid would provide electricity for the island's 37 houses and 10 businesses. Power would be generated through a mixture of wind, hydro and solar energy.

11/16/05 - Wind power officially costs LESS
November 2005 - Utility customers participating in green pricing programs that offer some form of protection from fossil-fuel price changes are finding that their green power premiums are shrinking or even turning negative. For example, as of November 1, Colorado customers participating in Xcel Energy's Windsource program are paying 0.66¢/kWh less for wind energy than for "regular" electricity because of an increase in the utility's energy cost adjustment (ECA). Since the ECA announcement, Xcel has sold out of its remaining available wind energy supply and has established a waiting list for new program signups. In Oklahoma, OG&E Electric Services customers purchasing the OG&E Wind Power product now pay 0.13¢/kWh less for wind energy than for traditional electricity and customers of Edmond Electric's pure&simple wind power program now pay 0.33¢/kWh less. In a growing number of regions across the US, wind power is now officially cheaper than the baseline electricity rate. The state-by-state ranking of green power programs still shows the October data; it's the page to keep an eye on to see how the "negative premium" scenario spreads.

11/16/05 - Imagining a Future in Which Carbon Dioxide Goes In, Oil Comes Out
(In my opinion, this is a terrible idea. Its bad enough using water and other fluids to displace oil to force it to the surface, but a gas? Expect more earthquakes, sinkholes, tectonic shifts as fluids/gases leak out and earth caves in. Its like sweeping dog poop under the carpet, hide it, don't clean it up. - JWD) An experimental project in Canada to inject carbon dioxide into oil fields has proven successful, removing 5 million tons of the heat-trapping "greenhouse" gas while enhancing oil recovery, the U.S. Department of Energy said Tuesday. If the methodology could be applied worldwide, from one-third to one-half of the carbon dioxide emissions that go into the atmosphere could be eliminated over the next century and billions of barrels of additional oil could be recovered, the department said. "The success of the Weyburn Project could have incredible implications on reducing CO2 emissions and increasing America's oil production," said Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman. Bodman, who is visiting the Middle East, said in a statement released by his office that if the process were used in all the oil fields of western Canada, "we would see billions of additional barrels of oil and a reduction of CO2 emissions equivalent to pulling more than 200 million cars off the road for a year." In the Weyburn project, the carbon dioxide when pumped into the oil reservoir increased the pressure and brought more oil to the surface. It increased the field's production by 10,000 barrels a day and "demonstrated the technical and economic feasibility of permanent carbon sequestration," the DOE said in a statement. Such a process can enhance oil recovery up to 60 percent, extend the life of aging oil fields by decades, and provide a permanent repository for the carbon dioxide in geologic formations, the DOE said.

11/16/05 - New thermobaric weapon used by Marines in Iraq
At Defensetech, Noah Schachtman David Hambling blogs about the SMAW-NE, a new urban combat weapon the Marines are using -- but not talking about very much. This is a version of the standard USMC Shoulder Mounted Assault Weapon but with a new warhead. Described as NE - "Novel Explosive"- it is a thermobaric mixture which ignites the air, producing a shockwave of unparalleled destructive power, especially against buildings. A post-action report from Iraq describes the effect of the new weapon: "One unit disintegrated a large one-storey masonry type building with one round from 100 meters. They were extremely impressed." Elsewhere it is described by one Marine as "an awesome piece of ordnance."

11/16/05 - I Have the Idea, You Have the Factory
Nanotechnology has spawned hundreds of companies in the last decade and attracted billions of dollars in government and private investment. Three out of four nanotech start-ups negotiating deals with the big companies think they have the power to set price and other crucial terms, according to Lux's survey of 20 companies averaging 29 employees and $2 million in annual revenue. But when Lux asked the same questions to materials buyers at 20 multinationals averaging 100,000 employees and $55 billion in annual revenue, 70 percent said it was their company that dictated the terms. Lux also found other disagreements on what the ideal deal looks like. For instance, 65 percent of the small companies wanted the multinationals to pay them license fees. But only 35 percent of the big companies wanted to take such licenses. Many of them want to handle nanomaterials like the commodities they are often replacing: tell us what the product costs per unit and then ship us as much as we want. The clashing value assessments and goals have stalemated negotiations and aborted deals, according to David Lackner, author of Lux's report. "Most entrepreneurs overplay their hand," said Steven Rogers, who teaches entrepreneurial finance at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill.

11/16/05 - Windpower survey blows away myths from opponents
"Wind power on average is delivering more energy when electricity demand is at its highest, which is during the winter and the day," Dr Sinden said. The study found that, during the past 35 years, the wind has always blown strongly enough - faster than 4 metres per second - to generate electricity in some parts of Britain. "Met Office records show that, while low wind speed conditions can be extensive, there was not a single hour during the study period where wind speeds at every location across the UK were below 4 metres per second," the study says. "On average, there is about one hour per year when more than 90 per cent of the UK experiences low wind speed conditions with those events being far more likely in summer. "Low wind speed conditions extending across 90 per cent or more of the UK during winter occur about one hour every five years," the study says. Malcolm Wicks, the Energy minister, said the study provided valuable insight for a sensible debate over wind power. He said: "This new research is a nail in the coffin of some of the exaggerated myths peddled by opponents of wind power."

11/16/05 - Blood Vessels Grown From Patient's Skin
Two kidney dialysis patients from Argentina have received the world's first blood vessels grown in a lab dish from snippets of their own skin, a promising step toward helping people with a variety of diseases. The method doesn't involve stem cells and therefore is not politically or ethically contentious. Growing them involves taking a piece of skin and a vein, less than a quarter-inch square, from the back of the hand. It's placed in a lab dish and nurtured with growth enhancers that help it produce substances like collagen and elastin, which give tissues their shape and texture. Two types of tissue are grown: one that forms the tough structure or backbone of the vessel and another that lines it and helps it to function. Sheets of this tissue are produced _ "You can cover your desk with a sheet," said Todd McAllister, a scientist and co-founder of the company _ and then stacked and rolled into vessels 6 to 8 inches long. This takes six to nine months, but faster development should be possible once ways are found to do the work on a commercial scale, said Nicholas L'Heureux, the company's chief scientific officer who invented the method. The lab-grown vessels are expected to cost under $10,000. By comparison, "Medicare pays $4 billion to $5 billion annually to maintain grafts (shunts), so it's a huge, huge economic burden," McAllister said.

11/16/05 - Miracle-working surgeons float to Africa's poor
Specializing in the healing of horrific facial deformities in places where often little or no professional health care exists, Mercy Ships International's three vessels, staffed by thousands of volunteers, have provided more than 2 million services with a direct impact on 5.5 million people. The Christian organization has performed more than 18,000 operations and surgical procedures, including cleft lip and palate, cataract removal, straightening of crossed-eyes and - in stunning fashion - orthopedic and facial reconstructions to bring healing from ghastly tumors that defy imagination. Last year, Mercy Ships rapidly responded to the Asian tsunami by shipping nearly $400,000 worth of donated relief supplies within days of the disaster. As the scope of the devastation became clearer, Mercy Ships made a long-term commitment to the region, which included providing boats to the fishermen who lost more than 23,000 vessels.

11/16/05 - Sauerkraut could fight bird flu, say scientists
Sauerkraut, the dish adored in Germany but much maligned in Britain, could prove to be a secret weapon against the threat of bird flu, experts revealed yesterday. Scientists believe that the traditional recipe, which is made from chopped cabbage that is fermented for at least a month, contains a bacteria that may combat the potentially fatal disease. Their findings follow a study in which kimchi - a spicy cabbage dish popular in South Korea and similar to sauerkraut - was fed to 13 chickens infected with bird flu. Just one week later, 11 of the birds showed signs of recovery from the virus. "The feed has been shown to help improve the fight against bird flu or other types of flu viruses," said Prof Kang Sa-ouk, who led the research at Seoul National University, yesterday. Prof Kang's team claims that lactobacillus, the lactic acid bacteria created during the fermenting process, is the active ingredient that could combat bird flu. Health experts have already agreed that there may be some truth to kimchi's curative properties, prompting an increase in the consumption of the dish in South Korea. Sales of sauerkraut in the United States have also soared as a result of the research, and now Britain is starting to catch on. Last night, importers of the dish to Britain said that sales were rising and they were increasing stocks in the expectation that demand could escalate.

11/15/05 - Australia pioneers energy from hot rocks
Generating electricity using the heat of ancient rocks buried deep below the red sands of the Australian outback? Spurred by high commodity prices and a drive to reduce Australia's reliance on coal, several companies are looking to harness hot rock temperatures of up to 570 degrees Fahrenheit to unleash green energy. Based on encouraging test results, pioneer explorer Geodynamics Ltd. could make an investment decision on its first power station in early 2006, the climax of five years of drilling in the South Australian desert. "This is the best spot in the world, a geological freak," Geodynamics managing director Bertus de Graaf told Reuters. "It's really quite serendipitous, the way the elements -- temperature, tectonics, insulating rocks -- have come together here." Hot dry rock (HDR) geothermal energy is one of the great hopes of the renewable universe, analysts say. It has the potential to supply larger volumes of power at cheaper prices than wind and solar alternatives in areas where the required geology exists, and at any time of day or night. The key to HDR lies in special hot granite rocks located no more than 3 miles below the earth, whose heat from its core has been trapped beneath layers of insulating rock. Temperatures in excess of 482 degrees Fahrenheit are considered vital. "Temperature is the key driver of economics," says Geodynamics' de Graaf. "You double your power cost for every 50 degrees you lose in heat, but luckily we're touching 300 degrees well within the 5 km (3-mile) cut-off." Water is pumped down through a well at extremely high pressure, to widen existing rock fractures. This increases their capacity to super-heat large volumes of water, which are then transferred to a nearby geothermal power station to heat liquids with a low boiling point to generate steam and then electricity. "The resources are large enough to generate significant volumes of power," says Petratherm's Reid. "There could one day be plants supplying more than 1,000 megawatts of power if the market allowed it, which is theoretically a good chunk of the 1,200 megawatts required to power South Australia."

11/15/05 - Tweeting Pillows Ease Soldiers to Sleep
Danish researchers are testing the MusiCure, a soft pillow that chirps like a bird and is designed to lull soldiers to sleep in Kosovo, Iraq and other hotspots. With built-in speakers, the white pillows release sounds from nature combined with acoustic instruments such as cellos to provide a serenade designed to help stressed-out minds shed unpleasant thoughts. In Kosovo, the 10 test pillows provided by Denmark's Defense Academy have become popular among the 340 Danish soldiers deployed here, said Maj. Helmer T. Hansen, the battalion surgeon at the Danish military clinic in the province. Soldiers can keep the pillows for two weeks, Hansen said, ticking off their benefits with the air of a hypnotist: "You will not think about what is maybe happening with your wife at home, or your children. All thoughts will disappear, images will be created - forests, beaches, mountains. And then you will fall asleep." During the first month of the trial, which began in late September, about 20 Danish soldiers in need of relaxation and some quick sleep in the often ethnically tense province used them to get some shuteye. Some soldiers who have tried the pillow sing its praises. "The problem was I fell asleep too quickly," one wrote jokingly. "It is good to keep the noise out of my mind," wrote another. "It's a very good way to relax. But the pillow is too thick." First created nearly 10 years ago, the MusiCure pillow originally was intended for use in psychiatric wards and as an aid to help patients recover from surgery while minimizing the need for medicine, Hansen said. Music therapy is just as handy at a military camp, where sleeping pills can't be used because soldiers have to be ready to go into action in case of emergency, he said. "It's the first time we're using it," he said. "But my advice will be that we have it for a long time."

11/15/05 - Debating Cancer Screening: Too Old to Test?
When is a person too old to benefit from cancer screening tests? The answer, experts say, depends less on age than on the type of cancer, the test and individual characteristics of the person to be screened. It would seem logical that screening for cancers in their earliest, most curable stages would benefit anyone who might develop the cancers in question. But while the lives of some people over 65 or 70 could be saved by screening, for others the potential for harm associated with screening could outweigh the benefits.

11/15/05 - Hidden cost in wood burning: Pollution
Scientists have long known that wood smoke contains carbon monoxide and cancer-causing chemicals. But research shows that wood smoke's major ingredient - tiny particles of soot and liquid pollution - worsens heart disease and triggers asthma attacks. This "particle pollution," also emitted by diesel engines, kills thousands of Americans a year. Alarmed by such findings, and required by federal law to cut particle pollution, officials across the USA are trying to reduce the smoke from the nation's 37 million home chimneys and 10 million wood stoves. Economics are driving more Americans to wood, however. The U.S. Energy Information Administration predicted last month that Americans who heat their homes with natural gas will pay nearly 50% more this winter, while heating-oil users face a 32% rise. The broader wood smoke pollution problem becomes acute in winter. In some communities, mostly in the West, 30% to 80% of the wintertime particle pollution is attributed to wood burning in the home, regional and federal agencies say. The high cost of heating oil drove Traci and Duane Eger of North Fayette, Pa., to use the discount to replace their fireplace with a new wood stove. "It's an incredible amount of heat," says Duane, yet "there's no color to the smoke that comes out, because virtually everything ends up being burned." The only hitch, he says: "We'll have to explain how Santa can make it through this device."

11/15/05 - Piezoelectric Wind Power
Micro-micro-wind Nature News reports on the development of a tiny wind turbine (about 10cm in diameter) able to produce a surprisingly large amount of power for its size. The reason? Instead of the wind turning a conventional generator -- which, at that size, would be able to convert at best about 1% of the wind energy into electricity -- the system uses a piezoelectric generator, converting turbine vibrations into electricity using piezoelectric materials, which produce power when under mechanical stress. This gives the tiny turbines an efficiency of about 18%, comparable to much larger systems. In turn, these micropowerhouses can be used to power wireless sensor networks.

11/15/05 - With Mad Cow And Now Bird Flu, What Animal is Left to Eat?
Think of something nice to eat and the medical know-it-alls will scare you away from it. And if you resist and by bad luck, repeat, bad luck, you fall sick, then you will be told that your stubbornness has been your undoing. Who had ever imagined that they could ever scare us from eating chicken? Surely, being kept away from meat was bad enough. For some time now, all people who are of voting age have been told to avoid the so-called red meat. We turned a deaf ear for some years until funny signs started popping up at unlikely times. Now they say chicken contains something that can kill you much faster - in a matter of hours. It is like ebola, this bird flu business. They say some migratory birds which flew from the affected areas have now reached East Africa. Apparently, that implies that our chicken will soon be carrying bird flu and imagine, after surviving more serious diseases you get felled by a chicken illness! The sadists who do not want us to bite any muscles have not run out of tricks. Last week, veterinary authorities in Uganda created a new scare. Whoever heard of swine epilepsy? It has to be a malicious fellow who comes up with such things. Now they are telling us that eating pork can cause epilepsy. They claim that certain types of worms commonly found in pigs can lead to epilepsy. They claim that when the pork is not thoroughly roasted (of course pub pork rarely is), these worms survive and eventually get to the consumer's brain. Now, if good luck had spared you from getting those often dangerous fits, do you want to invite them by eating pork? Even if you are still youthful and have no fear of weight-related problems, there is something called mad cow, which they might pull out to scare you from eating beef.

11/15/05 - Want to save $3,150 in taxes? Buy a hybrid car
Across America, states, cities, and corporations are leaping on the hybrid-incentives bandwagon. On top of state tax credits, some hybrid drivers now enjoy exemptions from emissions-testing and excise tax. Others even get unlimited use of HOV commuter lanes. Beginning in January, the federal government will offer a tax credit of as much as $3,150 per car, based on its emissions profile. "The federal incentives, higher gas prices, and all these other small but attractive perks are tipping the balance," says Bradley Berman, editor and owner of "Hybrid culture is definitely shifting into the mainstream. It's moved from environmentalists and early adopters to energy security and people that just want to save on gas." If he buys a Prius after Jan. 1, he explains, the federal government will give him a dollar-for-dollar tax credit of $3,150. His employer, Google, will give him up to $5,000 more. All told, he would save $8,000 off the cost of a new Prius. And the deal would be even sweeter if he lived in Colorado - which offers an additional $3,400 tax credit.

11/15/05 - Nitric Oxide (Viagra/Poppers) - Gas-blockers Might Slow Alzheimer's Disease
A noxious gas speeds up brain degeneration in Alzheimer's disease, according to a study in the November 7 issue of The Journal of Experimental Medicine. Carl Nathan and colleagues at Cornell University Weill Medical College found that an enzyme that triggers the production of nitric oxide (NO) -- a gas that helps immune cells fight off invading pathogens -- accelerates the formation of brain lesions in Alzheimer's-prone mice. The study suggests that inhibitors of this enzyme (called iNOS) -- which have already been produced and tested in humans -- might be a promising and thus far overlooked therapy for the treatment of this devastating disease. For nearly a decade, researchers have known that iNOS was present in the brain lesions of patients with Alzheimer's disease, but nobody had addressed whether its presence was making the disease worse. Nathan and colleagues now show that Alzheimer's-prone mice that lack iNOS live twice as long and develop fewer brain lesions than iNOS-expressing mice. Both groups of mice developed some brain lesions initially, but the iNOS-deficient mice were spared the rapid accumulation of lesions later in life. (Note the difference between Nitric Oxide NO versus Nitrous oxide N20 - It is also a toxic air pollutant produced by automobile engines and power plants. Nitric oxide (NO) should not be confused with nitrous oxide (N2O), a general anaesthetic, or with nitrogen dioxide (NO2) which is another poisonous air pollutant. The nitric oxide molecule is a free radical which makes it very reactive and unstable. In air, it quickly reacts with oxygen to form the poisonous nitrogen dioxide. Nitric oxide (by a process that is not completely understood) which in turn dilates the coronary artery (blood vessels around the heart), thereby increasing its blood supply. Nitric oxide also plays a role in erection of the penis, and explains the mechanism of sildenafil (Viagra®). The effects of the recreational drugs known as poppers are also thought to be due to nitric oxide. - Nitrous Oxide is a general anesthetic. - JWD)

11/15/05 - Plague could spread as temperatures rise
Scientists say that warmer, wetter weather brought on by climate change could increase outbreaks of the plague, an infectious disease many people think has been consigned to the history books. The plague is caused by bites from fleas carrying the virulent, aggressive and mutating Yersinia pestis bacteria. It has killed millions down the ages and wiped out one-third of Europe's population in the 14th century. The plague periodically breaks out in Kazakhstan and other Central Asian countries. It has been carried around the globe by fleas on the back of rats, birds and in clothing for centuries, Stenseth says. "If you treat it with antibiotics in a few days it should be all right, but if you leave it any longer there is a 60% chance of death." "Wetter, warmer weather conditions mean there are likely to be more of the bacteria around than normal and the chance of it spreading to humans is higher," he says. The European Union-funded group has just finished analysing Soviet-era data from Kazakhstan that shows a link between warmer weather and outbreaks of the plague. This analysis is important as until now scientists were not clear whether warmer conditions encourage the bacteria, fleas and rats to grow or kill them, Stenseth says. Plague bacteria are often carried by fleas on rats. "But if it becomes too hot it would kill off the fleas and rodents," he says.

11/14/05 - Mothballs to nearly double gas mileage
Ron wrote, "Originally, I was getting 240 miles on a tank, and now, by doing nothing other than adding 1 moth ball per 4 gallons, I got 440 as of yesterday. My vehicle runs better than ever (a 2003 Town and Country) and where my fuel pump was diagnosed near failure at the beginning of my three-month trial, it is now in better shape than ever. This alone will save me over 600 in repairs." In another post on the discussion list archives, Ron writes, "I'll go get another box, but I remember the content was 100% naphtalene. It was blue, and came 75 to a box for about 2 bucks." Paradichlorobenzene is referred to as "moth crystals." Moth balls are composed of naphthalene, which is a also an aromatic hydrocarbon. Another email states, "Yeah actually I've heard that from a few of my old school racer friends too. They say it ups the octane level or improves the power and fuel efficiency of the fuel. They used to drop a whole bunch in the tank before hitting the tracks or when they knew they'd be drag racing."

11/14/05 - Hilden-Brand High Efficiency Motor
Jack Hilden-Brand wrote, "I had been working on and off on a magnetic holding device before and I figured it would be a good time to continue working on it. Well I experimented with the device for several years and finally got it working the way I wanted it. This device increases the holding power of an electro magnet to four times its original power. (See Emery/Leedskalnin Perpetual Motion Holder) And also provides a way to turn a permanent magnet on or off to any external metal objects. (See Radus Magnetic Boots) After experimenting with this new device I realized that it could also be used to generate power as in a motor. I then spent several weeks building a test device to see if this could be used to power an electric motor. The first motor I built was very small but worked exceptionally well. It produced about 1/16 hp and turned around 6000 rpm. Also this motor proved to be very efficient, using only about 600 ma at 36 vdc. I also noticed with this motor that when the rpm was loaded down to around 500 rpm that the current did not increase much. The amps did not increase much above 1 amp. Now if you compare this to any current dc motor of comparable size, on motor loading the amps jumped up to around 20 amps."

11/14/05 - Italian chemist uses science to explain paranormal events
Weeping Madonnas, sacred blood that goes from solid to liquid and back again, lottery numbers divined by gazing at a photo of a deceased pope, sudden cures after contact with a holy relic: Miracles are old phenomena in Italy, the land where St. Francis tamed a wolf and wild doves. But this is also the land of science par excellence, the home ground of Galileo, da Vinci, Fermi and Marconi. So there are also voices that say, "Hold on a minute." "Miracles are just paranormal events in religious clothing," he says. "I'm a chemist. I look for the substance behind things." He's not trying to undermine people's religious beliefs, he says, explaining: "We're just trying to study phenomena. If there's a non-miraculous answer, we say so."

11/14/05 - Hillary Clinton Proposes Massive Energy Tax for Oil Companies
Clinton proposed to sock oil companies with $20 billion in new fees that would be used to fund research on clean energy - driving up costs for oil producers that they would inevitably pass along to consumers. Mrs. Clinton insisted that her $20 billion fee plan was "not about new energy taxes on consumers" - but she declined to say how oil companies would absorb the additional costs without charging consumers.

11/14/05 - New York Times has decided to advocate increasing the federal gas tax
The government must capitalize on the end of the era of perpetually cheap gas, and it must do so in a way that makes America less vulnerable to all manner of threats - terrorist, environmental and economic. The best solution is to increase the federal gasoline tax, in order to keep the price of gas near its post-Katrina highs of $3-plus a gallon. That would put a dent in gas-guzzling behavior, as has already been seen in the dramatic drop in the sale of sport-utility vehicles. And it would help cure oil dependency in the long run, as automakers and other manufacturers responded to consumer demand for fuel-efficient products.

11/14/05 - Dog Powered Scooter
Focus your dogs energy and enjoy the new sport of Urban Dog Mushing. This new Dog Scooter Design fulfills these needs & opportunities and has many advantages over the traditional dog scootering/ dog carting activities. The most outstanding of which is the ability to steer the dog! Traditional systems have the dog out front in charge of the steering! All the dog needs to do is "go forward" which they love to do. The pace is generally that of the dog - a built in safety feature for the dog. (faster than the human being dragged along behind with a leash). The scooter also has great brakes and larger wheels making it useable most, if not all, of the year and on most surfaces (including wider/ smoother trails). It also does not place any downward loads on the dog, is very light and has a low rolling resistance.

11/14/05 - Renewable Energy Emerging From Oil Company Greed
Oil prices are starting to decline, not because of supply issues, but because the five major oil companies realize they may have pushed the greed envelope too far. Out of oil industry greed many positive things are starting to occur, such as declining SUV and gas guzzling auto sales. A more exciting manifestation of positive change is in alternative energies. These are not new technologies, but merely suppressed technologies starting to emerge as a result of multiple factors and the catalyst being fuel prices. Renewable energy is emerging from oil company greed and the oil companies are fearful, that is why they are now lowering prices. But the oil companies have pushed the limit of public tolerance, and now people are starting to realize that we seem to have a completely stagnant technology over 100 years old, the fossil fuel burning internal combustion engine.

11/14/05 - Biodiesel Keeps Home Fire Burning
Biodiesel previously was overlooked as a heating fuel because heating oil was cheaper. But prices for conventional heating oil have doubled since 2001. "Consumer perception of oil heat was very low; they related it to prehistoric fossil fuels -- dinosaurville," he says. By convincing the heating oil industry to carry biodiesel, he figured the heating-oil market would get a much-needed boost, and biodiesel would become accepted into a mainstream commercial market. Nazzaro launched a campaign to demonstrate biodiesel's potential for use in-home heating systems, which included comprehensive field and laboratory testing and working with manufacturers to develop an industry standard. As a result, the National Biodiesel Board's website now lists 19 companies that supply biodiesel-blended heating oil, known as BioHeat, to residential customers, and the list is growing. Most companies provide BioHeat blends that contain 5 percent, 10 percent or 20 percent of biodiesel (known as B5, B10 or B20, respectively) mixed with conventional heating oil, all of which can be used in existing oil-burning furnaces.

11/14/05 - Uncle Sam Eavesdrops On Own Citizens
Police State conditions continue to grow here in the United States with the latest, the FCC mandates all broadband and Internet phone providers to create backdoors for the government to listen in on private user networks. VoIP companies have 18 months to put these backdoors in place for local police and federal agents to use. Again, the DOJ is behind the kind of government tyranny leading us firmly into a future police state. Teamed up with the FCC, DEA and FBI, an act went into law called the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act (CALEA). President Bush leverages terrorism and homeland security concerns to push for further invasion of U.S. citizen privacy for the national good.

11/14/05 - Kill Bill's Browser
The Kill Bill's Browser site campaigns to get people to switch from Internet Explorer to the free and open alternative, Firefox. In addition to an hilarious, racy list of thirteen reasons to do this, the site comes with the news that Google will pay you a dollar for every person you induce to switch to Firefox, and has a script for alerting Explorer-using visitors to your site of the benefits of switching. 13 good reasons to switch from Internet Explorer to Firefox. (via

11/14/05 - Dead or Alive?
Every now and then you hear something or remember someone famous who got your attention or made a small impact on your life. Discover if a famous person is still out there.

11/14/05 - Briton claims to have beaten HIV virus
A British man claimed on Sunday to be the first person to become clear of the HIV virus, which can lead to AIDS, after earlier testing positive for it. If true, the case of 25-year-old Andrew Stimpson -- reported in two British newspapers -- could reveal more about the virus and possibly even provide a breakthrough in the search for a cure for HIV/AIDS. A spokeswoman for Chelsea and Westminster Heathcare Trust in London confirmed that one of its patients had tested negative for HIV about 14 months after testing positive in May 2002. "We very much want him to return so we can try to find out what exactly has happened," she added. There is no known cure for HIV/AIDS, responsible for the deaths of millions of people and especially virulent in parts of Africa. Some experts say there are nearly 35 million sufferers around the world. "It's just possible inside this man's body is a biological key. If we can find an antibody that he's produced that has enabled him to kick this virus out, we could in theory find a way of engineering that antibody and giving it as some sort of treatment," he said.

11/14/05 - Excellent Documentary on the History of BBSes
If you are 30 or over and were involved in the wonderful world of Bulletin Board Systems, you will LOVE THIS 3 DVD Documentary! Having been merely the Sysop of KeelyNet for 12 years, beginning fully 10 years after the first BBS started, I found this very professionally done DVD set entertaining, enlightening and totally DELIGHTFUL! Many memories of how it USED TO BE, before the Internet. The wonderful online communities, the funny events, exhorbitant long distance phone bills from downloads/chats, the posturing and flame wars. I laughed and had tears of delight from some of the stories told by over 200 people interviewed for this documentary. It is on sale now for $40US and absolutely worth the price. The packaging, graphics and information content are first rate and a 3 DVD set of this high quality would sell in a video store for $99.95 at least! Definitely check out the index/overview of the contents to get an idea of what all these amazing DVDs cover! I don't know how many reading this were fortunate enough to participate in the days of the BBS, but you will definitely cherish these DVDs that recall how it all came to be. It is also well worth owning for those who weren't 'there' because you can learn about this wonderful history of invention, sharing and camaraderie. Be sure to check out the story of FidoNet which was, in my opinion, the early Internet! I can't say enough good things about this DVD set, its simply amazing! - JWD

11/13/05 - US to take dual-fuel car from Brazil
A Brazilian-made car that burns both gasoline and alcohol processed from corn had its unveiling here ahead of the first shipment of thousands of vehicles to the United States. The governor of Rio de Janeiro state, Rosinha Matheus de Garotinho, was on hand Friday for a first peak at the prototype made by Brazil's Obvio in partnership with US company ZAP, which stands for Zero Air Pollution. With gasoline prices high, the flex-fuel car uses what has already become a popular technology in South America's largest market. Its first production phase will see 17,000 cars shipped in 2006. But Obvio president Rivardo Machado said ZAP "already has purchased 50,000 units in advance." Obvio has a 700-million-dollar contract with ZAP which is looking to distribute in Europe and Asia as well.

11/13/05 - House plants to clean air
A new study by a California teenager suggests that a not-so-usual suspect -- the English ivy plant -- might be just the ticket. Ryan Kim, the son of an allergy researcher, found that an English ivy plant does a significant job of cleansing the air of mold particles and other nasty particulates, including canine fecal matter. "This may be a better alternative, and more cost-effective" than an electronic air purifier, said study co-author Hilary Spyers-Duran, a nurse practitioner and investigator at West Coast Clinical Trials in Long Beach, Calif. The younger Kim put moldy bread and dog feces in individual containers and measured how many particles spread into the air. Then he put an English ivy plant into the containers to see what happened, and then repeated the experiment. According to the study, the plant reduced airborne particles of fecal matter by an average of more than 94 percent over 12 hours. The level of mold in the air went down by 78.5 percent. How does a plant manage to clean the air? "Aerosolized proteins are actually absorbed through the roots and soil of the plant," Spyers-Duran explained.

11/13/05 - Boot Camp: The Latest Fitness Craze
Exercise boot camp -- a grueling workout for those tough enough to follow orders from a berating, loud-mouthed instructor. "It's not for people with control issues,'' jokes instructor Barry Jay, who runs a fitness studio offering boot camp sessions a few blocks from Sunset Strip. The military-style program -- a circuit of drills ranging from running and jumping jacks to push-ups, squats and sit-ups -- appeals to people with busy schedules who need to pack a hard workout into a quick hour. Physicians caution that people should get a checkup before taking on a sudden increase in physical effort. Businesses geared specifically to run boot camps are springing up across the country, including one in Anthem, Arizona, a Del Webb planned community. Many boot camps in Southern California are taught at parks and beaches by former soldiers. Jay's "Bootcamp Academy'' session, 20 classes over four weeks, costs $235. Other camps can run longer or shorter, and the cost varies. "One of the reasons boot camps are incredibly popular is because they provide a pretty time-efficient approach to exercise,'' said Cedric X. Bryant, chief exercise physiologist for the American Council on Exercise. "You work the whole body. You're in and out. For most of us who are time-pressured, it's a nice way to fit fitness in,'' said Bryant. Anyone who ditches a session faces discipline at the next one. "If you don't show up, I will call you, I will text-message you, I will pick you up at 4:30 a.m. the next day,'' he says with a laugh. Punishment may be an extra 20 minutes of running or forcing the offender's partner to do an extra set of push-ups. Participants say they appreciate the stringent rules.

11/13/05 - Stem cells may keep racehorses on track
Racehorses with tendon damage are being injected with their own stem cells in an experimental treatment veterinarians hope will prevent future injuries. Tendon injuries are relatively common in racehorses, says O'Sullivan, and it can take a horse off the racetrack for over a year. Horses are vulnerable to injury, especially of the superficial digital flexor tendon at the back of the forelimb, because it carries such enormous weight at speed. "That tiny tendon supports the majority of the horse's bodyweight and they're about 550 kilos," says O'Sullivan. "And you're looking at a tendon about the size of your thumb, holding all that weight up at speed. They're travelling 55 to 60 kilometres an hour." O'Sullivan says veterinarians hope that stem cells will reduce the rate of re-injury by forming a more tendon-like repair tissue rather than a scar-like repair tissue. So far, he has treated three thoroughbred horses, including one from well-known trainer Bart Cummings' team, Accumulate. Recently the researchers removed bone marrow from the horse's sternum and grew up the extracted stem cells in the lab. They then injected the cells, along with bone marrow fluid, into the horse's injured tendon, hoping it would help regrow the damaged tissue.

11/13/05 - Perfusion Bioreactor to grow stem cells in quantity
A Florida State University research team reports that it has designed a biomedical device that will allow stem cells derived from adult bone marrow to be grown in sufficient quantities to permit far more research - and allow faster growth of tissues that can be transplanted into patients. Teng Ma, an assistant professor of chemical and biomedical engineering at the Florida A&M University-FSU College of Engineering, and colleagues have created a device called a perfusion bioreactor that is designed to mimic conditions encountered by adult stem cells within the human body. The reactor bathes stem cell samples in a protein-rich liquid while also simulating the flow of the body’s circulatory system. “Within the human body, each cell is no more than 200 micrometers from a source of nutrients,” Ma explained. “The perfusion bioreactor allows us to deliver essential nutrients to stem cells in a manner very similar to what they are used to within the body.” By altering that flow of nutrients to the stem cells, researchers also hope to control what type of cell they ultimately will become, Ma said. “The perfusion bioreactor can be used to reproduce mesenchymal stem cells and to direct their differentiation into bone, cartilage, muscle, heart muscle, fat or nerve tissue,” Ma said. “The tissues grown then will be suitable for clinical transplantation.” He added that stem cells can live for up to 40 days within the bioreactor. “All of their donors are adults between the ages of 19 and 49. Essentially, each donor undergoes a medical procedure in which a small amount of bone marrow is extracted from his or her pelvic bone.” Within that extracted bone marrow, only about one in every 100,000 cells is a stem cell, Ma said. “Because they are so rare, the ability to reproduce stem cells in a laboratory becomes particularly significant for further research and clinical trials.” Each stem cell has the ability to divide so as to produce a perfect copy of itself; the copy then can become a “workhorse” cell, such as a bone or nerve cell. Because the stem cell produced by this division is a perfect copy of the original stem cell, stem cells seem to be able to divide and live indefinitely, perhaps forever.

11/12/05 - New Space Myth needed to spur expansion efforts
In the minds of people, the whole idea of spaceflight is strongly associated with science. Ask people in the streets what they are thinking when they hear the word “space”, or a university student when you say “space careers”. Even an energetic scientist like Carl Sagan, whom I had the fortune to discuss this topic with, knew that space is about so much more than science. However, most people are terribly shortsighted. Few care about the long-term perspectives presented by visionaries like Sagan, John Young, and now Martin Rees; that our choices stands between spaceflight and extinction. The solution here is not to engage harder in the human vs. robot debate, presenting better arguments, but rather to shift the entire focus away from this discussion about rewards, creating a new focus. Otherwise, we will continue to face an endless uphill battle. We need to sow the seeds of a new “myth” for the space program-in fact a whole new perception among people regarding our inherited place, role, and destiny in the cosmos. I am sure we won’t influence policymakers and budget planners right away. But we can make this seed grow in society at large: why not start already tonight with our kids’ bedtime stories?

11/12/05 - Nano World: Power for soldiers, sat phones
Fuel cells generate electricity by reacting fuel with oxygen. NanoDynamics in Buffalo, N.Y., is developing fuel cells that employ nanotechnology to help supply power for longer times at less weight and size than batteries or conventional fuel cells. One 50-watt solid oxide fuel-cell prototype, roughly the size of a loaf of bread, is composed of roughly 20 percent nanomaterials and can generate some 3,000 watt-hours of electricity from just 5 pounds of propane. A conventional solid oxide fuel cell given that little propane would generate only one-half to one-third as many watt-hours. The prototype, "originally designed for a combat soldier, could replace about 35 pounds of batteries," said Keith Blakely, chief executive officer at NanoDynamics. NanoDynamics essentially takes conventional fuel-cell components such as their membranes, electrodes and catalysts and miniaturizes them, increasing fuel-cell power density. Unlike conventional fuel cells, which use hydrogen gas, their prototypes use propane gas, "the kind you find at camping stores," Blakely said. NanoDynamics has programs with the U.S. Army to develop a fuel cell until the end of 2006. "It may not be that a 50-watt system makes sense for a soldier, but maybe a 200- or 250-watt system to recharge batteries for a platoon," Blakely said.

11/12/05 - Meditation associated with increased grey matter in the brain
Meditation is known to alter resting brain patterns, suggesting long lasting brain changes, but a new study by researchers from Yale, Harvard, Massachusetts General Hospital, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology shows meditation also is associated with increased cortical thickness. The structural changes were found in areas of the brain that are important for sensory, cognitive and emotional processing, the researchers report in the November issue of NeuroReport. "What is most fascinating to me is the suggestion that meditation practice can change anyone's grey matter," Gray said. "The study participants were people with jobs and families. They just meditated on average 40 minutes each day, you don't have to be a monk." Magnetic resonance imaging showed that regular practice of meditation is associated with increased thickness in a subset of cortical regions related to sensory, auditory, visual and internal perception, such as heart rate or breathing. The researchers also found that regular meditation practice may slow age-related thinning of the frontal cortex. "Most of the regions identified in this study were found in the right hemisphere," the researchers said. "The right hemisphere is essential for sustaining attention, which is a central practice of Insight meditation."

11/12/05 - Biofuel promoter to power boat using human fat
Auckland, New Zealand, adventurer Peter Bethune plans to break the round-the-world powerboat speed record in a boat powered by biodiesel fuel partly manufactured from human fat. The lean Mr. Bethune had about three ounces of fat extracted from his body yesterday in a lipsuction procedure, and he is seeking volunteers to donate more. Can human fat really power a diesel engine? “No one has actually made biodiesel from human fat before,” admits Mr. Bethune, “but we already do it with sheep and beef fat so it should work. Theoretically, at least.” Animal fat is turned into fuel by removing the water and tissue, adding lye and alcohol, and then separating out the glycerine that results, leaving biodiesel. “The amount of energy from fat is relatively low,” says Mr. Bethune. “A large liposuction operation involves removing 10 pounds of fat, which would drive a car about 50 miles once converted.” Mr. Buthune nevertheless thinks the use of human fat as an energy source has some potential. “There’s an interesting business model: link a biodiesel plant with the cosmetic surgeons,” says Mr. Bethune. “In Auckland we produce about 330 pounds of fat per week from liposuction, which would make about 40 gallons of fuel. If it is going to be chucked out, why not?”

11/12/05 - Airport remote temperature readings for flu
Temperature-measuring devices used at border checkpoints may not be as accurate as first thought in spotting travellers with fever, a key symptom of bird flu, researchers in Hong Kong said on Thursday. Remote-sensing infrared cameras are now being used in many airports where they are pointed at the foreheads of travellers, but temperatures there could be 2 degrees C below the body's core temperature, scientists said. To get a more accurate reading, the cameras should also zero in on the temperatures of travellers' ears, the scientists said. A study by the department found that forehead temperature readings led to a false alarm rate of 43 percent. More worryingly, 13 percent of people with fevers were not detected by the cameras. Like conventional human influenza, the H5N1 bird flu virus causes symptoms like fever, aches, malaise, cough and sore throat. But this is where the similarity stops. H5N1 can quickly bring complications, such as very high fever, pneumonia, chest infection and respiratory and multiple organ failure.

11/12/05 - Fluids race through nearly frictionless carbon nanotubes
Within the cells of our bodies, fluids flow rapidly through miniscule, nearly frictionless, protein channels. Until now, human-made nanoscale structures have not been able to mimic those same speeds because the fluids flow slowly along the walls of the tiny structures. Researchers have now found that carbon nanotubes only 7 billionths of a meter in diameter can channel many fluids nearly friction free. With some fluids, the interiors of the tubes were so slippery that substances sailed through 10,000-100,000 times faster than models had predicted. Mainak Majumder, Nitin Chopra and Rodney Andrews of the University of Kentucky fabricated membranes made from billions of aligned carbon nanotubes. The fabrication techniques easily adapt to large-scale production, which is important for industries that could use such membranes for separating commodity chemicals.

11/12/05 - Underlying causes of regional war
A recent study argues the underlying cause of many regional wars and the type of peace that follows results from a state-to-nation imbalance. Miller also examined why the transition of some regions from war to peace occurs much earlier than in other regions. He concluded the underlying cause is the lack of compatibility or fit between the existing territorial division of a region into states and the national identification of the peoples living in that region. The greater the state-to-nation imbalance is, the greater the drive towards war. State-to-nation problems arouse strong emotions and passionate ideological commitments that make pragmatic compromise and bargaining more difficult, said Miller.

11/12/05 - Feel Good Story
"According to the news, you need some help," Budd said he told them, "so here it is."

11/12/05 - Taiwan to turn 2,000 hectares of rice paddy into "green fuel farms"
Taiwanese agricultural authorities plan to turn 2,000 hectares (4,940 acres) of rice paddies into "green fuel farms" in an effort to cut the island's dependence on imported fossil fuel. The plan was unveiled by Premier Frank Hsieh during a visit to the southern town of Hsuehchia, one of three sites picked by the Council of Agriculture to experiment on the trial project. The "biomass fuel" could be produced by crops such as beans and sunflowers, and the island's emission of oxygen dioxide could be reduced by up to 900,000 metric tonnes a year, the council estimated. Taiwan imports nearly all of its energy needs and with the historically high crude prices the government has ordered agencies to generate electricity from renewable sources. This includes hydraulic, wind, solar power, and biomass.

11/12/05 - Tracking cellphones for traffic reports (and what else?)
Several state transportation agencies, including those in Maryland and Virginia, are beginning to test technology that allows them to monitor traffic by tracking cellphone signals and mapping them against road grids. The technology highlights how readily cellphones can become tracking devices for companies or government agencies - a development that troubles privacy advocates. These new traffic systems can monitor several hundred thousand cellphones at once. The phones need only be turned on, not in use. And sophisticated software now makes it possible to discern whether a signal is coming from, say, a moving car or a pedestrian. These new traffic systems can monitor several hundred thousand cellphones at once. The phones need only be turned on, not in use. And sophisticated software now makes it possible to discern whether a signal is coming from, say, a moving car or a pedestrian. Privacy advocates say traffic monitoring could mark the beginning of governments using cellphones to track individuals' movements. Even if the tracking is done anonymously and in clusters, they say, it could allow state and federal officials to track where people are headed en masse in order, for instance, to know where protesters are gathering. Any cellphone that is turned on constantly interacts with the cellular towers that are located every few hundred feet in a metropolitan area or every half mile or further in a rural area. The monitoring software instantaneously analyzes those movements. The ITIS system, which can receive several hundred thousand signals at once, uses sophisticated computer algorithms to tell whether a given signal is coming from a car, a biker or someone sitting still. The analysis takes only seconds, said Stuart Marks, the chief executive of ITIS. The information is provided to transportation agencies or can be purchased by consumers.

11/11/05 - Fish oil used to cure lung cancer
A researcher at the University of Nevada has shown that omega-3 fatty acids, which are often found in fish oil or golden algae oil, can save the life of a terminal cancer patient. According to a study, published in the recent issue of the Nutrition and Cancer journal, Ron Pardini, a professor of biochemistry and associate director of the Nevada Agricultural Experiment Station at the University of Nevada, successfully treated his 78-year-old cancer-stricken neighbour D.H., who was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer. The cancerous tumours found in D.H.'s lungs have shrunk to 10 percent of what they were in 2000, according to last year's computed tomography (CT) scans. Pardini's previous research showed that omega-3 fatty acids significantly depressed the growth of human mammary, ovarian, colon, prostate and pancreatic cancer cells that were injected into athymic mice-also known as nude mice. So, he drastically increased D.H.'s intake of omega-3 fatty acids. "In 2000 he was told by his doctor he had only a few months to live. But five years later, he is still alive, and has even gained a little weight," said Pardini. While beginning to take high dose of fish oil and golden algae oil capsules daily, D.H. also reduced corn-based foods from his diet. Corn contains omega-6 fatty acids that are found to increase cancer growth.

11/11/05 - Lunar lawnmower to pave the moon
Scientists and engineers figuring out how to return astronauts to the moon, set up habitats, and mine lunar soil to produce anything from building materials to rocket fuels have been scratching their heads over what to do about moondust. It's everywhere! The powdery grit gets into everything, jamming seals and abrading spacesuit fabric. It also readily picks up electrostatic charge, so it floats or levitates off the lunar surface and sticks to faceplates and camera lenses. It might even be toxic. Don't try to get rid of it--melt it into something useful! Apropos to the moon, he once put a small pile of lunar soil brought back by the Apollo astronauts into a microwave oven. And he found that it melted "lickety-split," he said, within 30 seconds at only 250 watts. The reason has to do with its composition. The lunar regolith, or soil, is produced when micrometeorites plow into lunar rocks and sand at tens of kilometers per second, melting it into glass. The glass contains nanometer-scale beads of pure iron - so called "nanophase" iron. It is those tiny iron beads that so efficiently concentrate microwave energy that they "sinter" or fuse the loose soils into large clumps. "Picture a buggy pulled behind a rover that is outfitted with a set of magnetrons," that is, the same gizmo at the guts of a microwave oven. "With the right power and microwave frequency, an astronaut could drive along, sintering the soil as he goes, making continuous brick down half a meter deep--and then change the power settings to melt the top inch or two to make a glass road," he suggested. But the idea has promise: Sintered rocket landing pads, roads, bricks for habitats, radiation shielding--useful products and dust abatement, all at once.

11/11/05 - 15 hour Methanol Fuel Cell to power Laptops
Reported in South Korea’s JoongAng Daily, the company said the fuel cell has an energy density of 200 Watts/h per liter. The cells are powered by about 200 cubic centimetres of liquid methanol. In total, the fuel cell can supply power for about 15 hours, the paper said. "The new technology draws hydrogen from liquid methanol, giving the new battery a maximum output of 50 Watts with an average output of 20 Watts," said Yoon Seok-yeol of Samsung SDI's central research center, according to the paper. The cell measures 23 cm wide, 8.2 cm in length and 5.3 cm deep, and weighs under 1kg according to Samsung, making it slimmer and more compact than its rivals.

11/11/05 - Aluminum Foil Hats Will Not Stop "Them"
Among a fringe community of paranoids, aluminum helmets serve as the protective measure of choice against invasive radio signals. We investigate the efficacy of three aluminum helmet designs on a sample group of four individuals. Using a $250,000 network analyser, we find that although on average all helmets attenuate invasive radio frequencies in either directions (either emanating from an outside source, or emanating from the cranium of the subject), certain frequencies are in fact greatly amplified. These amplified frequencies coincide with radio bands reserved for government use according to the Federal Communication Commission (FCC). Statistical evidence suggests the use of helmets may in fact enhance the government's invasive abilities. We theorize that the government may in fact have started the helmet craze for this reason.

11/11/05 - Ultrasound to cut off bloodflow to cancer
(I wonder if you could vibrate the tumor or cancerous organ to cutoff blood flow in surrounding tissues, thus starving it. - JWD) Researchers used ultrasound on animal models for the first time, and preliminary results show that the new treatment may disrupt the vessels supplying blood and nutrition to tumours. They used ultrasound both to see a tumour’s blood perfusion and then to treat it with a continuous wave of low-level ultrasound. After three minutes of treatment at an intensity similar to what is used in physiotherapy ultrasound, researchers observed that the tumours had little or no blood supply. "We used an ultrasound intensity higher than that used for imaging, but much lower than the high intensities used to ablate tissue. And we saw that this new use had a profound effect on shutting down the blood flow to the tumour and reducing the growth of the tumour in mice," said lead researcher Chandra Sehgal. Andrew Wood, co-investigator of the study, said, "We wanted to study this use of ultrasound because we observed that some of these newly formed vessels created by tumours are very weak in nature, and if you turn on low-intensity ultrasound vibrations you can disrupt the blood flow through these vessels."

11/11/05 - Robotic Assembly of Fuel Cells Could Hasten Hydrogen Economy
Echoes of a “hydrogen economy” are reverberating across the country, but a number of roadblocks stand in the way. One of the biggest, experts say, is the high cost of manufacturing fuel cells. A new research project at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute aims to tackle the challenge of mass production by using robots to assemble fuel cell stacks. “The U.S. Department of Energy has suggested that the cost of manufacturing fuel cells is the single biggest obstacle on the road to the hydrogen economy,” says Raymond Puffer, co-director of the FMC. “We are addressing a component that represents a major portion of the total systems cost: the stack assembly in a proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cell.” In a PEM fuel cell, hydrogen is split into protons and electrons on one side of a thin polymer membrane. The membrane allows protons to pass through, but electrons are forced to go around, creating a flow of electrical current. On the other side of the membrane, the electrons recombine with the protons and with oxygen from the air, creating water and heat as the only byproducts. To produce enough energy for most applications, multiple fuel cells are combined in a fuel cell stack. “It is currently common to take as long as a full day to assemble and leak-test a single stack,” says Stephen Derby, FMC’s other co-director. “To be commercially viable, stack assembly must be accomplished in minutes, not hours.”

11/11/05 - Leftovers for Electricity
Scrape your dinner plate into an airtight container of bacteria and what do you get? In the wrong hands, a stinky mess. But with some engineering finesse, food scraps can be transformed into fuel for electricity. What SMUD is looking to do with Sacramento's leftovers is a variation on composting. In composting, bacteria - and sometimes other bugs and worms - are harnessed in the presence of oxygen to turn organic material into soil. The Leftovers project involves anaerobic digestion, which harnesses the power of bacteria that thrive in oxygen-less environments to convert organic material into useful gases. The topic could easily degrade into a crude junior high school joke, but the folks involved are careful not to let it. For example, asked whether foods with reputations for making gas in the human gut, such as beans and broccoli, are especially good for making methane, Zhang kept a straight face and answered with a simple no. "The digestion process is different," she said. "In our system, we don't have methane bacteria." In anaerobic digesters, some foods do, however, yield more methane than others. "Meat will produce more than potatoes," Zhang said. In general, Zhang said, one ton of typical restaurant food waste can produce 3,500 cubic feet of biogas that could fuel an engine generator long enough to produce 310 kilowatt hours of electricity. She said that's enough to power 18 homes for a day.

11/11/05 - Serbian Electro-Contraception
Men in Serbia are lining up to have electric shocks delivered to their testicles as part of a new contraceptive treatment. Serbian fertility expert Dr Sava Bojovic, who runs one of the clinics offering the service, said the small electric shock makes men temporarily infertile by stunning their sperm into a state of immobility. He said: "We attach electrodes to either side of the testicles and send low electricity currents flowing through them. "This stuns the sperm, effectively putting them to sleep for up to 10 days, which means couples can have sex without fear of getting pregnant. "The method does not kill the sperm permanently and it does not affect the patient's health."

11/11/05 - Bio-paper and Meat Jet Printer to 'grow' organs/tissues
An emerging branch of medicine called "organ printing" takes a patient's own healthy cells and uses a printer, cell-based "bio-ink" and "bio-paper" to create tissue to repair a damaged organ. "Think of taking a blood vessel - a cylindrical object - and trying to reconstruct it in 3D with two-dimensional slices," said U. Presidential Professor of Medicinal Chemistry Glenn D. Prestwich, who created the hydrogel. He likens the resulting slices to a "non-nutritious doughnut" with muscle cells on the outside and endothelial cells inside. To make the cylinder, those flat doughnut sections are literally printed, one thin layer of cells and hydrogel at a time, the platform moving away from the printer's "bio-ink"-delivering needles as the cylinder grows. The cells in the gel are alive and will begin to move from one side to the other, one "doughnut" to the other, fusing and interweaving to form a complete, living cylinder. The advantage of his hydrogel over others, Prestwich said, is the cells will stick to them well. They don't with others, which are typically made of synthetic polymers. The NSF study will try first to print blood vessels and cardiovascular networks. Once they prove it can be done, the scientists will look at more complex organs such as livers and kidneys and simpler but more mechanical organs like the esophagus, Prestwich said. The cells and liquid hydrogel are put in the printer cartridge and then dropped into three-dimensional, 1-microliter dots that form layers as the hydrogel hardens. The cells form tissue that can be implanted into a damaged organ. Sentient Meat

11/11/05 - Farming That Improves the Environment
Researchers say partially burning some of the corn stalks, husks and cobs left in corn fields produces products that can be used to improve soil fertility, boost in-soil storage of greenhouse gases and reduce the amount of natural gas used to produce fertilizer. Partially burning some of the residue left in corn fields produces products that can be used to improve soil fertility, boost in-soil storage of greenhouse gases and reduce the amount of natural gas used to produce anhydrous ammonia fertilizer. Corn stover will be harvested from fields and partially burned to create charcoal and a bio-oil about as thick as motor oil. The bio-oil will be reacted with steam to produce hydrogen. That hydrogen will replace the natural gas typically burned to make anhydrous ammonia fertilizer. The fertilizer and charcoal will be incorporated into the soil. Brown said there should be three significant results: Farmers producing their own renewable energy to manufacture fertilizer for their fields. Farming that improves soils because the added charcoal supports soil organisms. And the charcoal sequestering carbon in the soil, thus reducing the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Brown estimates a 640-acre farm could sequester the equivalent of 1,800 tons of carbon dioxide in the soil. That’s the annual emissions created by about 340 cars. He said the practice of improving soil by adding charcoal has been traced back to the Amazon basin in the days before Christopher Columbus. People there created dark and productive soils (know as “terra preta,” or “dark earth” soils) by adding charcoal mixed with manure. Those soils are still more productive than surrounding soils that weren’t treated with charcoal. “It looks pretty slick, taking these corn stalks and turning them into bio-oil and charcoal,” he said. “If everything works the way we think it will, this looks like a good deal.”

11/11/05 - Track Any Flight Live
A "beta" service called FlightAware TRACKS all current commercial flights in the United States. Just type in info on the flight, and the site will SHOW YOU where it is, plus list all relevant details (speed, altitude, estimated arrival time, etc.)

11/10/05 - Chilled beams to cool buildings
Chilled beams are energy efficient systems that combine radiant cooling and ventilation. They are reportedly cost-effective to install, and they reduce energy usage in a building, while improving comfort levels. These systems are seen throughout Europe but are not widely known the U.S. They are mostly installed in commercial buildings, where the low investment costs and high cooling capacity is a very attractive combination.

11/10/05 - Patent granted for Antigravity Device
(This is a well researched patent but shows the problem with the patent office not requiring WORKING MODELS...the guy lives in an apartment and hasn't built SQUAT! - JWD) The United States Patent and Trademark Office has given the nod to a patent design for an antigravity device, or a space vehicle, according to a report this week in Nature magazine. That the office approved the patent application breaks its own resolution to reject inventions that defy the laws of physics, according to the report. Still, the patent, which was granted on Nov. 1 to Boris Volfson of Huntington, Indiana, describes a vehicle propelled by a superconducting shield. The shield can change the curvature of space-time outside the craft in a way that counteracts gravity. Space vehicle propelled by the pressure of inflationary vacuum state - United States Patent 6,960,975 - Volfson - November 1, 2005 - A space vehicle propelled by the pressure of inflationary vacuum state is provided comprising a hollow superconductive shield, an inner shield, a power source, a support structure, upper and lower means for generating an electromagnetic field, and a flux modulation controller. A cooled hollow superconductive shield is energized by an electromagnetic field resulting in the quantized vortices of lattice ions projecting a gravitomagnetic field that forms a spacetime curvature anomaly outside the space vehicle. The spacetime curvature imbalance, the spacetime curvature being the same as gravity, provides for the space vehicle's propulsion. The space vehicle, surrounded by the spacetime anomaly, may move at a speed approaching the light-speed characteristic for the modified locale.

11/10/05 - High cost of Low Prices
WAL-MART: The High Cost of Low Price, a new documentary by Robert Greenwald, shows a series of shots of abandoned Main Streets, empty store after empty store, with Bruce Springsteen's plaintive version of "This Land Is Your Land" as accompaniment. But vanquishing thousands of small businesses coast to coast is not Wal-Mart's only crime, its critics say. They also cite the company's treatment of its employees, whose average annual income is under $14,000. The company offers health insurance, but it is so expensive, employees say, that most people can't afford it. According to the documentary, company representatives openly recommend that workers sign up for government-aid programs instead. Wal-Mart's record on sex and race discrimination is also addressed.

11/10/05 - Eat, Sleep, Work, Consume, Die, is there more to Life?
My expectations have been raised to this ridiculous level by technology running amok through my heretofore-bucolic existence. I used to be a laid-back guy. Now I'm impatient. I chafe. I get irritable when my gratification isn't instantaneous. And it isn't just me. The whole world is bitchier these days. I'm old enough to remember when waiting a few days for a letter to arrive was standard operating procedure, even in the bare-knuckles business world. I recall a time without answering machines, when you just had to keep calling back on your rotary phone until someone picked up. (Which had the unintended benefit of allowing you to reconsider whether the original call was even worth making in the first place.) The world moved at a more leisurely pace and, humanistically speaking, we were all the better for it. Just because technology makes it possible for us to work 10 times faster than we used to doesn't mean we should do it. The body may be able to withstand the strain -- for a while -- but the spirit isn't meant to flail away uselessly on the commercial gerbil wheel. Technology has trapped you, made you a slave to things you don't even need but suddenly can't live without. So you rot in a cubicle trying to get the money to get the stuff, when you should be out walking in a meadow or wooing a lover or writing a song. Look around. Our collective humanity is dying a little more every day. Technology is killing life on the street -- the public commons, if you please.

11/10/05 - Where do Trolls come from?
Troll - To utter a posting on Usenet designed to attract predictable responses or flames; or, the post itself. Derives from the phrase "trolling for newbies" which in turn comes from mainstream "trolling", a style of fishing in which one trails bait through a likely spot hoping for a bite. Causes - fear of not fitting in is avoided by changing the operation completely and trying their hardest not to fit in, by producing material incompatable with the community - trolls are the online equivalent of people who do not (or cannot) distinguish between positive attention (praise, approval) and negative attention (criticism, disapproval), but simply perceive attention = good - Trolls answer "I say the things I say because you all need to lighten up." Or "I'm just telling it like it is and you all are persecuting me." Pissing in the conversational well has always struck me as such a cheap and easy way of getting attention -- it's really interesting to read more in-depth views on the subject. Trolls think getting a rise out of people is priceless. There is a distinct exhilirating rush knowing that you've really twisted the knife, gotten the goat. There is probably some amount of sadism to this. Hurting other people for fun.

11/10/05 - Mills Hydrinos 'breakthrough' going on since 1991
Randell Mills got The Guardian to chat up his imminent, world-changing breakthrough in energy. If they had spent ten seconds to Google him first, they'd have saved themselves an embarassing retraction. Suckers. The Guardian article breathlessly describes Mills' 'breakthrough': "a new source of near-limitless power that costs virtually nothing, uses tiny amounts of water as its fuel and produces next to no waste". It goes on to say that "his company, Blacklight Power, has tens of millions of dollars in investment lined up to bring the idea to market. And he claims to be just months away from unveiling his creation." Mills made the same claims in 1991: "when he claimed to unleash energy by "shrinking" the hydrogen atom's electron orbit to form what he calls a "hydrino." The Village Voice was somewhat credulous, quoting him in 2000: ""I'll have demonstrated an entirely new form of energy production by the end of 1999," Mills responds." (Note the discrepancy in dates - and that The Voice did not ask him why he missed his self-imposed deadline.) Why is he perpetrating this hoax? Investment money. Mills has gathered $25 million dollars from investors for his startup, BlackLight Power Inc.. Having destroyed his credibility at home, Mills had to cross the ocean to find his present media victim. We don't know how long their story will remain up - they almost certainly will remove it.

11/10/05 - Synthetic Gills for Soldiers
The Army recently handed Case Western Reserve University and Waltham, MA’s Infoscitex Corp. a joint contract to start investigating a “Microfabricated Biomimetic Artificial Gill System… based on the subdividing regions of clef, filament, and lamellae found in natural fish gills.” In the first phase of the program, “gas exchange units will be designed and demonstrated for rapid, efficient extract of oxygen from surrounding water.” “An advanced breathing apparatus that mimics the efficiency, simplicity, and durability of the gill-swim bladder found in fish could greatly improve human maneuverability and sustainability in both aquatic and high altitude settings,” the contract announcement reminds us.

11/10/05 - Overly Complex patent licensing causing problems in science
SIPPA and AAAS recently conducted a survey on the effects of patenting on science. From the report: Of the 40% of respondents who reported their work had been affected [by patents], 58% said their work was delayed, 50% reported they had to change the research, and 28% reported abandoning their research project. The most common reason respondents reported having to change or abandon their research project was that the acquisition of the necessary technologies involved overly complex licensing negotiations.

11/10/05 - Tibetan and Indian monks still master the art of levitation
(I am fascinated with stories like this. - JWD) Legends say that ancient levitators were able to rise above the ground up to 90 cm. There is a chapter in the Vedas on levitation, a sort of guidelines on how to reach a state required for taking off the ground. Unfortunately, the meaning of many ancient Indic words and concepts has been irretrievably lost over the last few centuries and therefore the invaluable instructions can not be translated into modern languages. The art of levitation still exists both in India and Tibet. Many scholars engaged in oriental studies also mention the phenomenon of "flying lamas." Alexandra David-Neel, a British explorer, one day witnessed the flight of a Buddhist monk. The monk flew a few dozen meters over the alpine plateau Cnang Tang. He was bouncing off the ground like a tennis ball to rise in the air again and again. He kept his eyes on some guiding star hanging somewhere in the distance, the monk was the only person who could see the star in broad daylight. Europeans have long been aware of levitation too. There was one big difference between Eastern and Western medieval levitators. Unlike the Brahmans, yogis and lams, the monks in Europe never took any special training for levitational purposes. They would normally rise in the air after reaching a state of ultimate religious ecstasy. Daniel Douglas Home was the most famous levitator of the 19th century. Home learned to levitate of his own free will later on. He showed his outstanding ability to thousands of spectators including such celebrities as William Makepeace Thackeray and Mark Twain, Napoleon III, other politicians, doctors and scientists of note. Home has never been accused of hoaxing an audience.

11/10/05 - University fuel cell extracts hydrogen from air
The prospect of running small devices on electricity generated from a simple fuel cell running on atmospheric hydrogen and oxygen has been raised by research at the University of Oxford. Professor Fraser Armstrong used an enzyme rather than an expensive platinum catalyst to promote the oxidation of hydrogen, and his ‘biofuel’ cell generated electricity with no membrane - conventionally used to separate the reactants in the cell. It also worked in the presence of carbon monoxide, which poisons most catalysts. “For small applications, maybe even nano[scale], our fuel cell will produce electricity from just traces of hydrogen in air,” said Armstrong. “That’s really novel because you can’t do that with any conventional fuel cell, you need a membrane.”

11/09/05 - Energy crisis answer is blowing in the wind
Inventor Alfred Learmonth reckons he has solved the world energy crisis with a generator made of cardboard. The prototype is a row of cardboard cups attached to metal rods that harness the power of wind or waves. The beauty of the invention is that it will continue to generate power even if the wind changes direction. Retired engineer Alfred, 80, from Macduff, Banffshire, came up with the concept two years ago. But it was his grandson Damien, 12, who insisted he put the idea into action. Now Alfred has patented the energy generator and is looking for a backer to develop it commercially. (I managed to locate his patent, captured the image and cleaned it up a bit for clarity. As you can see, it is a series of stacked Savonius Rotors which are indeed highly efficient and very easy to construct from any cylinder. - JWD) W.W. Generator - Patent number: WO2005098233 - Publication date: 2005-10-20 - Inventor: LEARMONTH ALFRED (GB) - A wind or water driven generator built as a double helex around a vertical drive shaft that traps and maximizes any current it is exposed to. This device can be built to any size or width as a single unit or clustered within a framework which makes it suitable for land or offshore installation.

11/09/05 - Thai Student invents hydrogen from air separator for cars
(This is the only information I could find about this kids invention on the net. Definitely worth tracking down!!! JWD) More innovative designs won prizes in the upper primary school category. First prize went to a physicist-aspirant Witawin Jongjatuporn, 12, of Triam Udom Suksa Pattanakarn School, whose brainchild is a car which runs on air. The propeller in the rear sucks in air and separates the hydrogen to fill up the tank, heralding an age of ''perennially renewable energy.''

11/09/05 - Device claims it can save 15% up to 50% on fuel usage
Inventionhaus International Corp. (IIC) assistant vice president for the Visayas and Mindanao Jerry Eusebio said Pablo Planas invented a gasoline-saving device he called, khaos, which lessens a vehicle’s fuel consumption by as much as 50 percent. Khaos, Greek word meaning goddess of air, is a small device that is attached to the vehicle’s engine. It corrects the mixture of air and fuel into 15 parts of air to one part of gas, thereby saving gasoline consumption by a maximum of 50 percent and a minimum of 15 percent. Without the device, the ratio of air to fuel of most vehicles is 1:1, Eusebio said. But while it is popular in other countries such as China, Taiwan, Australia and the United States, only 70,000 units or 30 percent of IIC’s total production of khaos has been sold in the country. Taiwan has been buying khaos in bulk because they require all registered vehicles in their country to make use of the device to save fuel. Authorized Dealers only in Phillipines and you can contact them at their International Email

11/09/05 - Invention that uses sand to clean engine parts
(Of course, in the states, we call this very old process 'sandblasting'....-JWD) While most people mope and whine about the hike in fuel prices, lecturer Fauzi Zakaria, 37, was inspired to innovate an engine component cleaner which uses sand instead of diesel. “Conventionally, when an automotive engine is sent for an overhaul, the parts are scrubbed with sandpaper and then soaked in diesel or kerosene. “But petroleum-based products are becoming increasingly expensive, so I decided to experiment with sand as it is free and can be found in abundance,” said Fauzi. His contraption pumps sand at high pressure into the engine parts, thus removing every bit of carbon residue on the cylinder head. “And there are no scratches - when the sand hits the carbon residue, they break into pieces and become dust.” “My device can clean better and faster than the conventional one - we’ll market it once the patent is ready,” he said, adding that he planned to sell them at about RM1,800 ($476.52 USD) each.

11/09/05 - Using Holographic Optical Traps to move and organize Nanowires
(If you have monitored this research, you know one method uses 'optical pincers' to seize the material, this one appears to nudge it into position, fascinating! - JWD) During the past few years scientists have gotten good at using holograms to move and manipulate microscopic objects. The methods, however, are usually limited to spherical objects, which include cells and microbes. Researchers from Harvard University and New York University have found a way to use holographic optical traps to move and manipulate long, thin semiconductor nanowires. Holographic optical traps are computer controlled holograms focused through a microscope onto objects floating in liquid. The method can be used to move, rotate, cut and fuse semiconductor nanowires. The researchers demonstrated the technique by constructing a rhombus from cadmium sulfide nanowires.

11/09/05 - IEA Warns Demand for energy not sustainable
New figures, published by the International Energy Agency (IEA) today (Monday 7th November), show that global emissions of carbon dioxide look set to rise by 52 per cent by 2030 because of growing energy demand [1]. Friends of the Earth said the figures showed the urgent need for international action to tackle climate change by switching to low carbon energy supplies. In its World Energy Outlook 2005, the International Energy Agency says that carbon dioxide emissions will be 52 per cent higher than today by 2030. The IEA's Deputy Executive Director William C. Ramsay warned that the predicted trends lead to a future "that is not sustainable" and called for action to "get the planet onto a sustainable energy path." "The predicted growth in carbon emissions shows the urgent need for countries to switch to clean sustainable energy supplies. Rich developed countries must lead the way by taking action at home, but also by helping to finance low carbon technologies in the developing world. Countries like China will clearly continue to develop rapidly, but we do not have to compromise development in cutting emissions."

11/09/05 - Atmospheric Vortex Engine to generate power
The atmospheric vortex engine, an invention by Canadian petroleum engineer Louis Michaud, could also be used to capture waste heat from power plants and convert it into useable megawatts. "Two hundred megawatts would supply the electricity needs of a city of 100,000 people with 25,000 homes," says Michaud, whose theories were tested earlier this year in Utah at an experimental tower owned and operated by colleague and computer engineer Tom Fletcher. The vortex engine is based on atmospheric convection, what happens when the Sun heats the ground and hot, moist air rises and expands. Michaud realised if he could tap into the strong updraft created under these conditions, he could potentially generate emission-free electricity. The vortex engine prototype in Utah is a round tower that stands 15 metres tall and 30 metres in diameter. Fuel spread in a circle on the floor of the tower is burned to generate heat. A series of air inlets around the tower's perimeter feed hot, humid air into the interior at an angle that promotes the whirling motion of a tornado. In initial tests, Michaud and Fletcher produced vortices more than a metre across. A full-sized atmospheric vortex engine would be a lot bigger, about 100 metres high with a diameter of 400 metres. Its artificial tornadoes would measure 50 metres at the base and extend through the roofless tower to 20 kilometres. This experimental vortex tower is 15 metres tall and early tests have produced vortices more than a metre across The vortex can be controlled by increasing or decreasing the hot air coming in through the inlets around the base.

11/09/05 - CIA budget 44 BILLION per year
In what appears to be a slip, a top U.S. intelligence official has revealed at a public conference what has long been secret: the amount of money the nation spends on its spy agencies. At an intelligence conference in San Antonio last week, Mary Margaret Graham, a 27-year veteran of the CIA and now the deputy director of national intelligence for collection, said the annual intelligence budget was $44 billion. The figure itself comes as no great shock; most news reports in the last couple of years have estimated the budget at $40 billion. But the fact that Graham would say it in public is a surprise because the government has repeatedly gone to court to keep the current intelligence budget and even past budgets as far back as the 1940s from being disclosed. Johnson said the real reason for secrecy might have less to do with protecting intelligence sources and methods than with protecting the bureaucracy. "Maybe there's a fear that if the American people knew what was being spent on intelligence, they'd be even more upset at intelligence failures," Johnson said.

11/09/05 - Fanatical beliefs/delusions - an example of their impact on one family
Two parents were acquitted Monday of aggravated manslaughter in the death of their 6-month-old daughter, whom prosecutors argued was malnourished because she was fed a strict raw foods diet. However, Joseph and Lamoy Andressohn were found guilty of four counts of child neglect for each of their other children, who were also on the diet. They face anywhere from probation to 20 years in prison at sentencing set for Dec. 15. The jury deliberated two hours. Woyah Andressohn weighed about 7 pounds, half the normal weight for her age, when she died in May 2003. Prosecutors said the unorthodox diet of wheat grass, coconut water and almond milk caused the girl to starve to death. The Andressohns ate and fed their children only natural, uncooked foods. "This is a person who didn't grow and thrive because she was not fed the proper nutrients," Walker said in closing arguments. He added that the Andressohns' religious beliefs didn't permit "medical treatment or services for their children."

11/09/05 - New coal technology could help climate
Raising efficiency at coal-fired power plants to state-of-the-art levels could help the world meet climate protection targets, German coal-based generator Steag said on Tuesday. "Using available and economically possible technology, all existing coal blocks could reach reductions of carbon dioxide (CO2) by 30 percent," said board chairman Alfred Tacke of Steag, part of the RAG group, in a speech for the Hard Coal Day 2005 in Essen. The average efficiency rate of coal plants which supply just over 20 percent of the world's power and heating requirements is 31 percent while latest projects can reach 45 percent, Tacke said. Coal generation plants were more expensive to build than gas-fired stations but gas was far more expensive and less freely available, Tacke said.Global coal production in 2004 rose 7 percent over 2003 to 4.6 billion tonnes and trade expanded by 13 percent to 755 million, he said. Steag plans to build a 750 megawatt (MW) coal plant at Duisburg-Walsum by 2010 and said in the summer it was also considering building another 750 MW block at Herne to come on stream in 2012.

11/09/05 - Could French-style riots happen in the USA?
While Many Americans are watching the chaos unfold following 12 nights of mayhem by largely Muslim immigrants in the streets of France, a leader of the separatist Aztlan movement in the U.S. says it's only a matter of time before worse unrest hits the streets of America. "Today, here in Los Angeles, we are already seeing ominous signs of an impending social explosion that will make the French rebellion by Muslim and immigrant youths seem 'tame' by comparison," he writes. "All the ingredients are present including a hostile and racist police as in France. In fact, we came close to having major riots on three separate occasions just this year alone." Aztlan activists, who see themselves as "America's Palestinians," want to carve out of most of the southwestern United States an independent, Spanish-speaking nation known as the Republica del Norte. A few days ago, thousands of students, predominantly of Mexican descent, simply walked out of their schools to protest overcrowding, lack of texts, lack of desks and unqualified teachers. There is a strange feeling here in Los Angeles that something sinister is about to happen, but no one knows when. All it will take is for a 'bird-brain cop' to do something stupid and all hell will break loose.

11/09/05 - Methane gas - energy for business
Since December 2004 Granger Energy of Honey Brook LLC has been providing processed methane gas to Dart Container in Leola. Several other businesses are considering use of the methane gas. The projects estimated cost is about $12 million. The company hopes to break even in six years. Previously, the gas had been burned off by flares at the landfill. The gas is pumped from 250 wells and has a temperature of about 38 degrees. The gas is about 50 percent methane and about 50 percent carbon dioxide with some additional impurities. Robert Shoenberger, chairman of the Chester County Solid Waste Authority, said the cost of the methane gas is less than natural gas, but the price fluctuates like natural gas. About 4,000 standard cubic feet per minute of an alternative energy is produced at the landfill. Enough gas is processed on an annual basis to save approximately 1.11 million barrels of oil, offset the use of 2,400 rail cars of coal, plant 141,100 acres of forest, remove the emissions of 104,400 cares or heat 32,400 homes. Kathleen McGinty, Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, presented a grant of $235,000 from the state to help pay for the $500,000 Caterpillar engine generator, which will use landfill gas to generate energy to continue pumping gas along the system even if there is a local power failure.

11/09/05 - Check to see if your IP Address is a Zombie
(It will check the IP you are calling from, if you have another IP address you want to check, go into DOS and type the name of your site preceded by ping as in ping then write down that number and close the DOS screen. - JWD) There are several reasons why your IP address might appear as an attacker in the DShield database. The most worrisome is if your computer has been compromised and you are unknowingly running a Trojan program which is accessing other machines, possibly in preparation for conducting a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack. Even with all the firewall, antivirus, and antispyware programs available, sometimes a trojan can sneak by. Check out if your IP address has been listed as an attacker at DShield.

11/09/05 - Seceding seldom succeeds, but Vermonters try
It was a convention for Ver- monters, held in the plush, gold-domed capitol. And its keynote - that separating from the United States is a just remedy for the federal government's trampling of state sovereignty - is echoing beyond the snow-capped Green Mountains. From Hawaii to South Carolina, dozens of groups across America are promoting a similar cause. Their efforts aren't politically popular - yet. But they are reviving one of the most passionate debates in US history: Can a state legally secede? "If we had a right to join the Union, we certainly have a right to disband from it," SVR founder Thomas Naylor told the assembly. In his view, Vermonters should join the cause if they: • Say the US has lost moral authority and is unsustainable, ungovernable, and unfixable. • Want to help take back Vermont from big business, big markets, and big government - and do so peacefully. Some insist that the federal government long ago overstepped its constitutional powers, leaving secession as a valid recourse. "The public corporation known as the United States is too large," he says. "It needs to be downsized like any other corporation." Today, most experts say states have no legal right to secede. "To exercise the right of secession requires a violation of national law," says Herman Belz, a professor of history at the University of Maryland.

11/09/05 - Mycoplasmas as cause of many diseases
Professor Garth Nicolson is a leading authority on Mycoplasmas. This is the same BUG that infected Lt. Col. Tom Bearden (considered the father of 'Scalar Electromagnetics'). Professor Nicolson's new book is called Project Day Lily. He heads the Institute for Molecular Medicine, a nonprofit organization dedicated to discovering new diagnostic and therapeutic solutions for chronic diseases. IMM helps Gulf War veterans and other people suffering from the stealth bug mycoplasma. Over the last two years the Institute for Molecular Medicine has tried to work with the DoD to overcome differences in our reports, now confirmed by at least three other laboratories, that ~40% of Gulf War Illness patients are infected with a pathogenic microorganism, Mycoplasma fermentans (Gulf War Illness). The DoD contends that 0% of Gulf War Illness patients are infected with this microorganism, prompting a study on the techniques used for detection of mycoplasmal infections utilizing a DoD laboratory and two independent laboratories. GWI spreads far more easily than AIDS, by sex, by casual contact, through perspiration, or by being close to someone who coughs. Your children can be infected at a playground or school. Mycoplasmas proliferating AIDS and US Army Mycoplasma Fermentans and this superbly detailed and comprehensive tutorial on Mycoplasmas and an apparent Chemtrail connection to Mycoplasma distribution and Mycoplasma fermentans as result of Germ Warfare experiments

11/08/05 - Win a Suborbital Rocketplane trip into space
You could put down $20 million or so to buy a ride to the international space station. You could put aside $200,000 or so for a couple of years and wait for the first suborbital spacecraft to take you to the edge of space. Or you could plunk down a few dollars and play your way onto that suborbital spaceship. Sometime in the next month or two, Texas-based SpaceShot as well as the British-based Virgin Group are both planning to unveil online skill games that offer a ride into space as the grand prize. Online skill games pit players against each other in a challenge that involves something more than mere chance - in contrast with Internet gambling, which is illegal in the United States. SpaceShot's founder, economist/entrepreneur Sam Dinkin, told that he started up his company out of frustration over the high cost of citizen spaceflight. "I'm really mad that there's no spaceflight for anyone to walk up and buy an entry," he said. "The only way most people get to drive Ferraris or go on round-the-world vacations is to buy a lottery or enter a sweepstakes. Or the new way, which is legal in almost all the states, is to play a skill game." A single entry would cost less than $5, and there would be multiple tournaments resulting in space-ride prizes, Dinkin said. "I will sell as many Rocketplane flights as people are willing to buy entries for," he said. "You need enough losers to pay for the flights of the winners," he explained. "If the tickets are less than $5, and the price of a suborbital flight is about $200,000, and you need to pay an extra $100,000 in taxes, then you need at least 60,000 losers for every winner."

11/08/05 - Cinema police state - why people avoid movie theaters

Film previews in Hollywood have long been a police-state affair: turn up at the movies, get frisked, have your valuable phone (which in turn contains your very, very valuable identity) confiscated and entrusted to a teenager earning minimum wage, and then be overtly surveilled through the course of the film. The thing is, these measures are becoming more common in regular screenings, too. A ticket-taker at Toronto's Paramount cinema tried to confiscate my still camera last year when he saw me taking pics of my friends in the lobby with it. Sorry, no. You can't have my $500 camera to keep until your $5 matinee is over. In a year or two, when studio revenue is circling the drain, will these execs look to their own greed, thuggishness or contempt for their customers when trying to explain their imminent demise? Be assured that they will not. No, these regulation-loving crybabies will spend the rest of their days whining about "piracy" and never once will any of them dare to think that people stopped going to the cinema because they resented being searched at the door. via

11/08/05 - Nanodevices Can 'Hear' Cancer
Two engineering professors at the University of California, Riverside are developing devices 100,000 times thinner than a human hair, that can listen to cancerous cells, deliver chemotherapy to them and leave surrounding healthy tissue intact. Mihri Ozkan said that the standard practice of injecting dyes into cells to find those affected by a certain disease has unintended, often unwanted, effects. “The stains (dyes) now in use are often toxic and affect how cells react and transmit chemicals,” she added. “The result is that sometimes study results are affected by these issues so that you don’t really know if the cell dies from the cancer or from the dye.” Cengiz Ozkan says focusing on the electrical signals cells emit is far more benign process and one that holds a great deal of promise, when coupled with nanofabrication (building things at the molecular scale) techniques. “You effectively listen to the cells. The ones with cancer emit a different signal than healthy ones,”he said. “Imagine having the ability to find the very first cancer cell in your body and killing it with targeted therapies” said Cengiz Ozkan. “We have a lot of capabilities in our nano-toolbox. It’s time to apply them to cancer therapy.”

11/08/05 - Multi-purpose WEZA Charger
The FreeCharge is a portable power supply putting out 12V DC through a standard "cigarette lighter" style plug. It puts out enough power to jump-start a car or boat, but can also recharge most portable devices. But what's so cool about it is the way that you charge it, you step on it. More precisely, you use the "step treadle," meaning that you step up and down on it for a short while to bring the battery back up to full. If that doesn't sound fun, the Weza is designed to be charged with solar panels and small wind turbines (Freeplay recommends a 30 watt rating). You can even recharge it from a wall outlet, but that's cheating. Downsides: no direct AC output, so you'll need an inverter of some kind to use typical electric/electronic devices with it; it's not cheap -- few of Freeplay's distributors carry the Weza, and the one that does (C. Crane) lists it for just under US$300; it's also not going to be in stock until March of 2006. (via

11/08/05 - 10 Worst Software bugs ever
A club began in 1947 when engineers found a moth in Panel F, Relay #70 of the Harvard Mark 1 system. The computer was running a test of its multiplier and adder when the engineers noticed something was wrong. The moth was trapped, removed and taped into the computer's logbook with the words: "first actual case of a bug being found." Sixty years later, computer bugs are still with us, and show no sign of going extinct. As the line between software and hardware blurs, coding errors are increasingly playing tricks on our daily lives. Bugs don't just inhabit our operating systems and applications -- today they lurk within our cell phones and our pacemakers, our power plants and medical equipment. And now, in our cars. It's all too easy to come up with a list of bugs that have wreaked havoc. It's harder to rate their severity. Which is worse -- a security vulnerability that's exploited by a computer worm to shut down the internet for a few days or a typo that triggers a day-long crash of the nation's phone system? The answer depends on whether you want to make a phone call or check your e-mail. Many people believe the worst bugs are those that cause fatalities. To be sure, there haven't been many, but cases like the Therac-25 are widely seen as warnings against the widespread deployment of software in safety critical applications.

11/07/05 - Mixing up energy solutions
Air Force Academy professor John Wilkes has a cure for what’s become a major headache for those seeking a source of alternative energy. Take a smidgen of lithium aluminum hydride, add anhydrous ammonia, filter with charcoal, and call him in the morning. It’s a concoction he came up with 10 years ago in response to a query from a top-secret government agency, and he’s still perfecting it for military and civilian use. Together, the chemicals release pure hydrogen gas, which can be converted to electricity by a fuel cell. Eventually it could help meet the world’s power needs. And because the chemicals used in Wilkes’ device contain a lot of hydrogen, it’s an easy, light and relatively inexpensive way to carry around the explosive gas. “Hydrogen by far is the most energetic fuel there is,” said Wilkes, who has taught chemistry at the academy since the 1970s. “The problem is how you transport it.” Wilkes and a team of scientists came up with a device the size of a flashlight. It creates enough hydrogen so that, when linked to a fuel cell, it can keep a laptop computer running for weeks at a time. Now, hydrogen fuel is either compressed under extreme pressure - 10,000 pounds per square inch - or it’s frozen into a liquid. Compressed hydrogen is at such a mind-boggling pressure that it requires an extremely heavy tank to hold it. If the tank ever burst, the consequences would be tragic, Wilkes said. Keeping liquid hydrogen cold is troublesome, he said, with 80 percent of the chemical boiling off into the atmosphere before it can be used. Wilkes’ method of using hydrogen mixed in a chemical compound provides a safe way of carrying a large amount of the light atoms. But getting the hydrogen out of the metal takes a chemical reaction. Wilkes’ solution is to separate lithium and ammonia with a valve similar to the one that keeps air in car tires. The carefully metered reaction provides hydrogen on demand, and has potential for myriad civilian uses. For now, though, the cost is prohibitive. The devices built for the military cost more than $100,000 each to develop and build.

11/07/05 - First Diesel-Hydrogen Engine
Researchers at the University of Tasmania have announced a hydrogen-injection system with potential to cut diesel consumption by 80 per cent. Engineers working on the project say it can increase power by 20 per cent and drastically reduce emissions. The innovation can be fitted to existing diesel systems for as little as $AUD3,000 dollars. The emergent hydrogen-diesel hybrid technology has attracted a visit to Tasmania by Japan's Congeneration Centre, a research establishment with a charter to find new energy sources. The amount of power output produced is significantly high, and also it drastically cuts the emissions, and very, very significantly reduces the diesel consumption, that's the innovative part of it. It actually increases the power, close to 20 per cent compared to a standard diesel engine of the same capacity, running on 100 per cent diesel. The best mix ratio was found to be 60 per cent hydrogen injection and 40 per cent diesel. What makes us the world first is a controlled injection of the percentages of hydrogen that we want precisely injected into this combustion chamber to get the results we want. We call it a Mechatronic Injection Control Unit. This is lead by Doctor Hafez in our research group, that precisely controls at what percentages and how much that we can inject at any given time. And this is an electronic unit that could be retro-fitted to any engines to make this combination possible. The idea is to build these modular tools, which we have done that could be readily fitted to any existing diesel engine without too much effort to get the desired results of reduced emissions and marginal increase in power. At the moment, the cost of producing hydrogen is about three times to petrol. We may be talking about running a few pilot programs in terms of running cars, or running generators for these remote islands and demonstrating that the scooters and internal combustion engines are all possible to run on 100 per cent hydrogen and also give public a 100 per cent assurance that it is nothing dangerous about using the hydrogen, that's the critical part and that's what we're hoping to do.

11/07/05 - How Einstein's dead wrong, relatively speaking
(This guy is EXACTLY on target. - JWD) Reg Cahill says he can prove Albert Einstein and his hundred-year-old theories of relativity are wrong. In 2002, Professor Cahill started to question what he thought were anomalies in Einstein's theory that time and space are relative. "They all agreed with one another and they were all indicating a huge speed difference in different directions," he said. "When you find out the speed of light differs, the whole Einstein theory starts collapsing." "We know now the speed of light at approximately 300,000km per second is relative to space itself. Before it was always relative to the observer." Professor Cahill said that debunking the Einstein theories would lead to new discoveries in physics and greater understanding of phenomena that could not yet be fully explained. "There are some incredible discoveries being made," he said. "We're discovering some properties about space that are awesome." "The rotation of galaxies has always been a problem -- we now understand how they work," Professor Cahill said. "The outer part of spiral galaxies go around about 10 times faster than Einstein's theory permits, so people invented dark matter to account for extra gravitational pull. "They've spent years and millions of dollars looking for it -- but it doesn't exist." Over the past 100 years, physicists have conducted experiments to test if the speed of light is constant. Professor Cahill says they obtained definitive results but ignored them because they feared they would be shouted down for questioning Einstein. "It's staggering that the concept of physics has been built on a mathematical illusion."

11/07/05 - Pirates after cruise ship repelled by Air Vortex Cannon
A LUXURY cruise ship with 22 British tourists aboard survived an attack by Somali pirates armed with rocket-propelled grenades yesterday as it rounded the Horn of Africa. The 10,000-ton Seabourn Spirit came under fire at about 5.30am. The pirates approached in 25ft speedboats and shot at the ship with the grenade launcher and machineguns. Terrified passengers watched as the pirates tried to get aboard - only to be repelled by crew members who set off what one described as a “loud bang”. The liner used a sonic blaster to foil the pirates. Developed by American forces to deter small boats from attacking warships, the non-lethal weapon sends out high-powered air vibrations that blow assailants off their feet. The equipment, about the size of a satellite dish, is rigged to the side of the ship.

11/07/05 - Methusaleh Prize Cash Tripled Overnight!
The volunteers, donors, and members of The Three Hundred became even more certain of the Mprize's eventual success when the prize to reverse the decay and debilitation of aging benefited from the addition of a ONE MILLION DOLLAR cashier's check from an anonymous donor (and - yes - the check cleared :-). This donation makes the second major anonymous donation within the last few weeks. We are running two prize competitions: a "Longevity Prize" for the oldest-ever Mus musculus (house mouse), normal lifespan 2 years, longest on record 1819 days (nearly 5 years); a "Rejuvenation Prize" for the best-ever late-onset intervention. The Longevity Prize is won whenever the world record lifespan for a mouse of the species most commonly used in scientific work, Mus musculus, is exceeded. The Rejuvenation Prize rewards successful late-onset interventions and has been instituted so as to satisfy two shortcomings of the Longevity Prize: first, that it is of limited scientific value to focus on a single mouse (a statistical outlier), and second, that the most important end goal is to promote the development of interventions to restore youthful physiology, not merely to extend life.

11/07/05 - PATRIOT Act secret-superwarrants use is up 10,000 percent
The dread PATRIOT Act created many new powers for law-enforcement, including the ability to secure the prized super-warrants called National Security Letters without judicial oversight. In the time since PATRIOT was passed, their use by the FBI has increased by 10,000 percent. Each of these warrants can be used to invade the lives of many Americans, and none of them are being issued with a judge's oversight after presentation of evidence justifying these intrusions into the lives of private individuals. These warrants are issued on a copper's say-so, without the due process that is the hallmarks of democracy. Issued by FBI field supervisors, national security letters do not need the imprimatur of a prosecutor, grand jury or judge. They receive no review after the fact by the Justice Department or Congress. The executive branch maintains only statistics, which are incomplete and confined to classified reports. The Bush administration defeated legislation and a lawsuit to require a public accounting, and has offered no example in which the use of a national security letter helped disrupt a terrorist plot. The burgeoning use of national security letters coincides with an unannounced decision to deposit all the information they yield into government data banks -- and to share those private records widely, in the federal government and beyond. Late last month, President Bush signed Executive Order 13388, expanding access to those files for "state, local and tribal" governments and for "appropriate private sector entities," which are not defined... A national security letter cannot be used to authorize eavesdropping or to read the contents of e-mail. But it does permit investigators to trace revealing paths through the private affairs of a modern digital citizen. The records it yields describe where a person makes and spends money, with whom he lives and lived before, how much he gambles, what he buys online, what he pawns and borrows, where he travels, how he invests, what he searches for and reads on the Web, and who telephones or e-mails him at home and at work.

11/07/05 - Cars powered by natural gas coming soon to more showrooms
Selling cars powered by natural gas to American drivers is no small challenge for Honda Motor Co. Natural-gas stations are few and far between, and until recently the vehicles were nearly as expensive to fuel up as their gasoline-powered counterparts. Automakers developed natural gas vehicles in hopes that their lower operating cost, cleaner burning fuel and non-reliance on foreign oil would create a market. By 2004, there were about 130,000 vehicles running on natural gas - most of them buses, government vehicles and commercial vehicles. By comparison, there were about 230 million gasoline-powered cars and trucks. The scarcity of refueling stations kept sales of natural gas vehicles down, and some automakers abandoned their U.S. production. Honda, which first sold natural gas vehicles only to fleet operators, is the only U.S. automaker that makes a natural-gas-only car for individual motorists. General Motors Corp. offers natural gas trucks but sold fewer than 1,000 last year. The Civic GX can go up to 220 miles without refueling compared with 350 miles for the conventional, gasoline-powered Civic. There are about 600 public natural-gas refueling stations in the United States. In spite of rising prices, natural gas still costs less than gasoline on a national average. According to the U.S. Department of Energy’s quarterly report on fuel prices released at the end of September, natural gas was 65 cents a gallon cheaper than gasoline. The Civic GX natural gas car looks, sounds and runs the same as a regular Civic. It costs $21,700 - $4,500 more than the basic, gasoline-powered Civic. A federal energy bill that goes into law Jan. 1, will provide a tax credit of $3,600 for the car and $1,000 for the home refueling machine, which costs about $3,500 plus $500 to $2,000 to install. It also gives a $30,000 tax credit to someone who builds a public refueling station. A highway bill that goes into law Oct. 1 adds a tax benefit of 37 cents a gallon for those who sell motorists natural gas.

11/07/05 - Sunflower oil powered motorboat in Italy
Italian farmers have built the world first motorboat powered by sunflower oil as a concrete demonstration of how "biofuels" can be a viable alternative to polluting fossil fuels, according to Italian media on Wednesday. Presented to the world by Italian farmers' union Coldiretti, the boat was seen cruising the waters of Lake Como in northern Italy recently during an international conference on food and agriculture in the town of Cernobbio. Coldiretti said it costs only about 1,000 euros to adapt a normal diesel-powered motorboat, inserting an alternative fuel tank and a switch to allow the driver to choose which fuel to use. According to Coldiretti Chairman Paolo Bedoni, the same sort of mechanism could easily be used in small ships, tugs, farm machinery,lorries, coaches and even cars. Sunflower oil as used in the farmers' demonstration boat produces slightly less power than conventional fuels, but its supporters say this is a small price to pay for the environmental advantages. Because sunflower oil is a plant product, it contains none of the pollutants of petroleum-derived fuels. In terms of cost, experts calculate that it could be competitive with diesel. A farmer can produce about 3,000 kgs of sunflower seeds from a single hectare of land and from these seeds about 1,300 kgs of oil could be squeezed. The sale price for a kg of oil would be about 50 cents, about the same as diesel.

11/07/05 - We won’t be boldly going anywhere without more cash, says Nasa
(Private contractors, free enterprise, new propulsion technology, alternative science approaches....on their budget of over $16,000,000,000,000.00 a year, piece of cake! - JWD) Nearly two years ago, President George W Bush told Nasa to help finish the international space station, return to the moon and then prepare for a manned flight to Mars. But that vision is crumbling as the US space agency realises it does not have the money. Nasa administrator Michael Griffin revealed that the agency faced a US$3 billion-$5 billion ($4.3b-$7.3b) shortfall in its space shuttle programme alone over the next five years. In addition to the troubled shuttle programme, Nasa has pledged to help finish the space station by transporting heavy components on the shuttles, and to develop a new launch vehicle and spacecraft to take astronauts to the moon and eventually to Mars. Yet a storage hangar at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida is overflowing with space station modules and building trusses waiting for shuttle rides to orbit. "A lot of the technology and research to go to Mars are being put off for the purpose of getting to the moon, which was just supposed to have been a training ground for Mars. "I am very concerned that this administration may not be willing to pay for the vision that it presented to the nation 21 months ago. "Nasa simply cannot afford to do everything on our plate today," he said.

11/07/05 - NASA Needs $5 Billion MORE for Shuttles, Director Says
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration needs up to $5 billion more than previously budgeted to operate the space shuttle before the program ends in 2010, and it is looking for ways to reduce the shortfall, Michael D. Griffin, the agency administrator, said Thursday. Testifying before the House Science Committee, Dr. Griffin said the cost of operating the shuttle fleet before it is retired was higher than expected.

11/07/05 - House Vote Counters Eminent Domain Measure
Conservative defenders of private property and liberal protectors of the poor joined in an overwhelming House vote to prevent local and state governments from seizing homes and businesses for use in economic development projects. The House legislation, passed 376-38, was in response to a widely criticized 5-4 ruling by the Supreme Court last June that allowed eminent domain authority to be used to obtain land for tax revenue-generating commercial purposes. The bill would withhold for two years all federal economic development funds from states and localities that use economic development as a rationale for property seizures. It also would bar the federal government from using eminent domain powers for economic development. "Governments should not be able to bulldoze a person's home or business to benefit other individuals," said Rep. Henry Bonilla, R-Texas. Liberals warned that it could make it easier to tear down poor neighborhoods. "We don't need you on this one," Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., said to those arguing that eminent domain can lead to beneficial urban renewal projects. "We need you to respect the right of those minorities and those poor people to hold on to what is their own." Eminent domain, the right of government to take property for public use, is typically used for projects that benefit an entire community, such as highways, airports or schools.

11/07/05 - Power source that turns physics on its head
It seems too good to be true: a new source of near-limitless power that costs virtually nothing, uses tiny amounts of water as its fuel and produces next to no waste. If that does not sound radical enough, how about this: the principle behind the source turns modern physics on its head. Randell Mills, a Harvard University medic who also studied electrical engineering at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, claims to have built a prototype power source that generates up to 1,000 times more heat than conventional fuel. Independent scientists claim to have verified the experiments and Dr Mills says that his company, Blacklight Power, has tens of millions of dollars in investment lined up to bring the idea to market. And he claims to be just months away from unveiling his creation. Dr Mills's claim that he has produced a new form of hydrogen, the simplest of all the atoms, with just a single proton circled by one electron. In his "hydrino", the electron sits a little closer to the proton than normal, and the formation of the new atoms from traditional hydrogen releases huge amounts of energy. This is scientific heresy. According to quantum mechanics, electrons can only exist in an atom in strictly defined orbits, and the shortest distance allowed between the proton and electron in hydrogen is fixed. The two particles are simply not allowed to get any closer. According to Prof Maas, the first product built with Blacklight's technology, which will be available in as little as four years, will be a household heater. As the technology is scaled up, he says, bigger furnaces will be able to boil water and turn turbines to produce electricity. In a recent economic forecast, Prof Maas calculated that hydrino energy would cost around 1.2 cents (0.7p) per kilowatt hour. This compares to an average of 5 cents per kWh for coal and 6 cents for nuclear energy.

11/07/05 - Discussion list - precession, spin direction, gravity and energy
Thoughts based on the prior article of tapping mechanical force from the earths rotation using gyroscopic precession. Tries to connect some of the dots relating to inertia, precession, phase conjugation and spin directions relation to gravity.

11/07/05 - Discussion list - Keely/Tesla and Internet errors
A rant explaining the probability that Tesla stole many of his ideas from Keely with comments about plagiarism and propagation of errors on the net

11/07/05 - Experimental Device Reduces Drag on Tractor Trailers, Increases Fuel Efficiency
“The aft end of ground vehicles is often a design compromise between functionality and aerodynamics,” explained Ken Visser, associate professor of Aeronautical and Mechanical Engineering. “Traditional transport vehicles have a flat aft end that creates a large drag on the vehicle at highway speeds, which ultimately reduces gas mileage and increases costs and emissions. We have designed extendable flat plates that can be mounted to the truck’s rear doors to reduce drag.” The device, which resembles a set of second doors when closed and opens out into a box-like structure, has been studied in Clarkson’s wind tunnel as well as tested on full-scale vehicles in cross-country road tests. “The most recent data based on road testing indicates that the device will save approximately one-half mile per gallon, an increase in fuel efficiency of about 10 percent,” said Visser. “This translates into a savings on the order of about $4,000 per year for a truck running 150,000 miles at $2.50 a gallon of fuel.”

11/07/05 - Bacterium Present in Eyes with “Wet” Age-Related Macular Degeneration
Researchers at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary (MEEI) have found that Chlamydia pneumoniae, a bacterium linked to heart disease and capable of causing chronic inflammation, was present in the diseased eye tissue of five out of nine people with neovascular, or “wet,” age-related macular degeneration (AMD). However, it was not found in the eyes of more than 20 individuals without AMD, providing more evidence that this disease may be caused by inflammation. The study is described in the November issue of Graefe’s Archive for Clinical and Experimental Ophthalmology. They found C. pneumoniae in the eyes of five out of the nine patients with wet AMD. They also tested tissue from more than 20 people who did not have AMD and did not find C. pneumoniae in any of these normal eye tissues.

11/07/05 - Basic Electric gun camera flash launcher
Mini efficient coil launcher from disposable camera flash. This is a fun and non-dangerous project for those people who like to throw projectiles magnetically. It simply works by placing a ferromagnetic projectile at one end of a coil and pulsing some power in it. The trick is to switch off power when the projectile is at the middle of the coil, there are some ways to do it but it isn't important now. The second trick is to use a coil as close as possible to projectile to maximize coupling and the third to avoid saturation, that means keeping the current not to high. The more caps, the more energy but more longer pulse, so the additional energy may slow down the projectile instead of fastening it so I would advice to keep them only 4. I trusted the simulations and have almost broken a window with this thing ;-) fortunately the curtains slowed it down. Rembember: this circuit is low power but propels metal projectiles at speeds of 20-25 m/s and although can make no harm (to skin) it would break fragile things, also dangerous for eyes so don't point to peoples's or animals's head . Use it to shoot down small things or to shoot people's back (but watch who you shoot, some people don't like such jokes and you would be in trouble...) There is also electrical shock hazard. This circuit stores 30 or more Joules at 310V and can shock you badly, use only one hand and insulate high voltage sections. Be wise, have fun, learn, and be safe. Disclaimer: I don't accept any responsibility for the damages done with this device to peoples, things, animals, fragile things etc, if you build it, you must accept this condition.

11/07/05 - From Imagination to Reality with Fab Labs
Teen learning programs have been established at seven so-called Fabrication Labs that MIT has established in places as distant as Norway and Ghana. Each lab has tool sets that, costing about $25,000, would be out of the reach of most fledgling inventors. Advocates of such "Fab Labs" think they have the potential to vastly expand the creative powers of tinkerers and usher in a revolution in do-it-yourself design and manufacturing that can empower even the smallest of communities. MIT's Center for Bits and Atoms began setting up Fab Labs three years ago as free community resources, using part of a $12.5 million National Science Foundation grant and local financing. Each lab is equipped with commercially available tools, including a laser cutter and milling machine to carve out two- and three-dimensional parts; a sign cutter for creating graphics or plotting flexible electronic circuits; and electronic assembly tools. Open-source software and MIT-written programs control the devices, machining parts to tolerances that once could be achieved only using equipment costing hundreds of thousands of dollars. Citizen inventors with only modest technical expertise swap ideas with counterparts at other Fab Labs around the world by electronically sharing design blueprints or going to a Fab Lab website that offers project ideas. "In a sense, this is like open-source software, but for hardware," Gershenfeld said. Industrial designers say such ventures hold great promise.

11/06/05 - New Turbine May Boost Wind Power
Terra Moya Aqua says its new vertical wind turbine is substantially more efficient than traditional propeller designs. Company officials said traditional propeller-driven turbines are able to convert 25 percent to 40 percent of wind power into transmittable energy. But TMA's design is 43 percent to 45 percent efficient, creating up to 80 percent more power from the same wind. That power is generated even though the blades are moving slower than on traditional propeller models, meaning the turbines are less noisy and less dangerous to birds, the company said. And since they stand no taller than 96 feet, the turbines can be used in industrial areas where taller propeller-driven models are not allowed. They have a patented vertical blade shaped diffuser near the blade area which looked similar to a series of savonius blades. A trapezoid augmentor ramps the wind flow to the patented vertical blade shaped diffuser before it approaches the blades. TMA is a company with a modified straight-bladed Darrieus vertical-axis design (at least, that's how I as an amateur would classify it). It has, or has had in the past, a "250-kW" machine with roughly 1.5 times the swept area of the Bergey 10-kW turbine. This is possible because the rated wind speed for the machine is in the 40-plus-mph range, quite a bit higher than most manufacturers use in establishing the nameplate rating of their turbines. (Since the energy contained in the wind is a function of the cube of its speed, there is a LOT more energy in high winds than at wind speeds that occur more commonly.)

11/06/05 - Weasel Words - New dictionary of doublespeak
High flyers, bottom feeders and even those between jobs are almost certainly, at this point in time, being sized up as a captive market by the writers of a new dictionary of doublespeak, cliche and jargon. "Weasel Words: The Dictionary of American Doublespeak," by two US academics, catalogues the "distortions, obfuscations and marketplace flim-flam" which pollute everyday language. Often, weasel words are used by corporations or public relations consultants to obscure uncomfortable realities. The act of being fired, for example, has spawned a string of deceptive jargon. If your boss comes up to you and offers you a "career change opportunity," you might mistakenly expect a promotion, not termination. "Downsizing" and "negative employment growth" are other words listed to mean turfing someone out of work -- and anyone who suffers such a misfortune will soon be "between jobs." "When you get put on hold and hear 'your call is important to us' but you hear the music playing and they leave you waiting, they're not interested in you; they care about their bottom line." The authors also venture into diplomacy, by lambasting the phrase "Middle East roadmap," noting: "the vehicle traversing the road broke down." And they also highlight the description "meaningful dialogue," which usually means there was a dust-up in a diplomatic powwow. Political correctness also gets a pasting in "Weasel Words," which criticises the use of the phrase "people who are blind" to spare the feelings of the blind or "physically challenged" to avoid offending the handicapped.

11/06/05 - Europe tired of following in footsteps of the US space policy
At the beginning of the 1980s Europe was actually America's "younger brother" in terms of its space exploration potential. Besides, the Old World countries had to stress their Atlantic unity with the main ally under the conditions of another escalation of cold war. That is why Europe joined the Freedom program. At the beginning of the 21st century the situation changed. Thanks to Arian carrier rockets European countries became almost independent from the US in systems of placing into orbit. Besides, the cooperation with Russia allowed these countries to gain experience in manned space missions not only through shuttle missions. Moreover, in 2001-2003 European Space Agency under Aurora program had already considered manned lunar-landing mission for 2024 and Mars-landing mission for 2033. These plans were reconsidered in 2003 with new dates announced. The lunar-landing was planned for 2018-2019 and the permanent moon base was to be installed in 2025. European countries are not satisfied by their role in the new American Odyssey. At the end of September Christian Cabal, the Chairman of the European Interparliamentary Group for Outer Space Affairs described the role of the international partners in future space projects of the US: "I suppose that France will be asked to cook at the moon base, whereas Italy will be responsible for playing mandolin. International cooperation is welcome by NASA but only in insignificant matters." In this case Europe has to "maintain its positions in front of American hegemony".

11/05/05 - The Aerodynamics of Foam
Everyone knows that it's the flow of air over an airplane's wings that provides the lift that keeps the plane aloft. But what if you replace the moving air with foam? Some French physicists found that in that case the resulting force is exerted downwards rather than upwards. They call this "anti-inertial lift," and say it could have implications in all kinds of fields: oil extraction, industrial cleaning processes; and it "might even shed light on how embryonic cells rearrange themselves in a growing foetus."

11/05/05 - Israel using sonic booms of jets as "nonlethal weapon" in Gaza
The removal of Jewish settlers from the Gaza Strip opened the way for the military to use air force jets to create dozens of sonic booms by breaking the sound barrier at low altitude, sending shockwaves across the territory... Palestinians liken the sound to an earthquake or huge bomb. They describe the effect as being hit by a wall of air that is painful on the ears, sometimes causing nosebleeds and "leaving you shaking inside." The Palestinian health ministry says the sonic booms have led to miscarriages and heart problems. The UN has demanded an end to the tactic, saying it causes panic attacks in children.

11/05/05 - Military applications for "Silly String"
(NEAT - JWD) "Rob has just posted some correspondence with a former Marine Sargeant who describes how the stuff is used in the field: "Silly string has served me well in Combat especially in looking for I.A.Ds., simply put, booby traps. . . . When you spray the string it just spreads everywhere and when it sets it lays right on the wire. Even in a dark room the string stands out revealing the trip wire." (via

11/04/05 - Liquid Smoke as a Biofuel
What smells like a barbecue pit, looks like soy sauce and could be used as fuel one day? The answer: “liquid smoke” - one of the renewable energy sources being researched by engineers at the University’s Engineering Outreach Service. Literally a liquid form of wood created using a process known as pyrolysis in which matter is heated in the absence of oxygen to form a vapor that can then be condensed to form a liquid. Liquid smoke has been used as everything from a food-flavoring agent to a fuel for industrial boilers and can be upgraded to a “diesel-fuel-quality liquid fuel.” Georgia state’s poultry processing plants produce about 2 million pounds of fat a week and, until recently, there was no market for the fat, Adams said. Now, chicken fat can be sold as an industrial boiler fuel and can be used to make biodiesel. In a 2002 experiment, the University burned chicken and other animal fats in a boiler at the steam plant. Adams said the resulting report has helped increase the use of fats as fuels in many industries, and the price of chicken fat has risen significantly since the experiment. Much of the work at the Service’s facilities has centered around biodiesel, a fuel made from a variety of natural, renewable sources, including animal fat, soybeans, canola and peanuts.

11/04/05 - Disbanding NASA
Seemingly endless troubles have cast a long shadow across the US space exploration programme. LESS than two years after it was announced with great fanfare, President Bush's plan to return people to the moon is in trouble. The signs are everywhere. Take Operation Offset, a proposal devised by a group of Republican legislators to cut government programmes and free up funds to pay for damage done by hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Conspicuous on the chopping block is NASA's moon and Mars initiative. Another austerity proposal, suggested by economist Maya MacGuineas, recommended much the same thing: cancel NASA's Crew Exploration Vehicle, the spacecraft that would carry humans back to the moon. It must be worrying to NASA administrator Michael Griffin that the political right and left can be so unanimous in casually proposing such a fatal blow to the agency's human space-flight programme. But the calls for cuts highlight something more fundamental: a growing perception that NASA is no longer up to the task.

11/04/05 - Digging for Helium-3 on the Moon
A few kilograms of the lunar substance will be enough to start a thermonuclear electric power station. Today, experts consider opportunities of mining helium-3, the key mineral which can be found on the Moon. The Rocket and Space Corporation Energia states that this new fuel may be even more effective than traditional ones. A few kilograms of the lunar substance will be enough to start a thermonuclear electric power station. Delivery of helium-3 from the Moon to the surface will return great profits. To begin the mining of helium-3 on the Moon, astronauts must first of all build a base for miners to live and work in. Experts already know the exact location of helium-3 fields on the Moon. A special machine will be going about the lunar surface; it will dig, warm the lunar soil, regolith, and then extract helium-3. It is planned to build such a base in one of the lunar seas.

11/04/05 - Chemist explores ways to make hydrogen a viable fuel
Lev Gelb, Ph.D., Washington University assistant professor of chemistry, prepares theoretical models of molecules that may be used to store and transport hydrogen gas. Gaseous at room temperature, hydrogen is even lighter and less dense than natural gas and thus harder to store. So, while hydrogen has a high energy-per-weight, it has a low energy-per-volume. "If you had a kilogram of hydrogen at atmospheric pressure, you'd have to store it in about 100 big balloons, if you can picture that," said Gelb. "A kilogram of gasoline, on the other hand - that would be a small container." Gelb works on one possible solution to this storage problem, a process called gas physical adsorption. "The idea here is to create materials composed of molecules hydrogen likes to stick to," said Gelb. "If hydrogen stuck to these particles you could carry around the substance, along with the hydrogen." The most likely option in the near future, said Gelb, is to simply compress the gas at very high pressure. Hydrogen-powered car prototypes made by General Motors, for example, use this storage option. There are several drawbacks, however; storage tanks are expensive and inherently dangerous, especially since hydrogen is combustible. Additionally, it is energetically costly to compress the hydrogen, making a net efficient usage of energy difficult to achieve. Another potential storage solution involves cooling the gas to extremely low temperatures until the gas becomes a liquid. This option, however, would also be energetically costly and presents the problem of evaporation. A third idea involves chemically incorporating the hydrogen in a solid material, for instance in a class of materials called metal hydrides. Hydrogen can be stored in these materials at such high densities as to surpass the density of liquid hydrogen. Unfortunately, it is very difficult to get the hydrogen out of the material, requiring more energy. Also, these hydrides are often very reactive, dangerous materials - many react violently with both air and water and cease working.

11/04/05 - Giant Drinking Birds
(Chuck said he met a guy years ago who claimed his family had a series of giant drinking birds in their barn, all coupled together to turn a generator and make power for their house. Additionally, years ago, Barry Merriman wrote a series of emails to Bill Beatys Vortex list arguing the logic of drinking birds, quite amusing. - JWD) Contemplating the uncanny nature of a Drinking Bird, I am not surprised when the artist tells me that the idea for it sprang from his head in the middle of the night. In the spring of 1994, Reynolds, unable to sleep in his studio near Brooklyn's Gowanus Canal, sat drinking and watching the 3 a.m. programming on PBS. "They were showing reruns of old science shows for children. You know, the Mr. Wizard kind of thing," says Reynolds, by way of explanation. "They were demonstrating the physics of Drinking Birds. Suddenly, I had the most powerful memory of seeing one when I was a little kid, and of how I had thought it was the most amazing thing. And I knew, I knew right then, that I had to make it into a piece."

11/04/05 - Technology Promises to Make Biofuels Affordable
A partnership between two Clarkson University researchers and John Gaus, an entrepreneur, is transferring chemical process technology from the laboratory to the biofuels marketplace. Their efforts promise to contribute to energy independence and economic development in northern New York state. “Biodiesel is a renewable fuel extracted from sources such as vegetable oils or animal fats,” says Jachuck. “For example, recycled cooking grease from restaurants and food processors, soybeans or canola oil can be used separately or in combination to provide fuel to heat buildings or to power trucks.” “The technology we’ve developed reduces the costs of building and operating a biofuel plant by more than half,” adds Jachuck. “The result is that we are significantly improving the economics of the biodiesel industry.”

11/04/05 - New Snow Removal invention
The Wovel uses your body weight to lift and throw snow and slush. With leverage, the Wovel magnifies your effort. It can double the power you supply and avoid many of the risks associated with snow shoveling. Three times faster than shoveling and half the work! Easily throws five foot high snow piles - even for people without a great deal of the upper body strength (as the Wovel relies on leg strength as well and the body's larger muscle groups). Carries the snow to where you want it and throws it exactly where you want it - almost effortlessly with just a simple toss to send snow on its way. Great for everyone! No upper body strength required!

11/04/05 - Cheap, rapid, hand-held check for HIV
Swift diagnostics for HIV have long been a critical problem - the new sensor measures the quantity of key immune cells in the blood, in seconds. Now scientists from two New York universities believe they have the solution: a hand-held sensor that checks the health of a patient's immune system in seconds. At the moment it can take a week to get the same results back from the lab, "and that's if they don't get lost", says Glenda Gray, a consultant physician and head of perinatal HIV research at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa. The sensor measures the quantity of key immune cells called CD4+ cells in the blood. A gradual depletion of CD4+ cells, which orchestrate the immune response to tumours and infections, is a sure sign that HIV is damaging a person's health: some clinical.

11/04/05 - Hypnosis and mental influence for healing
A rabbit is unable to move when hypnotized by boa's eyes. A passerby gives all his salary to a gypsy woman in the street. An illusionist makes a volunteer from the audience fall asleep right on stage. All these are results of one and the same phenomenon called hypnosis. It is not necessary to stare into the eyes and to make movements with your hands in order to send a person into trance. Sometimes it is enough to ask him to listen to the rain or to look at the sparkling Christmas decoration. Even lullaby and stroking can be hypnotizing. Hypnotized person can recall the events of the past or to erase completely an unpleasant recollection from his memory. He can do, imagine or feel whatever he is asked to. While in this state a person is vulnerable to verbal suggestion, which is widely used by psychotherapists to cure diseases and by people who have skills of hypnosis to their personal advantage. When studying magnet's influence on human organism Mesmer discovered that when stroked with a magnet for a long time the patient became sleepy and after that felt much better. The scientist called this phenomenon magnetism. He was already thinking about the reaction his discovery could provoke. However, he decided to conduct another experiment and putting the magnet aside started stroking the patient with his hand. The result turned out to be the same. He made a conclusion that hands had the power to affect the patient. He changed the name of the phenomenon to animal magnetism. Soviet school of hypnosis was considered the best in the world from 1920s till 1960s. Hypnotherapists were curing all sorts of diseases from hypertension to impotence. They took part in the radio programs that were transmitted for seamen who suffered from seasickness. Famous psychotherapist Pavel Bul conducted hypnotic sessions via Leningrad television. The results were unexpected. It turned out that many of spectators were too sensitive to hypnosis. After putting hands in a lock many of the TV patients could not unlink them afterwards. Bul had to go around Leningrad all night to help them. Another incident happened later with psychotherapist Anatoly Kashpirovsky. In 1989 he was curing involuntary urination by TV-sessions. The scandal broke out later when it turned out that such programs could seriously harm people with unstable psyche.

11/04/05 - First Rescue Tools Designed for Hybrid Vehicle Rescues
As sales of hybrid vehicles rise rapidly, rescue crews are increasingly exposed to accidents involving the fuel-efficient vehicles. And with up to 500 volts running through some wires in the vehicles, as opposed to 12 volts in traditional cars, there is a growing concern that rescue workers are at risk when extricating victims at an accident scene. It is this concern that prompted the engineers at Jaws of Life to develop a rescue tool designed to meet the challenges of dealing with electrically charged components.

11/03/05 - Brain Fingerprinting
IN 1997, A MASS MARKET POTBOILER called The Truth Machine by James Halperin anticipated what would happen if a foolproof method for detecting lies were developed. Human conflicts would be easily resolved and war would disappear, as people would be forced to negotiate with absolute honesty. Violent crime would abate, and no innocent man would ever again be executed for a murder he didn't commit. Along the way, the technology's inventor-a brilliant, exercise-driven Harvard graduate-would become the richest man on the planet. Farwell's invention, which he now calls brain fingerprinting, works like this: A headband of electrodes is placed on a subject, who watches words or pictures flash across a computer screen. Some of the images are meant to stimulate memories, which cause the brain to fire off an electrical response 300 milliseconds after the stimulus. It is known as the "P300 effect," in which the P stands for positive. The stimuli come in three categories: "target" stimuli (details of an activity that would be known to the subject), irrelevant stimuli (which would not be expected to elicit a response), and "probe" stimuli (phrases or pictures supposedly known only to a select few, like the perpetrator and investigators of a crime). If a suspect exhibits a P300 response to a probe stimulus, he is presumed guilty. If not, he is presumed innocent. Farwell is convinced that his technique is nearly infallible.

11/03/05 - Confidentiality Agreement vs Patent Pending
Many companies view independent inventors as a total waste of their time, a pain in the butt, and a potential lawsuit. They often have policies that they won’t sign confidentiality agreements, and really don’t want to see an inventor’s invention. The danger for them is that people in their own organization may be working on the same problem, and they could view the inventor’s stuff, reject it, then a year later come out with the product they have been working on in their lab. The inventor could then sue them for breach of contract. With that possibility in mind they usually won’t even look at an invention unless it is patent pending. If it is patent pending, then the invention is defined, so then their decision becomes 1) whether their in-house product is an infringement of the claims of the patent, and 2) can they prove they conceived of it first.

11/03/05 - Hippo-roller: developing-world invention for pushing H2O instead of shlepping it
The Hippo roller is a simple tool for transporting water from water-holes to homes, an alternative to the traditional barrels-on-heads. The Hippo Roller is like a barrel with a handle that you push ahead of you like a steamroller's drum.

11/03/05 - Floating offshore wind energy and hydrogen fuel-generation
Inventor Tom L. Lee, Ph.D. has developed a floating wind turbine platform concept for accessing the higher winds out at sea, and convert wind energy efficiently to hydrogen and electricity. Would prefer to see its manufacture and distribution licensed to a U.S. party. "This technology has the capacity to quickly revolutionize the global wind energy sector, the global hydrogen economy/fuel cell sector, and the global power industry."

11/03/05 - DNA infusion into plants for Living Tombstones
In a mystical use of genetic modification, a U.K. art group based in Japan has found a way to ensure that a person's DNA lives on long after their demise. Biopresence, founded by Georg Tremmel and Shiho Fukuhara, intends to infuse the DNA of recently deceased loved ones into trees, turning the plants into living memorials. The trees will have no visual or significant genetic changes, because all the human genes will be stored inside the tree using Joe Davis' DNA Manifold method, which only affects the genotype of an organism. In a nutshell, Biopresence will piggyback the human DNA underneath redundant triplets of nucleic acids that already exist in the tree. These redundant triplets are not actually expressed in the tree, making them available to store excess information. Although expensive, the process to create a living tombstone is actually fairly simple. After taking a skin sample from the cadaver, DNA is stored in a single tree cell as a silent mutation. That single cell is then nurtured until it is large enough to plant. Every cell of the resulting tree should contain the genetic information of the person whose DNA was infused into that original cell. While the genetic information of a deceased loved one is stored within the tree, some scientists think it is questionable if the tree can act as a biological time capsule. "It is a sort of metaphorical representation (of a deceased loved one), but that's OK," said Beckendorf. "I doubt anyone paying for the service will expect a homunculus to reside within the tree."

11/03/05 - The Immune System in Space
The suppression of the human immune system in space was first observed forty years ago during the Apollo missions when more than half the astronauts reported a bacterial or viral infection either during or shortly after their mission. Researchers found that in the simulated absence of gravity, the PKA pathway did not respond to the pathogen's presence; as a result, 91 genes were not induced and eight genes were significantly inhibited, severely reducing the activation of T-cells. There are only two known situations in which T-cell function is so severely compromised: HIV infection and weightlessness. Interestingly, the researchers found that three other pathways which regulate immune function - P13K, PKC, and pLAT - were not affected by a lack of gravity. The experiment was carried out on human immune cells in culture that were placed in a device called a random positioning machine, which simulates weightlessness. Hughes-Fulford speculates that cell structure may trigger the effect. "Why do some pathways work and some not? Perhaps it's differences in the cytoskeleton - the interior architecture of the cell. It's the infrastructure of the cell, a membrane made of lipid, and maybe without gravity it's not as well-organized as it should be." The problem of immune function in space must be solved if human beings are ever to live in space for extended periods of time.

11/03/05 - Unanticipated Results of Federal Policy on Stem Cells
(I love this, if the dinosaur doesn't respond, go around, seek alternate ways to get'r'done! - JWD) Stem cell research in companies may also have increased because of US policy. Many established companies have stem cell programs, which may be partially fueled by the concept that, with less federally funded academic research, more opportunity exists to develop intellectual property with in-house inventors or university researchers willing to take industrial funds and help translate research. In addition, many university faculty have had to increasingly look to the public sector for venture funding for their human embryonic stem cell research, thereby starting a number of university spinoff companies or out-licensing opportunities. The current policy has created a state-by-state movement unprecedented in medical research. Most prominently, the passage of California's proposition 71 provides $3 billion to that state's stem cell research institutes. At $300 million per year for 10 years, the California initiative alone would dwarf the $24.3 million provided by the NIH last year under current guidelines. Furthermore, private and public universities and institutes within several of these pro-stem cell states have boosted their stem cell faculty and research enterprise by using internal and philanthropic funding mechanisms.

11/03/05 - First Petrol-free Electric Motorbike in Pakistan
A Pakistani firm M/s Energen Energy Generation is launching today for the first time an electricity-run, petrol-free motorcycle. According to the firm, the price of the bike ranges from Rs 25,000 to Rs 35,000 ($418-$586US). The motorcycle is smoke-free and noiseless and will come in three models to be initially sold in Karachi only. The motorcycle comprises three basic parts - motor, battery box and controller. The removable battery box consists of four batteries of 12 volts each. After four hours of charging, the motorcycle can run up to 80 kilometres (50 miles) with a maximum speed of 60 kilometres per hour (37 mph). With an 800-watt motor, the motorcycle weighs between 35 to 42 kilogrammes and can carry a maximum weight of 150 to 180 kg. The cost to run it comes to 20 paisas per kilometre. The motorcycle is also kick-free and starts with self or ignition.

11/03/05 - How patents impede research
Historically, academic scientists chose to disseminate basic research findings and inventions through free and open channels such as informal sharing, journal publications or conference presentations. These basic discoveries had little immediate commercial value for the author to appropriate privately, but could prove highly useful for other researchers to build upon. The reward structure of academic science reinforced this practice, awarding prestige and tenure on the basis of discoveries published in journals and provided openly to the scientific community. The patenting of intellectual property generated by research, while pursued by academics in some fields, was primarily reserved for discoveries made in the commercial sector, which could be developed into marketable products and bring monetary rewards to their inventors. In both industry and academia, exclusive licensing was one of the least used methods for technology transfer....A total of 16% of all respondents reported that their work had been affected by difficulties in attempting to obtain patented technologies. A total of 40% of respondents who had acquired patented technologies since 2001 reported difficulties in obtaining that technology....Of the 40% of respondents who reported their work had been affected, 58% said their work was delayed, 50% reported they had to change the research, and 28% reported abandoning their research project. The most common reason respondents reported having to change or abandon their research project was that the acquisition of the necessary technologies involved overly complex licensing negotiations....Overall, 25% of the respondents who disseminated their technology included a research exemption that allowed the patent holder to continue to conduct research on or with the licensed technology.

11/03/05 - Paternal Inheritance Found For Telomeres Which Influence Longevity
Telomeres are genetic material with repetitive content at the ends of DNA, and their main function is believed to be to protect the rest of the genetic material from degradation. Telomeres are shortened each time a cell divides, which in broad terms means that the longer a cell’s telomeres are, the longer the individual can live, in theory. A person’s telomeres are shortened with age, which the findings of the study indeed show: telomeres were shortened by an average of 21 nitrogen base pairs per year in the subjects studied. Telomeres are caps on the ends of chromosomes. They get shorter each time cells divide. As the telomere caps become really short they start to interfere with cell division. This is one of the causes of aging. Telomere cap shortening is probably an evolved mechanism to reduce the risk of death from cancer. Cancers need to undergo a mutation to activate telomerase to grow longer telomere caps so that the cancer cells can divide many more times than normal cells can. The findings show that changes in the length of the telomeres in the cultured cells are determined by the original length of the telomeres, and the length of the telomeres in the second generation, both sons and daughters, proved to be inherited from the father.Given that shorter telomere lengths probably reduce cancer risk it is by no means guaranteed that people who inherit longer telomeres from their father will live longer on average.

11/03/05 - Insurance Company Warns of Global Warming's Costs
One of the world's largest insurers warned today of the economic costs of global warming. "Climate change will significantly affect the health of humans and ecosystems and these impacts will have economic consequences," concludes a new study cosponsored by Swiss Re, a global re-insurance company. In the report, 10 case studies outline current effects of climate change, from infectious diseases such as malaria and West Nile virus to extreme weather events such as heat waves and floods. Changes to forests, agriculture, marine habitat and water were considered. Lyme disease is increasing in North America as warmer winters allow ticks to proliferate, the study concludes. Ragweed pollen growth, stimulated by increasing levels of carbon dioxide, may be contributing to the rising incidence of asthma, the scientists say. "Analysis of the potential ripple effects stemming from an unstable climate shows the need for more sustainable practices to safeguard and insure a healthy future." Swiss Re is a global re-insurance company, meaning it assumes the risk from the smaller insurance companies that individuals and businesses deal with. It has been warning about the costs of climate change since at least 2003.

11/03/05 - Belief System Quiz
If you have some free time, check out this interesting site which provides lots of quizzes on many topics and rates your responses. They generate two new quizzes a week should you wish to subscribe to their service. The connecting site had a link I used which was about religious beliefs and it identified me as Atheist though in fact I am Agnostic, a fence sitter with insufficient proof either way. - Your ideals mostly resemble those of an Atheist. You have very little faith and you are very focused on intellectual endeavors. You value objective proof over intuition or subjective thoughts. You enjoy talking about ideas and tend to have a lot of in depth conversations with people. 40% scientific. 80% reason-oriented. - JWD

11/02/05 - Lightning research sparks new discovery
Dwyer, an associate professor of physics and space sciences, conducted a related experiment recently. He was shocked to find that laboratory-generated sparks make x-rays, too. High voltage sparks are a ubiquitous phenomenon in nature. They occur in a wide range of settings, from a finger touching a doorknob to the massive lightning flashes on Jupiter. Until Dwyer's discovery, it was believed that such electrical discharges involved only low-energy electrons, not the kind of high-energy electrons that make x-rays. They found that 14 tests of 1.5-2.0 million-volt sparks in the air produced x-ray bursts. The bursts were remarkably similar to the x-ray bursts previously observed from lightning. To date, the only mechanism that can account for the creation of the high-energy electrons that make x-rays is the runaway breakdown of air. In this phenomenon, the electric force experienced by electrons exceeds the effective frictional force due to collisions with air molecules, allowing the electrons to "run away" and gain very large energies.

11/02/05 - Proposition 80 looks to keep the lights on
If put into effect, Proposition 80 would permit the Public Utilities Commission to regulate energy service providers. According to the proposition summary from the Secretary of State’s office, retail electric sellers would have to expand the development of renewable energy resources by 2010. Advocates for Proposition 80 argue that the act will protect consumers from becoming the victims of additional corporate greed, alluding to the deregulation of energy that occurred in the early 2000s. “The same companies that really did steal billions of dollars from California during the energy crisis - companies like Duke Energy, Constellation, energy traders who buy and sell energy - are the same companies that are putting up the money on the No on Prop 80 campaign,” Cuplet said. “The same companies that stand to benefit from the same policies that were in existence during the energy crisis.”

11/02/05 - #Winprog - an example of an ideal incubator for ideas and talent
In the past few years, some of the most revolutionary software emerged not from Silicon Valley startups or high-powered universities, but from a humble online chat room. Many in the tech industry are beginning to recognize that a string of influential concepts can be traced to a single Internet Relay Chat channel called #Winprog. With #Winprog, you get technical support, advice, critical review and at times even manpower to help finish your project. "It's innovation in its purest form, without ego, money or fame as its goal," he added. "These are kids sitting around, chatting, saying, 'Hey, you know what, I built that,' and a hundred other people saying 'No, no, make it better, make it do this, make it faster, oh my God it's ugly.'"

11/02/05 - Geographic Arbitrage Telecommuting
We've all heard about the wonders of the broadband Web. You can stream video, surf at lightning speeds, search for God-knows-what, get your e-mail in a blink. Here's what you may not know: It can let you live far richer than you probably live now. This is the 21st century, man! Today you can enjoy the best of both worlds: 1. Live where you want. 2. Get paid like you're in a big city 3. Never be isolated or bored. Say you're a bright knowledge worker and have spent a decade or more in your industry, sharpening your skills, making the right contacts. You earn a decent salary on the metro coast, but those dollars just don't stretch like they used to. So you decide to shake off the costly coastal infrastructure and relocate to a cheaper rural region. But you maintain your ties to the larger metro area and pull down the same amount of money as you did when you were living in Profligate Corners.

11/02/05 - Spy camera lets stores know customers' age, gender
Japanese bikemaker Yamaha Motor has unveiled a camera system that recognizes if a person is a man or woman and puts them into one of five age groups. "This could be used at entrances and gates to some facilities or set up at eye-catching spots to profile those who entered the places or stared at them," Yoshida said Wednesday. Yamaha designed the system by building up a computer database of 10,000 people's faces. It said the system gets it right on gender 88 percent of the time -- about the same accuracy rate as the human eye -- and 77 percent of the time for age. Yamaha also proposed using the technology in vehicles that operate in closed areas such as theme parks. Based on passengers' gender and age group, the system in each car could recommend in-park spots to visit, the company said.

11/02/05 - Broccoli, garlic & cabbage can help reduce risk of cancer
Eating cabbage, cooking meat with garlic and smearing your skin with extract of broccoli can all help reduce the risk of cancer, scientists have found. Up to a third of cancers are thought to be associated with diet. Experts say eating more fruit and vegetables is the second most effective way to cut the risk of cancer, after not smoking. Those who ate raw or short-cooked cabbage three times a week had a significantly reduced risk of breast cancer compared with those who ate less than one serving a week.

11/02/05 - 21st Century Ideas on Energy and Employment
While high gas prices bring back memories of the 1970s, the policy solutions that some people are bringing forth seem about as dated as shag carpets and leisure suits. The problem with "commuter rail" systems is that they presuppose commuters, and the changing U.S. economy makes traditional commuting -- in which armies of workers flock from suburbs to downtowns in the morning, and back home in the evenings -- less significant. While there are still plenty of people who commute this way, there are a lot more people who work in edge cities, or from home, or who keep irregular hours and run a lot of errands, for whom commuter rail systems aren't likely to do much good. One suggestion that does make sense to me is to encourage telecommuting and work at home. Managers and unions don't like this much: Managers because they like to have workers in plain sight (which also makes managers look more important), and unions because it's harder to organize workers who aren't all in one place. But while there's still plenty of work that can't be done at home, there's a lot more these days that can, and people who work at home use a lot less gas. The federal government, which has lots of employees, and lots of jobs that can be done from home, should take a very aggressive role in promoting telecommuting internally. I think it's worth encouraging shopping from home, too. I order a lot of things from the Web specifically because it saves me the hassle of venturing out into traffic to visit stores, but when I avoid that hassle I avoid burning gas, too. True, the delivery truck burns gas -- but it's delivering to a lot of other homes at the same time it's delivering to mine, so overall it winds up using considerably less per person than if everyone shops individually.

11/01/05 - Gyroscopic Earth Power Generation
(A few weeks ago I came across a hint of a device claimed to tap mechanical/inertial energy from a gyroscope aligned with the planet, I think I finally tracked it down here. There is much magic in this if you study it. - JWD) Theoretically there is an enormous quantity of pure unpolluting energy available from the energy contained in the rotational inertia of the earth--enough to supply all the energy and power requirements of the world's civilization, currently being met by oil production, for the next 100,000,000 years with only minimal and readily acceptable reduction in the daily rotation rate of the earth at the end of that period: approximately 30%, a 34 hour day--at the present rate of oil energy consumption. This supply of pure physical mechanical energy may theoretically be tapped by interposing the spatial angular stability of a gyro rotor/gimbal assembly, plus a transducer to convert the gyro/earth mechanical energy and power into the desired type for ready utilization, e.g., electrical, hydraulic, or other, between the onrushing inertial rotational energy of the earth and the referenced spatial stability--more accurately, rigidity (as in "brick wall" or Hoover Dam)--of a gyro rotor and gimbal assembly. In this invention, energy and power are derived from the inertial (stored) energy of the angular rotational mass velocity of the earth, the axis of which is coincident with the induced precessional reaction torque supplied by the gyro rotor precession. The motion of the earth is with respect to the unmoving angular space. This invention to produce continuous, but intermittent, power output without fuel or daily attention over long periods of time--theoretically, eons. Even the intermittency may be corrected, as in steam and IC engines, by combining three or more unitary assemblies having sequentially phased and overlapping power output strokes, or with electrical or inertial energy storage during power strokes along with energy and power conversion and withdrawal during re-precession periods. Sufficient exploratory experimentation has been conducted to provide confidence that the "Advanced Concept" will work "as advertised." For example, it has been "manually" demonstrated on an experimental set-up using a free gyro with a six-inch diameter rotor that with the application of manual torque around two orthogonal axes, e.g., "polar" and "equatorial" that, with all the torque that could manually be applied to the two applied torque axes in opposition, the precession around the third axis could be held motionless indefinitely. It is entirely reasonable that the "manual" polar axis torque could be replaced with earth rotational deceleration torque applied via a power transducer input shaft as in the "normal" (free gyro) mode and the "manual" equatorial axis torque could be replaced with a spring, a torque motor, or a spring and trimming torque motor combination. Thus, continuous, non-interrupted, non-intermitent power output could be achieved by operating this invention in a "rate gyro mode" instead of a "free gyro mode." United States Patent 5,313,850 - Finvold , et al. - May 24, 1994 - Earth/gyro power transducer

11/01/05 - Unexpected Necessities that help us survive
What became most important in this crisis, however, had little to do with medical management and much to do with personal preparedness, professionalism, and ethics. Survival, functioning, and sanity, for both patients and care providers, depended critically on a number of unexpected necessities, ranging from simple commodities to principles and codes of behavior. My list of 10 of these necessities begins with the seemingly trivial and progresses to those that became the most critical as the crisis deepened from Sunday through Friday. 1) Shoes, 2) Nonsteroidal Aids, 3) Underwear & a Fanny Pack, 4) Flashlights & 'D' batteries, 5) Working toilets, 6) Shift work & adequate sleep, 7) Morale boosting activities, 8) The strength of initiative to make your rescue needs known, 9) Self-possession in the face of desperate, armed men and 10) Teamwork in the face of adversity.

11/01/05 - Knock $4,000 off your taxes for going solar

"For anybody who has ever considered installing a solar system, Washington is telling you to do it now," says Rhone Resch, president of the Solar Energy Industries Association in Washington, D.C. That's good news for solar equipment manufacturers like General Electric (GE, news, msgs) and Evergreen Solar (ESLR, news, msgs). The law both increases tax credits for commercial solar installations and offers individual homeowners a credit for the first time in 20 years. (An earlier personal-use solar credit was in effect from 1979 to 1985.) Interested in claiming a credit? Act fast. To hold down the projected cost, Congress authorized the solar credits for only two years -- from Jan. 1, 2006 through Dec. 31, 2007. Under the new law, businesses that buy solar equipment can claim a federal tax credit equal to 30% of the equipment's cost, with no dollar limit on how big the credit can be. (In 2008, the credit reverts back to today's 10% of cost level.) Homeowners get a more limited credit. They can put in a photovoltaic system (roof panels that take in energy from the sun and turn it into electricity) and/or a solar-powered hot water system (for hot water heaters, radiant floors or radiators), and get a federal tax credit worth 30% of the systems' cost, up to a credit of $2,000 per system. There are a couple of catches: The heating system can't be for a pool or hot tub, and the federal credit applies to the net system cost after any state incentives. The good part is that this new federal break is a credit -- not a deduction -- meaning it reduces your tax bill directly, dollar for dollar. So, if you install both eligible solar systems in your house, you can knock $4,000 off your federal tax bill.

11/01/05 - Hardy algae promising in biofuel production
Biodiesel can be produced from vegetation such as soybeans, sunflowers and rapeseed, but the best way to create the fuel may come from a little organism that likes sewage, grows in water and can produce up to 50 percent of its body weight in oil. "The plus for algae . . . you can grow it in places you can't grow agricultural crops," says John Sheehan, strategic analyst with the National Renewable Energy Laboratories. "It will grow because it doesn't mind saltwater or high salinity." The report stated it would take about 770 square miles - an area less than a hundredth the size of New Mexico - of algae farmland to produce 7.5 billion gallons of biodiesel. In a single day, the United States consumes 394 million gallons of gasoline, and 200 million gallons of diesel and heating oil, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. That comes to 216.8 billion gallons of demand in a year. It would take an algae farm almost one-fifth the size of New Mexico to meet it. For one, the amount of algae that grows in an area needs to increase, he says.

11/01/05 - Magpower Magnesium fuel cells strike deal with China
In a deal worth $22 million, it will manufacture and distribute its portable magnesium fuel cells in China via a Hong Kong company, exactly the formula prescribed at the recent Hong Kong-Guangdong trade forum in Vancouver. "We can change and adapt the size and running time of any fuel cell to match any power requirement, but we focused first on getting a small, portable unit that is about the size of a car battery," McGroarty said. The MagPower fuel cell has an edge because it is considerably cheaper to produce than the oft-talked-about hydrogen fuel cell, said Jiujun Zhang, a project leader and senior research officer at the National Research Council of Canada, which has collaborated on research with MagPower. Zhang says that the high cost of two elements in the technology behind a hydrogen fuel cell, namely electrolyte memory and the platinum catalyst, means it has a ways to go before it can be commercialized, never mind reach a feasible price point for the competitive Chinese market. MagPower fuel cells run on magnesium, the world's eighth-most-abundant mineral, according to McGroarty. He says magnesium fuel cells are about 50 per cent less expensive to make than hydrogen fuel cells. The simple magnesium anode and natural electrolyte make this cell less combustible than a hydrogen fuel cell. It does not require a safety-sealed fuel storage like HFC. The fuel can either be magnesium or a magnesium-alloy, while the fuel for HFC must be pure hydrogen. This makes MAPC easily transported by plane with no special safety permits. It is safe around children since magnesium is non-toxic.

11/01/05 - 50-megawatt wood-burning boiler set to open in Portsmouth
The plant is not expected to cost any more to operate than the coal-burning energy plant it is replacing, according to the state's largest utility.The raw wood materials, namely wood chips and clean wood products, might cost more than the coal, but "overall, we expect to be savings customers money and be producing far fewer emissions resulting in cleaner air." The boiler is PSNH's first wood-fired plant and will produce 4 percent of the utility's overall electricity. The wood chips are burned, which boils water that produces high-pressure steam that turns the turbines and produces electricity. To manage the raw materials, Richard Roy of Concord, a forester with more than 15 years of experience purchasing wood for fuel, was hired to serve as procurement forester for the Northern Wood Power Project. Roy has worked since 1988 as the procurement forester for North Country Procurement of Rumney and has purchased or assisted in the annual purchase of more than 500,000 tons of biomass, such as wood chips, which have served as fuel for independently owned wood-fired power plants in Bethlehem and Tamworth.

11/01/05 - Feeding the future - sustainable agriculture
About 5000 years ago, large cities were flourishing in the flat plains of what is now southern Iraq. The cities were surrounded by thousands of hectares of crop land irrigated from the rivers. Farmers grew barley, wheat, flax, dates, apples, plums and grapes, and herded sheep and goats for meat and milk. This early example of intensive agriculture proved unsustainable. By around 4000 years ago, desert had replace the fields and the cities had been abandoned. History records many such examples of agricultural communities flourishing and then failing, often because farming eroded the soil, exhausted the soil’s nutrients or caused a build-up of salt. Meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs is the key principle behind the concept of sustainability. If natural resources such as soil, nutrients and water are used up at a rate faster than they are replenished, then the farming system is unsustainable. Sustainability is also dependent on maintaining a high level of biodiversity, especially in the soil and the surrounding environment. Loss of sustainability can come from one or a combination of the following; loss of biodiversity, dryland salinity, acid soils, pests and weeds.

11/01/05 - Resonant Rockets
Resonance may be great for guitars, but "it can be disastrous for a spacecraft," notes Rocha. "When the shuttle lifts off, the main engines roar so loudly that a person standing near the pad would be killed-not by the heat of the exhaust, but by the sound of the engines," he says. The engines "strum" the spacecraft with incredible force. Rumbling sound waves penetrate the shuttle and its cargo, seeking, probing, shaking. "We cannot let these sounds [find] and over-excite a sympathetic resonance," says Rocha. If they do ... the sound is amplified, vibrations increase. Bolts can become unscrewed, covers ripped off, joints loosened. The engines aren't the only source of sound. After liftoff, the rocket rips its way through the atmosphere en route to space. Rushing air creates strong aerodynamic noise, which rattles the ship. "You can hear this kind of noise by rolling down your car window while driving," Rocha says. Even in space, the noises don't stop. Vibrations can ripple through a spaceship when it docks with another ship, or when it fires its maneuvering thrusters. With each bump or thrust, the rocket is strummed anew. The goal of engineers, says Rocha, is to make sure these vibrations die out quickly, before they do any harm. In the language of musicians, "rocket designers must avoid sustain." Which frequencies might do the most damage? What parts of the spacecraft are most vulnerable to resonance? And how do you de-tune this complicated instrument? To answer these questions, NASA engineers have developed "sound studios" for spacecraft. "These are huge chambers where we take pieces of our rockets and expose them to loud noises." Really loud. "One of our 165 decibel acoustic horns at JSC can make as much noise as a space shuttle main engine," he says. By observing the response of "test articles" to the sounds, engineers can discover resonances and make changes to squelch them. "The most vulnerable articles tend to have low mass and lots of surface area-like a guitar," he notes.

11/01/05 - SunBall electrical generator
The SunBall™ Solar Appliance uses 35 - 38% efficiency triple junction solar cells normally only used in space. Close cousins of our solar cells power the two Mars rovers Opportunity and Spirit. Flat panels solar cells normally rate around 15%. The SunBall™ Solar Appliance uses an optical acrylic Fresnel lens to capture the light from an area 500 times that of the solar cell and focus it onto the triple junction solar cell. This lens costs a lot less than using silicon solar cells to cover the same area. We also mount the solar cells on a massive heat spreader which transfers the heat into the SunBall™ Solar Appliance's aluminium hemisphere shell which serves as a heat radiator. This heat radiator is 180% larger than the solar collection area, is always in the shade and cooled by passing winds much more easily than flat panels. While 500 suns sound massive it is really only a heat load of about 30 watts per solar cell. Approximately 10 cm behind each lens segment is a solar cell (total = 7 solar cells) mounted on a aluminium heat spreader. The sun collection area is 1,257 cm2 (0.1257m2). With a targeted modular efficiency of 33%, the 0.4 m SunBall™ will produce ~42 Wp (18vdc @ 2.3a). Like the larger 1m2 SunBall™ Solar Appliance, the smaller unit will be available Jan - Feb 2006 in the Australian market. Its small size and high power output makes it ideal for the charging of batteries during that "Off Road" camping trip.

11/01/05 - African invents sun-powered stove
Seyoum Goitom, inventor and father of six, stood in his workshop in Eritrea, explaining his passion for mechanics, while young girls herded goats outside and butterflies wobbled in the warmth. The 38-year-old is working on an enormous, solar-powered stove based on a satellite dish which he believes could drastically cut the need for firewood among his compatriots in the Red Sea state. Some 95 percent of Eritrea's forests have been lost in the past century because of drought, a growing population, and -- to a lesser extent -- the war for independence from Ethiopia when many trees were cut to deny hiding places to combatants. ''When I was young, we could find big, old trees in the mountains and a small stream at the bottom all year round," Goitom said, standing on a dry slope. ''Now the river is dry, and there are almost no trees. They have been cut for fuel and building." ''If we use solar [power], the environment will be OK," he said. ''My children will be healthy and happy and better." The satellite dish measures 6 1/2 feet in diameter. Running his hands over the tin foil that covers the dish, Goitom explains how the direction and angle can be adjusted to cook wherever the sun is shining. ''We are trying a pilot project. If it is successful, then we will produce more [solar-powered cookers]," he said.

11/01/05 - See through Solar Panels
On a sunny day, 60,000 square feet of integrated solar paneling on its roof can generate 210 kilowatts of power, enough to meet two-thirds of the station's energy requirements. The solar energy doesn't run the trains, but is expected to contribute approximately 250,000 solar kilowatt hours per year to the station's other energy needs -- primarily lighting and air conditioning in the station and its attached offices and retail stores. Rather than drawing its power from traditional polycrystalline displays mounted on a flat roof, the Stillwell Avenue station gets its juice from 2,730 building-integrated PV panels, or BIPVs, built right into a curvilinear glass roof. On a clear day, 20 percent to 25 percent of the sunlight hitting the roof of the above-ground station shines through the glass and forms a dappled pattern on platform and tracks that meets mandated light levels for safety and security. Of course, not all the solar rays shine through the roof -- some of them hit the squares of amorphous silicon thin-film solar paneling manufactured by RWE Schott Solar. The glass roof and its BIPV panels are designed to withstand hurricane-force winds while lasting for a minimum of 25 years. Should an individual panel need to be replaced, the unitized construction of the roof would make it easy to lift out a defective BIPV section and replace it with a fresh one. "What is unique about our station is that it uses PV glass as the roof's surface, so that the solar material serves more than one function at a time," said Kiss. "By replacing a piece of glass that you would have otherwise had to use, the PV glass provides savings on material costs. It also has extra value in terms of spirit and perception. You look at the sun shining through a semitransparent glass canopy and you understand that it is both producing energy and keeping you sheltered."

11/01/05 - Restless Legs Syndrome Linked To Psychiatric Conditions
Adults with restless legs syndrome (RLS), a common debilitating condition, may be affected physically, mentally, and socially by their disease. "It is possible that RLS causes mood disturbance. It is also possible the medications used to treat mood disturbance cause RLS. In addition, behaviors that are risk factors for RLS, such as smoking, obesity, and a sedentary lifestyle, are more prevalent in those with psychiatric illnesses." Adults who were overweight, unemployed, or smoked daily also were more likely to be at risk for RLS, as were those with hypertension, arthritis, gastroesophageal reflux disease, depression, anxiety, and diabetes. Adults at risk for RLS also appeared to be more at risk for sleep apnea and insomnia and were more likely to report taking longer than 30 minutes to fall asleep, driving drowsy, and having daytime fatigue. Regarding work and social issues, adults at risk for RLS were more likely to report making errors at work, being late for work, and missing work and social events due to sleepiness. "RLS can interfere with the ability to go to sleep, to stay asleep, to sit quietly in a movie or on an airplane, to undergo dialysis, or any activity that requires immobility," added Dr. Phillips. To cope with RLS, researchers suggest losing weight, quitting smoking, avoiding taking medications that are not necessary, reducing or eliminating caffeine and alcohol, exercising in moderation, and seeing a primary care provider to assess the possibility of underlying, treatable causes of RLS.

$5 Alt Science MP3s to listen while working/driving/jogging
KeelyNetNo 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. - Source

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! - Source to Buy


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